|Princess Gem ready to rock and roll|
Anyway...moving on to today's less controversial post about my ride last Thursday.
A week ago Sunday I switched Gem from The Triple Crown Senior to the Complete. I wanted the oats, a higher fat level than the Senior offered and didn't mind the protein level in it although I wouldn't want to go any higher. Pete was changed to the Lite food. Gem is currently getting 5 lbs per day. Recommended is 6 lbs for 1000 pounds and she weighs in at around 900 when in perfect fighting condition. Pete is getting 2 lbs per day. Both will be monitored for weight gain or loss and the amount of feed given will change as needed specially now with the grass growing once again. I would venture to bet that both will be scaled back once they begin eating the grass which is fine since they will be getting a bunch of nutrients from the grass anyway.
Oats have a bad reputation of making horses hot due to the high carb count. Gem has almost always had some form of either corn or oats in her feed, so I wasn't terribly concerned about her mental status when on the Complete.
Thursday night was the first chance I had to ride last week and I was barely making it out there before the sun began to bed down for the night. I quickly grabbed her, tacked her and headed up to the arena to get some work in. I like the deep sandy footing as a change terrain from our typical hard pack trails as it works her tendons much differently. When we wandered to the top of the property though I saw this:
|BO is playing around with the footing. The base is river sand, but it doesn't compact down well enough due to a large particle size. She had black sand brought in to mix with the river sand to allow for more compaction and better resistance.|
|The horror! So much dead wood piled everywhere!!|
I started by asking of a nice working trot, one that is slow enough to be reposing and not rushy or inverted, and she responded by throwing her head around and basically acting like my toddler. I learned a long time ago that in this situation it is best to completely ignore her and ride as if she had responded properly. The lack of a reaction takes all the fun out of it and she eventually gets down to business.
It took two circles in the upper portion of the field to get her to adjust to the thought of working. After that she was amazing. Light in the bridle, even paced steady trot, and would turn just from the shift of my weight in the saddle.
I fully believe in Anna Blakey's blog and if you haven't been following it, you really should. Anyway...from the very first ride with Gem I have always had a plan in mind and when she performs the task nicely and softly I dismount. It doesn't matter if I was only on her for 5 minutes or for 5 hours. Once she does what I wanted her to do, we quit.
After about 30 minutes of trotting around the field in circles, serpentines, figure eights and the like I asked her to halt and got off. She had done super well and deserved the release. I gave her a big hug and we walked back down to the barn together in peace.
|A beautiful sunset on the farm|
Back in the barn I took a second to really look at her condition. Her BCS is just about perfect now. It took about 2 months to gain back what she had lost at the last barn and she is really looking better than ever right now. I love her top line and her butt muscles are starting to become chiseled again. She has the Arab head and neck, but her butt is very solidly from her QH lineage and I love it.
All in all I believe that we are finally back to a comfortable place and I am really happy with my decision to back off the April ride and go in May instead. Oh, and I needn't have worried about any ill effects from the feed switch. She was fully engaged and perfectly manageable.