Can you believe it? Big boy might have slowed in the vertical direction, but there is definite muscle mass development occurring in every other direction. There might actually be some muscle definition. Who remembers the Saturday Night Live skit of Hans and Franz, “We want to pump you up, yah, wake up and smell the muscles.” (all said with an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent) Classic SNL. I sometimes think that Ike is sneaking out of his stall at night to hit the gym. I can see him curling dumbbells and chugging protein shakes with the oiled up muscle men.
There is definitely some fat and muscle on that loooong back now. Ike will now let me sit the trot for longer periods of time – patience dear girl, he is still only four. The boy needed some fat on that gawky young frame to make it possible – no fun to have me bouncing on skin and spine. We have slowly adjusted his daily feed ration over the past 10 months. Currently it includes the Pennington All-Phase Balancer Pellet, Whole Oats, Alfalfa Pellets, and Purina Athlete. I discovered Purina Athlete years ago when Cigar was having trouble keeping his weight. I tried one of the regular weight gain supplements, but Mr. Picky said, “No thank you.” Corn oil would have worked but it is messy and can go rancid so quickly in the heat. My veterinarian recommended Purina Athlete as a supplement/top-dressing to his normal grain ration. Purina notes that it is a 14-15% fat and 14% protein feed for performance horses (http://horse.purinamills.com/products/athlete/ECMD2-0033779.aspx). I can tell you that it does wonders for getting weight on and then helping the horse maintain the weight even in the winter. We’ve adjusted the quantity depending on the work schedule (or lack thereof for Cigar these days) and usually after consulting with the vet to make sure the change isn’t to drastic. The side benefit of the Athlete is that the coat is glossy and shiny without the need for shine products. There is nothing on Ike’s coat in the photo above. Would you believe it if I didn’t tell you?
Ike enjoyed his day off yesterday and supervised while I cleaned tack and tidied the trailer. I’m still waiting for the day that one of my horses decides to help with all the clean up. Was able to hop on for 30 minutes today. Had to fight for a connected trot, but I finally achieved it after I rode in two point for a few minutes. I have found that it helps Ike find the connection if I stay off his back and then quietly go back to rising trot. We worked on maintaining our tempo on circles – that was one of the judge’s comments from Sunday – we have nice impulsion on the long side, but we lose impulsion on the circle. She is right, but at first I had to slow down or we would drift out as centrifugal force would take over. Now that Ike is finding better balance, we are less likely to drift into another orbit and we can bump up the impulsion on the circles. We will get there.
p.s. this post would have been up 30 minutes ago, but a laptop glitch caused me to lose all but the first 6 words of the post. #$%&*$$