Tuesday, December 12, 2017

he was always a bronto

Even when I'm not doing anything directly horse related, the ponies are never far from mind. Apparently. Like this past weekend. Charlie enjoyed a long weekend off while I trekked down to Durham (driving directly through that snowstorm, genius planning Emma) for a long-overdue visit with an old friend.

anthropomorphic friendly face!!
At one point, while strolling through a chilly wooded path out behind a local museum,* we happened to find ourselves face to face with the above looming giant. A life size scaled replica of a brontosaurus.

(Museum of Life and Sciences for anyone ever in that area - it's mostly a kids museum, but we adults had a grand ol' time even with some of the exhibits closed bc of ice. Highly recommend - and if you have another zoo or aquarium membership you may get discounted admission). 

but damn that conformation looks SERIOUSLY familiar lol, right??
And the resemblance was striking. Uncanny, even. Anyone else see what I saw??? lol...

ahhh yes, that's right. my off track brontosaurus, charlie. this pic is from last year, but those angles are spot on lol
Lol poor Charlie.... I've always jokingly referring to him as my beloved dinosaur who occasionally gets mired down in one tar pit or another in our never ending quest for better flat work. Turns out tho, I might not be far from the truth with that visual imagery.

can you imagine coming around a stand of trees on your hike and facing down one of these??
All joking aside tho, I'm hoping the time off was useful as a bit of a "reset" for me. It kinda bugged me to miss our weekly jump lesson - except a snowstorm blew in so it was probably held in the tiny indoor anyway. Not super sorry to miss that, and an extra week of not jumping certainly won't hurt that freshly recovered surgical limb!

really tho, who am i kidding, if i even ran into the baby sized version above i'd probably lose my shit
Plus, as you know, we've been dealing with a serious balancing act of bringing Charlie back into work while addressing the physical creakiness that settled in during his stall rest, and his own disinclination to work through it. He's been.... Grouchy. Cranky. Grumpy.

this is Lightning the farmyard donkey! who, coincidentally, happened to be dressed more warmly than my own equid who was left to fend for himself in the snowier northier maryland during my absence. sorry charlie! :(
That, combined with the lion's share of our rides happening in cold darkness, with only dimly lit or small, crowded spaces to work.... Plus Charlie's apparently amplified gate sourness in the dark.... Eh. It's been the perfect storm of small, nagging inconveniences that I can't help but let sap my motivation away.

he shouldn't be too jealous of Lightning tho, poor guy was lame AF with a duct tape covered hoof. apparently abscesses can strike even the most humble of petting zoo critters!
So. A weekend away to recharge was maybe welcome. I also spent the time thinking a little more deeply about how to tackle this set of circumstances so I feel less blah and more energized.

the alpacas were borderline disdainful of our offerings
Luckily - there are actually a few ideas bumping around in my head. Very realistic, reasonable ideas about small tweaks to my schedules and routines that could actually maybe make a BIG difference in Charlieland. Fingers crossed.

the butterfly garden was spectacular. difficult to photograph tho, except for the, uh, slightly more.... stationary of those creatures who enjoy only brief existences, apparently. never fear tho - the ants were ready and waiting to do their part in this little ecosystem
Nothing settled on that front tho, but hopefully in the next week or so I'll have more details (and can actually trial some of my ideas to see if they work as intended).

ok so i did get more than just dead butterflies tho haha. these pale beauties flitted around like little ghosts
In the meantime tho, it's a return to business as usual. The reality is that Charlie really needs to be kept in regular work right now. Motion is lotion and all that. Plus the consistent routine helps avoid any big fuss when we have to suddenly get back to work after a prolonged rest period.

there were birds in there too! these two had a very pretty song, and i guess don't eat butterflies. maybe they eat ants tho?
So upon returning home from Durham, I was able to get on the schedule with dressage trainer C, who came out to our farm last night. I even got to have the lesson during daylight since I had already taken the day off work for the drive home. Bonus!

