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Discussion Starter · #281 ·
Sigh, not a good ride today. Had to skip last week due to illness. I was so bummed. We actually had to turn the car around partway there b/c I was getting so sick. Long story. Anyway, So today was the day. It rained all Monday night and then was very cloudy and humid all day yesterday. Today was gorgeous, but their riding area was still slick and soft in spots. So I was being careful. And of course, Missy was not feeling well today. She was quite stiff. I have started to notice she isn't that flexible in general, compared to Strider or even other horses I've ridden. But today was stiffer than normal. She also had a lot of gas--I mean a lot. And then after cantering for not quite one circle around the arena (more on that in a minute) she slowed on her own and came to a total stop and coughed and coughed so hard for a few seconds I thought she might collapse under me! But then she got done and all was fine. ?? The arena was not dusty, since we had all that rain, so maybe it's allergies? Or she is starting to get heaves--although she has no other symptoms at the moment.

So, as far as her stiffness--I realized she cannot bend. For instance at the canter, she can't really make the corner or stay along the edge well--she moves her whole body to turn, like a person who had their neck vertebrae fused. I don't know if this is new or a worsening or how she has always been. I didn't do much arena work with her before or "drills". Her trot was all over the place too--she just couldn't hold a steady pace at all. She kept wanting to go faster and faster, so I was trying to hold her back to a nice jog and it was choppy as heck, so I could never settle into my posting well.
The weird thing was, she had a lot of energy. She kept wanting to trot instead of walk and would constantly accelerate (or try to). But then when it came to cantering, she seemed to want to, but then would slow pretty quickly. She was having one od those days when she just wanted to fast trot the whole time--very uncomfortable! LOL We never did make it one full circuit around the arena at a canter, and it's s small arena. She trotted around the corners and then picked up the canter again when she got straightened out. Then, riding around in the small field area, the ground was still damp and soft in spots and a little slick in others. We only walked and then trotted a tiny bit in areas I thought were better. Well, at a trot, she tripped so bad I was almost up on her neck and then she did it again right away, like a double trip--she caught herself and then immediately buckled again on the front leg. I WAS up on her neck then! But I got my balance back quickly and all was fine, except now my heart was pounding. Missy wasn't lame, thank goodness, but that was a big scare. Even with my blind eyes, I could kind of see the deep hoofprint where I think she sunk in and tripped.

So I cam home pretty bummed. I have two lease horses and both have issues. Strider is a much better horse overall, in much better shape. His owner has done a fantastic job of maintaining his flexibility and muscle. I detect no hint of arthritis in him when I'm riding. At 20, I think he has some, but nothing that stops him or slows him. But unless the owner loads him into a trailer--there is no place to really ride him. And even with Missy, there isn't much place to ride--it gets boring fast. I can ride on the road, but my husband really doesn't want me going out alone. And with Missy's tendency to trip and slip, I tend to agree with him now. I have to ride a mile on a very busy highway shoulder to get to the quiet country road--and then a mile back on that busy road to get home.

I am going to talk to Strider's owner to see if she has an idea how often she'll go trail riding this season. There is another girl that rides him one day a week and I'm thinking, maybe in Winter of asking if she would be willing to pay half the board on Strider to put him at that awesome boarding facility for maybe 3 months--just need to determine which 3 months. LOL I think it would be $150/month each if we shared it and I could do that for a short time. That would give me HUGE arenas to ride in and trails that I could maybe even ride in Winter. I like Missy's family a lot, they are interesting people and very friendly. I also like Strider's owner a lot.

I feel like such an ingrate for even feeling bummed about any of this! I am SO grateful to have horses to ride! Two years ago I was still pining for horses, as I had been for 15 years or more. Now I have horses and I'm still wanting more! :) A decent place to ride a fit horse who isn't too spooky or gnarly. I'm so close. :)
 

