Sunday, August 30, 2015

Balls and brains

You can tell the whole thing with Theo's foot has been messing with my state of mind because my updates have been sparse and kind of lackluster.  I need to do something about that.

So yesterday I took Theo out for some exercise.  He was sound, so we thought some trotting would be good for his brain.  After a week off, he was flying a bit high.  Ever handle a horse when it's more like flying a kite then walking a halter broke horse?  Yeah, that was mi papi when I got him out of his paddock.  I tacked him up and then threw his naughty pony butt on a lunge line.  Trainer A said I could meet her in the Ritz (big field) when I was ready and headed out with the other student in my lesson.  I hate being late, so we lunged for about five minutes, trot with a bit of canter, then I hopped on to follow them out.

May I note at this point that Theo has had ZERO work in a week.  Theo also has a reputation for being a spooky jerk out in the open, particularly after time off.  He has bucked people off and taken off on several occasions in his past.  We were also out with another horse that was already trotting around the perimeter of the field.  I, ladies and gentlemen, am a moron.  More balls than brains, forever and ever.

Of course Theo decided he needed to act up.  It was a forgone conclusion.  He curled, he propped, he even bucked a couple times.  He tried to dive out that left shoulder and he tried to take off toward the pretty mare that was trotting away from him and out of sight past the rise in the field.  Fortunately for mi papi, none of it was dirty and none of it shook me out of place.  I just pushed on, ignoring him and praising generously when he started to turn away instead of throwing a tantrum.  I was so proud of him.  Five minutes of this and he settled in to some nice, balanced trot work on a figure eight.  Mentally speaking, it was a huge question and he answered it for me.  Trainer A was more irritated with his antics than me, but we have different perspectives.  For her, he's a school horse and she needs him to not ever do that.  It would have been terrifying for other riders.  For me, he never got dirty or angry.  He stopped with just his D-ring snaffle.  I never lost my stirrups or shifted in the saddle.  In short, he didn't rattle me or upset me, so it was all good.  We even popped over some brand new, tiny cross country fences when he locked on to them.  That little champ jumped them both on his first try, even the spooky birch fence!

I was pleased with the ride.  While talking to another rider, she said it was a good thing for Theo that he behaved and didn't get dirty.  It would have been game over for him!  My reply was that it would have been game over for both of us.  I would have won, but I would have thrown away months of work.  I spent one month teaching him to respect me, then three months teaching him to trust me.  I don't want to go back to square one in our relationship by having a serious battle.   Not with his personality, this pony knows how to hold a grudge.  It was so much better to just pop him out of it, then pet him and coo when he chose to trot on rather than continue his fit.  It seems kind of ridiculous to hear me cooing and telling him he's wonderful and a genius when he's doing nothing more than trotting a figure eight, but I could feel him starting to bow out, then come back with the correction without a fight.  That, for him, was huge beyond the telling.  Then to have him jump over something brand new without weaving or stopping or barging off with me?  I couldn't be more pleased with how far our relationship has come.

Today I went out to visit and thought he looked a bit sore.  Not lame, but landing on his toe more than his heel.  I tossed the plan for the day out the window, threw on his bareback pad, and we went out for a mosey around the property and down the trail.  No need to put pressure on that heel.

Yes, I took Mr. Prop and Buck, the one that isn't supposed to be good on trails, out in a bareback pad through the same field we rode in yesterday before heading out on the trail.  Balls, brains, etc.  He was quite good, only looked at a few things and didn't give me any spooks.  It was good for his brain without adding wear and tear on that foot.

The farrier was not out today, no one's heard from him, so I got permission to contact Fiona's former farrier and see if he can come out.  Yay!  I love that farrier.  Any horse that could take Fi from her elf shoes look to cute little feet without a lame day can help out with this mess.  I noticed a back shoe feeling loose today, so it's becoming a very urgent situation.  I'm going to call him and everyone can cross their fingers that he's available to come out and help get this mess under control.

Don't mind the goop, I took the picture after I put some Corona on that heel, trying to keep things soft.  There's no puss, just a long, horizontal crack right under that heel bulb that runs right up under the frog.  I have to get in there with a hoof pick and check for dirt and gravel each time I'm out before dumping in betadine to flush it out.  My poor papi.

So hopefully my next update will include a date with the princess's favorite manicurist and some pictures of a brand new dressage bridle that I ordered.  I'll just leave it with that little cliff hanger.