I finally got to ride on Wednesday, the first time in two weeks. Between all the extra traveling I’ve had to do, the lingering effects of my MS exacerbation plus an absolutely horrible head cold I was too sick and exhausted to ride last week.
Wednesday dawned bright and cold. Mia was NOT happy to be brought in. I could not really blame her, the wind was from the North and it was bitterly cold. Debbie groomed her, but I did not rasp down her toes as I was just too weak. Other than a slightly sour face Mia was pretty good in the cross-ties until Debbie put on the BOT hock boots, then the kicking began. It was like Mia had never had the hock boots on before but she had, this was the third time we put them on her.
It was only later that I realized that Mia was probably having her first heat cycle of the year. Of course she was bitchy and kicking out!
We got to the ring and I mounted. Mia started protesting immediately, refusing to stand still for me to get my right foot into the stirrup. Acting like a two year old filly Mia fussed and told me that she did NOT appreciate my worse balance, incoordination, and my truly irritating hand tremors. Contact? Mia did not want to keep contact beyond two or three strides. Cooperation? Mia just did not think that I was good enough to cooperate with. I had hoped for a nice, peaceful ride, instead I got a challenging ride on a truly pissed off mare. At least she was willing to stay in a walk.
But it was not all bad. After a good warm-up I started asking for turns on the hindquarters and Mia started remembering that being ridden could be fun (Mia LIKES doing turns on the hindquarters, often giving me little snorts of satisfaction after she has done a particularly good one.) I did not have enough energy to post the trot so we did some short sitting trots just to get some of Mia’s energy out of her. Then I tried a turn on the forehand.
Now before this Mia NEVER gave me a turn on the forehand. Oh, after some exposition with my aids I might have gotten a very reluctant half step by the hindquarters to the side but the next step was usually several feet away with her either backing up or advancing, not pretty at all. However on Wednesday Mia floored me, I asked for a turn on the forehand to the right and she moved her rear one step to the right and stopped. I praised her and asked for a second step to the right and she did it! I risked a third step, Mia complied and I sent her in the Debbie so Debbie could tell her what a GOOD GIRL she was!
I did several more turns on the forehand in both directions. Mia was not perfect, and that was solely due to MY incoordination. Mia kept her forehand in the same general place and rotated her beautiful hind end around her front end, occasionally stepping forward or back a step when my aids were less than perfect. Due to my bad hand tremor I could not keep steady contact, in fact it was my attempts at contact that often caused Mia to move backwards.
The Back on Track hock boots are working, and I’ve only used them on Mia three times in the past two weeks! This is the only explanation I can come up with as to why Mia, all of a sudden, started giving me good turns on the forehand, especially on a day that she was particularly bitchy. Mia is now 28 (?) years old, she has an occult spavin in her right hock and I think that it hurt her hocks before when she tried to move them sideways. The BOT hock boots must be helping Mia with her hock pain, even though she’s only had them on three hours at the most over the last two weeks.
I just wish I could afford more of the BOT horse stuff, but real life has intervened with thousands of dollars of extra non-horse expenses so I will have to make do with what I’ve already got. I wish I could get back to riding three times a week, but again real life has reared its ugly head and I am lucky to get to ride once a week, for my lesson. I am constantly exhausted, my walking is a lot worse, my hand tremor is constantly with me, and my ex-normal life has been completely upended. With all this bad stuff happening it is very gratifying to me that my latest experiments with helping the horses have paid off so handsomely! It is so rare that the advertisers’ promises about the efficacy of their new, improved horse gear prove to be true that I am truly shocked that the BOT horse gear delivers on their promises, and in fact works better than advertised. (The hock boots are supposed to be used only in the stall with standing bandages and kept on overnight every night in order to work, NOT just for maybe 45 minutes in two weeks.) I am amazed!
The Back on Track horse gear is expensive, but it is worth every penny, ESPECIALLY the hock boots! Just remember that the horses WILL kick out at the hock boots at first and keep out of the way of their hind hooves! I now suspect that a lot of horses have pain in their hocks, not necessarily from full blown spavin but from normal wear and tear. This undetected and undetectable hock pain WILL affect every movement of the horse, it WILL effect contact, forward impulse, and the horse’s willingness to give us what we ask for. I am old fashioned and I do not like the idea of injecting a horse’s hocks due to the risk of introducing an infection. However I have absolutely no problems with the idea of using BOT hock boots to reduce hock pain, especially since they seem to work so quickly. And in the long run the BOT hock boots are a lot cheaper than yearly hock injections by a veterinarian.
Have a great ride!