Sunday, December 13, 2015

Watching from the ground

Early on in the horse shopping process, I learned that I was going to have to have relatively major abdominal surgery in the near future.  I would be grounded for 6 weeks if all went well, longer if there were complications.  My husband and I discussed holding off on purchasing a new horse until after the surgery.  It made a lot (A LOT) of financial sense of course but I really wanted to get started on this new project.
Glad we didn't wait

I figured I would have a couple months to figure out and play with my new horse and then if necessary I could put him/her in training or my friends would put rides in while I was down depending on the horse I ended up with.  Watching the new horse get worked would also give me something to do while recovering.

Well as the buying process took longer and longer, we started inching closer to my surgery date of December 9.  For Odin himself, we had to push the test ride back a few weeks as he was still ouchy on a relatively fresh splint, and then we had a second delay when he was footsore and we couldn't vet him.  We finally managed to bring him home a mere two weeks before my surgery.
Using those hocks during our test ride

I managed a light ride on him most days for those two weeks, wanting to get to know him and him to get to know me.  And also to figure out what he needs while I am off.  Luckily, he made that pretty clear from the get go.  Weak stifles and struggle with canter transitions/inability to hold a lead in back.  As mentioned before, none of this was surprising given his age and current fitness level but it definitely made sense to put him in full training while I was grounded.

My surgery went smoothly and at day 4 I seem to be recovering well.  I have talked to trainer R and yesterday I even managed to sneak to the barn for a few minutes to watch a training ride on Odin by R's daughter R2.   So what has Odin been up to?

  • New shoes!  He had his first farrier visit.  He was near the end of his shoeing cycle when we picked him up and his right heel was definitely under run so we wanted to work on that.  In addition, we added hind shoes to even him out in back and help his stifles.  I am sad to put hinds on in winter - and also sad bank account - but it is worth it to give him a boost in canter work.
  • Turn out - finally got him added to our turn out schedule and once he learned the minis next door aren't tiny horse demons he has enjoyed his play time.  
  • Longing - R has stated that he mostly needs to work on the canter without a human on his back so he is spending time on the longe line.  I am hoping next week to be able to watch some of his sessions.  I loathe longing agnd therefore am not super educated about it. For example, I am not sure if side reins are being used and/or how they might help him right now.  So I will try and learn about that.  
    Fun for no one
  • Being fussed over and complimented.  Trainer R loves every horse so I am not surprised she loves Odin.  But that won't stop me from sharing some of her positive thoughts.  
    • She called him one of the most sensible horses she has ever met.  He takes new things in stride and is more curious than fearful.  Even when something scares him (e.g. minis) he has a small reaction and then chooses to approach it and see what is going on.
    • Smart and trainable.  I will have to get some videos but you can almost see his brain working.  He has been improving in every session.  Partly because he already knew some of this and was just unfit but he has also been figuring out the differences between our style and his previous owner/trainer and adapting himself to it. R2 noted yesterday that he is moving laterally off the leg and bending around the leg about 100 times better already.
    • Easy going and a pleasure to be around.  Horse just loves people and interacting with them.  
And just a couple other notes since even perfect horses need goals.  He isn't very comfortable with crowding in the ring yet and will kick out at horses that pass too closely.  They are warning shots and not actual attempts to connect but we will work on getting him more used to that.  

And in his riding sessions, he is only doing poles at the moment.  We might throw a cross rail in for fun in the near future but even small jumping work will mostly be held until he can, you know, canter more easily.


  1. I totally understand hating lunging, especially because when I was first learning it was fraught with pony antics and stupidity. But it's a great tool for learning and teaching, so I definitely support earning more about it. (And it looks like no side reins in that pic, but what do I know.)

    Glad your surgery went well and you get to watch Odin be fussed over! Keep on healing up!!

  2. Glad surgery went well and you have something great and fun to look forward to after a full recovery :)

  3. I hope you are still healing well, sounds like you have a winning horse!