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So sorry that things are not ideal. I wish you had your very own horse that didn't have issues . . . well, they all have issues, but I wish your horse had issues that you didn't mind much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #283 ·
So sorry that things are not ideal. I wish you had your very own horse that didn't have issues . . . well, they all have issues, but I wish your horse had issues that you didn't mind much.
Thanks! Maybe someday, if we can afford it! I know they all have issues, which is why I'm less into owning now than I was two years ago! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #285 ·
I wonder if Missy is mildly laminitic - to be honest the stiffness is worrisome and her owners are not real up on her upkeep
Isn't laminitis a foot thing? They have a lot of horses and their farm is a mess. They bought it on foreclosure 3 years ago or so and it's still a garbage dump. I'm giving them some leeway because the wife is very sick and she's the horse person. And one of their kids is sick too i think--they are taking her to the hospital for appts almost every week or more. They have way too many animals--7 indoor cats, several barn cats, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, 5 dogs or so and etc. And they are not into "real good care" for the animals. I don't quite get them. But yea, the horses, especially the older ones like Missy, are not getting premium care. And now the husband is talking about training Missy to drive a two wheeled cart and eventually a four wheeled wagon they can use on the road. I wish they would give that poor old girl a rest. I hope the driving doesn't happen. But I will hopefully be done riding her again in June and it won't be my problem anymore. I just do feel bad for her. Sometimes she's fine, and sometimes she's SO not.
 
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Discussion Starter · #286 ·
Rode Missy on Wednesday and she was a lot better. I massaged her with my little spiky roller ball thingy and she really liked that. She seems to have some actual muscle knots I could feel, in her neck. I stretched her a little too. Made her stretch her neck back towards her shoulder to take treats. She just really can't do it very well, I didn't push her at all. Just a gentle stretch. And I tried to stretch out her front legs. She was a little reluctant so I was slow and gentle.

We had a pretty good ride. She only coughed a little at the beginning. I'm noticing she tends to cough on the side of the arena that next to the road. It's a busy country highway--lots of dust getting kicked up by passing cars.

I also figured out at least one thing that makes her trip. She's a little barn sour, more so than last year. So she always wants to head back to the barn and she picks up speed whenever we are at all pointed in the direction of the barn. And then I correct her. This got worse the longer I rode. And she tripped more. She was being a bit of a sassy pants about it--especially starting about 30 minutes into the ride. She wanted to be done and we fought a little--and then she wasn't paying attention to where she was stepping--she was trying to trot and canter and head towards the barn all at the same time, and she kept tripping. The footing in that "cross country" area isn't the greatest, but it's not THAT bad. She's just clutzy when someone is riding her because she's in her own world.

I do think some of the clutziness is due to some arthritis, but not sure how much. We did manage to do some cantering and even a little galloping. In all, I rode for about 50 minutes and we cantered or galloped probably about 3 minutes total during that whole time--spread throughout the ride. I gave her a long warm-up. 10 minutes of just walking--in the arena first and then around the cross country area. Then back to the arena for a little trotting--trot once around, then walk once around. Did that several times. Then out to the cross country area--walked the whole thing once again, then trotted through some areas and about 20 minutes in we did our first short canter.
She was raring to go, but only for a little bit. She's just not well conditioned yet. I gave her a decent cool down period and she was still sweaty when I took the saddle off. Not lathered or anything, just damp. The temp was about 56 and low humidity. I've ridden her much harder, for longer last Fall, with temps similar and she was barely sweaty at all. Not sure how often anyone else is riding her lately.
All in all, it was a good ride. She only had one scary trip that threw me forward a bit, and that was towards the end during a little fit of Sass when she wanted to go back to the barn.

Looking very forward to getting out on the trails with Strider. He never got the Strangles once quarantine is lifted, he'll be ready to ride. Of course, he won't have been ridden for two months, so he'll be out of shape again! LOL We had just gotten his hay belly burned off and gotten that lazy edge off, now it will be an uphill climb again. But he loves going out on the trail, so that will help his "pep" since we'll be doing a lot of that this Summer (hopefully).
 
