Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Powered By Pine

Whew, I am so tired of Internet issues. My computer is on the end of the house that some days does not get wireless. The best days are the ones where you start out having connection only to lose it when you need to accomplish something. Not that you guys have missed much. We have been slopping through mud for days now. The ground is way to wet to ride.
One positive is that the grass is definitely dormant and we are letting Winston go out on pasture with the boys. He still wears a muzzle and probably always will for our peace of mind. We also put hay out and he actually eats that first. Works for me. Pony gets to play, we use less hay and he stays healthy.
Winston figuring out he can eat grass

DaVinci and Roscoe running to greet me

Sunday once it was apparent no riding would be happening at my barn, I went to Peggy's. Comrade has not worked in like two weeks, so he was due. I walked out into her field to bring him in and found a surprise. He and Sonny were eating a small pine tree that had fallen over. Now I have seen horses chew on pine wood, but they were literally eating the pine needles and baby pine cones. Comrade started swinging a branch to get the needles off. Then as I was taking pictures I started getting frisked from behind. Sonny had snuck up on me and was checking to see if I had sugar cubes.
Eventually I had to take him away from his snack and get my ride in before dark. As we walked back to the barn I caught an smell. I laughed as I realized the strong pine smell was coming from Comrade's breath. It was so strong.

Dirty boy eating pine needles

Sonny sneaking up on me

When I finally chipped him out of the mud, we went to work. After days of cautious walking on slippery ground, he needed to cruise. I let him move as he wanted to warm up. He even offered right lead canter. Yay Pony!
Then I reined him in and made him work. He had so much energy in his canter I played with flying changes. Right to left was really smooth and maintained the forward energy. Left to right, well not so good. He changed in the front, but not in the back. That is the freakiest feeling. Then we moved onto voltes to get him stepping under. Out of the voltes I asked him to open and stretch. He gave some really nice stretch.Of course he would occasionally pull a "Woo Hoo" move before remembering he was suppose to be working. I think he was powered by pine. He never lost the energy.
I decided to test that energy with a new challenge. I started working shoulder in a familiar exercise for Comrade. Once he was listening and responding well I moved my outside leg back asking for half pass. Previously, he shutdown at this point. He said 3 tracks straight, okay, but 3 tracks sideways, no way. Sunday, I got a different answer. We half passed :) It was not long, but it felt amazing.
I ended the ride on that great note. I am so happy at the direction his training is moving. He is healthier in body which has helped him to be happier in his mind.


  1. Ginger loves pine and fir branches in the winter as well, even more than traditional horse treats. The fresh breath is definitely a funny side effect :)

  2. Shy likes pine trees, too. Weird horses :) And yay for your half pass!

  3. Your horses breath smelled of Christmas :)!
    Sounds like an amazing ride - awesome work on the half pass.

  4. That is really weird! Pine breath. Haha.