going the distance - my endurance adventures - Page 203 - The Horse Forum
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post #2021 of 2360 Old 05-07-2019, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
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I want to thank everyone for their support - I am still struggling somewhat with the decision, as I feel like a failure. Silly I know, but I guess the need for perfection was too well-drilled into me as a child (sound familiar @SueC ?). My brain knows that is the right choice, but my heart doesn't like it much..

Yesterday, I had planned to ride both boys, as their post-ride rest period is over. I couldn't get a super early start, as it's spring turkey season and I wasn't sure if anybody would be out hunting. I impatiently waited until 9:30, then headed out to get George.

And found this:

Luckily George is still shedding like mad, so he actually cleaned up fairly easily.

Because the ground is a mess again (we got an inch of rain Sunday that we sure didn't need), I planned to stick to roads. We started out going up and down the Sugarloaf. Then, we did the out and back on the neighbor's driveway.

Next was across the farm and up the Tomhicken. I was not happy to find a couple new trees down. While they were all crossable, they were a PITA as they kept interrupting the rhythm of our climbing. The washouts weren't any worse at least, though no lack of rocks.

We just went up to the top and then around through the development and back down. As we started for home, the sun came out and the temp shot up.

9.67 miles, 1760 feet of climb, 5.2 mph average pace, 76F real feel

I finished with George and turned him out into the third paddock, which we have had closed off to let the grass grow. He was so excited by the tall grass, he didn't even roll.

I went out to get Phin and was pleased when he actually stood and let me come right up to him. He was not any cleaner than George was, but is also shedding so cleaned up ok. I was just about to start tacking him when I got a message from our overnight guest: she was coming 3 hours earlier than expected! That meant I didn't have time to ride Phin. Ugh.

Instead, I turned him out with George to eat the grass. Probably the best thing that could have happened in Phin's opinion.

Today, I got our overnight guest on the road and then went out to grab Phin. I expected him to not want to be caught, but I was pleasantly surprised that he only walked 2 steps before giving up. It was already quite warm when we headed out to cover the same route I did with George.

I was very pleased that Phin was much more relaxed than I expected him to be after 2 weeks off. I even rode him down the short piece of public road as it was clear of traffic when we arrived. He got a little silly when the neighbor's dog started barking as we passed, but climbing up the Sugarloaf soon leveled him out. Heading down the backside, we must have jumped 2 dozen deer total and he just flicked an ear and kept on trotting.

When we got to the neighbor's driveway, he got a bit cranked up. So instead of turning around in the normal place, we kept going a bit to the next driveway, where he settled. We then turned around to head back. We passed the fish pond and he barely spared it a glance.

We went up the back side of the Sugarloaf and then down across the farm, where we found Bruce mowing.

Our climb up the Tomhicken was uneventful, but it was trash day so that made going around the housing development a bit wiggly. Overall, Phin did really well, especially as at one spot an excavator was digging on the opposite sides of Always Suspicious Trash Bags. By the time we got back to the farm, the remains of the logging operation barely got a glance.

10.11 miles, 1862 feet of climb, 5.3 mph average pace, 81F real feel

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
phantomhorse13 is offline  
post #2022 of 2360 Old 05-07-2019, 10:21 PM
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What a pretty ride, well rides!! I am jealous of your temperatures too.

I so completely understand your feelings about Raven. Truly, to the marrow of my bones do I get it. The day I decided I was done with Keno I sat and cried for two hours before riding him. Then I cried while I was on him too.

It still gets to me now. Am I going to fail again with Cash? It feels like such a blow to my pride. I put everything I had for six months into making myself get through so much on that horse. It wasnít fun almost ever.

A huge part of me even realized that if I could get through his issues I would have an extremely competitive animal, and so it was even a bigger knock down. However it was dangerous. It was like my pride made me step back on in an almost suicidal need to prove myself.

Six months of going through the scariest crap I had on a horse, and winning most battles, and still it only brought me lower. I wasnít finding whatever it was I was looking for keeping going. I cannot explain how big my need was to be successful with him, without laying myself out there completely.

The day my friend asked me that question I realized I needed to let go. It didnít make it easier. It was however the right move. I wish Iíd never met the horse, but at the same time he was a lesson I needed to learn. I didnít want to learn it, and I still donít want to, but I think maybe I needed to.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2023 of 2360 Old 05-07-2019, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southeast
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Originally Posted by phantomhorse13 View Post
His original owner gets the right of first refusal.. but if he doesn't go back there, you are welcome to him. Then you can have all the months with him you want.
Much as I would love to own such a gorgeous horse, I would have to hire someone to ride him for me...are you available?

I also support your decision, but it does make me sad. Raven just seemed like such a sweet horse in the pictures. I hope he can find a home where he is able to do whatever suits him best.

