Monday, July 23, 2012

Horse Therapy

Facebook status: That thing about horses being able to sense how you feel?  Yeah it's true. Orion was extra lovey and attached to me today.

I got some time to myself out at the barn for the first forty-five minutes or so this evening.  Grandpa dropped me off there and I went straight out to the creek (which finally has water again) where the horses were all standing in the shade.  Orion came to me almost immediately and stood there quietly while I hugged him and stuff.  At that point that was all I wanted to do, and he kept turning around and nuzzling my shoulder - weird for him because normally that's his excuse to scratch his face..."Oooh I love youuu...now let me use you as my scratching post, please..."  For once it was actually a genuine nuzzle.  And he kept it up most of the evening.  I turned to walk away, and he walked with me (with no halter on yet).  He even followed me into the creek, even though he normally hates actually stepping into it.

For the entire evening, he tried to stay close to me, and when I went out to catch Kit, he nearly had a panic attack.  He actually whinnied after me until I came back. O.o  Then as soon as he saw me come around the corner of the barn, it was all little whickering noises until I got Kit situated and went back to him.  As soon as I reached him, he was all nuzzle-y and frantic for me to stay there.  He seriously didn't want me to leave him, even to go back into the barn for a second.  Oh yeah.  I felt special. :)

I noticed when I was brushing him that he had this monstrosity on the inside of his hind left leg.  No clue how he did it.  It looked way worse than it was; most of what you see is congealed blood.  Once it was cleaned up (bottom picture), it looked much better.  He wasn't favoring the leg or anything, which is why I didn't notice it sooner.  It only really seemed to bother him when I was cleaning it with the sponge (which also could be attributed to the cold hose water) and spreading medicine (Corona ointment) onto it.  He picked up the leg and moved it and turned to look at me inquiringly, but that was the only reaction he had to me messing with it.

Chels and I went for a forty-five minute ride when she got off work. 


I got to experience Orion's bucking again.  My fault this time.  After leading him through the mounting block four times and having him run out four times, I finally got tired of it and just jumped on as quick as I could when he started to walk away.  Ooops.  He bucked a few times, and my momentum from the jump + his bucking carried me to his other side, where I clung like a monkey until he finally stopped.  Chels said she thought for sure I was coming off, but I somehow stayed there, half hanging off his side, with my back twisted in a way it is definitely not made to go.  Once he settled and I pulled myself back onto his back, I promptly dropped the reins on his neck and stretched my back out again.  Ooof.  It hurt.  In the process of hanging on for dear life, I ripped the little sort-of-but-not-really-a-pommel-replacement loop of nylon half off of my bareback pad.  Ooops.  Well, at least it bit the dust while doing its job keeping me from biting the dust.  I mean come on, bright side is, it got the job done, and I didn't come off...and the bareback pad stayed mostly in place.

But back to the real ride.  We just went up the road and to a pond, where the dogs that came with us had a swim.  We turned around and came right back because it had taken so long to get there.  It shouldn't have, but Orion is a wimp when it comes to leading.  And we made him lead.  So naturally, everything turned into a monster that was going to eat him.  And he used it as an excuse to try to turn around and go home almost every time.  So we ended up turning a lot of circles to get back to the right direction. -_-

Oh, and did I mention that not only was he afraid of the dogs he sees every day, but that he also had to deal with a bright red trailer thing, shiny, spinning fence around a garden..one on each side of him, and a hose lying across his path?  Oh yeah.  We had fun with those.  

He was originally wary of the trailer the first time he saw it, but after sniffing it, he decided it was okay.  The fence didn't bother him as much as the hose did, until we turned to come back, and he got far enough over the hill to see the fence again at the bottom, which was when he promptly grunted and jumped straight up in the air for a second.  Then he just hurried back down the hill until I made him stop and look at the fence again, from a safe eight feet or so away.  Upon passing the trailer again on the way back, he suddenly decided it was a monster again and skittered sideways and eyeballed it from the other side of the road as he tried to side-step past it.  I made him walk up to it and stand next to it until he settled down, and then everything was hunky-dory again!  We continued home in peace after that.

Once we got back, we had a little bit of fun just playing around with the horses in the paddock.  The apple trees next to the paddock are the perfect height for picking apples from horseback...and for the horses to pick their own apples. Orion figured out that he could be fed while I was on his back and was the happiest horse ever. :)

It was a really good, relaxing, fun evening after this weekend.  I really needed it.