Anyway. Tristan seems happy and content and comfortable after his tail biopsy. After an initial scare on Friday night when the wrap slipped down, I carefully applied a slightly more snug elastikon wrap, and that has stayed in place since then. I’m checking twice a day to make sure, but all is progressing well. He’s decided to be a shit about his antibiotics, but that was predictable, so he is back on the applesauce + syringe method.
Tristan’s dressage-ing has been going really well. That’s the good news.
The bad news? It’s too gorgeous to stay in a ring. I just can’t. I keep driving to the barn with careful plans and thoughts and blah blah…then I pull up and I cannot stay inside.
So last night I stopped back by my car to grab a granola bar so I would not sugar crash after a long day at work…
…and then attempted to take my first horse selfie ever with horse (and like my third selfie ever and all the others were to do things like show off my new helmet or show my mother my new glasses).
Yeah, not so much. The light was just so gorgeous though.
Then we walked around the field.
And I still couldn’t make myself go inside.
So we walked down the road.
And down the road some more.
And I know you will all appreciate when I say that I deserve a goddamn gold medal for not galloping up this hill every single time I’m at the bottom of it. Siiiiiiigh.
The UVM Extension Service put together this short (30 second) PSA about sharing the road with horses. I think it actually does a decent job encapsulating good manners.
Have you ever had problems sharing the road with cars?
Tristan is very good now, but he wasn’t always so bombproof. My worst moment was some years ago. I had to ride a short distance on a paved road to get to the state park near my boarding barn. A driver in a sports car revved up his engine, gunned it past us, and passed so nearby I could feel a passing breeze on my skin. If I’d held my hand out he would’ve hit it. It all happened so fast by the time Tristan was reacting the car was well past us; thankfully, he just jumped around a bit on the side of the road and there were no further cars coming.
I got to the barn intending to do some combination of trot sets and long & low dressage work. I looked at blue skies outside, no snow on the ground, and I couldn’t make myself stay inside. We’re predicted for rain the entire rest of the week and snow this weekend.
So I opted for a road hack instead, which was at times lovely and at times very frustrating. Tristan was not too enthused to leave his hay, and he wandered back and forth across the road on a loose rein. It’s a catch-22, really: if I let him have a loose rein he’s clearly happier and better moving, but he also takes it as an opportunity to wander and occasionally swing around and turn for home, especially in the first 15 minutes or so. If I pick up the reins and ask for contact his momentum stops and I have to do more “schooling” than I really want for a low-key road hack.
I wished, in retrospect, that I’d brought his quarter sheet as it was still chilly even with the blue skies (low 40s) but he warmed up and moved nicely, and was happy to get back to his stall with his stable blanket.
Took this screenshot shortly before I threw a leg over for an early morning hack out before work.
Longer hack, up the road and took a new sharp left to see if I could indeed explore these fields without riding across them. The dead grass you see in a line ahead of Tristan’s ears is in fact the remnants of a tractor road, with fine footing for walking. We went to the tree line and came back. We’ll definitely head back.
Starting to push the boundaries a little. Tris recovered just fine after this ride too; pulse of 50 while eating his post-ride hay. Probably 75% of this ride was on grassy hills, and the remaining 25% on the road. He started off slow like molasses, but the last mile was a bit of a faster walk. We had one very short spurt of trot toward the end just to see what he would think, and he thought he wanted to GO HOME, NOW, so I posted very defensively and let him trot huge for 50 yards or so, then brought him back before he grabbed the bit and just went.
I am exhausted and sleepy and lazy, so here, have some pics from my early Saturday morning ride out. 2 miles exactly in 36 minutes, some pony picked up his feet much better on his way back to the barn where breakfast was waiting…
Last night, I saddled up and we went for a longish hack. I’m working on three operating theories;
– I need to ride more, for my sanity and health and for Tristan’s health;
– All the reading I do indicates that metabolic horses need regular, consistent exercise;
– Long slow distance is the right kind of work for Tristan right now: low-impact, muscle-building, and when it’s done outside, good for his brain.
All those three things pointed to long hacks as our new standard ride, with occasional short ringwork 1-2 days a week.
So last night was the launch of some new metrics for our rides. I’ve used Endomondo before to track our rides, but last night I paid particular attention to distance and speed. I wanted to know how far it is all the way around the big hay field, and what Tristan’s speed would look like if I rode him on the buckle the whole time.
Quiet-ish hack on Sunday, snuck in between rain showers.