Ok guys. In January, my vet gave me some heartbreaking news about Lynx. He had a large lesion on his deep digital flexor tendon. No real options available. Turn him out. No riding. No barrel racing. Nothing. Re-check in a year. I was DEVASTATED.
Know that Lynx is my heart horse. My champion. My main man. Telling me that I could possibly never ride him again broke something inside me. Well, today, he was not using that leg. He was a tripod. I went straight to the worse case scenario. My friend went with me to the vet to have him checked out.
First thing first.. hoof testers. Sure enough, he has an abscess in the foot. It’s a good one… but my gut said to have the vet re-check that deep digital flexor tendon. At first he forgot. I mean, he sees 30-100 head a day… so he forgot why I would ask such a question. But he did it… the lesion is GONE. Poof! Not there!!!!! He went and read his notes and looked again… the shock was felt by all! I was asked what I did… well, pulled his shoes and kicked him out in the pasture. Kept him on his once a month dose of summit but nothing else. I prayed a LOT. Loosing my main mount was soooo hard. So I prayed that God make it His will.
God has done some things in my life that I didn’t like, but they always worked out in the end. My first horse died in a freak situation and it forced me to step up on Gabe the Babe. Gabe got injured (broke his hip) when Lynx was 4???? And forced me to step up on Lynx and move him forward. Gabe came back for my son to ride a little. He is 21, can’t be saddled (gets really mad) but is healthy and ok for bareback riding. Well, Whiskey came into my life in December 2 weeks before Lynx was diagnosed. I asked God why He breaks my current horse to force me to ride the next in line. I prayed that this would not be the case for Whiskey and Lynx. I cried, I prayed, I decided to send Whiskey to get his ride on (broke to ride) and just settled in with riding Splash and Declan… not my personal favorite mounts but I needed to ride. Lynx would get depressed when he wasn’t caught to ride. I literally could feel his depression.
So today, when I saw Lynx so bad off… my brain went to the worst case scenario and came home with more than I expected! I GET TO RIDE LYNX AGAIN!!!! LYNX WILL BE GOOD TO GO!!!!! Of course he has to heal from his abscess and then get re-checked…. and legged up….BUT, I got my horse back!!!!!!!!! GOD IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Please keep praying! We have to do some things before he is ready to go back to barrels but, it’s possible! All things are possible through Christ!!!
Something that is hard to communicate to my new riders is the fact that we all fall off. One way or another, the more time you spend in the saddle, the higher your chance of falling off. How you react, respond, move forward… will determine your future with horses.
When I was a child, I had a welsh/quarter horse cross that was the devil. My grandma insisted that I conquer this mare. She loved to drop her head between her knees and run off. I would bail. Every single time. Flying dismount. Jump off. Bounce off. However you want to describe it, I was not staying on that wicked pony. Princess was such a horrible ride. Grandma kept saying “the safest place you can be is ON THE HORSE!” Sadly, my 5-10 year old self didn’t agree! Then… I decided to stay on. After years of being tortured by this mare, I found my gumption and decided that I was going to ride her and stay on. I would regain the control of this runaway pony from he!! And I did. For a few moments, I was able to pull her thick head around to my knee and stop her antics. She stopped. I stayed on… until my stirrups broke 🤣 Yes, no stirrups resulted in me walking back to the house! But I did use my whole body to control the runaway freight train!!! We will chalk the last one up to equipment failure! The spicy little thing went off to the sale after that.
Princess is just the first horse that I repeatedly fell/jumped off of due to my fear of no control. Grandma had several to ride. All had their own little quirks. I could pick one of four to ride on the weekends. We had another mare that would stop, drop and roll in a tiny puddle of water. That was always fun. She was 16 hands and when she spotted any water… you were going to go swimming. Once I got her to stop doing that with me, she was… frankly, boring to ride. I started riding her daughter, Brandy. Brandy loved to take people under low branches to wipe them off her back!!! Normally, the rider would end up grabbing the branch and then walking home. About the time I decided to give this mare a lesson in manners, I was also taking English riding lessons. I discovered snaffles!!! Alas! Something that the mare would respond to without man handling her!!! Brandy and I were two peas in a pod! I could literally go anywhere on her! Yeah, I slid off her a time or two because I rode her bareback. But I managed to find some way to climb back on her so I didn’t have to walk the 4 miles back to the house!
