To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two steps forward, ten steps back (or more)

Since Friday I've been taking Russell on daily walks. Just ten minutes a day, baby steps to build up his strength again. Rick gave the go-ahead when Russell's post-treatment ultrasound showed "remarkable" healing, but cautioned me against doing too much. I was thinking about calling the Morgan's owner to give her an update.

Last night while I was doing chores, Russell squeezed by the manure cart in his stall door while I was in his paddock. I think the tastes of spring grass I've been letting him have on our walks were irresistible, because the escape was out of character for him. He was gobbling grass just as fast as he could at the edge of the nearest pasture when I walked out of the barn, but wasn't so focused on it that he let me walk up to him. Oh no; he charged off with his tail in the air without regard for his still fragile ligament, while my gut twisted inside me. I walked after him in the dark, feeling the uneven, still muddy ground under my boots, knowing how much damage he could do with a slip or scramble. I broke down in tears as he kept charging away from me from one end of the pasture to the other. Rick got home in the midst of this and tried to help, but only caused a bigger rodeo. In one wild sprint from us, he ran between the fence and the only tree in the pasture, hitting the tree first with his shoulder, then his hip, ripping off his sheet and leaving hair and hide behind.
That apparently hurt enough to sober him up, as he let Rick walk up and halter him, then lead him, limping, back to his stall. I'm still shedding tears.


Laura said...

Oh man, he just doesn't want to get better, does he... I think you're right - the great weather is getting all of us energized, and it's hard not to become the weekend warrior.

Hang in there - maybe this will indeed sober him up, and knock him down a peg so he listens, and will take it easy.

Dang, Dang, Dang...

TBDancer said...

I know how you feel: Helpless. Sometimes these darned horses are so darned much trouble.

I spent many dollars and trips to the vet for hoof injections, followed by strict schedules of hand-walking, walking and trotting, no circles -- straight lines and weaves only -- as well as money for special shoes -- to get MY horse sound after less than a year of running with long toes on the track. About three years ago, we were schooling in a nearby field. Two boys popped up from some bushes right in front of us, and he took a 90-degree turn to the left while I kept going straight.

He dumped me and ran off toward home (he won some money on the track, and it's obvious even today that boy's afterburners are still functioning). I live in a housing development zoned for horses and we have paved streets. While I was picking myself up off the ground, I had two thoughts: 1) There goes his soundness (galloping on blacktop is distinctly NOT the protocol for a horse with navicular changes) and 2) I hope he doesn't get hit by a car because there goes my bank account and my house.

As it turned out, Someone was watching out for us. The horse made it home and has never taken a lame step and NO ONE was driving around except the neighbors who followed him to my driveway. Husband got out to keep him confined and wife came back to get me.

I am holding positive thoughts that Master Russell lost nothing more than the hair and hide, and that you're only out the price of a new sheet.

Kara said...

Oh that just made my stomach flip! Poor Russell...I feel for both of you.

Kim said...

Sounds like a kid that doesn't know what's good for him. Hope he heals and that your "terrible, no good, very bad day" is not an aftermath of this.

Country Girl said...


I felt as if I were along with you. And could feel your pain.