Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Love is not a victory march

I borrowed a trailer from a trainer friend and high-tailed it out to the Fresno County Horse Park on Monday with Kat, Freddie, Gus, and Danny all stuffed in there for an adventure.

The goal was to assess how ready Kat was for training, and to play with some of the questions that would be posed to us in competition.

The other horses were really just a dressing on the day, more of a "hey if we're going to haul this far might as well bring as many horses along as possible."

The result was not what one might have hoped (on the primary goal front, that is.)

Kat warmed up fabulously. Hot? Sure. EXTREMELY forward? Yes. Was it like riding a powder keg? Absolutely.

LOL @Kat for that face
But she felt unbelievable. I felt like I could have ridden for days, skating across the ground without touching it, turning on a thought -- she floated.

My glee boiled inside me - we were ready to attack this course with everything we had. The kids followed me out and I selected a supremely innocuous intro level jump to hop over a few times on the way out to the start box. I surprised her with it a little and we skated to a halt in front of it. Weird. I brought her around again and we leapt over it, only to hit the ground and bolt.

"Okay," I told myself, bringing her around to try it again, "we have takeoff."

Except I couldn't get her back to the jump.

She baulked. I kicked her. She reared. It started as a little rear, but only got worse. I sent her forward to take her for a bit of a canter, thinking she just had too much energy and needed a bit of a stretch out, but she grabbed the bit between her teeth and bolted around the entire park, pulling up only when we approached the trailer and her friends. Then the rearing continued.

I decided to preserve my back and lunge her, even lunging her over the offending jump to remind her to stay steady over the fence.

Pony club gives me an F for protective legwear and for any lunging sense whatsoever

And then I saw it, and it only got worse.

The head bob.

Switched directions - much worse.

I got back on, thinking that since her legs were tight and cool I shouldn't let her finish with a rearing bolting fit, but she IMMEDIATELY started rearing again and there were at least two where I thought to myself, "please, please don't fall on me."

I declared defeat.

I threw her on the lunge line Tuesday to check her out and the above is the result. She's not super off on the big circle but I definitely can see it, but everyone can see as I bring her in that she's very lame there.

Probably an abscess! I thought to myself, thinking that this terrible awful no good behavior had to be caused by pain.

I've been through a lot of bullshit with this horse, but here's the thing: I've taken her ALL over the place and while I wouldn't say she's a "steady eddy" the fact is that this horse comes off the trailer pretty much like she is at home. Spooky, sensitive, but a phenomenal partner and when she understands the game she bloody comes out to play.

The horse loves to jump. Usually, the sass fades as soon as she realizes that we're jumping today.

That didn't happen Monday, and I'm extremely disappointed. I have an appointment with the vet for tomorrow, not only to help me decide whether it's yes abscess no abscess but also because of this:

And now readers, I'll leave the good for tomorrow, and will write about what the vet said on Friday. In the meantime, I'll wallow in the sickening feeling of happy-excited-loving-kindness draining into "what's wrong with my horse I shouldn't ride ever again I'm going to get fallen on."


  1. A cliffhanger! What the heck are those bumps!

  2. What the flipping hell... uggghh

  3. Whaaaat. Those are some strange lumpies. Hopefully it's nothing serious!

  4. Those are super weird bumps! Here's to hoping its something easily fixed and (most likely) not an actual behavioral issue!

    1. also that last gif is just too much. I am watching it on repeat.

  5. Ohhh no :( that's never a good sign! Hopefully it's not a super bad one either tho!!