Well, this update is long overdue! I meant to write it in January, but here we are. Lol.
Fred went to live with an acquaintance of mine that was looking for a horse to work with over the winter. She just bought a little farm with a nice indoor, so it seemed like a good fit. I took him there Dec 1 and he is due to come home on May 1. I'll be happy to have him him home- I miss the big red goofball!
The goal of sending him was to get him going under saddle. He wouldn't be getting formal training rides 5-6x a week like you might expect, but just 2-3 sessions. This lady isn't a trainer per se, but has started a few horses in the past.
I sat on Fred a couple of times this fall and he was having a hard time figuring out the whole "forward" part of working under saddle. This was resolved pretty quickly at the new barn. I went to see him in early January to see how he was going.
Side note: We've been in and out of lockdowns pretty much since Christmas, so I've really limited any trips to do anything. Fred's barn is over an hour away, so not a quick trip.
He was even doing a bit of trot under saddle at my first visit!
By all accounts, he has been super quiet and hasn't offered to buck or spook, even when the snow came zippering off the coverall roof! The only thing that got him a bit upset was being nipped at and followed by the lady's two heelers. Lol.
He tends to just meander along at the trot so far - the lady says that she has been working on adjusting the trot speed a bit, but that he is still pretty green. Here is a video from Jan 2, so only a month under saddle at this place. We noticed that he is just a bit NQR in the front and it would get better as she worked him and it wasn't as obvious some days vs others.
My next visit was in March and he was starting to canter a bit under saddle! Woohoo Fred. He is a bit clumsy with those long legs of his, so the lady was just working the canter when he felt steady.
At then end of March/early April, Fred blew two abscesses - one in each back foot... D'oh!
He needed antibiotics for the swelling and both blew out the heel bulb, so they were not pleasant for the poor guy! He has been starting back with doing a bit of walk work now, so hopefully he is ok moving forward. He did the abscess thing to me this time last year as well.
Moving forward, the vet and farrier recommended shoes for him or possibly hoof boots. I'll be measuring him for hoof boots to start, as I would prefer that over shoes to try first. He seems to get bruised soles in the transition seasons when there is lumpy frozen mud out in the paddock. He could also stay in more during those times...there are a few options to check. I also had him tested for PSSM (negative thankfully!) just to rule some things out.
|He enjoyed his bodywork session. Lol at the pally mare getting in the photo...|
I found a great bodyworker and she has worked on him for two sessions so far. I think he'll need more maintenance than an average 6yo horse due to his wacky conformation and his size. He is at least 16.3hh now, maybe even 17hh! (Note to self: buy a proper stick!). I'm really looking forward to having him home and having eyeballs on him more regularly. The lady did a good job with him, but he isn't her horse, so some things just don't get done the same way I would have. That is ok - part of the risk/considerations when sending a horse out for training.
I'm a little apprehensive about riding Fred, since he is so huge. I'm really short, so I've never really looked at or ridden tall horses. Spencer was 15hh on a good day! I'm sure I'll get used to it though, as he is really the only rideable horse I have. (Note to self: buy a new helmet)
And now I'm all caught up with Fred. More updates on the rest of the herd/life to follow!