Tuesday, March 6, 2018

tokyo 2020 or bust

Believe it or not, I really truly get more sick and tired of writing about Charlie being lame from some or another ding probably even more quickly than you get sick and tired of reading about it. I swear, it's true.

charlie thought this downed tree was a little spooky. clearly lol
I will never ever get tired of writing about this horse being a goddamn champion tho. And perhaps I haven't mentioned that recently enough -- but guys, this horse. He's just such a good boy. He makes me so friggin happy.

but he came in to investigate further after i showed him it was ok. good boy charlie.
And best of all? We appear to be over the latest abscess of doom. Who's to say whether there won't be yet another phase of gloom headed our way - undoubtedly there will be eventually, bc it's Charlie after all. For now tho? Our proverbial skies are clear.

he's also grown fond of water obstacles bc he likes to drink from them. the leaves in this one were a little strange to him tho
Which is convenient, bc it turns out the actual sky is pretty clear right now too. It's been windy and breezy for enough days in a row to have substantially dried out all but the most low-lying ground. Plus it's been sunny and a brisk 40s-50s. Not bad!

surprise, you're on candid camera!
Charlie's been out of work for the better part of four weeks now. First for puncturing his hoof stepping on that nail, and then the subsequent abscess. And then another abscess in his other hind hoof that had to compensate and lost a shoe in the process. Poor Charlie. It was an ordeal for him, I'm sure.

charlie likes hacking with riley dog too
But? I figured I'd test him out, kick the tires a little bit on Saturday. Didn't bother jogging him or assessing soundness or whatever - he had seemed maybe ok for a couple days by this point. And I just planned to hack out through the fields with Brita (source of all these pictures). Certainly wouldn't hurt him even if there was still any drama going on inside the hoof, and might even help a little bit.

oooooh this cut-through downed tree was also spooooky
He was foot perfect for that relaxing hack of long slow miles tho, so the next day we came out armed and ready for a solid school on the flat. And I intended to really put him through his paces too. Nothing too intense considering he hasn't done anything for almost a month - but certainly enough push to make him sore or lame again if there were still any lingering issues in the hoof.

No lingering issues tho - he was great! Lots of work on simple things like square turns, the occasional step in or out in leg yield, a few symmetrical movements of diagonals and circles incorporating simple changes of lead at X, counter canter loops, and serpentines. All good stuff, and while Charlie is definitely lacking in strength and is rusty at the whole "having a job" thing, he was very good.

but i told him it was ok, so he was like, 'oh ok i guess it's fine then!'
Leading us to our third day in a row (ah how happy that makes me!) when I got to skip out of work early to enjoy some sunshine! Charlie got his teeth done earlier in the day (he's on a basically ~6 month schedule) so I figured we'd pop the hackamore back on and hit the cross country fields for some more low-intensity conditioning.

the actual handsomest tho
A little trot set later (about half of what Brita and I normally would do on a conditioning ride) and I decided to linger around the water complex for a little while - taking a couple passes over the ditches up the hill.

First the baby intro one (it *is* a ditch, but barely), then over the next level up - an actual open ditch but still quite inviting. I knew Charlie would be great even tho it's been almost six months since he's seen a ditch. I just looped a finger through my trusty neck strap and let him at it. Good boy, Charlie.

even if i dress him up in brown and black tack at the same time, the horror
Next we hit up the water itself - first to let him tank up with his requisite drink (who else remembers when he stopped mid-course at Fair Hill last fall to actually drink from the water complex?? lol...) before aiming him up the little bank out of the water a few times from a trot. We had a couple splattier moments with this but he just clambered on up every time, while I again basically just pointed him at it with a finger hooked through the neck strap. Easy peasy.

Aiming him down the bank was harder for me, personally, for unknown reasons. Isabel was a freakin dream to ride down banks - just sit back, cross your legs, and sip your tea, and she would take care of the rest. Charlie's..... a slightly different story. I don't have any reason to expect him to be bad, per se. But it's not unthinkable that he might do something.... awkward haha.

and even if he never will stand still for pictures unless there's food involved
But I walked him down it first -- no hesitation -- then trotted him down a smaller bank all on dry ground, before aiming him down the bank into water at a trot. No hesitation here, either. Just leapt on down like the easiest thing in the world, plus plenty of splashing lol. Goooood boy, Charlie.

After that, I wanted to aim him at something with height, just to say we did it. But nothing giant obviously bc the horse has been out of work for literally almost a month and I'm a pansy. So I chose a very simple fence we've done before -- it's just a raised telephone pole, technically a starter level height. But positioned in the water jumping out, technically more of a novice type element.

Perfect for my purposes of feeling like I was adding to my horse's education without actually having to really exert ourselves much lol. #icanrationalizeanything

"fuck yea tho, this some good grass!" - charlie, probably
And Charlie was just so good. Just trotted right up and over, even tho I discovered shortly after that one of his boots was actually all the way down around his hoof. Uh, whoops, sorry buddy! Got that fixed and climbed up on a nearby jump to hop back on, then walked back to the barn on the buckle, with Charlie strutting in his perkiest flat walk like the champion he knows he is.

