Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back To Real Riding

Things have been busy around here... not so much on the horse side of things, but in my other life. My parents came down from Michigan for a few days and we had a really nice visit despite a couple days of less than stellar weather. They went back home this morning so life has officially gone back to the usual routine...

On the positive side of things, though, the weather is much more pleasant for my horse and she even has two functioning boots for riding. She's perfectly sound when wearing the boots and I haven't had any further issues with my saddle. All that good news means I can actually ride my horse! And when I say ride, I mean ride! No more taking it easy... it's time to get back to work! She's definitely out of shape, so I'm putting together a fitness routine that I'll be using next week to get her going again.

I rode her a bit yesterday so my parents could see how absolutely adorable she is (albeit a little pudgy). Here are a couple pictures:

Always perfect for mounting and ride preparation.  :)
Happy hooves = happy horse!
Yesterday we just had a short ride, but today we actually worked on some "serious" stuff. I'm thrilled with how wonderful she is under saddle considering how little I've been able to ride her. A strange "calm" has come over her since the shoes came off and I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but I didn't see any of the anxious Lilly I'm used to from recent times. We did walk, trot, and canter work and she was responsive, patient, and GOOD! She wasn't chomping on the bit at all during our ride, and when we did a little bit of cantering each way, she stepped right into both transitions without fuss (from the walk!) and had the correct lead both times.

It all sounds like fairly simple stuff for most, I'm sure, but for me and Lilly, those are all things we've struggled with. She's really smart, very sensitive, and I really struggle keeping her focused on doing only what I ask. She anticipates like crazy and when I don't let her do what she thinks we should be doing, she gets frustrated... the frustration turns into things like chomping on the bit and shooting like a rocket into the canter. Once she's worked up, she has a "hair trigger" for most of the ride and even the slightest bit of leg pressure must mean canter!

Today, though, she was amazing. She was calm, easy to get along with, and we had a great ride. She even did her stifle exercises without getting all huffy! (I back her over slightly raised poles...)

Even though over the past couple weeks/months she hasn't really been able to be ridden with any real work in mind, I've been taking her to the arena to walk around. During that time we did a lot of playing. I would drop my reins and ride by steering her with my legs only... I taught her to back up without the reins, side pass without the reins, pivot without the reins, and essentially be completely functional without reins. I think that has made a huge difference with her sensitivity because now she knows that pressure doesn't always mean go faster. When I was riding today, I had to be very specific with my cues because she wasn't sure if we were turning or if I was asking for the trot. And she didn't get frustrated with me when she wanted to turn and I wanted to trot. It was more like, "oh, okay mom..." instead of her usual frustrated attitude.

We're starting in a great place!

Also, Lilly's x-rays have been moved up from Thursday to Monday. The veterinary office that I was hoping could do the xrays finally got back with me, so I'm looking forward to Monday! I also ordered a product called Farrier's Fix that is supposed to draw out hoof soreness and help tender feet (among other things). It came highly recommended by a few people, and for $20 I figured I should give it a shot. I've spent way more on way less, so why not?! For sore hooves it should be applied daily and yesterday was our first application, so there haven't been any noticeable results yet, but it's still early and I'm hopeful!

As I was out enjoying a wonderful day with Lilly, I couldn't help but think about Andrea and Gogo. I gave Lilly an extra hug and spent a quiet moment with her in honor of all they have been through. May Gogo rest in peace, and may the memories they shared never fade.


  1. Glad things are going well. Hope the xrays give good news.
    There's an award for you on my blog.

  2. Yay for good rides!
    Hope the x-rays are completely boring. That's Dr. Gary's highest praise.

  3. Happy feet = happy horse. Good on both of you!

  4. You know, the saddle thing could still be that her feet were bugging her. Now that she's got even more growth, her feet feel better than ever and so the saddle is all good.

    Fingers crossed!

  5. You guys look great!!

    And so glad your girl is feeling and acting so well. Good Lilly!!

    Your paragraph about Gogo and Andrea put tears in my eyes, such a sad situation!

  6. Thank you, Carol! :)

    Terry, that is absolutely what I'm hoping for... the more boring, the better!

    Thanks, Cedar. I really do hope she feels better now.

    Jen, I hope you're right! I was contemplating that as well and I hope she'll continue to feel better and better.

    Thanks, Britnie! She seems like a happy girl these days.

    It's definitely sad about Gogo... I can't imagine what Andrea is going through. :(