Monday, February 14, 2011

Running and bucking and riding, oh my...




Jasper's scar is pretty much as healed up as it's going to get. You can still see where line where the skin was stitched together and there are a few extra folds here and there, but the hair is growing back and after that it will be almost invisible.

Last weekend I wanted to ride, it has been almost 2 months and we needed to start out slow, like walking for 10 minutes at first and building up. The problem was that I wasn't ready to head down the road and the smaller arena is still muddy and slick with a few areas of super muck. I decided there are two ways to look at it. One is that the arena is dangerous because it is muddy and slick, and if Jasper freaks out/bolts/bucks/etc. he has a high possibility of slipping/falling/injuring us. The other is that the arena is muddy and slick and Jasper would have enough self-preservation to NOT freak out/bolt/buck/etc. I decided to trust him and go with the second train of thought.

He was basically a good boy. Tense but good. Couldn't stand still after mounting (nothing new here), and had a few moments of feeling rein pressure and shaking his head and rooting. Even did a few trot steps on the dry stretch. He was trying really hard to be good. The horses in the pasture by the arena started trotting around and he totally jumped inside his own skin, then stopped himself from reacting, jump stop jump stop jump stop. I know my adrenaline was through the roof but in the end he kept it together and walked off.

This past week I only got out to the barn a couple of times and took him to the larger outdoor at the bottom of the hill. He went ballistic. Sprinting down the sides, sliding and hopping and bucking around the short side, then gathering speed into a full out fast-as-you-can-go sprint down the long side again. Throw in many bucks and kicks, grunts and squeals. I don't encourage him. I just stand in the middle of the arena and watch in awe, and cringe as the end of the arena gets closer and closer and he hasn't checked his speed yet. And as he hits a slick spot and slides around.

Since he was free lunged yesterday, and because there were other people around, I decided to try riding in the larger outdoor. The smaller one is a swamp. It was... exciting. He was pretty much looking for any excuse to increase speed. Many, many, many very nice but not asked for canter transitions. There are lots of reasons for cantering. Slight inclines, circling, slight declines, going down the long side, going down the short side, cues for leg yielding, tripping, sliding, going by the pole bending poles, going over the trot poles, going by the barrels, going by the people sitting at the picnic table. A gust of wind. Another horse trotting. Someone opening a gate. I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times, I mean come on, doofus!

For the most part I ignore the bad and praise the good. I ride through the small bucks and crow hops and back legs kicking out. I ride through the head shaking and spooks. When we are heading for complete meltdown though, I circle. When he stops, the head goes up and and shakes and he starts jackhammering with all 4 legs I pull his head to my leg and circle. It works for me. It allows him to keep moving but keeps him on the ground. Usually he stops on his own, I release, pause for a few moments to regroup, and then continue on in whichever gait we were in before meltdown. I'm pretty sure I would be criticized for this by many people except cowboys... but I feel like it keeps me from getting into battles with him.

And he feels sound. This was reinforced when he was good for an entire circle so I got off and removed his tack. He ran and ran and ran, (dripping with sweat and foam in a full winter coat, ugh) and for the first time since the injury stayed on the right lead for extended lengths of time. It was his right fore that was injured, and up till now would canter and gallop around on the left lead only.

So now I need to start riding consistently and start building muscle back up. Start treating him like an out of shape horse rather than an injured one. I believe that Jasper is back. Woot!

I'm not exactly what he's doing here other than frantically digging. When he's bored he walks up to you, enters your space bubble, and starts pawing. Soooo (ahem) 'cute'.

9 comments:

Steph said...

Lovely he is back! Have fun 'rehabbing' him :). Question about your right side horse profile.... how did you do that??

Albigears said...

Thanks! I think.

To make a profile, go to the editing/design page of your site. Click on "add a gadget" in the sidebar. The pictures are just called "picture", and the list is just called "list".

Steph said...

Thanks. Hes seems quite wild like they all are... I have been rehabbing my mare since December from 2 years off and a fracture in her pastern area. We however use tranq but just as she was getting to do polls and 20 minutes of canter she got an infection. But trust me rehabbing does eventually get fun after the 5 to 20 minutes of trot.... then you finally get to canter! Tranq also makes for it to be more enjoyable and this way I know she can't hurt her self.

EvenSong said...

Been out of town, and almost missed this post. Glad he's feeling SO good--makes for an interesting ride for you, but certainly indicates that he's recovering. Keep up the good work!

Grace Miller said...

If you ever need help with ground work let me know. I'd love to help. Hey Margie might have foundered had Regina and Larry not caught now. I bet I won't need a crop when I get back in the saddle, she's so keyed up after having to stay in a stall for so long. Like I said, I'd love to help train him.

achieve1dream said...

Yay for Jasper! I'm so glad he's feeling better.

Denali's Mom said...

Glad he's feeling better. That picture of the blood on the white fence was crazy.

I don't know what it's like to rehab a horse, we're still on the "just being a horse" stage. Hopefully soon, it's getting old after 2 years...

Albigears said...

Yep, I have nothing against a little tranq if it makes things safer. However we've avoided it this far and I think a lot of the excessive-ness comes from the cold, windy, sunny days we've been having. All the horses seem to be going a little nuts. I've ridden horses in rehab that are mean, or at least have lots of tricks to try to get out of work or to get you out of the saddle, in which Ace was a lifesaver. Jasper's issues are more of exuberance at being able to move.

Our "start off with 10 minutes of walk and increase daily" went out the window the second ride. Oh well. If he can sprint 10 laps around the arena and still want to do more I'm pretty sure doing some trot and canter under saddle isn't going to hurt. He usually calms down quite a bit after he's cantered around.

ES & a1d- Thank you!~

Grace- you're on!

Denali's mom- yikes!

Rising Rainbow said...

Glad to hear he's healed. That's good. He sounds like a handful to me but then that's what I seem to prefer myself. LOL