Saturday, December 22, 2012

Horse therapy

For the first few days after we euthanized our dog Grace, I didn't particularly feel like going to the barn.  The only time I went was when I took A, the little boy I take care of, to the barn for some horse time that Friday.

By the end of the weekend, which was quite busy, I was beginning to crave that horse time again.

I rode twice this week: Tuesday evening, and Friday afternoon.  Tuesday night we were supposed to get some snow, so I was out there to blanket, and decided I felt like riding after all.  I actually felt quite a bit happier after riding, despite the cold.  On Friday I met the kids and their mom out at the barn, and they showed their mom their riding (or, in A's case, his pony ride) before she had to leave for a meeting.  We stayed for more than an hour after that, though, taking turns riding: V and I jumped Panama a little, and A got another pony ride.  All in all, Panama was under saddle for about two and a half hours -- not that he was working hard the whole time, as probably half of that consisted of walk breaks and pony rides -- and the kids and I left with that feeling of contentment when you've sated yourself on horse time (for that day, at any rate).

Today my husband and I took Emma (our other dog) out to the barn with us.  We walked her around the park a little, and then got Panama out.  I am thinking of starting to take Emma out to the barn with me at times, now that she is the only dog (I doubt the cats are much company for her when we're gone), so today was practice.  She sat and then laid down in the neighboring cross ties while I groomed Panama, and I found that I was able to lead Panama while holding her on leash at the same time (although I don't think she actually realized that I was leading him -- any credit for the success of the experiment goes to him, for being extra well-behaved while I had my hands full).  My goal is to turn her into a barn dog, and eventually be able to walk her and Panama into the arena together, tie her up, and ride.  I think she'll also be able to go off-leash eventually.

It was initially very hard to get into the mood for horse time following Grace's death, but once I finally just did it, I felt much better.  I'm off of work this next week, so I'm planning on spending as much time at the barn as I can!



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