Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Another Change in the Horsemanship Season of Life

I've been thinking a lot about what this year will look like for me and trail riding, and it is a bit bleak. I have an older herd, who are mostly retired, and a lameness issue.  It reminds me of the years where Cowboy had his Headshaking Syndrome--he still does--but we didn't know how to treat it then.  There wasn't much saddle time that year either.

Tumbleweed will need a lot of attention, so it is probably a good thing that doors are closing as his is opening, but he's still very young. He turns 3 in May. That's really too young to put any long rides on him. I'll probably contain his rides to 30 minute training sessions at our nearby park.  It has an obstacle course and lots of flat, easy trails. I'll also take lessons with him throughout the summer, to help me, and build his and my confidence as a team.

It is possible that Leah will benefit from light rides and, in that case, I'll step them up. These last couple of weeks, I've been hand-walking, then cold hosing her, and she has improved a great deal, which means I'm on the right path. Her issues have always improved with exercise, and deteriorated during winter, just like Cowboy.  

I'm sensing a theme: all my horses need "light exercise." 

How convenient.  So do I.  And I've been rising to the occasion. The Fitbit step counter really motivates me to move more, and I've been averaging about 80,000+ steps per week. I feel like I need to be as fit as possible to keep up with Tumbleweed and the upcoming foal.

When I hear my friends talk about all their rides planned for this summer, it does make me a tiny bit melancholy, but only because I'll miss time with them.  I'll still have plenty of adventures with my herd.  In my opinion, a fulfilling life with horses is not galloping through green pastures all the time; it is exactly this, the caretaking. And I have a lot of that in my life!

I've been watching videos of horses giving birth.  OMG. OMG. OMG. Crazy! One hoof pops out, and the horse is still up and down, then part of the head and hoof, and the horse is still up and down, and finally the body starts to come out. I'm so glad I'm watching these videos because, otherwise, I'd be having a melt down and calling the vet. 

I will need to consult Shirley in the lead up to the birth!  She has done it so many times. I sure wish she lived right down the road and not over the border.

Well, time to head back out to the barn. What would my life be like if I didn't have these sweet, sweet horses to fill it up? 



  1. Love how your boys are looking at you in that first photo, very sweet! I have found that some years we ride a lot, others a little and some none at all - for different reasons. It does sting some to hear of others grandiose adventures, especially if you are adventurous. It is not typically all roses tho. We started riding Nemo & Koda out on trails when they were three. We kept to shorter & easier rides too. There is something to be said for finding the beauty in wherever you are in life. I've always enjoyed lighter rides (up to 3hrs) better than long rides (over 5 hrs). You sure have been putting in the steps! I remember liking the step counters I had when the little plastic ones first came out, until the cheap things stopped working. I would benefit from having one. They are so fancy these days with so many variables, it's hard to decide which one to get. I will have to come back and watch the birthing video later. I need to educated myself on horse birthing as well.

    1. I’m using my old FitBit, and it still works great. It syncs with my iPhone and even sends me weekly reports. Mine clips to my bra. With all the hand walking horses and hiking I’m doing, I’m surprised I don’t have more steps. But there are days where I do have more and then days with less, so it averages out. Seeing a physical number, though, does inspire me to find new ways to incorporate walking. I haven’t lost any weight, but that wasn’t my goal. I know myself, and exercise makes me hungrier. But I can see the difference when I walk up hills in front of my house. They used to wind me, but now they don’t. Yay! 👏 It makes me feel stronger and happier.

      Yes, watch that video and tell me what you think. I’m getting very nervous. I read Shirley’s comment below, and I’ll be picking her brain more.

      So, Cowboy is doing pretty well since he has been on Equioxx everyday and moving again. I might be able to squeeze some easy rides out with him. Nothing steep. Same for Leah. Just flat, gentle jaunts.

      That’s good to know that you were riding your boys as three year olds. My trainer will let me know what she thinks Tweed can handle when she’s done with him. She might surprise me and say more. Maybe I’m underestimating. Two more days and he leaves. He’s very full of himself, so I am ready for him to go to boot camp!

  2. I'm kind of in the same boat as far as riding goes. Light rides on Beamer is what I planned, but he has developed arthritis in his "good" knee too now and I don't want to aggravate it so it looks like I will be borrowing rides on my friends spare horses this summer. But I will have a foal to play with and that makes me happy!
    That foal in the birthing video- his second leg was fairly far back; usually they are not quite that far separated. It changes the angle of the foal's shoulders which may be why the mare took so long to pass the nose and head. Once the shoulders are out, make sure the foal's nose is clear of the membrane and if it is, just let them lie there as long as possible. It is an amazing and wonderful thing to watch a foal being born! I once foaled out a mare at a training stable I was working at and it was a 12 x 12 stall; she had that same thing with the first leg sticking out that far and as she stood and kept turning I was so afraid the foal's leg would break from rubbing on the stall wall! The bigger the foaling area. the better. I encourage my mares to foal outside the shelter by not bedding the stall but putting a nice straw bed out in the pen. Once the foal is out and standing, I bed the stall and get them in there for them to bond in a safe, warm and dry area.

    1. When do you call the vet? After watching the video, it seems like they can be in that position for a long time before the foal passes. You said Tumbleweed tumbled into your arms. Did you have to help Rosalee? Do mares ever freak out? Do they ever get aggressive with you while you’re helping them?

  3. It's so weird, I kinda forgot blogs existed. Here I am again, and it's so much better than the social media world. Tumbleweed is looking spectacular!

    I think your year sounds pretty nice, but I can totally understand missing the longer rides. I don't ride long anymore, mostly because I can't find anyone who enjoys it, but also because it hurts! Buster needs to get conditioned for it too. He's so little. I'm really looking forward to the snow melting! Anyplace that's close to ride is not great right now. Snow and mud. Yuck. Soon though, it will be so nice.

    I remember Scout's birth with so much enjoyment. I heard Bella's water break and her heavy breathing over the baby monitor and by the time I'd gotten out there (maybe 100 yards) he was 2/3 born. Trying to stand up with his hind legs still inside his mama. Ouch. I tried to pull him out the rest of the way but he was surprisingly heavy and slick! It took more leverage than I expected. She was only 2-3 years old, way too young and it was her first foal. She did great. I'm sure yours will too. My first foal snuck into the world with me sleeping in the barn and I missed the whole thing!

    1. Wow! That would be crazy seeing one trying to stand half out. I heard that they can hemorrhage, too, if you pull too hard or pull the placenta out. I hope it goes well.

      The trails are wet here, but these warmer temps should dry them out. I imagine we will be back at Riverside by first of April. Yay!

      And blogs are much better than other social media. It’s a place to be thoughtful and considerate. That’s a good thing. I avoid mean, complaining blogs, though I know they exist.


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