Monday, November 3, 2014
Willyman Update - Back in the Saddle
You may recall at the end of June William had a little episode in his stall that rendered him quite lame for most of the summer. I didn't call the vet because frankly, I am able to just give him the time off he needs to heal and because he is such a difficult horse to ride, I just can't justify spending a thousand dollars in X-rays and ultrasounds. There was no heat, no swelling. I figure just a torn muscle or strained ligament. That being said, having 4 months off did the trick. He is now sound as a bell and actually - moving better than he did before.
Last week I had Nicole trot him out for me and he was floaty like cloud. OOOooo I thought. This is looking good. A week later I decided to throw his tack on and lunge him, test the waters and if he was good - climb on board. If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that William is the most difficult horse on the planet. He is extremely capable just totally unwilling. Very girthy, very bucky, very spoiled and fat like a sausage. But - boy do I love him.
Nicole and Jessica were over, along with Nicoles mom and brother. I thought this the perfect time. Lots of people there to help if I get launched into the next county - plus someone to video in case we get some good footage for the Thrills N Spills 3 I will be making this year. So, on with the saddle after a good grooming and to my surprise he was not at all bothered by the girth. He didn't squish up or act out or seem uncomfortable. Good sign.
Once ready I took him out to the ring for a lunge. He went walk, trot, canter, beautifully. Sound and fluid. Not a single buck or play. Hmmmm...this can't be my William. Maybe some time off did him some good? I was prepped wearing my safety vest - ready for what might come of this first ride back. I had an audience hoping for some action. I was definitely a bit nervous...though nothing like I used to be. I pulled him over to the mounting block and he stood stock still. I put a foot in the stirrup and swung the other over. Nothing. Asked him to walk forward and he obliged. A nice relaxed walk, no fuss. No scooting, no hunching. He was on the bit and listening.
After a nice relaxing walk around the ring several times I asked for trot. He picked it up and went into a lovely forward trot. A lovely floating trot on the bit. He went better than I ever remember. Wow. What has happened to my horse. Has he actually been trained? Has someone been riding him for me? LOL. The old William would be throwing shenanigans after a few days off, let alone 4 months. He seems to take 5 steps back for every one forward. Regardless - I am not complaining. I stopped the ride after about 10 minutes and gave him big hugs and pats. I am thrilled this horse has grown, and matured. He is a 7 now, maybe his Warmblood brain is finally developing.
So, sadly there will be no spills for the video montage. But! I have my Willyman back. I've ridden him 4 times since and he was an absolute star. Strong, still fit, and willing. Going better than ever before. Too bad it was at the end of the season, but honestly, I don't even care. I'm so happy to have this guy healthy and sound again...we can start where we left off and have some fun this winter. Taking things slow to rebuild what strength he had. Very much looking forward to getting back to this; next year. :)