Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Teamwork

Making the dream work and all that ☺

Shout out to Cathryn for providing blogging inspiration (again) with last month's "Who's On Your Team?" post.

Life with a baby pony who mostly eats and sleeps, plus a Bridget pony without many 2018 goals is a bit boring, blog wise. Be grateful to Cathryn for sparing you listening to the ins and outs of Bridget's hacks and flat work rides four times a week.

So, who's on my team? 

1. Childhood friends (and books!)

My 'team' has historically been very small. Like a few of you I grew up in a pretty isolated area with no organized barn or horse time. I traded barn chores for a pony to ride when I was about 11, and had zero supervision or structure. We were raised by ponies!

No roads connecting this place to anywhere. It's ferries or an airplane to get out. We moved here from Vancouver when I was 6 or 7 and I remember even at that age it was a shock! Now, I mostly love it.
 I've still got a few friends from those days, but even my best friend has always been into trail riding and western showing, so while we support each other in the day to day stuff, the discipline specific riding goals and knowledge gap for my desire to jump and learn dressage was filled for years and years with books from the library.

Hanging out with old friends at one of favorite places to take the ponies as kids (and adults)


2. The internet and the best farrier.

Fast forward a few years and the internet more and more became a source of educational videos and a huge variety of information. Thanks Internet, for being on my team :) I went to school and got adult jobs, and started to have the finances to own my own horses and travel for the odd clinic. The best farrier ever started business in the area around that time, which was amazing. He retired recently, which makes me feel super old. He remains on the support team though, because he's my go to guy for all hoof and health related questions.

3. Riding coaches! (Finally, EC shows up ;) and barn mates.

Finally, around the time I started blogging, I moved to Alberta and got a job in an area with some decent coaching. Yay! For the first time, I was part of a program, and had a support system on hand for my goal of learning to jump, which was super amazing, even if I was about 20 years older than the kids sharing my lessons. For a few years, I was back and forth between Alberta/Saskatchewan and home in BC, working contracts and soaking up whatever horsey knowledge I could while I was away.
Flashback to the original blog header


My Alberta barn commute


Then, in 2015, I got a job somewhat near to my hometown. Almost as important, my new job was about 10 minutes down the road from where a most excellent coach had recently moved to from the city. Wow, did we get lucky to have someone so qualified living in an area not exactly known for it's equestrian offerings!

Current commute. 2.5 hours of ferries and driving is better (and cheaper)than 2.5 hours of flying to Alberta!

Since then, it's my first time being part of a barn team that feels very in tune with my own goals and outlook on life. My barnmates there range in age from about 6 to 80 something, and they're all an absolute pleasure to be around and definitely a great team to be with.

4. My workmates, and G.

About a year ago, my extra awesome work agreed to adapt my schedule so I could spend most of my time in my hometown, making my work/life balance infinitely better.

Moving Bridget home with me this past year has added some logistical complications, and the loss of the very valued vet and farrier who only travel to the lower coast, but it all works out.  I can't fail to mention my husband G who has 100% been the most important and supportive teammate anyone could ask for for many, many years now. He might not be horse obsessed like me, but he's quite happy to take the horses hiking with him, muck paddocks, move hay, and patiently wait in the truck while I raid the tack store :)
G does not like me posting photos that he's in, which is hard because he's in a lot of them! He's with me at the barn or hanging out with the horses the majority of the time.




5. The ponies.
This xc camp with B was only 25 years in the making :D


And, of course, the other most important part of the team, Ms Bridget. She's taught me more than anything, and while our opinions often differ, she's completely reliable and together we've achieved a lot of the little dreams I'd had in my head since I was a kid. I'm very lucky. EC's lovely mare Audrey has stepped up this past year to help Bridget out, and I have hopes Sophie will take over for both of them one day.

6. Bloggers!

I also can't forget bloggers and blog readers! I definitely feel you're a huge part of my support network. Being somewhat isolated in real life, it's very cool to be able to put my thoughts and goals out there virtually and follow along with everyone else's journeys.


