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Wizard Ride 40: They Call it Cupboard Love…

January 18, 2009



On Saturday, my husband and I camped out in our apartment, waiting for the pipes in the bathroom to thaw. Never has a shower felt so good as it did at 3am when water finally trickled back into our bathroom. New Jerseyans crept out of hiding and hibernation on Sunday. After the deep freeze, temperatures finally rose above the freezing mark during the afternoon.

Sunday night after work, I ventured out to the barn to ride Wizard. Before I even turned off the ignition in my car, I could see the outline of Wizard’s ears and face through the window of his stall. I walked in the barn and started preparing my tack for my ride. Then, I heard something special and pretty flattering: a nicker!

Now it could be Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns. Or it could be the carrots. Or it could be the Dengie. It’s called cupboard love when a horse loudly greets you in hopes of getting a snack. Whatever it is, Wizard never greeted me before and he did today. He normally only nickers at feeding time. And it was kinda cute, even if he was just hollering for carrots.

Wizard fidgeted through grooming and tacking up. The weather has made turnout time less fun than usual for the horses and as a result, many of them are full of pent-up energy.

I longed Wizard for about 15 minutes. He walked beautifully in both directions and when he picked up his trot, he did play on the longe line a bit, hopping and breaking into a canter. Ian was in the arena and both of them were finding inspiration in each other’s antics. Since Wizard was not misbehaving in any blatant way and sine he was listening to me, I did not correct him when he played on the longe line. Longeing is certainly work time and not time for a party, but I think that it would be expecting too much out of a horse to not play a little in this sort of weather.

I noticed that Wizard looked a tiny bit not-quite-right on the longe. It was not any pronounced unevenness in his gait but I saw something. I studied his gaits on a circle and straightaway and my hunch is that his feet are a bit tender from the hard ground. The indoor arena has wonderful footing but in a deep freeze like we had this weekend, the ground has not quite recovered yet. With all the frozen footing in the horses’ turnouts, any little piece of uneven ground can bruise a horse’s sole. I did not see any actual bruising and Wizard was moving out willingly. As a precaution, I did not trot under saddle. When he was finished longeing, I hopped aboard and cooled him out under saddle at a walk for about 15 minutes. His personality changed from antsy to mellow during the session and he seemed to relax quite a bit from the work.

After I rode, I groomed him, gave him warm water, filled his bucket with Dengie, and bid Wizard good night.

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