It’s official. I cannot keep my horse sound! I am so frustrated and confused. She’s got shoes and pads on, she lives in bell boots, and I see her almost every day of the week and check on everything. What is it that isn’t working? My trainer is as frustrated as I am and we’ve actually decided to move her to a much closer turnout so that they can monitor her when I’m not around. It’s so stressful I hate not being able to make her better! Argh! I partially believe that the nasty shoe rip off from about 2 weeks ago is the culprit. Still annoying though! Fingers crossed that after she gets today off she’ll be feeling better!
I’ve found myself to be exceedingly lucky with the amount of quirks I’ve so far uncovered with O. She doesn’t have too many irrational fears (I once rode a mare who was afraid of yellow), and typically gives me a heads up when something is bothering her. Thank goodness.
However, just this past week I’ve discovered her new, and very sneaky bad habit. I’m sad to say I played a major part in starting this habit, and am now desperately trying to stop her from doing it. Just over a week ago, I had her tied to the edge of a stall for a quick fly spray session. During the course of my full-body hose down I accidentially sprayed her too close to her face, something I knew already that she wasn’t a fan of. Like any rational 1200lb animal she had a meltdown right smack dab in the middle of the stable aisle. It consisted of a series of head tossing before she literally planted her hindquarters in the dirt, sat down and threw her weight back thru the halter that was keeping her near my evil fly spraying. Of course the metal tie down creaked, but held, I was busy “whhooooaa”ing her and couldn’t get her untied due to all the pressure. So POP went the halter and she flopped over on her right side completely free of anything. I’m pretty sure she was more embarrassed than anything at that moment, and immediately turned looked at me. I grabbed a spare halter and snagged my escape artist before something else scary happened. After that she got a nice walk and really seemed totally unfazed by her recent ability to 1. sit 2. get her own halter off. Besides being worried about her I clocked this event up as a “oops-let’s not do that again moment”.
WRONG. After that day O has now done it twice more. Yes, that makes 3 halters we’ve gone thru in just about a week. Only the issue is now, she thinks it’s fun. The last one happened because she didn’t want her mane pulled. As soon as I turned my back to pull some hair from my comb she calmly lifted her head, pulled back, broke her halter and walked 3 or 4 steps away before proceeding to lick at the stall wall. The latest was when I was attempting to wrap her feet. Nothing scary or interesting happening, and this time I was looking right at her. And yes, she gave me a snort of victory that time. You could practically see the lightbulb. O has figured out how to get away from the things she doesn’t like- goody for me. This week I’m going to try a variety of techniques to discourage this type of behavior, but please feel free to send me other ideas too-I’m up for anything!
After standing so good for her farrier this morning O was done being messed with…see irritated mare picture. She just wanted to go back outside and eat. Fingers crossed she’ll be back in action tomorrow!
My second ride on my friends OTTB was as great as the first, she’s a such a sweetie! We did a quick but useful workout because it is disgustingly humid here. Neither the horse nor I am a huge fan of it! Urgh!
Perhaps O losing her shoes (yes, she apparently went swimming and suctioned the other one off yesterday), as much as it sucks, it did happened to happen during the week that I was exercising my friends OTTB grey mare while she is soaking up the sun on vacay. After riding mine SO MUCH lately, I was completely thrown off by how different this tall, lanky grey was. She was very forward in the bridle, but not rude. Plus her gaits are silky smooth, and so easy to sit. She will pull a bit going to the left (she was a racehorse-left is their favorite way to go), but she is easy to bring back under control. It was really just a blast to ride her this week, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the difference between the two of them. Ironically O and this cute grey are what I call ‘frienemies’ (friend-enemies); when it’s just the two of them they will call and whicker at each other-but put them out with others and you’ll see plenty of pinned ears and nasty faces from both of them! Such girls.
I started this blog after O had already been in some pretty intensive conditioning/retraining program for several months so I don’t have any pictures up of the first few weeks I had her, back when she was badly out of shape and jobless. I love to do random picture updates, to see what’s changing as we go down this path and I thought it’d be fun to share the “then” and “now”! I think it’s great to actually study the changes, since we are often too close to notice them firsthand.
Her change in personality is harder to document in pictures, but you can see that in the ‘now’ pictures her ears are forward and she seems much more interested in things. She is so much happier now, her feet are in so much better shape (thank you wonderful farrier), her belly is now more hunter chubby than out of work pudge, and that neck of hers is finally coming in strong! So proud of how far she’s come, and can’t wait to see how much further we can go!
Major training notes: She will stand at the mounting block (typically the first time). She no longer has a heart attack at the sight of a water hose. She tolerates horses passing her closely. I can touch her ears, and occassionally scratch them for her. She does not dangle her head below her chest (as if she were about to collapse) at each and every gait. Her canter stride is no longer so huge that we can get around the indoor ring in a matter of steps. She loves to jump and is SUPER careful just in case it might try to eat her mid-jump. People say she’s got “sass” at the trot, and compared to the incredible laziness we used to have, I’ll take it.
The past 7 months have been full of up and downs, and all kinds of craziness. We’ve got a long way to go still, but I’m so glad she’s a part of our family and that I had the guts to take a gamble on her last November!
And the good luck keeps going. O was feeling a little ouchie today after getting her shoe tacked back on later last night. No show for us today! I think we would’ve done a nice job today, but I guess it could’ve been a lot worse. I was disappointed but spent all morning cheering on my fellow riders. One of my closest friends (matron of honor at my wedding) took her mare and kicked butt. There’s another similar show in another month, so we are going to single that one.