The North Experience - Page 35 - The Horse Forum
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post #341 of 498 Old 01-06-2019, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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What an amazing weekend! I'm talking clear blue skies, blinding sunshine, and highs in the mid 60's. It couldn't have been more perfect for riding.

Saturday I rode with Linda's daughter again in our pasture. North was being a bit of a toddler and difficult. Not wanting to be forward, not bending, and just being completely uncooperative. So I suggested we take them on a short hack first. We hacked them on the outside perimeter of the barn and by the time we got back to our pasture, we was loose, relaxed, and bending again. We did a good 20 minute ride and I just basked in all the sunshine. Lol.

Sunday we decided to take the babies to the arena in the new trailer. Despite the craziness and what happened the other day, the mare and North both were fairly easy to load and unload. One of the barn friends, Alex, came with us to help the 11yr old school her mare and start teaching her bend. She's young, but teaches beginner kids. I think the more time we spend riding together, the more her mom is realizing that North is much farther along than their horse, and now wants to step up their training. I told her it's going to be difficult unless she gets someone to start riding their mare and teaching her so that they can then teach her daughter. She's just too young and tiny to understand feel and have the strength to get the horse to move off her seat and legs.

Anyhow, as soon as we got the horses unloaded, we walked them around to get them settled with being there. Again, the mare could not have cared less about being in a new place, but North was a little uneasy and nervous. We walked them through the arena and out the other side and before I knew it, North had dropped and started rolling! The mare saw what he was doing and immediately followed suit! They were both covered in dirt and mud before we even rode! Lol. It was too cute and funny to even be mad about it.

Our ride was fantastic. North is just so much easier to school in an arena setting. With even footing and no distractions, he is just so much more steady and easy to work with. I could not have been more pleased with our ride. I then asked Alex if she'd be interested in cantering North for me. She does eventing and is used to going fast. Lol. She's never ridden North before and said she hoped she wouldn't get bucked off. I assured her it wouldn't happen. He didn't mind cantering, he just wasn't very balanced yet, so off they went.
She cantered him both directions in 2pt and it was great. Towards the end, it was more canter than gallop, and she was even able to sit a few strides. It was so great schooling them in there that we're going to try and go more often.

Below are pics and video from both days. Like I said, it was a really great weekend.



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"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
- Maya Angelou

Last edited by Tihannah; 01-06-2019 at 09:24 PM.
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post #342 of 498 Old 01-07-2019, 10:45 AM
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what great pics! North is just so handsome!
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post #343 of 498 Old 01-07-2019, 10:50 AM
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That sounds like an amazing weekend!! I'm so glad you got to get out & go to the arena. It sounds like North settled in just fine considering he rolled. LOL! What a silly boy. Love the pictures & videos! You guys look great. Love the stretching!

I love the one of you just taking in all the sunshine!

Being in an arena setting is a lot better. You have more control & it just makes things easier, less distraction. I hope you guys can go more often! I love that it's an indoor too - if it rains, you can still ride!

Aww, his canter looks good, unbalanced yes but that's ok!! Promise's is the same way. Baby stuff! It'll get better in time!!

So happy you had such a nice weekend!! <3
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post #344 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add a couple things!

I realize in our stretching video that he's a bit on the forehand and not forward enough, but I was okay with that because
1. He's a baby
2. He was reaching for the bit
Every positive step is a step in the right direction. We will continue to build on it.

That girl came out to ride Forrest on Sunday. She loves him and wants to keep riding him, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to let her down. She handles him fairly well. Does not get in his mouth or try to force him to do anything. They spent most of the ride at the walk. But watching Forrest made me sad. He simply hates being ridden. Even when nothing is asked of him except to walk. He still fights you almost every stride and he couldn't wait to get her off. In fact, when we went to get him from the pasture and he realized it wasn't feeding time, he tried to run off. He's NEVER run from me.

On top of that, he just doesn't look great. He's lost so much muscle and top line from not being ridden. His weight has stayed good, but he still looks a shell of his former self. He's finished his EPM treatment, but frankly, I just haven't seen a big change, except that he looks like he's aged 10 years since he left me in July. Something is definitely still wrong with him physically (and mentally likely) and I just can't afford to figure it out.

When I brought him back, I had him on the oil supplement that I love, but it's gone up in price and its just too expensive to keep both horses on it. I took both of them off it for awhile, but just recently started North back on it. At this point, it would take A LOT of work and supplements and time to get him where he was 6 months ago, and he still wouldn't be rideable. And he doesn't want to be ridden or worked. Period. So how do I bring him back?

So right now, I'm at a serious crossroads on what to do. Board and care for 2 horses is not easy. The vet is coming this week to do Coggins for North and I'm going to have him take a look at Forrest and assess his overall health.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
- Maya Angelou
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post #345 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 09:27 AM
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EXACTLY. Promise is the same way. She's just starting to stretch down into the contact. It's a step in the right direction. They're BABIES! They are learning how to use their bodies. Why rush things? I agree with you 100%. :) No need to rush them.

