For the first time ever, and despite active and much used Anti-virus software, my (2 year old) PC hard drive took a shit. One day running slow, the next this:
Fortunately, I have my blog through Google+ and my smart phone and tablets are all synced to the same, so I didn’t lose any photos or crucial information. My husband fared pretty well too, a few fishing videos that can be recovered later if he really wants them, but it was surprisingly less than devastating to lose the functioning desktop. Inconvenient for blogging? Yes! Things have been busy and it took me until today to locate and plug in the laptop to get back to mostly normal computer life.
To catch up, this past Monday Scrappy and I met N and Willow for 15 miles at Lake Oroville. It was Scrappy’s first ride back after a major chiropractic adjustment the previous week, and he felt *amazing* He was forward and eager and WANTED to canter, choosing both leads equally easily and transitioning from trot to canter smoothly where the footing called for it. It was fun and exciting and positively thrilling to ride! There were minimal snarky faces and lots of forward ears and carrot bites taken easily flexing back both right and left.
A rare moment of Willow confidence 😉 Scrappy likes to snooze in the back sometimes
The ride was phenomenal and gave me hope for many smooth, happy, forward miles in our future. Not that I doubted him but he is such a laid back and quiet character that it was nice to feel the enthusiasm and undeniable *rightness* happening in his body as we moved down the trail, uphill or down. Funnily enough the left hind toe drag was totally gone and his right hind seemed a tad lazy. It wasn’t consistent though and N and I agreed he may still be getting used to his new body. Because what else can you do at that point! I can drive myself crazy with nuances and What Ifs, personally. But bottom line that was a truly wonderful ride and Scrappy got a thorough warm bath and a big sloppy pan of Elk Grove with a jar of Strategy on top so you know he was extra good 😉
Thursday I parked at a different spot than usual with Scrappy, with the goal of getting in 10 miles in 2 hours at the slowest, so our version of speed work. I was hoping for more like 10 miles in 1 1/2 hrs but there were a lot of steep ups an downs involved in the route we took and we got back to the trailer at 10 miles exactly, in 2 hrs and 1 minute.
Interestingly, Scrappy wasn’t moving near as forward or enthusiastically as he had on Monday, but then again he was alone for this ride and is already getting wise to the trails, so I can blame some of that on those conditions.
I heard him drag BOTH hind toes intermittently, so go figure. Still he was willing to give more up the hills when I asked for it and gamely took on an extremely steep 1/2 mile climb I hadn’t pointed him up before. He is great to ride alone, careful of footing as ever but not bothered about passing other horses going in various directions or being passed by bike riders, dogs, hikers, etc. The season has certainly changed for the chillier and the winter coats are heavy on the horses already, but without rain yet the extreme dust layer makes for a real mess when you add miles. I got away with a thorough warm scrubbing of Scrappy when we got home since he has perfect afternoon sunlight on his paddock and with his mash parked in the warm rays, he would be dry and comfortable in no time.
This morning I got Blaze out with the intention of trying the 2 lovely Smith-Wortington English saddles I borrowed from N. She isn’t using them and I miss a good English seat sometimes, so I figured I’d see if they fit Scrappy or Blaze. I haven’t tried Scrappy yet but neither fit Blaze as I wanted. That was the first plan change; after a quick spin around the yard I decided I wasn’t even going to go out the gate in the saddle so I quickly swapped all the gear and stirrups back to his Eurolight.
good thing he is one patient, chill dude 😉
The next plan was about a 12 mile cruise through the neighorhood, 6 miles out and 6 back, but Blaze was incredibly, almost unbelievably spooky and snorty, to the point that I dismounted three or four times to hand walk him past cows, that damn scary donkey, and other random things. He was blowing like they do when they smell a predator and was generally just a total spacey, spooky, jackass. This calls for miles and an attitude adjustment you say, and I would agree, only right about then my right stirrup fell off. The nut came off the bolt holding the stirrup bar on and tah dah, bye bye stirrup. I recovered all the pieces but the nut, so the stirrup ended up strapped on the pommel of the saddle in shame, and I once again changed my plans. Blaze was far too snorty and spazzy to do the full ride without stirrups, but I damn sure wasn’t letting him choose when we turned around, so we finished the 2 mile dirt road stretch, then turned around and worked on strong leg and rein contact to keep him walking in a nice frame alllllll the way home.
It was tiring for both of us to pursue and maintain that (mostly) correct frame, but it felt sooo much better with his hind end engaged and his back up under me than his spooky, nose to the sky, back absurdly hollowed stance that the rest of the ride had been full of. He was still a spooky shit but keeping him connected and moving back and forth across the dirt road was pretty effective in distracting the worst of it. Blaze’s alfalfa ration is being cut back for one thing, and he is certainly ready to get out more, for another! At 17 years old he shows no signs of his age, that’s for sure. What a relief 🙂 ❤