Monday 22 April 2024

Other Happenings and Ponderings

I kind of left you on a cliffhanger with Sophie, and it's just a case of no news being OK news. The bute and/or time off has helped and she's much better but she's still not as consistently happy as she should be. She's obviously still getting checked out at month's end when the vet is back. No matter what, I do feel like there are some decisions to be made re: what my future plans for her might be, but also taking (a lot of) deep breaths and a time out from worrying about solving all of it instantly is a good thing. We'll figure it out when we get there, for now having time off in the field can't hurt.

Serenity needed

I ended up auditing the 'straightness training' clinic I had planned to take Sophie in. It was not at all what I expected but still super interesting. I had to suck it up and get past the part right at the beginning about x,y,z injuries being caused solely by bad riding...when x and y are things my vet will be investigating later this month.

Common sense and the google assures me that there are many causes for different injuries, and 'bad' riding may or may not be one of the many, but I struggle with a pretty icky feeling about that statement.

I'm glad I got over myself and stuck it out, because the clinic was valuable and left me with a lot to think about. At it's most basic level assessed a variety of horses, looking at their conformation, balance, and musculature. Discussion followed on how things could be improved, and exercises that might benefit each horse.

It was really neat to see how she evaluated everything from the ground and how well the clinician was able to predict things the riders/horses struggle with. I'm normally able to pick up on things like conformation and uneven muscling and how they might relate to riding, but this got really in depth. I left with a bit of a feeling that it's all repackaged things a good trainer would note and help you with anyway - building a balanced and even horse via correct riding or exercise isn't a new concept, but breaking it down into little pieces on the ground by really evaluating the horse in front of you felt useful to me. (and you know I ran home with it all fresh in my mind and made sure I wasn't barn blind and missing any red flags of 'bad riding' (yes I'm still a little irked) re: Sophie)

Feeling better because she’s much more active than she was. Chaos levels were disturbingly low for a few weeks there.

In other news, I'm sure you can figure out I'm in a bit of a funk about my currently NQR Banana Pony, but the babies have been doing a good job of distracting me. I took Tradey/Reggie to baby pony kindergarten last week and he was a rock star. Literally, I think he believes he is one, because he strolled in like he owned the place and proceeded to pose and show off and generally gave off a 'look at me' vibe. Not short on confidence, this one. He kept a lid on his more chaotic feelings and I left feeling pretty proud of the little guy - trailering solo to a new area with strange horses and expected to keep all four feet on the ground for an entire hour was a big ask and I truly was mentally prepared for all sorts of shenanigans. I have zero pictures, which I really regret. Next time!

But this is cute, right? They nap from about 12-2 every afternoon. It’s adorable.

Bakari/Buck (I need to start calling them by their barn names - I'm randomly calling them both 'Buddy' then pulling out their registered names if someone needs further clarification). Anyway, Buck. Buck scared himself a little during trailer loading practice the other day and had a little setback with that. He's not so confident and he's also smart, so it's taken a few days to get him settled again. His adventures are going to be put on hold until there is a little more money in the trust bank...I don't think loading him up and taking him to pony kindergarten when he's still a little suspicious is the best plan - he's not the type to forgive and get on with things if you push it.

Buck has a full sister! I want her
There is a family resemblance, I think:) Buck (and his momma) are technically smokey black, in case you’re wondering how a black mare and a chestnut stallion made a palomino this time.

Everybody is acting super herd bound right now. Spring is here and there are springtime feelings. Might give you context why I'm so pleased Reggie acted semi grown up for his outing last week - his normal self is 2000% chaos and bad choices and bullying his friends. We're at a point where gelding is going to make everyone's life easier. He's not awful, but I already see it being more and more of a job to keep on top of the studdy behaviour.

I don’t even want to get in to how many fence repairs this guy caused last week. 

Buck is actually the most civil of everyone, but he worries when everyone else is acting like an idiot. I feel like he's wondering if he should also be super dramatic but he's still very babylike and not sure what the fuss is about and why the other two are being so weird <3 I miss Bridget, I think I made a tactical error because she'd be an excellent role model for babies, where Sophie is more about encouraging chaos and poor life choices.

