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)



  1. It’s all a lot to deal with. I know ‘bad riding’ can cause some issues but I dunno that it’s what you would have here. I know it’s the latest but so and I know that there is some truth to it. I also believe that there’s a lot of money being made off of a riders guilt and so I’m sceptical.

    1. It's really interesting and I'm trying to be open to honestly evaluating despite feeling personally attacked :) I have a few thoughts, mostly revolving around the fact our horses do far more stupid and potentially harmful things playing in the field than anything I'd ever do under I feel like most of us don't/won't do the type of repetitive hard work that could be harmful. My third thought is skepticism that any of the fixes would "stick". Like Bridget is extremely one sided and riding her regularly with a good coach she eventually felt pretty even. But then I leave her for a while and she reverts back to her old patterns and posture pretty quickly.

  2. sounds like a really interesting clinic -- i kinda love topics like that -- esp if there are super practical takeaways! but also agree with Teresa's skepticism above... maybe it's bc i'm an ottb person, but i'm 1,000% sure that even with my mediocre and decidedly imperfect skills in the saddle, my horse still has a WAY better life as my riding horse (with all that entails) than she did as a financial asset on the race track. also pretty sure there are legit thousands of horses in the world who would trade places with Sophie in an instant!

    1. Agreed, you're summing up my feelings nicely. I don't think us amateur riders are generally anything but positive advocates for our horses, overall. I think the dramatic "riders ruining their horses!!1 here's how to fix on the ground, with these simple exercises" spiel is designed to guilt you into buying their program...but the info about conformation and exercises targeting certain things felt valuable

  3. I feel you on this. I basically feel like I broke my Jet Set by the end of his dressage "career" through less than stellar riding and training. I think this is part of why I am such a seeker now about riding and training methods. As you say, I think the value is in the breakdown into smaller more accessible pieces. Good training leads to correct physical development but it is harder in practice than in theory! Take heart, you give Sophie a great home and life and you will work your way through this speed bump. BTW Jet is living his best life and using BTMM groundwork he is sound again, his physical development looks great, and I'm thinking about riding him a bit this summer.

  4. Good for Reggie! He conquered his first day at school. That's a huge milestone. I like the Reggie and Buck nap time schedule too. Definitely super cute.