|Looking like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth after the ride. The discharge out of her norstril is actually sand stuck to normal clear fluid.|
I got up at 5.45am to ride her before work - I thought, after 4 days of work (all going really well, just normal, unbalanced, no muscling issues) that she would like a walk up the back to the racetrack, maybe a little trot down the straight and then back home on the buckle in the early morning mist. The property is an old racehorse pre-training facility that had been abandoned for 6 years before someone else bought it and opened it for agistment. There are only 8 horses on the property at the moment.
|Red arrow is Allie's yard, blue arrow is where I tack up and get on, and above the green arrow is the lane we ride down to get to the racetrack you can see there on the left. It takes about 5 minutes to walk from the tack up to the gate at the track.|
Our ride could not have gone further from the plan.
She seemed fine until we nearly got to the track - they had put down road base down the aisle between yards we ride down (great for her feet!!) and since the last time we rode on the track they have put down more sand. But I don't think that is what bothered her. She put 3 stops in, with me ending up having to boot her like she was a Thelwell pony. She then spun and tried to go back home but when I tried to pull her up she started humping and spinning. WHAT?!
Eventually we got to the gate, through the gate and I hopped off to lead her over to a pile of white railings on the ground that I thought she was worried about. She was fine and walked over them.
I got back on and tried to walk clockwise on the track. She had that glazed-over-thoroughbred-stare going on and wanted to nick off on me. I couldn't put my leg on, I couldn't get in her mouth, she was igoring a heavy seat. I had NO horse under me. She felt like she wanted to go up, but worse, like she was prepared to go right over if I tried to stop her with the bit. I was worried that the surgery had done something to her face that was setting her off. I did not have the balls to ride it out because she was reacting negatively to my aids. She was humping, head between her legs, spinning and just loosing the plot. She wasn't even looking at anything in particular, it was like she was spooking at the fog!
I jumped off again and tried to get her attention by doing the old leading and stopping game - she knows my expectations 100% with this - when I stop, she stops before her shoulder gets to my shoulder. If she doesn't, I pop her on the chest with the whip or the tail of the reins or lead, whatever I have handy. We have done this pretty much every time I lead her since I got her. Well, today when I popped her on the chest, she went nuts - spun around, bucked, reared, tried to get away. I felt like I was flying a kite!!
I put my big girl pants back on and got back on again. We got about 5 strides when she started jig-jogging and I had a coiled spring under me. She was on the buckle though! Heavy seat, light seat, leg on, leg off, didn't matter. She was going to explode again when I took up the reins to stop her to dismount a-fricking-gain. Then, I handwalked her back to the gate with my hands holding the reins as if I was riding her, trying to simulate contact and asking her to just go forward. It worked. Sort of.
Halfway back down the lane I got back on again and normal Allie had returned. I did school her for aboout 10 minutes in her own yard before untacking because I wanted to see if I could get in her mouth and get contact seeing as that seemed to be setting her off the most. Wak, trot, canter with "contact" (well, not proper solid dressage contact but something resembling it for a horse who has been off for so long) all good. She is stiff, not wanting to bend her ribcage around my left leg especially, but I know how to ride that. I couldn't really fault her in the last 10 minutes except she was rushing in the trot (I think this is a balance thing for her). I untacked and fed up. I have been tossing it over in my head all day long. Why? She had never ever acted that crazy whe whole time I have owned her. She can be an idiot about walking near ditches or piles (I honestly think she fell in a hole covered with a pile of junk as a foal) but I can normally ride it out and she doesn't loose her shit.
Gosh - so what do I do now? Just keep schooling for the next few weeks and then try the track again when we have more rides under our belt? Or do I get back out there and tackle the track again asap? She honestly scared me. I don't want to make it into a 'thing'. I just do not know how to ride a horse who is so explosive and ignorant like she was today.
Just to clarify, we have full vet approval to be riding and schooling and doing normal horsey things, just like a normal legging up program. I don't think this has anything to do with her surgery but it is a small possibility. We have ridden around that track about 7 times before and while she can be a bit looky, she has never been batshit crazy spooky. Except the sand was new. That's all I can pin down. There weren't any 'roos, no foxes, blah blah blah.