Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back to the Great Outdoors

Since the Grey Horse was coated in mud today with no hope of getting him in a rideable condition AND riding during my lunch hour, I decided to take Ace outside for a walkabout. I didn't even bother with a chain over his nose. I just snapped a rope on him, grabbed the Whapper and headed out. Mom was putting Face-Off back in the barn from the outdoor arena. This got Ace all charged up. He's very good about staying "with" me even though you and I both know that if he wanted to he could just take off and leave me standing there. That's the important part of handling horses.... keeping them from realising that they can leave whenever they want. I was also having visions of him reaching over and picking me up by my arm. But thanks to the Whapper as both a chew toy and a horse-warding-off-device all was well. So now I have 600 pounds of dynamite rocketing around on the end of a rope, an open gate, and an empty arena. What would you do? Yup, put the horse in the fence and let go. So that's just what I did.

Ace had a ball. It has been a long time since he was up in the arena. He was a little anxious about being that far from the barn, but he does go out in the back pasture by himself so he more accustomed to being out in the open alone. He trit-trotted around a little, but really he wanted me to play with him, and I did a little. I didn't want him to just run around like a mad man though. He remembered his "whoa-stand" lesson from last week, and I could call him over and he would dance up to me and stand while I talked to him and calmed him. He did get up some good speed, but the problem with that is it was slippery near the gate, and horses never factor in lack of friction when figuring out when and how hard to apply the brakes.

So we got a few pictures of him showing off, and one of us going for a walk using the Whapper instead of a rope. If I could get him to focus a little better, I'm sure I could teach him to play Fetch.

Before going back to the barn we spent a few minutes walking circles in the yard while he calmed down. Pretty soon he was investigating things and thinking about where he was instead of where he was not (the barn).

Then we stopped off at the hitching rail to tie for a few minutes.

And back to the barn for lunch.


Karen said...

Wow he is growing up to be a beautiful boy! Very cute how he chews on everything ... altho I am sure very annoying. Love your blog!

Pony Girl said...

He's such a lovely bay- and boy!! Very handsome. At the barn I ride at, all the ASB's are some form of chestnut, except for one gray. Someone told me that bays and grays are not overly common in Saddlebreds?
Is his need to chew just a young thing, will he become less mouthy as he matures or is discouraged? I noticed that two of the ASB's I ride a the stable are both very mouthy. One is 11 and the other is 4.

Leah said...

what a very handsome fella you've got there! I hope you wanted a saddle seat horse, he sure looks the part! Or- how gorgeous would he be in harness?! You can come stay with me and work with our driving trainer if you want. ;)

Ponygirl- I'm going to answer for Brita here, but I would say, that is true, chestnut is by far the most common ASB color. Bay is probably second, and probably pinto is the next. Grey and black are relatively uncommon (well, grey at least in parts of the country where there isn't a lot of Winsdown blood) and palomino and buckskin are pretty rare.

Chewing is probably in relation to age- most babies chew on things- humans, puppies, horses, etc. It soothes the pain of teething, and is one of their ways to explore the world. I'm sure with time and training that will decrease, but Louie is still quite mouthy at 4. This is why I put up a sign on his stall asking people to please not give him treats and to pet at their own risk. lol

SmartAlex said...

It seems that some bloodlines are more mouthy. Grey is still mouthy, but mild in relation to Ace. None of our others have been mouthy at all.

I read somewhere that the original common color for Saddlebreds was black or bay with two hind socks. The reason for this is that Gaines' Denmark was black, and he sired many blacks and bays. These days, most ASBs trace to the Harrison Chief family. Harrison Cheif was also bay.

But over the years, as our gene pool has narrowed to the Sultan and Commander lines, chestnut has slowly wiped out the bay. Grey is making a good comeback as it is more popular than it was a hundred years ago (too hard to keep clean).