Back in the Saddle
It's been a while since I have ridden regularly, but I was recently sucked back in by my 9yo son. It's kind of like the old Greek sailors and the sirens. Those horses just won't let you go. :-P I primarily ride western, but have done some English. All of my riding now will be western or bareback, seeing as how some....person... stole my English saddle. :evil:
So I've got Smoky, the show horse. He was professionally trained in WP for a long time, then for a couple months in horsemanship, showmanship and trail. I've been the only one to work him in years, though. He's away for a couple months, so that leaves me with...
Tequila is my mom's trail riding horse that is also used for moving cattle and checking fence. In the past when I had ridden her, she drove me nuts because she doesn't KNOW anything. I mean, you can walk, trot, and lope (but not in the right lead), and I can put my relatively inexperienced 9yo on her and not have to worry. But I like having a horse that I can move any which way I want them to, and she can't. So she is going to be my project horse. If I get enough work done with her, I might use her as a backup show horse, or let my son show her. She is the only one in the pasture that he can walk out and put the halter on.
I've ridden Tequila for the last two days, and we worked on freeing up her shoulder, ribcage, and hip. We worked on softening and responsiveness to cues. (The first time I asked her to move her hip, she moved INTO my leg instead of AWAY from it.) We also worked on backing up. She is already ten times lighter in backing than she was when I stepped on on day 1, and she doesn't back in a circle anymore. :clap:
I introduced her to the vacuum today, and she LOVED it: I'm not sure why. She leaned into me, especially when I was going over her hip.
Okay, abrupt end. I'm off to bed.
Today's session with Tequila was short and sweet. There was a timing conflict in the barn, so we didn't do too much.
I don't remember if I mentioned this yesterday, but she tends to walk off while you're getting on, which drives me nuts. Today, she did not take one step either time I got on her. :D
I worked on freeing her up and doing transitions from halt to walk to trot in various combinations. I did more work with moving her hip/rib/shoulder, and stretching from nose to tail. She was sooooo much lighter today than she has been (I would say softer, but I won't until she does it consistently).
The first time I asked her to move her hip to the left today, which is the difficult direction for that, she started to move into my leg, but quickly changed her mind. I didn't have to change my cue at all.
I hope she keeps going like this. Wish us luck!
I went to call the horses today, but it wasn't necessary. They heard me open the gate and came running. I love it when that happens.
I longed her for a little while, more to the right than the left. I am getting her more responsive to verbal cues, as well as getting her to focus on me. She does so much better going left that it boggles my mind, and I'm not talking movement. Any cue I give is MUCH better received when I have her going to the left. Hopefully, this will change.
After longing, I hopped on her bareback. I found that she was more responsive to my cues, so I might make that a regular thing. She was a lot better about moving her hip today than she was even yesterday. (I don't know how much that had to do with her being bareback, but we'll find out.)
The back was not as good today as it was yesterday, not at first anyway. She got distracted a couple times, but once I got her attention, it was like she suddenly remembered what to do.
She still rocks at the ground tie, though. I love that about her. She was facing a big pile of alfalfa, and she didn't bat an eye. (Maybe I'm overly impressed, but I'm used to little piggies =)) She stayed focused on me as I walked away, walked around, checked my email... It didn't matter what I did, she just stood.
After I fed her, I turned her out and she loped off on the right lead. For about three strides. She decided to stop for the new lake in the pasture. (Sure, we needed some rain, but this is getting ridiculous :evil:) She daintily picked her way through the water and trotted off to play with Jack.
I am currently horseless! On the 20th, I got Tequila out and noticed she was sore again.
I am such a complete and total idiot :oops:. I thought that the way she was moving in back looked funny, but Mom didn't notice. (My family thinks I am a worrier, so they don't really listen much.) So, I started to clean her feet. I wanted to see if there was something in her feet, or if she had a bruise or one of the million other things they can do to their hooves. When I picked up the left rear, she was okay for about ten seconds, then she took it and slammed it down. Right on my foot. Idiot move number two of the day :oops:. I moved to her right front, just out of principle, but I decided that I wasn't going to mess with her until I had her looked at by my equine vet. I let her stand ground-tied for a minute, and I noticed that she was holding her head to the right. That cinched it for me. No more work until Doc looked her over.
So today, I hauled her up there. After a physical exam and x-rays, Doc discovered that she needs special shoes in front, and her hocks injected. I get to go back and get her Thursday.
So, long story short, next time I think one of my horses might be off, I'm gonna call the vet. Everybody kept telling me, "Oh, just leave her turned out for a while, she'll be fine." Yeah. Sure. Whatever. :roll:
I got to bring Tequila home today! :D The vet said she needs another week off, but she is allowed out on pasture, thank goodness. When I got her out of the trailer, it was obvious that she feels much better. She really wanted to go, but she was a good girl and didn't try to crowd or pull on me.
I turned her out with her buddies and she ran and bucked and played for about ten minutes. It's the first time I've seen her do that in months. Yay!
I told one of my friends how bored I'm going to be for the next week, and he said I could ride a recently gelded 4 yo of his dads that needs some work. I'm pretty good at dealing with the issues he has, so I might take him up on it. I'm going crazy!!!! Sometimes I forget how much I love to ride until I can't do it anymore.
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