Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my 18th birthday. Yup. In case any younger people are reading this, no, I don't feel empowered, I don't have all the answers, and I'm not any cooler/less insecure/uncertain. Just a little older. It is a milestone, though. I can now vote for our lovely array of politicians. I can't get drunk in a bar yet, but I don't care about that anyway (and even if I did I couldn't afford it because of Sofie's, ahem, spending habit). I have survived to adulthood, which is a big WIN for just about any species. Kind of the whole point, actually. Don't get eaten, survive to adulthood, find a mate and procreate. Ugh...let's not go there, shall we?

And back to our regularly schedulted programme (hey, I'm British!). Sofie must have sensed that my super special birthday was coming up. Or maybe it was just the Old Horse Joint Supplement kicking in and making her hocks feel young again (or at least making them NOT feel terminally ill and close to death). This week was the first time in over a month that we actually got back to our normal, every-other-day riding schedule. On Tuesday I warmed her up in the indoor again and returned to the lengthening exercise that had worked so well the previous time. She was SO good, never even thinking about acting up at the trot. I lengthened-then-trotted her twice tracking left, AND once tracking right, and she was excellent. Then I took her outside for a little bit, and she was okay for that - I had her on long reins, so her steering was not all there, and she was thinking about the grass/the barn/her mare friends out in their paddock happily NOT being ridden, so we kind of just meandered about. Even on a long rein, she still thought about trotting, and finally did, neck arched prettily against my hand as she looked at the grass. But she didn't act up, and that was all I cared about, so we called it a day.

Then I brushed her, hand-grazed and hand-walked her, and Anne came out to trim her feet. And Sofie decided she didn't WANNA stand, didn't WANNA hold her foot up for Anne, didn't WANNA, didn't WANNA, didn't WANNA. She. Was. Awful. The mom and I were both embarassed by her behavior (which I don't think was because of her poor, poor arthritic hocks. She had too much energy, and she just didn't wanna cooperate. As much as I like to give her the benefit of the doubt, and look for the underlying cause, she was just an uncooperative BRAT.) and Sofie got to back down the aisle several times, and finally Anne had to back her down the aisle AND make her spin around, after which she stood her up loose in the aisle, put her foot on the hoofstand, and corrected her every time she moved her head. After that she was okay, but jeez, what a mannerless jerk she was.

Thursday we went out to see how she was doing with her new feet (she got her hind toes taken back and squared off, which supposedly helps with breakover for arthritic horses). She let me catch her, and when I took her to the outdoor arena to free school her she stood with me after I unclipped her lead rope rather than going for the grass. So I petted her for a while, and then we free schooled. She was stiff behind (maybe because of all the bouncing around/shifting/trying to walk off while Anne was working on her, and the subsequent backing down the aisle) but got better, and seemed fine with her feet. So I rode again, (yay! How nice to be able to ride one's horse...) starting off in the indoor (the best place to get a relaxed, focused warm up, which I think is a good way to communicate that I Am Your Friend, I Mean No Harm, So Don't Harm Me, K Thanx...anyway, after that I started my lengthen-into-trot work, and I asked for a little more, spending less time between trot transitions. She wasn't sure she liked that, but she did okay. I decided to take her outside, figuring if she wanted to trot out there, fine, she would probably be okay.

And she was. I rode with a shorter rein (because I wanted to actually be able to STEER, k thanx) which worked well, and I tried to keep a soft feel on her mouth and nip any resistance in the bud, rather than getting into a pulling contest. Right off the bat she trotted a good 50 feet voluntarily, with no baditude. I brought her back to the walk and got her to walk through what she has decided is a Scary Corner (she always stares WAY off into the distance, I don't know WTF she sees, or thinks she sees). Then we walked to the far end of the yard (which she doesn't like doing, so we always go left, right, left, right to see if we can just go back to the barn already. As we neared the far end of the yard, she decided she'd rather get to the barn faster, so she moved up to a trot. On a hill. A tiny little hill, but a hill nonetheless. I sort of went "Are you SURE you want to do this? I don't think you're gonna like it." And she was all "Yeah yeah yeah! Oh wait no I DON'T LIKE THIS!" and raised her head and bounced her hind end a little, but I just went "Let's walk," and we walked back to the barn through the other Scary Corner. After that we trotted some more (she has a new place where she likes to trot, since we don't go to The Place Where We Like To Canter anymore) and then it was quittin' time.

We are still a long way from where we were a couple months back, and I don't know if we will get there again until the fusion occurs. But given the x-rays, and the way she felt not so very long ago, I'm very happy with what we've been able to do. I remember thinking when she couldn't even handwalk happily or comfortably that we might end up putting her in the ground right before my birthday if she didn't get better. But she is better, and so am I. Since finding out that I have built up intolerance to all the foods I was eating on a regular basis, which was spiking, then crashing my blood sugar and making me an overly emotional mess, I have improved my diet, and I'm able to cope much better with stressful situations (instead of NOT coping with non-stressful situations). I'm able to sit relaxed in the saddle and take things as they come, which is a very good thing when you're riding Sofie.

"I'm not a difficult horse, I'm a project horse. Like Project Runway. Which reminds me, my cable bill needs to be paid."


  1. Thats good shes got some progress.
    Oh and Happy birthday! On my 18th we got the cops called on us. We were swimming in the pool then came inside and when the cops came to the door we offered them some cake. They laughed and said the lady who called (we know who it was) always calls and complains about EVERYTHING so they didnt want to come out except she said we were underage drinkers, which we weren't.

  2. Happy birthday! And happy making-progress-days Sofie!!