Saturday afternoon diary – how to tell when your horse is in discomfort or just being a butt.

Today’s weather – hot and extremely humid with rain showers in the forecast. I get Alfie from his field and he happily trots to the gate to meet me.

He enjoys his lunch of hydro hay, I get him tacked up and off we go. He stands at the mounting block for me – WOOHOO!! We then begin our warmup.

From the first few steps I can tell something seems off with him. He’s not lame, his feet are good, but he’s stiff. He doesn’t want to walk and he didn’t want to bend. Now, here’s the thing. Is he being a butt and challenging me like he did a few weeks ago or is something bothering him. After about 10 more min, I get off and my trainer gets on him. Now the normal pattern when he’s being a butt, he won’t pull that stuff with her. Well he did. She felt his stiffness too. She did better than me at getting him to move and by the end of their 15 min ride he was moving better. He seemed to work out of some of his stiffness.

We came to the conclusion that the weather got to him. Alfie suffers from arthritis – which he’s on medication for, but I’ve noticed when the weather is super humid or damp, he seems to be more stiff. Have no fear, his massage therapist is coming on Tuesday. 😊

Listening to your horse. It’s so important. And it’s one of the most difficult things to master. It’s harder than actually learning how to ride. Trying to figure out whether something is medical or if it’s just challenging behavior is a hard line to figure out. So much of my early years with Alfie was spent misinterpreting his behavior for “bad behavior” instead of understanding what he was going through physically. Although I’ve gotten much better at listening to him, I still question if he’s not just taking full advantage of my emotions to get away with stuff. Today, he wasn’t taking full advantage, he was stiff and I listened to him.

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be cooler with lower humidity and I bet his movements will be better. As I brought my baby back into his stall, he put his head into my chest for a hug. It was almost as if he was saying thank you for listening to me. I hugged his big head, gave him a bunch of kisses on his cheek and we shared such a sweet moment. Don’t worry Alfie…I will always have your back, I will always listen to you. ❤️🐴

Published by Judy Bennett

I am a middle aged married woman who finally was able to make her childhood dream come true. In 2016 I purchased my first horse - a beautiful older gent that I named Alfie. This blog is dedicated to everyone who loves horses and wants to see the good, the bad and the ugly of learning how to ride.

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