Extracurricular Activities (or Why Ike Needed to Get Back to Work Sooner Rather Than Later)

"Who wants to play with me?"

“Who wants to play with me?”

The month of February was not a good month for making forward progress to our goal of showing Second Level in April.  We had a solid lesson on February 9th, and then Mother Nature decided to be persnickety and throw every type of frozen precipitation at us for days on end.  I tried riding one other day, but that ended with Ike’s hind end slipping out from under us and me almost sliding off with thoughts of broken bones and torn tendons flashing through my brain. So I hung up our bridle and hunkered down until Mother Nature’s mood improved.  Unfortunately it took her almost 4 weeks to come to her senses as our next lesson just happened today, March 10th .  Grrr, not amused.

Ike on the other hand, took the time off to engage in some extracurricular activities.  The more bored he became, the more the extracurricular activities escalated.  I thought I would share with you some of the activities in case your horse is still out of work and you need some ideas to keep him occupied.

  1. Halter Removal – This game only works when at least one horse is wearing a halter.  The object of the game is to get the noseband of the halter into the mouth of the horse wearing the halter without the halter breaking.  I guess it goes without saying that it is also better if nothing breaks on any of the participants.  Of course, this game is hard on the halter, so buy cheap ones since they will eventually fray and break.
  2. Snow Angel – You try and make the most elaborate snow angel.  This game requires some agility skills and the ability to completely roll over to obtain the full angel wing span.  Ike, sadly, usually made a one-winged angel.  This was his least favorite game and soon fell out of favor.
  3. I’ve Got Your Water – This game involves trying to steal the water from your brother’s paddock.  Each day, repurposed muck buckets of fresh water were set out in the paddocks in the morning.  We came to realize that Mr. Giraffe could grab the handle of his brother’s bucket if it was set too close to the fence.  Ike thought it was great fun to grab it and try to put it in his paddock.  “Ha, ha, I now have two and you have none.”
  4. Play With Me Now – The instigator stands at the fence line and must make mean faces at the other participant until the other participant relents and finally plays with the instigator.  It also helps to stomp the ground and kick out your hind leg in disgust.  Once both participants are engaged, both must show off their rearing skills in the icy footing.  The first one to fall is the loser.
  5. The Tree Removal Game– You find the one and only tree near your paddock and pull on the trunk of the tree to see how much of an angle you can obtain before the tree splits in two.  So far a 30-35 degree angle is the record.  Ike plans to parlay this game into some side work this summer working for a tree company.
  6. Paddock Redesign – This is an advanced game that requires some knowledge of electric fences and how to test whether or not they are working.  Beginners will need help from more advanced players to hone their fence testing skills.  Once the basics are established, the object of the game is to remove a section of the paddock fence to create a “door” into the adjacent paddock.  If the “door” is not fully open, you also test your jumping skills to avoid the “trip wire” still blocking the “door.”  Once in the adjacent paddock, this opens up a whole new array of game opportunities…until of course you get caught by the warden…
  7. Spring Fling – This is a bonus game if you master Paddock Redesign.  It is also a boy/girl game.  The object is to see how long you can play with the girls over their fence line until you get caught by the warden or you piss them off enough that they no longer want to play with you.  Bonus points are given if you can avoid shocking yourself on their hotwire while you engage them in play or if you can create a “door” into their paddocks.

Phew, we went back to work just in the nick of time.  I would hate to think what was next in line for equine activities…Trailer Pulling Contests or Hide and Seek anyone?

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Horse Seeking Rider or Free Ride to Florida

"Um, Mom, why are you crouching down in the snow?"

“Um, Mom, why are you crouching down in the snow?”

Hi Everyone!  Mom has not been inspired to write much these past few weeks, nor has she been inspired to ride, so I am taking over the blog to fill you in and to find someone who will come ride me or drive me to Florida where they don’t have this cold, white stuff all over the ground.

I think it is the white stuff that keeps Mom from riding.  I’m not sure what the big deal is.  Rumor has it that some people actually do ride their horses with this stuff on the ground.  Mom fusses about me injuring myself, but I’ve been out in it for a few weeks now and I’m still moving.  Truth be told, I think Mom is a snow-weenie, but don’t tell her that.  Now Mom does still come visit us most days and hand out snacks, but that is about it.  She did hack away at the ice balls in my hooves the other day.  She is a wuss – took her over 20 minutes of poking and prodding with the hoof pick to get the job done AND she ruined the hoof pick in the process.  Silly woman, if you had demonstrated some patience, they warm up and fall out on their own…

My brother likes to make snow angels and suggested that I give it a try to alleviate my boredom.  You fluff up the snow with your hoof and then flop down and wiggle around as much as you can.  Cigar flops from side to side so his snow angels have a pretty big wingspan.  I didn’t flop over like Cigar, but I did my best to make some wings.  The hard part is getting up out of the snow when you are done.  My front hooves kept slipping out from under me (those darn shoes that Mom insists that I wear), so I had to take a break and sit like a dog.  I then gave one big push and was released from the snowy angel I’d made.  One angel was enough for me; I now just watch my brother make his angels.  I do try to steal his water bucket while he is down and he can’t bite me.

One really delicious treat that we get when the weather is cold is a warm bran mash.  It is a delightful snack we get late in the afternoon.  Mom happened to be around one afternoon and doled out our portions.  She then insisted upon taking my photo.  Seriously, she is not right in the head.

Ike after bran mash

As you can see in the photo, I was not pleased at the photo-op, but since she was out of neck range, I could not reach out and make her drop the phone.  I’m plotting my revenge.

Mom is very worried about show season and how this break will affect our Second Level debut.  I try to reassure her that it will all be okay.  So what if we don’t do Second Level until May or June?!  If she could just get her act together and learn to sit my trot, we might still be able to do it in April.  She still pounds on my back like a jack hammer when I really get my trot on.  Perhaps she needs to eat a cheeseburger or two and get some padding on that bony ass of hers.  Maybe then it wouldn’t be so hard.

I never did grow a really thick winter coat, so I should be okay when I get to Florida.  Just remember I need a roomy trailer and plenty of hay.  We can send word to Mom once we are on the road.

Ike