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Things Cruise Has Learned

Not a whole lot of riding has been going on. He is sound walk, trot, canter and awkward downhill gallop with boots on the front and bare behind in the pasture. Its been storming like crazy every evening and middle of the night this week and I started to worry about his feet in those plastic boots. I took them off Monday night and they were very wet, so he got to stay in his deeply bedded stall overnight to dry his feet out. By Tuesday morning both the boots and his hooves were dry, so they went back on and he went outside. Well, the rain hasn’t let up so last night I took the boots back off him and decided he could go outside completely bare. The ground is super soft right now, so why not test it. He was pretty pathetically gimpy walking out and it broke my heart. We went out to dinner and I planned to bring him in his stall for the night if he was still looking off when we got home. Well, we pulled in and I watched him walk perfectly fine halfway across the pasture. When I yelled out a hello to him upon getting out of the car? He looked at me and started gimping around.

This made me pause and go in the house where I could watch him from a window. After he knew I was gone he walked just fine over to Gem and Pete. When I went back out and called to him? Back to gimping.

Ok…I get the game. So he stayed out all night bare all around and will likely stay bare in the pasture at this point. I plan to ride this weekend when hopefully I can squeek some time between storms in and will ride him in the boots for a while.

Even with the lack of saddle time the big guy has learned a lot since coming home. Some of it was just figuring out life on the farm and how to be a horse out in a large hilly pasture.

  • He now stands politely waiting for his turn to come in.

He used to pace, stomp, scream and trot all over the place but after six weeks of being the last one in he has figured out that behavior doesn’t get him what he wants.

  • He also no longer rushes the gate.
Road block while mowing last weekend before the storm hit. he had been over in another section and walked over to say hello and check in with what I was doing
  • Haltering and putting the fly mask on are no longer an issue.
I love how curious he is about life in general.

His ears became an issue for a while. Not sure why but he had decided he couldn’t tolerate anything going over them. That’s not really an option when you need haltered twice a day and the mask goes on every morning to come off in the evening. He settled down and now lowers his head like a good boy.

  • Picking up his feet is no longer a fight

Now, I do give him a pass on this a bit because I don’t think t was him being naughty. His feet hurt and he didn’t want to give the front right as it meant putting all his weight in the front left. He does like being good so he would give it but then it would hurt as his weight shifted left and he’d yank it out of my hand. Still not what I want but I could understand. He made sure never to step on me so there was that. I make sure to always boot his front left first and then he gives me the right and let’s me hold it. He is still a bit fussy about it but it is getting better and better.

  • He demands his fly spray

Tuesday night I went to take him out. He stopped at the gate and refused to move. The gate has gravel down so I paused thinking maybe his feet hurt but he had his boots on and had walked just fine out that gate for dinner. He looked at me and stomped his hind leg in disgust. I turned around and walked back to the barn and fly sprayed him. He then marched right out to the pasture no issue. The big guy has his demands.

There are still things I’d like him to learn. Most important is to stop chewing on his stall door as soon as he finishes his meal. He doesn’t actually crib or suck air it’s chewing and biting. Maybe his mouth hurts but the vet said he was ok. I think it’s a nervous habit but I’d hoped it would settle by now. He is in the stall for all of 15 minutes twice a day and he is the last in/first out so the horses are in with him the entire time.

I don’t really want to go yell at him because bad attention is still better than no attention and it just reinforces that if he does it he will get me to come over. I try to go over and praise him when he stands quietly but it isn’t really making a dent. Thankfully he isn’t in very long but I do worry what he would do if he had to be on stall rest. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with that any time soon.

I think we have made some good headway at understanding life together in the short time he has been here. I wish he’d be sound to ride but that will come with time. I’ve added a hoof supplement not that I think he really needs it with the complete feed he is on, but it can’t hurt. His hinds are already showing a band of new growth coming in at a better angle and I’m excited to watch the changes to the fronts as we move along.

