Life on the farm is so busy, I intend to write my daily updates but then get sidetracked with weed-eating, manure-spreading, beer-drinking and I completely forget.
So my water theory didn't totally play out, although I haven't entirely given up on the tummy-ache theory. Yes, Mac was not drinking enough, but that is not the source of any tummy trouble he may be having. He may be generally stressed because his life has changed, he's not "out" with a herd (he's out, but each of the horses is separated if only by a tape fence line), he's being put in a training program, he's learning how to go on the trailer, he doesn't have hundreds of acres to move around on, etc. I have ordered him some ulcer supplements to see if that might help him out.
In the meantime, however, I do think he's being a cheeky monkey.
I took him out for a short trail ride down the ditch and up the street the other day, so again not a strenuous ride or a ride where I'm really asking anything of him, performance-wise. We walked up the high road ok but when we got past the gate on the ditch, he decided he didn't want to go. I think he doesn't want to leave his newfound friends! A little tap with the whip and he marched along and he tried to turn back a couple times but I let him know that wasn't an option so we continued on our ride. When we got up to the neighbor's house, I think he could tell that our house was right down the hill (if we cut through the neighbor's pasture we'd be back at our house - it is a big loop) because when I turned him around to head home the way we came he didn't want to go forward again! Cheeky monkey! And then of course from then on there were no problems since we were headed back. He wasn't rude heading home (he didn't try to rush or get jiggy or anything) but I do think I've found the root of the problem - he wants to be with his friends!
Thankfully, he's got a good brain and is easy to work with so when I am firm and positive about what our plan is he plays along.
That was Saturday. Sunday I didn't have enough time to ride him as I had to go to work, but when I got home I did make time to load him in the trailer. He walked right on, Colin put up the butt bar, I closed the doors, and we went for a little drive. He was kicking and whinnying in the trailer for the first 1/4 of the drive but after that he settled down, so I'm encouraged by that. When we got home, Paddy was running around like a 2-year-old, screaming and carrying on. Mac, of course, was his level-headed self and when I put him back in his pasture he was just, "ho-hum, doodeedoodeedoooooooo," despite all of Paddy's ranting and raving.
Yesterday I didn't have time to ride and today it is . . . drumroll, please . . . RAINING!!!! Mac was supposed to get his teeth done today but I canceled because of the rain - I thought it would be too much stimulus overload to be in the barn with the rain on the metal roof (which is very loud) with a tooth-floating drill bit making noise in his head. I hope to be able to reschedule for next week.
Did I mention that I'm having a saddle fitting on Saturday? I'm looking forward to that. I may try some Western saddles, too! I've always had a secret longing to ride in a Western saddle and what better horse to do it on than a Mustang!? My friend actually has one that she's not using right now so I may borrow that and see if it works on Mac. Then I could go crazy with a new headstall and split reins and and and and and...no, I think I'd just go with the saddle. I'd use it for trail riding and general training work until he's more steady under saddle and then move over to an English saddle once it would be appropriate for us to start some lessons in dressage and/or jumping.
I went to a local horse exhibition-kind-of-thing over the weekend and saw a trainer who works with starting young horses and I gave him a call. I would like to be sure I'm on the right track and I'd like someone who will come here and work with me and Mac to give me some pointers and homework so I have a plan of where we're going and how to achieve our goals, so that's something to look forward to also!
Did I mention it is raining? It is usually in the 80s this time of year and it is still raining and COLD!!!