Sunday 2/16: Big news in our little corner of the horsey universe– one of Christy’s students bought Austin! I’m so happy for all involved, as it really was the best possible solution: C has one less board bill but doesn’t have to “give him up” per se, because he’ll be staying within the barn; Austin gets to be a much-doted-upon only pony; and of course, his new owner is thrilled.
Also maybe eventually Christy will get another one and I can live vicariously because ponyshopping squeeeee. Christy and A’s new owner had planned a celebratory ride…and I was handwalking Pearl in her bridle because might as well keep her reminded of the fact that yeah, she does have to wear a bit to play this game. Sarah saw the bridle and asked if I was going to get on her…no, just walking in hand. Christy saw the bridle and asked if I was going to ride her… er, no… oh come on, just get on her, you won’t hurt her. Twist my arm why don’t you. So I quickly threw on a saddle — I may be dumb, but not that dumb. Mare was, to put it mildly, a bit excited. We had enough unintended airs above the ground that I’ll definitely want to give her a good hit of something beforehand next time, but nothing intentionally disobedient…she just could not contain herself. She’s held it together so well on the ground that I almost was caught by surprise. Which of course was doubly heartbreaking, because here we have a horse who wants so bad to get back to work and she’s relegated to warming the bench. And she was sound at the walk and not obviously headbobbingly lame during all the little trot steps she desperately tried to sneak in– but that leg is still burning hot from toe to knee. So walking only, until that changes, if ever.
We even went outside for a little “trail walk” down the path between paddocks. Mobile powder keg, I mean horse, was about as saintly as it gets. Yeah, she made her displeasure at our slow pace known, but even with the horses in the paddocks doing that thing where they’re like “OMG a horse is being ridden, this is cause for excitement and shenanigans” she kept her head about her.
Plus, walking through the snow is basically like a Game Ready machine for poor people, so I felt less bad about the whole “here I am riding my lame horse” thing.
Then the whole poultice, wraps, hope like hell she’s not lamer tomorrow or I will die routine.
Monday 2/17: Sarah has another trip! Time to schedule a lesson on Derby…in order to cancel on account of, surprise, another snowstorm. By the time I got to the point of “visibility low enough that most sane people recognize these are not good driving conditions” I was at the point of no return where it would take me just as long to turn around and come home (outcome: no pony) as it would to drive the rest of the way (outcome: get to see pony) so just kept slogging through. After 2.5 hours behind the wheel, found that the
dust bowl arena had been watered just in time for it to freeze, so just as well that we canceled. There was a beaten track around the edge of the arena, so hopped on the Derbster to do some walk work. Forty Dressage Points deducted for riding the rail the entire time, but I’m not chancing hurting somebody else’s horse’s tootsies by pounding a recently-abscessed foot on what essentially feels like concrete, so that’s that. We did work on getting a forward stretchy non-camel-like walk at least.
Then handwalked the beast…she was in fine spirits as usual, and didn’t seem the worse for the previous day’s walk/made-up gait with too many feet off the floor at once. Phew. Poultice, wrap, pack foot with DMSO/aspirin concoction because everything is a science experiment.
Tuesday 2/18: Reschedule Derby lesson. Come home from work to change. Hear odd dripping noise in dining room. Realize the Call is Coming From Inside the House.
Thanks a lot, snow melting ice dam blah blah blah. Miss lesson, obviously. Still had a chance to get on Derby at least… light work taking into account that he’s effectively had several weeks off, no one has any muscles to speak of, and all that other fun stuff. So mostly some stretchy trot and probably some that’s-not-stretching-that’s-leaning-time-to-take-a-break-and-reset trot. Where did I put that mojo of mine.
Popped an ice wrap on the girl’s leg, then drove ’round the corner to check out her new digs! It’s super adorable and probably the first time I have had a positive feeling towards a facility since the Big Move. The barn is bright and airy, she can poke her head out of her stall, and the pasture space is HUGE and even has what passes for hills in the Midwest so maybe she will have a tiny bit of butt growage. Shut up, a girl can hope.
Got back, and got on Pearl again. With the aid of 4cc of Ace, she dropped a few levels beneath “explosive” down to just “constantly begging to go faster please can we trot Mom please how about now.” I tried to keep her mind busy by doing a little shoulder-in, a little leg yield, but it wasn’t very effective because any sort of non-whoa aid was interpreted as IS IT TIME TO GO YET. Muscle memory is a funny thing…after 15 minutes or so of walking exercises, a switch in my brain went off and I couldn’t shake the feeling that OK, we’re warmed up at the walk now, time to trot. The thought would pop into my head and I’d have to tell myself no, this is our life right now and I can live with it and then a lap or two later I’d space and almost be about to gather my reins and prepare to trot. To the point where I thought my chest was going to cave in. But there’s no point in even trotting one circle “just to see how she is” because I’d never ever forgive myself if she backslides yet again. Time is odd… it’s now been nearly four months since she first came up lame, November-December-January-February. And before that, it’d only been four months since she’d gotten her feet sorted out and been back in work, July-August-September-October. And if we went from this in July
To this in October
then I can’t even think about how far along we could have been by now, even taking into account time off for weather. Instead of still owing $1K on vet visits that didn’t even give us a diagnosis, I could’ve been saving my pennies to put towards a horse show or a clinic and the world could know that my horse is so much more than a school horse reject. But now, even if best case scenario the heat and swelling disappears from her leg in 3 or 6 or 12 months… since I don’t know the exact injury or what caused it, I will always be afraid to push her and even if if if do you see all these ifs, I promise I am not taking anything for granted, if I do get to put her back into work and harness the power in that trot and feel that rolling canter again, I will always hold my breath after every ride until she trots off sound the next time in case I break her once more. So for now, we only walk.
Friday 2/21: My car is back! And the body shop guys randomly put a spoiler on it, so now I am in fact the coolest Camry-driving grandma ever. Carson came to the barn with me, so of course I made her take pictures and videos and hopefully she’s regained the feeling in her toes by now. First I rode Prior. Watching the videos afterwards reaffirmed that it looked the way it felt– basically, I am riding like crap. Sit up, use your core, bend your elbows, get that out-of-control pendulum you call a lower leg underneath you. Lil red mare did good, though. I need to remember that she’s lost a ton of muscle too, and even though we’ve got the cardio to keep going-going-going, she’s just not strong enough to hold herself correctly so I need to take it easy so as not to just solidify more giraffery.
Then got on the other beastie (with drugs until further notice). I set up some walk poles with Sarah’s rail raiser thingies, so we could humor ourselves by pretending we get to do Work Stuff. Mare was again v. disappointed at the moratorium on trotting. You and me, babe. She did like the poles though– zoned right in like oh, I know this stuff but she still had to think about her feet because of her tricksy mom. I wish I could set up an entire arena full of poles like that. Or a trail. I’m gonna croak if I don’t trail ride soon.
She got all tucked in with her Back On Track wraps and her heavy blanket because haha aren’t highs in the teens hilarious still.