My Own Worst Enemy

Sunday was the day. At 9:30 in the morning it was already 80F, but the sky was dotted with fluffy white clouds granting a break from the baking hot sun.

Six weeks is a long time to stew in your own insecurities and it took talking everything out with the Hubby to convince myself to grow a back bone, remember that I do in fact love riding, and prepare to load Cruze (who btw is still known as Eeyore around the farm, the name just won’t die)  up and haul out to Trainer’s facility to take advantage of the great footing in her arenas. The footing in my own arena is akin to cement and I didn’t think it was a good idea to test his soundness on footing that even Gem would likely have a hard time with.

Checking out the trailer

Getting Cruze was easy. While Gem and Pete were on high alert the moment the trailer got hooked up, he was clueless and happily munched on the grass until he noticed me and then came walking over in his perpetually cheerful way. I almost felt guilty.

After I snapped the lead rope on he got a little curious but walked away down the hill. Until Gem called out. I have no idea what warning she called but the pliable and happily clueless gelding beside me turned into a squealing and bucking idiot. Sigh. Not the way I wanted to start this adventure. And honestly, Gem needs to get her head out of her butt. She enjoyed her job and we had so many fun times together. It is a bit insulting that she is now so thoroughly enjoying her retirement. Horses.

Being a Good Boy

Fortunately for both our sakes, Cruze isn’t very committed to being naughty and a few times making him halt, back, halt and then walk on got him back to listening. He still squealed under his breath and was tense but he walked without theatrics and loaded up just fine.

The decision to haul out was a complicated one. On one hand, the footing would be better and riding him away from his herd would be beneficial for his overall behavior. On the other hand, my only other experience hauling out saw him be a total freak at the trailer, bear impossible to tack up, and overly focused on every one else and not me. Hauling out added a layer of nerves, but since I love hauling out it was a skill I needed to work on any way.


Proof he got tacked up and was such a good boy at the trailer that I could step away and snap a picture. 

All the time out of the saddle had brought about a major insight into the workings of Cruze. He may be a brave horse in a not spooking sense, but he does still need a lot of verbal reassurance that the ground isn’t going to open and swallow him whole. Lots of thoughts to come on this topic, but for now what this meant was that I went very slowly tacking him up, talking to him non stop and gave him plenty of head cuddles. This resulted in him standing quietly, only getting a little wide eyed when I disappeared into the trailer to get a piece of tack and in general being a much more civilized citizen. This is a major win as the last time I took him out and about, I barely got the bridle on without him running off.

Off to the arena we went to lunge with Dusty as back up eyes on the ground. I get a bit overly picky about gaits and soundness and I wanted him there to make sure I was seeing reality. Cruze was a bit tense and looked around a lot, especially when someone else showed up and rode around the outside of the arena, but he listened to all my voice commands every time I asked and was in general pretty good. He did have one bucking/squealing fit when asked to trot the first time in each direction, but settled again quickly.

The best thing? He was sound both directions. No question about it sound. Perfectly sound for the first time in 3 months.

He does make me smile

I hadn’t fully tacked him up to lunge because why bother if he wasn’t going to be sound? It was a quick walk back to tack and then to the arena once again. By now though the other rider had entered and was riding. I never know what to do in this situation. It is a public arena and she wasn’t in a scheduled lesson, but it also seems rude to barge in and start riding especially since she had obviously waited for me to stop lunging and leave to enter. With two other arenas on property, I just diverted to the warm up arena with a few fences up in a line. The footing here wasn’t as deep and fluffy, but was still adequate and it was yet another experience to lunge in one arena and ride in another with a horse in full view but unaccessible.

I mounted with some butterflies lingering, but he stood very still until I asked him to walk off. While he did keep one eye on the other horse, he did not scream out or try to run over to him. In fact, he was a really Good Boy. We walked both directions for a bit while I tested his brakes and bending ability, but since he had warmed up w/t/c on the lunge I didn’t waste much time getting to trot.

Happy to have this view again even if he matched the footing. Camouflage horse. 

Once trotting, I was thrilled with how light in my hands he was. He was accepting a bit more contact without being fussy and was not dropping his head at all. This was the second ride in the Myler Comfort Snaffle and it has made a huge difference in his way of going. So glad I shelled out for him.

Trotting left felt great. Going right, which has been the trouble side, felt…awkward. Not lame. Definitely not the same it felt before, but not as smooth as going left. He doesn’t have the best conformation out there and with all the time off and pain I’m thinking a chiro appointment will be in his near future to help even him out plus a lot of strengthening work. But not lame which was a huge relief.