Oh man about Forrest. I wish he didn't feel that way, because it sounds like that girl would be a good candidate for him. Sigh, poor guy. I know that's hard for you to see him like that. I hope the vet can give you some answers or point you in the right direction. :( I wish there was a retirement place that could take him in, but I know it's hard to trust people and hard to find places like that. Crossing my fingers things get figured out, I know it's not easy caring for one horse, let alone TWO!

Ride more, worry less.
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post #346 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 10:52 AM
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Biggest piece of advice for you right now....any decisions about Forrest, take them with your vet, maybe your family, and your head. Everyone reading probably has their own ideal situation, but not one of us actually knows Forrest, and what it costing you financially and emotionally to support him. Make you decions, and know that we all have great sympathy for the position you and he are in.

As to North, I totally get it, slow and steady wins the game.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #347 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 11:21 AM
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I agree about Forrest. You have done so much for this horse, you have made sacrifices and done everything right. But sometimes the damage is done. And retirement places and pasture homes all come with their own scary possibilities.

We are here for you and will support any and all decisions you make.
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post #348 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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@Golden Horse , @carshon , and of course @PoptartShop THANK YOU for the support. I really appreciate all of your kind words.

After I posted that this morning, the girl who rode him sent me a text, and the realization hit me once again. She asked if she could take him on a 3 day trail ride out of town this weekend with some friends. :-/

And this is why I'm afraid to try and place him with anyone. He is in NO condition to go on an hours long trail ride for 3 days and she should have been able to see and feel that. And this is what would happen if I tried to place him with someone. They would try to force him to be a riding horse and do things he's not capable of doing and frankly doesn't want to do. And when they couldn't get their way with him, he would be mistreated, abandoned, or abused. I just can't live with that. I can't.

I told her he is not ready for that, that the vet is coming out to look at him this week, and until I speak to him, I can't let her continue to ride him.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
- Maya Angelou
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post #349 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 01:05 PM
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I don't blame you at all. The 3 day trail ride would be torture for him. NO way.
How did she not see that?! Or maybe she did but doesn't care. Ugh. People suck. A 3-day trail ride is a LOT, especially for him! She's nuts.

Yeah, definitely don't let her ride him until he sees the vet and you get some answers or direction. And if she gets upset, oh well. She should've known better than to even ask that!
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post #350 of 498 Old 01-08-2019, 02:04 PM
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I'm really sorry to hear about Forrest, as others have said you have gone through a lot to restore him to health. With EPM I think light work is really important to keep them fit, so they dont waste away and lose coordination but it really depends on the horse and the situation. When I did rehab, I saw improvement in the EPM horses after treatment. It took time to gain the musculature and coordination but when they did their quality of life improved imo because they could control their hind end and move in a free way. But they also weren't senior horses, even though they had had advanced EPM before treatment. The body of an older horse just isnt the same, they dont recover the same way. Some do but it's really hit and miss. I hope the vet has some ideas or can give you some good thoughts. I wonder if it's possible to start just basic things on the ground or doing trail type exercises with polls and turns on the forehand and turns on the haunches and some laterals steps. They're not to pressure him, the point is the mind-body connection of the laterals work. Maybe even just on the ground and maybe adding some games like having him seek objects or with the rope halter when you come in front of him that he turns to you and keeps his eyes on you and he moves where you point. Doesnt have to be taxing can all be at the walk, just something for the mind-body connection. He sounds depressed to me maybe he's ready for the next step? I dont know but hope your vet can help.

Maybe the girl is just young and not perceptive? Most people dont particularly understand conditioning or horses and if she's young she might just not understand he can do a 3 day trip. Doesnt mean you should sign him over her to her but I think people people mean well in general, they're just not always aware. People are complicated and when I read something or hear something, I try to understand from their perspective to be fair and objective. Doesnt mean you trust people or have higher expectations of them, just a basic understanding. I agree. Most people want what they want and they dont care about the condition the horse is left in and they dont mind bullying or pushing a horse past breaking point. A lot of times I think people are just clueless and misguided, sometimes just mean but it doesnt sound like she is. Maybe just inexperienced? Special needs horses often dont fare well because most people cant afford or take care of them properly. I think there is an emotional component that most riders and trainers are simply clueless on.

Glad North is doing so well, I can tell a huge difference in how you are when working with him vs the others. You seem so much happier, more self assured and confident. You're doing a really nice job, he's a cute kid. I think with babies a lot of the time it's the physical and mental maturity you're working with that takes more time. Living, riding and exposure is all new to them and they're still growing, so you cant really push them. Especially depending on the phase of growth and mental/emotional maturity theyre in. Just happy and easy but still clear parameters. Dont really have to worry about collection yet, small increases of pressure or expectation but not too much. Just can you keep rhythm, follow my position, do shallow loops, can you do a bit bigger or smaller trot, forward in the walk and regular in the canter, few lateral steps like shoulder fore, haunches fore and leg yield. Happy and fun ABCs kindergarten for horses
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