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Wizard Ride 351: The Only Place

April 23, 2012

It's official... after almost 4 years, I'm a horse owner once again! Wizard is adjusting well at our new barn.

On Monday, Wizard hauled to our new barn with his Mustang buddy, Sunny. They loaded on the trailer like perfect angels, and other than a little enthusiastic nibbling on his friend, Wizard shipped very well. When they arrived at the barn, they unloaded just as well, and settled into barn life by grazing and taking a little hand walk around the property. They figured out the automatic drinkers quickly, and were lounging around eating hay when we left the barn that night. What a promising start. I made plans with my friend to take a ride out into the Assunpink with Miss Tuesday on Tuesday morning, and went to bed with visions of trails and pastures dancing in my head.

Tuesday, 4/17/12

On Tuesday, I bounced out of bed, eager to ride my horse (Yes! My horse!) at the new barn. We moved to this barn to work on hills to build up his hind end, and I could not wait to get cracking! I boarded at my first barn for 13 years, and at my second barn for almost 5 years. I like to stick around at barns and was eager to make a good impression at this new place. The barn setup is different from my old barn. We’re on pasture board, so Wizard has a shed but no stall. He currently shares a paddock with Sunny, aka Wizard’s lady friend, aka the cutest Mustang ever. They are in quarantine for a few weeks, which is the barn’s policy to make sure that incoming horses are disease free; it also gives them time to acclimate to pasture. While horses are in quarantine, all manure must be disposed of in certain containers. You might be wondering why I’m mentioning this, but you’ll soon find out how big of a part manure played in my day.

Noon-12:20: Organize all the tack I need for the day. Pace back and forth between tack trunk and tack room and try to remember where all my stuff is.

12:20-12:35: Visit Wizard and Sunny in their paddock. Take Wizard out and let him graze outside of the paddock. He looks happy and like he settled in nicely overnight. Good Wizard!

12:35-12:45: Attempt to lead a rearing, whinnying, flailing Wizard down the driveway to the tackup area. Realize that I am not properly equipped to do so.

12:45-12:55: Put Wizard back in the paddock while I pick up the giant pile of manure that he deposited in the geometric center of the driveway. Get my gloves so I don’t end up with rope burn when I take him back out of the paddock.

12:55-12:56: Between frantic whinnys, tell my friend Cathy that I will not be joining her and Miss Tuesday in the park for that wonderful walk we talked about.

12:56-1:10: Do the Grooming Dance with Wizard. We practiced some single tying at our other barn, but he was usually cross tied for grooming. I am pretty sure he will get himself hurt if I tie him in the tackup area, so I attempt to groom him while holding him as he circles, whinnys, and passes yet more manure.

1:10-1:15: Bring Wizard out to the outdoor arena to let him stretch his legs. Realize in horror that all he wants to do is run over to the horses in the adjacent paddocks. Catch the galloping, whinnying, sweaty horse before he touches noses with anyone. Pick up a pile of manure one-handed with a pitchfork while holding a whinnying, spinning, sweaty Thoroughbred in the other.

1:15-1:25: Bring Wizard back to the indoor arena. Longe him for a few minutes. Use all my zen horsemanship powers to keep him at a reasonable speed.

1:25-1:26: Realize that Wizard’s Maalox is still in the tack room. Until he settles in at the new place and we treat his ulcers, my vet recommended dosing him with Maalox before rides. Between whinnys, I ask Cathy to get the Maalox.

1:26-1:30: Learn that syringe-dosing a horse who already has a bit in his mouth is one of my many terrible ideas of the day. Maalox is spilled out of the syringe and out of Wizard’s mouth onto my shirt, my britches, Wizard’s bridle, and the tackup area mats. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the very nice boarders looking on with concern, helpless because I beg them to stay away from the whinnying, sweating, circling Thoroughbred. One intrepid boarder sweetly brought a paper towel over to me so I could get the Maalox off of my hands.

1:30-1:45: As I clamber into the saddle with all the grace of a baby elephant, I realize that I have become quite spoiled by the deluxe, three-step mounting block that my friend’s husband built. That mounting block is still at the old barn, hopelessly far away from where I want it to be. The ride was the easiest part of the day. Wizard was nervous, but at least it was familiar. I was very concerned about stressing him out, so we kept the ride quick. Once he started stretching into the bit a little, we ended on a good note.

1:45-1:48: Quickest untacking session ever.

1:48-2:00: Worst hose-down session ever. In a rare moment of forethought, I kept the bridle on Wizard. So glad I did. He was kicking when I hosed down his back legs, and trying to bite me when I hosed his shoulders.

2:00-2:05: Bring whinnying, sweating, circling, soaking-wet Wizard to the indoor arena to halter him.

2:05-2:10: Walk Wizard with Miss Tuesday to the 2-acre pasture where he is allowed to graze under supervision while he becomes acclimated to grass. He was not too bad. I wonder if he’s as tired as I am. Pretty sure he’s not.

2:10-2:30: Turn Wizard loose in the pasture and watch him take turns grazing and touring the pasture at a trot and canter (see photo above).

2:30-2:40: Lead Wizard back to his paddock. Graze him for a minute before putting him back in with Sunny so he does not learn to drag me to the paddock (too late).

2:40-3:00: Rub my aching, sunburnt arms while I watch Wizard roll, take a drink from his waterer, munch hay, and chill out with his friend Sunny. Calmest horse ever.

3:00-3:30: Put away all my tack, which looks a bit like a crime scene. Pick up the rest of the 15,000 piles of manure that he deposited everywhere we went. Think about how I will do this all over again tomorrow.

Words of wisdom from Cathy: “He’s been here less than 24 hours.” It was hard to remember this, and it helped me to remind myself as I struggled through even the simplest tasks. He’ll be better tomorrow. Right?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2012 3:52 pm

    He will get better and better each day as he learns all the new routines. You should have seen Ollie when he was put into that HUGE pasture for the first time! He did a complete lap of it. Pretty sure that’s at least a mile and an 1/4… 😉

    The good news is that all the other boarders will be impressed with your horsemanship in about a week when he’s settled down. Right now you have them thinking he’s a wild child. It’s the perfect set up! They’ll start calling you a horse whisperer in no time. 🙂

  2. April 26, 2012 11:09 am

    I love Wendy’s perspective, but doubt it will take the Wiz a week to settle. Bet you have a great ride tonight. Hope he doesn’t spook at the sound of jaws dropping.

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