While Max is sharing the paddock with Paddy, they like to play fight. We call this "playing stallions" as they like to chase each other, rear up and bite at each other's throats. Both are pretty whimpy fighters so I doubt they will hurt each other, but it is proving hard on their covers.
After one too many trips to get his covers repaired, I finally caved in. I ordered Max a good old-fashioned canvas cover. They are expensive, but then so are all these repairs! And add in the hassle of having to get the cover clean and taking it to C. who does the fixing.
So now, he has this...
So far, it is proving to be very Paddy-proof. The only damage was to one of the neck cover straps which was nearly ripped right off, despite heavy duty double stitching. I guess 500 kilos of horse hauling on it is a bit more than it was designed for though!
I do remember from my younger days how heavy canvas covers get especially when they are wet. And young Maxie has added a layer or two of mud, so it's a bit of a mission putting it back on him. So swings and roundabouts, like with everything. At least my little horse is warm and dry.
Age: Old enough that I don't have to say.
How old were you when you started riding? 12
How many years have you been riding? see above
About the horse:
Show Name:? Takapau Star? Montepulciano? (not had to have one yet)
Barn Name: Max
Breed: Takapau Special - NZ Stationbred
Height: maybe 15.2 hands
Tack Colour(s):Black with red accessories
Leg protection of choice: Brushing and over-reach boots
Saddle size: 44 cm/medium-wide gullet
Bridle size: Full hack
Bit: German silver trainer snaffle with Fulmer cheeks (12.5 cm)
Favorite snack: ANYTHING
Have you ever fallen off? Oh yes.
Have you ever been bit by a horse? Oh yes
Have you ever been kicked by a horse? See above
Have you ever been seriously injured by a horse?Yep, lost three teeth, concussion, haemotoma on thigh
What is the highest you have jumped on a horse?1.05 m
English or Western: English
Show or Pleasure: How can showing be a pleasure? Yuk.
Saddle or Bareback:With Max, saddle for sure
Tall Boots or Paddock Boots: We call them johdpur boots and I like them with suede chaps
Riding Indoors or Out: Outdoors
Horses or Ponies:Horses - don't trust those little ones!
Mare or Gelding: ?Dunno
As usual, when dealing with horses, life is up and down.
It seems so much better when the weather is fine and sunny. Maybe the sun makes me more positive, and then I do things differently? Certainly I don't feel very positive when its raining!
On Saturday it was overcast and I completely failed to get Max on the float. I had everything all packed up in the ute, ready to join the riding club at the Park for an outing. I was really excited about the prospect, did my best nonchalant face, and annointed the float with the aromatherapy oil. (WHAT? yeah, so its a bit alternative to use hippy-dippy, new age therapy, but if it works, then I am all for it)
Young Max walked out of the yard, got around the corner to see the float, and planted his obstinate little feet. I tried all the techniques that had worked in the past. But even if I got him on, he just was not going to stay still long enough for me to do up the chain. I ended up trying for nearly two hours, after which I decided I was bored, and thirsty. I settled for being able to tell him where to put his feet up and down the ramp, and gave up.
The next day was sunny and warm. My friend Cindy had offered her help, having just taught her new horse to load on the float. I rode Max for a little bit, trying to tell him that he was 8 now (in NZ the official horse birthday is August1st) and too old to be a nappy little pony. Not much luck with that, but I did give him a good telling off and a smack on the shoulder.
Cindy's method is the western approach where you ask nicely, putting on the pressure for them to go forward, and releasing when they do. If they don't, you push them to trot in a little circle around you - quite hard work. Then you ask the question again, and repeat as necessary. It didn't take too many circles for Max to figure out the easiest option was just to go into the float. And that there was food in there, so he quite liked being there. Great progress!
So now I have another weapon in the war (not sure that is a great metaphor, but you know). I am pretty keen to try again soon on my own and see how we get on.