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Discussion Starter · #287 ·
Had a pretty good ride on Missy the other day. Very little tripping--just small minor ones--mainly when she wasn't paying attention b/c she wanted to go back to the barn and was fighting me a bit. We even did some full-out galloping. She has a weird gait though--at the gallop anyway. She kind of goes a little sideways--body not totally straight ahead. She's done this ever since I've been riding her. It's a little hard to ride that way, so I usually slow her to a canter pretty quickly.
She also didn't cough. Maybe one or two tiny little coughs after a run, but that was it--barely anything. She was feeling pretty good apparently. I have been massaging her before riding and giving her a long warm up at the walk. Maybe it's helping? Or it's just coincidence or other stuff that is happening when I'm not there. LOL
I also got to show off my new shirt that matches my saddle pad. Both are too dark though. I will use them, but I am going to get a 24" pad, I think in purple. Then I'll have to get a shirt to match that. LOL
I think next week will be last ride on Missy. Strider's owner said I could come back and ride him, but only outside--not in the arena/barn b/c the two strangles horses are still quarantined in there. They are over the illness and full quarantine will be lifted in about 3 weeks. Then another month after that the two horses will be scoped to be sure they are totally clear--before going back out with the other horses. They've been locked in small stalls--with boards covering all the openings, for over a month already. The poor things.
I am anxious to ride Strider again. I really do like him. But also a little nervous. He's a bit cantankerous to get into a canter and that big leap has me worried in my new saddle. But I'll have to try it sometime. There is not much room to ride outside. I don't even know if I will be able to canter him at all in the area we have to ride. Possibly--but only a for a few strides. But come mid-June, we should be able to hit the trails again! Hopefully my weekly ride will be a two hour trail ride after that!
I am considering seeing if the other leaser would be willing to go in with me to board him at that nice stable with the gigantic indoor and outdoor arenas, for the Winter. I would be looking at doing 3 months. Need to see exactly how much that would be and if we could afford that for a short time.

I'm starting to get a little sad over leaving Missy again. I like the family and the setup there, most of the time. But Missy is really inconsistent in her soundness and fitness and there is no opportunity to go on trails with her, or take lessons with her or ride in the Winter. So she's really better left as a "fill-in" when needed and available. I will miss her calm demeanor though. She just falls asleep in the cross ties. I don't even really have to tie her! Strider is a bit of a loony on the ground. He's a total moving target for grooming and tacking, so annoying. And he is not as bombproof as Missy--so I need to watch myself a little more--it's either some spookiness or some sassiness--he'll just take off sometimes and zig zag while doing it. Not often and hopefully less the more I ride him. Of course, now I'm going to have to deal with him being lazy for me again possibly, the first couple of rides. :) Here's pics of my matching shirt and pad and our beautiful Spring!

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Discussion Starter · #288 ·
Got to ride Strider yesterday! Turns out the owner has a little tiny trail around the back of the property. It's only about 10 minutes long at a walk, but then you can turn around go back for another 10 minutes. And then still ride around the main yard and side grass driveway, etc. It's enough and much better than the little arena. Not sure about space for cantering though. We didn't do any, but it was pretty muddy in some areas, due to a creek/marsh back there, and then some overhaning trees you have to duck real low to get through. And she was on a gaited horse, so not doing cantering with him I don't think.
Anyway, Strider hadn't been ridden by anyone for almost 2 months and he did great! And he was so calm for being groomed and saddled! I couldn't believe he was the same horse. In fact, when we got there, she had already gotten him out and tied him and when I walked up, I didn't realize it was him. LOL His legs were all muddy up past his fetlocks--hiding his white sock and with the fly mask, I couldn't immediately see his blaze. And he was standing so quietly I thought tt was other bay arabian on the farm and I thought she might intend me to ride him for some reason. Well, it was Strider. Just sleeked down in his Summer coat and not having his Winter anciousness or Spring fever apparently. I hope it lasts!

First I lunched him for a couple minutes to get his head in the game and he did really well. I decided to ride Western since I wasn't sure how he'd be and we were going onto a rough "trail" area and I wanted a more secure saddle. Well, he did great. He trotted when I wanted him to, steered like a dream, etc. That is, until the owner had to go. She only rode with us for about 25 minutes. When she got done, I tried to go out and do that trail again and about halfway, Strider just refused. It was right in front of the muddy area, but also by the other horses on the other side of the fence. He balked, backed up, side-stepped, tossed his head a bit. Nothing major, but he can on rare occasions blow up a bit in a tantrum, and I didn't want to push him too hard. After a couple circles in what litle room we had, I decided to turn back. I didn't want to end up backing into an electric fence, or having him slip in that deep mud in that area, or step on one of the tree sapling stumps just off the trail, b/c he was having a tantrum and not paying attention. I got scared to risk it so I went back. One the way back to the front of the farm, a couple birds flew out of the bushes right next to and in front of us and he never flinched. So that was great. We were able to ride around the front of the property just fine, no balking. And we did some work in the new outlines of what wil be the outdoor arena soon. He was pretty willing to pick up a trot and keep it, so I was happy to see that. Funny thing is, as soon as we went into the round pen, he went totally flat and refused to trot and was walking in a slow mopey walk. As soon as you get him inside "walls" he just gets instantly bored and won't work. I hope the outoodr arena doesn't have a fence! LOL

