Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Visiting Winston

Pacific Equestrian Center, where Winston is boarding while in full time training with Sandy, is only 20 minutes from my office. It's a good hour from home, but close to work. Today I went to visit Winston at lunch time. I carried in a big pail, with a rodent-proof lid, full of baggies. Each baggie was labeled "Winston" with black marker and filled with a mixture of sweet feed and vitamins. I also brought the rubber bit that Winston was started with - a Happy Mouth bit. When Sandy rode Winston on Saturday, she noticed that he evades contact with the bit in the same way as Releve' did when Sandy first started training her. Sandy has found that Releve' is much more comfortable in a Happy Mouth bit and, fortunately, it is legal for competition. Releve' is competing at third level, still in a Happy Mouth. We are going to see if it makes a difference in Winston's comfort as well. Since they are from the same line, they may very well have similar mouths.

Sandy also wanted to ride Winston with a martingale for safety reasons. The martingale is not draw reins, it is not connected to the bit, so it doesn't punish Winston. But, it does create a boundary when he throws his head up. The last thing we need is for him to bash her in the face with his head or, worse still, flip over backwards. With a martingale, his head can only pop up so high and no more. She rode him yesterday and said it worked well. He tried his tricks but after discovering that he was only fighting himself, he quit throwing himself around and got to work.

They lunged him first and said that he was a pleasure to lunge. Yay! I got that part of his training right. Sandy's vet was working on a horse in the barn aisle. She is also the vet for Gateway Farms where Winston was born and she remembered him as a cute foal, full of personality, friendly and smart. That's my boy! (and talk about a small world).

I wandered out to the back paddocks to visit Winston before heading back to the office. He was standing under a tree, hind foot cocked, dozing. I called his name and he glanced over at me and then went back to dozing. I called again. After giving me a long, hard stare he slowly ambled over. I reached over the fence to rub his forehead and he backed away. Maybe Lauren isn't his favorite scent. I don't wear perfume when I'm at home working with the animals, so I'm sure he thought I smelled funny. Or maybe he's still upset with me for taking him away from home. He did take some treats from me but he wasn't what you would call friendly.

Weather permitting, I will take a lesson on him Friday afternoon. We have rain and snow flurries coming our way, starting tomorrow night. Winston's barn is an hour down the mountain, close to Sacramento, where the weather isn't as severe. It should be fine, especially since there is a covered arena there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. It will be great, if that bit makes Winston happy. I'm all for using the least... Look forward to reading about your lesson on Friday. This morning it is snowing like crazy here and many schools etc. are closed nearby. Sounds like you have some moisture on the way.

  2. Oh Winston will come around don't take the snub personally. Hug B

  3. sounds like she's already making some progress with him.

    i had a similar occurrence w/ my gelding. my equine vet asked his name (zim) which is rather unusual. he looked at him and said, 'i remember this horse when he was younger'. he asked if i knew who owned him before - i actually had a coggins certificate from the folks i bought him from that was from his owner before them. when i gave him that name, he looked it up in his computer and confirmed he had been their vet (and zim's). he said the family loved that horse - so full of personality. the horses got out one day and the mom was inside the house washing dishes. the kids ran out to gather the horses and left the front door open. as the mom turned to go help, zim was standing in her living room, just looking around. :)


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