Monday, 29 October 2018

Weekend Photos


Another quiet week over here. I'm still being conservative with B, so I've just been walking her under saddle on the flat ground around the neighbourhood. I added in a short longe session on Saturday, and she was kind of wild! Obviously, as far as B is concerned she's feeling just fine, thank you. I'm feeling a little more optimistic she just strained something a couple of weeks ago and that some anti-inflammatories and r&r was all that was needed.


Benefits of a bay pony. She's absolutely filthy and yet from 5 feet away it's barely noticable.

 
Sophie, however...hmm, at least she's not a grey? :)




Bridget and I saw a ghost on Saturday! :o

Thursday and Friday was t-shirt weather and beautiful for some walking neighbourhood hacks.
Visited this little menace too in the sunshine. She knows who her people are and comes running when she sees me. Such a sweet baby pony <3 I'm so excited to see what the future holds with her.
In related news, I have a whole bunch of pictures that look like this, because personal space is still a work in progress. Also, she's apparently inherited her winter coat from the Welsh part of her breeding - she's fuzzier than Bridget, which is quite an accomplishment!
Bridget, after burning off all the sillies. She's so funny, because I walked her down to the arena on a loose rein, without a peep from her. Attach a longe line, tho, and apparently she's feeling fantastic.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

A Tale Of Two Schoolmasters


Training Cupid left a lovely comment on my previous lesson recap post, calling Audrey a schoolmaster. My gut reaction was "I've been far too kind describing Audrey, she's anything but!", but then I reconsidered, and started thinking about what a schoolmaster is, to me at least. (Forgive me, I commute for about 7 hours a week in an area with sketchy radio and cell reception, so I have a lot of time to ponder such things :)

Ohh, sounds good! ;)
Horse and Hound has a good article, leading with "A schoolmaster is a horse with the experience and the ability to help a rider learn and perfect certain skills". 

By that definition, the door is pretty wide open. All my horses have helped me perfect a skill or two, although in some cases they're skills I'd rather not have had to learn :) Remind me if I ever sell Bridget "Schoolmaster event pony. Will teach you everything about nutrition and fitness for competition (you can spend hours a week monitoring her diet and getting her fit just for Starter level!)."

Sorry B, it's true. We love you, but your strengths lie more in the "will happily shelter in place and easily survive extreme climates by eating lichen and snow" category.
In all seriousness, I imagine an older, been there done that, saintly type of horse, probably trained to a moderate competition level. Confidence boosting, forgiving, patient and kind.

EC has a wonderful example of just such a beast. He's not overly old, but he's quiet and steady, very patient, and happily goes about his job without much fuss, whatever your riding level.

Just a pretty pic of B's field last week. I feel weird sharing pictures of other people's horses, so you're stuck with mine.

He took one of my barn mates up to 1* eventing, and currently is the dressage ride of an absolutely inspirational (and very elderly) European gentleman. My coach EC has been competing him a level or two above Audrey for a couple of years now. He got decent scores at Intermediare this year!) She's transitioning from a lifetime of eventing to a more dressage focus and he's forgiving enough for her to train up the levels and possibly make a mistake or two, before bringing Audrey along as her "big" horse.

The best part is he's decidedly not fancy with some very untraditional dressage breeding. Oh, and he's done FEI vaulting, and is a surprisingly decent barrel racer.

So, I guess the bar's been set pretty high.

As far as this blog is concerned, Audrey is perfect in every single way, so we won't go down the path of how she may or may not differ from the Original Mr Perfect the next paddock over ;)

What I have been pondering, though, is that some of the things that make me hesitate to put her in the same category as ECs other horse are actually qualities that make an excellent upper level prospect, and ones I've really grown to like.

Talking about her, I often use descriptors like : powerful, reactive, opinionated, big moving, super intense, serious, needs a job.

She's not your friendly, cuddly backyard pony you ride a few times a week, and that's OK.