Always making faces

In fact, he not only felt good enough but was behaved enough to pop him over a small cross rail a few times each direction. Fun fact: this was the first time I ever jumped him in the arena and only the second time ever (xc schooling way back in May was the other time outside the original test ride) and I didn’t even have Trainer there. When Homeboy is being good I feel like I could do anything with him. It is the reason I chose him.

Cruze was great with the fence. Well, he didn’t respect the tiny 2′ cross rail at all and clobbered it pretty good, but was good on approach and the back side and after a few trips over I called it a day.

We took a walk in the woods to cool down and he was very good for that too. Aware of the surroundings and curious, but still mindful of me. I can’t wait to get him out trail riding. 

After 25 minutes he was dripping with sweat and huffing pretty good. Six weeks off didn’t do his fitness any favors, so it was time to end it even though I found myself back to where we began with me never wanting to get off him. Riding him, when he is like this, is just plain FUN. Sure, we aren’t perfect and aren’t working on anything more difficult than w/t/c and cross rails, but it is FUN. Capitol FUN. Never want the ride to end FUN. It reminded me exactly why I chose this particular horse of all the ones I tried and all the others on my list to try. He isn’t fancy and we likely won’t be winning anything, but damn is he just what I need.

And handsome.

It was the perfect re introduction and I couldn’t have imagined it going any better. Trainer is overseas but the moment she comes back I’ll be on her schedule. I have a lot of thoughts to write out so be prepared for that coming up.

My boys

But for now….

We are back in action!!!!!


Hoof Post: The Beginning

Hooves fascinate me which I suppose isn’t that surprising given my profession as a foot doctor. Biomechanics and foot function are interesting and complex topics in both humans and horses. That doesn’t mean anyone else finds it to be as well, so while I chronicle the changes in Cruze’s front feet for my own sake in the journey, I won’t mind if anyone decides to skip these posts.

Unfortunately I never grabbed immediate pictures when the shoes came off in the pasture four weeks ago. I was too worried about getting him comfortable again to bother making him hold still for a picture. There have been early changes but not drastic enough to ruin this series, so I’m starting out today as his baseline.

His front right is the better of the two. It has a higher heel to start with and a shorter toe. The sole is more concave though he still needs to lose sole out by the toe.

Too high of a heel, long toe and a lot of nail hole cracks. If you look at the toe itself you can see a distinct ridge just above the lost area from the nail hole that needs to grow down and come off. 

The hoof keeps breaking as the old nail holes grow down and I am hoping once that all goes away the wall will be stronger. He has almost no wall to walk on and while the angle of the hoof will take a year to grow fully out, he should get a stronger support base a lot quicker.

There is some concavity going on in the front right foot. He still has sole touching at the toe but it is getting smaller. You can see the formation of bars at the heel that need to grow forward and thicken but at least it is a start. 

He is more sound on the front right and I expect that hoof to make changes quicker than the left which started out from a worse position. The heel on the left is extremely low and lacks support. The sole remains flat and has a lot of changes to make.

A lower heel and much longer toe. I’d like to see the new hoof grow in more upright. 

He is doing a lot better on the front left but his hoof print shows a lot of sole contact happening. I expect him to rock back on the heel as that lessens.

Still pretty flat. You can see that on the entire right hand side he is weight bearing on the sole itself. He has a baby bar beginning on the right, but not on the left as of yet and his frog remains pretty narrow. 

It is nice to have some baseline pictures to use as this process slowly moves forward. He gets a lot of motion in the pasture, has the paved driveway to walk down twice a day, is getting Farrier’s Barrier applied regularly and is on a hoof supplement daily as well. Plus he gets his high end complete feed, so nutritionally and physically he should be set up for success.

I began writing this a week ago and as of now he is walking at a normal tempo down the paved drive instead of slowly crawling and asking to go in the grass. That’s a huge win in terms of comfort. I also noticed that he has changed from toe touch to flat foot touch which while still not the holy grail of heel touch is a step in the right direction. I expect his soundness to be complete once he begins rocking back and landing in the heel. That will also jump start the changes he needs to make.

Time is my friend here and I’m in no rush to go beyond the basics of riding at the moment, so hopefully things move along well enough before the ground gets mushy in the fall rainy season.


