Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's the season of indulgences

Isn't it? Well, regardless, I indulged yesterday, and but good. :-D

The last few equestrian tournaments I've ridden in, have been awkward in that I keep riding different horses. Certainly it's a challenge that many riders face - needing to arrange access to horses, but for me it's been particularly frustrating, seeing as how I HAVE horses...

Just before the Champions tournament in August, Jordan came up lame. And though he was pretty well recovered, I didn't feel it was fair to put him through the stress that this type of riding puts upon a horse. So I rode Jack. And oh boy, what it was like to be reminded of just how great Jordan and I work together by seeing just the opposite between me and Jack!

Shortly after that we consulted with our vet, and he concurred that Jordan's arthritis has progressed to the point where he really can't be doing this riding any more. This is sad, though it's an issue we've been dealing with since I adopted him 8 years ago. He's got such great heart and dedication... I'm still working through that one. If it weren't for the issue that without consistent, low level exercise, his arthritis will get worse and worse, I would consider letting him just retire and be a pasture ornament. Alas - we need to figure something out for him.

Last October, Dave and I attended an event down in New Mexico with a friend. I was invited to bring a horse with me, as she had an open spot in her trailer - but again I was faced with the difficulty of taking a horse away from a weekend of lessons here. That and the fear of trailering for 12 hours straight led me to opt to leave my horses home and ride Katharyn's for the event. Our last event, just a few weeks ago, I took Jordan for using in the parade, but again for the competition Lady Nesta and I shared riding Bambi.

Riding is very much a partnership, and even though 2 of these horses were technically mine, I have not spent a lot of time riding either of them and ended up not feeling competitive in the end.

So I came to the conclusion that I wanted another horse - one that is mine. It was a bit of a nerve wracking decision. Folks say you have 10, what's so exciting about this one? Because he's to be mine, mine and all mine! Not since I adopted Jordan have I looked at any horse with other than our business needs in mind. But with this horse I don't want to have to worry about inconveniencing the lessons because I want to take him to an event. I want a horse that is sound, so that I don't have to worry that this riding is too much for him. And, getting one that LOOKS more medieval? Well, that's just a perk of going out to look for a brand new horse. :-D

I finally found a couple of horses on the Internet that were close enough by to start talking to. Unfortunately the weather has just been consistently terrible for about 6 weeks now -- lots of VERY COLD weather, usually just proceeded by a small snowstorm, so that we've had snow on the ground most of the time recently. And yet I didn't want them to slip away, so several weeks ago Dave and I went out to just meet this big beautiful guy.

OMG - I think he won us both over in about 5 minutes! So much so that I never even went out to see the other horses on my list.

We went back a couple weeks later for a ride. Since she doesn't have access to an arena, Kim, his owner, and I went out for a trail ride in her neighborhood. She's used him for trail riding for the past couple of years, and it shows just how comfortable he is being out and about. We crossed rail road tracks, we walked down the frontage road with the highway just 30 feet away and cars passing us on the frontage road. He just went on his merry way. I really had to laugh, the only time he got a little nervous was when I stopped in the field to adjust my stirrup length. Now THAT was outside of his experience! Back at her house I did a few little circles so that Dave could film him... You can totally see, this is one pretty laid back guy.

Last weekend she brought him over to our place - the theory being that I could try him in an arena, and my vet came out to do a vet check too. Well, once again it was terribly cold and snowy, but we went ahead with it anyways. Just as she arrived, however, Kim told me her other horse had been a bad boy and had busted down a fence, and all three of her horses went out for quite the adventure that morning! Luckily she got them rounded up again, but it was clear he'd had his little exercise for the day and getting him to strut his stuff for the vet was a bit of a challenge. LOL. He's not exactly in super-fit condition. However, we did get him to move out enough to realize he was really quite lame on his left front leg. OH NO! I'd never seen any lameness in the two times I saw him before - but then that's why I have the vet look at them since I'm no expert. But this was pretty noticeable. We just couldn't tell whether he'd just sprained it that morning out with his buddies, or whether this was a real concern.

So we put things on hold so he could rest for a week and try again yesterday. Still snowy, we got him back out in the arena yesterday and ran him through his paces. And he was hugely improved! Oh, yea!! Because by now I was pretty invested and it would have been very difficult to turn away.

So - the newly dubbed Gibraltar stayed the night. He's doing well

He even picked up on how to drink from our new automatic waterer right away. *snerk - this is somewhat facetious, on the other hand, horses too scared to drink from them has been a real concern these few weeks. But - that's another post*

There has been, as expected, lots of squealing and kicking at the panels - but interestingly for once this all seems to be coming from our horses. He's so unruffleable that he pretty much just stands there going -- "What's all the fuss about?"

I can't wait to start working with him. Hopefully with the holidays coming up I'll be at home more and able to sneak away here and there.



Blogger Phyllis Swenson said...

Congratulations, can't wait to meet him. And excited to see the waterer's too. I just had looked for a new post this morning!

12/14/09, 12:53 PM  
Blogger Dean said...

He's very good looking!
I wouldn't have associated the word "medieval" with him until I read your blog ... really a perfect description.
Congratulations babe!!
I'm excited for you, can't wait to see pics of you and Gib prancing around in full medieval costume.
So, that's what the new waterer looks like, ...honestly I wouldn't know what it is from the looks of it. Amazing that a horse can tell, but as you said... it's the olfactory thing.

12/14/09, 10:18 PM  
Blogger Spike said...

He's such a cutie! I look forward to watching your partnership grow!

12/14/09, 11:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Glad you changed his name. Alot more medieval than Gus. Very nice looking horse. Hope you have lots of fun with him.

12/15/09, 6:52 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Thanks everyone! He is cute. The name thing is still sinking in -- I was shocked to call him Gus the other day!

12/15/09, 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, he is a really beautiful boy! A Gibraltar, yeah, much better.

12/15/09, 11:23 PM  

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