Thursday, June 11, 2009

A very satisfying ride

I had planned to go over to the barn with a friend and ride this afternoon, but it thundered and rained all through the early afternoon, so I really thought it would be another day of not getting to ride. (It rained yesterday evening, when I would have liked to go to the barn.) But by the time my friend arrived, the sun was out and it had stopped raining, so we got to go to the barn after all!

The instructor that gives lessons on the barn owner's horse was there, helping her student tack up. She complimented my cleaning job in the tack room, and let me know what tack she uses. Then her student rode while I groomed and tacked Panama up.

I was pleased to see that the swelling in his rear fetlocks had indeed gone away, just as the vet said it would:

My horse's rear fetlock, after the swelling went away

About the time I finished tacking up, the instructor came back with her student, so I took Panama into the back pasture to ride him. He was being a bit of a pill at first, but he settled in okay. Both of us were noticeably stronger at the trot than we were last weekend. Building muscles is slow going, but it's fun to see progress, small though it may be.

I didn't ride long, so when we came back from the other pasture the next student was about done tacking up. The instructor commented that Panama looked really good out there, and asked if I've ever jumped him.

I laughed. "No, he's just turning four this summer," I said. "We haven't gotten there yet." (I'm pretty sure Panama could handle jumping just fine. It's me I'm worried about.)

"Wow, he's only four? He looked really good out there for four!" the instructor said, and I thanked her.

I can't even tell you how good that made me feel. My Panama looked good enough that she thought he was more mature than he actually is! I believe my horse is extremely smart and well-behaved, but I'm also aware that I'm probably pretty biased, so it always makes me feel really good to hear other people say so too.

Panama seemed pleased too, and was acting very cute after I untacked him. We had a minor crisis when the alpha gelding (who was evidently feeling left out, with both of his pasture mates being groomed and ridden) decided to walk straight into the tack room to look for grain. Getting his head out of the grain bins, and getting him out of the tack room, without getting kicked or crushed was quite the challenge.

I finished up the day by paying a bit of attention to the alpha. I've been working on getting him to let me handle his ears — which is actually why he was feeling so left out when I was brushing Panama, because he wanted attention. Now that he's getting some, he's remembered he likes it!

So I decided today was as good a time as any to put fly spray in the alpha's ears. And he actually let me! It took some time and coaxing — I had to snuggle his face and give him lots of praise and reassurance between sprays — but eventually I got enough in his ears so that flies started dying and falling out. Poor guy — they had really set up house in there.

After that, it was time to go. I gave Panama and the alpha a couple treats each (that alpha thinks he's my horse now too, I'm telling you), and we headed back to the house to meet my husband and go to dinner. A very satisfying day — both because of my ride and because of the progress I made with the alpha!

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4 Comments:

At June 12, 2009 at 4:32 AM, Blogger Kate said...

It's always nice when someone compliments your horse! For 4, it indeed sounds like you are doing well with him. I liked your story about the alpha and the fly spray - it's nice that you take the time to do things with him, too.

 
At June 12, 2009 at 9:09 AM, OpenID manker said...

gotta love it.. life is good...

happy horse trails
gp

 
At June 12, 2009 at 11:13 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate,

The alpha is a sad situation. Apparently about a year ago he hurt his back, to the point where they got X-rays and determined he wasn't rideable, and his owners -- who have 4 daughters who used to ride all the time -- subsequently forgot he even existed. He is a 12-year-old Thoroughbred with tons of energy and personality, and it's really not fair to him to be ignored like this. I don't get people -- even if I couldn't ride Panama, I'd be out there just as often to groom him and spend time with him. If you only want to pay attention to the horse when you actually ride, takes lessons and ride a school horse, for heaven's sake!

So I asked the barn owner's permission to put fly spray in his ears, remembering how bad they got last fall. Since the barn owner handles all of his care -- and I mean ALL of it -- I figured he can give me permission as well as they can. It's taken some time to get him to let me touch his ears -- poor baby, he forgot all his manners -- but the more time I spend with him, the more I like him. I'm starting to wish he were MY horse.

 
At June 12, 2009 at 11:15 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Manker,

Thanks so much for commenting! I'm planning on riding again today -- hopefully the gorgeous weather will hold until my husband comes home with the car -- so please check back for more updates soon!

 

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