You have to do what is right for you, even when it is hard
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post #2024 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by phantomhorse13 View Post
I want to thank everyone for their support - I am still struggling somewhat with the decision, as I feel like a failure. Silly I know, but I guess the need for perfection was too well-drilled into me as a child (sound familiar @SueC ?). My brain knows that is the right choice, but my heart doesn't like it much..
You. Are. Not. A. Failure. Think of it this way instead. You helped Raven find a discipline he ISN'T ok with, and that's ok. Not every horse can make an endurance horse just like not every horse is ok being in an arena in showing. Remember, @evilamc has a horse that HATES arenas but is FANTASTIC on trails. She just doesn't make him do arena work. Continuing to try with Raven to mold him into an endurance would end with you both frustrated and feeling low. I wanted with all my heart for him to work for you, but at the same time you shouldn't be coming home frustrated after trying to just do a short ride with him. The more I thought about it, the more I feel this is the right choice. He's miserable going past things you've regularly led him past. What happens at a ride? When he won't have seen the trail? It could end in one or both of you getting seriously injured, and I would never want that for you.

So again. You are NOT a failure. You just helped Raven find himself a little more on the path of discovering what he's meant for.
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post #2025 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 09:43 AM
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I don't know how you do it with those gray horses! But they sure clean up pretty.

I like what @Knave wrote...I have a good friend who is an excellent rider. She was trying to stick it out with a very difficult horse, and during that time told me she was having feelings about maybe not being as interested in horses and riding anymore. I remember telling her that it was wrong to feel like she had to succeed with a horse that was meanwhile taking away all the joy she had and her passion for horses. When my friend gave the horse to her mother, it was like those two were meant for each other. So it turned out she was actually depriving herself, the horse, and her mother all from having a great time!

To me it is one of the most unselfish things you can do, to let a horse have a situation they enjoy rather than forcing them to continue with something neither of you are enjoying because your ego says you can't fail. How can a horse learn to enjoy his job if both horse and rider are not having fun? It's fine short term, while everyone is starting out, but after six months things should be starting to really click. I agree with @Tazzie , you've spent some time helping Raven along his journey.
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post #2026 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 10:49 AM
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I want to add my support here. I too am sad that Raven will need to find another owner - BUT not every horse is meant to do endurance, and maybe if arena work would give him comfort that would be a plus. I think you tried, looked at saddle and bitting options and really worked hard to make sure no outside influences were making him reactive. Some horses just are more reactive. We lucked out with Belle - she can still be a little reactive but she really has learned to trust her rider.

You are a great owner and rider and there is no need to feel bad
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post #2027 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 6,597
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Thank you all for your kind words - they mean a lot.

I had intended to ride both boys today, but Mia was not right when I got up. She was very spacey and barely able to walk. Her blood glucose was a touch high but not crazy (not a surprise since she was due to eat and get her insulin), but she had a significant fever. Knowing we just had a overnight guest, I immediately worried she was having a pancreatitis flare after having eaten something she shouldn't have (not that the guest would have fed her intentionally, but silly things like a dropped piece of snack or not-quite finished feed pan turned upside down just aren't things normal people think about).

I spent the hours between horse feeding (4 am) and the vet opening (9 am) trying to contain my raging imagination with little success. By the time the vet opened I was just about beside myself, expecting the worst. Mia was no better when we went in, but her bloodwork showed no issues with any internal organs (well, no new issues.. her liver values are always slightly elevated now) - just an elevated white cell count. So fingers and toes crossed its just a random infection and that she can recover. She started on baytril (antibiotic) and got a shot of cerenia (anti-nausea med) and I gave her some SQ fluids when we got home. She's resting now and I am trying not to go in and pester her every 5 minutes..

I keep telling myself I should be riding, but I am just not in the right mental place to do it. Maybe later when I don't feel like I am about to vibrate out of my own skin. All jingles, vibes and/or prayers for Mia are much appreciated!!

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2028 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 01:41 PM
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Jingles for Mia coming your way!
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post #2029 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Prayers for Mia quick and complete recovery.

I always worry about her when I don't see pictures of her often.
AnitaAnne is offline  
post #2030 of 2360 Old 05-08-2019, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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Feel better Mia!

Our older pup, Delia, has also had a rough week. Last Thursday night, she had explosive diarrhea all over, which continued every 3 hours through Monday. Took her to the vet Monday, working through diagnostics now. Started on antibiotics, which seemed to make her feel tired but a little more comfortable in her stomach initially. But last night she threw up all her dinner and is back to diarrhea this morning She's nearly 13, so we are sort of braced for not great news, but want her to be comfortable regardless of the outcome.

All that to say, I can sympathize with the distraction of a sick dog and the hope that things go in the right direction!!
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