Sunday, July 31, 2011


After our promising start to summer, and our disappointing continuation, it seems that Sofie is coming back.

We’ve resumed cantering in our rides. At first, when I asked for the canter there were some fireworks. Early on Sofie was literally hopping mad, stomping her front feet into the ground, getting all angry and eventually plunging into the gait for just one stride before breaking back to a clumsy, still somewhat ouchy trot. I picked up a whip for the first time in a while, which helped when I needed a correction. What helped the most was not being afraid. If I can just keep riding, we can eventually get through anything.

It took several rides, but Sofie became more willing. Her soundness improved, and I knew we had gotten somewhere when we got through a ride with no bucking! She still has moments when she rushes and her ears go back, but overall she seems pretty content to work. I think we are both happy to be cantering again. To the left, she’s pitch perfect - she picks up the canter from my aid with no objection, and her departs are feather-light. She’s well balanced, and we’re working up to longer intervals. To the right, things are a little more rough. She’s showing some weakness on that side, and needs bending work (but not too much). Sometimes she gets upset about being asked to canter to the right, and she will not take the right lead. She’ll only give me the left lead, even when I’m just free schooling her in the indoor. I’ve been doing some canter work to the right, and pretty much ignoring the lead. At this point I think it is a soundness issue, and it requires a long-term fix. I don’t know if I will ever be able to fix it fully, especially if we continue on this cycle of lameness and recovery. It’s not ideal, but the most important thing is that we do what we can and have fun together. I can’t always canter her, so when I can I will, no matter if it’s not perfect.

We had our last ride at Judy’s on Saturday. It was hot already at ten in the morning, but the bugs were merciful as we rode out in the yard. She was nice and willing with only a few deviations, and we walked, trotted and cantered away.

I will miss Judy’s. Judy makes the place seem like home, and her home is always open to her boarders. I know there aren’t many places like that. It’s convenient, and it’s a nice place. It’s been good to us, and we’ve learned a lot there. Grown a lot there. Judy’s is where I became confident, where I began to stop limiting myself. Judy’s is where Sofie and I bonded. I will miss the barn, the nice, large turnout areas where Sofie is happy with her small mare herd. I will miss the yard (even the scary corner), the Big Field and the cozy tack room. I will miss a lot of things about that place, but there are a lot of good things about this new place, too. Maybe not the same things, but still. It remains to be seen if it will be better or worse. It will be different, I know. But the most important thing is Sofie, and this barn will enable me to better afford her. The facilities will make it easier to exercise her even when she is in a flare-up. She’ll have more turnout and we’ll have more opportunities for growth. I think it will be a good thing. It’s just a big change, and a little nerve-wracking.

We move tomorrow.

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