He just makes me so happy. Makes it so easy to trust him, and believe in him, which eventually makes it easier to believe in *us* as a partnership. I'm always going to be a naturally conservative, bordering on nervous rider. Even going out there on this night knowing I intended to aim him at things, I could just feel that nervous fluttering inside, ya know?

But that's ok. There's never any rush with Charlie. He's always just putting one foot in front of the next (albeit sometimes clumsily) and I don't ever have to take things faster than one step at a time. But if you put enough steps together in a row, suddenly you start going places, ending up somewhere.

And I know that if I just keep setting out with him, and let those steps happen, and keep aiming at the small but important details (like the holy trinity of cross country: ditches banks and water), the rest will sorta take care of itself along the way. That's the plan, at least!

32 comments:

  1. Maybe we can stall side by side in 2020? 😁 it sounds like Charlie is back just in time.

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    1. oh man, you know charlie has a thing for gray mares ;)

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  2. Yay! Sooooo glad Charlie is back in action. Um...what’s wrong with brown and black tack being together? I thoughts what what all is cool riders did 😉

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    1. lol i mean, if mixing leather colors is cool then.... well, i might still not be very cool but i'm trying!!! LOL

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  3. i hate down banks much worse than up ones not sure why. (remus doesnt seem to care about either of the baby ones we have done but damn my stomach tightens up on the down ones...) So glad you got to get Charlie out and about! YAY! also YAY for sunshine. CAUSE WTF more WINTER WEATHER ARGHH :)

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    1. yea down banks aren't really my favorites either but i'm determined to make them boring haha. and yea... this weather. i'm glad i was able to fit in those outdoor rides before this nastiness headed our way soon :(

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  4. So glad he's feeling better and you guys could get out and about!

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  5. Oh man down banks are such tricky little bastards… I used to be a pro at them but not with Chimi. He also makes them awkward and not always pleasant feeling so I hear ya on this!!! But it’ll come and the most important part is Charlie gives you all the feels and it back in action (hopefully for a nice long stretch this time around)

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    1. ugh yea. i mean, in charlie's earliest outings i kinda messed up his introduction to baby banks down into water, and we had an itsy meltdown that resulted in a not-so-bitsy LAUNCH into a mud puddle masquerading as a water complex. so.... ever since then i've been a little... sticky lol. charlie tho seems to be over it, so that's good news!

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  6. I'm glad you finally made it out for a ride and that he's feeling better. What a good boy - he's made such progress

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    1. thanks - i'm so glad he's feeling better bc he's just so freakin fun to ride and do things with!!!

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  7. So happy that Charlie is back!! And yay for the fact it happens to be right at the time of some good weather!

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    1. definitely yay for being able to enjoy some good weather -- bc we've got some more winter stuff coming our way. tho hopefully charlie's current soundness lasts longer than the current good weather!!

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  8. Nice, drama-free rides = heaven!! Very happy for you :)

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    1. seriously - i've already got enough drama going on in between my ears, it's so refreshing to have a horse that helps clear it all out!

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  9. Yay! I have 2 short days here soon as well so I'm excited to get out again. Those sound like such good rides/days! Soooo glad Sir Charles is feeling better. Hopefully you'll be able to get back in the swing of things soon. Although with the way Charlie is coming along, I bet it won't take long!

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    1. yea he definitely feels like he hasn't missed a beat really - the only issue is that this horse loses fitness faster than you can blink, apparently. and he's such a pansy about hard work when he's unfit lol. so.... just gotta help him build back up again!

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  10. Love that you finally got to get back on the big guy!

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  11. Complex water is super gross, Charlie, what are you thinking??
    Glad you had a great ride!

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    1. lol he likes it kinda gross - he finds even the merest puddle to be delectable haha

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  12. Yay Charlie! Sounds like you've had a productive few rides

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    1. we're certainly trying to be productive!!! it's so easy with this horse, tho. he's such a good boy it's so easy to enjoy the ride while also working on the task at hand.

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  13. This facility seems amazing with all the exploring you can do! I've also found that sometimes some time off, and my horses brains have reset and they're amazing! It's the best!

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    1. the facilities at this farm are really great, and are why i chose it despite making some sacrifices in terms of my own convenience. and it's downright unacceptable that charlie and i have taken so little advantage of everything since moving here last july. obvi the surgery was a big part of that, but i'm determined to make a big difference this year.

      also re: coming back after time off feeling "reset" -- i totally know what you mean. in a way tho, charlie doesn't feel like he reset, so much as he feels like he never missed a day. like. hadn't seen a ditch or down bank into water in more than six months, and had originally struggled with down banks upon his first introduction. but this week? both were downright boring for him. i'll take it!!

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  14. WHAT A GOOD BOY! Yay! So happy he is doing well, and you guys are able to get back to work and some semblance of normalcy. Excited to follow your progress!

    <3 Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian

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  15. Ahh yayy Charlie!! I love that he's just like 'ok, I'm back, time for more fun' and the sunshine (which is so very opposite today >:| ) and just how much you luff him. More adventures!

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