Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Escape From Hormonal Hell

We did it. Or rather, our new favorite supplement, bearing the colorful name of "B-Gooooood! (Or B-Gone)" did it. Last Sunday, the week Sofie was due to come back into heat began. We kept an eye on her all week, and she had no issues. None what-so-ever. Talk about a huge relief. I'm just so happy we have a way to manage her hormonal issues, without spaying her (which we can't afford) or dealing with synthetic hormones (I don't relish the idea or the reality of Regumate, oh, and we can't afford it). This supplement is herbal, it's not going make her fat or screw her up in any way, she likes it, she'll eat it, and it's reasonably affordable! I realize that we still don't know WHY she was in hormonal hell those last two heat cycles, but I feel pretty confident that nothing is drastically wrong with her. If she ever became aggressive or studdish, or was coming into heat every two days, then I would worry about cystic ovaries or tumors, but for right now I'm really enjoying not worrying.

We've been keeping our regular riding schedule going, and I think we're both pretty happy with our interactions. On Thursday we rode with a friend and her mare, who lives with Sofie. Sofie loves her, but the mare is dominant and can be kind of a bitch. Sometimes it's not terribly fun to ride in a small indoor with her, since quarters are close and I seriously respect the damage she could do with those hind feet (one of the mare's finest talents is kicking). But the mare was quite good, and we actually managed to get through the ride without seeing her butt way too close and personal! It was very nice. Sofie is getting used to riding with other horses, I think, since I've been riding with other people this winter. She tends to get a little defensive in the indoor when there are other horses around, I think because of the smaller space. But she's doing better.

She was stiff, but quite cooperative. I rode without stirrups for a while, hoping to not pick them up for the entire ride. I did more trot work without stirrups, and even some circles, but eventually I had to pick my stirrups up because my muscles got completely fatigued and I couldn't maintain my seat any longer. I was just all over her back, and she was not impressed. After that I did some more circle work, trying to get a fairly decent circle both ways without a lot of falling in. It's difficult for her, and there's only so much I can do before I have to move on to something else to spare her joints. Sometimes I just have to work at it until I get a little right flexion (the right is her worst side) and then give the reins and let her stretchy trot around on the rail. She likes stretchy trotting, and she goes pretty forward too. It's a nice reward for her, and still good exercise.

I did a little forward and back work in the trot, testing to see if we still had half halts (we do, yaaaay!). I played a little with rein-back, and she only got sticky about going backward when my mom came to watch, but she soon unlocked and did it beautifully again. By that point she was feeling a little less fluid in her movement, but my mom commented that she looked really good. That was nice to hear. It's so hard to tell sometimes, because I can't see how she looks, I can only feel how she feels. And sometimes she feels a little weird. We did more reining spins too, hehe.

Saturday I rode outside, and we had a great time. We worked on going straight (I felt like we were doing great with that, but the tracks don't lie, and we were really NOT straight. Oh well, we're still less un-straight than we used to be, I think!), we worked on our half halts (I LOVE having half halts!!! I cannot stress how much I freaking love having half halts!) and we worked on our rein-back a little bit. I actually rode her up beside the windows on Judy's house so I had mirror-type things, and I actually got to see how pretty she looks with her poll bent and her nose not stuck way out in the air. She backed up fairly well (she actually did better backing in deeper snow, which makes NO sense, but whatever).

Once again, I freaking LOVE having half halts. I trotted her through some places in the yard where she likes to get quick and take over, and although she was still getting crooked and wanting to drift, she maintained the trot and I didn't fear for my life. Life is so much better with half halts!

At one point we did have an unplanned canter, but I kept her on a circle so at least I was dictating where she went, and it wasn't too out of control, just a product of the momentum she needed to get her through the snow. A bit later I was trotting her along a nice stretch of deep snow, and I decided to canter her. I didn't really ask for it (didn't have to), but I eased up on my half halts, thought about closing my leg on her a little bit and she went into the canter. Actually, it may have been more of a Sofa gallop, truth be told. Anyway, it was fun. There's nothing more fun than cantering through the snow! We cantered a fair distance, and I incorporated a turn at the end. After that I didn't do too much more, and I ended with a little rein-back and some spins-on-the-forehand on a shallow patch of snow.


  1. Sounds like a big step in the right direction. :)

  2. Half-halts are wonderful when the horse responds to them! Glad to see the herbals are working for your mare.