Enjoying The Ride

Trainer had come out last Monday for a rainy lesson and then time slipped away and it was Saturday before I could get on again. Only Dusty worked in the morning and by the time I could have gotten on it was mid 90s and I decided it was safer for both of us to just wait until Sunday morning when it would be cooler.

Sunday morning I hopped on the big guy at 8 am trying to beat the heat a bit. He did great for tacking up and stood still like a gentleman at the mounting block. He even stood still while I mounted and didn’t try to walk away until I asked him to. Which is a great start to the ride as I am adamant my horse stands still while I am at the most vulnerable during mounting up.

I picked this new pad up at the Tack Shop for $5 after my winnings and unfortunately it looks as good on him as I thought it would. I don’t like navy, but his orange coat really looks good in it. Guess I am going navy.

I am learning that he needs a bit more time at the start of the ride to get his head in the game, however letting him go around toodling on a loose rein isn’t the best either with his slight ADD tendencies. It is a balancing act I am trying to figure out. Sunday I worked on the walk giving him a little more leeway than in true work mode, but being very consistent with our path and really concentrating on using my outside aides in our turns. Having never been able to play around with stuff like this I have to say how cool it feels to move my horse around using only my outside aides and get a nice sharp, clean turn. I even forced myself to drop my inside rein altogether to not allow the instinctual inside rein pull to turn. By doing it correctly, the turns felt balanced and we kept our rhythm.

In the sun you can see the shine to his copper coat and the highlights in his mane.

I still had the three trot poles in the center of the ring and decided to do a modified Exercise 1 from the 101 Jumping book. I used both “chutes” between the poles to make circles of varying sizes in both directions which really helped me make a plan and adjust for the right leg aide that he likes to ignore. He got the memo pretty quickly that he must turn and while I lose some of my leg aides in the trot as a function of me sucking at it, we managed to improve upon the last two rides quite a bit.

He tried to pull out the head drag pretty early into our trot work, but I combined Trainer’s words with Emma’s visual she commented on my lesson post about sitting deeper in the saddle when he pulls against me instead of getting lifted out and forward and it really, really worked. The biggest change I did and something I really have to work on is not letting my elbows get locked out straight. By keeping them back by my sides and following more he didn’t have a lever to pull against.

With all the rain I haven’t been able to get back in the arena to work it and now I have a golf course of grass again. Of note, Eeyore is almost the same shade as the clay in SC

Eeyore doesn’t really seem to respond to praise that much but it could be that he still doesn’t have it figured out that he is stuck with me and should care about me. HA! He does respond very well to less work and he quickly figured out that pulling on me wasn’t getting him anywhere. He then tried to curl behind the bit which is another new experience for me, but I remained calm and kept him going through our ever changing circles and directions. Eventually he got pissed off and I could both hear and see the shadow of a very sassy tail shake going on, but he settled well enough and we ended it once he went both directions on both size circles carrying his own head and not swearing at me.

I had wanted to canter some as well, but by that point he was extremely sweaty and there was sweat dripping down my face as well. The time flies when I am on him and what used to be a torture to get more than 20 minutes of work in an arena has turned into me checking my watch to find 45 minutes has flown by and I should probably stop riding and give the guy a break.

Did I mention he sweats a lot? This was 45 minutes of walk and trot work at 8 am.

I gave him a good shower after, put his dreaded fly mask on him, and sent him outside to be with his friends for the day. I was so happy with him. Sure, he got a bit annoying when my abs were killing me and all I wanted to do was trot in a circle without my arms getting ripped off, but he gave up on it a lot sooner than before and I kept my posture better and I can see an end to this fight in the near future once he realizes he won’t ever win. He is a lot of fun to be on though and I am really excited to keep figuring him out.

His selfie game is getting better

In fact, when my surgery for this Friday rescheduled for next week, I texted Trainer and set up a cross country outing for Friday morning!! She immediately learned to never let me pick the time though. She asked me what time, I said early, she said fine, I originally started texting 6:30 am, realized that was probably mean, then changed it to 7:30 and she asked for 8. I’m a morning person, what can I say? Its odd though because well, I have yet to ride Eeyore off property and haven’t even jumped him over stadium jumps since getting him home yet here I am, the biggest wimp on the internet, setting up a cross country school. It would probably be smarter to take him to Trainer’s place first for a lesson “off property” and to school in the arena but I don’t want to miss this chance. My surgery schedule gets really full pretty quickly and I hate to pass up an opportunity to get out on a course. Eeyore has never been cross country schooling before, but he has been trail ridden extensively and reportedly does water, banks and logs on trail just fine. I’m prepared for him to be a little up and probably scream for invisible friends for a while, but he should get down to business quickly if the past is any indication. We will find out!

