As the title says, spring has sprung (after a long hard winter) and Mitch is taking this change in weather and grass all too happily, and by that I mean he has created himself an alter-ego... The "evil" Mitch (he's not really evil, just a hyper 7yo)
Problem 1: I need to put weight on him, but also need to work him (long story about his problem with grass, but basically he can't eat to much or it goes straight through him, so he gets fenced off) he is being fed 1kg Maintenance mix(dunstans, just because I already had it and I may aswell use it) he is also on 1kg of Dunstans extruded barley and 1.5L of palm kernel (but it gets soaked and expands) the Palm Kernel is mainly fibre, the barley is for his weight. He also has vegetable oil put into his feeds. I try not to work him too hard but with his energy he works himself into a sweat very easily so I don't want to be feeding him that feed for nothing.
Problem 2: He has so much energy! I'm not sure if it's his feed(hope not, it's supposed to be non-heating), but I know the grass is definitely playing a part in it(probably weather too ), if I get on him without lunging first (big no-no right now) you can literally feel the energy buzzing around inside him and he doesn't know what to do with it. He has been fenced off from all long grass, and only gets a very tiny amount of it each day while the sugars are lowest (round lunchtime-ish) he lives mainly on hay and his feed right now, just till the grass sugars are lower or else I would be killed. BUT, he then decides that he doesn't want to canter under-saddle, he starts being lazy.. Now I KNOW he has that energy and I know he's not in pain, he's just being stubborn but his instinct for when he canters, is to go on the bit automatically... But at the moment he is very springy on his feet and spooky and when he puts his head down to canter my auto-reaction is uh-oh Buck coming because of the way he moves from under me too... It happened that way last time with horrific results, so I pull his head up and he goes back to trot(last owners training not mine).
My solutions so far:
1:No more winter Cover Mitchell, you got that much energy you use it. It's working, and he's not losing weight he's still gaining it (yet anyway *touch wood*)
2: He has learnt to free-lunge in a DIY arena (standards and fence reel) I did this because whenever I had him on the lunge lead and I flicked the whip he would take off in a fit of bucking/farting etc and drag me across the paddock, so I then would have a loose horse running around with a lunge rope attatched.. Not cool. Now if he wants to buck/fart take off, he's welcome to, he just has to either jump the fence or keep going in circles, no more trailing lead. (note: he's not afraid of that whip he was using it as an excuse, many times I have flicked, even cracked that whip in his direction and he hasn't batted an eyelid, just did as he was told)
-Poles, short distances, long distances, cross poles, "jump-pole-jump" etc etc, lots of changing and re-arranging different pole/jump formations to keep him thinking before I ride and release some of that energy. I try to make it fun for him so he is more willing to behave.
Bit of a rant I guess, it's a bit dissapointing that I had worked so hard with him and spring has now ruined it, but that's ok, he is a horse and a young one at that.
--Do you think my solutions so far have been right to do? If not then what would you do? Or what else could I do? I need to keep him occupied, and I'm not willing to just turn him out until spring is over, after a rideless winter from abcesses and ground being to wet to ride on safely.
Don't have to read below, just story of what happened on sunday:
I brought him out to uncover him for the day(after a chase and cornering to catch him, he normally walk sover to me quietly) and tied him up... I had to literally peel off his cover because he had been running around the paddock like someone had put gun powder and a match up his backside, it wasn't even too warm of a day yet! It was only 8AM. I hosed him off but that was a huge fight, he was pulling back and stomping the ground, pawing at it and creating a mess of everything (this guy normally LOVES the hose) he was swingin his bum at me and flicking his head, trying to run sideways and calling out to invisible horses. So I finished up and took him out the the front lawn to dry off where he decided his next game would be "try to scare the human" he was rearing full height against the leadrope, cantering 5M circles(that scared me, thought he was going to slip and fall), bucking and kicking out, crow-hoping and running sideways again.. Much to his discust though he got a huge telling off instead of scaring me. He then settled down for 10 minutes and stood around on the lawn taking in the scenery.
Then come letting him out into the paddock.. He was running in front of me and I had to keep turning him around to get him beside me again. After a 10 minute fight to walk 15metres we got back to his paddock and I couldn't even turn him loose because he tried taking off with me in tow, that didnt work, I took a quick step forwards and hauled myself backwards on the rope before he could get away, this had him whip around to face me and stand there like "what the?!" (I didnt like hauling on his face like that but I didn't wanna be taken off with again and I was getting so sick of him)
-Got him into his paddock, turned him loose and he walks away... Not quite the exit I was anticipating but after a few metres of walking he took off full flight of everything you can imagine (now I know how he won races, but not how jockeys stayed on) I don't mind at all that he took off into the paddock, he had to release that energy somehow, I was just Furious because he had been behaving so badly on the leadrope etc.
--This is why I have been free-lunging before I ride, I did ride today and got a nice canter out of him(for about 10M), but anyone would have thought he was a half-dead 30yr old horse on his last legs by the way he was acting.. So lazy, I know he has that energy, I didn't lunge it all out of him, I lunge till he behaves not till he's tired.
*Sorry, long I know, but if you read even half of that then thankyou :)