Yesterday morning I drove the hubs to sick call for a 103 degree fever and spent the better part of 3 hours killing time with Carson in the car and Starbucks we waited for results. We left with inconclusive results–an elevated white blood cell count was all they could offer, and a request to return in the morning to re-check blood labs. Oh, and some ranger candy (800 mg ibuprofen), Tylenol, and Zofran (for the nausea). I then rushed to the barn to meet the farrier–we put aluminum eventers on his front feet, shortening and squaring off his left toe to help balance with his right club foot. We also set the left shoe back quite a bit to offer some heel support. Not only did it remarkably improve the appearance, he immediately walked better as I returned him to the pasture. Since the farrier had to wait on me, I brought him a dozen gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies (always tip your farriers).
When the hubs’ fever finally broke around 1:30 pm, I left Carson with him and headed to the barn for some child-free riding (BLISS!!!). I set up a course and debated on whether or not to jump Johnny. I finally decided I’d try it, but if it appeared he was in pain, we’d just do flatwork. I went to fetch Johnny; he was standing in what I call the pony oasis–a giant Spanish Moss-covered Oak tree with palm trees sprinkled in for good measure.
We started the ride with some warm-up jams and a 20 minute trail walk. I finally got smart and brought my armband for my iPhone. My “Hardcore Workout” playlist was just the right amount of pep to get us motivated to jump. Lots of Foo Fighters, a little Rage Against the Machine, some NiN, Audioslave (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Gasoline to get ready to ride), and so on. That may be another post–my motivational playlists!
The course I’d set up allowed for a warm-up single jump, then adding in two options, both at lower height, before incorporating a little schooling height of 2’6″.
As you can see, the five jumps had lots of possibilities. I set up both pairs of diagonal fences on a 2 stride line from the center fence. You could jump the center and turn left or right, or you could do an S line, or jump 3 in a row on the angle…
Johnny warmed up very nicely, despite seeing all the jumps. He even jumped the single fence all hunter-like. But, when I added in the second fence, there it was again–zoom!! After a couple of tries of half-halts, etc. I finally broke. For the first time in my life (Yes, the very first time, EVER.), I put a stronger bit on my horse to obtain more control. I had a Happy Mouth elevator, and I threw a double rein on so I could add the oomph only as needed. We went back into the arena, and as we approached the line and he started to get strong, I half-halted with the tiniest squeeze of my pinkies. That got his attention. Suddenly, pony was a little more inclined to hear what I had to say instead of barreling down the line at breakneck speed. Thankfully, I only had to lightly use the leverage, and never once had to ‘slam on the brakes’ like I have to with the Nathe. We ended our jump session on a good line, and finished up with another glorious trail ride at the back of the property.
When we moved down here, I learned that Spanish Moss is a highly favored horsey treat. It’s apparently cotton candy for horses. Once Johnny discovered how tasty it was, he became like every other coastal GA pony–snatching bites here and there on trail rides.
We rode to the water’s edge before turning around and heading home.
As you can see in the pics, Johnny’s gone without a decent haircut for awhile, so when we got back, I dragged out the clippers and cleaned up his bridlepath, external ear fuzzies, and his foreleg feathers. I didn’t take any after pics, but trust me, he looked much more presentable.
My ride on project pony (a QH hunter prospect) was just as fun. We started our warm up (he’d already been ridden in a lesson, so his muscles and joints were fully warmed) with a gallop to get him moving forward. One of the other OTTBs got in on the action and raced us down the lane. Owin (the QH), gave it everything he had but still couldn’t touch the Archster. Even still, it was good for his confidence to realize he could actually gallop without getting in trouble, and he jumped the course like he was all BA OTTB. He’s come a long way from dirty stops at cross-rails to jumping complicated 2’6″ courses!
As I was floating around on cloud 9, I got an ominous text from the hubs requesting Gatorade. I got home and checked his temp: 104.9. After cramming 800mg of Ibuprofen down his throat and making necessary arrangements for Carson to stay with a friend, we headed back to Ft. Stewart to visit the ER. Of course, his fever broke enroute, and by the time we pulled into the parking lot, he was feeling ‘so much better.’ So, we returned home, only to have his fever spike again in the middle of the night. (I refrained from beating my husband, for those of you who are wondering.) This morning, he returned to the medical clinic to find out he has Strep Throat. Great. I knew I should’ve made him sleep in the guest room. Fingers crossed I avoid the plague.