Friday, September 16, 2011

lessons in riding, 9: the back-up ride

Monday afternoon sometime a big oak stall board got broken on the geldings' side, and then on Tuesday, Keil Bay kicked his stall door and broke the latch. He was fine just prior to kicking the stall door, but somehow in his annoyance with the pony (who I am sure was behind the stall board too) Keil must have pulled something. He had a visible limp for about 15 minutes and then began to move w/o limping but was walking with what I call "caution" for about 12 hours. Now he is walking normally but now and then has a funky step.

I've given him arnica (the day it happened) and now ruta grava, and I've been keeping him with Salina and the donkeys so he doesn't have to deal with the pony being such a persistent pain in the ... I guess in this case, leg.

Today Keil is moving with more of his usual saunter, so I think we're nearly back to normal. Today we are also having a wonderful prelude to autumn. It's 58 degrees and although cloudy, not rainy, so although I am sorry I couldn't tack up Keil Bay for a non-sweat ride, I'm happy there is a back-up. Cody.

I did a really long warm-up with Cody, using the entire arena, then doing serpentines, and changing directions frequently. He went from a short stride to a nice long stride, and once that happened I plugged in some leg yielding, shoulder-in, and a few small circles.

When he was really stretched and moving out, we did some trotting. The wind was gusting a bit today and the hay tent was flapping wildly at times, since I had opened the front flap to air it out before the new round bale goes in.

Cody was doing a little snorting but his desire to please generally overrides his fear so all he needed was a pat and a refocusing to get back to his task at hand.

We did a fair amount of trotting. Although I love Keil Bay's big trot with lots of suspension, I have come to enjoy Cody's trot too. It's a smaller trot, but if he's warmed up well and encouraged it's possible to build up his trot and engage his power mode. The difference is he is very much more sensitive than Keil and he is much easier to steer since he is not quite so big.

We had a nice ride. I am not fond of the dressage saddle I have for Cody and realized I should put my sheepskin seat saver on it - that will help! It felt good to be in the saddle. It's also good when the back-up ride is different, but equally wonderful, as the "main" one.

This afternoon the donkeys and the pony are in the front field while Keil Bay, Salina, and Cody graze the front yard. It's nice to see them out with no worries about flies or the heat.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sorry to hear about Keil's soreness. I'm sure he'll be fine in a few days. It's always nice to have a back up ride. I know what you mean about riding such totally different horses. My Erik was like the big bay only he was the big grey. When I eventually rode Dusty she was so sensitive and it was hard to get used to her small trot too. But the more horses you ride the better rider you are I think. Glad you had a nice cool day.

billie said...

A, I had never thought of it, but I love that Erik was the "big grey!"

It was on my mind when I started writing this post but I realized just now that I completely veered away from this particular "lesson" -

which is a hard one for me.

Keil Bay is 22 and although he's a very young 22 and has truly never had any true unsoundness since he came to me at age 15, I realize, and this little issue made me realize it even more, that he is in fact a senior horse.

I notice he has a roaning of white across his eyelids now, and under his forelock there is a silver "widow's peak."

When I moved him across the barn aisle to be with Salina, it didn't escape my notice that I consider the near side of the barn to be the "senior side."

It's tough to think about him aging, even more tough than thinking about MYSELF aging!

Right now I've left them all in the barn happily munching hay, and that, in the end, is what makes me know that things are the way they should be on November Hill.