So fingers crossed we get the go ahead by the farm owner and I get our feet wet on the cross country course!!!


The Queen Herself

The blog is becoming very Eeyore centric which is fine as he is my main mount now and well, life is becoming fun with him around both on the ground with his antics and under saddle with his obstinate but still somehow easy going nature.

However, Miss Thing is still around and living large. The last ride I had with her pretty much solidified my decision to no longer do arena work with her. She doesn’t enjoy it and at 20 years old now she doesn’t really have to do much of anything. I’ll still take her on trail rides and to some hunter paces as able but her main job now is looking pretty and eating grass.

Enjoying a roll in the spring time grass

What has been amazing though is that our entire relationship has changed. Ever since her partial retirement, she has started greeting me at the gate even when it isn’t dinner time. I don’t remember the last time I had to spend 40 minutes trying to catch her in the pasture. When I am outside she always looks up and notices me and if I call out a greeting she comes over instead of her usual hiding behind a tree or Pete to avoid being seen.

Looking like her gorgeous self

Last week, we had our first mutual grooming experience. She had just been put out after dinner and lingered by the gate which typically means she wants some attention. I went back in and began scratching her itchy spots. In the past, she would tolerate this and eventually move on after a few minutes. Last week though she propped a hind leg, let out a sigh and leaned into the scratches. After 10 minutes, with my hands starting to cramp, she looked over and started grooming my shoulder.

Why, hello there human!

Eeyore then wandered over because Big Goof can’t be left out of anything and started grooming on Gem as well. Pete eventually joined us and all three horses began grooming at which point I bowed out and left them to it.

All I was doing was brushing her out and applying some fly spray. From the look on her face you’d think I was about to torture her. 

Honesty, I put the change to the fact that I am no longer asking Gem to do what she hates doing. The pressure is off of her and she can enjoy my company knowing full well that she won’t be forced to do dressage or jump again. It makes me a little sad that I put her through it in the first place, but then I realize that we were doing 18″ jumps and fake-ssage at the walk and trot so really she could have gotten over herself just a tad.

Regardless, are relationship has reached a new level of understanding and companionship that took 9 years and a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to. I’m hoping we have another decade together to putz around when able and groom/enjoy each other.


A Very Wet Lesson

It poured all night Sunday to Monday and by morning it wasn’t looking any clearer. By 9:30am I was starting to think my morning lesson would be cancelled. I needn’t have worried though. Trainer is the best person I’ve ever met and once I verified that the footing was solid under the 3″ of standing water, she was game to come over and get drenched.

While the arena bugs me with the fight against grass, the base is solid and safe to ride on even under water. 

This is noteworthy because had it been with Gem I’d never have even thought of riding. The puddles would have made it impossible to get any actual work accomplished. But Eeyore is a different beast and after riding through a few puddles on Saturday I knew he’d be ok. Maybe not thrilled, but ok.

A very different beast. He stole the hoof pick while I was grooming him. 

I was a bit nervous going in. Trainer had come over to meet Eeyore once before and had seen him crippled but never under saddle. Would she think he moved like a camel? Would she tell me I made a mistake? There was only one way to find out!

Eeyore didn’t disappoint. He never so much as batted an eye at the puddles. He quietly squealed his disapproval of being worked in the rain a time or two but other than that he went to work happily enough. In fact, he was the most energetic I had seen to date and even dolphin leaped into the canter the first time. No worries though. If that was his worst I’ll take it! I never once felt out of control or uneasy on him.

I broke out my riding rain coat but quickly realized it was too hot for it. 80 and raining is hard weather to prepare for. 

There were three main things I wanted eyes on the ground for and Trainer was on board to see where we were at with him. She is a very hard sell when it comes to horse partners so I was interested in getting her overall judgement too.

The first thing was his trot. Of course the rain, cooler temperatures and earlier hour had him much more energetic to start than my previous rides, but he is still Eeyore and I’m still me so cooler weather didn’t make him magically more forward or me less of a nag. She was impressed with his natural rhythm and inherently steady pace. Both things that will serve us well as we progress in our training. However she noticed that he tried to ooze back to the walk and caught me nagging quite frequently. In the end she told me to be crisper with my ask, more proactive with asking for more before he starts to slow and then letting him be able to maintain it. It helped and prevented him getting annoyed. All in all though she thought the pace of his trot was just fine for the majority of our work.

