It looks like the colder temperatures are finally here to stay in the mid-Atlantic region. While Ike has gained some weight and grown a respectable winter coat, I decided to offer him an added layer of protection from the elements. I pulled out his emerald green, waterproof sheet from last year; it has no fill, but it isn’t quite cold enough for his medium weight blanket. As a three-year old, he wore an 84 inch blanket. Yes, that is right, a size 84…kept all fingers and toes crossed that it would fit and I would not have to scramble to find a new one. As soon as I pulled it around his shoulders, you could see the material straining to fit around Ike’s the hulking deltoids. Sigh. Baby Huey continues to get pumped up or plumped up as the case may be. Time to start shopping for a replacement.
My internet search for larger sized horse blankets found some interesting details: there are fewer choices once you move beyond 84 inch blankets. Some websites have nothing sized above 84 inches. There are a fair number of 86 inch style choices, but color selection is more limited – usually one choice. Once you go above 86 inches, there are only a few companies that carry the circus-tent sizes. Found one style called the Big Fella at Schneider’s (www.sstack.com). Leave it to me to own a horse that needs special sizing.
Ike and I did manage to get in two rides over the New Year’s holiday weekend. Two rides are better than no rides. Ike continues to be grumpy during our warmup. I try more walking, hovering in two-point at the trot, lots of walk/trot transitions with half halts that make my arms ache from the effort, and the only thing that consistently works is letting him canter. Fine, Ike, if that will get you over your mood and make you more cooperative, so be it. Canter politely for as long as you need. All this winter time cantering is paying off – we are no longer freight training around the arena like a Great Dane puppy. My knees are grateful that the fence is now keeping its distance. We are also continuing to work on canter transitions using my seat rather than my leg backed up with the whip. The whip has been a necessary tool this past year. It continues to be useful for our lateral work, but it sure is nice to wean myself from needing it for canter transitions. Forward progress…baby steps…except my baby needs a 86 inch blanket.