Well it has been about a year since I last updated, but it's time to start up again. After quite a few bobbles in the road, Jay and I are on track again and need something to keep us there even if it is just our blog. A lot has changed since last year and this is going to be long.
We were completely aware that the horses were not in the best shape when we first moved to the new barn last January. As spring came, this became even more obvious. Jay had some mysterious skin conditions going on under his winter coat, we had a few strange narcoleptic episodes and he just wouldn't shed out. I body clippped him, and with the grass starting to come in he finally started to fatten up.
Getting him back into work has also been interesting. Our biggest problem is that mentally we are a First pushing Second Level team. Physically we are a couple of fatties. I have to remember that even though we were at a great place before moving to KY, we have to gain back our fitness before working there again. Now the great thing is that Jay really does remember what he is supposed to be doing, I just have to not push him before he is physically ready. That was one of our biggest problems. We moved too fast and he started to get work sour... backing up on the mile hack across the street, stopping and backing up on the way into the ring. He has NEVER done that before.
Then Ryan and Aidyn moved to NC. This left us to going across the street alone. No problem right? I mean we have done this 100 times it's fine. WRONG! Enter work sour, body sore, herd bound Jay-R. I could somewhat drag him across the street handwalking him, but the walk back was just him plowing me over to get home. Which brings us to where we are now.
Sure I can handwalk him over and back... dragging him on the way there and hanging on for dear life on the way back, but let's be honest, that SUCKS. So my plan is to attack all 3 of these issues as once. He got about a month off between finals and winter break. He also is staying outside 24/7 at this point (except in terrible weather). He comes into his stall for his meals then goes back out. This should help him menatally and physically. I am also changing my focus from needing to get to SP to work, to having him relax and enjoy the mile walk there and back... horses are supposed to like trail rides right??? Once he is ok with that and we are getting all the way to SP, it will be slow going to get us back in shape properly.
When I got back from break, I was slightly worried about getting on him after his break. That worry was completely gone after he stood like an angel for the farrier (longer than usual due to snowball pads and ice studs) after being a "wild mustang" for a month.
From now on, no excuses!
So back to work we go:
Friday: I tacked up and handwalked him to "checkpoint 1" (we have 4, the 4th being SP). A little looky towards the end but fine. He walked back calmly. Once at the gate, I got on him and walked some circles and serpentines for about 20 minutes between the gate and "checkpoint 1". Complete success! He behaved lovely.
Saturday: Got to the barn and got my tack out. Turns out we were getting a hay delivery and the truck takes up the whole barn. Wouldn't be a problem except I wouldn't be able to get my pup Rosie into her kennel before I went across the street so I ended up helping with the hay.
Sunday: Left early to get to the barn to do the morning feeding and then ride. Of course my car starts having problems on the way to the barn. Since I needed to get it to the shop asap, I compromised and took a 20 min ride just walking up and down our driveway. Figured it was better than nothing.
Monday: It was freezing and windy with a snowstorm on the way. Tacked up and got on right across the street with plans to ride to "Checkpoint 2". Well things don't always go as planned and Jay saw demons at "Checkpoint 1". He has jumping around and spooking so we just worked on calming down and walked back and forth doing circles and serpentines. Even though we didn't get as far as I had planned, I felt good about it. A few months ago, if Jay had been spooked I would have been freaked and he wouldn't have calmed down. This time I managed to stay calm and keep working him. After every spook he calmed back down and he never tried to run home. So I'll call it a success.
Tuesday: Usually I will be riding on Tuesday mornings, but they were not able to work on my car on Sunday and I needed it all day Monday, so I had to bring it in Tuesday morning. By the time I got to the barn after class on Tuesday, it was starting to get dark and was FREEZING and windy. So brought Jay in and groomed him, gave him a warm mash and decided to leave him in over night since he did NOT seem happy being out when I got there.
We will see what we end up doing today, I am hoping to get on and see how he acts before deciding how far we will go. The main thing right now is to stay positive. Sure it stinks that we have to hack a mile just to get to a ring and then a mile back. But at least I have a great place to board him where he is happy and healthy, and I am SO lucky to be able to even have my boy during grad school. The things we will be working on will only help us in the long run.