Nicole and I had arranged to meet to ride because I had been given Broncos tickets by my boss on Friday. I talked to J and we decided we wanted to invite a boy that T knows from the barn to go with us. I called Nicole and told her I wasn't going to be able to ride on Sunday and invited her to come with Pam and I on Saturday. As it worked out, I ended giving my ticket to Jake's mom, so she and J and T and J are all going to the game and I am riding on Sunday anyway. (It's a preseason game and J is taking the telephoto lens - the tickets are on the 25th row.) However, since I helped plan and advertise this trail ride, I feel that I should probably be there.
So, I got to the barn about 12:30. Nicole was showing Rhythm to a potential buyer in the big arena and Pam had just gotten there. Paul showed up a few moments later. I went and spoke to Nicole, then went to get Ashke. Guess what I found?
The Jammies that Ashke had under his sheet cut off the circulation in his neck and caused swelling at the top of his chest. I could have cried. I took the sheet and jammies off as quickly as possible to inspect the swelling. I'm going to send the Jammies back because I don't see a way to prevent it from happening again.
I had Nicole double check it for me and she wasn't too concerned. The swelling went down pretty quickly and it didn't seem to affect his performance, ability to graze or to drink. But it made me feel awful! And J wasn't happy either! If it's not one thing, . . . I really hate it when I am the cause of him being uncomfortable.
I got Ashke groomed and rubbed his throat a bit to help the swelling go down. I cleaned his feet and took pictures.
Front left foot with the shoe. Can I just say that he was tender on this foot while I was warming him up in the round pen (tossing his head up and down, visibly favoring it at a trot) and continued to act like it was killing him in the arena. Ashke was favoring his left front right up to the point where we opened the gate and headed out.
His back feet look pretty good.
Once we were out of the arena and on our way, Ashke forgot to favor his front feet, pricked his head up and started walking out. He has gotten very spooky. So has Callie, actually. I think that maybe they are sharing a brain.
Pam and Allectra are in the front, and Paul on Rupert are second. Allectra is a nice little Arabian and Rupert is a thoroughbred. Neither of them had been on a trail ride with anyone before and neither of them really understood trail etiquette, which became probamatic in my opinion.
This is Nicole and Callie. Callie is a QH/Friesan mix and is only 3 and a half years old. Nicole has been riding her about as long as I have been riding Ashke, which is one of the reasons we enjoy riding together, because our horses are at about the same place in their development. Callie was pretty tense and Nicole was reacting to her tension.
As we were making our way to the greenbelt, there was a galvanized steel gate that gave the horses fits last time. It isn't latched tightly and it bangs against the post with every breathe of wind. All of the horses spooked when it banged as they were walking past. Callie had spooked badly the last time we had ridden past it and Nicole decided she needed to do a little training. She swung off and led Callie to the gate, banging it and knocking it against the post. Callie figured out pretty quick that it was just noisy and wasn't go to hurt her. Then Nicole retied the gate so it wouldn't swing any more.
While Nicole was working with Callie, I stopped Ashke and waited for her. I understood what she was doing and why, and when you are riding with a group, it is smart to wait. If I had ridden on, Callie would have been isolated and it would have raised her anxiety. It would have separated her from her herd. Pam and Paul didn't stop and continued to the top of the hill. It was a pattern that would continue for the duration of the ride.
The road we were on goes up a hill and at the top of the hill is a greenbelt. It moves to the west and then south and then back to the east in a big square. Pam and Paul reached the top of the hill five minutes before Nicole and I did, but neither of their horses would go past the edge of the fence onto the greenbelt. I asked Ashke to move forward. He balked a little bit, but finally moved between the fences and onto the greenbelt. We led the way. About half way down the greenbelt, Ashke stopped to poo. (He still won't walk and poop at the same time.) Pam yelled from two horses behind me, "Why are we stopping." Ashke finished and we moved on. When we came around the corner and headed south, Ashke stopped. He absolutely didn't want to move forward toward the ditch. The last time I rode him that way, I had to get off and lead him down past the culvert. Again, when Ashke paused to evaluate his options, I heard Pam asking why we were stopping. It wasn't the question so much as the way she asked. I pulled Ashke aside and said, "Pam, you can go ahead." I figured if she was in such a big hurry, she could lead. Pam and Paul moved past me and then Ashke was willing to follow them. That whole herd instinct thing.
Nicole had to dismount to pass the ditch. Callie was very tense and Nicole was smart enough not to push when she wasn't feeling safe. Callie followed Nicole with no issues, but Ashke started to get really tense. Pam and Paul were a block and a half ahead of us and not waiting. I asked Nicole why they weren't waiting when I had asked several times for them to wait, and Nicole said Pam didn't want to ride near Callie. Pam was afraid Callie would spook Allectra. I answered that it didn't make sense since Allectra was behaving just fine. Nicole said that Pam was just that way. I wasn't real impressed. When you ride out as a group, you should stay together as a group. As it was, Ashke got antsy and started to dance.