I am feeling bad for being scared and not willing to push him, but am trying to give myself a break. It was my first time on him in a couple months and I wanted a good experience. And I know it's not unusually at all for horses to not want to go out alone into trail areas. I did feel pretty sure in my seat and my strength is better. I got that very heavy Western saddle up on his back with little effort and was able to hold it up long enough to position it before I lowered it into place. I will keep working my arms with the stretchy bands!

Next all the horses get swabbed and if all are clear of Strangles the quarantine will be lifted! The two horses that were infected will still have to stay sequestered another month or more until they get scoped, but everyone else will be able to leave the property again--so trail rides resume! Strider is such a good poser!
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Discussion Starter · #289 ·
Well, just got a little bad news. Strider's farm has a "re-outbreak" of strangles. One of the two infected horses, who has been clear of abscesses for 5 weeks and doing fine, just got some more. They were due to swab in two days and if the results were clear, lift the quarantine for the farm--while just the two who had been sick stayed isolated for another month or two until scoped. Now, the whole farm is on lockdown for another 4 weeks. No trail rides or lessons, etc. I can keep riding Strider on the property, thank goodness there is a little bit more area to ride in this Summer. What a bummer though. I hope we get a nice long Fall of good weather, to make up for not being able to go out most of Spring and half the Summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #290 ·
Well, I made lemonade yesterday after I was handed another lemon. Strider and 3 of his friends got out of their pen--for several hours maybe. When found Strider and maybe one other horse had just finished off a 50lb bag of grain and the other two were cavorting around and in the barn--where the strangles horses are isolated. Sooooo, i couldn't ride him yesterday because they are watching him for colic obviously--and he's probably not feeling good, even if he doesn't colic. And, all four of those horses are now isolated in the dry lot, far away from the rest of the herd--possibly until the end of quarantine--another week or two.

But, I called Missy's owner and they were fine with me coming out to ride her. I haven't used my saddle on Strider, or even had it at that farm and I had to use grooming tools from Missy's barn, instead of my own and I wore my old riding boots which I've never used on Strider's farm.

Missy, as usual, was very stiff and slow when we started. I walked her for about 10-15 minutes, in the arena and then around the rough trails. Then started doing short intervals of trotting, in the arena and then around the little trails. After about 20=25 minutes, we did a couple very short intervals of cantering--after which she coughed. Then more walking, then more trotting and finally a couple more normal intervals of cantering. She tripped once pretty badly--I think she stepped in a hole or low area--but that wasn't an area we canter in, so it wasn't a disaster. But finally, she was fully warmed up and for about 20 minutes I had a great ride! We cantered and galloped a bit and did some nice trotting in the arena--at an even pace--which is hard for her when she's stiff--it's hard to post because she's always speeding up or slowing down and being real choppy. After being warmed up, she was trotting beautifully yesterday! I was feeling pretty confident and strong in the saddle too. My husband even saw me cantering and galloping around and he said I looked really good, like I knew what I was doing and like an expert. LOL

Now, if only I could get Missy's complete lack of spookiness into Strider, and room on the property to canter him. I keep asking myself, am I just happier with Missy? And the answer is always no. The stiffness, arthritis and coughing really bother me. Also, the place to ride is very repetitive and boring and SO hilly. There is one side of the area that is not slanted down or tilted down. The whole thing is on a hillside and Missy does NOT like going downhill, so I'm always trying to "switchback"/zig zag her down the hills, but I feel like it's hurting her. So that leaves us less freedom to ride in there. Also, the ground is rough and uneven and she is so clumsy. She's a good backup ride once in a while, but I really see more opportunity with Strider. And I like him a lot--and he has an absolute gorgeous gait at the trot and canter. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #291 ·
Back to basics! I rode Strider yesterday--with hardly anywhere to ride. The "trail" around the property is now closed because the four horses that broke out last week and got into the barn, with the strangles horses, are now quarantined away from the rest of the herd--in a dry lot that you had to walk through to do the trail. So, it was just riding around the yard.