Tried taking a picture of the drowned rat version of Einstein. Big headed Waggy got in the way. She is the most jealous dog I have ever met. 

The second item to cross off was his obstinate refusal to bend left when we hit the barn side of the arena and thus headed away from the gate. Which is odd since he didn’t do that going right. Again, laser eyed Trainer honed in on the issue. Me. Shocking I know.

I’ll back up a tad for this one. Gem hated my leg even thinking of touching her side. It forced me to ride with a too forward lower leg and absolutely no leg aides. Eeyore though needs those aides to keep his body in line. Thankfully Trainer never once told me I needed to bring my leg back under me so win for that! The position nazi had nothing but good things to say. However, since I’m not used to using leg aides I sorta dropped the ball.

While I was playing in the rain, the hubby built me a sliding barn door for the pantry. This part of the house was once a garage and the floor slopes. The bar at the top is level so that the door stays where we put it, but the bottom is not. Gotta love old houses. 

Eeyore is responsive to my left leg and dull to the right. This results in him blowing through my right leg aid. On a left hand circle it means his hindquarters bulge out and we lose our geometry. On a right hand bend it means he circles in making the circle teeny tiny. I really needed to be firmer with my right leg, set him up way earlier than I thought and keep that inside rein still. The moment I went to bend via the inside rein all it did was let his hind end slip out to the outside and make matters worse.

She recommended that I set up cones to mark a circle and then work on staying on the inside then the outside of them to really focus on controlling this.

The last item was his head. For the first 40 minute he was light in the bridle, offered up some really lovely low stretching and elevated his back. Then he got tired and decided that real work is hard and he couldn’t hold his head up at all. His chin was dragging on the ground.

A good sign of a great ride: muddy and wet tack. 

Having never dealt with this before, Gem is a natural giraffe, I was clueless what to do though I suspected the answer was more leg, more forward. I was right and wrong. Yes he needed a cue to move his lazy butt. He also needed me to hold my core, bring my darn elbows back to my side and loosen them and refuse to get tugged on. This was hard. Very hard. My core was yelling obscenities at me and my shoulders weren’t far off.

We livened him back up with canter both directions which worked for a while but he quickly remembered he was tired and couldn’t horse any more. It was a rough last 15 minutes but I think we both started to improve by the end. Trainer plans to hop on him on Thursday to get a good feel and figure out some tricks for me.

Her end analysis? He is mostly a good boy who wants to do the right thing. Until he gets tired and then he quits. She saw his worst behavior I’d ever seen and it was laughable. She thinks he is a good match for me and we have some work to do but it should get there in time. He isn’t going to let me get away with being lazy but won’t punish my mistakes either. Exactly what I was looking for.

If it ever stops raining, 10 day forecast says rain at above 60% chance every day, the plan is to do another flat school at her place to judge how he does away from home plus have her get on him, then do some jump schools and mid summer hit up a cross country course.

The best part? Even soaking wet and covered in mud I walked in the house with a big grin on my face and a hankering to ride again. It’s an unbeatable feeling.

Too bad our three hate each other

I Have A Problem

When I started horse shopping I made it a point to be realistic in what I both needed and wanted in my next riding partner. The fear of getting something not suitable was strong.

One of the main characteristics on my list was the ability to have time off and not come out a lunatic. My riding life was defined by squeezing in two rides a week if I was lucky with a lesson once or twice a month. I made sure to ask every single seller if a schedule like that would be suitable for the horse I was looking at.

Thursday evening I rode Eeyore for the first time. While it had its frustrating moments, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Friday was a surgery day from the netherworld. I knew it would be going in though it was made worse by an inopportune shift change between my surgical cases resulting in me losing my A team and getting the F team. This made an already stressful and complicated revision case all the harder and I didn’t leave the OR until after 6pm resulting in me not getting home until after 7pm for the second day that week. This occurrence gave Eeyore a day off.

Saturday was looking ominous however the storm blew through over night allowing the sun to shine throughout the day. By late afternoon I was itching to mount back up and had an even better second ride on the Big Goof. We did walk and trot much like the prior ride only with crisper transitions and less protests on his part. It felt so nice that I ventured to canter both directions and then much to his dismay I broke out three ground poles to work over.

Were it not for the sweat pouring down my back and a dinner that needed made, I think I never would have gotten off him.

