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This sounds like just normal horse stuff. Most likely the lameness will pass, this bitter cold is just too much.

The important thing is that you like the horse. A horseman can put up with a lot of stuff if you really feel a connection to the horse.
 

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I hate to point this stuff out but his fronts are really long! Could be farrier delays because of the winter. Could be that as an arab show horse they leave them long to get more leg action - but if his backs are long too could cause tripping.

he is a cute horse though
 

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Discussion Starter · #244 ·
I hate to point this stuff out but his fronts are really long! Could be farrier delays because of the winter. Could be that as an arab show horse they leave them long to get more leg action - but if his backs are long too could cause tripping.

he is a cute horse though
In person I don't think his feet look too long. I know the owner mentioned a few weeks ago that she was going to get his feet done more often now that he was being ridden regularly again. He doesn't show anymore and was barely getting ridden until I started leasing. I'm not sure with Winter if the farrier's been out. I'll check the next time I'm there, but I think this was more of a leg issue than a foot issue. The owner is very attentive and takes excellent care of the horses from what I can tell so far. Strider doesn't even have any creaking or popping joints, he's in great flesh and has a beautiful coat. She said he's always been very sound--but he is getting older and it is Winter and he's a horse. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #245 ·
Riding once a week only is a bit of a pain. Horses are just what they are. They are huge, but delicate creatures. They go lame for various reasons, they colic with temperature changes, etc. So two weeks ago Strider was a bit lame on a rear leg/hip. He recovered well, but it did take 3-4 days for a full recovery. So I rode this past week and I got 20 or 30 minutes in--so I didn't feel too cheated, but he was having tummy issues this time. While saddling him, he pooped, but then lifted his tail like he was passing gas--and left it there for about 5 minutes. He finally put it down and acted normal. So I got on and he was very good for me again--he's picking up the trot almost right away now and the canter too--although that still sometimes requires two tries to really take off. So I always walk him for a few minutes, then trot for a few minutes before cantering--and then I alternate between all three after that until winding down with a couple minutes of trotting and then walking to cool out. While cantering, I happened to see his tail out of my better eye and I could just barely tell it was lifted again. I slowed him and he pooped, but kept the tail lifted for a couple minutes again and now he was not wanting to stay at a trot or canter and giving a little groan here and there. He tends to be a lazy horse, so I wasn't sure. We trotted a cantered a bit more and he was pretty willing, until he wasn't all of a sudden--he would just really act labored. I had asked his owner who was out doing chores to watch him for a minute and she thought he was ok. But then he got a little worse, so I decided to be done. She then told me that he had colic twice last year due to temp changes. And it had suddenly warmed up here about 20 degrees from one day to the next. I live in Wisconsin and this is typical. So, I just walked him out, which he seemed fine with, especially because we went outside and walked around--much more interesting than the arena--even though it's around the yard. We took some Christmas pictures for my calendar book which still isn't finished. I wanted snow for the background and it's going fast all of a sudden. Still have to do Oct, Nov Jan and Feb.

So the deal with only going once a week is that horses and have bad and good days and if my riding day is their "bad" day, I miss a whole week. Oh well, it's better than not going riding at all.

I also think I've decided to stay with this horse through the warmer weather. I've got a lot invested in him already. Going for a second lesson in a couple weeks. Will be nice to ride in the bigger arena. Not to sound like a broken record, but I'm really looking forward to getting out on some trails with this horse. I hope the owner really comes through with the offer to trailer the horses for trail rides. She said that last Fall and there wasn't even one trip. But she seems a little more motivated now? Hope so. But then I realized, my poor husband. What is he going to do the whole time? That's a bigger time commitment than me going to ride for an hour--where he can sti in the arena if he wants and talk to me while I'm riding. He is not in good shape to be doing long trail rides. He's in physical therapy for a hip issue so he's not even been on a horse for two years now. I'll have to talk to him about it.

Anyway, I may just go ride Missy once in a while, if the owner is cool with that. Since I can get off the property a little and even on the property there is the outdoor arena and the little cross country area to ride in. That is is Missy isn't lame, and it's not muddy b/c she tends to slip a lot.