And there's a lot of gravel and a LOT of obstacles right now--metal poles sticking out of the ground, machinery laying in the grass, hoses everywhere, cars, etc. And since the farrier hasn't been out since early April or maybe even March--Strider's feet are very long and he's tripping and slipping like crazy. But there's nothing we can do about it until quarantine is lifted. I don't understand why the vet can come out and work directly on the sick horses, in their stalls, and then sanitize themselves and their equipment well enough to go to another barn later. But the farrier can't? Or won't? I mean, feet are critically important to horse health and soundness, I'm just flabbergasted that the farrier won't come out and even work on horses that never got sick and are far away from the barn--and then sanitize stuff, which they probably have to do anyway. It's just sad for the horses--and the riders! LOL

Anyway, since Strider sat for 2 weeks again without being ridden, he was a bit of a nightmare yesterday. He's only been ridden twice since early April--both times by me. And now he's getting thin because of being separated from the herd. The other 3 horses he's now housed with are all the fattest fatties of the herd--so the owner is having trouble keeping weight on Strider, while not getting the other ones obese or foundering. I'm not sure why she didn't have me give him grain before I put him away. I will ask about that. Maybe she thought I wouldn't want to stand or sit there while he ate--he's a very slow eater and we can't be in the barn, so it would have to be on a lead rope. But I'm fine with it.

Anyway, he was just very balky and spooky. I was getting him ready, and my husband went o an area behind us--about 30 feet away--and there was a trailer between us, so Strider couldn't even see him. But maybe he saw him for a second. Anyway, my husband lay down in the grass to do his physical therapy exercises. Strider just FREAKED! I had just set the saddle on him--and he started dancing all over, rolling his eyes in terror. I had to untie him quickly because he was about to tear himself off anyway. I had to yell to my husband to get up and come over. As soon as he was standing and came over to say "hi" Strider calmed down. But again, it set the tone for our ride. Ugh.

Then, we were going "ok" for a few minutes and he saw my husband again. He had moved WAY off to a far corner of the farm, next to the back corner of the barn--no where near where we ride and out of sight most of the time. But we stopped to talk to the owner at the end of the driveway and all of a sudden, from a football field's distance away, and around the house--Strider spotted Mark. Geez! The owner was right there too. We walked him down the driveway, and when it was obvious it was Mark that was setting him off--and the owner said he had that look of "terror" in his eyes, she said we should bring him over and show him there was nothing to be afraid of. I agreed, but I said "you ride him over there" and I got off. LOL He was a handful even for her, but she is VERY good and didn't have a problem. Then she rode him around a bit and agreed with me that he was really full of energy. He woulnd't trot, but would always start to canter--and there is no room for cantering.
So, after we got him semi-calmed down around the human in the grass, LOL, we took him into the round pen and ran him silly. He was brucking and galloping--he needed to let off some steam. Then, i rode him again, and he was all balky and acting like he was sore. Geez. If it's not one thing it's another. I felt like a bit of an idiot, because the owner told me I was being too wimpy with him in the pen. And she took off after him and YELLED and smaked him with the whip to get him moving. Ok, I can do that. I am NOT a wimpy person. But I guess with horses--someone ele's horses--when they are watching, I get self-conscious. I'll be better next time. She left the pen and I was able to keep him going and reverse him and stuff. But, boy, always learning! And I thought I was so good at groundwork. I need a refresher course.

I will point out that this horse has been around gunfire, cannon fire, huge crowds of people, kids and dogs and waving flags, you name it. But his life has been a little topsy turvy the last couple months, so I guess he's just having a bad time of it. I will now be working him in the round pen before I ride for the next few weeks. I never had to do that before, because he was so lazy, if I worked him on the ground, he had nothing left to give me in the saddle. LOL
HORSES! Can't live with em', can't live without em'. Suddenly the shirt I got for Christmas that says "Into the Barn I go, to lose my mind and find my soul" makes perfect sense.
 