And there in lies my “problem”. I searched high and low and focused my efforts on finding a horse that didn’t need ridden very much. A low key horse with more whoah then go. After all, that’s how my riding schedule had paned out before. But low and behold, with a horse that is inherently well behaved with bad behavior resulting in slowing down and never a single moment of anguish on my part, I find myself forcing myself to not ride instead of dreading tacking up. Instead of using anything as an excuse to put off riding another day, I find myself sneaking in time that I could use mounted up.

In other words, the Big Goof is going to find himself with a harder work load than was anticipated. I still keep the rides short and give plenty of walk breaks. Saturday I rode for about 40 minutes with at least 15 of that in the walk so it’s not like I’m on him drilling or pushing his cardiovascular limit. It is still me we are talking about here.

I never anticipated this side effect of getting a horse I am more compatible with. He seems better for the frequency having already understood what lines I drew in the sand. He was much lighter in the bridle, actually showed true bend in the circles and handled the trot poles like a pro. He still wanted to peter out a lot but I believe a big part of it was my fault.

I’m used to my high octane Gem whose trot is fast and erratic. Eeyore is much slower by nature and when we were trotting I found myself nagging him for more. I felt like we weren’t moving at all but I believe that is his speed and my nagging annoyed him as he was actually trotting. Just not at Mach 10.

I really need Trainer to help me get to know him better but for now I’m enjoying each moment spent with him. After we left the arena I was super tempted to hit the trail surrounding the property, something I had yet to brave, but he was sweaty as was I and the Dynamic Duo were eyeing me up for dinner time. Eeyore needed a post ride shower as well so instead I settled for Eeyore snuggle time and plan to hit the trail another day. It may be sooner than he thinks though. Every day I find myself excited to ride and that is a brand new feeling.


First Ride on Eeyore!

Last night I swallowed my nerves, fiddled endlessly with tack, and eventually hopped on Eeyore for our first of hopefully many, many rides together.

And it went…..pretty good.

In 45 minutes I learned a lot about myself, him and my past experiences. There is a lot to say and a lot of thoughts to sort through, but today I just want to gush a little about my big goofy man.

He started out pretty worried about what was going on and called out to the Dynamic Duo several times. They never deemed it worthy to respond though and he quickly settled in. 

Because while he wasn’t perfect and I didn’t sit on him and magically start doing piaffes and jump around a 4* course, he never once made me feel unsafe, scared or nervous. He never once pulled a dirty move or became tense, hollow or braced. He never once spooked at anything, not even the pile of digging toys Wyatt had left in the arena that I was too lazy to pick up before mounting.

Sure he pulled hard to the gate and became a sloth going away from it.  Sure he tried to convince me he was unable to bend left while still actively bending left. Sure he put on a good show that he was exhausted after 20 minutes of walking. But even through his protestations about being asked to work after nearly two weeks of being a pasture puff and a light schedule preceding that, he did the thing. Sanely and with only minimal opinions that I suck.

Happy forward ears. I love the highlights in his mane. He is in Michelle’s PS of Sweden bridle and I like the dark brown on him but I still need to fiddle with the fit.

And that folks is a whole new experience for me.

I don’t want Eeyore’s life with me to degrade into a constant comparison with Gem. It isn’t fair to either of them as they are very different horses, but it will be inevitable in the beginning since Gem is my only experience to draw from. Where Gem’s answer to anything hard or new is to get hollow, tense and go fast, Eeyore’s response to most of life is to slow down, take it in and think about quitting. It was a refreshing new problem to find a solution to and while I didn’t cure it in one single ride there were a lot of glimpses of a lovely future admist this first ride.

Floppy donkey ears and a more relaxed neck about half way through the ride. 

After 45 minutes of a lot of walking and some trotting mixed in with a few “oops, this horse knows how to do a walk-canter transition when I accidentally pull my leg too far back” moments, I called it a night. He was sweaty, a storm was rolling in and it was 8 pm with dinner still needing made (of side note, if you haven’t made flat bread pizzas at home you really must. They are quick, easy and delicious!!! A hearty, filling home made dinner in 15 minutes) yet I didn’t actually want to get off him. On Tuesday evening, with my hot mess of a Gem, I had to force myself to stay on her and work through the tantrums keeping an eye on my phone until it was at least 30 minutes of ride time. last night though, I had to force myself to get off the horse. It wasn’t a perfect ride by any stretch and we weren’t making any ground breaking improvements, but it was fun. And safe. And everything I was wanting in my next horse.

