"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Ok, so kind of wordless Wednesday...

When I arrived at the barn this morning, the farm vet was checking on some of the horses. A Peruvian Paso with suspected DSLD (degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis. It is a horrible incurable disease that plagues this breed);  Queenie, who's been stumbling with her right front leg, which is arthritic; Windemere (she is an ancient 33 year old TB ex-broodmare), who chose this moment to have a mild colic (excellent timing - while the vet was at the barn! That never happens!); and Angel Baby, who has been slightly off in her left hind.

Angel is a retired Morab that I was offered as a side mount. She is owned by the BO and, despite being in her twenties, is notorious for trying to run away with people when headed home on the trail. She's definitely strong, but 17 years in the jumper ring teach you a thing or two about runaway horses. I got an upper body workout, but we've walked back home after each ride. Angel has a bone chip in one hip and has arthritic hocks. We've just been doing walks on the trails, but I had noticed that she definitely puts more weight on her left hind than her right when standing, and she will not put weight on her right so you can pick her left hind. The farrier had problems with this during his visit last week, so the BO decided to have Angel checked to see how she can be made more comfortable.

Angel Baby, wearing one of Lily's fly bonnets.
Taken after our most recent trail ride, with Sally and McTavish the Haflinger.
I was recruited to talk to the vet about what I'd been seeing, and I lunged Angel for the vet. It was painful to watch her hind end action-she was stepping so short with her left hind at the trot, which is why I'd been avoiding the gait altogether under saddle. The vet declared her lame in both hinds, with the left being worse. She's going to try repeating hock injections, which she had last year, to see if this helps her. In the meantime she will be given bute, and the vet ordered to continue riding the little mare at a walk to keep her moving.

Windemere has the run of the property, which she has earned in her old age, but she had wandered into the barn where Lily is temporarily stabled during the day and was stomping, whinnying, and wringing her tail. This had all of the horses worked up. (This is when we discovered she was colicking, and the vet treated her. After the rectal, they think she might have the beginnings of GI lymphoma. :( )

Between that, the fact that Lily is going to be going into heat again soon, the cooler weather, and the hunt riding earlier in the day (there is a disturbance of the Force when they ride...something lingers in the air, upsetting the horses), I chose to give Lily 1 ml of ace prior to our ride. Chicken, yes. But later on, I was not sorry I had done this.

I rode her out alone. She was fine going up the bridle path. However, the bridle path follows a neighbor's pastures, and all of his broodmares were turned out and hanging by the fence. Lily was very distracted by them and kept wanting to stop and chitchat. I firmly told her no, and had her trot away. The bridle path then runs between two pastures, one on each side. Off to the right, some horses were hanging out under the shade trees, far away in the distance. Lily thought they were carnivorous and she had to side pass up the bridle path so she could stare at them to make sure they wouldn't gallop over and eat her.


We rode onto a neighbor's yard, the only way to access the woods behind our barn. We are supposed to stay by the fence. Lily noticed a tractor 5 acres away and wanted to stop and stare at it. We had an argument that included spinning her around to try to get her attention back to me and lots of side passing at a trot as I tried to keep her by the fence while she insisted on staring at the tractor so far, far away...that was parked, to boot. This is Lily going-into-heat. And this is her sedated version of it.

I fleetingly contemplated turning around and going back to the barn, but I persisted. Eventually I just made her trot quickly the rest of the way up the hill, into the forest.

Once in the woods, Lily immediately settled and her focus returned to me.

Go figure. My mare feels safer among trees.

Have some photos of what ended up being an AWESOME ride. 

There are a million fallen trees across the trail.

Main trail

Logs across the trail up ahead.

The "new" trail that Phoebe and I cleared. You can barely see it, but Lily already knows it by heart. She LOVES this part. I'm not sure why, but she always wants to trot through it!
Look at her happy ears!

Mud patch. Photo taken during our second loop. During our first loop, I tried to ride her through this at a trot. She was completely game, going full tilt at her fastest trot...until she realized her feet were sinking. (Not a lot; just what they normally would when stepping on firm mud-about 1"-2") She came to a sudden sliding stop, front end down like a freaking cutting horse, and spun hard to the left. I actually managed to sit that... we circled and trotted around the mud. NBD.
She used to obsess when she freaked out about something - any bad experience would just stick with her for the rest of the ride, causing escalating reactions to any future stimuli that she found upsetting. I'm thrilled to report that she is not doing this anymore; she's learning to "let go" and stop worrying so much all the time. (You know what's funny? I used to do the same thing over fences. One bad fence and I set myself up for failure for the rest of the course. It was a very hard habit to break. Again - are our horses like us, are we like our horses, or does like attract like?)
I've been consciously trying to remember to constantly praise her, even for the little things. She responds well to a pat on the shoulder and knows what "Good girl!" means - she instantly relaxes with either.
She has been receiving a LOT of both on our rides.
Trail loop heading back in the general direction of the barn.

Epic Hill of Doom.
I love this hill. The photo doesn't do it justice: it is super steep (you just can't tell from the photo how steep), and the trail switchbacks across it. It is hard to do on foot, and a great workout for the horses. We've been practicing going up a trot or canter, whichever Lily chooses. She has surprised me by choosing to trot up most times.
Bridle path, heading back to the barn. She had no anxiety/worries/fear heading back home; we even trotted portions of the bridle path.
I had the reins on the buckle as we walked home.
"I iz pure awesomeness."
I came back to find this by my grooming tote.
Boddington's Ale! From my BO for helping out with Angel this morning. Isn't that the bestest? They were still cold, too.
Had not tried this beer before, but believe me: I will be drinking it more often!

We did 2 loops of the trail, covering 4 miles in 57 minutes, doing walk, trot and canter. This is the most we've ever cantered on the trail - 4 short straightaways. I've never trusted her to keep her cool at the canter on the trail before. She LOVED it. One portion of the trail goes up a fairly steep slope, maybe 2' in height. She simply leaped up that slope as we came up at a canter, no problem. I was glad I'd put her Cavallos on her before the ride - she was happily snapping her front feet up at the trot on the trail, and just seemed a million times more comfortable. Remember her feet are just starting to get conditioned again to varying terrain. I'd like to have 4 boots on her for now.

All in all, a great ride.

We're planning on starting the Regumate, but per my vet's recommendations, will be waiting until February to do so, to get a head start on her first heat cycle of spring. In the meantime, Lily have some SmartMare Harmony!

It has been added to her Smartpak, which is scheduled to arrive any day now.

After the barn, Charles and I went here:

We have an indoor rock climbing gym in our vicinity! Charles wants us to take lessons. We haven't done this in over a decade; he's done the outdoors version, I was a member at one of these gyms in PR.

Not that I needed any convincing, but I figured this was a sign. :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed the foxhunting disturbance in the force...