Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"I'm Chilly Willy The Penguin...

...I'm frozen through and through. My head is is hot and my feet are cold. Ooo! Eeeeee! A-choo!" OK, am I having flashbacks to my 24 years spent in the Arctic tundra of the Northland? Or is the low tonight here in Miami actually 35? Yes, yes, I realize that perchance I should rename this blog to "Meghann Complains About The Weather." But, honestly, we are having one whack-a-doo of a year. A solid week of blanket weather in January? Insanity!

As I write this, I am wearing a polo shirt, a hoodie with the hood up, jeans and thick socks, and am wrapped in a wool blanket and sitting on a heating pad cranked up to High. (Yes, I am a total pussy -- you would never guess I spent years teaching riding lessons in Chicago's 10 degree weather.) And while the Ponykins lives outside and doesn't have a heating pad, he's all bundled up in his fleece blanket liner and turnout sheet and has approximately 200 pounds of hay to munch on and keep him toasty. I'd say he's all set.

In other Salem-related news, we're taking things very easy right now, for a number of reasons. First of all, I want to really drill that halt into his brain, and so far it is working fabulously. He can be trucking along at a lovely extended trot and a squeeze of the reins, tuck of the pelvis, and soft "whoa" brings him to a dead stop. Granted, he starts off not quite so responsive, but he's light years ahead of his halt just a few weeks ago. He has also started to respond to the boucher very well. The first day, he threw a bit of a tantrum and went, "Gah! Wtf is this weird, non-moving piece of plastic in my mouth?!" After about three rides, he really started to like it, and now I occasionally see large strings of frothy drool streaming from his mouth -- good sign!

The other reason we're taking it easy is because Salem has gotten a bit foot-sore as of late. I won't go into a long winded diatribe about it (that's another post!), but for now I will say that he is in the transitioning phase to a natural barefoot trim and is still building up a tough callus on his sole and frog. He also needs to build some concavity into his hoof. This will come with time. For now, I ordered two Easyboot Epics and pads for his front feet. He will have all four eventually, but this is what I could afford (well, not really!) for the moment. The ground is rock-hard at our barn, unfortunately, and I really don't want to make Salem sore when I ride. He's perfectly sound out in the pasture, but when I ride he's a just bit short-strided -- certainly not lame, but he's definitely not one hundred percent at the moment. So, we're doing a lot of walking and halting and a little bit of trot just to keep things interesting until his "running shoes" arrive.
Edited: I was wrong! Salem had plenty of sole and good concavity. He wasn't sore, but he was short-strided because his toes were too long. Oh, well, -- after his trim, he is now super comfy barefoot and I can use the Easyboots for rocky trail rides.

I have also finally managed to get my grubby little hands on something that I have been searching for for months -- the name and number of a natural barefoot trimmer who lives less than a hundred miles away. Score! I will be calling her tomorrow to see what she charges and hopefully set up an appointment for sometime soon. Salem is long overdue for his pedicure.

Well, I am off to take a long, hot shower and then wrap myself up in a little cocoon/burrito in my puffy down comforter. Stay warm, my friends!


sumaclab said...

Our daytime high was -13. That's right, minus. I survived, you can too! Yay for finding a trimmer, and double-yay for halts! We still drift right quite badly when we're trying to stop. (this is Squeaksmom from ES, by the way)

SprinklerBandit said...

I'm glad Salem likes the bit. It's so much easier to keep something than to monkey around with exchanging it.

And hang in there with the *ahem* cold. If it's 35 over night, isn't it in the 40s during the day? That's practically balmy.

Frizzle said...

I know, I know, guys. I totally admit that I am a huge wuss! I survived years of freezing Pennsylvania, northern Massachussettes, and Chicago weather. But six years down here really thins the blood! Now I shiver when it's sixty. :-P
suma, I have been really working hard on the halt. It's so nice to work witha green horse because he's almost a "blank slate," so I don't have to un-teach bad habits. I can teach him my own bad habits! Lol.

baystatebrumby said...

hah! yeah, 35 would be a heat wave here, but then again, Miami isn't supposed to be so cold! You guys must be freeeeezing! The good news is that you will not need to wait until April for your thaw!
I like reading about teaching Salem the Halt. Sounds like you do three things: reins, pelvis tuck and voice. Do you say WHOA a few seconds before the other two? I would like to get a perfect whoa out of my horse. Some days she is great. And others she is considerably less than great.

Frizzle said...

Bay, on Saturday I swear there was a tiny bit of snow flurries/frozen rain for a while here! Madness!
Hhhhhmmm, well, I actually say "Whoa" and tuck my pelvis first because I would like him to eventually start responding to just those aids. I squeeze my reins a second afterwards and I try to keep the squeeze light. If he doesn't respond quickly, I get stronger with my aids. And if he's been a big old butt about halting, I will make him back up a step or two (just to show him who wear the pants in our relationship).