It's all over the place - the spring weather. All winter we enjoyed mild, sunny days and now, with spring firmly in place, we get everything. Its nothing new - spring is always the most variable of the seasons in the Sierra - but I don't think any of us get used to it. We celebrate the fruit tree blossoms, then they freeze and we don't see any fruit. We drag out the lawn furniture and then it all blows to the next county. You start out the day in 15 layers and by noon are wishing you brought your flip flops!
Yesterday (Sunday) was Day 13 and it was windy. Steady wind with gusts up to 30 mph. But warm. It was 77 by the time I got to the barn. I saddled up and rode - it wasn't anything spectacular except that I didn't make any excuses not to ride. And Rhea does okay in the wind. It's funny, she's unconcerned except when it hits her from a certain direction. So, if we're circling, she'll be just fine until that one spot - when the wind hits her tail or comes from directly behind - and she'll get a little bothered, a little scooty. But then she's fine again.
We didn't ride long but I kept her busy. We trotted around barrels and over cavaletti, we trotted around the jumping arena, we trotted in circles. And then we walked all around. It was enough for both of us (maybe more me than her) to just get out in the wind.
Today (Day 14) was vaccination and equine dentistry day. Rhea needed to have her teeth floated. I don't know why they call it that - because it has nothing to do with anything that floats! Horses chew in a circular grinding motion and from time to time points develop on their teeth, which if left unattended to can cause pain, inhibit chewing, and become a problem with the bit. Rhea is still a young horse (6 years) and had developed some sharp points as well as something called the 7 year hook.
The vet uses a grinding apparatus and the horse has to be sedated (you'll see why in a minute). I've only known one vet who did things differently and that was a wonderful vet up in Sierra Valley, who floated by hand using a rasp and could just back a horse into a corner, start filing and the horse would become sort of dazed or mesmerized by the feeling and would just stand there. My mustang had his teeth floated several times by that vet and I remember the relaxed look in his eyes as she filed away.
Rhea surprised the heck out of me by biting me while Dr. Ludwig was fishing around for her jugular vein. She was so fast and luckily she didn't break the skin, but she was definitely trying to protect herself and I was the lucky one holding her. Something to work on soon, but the time to smack her was not while the vet had a needle hanging out of her neck. He's good, though, and got it the second time, and she soon had that glazed look in her eyes.
She got to don this piece of medivial -looking apparatus, which cranks and keeps her mouth open. It does not look comfortable, but neither am I comfortable when in the dentist's chair. It just is what it is.
Grinding commences, and it isn't pretty. It seems fairly physical on the part of the vet - the tool is not a small tool and he's got to angle it this way and that while holding it up pretty high.
I was able to get in there and watch quite a bit of it.
And he switched her over to this contraption to get those seven year hooks in the front. You can see she's giving me the eye, even though she's pretty looped.
It takes an hour or so for the sedative to wear off, so I walked her back to the trailer and hung out with her in the sun. That's all she has to do today since the general concensus is that it is good to give them a day or so off after the vaccines. Luckily it is a lovely day and she can lie around with her girlfriends in the warm sun.
Afterwards I headed over to the pasture where our mustang lives and gave him some supplements and a good grooming. He hasn't been ridden much this winter but he's earned his pasture time with plenty of years and rides in the mountains. He's 22 this year - our steady, grumpy ole man.
He'll be ready to go to the mountains soon, as its getting warmer in the valley, and his buddies have all gone to the Inaja Ranch. I wish I could keep him closer, as I'd love to ride him more often too - compare the muscle tone of the mare to this gelding. Someday.
Meanwhile he seems happy for the attention, and certainly happy for a little extra hay today.