Thursday, April 29, 2021

First Schools of the Season

The definition of joy is a fiesty
 mare rolling in fresh arena sand.

Over the last few weeks, things have been pretty busy on the horse-front! I've slowly been legging Annie up into some "real work" since a majority of our rides have been hacking around the subdivision while we waited for the snow to melt from the arena. 

We've been able to lay down a few rides now and I've had the opportunity to play around with a few things. I feel pretty good about the direction we're headed in, both mentally and physically. As always, I'm guarded about her capabilities, especially as we enter the month of May and the alder pollen starts to fall... but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and we'll deal with whatever comes our way as best as we can. 



As most readers know, I had intended to get her allergy tested at the beginning of May, but things got a little shaken up a few weeks back when Bonnie Henry announced travel restrictions for BC and the Vet (Dr. M) we had scheduled appointments with decided to reschedule for later in the Summer. 

It really, really sucks and I know I can't be the only one who is so over the whole COVID thing - vet help in our area is so sparse that it feels like a lifeline is being ripped away and admittedly, I cried I was so frustrated and upset. But, we'll just keep chugging along like we always do. Thankfully, the appointments I had (although of significant importance to me) were not emergency appointments that would completely alter the universe if I didn't attend. It would provide a lot of clarity on some issues, but waiting another two months wouldn't be an end game for either horse (Moo and Annie).

I also did this again.

I mean, I still ran around seeing how far out the one clinic we went to last year (6 hours away) was booking (answer: late June/ early July... ugh), called another that usually comes to the area twice a year (answer: not coming until end of July) and called another 3 hours away to see if they could at least pull blood and do Annie's allergy panel, as they do not have an x-ray machine (answer: no, the equine vet there actually is returning home to Saskatchewan and isn't coming back). 

It's frustrating though, bc I would have liked to have gotten rads of Maizey's fetlock but the best we can do is a virtual appointment with Dr. M. I just wanted some kind of confirmation that sending her to pasture in June is "okay" and won't impede her current soundness. So, we do what we can and at the end of the day that's all we can do. We will get rads and Annie will get her allergy panel, but there is no point hauling both girls 6+ hours when Dr. M rescheduled for around the same time period we'd be going anyways. The plan though is to schedule appointments with the one clinic for a week after Dr. M would be here in July, just in case she cancels again. That way I don't have to wait a month+ for an appointment if things once again go south.

No conformation photos until she doesn't look
so pencil-necked and her mane somewhat grows
back again tho, haha.
Lack of mane also means grab straps are in our future, lol.

Ah, such is the life with COVID and no fully functional vet clinics in the area. 

Anyways, we've been pretty lucky that the weather has been so wonderful the last few weeks that I've been able to swing a leg over the saddle numerous times. And for the moment, I'm just enjoying the ability to school and play with my ponies. 

We've made it to the ring several times and have mixed it up and done some brief trail riding - some of the trails are still snow-laiden and inaccessible, so they'll have to be tabled to a later date. Annie gets shoes this weekend so we'll be ready to walk over river rock and gravel with ease, which means some more intense trail riding will be in our future! Hooray!

I promise she wasn't as miserable as she portrays - I 
think mare was moreso upset I didn't strip her tack and 
let her roll in the sand post-ride.

I've managed to knock the rust off in the ring a few times aboard Annie and I'm really liking how she's come out this year - definitely more ready for tougher questions earlier on and feeling less frazzled when she answers a question wrong and I try to redirect her. She still takes things personally, but I've found she certainly takes it with more grace and tact. Which, for obvious reasons, is appreciated.

Most of our work is playing with corners and circles, since the last several months of our existence has been tied to straight lines on the roadways. It took a bit to get the bendy-ness I was looking for, but we've implemented a lot of bending exercises on our road walks so it wasn't too difficult. She feels moveable and malleable - just not exactly fit enough to commit to certain positioning for any length of time. Which is fine - that'll come with time. The fact she's willing to play is enough for me, especially since her self-esteem waffles when asked tougher questions. 

Annie and I even cruised over our first set of fences for the year - a rather unimpressive 18" crossrail - and I'm tentatively booking ourselves into an Anthony clinic for the month of May. It'll all come down to how she's feeling, of course, but I have my fingers so tightly crossed that we'll be able to enter the land of lessons once again since 2020 left me hungry for some instruction. 

