Yesterday was finally the day it had to be done. By “it” I mean getting Archie out of his field, which (until yesterday) remained un-dug out. Its location meant that hay could simply be delivered over the fence, and the automatic waterer meant that de-icing giant tubs of water was not necessary. So it remained the sole field that hadn’t been excessively dug out or stomped down.
Fortunately the digging out part was actually done when I got there, so the gate was open-able (thank you, thank you, Barn Manager, you are my hero, for serious!). Even so, there wasn’t much room in the field to maneuver – the horses had worn a narrow path next to the fence, and between the hay and water and shed, but everything else was still more than knee-deep. Plus, the gate is located on a weirdly steep incline next to the driveway, which wasn’t cleared… just to keep things interesting.
I went to catch Archie, which was relatively easy. But leading back to the gate? Not so much. I didn’t anticipate that Archie’s method of getting through the snow was to charge through it, leaping, at a fairly fast speed. Within seconds, having no clue how it happened, I was on the ground, and Archie (plus halter and lead rope) was merrily lurching his way through the snow in the opposite direction.
I then spent a fun ten minutes tripping through the snow trying to re-catch him. Once I succeeded, I had to re-think leading him to the gate, and positioned myself in the snow so he could walk on the path, and stayed in front of him. I still had to correct him a few times before we got to the gate. Once out, all was well and the walk to the barn was uneventful.
Since my horse was getting his snow tires, I took a few minutes to introduce him to the indoor (ho-hum) and lunge him a little. Lunging proved to be interesting – he started to the left fairly easily, but then decided he wanted to turn right, even though I was hanging on to the rope. He managed to get himself completely turned around and was trying to trot in the other direction. Though the lunge line was at that point over the top of his neck, I had this feeling that I’d best not let go if I wanted the rest of the session to approach anything resembling normalcy. So I dug my heels in and hung on, and he stopped, looking confused, before turning himself back around.
After than, he lunged very nicely in both directions (though it was harder starting off to the right). He seems to be a quick learner, and was walking and trotting on command, and after about ten minutes stopping properly on the circle.
Finally it was Archie’s turn for the farrier. Since he’d been dragging me around and being sort of tow-headed I had a moment of concern as to how well behaved he might be for the farrier, but he was fine. In fact he seemed to enjoy it, and looked like he was dozing off, even when his left front got hot-shod.
His feet do have some interesting issues. He had a lot of foot soreness when he came off the track last summer, and though his hooves have improved quite a lot since he arrived at the funny farm, there’s still some weird stuff going on there. His toes were long, and the bars/heels of his front feet seem quite stretched and asymmetrical. Kenny got him fixed up pretty well, and he walked off seeming to like his new magic shoes.
His hind feet looked pretty good. So we are now all systems go, and he will be getting prettied up this weekend for some new ad pictures. He’s incredibly hairy, and has to gain some topline and fat, but is looking like he’s put on weight around the middle, and just keeping dry under his blanket has helped his skin enormously. He’s going to look great when he sheds out 🙂
In other news I chatted with Kat’s new owner today. Kat is doing very well, loves her stall and especially loves all the attention she is getting. We will be getting some pictures later this week so stay tuned!