Ok, I'm just droning on now. LOL Here's one pic from my "photo shoot". Turns out the owner is a professional photographer on the side--so she took the bulk of the pics and I don't have them yet. I didn't ask her, she just went and grabbed her camera. She likes doing it. She dresses her horses up too for holidays. :)
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Discussion Starter · #246 ·
Heading out to ride tomorrow and will finally be trying my rope halter sidepull with Strider, instead of the bridle and bit that he hates. As I've mentioned he's a beast to bridle and once he has the bit on, he just mouths and chews it the whole time we're riding. His owner has ridden him with just a halter--and he's done fine. So I asked if I could use my bitless arrangement with him. She was happy to say yes. I hope he truly is good for me with it. I suspect he might actually be better, as I can probably be a little heavy handed or too twitchy with the reins while I'm still trying to get comfortable with everything on this horse. And I tend to tense up, which makes me hold the reins too tight--or I "balance" on the reins while trotting or cantering and then he slows because he's getting mixed signals. He's very sensitive to the slightest pressure on the bit. If he doesn't obey it, in terms of stopping or trying to take off with me, I'll get off and put the bridle on. But fingers crossed. :l)
 
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Discussion Starter · #247 ·
Ahh, horses, creatures of ever changing moods and health. And humans, the same thing! Yesterday was my day to ride and right before we left, the owner messaged me to give me a heads up that the tree cutters were going to be there so it might be a busy day. She had been waiting for them to come since November to cut down a bunch of dead trees all over the farm (Emerald Ash Bore) so when they called and gave her less than 24hrs notice, she was ****ed, but had to accept. So, we got there and it was a freaking nightmare of noise. They were cutting down trees all around the arena and dropping branches on the roof and rubbing large branches and their truck against the sides of the metal arena building--as well as just having really loud equipment, chainsaws and trucks, etc.

I thought, well, they probably won't be here long--at least not right up against the building. We figured by the time I got on they'd be out of the area. So thank goodness Strider is a "been there done that" sort of horse and the noise wasn't too bad for him. He was pretty calm the whole time I was getting him ready. He was just a little excited, like usual, to see what was going out outside the big door. He's so curious. So, then I go to get on and the darn work crew just then started working REALLY close to the building and it sounded like the roof was going to cave in several times--and lots of creaking as smaller stuff hit and rubbed. Strider didn't like and neither did I. I'd flinch, he'd flinch and so on. No freak outs though--amazing! I walked and trotted and then all the noise died down for a bit so I thought they had moved off and were almost done. I was just revving up to get cantering and it all started up again on the other side of the building. Ugh. And it was much worse now. So we walked and did a little trotting in-between the worst of the noise. But I wouldn't canter. He wasn't freaking out, but I could not get him to stay near that side or corner with the noise and he did dance a bit a few times. So, we walked a lot--in small circles and back and forth, we stopped completely and stood there in the middle for several minutes at a time, thinking they would be done anytime. When they finally did move off a bit and I felt safer to continue, Strider was just done. I could NOT get him to canter to save my life.

I tried for 15 minutes to get him into a canter and it ended with him running me into a stall door and smashing and injuring my knee. He was back to acting like the first couple times I rode him. The owner came in to help and I did everything she said and could only get a stride or two of canter out of him--same as I'd been doing. So she got on. My knee was killing me anyway and I had to get off. She got on and got him to canter once around the arena, but she couldn't keep him going either. He was just asleep and bored and DONE. She said that's why she stopped showing him because he got so bored with arena riding he wouldn't perform. So she told me to turn him in tight circles, back him up and do lots of transitions to really wake up his mind and get him listening better. I did a little bit of that, but not enough--so at least I know I was on the right track.

I'm just sick of feeling like such a bad rider. The owner said she could see I was moving my inside leg a bit off of his body or back or whatever and I need to keep it still and with pressure from the second I ask for canter--as well as moving the outside leg back and off his shoulder at the same time, pushing my rein hand way forward, sitting back, heels down, but "lifting" him into the canter. I'm trying. I just turned 50. I have an autoimmune arthritis disease and fibroymalgia. I'm in physical therapy right now to get my body strong--in part to help me with my riding ability. I'm getting stronger and more in shape and it's great, but some days it's still not enough.

So, three weeks in a row now--the horse was lame, the horse had a belly ache and now we had noise and boredom problems and a minor injury to me. As I sit here typing with ice on my knee. I'm riding again on Tuesday and hoping for a better day. Willing horse AND sound horse--and silence! LOL :)

I also used my rope halter/sidepull and he did pretty good, although he did better when I just direct reined him. It's hard to tell if he was having trouble getting the neck rein cues as well with this or if he was just too distracted by the noise to pay attention. He looks good in it though!

All in all I was in the saddle for an hour and 15 minutes and I feel it today. :) Getting for my next lesson in just under two weeks. In the meantime, any suggestions anyone has about getting this horse to canter and helping me keep my heels down when I'm applying constant pressure--they keep popping up---is welcome. I wonder if my stirrups should be a little shorter. I might try that next ride and see if it feels secure. I also may just start direct reining--he listens a lot better that way.