Ashke wasn't being mean about it, he just wanted to be with the group he could see ahead. He reared a little bit and then started to trot as slow as he could walk. You know the dancing little trot I am talking about. I kept pressure on his mouth and kept telling him to walk. Nicole moved Callie up next to us and that seemed to help. Ashke settled and we made the rest of the ride pretty close together.
Toward the end of the greenbelt loop is an empty lot with a low lying ditch. The past couple of times we rode this way, the ditch was empty. Today it was muddy. Ashke walked up to it and reared a little, then stomped in the mud. He was a bit surprised when his feet sank a good four inches into the mud. We had to go around it, cuz I wasn't up for jumping. And I'm not sure it would have ended well. Paul and Rupert crossed it over the dry part, like Ashke, but Pam didn't even try with Allectra. Callie went over the ditch in a small bound.
This is what Ashke, Callie, myself and Nicole saw for the majority of the ride. In Paul's defense, he did tell us he was having trouble slowing Rupert down and since Rupert takes one stride for every three Ashke takes. I enjoyed riding with Nicole, which I always do. I had thought I would enjoy riding with Pam, but not really so much. I think Pam might have been upset that I invited other people to go with us, but she really didn't make any effort to talk to me.
Nicole seemed to have a great time and she really appreciated riding with me.
When we got back to the barn, we unsaddled and went to rinse the horses off. Nicole washed Callie first and then I started to wash Ashke. I had him soaped on one side, when Grace went running past me. I called out and asked her what was wrong and she told me Rhythm had gotten free from Abbie and had taken off. Nicole, who is leasing Rhythm to Abbie for the month, went tearing by in her truck a couple of minutes later. I rinsed and squeegeed off Ashke, thinking that Rhythm knew where the barn was and she would be on her way home. I figured I stood a better chance of catching her if Ashke was with me. Once he was rinsed off, I untied him and we headed out on foot toward the lake.
At the lake, Abbi and Bailey had taken Rhythm and Coyote to play in the water. Unbeknownst to me, J had video taped them on her iphone. Rhythm was the one in the water.
According to J, as Rhythm came out of the water, she began to act up. She was circling around Abbie at the end of the lead line. J said that one of the times Rhythm came around Abbi no longer had the lead in her hand. Rhythm took off for the barn. T started running after her on foot. Abbi started running after her on foot with no shoes on. J jumped on her bike and took off after her. Rhythm outran them all. There was one major road that Rhythm had to cross, which she did safely, thankfully, and then she was on Pecos and headed home. Pecos is closed at that point for car traffic, so the likelihood of her being hit diminished sharply. J turned around when she saw that Rhythm had crossed 144th safely and went back to Abbie, who was close to hysterical at that point. J handed Abbie her boots and then handed over her bike and told her to go get Rhythm. J went back for T's bike and then went to gather him up.
Ashke and I turned up the hill on Pecos to see Abbie and Rhythm coming down. Abbie had J's bike in one hand and was leading Rhythm with the other. Ashke and I walked up and I took the bike from Abbie. Nicole called at that point and Abbie let her know that Rhythm was safe and we were on our way back to the barn. Poor Abbie had tears streaking down her face and wanted Ashke and I to walk her back, which we did. I reminded Abbie of two things: first, Rhythm could have spooked and taken off in any direction, increasing the difficulty in locating her; second, Rhythm wasn't hurt. The bottom line is Rhythm being loose could have been traumatic for everyone if she had been hit by a car. She was smart and headed for the barn.
Nicole was at the barn and talked to Abbie when they walked in. The first words out of Nicole's mouth were "I'm not angry." She handled it very well and spent some time talking to Abbi about how to calm Rhythm, how to redirect her energy when she gets anxious, and what to do in the future to prevent something like this from happening again.
I finished washing Ashke and then turned him out in the field. I turned Stoli out with him. They were very sweet together, right up until he ruined my wash job by rolling in the field.
They were out together for about 30 minutes.
Doesn't he look awesome?
They stay ten to fifteen feet apart.
Isn't she nice looking? At five months.
He is doing awesome! Now if I can just get his feet worked out.
Nicole also gave me a fly sheet that is too small for either of her horses. Callie has outgrown it and so has Rhythm. We put it on Ashke and although the back leg straps kind of bothered him, he didn't over react.
It is very loose and shouldn't aggravate the swollen tissue on his neck. We sprayed the exposed parts with fly spray.
I'm sending the Jammies back.
Wonder what will happen tomorrow . . .