Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday, Gus!

On Monday, January 16th Gus celebrated his 22nd birthday. I really wish I would've been able to make it out to see him but I was otherwise occupied.

It's hard to believe that Gus is that old.. Granted some days he seems ancient, but then there are other days where he's as frisky as a young greenie. To borrow a thought from Stacey, from Behind The Bit, I think Gus thinks he's four. Because 2+2= 4, not 22. (Actually her old guy, Harvey, had the idea).

My goals/resolutions for Gus for 2012 are to keep him fit, healthy and happy. I plan to accomplish this by doing the following:
     1. (fit) riding as correctly as possible, at least three times a week
     2. (healthy) staying on top of his hooves and arthritis. If this means getting after J, the farrier, then so be it. If this also means more frequent stifle injections or Legend (IA) injections, then so be it as well
     3. (happy) make sure he gets plenty of grooming time and, weather permitting, grazing time. Granted Gus is IR, but I don't see why he can't have a few 10-15 minute grazing sessions come spring, when the grass starts sprouting. He's basically in a dry lot 24/7 so a little change of scenery should do him good. I'll just need to keep a close eye on things.

The following are some photos taken on January 5th. I think it was nearly 50 degrees outside. I wasn't wearing a jacket (whohoo! - though I did have on a base layer, then a mock turtleneck, breeches and a down vest). Compare that day, earlier this month, to today. It's a balmy -1 currently and windchills were rumored to be bottoming out at around -45. Lovely.


 Granted, this isn't the best conf shot, but Gus has built up a nice topline.
Even his back muscles are starting to reappear again. Success!

Looking west towards the sunset.  

Not my greatest picture... 

The following photos are Gus modeling his new Centuar Camelwatch sheet. Courtesy of Smartpak. (I got a killed deal on it, so Gringo got one as well ... stay tuned to photos of Gringo modeling his new sheet. I just hope it fits him).

 The new turnout sheet is 1200denier and came with an attached midlength neck.

Back to the Basics

I know it's been a long time since I updated the blog. Life has hectic since the new year. But whose hasn't?

Today being Thursday means that last night was lesson night. I didn't have a lesson the week prior (so nothing on the 11th) due to bad weather, so yesterday's ride was the first in nearly a week and a half. And we went back to the basics.

Our entire lesson consistently almost entirely on a 20m circle. We worked on straightness of Gus's body on the circle (being his haunches weren't flying off to the outside or his shoulder wasn't popping out - or collapsing in), the shape of the circle and the quality of the gaits.

B couldn't keep her laughter in check, with the antics that Gus was pulling. I would fix the front end (ie get him up off his shoulders and sitting more on his haunches) and then he'd pop out his haunches. Or vice versa. I couldn't get all the pieces to stay in check. Gus's favorite thing right now is to duck behind the bit. When he does this, he'll lose contact with me and then he ends up on his forehand. Not pleasant.

We did have a few moments of very nice walk/trot/canter though. For whatever reason, he was much better going to the right last night then he was going to the left. Although once we picked up the trot, on the left rein, he improved quite a bit - still not as flexible and comfortable going to the left though.

Soundness-wise, we just had a few bad steps. A nice trip in the front end happened just moments after B said that Gus was looking nice and hadn't taken any bad steps. Haha, spoken a moment too soon. The other bad steps he had were taken with the left hind - while going to the left.

For homework, I wish to continue working on straightness, relative to the movement, and the quality of the gaits. The walk should be marching but not too forward as Gus can't keep balanced if he's too far forward. Then the trot and canter should build from there. We had a really nice canter, both directions, last night. It was powerful (well, for Gus) canter that almost had some "jump" in it. Very nice to ride.

And, I even got a nice comment on my quieter legs. I'm trying. Really I am. And I think B noticed it last night. Success!