I'm also looking for my own dressage saddle--a used one so I can start using that on him. The owner is going to keep her eye out too. Her saddle is too small for me.
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Discussion Starter · #248 ·
More pics. The owner just got them to me. Here are some of my "Christmas" shots from two weeks ago. LOL



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Discussion Starter · #249 ·
Well, big news for me--I bought my first saddle! The first one I can call my very own. It's a dressage or all purpose English saddle. Very well used . I don't have stirrups, leathers or a cinch yet and I don't even have the saddle yet--it's getting shipped. But I am hoping I might get it this week. I am crossing fingers that it will fit my lease horse--the owner encouraged me and looked at the pictures and said it looked good, so I'm hopeful.
I'm a little nervous (again) about getting back into an English saddle--with this horse. He has that huge leap into the canter and sometimes I still find myself holding the horn to start the canter. We are also in a very small arena doing tight turns the whole time we trot and canter--so I need to have good balance and "stick" well to the saddle. The Western saddle makes that easy. But it's also a crutch, so we'll see how I do. I have some stirrups picked out to purchase that are supposed to help older riders and others with knee problems, etc to reduce pain on knees and hips. But I want to get the saddle first and bring it to the barn before I purchase stuff for it. Hopefully the owner has stirrups I can use and she has cinches coming out of her ears--so I may just buy one from her eventually.
I have another lesson in a couple weeks and I want to take that in the English saddle, as the instructor is an English and jumping instructor. Not sure why the owner picked her for lessons for me while I've been riding fully Western, but she likes her I guess.
Anyway, using the bitless bridle makes neck reining a bit more difficult on Strider, so I've been direct reining anyway the last two rides. Speaking of rides, Saturday was the first full day I was there without the owner at all. She got called in to work before we got there. Strider was actually very good for me--even though I was having a bad day. He picked up the trot and canter with little effort and we had a pretty good ride. There were some wets spots in the arena and he slipped once and that got my anxiety level up even higher and he was totally picking up on that. He was a tiny bit spooky, for him. We rode out of the arena to walk outside for a bit and he saw something and spooked hard--but just an all four foot wide plant. Not so bad. He was twitchy the rest of the time so I ended up just getting off. I had ridden for about 45 minutes, so it was fine. I could have ridden a little more, but I didn't want to push it since both of us were a little nervous. All in all it was a good day.
It's been so warm here--close to 60 and over some days. And then today I sit here typing while it snows outside. LOL Oh well, at least we are not in the part of the country that got seriously dumped on. I don't think we'll even have to shovel.
 

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Awww, love the Christmas photos! :D Too cute! And congrats on the new saddle. Just take your time, at the walk, to get used to the English saddle. It won't take you long!
 

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Discussion Starter · #251 ·
Awww, love the Christmas photos! :D Too cute! And congrats on the new saddle. Just take your time, at the walk, to get used to the English saddle. It won't take you long!
Yea, thanks! I've been riding English for a year and a half and it's only the last 3 months I've been going Western again like in the old days. I am looking forward to the freedom of movement in the English saddle--being able to move my legs more--but then, they are also less secure. LOL I felt a little claustrophobic in the saddle I've been riding in, when I first stated. Now I'm used to that again. It will be god to switch back and forth to keep all part of my body and balance sharp. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #252 ·
My saddle is here!! I am SO glad I got such a good deal on this and chose the cheaper of the two I was looking at. Because once I bought stirrups and leathers I was at the price of the more expensive saddle and I haven't bought a cinch or pad yet. I may wait on those, as Strider's owner has cinches and plenty of pads I can use. If I go to ride Missy again sometime, same thing--they have cinches and pads. So far I've spent $194.00. If I get my own cinch the one I've got picked out will cost $35. Since I wanted to stay under $200 I think I'm doing pretty good. :)

I don't know if the stirrups and leathers will be here before my next ride so I may have to STILL be patient about trying the saddle out. Strider's owner may have stirrups I could use, but she said she'd have to dig to try and find some.

I am so far very pleased with the saddle. It's in super shape! The previous owner was just about my body size--height and weight AND age, LOL and she said she put hundreds of miles on it on trails mostly. There is very little scuffing--just along the cantle rim. Looks like it will be pretty comfortable. Now just hoping it fits Strider well and I truly feel comfortable riding in it.

