July2309.jpgSolo is to die for.  I know he is a bad boy, I know he argues when he shouldn’t, I know he should not wave to the crowd when he is at a show… but… he is the most breathtakingly beautiful animal and he is SO clever and articulate about his wants and likes, and of course his dislikes… LOL! Selena, who has to do the actual riding and competing, has not always been just as positive in her Solo appreciation as I have myself. It’s a different viewpoint when you are the one leaving the area rapidly with lateral caprioles. This guy could have held his own with any Lipizzaner in his airs above the ground. Now, however, Selena leads his cheering squad. After Bromont, he can do no wrong (not literally of course, he has not suddenly become an angel overnight) in Selena’s eyes. Cavorts that once made her so cross she would talk about just show jumping him or… eek… even selling him, now just cause a little complacent smile with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude. However, he doesn’t fight with the same enthusiasm any more, more like a last huzzah just in case she thought he might have given in altogether. He LOVES his job and that of course makes all the difference.

His last show was Equus 3d Open Prelim, and he was a good boy all day. FABULOUS cross country where he was eliminated when Selena missed two fences out… I guess it happens to everyone. She was given permission to do her show jumping and he was a superstar there too. Selena was very pleased with him, he seems to just get more and more enthusiastic about the whole day, even the dressage. She said she never had to touch the reins cross country, just brought her shoulders up on the approaches and Solo balanced up right with her. He still does it all in a happy mouth snaffle and a grackle noseband. His acceptance of the grackle noseband was quite a turnimg point, it took us two years of work before he would tolerate it, as often stated, he is nothing if not opinionated. Sometimes the battle isn’t worth the winning, so we just don’t go there until it is.

Solo goes to Wit’s End to do his second FEI outing. His fitness is very high now, by far the fittest he has ever been. He is on a lot of grain and it makes no difference to his behaviour, I feel this shows that he is finally ‘in work’. Once they are on the leg, it doesn’t seem to matter how much grain you give them as long as they work hard enough to utilize it. He is on three feeds a day and about 3-4 lbs a feed. In my ‘youth’ I never fed a processed feed, on the basis that the ‘good horseman’ balanced his own rations individually for each horse. Nowadays the processed feeds are so well  balanced that it is unlikely to find any ‘good horseman’ that is not using them as the main part of their horses ration. Although I have a passion for rolled oats and I cannot imagine not feeding them somewhere in my barn, sheesh, it wouldn’t be a feed room without an oat bin. We feed Purina TriMax to Solo with a handful of micronised soya beans and some Purina Hi Fat Hi Fibre chunks to give him something substancial to chew. I used to feed a handful of hay cubes for the same reason, just to slow down and stretch out the whole mealtime thing but the hay cubes got outrageously expensive when you considered it on a dollars for nutrients basis. The Trimax has a kind of mincemeat texture and the horses love it, however they inhale it so greedily, that ‘dinner’ is over in a few minutes, thus the chewy chunks to ‘go with’. In the days before wax, I would put a whole yellow turnip in the feed bowl every few days, they had to move it around to eat the grain and would chomp on the turnip itself through the day, slow feeding and hours of entertainment all in one turnip.

Solo still sings for his supper. He has a very entertaining song and one of these days I am going to get my technological ass out of mothballs, and work out how to record it and put a sound byte up on the blog.  He is loudly enthusiastic at mealtimes.

Grandview next week, then Wits End. We were going to take him to Richland Park but have decided he really doesn’t need to go there if he does well at Wit’s End, he will have given us a really wonderful year at the Preliminary level.