There is a woman at the barn who always brings a bag of carrots out for the horses. They are the baby carrots that are all the rage now and some horses really like them. Ashke is no exception. Only, the woman only gives each horse one. One baby carrot. Now, you can't really blame her, since there are currently 24 horses on our side of the barn, plus the horses in the outside stalls and the ones on the far side of the barn. Probably close to 50 horses are boarding there at a time. That's a hefty amount of carrots to provide on a daily basis.
The last time I went shopping at Costco I bought a bag of baby carrots for a stew I was planning. For anyone who has never shopped at Costco, the carrots are in bags of 150 lbs. Okay, not really. I think its a 5 lbs bag, but still, that's a whole lot of carrots. I bought a bag that large knowing I could feed some to the animals. Last night we took a small bag out with us and Ashke went nuts. He loves himself some carrots. I was trying to groom him last night and he was trying to entice J to feed him more carrots. Makes for a shifty horse who is putting up with the grooming in order to enjoy the carrots. I don't think he asked for a single peppermint treat the entire time. He did, however, position himself between the crossties and stretch out his nose as far as he could and gave J foggy eyes the entire time I was brushing him. J is pretty familiar with foggy eyes (something T used to do when he was younger) and was able to ignore him, for the most part.
When I was putting on the saddle Ashke wasn't happy about the girth. He pins his ears and flicks his tail and basically lets me know he isn't happy with the tightness around his belly. I go slow. I don't jerk. I tighten it a decent amount and then finish tightening it in the arena. None of that seems to matter. I changed the saddle blanket to a thicker one, however I am having issues with getting the girth tight enough to hold the saddle on without it being so tight that it cuts off his air. He needs a bit of roundness around his middle to make this really work. I know he is working on it, but right now nothing fits perfectly. It will also help when the saddle blanket is less stiff and more pliable. One of the times I went to step off of him, the saddle slipped a bit. I tightened the back of the girth (there are two straps for an Australian girth) but couldn't really get the front girth tighter. So strange. I've never had this problem with a western saddle.
In the arena we started off with a bit of a bump under the saddle from Ashke humping his back to buck. He pinned his ears, swished his tail and made a touch of a fuss to start, but then settled down and let me work him. With walked and trotted in both directions with fewer stops than before. We also worked in small circles and did a serpentine pattern down the middle of the arena. He is still a bit stiff turning to the left and always does better when we are headed to the gate. Ashke was able to acheive and maintain the trot that I asked him for (slow and a little floating) for a longer period of time. Our only conflict came after I dismounted to go to the bathroom and he thought that meant we were done. He kept stopping and trying to go back the way we had come. We worked through it though, and he ended up pretty warm by the end of the riding session. Since that was my goal, not sweaty, just warm, I dismounted in the middle of the arena and then walked him back to the gate.
The only other thing of interest was the excitement of walking over the mud on the trail back to the barn. This horse does not like to step into water or mud. He gets all snorty and blowy. Its really kind of cute. We put the cooler sheet on him last night and fed him the rest of the carrots with the hay he had left in his feed bin. He was pretty happy about that, actually.