We started the year with our traditional big road trip to Arizona and Texas. Coming back, we were determined to get into a better swing of things with the barn. And we have. Several times. And life has conspired to throw our consistency out the window again in every case. First it was the weather. Then it was other life weirdness. Most recently, we got sick for the first time in over three years.
But it’s okay. Winter is always difficult, between cold and conditions that sometimes make it impossible for us to even get to the barn. Despite all that, I’ve ridden all four of horses this year, including a couple rides on Nevada and a handful on Piper. And since I’ve been silent on this blog for a long, long time, I will do a full horse rundown.
Our little palomino has now had two osphos injections. While she is definitely much MUCH improved, she’s still not exactly what you’d call sound. Still, she’s to the point now that she can reliably truck around carrying a rider at the walk without any discomfort. So that’s a massive improvement from where we were before the injections. Trotting is hit or miss, even without a rider. We’re starting to accept this might be the best we can do for her.
With that in mind, we are working on getting her in more, refining what she can do, and making her a bit more versatile in terms of her life experiences. Brian rode her a couple times, marking her first time being ridden by someone other than me. More recently, I met our long time student and friend, K, out at the barn and threw her up on Piper. That went well, and K is game to keep riding her with some regularity to help expose Piper to more people than just me. Which is great, because as soon as the weather turns, we’re going to begin a serious effort to find her a new home. She’s such a great little horse and it’s such a shame she’s not more sound, but I’m hopeful we can find the right situation for her. Because we really, really, really cannot have four horses for very much longer.
The kid is doing pretty well. We have found he does not cough at all if he’s either not on a round bale or wearing a grazing muzzle. I’m coming to believe his issue is less about dust and all the irritants that typically cause heaves and more about a habit of continual over-eating. If we can limit his food intake, he’s fine.
We discovered this because, while he’s been steadily gaining weight bit by bit since we got him, this year he started tipping over into a category less like stout and more like obese. We’ve had him in a couple different settings that limit his food intake, and in all cases his cough immediately disappears as soon as his life doesn’t include an all-you-can-eat buffet. He’s also lost A LOT of weight, and is moving better under saddle because of it.
Sadly, with where we board, a limited food environment is not an easy thing to give him. So we’re moving again towards thinking we need to find him another home. I’d rather he be healthy elsewhere than always struggling with this issue in our care. Plenty of people could provide a setting where he’d just get a few flakes of hay every day. In that kind of setup, he’d thrive.
I’ve ridden our youngest a couple of times this year, and both rides were great. She’s getting to be a lot less of a baby. I’m looking forward to working with her more as the weather changes.
My main man is a bit out of shape and in his typical late-winter shag mode. But for the second year running he’s made it through the worst of the cold without ever needing a blanket. After all the years I had to fight so hard to keep weight on him, it’s nice that he’s finally handling extreme conditions better. Also he basically runs the herd these days. So that doesn’t hurt.
So anyway, really, not much has changed. It does feel like we’ve been stuck in a bit of a horse rut for a while now. Hopefully, though, 2018 will see us moving forward.
Horseback Hours YTD: 5:30