I’m dying. And you suck. But please give me head cuddles and face scratches now. 

I have more thoughts on how it went and what all I learned about myself and Eeyore that will help me in the future, plus tack questions/issues and a plan for the near future with him but all that is going to wait until another day. It poured this morning and the weather says rain all weekend, but maybe I can squeak in another ride. I have a saddle fitter scheduled for June 2nd and a lesson with Trainer May 31 and a head full of dreams to start making reality. Eeyore may not be perfect, but he sure is perfect for me.


All The Excuses

Eeyore is back to his normal goofy, completely uncoordinated, forgets he has feet on terrain self. I love watching him run in for dinner as he inevitably trips over nothing and then flings his head looking around for someone to blame. He will learn with time. Or kill himself trying. Either way, it will resolve.

I had to take his water bucket out of his stall. The horse is in the stall for maybe 15 minutes at a time. He is the last one to come in and the firs tone back out so all we wait for is for him to finish eating. Yet he still manages to get bored and rip at his water bucket. The last day he had a bucket in his stall, I watched as he nearly ripped the wood boards out of the wall. If you are going to be a freak, you don’t get water bucket privileges.

His going fishing pose. Our skies have looked this grey and multi layered for weeks now. 

No riding has taken place yet and really the only reason is that I am avoiding it. I don’t know why. Well, I do know why. I test rode him and he was great. In fact I felt bolder, braver and safer on him than any other horse I had ridden and certainly more than on Gem. There is this nagging fear in the back of my mind that maybe he won’t be that way. Maybe he will be a raging lunatic for me and I’ll regret everything. Or I’ll go to a lesson and Trainer will call me a moron for buying this horse and tell me he moves like a camel.

The reason I am avoiding riding is because my little dream bubble remains fully intact right now and I don’t want it to burst.

Rainy days while at home on vacation lead to making pillow forts in the living room. 

I am expecting some rough times to start while we get to know each other. My rough times with Gem lasted 3 years, so hopefully we won’t reach that peak wonderfulness. But I am also not expecting everything to be perfect as I learn to ride a new horse and he learns to deal with me and his new life.

Honestly I had planned to lunge him last night and then hop on if he continued to look sound, but then I got home from work at 7:30 pm after having left for work at 6:45 am and just wasn’t feeling it. Actually first I need to figure out his bridle situation and hope that I have a girth that will fit him.

The only fun thing I did all last week on vacation was head to the Georgia Aquarium which is one of Wyatt’s favorite places 

Eeyore is a lot of things, but fancy and well put together isn’t really one of them. Which is fine. Fancy was not on my list of needs. His head though is a very odd size. His brow and throat latch are full horse sized, but his cheek and nose are cob. A full sized bridle is too big on the smallest settings and likewise the cob is too small on the largest settings. I have the cob bridle I bought off Michelle and never took out of the box plus the new full sized bridle I bought for Eeyore when I was up at TIEC, so in theory I should be able to frankenbridle something together for him. He will have to deal with Gem’s baucher although I was told by the seller he prefers a myler full cheek. I haven’t gotten around to getting one yet as I want to see if he will go in anything I have first.

So I have a plan. I just need to execute it and actually ride the horse I bought as my next riding horse. Even thinking about it makes me a bit nervous. He was so so so good when I tested him out but he was at his home then, got ridden by someone he knew first and well you just never know. I’ve changed his entire life and maybe I will have unleashed a dragon.


Yeah…This Isn’t Fun

Monday was the first day without rain in over a week and with a forecast calling for t storms through the next 10 days it was my only chance to ride. The arena was dry enough for an easy walk, trot, canter ride with only one visible puddle at the near side, so I grabbed my bestest mare and tacked up while Dusty grilled steaks for dinner.

Mare is not amused by this ending of her retirement however she looked pregnant and waddling in the video I posted yesterday and needs the exercise.

Now I know Gem inside and out and it’s been 3 months since I worked her in the arena. I knew this ride was going to be bad and planned a no stress no goals 30 minute ride.

Well, of course she had other ideas and it quickly degraded to the usual battle. I sighed. After months of riding sales horses that were all obedient at their core, I just plum wasn’t in the mood for this on a cool and rain free Monday evening.

Still my favorite black tipped ears and the arena is draining super well given the deluge we have gotten all last week. I haven’t messed it up too badly!