I rode on Sunday and it was a very busy day at that little farm. Two of the three boarders were there riding and another person who is a friend or something came ot with her kids to ride another horse. Everyone was staggered for the most part though, so we weren't too much in each other's way and no one else used the arena, at least not until after I was done. And Strider had a BIG spook freak out that sort of shattered my confidence. He did one smaller one--which only last a couple sseconds and he only went a few feet. Then last he had a huge one where we ended up on the other side of the arena and he came really close to crashing headfirst into a stall door. And then he was all dancing and fidgety for a few minutes. I got him calmed down, sort of. He is very attuned to the rider and I see him putting his ears back to listen for me whenever anything strange is happening. If I talk to him, then he seems to think everything is ok. It's very nice to ride a horse like that again. So I talked to him a lot after the spook, didn't get (or at least didn't stay mad at him LOL) and I took a bunch of deap, calming breaths and he seemed ok. We rode on and then a few minutes later I felt him tense and he was just about to fly off the handle again, but I caught it before it happened. So I took him outside, thinking maybe all the noise and activity outside would be better if he could just see it and be a part of it. He is not normally a spooky horse. The owner has had him at WIdl West shows where they shoot of cannons, as well as guns.
So we went outside and he was just skittish. He didn't want to go down the little tree-lined lane and he usually loves it over there. So I just gave up and got off and walked him around for about 10 minutes, then did some groundwork in the arena and took him off the lead rope to see if he'd follow me around and he did! He was a champ at it! He stopped with me, turned with me every time and he even walked past the open hay without stopping to eat--all with no lead rope.

The owner then came home with her fancy new Western saddle and she worked with him a bit on the lungeline and then put the new saddle on and rode him a bit and then let me try it out. He was find for the couple minutes I was on him then. And he didn't embarrass me by refusing to trot or move out. LOL He did well. :)
So then I was all worried that it was ME. I have anxiety and for the last couple days before the ride, I had this "pit of fear" in my belly. It's the physical sensation of anxiety that I get, but I wasn't particularly worried about anything specific. I've also been having worse menopause symptoms and I remembered that I had this several months ago--where this physical "ache" where I normally feel my fear just sat there and wouldn't go away for days. So putting two and two together--I realized this was hormonal. I've been "done" for 2.5 years. My last period was Christmas 2018. And yet I STILL have all these symptoms. They have been greatly reduced since I reached the full menopause mark of two years, but now I seem to be having a "flare-up". Oh joy. Am I going to be one of those post-menopausal women with symptoms the rest of my life? And I just turned 50! It's all happening so early.
Anyway, I got all worried that I'm never going be able to trust a horse if they are cueing off of my anxieties. But I continue to work on it and since some of it is hormonal, I know it won't be happening all the time. And that "pit" feeling finally went away yesterday after I did some Shamanic work on myself. I've been neglecting my shamanic practices lately and I guess all this was a wake-up call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #253 ·
Well, interesting news. Strider's owner told me yesterday that there is a teenager who wants to show him in 4-H over the Summer. I don't know how this came about, but it's probably happening. THere is another girl that rides him once a week--I think she started out taking lessons from the owner and then recently transitioned to riding on her own. So, now he will have 3 riders, each one day per week. The owner doesn't ride him anymore, except for a few minutes here or there to check something on him.

And in order for this other girl to train the owner is planning to board Strider at a facility in a nearby town. She is asking us if this is ok, and if it's not, it won't happen. She's being very respectful. This is a barn where she used to work and knows the owners well and she trusts them. They have a HUGE indoor arena, big enough for actual shows and an outdoor arena just as big, plus several miles of gorgeous trails (at least from the pictures). And it's 20 minutes closer to home for me. If everyone agrees he will be there starting sometime in April and through the Summer. And I will still be able to ride with the owner on the State trails--she will just pick me and Strider up at the boarding facility. All of his tack will be there too--so I'll still have access to his Western gear for trail riding and any English gear I need when I want to use my own saddle --more for arena work. They also have Western and English riding instructors I think. Oh, and Strider has lived here before--probably when the owner worked there, before she bought her farm.

I freaked out a bit when I first got the message. This was sounding a little too close to what happened with D, the Icelandic. I felt hurt, betrayed, yada yada. But after I asked a couple questions I realized it was fine and would actually be a big upgrade! It will cost me $20 more per month, but that's not a big deal. I'll be getting a lot for that extra $20. I feel a little weird being one of 3 leasers on a horse. Is this normal? This is what precipitated the end of my lease with the Icelandic,but that was a very different situation. The owner never saw the horse. She was at a really bad boarding facility--as far as care and feeding go and the horse was lame half the time , had terrible feet problems and had behavior problems possibly/probably from ulcers. And two of the three leasers would have been total beginner riders who didn't have a clue how to take care of a horse.

