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Florin - who taught me about living with Sweet Itch

Jo Thompson

Florin came to live with me in September 2009 at 17 months old.
He is similar breeding to Soldier, TB x Highland, and he should end up about the same size, 15hh.
He has been exceptionally well brought up and had already seen quite a bit of the world with his breeder.
11th June 2011 - Lunging and Riding in the Sandchool
Florin hasn’t done anything for over a week so I took advantage of the nice weather and took him over to the sandschool for some lunging. Mum had come along to help so I asked her to lead him around afterwards with me on board. He is quite difficult to handle when he gets anxious and swings his head around rather dangerously. He is of course easily distracted but I’m determined not to lose my own concentration or give up when he start looning around. Instead I waited until we could end on a positive note before walking back. The whole session was 45 mins and he was tired but not nearly as exhausted as I might have hoped!!!
May 29th 2011 - Florin Gets His First Saddle
Today Florin had his first saddle fitted. Mike and Sue Norton, the Saddle Doctors from C H Brown in Oxford, came to check the other horses’ saddles and then set about trying to find a model that was wide enough for his very flat back. I bought him a nice little synthetic with a changeable head plate so it should last a couple of years of growing! The only problem is that there is now no excuse not to start riding him - yikes!
May 24th 2011 - Starting Begins in Ernest
Over the last few weeks I have been making the most of the light evenings and been doing a bit more with Florin. He’s perfectly happy trotting around with a saddle on and flapping stirrups and his steering is improving. Tonight he wore his new saddle for a spot of long reining and also went for a walk across the common. We had a real break through when we got back - I rode him around the yard and we suddenly had steering and breaks where previously there was none! Eureka!!!
May 21st 2011 - Florin Gets His First Saddle
The older horses were having their saddles checked today so Florin had the opportunity to meet the Saddle Doctors. His back is very flat at the moment as he hasn’t developed any withers yet - he’s still putting all his efforts into growing his croup ever higher! The saddlers came up trumps with a nice little synthetic with air panels and a changeable head plate. Once the extra,extra, extra wide was fitted it was looking good. I had a quick sit on it to check and the deal was done. They recommended a sticky numnah and professional choice girth to prevent it spinning around.
April 2011 - Lorry Training
Over the past few weeks we’ve been making ourselves take Florin out in the lorry for very short journeys and he’s getting calmer. He’s not helped by the older horses who go berserk whenever I take him away from them!
March 2011 - Annual Vaccinations
The vet came today to give annual vaccinations and had a look at Florin’s tummy which he has already rubbed raw. He suspects a reaction to a particular type of fly which is easily calmed with a cattle wormer injection so we’ll see how this works.
August 31st 2010 - Florin’s 2nd Show
Today Florin went to his second show. After the lorry accident last time out, I’d done a lot of work handling Florin both in and out of the lorry. I was lucky to have a driver on this occasion so that I was able to travel in the back and keep Florin company. He was much calmer like this and was also calmer walking around the show ground. He was good during the youngstock class and came a respectable fourth. I was really pleased with this as he was looking pretty tatty after suddenly getting sweet-itch and rubbing much of his mane out.
July 31st 2010 - Second Ride on Florin
Today I got straight on Florin and asked him to walk forwards with my legs.. And he did! He has clearly been thinking about things in the last week. I rode a circle on either rein and then asked him to halt and rein-back. I did all this in the yard area again with Memo eating hay next to us. I’m glad that I decided to do this and that I didn’t have anyone holding to him when I got on as he remained really calm and relaxed. He was only wearing a headcollar, with reins attached, and a saddlecloth to keep my seat clean!
July 26th 2010 - My First Ride on Florin
I decided to have my first ride in the yard area rather than taking Florin over to the sandschool. I lent over his back a couple of time before sitting upright and asking to move around in a circle in either direction. He was reluctant to move forwards when I used my legs but was happy to be tempted by a handful of hay. I dismounted and then repeated the same thing. Florin took everything in his stride but was clearly tired out by the experience as he collapsed in a power nap shortly afterwards!
June 5th 2010 - Florin’s Grown Again
We measured Florin today and he was 14hh at the front and 14.3hh at the back - he also put on weight and is now 420kg. I suspect this means that he is going to make 15hh if not more.
May 29th 2010 - Memo Returns and Loses His Shoes
Memo had his hind shoes removed today as Mum has decided to try him barefoot so that he can go back in with Soldier and Florin. Florin will be so pleased to have his playmate back; and Soldier will be relieved to share babysitting duties again.
May 25th 2010 - Florin’s First Show
Florin went to his first show today at Berkshire College of Agriculture and came 1st! He was very lively, screamed the whole way through and generally larked about, but somehow he came first against some other very nice looking youngstock. The journey home was not as successful as Florin decided to rear up and try and climb over the partitions. Fortunately I was able to get him down and home safely without injury but I suspect that I will have some re-training to do with him to ensure that he doesn’t do it again.
May 6th 2010 - Florin is 2 & has his first Lead Hack
Florin was 2 yesterday and with the weather being so nice today I thought it was time to take him round the woods for the first time being led from Soldier. They had a couple of little squabbles but settled down and behaved well. Soldier is never straightforward but can be good to lead from as he threatens to kick if Florin drops behind and to bite if he tries to get in front!
April 4th 2010 - Memo’s Banished
Florin was obviously being really annoying as Memo gave him a really good kick today. Sadly, I’ve decided to separate Memo so that he can’t do any more damage. Soldier can’t do him as much damage as he is unshod but Florin will really miss having Memo to play with and Memo will really hate being on his own.
February 7th 2010 - My First Sit on Florin
Over the last few weeks and with all the snow Florin hasn’t done much and consequently his boredom turned into destruction! So this weekend he got a double dose of work. I took him over to the sandschool today where he did a minute of loose schooling and even hopped over a tiny 1ft jump. I then had a quick sit on him - I didn’t even go for the normal careful crouching down and slowly sitting up. I just went for it and swung my leg straight over. As per, he didn’t even notice; I think that all the leaning over him that I have done has paid off.
February 6th 2010 - Florin Goes Traffic Training
Today we took Florin out in the lorry for the first time. He went to Woodcote for a walk around the village and saw lots of activity and traffic. We even went past the supermarket and through some roadworks. He was 100% with the traffic, cyclists and another horse going by. The first mile was at warp speed but on the second mile I had to drag him back up the hill to the lorry. Perfect!
December 12th November 2009 - Florin’s Freezemarked
Despite already being micro-chipped I decided to get Florin freezemarked for additional security. There’s been a lot of reports of attempted thefts and mane-plait tags. Florin was perfect and didn’t even notice that something was happening.


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