It's not my story to tell, but she arrived at the barn right around the same time Bridget and I did, and was the same age and green bean level as Bridget. And, I used to dread having to deal with her. I think we all did, lol. Helping with Audrey was not a task you volunteered for lightly. But, after watching her talent and work ethic under saddle, I remember saying to EC that I got why she liked her so much, and that my new life goal was to learn to ride a horse like Audrey (and after some further thought, to have the tools to train one as well.) Thus began my not so secret obsession with A :)
Spent 3 years working hard trying to make Bridget more like A under saddle. The good news is, we kind of succeeded. Despite their obvious differences in build and talent, they have a very similar feel, and while Audrey is very much 'extra' in all the ways Bridget isn't, I feel equally at home on each. The miracle of sticking with a consistent training program, who knew.

Audrey has changed hugely in the last 4 years. No one expected it, but she's become a pretty reliable lesson horse. I take dressage lessons, and another lady events her at Pre-Training. She's learning to be patient and forgiving. She's starting to have an "off" switch. Her ground manners are passable. I make mistakes all day long, and dramatics in response are very few and far between.

So, after some thought, I'm changing my mind.  She's a schoolmaster, at least to me. She's taught me much more than my traditional picture of a schoolmaster. It's been really neat being a small part of her journey from silly green thing to reliable PSG mare.  As a rider wanting to move up the levels, I think EC's other horse might have been a better bet for learning. Maybe I'd be out there riding and competing at higher levels by now, who knows. Probably I'd still just be me, plugging away.

But, when we consider that it's more important to me to have a solid training toolkit (and now having a Sophie pony to bring along) I think Audrey is invaluable, and a most excellent schoolmaster. It's partly how EC operates, anyway, but take for example this whole flying change thing - the smallest part of the lesson is learning to ride them. The main part is schooling and going through all the useful exercises to set them up - teaching, balancing, and improving them - tools I will hopefully be able to carry home to my two.

Final thought: In the tale of the two schoolmasters, I have no regrets. I love Audrey more for her quirky, dramatic self than I would appreciate boring old Mr Perfect next door :)


Sophie the golden pony was looking quite golden this day! Fingers crossed she can do this dressage thing too! Please, please, grow up to be a mini Audrey :)







Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Some Learning

EC returned from vacation yesterday and texted me asking if I wanted a lesson after work. Hell yes! I was in desperate need of some progress, after feeling a lot like I just tread water when left to my own devices with Audrey. We have perfectly pleasant solo rides, which is nice, but it's fun to push the boundaries a little more in a lesson.

Bridget, of course, has been maybe (but maybe not?) a little broken, so it was nice to just hop on A and have some positive thoughts rather than all the sad feelings I have about Bridget being not quite right. We're giving B a little more R&R before we xray, and the waiting and not knowing is hard for me.


B is the best pony. Playing moving couch last weekend.

Cute side track: G called tonight to let me know he gave B her Bute today, for which I was very grateful. Just as he was about to hang up, he was like " She's the only brown one there with a white back leg, right?" I confirmed he fed the right horse without any hesitation, simply because he fed the meds without issue. No other horse on the property would have come up to the gate in hopes of eating Bute straight up out of a bucket, lol.
Hungry hippo

Anyway...a lesson recap.



In keeping with my forth quarter goals of bring a better student, I reviewed a few of the videos from last year's USEF Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic while EC was away. Specifically, the tips of lead changes and half pass since those are pretty relevant to my current lessons. Every time I watch those videos I get inspired, so in addition to all the excellent tips of those topics, I also went into my ride being very conscious of having A quite sharp off my aids and keeping that energy circulating through her body.
I'm always in a rush since my lesson is right after work then I have an appointment following, so my media of Audrey is always lacking!


Sure enough, we had a lesson in lead changes :) After playing with collected walk to remind me of how active I want her hind end in canter, we moved up to trot. EC wanted me to place her in renvers 4-5 strides, straight for 1, then travers for 4-5, then straight 1, then back to renvers...repeat all the way around the arena, staying on an inside track. This was actually super helpful for me as far as understanding where my body should be in the changes...the aids are quite similar. The awareness and accuracy of striding, also helpful. Finally, the idea that her shoulders and mine align and stay straight and square to wherever we are headed, her ribcage bends around my inside leg, her hind end comes in off my outside leg.

