Monday, January 16, 2017

Cabin Fever

Cupid looked much better after the first day of soaking and wrapping, but I never saw any drainage so I thought the abscess would probably come back to cause problems.  However after 5 days of wrapping Cupid seemed fine.  He stayed in his stall since his pasture was a soupy mess.  Since he only got hand walked, for my first lesson last week I suggested we just do ground work and lunging, to make sure he was sound.  I thought he still looked just a tad off to start, but looked fine by the end.  We alternated between trotting and cantering, a few strides in each gait, which my trainer said would help build strength.  The transitions looked good.  Cupid got strong a few times, but overall looked good.

The following day I got on him for the first time since the abscess, and he was a little naughty!  I didn't get to ride until after work, so it was dark and there were a few other people in the arena.  Cupid was pretty quick at the trot, and kept his head up in the air.  He also spooked a few times, doing what I call the "teleport" where he does a few quick steps in some direction.  Luckily it usually just lasts a few steps and then he is back under control.  We did a lot of circles and serpentines at the walk to try to get him to relax.  He finally settled down a little, and we did a little trotting.

I told my trainer that our ride was not great, and she offered to ride Cupid the next day.  She said he was "fresh at first" but was excellent by the end.  When he's like that I need to focus on getting him to accept the leg.  I did a light ride that evening, just 20 minutes of walk/trot, and Cupid was much better behaved.

The following day we had our lesson, and had to do it in the evening.  As soon as I got on I knew it would be an "exciting" ride, Cupid was keyed up.  We did a little walk each direction, then my trainer said to get him trotting.  He was being quick again, and had a few spooks.  We kept working, mostly staying on a circle trotting, bending to the inside and a little counter bending.  Then Cupid let out a giant buck!!  It totally caught me by surprise, but luckily I stayed on.  I told my trainer that my form may not be great, but at least my balance is pretty good!  She asked me if I was okay continuing, or did I want to longe him a bit.  I decided to continue.  After the next spook I was almost ready to give up, but my trainer said she thought we were almost there getting Cupid listening.  I thought about throwing in the towel but said okay and hesitantly got Cupid trotting again.

He was pretty good the rest of the ride, though I couldn't fully relax.  My trainer said it only took 15 minutes until he was good, but it felt like much longer!  We mostly stayed on the circle, continuing with our bending and counter bending, changing my posting diagonal if he felt like he was getting quick, and worked on shortening and lengthening the trot a bit.  When Cupid was more relaxed, and the arena less hectic, we finally went all the way around.  My trainer kept telling me to touch the saddle with my pinky finger, to make sure I wasn't holding the reins too short and also so I sit up straight.  We even did a little cantering, twice each direction, and Cupid was good.

It is a little scary for me riding Cupid when he is not his usual sweet, slightly lazy self.  But this was good practice since he still gets nervous in new places (though thankfully he usually isn't this bad!)  I guess I underestimated how important turnout is to Cupid.  He seems fine in his stall, he is relaxed as long as he is in there but as soon as I take him out, even just to hand walk, he is a different horse.

The next day I turned him out, and that afternoon we went on a nice relaxed hack around the property.  I was very happy to have my horse back!
Key to his happiness

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