always starting over ~ rides

It has been a while since I've shared an update on our horseback rides. I am tracking rides this year and making notes. Just to process the process, and hopefully learn from it.

Almost an entire month slipped by between our last July ride and first ride in August. It happens unintentionally and surprises me. Needless to say, we are still not riding our horses as much as we would like. However, we are riding more than recent years. 

All three of our August rides were indoors. Koda was super lazy the first ride. It was as if arena sand jumped up and tripped him. Multiple times. Unacceptable! He wasn't paying attention. There is nothing wrong with Koda that would cause him to trip, other than lazy-itis. I got off and lunged him instead of riding. He listened great. I noticed he was off to the right. I remounted & rode him a little before calling it good.

Koda was more motivated our second ride, although gimpy trotting both directions. Many people wouldn't even notice, but I know what he normally feels/moves like. W
hen he is ouchy at the trot we do shorter rides at a walk.

I wrote about o
ur third August ride (with Padame) in a separate post.

Our two rides in September were also both indoors, due to hot muggy weather. 

The first ride was a good one! 
Koda showed no lameness, so we could do more. Trotting over poles was fun and good for getting him to lift his feet. The second ride he was back to being sluggish and gimpy. Sigh. Both improved as our ride continued.

It is hard to tell if Koda is sore for real. Could it be selective at times? Maybe. I don't know if horses think that way. Probably not. If you knew Koda's personality, you might also think it is a possibility. 

Of course, he showed zero lameness during his lameness vet check. For now, 
Koda continues on Cosequin. Brad thinks it is helping. I am unsure. Because his lameness is off/on I haven't added/tried other options. I am sure that day will come. I like starting with the least invasive, so to speak.

I noted that Koda breaks into a lope frequently. Not sure if it feels better than trotting or he associates loping with the last move before he can be done. He absolutely does predict and do certain things on his own, if you get out of his way and let him. Walk>trot>lope>next horse is very much the way workouts flow at the trainers. Of course, it depends on what a horse is in training for. I progress that way too, but loping doesn't mean we are done. We have not worked up to loping in a long time.


October rides
equaled a big goose egg. Bummer. It is one of the best months to ride outside in WI. The month flew by. 
Brad is back to working most days in the field, in addition to office related work. Like every other industry, construction companies do not have enough employees that are willing to work. He is putting in a ton of extra hoursOur son is also putting in ridiculously long hours. 

At least Brad got somewhat of a break. He has been on staycation this past week. 


We have ridden once so far in November.
This riding break was even longer, 7 weeks to be exact.

The day we rode was unseasonably warm. A sunny 72F. I had a willing riding partner, or so I thought. I always judge Koda by the way he walks up to the barn, tacks up and walks to the arena. It all went good, so I got on without a warm-up lunge. I was happy to feel no lameness. Koda was being a really good listener and arena riding partner. I was looking forward to riding our trails.


Nemo & Brad opened the gate and we followed them out of the arena. They went around to the left. Usually we follow them. Instead, Koda and I rode to the right. That side of the arena borders the wooded path. Our horses have all taken issue with that side at some point and time. I was pleased Koda was willing to ride alone-ish with me. We settled in for a relaxing trail ride.

Brad rode out in the field behind our barn. When we didn't follow them, it raised Koda's ears. I kept his mind busy by asking for turns and figure eights until they came back closer. Then we watched, before headed down the new pasture trail toward the Enchanted Forest trail.

watching Brad & Nemo

I misjudged a spiky branch in the Enchanted Forest that poked me in the head. I let out an "ouch!" as it snapped back. That startled Koda and he scooted forward. Something like this wouldn't usually bother him. Our ride spiraled down from there. Now I had a tight backed boy with nothing good on his mind. As we exited the forest, he gave me a small buck. Shortly after, those dang two Sandhill Crane that have been flying around our fields squawked and flew up in the field. Great. Now I had a hunched back prancing horse.

We stood still (ish) and waited for Koda to calm down, before I dismounted. I chose not to "ride it out". Right or wrong, my old body cannot handle getting launched by him. Again. I truly dislike riding time bombs. 

Shortly after, Nemo began acting up too. Brad stayed back in the field to work with Nemo, as I began walking my high energy horse back to the barn. Cierra came charging past us in the pasture. Creating too much energy for Koda to handle. I had another one of "those moments" as we passed the horse shed. 

I wasn't mad, just disappointed. I was really hoping for a relaxing trail ride. Oh well. I put Koda's halter back on, grabbed a lunge line and headed back to the outdoor.

I didn't want Koda to think "I buck, you get off and I get to eat hay".

When we started lunging, Koda complained by bucking, crow hopping and a general sassy fast pace. No problem, we can twirl. His bad attitude didn't last long. Koda became extra attentive to my frequent gait and direction changes. With a calmer horse, I got back on and arena rode for a bit. It went fine, so I dismounted to end on a good note. 

Brad asked if I wanted him to ride Koda. Sure, why not. We switched horses. Nemo and I walked around for a bit, then left to untack. Brad said Koda offered a buck while he was riding too. What a naughty horse! Guess I was tuned into riding Nemo and missed it. Brad finished his ride with a not so thrilled Koda in the field behind the barn

I always feel like I am starting over with Koda.


Val Ewing said...


Something was in the air with him wasn't it?

Glad you didn't have an accident.
Horses can be a continuous work in progress.

Shirley said...

I'm curious about his intermittent lameness. Does he have any thrush? Or perhaps an abscess that is low grade but persistent?
It's no fun to ride them when they get all tight and cold backed. I would have got off too. Perhaps all the time off between rides is an issue, gets them out of the work ethic so to speak.
I hope your next ride is a much better one!

aurora said...

Koda definitely behaves better with consistent riding. He really needs it!

I was pretty bummed about our last ride. Brad kept telling me I had nothing to feel bad about, it ended up being a good "working" ride.

I learned a long time ago Koda will never be an easy horse. Actually, neither of our Appaloosas are. Is it because they are geldings? Is it the breed (no)? Bloodlines (probably)? They do share some of the same ones. Koda's dam is Nemo's grand-dam. Our horses have an excellent foundation of training. Our trainer would likely say, some horses just need tune-up's. I know some people take their horses in for tune-ups every single year. Regardless of age. We did too, when the boys were much younger. I don't feel the need to do that with the little our horses are being asked to do. I would, if one of them gets beyond what we can handle.

Koda's on/off lameness is a mystery. It sure doesn't bother him when he comes bolting up first to the gate every night. Shirley, he has never had an abscess to date and does not have thrush. I think the lameness is perhaps arthritis related to our river bed accident. He was diagnosed with early signs of Navicular at four, but the vet said that doesn't behave like this.

I think this will all be on-going with him. I've said it before, I will never be bored with a horse like Koda!

aurora said...

Now that I said that out loud, this off/on lameness most likely is not a result from our river accident. His injuries were only on one leg, not both...

Shirley said...

He could well be having arthritis bouts. He's at that age that it can set in. And they do work out of the stiffness. I have Beamer on Camelina oil for his arthritis- both knees now- and it really helps. I had Streamz bands on him too until we got such deep snow and they just turned into little ice bands! But they really do help too.