 Keeping the shoulders on an unwavering track makes the changes of bend way smoother. You know how you think you get something, but suddenly the lightbulb goes off and you realize you still weren't quite there? That was me last night, finally setting my line up well in advance  and being very accurate with that shoulder placement. Changing the bend isn't so much the question for A, it's the shoulders holding the track that is crucial.  Both A and B evade through the outside shoulder in exactly the same way, so it's actually slightly rewarding to already have the tools to fix A's wiggliness in my toolbox. Thanks Bridget!


Enjoy some random pictures of Bridget to break the text

Lastly, but not least(ly?), onwards to practicing changes!
For my own sake, we exaggerated them slightly, both to help with collection, and to drill into me setting up and keeping the slight changes in bend. There are a lot of moving parts to consider on a horse like A! So, Robert Dover would have been disappointed by A's slightly swinging hindquarters at times through the change. On the short side, I had Audrey almost in travers but not quite, held it until a stride from the centerline, and then switched the bend to straight, then almost renvers.  And so, in place of the stride of straightness we were practicing in trot, we had me asking for lead changes in that moment of straightness. Carry through to the corner and my slight bend becomes travers again with the change of direction :) Obviously, this is me, and it wasn't all quite so smooth. There were some mistimed cues resulting in cooked changes, and a rather interesting display of hopping up and down on the spot before changing, due to me forgetting the memo about being vigilant about holding her shoulders on the line.


We did a bit of work on the quarter line, and I can see where that is leading - tempi changes! EEK, so exciting. First, though, I need to nail the timing on single changes better.

After years of riding younger horses and Bridgets, it's really really fun to sit on a more established horse and just get to play. Audrey is the quirkiest mare I've ever met, but she's very talented and loves to work, which are all good things for me. Nothing comes super easy due to her often dramatic opinions, but she's willing to work for you and doesn't hold many grudges.  As always, I very much appreciate the opportunity to ride and lesson on her.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Inconclusive, But Trending Upwards

I'm undecided if I made the right decision today. As per the vet's orders, I was supposed to give Bridget a light workout Sunday to see how she felt. You'll recall I'm also questioning saddle fit. So, I popped on bareback to give Bridget her ride.


 I think that was a great decision as far as eliminating potential issues due to the saddle. On the other hand, I don't push her all that hard when I'm riding bareback, so it might not be the best way to evaluate minor lameness issues!

I'd have an easier time rebalancing this with a saddle.

Short ride recap: She felt frustratingly "OK". No mind blowing change back to her best self, but better. She felt quite energetic and enthusiastic, which was great, but she's had a few days off so I don't know if we can say it's because she's not sore anywhere. She felt less stiff to the right, and she picked up her canter lead, although I had to work to keep her from popping that shoulder and twisting to switch the lead. So...I feel improvement. Maybe I just celebrate that, don't overthink it, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. She gets her last day of Bute tomorrow, and then a couple more days off. Fingers crossed a little more time off proves to be the answer!

She's so fun

Since the day was beautiful, we also went for a drive out to Sophie's new farm. We've got a crazy surplus of apples right now, so both girls are being spoiled each time I visit them.
You have apples?

My decision to give S an apple in the pasture was probably not the wisest thing I've done lately...one of the other horses came at me and her very aggressively from quite a ways away. I had my back turned to him, and I'm grateful G was watching and let me know trouble was incoming. Very rude, but also a friendly reminder to be aware of the herd, not just my own horse.

Pondering the view

S seems solidly middle of the pack...she wants desperately to be everyone's best friend, but the mares that seem to be a little below her in rank kind of ignore her and act like they'd rather be left alone. The middle gelding is the one who's still sorting things out with her, and the lovely Morgan of the barn owner is the undisputed and very kind leader of everyone.