Moving forward…. y’all, I cannot tell you how many times I have hit the ground due to horses. I have been injured pretty bad on a few occasions. It happens. I learned from each and every fall. This must be why my ground moments got more painful later in life! I learned to stay on!!!! So if one got me off their back, it was bad! I have had buzzards fly up under my 2 year old horse landing me on a fallen tree in a gully. I had been taught that we always get back on. So I did. I rode that colt back to the site of my dismount then rode back. I was in horrible shape!!! But I did it. Knock on wood, other than my tail bone and some ribs, all bones intact!
So when you are wondering why or how you fell off, think about it, learn from it, make notes and carry on! One horse I have never fallen off of is my horse Lynx. I’m not sure how or why. He is 15 and I raised him. He is an incredible athlete and could have easily tossed me around. But he never dropped me. Maybe it’s because we have a special bond? Not sure. I have fallen off others since running Lynx but not him. Learn to move with your horse. Dance with them. Be alert but be soft. Be brave but be smart. Falling off is part of the package. The more horses you ride, the higher your chances of finding the ground. Ride on!
We took a few days off. The wind has been wicked and honestly, family times are important! But today, while everyone was napping, I snuck out and caught Whiskey!
We saddled up and even got the bit! Whiskey got a new saddle pad, halter, flag, and girth for Christmas! I also bought something I have never used before…. driving lines. Gasp! To be honest, the idea of working the bit, while behind a young one, is a bit daunting for me. It’s time to break out of my comfort zone!!!
After getting un-tangled and finding my coordination, we did it! We learned left, right, whoa, back and turn all the way around each direction!!!! I really had to put on my thinking cap for this. Using the flag on the off side to encourage him to move away from the flag and toward the bit pressure was simply a mind game for me. Whiskey was like “get it together woman!! What do you want?” But we did it! I was 100% excited! After a lot of this and that, I finally removed the lines and the bit. I put his halter on him (has a long lead rope) and we worked on lounging. This is something that I find easy to teach a horse. Asking them to give to their nose and move their feet in a smaller circle around me using the flag is something I have taught many of kids… I mean horses….
I don’t have many photos of it as holding my phone while asking for things with my hands and body makes it hard to sneak in a photo. Whiskey was easier to move to the right (clockwise) vs the left. Everything else, he is more willing on the left vs right. Maybe I finally got the right side softer? He learned to keep his hip and shoulder engaged while bending at the ribs. He learned that when I say whoa, he is to face then wait for me to ask him to come forward. This kid is pretty darn smart! I’m so used to baby horses that have the attention span of a gnat. Whiskey loves the attention and will keep going as long as I keep it interesting! He is also a little older than the others that I had worked with in the past. Lynx and Goose both came to me as long yearlings. Whiskey will be three in May. I’m starting to see the improvement and see the retention of our sessions!
After our lesson, I decided to put him in the other pasture. He went out with the mare, Gabe, Declan and the mini jenny Evie! Totally different dynamic in that pasture!!! I have four stalls made out of panels for feeding. I had caught the rest of the herd to feed them. Whiskey would be between Declan and the Mare… he was like “NOPE!” I tried to coax him into the stall. Both Declan and Honey would give him a stink eye and he would focus on me… take three steps in then stop. He didn’t get fed tonight. If you can’t go in your stall, you don’t get fed. I’m sure tomorrow he will be more willing!!! He does anything for food! I really can’t blame him. The mare had to put her two cents in as soon as I turned him out. Declan was being weird too. Not all out attacking but also not allowing the butt sniff situation to happen without a squelch! However, I feel that he needs to meet and learn about all the horses on the property. Nothing is more annoying than having to separate horses when tying at the trailers!!! Lynx is the worst! He will pin those ears and do everything he can to assert dominance over his trailer mate. It’s important for Whiskey to learn his place but also to learn their mannerisms!!! Anyhow, Merry Christmas!!!