Saturday, September 10, 2011

Go Figure!

I've spent the last two days worrying about my recent winter blanket purchase. Namely, if it's going to be too small.

Desperate to make myself feel better, I went out to the barn this morning with my 76" Baker sheet. I figured Moon must have lost a bit of weight from when I got it in the spring (since his 78" Baker is a couple inches too big), and would fit perfect now. Assuring me that the blanket I just ordered from Schnieder's would fit perfect (not being from the US, shipping it back would be expensive and time consuming).

The 78" Baker Sheet. Note the bit of folds in it, and the fact it extends past his point of tail...

When I showed up at the barn, I noticed some shoulder rubs from his 78" Kool Coat. Okay, they run big, but the 76" Baker is going to fit PERFECT.

...THIS is what it looked like:

Um...that doesn't even CLOSE to fit! Can you say "Belly-Shirt"?
Or exposed hinny?!


I drove home in agony.

I sat on the couch, and googled every bit of blanket fitting information I could find. I know that they can be hard to get to fit right, but normally once you FIGURE OUT the right size, you're set. But here I am with a 76" and two 78" blankets, and NEITHER fits right. One's too small, one too big. I had a 74" before, and it was WAY too small.

I ponder. I worry. I consider calling Schiender's. I worry some more. WHY can't I seem to figure this out?!

I looked at my pictures of Moon in the 78" blanket. I look at him in the 76".

...and realise there's ZERO way that there's just 2" of difference between them. Is there?

Into the basement I go, lay out the 76" Baker which I brought home. Double check the tag and sticker (which I kept). 76".

Pull out a tape measure...


: O

Labelled 76", measures 74".

...maybe it's NOT me?! Maybe I've been comparing a 74" and a 78" all this time!

Which means a 76" I ordered should be PERFECT (assuming it's labelled right!)


THIS is why it's SOO hard to be a new horse owner! If I had more experience, maybe I would have caught on sooner. Or not.

: ) I've sent an email out to Baker to see if they'll do anything about the mislabelled blanket, since it's too old to return now.


In other news, still no word back from the Isabell fellow on shipping. *sigh* I just hope someone closer doesnt' scope it up in the mean time. : (

I did take the time to ride MoonSox while I was out at the barn, deciding that it's time to get serious. I'm wearing thin on being bullied around by his antics since his tantrum on Wednesday, and have decided I'm going to start pushing a little harder from now on.

It started on our trail ride on Thursday, when I refused to let him NOT stand still. He tossed and moved and sidestepped, but FINALLY starting standing still and waiting when I told him to. What was my method? Just keep asking. Keep returing him to his previous position. If he backed, leg-on. If he drove forward, close fingers and don't give. Sit deep and solid. And keep doing this until he figured out he couldn't get away with it.

So today, we hit the trails again since they're easier to work on. Unfortunately, he's REALLY sore in his front feet without boots. Hopefully just another week...

I decided to do as Wendy had done, and ask him to yield his head down and accept contact. Wow can he be stubborn.

He did his mini rears again. He tried every evasion tactic known. He tried going forward, back and to the sides. He tried going faster. He tried yanking the reins from my hands. He tried throwing his head in the sky. He tried bracing against me. He EVEN resorted to both snorting, air pawing AND squeeling at one point. The squeeling caught me off guard, as did the snorting, but I think he was just beyond frustrated that nothing was working.

The nice thing, was that it gave me a great opportunity to think about relaxation. Every time I brought him to a walk, and reminded myself to relax my body. Then I asked him to yield his head. If he threw a fit, I rode through it, thinking about MYSELF and not what he was doing. "Stay relaxed" I'd tell myself, not tensing my muscles (or losening them if I already had). Slowly, he'd get tired of fighting and soften. At first he wouldn't hold it. But after the 20th or so stop, he began to hold it longer.

Of course, he'd hold it for a couple of seconds, and then decide it was enough and try to walk off. Or yank the reins from me. Nope. Not good enough.

We'd stand there longer. It was definately a game of patience and persistance. Perhaps stubbornness.

At our final stop, he yielded and held it for about 5 seconds. Doesn't seem long, but for us, it WAS. That was all I asked for before sending him forward.

What was nice, was his walk-trot transitions at the end weren't accompanied by head tossing. He moved out nicely. His head wasn't as far in the sky. Yeah, he was probably still gapping at the mouth, but beggers can't be choosers.

Back at the barn, he was lathered in sweat. It was literally running down his face. Oh well, lessons are difficult to learn.

I on the other hand (while sweaty) felt pretty darn good. I think I was perfectly within the gentle but insistent behavior I wanted from myself, pushing us both, but never being heavy handed. I have to say, I'm pretty pleased. Though next time, word to the wise: "GLOVES". I've got a BEAUTIFUL blister on my rein finger now : P Aurgh can he ever be a cow when he wants to be! I love him, but man o' man does he have a stubborn streak.

We even got one AMAZING gallop and canter in. He'd done so well, that on a nice grassy stretch I let him out. He has SOOO much power under all of that tubbyness.

He surged. The ground whipped by. I asked him to lower to a canter, and I'm not sure if it's just me, or him, but it feels like he has a huge ground consuming canter. I swear it's normally: "rrrroooccckkkkinghorse", but with him it's "rrrroooocccccccckkkkinggggghhhhhoooorrrrrsssseee". Each stride seems to last FOREVER!

So that was today. The next time I'm out, same task. We did some side to side yielding too, and he improved there too. But man, he fights at the beginning of every request!

1 comment:

  1. When I worked for a tack shop years ago we measured all blankets before putting them on the shelf. You'd be amazed how much companies can differ in their sizes. I think our tags almost never matched the manufacturers tags.

    I love Schneider's blankets! Their blankets fit my girl so well, I never have to worry.