Saturday, 28 July 2012

*choke* *cough* *splutter*

Apologies for the radio silence, but I've been ill for the first time in about six years and it's kind of knocked me sideways.  Two weeks ago I schooled Finn on Sunday morning, then mis-timed taking Merlin for a walk round the village and got soaked to the skin.  That set off a urinary tract infection which became a kidney infection with added conjunctivitis, swollen tonsils, glands and a temperature.  By Wednesday, despite antibiotics, about all I was capable of doing was lying on the sofa and watching the room spin in an interesting manner! 

10 days later I'm mostly mended.  I managed to put my contact lenses back in this morning, but I still have the sore throat and the occasional twinge in the plumbing.  Most days it's been about all I can do to struggle round the field with the wheelbarrow, let alone think about riding, so Finn has had a quiet life.  His old owner came to visit him this morning and I was hoping she'd be able to take him out, but we had a downpour at 6am and by the time I got out he was drenched through and, to my surprise, shivering :o(  I scraped most of the water off and put his heavy turnout on him to warm him up.  By lunchtime the sun had come out and he'd cheered up, so he finished drying out in the afternoon breeze while the rug dried out in the shed and I've put it back on this evening because half the weather reports are saying we're going to get heavy rain around 7pm (the other half say it won't hit until lunchtime tomorrow). 

This evening's job: find a cooler rug to go under the turnout....

Weight-wise they've both gained; Merlin is up to 470kg and Finn back to 420kg, but this time last year M was 511kg, so we're doing better.  There's still a sizeable chunk fenced off in the top field which they're slowly strip grazing up, though Finn worked out that if he bent his knees and shuffled a bit, he could limbo under the electric gate and get into the long grass, which delighted him and infuriated Merlin!  The gate has now been lowered and he's not happy with me!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Slowly, slowly

We're getting there.  As Shakespeare wrote, 'the rain it raineth every day' here, so today was the first chance I had to get on Finn again.  He was an utter git about being led down to the field shelter to be tacked up (I think Merlin may have taught him that Mum in jods means work - must get some of those denim ones!) and planted himself every couple of steps - I ended up whirling him around and then taking him on a brisk lap of the field in trot, after which he gave in.  Then he was a git about lining up with the mounting block (though to be fair I was faffing because I was nervous about him bucking again) and in the end I had an 'oh soddit' moment and hopped on from the ground. 

No bucks and after the first few seconds I was fine.  At the moment I need far more work on me than he does on him, so we spent most of the time in walk, concentrating on relaxing my seat to let him step out and getting him to do walk-halt transitions with just a seat aid, which he was doing beautifully by the time we finished.  I tried a bit of trot and he went much better for me in sitting trot than rising, which is definitely down to my fitness and lack of recent practice at rising, and then got really brave and asked for canter in the bottom corner and we did one side of the school to finish.

Merlin is on good form, he's got more friendly with Finn again and when I caught M this afternoon to brush him off and Finn wandered off, I had to let him go again as he was really stressing about not being able to see him.  I'll try taking Merlin out for a walk round the village this week and see what happens - he's not been out of the fields since Finn arrived.

Weigh in this week, Merlin 458kg and Finn 408kg.  Finn's lost quite a bit, but I think that's down to slightly less food and less bloating as he's cribbing a bit less.  I can feel ribs anyway, though he still has that apple bum, but the saddle fitter told me that was more down to his type and how he was muscled than excess blubber.  I'm slowly getting through that thick mane, the tack shop in Wick advised Canter Mane and Tail, which is miraculous stuff!  There's lots of loose hair in it though, the two thirds I've worked through is noticeably thinner than the untouched third.  His nappy rash came back a couple of days ago, on the other side this time.  It's clearing up again with the gel and I'm spreading it much more thinly this time to try and avoid the gungy tail problem.  I think it's going to be an industrial-sized pack of wet wipes and a twice daily inspection job in the long term though.  He's due his boosters at the end of next month/beginning of September so I'll ask the vet's opinion when s/he is out.