Monday, November 23, 2009

The Wide World

Ace now has access to his own paddock. First I walked him around the fenceline so he could see where it was, then the next day I turned him out with Hairy. As predicted, he could have cared less about Hairy's company, although he did take a couple of swipes at him in passing.

There is a "chute" from the back door of the arena to this back paddock so he can run in and out. There is planty of mud, a drainage ditch, and a pile of topsoil (which he climbs) so he is getting used to handling himself as well as getting used to stepping in "yucky" stuff.

He goes out there half the day by himself. He is only about 15 feet from the outdoor arena which serves as the sacrifice pen for Mom's two geldings. But, he doesn't hang on the fence at all, and seems to barely notice the others are out there. He is very independent and is still simply thrilled at his new found freedom.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Talky Talky

One thing I've never mentioned about Ace, is that since he was a few days old, my mother encouraged him to talk. When she comes to the barn, everyone whinnies (mostly demanding food). Of course, Ace wasn't aware of this protocol, so from day one, she would say in a high pitched "baby whinny" voice... "Acey... Hi Acey..." until he answered too. It was very cute to hear that little "weeeheeeheee" coming from the depths of the stall. If it were dark, and Ace and Copy were out, and she wanted to check on their whereabouts, she could call out "Acey... Hi Acey..." and he would answer no matter where he was.

He has continued to be a talker. Today, when I went to the barn, he hadn't noticed my car pull in. He was eating hay with his back to me. So, I called out "Acey... Hi Acey..." and he turned to look, and gave me a big "hello" whinny. "How are you?" I asked? Ace whinnied one short whinny back, "fine, and you?" and returned to his eating. It's nice to have a horse talk to you when you know they're saying something other than "where the heck have you been? Feed me NOW or I swear I'll knock this door/gate down."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Aching Back

5 hours later, after also cleaning the house, my back is starting to tighten up. I blame Ace....

Since it is Saturday, Ace had a cross tie session. He seemed to be looking forward to it. I led him the 6 feet from the arena gate to the grooming area without bothering to get a rope. Turned him around, snapped the ties, and left to go get a box of brushes. Ace stood happily fiddling with the snaps. I brushed a bit at the dander and scruff all over his back, then opted for a brief curry and a damp towel just to get the dust off the top.

Then I started on his hooves. Instead of starting with his least favorite, the right front, I started with the left front. No problem. Left hind.... very short attention span... suddenly, he decided the left hind was off limits. I held on for a bit, receiving some muddy hoof prints on my already dirty breeches that have not come clean with the first wash. He got the hoof away. I set the pick down, and muscled back into the fray with two free hands. Much better. I was able to set the hoof down during a quiet moment.

On to the right front. He has a very interesting range of motion with the right shoulder which makes holding on to that one much more of a workout. Also, he started to try to lay on me. Elbow to the ribs... lost the hoof in the process. Stand up, drum on his ribs with my fist..."Thou (thump) shalt (thump) not (thump) lay (thump) on (thump) your (thump) human (thump)." Pick up the hoof again. Ace hoists his weight over on to my back and leans. Thump with the left fist. "Stand UP." Ace hippity hops left on three legs and steps in an empty pail against the wall.

Now, I know it is careless to leave dangerous items laying about the cross ties area, but I had decided to leave that there, along with the plastic brush tote, because A. a plastic bucket with a plastic bale is pretty hard to hurt yourself on. B. I also believe in a little spook-proofing, and you might as well start young. That way, you can leave your 6 year old gelding crosstied knowing that if the weanling decides to float an empty paper bag over the arena gate at him for fun, nothing much will happen. Ace likes to do that to my gelding. It must be an invitation to play, and it's kind of cute especially since Grey is already 99% de-spooked on the cross ties, and I don't worry about those things causing a calamity.

So, Ace steps in the bucket. For a weanling who has been on crossties two or three times, you might expect at least a little calamity. Ace's reaction? "Oops, I stepped in a bucket. Sorry, what I really meant to do was LAY on YOU." I managed to get that hoof picked out and set down nearly on my own agenda, and moved on to the last one.

I lifted the hoof up just enough to pick it. Ace started paddling with it. "whhooooaaa, Eaaassyy." He decided to give me that one. I stood up and rested both elbows across his rump, leaning to catch my breath. "Young Man, you try my patience." Ace looked over his shoulder at me, completely unimpressed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Best Friend?

Because I feel bad about me decision to turn Ace out alone to keep him from beating up on Hairy all day long, and becoming an alpha bully, I splurged and got him a best friend that he can beat up. Meet the Horse Buddy Bopper.
I saw this on Quattro's Blog last winter. I thought of getting it for Grey Horse, but hesitated because I'm pretty sure it would be an expensive sacrificial lamb for that destruction monster. Ace is just about the right size to enjoy it now without immediately destroying it.
My husband and I assembled it last night. I have to say it comes with good instructions and they outfit you with all necessary little supplies. However, they expect to blow it up under human power, and that just isn't realistic. So, we used the air compressor even though the instructions warned against it. Then we stuffed it in the back seat of my car... When I carried it up the barn aisle today, it created a chain reaction of gastrointestinal difficulties in each stall I walked by. The horses, intent on eating their lunch, were a bit.... startled...

Ace wasn't going to go up to it on his own, but willingly followed me with just a tug on his halter. He touched it, but hasn't figured out that it is a wrestle buddy. Just as well. If he had immediately accosted it, I would have been less than pleased with his manners. I'm sure after he gets used to it he will get enjoyment out of it. I let my Grey Horse play with it with supervision. He tried to bite it and stand on it. It stands up on it's own well, but doesn't recover well if you knock it down. I think this has a little to do with the sand footing. However, if a horse tries to stand on it, it does rebound and pop upright again. It should be interesting to follow the life of the Buddy Bopper. However short it may be.

Today Mom was in the barn, so we got you some crossties pictures. Mom hadn't seen Ace's Big Boy act on the cross ties and she was impressed...

He really seems to enjoy his grooming...

But some stuff I do makes him mad...

And some stuff makes him bored, but there is stuff to chew on...

We spray his mane and brush it over to tame those last wayward locks...

Pick his hooves...

And tickle the giblets...

We get used to me reaching under and tightening something around his girth...

When he's all done, I break a cookie in three pieces, untie him, and we work on him yielding his poll to pressure so I can put my arm over his neck. Mom had wandered off by then. Ace's attention span is longer than hers! That's an accomplishment! Yay Ace!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trailer Training

The horse trailer happened to be hooked up today, so Ace practiced loading and unloading. He is so brave! He walked right on when asked, and we looked it all over.

We practiced loading and unloading, and pretty soon he was loading ME! He said it was the best game I've come up with so far.

I had Mom and my Step Dad shut the back up and we stood inside and looked out the windows. I tied him but didn't leave him yet. We took a good look at the ramp.

It was a blustery day, and he was very fresh. I didn't have a chain on him since we were practicing the trailer, so it was NOT a good day to try to go for a walk!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cross Ties

Yesterday little Acey stood on the crossties for his grooming just like a big boy. This included picking out all for feet with no problem. Then I left him so I could go to the tack room and get him a cookie. He is still small enough that a Dumor treat has to be broken in thirds for him. He was so cute standing there trying to act all grown up. I'm sure it helps that most of his life he has watched other horses stand there. He did mess with the ties a whole lot but did not move around unless asked. I think next time I am going to try snapping the ties to the upper rings of his halter. Although I've never seen it done I've heard a portion of the the horse owning population does that with no problems It actually makes sense since it removes the ties from temptation's reach.

Our walks are going well. He is very "brave" and eager to go anywhere I ask.