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Look Ma, No Shoes

Look Ma, No Shoes

LOOK AT WHAT MY JERKWAD HORSE DID ON TUESDAY.

I’ve been trying to turn him out more often lately. The barn just restructured their monthly turnout service (more reliable and you pay a flat fee instead of per turnout) and I want to be able to take advantage of it, but Raglan’s got a habit of trying to giant-horse-smash his handler on the way to the paddocks. We’ve been working on his manners. Lately I’d almost even call him “civil”, if not “polite”.

In case you missed it, Raglan’s not a normal pony. When I first got him my farrier pulled his (weird, square-toed, set back) shoes off and he immediately went lame. We put regular shoes on him and he was still lame. Eventually we narrowed it down to a sole sensitivity problem, so Raglan’s been happily rocking bright yellow No Vibe pads on his front feet for close to a year now without any troubles.

Pics from last September, the first time we put the No Vibe pads on

A couple of shoeing cycles ago my farrier thought we might be able to take the No Vibe pads out of the equation. I wasn’t so sure about it, though, and since they’re only an extra $30 I decided to err on the side of caution and keep them on. I liked knowing that he could strut across the gravel without having to worry about any ouchiness, that no matter what he walked over he was going to be A-okay.

Taking a grass break while our farrier works on another horse in the background

But when he came in from turnout on Tuesday with one front shoe missing and the other one hanging on by half of its nails, my farrier and TrainerM both agreed: pull the shoe, ride him anyways, see if he complains. Raglan’s thoughts on his missing pads/shoes setup? He DGAF.

TALL RIDER = ACTIVATE FIRE-BREATHING DRAGON MODE

Yesterday we had a fantastic ride. Raglan was feeling fresh, but he was in such a good mood that it was easy to channel all of his energy into positive outlets. I made some adjustments to his canter, practiced my two point, and worked on using my core more through canter to halt transitions. With the help of a few words of advice from TrainerA, we even managed to do another clean lead change!

And then I took him back to the barn and started to untack him and found THIS.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAβ€”R U SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?

I stared at the crack for all of thirty seconds, then put my horse back in his stall and didn’t look at him again until I came to get him for his farrier appointment. #ASHAMED

The farrier’s verdict? Since he wasn’t showing signs of lameness without his shoes, we decided to leave the No Vibe pads out of the equation for now. We can always bring them back into the picture if his soles get sore again, but with any luck he should stay sound without them. He was also able to cut most of the crack off, nail on his shoes, and then file out the rest of it. I forgot to take pics, but his feet are back to looking πŸ‘Œ

ALSO THIS LITTLE VOLE WANDERED UNDER RAGLAN WHILE WE WERE SHOEING SO WE PAUSED SO THAT I COULD SCOOP HIM UP AND MOVE HIM BACK TO THE GRASS.

LOOK AT HOW CUTE HE IS, I CAN’T EVEN
Smoke Season

Smoke Season

The day after our trip down to Bridle Trails, the smoke rolled in. The west coast’s air quality has been bouncing back and forth from moderate to unhealthy for the last two weeks, but it seriously tanked on Monday. I haven’t done more than putz around bareback since our last lesson. 😭

I’m not a mushy person. A lot of people love to spend time just bonding with their horses, but that’s never been me. Sure, I like the quiet moments where Raglan plays outside in the field and I hunker down in the grass to read a good book, but when it comes down to it the reason I own a horse is so that I can ride. Not being able to rideβ€”to be working, training, developing, improvingβ€”is sucky.

Yesterday the rain came and shooed away some of the smoke. After four days of being cooped up, Raglan pretty much had a mental breakdown when I went to put his halter on. I managed to wrangle him into submission, then I threw him into the round pen and he ran and ran and ran.

When he was done being a whackadoodle I hosed him off, put a bareback pad on, and meandered around the arena in big stretchy trot serpentine loops while SundaeO worked on her pony’s jog. When I left work yesterday evening, I got my first look at a blue sky in… well, it’s been awhile.

As I type, we’re sitting pretty at a an AQI of 58β€”moderate air quality, which means its safe to work horses that don’t have a history of respiratory disorders. I’m about to head the barn and have a real, honest to god, ride. We’ll probably do a couple flying changes and everything.

If the rest of the west coast could stop being on fire, that’d be stellar. πŸ‘

Return to Bridle Trails

Return to Bridle Trails

It’s been three months since Raglan and I went down to Bridle Trails with part of the R2R team to ride in a flat class during one of their monthly schooling shows. I’ve put showing on hold until my new saddle comes in October, but when InstructorA invited me down to Bridle Trails just to putz around in the warmup ring I was excited for the opportunity to get Raglan out and about again.

Throwback to the last time Raglan and I were at Bridle Trails in May, he’s def bulked up since!

InstructorA and I were planning on leaving the barn by noon or so, but thanks to a Saturday workshift and a parent that was late to pick up their kid after her tutoring session, I was already running behind when I got to the barn. That makes it no surprise that we went to load up Raglan and he did his best impression of the Black Stallionβ€”KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND YOU COW! It took a very rowdy free lunge and a lot of patience, but InstructorA and I managed to get his butt in the trailer.

He unloaded from the trailer at Bridle Trails like a pro. I tied him up next to InstructorA’s horse, Kody, where he proceeded to be a little too friendly. They played a couple of rounds of bitey face and then Raglan latched onto Kody’s shoulders/neck in a forced grooming session. Kody looked so miffed. πŸ˜‚

Once he was tacked up, I took him over to the round pen. Just like the last time we were at Bridle Trails, he was super boring on the lunge lineβ€”which always makes me suspicious.

We ditched the lunge line at the trailer and went to hand walk around the showgrounds. The moment we got around the rings Raglan tensed up. We had a few meltdowns (Raglan striking, rearing, leapingβ€”his norm LOL), but eventually we made it into the warmup arena without crushing any dogs or children. We walked the perimeter a few times, then I took him over to the mounting block.

The first time I went to get on I could feel something nasty brewing the moment my butt touched the saddle. I tried to pull his nose to my knee to stop him from exploding, but he went with it and started spinning like a mad man so I bailed. My confidence was shaken, so we went back to hand walking.

A very kind woman offered to hold him for me while I got on, but Raglan didn’t feel ready to try again yet. Instead we parked it down at the end of the arena and took some videos of InstructorA. Raglan finally took a deep breath, stopped bashing his head into me, and stood quietly while I filmed.

We went to the mounting block outside of the arena, where things were quieter. My anxiety tried to talk me out of getting back onβ€”what if you fall in the gravel? what if he takes off and hurts himself? we can do this another day, come back with your trainer, it’s fine to quit nowβ€”but I told those little voices to shut up. I swung my leg over, fished up my irons, and walked him in a few small circles. I dismounted and then got back on again. We stayed in small circles until he got bored and started locking up, then I took him into the warm up arena. We spent most of our time walking around, but we did a couple of laps at the trot, too. 😁

Afterwards, InstructorA and I went for a short walk on one of the trails! I’ve never taken Raglan on a trail ride before, but he was a very good boy. He followed quietly along behind Kody and didn’t get worried about anything we passed by. I think he’ll end up being a good trail horse.

Last time we were at Bridle Trails we had all day to settle in since our classes were late in the afternoon. Yesterday we had a much shorter time to acclimate to the show environment. Despite some challenges, Raglan met all the goals I set for himβ€”getting on the trailer, riding in the warmup, going on a short trail rideβ€”and I’m super proud of myself for recovering after a bad start.Β πŸ’—

I’m going to keep an eye out for more opportunities to take Raglan off property!

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