Hopefully I can hop on him this weekend and assess how he is on the flat in the boots. I suspect he will be fine. Maybe I can drag him to my next lesson next Friday but if not I have a date with Misty again so no worries.

18 thoughts on “Things Cruise Has Learned”

  1. I’ve always contended that horses are incapable of faking lameness to avoid work. Well….now…Cruise may be changing my mind. And convincing me that Appys are the most intelligent breed. Demanding fly spray, that’s awesome! And I’m glad he’s not freaking out at turnout time anymore. The chewing/biting on things sounds like what my horse does, it’s not cribbing, it’s just putting metal, plastic, wood in his mouth and biting down hard, and then gnawing. Lord don’t let that turn to cribbing! All over town, at bus stops and trail benches, he’s left his teeth marks. They spell “Mag was here.”

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    1. I had a dog once, my beloved Corgi, who would do the same thing. He would come hobbling through the house 3 legged lame but take out a treat or his favorite toy and he would be bouncing around good as new again. Cruise is way smarter than he comes across and had I not seen it I wouldn’t have believed it. He is still sore no doubt but not as bad as he lets on.

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  2. can you tie up up while eating where he cant chew on the stall door??? And ha on him faking you out. what a brat. he sounds like he is settling in so well. And send us a bit of rain okay? its been hot as fire and dry as a bone most days since I got here….tho we do get freak rain storms for like five minutes in the middle of a sunny day (So weird).

    I hope you get to ride this weekend even if just to amble around. He is such a character 🙂 Love him.

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    1. I want to try removing the door and replacing with one of those fabric stall gates. He may move over and chew on other parts of the stall but it is worth a try. Honestly, if he doesn’t think I am in the barn he just goes to sleep like a good boy. When I am in there and not paying attention to him he chews. He seriously is like having a toddler.

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  3. True story: Gwyn’s dam (half appy) would be gimpy and short strided when we were walking away from home on a ride (we only had roads to ride on). She’d balk and swish and look generally grumpy.

    As soon as we’d turn for home her stride would lengthen and all signs of gimpy would disappear. Her ears would prick forward and she’d be totally happy. I swear it’s an appy thing. Thankfully a trick Gwyn has yet to learn or try.

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  4. It’s been years since I’ve met a horse who gimps when work is imminent! There were several around when I was growing up though – all in lesson programs lol. At least one of them was an appy, too.

    Sounds like a lot of positives overall for Mr. Cruise. What a goober.

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    1. He is a goober. It will be interesting to see if he continues the gimp game when we get back to riding or not. Typically everything he does is aimed at garnering attention and riding does equal attention so we will see

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  5. He sounds like he is not lacking in personality! lol. Georgie likes a good wood chomping post meal as well. Don’t know what that is all about. But she is also a serious cribber.

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  6. Cruise meet Batt. Coughing has been a learned habit. Yes we have a cough from heaves but it comes on strong when we doing boring stuff and mysteriously goes away when we do something fun? Suddenly we get to gallop up hills or jump cross rails? No cough even though we were hacking like we couldn’t breathe a second ago. Make him do ring work or follow second behind a slow poke on a trail? Cough, cough, cough. Return home on a trail (that isn’t a million miles long)? Cough. I’m telling you, he uses the coughing to try and get out of work. Now, sometimes it generally is bad but that is a different cough…

    Let him stop and itch? Then every.single.ride he tries that trick. Now he wears boots because he’s otherwise obsessed with leg scratching because that equals stopping. Learned behavior. On the other hand, if I pick up a pine cone when he’s in his field, he better haul his butt to the paddock. If I toss it towards him (not at), he trots to the paddock. He’s trainable just not bright in the most useful way…

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  7. Oooh sneaky Cruise!! Also yea Charlie bites and chews on things constantly. Yesterday I was trying to set fences and he just lowered his head, bit the foot of the standard, lifted it up and crashed the whole jump. Like. Charlie. No. Stahp that is not helpful!

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