First, I'm done with the AM shift for a while, so YAY!
Alright, first thing I want to touch on in this blog is Amber's past life.
As I've already said before, the hock problems at only 7 make things very clear about her home as a filly. She was sold as a yearling, owned by those people until she was 5.
After some fairly easy digging, I discovered that the foal she had, she had when she was THREE. That means she was bred at 2. Personally, I believe it was no accident: They did it intentionally.
Well, what does this mean? It means first off, that they're a bunch of irresponsible, ignorant asshats.
But it also means she may have been started at 2, but they couldn't have ridden her too hard for more than a few months, or the foal would have likely had some serious complications. What this indicates is one of two things: They either, like a bunch of asshats that would breed a 2 year old, broke her at 1 and rode the crap out of her for a year before breeding her, or they bred her and broke her at the same time, then picked up again after she had her foal and continued to ride the crap out of her until the vet told them that she was breaking and was going to need hock injections.
Either way, wow, what a bunch of morons. So I'm hoping I can find her daughter. I'd love to at least see pictures, and perhaps even meet her - although I don't want to seem intrusive to anyone. The filly was sold to someone who lives in Goldsboro, assuming she hasn't changed hands since that time and just not had her papers transferred. Which I still need to do for Amber, I just keep forgetting!
Saturday I went out and messed with her for a while. Groomed her, did some "glamour shots", and played some of those silly natural horsemanship games with her because I was bored.
Turns out she is violently afraid of chains. Or was, not now. We were walking by the horse walker, and I jingled one of the chains. I'm not sure if it was just the weird sound, or she actually thought I might hit her with it. I can't bring myself to think those owners, however rough, actually beat her, but she was pretty afraid. It was more than just a momentary spook. We spent some time getting used to the chain and learning the chains don't hurt her, and soon she was very relaxed about them.
She was pretty freaked out though for a minute.
Took those hoping to get something presentable to put up on her all breed pedigree page.
Kind of miffed that someone actually removed the old photo I had even before I went to take it off? It kind of sucks that anyone can just go edit a horse. It would be neat if you could e-mail a copy of the papers and an ID and make it so that only the owner could edit the pedigree.
Anyway, that was Saturday.
I went out today and hand-grazed Amber while I sat on the fence and watched Hannah and Emma ride. Also did some grooming, including trimming her dock a little better. I wet it and wrapped it in vetwrap and hopefully that will train it down a little. It will more than likely end up coming off in the night, or when she gets turned out. She's only going out 3 hours in the morning now.
It kind of sucks and I hate that she's got such limited turnout, but she is fairly fat and apparently all the 1/4 scoop horses have been getting a ridiculously small sprinkle for a while anyway, so my asking them to reduce it was a moot point. Plus she's going to be blanketed this winter, so she doesn't need to go into the winter being super fat. The sprinkle of grain she gets really doesn't amount to *anything* in her diet, nor the flake of hay she gets in the evening. It's the lush grass.
When she finally gets back to work, I'm just going to have them turn her out for her full 12 hours again, rather than up her grain. Forage=best.
Also, I'm not sure if my horse is 15h or 14.3hh. Every time I measure her, it's different. It's not hoof growth related, because she seems to measure smaller when she has MORE hoof. What???
Her all breed said 15h when I found it. Oh well, It's a mystery. Maybe it's how she stands at different times. I don't know.
What I *do* know is, I'm not going to treat her like a china cup for the rest of her life. Not only would she be unhappy (as would I), but she wouldn't be healthy. If I restrict her to hunters or dressage, no jumping, because I feel it will be too stressful, that can only lead to me letting her work lightly on the flat. Constantly cutting her a break, never pushing her THERE either. If I don't push her to a reasonably hard level under saddle, she'll never build up a good muscle mass. If she doesn't build muscle, she's at way more risk of having the hock issues recur sooner.
And Amber likes to jump. Perhaps a little too much...I plan on taking it slow and not rushing things on that. She needs to learn not to rush the fences and I need to learn to not hold her back over them. We need to find a happy medium - she doesn't need to jump them as fast as she does, but I need to allow her to be a little more forward going towards them.
But I don't think I want to hold her back from that. And being able to do it without pain after her injection is going to make it doubly enjoyable for her.
Hunter jumpers and hunter under saddle will be our playground. That's going to be what we do just for fun. Dressage and combined training is what we are going to put serious focus on.
And this is the grand plan. I sat down and thought about it...dressage is my passion, always has been. I can't abandon that. I wouldn't want to ride without using it as my foundation, and competitively, I think Amber could do very well once we get her training back on track.
I'm a little nervous about showing, even though that's months away. I've never taken a young horse to a show, and I feel like she's going to go into young-mare-space-out mode and be acting completely silly and freak out over things. I know this is unreasonable. When her training under saddle finally progresses, riding her at a show should be no trouble. And she isn't hard to reprimand at all. But she has these "young mare" moments occasionally out of the blue, and it reminds me, as it should, that she's still green and not only that but ALL horses are unpredictable.
Of course, I make these young mare moments worse than they are in my head. I plan on just having her ride along to check out the atmosphere for the first few. Maybe ride if she's pretty chill. But then again I have *always* worried about how my horses will react at shows. Gulliver and Jack were fine, and my nervousness was ridiculous in the end.
I also think I will have her put on a joint supplement. No matter how fit I keep her, there is the chance she will need hock injections later on. Of course, there is the chance she may not, but the fact is, I refuse to hold her back and give her a half-quality life. This is not the sort of injury that should prevent her from exploring her full potential. And because I plan on putting her into full work, this will increase the likelihood that she will need future injections. But if she doesn't get fit by being in full work, the likelihood is still increased. So basically, it may be a miracle and never be a problem again, but if it is, that's okay. We'll be keeping a check on it and doing all we can to make sure that the hocks never become a "problem", just something to PREVENT from becoming a problem ever again.