The last ride (for now!)
One of my biggest worries about not riding is how to keep Coolie fit. I wasn’t at all worried about this when I got pregnant, he was basically retired and Henry is young enough to have the time off without any issues, only benefits, plus that choice was taken out of my hands anyway! Since Coolie and I have been out and about this year though my priorities for him have changed a lot (and my goals for us both too!) and suddenly it’s important that he doesn’t have too much time off. At 18 he is fit and healthy and time off wont harm him, but it will take much longer to build him back up. I also need to make sure he keeps his weight down as at this time of year he is at risk of laminitis.
|Our last ride :(|
So after much thinking and pressure to keep riding where there really shouldn’t be (from myself only I might add!) we need to move into our new phase of keeping him going. And that involves lots of groundwork and a little bit of lunging. Historically Coolie hasn’t been fussed about lunging, he is hard to motivate to actually move forwards. His idea of lunging is to slug along as slow as he can. That attitude will not help him maintain any fitness at all!
Monday night was our first day of lunging. Coolie had the week off prior due to weather and then me being sick. He as quite pleased to have attention and even happy if that attention involved being lunged! He was forward and worked well. Lunging is going to get really boring really quick though so I’m going to have to mix it up with long reining too. Plus I don’t like endless circles for their legs.
|He is SO hairy!|
In addition to his new work regime, Coolie is being turned out on very little grass, much to his displeasure. So far I seem to be managing him much better this year than in the last few years so hopefully I can stay on top of it.
Henry will also keep getting in a bit of groundwork too, though mostly on the long reins and walking over poles. Hen has coped without work a lot better than I thought he would. He likes being busy and like working so I thought we would have a very gallopy horse on our hands but he has been very sensible.
He was a bit of a prune the other night, we weren’t late to feed but it was getting dark, cold and the neighbours were making a racket which led to Henry deciding his life was over and flat out galloping from gate to gate. Andrew took him hay which usually settles them but by that point he was in flight mode. There was no way I was going in that paddock but I walked down to the gate and as soon as he saw me he came up and stopped running around. The change was instant, and I was amazed! Clearly, he needed him mummy!
|Henry's hay buffet|
I am hoping that the work on the ground for both horses will also carry over into the saddle and we will see long term benefits. Not riding sucks, and I have no idea when I will be back in the saddle but for now I just have to get over it and appreciate the horse time I have.
I have lots of worries about not riding, some much more valid than others!