I was putting off writing this post until the results from Copper’s lyme disease retest came back, but so far the results aren’t back. And I’m just too excited to really keep a lid on it much longer really.
I sat on my red horse you guys.
It wasn’t anything ground breaking, it was in the barn and we just did walk/jog stuff for about 10 minutes. But considering it is the first time I’ve sat on him in 16+ months that he’s been sound, it was pretty awesome.
I didn’t put much planning into it, as usual. I was at the farm solo, and wearing my giant Muck boots that don’t fit into stirrups. I ride Paige in a bareback pad often, but Copper has only been ridden sans saddle once before that I know of, also by me back in 2016 before we diagnosed the Lyme. I hesitated for a few minutes, because even if I feel confident enough to ride him in it, I hate flopping around on one to mount and Copper’s too big for me to easily mount from one of my mounting blocks. Nothing says welcome back to being an ammy mount like having a chubby woman flop around you, right?
Luckily for all, the log that I have in the barn to teach Joey to stand on is taller than my mounting blocks and made me tall enough to mount Copper without flopping! I led him over to the stump and told him that we’d see how this all worked out re: mounting. I parked him beside the stump, then pushed his hip over to get him as close as possible, climbed on the stump, gathered my reins and threw a leg over. He just stood quietly and waited for me to ask him to walk off. This made me a tiny bit apprehensive because he’s generally been my problem child under saddle and I was leery about how much leg to put on him since a) he hasn’t been ridden in over 16 months and b) he’s been on stall rest with limited turn out for a month. I clicked and he walked off with his head down, relaxed af. Okay then.
Ever the paranoid individual who doesn’t trust their horse, I flexed him around and then started working in circles in the half of the barn away from the open door to Joey’s pasture (there’s a gate in the door opening, but leaving the door open allows for ventilation and light). I was worried that Joey would run around and make Copper act fresh, so I kept my distance for a while to see what horse I had underneath me. Naturally, Copper made me feel like a villain for not trusting him and walked, jogged, stopped, and backed effortlessly on our half barn circles, so I got over myself and trusted my horse and started using the full barn. Unbeknownst to me, Joey was at the furthest corner of the field bopping noses with Bentley over the fence and not anywhere nearby to excite Copper.
Let me just go on the record here and say how much I’ve missed this horse. Our relationship has not always been #goals (and might never be #goals haha) and more often than not it has been frustrating and disappointing. Copper was the first horse I picked out entirely on my own and bought with my own money. I’ve had him since he was ten months old and in the last ten years we have pushed each other’s every button and he has made me cry more than any other living creature. But when everything, brain and body, is working like it should, there isn’t a horse on this earth I’d rather ride. He’s adjustable, flexible, fluid, and soft. His gaits are the most comfortable, he’s responsive and willing, and coordinated enough that I know he’s got my back regardless of the terrain.
Throughout 2016, we had great rides. After finding out that he was literally eat up with Lyme disease, I was worried that he’d only behaved so well because he felt like crap, but now the optimism is building. Maybe he didn’t try to kill me because he’s decided he’s a broke riding horse now? I mean, he’s eleven this year, maybe he just needed to scoot into the double digits and now he’s solid? So my initial game plan of throwing a younger rider with a stickier butt on him isn’t as prominent in my mind as it had been. Maybe with adequate supervision, I could ride him outside myself as I did so often in 2016. Or maybe I’m setting myself up for more disappointment, it’s hard to tell.
I did take him outside for a lunge the other day because the ground had mostly firmed up and he was very well behaved despite crazy baby Joey running by us often. He’s still struggling to pick up his hind leads, though it is in both directions, not just the left lead that was previously his problem lead. I’m interested to see if that improves with work.
He has been building up more muscle since I’ve, you know, been exercising him. Considering he’s recently been a hard keeper with very little muscle (possibly because of our old friend Lyme) I’m pretty happy with how he looks right now. I just wish he photographed as well as he looks in person because I swear there’s a pretty significant difference. His barrel is absolutely massive!
So I guess I’m just hoping my lucky stars align and my horse both feels and behaves great. And you know, for the mud to dry up so we can actually do things other than looking cute in the barn.