Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Walker's Maybe New Career

Walker is doing phenomenally at the new barn.  In the oft-repeated words of my barn owner: "Are you sure he's lame?" Well, I guess that's a fair comment when he runs like this.

But the truth of the matter is that he still finds hard ground very uncomfortable, and I'll be curious to see how he feels once Winter sweeps in (next month?  next week? tomorrow?) and freezes the ground.

I think it's safe to say that although our riding partnership is not at an end, he is definitely going to need to scale back the hard work in the future.

So where does that leave him?  On the prowl for something productive to do.  Because a Walker without work, is a Walker who needs a reality check.

Enter Walker's Careerpath 4.0 (because I consider WP, loping crossrails and "creative dressage" to be careers 1 through 3).

Walker is going to be a therapeutic riding horse.

Probably.

My barn owner is really involved with therapeutic riding, and let me tell you, it is not just a pony ride.  They do a ton of different exercises with the children to get them working on their motor skills as well as mental skills, etc.  She is building a new facility on her property which will be 100% devoted to therapeutic riding.

This means she needs horses.  And what kind of horses does she need?  Bombproof ones.

She tells me that they do everything from walk across bridges, through obstacle courses, under things hung from the ceiling, throw basketballs at horses - you name it.  But she also expects these children to work as hard as any rider.  They follow the Canadian paraequestrian riding program and she teaches them dressage specifically.

But she also has one little boy who has limited capacity in one of his hands.  She thinks he would benefit from a Western saddle and a horse that can neck rein, which her current English therapeutic riding horse cannot do without a meltdown.

Apparently, while I have been listening to her explanations of the program and contemplating Walker's potential use there, she has been thinking the same thing.  She has been watching him and thinks that he just might be suitable.

Here's why:

  1. You could totally throw a basketball at him.  You can walk him under, over, through, into anything.  He is afraid of nothing.  It's almost amazing how bombproof he is.
  2. He LOVES kids.  And he has always been uncharacteristically well behaved around them.  He can sense that he has to be gentle and so he is.  Yesterday he was waiting for supper and saw a child playing across the street.  The next thing I know, he is cantering across the pasture so he could stand on the other side of the fence and watch her.  He loves kids because he loves to be adored.
  3. He is a Western horse who can neckrein.  He is perfect for this kid who requires that.  Besides that, he has an extremely easy jog which would make him an ideal candidate for teaching kids to trot (she has some kids who do rising trot!) but who are unable to ride a bouncier horse.  And being the laziest beast on the planet, he will never run away with anyone. 
The best part about it is that my barn owner makes sure to work closely with the horses to make sure that they are suitable for the activities they are asking of them, and if there are certain things they can't do, she just uses another horse.  It would be a great opportunity to give Walker something to do and it is something that would not put much strain on his feet.

So he is going to have the Winter off as planned, and come Spring, if my barn owner still thinks that he is suitable, we may have a new adventure to discuss.

Other Pursuits

In my time away from riding, I have been pursuing some other activities to keep me busy until I can get back into a lesson program.  Here are some of the highlights:

Reading

At the beginning of 2014, I vowed that I would read one book a week for a total of 50 weeks (because it took me two weeks to come up with this plan).  Although I had a lengthy two months off in the middle of the summer, I somehow managed to get 5 books behind.

I am currently reading book 31, and although I will probably post my entire list of books read sometime at the end of this year, for now I will let you know some of my favourites that I have read so far this year, in the order that I read them:

  1. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  2. The Dead in their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
  3. Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards
  4. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock
  5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
TV

Yeah.  I probably should not admit to the fact that I have been binge-watching tv like it's going out of style, but hey, everyone needs to live outside of reality once in a while.

Here are some of the shows I've been catching up on:
  1. Sons of Anarchy
  2. Friday Night Lights
  3. Arrow
I am beyond excited for Fall premieres. 

Boxing

I have taken up boxing.  And it is hard.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good full body workout.  I'm hoping that it will be a great way to get me back into shape for riding.  

I've already learned that my weaknesses are almost entirely horse-related.  Legs and core?  Relatively solid thanks in large part to riding.  Arms?  Not so much.

Besides, sometimes a girl just needs to punch something.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Watch my lame horse run

My new barn owner has told me that Walker is a bad influence on Kayden.

Apparently, sometime around 4:00, he stops whatever he is doing and insists that it is now supper time.

To get attention, he canters/gallops circles around whatever field he is until he has worked up the 27 year old horse and my barn owner rushes over to give them supper.

It only took once to discover that this was the Best. Plan.  Ever.

On the weekend, I got to see it all in action.  Except to make matters worst, Kayden's owner brought him into the barn to tack up for a ride.

Walker went ballistic.

At one point, I thought he was going to try to jump a 6 foot fence.

He tore up the ground so bad that I had to spend 45 minutes traipsing through the field covering all the holes.

This would be disturbing to me if I didn't already know that I am exactly the same way.

video