Friday, March 4, 2011

She Hopped Thrice, and I Stayed On...

Hum that blog post title to the tune of "Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care" and do a little wiggle.

There's just something about being able to "stick it" and not come off after a 3-hop crowhop while bareback to make you feel like a "rider" again. While it's not something you look forward to, it does make you feel good after it's over and you're still on the horse in the exact same position you started in :)

The morning started out by arriving with breakfast at the barn, and feeding my critters. I mucked out both stalls since I'd neglected to after turning them out the night before, definitely BEFORE I let the ponies in to eat. I certainly don't want Ivan dumping his food into his poo. Ivan still dinner-ditches his meals, and Classy Lady has taken to dragging her ground feeder around the floor, but isn't a dinner ditcher.

The barn owner's husband, Mr. Allen, was incidentally up at the barn replacing a bad light at the corner of the roof. He was kind enough to loan me his power drill for a little while, so I busied myself with hanging up emergency contact info holders and cards along with halter rack/hangers outside of my babies' stalls while they ate.

I nearly went home to do my taxes and ride later, but on a whim pulled out Classy Lady's rope halter. She's been having issues with resisting going on the bit, and her teeth need to be done. The vet checked her when she was out to do her coggins, so I'm going to try to make an appointment to have both hers and Ivan's teeth done since Ivan is due for his in April anyway (I think).

So anyway, grabbed my helmet, modified a skinny leadrope into her reins, then pulled her out and hopped on. We went two or three times around the medium sized pasture and 3 or 4 times around the big pasture, following the fence line in each. Now for the good part! We of course did a lot of walk and a lot more of run-walk, and I asked for lateral flexions at the halt and for bending while moving. She did pretty well during all of that. We cantered a few different times, and that went quite well. When I asked her at the front of the big pasture, going up the hill next to the road, she transitioned quite nicely into it and back out of it at the top of the hill. It sure made me feel good! I was so pleased to be able to walk/run-walk/canter with only a rope halter and not even so much as a bareback pad (though my hiney is a little sore this morning from her back; she never does lose definition of her spine, no matter how fat she gets!)

So I was feeling pretty good about our ride, but at one point Classy Lady evidently objected to something. I asked for a canter when moving up the hill at the back end of the big pasture. I don't know if I goosed her a little too far back or if she was just having a temper tantrum because she wanted to go back to Ivan (who was happily munching hay in his stall) or if she just had a bitchy moment. Given how all the friggin' mares are going into season right now, it's possible that her sides were just a little sensitive, and perhaps I squeezed in a way she didn't care for. She did a sharp 90 degree turn, then crowhopped three times and pitched her nose down. She got a slap on her neck, a couple of lateral flexions in each direction, and a sharp turn back around for her efforts. Keep in mind, this was all still while bareback and in only a rope halter. Definitely made me feel good about my seat and my connection with my horse. Over the years, I've gained a lot of knowledge of what she will attempt to do if she's having a fussy day, what she will do when she's nicely behaving, and what to do when she tries to get away with stuff.

So after that little fit, she was fine. No more fussing, no more hops, no more objections. We worked on reinforcing her neck reining (she hasn't forgotten a thing), worked on leg yields, didn't bother with anything much more advanced than that. Asked for and received some more canter with decent transitions, and overall she didn't trot much (though admittedly a little) during our hour of riding (I nearly said in the saddle, but there was no saddle, ha!)

After our nice little ride, Classy Lady got a few cookies and was put back in her stall to munch on hay. Deb showed up to feed her horses and let Rocket stretch his legs. Rocket is still on stall rest with daily sessions to stretch his legs and stimulate healing in his injury. The vet said she could ride him at a walk for short, 15 minute rides around the pasture, and that he could also have short grazing sessions in solitary turnout until his leg heals. No pasture buddies until that leg heals since we don't want it to open up again.

So after letting Rocket mosey around the pasture for a little bit, Deb decided to saddle him up for a short walk around the pasture, and I saddled up Ivan to get a little bit of work in. Ivan and Rocket both did so well! Rocket, despite having a huge chunk out of his leg, walks without trouble and was approved by the vet for light rehabbing via riding in order to stimulate healing in that wound. Increased blood flow to the area through mobility along with careful cleaning, use of antiseptic and antibiotics, and careful bandaging was the recommended treatment, and Rocket is recovering by leaps and bounds! It's amazing how much better his leg looks after only a week. I was there on the morning that Dr. Hamrick first started treating his leg before he was trailered to Harrington's Equine for hospitalization. His leg looked like pureed hamburger at that point, whereas now it just looks like raw meat. Ha, how's that for a visual?

Anyway, we walked Ivan and Rocket around the medium sized pasture, just chitty chatting and having a good time. I did some circles with Ivan, and he was so lovely, traveling in a frame while walking and trotting. No funny business just because we were outside of the round pen or anything, just nice and relaxed :) Nothing more exciting to report than that, he was just a very good boy! Finished up after about 30 minutes, fed both ponies their dinner, then turned them out so I could go home to get ready for dinner of my own! All in all, a very satisfying day! :)

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