This week it was a toss-up on what I spent more time doing. Riding, or removing the many burrs Luc had attached to him. They weren’t just in his mane and tail. Oh no, he was COVERED. They were in his ears, stuck all over his belly, and clinging to his legs. It’s quite clear from the sheer number, location and the fact that many of them seemed ground in, that good ole’ Luc found a burr bush and rolled right over top of it.
Unfortunately, Luc doesn’t really enjoy being de-burred. In fact, he’s kind of a pain about it, always trying to scratch himself on you or anything else within reach (I know from experience how itchy burrs in your hair can be!), and raising his head to giraffe height when you’re working on his forelock. That was particularly fun since my instruction from my sister was to remove the burrs without taking a single forelock hair with them. Luc’s already heavily challenged in the forelock department, and his constant run-ins with the burr bushes are only making matters worse.
I painstakingly pulled out each small burr and all of the little bits that broke off along the way one at a time. Admittedly, I think one or two strands of forelock hair may have been sacrificed for the greater good. The only upside to Luc’s forelock being covered in burrs is that it tends to stick up and out like a horn. The unicorn look really works for Luc, what with him being white and all. Thank goodness I had on a pair of gardening gloves so the burrs wouldn’t stick to me as I was taking them off. I don’t think I’d look quite as cute as a unicorn!
Once I was finally finished, it was time to ride. Luc was mostly great for our ride. The one small exception, he kept trying to stop and scratch various body parts. I’m sure some part of it was due to all the burrs we’d just finished taking off him. The other part was just plain Luc. He’s always looking for an excuse not to do any work.
I pushed him through the itchy phase and worked on increasing his sensitivity to the aides. By the end I barely had to ask for trot or canter to get him to move forward! Keeping that impulsion was a whole other problem, but one I decided to save for another day. Now that his winter coat is well into fluffy teddy bear mode, I have to watch how hard I work him to prevent having to spend hours afterwards cooling him out and getting him dry before he heads back outside.
During the ride I did manage to do some work on my own position like I’ve been meaning to. I practiced my two-point position for a few circles in each direction at the trot and canter. My thighs did not like me much after that! Looks like I’ll have to continue to work on building those muscles to help me keep my butt out of the saddle a little better.