Saturday, September 17, 2011

Successful First "weaning Ride"

What a great, cool fall morning, perfect for taking Desire out for a spin without Sheza for the first stage of the real weaning process. Sheza's weaning paddock is right in the middle of things: a paddock to the left where Desire will be when I separate them, the big pasture to the right where the arena is and Blaze and the mini are now living (the arena is inside the pasture). The cross ties/grooming area is right next to the big pasture and only maybe 15 feet from Sheza's paddock. Its an ideal spot as she could easily see and be relatively close to mom throughout. I put Desire in the cross ties closest to Sheza and after a few whinnies filly didn't seem too worried and just watched while mom got groomed and tacked up. Then down through the big pasture with the boys following like pests and into the arena, just managing to close the gate behind us as Blaze tried to barge in with us. He is so helpful, lol. Sheza whinnied once or twice and was trotting around at first but wasn't too worried. Things stayed mellow throughout lunging Desire and readjusting tack, then once I was in the saddle everyone got a little nutty. I don't know if it was Blaze or Sheza who started the galloping phase, but for a while Blaze, Sheza, and the mini were all galloping around their respective spots like total nutters. Desire was quite distracted by this, especially since Blaze was running laps around the outside of the arena blowing like a steam engine and just generally showing off. That lasted for about five minutes and then when things settled and Desire was back on board with me (mostly) I started a little trot work, big circles and changing direction to keep her paying attention to me and her feet instead of Sheza and whatever mischief the boys were up to. She is such a smooth ride, yes yes yes! Love it. I am thinking of trying to find a good, MELLOW riding instructor to take some beginning dressage lessons with as I am quite top heavy (gotta love the familial big boobs) and tend to get my center of balance too far forward. Its more of an  issue with Blaze who is so choppy and difficult to stay centered on but I know it must affect all my riding and my seat and comfort as well as my mount's. I have zero interest in being yelled at or shamed, I have taken literally 2 riding lessons in my adult life so I am by no means an ace in that way. However I have ridden a ton of horses hundreds of miles, keep my heels down and have soft hands, so I'm sure I can be easily taught if I find the right person.
 Anyhoo, it was a nice mellow ride on Desire but she is so incredibly out of shape its kind of funny. She likes to go however and is pretty responsive, though stiff (she can barely bend to the left, much better on the right) and when I ask her to collect she knows what I'm saying but tends to collect a little and then sort of drop her head and leeannn on my hands which is an irritating habit. She is strong strong strong. Definitely some attitude there, much more than Blaze but then Blaze is the most laid back Arab on earth and, of course, there is the Mare Factor. All in all she is quite nice to ride though and really quiet and calm considering she hasn't been ridden consistently since last fall and I was taking her away from her baby to ride her. I am still waiting on the Easyboots for her hinds and the Power Straps, I was sure they would be at the mail today but I just called and they said no boxes for me. So sad. Probably Monday. As soon as those boots come I am applying Power Straps and hitting the trail with this girl! Well as soon as my gradual weaning process allows, anyway. I think I'll do a couple more rides in the arena and then one of the days when I go to put Desire away just put her away in the paddock next to Sheza instead of with her. Then let them adjust to that and then start riding Desire a little longer, a little farther away, etc. I'll just keep an eye on how things are going and adjust my plan as neccesary. I was surprised and pleased to see that Sheza didn't immediately go to suckle when I put Desire back with her, she was definitely happy to be close to momma again but wasn't frantically nursing as she usually does after a training session. I think its definitely a good healthy time to be weaning her off as she still nurses some but mostly is interested in solid foods and is quite independent, plus Desire is definitely over being the milk bar.
 I'm heading off to the mail to send the Free n Easy saddle back. I hate going down into town on the weekend but if I do it early I'll just be done with it.


  1. The description of Blaze running around outside the arena is hilarious! It must make riding so much more challenging! Glad the test-weaning went well. I've only been around babies who are completely separated from Mom (the babies go to another ranch for awhile and play with other babies to distract them) while Mom is put back to work. Doing it your way seems easier on everyone, except maybe you trying to figure out where to put everyone.

  2. It really is funny, its hard for me to ask Desire to focus when I am laughing and twisting around in the saddle to watch all the shenanigans :P It took me a while to wrap my head around the weaning situation, since most of the things you hear about or even find to read about weaning is talking about the situation like you mentioned, where the babies go away, or the baby or mom is getting sold. Luckily I have 7 paddocks/pastures and only 2 3/4 horses (mini+foal=3/4 of a horse, yes?) so I have plenty of space to separate everyone or not, as the case may be.