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We Are Flying Solo

May 24, 2010

We Have Finally Achieved Normalcy!!

It only took four years.

You can read about our struggles to conquer Solo's abusive longeing past here. If you are not familiar with the story, it will help you understand why I led my horse back to the barn with a huge grin on my face today.

We have received an ungodly amount of thunderstorms over the past few days, everything is wet and I have two long days at work ahead of me, so I decided to just put Solo in the vienna reins and give him a longe workout. There was a ground pole up in the arena, so I just incorporated that into our circle to let Solo work out how to fit it into his stride on his own at the trot and canter, which he did.

And why is this so exciting? Because MY HORSE CANTERED CALMLY IN MULTIPLE CIRCLES IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. This is a BIG BIG BIG deal. Even when he was thrown off balance the first few times cantering over the pole -- he didn't get the distance right and ended up in a lopsided cross canter -- he broke to trot, I gave a quiet kiss and he stepped right back up into a rhythmic canter.

No bug eyes. No flinging self about. He had one nervous moment where he stopped, but I put him back in a trot and he calmly picked up the canter shortly thereafter.

And after cantering, no racing about in crazy trot, anticipating the terror of yet more canter! We calmly resumed a metronome of a trot, spiraling in and out from 5-20 m circles and I'll be damned if he didn't keep a perfect rhythm the entire time.

I try to be a good horsey, mom!

Modeled here (besides, of course, Mr. Shiny Pants' big fat cute nose) are also Solo's brand new fly boots! I had an old pair, the cheapie four pack that I think I got from or somewhere, they were HORRIBLE and I threw them away. They sagged down around his ankles like worthless slouch socks (ah, 1986, how I remember your glory). I picked these up from Dover, they are "The Original Fly Wraps" and they are so far (ok, days used = 0, but we'll go with initial impression) soo much better! They do have plastic stays so they do not sag, nice velcro with stretchy bits for give, lovely fleece binding, and you can pick lots of fun colours! The set of four is still only around $40. These will go along way to reducing summer hoof cracking!

I am going to confess a little secret, I was, ahem, almost irresistibly tempted to buy purple ones (or blue, OMG, how am I supposed to resist our official colour!), but I had to give in to sensibility and stick with the nice, heat dispersing white.


  1. Solo must require a walk-in closet. But yeah for the longe workout.

  2. HAHA! I totally agree w/ LH on the closet! Hm, I am fine looking at a four year plan to start eventing but I honestly hope Bailey can handle a longe workout before 4 years... she has similar issues to Solo's old ones, but if anything worse. We can go to the left with three almost recognizable gaits, but to the right? OMG SHE IS GOING TO DIE!!! oh horsey drama...
    Gotta ask, how do the fly boots prevent hoof cracking? I love my fly sheet and masks, but have never been sold on the boots...

  3. Yay for Vienna reins. I love those. Question, what are fly wraps for exactly, I've seen them but never bought them.

  4. Thanks! And lh, that's what they make hanging racks for, duh! ;-)

    The boots -- by keeping flies off the lower legs, the horses are not constantly stomping on hard summer ground and loosening clinches on shoes and cracking feet. They DO work when they don't fall down. I am skipping on the back legs (1) so BO won't kick me out for being insanely high maintenance and (2) because Solo has a perfectly serviceable tail to swish.

  5. Where did you get your vienna reins? And how do you set them up? I've seen a couple different methods of attachment...

    I've always considered using them on McKinna when longeing because she kind of plunks along with her nose out and head up. She's calm and quiet, just not conformationally a stretchy horse ;)

    Congrats on the calm longe session, by the way!

  6. Solo has the legs for modeling those fly boots. Congrats on your perseverance & patience and Solo's accomplishment on the longe line!

  7. Ohhhh, that makes sense. I will still stick w/ plain old fly spray on the legs, where flies get doesn't seem covered. Kinda that same as the fly sheet doesn't really protect a stomach that well. Either way, congrats on the workout, and he does have the legs to model those boots lol!

  8. YAY!!! What a brave, shiny pony! It's amazing how horses can overcome their mental issues from bad treatment, once they get loving care. Maybe you could do a post on Vienna reins? I also have a conformationally non-stretchy pony who seems to have some giraffe in his background. I've used side reins in the past with some success, but they're broken, so my new things might as well be Vienna reins! And LOL on the need for a walk-in closet for Solo! I've always hear that those fly boots tend to fall down, so I've never gotten them. I think my BO would murder me, since I can't come out regularly to check on him & he's notorious for losing fly masks, etc.

  9. I have heard your requests for a vienna rein post, so I shall have a chat with Solo and we shall get some media.

    Jen, my old ones did fall down, but today, Solo's first full day of wearing the boots during turnout, they STAYED PUT! Yeehaw!