Thursday, April 5, 2012

Keep the padding

I always start to smile as I approach the farm. The drive to Nikki's barn is slightly longer than the one to Suki, but the Oley Valley scenery is beautiful with a quiet paecefulness. As I turn down the road toward Suki's barn I pass the back filed and usually see the draft horses standing on the hill. Tonight I was especially anxious to get to Suki because I wanted to see how the graft site held up to the roll test without the bandage. The high temperature of 58 had already started to dip and we have a freeze warning for tonight. Still too warm for a blanket, the Rambo lite and Suki's shell will keep her warm enough over night. Tomorrow morning I will have to exchange that for a ligher sheet or fly sheet given the expected temperatures in the low 60's. Suki was in by the time I arrived, happily munching on her hay. She called to me as I opened the barn door. By the time I approached her stall Suki was pressing her face against the bars anxious to come out. So impatient! She had been out in the field all day, but she seems to really enjoy our time together. First task for me: check the graft site. As I pulled off the shell I stood on my toes to take a peek. At first glance I could see some bruising. I felt a bit deflated. A closer look (while standing on a stool) showed some bruising in the pink skin of the graft. Back to bandaging. This is not a set back. By Sunday the bruising will be gone, and in another few weeks I may try again. But more than likely I will continue bandaging until the entire are has darkened. Yesterday's spa treatment must have really been exceptional, as Suki was mot very itchy at all tonight. She did do wiggle lips when I massaged her withers though! That is something that she just can't resist!
Suki rolls every day, so I fear that daily trauma to the graft area without padding would ultimately cause some tearing of the skin. It was nice to be able to moisturize the entire area though. In the summer when the horses are out over night I may pull off the bandage in the morning and moisturize Suki's back replacing the bandage again in the evening before turnout. That will probably not happen every day because of my schedule, but I think I could manage to do it a few times a week. So as I was being a little nostalgic this evening, wistfully dreaming of the day once again ride Suki, I was looking at some old photos. This is Suki, the morning she arrived from her weeklong journey from British Columbia.
And 2 weeks later training in the round pen as I prepared to get on her for the first stunning! Suki was so relaxed and happy, which carried over to the first time that I sat on her back.
Nikki is showing such promise and I get excited every time I ride her. With a sensible brain and lovely gaits she is a pleasure to ride. I have been trying to incorporate a variety of exercises to keep her from getting bored and I impressed with how quickly she understands what I am asking. It is important not to push her too quickly though, as she is still growing. This is one of my favorite photos. She had been turned out after her 20 minutes of work when she had been under saddle for only two weeks.
It was so exciting the first time I sat on Nikki too! I had not ridden in six months, and my first ride was on a three year old who had been under saddle for only two weeks! I smiled for the entire hour and 45 minute drive home! Me and my girls....I just love them!


  1. Suki has such models' legs! I am wondering, how old is a horse before they are considered to be mature?

    1. Yes, Suki is a long-legged girl! That's why she was immediately dubbed "super model" upon her arrival! I would say at age 6 horses are considered mature. Suki was 3 in those photos and grew another 2 + inches in height over the following three years.