Well, okay, new feet anyhow! Zeke got his very first hoof trim this week. But first things first.
On Wednesday morning, Zeke went through his routine perfectly. He lunged with his head tied, and he found the balance quickly and held his head correctly without fighting. He also ground drove wonderfully, turning in both directions and moving forward in a relaxed way. So we decided to go up to the wood arena and drive in a bigger space, without the rail to guide us.
As with everything else we’ve done, it went really nicely…for a while. We worked at one end of the arena, getting comfortable in the new space, then we started working our way up the railing to the other end. Zeke did well, but after a while he started getting testy, like he wanted to stop. I turned him to the right, his least favorite direction, and suddenly he had a fit. He refused to go, and when I chased him with the rope behind, he went backwards, not forwards, and promptly got tangled in the ropes. He then proceeded to spin around until I had no rope left to hold, and I was forced to let him go.
He ran like a maniac, dragging his ropes, so I picked up the lunge whip and encouraged him to keep going when he tried to rest. If he was going to run free, I was at least going to make it look like it was my idea! When I let him stop, he let me catch him, and we went straight back to work.
Going right, he tried the trick again, but this time I got him – I was able to move him forward and keep his head tipped right so that he couldn’t back up on me. But then it happened again, and he won again, turning the rope so tight I had nothing to hold. So this time after getting caught, we went back to the roundpen.
Once there, I drove him to the right for another 15 minutes or so, and every time he tried to duck out I forced him forward. We ended that session when he no longer fussed, he got sponged, and stood tied while I rode my horse Slim. Then he got to go home in disgrace. 😦
That afternoon I got him out again, and tied his head to the right, as a reminder that if the bit is pulled right, he must follow his nose! He did fine with that, so we drove again. Again, no problem, so we went back to the wood arena.
This time everything went just fine. Zeke didn’t offer to pull away and run off, and we were able to work all around the arena, and through and between barrels and blocks. A much better afternoon!
Then Thursday was the big day for Zeke: Hoof trim time! Josh Dittmer showed up around 2 with his truck, and I led Zeke into the barn. Josh was really patient with Zeke, patting him and getting to know him a bit before going to work.
And Zeke did great with it all!
It turned out he had some great little hooves under there, Josh said they were in good shape despite the overdue trim. He made a little display of the clippings for me:
I think he’s about 2 inches shorter now!
Today, Friday, we had time for another short workout in the roundpen, but the arena was being used so we never got to go back there. Even though he was good the last time we were in there, it would be really scary if I tried to drive him while people rode, especially if he got loose again!
So instead, he stood tied while I helped Cindy feed, and then we got the pink and yellow chick flag of spring out for the walk home. Cristina was on hand to snap a few pictures for us.
It IS NOT for eating!
Zeke says: Could you PLEASE pay attention?!
I also measured him today with the leveling stick – he is a solid 14.1 hands!
The next few days my work schedule won’t allow me any time for a real workout, so we’ll be back at it Tuesday. The plan is for more driving in the arena, and then outside the arena. I’m going to try to ride after that – scheduling has become tough, but I need to have at least five days in a row once I start to ride, for things to sink in. We’ll get there!