You can see the big scrape on her side

S got a quick grooming and check over. No walk because her frog that got damaged still looks a bit pink and sore, but it's healing very quickly! Her mouth seems fine after having her wolf teeth out, and the scabs are starting to come off her big scrape on her side. I'm very optimistic there will be no scars. The barn owner feels terrible, but I'm not sure there's much anyone could have done differently - she spent a few days meeting everyone over the fence, then they introduced everyone one by one. It wasn't until halfway through day 2 of group turnout she came in all beat up. Poor S has had a rough couple of weeks, but she seems to be on the mend and fitting in quite well!
Spot the pony. Bridget is enjoying the dry weather and extra pasture time.


Friday, 19 October 2018

Good Pony

"Wild" pony. Going to be so hard to catch! This pasture situation will never work out.

"C'mon Sophie!"
Well, that was easy.

OK, I've got to let those catty comments go. Shes a good girl, especially for a youngster, and perhaps not everyone expects that. I'm sure they'll come around when they get to know her better.
Patiently waiting for her farrier appointment. At the barn, all by herself.

Sophie was excellent for her new farrier today. We were all much impressed with her manners. I'd love to take credit, but I think she's just maturing. She's also got tons of room to run and burn off all the silliness and in general I think she's pretty happy at the new barn. Despite the initial rough start, I think the move was a great decision.

Even her stall she comes into at night  is always open to about a 1 acre grassy paddock. Her tracks indicate she's not opposed to a midnight gallop now and then ;)

Somehow, most of the frog on her front right got torn off last night. Its less dramatic than it sounds, because she was shedding it out, so part of it was leaving regardless. It's just unfortunate it got caught on something and tore away some of the healthy tissue before the farrier could trim the dead stuff off nicely. So, she's going to be a little footsore until it grows back a little.

Luckily, the ground isnt very hard and it's all grass fields so hopefully she shouldn't be too ouchy.

Poor pony has had a rough couple of weeks, getting beat up by her pasturemate and requiring much hosing, poking and treating for that. Then getting her wolf teeth pulled Wednesday, then today getting part of her sore foot trimmed up. You'd think by now she'd be hiding when she sees me coming with her halter, but she seems just as happy to see me and as enthusiastic as ever. I'm falling more in love with this little mare and her great attitude every day.

Begging for nose scratches

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Vet Day

Living in this isolated part of the world, we're lucky we have a pretty wonderful vet willing to visit us every month. It's actually been a few years since I've used him, or even been present for a vet visit since I've been living elsewhere with the horses a lot of the time and spoiled with a barn manager coordinating things while I work. I've missed being more hands on, both because I like being there to hear things first hand, but also because I kind of geek out. I was one of those kids who was 100% sure they wanted to be a vet for many, many years. As an adult, I'm happy with my life choices, but I still think vets have a pretty cool job and am always happy to assist on calls.

Both Sophie and Bridget needed their fall shots and teeth done, plus a lameness exam for Bridget. I volunteered to hold a couple of other adorable equines at B's barn too, because why not? :)

This pony is having some digestive upsets, which led vet to jokingly start referring to him as "that sh!tty pony" when it became known I don't actually think he has a name yet. Vet's suggestion is pretty apt even when he's feeling good - he's a bit of a character. He's so cute though - barnmate and I decided Gus might be more appropriate :)


Sophie lives the farthest away, so she was up first, and right off the bat the vet was a little unhappy with her feet. The issue is fairly minor, she toes out a little on the left front and since she's still growing he'd like to see her trimmed a little differently to address that. Its not at all our current farriers fault - she's another person who travels to us and there's only do much she can do every eight weeks! This weekend I'm trying a new farrier who just moved here, so fingers crossed it's a good fit. I'm hopeful having someone local will solve our current issues. With the initial check up out of the way, S got some happy drugs. Then some more. And even more. For a little pony, she's not a cheap drunk. She was very well behaved throughout, just not getting as sleepy as he wanted.

