The last few months have been really busy. Spectacularly busy. Let's put it that way. Guinness and I have ridden and fought and learned and traveled and shown, won and been solidly beaten. It's been a learning curve, and a tough one. We've put ourselves out where we certainly didn't belong, and it stung. But, we're not really ones to let that bring us down. So, we're working. We're working really, really hard.
Right now, the main focus is on me. My riding style, my strength and my effective aids are all questionable as we push forward for more work. This has to change. I won't be the one holding us back. I've been hatching plans to help me move forward. They all basically involve me living and breathing horses and nothing else for every moment I'm not at work. If that's what it takes, I'm game. This little (okay, not so much) horse deserves a rider who's willing to work just as hard as him.
The plan here? Lessons. Lots of them. As of now, I have the opportunity to ride with Nancy Kleiner a couple of times next month. I rode with her once in September, and loved her. She's really helping me find my balance and take proper contact - ride effectively.
The other focus is on Guinness' strength and comfort. We had a huge training breakdown in September that I tracked down to my horse being in pain. The rapid onslaught of cold and rainy weather brought out warm puffy ankles again, something that hasn't been an issue all spring or summer. Besides the familiar stride hitch and stiffness, Guinness was refusing to take any contact to the right rein. In order to keep him from throwing a huge fit (coincidentally, we'd been dealing with lots of rearing ...), I had to ride very crooked. He'd only tolerate rein pressure at a downward angle. Imagine that, if you will. One hand normal, the other dropped 12 or more inches. It's silly, and it's not effective. My immediate thought was teeth.
Unfortunately, the equine dentist was very difficult to schedule. Guinness started balking at even being bridled (very unusual). Once the dentist came out and took a look, the word was clear. A nasty hook with ulceration of the inside of the mouth. Poor guy. I feel awful that it took so long to get his teeth looked at, but he's a much happier horse, and as of last night, gladly opening his mouth and plunging his head into the bridle again. Good boy! Bad mom ...
|Guinness gets his teeth filed down and his employee moral reinstated :)|
|Behold! The ugliest jewelry ever! Guinness' puffy, poulticed ankles. Yes, I poultice like a racetracker. No wrapping.|
|My hair is dirty, my husband is hungover, my horse is unhappy and ... you get the picture. At least my braids are nice.|
As for everything else? My menagerie is doing well, Guinness looks fat (very fat ...) and happy and fairly sound. My dogs are happy and healthy. Work is stressful, but should slow down next month. I wrecked my car (three days before the show), and now have a new one (that I love). All in all, August and September were rough, but we're pulling through and pulling up.
|Happy dogs. Especially that black one.|