In horse updates, Silver is coming along fabulously. Gillian has been riding him more and he's just getting lighter and lighter in his gaits. Jumping skills continue to improve, he has become quite adjustable and handy especially in tight turns in courses.
Ferriana and I have been fiddling with saddle fit. I've tried having some flocking removed from her jumping saddle in an effort to minimize the back of the saddle lifting when we jump, but it actually exacerbated the issue. So we replaced the flocking. These two photos are of the back of the saddle popping up when we were jumping small fences. Amazing how much it lifts when she rounds her back!
Dewey is doing well. He is mostly recovered from his chest injury (more on that later, it's quite gory), and had a trace clip done for winter riding. It's especially helpful with the weather so warm currently - he gets very furry and it takes forever to dry him off if he's sweat hard. With the trace clip, however, I do blanket the horses if it's going to be cold. If I remove fur it only seems fair to replace the warmth if he needs it (with a super cute otter blanket, too!) Unfortunately, the front of the blanket seemed to rub the nearly-healed wound, and then some bacteria snuck in. Within a day or two he had a fever and was lethargic, and his chest was quite swollen. We started antibiotics and anti inflammatories, which made him feel much better and brought his fever as well as the swelling down. So in the meantime he goes naked unless he really needs pajamas for warmth.
Sam is doing great. I had my working student, Rozie, warm him up for Joan the other day, and it was such fun to see him happy, forward, relaxed, with a new rider. Rozie had fun with him and it's always good to get on a variety of horses to learn how to adjust your riding for different types of gaits. In jumping lessons Joan and Sam have really been clicking, they go around together even in really challenging courses.
Beauty and Alice have had some really nice rides recently. We are all working on our turns and balance over twisty jump courses, and it's super fun to see Alice and Beauty really put the pieces together.
Pascal and Rizzo have really matured. Pascal still has a bit of "am I going to be obedient or am I going to be my own dog?" in his adolescent puppy brain, but Rizzo is now all business. They both stick close to me and are very focused on their work. While I'm grooming and tacking horses they do take breaks to chew on sticks and scraps of horse hooves together. Currently Pascal's favorite game is tug-of-war, where he pulls on me while he's leashed and I'm teaching lessons.
I had an emotional moment yesterday when I was moving hay bales with the tractor. Miles used to help me with this particular barn chore. I'd open a gate and tell him which horses to watch, and he would make sure no one snuck out while I was moving a round bale into the paddock with the gate wide open. Yesterday I called Pascal and told him I needed help, and he came right over. I then opened the gate and pointed at Dancer and Dewey (the two most likely to escape that day) and told Pascal not to let them out. Pascal proceeded to usher them away from the gate, and then he came back and ran semi-circles around the gate to ensure no one doubled back to sneak out. It was such a Miles move I nearly cried. I miss that dog so much, I've never had an assistant trainer as good as he was. But it made my heart feel good that Pascal is doing his best to fill those big doggy paw prints.
I have a photo of Miles with a similar expression on his face at the same age as Pascal. Looks like I definitely have a "type"! Tricolored and intense!
And I have an intense Rizzo photo, too. I love my dogs. I wouldn't get anywhere near as much done without them.