I tried to walk, she tried to trot. When I finally let her trot it was two strides super fast followed by two strides at a snails pace then shooting forward the moment I asked her to get going again. The seesaw pace is one I am very familiar with but now that I’ve ridden so many steady horses I just don’t want to any more.

I finally let her canter to stretch her back as she always appreciates that but then I lost all steering because my 20 year old mare is still green to the basics. Or just doesn’t care what I want.


I dismounted after about 20 minutes and looked longingly at Eeyore in his stall while I untacked Gem and headed inside for dinner. He came cantering down the hill for dinner without boots and with no bute on board so I’d say he is 95% back to good. I have to decide what my next step is for him: keep the boots, go with glue ons or stay barefoot and try to toughen up those hinds while the hoof wall grows down enough. I finally got a really good look at his right hind and there is no wall left at all on the inside half of it. No wonder he hurt so bad.

The forecast is depressing for the foreseeable future but that buys me a little time to figure out what I want to do. The vet recommended bare for at least two weeks to let the hoof harden up so I’m not in a super hurry to decide his fate on that.

I really really want to ride him though and while I don’t normally complain of rain as it provides enough grass to not need hay, I want sun for the next week so I can ride.




(Trying to take a selfie generally ends up with a big spotted nose taking up the entire field)

Tuesday was the first time Eeyore was out in the big pasture with our other two and he came in that evening for dinner sans right hind shoe. I already talked about my farrier coming out Wednesday evening to trim and reset but that right hind shoe had pulled off most of the hoof wall with it and a shoe wasn’t able to be put back on. That led to my decision to go barefoot on the back and see how he did.

Well, turns out he didn’t do so well.

(Licking my shirt. He is the most mouthy horse I’ve ever met though he never tries to bite. He licks. And uses his lips. And plays.)

Thursday morning he came in crippled. He would have been three legged lame had it not been for the fact that both hinds were killing him and he couldn’t walk on the front legs only. It took a very long time to get him in his stall. Dusty ran to work and got bute for the big guy and I changed his 3pm chiro appointment with Trainer’s vet to a regular appointment to see what could be done for him.

By the time the bute hit he was doing somewhat better but was still barely able to walk and don’t even think about trotting. I felt terrible for him. The vet examined him the best she could and noted that his right hind had the lamina exposed. She kept blaming the farrier but honestly that damage was done when the shoe was lost and the farrier barely touched that hoof as there wasn’t much to do beyond trimming some rough edges left behind.

(Better. He tried to eat my phone though)

She wrapped him with cotton padding and elasticon, recommended hoof boots as there isn’t enough hoof to attach a shoe to, and to use farriers barrier or the like on the hoof and sole.

Of course it was 7pm when we finished and the tack store closes at 6 so the big guy kept his wraps on overnight in his stall until I could get out at 10 am the next day when they re opened. I picked up some Cavallo boots, farriers barrier, treats and a fly mask to protect his pink third eye lids from the sun.

Once back home he got the wraps off, barrier applied and I re wrapped the hoof with cotton and vet wrap before putting on the boots. By Saturday morning he was walking a little high stepped in the back, but at a normal pace and was even standing normally to graze again instead both hinds tucked under him.

(His new kicks. New horse is expensive but worth it. Thankfully the legs have remained cold and tight)

Saturday night he came in for dinner with only a few bad steps here and there and walked back out to the pasture after just fine. I threw him out first because I’m tired of cleaning up his water mess as he plays with his bucket as soon as he finishes eating. It took Gem and Pete a bit to finish and when I went to take her out I caught Eeyore cantering a big circle by the gate looking for his friends. It made me so happy to see him cantering again and looking like he was on the mend.

I can’t tell you all how worried I was about him. He was so crippled I thought I’d killed him. Once he grows out enough hoof to attach a shoe he will return to them permanently. Big guy needs his foot wear apparently.

(Saturday morning. He was starting to stand more normal when grazing but he still looked tucked up and tight in the back end)

By Sunday night he came trotting happily over to be brought in for dinner so I think it’s safe to maybe say he is mostly over this. I cut his bute in half and pulled the boots to see how he does barefoot. The ground is super soft right now after a week of rain every single day so I’m not worried about hard ground. If he goes back to showing some soreness I’ll throw the boots back on him again.

The plan is to stop the bute today or tomorrow and see how he does. If it ever stops raining I’d like to get a short ride on him the middle of this week to see how he feels under saddle. If that goes well then I’ll start getting him conditioned to his new riding life.