Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Taking Chances

I remember when my mare Jenny was just three, and not yet under saddle. I was somewhat at a crossroads in my education and career, so I contacted XX inquiring about working student positions. XX was a three day eventer and had represented Bermuda in the Olympics. I knew about her from when I worked at a nearby farm between high school and college. She had a reputation of being tough, but before I coiuld over think it, I arranged for an audition of sorts. Jenny was barely under saddle at that point but I wanted more training for myself. At that time I thought that eventing was the discipline that I wished to pursue. I made the 1 1/2 hour drive to XX's farm, not really knowing what to expect. When I arrived I was shown a horse and his equipment and told to tack up and go up to the dressage arena. Good thing I was young and stupid! From what I can remember now, looking back, I wasn't even very nervous. During my drive I had combatted any nervousness that I may have felt. Clay was a 7 year old bay gelding, whose owner really did not ride very much, if at all. He was a warmblood/thoroughbred cross, and seemed pleasant enough as I led him from the bank barn to the dressage arena. After I mounted and warmed up (with XX watching the entire time) I was given a lesson. I felt as though it had gone well, but XX did not say much other than instructing me. It was a really awesome lesson, and I loved her teaching style! Ultimately XX said that she would accept me as a working student. I had an amazing time working with XX. She taught me a lot about riding but also about being a horseman. One day, when she was going to be in the area near my home and where I was boarding Jenny, XX volunteered to come see Jenny and give me a lesson. Jenny had only been under saddle for about two weeks when XX came to give me a lesson, and I had not yet cantered her while on her back. XX watched as I warmed up and worked me through some exercises. "Okay, ask her to canter." I turned and looked at her. "Haven't you cantered her yet?" she asked. "well, no, not yet." "No need to treat her like fine china," XX said. "Take a chance. Use your voice the way you ask her to canter on the lunge." I picked up the trot and tentatively said "And canTER". Low and behold, Jenny picked up the canter. Correct lead and well balanced. This was Jenny's 2nd show.
The reason I bring this up, is because tonight I decided to "take a chance" and not put a bandage on Suki's graft. The skin surrounding the graft is dry, and I am not able to moisturize it because the elasticon for the bandage won't stick. So I slathered the entire area with a thick coating of moisturizer and dressed Suki in her protective shell and sheet. I am crossing my fingers that tomorrow night there won't be bruising! If there is I will continue to bandage for padding purposes, because I worry that constant friction and bruising would cause that fragile, pink skin to break open again....and we certainly don't want that!! The last time I left the bandage off there was some bruising at the cranial end of the graft area. That section is no longer pink, but there is a pink section at the caudal end. So we will see.....Suki has not regrown hiar on her withers, and that is often pink because it has the most contact when she is rolling. It doesn't appear to be any more sensitive to the touch then other areas, but I am considering some type of padding. A padded bandage would never hold, so I don't think that is an option. Today when I arrived at the barn Suki was at the top of the field and did not seem too interested in coming in. Banker was at the gate and most of the other horses were at their own gates. I started to walk out to get Suki, when she looked up and came galloping towards the gate. I coaxed her to slow down but she came full speed across the field! When she was about ten feet from the gate, she tucked her hind end, came almost to a halt, but piaffed for a few steps first. Then she casually walked to the gate! Sometimes I swear she does things like that just to make me nervous! Yesterday I had a really lovely ride on Nikki. She was quiet, but forward and did her lateral work willingly. Transitions within the gaits are becoming very adjustable. I was physically and mentally relaxed for the rest of the therapy....nothing better than that!

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