Archive for August, 2009

Post-Massage Drive

amywink August 30th, 2009

Today we had our “light drive” after Will’s massage and the difference was remarkable. Will was completely relaxed and calm, moving easily in our warm-up exercises. He was very responsive to the bit, stopping with ease, bending right and left. He also moved very straight as we worked in the dressage field. I was very pleased with the difference and could tell that Will was much more comfortable in his movements. I will certainly be doing the massage for him again as soon as I can.

We also had a passenger today. My dad came along for his first carriage drive and had a wonderful time. Will was splendid and gave him a great experience. No photos though because I was driving and Lisa was driving Windy, who also benefited greatly from her massage and looked like a totally different horse. We had a great drive as the temperatures hinted at fall, with low 70’s in the early morning and mid 80’s by noon.

Amazing. Break out the sweaters, folks!

Will Gets a Massage

amywink August 29th, 2009

Will has always had some tightness while moving clockwise on the long reins and lunge line. After working all summer to lighten my own heavier right hand and to get Will to bend and give to the bit, I decided he might benefit from a massage. Lisa also wanted Windy to have a massage since she was returning to work after a long hiatus. After some research, I contacted Jerry Hess, of Texas Equine Massage, and former Morgan owner for our initial massage.

Though Will wasn’t exactly sure at first, he soon relaxed into the experience. Jerry started at his chest and neck:

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Then moved to his back, which was very tight:
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But Will thought it was beginning to feel gooood:

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In fact, it felt so good, Will had something to say about it:

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Then Jerry worked his hind end:

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By the time Jerry started down Will’s right side, Will was a goner:

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When he was finished with the massage and stretching after, Will spent some time standing relaxed.

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Most remarkably, Will looked longer and wider after his massage. His back had broadened, with his spine settling into down and his hips widened and relaxed. I’m not sure it shows well in the photographs but Lisa and I both noticed a significant difference. We’ll have to wait and see if it changes how he drives but for now, he looks totally comfortable in his body. Tomorrow, we’ll do a very light drive to see how he responds in his work.

Friday’s Drive

amywink August 28th, 2009

To celebrate the first week of school, I planned a nice Friday drive with Will, hoping to set the new schedule in his head a bit. Mary came up to drive with me and we enjoyed the cool breezes that we’ve been so long without this summer.

My goal with Will is some different work each time so he doesn’t learn a routine and get bored. To that end, today we started off in the dressage arena, warming up to get his head in the game, and then we drove around the yard and barns and back through the dressage arena and out to the pastures. He became very responsive after about a minute of fussiness and settled into a good working walk.

We ventured into a new pasture today, one with nice trees for obstacles and little hills and dips. He seemed to enjoy the difference in terrain and paid close attention to my directions. After that, we headed back toward the barn but I didn’t want him to think we were done yet, so we didn’t stop but circled the yard and headed down the drive again. He remained calm and responsive but got a little nervous as we approached the gate at the road. He did manage to pay attention and we executed a nice turn and poop at the same time! I gave us a 10 for that maneuver, though I am not sure that’s really move you’d want to see in the dressage ring!!

After the drive, which lasted a bit over an hour, I took Will back to find his buddies and he headed off like a racehorse to find the “lost” herd. Wish I had a video of him heading down the hill, head up, tail flying. We followed him down and found everyone happy together.

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Back to Work

amywink August 23rd, 2009

This week, it’s back to work for Will and I. I’m back in the classroom starting Tuesday when my classes begin at ACC. But today, Will was back in front of a carriage after a week adjusting to life in his new horse heaven. After a half day excursion yesterday to the Brazos Valley Riding and Driving Society’s Equestrian Market at the Brazos County Exposition Center, Lisa and I picked up Mary’s Coyaltix carriage from Haven Hill and brought it back over for me to use (Thank you, Mary, for letting me borrow it!!)

Today, Lisa, of course, generously squeezed us into her busy schedule of deworming buffalo and the Plum Creek Organizational Meeting at Agarita Ranch this morning so we could get a drive in this week. And it’s clear Will needed it! He did pretty well but decided he could squirrel around a bit at first. I have to admit I was also probably in need of the drive as I think my hands were off a bit at the beginning. We stayed in the dressage arena and worked on corners and turns a bit and then we headed out for a walk around the pasture. Lisa got some good shots of the drive.

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Blissed out

amywink August 21st, 2009

Will and I spent our first week learning a new routine of seeing each other more regularly. Over the course of the week, he has become more and more relaxed and is settling in nicely. He’s had a special pen set up so he can eat his breakfast and dinner without any extra help from his buddies and this seemed to make a big different right away. I have no idea if horses remember being hungry and losing food to others, but it might be that Will does—it may have made him both a bully and a target. Certainly, it made him a bit uptight. Now he’s assured of not losing his grain to anyone else and that seems to be working out well for him. He’s extremely happy with the round bale too!

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I’ve taken it easy this week too, just taking the time to relax with him and give him some attention. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with him, not having to rush or be on a schedule. It seems to have made a difference for both of us. He certainly seems to feel the universe has finally righted itself, returning to its only natural orbit around him.

Next week, it’s back to work, teaching and driving, as I start the fall semester and I hope to get a regular driving routine started as well. I also hope, once the weather cools, to get back to writing and to start work on this next project. These quiet days with Will have fostered the growth of a few ideas and I’m ready to see which ones take off. He’s a good writing partner, this horse. I’m glad he’s close again.

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