It’s been 5 weeks since Alfie hasn’t been ridden, and it’s been the longest 5 weeks ever. Ok, slight exaggeration there but still, 5 weeks, it’s a long time.
Alfie had a wonderful session with his massage therapist during the week, and she agreed with my plan of ground work before I get on him to ride. It’s nice to know that I am becoming more independent when it comes to Alfie. I always seek out the opinions of more experienced horse people, but now I find that my ideas are very similar to theirs and that’s really gratifying.
Today, I decided to tack Alfie up for our groundwork session. I ran my idea by our barn manager Regina, and she agreed it would be a good idea, to see how he handles the weight of the saddle. If he is off with just a saddle, he would be very off with the weight of the rider.
So, it’s business as usual. I get Alfie from his field and I give him his lunch. I then get him all tacked up. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that his weight is the same, these last 5 weeks of no work haven’t added on any pounds which is good. Weight gain is a concern for any horse but especially Alfie given his age and foot issues.
We approach the mounting block. He stands perfectly still, it’s nice to see that the mounting block isn’t an issue. I climb down the block, and we walk into the arena. We start to walk when Alfie decides he’s ready to go and he breaks out into a trot…not a stroll type trot but a full on forward trot. Of course, my muscles aren’t warmed up yet and I feel the pull of my hamstring and ouch..ouch…ouch..ummm Alfie, no, I’m not supposed to be getting hurt while you are getting better.
I catch my breath, rub out my leg and soldier on. We ran around the arena together trotting over poles, large circles, changing directions, finally ending our session at a nice walk. The final verdict – Alfie is ready to work. He is 99.9% sound. The farrier is coming back to trim and give him a new shoe on his good foot next weekend. After that, he should be 100% sound.
Riding other horses these last 5 weeks has made me appreciate Alfie even more than I already do. I can’t wait to get my teammate back.❤️🐴