Sunday, August 23, 2009

Stick a fork in us...we're done

I know I've said this before, but I mean it this time. No more riding Lester. I haven't posted about him in a long time because I guess I knew this is where we were heading again, but I wasn't ready to admit it. It started back in June when I started having second thoughts again. A friend of mine needed horses and riders for a photo shoot for a local stable and so my friends and I agreed to trailer over and be the models for the photos. We had about 2 weeks to prepare, I wasn't getting on Lester a whole lot, maybe once or twice every couple of weeks, but I thought I should get on him a little more just so he'd be ready. I don't feel I over did it, we walked alot and would do a few trot sets and rode for a total of about 15-20 mins. He seemed OK up until the last day or so before the photo shoot. He was really tense and chewed on the bit nervously. The day of the shoot I bathed him and braided his mane and made him all pretty. We trailered over and Less was a nervous wreck, more so than I thought he'd be. I was surprised he didn't really "spook" at any one thing, but he felt like a ticking time bomb the whole time. It wasn't much fun for me. When I first got on him I could feel a "hump" in his back and he chomped on the bit constantly. I'm so disappointed in most of the photos, they didn't get one good action shot, the timing on his legs were all wrong. It felt like they were taking a million pics too, I thought for sure there would be some good ones. He blew up twice and I knew not to push him too much so we only trotted. I can't even remember the last time we cantered.
After the photo shoot I gave him a month off. I'm not sure if it was the trailer ride over there and back that did it, but he seemed to be stiffer in his neck than ever. He started blowing up again when I would tack him up and girth him. His eyes would get really wide and he'd just try to bolt even though as always I had girthed him as slowly as I could and let him walk every other hole I girthed. Trotting in hand would immediately get him chomping and grinding the bit. I would think to myself what the hell am I doing and would feel sick to my stomach about getting on my own horse:-( But he is mine and I wanted to prove I, we, could still do it. When I got on he had a fast, nervous walk and a hump in his back. Ready to explode, it was no longer fun, only nerve racking for the both of us. He spooked endlessly, jumped at every little thing, even things that he was facing like a car driving up the driveway. I had two rides like that and decided he needed the chiropractor and I wouldn't attempt riding him again until I had her out. The chiropractor has come and gone. He needed adjustments in his neck, hips, lower back and shoulders. The lower back was a a new one which explained the hump in his back and blowing up while being tacked up. I put him on a new supplement, Remission, it's supposed to help him break down sugars in his body, she said he's very achy in his joints. The chiropractor said I could get on him 2 days later after the adjustments, but I waited another 2 1/2 weeks.
So today I was going to get back on him. Tacking him up went smoothly. He didn't panic and freak out about the girth. I led him out to the riding area and was just walking around when he started tucking his butt and trying to bolt. He started his nervous chomping and would not settle. He kept trying to bolt and buck. I got the lunge line and put him on it and he trotted a few circles and then just blew up. He was bucking and rearing and almost went over. And this wasn't just a "I feel good because I haven't done any work lately buck", it was a panic. I stopped him and reset his saddle and pad and regirthed him. He turned his head to the right and was biting at the saddle. I made sure nothing was poking him and sent him out again and had the same reaction, bucking and rearing. I took the saddle off and sent him out again, he didn't buck or rear, but he was short stepping and lame now. There's just no point to it, no fun in it and it's far too dangerous to try and ride him anymore.