Going in tho, I knew it was maybe a bit of a gamble asking Charlie to buck up for a lesson after four days off wherein a major cold front also blew in. And.... the gamble did not pay off. Charlie was reeeeally not having it. I got him up to the arena about 10-15min early to work through what I knew would be some deep, dark tar pits and he was... ugh. He was actually really fucking bad.

look how colorful!
Luckily by the time trainer C got there, he was more or less resigned to his fate. But it was still kinda a fragile feeling lesson, and we really didn't do much beyond working on square turns on a small circle at one end of the ring. Plus a little bit of work on canter departs.

Charlie lodged many protests throughout the evening and I think only had one clean canter depart that didn't involve some variation of stamping his feet like a petulant child, or just letting fly with a hind leg. Ugh. But. Ya know. That's just kinda where we are right now, and kinda what I'm gonna get after letting the horse sit for a couple days in a row.

mine is more 'bronto' than 't-rex' but yup, this about sums it up!
So hopefully some minor adjustments to my schedule will help with that. And help reduce the ennui that comes along with facing an hour drive through rush hour to ride 20m circles on a cranky horse in the dark.

And in the meantime I'm still working on all those other little details that always merit a second look whenever things aren't going great with the horse. At least one big positive was that trainer C thought Charlie looked stronger behind than the last time she saw him. Reassuring, lol. The whole plan of "A Fitter Charlie is a Sounder Charlie" is working.

So. Ya know. One of these days we'll get this brontosaurus back on track haha. Eventually. Needs more jumping, methinks ;)

33 comments:

  1. Oh Charlie....give Emma a break dude! I find his attitude fascinating because it is the exact opposite of what I thought an OTTB would be. I inherently know all horses are individuals and perhaps the OTTBs brought into the Ohio barn I took a few lessons at were just crazy, more likely the BM was, but I always had this image that they were half crazed workaholics. Charlie is teaching me new things with every post you write.

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    1. yea you and me both, honestly. i've known many many many very sane, very lovely OTTBs, so i didn't expect it to be as difficult as is commonly believed to find one with a good brain (hint: it was actually pretty easy lol). but.... i've never known one with a work ethic quite this bad lol. bali had a terrible work ethic too tho so... ya know. it happens i guess. some of charlie's issues are directly related to him being made to work through some very serious physical issues while racing - particularly lung bleeds and collapsed lungs. so... he's a little touchy now when he's not really fully comfortable. and apparently used to have some epic battles with his first trainers. i know he'll get better again bc we've been through this before. it's just a GIANT pain in the ass...

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  2. OMG Charlie and the Brontosaurus are long lost brothers!! Too funny! I hope you find a plan to get around Sir's sour attitude. This time of year is so tough!

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    1. yea the seasonal impact certainly isn't helping haha! but hey, maybe if i just imagine that i'm riding a brontosaurus instead of a horse it'll be easier to reconcile why it's apparently so freakin hard? lol

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  3. Ugh, I hate my long drive home from work just to do dressage but I'm lucky that Gus usually does better after a break. Hopefully you can break through the sour attitude.

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    1. well - to be clear, i actually really enjoy working on dressage. like, a lot. and have zero qualms with a heavy focus on that aspect. the issue here is that we're not *doing* dressage. we're..... having fits and tantrums just getting around in all three gaits.

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  4. Trying to get good rides in the cold and dark does not sound fun for anyone. Lol, its like you've shown Charlie the light with jumping and now nothing else will do for him. It is definitely a crappy, motivation sucking time of year in the best of circumstances. Best of luck getting Sir back to a working frame of mind. :)

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    1. eh he was pretty freakin sour in the wees leading up to when we got to jump too. he just happens to like jumping (usually) so that helps smooth things out. i'm hoping that an adjustment in our schedules and routines can help give him more of a balance between "fun" and "grr" so that it's easier for me to take care of our basics without him throwing fits about it. we'll see!