Party on, Sophie

She's still mostly got baby teeth, so the focus of the visit was getting those wolf teeth pulled. There were two, and although they were fairly shallow, they were big! It was a bit gory. I saved the teeth, of course.  I'm glad we got it done, it will be nice to start introducing a bridle to her and some long lining. He agreed with my tentative time frame for starting her, he's of the opinion she's going to be slower to mature.

Cute mare, no grain for you for a week until your mouth heals. Poor baby.

Bridget got off lucky and didn't need her teeth done this time - they still look good from last year and we'll recheck in spring. She had her fall shots and a lameness exam, and of course trotted out loose and sound for that. He did some flexions and she was very minority reactive on her left hind. B is the most stoic of all the ponies, so he based his findings on my input of how she's been under saddle, plus the fact she was inhaling/grunting ever so slightly as she weighted that leg on tight circles and as he flexed it during the exam. Further investigation has him optimistic she sprained/strained something in her hock, so she gets a few days off and some bute to start. I can try some light riding over the weekend if she feels good. If she remains sore, or goes back to being sore when she goes off bute or when I up the workload again, then he'll come back to xray and we'll come up with a further plan. Otherwise, he thought B looked "fantastic" which is always nice to hear.

Later in the day, I got a panicked call from the barn owner. B appeared to be colicking. Since that NEVER happens, I rushed up there in a bit of a panic. She was breathing rapidly and seemed pretty dull, but otherwise seemed OK, so I was relieved, but still nervous. I walked her a little and of course she perked up quickly and said some fresh grass might make her feel better - ponies!!! I think she had a bit of a reaction to the vaccinations she received. Her behavior was very similar to the only other time I've seen that years ago at a barn I managed. I stuck around to keep an eye on her, and by dinner time I was pretty confident she was feeling enough usual self for me to head home.

B eagerly waiting for her bute this morning ;)

Thus ends the story of how I spent $730 in one morning, and missed the remainder of my work day walking and monitoring a sad pony. I'm doubly grateful B didn't need her teeth done, and of course was super relieved when I rolled into the barn this morning to give her her bute and she was very bright and happy.  (Sidenote: she happily just eats the bute out of her bucket. No need to add anything or disguise it, lol. The only other medications she's ever been on were clanbuterol and thyroxine a few years ago, and both of those were apparently edible too. What won't she eat?)

Crossing fingers hard  her hock is just a minor strain and she doesn't need a follow up x-ray visit.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Busy Weekend


We left off where the whole lot of us were feeling rather sorry for ourselves.

I had so much planned for the weekend, but felt kind of discouraged, and also have felt like I've been getting a cold for the last couple of weeks. Nothing beyond being tired and having a sore throat is actually materializing though, so for now I am winning.

And so, I powered through and got a surprising amount of things done! I had volunteered to set up version 2.0 of our spooky trail course, so I did that Friday night. The course ended up looking so fun I brought Bridget down to explore (he's currently in a small paddock, so I think walks are better than standing around, possible sore back or not).
Construction zone - ditch ahead :)

Since life is not perfect, she didn't miraculously feel better since a couple of days before and still felt a bit off at the trot. She also told me the saddle is not fitting well anymore. Story of my life with saddles and this pony. She's lost muscle over her topline, so it's an expected thing that the saddle would need adjusting and something I've been kind of avoiding by using shims as it's quite difficult to find someone locally to do it. If you recall, last time I had to send it away and it took a few months, by which point she'd changed shape again. On the plus side, I would feel bad, but it would be a simple fix if her recent soreness was due to her saddle needing an adjustment.

So I took the saddle off and popped on bareback and we walked around the trail course, because she seemed quite happy to wander around sans saddle. I trotted a little and she seemed content, but quite honestly I can't sit a giant cob trot bareback well enough to be fair to her so I did a lot of slower trotting and tiny bit of canter and went back to toodling around. Not a definitive lameness test by any means, but encouraging that she felt better. Don't worry, though, the vet is still scheduled to investigate further!
Car wash!

