Monday 3/17: First turnout sans drugs! We finally got a few acrobatics, but nothing too gasp-inducing (considering the circumstances and the pony in question).
Favorite part: it was too snowy for Her Ladyship to consider rolling, but she let Tucker do the dirty work while she trotted around, and she handled the shaking part.
I am all for anything that involves any sort of butt usage
As promised, this time I remembered to institute longer and more frequent walk breaks, and we had a much better ride. During our walks, I tried really hard to focus on making sure my body position was consistent with what I was asking for, i.e. not all twisted to the left while asking for right bend or things like that. I need to try and see if I can ride her at non-peak hours sometime, because I want to monopolize a corner/end of the arena for lots of spiraling in and out without getting in the way of lessons.
Thursday 3/20: First day of spring (you know, before it goes right back to snowing again) and Pearl decided to celebrate accordingly.
I haven’t seen her that wild in a long time…of course I cringed every time she came down from a buck with all her weight on the bad leg, but on the bright side if she’s willing to do that it must be feeling somewhat better?
It really does warm my heart to see her playing and trotting around all proud of herself having a grand ol’ time,
and makes me even more comfortable in my decision to bring her somewhere she can just hang out and Be A Horse.
Also, it makes me feel a lot better about the
slightly shameful amount of times I’ve come off as a result of one of her surprise!happy!bucks, because ain’t no way could I stick one of these.
I gave her some bute and put her Back on Track boots on overnight, in preparation for farrier appointment the next morning.
Then another Prior date, yay!
After a few rides in a row (well, not on actual consecutive days, but on my barn days) it’s felt less and less like we’re starting from square one at the beginning of each ride. Kept up with the lotsa-walking theme, especially because I don’t want to start making her sore –> sour. I got a bit of a chance to spy on Sarah/Derby’s lesson, and was pleased to see how nicely their canter (and trot too!) work went. Then we were kind of an attractive nuisance and Sarah had Christy snag some video while she still had camera in hand.
I love that trot, but I’m also super proud of those walk transitions. Nice girl.
Friday 3/21: Dragged Carson with me for a Barn Day before she leaves for spring break, since Sarah was kind enough to offer up Derby for C’s first time back in the saddle since having a chunk of calf muscle removed. Pearl had her feet done first thing. We’re still working with kind of a mystery here, since nothing stood out during the (affordable route) diagnostics, but since Pearl went lame for the second time practically 5 minutes before her healing period was up, we’re probably dealing with two separate injuries rather than a flare-up of the impar ligament injury. After how uncomfortable she was during her last reset, particularly when the extra clips were being pounded on, farrier suspects that she might be sore as a result of her hoof’s expansion being restricted by the bar/clips…maybe a bone bruise, maybe a stress fracture that didn’t show up on x-rays. So since she’s not in work anyways, he got the go-ahead to (gasp!) go against doctor’s orders and shoe her without the bar and extra clips, to see if relieving some of that pressure will make her more comfortable. He knows his shit and I’m willing to try anything at this point, so no worries.
Tossed the girl back outside after with much less dramatics this time. K fortuitously texted me right as we were leaving asking if I wanted to ride Prior, so that made it an Opposite TB double date instead of musical riders. It was so nice to have the quiet barn to ourselves, just hanging with my Motley Saddle Club pal, forgetting about the darker realities of the past couple years and playing Just Like Old Times. Carson ADORES the Derbinator– this is only the second time she’s been on him but they just click and she got him going very nicely.
Prior again started out very nice and quiet and stretchy. I like to play Old Skool Horseman sometimes and I think standing still with a rider is a valuable skill to teach a young/green horse, so it was good for her to play tripod while we filmed C & D. (Of course once horses pick up the “work a few minutes, come in to the middle to chat with instructor” habit it drives me totally batty, but there’s a happy medium.) It also revealed that she thinks she’s done after standing around, because when we went back to work for our turn in front of the camera there was lots of giraffitude. I probably didn’t work her through it as much as I should’ve (more walk work, some transitions instead of going right back into trot and canter) but… live and learn. We got some OK-ish stuff on camera, which gives me things to review before the lesson I have scheduled on her next week.
It was so sunny and warm that it would have been practically a crime not to ride outside, so we ambled around the outdoor and driveway.
Once again Prior was totally happy but not in a stupid way about getting outside of the four walls– led the way on the buckle with ears pricked.
We delayed dismounting as long as possible– if I knew how to get to the forest preserve I would have been all for a spontaneous trail ride, but I have just the teensiest bit more sense than that (true story: one time I rode my horse with an elastic blanket surcingle as a girth because I’d forgotten mine. For our first ride at a new barn when she hadn’t been ridden in a month. In my defense I was not exactly sound of mind at the time…).
Then we took some condition progress shots, because Red Mare is finally showing the makings of a real-horse topline:
If I could just keep riding her consistently, and fatten her up some more, and keep exposing her to more new things, she could really turn into quite a nice horse… not just “well, she’s pretty nice for a crazy chestnut TB mare” but “wow, that’s a nice horse” kind of nice.
Which brings me to the really stupid shitty part of being an adult: responsibility and an eye for the long term. After she asked if I wanted to ride, Prior’s owner’s next text was to ask if I knew of anyone looking for a horse, because she needs to find her a new home. Crap. I wanted so bad to reply with well sure, I’ll take her. And if I was in any position to take on a second horse, I absolutely would. But the reality is… I’m not, and won’t be for a very long time. Sure, I could maybe scrape by if I worked every waking hour and rode late at night, found a shareboarder who could also help bring her along, found more housesitting gigs, never spent money on anything not horse-related (wait, I do that already), continued to be a failure-to-launch sponge who still lives with her parents (ditto previous). But it’s not the everyday bills that would be the problem. As K told me the summer before I bought Pearl, “it’s not if something is going to go wrong when it comes to horses, it’s when and how bad.” And sure enough, Pearl’s answers have been “at the least convenient time” [x2] and “really freakin’ bad” [x2]. And she was a sound, healthy horse through some, erm, less than optimal conditions. Whereas Prior is another hard keeper who has colicked badly enough to warrant a clinic stay, can be a neurotic mess, and is not exactly the “oh I’ll put a couple months on her and then she can be a lease or lesson horse” quick flip type. And between loan payments, car repair, vet bills, past and future maintenance for Pearl, and whatever else pops up next I honestly don’t think I could even offer to shareboard her, else I would have already. So I’ve gotta be a big girl and let the cards play out however they do… for better or for worse she’s not the most marketable of horses, so hopefully I will have some more time left to get her as rideable as possible for her next chapter… or after all this maybe current owner will find a way to keep her. I did manage to protect myself this time though… I swore I wouldn’t fall in love with someone else’s horse again, and while I absolutely do love her, I will be able to live without her.