You know what’s been really nice lately?  Riding. 

I haven’t blogged about riding and horses in awhile but that’s because it’s been kind of hanging out in the background while work and life have been a whirlwind.  Mae was lame for the entire month of October which was depressing.  At first, my trainer and I weren’t sure if she was faking it or if she was truly lame.  Some days, she was completely fine and other days she’d limp at the trot.  After finally calling the vet out, she was diagnosed with a sore coffin bone.  Her hooves are continuing to grow (yay) but too fast for her shoes.  We solved that by increasing the wedge angle on lame foot.  Her heels are continuing to pick up, which was a goal of ours, so I’m happy about that.  Not so happy about the massive vet bill that it took to find out that that was the fix necessary.  X-rays you guys - why are they so expensive and why do so many have to be taken?  I guess I’d rather pay for clean x-rays than find out that there’s something wrong there though.

However since she got her shoe fixed as well as her ankles injected, she has been a super happy horse and a pleasure to ride.  Whereas this summer I felt like my hacks were opportunities for her to expend energy, the rides this fall have been productive and we work on something different each time, including: speed variation, transitions, stride variation.  I bought yet another hunter bridle to add to the collection, a simple snaffle to flat around in instead of the gag.  We have been working on a lot of lateral movement and trying to get her to start leg yielding.  Once she understands what you’re looking for, she obliges and moves quite neatly.  I’ve also been asking her get on the bit more consistently and to seek the contact.  It’s been really neat to see her actually respond to it and I’ll look to add more basic dressage work into her regimen.  I still haven’t had a jump lesson on her - my trainer’s current lesson schedule doesn’t work for me - but trainer says that she’s actually eager to the jumps now as well.  I’m not in a rush about that and am happy to continue encouraging her to learn at this pace that is working for her.

Who knows what it is?  The cooler weather.  The injections.  Somehow I can tell that she’s happier about working and less spastic out in the arena.  I’ve also started listening to a podcast while I ride and I think the voices may act as white noise for her as well.  She has been less spooky and less looky, despite the temperature fluctuations and wind (oh the wind) that we’ve gotten in the outdoor arena.  We even ventured out to a portion of the trail out to the cross country field, where she is typically extremely nervous, and she kept it together for the most part.

This Christmas, I’ll have had her for two years and we’ve come a long way No Maybe Baby.  She’s also grown A LOT.  When I pulled her out of her stall yesterday evening, one of the new boarders was shocked at how big she is at only six years old.  I’ll have to stick her sometime - she was over 17 hands over a year ago.  I’m quite pleased about my girl and finally feel like we’re getting to a place where she is in the right headspace and feels safe and healthy as well.  There’s still quite a bit of work to do but I’m optimistic that as she matures, we will be able to get there.