In Strider's case, he has been living on his owner's property and VERY well taken care of and well treated. He's in excellent shape and is a good boy AND all three of us are at least competent riders. This feels different and less "using" the horse. He's only going to be ridden 3 days per week and maybe one extra day on weeks there are shows, not sure about that. I honestly felt that the last horse I was riding--Missy, was starting to get overworked. The whole family rode her, they used her for lessons, when the kids had friends over they rode her, relatives rode her and then me. Maybe that was just a coincidence for last Fall and it's not the norm. I don't know. But she seemed pretty tired out by the time I stopped riding her. Whereas Strider is thriving on the exercise, has lost his "pasture belly" and has a lot more energy.

I guess until I can ride more difficult horses, or horses that need more advanced riders, I may have to put up with being "one of many" on these popular horses.

Fairly excited about this new move happening. I have so been wanting to stretch my legs with Strider and to have trails as well as huge arenas is a dream come true. My husband is again a little nervous about me doing trails alone, but we have the walkie talkies that work at least two miles apart and I may find someone to ride with at the new barn. And Strider is normally a really good boy, so I'm not overly worried. He loves to get out of the arena and see the world.
 

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This sounds like an ideal situation. I am not sure if I remember how old Stryder is but 3 days a week doesn't seem too unreasonable. You may find though that the girl wanting to show him may want to ride more than once per week. Certainly that is something that can be addressed if/when it happens
 

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Discussion Starter · #255 ·
This sounds like an ideal situation. I am not sure if I remember how old Stryder is but 3 days a week doesn't seem too unreasonable. You may find though that the girl wanting to show him may want to ride more than once per week. Certainly that is something that can be addressed if/when it happens
Yea, I thought so too, but the owner says no, just one day per week. 4-H is pretty laid back, it's youth only and Strider has years of experience in the show circuit, in both dressage and Western Pleasure so I guess he won't need a lot of training time. And the girl is already a talented rider according to the owner. Frankly, I'm just more than a little jealous. i would have KILLED to be that teenager. I was working at a large horse facility as a teenager and rode 2-3 times per week, but just trails and there was no hope of ever showing.
NOW, I have the bug a bit--but only a little. I have visions of entering some sort of competition myself someday, but I don't know what shows they have for mature adults. Everything in WI seems to be either for youth or professional riders with their own horses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #258 ·
So, first things first, I found out that the girl who wants to show Strider is now looking at another horse before she makes a final decision. I guess there might be some issues with her current trainer working with her at boarding barn--extra costs to bring in an outside instructor. So there is only a 50% chance now that he'll go to that great place.
in better news, I was able to ride in my new saddle on Tuesday!
I was having a bad day and I felt really dumb a few times. And it turns out what I have is an all-purpose saddle, not a dressage saddle. So that created some issues for me. There's very little knee roll and the back is not deep and wide like a dressage saddle. My but sticks out the sides more than I'm used to and Strider's owner said I need to have more of a hunt seat in this saddle, so shorter stirrups. I felt like a jockey!! And she said once i'm used to the saddle my stirrups should go up another notch. I'm not sure I agree, after looking at some hunt seat equitation shows on youtube. Anyone have any feedback on that after seeing pics and videos?

As for videos, I am not posting these on FB or anything b/c I'm embarrassed at how I look. But hoping I will get better. The posting trot in this saddle felt really good! And with my new flex stirrups I had no knee pain--which was awesome. I trotted a LOT that day since I was too scared to canter in that wisp of a saddle. LOL Especially in those tight little circles I have to canter in. Maybe if it dries up a bit for the next time, I can find a little bit more room to get into a canter outside. Not sure. I was also riding Strider in his English show bridle--which has a harsher bit, so he was pretty unhappy. He was well behaved, except for mounting. He normally stands still as a rock while I mount. That day he was antsy on the ground and for mounting and I almost ended up on my back in teh dirt as I fell off with the first attempt to mount with my leg just starting to swing over. There's nothing to hold on to on the saddle and I only have a typical mounting block--short, not a platform, so I was having some trouble hauling myself up and then he walked off. Ugh. Second try I got on fine. Actually I was giving myself such thrust the second time, I almost went off the other side--or at least it felt like it. i'm used to vaulting myself over that large Western saddle I normally ride in. LOL Here are some pics. I guess I still need to go put the videos on youtube and then insert a link here. Thought maybe I could directly upload them from my computer as a saved file
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Discussion Starter · #259 ·
Ok, here's the videos. Hopefully this works. :) It's one direction and then the other.


 

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Discussion Starter · #260 ·
Oh, he was also not spooky at all on Tuesday, even though it was terribly windy and loud and everything was creaking. So last week must have been a fluke, and NOT just my nerves feeding into him, because I was even more nervous on this day. :)
 
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