Over the weekend I heard several people bemoaning the fact their usually sweet and angelic child`s pony has suddenly started refusing fences, kicking their field mates, refusing to be caught, and generally being a large pain in the rear end.
“Silly ponies” I thought, “I have nothing to worry about” …
On Thursday I`m practising my dressage test and Otis insists on doing a flying change (large buck inclusive) in the counter canter section. Friday is followed by a rather fast steady canter on our hack. On Sunday we practise again, and this time the medium canter is accompanied by a flying buck.
I should have seen it coming really, but I take him out to lunge this morning and my normally calm and chilled out, reliable donkey, is instantly cantering around me, giving the occasional buck and stomp of his front feet.
Meanwhile, Llani has been getting spookier and spookier over the last week, becoming on edge about the goat tied up in the barn (Don`t ask, it involves a five year old wannabe farmer) and various gusts of wind sending buckets whizzing past him. Llani didn`t want to canter sedately next to Otis on our hack on Friday – he wanted to race!
When I tried to practice my dressage test on Sunday, with tried being the operative word, the corner where we made our transition into canter suddenly had monsters lurking in it, which meant that the canter transition became rather more of a gallop transition. After a few attempts at the canter transition I had to abandon it and make a new arena at the other end of the school (incidentally this is where the monsters usually hide under the trailer next to the fence) and he settled much better, and produced a decent practice test.
Today our hack was sedate – I found a very steep, long hill to trot up, but he walked into the river in lead file, even pausing to sniff it. Usually Llani tries to be in the water for as little time as possible! We did however, spook at some oncoming horses and refuse to go past them …
Talking objectively to a friend, we came to the conclusion that the grass must be coming through. The frost of last week increases the sugar levels in the grass, which could well cause both horses to lose their minds slightly. Added to the fact they are both on ad lib haylage and looking remarkably fat, they may be suffering from the effects of over-feeding. When their feed manger is empty they will be having hay, instead of haylage, and I have cut out their hard feed much to their disgust.
So take heed, fellow horse owners, spring is coming and you should start thinking about cutting down feeds, reducing the quality of the forage (switching from haylage to hay, for example), or even reducing the number of rugs, and hopefully increasing the level of exercise with these longer evenings.