Ike in paddock

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  Ike was out of commission for a few days as we puzzled through the lameness issues and I was too busy duct taping diapers to his hoof to think about writing. Then, I disappeared to the beach for a week for some fun in the sun.

Hindsight being what it is, I should have known that something was brewing.  For the week before the obvious head bobbing, Ike has been a bit of a pill.  He had been unsteady in his contact and blowing through my aids for down transitions.  A half halt was an invitation to go faster.

Since I thought he was just being difficult, I scheduled a lesson so Ms. C could help me…well, as soon as I picked up the trot, we knew that something was very, very wrong. “Crap! My pony is broken.”   Head-bobbing lameness that was worse tracking to the right.  I hopped off and we put Ike on the lunge line.  Ugh!  Not pretty.  There was no swelling or obvious neon signs pointing to a specific problem, and my highly scientific “poke and prod” method also turned up nothing.  Thankfully, Mr. D (Ms. C’s farrier husband) was home and he was willing to test the hoof.  Ike was reactive to the hoof testers but it was not horrible.  We tried pulling a nail or two to see if there was a bad one, but in the end, the shoe came off and the soaking bucket came out.  The theory was that Ike was brewing an abscess.

Big man was fairly cooperative for the hoof soaking.  While the hoof was soaking, I fashioned is temporary bootie to protect the shoeless hoof.  The sole of the bootie was multiple layers of duct tape and a diaper became the bootie.  If diaper companies only knew what equestrians did with their diapers, they would totally reform their marketing strategies!  It is at this point I wish I was an octopus in order to have enough hands to hold my horse, hold up the hoof, place the diaper and duct tape sole, and then wrap the entire bootie with more duct tape.

After almost a week, no abscess ever appeared and Ike appeared to be feeling better.  Had the vet out for my peace of mind, and fortunately, she found nothing amiss.  Long story short, we changed Ike’s shoes and went back to work for 3 days before my vacation.

And I wish I could say that our Fix-A-Test was a smashing success for our first attempt at Second Level Test 2, but I cannot.  Note to self: Do not schedule a clinic or show less than 24 hours after arriving home from vacation and after 8 days of not riding.  And no, a 3 hour beach trail ride does not count as practice.

My Second Level riding skills are still elementary at best, so when I don’t practice regularly, I digress quickly.  It also doesn’t help that Ike likes to get spooky at new venues.  “Rhythm change” AKA spooking into canter when you should be starting your medium trot will earn you a well deserved score of 4 for the movement.  I also suppose I really should buckle down and school our turn on the haunches more regularly as well.  Our total points for both turns were 9…I will let you do the division.  Yeah, it will be hard to crack 60% with numbers like those.

It also does not help that the rider blanked out in the middle of the test and started the countercanter half circle a letter before the test requires.  Does laughter count as using your voice in the test?

But, before you start thinking we should go back to First Level, we did manage some decent scores for a few movements.  Our right lead countercanter earned some 7’s and there was even an 8 for our first canter transition. Now we just need to figure out how to get those 4’s to shape shift into 6’s, 7’s, and 8’s.

While the test left much to be desired, we came away from the Fix-A-Test with some excellent tips from the judge.  She was very tactful with her comments which I truly appreciate.  She also had laser sharp vision and easily noted our weaknesses that need to be addressed now in order for all our future work to be successful.  So we will get back to work with our pointers in hand.  I will try to keep the laughable moments to a minimum.

Until next time,