My friend Jamie never made it up here. She is having a terrible trip. She ended up having to put one of her beloved dogs down in the middle of the trip due to seziures and the other one broke a tooth the next day and so she had to take her to a vet in Colorado. They gave her antibiotics and pain meds, but she needs to get little Sammie to Oregon so she can get that tooth pulled. We will go ahead and clasify that part of the story in the "Bad" section.
Since she didn't make it here, I found myself with a lot more time on my hands. The weather was spectacular so I did some chores, and then got to some horse "work". Its not really work if you love, right?
I started with Sassy, but didn't get much done with her. I got her saddled, first time in a year at least. She didn't look pleased about it, but she wasn't bad either. I took her to the round pen with my bag on a stick (although you have to say it like Jeff Dunham- on a schteek) She pretty much freaked out, rearing and acting like a fool. So we did the parade deal, where I walked around waving my flag and she followed with wide eyes and big snorts. I didn't stop messing with my 'flag" until she relaxed which she did finally do. I was eventually able to rub her with it, and fling around her and she was ok.
Then I unclipped the lead rope and free lunged her, she walked, and I frowned. She did not look comfortable. I asked her to trot and I really frowned. She is limping as much as she ever has, and is not comfortable AT ALL. That means that her clogs gave her relief for about 3 days. Not cool! I will call Steve on Monday and see what he says, but I am seriously ready to give up on this horse. I don't know, I kind of flip flop every 5 minutes. I'm torn between, is it really worth it to put any more money into her when she is just going steadily down hill? On the other hand, in a few months I will be in Arizona and have close access to an MRI, which might be how we can get a true diagnosis. Then I wonder about what happens if I get her down there and find that there is nothing to be done. How much is it going to cost me to have her body disposed of down there? Up here I can just dig a hole in the back hill of the side pasture and bury her.
Anyway, I am not going to make a decision until I talk to Steve and see what he says. Then I will pray on it and hope that God can send me a sign of what the right answer is. (actually doing the praying first)
I didn't ever get on her yesterday, I just leaned over the saddle some. I am pretty sure I could have easily rode her around the round pen, but by then I was so "over it" I just took the saddle off and put her away. We will put this under the "Bad" section too.
Ok, officially depressed again, so lets move on to the good, because I need a pick me up! LOL
I took Killian and Trax to the outdoor arena. I also took my rope gate back down there. This time I will leave it there. I'm tired of having to carry that thing back and forth too the truck. My hands are full of splinters and my back is killing me now. (duh, why didn't I wear gloves?)
I started with Killian and I will say that I can see a marked improvement on him. It was so much easier to get a canter out of him. Now granted he is still lazy as all heck, and not much fun to ride (I admit Trax has spoiled me) But he did well for a guy who is fat and out of shape. I used the Mylar bit on him and he spent a lot of time gapping his mouth, so clearly he doesn't care for it. I was going to take him over to the trailer and switch bridles, but decided to just move on to Trax. I truly think that Killian does some of his best work in a halter. There are tons of pictures on FB of him and Chris, his former owner, roping and working cows with him just in a halter. I have ridden him in just a halter a million times, and he does great. He also does fine in a simple snaffle. Not sure why I brought that up, I guess it was just something I was thinking about. Anyway Big K, falls into the good catagory, because it was definitely better than it has been with him.
Then it was Trax's turn. Trax always gets a ton of ground work first, if we are doing training. On a trail ride, I can usually just leg up and go. I am really starring to like the difference in him when I lunge him. It is a lot less wild movement of feet and more relaxed. He still goes for a long time, but he is paying more attention the person at the end of the lead, so that is good. We did some on the ground spins, and he didn't excel but he did ok.
I mounted up and we did the usual lateral flex until he would stand still. It didn't take much to get him to that point. There used to be a boat anchor attached to his face, especially on the left. It is gone gone gone.
I went decided to try a different tactic this time for warming him up. I have decided it probably is not the right tactic, but I tried it and now I know. We started out just walking and trotting, and that part was fine. When I kicked him to canter, of course he really wanted to go go go, so I let him. We switched from smaller circles in half the arena, to using the full arena and I did not ask him to slow down at all, I just rode him out. The problem with this, is that he seriously is like the freaking energizer bunny! Eventually his speed was more than I was comfortable with, and trust me, he had lots more to offer. I started bring my circle in to slow him down, but he didn't really slow down. The smaller the circle the faster he went. Well that probably isn't true, but it sure seemed faster. I think it just wasn't any slower, but the smaller circle made it a little scarier. I kept on asking him to drop it down a notch, but I was real proud of myself for never pulling on his face. Not once. I would give the inside rein a bump, do the butt scoot, and say "Easy" . Our circle got smaller and smaller till finally he slowed down then I opened it back up again and we started working on bigger fast lope circles, smaller slower lope circles. We did them both directions, and eventually he started to let down and relax. Then we went to the transitions from canter, trot, walk and back up again, then back down. I think we literally cantered for a full hour and my body is feeling that today.
Then we went to out trail obstacles. What a good boy! Rope Gate??? NAILED IT! Side pass over the poles, was no issue. Pulled the log all over the place, trotted nicely through the cones. It is funny because he is understanding the obstacles and I can actually feel him setting himself up to perform each one perfectly. Or try anyways. Its the try that I love.
Now I have to be honest. We nailed that rope gate from the left, but we still really struggle with it from the right. I am not sure why yet, but we can get past that. It is just going to take a tad bit more training is all.
Also we worked on our spins. Textbook? No. But he did do a nice pivot on the hind when I asked for it to the left. He still is only crossing over withe the correct front foot about half the time, but still huge improvement. To the right we had to work a little harder at it, but he finally was able to pivot, and so I called it good.
I don't know if I told you all this or not, but not too long ago I bought a tripod for my camera, which means I have the ability to video myself when I am alone. So here is a video of us doing the rope gate. If you open it and see me wave to the camera, that means my edits did not take effect yet so close your eyes when I go to mount, there is a brief moment as I am mounting where my butt crack shows. Gross! I HATE THAT! Note to self, go buy some longer shirts! The one thing I hate about this video is it shows me clearly how much weight I have gained in the last few months. UGH!
So Trax definitely falls in the good stack. Now I am sunburned and sore, I am loving it!