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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More time for "lamb watch"

A week ago Saturday, March 6, Brian had a friend over after church who wanted to ride horses. So Breezy and Russell graciously gave "pony rides" in our arena. I observed out loud, "Russell is short-striding on his left hind." Rick said, "I see that." Sigh.

So a week ago Rick had some time and started his investigation. Although Russell was short-striding with his left hind, he was positive on the flexion test to his right hind, so Rick started there. He had time to do a six-point nerve block (blocks the foot and pastern) and a suspensory nerve block; neither changed Russell's way of going. Rick didn't have time to do more until today. Since nerve blocks interfere with a good ultrasound image, Rick shaved Russell's suspensory and stifle areas on his left hind and ultrasounded them first. His stifle looks good; his suspensories, not so much. So Rick did the same nerve blocks on the left hind and as we suspected, the lower block didn't change anything, but the suspensory block did. Rick checked his records and confirmed this was the same area Russell injured two years ago and Rick treated with extracorporeal shock wave. He treated it again with shock wave, but is thinking of using IRAP as well. It is not reassuring that Russell has injured it again, especially since he has not been worked hard in the last two years. Indeed, I can't seem to keep him sound long enough to get him fit for hard work!

Right now we have two lame horses and two old horses; you'd think we ran a home for the aged and infirm here....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A three-horse day, not a three-dog night

I've been on three horses today, the most "horsing around" that I've done in I don't know how long!

First I got on Breezy, Brian's pony. The last couple times Brian has ridden her, she's bucked at the canter - getting him off once. Since we got her to build Brian's confidence, this was a big step backward and not welcome. Rick felt that some remedial training was in order and I was the obvious choice to do it. After re-establishing law and order, Brian and I headed out on a road ride. (I rode Russell; mount #2.) Happily, Breezy behaved like a perfect little lady for Brian, and he had a great time.

This evening I felt like I entered a time machine. Last Sunday I had a completely unexpected phone conversation with the lady we bought this place from 15 years ago. She asked about us and our animals, and I asked about her and hers. That's how I learned she has a tall six-year-old Morgan she got as a weanling and who isn't really suited to her, and, well, I got curious. So tonight I met up with her at the barn where this Morgan boy is stabled, and got to ride him, too.

So why did that feel like a time machine? Because my very best dancing partner was a Morgan gelding that I bought as a long weanling and trained through the levels, hitting the top spot in the USDF All-Breed Awards from First Level through Prix St. George. Axel (Rogue Hills Galaxy) was my first and only Morgan, and a real departure mentally, emotionally and physically from any other horse I've ridden. By the time I reluctantly parted with him almost eight years ago, I had come to love and appreciate that horse like no other, and the horse I rode tonight reminded me of Axel in so many ways. Is there a second Morgan in my future? I don't know; I really don't know.