Springtime Sophie, looking peaceful (it’s a trick tho, don’t fall for it)


Tuesday 16 April 2024

Happy Birthday!

In a case of time making no sense at all, how has it possibly been one year since they were born, but also, why is taking so long for them to grow up, I'm itching to ride them already!

Trademark/Tradey/Reggie is only10 days older than his 'brother' Bakari/Buck and they are of course both Welsh Cobs from the same farm. The similarities end there, and I'm here for it. I'm glad we opted for two different types, especially after waffling over it for months and very nearly doubling down on the more sporty type. 

I'm really, really liking little Buck. He's sensistive and spicy enough to be interesting and he's just genuinely a good guy. I like his look and I feel like once he's mature he's going to be pretty close to what I have in my mind as an ideal cob. I can see him being a really nice all arounder and fitting the 'Bridget, but a little more' cob I've wanted.

Half my pictures of him in motion make him look like a little round ball

And he kind of is. He's also pretty bum high at the moment.

Reggie currently encapsulates all the reasons I always felt a little more like a mare person. He's into literally everything, everything is a game, he's perpetually got nicks and scrapes all over him from making impulsive decisions. He's currently the equine equivalent of a very cocky teenage boy, and there are days I I love him and am exhausted by him in equal measure :) I feel bad for little Buck some days, because not only is Reggie a lot more energetic, he is a lot more athletic, so he's still fresh and ready for more play time when Buck is ready for a bath and a nap. He's a pretty stunning mover (I need to up my game and get video of his canter for you) and I feel very lucky he landed here with me.

currently looking quite leggy and refined

also standing still for pictures this day, good boy!

normal status is cantering everywhere he goes, then scaring himself

Both boys are enrolled in pony kindergarten, starting this week. Our little equine community luckily has a couple of other people with younger horses so we've planning weekly meetups as an excuse to get them out for little adventures and some low key groundwork. I'm thinking I'll alternate taking them because pony adventures and exposure to new things are geat, but also they're too young for jobs and there's no real training needed or required at this point, let them grow up a little more :)

growing up is hard work


Thursday 4 April 2024

It doesn't feel OK today

Sophie had her bodywork appointment last week. Interestingly, after all my concerns about the saddle, she's not actually sore in a way that relates to saddle fit, tack, or rider. After being so hyper focused on tack and correct work for the pony it’s felt a little weird to wrap my head around it not being that, probably it never has been that. If you press me I still don’t/won’t feel confident about that saddle, but it seems we’ve moved on for now. 

The bad news is that whatever is going on isn’t magically resolving itself with a saddle fitting and massage appointment (or so far, time off). The good news is the vet was here and took a quick look and agreed we are looking at something hind end/back related and has a few things she’d like to investigate, none of which felt like anything I wanted to hear. Some of it felt quite scary, in fact.

 For now we do a bute trial, and Sophie stays out of work until the vet comes back. It wasn’t felt like it was necessary to trailer her over to the clinic now (it would be a long day in the trailer for a sore pony), but that is an option that’s available. I'll probably take her if she's feeling worse or I can't handle the not knowing. 

Of course we can go down the rabbit hole to infinity and wonder if the 'saddle fit issues' or the ulcers last summer or the weird quirky things she does or even why she’s always carried her tail to the left have all actually been caused or at least concurrent with something else…horses are nothing if not walking red flags. 

That being said, she’s bright and happy and sociable and is currently enjoying Head Lawnmower and Baby Pony Protector status.

It's dirty work, but someone has to do it.

It feels very indulgent to admit that this kind of just feels like the one more thing that's finally breaking me. While there are plenty of great things going on, from a riding my pony perspective the last year has felt like a series of setbacks between us both, and prior to that of course I was worried about scaling Bridget back to an appropriate level and keeping her hocks happy with minimal vet intervention. I’m just feeling tired and beat up and like it's been forever since I got to ride and enjoy my horses without any reservations.

Fingers crossed this is just a minor blip on the radar. I'll take feeling dumb about posting here being dramatic and overly worried in exchange for a sound and happy pony any day. But, I thought if anyone understands the stress and worry that comes with your horse not feeling themselves, it’s this community of bloggers and supporters (who I very much appreciate!)