Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Sillies: McKenna Edition

Last week was brutal in terms of riding with Miss McKenna.  She's been in heat and was just a monster to deal with under saddle. Environmental factors didn't help. It poured Monday, was rained Tuesday, was nice Wednesday; Thursday saw the hottest temps of the year so far (75* and muggy), Friday the temps dropped, winds picked up and the storm came in.

Our barn's gotten busier lately and trying to find time to turn the mare out in the arena is hard.  If I can't let her get out and run around I'll throw her on the lunge line before getting on.  I know it's not fair to her to expect a full-of-herself 7yr old OTTB to stand in a stall 23hrs a day and come out and get right to work.
Don't believe the angelic expression

Thursday I turned her out and she ran for a while, as per usual, then I groomed and tacked up. McKenna had a huge hump in her back as soon as I got on and felt like a ticking time bomb.  We did lots of transitions and changes of directions to try and get her mind focused.  She wasn't super great during our trot work but once we started to canter all bets were off.  She got super sticky going right, would either not go forward at all or leap forward like a freight train.  I actually had to run her into the wall a couple times to get her to stop.  After about 15 minutes of trot-canter work in which I was fighting with her the entire time I got off, pulled her tack and let her run around some more.  She ran for over half an hour almost non-stop.  By the time she was done she was dripping sweat and blowing hard. At that point she had been working for over an hour and still had a slightly crazy look in her eye.  I hand walked her out then gave her a good rinse.
Crazy mare

Friday she had off, as a storm was coming in and you could feel the change in the air.  I thought it wouldn't be worth it to try and work her through that so she got turned out in the arena to play.  Saturday I got back on (after turnout time and a lunge) and lasted about 5 minutes before I threw in the towel.  She had the same hump in her back and I could tell she had attitude and I didn't even want to start that fight.  I pulled tack and let her run around some more.  I was really disappointed, I thought we were almost over the naughty crazy behavior, at least to this extent. She's not a naughty mare at all, and her I don't think it's a pain issues because her back has been feeling pretty good. I sent a message to my trainer asking for a lesson and/or trainer ride this week because we need help.

Sunday was gorgeous and sunny so I ran out early in the morning and turned McKenna out in one of the small outdoor paddocks. I came back 4-5hours later to ride and I had a completely different horse.  She was tired, relaxed, and soft in my hand.  I actually had to pony kick her multiple times to get her to canter.  We started in the indoor then moved outside once she proved she had a brain in her head.  The only time she got nervous was when someone was lunging inside and cracked the whip.  The big sliding door was open between the arenas (with the gate closed) so she could see and hear what was going on inside.

I'm really hoping that I can find away to get her more turnout during the week.  We're a self care barn, so if I want her out I have to do it myself.  A couple boarders come out in the middle of the day and I'm going to see if one of them would be willing to turn her out for me. 


  1. bummer that it's been so tough to find turnout! my mare really needs it too... the stall is NOT her friend. good luck!

  2. She looks like she's trying to climb the wall of that indoor!

  3. Great to know there may be a solution on the horizon. Will keep everything crossed for turnout help...i have a mare who used to go apeshit without turnout. She has been much better lately, but i still turn her out as often as I can (she would have been out every day this week if not for the gale force winds) and she lives out 24/7 from May 1st to November 1st.
    Keeping everything crossed for McKenna getting more turnout time it really can make all the difference to some