Horse news

Jun. 23rd, 2007 03:13 pm
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
In my last horse post I wrote that Melanie was getting inseminated. She's back now, hopefully impregnated. Eva, one of the owners, has asked me to go with her to the vets in a couple of weeks to check whether the insemination worked. I'm very happy that she asked me, it shows a level of trust and that she wants to let me be involved.

Ownership of the foal, if there is one, still isn't settled. I've told her that no matter what, I'll help out with some of the work, but I'm not willing to spend any money unless I also get a part ownership of the foal. There's certainly a risk in buying a foal, even part of one, but there's also a possibility of a reward - whether by eventually buying it out or by selling it and getting some money back.

Last week there was a dressage competition at the stables. Our small club has managed to scrape together a team for the division III league, and it was our turn to host. I was speaker, which was great fun - I got to say "Rider #XX is invited onto the course, and we ask rider #XY to be ready. The horse "Foo" is a mare, born in XXXX and owned by Bar. The rider Baz competes for the Gazonk club. And we now have the result for Bar Bazson, they got XXX points and YY.YY percent. Also there's a green car with registration number XXX YYY with the lights on in the parking lot." Being as how I love to hear my own voice, it was the best job I could get!

It would have been nicer if it hadn't been so cold (about 12C) and wet (rainy or drizzling most of the day). I was sitting under a roof, but I was still very cold. I felt very sorry for the people who had more outdoorsy duties!

One of the horses in the competition was son to the same stallion Eva's used for Melanie. He was a beautiful black, with a star, had great moves and came in fourth. But I expect that if Melanie's foal is anything like that good I won't get to ride it much - still, if she gets one that good they're more likely to keep breeding her, which is good in itself.

She's still very affectionate when I come to see her in the field. Ylva, the other owner, says she's like that with everyone. She must be imagining things; of course the horse likes me best.
jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
So, it's been a month since the last time I updated. Stuff has happened.

Tusse got well, but we both have the feeling that he got a lot older during his illness. We don't really expect him to be around for more than a year or so.

Work has been hellish but is getting better now. We finally got the $BIG_PROJECT into production. There's still some mopping up to do, but at least the time-critical stuff is over and we can breathe again.

And then there's the bad news. Melanie, the mare I've been riding since January, has been lame a lot. She was taken to the vets yesterday and got X-rayed. It turns out her hind legs are basically shot, and she has a problem in her neck that makes it hard for her to use her right front leg properly. So she won't ever be well enough to be ridden again. At best she might be good for breeding, but given her physical problems - she was born with one eye missing, as well as having had the leg problems - it mightn't turn out that well. In which case she'll be put down.

I'd gotten so very attached to her, I was planning on buying her in a few years, and I'd started considering how to arrange stuff so I could ride more often. I'm devastated. There's the practical side of it, too - I'll have to find another horse to ride on weekends, because I really do need to ride twice a week. But most of it is just grief that I've lost her.
jennyaxe: (house/wilson)
On Sunday I went out riding Melanie. This time I was accompanied by L on her 25-year old mare Ellie, and A on Melanie's brother Elliot who's eight or so. We walked along the road until we got to a nice meadow, where we first trotted a while and then took a gallop. Melanie behaved very well; she was calm on the road even when an idiot driver honked his horn at us - damned lucky none of the horses got scared! She was very good at keeping a quiet pace when trotting, and when L started galloping I had no trouble keeping Melanie at a trot for a while before I let her start galloping as well. (I did this mainly to see how well she'd listen to me and how hard it'd be to keep her back - that's a fairly good thing to know when you're out on an unfamiliar horse...)

We turned back and decided to gallop back across the meadow. This wasn't really the best idea we'd had so far - the horses knew they were headed back to the stable and their food, so they were very eager to run. L's mare was off like fired from a cannon, and I wasn't far behind. I heard later that the mare had taken the bit and refused to slow down... Melanie at least kept listening; I could slow her down, so I kept changing the pace - reining in to slow down a little, then letting her get her speed back up, a couple of times. That's when it happened. Ellie stepped on a six foot long branch that was hidden in the snow. It flew up right in front of Melanie, who naturally shied away from it - and I lost my seat and went down in the snow. Melanie kept running until she caught up with L and Ellie. I'd managed to fall well enough that I didn't hurt myself, I just was a bit winded, so I got up and walked over to L and Ellie. L got off and caught Melanie.

Looking back, A had also gotten off her horse and was walking towards us. It turned out he'd been so eager to catch up with us that he'd started bucking and jumping, and A was smart enough to get down and lead him instead of trying to stay on when he was in that mood.

We walked back towards the stable. After a while I found a stone I could use to get in the saddle from - Melanie is 170 cm high and there's no way for me to get up from the ground. A kept walking her horse, L was already back in the saddle.

So, that was my most recent adventure. Not a bad one as falls go; I'm a bit bruised but I didn't break anything. And it wasn't really Melanie's fault - anyone would get a bit scared by a big branch flying up right in your face like that. She's a good horse and I feel every bit as safe on her as I did before.

It's obvious that she hasn't had much experience of being out in the fields like this, but she has a lot of coolness and good sense and doesn't get frightened easily. She's also very affectionate - when I went to bring her in from the field, she came up to me and started nuzzling. And she whinnies if I leave her alone in the stable while fetching her saddle or something.

I still don't have a picture of her so there's no Melanie icon so far. We'll go with my other current obsession instead...


jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)

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