I get lazy when it comes to blogging. I’m a natural procrastinator anyway, and if I’m not in the mood to sit down at my computer and type stuff, I’ll quickly find something else to do that’s all of a sudden way more important. Then I forget that I had a photo to share or something to say, so the blog gets neglected for weeks, months… I need to do a better job keeping up with it. But here’s a rundown of what I’m doing, or no longer doing, and all that.
I honestly intended to track my progress with Jammy on this blog. That didn’t happen because I haven’t been riding her. For several reasons, including a brutal winter that prevented us all from riding during multiple hard freezes. Oh, what I would give for access to an indoor ring!
Jammy was out of work for like 12-18 months before I ever even got on her last fall. The poor thing was parked in a dry lot all summer without much human interaction or room to roam, so she was totally out of shape and lost muscle tone. My plan was to bring her back slowly, like we used to do when legging up foxhunters in the late summer after they’d been turned out for several months.
When I first started riding Jammy, she wasn’t all that sound. It was strange because I could hack her out in the field and she’d feel pretty even at the trot, but when I brought her in the ring and made her trot, she would be off. I asked around for advice and was told to just keep riding her and see what happens, the thinking being that she was so out of shape and weak that as she got fitter and stronger she’d be more comfortable. So that’s what I did for a while.
But then I got offered another horse to exercise because the owner was having surgery and wouldn’t be able to ride for 6 weeks. This horse is a Thoroughbred/Oldenburg cross named Fairing. He is very well schooled and has competed at the novice level in eventing with his owner. So he’s a freaking blast to ride. Oh, and I get paid to ride him, which is awesome. This meant less time to mess with Jammy, of course, but that’s okay because I’ll take getting paid to drive a Lexus any day over the offer to plod around in a golf cart for nothing.
Dante, Spot, and Mack
Soon after, I guess word got round the barn that I would ride horses for a nominal fee, and now I have a few… clients? customers? I’m not really sure what to call the people who own the horses I sometimes ride. But this is an awesome situation because I’d been trying to find a job for months, while at the same time not wanting to have a job because that would mean less time at the barn and probably very little, if any, time to ride. I’m also available to do odd grooming jobs like bathing and mane pulling. Every little bit helps, you know.
I suppose all along I wanted to figure out a way to get paid for doing stuff I was already doing for free, but I honestly didn’t think that would happen. Why, I don’t know. Maybe lack of confidence? The assumption that it wouldn’t be fun anymore if it was an obligation rather than a choice? In the distant past I shied away from doing stuff like this because I didn’t want to risk losing my amateur status, but if I’m not competing what difference does it make?
So that’s where I am now. Still a barnrat, of course. But I’m getting compensated for my efforts and at least at the moment don’t need to look for a real job, which is nice. Especially since I don’t have a horse of my own I can ride, and I don’t see that as a possibility any time soon.
Speaking of my pony (who is actually 15 hands and not a pony, but he was my first horse so I often refer to him as my pony), Skipper is doing fairly well for a 31 year-old equine. He seems fully recovered from a horrible abscess that lasted forever and took ages to heal. For weeks I kept his foot taped up and a Hoof Shoe boot on him because I was paranoid about mud, small rocks, and other harmful stuff getting trapped up in his toe where the vet had to dig out the abscess. That’s finally starting to grow out, so it’s not as deep, and I just pick it out every day to keep it clean(ish).
He had to get his teeth floated recently because he was balling up his hay and having trouble chewing. Turns out he’s missing a tooth now and had some sharp points, so he’s doing much better since, but he’ll need to get his teeth checked more often from now on. Geriatrics can be high maintenance.
He’s also starting having narcoleptic-type moments where he basically falls asleep while standing up and nearly falls down. His knees will buckle, and then he jerks himself awake before he actually falls over. I notice him do it on a regular basis, and when I asked the vet about it, she said that if he’s not lying down and resting at night–because he maybe knows getting up will be difficult and/or painful with his arthritis–then he’s not getting enough rest. That makes sense, so we may look at upping his Previcox or something to make him more comfortable. A few times in recent weeks I’ve seen him roll and struggle to get back up, and that’s hard to watch. Either way, he has an acupuncture appointment tomorrow, so we’ll discuss all this then.
A couple of weekends ago I went and watched some of the jumper classes at the Brownland Farm “no frills” schooling show. Jimmy always encouraged us to watch other people ride. I couldn’t stay for the whole day because I had family plans, but on my way out I spotted an old truck just like one we used to own. I emailed the photo to my dad, and according to him, that was our old truck. Small world.
Next weekend there’s another Heather Gillette clinic at Southern Promise Farm, and I’m planning to go audit. I would LOVE to ride in it, but that’s not going to happen since I don’t have a horse of my own, or even a trailer to transport said nonexistent horse to SPF. But I’m looking forward to it because I really enjoyed watching the clinic she did out there last November. Even though I nearly froze to death.
I guess that’s about it for now. I plan to post more pictures since the weather has finally warmed up and I can take off my glove to snap photos with my iPhone without fear of chilblains and frostbite. I’ll possibly drive you guys nuts with them.