I have been wanting to pull Nikki's mane for quite awhile, but something has always derailed any opportunity. As a result, her mane was an absolute disgrace. Tonight I arrived at the barn and as the result of a recent onslaught of new boarders someone was already there tacking up. Not that I mind riding with others. But I decided to take care of Suki first so that by the time I got on Nikki the other person would be close to finishing. Suki's face was very itchy tonight so I just held the exfoliation mitt up to her face and she moved her head up and down, turning it from side to side to hit all of the itchiest places. The area of Suki's neck that is under her mane typically becomes dry pretty quickly also. I slathered an extra layer of moisturizer on (getting low, I need to buy another jar!), applied it to her back and added sunscreen to her face. I think that Suki should be the new face for Banana Boat sunscreen for babies! A few more treats and back into the stall.
Nikki snuggled up to me as soon as I opened her door! She quietly stood on cross ties to be groomed, when suddenly a large SUV flew into the parking area. Parking at an odd angle (and blocking my car) an unfamiliar woman and young girl got out. They did not come into the barn. Shortly after that another new boarder and her daughter arrived. Amidst a lot of chatter they came into the barn armed with books and folders and spread out across the aisle. The horse was then brought in and they went through a variety of lists for 4H testing. Another boarder arrived, then the veterinarian. I decided to pull Nikki's mane instead of dealing with the chaos outside!
Starting at the withers end Nikki was a bit fussy but then relaxed. She drops her head so low that I am actually able to stand on the ground to do this in spite of her height (17.2)! Every time I told her what a good girl she was Nikki nosed my front pocket to remind me that a sugar cube was to follow. Because of the length and thickness I was forced to do two passes, and she was cooperative and relaxed the entire time...unlike you-know-who.....
Of course I would rather have ridden, but Nikki had worked all of the other days so it wasn't a big deal. And the mane pulling is finally finished!!
Saturday, August 10, 2013
An early start was in order as per my usual routine. Suki followed my car to the gate and was happy to come in. She was a bit disappointed that breakfast had not yet arrived but started to move her hay pile over to the water buckets for dunking convenience. Just as I was closing Suki's door I heard Nikki's thundering hooves coming toward the gate. Suki doesn't really settle into her hay until Nikki is in the barn so she watched as I led Nikki in, and nickered softly to her as we passed. The day was warm but not bad for an August morning!
Nikki was in one of her cuddly moods, leaning down to nuzzle me as I brushed her legs. She also likes to grab the brush sometimes....maybe she wants to brush her own legs?
The mounting issue seems to have gone away for now. She will try the game again in a few weeks as she always does! I loved that Nikki was filled with good energy and very willing to work. I worked on serpentines at the trot, trying to maintain a nice steady tempo with good push from behind. My focus again on not too much driving, I was able to maintain the pace with few adjustments. Adding walk transitions each time I crossed the centerline added some sharpness to Nikki's focus. Content with that work we moved on to exercises changing within gaits. I am starting to feel a nice balance and distinct change as I ask Nikki for collected, working an medium trot. The canter still needs more work, but she is moving along nicely.....I am glad that I have L riding her a couple of times a week. That consistency and L's excellent work are definitely paying off (my work too!!)!
For Suki I just did a brief lunge to let her stretch out then worked on leading exercises. She moved nicely forward so I did not ask for a lot of transitions. My goal was to simply let her move out. The sun came out a little brighter again, but at least the bugs remained at bay! That coppery coat shines in the sunshine! I also tried some in hand turn on the forehand. Suki did well with it, but I feel as though I was not always in the correct position. Something to work on.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Another nice morning to ride. I left the house just before 7 AM, and with windows down I felt the cool morning air on my face and smiled, looking forward to my ride. An interesting scenario awaited when I arrived at the barn. Nikki was lying down and Suki was standing over her. My initial reaction (of course) was one of concern. Nikki often lies down in the field, but it was the way Suki was standing over her....On the other side of the fence Dylan was lying down the same way! Nikki was fine, but the cool morning air meant that neither she nor Suki were overly anxious to be brought in! I wished that I had brought my phone into the field with me because a photo of that scene would have been priceless!
I worked Nikki more than usual on the lunge prior to my ride. I had shortened the side reins slightly and wanted her to lift more in her transitions. The results were as I had hoped and I had an attentive horse under saddle with sharp transitions and nice lift in her back. Having to get home to take Isaiah to his riding lesson I didn't work Suki, but gave her a spa treatment. I don't like to work her several days in a row. My caution is probably unnecessary as I do tend to baby her about over doing anything. Although that is how I am anyway, even with Nikki, since Suki's meltdown early in her career.
The skin graft area looks great, and we are close to one year without a bandage....sitting on her again seems more and more like a possibility.
I don't think that the light pink area will ever darken in pigment the way the rest of the graft area did, but it seems to be strong skin. Even after Suki escaped from her clothing and very obviously had a good roll, the skin did not tear. My original plan was to start Suki with the lunging surcingle in late spring, but I guess I have been a bit nervous about that. I think we are ready though! Today I threw the saddle pad from Success Equestrian onto Suki's back and could see the questioning look in her eye as she turned to meet my gaze. "You look stunning", I told her. "Ready to take on the world". Her lips nibbled on my arm, and I kissed her nose.
Late Sunday afternoon I went back to the barn to get the girls ready for turnout. Miss Suki, impatient as always stomped around her stall anxious to be out. I sprayed Nikki with fly spray first and put her in the pasture. She patiently stood while I unclipped the lead rope and gave her a carrot, then snuffled my hair. Nikki is such a snuggler! She of course then looked to my pocket for a sugar cube! (I didn't give her one that time). Nikki moved to the water tub while I brought out Suki dressed in a not-so-clean fly sheet (I am constantly washing them).
As I emerged on the other side of the barn to get in my car, Suki looked at me and nickered. Nikki did the same. Then I watched as Suki lifted in her back and shoulders floating away in a breathtaking trot. I am thankful every day that Suki survived the fire and recovered so beautifully. It warms my heart to see that she is healthy, and so happy to be just who she is. But there are occasions, like when she floats across the field that I ever so briefly mourn what I have lost.
|My beautiful girls|