Look at this wonderful bean taking the best care of me <3

Thus far, we've had pleasant rides in the ring. She has come back to work quite nicely breathing-wise, so I'm happy to see that things like arena dust and a bit of dryness hasn't impeded her capabilities. She has also maintained a pretty good baseline - although she's out of shape, she's able to get her breath back with relative ease. I tend to measure a lot of her breathing against Spud's - for example, we did a loop around the fairgrounds (where there are a number of huge hills to conquer) and got a bit nervous as Annie was huffing and puffing coming up the last hill. I took a second to look over at Spud (who was being ponied) and saw that he too was just as labored in his breathing. So, just unfit ponies and all that comes with it.

Still, things are looking up and I'm excited to play around with some lateral work with Annie if all the stars align, but I am also happy for the opportunity to enjoy her considering all that we faced last year. Things can change in the blink of an eye, and I am grateful for each day I get to grace her back.

I propped the phone up rather precariously, but it did the job... kind of. 

With that being said, Annie isn't the only one who has had some schooling under her belt this Spring. I dug Spud's cart out of my Grandma's garage and finally hitched him up for the first time in a long time. He was an absolute doll and surprisingly fit, although I shouldn't necessarily be that surprised considering he is ponied off Annie 90% of the time and his little legs certainly need to move faster than hers to keep up.

I actually trailered him into town for this drive, as we stopped off at my Grandma's to say hello prior to heading out. She is absolutely enthralled with Spud and with the restrictions of COVID, has not had many visitors as she typically gets. It's an exceptionally isolating and lonely time, so bringing Spud by definitely brightened up her day. 

The open bridle I custom ordered LAST JUNE finally 
arrived about a month ago. We were able to try it out for the 
first time and I'm pretty happy with the overall fit.
I don't love the noseband isn't moveable (it's attached into the cheek
pieces where the bit attaches), but it's meant to be a schooling/ fun driving 
bridle anyways.
(And yes, his right front looks weird. He had to have a chunk of the wall cut off
last appointment due to some thrush and WLD but we've got it under control now. It 
just needs to grow back now and he's also due for a a trim (this weekend)).

From there we headed down to the MIL's house and hitched up and did a 4km drive over varied terrain. It was nice to get him off of the river rock that is so prevalent where the horses are boarded - a lot of the old logging roads are quite rocky and don't serve the greatest opportunity for speed. We were able to poke along at a trot several times in the drive and I was pleased to see he remembered all of his cues and that there wasn't much rust to knock off.

At the end of the drive, the MIL drove him solo for a few minutes and it was pretty damn pleasing to me to see this little dude take care of someone who admittedly is not horsey nor has driven before in her life. Such a cool, cool guy and definitely worth his weight in gold.

A lot of development is going on in this area. 
It's pretty cool to see.

And now, the rain has returned and I'm waiting with bated breath for the skies to clear and the puddles to disappear so we can get riding/ driving again (because we've been hit with nearly 300+ mm this week alone). 

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like things are going well! Definitely a huge bummer about the vet. I hope they get vaccines rolling out faster up there so things can get a little more normal and accessible.

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    1. A HUGE bummer about the Vet. Hopefully she is able to stick to the date she rescheduled at.

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  2. I am so happy that Annie and sSpud are back to work. It feels good doesn’t it?

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  3. So frustrating about the vets. You do a great job being rational about it, because I think I would do way more crying and be a spazz if met with the same issues. Those crossrails look great!

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    1. There was a lot of crying and spazzing, haha. But, we just take it a day at a time. If the issues were causing quality of life issues or otherwise, I'd be hauling out to wherever I could as fast as I could (which I did several times last year). It's hard tho - trying to plan things and having those plans go awry :/

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  4. love the gifs!! glad things are getting back into the post-winter routine!! and yea, i am so so so heavily reliant on the horse infrastructure around here, really not sure what i'd do without it. but yea. like you say, we do what we can do

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    1. It has been so nice!!
      I haven't known any other way, which is both sad and crazy!
      However, there is a Vet supposedly coming this way this Summer to treat large animals!! She was previously a local and wants to return to the area to live and treat animals, so thank goodness and fingers crossed it happens. It'll be a "bare bones" clinic, from what I've heard, but it would be nice to have a "routine" clinic (ie floats, sheath cleanings, medications, assessments, vaccines, bloodwork, deworming, etc)

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