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Discussion Starter · #292 ·
Finally back in the saddle today after two weeks off again! One thing I'll say about going so long is that I REALLY enjoy my horsey time! And good news--Quarantine is expected to be lifted officially on Wednesday the 14tj--just under a week. ALL of the horses have tested negative, including the two who were sick. They are getting another test next week and if those are also negative, then we are FREE!!
Strider (and others) are getting their feet done next Thursday and on Friday morning we go on a trail ride!! First one since Easter Sunday and second one of the year. Sheesh! And I just found out September is going to be not a lot of riding either--I'll be gone one week and then Strider's owner is taking him on vacation the following week. After daily riding in a huge State park in the mountains, not sure if he'll need a rest too.

So, anyway, rode around the yard again today. Worked him in the round pen first and he did great and did a great join-up at the end. Had a pretty good ride, he was trotting beautifully in the couple small areas we can trot. And then he started balking badly at this one area--but only from one direction. When we came around to it from the other direction, no problem. He was backing up and side stepping and tossing his head and stamping his feet. Sheesh. I think he wanted to go back to the trailer and be done. In that direction we were headed towards the trailer/tack area, come from the other way it's more off to the side and quickly behind us. Little snot. But I got him to go eventually, every time. Lots of circling. I have found that pushing/squeezing a horse forward when they are insistently backing up just doesn't work and can cause a worse blow up. So I'm a circler and it usually works--even if I have to do it a few times.

Looking forward to our trail ride next week! Crossing fingers that all the test come back negative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #293 ·
Phew--been a while since I posted here! The trail ride never happened last Friday. One of the two strangles horses still had a positive test. Which actually means TWO more weeks of quarantine. I didn't realize they needed two negative tests in a row--1 week apart--in order to lift QT. sigh. So there we all sit, watching the Summer pass us by with no trail rides. Us and the horses. The horses are all so fed up and bored they are starting to get on each other's cases and are having to be separated in some cases--into the one small area that is not strangles contaminated--which is the new outdoor arena that just got mostly built. The poles and tapes are up, but not the floor--just the regular terrain that was already there.

So, anyway, I finally got to ride yesterday. Geez. I'm going almost two weeks between rides lately, it's driving me nuts. LOL I did get to ride the little trail on the back of the property--back and forth a couple of times, plus around the usual area around the farm. Strider's feet are getting pretty bad so REALLY hoping the strangles is over soon so the farrier can come out. He was tripping really badly inside the arena--like buckling knees and stuff and I was just not comfortable. The ground is not even in there and there are a few rocks one side, a circular sand area in the middle where the round pen was and then grass/dirt everywhere else--rough ground. So that just wasn't working. He trotted fine everywhere else. I was really hoping to canter on this ride as I haven't been able to canter him since I started riding him again the end of May. But no deal. Even just lunging him in there before riding, he fell once--went down on his knee when trying to canter.
It was ok though. Better safe than sorry. And he did balk for me a few times--at the normal spot in the yard and then again at the back corner of the trail. Backing up and tossing his head and just refusing. But I circled him one way and the other, kicked and squeezed and tapped him a bit with the reins and finally got him going every time. Only took a couple minutes each time. And then I went through all the areas one last time and he went without a fight! I was not going to stop until we got a smooth pass on those areas. So I was very happy. He's a good boy and a lot of fun to ride, and these little sassy moments are helping me cement my relationship with him (I hope), so that we have fewer problems in the future. And at least I'm building my confidence that I can trust him not to do something stupid or dangerous when I push him. Trust goes both ways.
So all in all I had a good ride. Rode for an hour--even thought it was beastly hot and humid yesterday. After chasing him around the arena for lunching I had to take a 15 minute break in the shade and drink electrolytes because my heart was just pounding and I thought I might pass out. I was pretty weak feeling after--in the muscles, but made it through ok.
Talked to the owner about boarding Strider for 2=3 months of the Winter so I could have nice big indoor arena to work in. She's happy to do that--but I need to see if the other girl who was coming out to lease Strider one day a week is coming back after Strangles is over and if she'd be willing to pay extra for those months too. We'd have to split the board and it's double what each of us are paying now. So who knows. But at least the idea is being floated out there now. :)
 
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