Sophie got a bit of a ground work lesson on Friday - she's learning to move body around as I would expect her to once she's under saddle. She finds her left shoulder quite difficult to yield. She's good about it though - not trying to avoid it by running through me or getting in my space at all, just sort of "Ugh. I am stuck and I am sure that shoulder doesn't move like you say it does" :) She's getting the hang of it though, it's just she needs some time to ponder the logistics on moving that one shoulder, where her hindquarters, sidepassing, and other shoulder are pretty reliable from the ground.

Their pasture is beautiful

Sunday, we went for a walk just up to the end of the road and back. I have no idea what Sophie's been up to (by all accounts from the barn owner and manager she's been an angel), but another boarder seemed slightly horrified I was going to lead her anywhere, let alone on the road. I think they had it in their mind she's half feral or something? They were asking a bunch of questions re: her history and training and doing that thing where they ask the same question again phrased just a little differently, like they think you're being dishonest or something and will give them the answer they want to hear ("OK, you found me out! She's a totally wild baby and is REALLY dangerous!") if they just ask enough. So, Sophie made me proud by coming to me when I called her and quietly heading out for our walk like the good girl she is, not even answering when the other horses called for her. (I was a tiny bit frustrated by that point, so Sophie probably wisely knew that it was not the time for dramatics, lol )
Stopping for a snack. Calm down Sophie, you're crazy ;)

Our road adventure was actually really productive. We saw:

-A quad bike
-A dirt bike
-Some really barky dogs
-Cows
-Sheep
-Other horses
-A person on a bicycle
-A big diesel semi truck
-Recycling bins
-Kids on a trampoline

She obviously had to stop and look at some of the above, but proceeded on quite bravely. She was uncomfortable with some of it, but she's very forward thinking and trusting, which is nice. Since our return trip was nearly identical to the outgoing one, she got to see everything twice and was a rock star by the return journey. Not bad for an afternoon walk in the country!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Beat Up

Poor Sophie's integration into the new herd appeared to go well, but when she came in on day 2 she had a lovely hematoma on her chest from being kicked and some nice deep scrapes all down one side of her. I won't lie, part of me got a little protective and frustrated, but the bigger part of me knows she is an absolute pest who I'm sure needed some boundaries installed by the other horses.

She's still super cute though! The damp spots are all lotions and potions the barn owner has been putting on her. Spoiled pony!

I took Bridget out Thursday night for or usual ride and she felt a little off behind again. I had G video and it's noticable there too. She's not stepping compketely through with either hind, moreso on the right. Its not super noticable, but I know what she normally moves like, and it's there. So, that makes me very unhappy and worried.

Sophie and a herdmate yesterday - notice S is now keeping a respectful distance.

Part two of that equation is that watching the video, I was unhappy with how I look riding her. It's been awhile since I've had video. Its not obvious in still pictures but in video I can see how my weight influences her balance a little now and then.  In truth I'm over my normal (not thin on the best of days) weight these days, and as I always feel like I'm borderline appropriate size wise on her, an extra 15 pounds over my norm is too much. So of course, I'm thinking she's off because I'm squishing her. Logically, I know thats probably untrue, but logically I also know the less I weigh and the better I ride, the easier it is on the horses. I've been struggling mentally and let a lot of the regular routine of exercise/eating/generally being kind to myself things slide off and on these past few months. It's unfair to those around me (and my horses) to persist with that though, regardless of my mindset.

Crappy video still from yesterday.

So, let's add some weight loss goals to those fitness ones, shall we? Enough is enough...I'm tired of beating myself up over this but not being proactive enough to fix it.
Far away is more flattering, lol

And, obviously the vet is coming (on Wednesday) to take a look at Ms Bridget. I may take her out on the lunge later this weekend just to see if she's happier without a saddle/weight.
My wonderful husband is all " If you're worried why don't you just get a bigger horse to ride? Then we can still go out for dinners and watch too much Netflix" Thanks for the support, honey :D

What a recap, lol. Basically I think all of us here are feeling a little beat up right now. But, it's a beautiful sunny fall weekend, and we've got a plan, so it's not all bad :)