The Bounce – part deux

Yesterday, I set up a gymnastic based on the following diagram:

Slide1The gymnastic was adjusted to reflect the actual size of our sand ring, and I eliminated the final vertical. I also shortened the distances slightly – 18′ to the first cross rail after the bounce pole, 42′ to the three stride cross rail.

To start, I set up a low cross rail (about 18″) followed by a pole on the ground (9′ or three steps distance), followed by another 18″ cross rail 18′ (six strides) past the bounce pole. The final fence in the lines was another cross rail, about 2′ high, set up to develop into an oxer.

Dayo and I trotted into the gymnastic, cantering out. To begin, we started in one direction (left rein) and got used to the gymnastic. Dayo’s first attempt was stellar. I think she was not sure what had hit her and had to solve problems through. The second she approached with a great deal more trepidation, and required significantly more support through the leg. The third attempt, she refused to pick up a canter after the first cross rail, but corrected herself with encouragement, and finished well.

The fourth time through Dayo was confident, and I gave her a fifth time just for additional confidence. After each attempt, I asked her to hold her canter and cantered her in a circle, alternating left and right.

We then switched approach direction to the right rein. There is a new mare in the pasture, and Dayo had a hard time focusing (to the right, she can look directly into her paddock and watch the new intruder eating her hay!). It was a bit of a cluster, but we finished with a flourish and circled at the canter, working on a successful and smooth downward transition.

My goal had originally been to increase the difficulty of the gymnastic, but I decided yesterday to leave the learning at a success. Through the last two times, Dayo got increasingly fast as she got super confident. Once she got it, she loved solving the puzzle of it. To make her think, I asked her to shorten her stride toward the final element, putting in four strides rather than three. She did it like a champ.

I did notice that I had a tendency to look down over the first two elements of the gymnastic, which did not give Dayo the support she needed. She also has an ongoing tendency to drift to the left and this came into play for us between the second and the final cross rail.

Although I don’t like to repeat exercises two days in a row, we are going to incorporate a part of the gymnastic into our school today, with a one stride in and out to a three stride oxer. We may start with a refresher over the gymnastic before I adjust it. Our focus will be improved straightness (Dayo) and looking up (me). The two are likely related 🙂

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Dayo gets into life on the farm…

Dayo is warming up to life at Lone Pines. She is sporting a smashing new rain sheet, and has been enjoying fun in the sun in the paddock next to Chaos and the mares. Chaos, a firm believer that if it’s farm business, it’s HIS business, has spent some time getting to know her. For the rest, the novelty of Dayo has worn off, and she’s just the skinny mare who still smells a little funny in the paddock next door.

Chaos and Dayo getting to know each other over the fence...

Chaos and Dayo getting to know each other over the fence…

Dayo is thoroughly enjoying the ebb and flow of life on the farm. She has a clean stall at night, plenty of water, catered meals, a paddock with her own personal round bale, and plenty of grass and fresh water. She is conveniently located in the thick of the action, with a great view of the big front paddock, the round pen, the main barn, the house, the fields and drives with the machinery, the crazy chickens, Boots the cat, Jacob (formerly Sui Mai) the rabbit, and the sand ring (the only part of the farm she has not shown an interest in!).

Chickens in the dirt     Sand ring

She has gained more than 100 lbs and is a complete bun hound, galloping up at the fence to come in for dinner, and sticking her nose out to frisk the hands and pockets of anyone who enters the barn. Dayo is very well aware there is a large bag of treats conveniently located by the doorway! She seems to be averse to apples, will not eat anything once it has dirt on it, and, after two choking episodes, apparently does not chew her carrots very well.

Her personality is beginning to shine through. She is determined but not bossy, and very much a lady. A lady, it should be noted, with a significant passion for rolling over and over and over again in the mud.  She has also spent some significant energy trying to impress us with her maternal instincts. She gazes longingly at Itchy’s baby, and trumpets maternally whenever Emma’s boy Vegas calls out from the round pen.

We did try to tell her that babies were not in her future, and that she was going to be a “riding” horse. It turns out that Dayo, like all ladies, has “looks”. She looked “beyond” us when she heard the news about babies. So much more sophisticated than Chaos, who is more of a “hoofs over the ears, lalalalalala, I can’t hear you” kind of horse.

She also has a very polite look of wonder. We’ve been working with her on the cross-ties, grooming her with a soft brush and a mitt. The cunning plan? to get her used to as many things as possible while she is in a weakened state 🙂 She has demonstrated a phenomenal patience with all the fussing, and seems to quite enjoy it, but when she’s had enough, or you hit a ‘spot’, she will turn her head slowly and give you that look of wonder (as in, I wonder why you are doing that, and perhaps you could stop?). If the look is not acknowledged, it is reinforced by the polite but undeniably pointed raising of a back hoof.

She has definite opinion about having those back hooves cleaned.

