Sunday, January 23, 2011

As Time Advances

I have ridden Mercy four times now since the last time I blogged! We are really moving now that Mercy has shoes on! I rode last Saturday for approximately 8 minutes. It was an easy up and down the road once or twice at a walk and then jump off and we're done.
I got home early from work on Tuesday and once again we just walked up and down the road first, sprinkled in a few trot sessions before saddling up. Mercy was feeling a little more 'up' today and kept trying to break into a trot once I was settled and going down the road. Star was not being cooperative in staying out of my way as I was ponying her, so I ended up only riding for maybe 5 minutes and then headed back to the house. There, Mercy and I had the time to work on bending and flexing, and to reconnect my leg to her hind and front quarters. Then, we were done for the day.
After that last ride, which wasn't horrible by any means, but just not what I wanted to build on, I decided to take a step back and work on complete basics at the house in the front pasture. I had planned on riding for 10 minutes, but it ended up being more like 6. And that's because she was doing so well that I decided to end our 'lessons' then and there! When i asked for the hind, she gave me the hind. When I asked for the front, she gave me the front. When I asked her to back, she backed like a pro. And when I asked her to sidepass, she flawlessly maneuvered to the left and right! I was so happy and proud of her effort, I tore the saddle off right there in the middle of the pasture. I hope we can grow on that!
And then yesterday, my mom and I went for a short ride on the flat, easy trails out back. After grooming the girls up, we took them for their walks up and down the road first to make sure everyone was loosened up and ready to ride out! We quickly saddled up and then walked the horses out to the back gate.
My mom jumped up on Star, but I decided to stay on the ground with Mercy because to get to these trails we have to go up and then down a slightly rocky hill. I can't afford to let Mercy get hurt again, not now that we are almost back to full-on riding again! So, I walked her, slowly, through that part of the trail and then jumped up. She didn't take any time in noticing what had changed on the trails since the last time we were out there... 3 months ago! First of all, she noticed that our 'No Trespassing' sign had fallen down and was now leaning against the truck of the tree from which it had fallen. Then she noticed the trash just a little ways up. When she saw the tree that was leaning over the trail precariously, she slowed her walk for a minute to look at it, but then continued on.
She did stride out rather slow, until we turned around a few minutes later... Once she figured out we were heading home, she was doing her typical appy blast-off! She was walking so fast! I had to take hold of her and slow her down, but I couldn't release that pressure, for if I did she was off again. She was walking, not trotting, so that was great, but it was too fast and she wasn't watching where she was putting her feet anymore.
I know this isn't ideal but I ended up getting off and walking her home. I just can't take that risk. But that will be the first thing I work on when I get the all clear to ride her hard again. Barn sourness.... I won't allow it to get worse! ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Riding Into The... Rain?

Last Sunday Mercy and I went for our first real ride in over 2 months! First, we stretched and loosened up our muscles by doing our normal walk and trot routine up and down the road. This time, however, we didn't do that for a half hour like normal. We just did about 15 minutes. On our last pass by the house we spotted three deer in the front yard ruminating! They were curiously watching as we walked up and down the street and eventually made our way back to the house to saddle up! I took my time saddling Mercy up. I knew she wouldn't forget what it was all about, but I also wanted to make sure she hadn't developed any new "sensitive" spots. I slowly cinched her up and walked her around. She could have cared less. She knew what we were up to and she was excited! In fact, she was trying to walk into the house in order to grab the bit out of my hands! LOL! She had her mouth as far open as it could go to grab the bit!

I finished tightening her cinch, walked her around one last time, and then asked her to side up to the wall of our driveway so i could get on easier. Once again, I didn't even have to ask, really! She just moved her hindquarters towards me so I could just throw a leg over!

Our ride up and down the flat, even road was short, but sweet. Mercy rode like we had not missed a day of riding ever! When I asked her to stop, she planted her butt into the ground. When I asked her to move out, she lengthened her stride. When I used my seat and legs to change direction or speed, she responded without me having to pick up the reins. When I did pick up my reins, she guided easily.
Those 5 minutes were the shortest 5 minutes of my life. We made one pass down the road and the ride was over. :'(
Our rides will progressively get longer from this point on. Right now i am to ride only 5 minutes a day for a week, and then slowly increase the time. And this is at a walk only. After a month or so, I can slowly add in some trot work. At that point I will get her re-evaluated by Dr. Schneider and hopefully return to trail riding and reining! *sigh* ;)
(Excuse us! We would like our granola bars now!!!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Up Above The Ground Once More!

The New Year started out cold and bright at our place. The ground was super frozen and we had a decent dusting of snow that seemed to have no problem sticking around for a while.

Mercy was doing a good job handling the frozen ground with her barefeet for a while, but after a day or two I could tell she was really hurting. She wouldn't leave her stall or the covered, matted aisle way if she could help it. And if she did venture out, it was super slow and she gimped around the whole way to and from where ever it was that she was going. So she got to try on Starlett's old Easyboot Epics:

They fit quite nicely actually! It took a while for her to get use to the gaitors holding onto her pasterns, but it made getting around much easier for her once she figured it out! They were working so well for her, in fact, that we used them for our daily hand walks. She was striding out like I haven't seen her do in such a long time.

Yup, it's time to put her shoes back on. The farrier is coming out on Tuesday, so she will have front shoes back on in no time. That will make riding much easier now that I have the all clear to start riding her again! I can start at 5 minutes a day, just walking, and gradually increase to 30 minutes a day. At that point I can start to add a little jogging, but that is still a ways off.
Before I got this good news from the vet, my mom and I snuck in a quick bareback ride New Year's Day. It was a super short ride and the horses really enjoyed the freedom to move out faster than we wanted to walk when we had them in-hand.

Star took the lead for a while, at least until Mercy was done gawking...

Once Mercy had the horizon in sight, she tried multiple times to break into a jog. It was so hard not to let her go, but she needs to stay slow for now.

It was so much fun for everyone to get out and move out. I missed the view from above! Luckily, I don't have to stay down much longer.
If the rain and snow can hold off today, we have a real saddled-up ride planned. 20 minutes hand walking and 5 minutes in the saddle. Should be fun!