I’ve been in a serious funk the past few weeks. You know those times where it seems like nothing goes right?
Yeah. That seems to be my August.
Last week it was low 50 degree’s and felt like winter was impending, this week it’s 90’s and so humid you can swim through it.
I hate this weather.
We got an offer on our old house.
* The purchaser decided not to get a home inspection – Yay.
* He can’t get an FHA appraisal without a home inspection – Boo.
Zeus wanted to help me in the pasture, but he knows he’s not allowed in there. He came crawling out on his belly and refused to go back to the yard. So instead, he hung out in the wheel barrow while I finished putting out hay for the horses.
I thought he’d freak out, but he seemed happy to supervise from his elevated position.
And Joy has been an absolutely amazing trail horse. Our last trail ride, she lead for about 2/3’s of the ride. At one point something scared her (something darted beside her), and she jumped, took one big stride forward, and immediately went back to a quiet and relaxed walk.
For the most part, when she spooks, she does a little jump in place and then settles right back down. The absolute worst I’ve had her do is jump and take two strides forward. But after that… right back to attentively calm.
If nothing else, she’ll be an amazing trail horse in no time flat. She walks over giant logs, walks up to scary stuff, has had tree limbs brush her sides and her belly and never reacts, and weird footing doesn’t bother her either. She’s very careful with her feet and never trips. AND, she never once hollers for Ava, or shows any sign of being buddy sour when out.
I try to do a little training on the trails for contact acceptance, leg aids, and a touch of straightness. She still gets agitated by contact. She doesn’t really stretch into it except for a rare moment here and there. Her go-to defense is to brace her poll and stiffen her neck. Occasionally I can convince her to relax into it, but it’s rare.
Her leg yields are coming along fantastically.
She’s getting more and more bendable through the ribs in both directions (more equal). She’s no longer a board.
She’s starting to really get seat cues and half-halt of the seat, but God forbid you touch her mouth at the same time. Immediately braces and pulls on you. I’ve found flexing slowly left then right helps, but I can never remember to try that when she initially braces. It always takes me a minute to go “Oh! Flex her poll. Duh!”
Even then, more times than not her next trick is to curl. Which I haven’t found a good answer to yet. More forward doesn’t do much. Lift the reins and she curls more.
I end up just keeping a steady light contact and trying to squeeze her into a more open frame. It’s really hit or miss at this point. It agitates her greatly, so I tend to drop it and come back to it several times in a ride.
The first few times we navigated hilly sections she would only go down it like a crab, sideways. Now she let’s me keep her straight and more balanced toward the back. I was pleased with that because she’s stopped trying to bolt to the bottom. She just casually walks down them now.
I can just start to elevate her trot with my seat. Like, instead of a flat forward, I can shorten her stride and get a bit more push upward instead of outward. I was playing with it. It’s nothing significant at this point, but eventually I’d like to try for half-steps once I can get the contact thing fixed. I’m trying not to rush it, but at the same time I want to at least introduce it in tiny pieces. She seems to naturally be inclined to sit, and I think it’d be pretty easy to get good half-steps later.
Jessies leg has mended pretty well (I had just fly sprayed her in the pic). There’s still a lump, but she moves okay for her age. No signs of pain from it. She’s a bit creaky when she walks, but I’m surprised she gets around as well as she does for being over 30.
She looks good, doesn’t she? I’ve never seen a horse this old look this good. She must have great genes. Other than upping her grain and adding a small bit of fat supplement (plus free choice hay), I haven’t changed her care any. She’s just naturally aging well.
I don’t have a recent pic of Ava. She’s been very unhappy with the abundance of horse flies. She refuses to leave her stall. On the plus side, the cooler weather has meant she can start wandering the pasture more since the horse flies tend to go hide then.
I took her the other day for a short trail ride and she did great. I was worried. I hadn’t ridden her in several weeks. I thought she’d buck me off or something.
It was fun! I’d like to take her out more, but the bombers nail her the second she leaves the barn. And all hell breaks loose when that happens. I’ll have to time our rides for cooler days, or ride early morning or late evenings. Luckily she loves winter, so we can get in some good trail rides the other 9 months of the year.
That’s the update. Thanks for reading!!