I fled from the office building just before noon and raced out to the barn. Moon was happily chowing down on his hay, and didn't seem bothered when I dragged him into the barn. Quick grooming and into the arena for some lunging. Let's see if he's sore barefoot.
Nope. Totally sound at a trot on the lead line.
Yup, he's got a sore back. It's not noticeable really right now, but when I bounced too much (I seriously was letting myself bounce just to test my theorem) he would hollow and then get sore for a few steps. Which makes me pretty happy I took some well offered advice and emailed a quality saddle fitter. Time to bite the bullet and do something about it.
Knowing he was sound in hoof and leg, I took him back out of the ring.
And I cleaned him up properly and put his saddle on for the first time in 3 and a half weeks.
It. Was. Awesome.
You can only appreciate your time with your horse fully when you've had time apart. Or time not riding.
So I found a big field. It's the local community club's soccer pitch, which wasn't in use (there's two nicer fields set up) and nicely mowed. Dry too, so I wouldn't have to worry about leaving dents (THAT would be rude).
And I asked Mr. Moon if he wanted to run.
He did 4 laps of the field, loving every moment of it. And yes, he bucked once! Not in a mean way, but in a happy, free, horse sorta way.
And then he shifted gears and surged even faster!
WE WERE MOTORING!
I couldn't help but laugh, even though one of my feet came out of the stirrup and the inseam on my jeans were rubbing my calves raw.
Can't say we won the race, but he was sure enjoying trying!
And then we trotted a bit to make sure he wasn't showing any lameness (none) and walked back home, letting him dry off as we went (he was soaking!).
She was staring. I admit, as a horse lover, I stare at ponies too. So I smiled, waved and called out "Good afternoon!" to her.
She turned on me. Glared. "Is your horse going to attack me?"
(Evil Moon-face...in front of the beautiful Cooks Creek Church. Where folks still pilgrimage to...only you know, instead of on foot, in huge luxury buses. But still, we made our own pilgrimage on horseback!)
"Um, no. He'll be standing right here where I tell him. He listens to me." I replied, trying to figure out if she was joking.
She wasn't. "I'm scared of your horse" she replied.
I sighed. "Well he's a good horse and is a big sweetheart. No reason to worry".
With that, I urged him off in a walk as fast as he could, bewildered how ANYONE could think my horse, or any horse sedately walking in a ditch could POSSIBLY be compelled to ATTACK a person.
Seriously, did she think he was an oversized guard dog??!
Oye. I reminded myself that some people are scared of horses. I mean, if we can be scared of harmless little bugs, why not 1000 lbs of muscle and speed? Even when they look like this:
I'm also waiting for the BF to bring home (hopefully today) an infrared camera. You might recall that last summer we used it on Moon's hooves to make sure they were healthy (and we got great readings) and general heat sensing.
I'm *hoping* we can detect spots where his back is sore, as well as where his saddle might be pinching or causing pressure points. Lastly, to scan his limbs for any signs of injury that might relate to his recent bout of lameness.
With a heat signature from the saddle, I can hopefully come up with a short-term correction to improve saddle fit (be it change gullet as planned, riser pads, etc.). Anyone promote the thinline pads? I'm wondering if that might help a little bit, as they're well reviewed.
(This one's for you Allison! Moon's Haffie bud!)
This afternoon I also bought a little organizer for my horse trailer, and will start filling it up over the next couple of weeks. For my birthday my dad is spending Sunday helping me start the trailer upgrades, so I know it's going to be a fun, pony filled weekend!!
(Moon says: "Get this human off of me!!")