Friday, April 10, 2020

senior brigade to the rescue!

I know for a fact that I'm not alone in struggling when my routine gets turned upside down. As of this writing, it's estimated that roughly 98% of the US population is experiencing some degree of shut down, quarantine, social distancing, or other disruption to day to day life.

That's..... Enormous. Honestly mind boggling. But this massive shift in population dynamics and behaviors seems to be working, so major ass pats for all who are sacrificing!! Keep it up!!

Freebee, the absolute legend himself!
My sacrifice is honestly small, in the grand scheme of things. I already worked from home. I already led a somewhat austere life haha.... Honestly the biggest luxury in my day to day is my horse. Which. Ya know. Is indeed quite the luxury haha <3

tried to get a pic of him looking vicious, but he put his teeth away when he saw the camera lol
Guidance on horse keeping during this time has been uneven, unclear, and at times straight up nonsensical. Which means that basically every barn in Maryland is operating under its own set of circumstances as decreed by management.

all dressed up!! homeboy hadn't been ridden in like, more than a year haha, and was slightly amazed at this strange turn of events
I had really really really hoped that my barn would be among the many that have devised visitation policies compliant with social distancing and CDC guidelines, while still allowing owners to see their horses. Alas, that has not proven to be the case.

oh my god i'm on a horse!!!!!1!!111!!! oooh and what a horse <3 <3 <3 Freebee is just ahhhhmazing haha
I don't necessarily agree with every choice the management is making, and have concerns about whether Charlie's needs are being met according to my personal standards.... Not everybody defines "essential" in exactly the same way, ya know?

how cute is this tidy little maryland farm?? Scott is absolutely meticulous in the upkeep of this place
But I do agree with the overall intent of the lock down. Ours is a very large barn with high traffic. Add in some vulnerable and at-risk members of the community and... Yea. I follow the rules, and don't see Charlie beyond once every two weeks when I drop off supplements (a very very bright spot in the gloomy monotony these days!!).

(*Also, yes, if you were curious, I may or may not have put him back on supplements for exactly this reason of being allowed to drop them off haha...)

i swear this 24yo veteran is more sprightly and youthful than 11yo Charlie LOLOLOL
It's hard tho, ya know? I know a lot of you are dealing with that too. Which like. Ugh. Solidarity, yo. The longest I've gone without riding in recent memory was the ~6ish weeks in the fall of 2015 between when I broke my leg, and first hopped back up on Izzy (while still wearing the medical boot lol).

ya gotta love those stately thoroughbred gentlmen!!
Recovering from that amount of time out of the saddle was tough. At least this time around, pretty much most of us will be in the same boat of building back up again. But still... it's hard not to be disappointed at the prospect of going back to square one in terms of rider tone after working so hard all winter and spring to carefully build strength and stability. Womp.

ooooooh but who is this chestnut gelding?!?? why, it's another 24yo retired campaigner haha
But!! Ya know. Every now and then, we can get a lucky break. And in this instance, the universe smiled down on me in the form of a completely-out-of-the-blue phone call from a former lesson mate, Scott.

Y'all might remember Scott from the last time he rescued me from utter misery (when Charlie needed surgery, blech) -- by letting me take his legendary prelim campaigner / fox hunter extraordinaire / 3rd level dressage horse Freebee out for an epic trail ride through Fair Hill.

Red is another tall TB, tho all his height is in those massive withers -- other than that he's actually almost dainty compared to charlie
And it turns out, there's been a lot of change in Scott's barn since then. He lost his main up and coming competition horse in a somewhat shockingly tragic way, then Freebee himself went through a period of serious illness and a couple surgical treatments. Another young horse entered the picture, and another retiree too.

gotta be honest tho, i do love the view between some chestnut ears!!!
This new retiree, Red, was also a prelim campaigner in his heyday, and had since played the role of husband horse and trail companion. But had perhaps been shuffled around a little bit in recent years as his owner dealt with other impending life circumstances, and thus arrived to Scott's barn in late 2018 skinny and with some hoof crises.

if you had asked me two months ago what sort of riding i'd be doing, i probably would not have said rehabbing two senior citizens at the walk for 15-30min each.... but ya know. i will take what i can get <3
Finally, tho, order appears to have returned to this small little 3 horse barn. And Scott deemed it high time for these two elder statesmen to step back up to under saddle rehabilitative walking. And rang me up to do the honors, after deducing I'd probably leap at the chance haha <3 <3

this horse was very cool. his body has been used, and used hard.... but not used up, not yet <3 <3
Neither horse had been ridden in over a year haha. And in Red's case, had never even been inside Scott's tidy little grass ring. But ya know. These horses... These horses who have been there, done that, and seen the world... They are pretty cool customers. Honestly it felt like a privilege to even sit on them.

