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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Changes in turnout, aka Reva is a PITA

It has been wonderful to have over a week off from work for the holidays.  I didn't get all that much done but was able to just relax, which is something I don't do enough.  Unfortunately, I did spend a good deal of time mending fences  ARG!  Reva has again decided she doesn't respect the fence and dismantled it on a daily basis.  At first, she was taking down the fence next to Sparky.  While Sparky is very sweet natured and I am sure they would get along fine if turned out together, Sparky is also 29 years old and does not need to deal with the rambunctiousness of a coming 6 year old.  

Just at Christmas, Reva decided to start taking down the fence into Dreamy's paddock.  This took a bit more skill, as I have two gates between them, creating a "corridor" so that they cannot be obnoxious over the fence.  I also think Dreamy might have played a role based on the way the fence was broken.  Dreamy has never gotten along that well with any horse, and she is the most annoying squealer I have ever met.  She will squeal at a horse every single day that she has been stabled next to for years as though she has never met the horse.  The squealing would not be that bad alone, but she adds in lots of stall wall kicking and striking.  :-/

The Monday after Christmas was the worst.  On the third trip out to mend the fence, I gave up.  I pulled down the two gates that separated Reva and Dreamy, made everything safe, hooked up the more powerful fence shocker, and threw a bunch of hay piles.  They were so adamant about being together that I figured I would let them try it.  I watched Dreamy closely, waiting for her to double barrel Reva, which is her immediate normal reaction to being turned out with others.  Mostly they eyed each other and ate hay.  Reva tried sharing a hay pile with Dreamy, but she was having none of that and pushed Reva away with very mean ears.  I did see Dreamy kick out pretty hard just once, but it was only a warning shot apparently because she was a good horse length away from Reva when she did it.  

Overall, I would say both mares are pleased with the arrangement.  Reva is holding her own but also really REALLY wants to be Dreamy's BFF.  Dreamy has been very gracious about the entire change, acquiescing it in a nearly wholehearted manner.  I really thought Dreamy would bully and abuse Reva, but that has not seemed to happen.  Sparky seems a bit miffed to still be in her own private adjacent paddock, but an almost 30 year old should not have to worry about being bullied or jockeying for a hay pile IMO.  It has been a week now and so far, so good.  It is a pain for me to feed them in the AM now, but I much rather figure that out than deal with daily broken fences.  I prefer to keep them in their own separate turnouts, because they are all close enough to still feel like a herd, but I don't have to deal any of the problems of being in a herd.  I head back to work on Tuesday, so that will be the real test, since I won't be home to keep a close eye on them.  I suppose we shall see!

Tried to be sneaky, but they heard me opening the door of the house.  All the girls had been napping...from left to right: Reva, Dreamy, and Sparky