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  5. lol is it sad i am giggling at how much that dinosaur looks like Charlie in that photo :) HA i hope you figure it out. I have a horse with a horrible work ethic but he is a lazy ass QH. And we can usually get him thru it but he used to be TERRIBLY Gate sour. and that is totally irritating! For sure!! I hope you figure out something. The birds and butterflies were gorgeous. Great pics thanks for sharing!

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    1. lol the resemblance is uncanny, right??? haha... poor horse... but yea omg the gate sour issue is so goddamn obnoxious. izzy was a very little bit like that, but charlie takes it to whole new levels. blargh. we'll figure it out tho i think!

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    2. i have seen him look less like a dinosaur (ie Fair HIll) so it is there! LOL...and yes SO odd Charlie who seems like such a good natured fella has gate issues. OMG flashbacks from all the ponies i used to ride who would whip out the gate if you trotted by it Ha ha!

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    3. luckily he's not pony-esque in trying to actually *leave* by hook or by crook..... he just.... doesn't want to go past the gate, and esp doesn't want to turn away from it. sometimes very expressively so!

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  6. I've been to that museum before! We live less than 2 hours from there.
    More jumping is always a good fix :) It's frustrating when they're not as motivated as you- like, I'm doing this for your own good, I swear! Plus the winter blues and all that. Totally real thing.

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    1. it was a super cool museum, i really liked it! unfortunately two exhibits we really wanted to see were closed bc of the ice but the rest was pretty cool anyway! and ugh, yea. winter blues are definitely a real thing.

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  7. What about a T-rex riding a brontosaurus? That's how I felt on Ramone.

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    1. that's basically how i feel every time my trainer is like, "but have longer arms tho!"

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  8. glad you had some time to reset and relax a bit! i lol'ed at Charlie's dinosaur cousins

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    1. he's certainly got that look down pat!

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  9. Hahaha so many similarities between the two LOL love it. Yeah I hear you about the rides. I've been oddly unmotivated as well - probably because I'm just so not sure what to do about Amber. It's so hard to get that motivation up. But I'm glad you have ideas and changes to your schedule that can help with Charlie! Sometimes just have a plan helps lol

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    1. yea we'll see how it all works out. i'm optimistic. sometimes it does feel a bit like sisyphus and that damned rock tho....

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  10. I just read that donkeys need to be more careful for, blanketed, than horses.

    No pictures of you riding Dinos?

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    1. au contraire - this blog is absolutely littered with pictures of me riding said dinosaur lol

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  11. Sad, you were probably 15 minutes from my barn and could have met Jack!

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    1. oh man i am totally kicking myself now -- i didn't even realize!!!

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  12. So I am in the support group and this made me nod : "And help reduce the ennui that comes along with facing an hour drive through rush hour to ride 20m circles on a cranky horse in the dark." We can do it though. I believe in us.

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    1. it's not the best club in the world but we have cool members!!! luckily tho, as you say, we can do it!

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  13. We are living way to similar a life with rehabbing ponies and hour long commutes and the dark. Blah. 10 more days until solstice!

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    1. ten more days. ten more days. ten more days. just gotta stay strong!! ;)

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  14. Oooh I miss Ponysaurus! Most cause the name lol, but we used to go when I was in grad school. Actually I just generally miss NC right now. But ugh, winter riding is just so much harder to motivate. Yeah, 100 degrees sucks, but 10 sucks way worse. And dark. Blegh.

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    1. oooh i had never heard of it before and only got to try a taste of it (just noticed the tap right before we were leaving so couldn't order a full pint) but it was DAMN good!

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  15. This amateur schtick is hard, no two ways about it. Glad you got the reset you needed.

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  16. Ugh, this time of year is so difficult for pony (and dinosaur) exercising. Love that museum and the birds and butterflies - it looks super interesting!

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