Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Days!

Let me start off by saying that horses and snow pretty much belong together. Since the temperatures have dropped into the 20's and the snow has started falling, Sage finally has a chance to use her fluffy winter coat. When I got back from school last night at some ungodly time past midnight, the snow had ceased and the moon was full and the world was a beautiful, bright, incredible playground. I gave the horses some extra hay and, despite having been up for 21 hours, took an exposure of Brandy and Sage graciously eating their warming fuel.

Today, after a good night's rest, I stayed at home because the road was too icy for me to make it back to Corvallis for class. Since we've finished our midterms and have a short week before Thanksgiving, I found myself with only the animals to worry about and no studying lingering on my mind. The girls in turn were all pretty excited about the snow, it seemed. When I walked down to the barn, Sage whinnied and galloped up to meet me at the gate--and she rarely ever gallops! I put everyone out in the pasture while I mucked out the barns, and needless to say, the baby horses were wild! (Gabby and Luna were much more amused with the grass than with running, so they tried to stay out of the way of the crazy ones.)

Sage indeed was quite frisky and quite proud of herself!!

Despite the friskies, I decided later in the afternoon to take her for a walk up the road. I guess you could say that's what caused the problem, or you could interpet what happened not as a problem but as a learning experience (which it was). Lately I've been getting home the dark, so Sage has had more work in the arena: saddling, leading, and obstacles (which she thinks are pretty much things she should knock down). It's been a few weeks since Sage has been out, and she's only been out twice before--once by herself and then once with Brandy.

Being in her terrible two year old year, she does have a tendency to pitch little fits, and seeing as it was cold and brisk out, I should have anticipated one. However, she pitched a bigger hissy fit than ever (besides when the farrier came) about half a mile up the road from the house. She squealed and jumped up in the air several times, shaking her head, trying to turn around and run back home. It was almost a disaster--almost.

She listened when I asked her to yield to pressure, back up, etc. I made her walk up the road nicely a little ways farther, then I turned around and proceeded to do exercises with her until she remembered who was in charge. That was mostly head down, back up, whoa, walk on, move away, etc. Within 10 minutes, she had settled down to her normal plod, and she was good for the rest of the walk, although she had a rather indignant look on her face.

Moral of the story? Well, it was a good day for a walk. She was in a situation she'd never been in before. She can't learn if she doesn't challenge me sometimes, so this was productive. She also managed to get quite a snowball in one of her back feet, and she even let me pick it out for her. She clearly knew that I was trying to help her. So really, today was just another lesson, another step towards a bomb-proof horse.

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