Monday, August 31, 2015

Not Dressage Skillz

I haven't ridden in a week. The reason? That blinding pain I experienced last Sunday is a kidney stone and I have been dealing with the immense pain that is ongoing in this horrible experience by eating Advil like candy and parsing out the eight tabs of percocet I got at the ER as slowly as I can. I just want to cry. This weekend was the Rocky Mountain Iberian Horse Show that I had planned to show in, but it's just as well I couldn't because I wouldn't have managed to ride all three phases any way.

OMG, this really hurts.

And from what I have heard from everyone, this can go on for two weeks. I may not survive.

(All of that was written earlier)

I actually ended up going out to ride for a short amount of time. J helped me with the tack, the stall and the feed. About ten minutes into my ride she said "I think you've found something to help". I came out of my zone and said "What?" She asked, "How is your pain level?" I said, "What?" Yes, I am very eloquent when I am riding. We rode in the indoor thinking it was cooler than out in the 95 degree sunshine, but it devolved into a fight (Gods Ashke hates the indoor) so we got one circle at a nice canter in each direction and then went outside. Outside, Ashke gave me the most incredible canter for six big circles to the left and several more to the right, on a fairly loose rein, and stopping with a breath. (Makes me despair about this winter, although J did say I should just put up an obstacle even if it's just the gate and two barrels. She does have a point.) Then we did some rollbacks, although I wasn't pushing him to slide stop or spin too fast, since I almost came out of the saddle last time.


Then we were done and I came home to veg in my recliner and sleep.

So, I thought it might be fun to list the non-dressage skillz Ashke has mastered.

1. Trailering
Ashke walks on the trailer without any issues. He will stand quietly in the trailer while we load all of Eddy's things. He handles all of our trips without shifting or kicking. In fact, the only time he gets upset in the trailer is when Cali is hanging out just outside and the two of them are mourning their lost relationship.

2. Standing tied at the trailer
He's done really well with this in several different circumstances. He does great standing at the trailer while we are tacking up and doesn't get nervous when I am out of sight. He stands with a loose rope and doesn't pull back. At the Tarrin Warren clinic Ashke was asked to stand tied at the fence or the trailer for several hours without any issues. He paced a little bit at the end of the day when everyone else was gone, but overall was awesome.

3. Standing in the wash rack
It has taken calm persistence to get him to walk calmly into the wash rack. There is no guarantee that he won't snort and dance a little when he walks in, but he never pulls back. He will stand while I wash him and will only protest a little with flattened ears and closed eyes if I wash his face. (He still does not like the penis cleaning action or any water what so ever in that region - he will bunny hop in place to get away from it.) He will move from one side to the other with a verbal request. He seems o enjoy the water when he is hot.

4. Standing for mounting
Ashke is excellent at this and will stand still when I go to mount. It doesn't matter what I use as a mounting block, such as a large rock, the fender of the trailer, a low fence post, a side panel, the side of a hill, the edge of a ditch. I can ask him to position himself correctly and he does, then I put my foot in the stirrup and lightly weight it. I ask him if he is ready, while putting a little weight in the stirrup. Nine times out of ten, he will shift his weight and brace himself for me to swing up. Then he stands quietly until I ask him to walk off.

5. Trail Manners
This is still a work in progress, although our last two rides have shown me that Ashke understands the concept, he just has some trouble with the execution. We rode second on several occasions at Indian Creek, following several feet behind Eddy on a loose rein. Our biggest issue is that Eddy walks pretty slow when he is in the front, so as long as the trail is difficult and must be traversed carefully, Ashke can follow without climbing up Eddy's butt.

As a side note, Eddy is doing really well as a leader on trail. There are times when he is strong and fearless. Then there are the times when he steps to the side and just stops. That's when Ashke goes back to leading. I think as we get more miles and more experiences, Eddy will lead more and more, until we are splitting the time.

6. W/T/C on Trail
And gallop some as well! Ashke is great at all three gaits on trail, with or without his gloves. The type of trails we have cantered on have been singletrack, double track and wide, flat trails. A lot of times I allow him to pick his pace unless I am pacing him to increase his time or improve his condition. One of the great things he has shown in the past month is an increased bottom to his endurance. I credit adding whole oats to his feed and eliminating the amplify (because Purina) and he had reacted really well to that change and he was cantering with plenty of energy as we were headed to the trailer on our last trail ride. He is also very good about cantering or full out gallop through heavy grass (although he does sometimes jump the weeds he sees) maintaining both balance and his dexterity. This is huge for a horse that used to stumble in the arena.

7. Solid Senior Horse
Ashke is a great senior trail horse. He worries about the horses we are riding with (which includes J) and takes care of them, being a solid shoulder when they need it. He has handled ponying AMaar, even though that was a completely new experience. He has helped Eddy a couple of times with the same type of thing, going back to ride over an obstacle with Eddy at the same time.

I'm sure there are other things that I'm not remembering, but this is enough to go on with right now.

4 comments:

  1. Mother effer kidney stones BLOW. I unfortunately know from experience. I hope you're feeling better and I'm really happy riding was able to relieve the pain of it all for a time! Ashke's turned into quite the incredible horse.

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  2. All his skills show how much work you have put into him. You should be very proud! I hope the pain eases soon for you.

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