Monday, February 04, 2008

Difficult Transitions

I'm just getting around to writing about moving Kaswyn back to his old barn 5 days after the fact. It all went down just like I expected it to. The gal who agreed to move me showed up with her trailer and Kaswyn jumped on. We drove to the old barn, which was less than ten miles from the other place, and I unloaded my horse. I walked into the barn and went to put him in the stall that they told me he'd be living in.

The stall had mats in it, but there were 5 mats of various sizes in the stall, overlapped so that the whole floor of the stall was covered. The reason I could see the mats was that there were no shavings in the stall. You see, his stall wasn't ready. They knew when I'd be there but just didn't get around to it. Marge had asked Susan and this other boarder who helps out to put mats in the stall, but they didn't do it so Marge got it done. Then when Susan saw the mats Marge had put in the stall she didn't like it so she had been hunting down more mats to replace some of the ones Marge had put in.

So I'm standing in the aisle with Kaswyn and I have nowhere to put him. He's starting to get really antsy and spastic and I really just needed to put him in a stall. There are plenty of empty stalls in the barn but all of those empty stalls are either used for storage (of miscellaneous crap like lights, old buckets, wheelbarrows with holes, you get the idea) or are not safe to put a horse in because the floors have been so dug out that there are gaps between the floor and the wall boards. There was a horse turned out in the arena, so I just put Kaswyn into his stall. His dirty stall. Sigh.

As Kaswyn began spinning in the stall and acting like a fool, I went to his stall to assess the mat situation. Susan got one more mat to repalce one that was in there that she didn't like, and we positioned it as best we could. Some of the edges on the mats were so curled that I was afraid that Kaswyn would catch his foot on them. There wasn't much we could do at that point though, so I just started bedding the stall myself since everyone else was just kinda standing around waiting for something to happen. When she saw what I was doing Susan offered to help but I told her that I would do it, since she was in the middle of cleaning stalls. I bedded the stall kind of deep in order for the edges of the mats to be covered. Then I put Kaswyn in the stall.

He was still really excited and a little stressed, so I decided I needed to get him on the lunge line for a few minutes just to get him to relax a bit. I really needed to get home because I didn't know when our weekend visitors would be arriving, but I just couldn't leave him in the stressed state he was in. They brought the horse in from the arena and I took Kaswyn out to lunge.

I knew that the arena footing wasn't ideal, but I didn't really have any idea until he started lunging. The footing is very uneven, not just in depth of footing but it seems like the base might be uneven too. It's so hard to tell because the footing is also very dry and since it's sand it just kind of falls away from the hooves and gets kicked all over the place. By the time we were done with our little ten minute lunge we were both covered in dirt.

Kaswyn didn't work up a sweat, but I put his cooler on him to hang out in his stall while I organized the rest of my stuff. I must say now that I'm really spoiled rotten. I'm used to groomed arenas and plenty of space for my tack. I do have my tack trunk in the tack room but only some of my stuff fits in it. The rest I'm going to have to stow in plastic tubs to keep the dirt out and to prevent the barn cats from peeing on anything.

I gave Kaswyn a quick brush, blanketed him, then I grained him. He didn't touch it. I threw him some hay and he ate that, but he still didn't want to eat his grain. And he still seemed upset. I was certainly stressed, since I knew I had to get getting home ASAP. I was already later than I wanted to be, but I was scared to leave. The last thing I needed at this point was to have Kaswyn colic. Susan was done with her barn chores and I told her my concerns about Kaswyn and asked her what her plans were for that evening. She lives very close to the barn, so she told me that she'd come back in about an hour to check on him. I gave Kaswyn a carrot and told him not to colic, and left the barn.

As always, Kaswyn did as he was told and did not colic. Susan called me an hour later to give me an update. In fact she called me twice on Saturday and once Sunday to let me know that he was okay. I was relieved and thankful that she had been keeping her eye on him.

Sunday afternoon I went out to ride my horse for the first time in over two weeks. He was excited to be ridden but was obedient. It was really hard to tell how he went because the arena is so terribly uneven - really deep and wavy at one end and less deep but still uneven at the other. I also rode Susan's horse, Albert, and he was a good little man. I only rode him for ten minutes because he's really out of shape and I didn't want him to get sweaty. He hasn't been clipped or blanketed so he has a coat like an alpaca.

Susan and I have big plans for today after work. We're going to water the ring throroughly and then try and drag it. I think that will go a long way to help with the uneven spots, and if it's watered it will get firmer and hopefully won't seem so deep. Maybe everyone else is okay with the current footing, but I'm not happy with it and I intend to do something about it. I hope today will take care of some of it, but the whole arena footing thing is going to get complicated because I know Marge doesn't want to put any money into fixing the situation. Considering I'm a spoiled dressage queen now, riding in the arena like it is just will not do!

I'll ride again Tuesday, hopefully on a better riding surface. I know that I'm not at a dressage facility anymore, and that I'm paying less board for a reason, so I'm trying not to bitch and moan too much. I'll just try to make changes as diplomatically as I can. I don't mind doing work to make it happen either. I just hope not to piss anyone off. In the end, better footing helps everyone's horse, not just mine.


Beth said...

thats the hard part, fixing what needs fixing and not stepping on toes in the mean time! The indoor at my new facility needs to be drug too, but the footing is MUCH better than it was at the old place!

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking "is there anything she can do to fix the footing?" Smart woman! It sounds like sweaty dirty work, but at least you'll know what you are dealing with.

Beckz said...

I have yet to ride on a surface I am truely happy with. The thing is discipline is irrelevant really on a bad surface, whatever you ride, its not good for your horse. Though I find in a lot of the dressage arenas I ride in, the outside track and circles get really rough.

Rising Rainbow said...

the footing in the arena where I work my horses sucks too, It is high on the edges and low in the middle and a lot of irregular in between. But again we're back to that thing about money. I totally understand your frustration about footing.

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr