Girlfriend is all moved into her new stable as of yesterday. I went out in the morning to meet her previous owner, KP at the old stable so she could help me trailer her to her new stable which was only 3 miles away. But I was still worried about loading Girl into the trailer since she was not too happy about going in J.'s when we went on a trail ride at Bridle Trails summer before last. I was relieved that K. said that Girlfriend looks great. I would feel awful if after just shy of three years she regretted giving me her horse!
We drove up to the new stable and K. (one of the trainers) had her horse, Madios turned out in the paddock next to the driveway and he freaked out to have a new mare at the stable! When I drove up he was quiet and grazing but as soon as the trailer came in a few minutes after me, he caught a whiff of the new mare and started galloping around in circles, bucking and rearing and screaming to the new girl. I was a little worried he'd hurt himself because he looked like he wanted to break out of the paddock despite the hot wire around the fence. I guess K. thought the same thing because she came out to get him and had to calm him down for a few minutes before taking him to his stall. Which lucky for him is right across the aisle from Girl!
Girl was all wound up in the trailer, kicking and calling back to Madios, but as soon as KP took her out of the trailer she was very alert but calm. I walked her around and she was very curious but seemed to be in good spirits. I put her in her new stall and the owner brought a flake of hay and she did exactly the same thing she did at her old stable her first time in her stall - she grabbed a mouthful of hay and tried to bolt out the stall door. This time I was prepared and kept her inside. She seemed fine with that - seemed to do a mental shrug and went back to eating her hay. After some time in her stall and a snack of hay I took her out to the arena and just let her go to explore. She did a few laps galloping and doing her barrel racing turns, then cantered a little, then trotted a little, then just walked around and looked at things and sniffed at things. She seemed to approve.
When I came back in the afternoon to drive I. to her lesson I went ahead and tried out riding Girlfriend in the new arena. She did great! She was curious about a lot of things but not at all spooky and although she was very attentive, it was a good-spirited alertness and attentiveness. When I.'s lesson was done my instructor said, "Oh please, can I ride her!" which I really wanted to see because I wanted to see what a real pro dressage rider could do with her.
When I handed V. the reins I said, "She's really really hot," and V. said, "She didn't look hot at all just now," and I said without thinking, "Well, she doesn't look hot when I ride her," which I later realized probably sounded a little arrogant. But I just meant that she knows me really well and she's the type of horse who really excels when ridden by the same person a lot - when she really develops a relationship with someone. So, V. hopped on and Girl walked a little ways at an energetic pace and V. said, "Oh, this really isn't much ..." then she decided to bolt and V. laughed and said, "Oh there it is!" The trotted and cantered around the arena a few times and V. said, "I'm really not holding back much on the reins with her, she's very good ... see ..." and let go of the reins just a little bit more and Girl bolted and V. laughed and said, "Oh, a little too much there maybe!" Then she exclaimed, "I can't believe I'm riding a twenty-seven year old horse right now! I just can't believe this horse is twenty-seven with all this energy!"
V. was able to keep Girl very collected and do a lovely English canter which I have yet to accomplish with her. But I know she can do it so I will continue to work on that.
I started this blog post this morning and am finishing it late this afternoon after going out to the barn to check on the horses. Girl seemed just fine and had been let out in the pasture by the barn for a bit. She knew when my car drove up though and wanted me to take her out as soon as I got there. I let her run around in the arena for a bit and gave her lots of pets and love and she seemed very relaxed and content.
The worrisome part is that I brought Sinatra out for a walk and he was very visibly limping. It was like he had very little strength in his front legs and when I put him in the grooming area to check his hooves to make sure it wasn't something just stuck in a hoof, he couldn't even hold up his weight on his left foot for me to pick up his right. And when I picked up his left foot is obviously visibly hurt him to have me handling it. So, I left a message with our vet asking her if she wanted to come look at him. I feel horrible like this is somehow all my fault but I have been following protocol and only taking him for short walks around the barn or even just grooming him and putting him back. I'm wondering if it's the two times I tried to walk him in the arena that did it - the first time when he got away and ran around the arena a couple times or a couple days ago when V. was helping me walk him and he kept trying to jump and bolt. But that was such minimal activity - he was getting more activity running in the round pen at NWESC at the vet's. So, I'm worried and hoping I didn't screw him up on accident. I'm also wondering if the Valerian supplement he's taking is making him feel weak? He's taken the regular dose but he's not a very big guy so I need to check on that too. Regardless, despite that it's considered safer to walk him in the arena because it's enclosed, he is on much better behavior when I walk him outside so when I get the ok from the vet to keep walking him we're just going to walk outside where he doesn't jump around so much. He just sniffs around like an old hound dog and doesn't try to play.