Back to Riding

Knock on wood, but both Ava and Joy are sound again. 

Finally!

The new farrier has both of their hooves nearly sorted out again. Joy’s still a bit odd on the club foot, but it’s growing in really well. And her back feet look a million times better than they did in June.  

Ava still has another 2, maybe 3, months of hoof growth before all signs of laminitis are gone, but we’re close to resolved and she’s comfortable romping around again. 

I started riding Ava again about 3-4 weeks ago. Only walking and only short rides. I’m still leery about the stifle injury flaring up, along with wanting to avoid stressing the laminitic fronts. I’d been doing short walk rides in the back field. There’s a nice big loop along the outside of the field. Full of straight lines with two small hills on either side. I can do half or a full loop depending on how the horse feels. It’s a good track to work on strengthening stifles. 

I tried lunging Jessie last week. She first pulled the “I have never lunged in my entire life and have no idea what you’re asking for!!” approach. I know she’s been lunged before. 

I finally got her going around, but she would only trot (regardless of whether I wanted her to walk or not) and then pretended she didn’t know what “Whoa”, “Ho”, or “God Dammmit, Stop!” meant. 

I finally got her stopped and she looked at me like I had personally betrayed her deeply and wounded her to the core emotionally. 

I only lunged her for like a minute, total!

I made a big fuss about what a good girl she was and put her back in the pasture. Next thing I know, she’s huddled in the furthest corner of the pasture, facing away from the barn, apparently sulking about the abusive treatment. (not really, but it kind of seemed that way).

On the plus side, she still moves like a horse half her age. 

To be kind to her senior joints, I’ve been taking her for walks around the back field instead of lunging. She seems to really enjoy the walks. 

During one of Jessie’s walks, I decided to walk her home beside the pasture (next to Ava and Joy).  I’d been babying both Ava and Joy up until that point… but after the extreme show of agility by both of then – the wild cantering, and the beautiful extended trotting, I realized that neither were in any pain.  Joy’s ability to perform a canter prioutte on the spot and Ava’s extended trot really solidified it for me. 

Next day, I took Ava to the back field and spent some time trotting and cantering. She still has just the very slightest hitch to her gait, but in other other respects she felt great. Willingly (too willingly!) moved forward. 

With Joy, she’s reverted somewhat to being less secure away from the pasture. Our first jaunt out, I had to hop off and lead her. I would feel shame about that, but Joy’s just insecure. She needed her confidence built up again. Next time out was thousands better until we got to the extremely terrifying black bog of water! All she has to do is walk around it, but she freaks. So I hopped off and we spent some time hopping around next to it (we aren’t going through the bog. Thats just gross). Third time, and Joy was the quiet, sweet trail horse I had earlier this spring. Even willingly walked past the bog pit (she gave it the hairy eyeball though).

Joy’s arena work is good, although severely unfit. We’re just working on stretching longitudinally and laterally at this point (she gets so tight!). I was just happy she wasn’t a hot mess of anxiety and nerves considering I hadn’t ridden her in 3 months. 

I started asking for just a short bit of canter by the 5th ride. Joy wasn’t happy with it.

That was the extent of her rebellion though. One outburst, and she settled right back to work. To be fair, she only bucked when I tapped her with the whip. 

Other pictures of our daily lives:

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