Saturday, July 11, 2009
Mercy really needs to be ridden daily so we can work out some issues. So far this week we have ridden everyday. My sister and I started off the week (Tuesday, lol!) by trailering the girls over to the Landsburg trails. My sister and I use to ride these trails when we (and Star) were younger. It was great to be back. We picked up some Subway for lunch and headed out. I grabbed my old saddle bags that attach to the back of the saddle. Star's saddle doesn't have any strings or D-rings, so it was Mercy's time to shine. I have not attached anything to the back of her saddle before, but she handled it like she had done it forever.
We hit the trail and not too soon after we left we heard an animal crashing through the woods up the hill in front of us. Mercy and Star stood and stared that way for a while, but it didn't take long to refocus. After an hour into our ride we stopped for our lunch. Once we were done, we loped up the hill to the next trail system. I was so proud that Mercy wasn't fazed by the large saddle bags banging on her sides as we made our way up the trail. What a good girl!
Then, on Wednesday, my sister and I headed out back on our trails for a quick ride to the lake. Mercy and I followed Star and Kimberly down the trail quiet and relaxed. This was great because Mercy really doesn't like to bring up the rear. Scary things follow her, I guess?!
Thursday morning we headed out again out back, but this time we did the 'big loop,' riding on the old train tracks and wandering back through the woods. Everything started out great. We got over to the tracks and loped a little before heading into the woods. After a few switchbacks we headed down to the creek on our way home. Unfortunately, that's where the fun ended.
Star went down to her knees for reasons we still don't know. Kimberly stayed up, but I don't know how. Star was able to right herself once she got her hind feet under herself, a tough achievement when on flat ground and harder even yet when facing downhill on a gravel service road. We jumped off to address the situation. Both of her already arthritic knees were bleeding, as well as her fetlocks. I grabbed the vetwrap and a tissue out of her saddle bag and wrapped up the worst of her bleeding wounds, her left fetlock. I offered for Kimberly to jump on Mercy, but she insisted on walking with Star back to the house. Luckily, we weren't more than 20 minutes away.
After getting back, we washed her legs and applied some swat. Star's no good at keeping bandages on her joints, so we just apply a fly barrier. Poor girl. We just don't know what do think about all of this. Her toes were a little long, but not bad at all. And she has arthritis, but generally it only bothers her in the winter when it's cold and we don't ride as much. The only other thing I can think of is that her back was sore from all of the riding we had been doing. This really doesn't make sense to me though because I palpated her back for soreness before that ride, only to find nothing at all. IDK...
Since Star was not going to be ridden for quite a few days, I took Mercy over to a friends place instead of trail riding yesterday. I rode her for a little over an hour practicing rail work. We worked on a nice collected jog, leg yields, and eventually we got to loping. I usually ask her to take the lead she has problems with first, so that we end on the easy lead. This time I wanted to shake things up and start with her left lead. This is the one we that we rarely have problems getting. Not so. Mercy decided the right lead was her idea of fun. After catching the wrong lead she immediately went into a series of weak crow hops. *Sigh*
I quickly brought her back to a walk and tried again. This time we got it and were much happier about it. That whole series of event was quite interesting. I remember thinking, once we were loping on the correct lead, how at the last show Mercy kept taking the right lead, even though we had circled to the left and practiced all of our maneuvers to the left. Weird, but whatever. Now was the time to fix it. I brought her down to the jog several times and again asked for the correct lead. Once I has satisfied, we switched directions. Of course she preferred this lead, now, and took it each time I asked.
After a short break, we practiced some pivots and side passing. Then we headed back to the rail. We jogged out and when we came to the straightaway, we rounded a barrel that was in the middle of the arena. I visualized my pocket and guided Mercy with my hand on our new reins. She needed a little more guidance lifting her shoulder, but overall I was really pleased. We did this on and off for another half an hour. Then it was cooling down time so I jumped off and walked her around for a while until she found some weeds to munch on. What a great way to prepare for our next gaming show... hopefully tomorrow!
btw, this was too cute to not put up. The wildlife around here is as lively as ever. Here is one of the new twins- s/he was trying to reach the water. It eventually did, with the help of a rock to stand on! The tree and violet-green swallow babies have left the nesting boxes. Only the barn swallow babies need to take permanent flight now. However, they are flying, just not leaving the nest! LOL!!