Cinder got a few days off after the show, with bodywork the day after and acupuncture last Tuesday. I wasn't there for the acupuncture, but apparently Cin had quite the reaction to the bladder point and on her left stifle. The phrase "bucking in the crossties" was used. Her stifles are definitely her weak spots, and since we have a short period left before the trails get too muddy and slick, Trainer A took Cin out for fitness on the hills last week. Nothing like hill work to strengthen those stifles!
|All photos bought from Lark Photography
Cinder still has an issue with the section of trail we call the beaver dam since it's a pond on one side and marshy wetlands on the other with a nice wide gravel path in between and she can hear the sound of running water. She fucking hates water. Trainer A schooled it with her one of the days last week, after cantering her up the big hill for the first time, so she was tired and less likely to bolt across it like she usually does. My lesson last Friday had gotten moved to Saturday, but A told me to hand walk Cin out to the beaver dam on Friday with a big bag of treats, and a stud chain.
When we went out, the BO had a burn pile going in a different section of the property and Cinder wasn't super happy about the smoke, or their barking dog that she could hear but not see. We walked out to the dam with only minimal stopping for grass and staring off into the distance, and Cinder confidently marched down the hill and across the dam like a pro. There's an apple tree on the west end (we came from the east) so I stopped and got a few apples for Cin. She got one there, and then we turned around and stopped in the middle of the dam to eat the second apple. Once she finished and we started walking, she did one little spin spook, so we turned around and went back across again, stopping in the middle, before turning around again and crossing like a good pony. She got plenty of treats for that, and then once we made it back up the hill she got to graze while I caught my breath.
My lesson on Saturday was another fitness trail ride, and this time another one of A's students joined us. Despite being the tallest horse in the group, Cinder is the slowest walker and the two OTTBS we were with powered on ahead while we meandered behind them. Once we got to the bottom of the big field we took off in a trot, and again, the two OTTBs powered up the hill while Cinder picked her way behind them. Unfortunately, the other student's horse bolted about half way up the hill, and A took off after them. Cinder was very good about being left behind and calmly walked down to where the other horse had offloaded his person. She was more worried about the person in the ditch than the horse bolting, or the other one leaving her behind. Thankfully the other student was ok, just some scrapes and soreness, and her horse made it back to the barn unscathed.
It's been raining most of this week, but is supposed to be clear, and cold, for the next week so hopefully we (and by that I mean Trainer A) can fit more hill work in. I tend to not go out on the trails by myself, but I'm going to try and get out on them more when daylight and weather allows. I know my horse isn't scared of being out on the big hill alone, I just need to trust myself more.