Mostly the weather. Bad. BAD. Mid-forties, constant rain, and wind. The kind of weather that’s depressing when you’re indoors.
Of course, where was my crazy horse when I got to the barn today? Horse who has all-day access to his nice cozy stall with straw and a full bucket and a manger full of hay? Standing out with his butt against the east fence in the cold rain. Though he wasn’t all that unhappy about being taken inside. Grooming involved quite a bit of scraping and toweling–though oddly enough mostly on his right side. He just seems to get dirtier on his right side.
The farrier came on Tuesday. I wasn’t able to be there, as I had programs to do at a school fifteen miles the other way from home. Because of the garbage weather, I didn’t take my camera today, and I wish I had, because I took some “before” shots of his feet last weekend. And they were pretty darn ugly. Lots of flaking where the nail holes were growing out, his right front (with the quarter gouge) was very obviously too long and his left front was very clearly too short and too heel-high. Well, Rich again worked miracles. His front feet aren’t perfectly even yet, but they’re much, much closer. There’s nary a speck of flaking or shelling to be seen. Could we have a barefoot OTTB? Stay tuned. (And for those concerned, this farrier wouldn’t hesitate to put on shoes if Lucky needed them.)
Call me crazy, but we saddled up anyway. Lucky decided that he was not going to be especially cooperative today. I suspect a HUGE part of that was the weather. It took several tries to stand for mounting in the big ring (though to his credit he did not step off until I asked once I was up) and then we’re back to inverted, head up, evade, today with bouncy bouncy instead of a dead stop. It became clear pretty quickly he was not going to pay attention and we were both getting soaked, so I decided to settle for a circle and a halt. He had the circle down, but the instant we were into the wind the halt went out the window. A request for a ‘stand’ was interpreted as ‘back’, and the instant pressure back released he was bouncing forward again. I finally got off without a good halt and decided that if the big ring was full of too many interesting things we could try the round pen. It’s a rail fence, and not quite six feet high, so he can still see out of it just fine, but it limits his options (and is a little farther from interesting things like the pasture and the horse who lives on the other side of the woodlot.) He was not thrilled that we were going to the round pen instead of away and we had another minor discussion about standing to mount. I won, faster this time. Again, he didn’t step out until I asked (smart boy!) and this time we had a minimum of bouncy-bouncy. And I’m quite pleased the gate swinging a bit on its hinges was not even worth his attention. He’s a looky-lou at times, but he seems to at least reserve it for things which are actually interesting. By this point, my nose is running, we’re still wet, it’s still windy and we’re still cold, so we went around the ring a couple times, and as soon as I got a good, steady, continued halt, we were done. When I left after wiping down him and the tack, he at least seemed to have decided the nice warm stall was the place to be.
On the subject of his needing to be looking around, I registered at calracing.com, which has race replays from several tracks outside California, including Tampa Bay, Presque Isle Downs, and Delaware Park. So I registered and got a chance to actually watch Lucky run. I find it very educational that his trainers have felt it prudent to run him in blinkers. My old OTTB Benny was, according to his race owners, very prone to racehorse ADD–”Hey, look, a horse to my right! Oh, wow, is that a crowd over there? Hi people!” He ran in blinkers. I also VERY much enjoyed his race from July 1, 2008 at Delaware, where he went off as the longest shot in the field, 25-1, and paid $60 to win after getting out front and opening up too much daylight to get caught when he started to fade. It’s also good to know, looking at his front-running trend, if he ever runs away with me I just need to hold on ’til the 3/4 pole and he should be done. (Kidding, but he does show a pattern of going to an early lead and being done at 3/4 and fading.)