One thing H’Appy is bound and determined to teach me is to loosen up, go with the flow and screw perfection. Those are hard lessons to learn at 36 with a life time of being excessively Type A behind me.
He finally stopped trying to run to the next county when I touched his back on Tuesday. The scratch was healing nicely and I looked forward to getting him back to work. Again. The thing with him is that he isn’t always fun right now but I know without a doubt that once he is back to a routine and getting worked consistently again he will be amazing. It’s that whole consistency thing we are having issues with at the moment.
I was hoping to ride Friday but it was disgusting out. In the low 40s and pouring. The type of cold that gets into your bones and will not leave. Yeah. No thanks.
Saturday was gorgeous though and Sunday was supposed to be even better (spoiler it was!!). Dusty did morning chores at 540am before he headed to work and all was fine. At 12:30pm I headed out and was greeted by a nicker from Gem which always pulls me in the pasture for scratches. I should write a whole post on how different she is in retirement. Anyway… there I was scratching on my main mare when Doofus, the most jealous horse on the planet, comes sauntering up and shoves his head in my back for attention. I look at him to push him away and that’s when I saw that he had lost his right front shoe.
Of course he had. He knew I was planning a trail ride for Sunday. Damn him!
Unfortunately for the hubby, he called at the exact moment of realization to tell me he was on his way home. He regretted that instantly as I spewed my frustration complete with many, many expletives over the phone. So much so that he told me to just go buy a back up horse and be done with this crap.
I stormed off into the house and pouted for a while before hitting the sales pages and pouting even more.
Sunday morning was as glorious as promised Sunny, mid 60s and a breeze. I was damned if I was going to miss a day on the trail yet again due to his pain in the butt. Typically I wouldn’t ride with a missing shoe but he has me at my breaking point with all his crap. Oh! I never wrote about a few weeks ago when he came in with a bloody chin. Or Friday when his left front leg was bleeding even though he had been in his stall all day. I was done.
I shoved his right front into his hoof boot, put his butt on the trailer and went anyway. See. I am learning to just go with the flow and make do. I needed to ride.
The ride itself was pretty darn good overall. Well minus my now broken toe. I’ll get to that. His biggest flaw or training hole perhaps is his herd bound tendencies. It was the reason I was literally shaking the last time as I did up his bridle. The group xc school I went on had him tearing off to join his brethren the moment I slipped the halter off.
But while the big man is stubborn, he isn’t as stupid as I once thought and a lesson learned typically stays put once planted. This time he was Mr. Chill at the trailer. Barely moved and didn’t even fling his head when it came time to bridle. He stared in a very embarrassing way at the other horses at the trail head, but never even made a peep. It’s a big deal and he got a lot of Nickerdoodles for it.
I still decided to hand walk him away from the trailer and mount once on trail but I mounted sooner than before an we were off. And by off I really mean it. He had a fire up his butt for some reason and I was happy to oblige on a crisp fall morning down a lovely trail. We even cantered. I forgot how much I love his canter.
Two road crossings later I found the reason for the fire. He was hunting a horse. A drop dead gorgeous Arab gelding that we had run into on our last ride out there. H’Appy charged into the lead and we proceeded to have a much more sedate ride as the other lady only walks and I was fine giving my guy a break. He was sweaty and puffing pretty hard.
She led us down to the lake which is something I never did with Gem as she hated water. The first entrance H’Appy was none too sure of the waves and wouldn’t get in. For some reason the second time we went down he was all for it and I barely stopped him from swimming. He was almost to my toes before I got him to turn around. Next summer we will be swimming!! I’m super excited about that!
Off we went again and soon we came to a crossing with a left hand trail that was a short cut back to the trailer. I’m not interested in H’Appy learning trails always mean run until you find a friend, so I politely took my leave and split off.
Or tried to anyway. He wasn’t ready to leave his new BFF who I’m pretty sure didn’t even know he really existed beyond a big orange butt he was forced to follow. H’Appy slammed on the brakes. He spun. He threatened to pop up. I bailed and brought him to a halt and hopped down. He needs to learn to go away from other horses but if it means I do it on foot for a bit I’m fine with that.
I led him away and he was pissed but followed up a long hill that made me regret getting off. When I went to stop him and mount he spun, landed on my right foot, twisted and stepped off. I knew right away he broke my 5th toe. It hurt. A lot.
I hobbled on foot for a ways trying to determine if I could feel the blood of an open fracture but I didn’t and eventually I got back on. Posting hurt like heck so we walked. Until my foot went numb and then we trotted just so I could be done sooner.
It didn’t take very long for him to chill out again and once his brain was refocused we trotted and cantered a bit covering the last two miles to home and he was a very good boy for it all. He is not a spooky horse and this time I stayed mounted for all the creek crossings which were very full from Friday’s storm plus he went over the bridges without hesitation.
Once this guy is exposed to something he really does absorb it. It’s getting his head out of his own butt that is the issue at times.
He was a perfect gentleman back at the trailer, loaded no issue and came home where he let out a surprised nicker that yet again I brought him back to his herd instead of the slaughter house.
I ran over to Dusty’s work to X-ray my toe and sure enough there is a fracture there. It isn’t displaced so it will heal in about 6-8 weeks. I have a super busy beginning of the week of non horse things (an important meeting with Duke energy to attend Tuesday after work, trick or treating Wednesday night) but hopefully I can shove my foot into the paddock boot come Thursday for a ride in the arena. I’m not taking that much time off so toe be damned. I’m riding.