I’m writing more than I’m posting these days. I just can’t seem to finish all the drafts, or get to all the things. Even with that, I’m not writing as much as I usually would.
We’re still stuck going down the highway to get to the park. I’m grateful we don’t have to trailer out. I’m grateful we have that option. It still really sucks and it drains my motivation to take her out for a quick spin, a few miles in the evening here or there. This is almost the widest section of useable shoulder. I can’t comfortably take photos while dodging parked cars, motorcycles by the bar, and gravel trucks further down the road when we’re functionally walking in the road for part of it. On the bright side, we’re having very zen walks these days where she stays exactly behind me on a loose rein regardless of the cars zooming past.
There’s still a niggling NQR-ness that shows up from time to time. Right hind? She’s not lame, and I can’t pinpoint anything, but… Ten years younger and I’d be doing more diagnostics. Frankly, I don’t have the money for it, and for what we’re doing she’s sound enough. My hope is that more work will build muscle, and with more muscle she’ll stay sounder.
One of the teenagers, now in college, is going to start riding ‘Fetti on the trails some too. I’m not putting enough miles on her. I have great confidence in this gal, she was looking for a horse to get back on the trails with (her horse is no longer trail-suitable, alas), and more brisk miles will do the pony good. Win-win-win.
The breathing issue seems to be primarily on hills, probably because that’s where she’s exerting herself most. Current solution: all the hills plus some canter. Last week we did a ride where we schooled canters on the flat sections (i.e. not the downhill steps or the ugly roots or the ducking-under-trees), walking by hikers/runners/dogs, and then briskly walked up the Big Hill as far as we could go. We started to go a bit further out on trail on a long downhill (great uphill walking, I thought) but plans were foiled by a fallen tree. Walked the downhills, trotted home at a moderate pace. I think we’ll repeat that for at least several more rides.
If I can’t fix the hills/breathing, we won’t be going in July. We are two months out and that is looking like a very real possibility. All I can do at this point is keep working the hills and see how she does. I haven’t ruled out spending a year conditioning and trying for a return next year, either. Fitness and health is the priority. I want to make different mistakes at rides. Last year we made the ‘breathing problems and underconditioned’ mistake – so that’s off the table for this year.
I snuck in an arena ride last week, too. I’m leaning left for reasons yet unknown. Also, our canter transitions are kind of hilarious, and “I hope you got that on video” were my words following this sequence of photos:
Alternatively captioned “NO YOU MAY NOT THROW BUCKS AT THE CANTER (even little ones)”.
We are totally the picture of grace, all the time.