Monday, June 23, 2014

Orion Goals, Part 1

With the upcoming move (2 days! Squeeee!!), I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish with Orion. I think I mentioned before that a lot of the things I have always wanted to do with him require consistency, and until now, we haven't had that, so it's been pointless to try. Now that I know I will have the option of going to him pretty much anytime I want, the possibilities are spinning through my mind like mad. I know that I need to take things one step at a time though, so I'm prioritizing and selecting two that seem to me to be some of the most pressing at the moment. One is a long-term goal, and one is a short-term goal.

1. Healthier feet
2. Taking the damn BIT!

Orion's feet have never been stellar since I bought him. They have improved dramatically, but I would still like to see them get even better.  His frogs are still kind of puny, and his heels could stand to be a bit lower, which could beef his frogs up by giving them more contact with the ground and fix the problem entirely. I'm realistic, and I know that a lot of his problem is that it's been hard to keep him on a regular trim schedule. That will improve with him being closer. We're lucky that his normal farrier, who does some of the best work I've seen with Orion, is still going to be working with him. I'm SO thankful for that! He's offered to show me a thing or two as well the next time he's out, so that I can better help Orion with his feet between trims in the way of maintenance trimming.

I've been studying hoof anatomy, what a healthy hoof should look like, and some trimming techniques, and I'm planning on starting to teach myself to trim so that I can eventually take over Orion's trimming entirely on my own. I started to teach myself last summer, but I was also living and working in Philippi at that time, so again, without consistency, I gave up on it. Now I can really get the practice and experience that I need.

So that's a long-term goal. Getting his feet to where I want them and learning to totally care for them on my own is going to take a while.

Our short-term goal is going to once again be encouraging him to willingly take his bit. On Sunday, we went on our first ride in 6 months (and our last ride at Orion's home of the past 3 years), and he's once again decided that the bit is an unwelcome visitor to his mouth. It took 45 minutes to get him to take it. 45 minutes!!

This horse has never had a bad experience with his bit in the entire time that I have owned him. To my knowledge, he didn't have any bad experiences with them before I owned him either. He's had this problem before, and with a little time and help from Liz over at In Omnia Paratus, he got over it last summer. He went for months with almost no issue, and when he would start to backtrack, it didn't take much to fix it.

As I mentioned, it had been 6 months since we last rode. Now he's acting up with the bit again. I know that has a lot to do with it. He's used to lounging and playing around the pasture all day, and he knew that if he was bratty about his bit, he could delay the ride. He can be a brat, but he's smart. He knew exactly what he was doing. He persevered over every method that has ever worked in the past. Eventually the BO came down and helped out. She mixed a handful of grain with some sunflower oil, put the bit with it, and quickly slid the bit into his mouth while he was trying to lip the grain from her hand. He was too busy enjoying the grain to worry about it anymore.

Once he's settled in to the new place for a couple days, I'm going to spend a day or two just working on that bit problem. Usually once he's over it, he's good, and with the ability to ride more often, I don't think this problem will reoccur too much. I just need to take the time to get rid of it now so that we can explore his new home more in the coming weeks. Miles and miles of new trails. I can't wait. :)