Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Swimmingly!

I spent the night at work taking care of a baby foal with an eye infection. She was just weaned to come to the clinic and her poor eye is terrible. She has a device that allows us to administer medication around the clock over her eye as a flush without having to actually touch anywhere near her eye. After each treatment we flush the tube with air to send the meds thru and over her eye. It does not hurt at all but probably feels very weird (even tho we do it very slowly). Poor little girl knows now when we are going to do it and is not very happy with us. But I spent a lot of extra time playing being in her stall last night so that she would believe that people are better than what we have shown so far. She loved being scratched.

By the time I got done with morning treatments I was pretty whipped....but went over to the Y on the way home and swam for thirty minutes for the first time in almost a year. It was WONDERFUL! I forgot how much I really love being in the water. Now understand that I am not out there doing the crawl for thirty minutes in the lap pool. I am in the deep end just jogging in the water. But it feels like I have stretched each and every muscle out carefully by the time that I am done. I'm not even sure how much exercise it really is (although it does raise my heart rate slightly for thirty minutes) but it certainly makes me feel good all over!

Came home to find out the mini had squeezed out of the pasture (where he lives with HIS mare Splashy) and was in my yard with Gussy. Gus is allowed in my yard around the house and he can go down the driveway to his little barn. I love his little barn. It is just three stalls shedrow style with the middle one open for grooming. He also has a small paddock off of his stall for when he does not have 'yard privileges' The mini was spending his time running over to the gate he had squeezed thru and pacing because he could not figure out how to get back in to Splashy and then turning and charging across the yard like an angry Thelwell pony to wheel around and kick Gussy for even looking at him. Gus was just standing there. The mini weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet so I guess he does not pack much of a punch. Poor Gussy. I stuffed said mini back in with Splash and apologized to Gus.

Gus's full name is Augustus McCrae. I got him last year at the beginning of July. My younger brother had just passed away from cancer and I was feeling pretty sad. I wanted to save something since no matter how hard I prayed I could not save him, or my mom or my dad. Cancer is a bitch. I saw Gussy while I was over looking at a different horse. He was skin and bones and just seemed to be so defeated by life. I rode him, and let me tell you- if I climb on a horse that I am looking at, it is probably coming home with me. I do not bother to take up the seller's time unless I am sure. But I really felt that I was doing this more to be polite since the seller had already tacked him up. The seller had climbed on him and galloped a couple of times around the field. Big bit, tight tie down and a saddle that was so ill fitting that it hurt me to look at it. The gullet was just pressing down on poor Gus's withers even when nobody was in the saddle. And since his backbone stuck up I could only imagine how much pain he was in. The seller said that his teenage son and girlfriend rode Gus the three or so miles up to the convenience store on a regular basis and that Gus could go pretty fast the entire way. My friend Lisa was with me and as we left afterwards we remarked that since there was no shoulder on the road it was pretty apparent that Gus had to run right on the pavement itself for these journeys.
We stopped to get some lunch and I decided to call the seller back and tell him I would take him. So Gus came home a couple of days later. In addition to being the skinniest horse to ever step foot on our farm, his hair was brittle and dry, he was afraid of people and he did not know how to eat anything treat wise. I bathed him a couple of times, clipped him and put a flysheet and mask on him. Gussy was styling. I had planned to lose weight back then and start riding him right away. I knew that it would take a while for him to gain weight and for his sore back to heal, but I did not lose the weight. I still rode him several times over the fall and winter and while he knows nothing and is really nervous (just waiting for that spur to stick him I guess)I enjoyed our rides. Slowly he learned that he was just wearing a little rubber snaffle bit and that there was not a tie down and that my shoes do not have spurs on them. And he learned to trust and love me on the ground. Now Gussy comes when he is called and follows me all over the place. I love him fiercely. And have vowed to not ride him again until I lose the first 50 pounds.

Flag-puppy is doing wonderfully. Nothing like having a puppy around. I am using the Bobbi Anderson 'Building Blocks for Performance' book as my guide since I have never had the chance to raise a puppy for competition before and want to try and be as successful as possible. Bobbi is a trainer from Oregon who has wonderful dogs so I am following her program and ideas pretty closely with some modifications for a freestyle dog. I have crates all over the house and so Flag is always in the same room that I am in. He is allowed play time with a few dogs at a time a couple of times a day and I play with him outside several times a day. He gets rewards just for wanting to be with me. He is also getting pretty good at spinning each direction, likes to stand on his round platform with his front feet and is getting brave about weaving between my feet. I make sure that this is all the best game in the world. Not bad for a ten week old puppy! I do not care at this point about regular behaviors like sit and down because I do not use them as much in freestyle.....so they will come later after we have the other stuff nice and solid.

Well....most people would probably think that this post was all about everything other than me. But you know what? Everything that I wrote today really is about me. It is about some of the things that I love.......

Thank you again for your amazing words of support and encouragement. I could not be on this journey without my friends. I love you guys.

Laura......278 this week

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