Monday, June 28, 2010

The ball is rolling

I am happy to say that Rubes has finally come back home. Not in as good of condition as she could have been but not any worse off than when she left either. A few of the readers know she has been gone for a month, at the neighbors place, getting in shape as payment for my jumps. I forgot my iPhone cord or I would be able to post a few photos of her since her return. I will get them up, I promise...

The heat over the weekend has been bad. She came home on Saturday so I went out to give her a bath and a 'once over' to check her progress. Of course I was wearing a tank top and my shoulders now are still a nice shade of pink. :( I sprayed her off and kept trying to get back in the shade. Do something, get back in the shade. Do something else, get back in the shade. At least she got a bath, sprayed with conditioner, mane and tail brushed out, fly sprayed and then turned out to ROLL! She may have, but by then she was dry and nothing seems to have stuck. Hooray for small victories!

Sunday morning I set to work. Went out about 7am and picked her feet, brushed her off, wrapped her legs and went out to lunge her. She worked for a short time at a slow and leisurely pace and stopped when she thought she was done. Um, no. Sorry sweetie, that's not how it goes. You will never get into any kind of shape without putting out some effort. So I got after her a little, using my voice, body language and the end of the lunge line and made the impression that yeah, she needed to Move It! So she did.

Since she has not been in tip top shape for working for some time, I didn't expect her to work for long, but long enough... She started to sweat at least. She broke into a canter three times, for a few strides each time, then back down into a trot. The first two times, she jumped and dove into the transition. Not what I wanted, but at least she was moving! I'll take it, and just hope that never carries over when she's under saddle... By 8:30 she was finished, rinsed, fly sprayed and put away, everyone was fed and I went inside. It was already in the upper 90's. Blech! High of 107 expected for the day. Bigger Blech! The heat is not my friend.

The course of action has been set. We got up early this morning and headed out to start working everyone. I admit, I loafed a bit and we had a slower start then we wanted, but we did get the two babies worked, rinsed and fly sprayed before I had to head in and get ready for work. (I didn't have any pockets on my sweats or I would have pictures of them too.) Hubby got Johnie out and lunged her too. Tonight Rubes and the Kat man are on the list for their workouts. And I am going to spray the ant hill right under the water faucet where we rinse the horses. Nasty little critters bit me and hubby. Bad move on their part. They need to go somewhere else!

Even for having a slow start though, with efficiency, we did get quite a bit accomplished in an hour and a half. As a groom, you learn to make every step, every move, every trip from here to there count. Shortcuts may save you a few minutes here and there, but from experience, you end up having to go back and do it over again later. Did you really save anything taking the shortcut?

You also learn to prioritize. Those who need the most work, go first. Those who are just starting out under saddle, may be the only horse getting worked that day, so plan for it. They get your full attention. Clipping and full out baths- one horse in the rotation per day gets them or they are all done on the weekend. Planning, having a routine or schedule can really provide results. You would be surprised how much you can get done. And if anything comes up in the middle of the schedule- see to it, then get back on track. It's nothing more than a hiccup. It happens.


  1. I realise it is not as hot here as you guys get , but for us it is screamin hot too, I like doing my "horse work" in the early morning , before the bugs wake up!But with the pasky job thing ,weekdays its in the evenings .Mostly these days its moving pastures , waterers ,and treating Andee's wound while Cat body slamms me trying to get me to give her some love ( yes we are working on her personal space issues ) Oh yes and gazing at Dandy!

  2. Fern, my time in the morning is limited too because of the 'pesky, job thing' of which you speak. But as long as it is paying the bills... who are we to complain? It may be the babies that are being worked for now, but what the hell. A few of the others will be worked into the rotation.

    We got a late start this morning because I just could not wake up. We had thought to be outside at 5. Woke up at 5:30...

    Kat Man is an evening horse, because I will need help getting him put to the cart. There is just no choice in that equation.

  3. Yeah,I whine about the job ,but really I can't complain too much ,they treat bme well and pay me well so I can afford to keep the ponies fed and happy. Its mostly just on a really nice mild day I wish I could be home with the horses ...

  4. Hot here too. It's been hell to get up early enough to get everyone worked. I'm soooo not an early morning person.

    But, Moon MUST be worked. Frosty NEEDS to be worked. Bugs is coming along and I am slowly working the bay horse into the routine. He needs so much handling and getting used to everyday things that I haven't rushed into starting his ground training.

    I'm almost thankful that the paint horse is off of the riding list at the moment.

    If there just wasn't so much other stuff to do over at the new place as well. Somedays I just feel like we accomplish the bare minimum. But that may be the case until we get a reprieve from the September. ;)

  5. I haven't seen Ruby yet - even out of shape she's still a looker.

    I wish you could have had that talk about the grooming/planning thing with a favorite pair of quarter horse trainers - your 'one bath / clipping per day' HAH!

    Not in my life that wouldn't have ever happened. EVERY horse got a bath every day. Whisker/clipping touch ups were expected daily on horses that needed it.

    Show days were even worse. 5 am start time and hit the ground running. Often 10-12 horses get full show baths, show clips, sleazies, powdered, etc. If I could get under an hour per horse I was doing very good.

    It takes a special type of inner strength to be able to handle a pair of clippers on your 12th horse for the day, trying to clip ears on said horse at midnight after going all day long non stop.

    We have been bringing the dogs in nearly 24 hours a day now because of the heat - something my dad is really pissed off over (dogs should live outside all the time!) but w/e.

  6. CLadQ- I remember the days of being in the barn at 5am and having horses in the first class of the day... and others throughout the day at the shows. Mostly though, they were often spaced out enough to allow for everything. The trainers had the sense to do that for us and them as well as the horses.

    We managed to have only a couple horses in halter classes, then a few in performance classes and the biggest issue was which arenas they were in. Most the time I got one horse ready, handed them off and worked on the next one. We had a system that worked well.

    The horses all get rinsed, but too much shampoo and conditioner can dry out their skin and cause them to itch and rub- then you have ragged looking bald patches in some cases. Mostly it depends on the horses.

    When we clipped, we used 40 blades in the summer. Bridlepaths and whiskers were short! By the end of the week, they needed to be done, but could still easily go another week without looking at all bad. Winters we switched to 30 blades and even 15's.

    Sounds like someone had OCD tendancies in that barn...

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  8. Lighted outdoor arena=evenings! I love being able to work them after the heat lets up because I am soooo not a morning person.

  9. Kestrel- I am but I'm not, if that makes sense. I like getting up early and getting things done, but if it comes to pulling an all nighter and sleeping in, I would rather go that route in some cases too. The heat here just sucks. It's supposed to be 118 today or as some of us call it- A hundred and f#@k!

  10. And here I get all wonky if the heat index is 97.... looks like Chip will have a Spa Day tomorrow, and Lena and I will get all wet & scurfy getting him all purty!!

    Need some Pepi. Love that stuff, better than Show Sheen.

    My Dad's been in the hospital all week - some stray gallstones left over from having his gallbladder out 10 years ago blocked his bile duct, and the docs had to go dig 'em out. Then I was sick, the throwing up kind.

    The luxury of boarding: someone else will do it.

    The luxury of doing it yourself: you know it's done YOUR way.

    I did run into his old owner yesterday at the Farmer's Market - we had a nice conversation.

    CNJ, you guys get my undying respect, as do all good trainers who somehow manage to get it right despite having day jobs.