Monday, November 19, 2012

Team Red Mule

I hate that I'm not as much of an avid poster as I used to be. Full time work, school and several animals just kind of kill extracurricular activities!

I did want to share this gem with you guys. By now I'm sure most of you who follow here know that the inside barn joke is that everything is a cow/mule/nag. Most of the regularly ridden horses have some affectionate name with cow, mule or nag ending it. Amber is, of course, Red Mule.

Which is why my new hoodie is the best thing since sliced bread!

Amber has been doing very well since my last post. Much to my dismay, right when things started getting good after my "epiphany" she when into raging heat. Pretty sure she had some tightness, maybe even soreness, in her hind end from that. She was borderline lame she was so stiff, and let me tell you about grouchy!

I gave her like, 4-5 days off just because I felt like she was starting to get stressed and I didn't want to push her if that was the case. First day I planned on riding, there was a farm show in the field across the road. A ton of mules, drafts, carts and buggies, plows, ect were moving about. All the horses on the property were about to flip. One girl was bathing her OTTB, and he sat back and broke his halter, and proceeded to run around the thankfully enclosed area bucking, power trotting and galloping for about 5 minutes.

That was probably should have been a red flag that it wouldn't be a good day for riding, but I was determined not to change my plans to avoid potential misbehavior from my horse.

I had planned on lunging her anyway, as I like to incorporate lunging now to strength her muscles and help get her bending. I thought it would be a good way to bring her back into work after her mini-vacation. It started off nice enough. She was a little "looky", but she walked on the lunge nicely for me, and started to trot nicely also. But when I asked her to canter - she shot off like a rocket and let out a couple of bucks. I was amused, but I got after her for it. We've worked very hard on lunge manners, and she's come too far since her days of rearing and snatching back from the spring/summer of 2011 to let things slide!

She never really slowed her canter but we did manage to get it under control, even if it was a little speedy. Once she seemed to be listening better, I got on and started working her on something like a 20-25m circle. Getting her bending and listening. She was really looking across the road but she wasn't interesting in acting up anymore.

After I had her attention we went full arena, and she was great. She definitely looked at the commotion across the road, but she remained very focused. And our canter under saddle was absolutely brilliant!

Things have been looking up ever since then. I feel like she gets bored with the flatwork, but I don't think Casey feels we are ready to jump again. And I'm not sure we are either. I don't want to push things. She's been really sound and actually improving on the flat, and I don't want to put more upon her than she can handle and start backtracking on the progress we've made by making her lame again.

We did break rules a bit and go for a light gallop the other day. She did buck twice at first when some birds flew out of a bush, but I've learned her ways from previous similar stunts, and really giving her a little push forward is all that's needed to get her mind back on track. I'm not so sure it wasn't more of an "I feel good!" buck rather than the birds that flew out of the bush.

When we returned home she was super relaxed though. Her whole body was just loose and relaxed, it was awesome. It might be beneficial for her, physically and mentally from time to time!

Saturday it was back to work in the arena and we got some cute pictures taken by Jessie! It was a good workout. She spooked at the neighboring dog playing with a bucket, which was great, and I mean that sincerely, because she never does ANYTHING in the way of spooking, ect...something interesting to happen now and then is appreciated.

But anyway, here are the pictures from my latest ride. Maybe I'll try to actually post and keep up with my blog! I should rename it Team Red Mule...