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Strange Days

April 23rd, 2009 · Post the first comment

…indeed. My lapse in writing is due mostly to the lack of anything happening lately. I have been focusing my attention on keeping customers contacted, tracking orders and getting repairs done. The economy is taking its toll but we remain optimistic. Thank you to all of you who keep coming back!

I have been riding as much as I can and making slow but steady progress forward. I didn’t ride the short week I had a nasty cold and did not ride the week Tory jumped on my foot and almost broke it. I went to the ER and had it X-rayed as a precaution but was told that there weren’t any breaks or fractures. It happened quite quickly as most horse related accidents do. As I was holding him for the chiropractor, he spooked and jumped straight up in the air and landed on the joint of my big toe and second toe of my right foot. Within seconds, my foot had swollen tight in my usually loose boot and I thought for sure that my foot was broken. I’m now able to walk normally and put weight on my foot – even drive – but didn’t get back in the saddle for about four to five days. The intricate purple and blue color of the smaller than expected bruise vanished only after one week! Let’s hear it for arnica!

Spring came early – at least, in my humble opinion – and not a moment too soon. The winter was very cold and very icy. There wasn’t a lot of movement from anyone or anything. With the steady, consistent temps we’ve been having lately, everyone is moving – and I think maybe a little too quickly. Three days after I got hurt, I arrived at my first stable call of the week to watch my client being carried off in an ambulance on a back board and neck brace. Her horse jumped sideways and she fell chipping a lumbar vertebrae. I learned later the same day that at the same time I was watching the ambulance drive away with one client, another client’s horse reared and fell on top of his rider sending her to the hospital. The only thing I can really say at this point is don’t drink the water, there’s something in it.

Tory and I are home now – well, we’re back to DogPond Farm which is what I consider home. Rosie’s place is cozy, quiet and simple – horsey heaven! No jump standards to contend with or little ponies darting everywhere. I keep thinking that Tory looked very thin and unhappy towards the end of his winter indoor stay and that became oh so apparent after he got back to Dogpond. We figured he must have lost 150lbs. at minmum. It was also discovered that for the last month of his stay, he was not fed any of his SmartPaks of Cosequin and Quiessence. That’s pretty hard to miss now, isn’t it? If there’s anything I have learned about this horse in the short time I’ve owned him, if something isn’t right for him, he reacts to it very quickly. In the last 2 – 3 weeks of the winter stay, he became increasingly difficult and spooky. Now I know why. It gives me pause to re-consider next year’s winter plans – maybe no indoor. I would rather loose a winter riding than have inadequate care for my horse.

He’s had his snow pads and winter shoes pulled and new shoes set, the chiropractor/acupuncturist came out and did an adjustment, he’s on 24-7 turnout with a lovely little pony pal and lots of lush green hay and grain. He’s looking and acting better – calmer, more rideable. Our training issues still remain but I’m getting stronger, fitter, and quicker in my aids and responses. One of the hardest lessons I’ve been learning with this horse is that when he throws a tantrum (which he often does), I can’t immediately switch to anger. It’s a natural response for me but an inappropriate one for sitting on the back of a horse. I am getting so much better at sitting his little (ha!) sideways buck-outs, the head tossing and backing up. I fuss over all my equipment all the time (it’s my job, right?) to be absolutely sure that that isn’t the problem. Losing 150lbs. certainly affected the saddle fit and I fuss with it on a weekly basis. The other thing I’ve learned about Tory is he does NOT like having his shoulders restricted in any way! I moved the point billet off of the point billet web position on the saddle I’m using (it’s an Albion Platinum Genesis in case you’re wondering) to the second billet web position. It seemed to do the trick: it didn’t pull the tree down in front which can restrict a shoulder which I thought would help with the loss of condition in his wither area. Well, the compromise is that by moving the billet back, the angle of the billets to the girth increased and slowly, over a few rides, the saddle slid forward on top of the back of his shoulder which is just as bad, if not worse. On a Friday afternoon ride, we were having a very nice ride together. Tory picked up a little bit of a canter but I didn’t ask for it and sat quietly and aksed for him to trot. I am still unsure what happened next but Tory got more and more aggrevated and locked his neck and took off in a gallop at which point there was no stopping him. Time to bail! Rosie’s footing is soft so I knew it wouldn’t be that hard – and it wasn’t. As I was laying on my side with sand in my ears, I could hear him gallop up the road. I mananged to catch my breath, examine the scrape on my knee throught the tear in my breeches and flex the wrist I landed on. When Rosie caught him and brought him back, I noticed how far forward the saddle had gone and thought that maybe it panicked him. I re-adjusted the saddle, took him into the round pen and cantered him again. I used draw reins on him the ride after that and had no contact with them unless he tossed his head or sucked back in refusal. Our canter was MUCH better – the best it’s ever been!

He’s a lot of horse with a big opinion. I am but a mere human with only human strength but learning to be quiet and patient is the hardest lesson any horseperson can master. I’m getting better at it all the time. These strange days can’t last forever – forward momentum will see to that.

Tags: Me & My Pony

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