It seems that the repeated doses of lice powder have eliminated the “hitchhikers” on her skin, and the worming has helped with other unfriendlies, and the crunchiness under it. The combination of lice and malnutrition mean that her hair has been coming out in chunks, leaving some pretty spectacular bald spots, and we have discovered that where hair is, scurf is. Lots and lots of scurf. The other day, Evelyn took to the clippers to her, and removed as much hair as possible to help her stay cool in the hotter weather, and to clear up some gunk. A tough job, given the rough landscape of bumps and bones. Dayo looked and felt so much better, she did a little dance on her way back out to the paddock in preparation of a gallop.  Of course, being a lady, she settled as soon as Evelyn told her no, and waited until she was turned loose. Then, as payback, she rolled thoroughly and well in the mud.

Dayo before she came home...

Dayo before she came home…

One month later

One month later

Looking good girl!

Looking good girl!

This weekend, if the weather actually warms up, Dayo will have another bath as the war against scurf begins in earnest.  Her coat is so short, and there are so many bald spots, that she is covered in vitamin e cream, and will get some super rose oil conditioner to keep her skin moist and healthy while her hair grows back.

Dayo goes mano a mano with the lice…

Yesterday, the vet was out, and Dayo had her shots. Two things transpired. Her teeth need to be done (which admittedly was a bit of a given), and she has some “hard, crunchy stuff” under her skin, which the vet discovered when he could not insert the needle. Disconcerting, but something that did not seem to bother him. The consensus he and Evelyn reached was “dead nasties”. And so, Dayo is on an accelerated worming schedule to rid her body of the crunchy nasties.

Last night, she was particularly sensitive, and made some lovely snake faces at me when I tried to brush her. Today, with Evelyn, she was, of course, a dream. In preparation of deworming, Dayo was tied up and groomed. Evelyn figured that, by the time grooming was done, her mouth would be empty, and she would not be able to use food to spit the Bimectrin out.

Evelyn started with an old clipper blade on her neck (we’ve been using this to help shed her out). She was fine, but the lumpy part, presumably home to the crunchy nasties, was obvious.

Evelyn then decided to start at her poll, and work her way toward the tail. Remember the earlier post about lice? We hadn’t found any in the usual spots, and have been looking and looking. Today? Shazam! Evelyn hit the mother lode of nits – they were at her poll and along her mane line.  She combed and combed them out, put the hair in a bucket, and will burn it. It seems nothing was crawling.

Dayo and the powder...

Dayo and the powder…

Dayo then had a thorough grooming.  The hair on her belly and udder is coming out in handfuls, and she is developing some more, and significant bald spots. Her wiggling chin and loose lip tell us that hair removal is a good thing. She’s been an itchy girl! The skin underneath looks healthy, and the hair will grow back.  Every inch of her was groomed to the max, and MDG was applied to the bald spots to keep them soft while hair grows back.  I am happy to report that, in spite of the fact that I was on the receiving end of many snake faces last night, she was absolutely perfect for Evelyn.

Dayo 2 May 8 2013

Her poll, neck and spine were dusted with delousing powder again, and she was sprayed with insecticide. Then she was dewormed with Bimectrin.

Dayo weighed 903 lbs when she arrived at the farm a week and a half ago. Today, she was tape weighed again, and she weighs 969 lbs. Her energy levels are still incredibly low, but she is looking brighter and happier.

Dayo on May 8 2013

In spite of the snake faces! 😀

Dayo’s first week

Image

This past week, Dayo has been eating, eating, eating. And drinking pails of water. Tuesday, she had a “mani / pedi” and was an absolute dream for the farrier. Wednesday, she had her first dose of wormer, and was de-loused. We haven’t seen anything living on her, but we decided to err on the side of caution.

Thursday, she finally started to shed. Big clumps of hair, some of it right off the skin, leaving bald patches. Luckily, not too many, and the skin underneath looks healthy.

Saturday, she had a bath. In fact, two baths, back to back. There was dirt caked in places dirt should never be.  And her tail was just a tragedy. Sunday was a grooming day, and we took a short stroll around the farm to see the sights.

Dayo dealing with one rogue fly

Dayo dealing with one rogue fly…

She was so tired after that short walk, she flaked right out on her hay!

Dayo has been turned out in a small paddock by the barn. It’s relatively exclusive, and the ponies Simon and Anna have been turned out next to her. Yesterday, they were moved to the pipe paddock.

Checking out new friends Anna and Simon

Anna and Simon tucking in to the round bale in the pipe paddock

Anna and Simon tucking in to the round bale in the pipe paddock

We could hear Dayo calling to them, and moved her over to see her friends. Today, she is out in the small paddock next to Chaos and the mares. Eventually, she’ll be turned out with them, but for now, she’ll get to know them over the fence.

In the small front paddock...

In the small front paddock… you can look at her topline and see that just rehydrating has made a difference 🙂