I've taken Kasper to a trainer for some foundation work. He has only had one trainer and then me, and since I'm not a professional I thought it would do him a world of good to have another go with a real trainer. He'll be worked 2 hours a day, five days a week. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the results.
Meanwhile, I read somewhere that riding a unicycle is an excellent way to improve your riding balance. So, while Kasper's away, that'll be my new project.
If I'm brave enough to show my efforts, a video will follow. If...
The non-freezing, super-dooper self-draining horse trough tap froze two days ago. How could that happen? It's been 10 C during the day! The creek is overflowing, water is running through the barn yard and flooding the corral, it's been raining steadily for two days, but no water in the tap. I moved the horses to the other pasture where they could drink from the creek. And then this morning we discover: no water pressure in the house. I look out the window and water is gushing from the trough tap. And has been for who knows how many hours. Now there's even more water running through the barn yard, but at least the tap's working!
Snow update: this is the bridge. When I stand on the bridge and look west -- aha! It really is a picnic table!
You can see from this next picture that it is much less wintery on the east side of the bridge: I made it out to brush the horses a few times this week. They're losing their winter fur and it's all sticking to my clothes. The birds are picking it off the ground to line their nests.
I also had an extremely frustrating afternoon of trying to get Kasper to stay in the trailer long enough for me to close the door, which he didn't do. I ended up riding him back and forth in the corral along the ten foot wide strip of bare ground instead of working him at the arena, but he was super-responsive to all my cues when I was riding him so I forgave him for frustrating me.
The next day I had a door helper so Kasper and I made it to the arena. We had a great couple of hours there where I ran through all the groundwork exercises I've been working on and then rode him bareback with the halter. He was surprisingly good at everything, which shows that all my practice in the icy-snowy driveway all winter has actually paid off! And it also shows me how much we can accomplish in a dry, cozy arena.
Kasper decides to head out into the pasture to see if the snow is still up to his armpits.
And it's not! Time to try pawing for the remains of last year's grass.
Peter the Pony and I partnered up today and went for a trail ride with the neighbours. We went to a park with the one trail that's been plowed over the winter (for forest management) so it was bare of snow. Peter was stalwart and steady as usual.
I took this photo yesterday. Yes, that's two feet of snow in the background. The bearded Friesian: I was able to take Kasper to the arena twice this week, with a helper to close the door on the trailer. Kasper was still pretty unhappy to be in the closed trailer. The arena was very busy because people were getting ready for the Western Weekend. I spent most of the time outside the arena doing ground work to get Kasper used to the commotion. When I finally took him into the relatively quiet arena, he was much more relaxed.
Here's our picnic table on April 8th under its cap of snow:
And on April 10th --the snow is finally melting!
As soon as the Western Weekend is over (no, I'm not cattle penning with Kasper...yet) we'll head back to the arena and keep trailering until he's a happy traveller.
We made it to the vet's on time. Kasper just about jumped into my arms when the garage door opened to the treatment room, but he went in, didn't feel the needle, and seemed actually happy to get back into the trailer!
The reason I'm counting the training days is so I can look back and see how many sessions it took to accomplish something, and also to see how many days I'm getting out there on average. Sometimes it seems like progress is at a standstill...
If Day Sixteen was triumphant with the first haul and a calm unloading, Day Seventeen was a huge disappointment. But it makes sense. Once Kasper was reminded that the trailer actually moves, he wanted nothing to do with it the next day. So it took a lot of stepping in and out, turning, dashing, trying it again, before he was calm enough to shut the trailer door. And once the door was shut he paced unhappily, ignoring his hay. I did manage to take him for drives all three days, and every time he was very calm on unloading and stood until I invited him out. But the loading is nervewracking for him. It seems it's a huge jump for him to go from standing in the trailer, to being hauled in the trailer.
Today, the weather has conspired against me and there're three fresh inches of snow on the ground! I'm not sure the truck and trailer will make it back up the driveway, so I'm not hauling today, but I'll have to tomorrow because it's vet day! My Dad came over and acted as doorman which worked well. At first, Kasper was quite worried about another person standing at the trailer door, but he eventually got used to him. Once Kasper was relaxed and standing quietly in the trailer (which took about 45 minutes of work) we closed the door. Then we stood and chatted while Kasper paced back and forth looking for a way out. It took about 10 minutes before he settled down enough to have a bite of hay. When we opened the door, he stood quietly and awaited the invitation to come out. Not too bad!