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

Friday, February 7, 2020

Catching up and moving on

What with the weather last week and the puppy this week, the horses haven't gotten as much attention lately. After a turnout or two (boys and girl separately), yesterday I finally worked Stella and today I finally rode Lance.

Well, Lance did get quite a bit of veterinary attention one day. He's still eating his alfalfa pellets with daily dewormer and vitamins unusually slowly, like his mouth is bothering him, and he's been coughing more. One morning I heard him coughing as I approached the barn and I found a huge loogie in the barn aisle; nasty! So Rick took time to draw blood for a CBC to see if he was fighting inflection or inflammation (nope; totally normal) and looked in his mouth. Under his tongue was back to normal, but he had some of those tiny red spots again that are so sore, and a firm, round something the size of a marble inside his lip/cheek. Rick tried to aspirate some or what was inside it, but the clear, sticky content was too thick for the needle. Weird. He swabbed it, some of the red spots, and the inside of Lance's nose to check for viruses, and drew more blood for that as well. So when I rode him today, all we did was walk on a loose rein in the arena while Stella played so as to cause minimal discomfort.

Stella, Stella, Stella. Slacking off on the daily baby steps makes for big steps backwards. I am finding it easier to catch her both in her stall/paddock and in the arena with the new approach/mindset. Coddling her insecurities doesn't seem to  mollify them; I don't know that being more matter-of-fact does, either, but at least it gets results.

Fact: I bought her to be my riding horse. Fact: to be a riding horse, she'll have to accept things moving against her sides. So last night I put stirrups on the old Wintec I lunge her in, run up to the highest hole so they didn't hang down much below the saddle flap (sorry, it was dark; the photos didn't turn out). Walking out to the arena was fine, but as soon as she moved a little and realized something was there, I had to be quick on my feet to stay out of her way, then get her moving out on the end of the lunge line. Eventually she figured out that she couldn't run away from "it," and then didn't want to go faster than a walk (I think because going faster made "it" move). At the end I lifted each stirrup in turn out a bit from her side and then let it go to gently bump back in place, praising her profusely when she finally kept all four feet planted. It's a good next step; good thing I'm not trying to meet any deadlines!

The majority of what Stella has been shedding seems to be an extra-long "yak coat;" now she is down to what looks like a normal winter coat. I think she's gained a little weight, but the saddle girth fits the same so I'm not sure. Fitness has improved some, too. I need to work on getting some more photos for comparison.


Retired Knitter said...

I had to laugh out loud with your comment about not training to a deadlines. No doubt about it - she will take some time, because she is spirited I would think.

But she also seems to have a spritely move to her step and she is probably a bit immature - BUT I can't help thinking that once she gets over all these little issues in her head - she is going to be great at that "step-in" thing -hahah - how is that for technical talk. I bet she will be a proud performer - once she figures it out!!!

Retired Knitter said...

Drassage!!! THAT'S the term! Hahaha. Dancing with your horse. I think she will be fabulous! (said by someone who have been close up to a horse exactly once.). hahah!!!

Jeanne said...

I'm so sorry that Lance is having such problems! I pray that Rick can get it figured out, so he can feel better.

It's amazing to me that she could lose ground in such a short time! Your method will work, and I hope it won't take too long, for your sake.

Michelle said...

Elaine, even as someone who has been horse-crazy all my life, I agree with you! And more ATTITUDE is coming out, not just insecurity; she's gonna be hot stuff!

Jeanne, just like some people, Lance seems to have more than his fair share of problems....