There's no reason for these gentle giants to come out in anything less than perfect weather or ground conditions. But even so, I'm hoping for a few more repeats as we work our way through the rest of this socially distant period. And next time I'll remember to bring my Bates saddle (which is tucked away in a closet) so Scott and I can ride at the same time haha.


19 comments:

  1. That’s awesome that you get some horse time even with the lockdown. It’s tricky. In my state we are in a “work or home” lockdown but outdoor recreation is specifically still permitted. What all counts? Who knows! Most barns seem to still be allowing boarders to come in with strict requirements to bring all tack home and back with you and to not use any communal tack or supplies. I’m no longer allowed to trailer in for lessons which stinks though with Eeyore currently three legged it doesn’t matter anyway. I can take a lesson on Trainer’s horse tho at her personal barn and while not touching anything or entering the barn so I did that yesterday!

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    1. Yea honestly I don’t think there’s any real legal enforcement at private barns (in most cases). Mostly it just seems like places are evaluating and making their own rules, and boarders can live with it, negotiate or leave lol. That’s awesome tho that you were able to get a lesson in on your trainers horse! Honestly I go through periods often of wishing I could get more practice in on schoolmasters

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  2. Oh i am so glad you got to ride some! How exciting is that. And I remember Scott and Freebee!! My barn is still 'open' but ihavent been in almost 3 weeks. They arent doing lessons and are only open to boarders and leasors and i think they are wondering why I havent been lessoning (I already prepaid the lessons so whomp whomp) but a lot of our boarders are heathcare workers so A) let them have some down time B) let me know get anyone sick and C) let me know get sick from anyone else. SO In a nutshell that is it. So it is great you have someone with a small barn as long as you are careful it works. Also today I need to run a check for farrier and am loaded on carrots so I can feed Remus without going into the barn. REMUS sure doesnt care if he is not ridden (Tho I think the barn kid has ridden him a few times). They like using him for that over the older barn horses. :)

    Stay safe Emma!!

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    1. Aw yea of course - it didn’t occur to me but makes total sense that you might know Scott!! It really was so nice of him and obvi what’s not to love about Freebee!!

      Glad you’re staying safe at the barn. And Charlie is just like Remus haha - absolutely totally 100% fiiiiiine with the vacation lol. I’m sad about it, sure, but it’s not like I can do anything about it other than do my part to stop the spread.... sigh. Stay well out there too!!

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    2. not not know. I SWEAR my brain is turning to mush...hahahahah i need to proofread :) hahahah I think I met Scott at Fair Hill?? Or on a trail ride...

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    3. Lol I knew whatcha meant ;) and yea he’s at fair hill doing mounted patrol all the time. Also rode with Sally for years

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  3. How cool to get out and sit on some horses! Nice of Scott to give you a call. Those two horses seem like cool older dudes. And a good thing to remember that movement (especiallly when we are all cooped up) is a good thing for all of us - horses, dogs, young, old, etc. ;-) As I'm typing this, I'm trying to motivate myself to go outside and do something...lol

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    1. oh man, yea it's so hard to get out and move around without anything particular to actually DO.... sigh. but it's worth it tho. and i always remind myself that i never regret it after it's done ;) even so, tho.... yea most days right now i'm not getting out much at all haha. such a treat to have these two horses to go play with tho!

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  4. Aww yay! I hope these two old boys give you all the feels and pep you need while you can't be with Charlie!

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  5. Great to hear you are getting some saddle time, even if not with your boy!

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    1. thanks and agreed completely. i wish it were charlie, but i'll take what i can get!

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  6. Yay! Old-man-saddle-time! How nice to have some ponies in your life again!

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    1. so nice tho - these old boys are really something special!

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  7. I’m happy that you got some saddle time! What a sweet horse.

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    1. thanks me too! both these guys are just so cool!

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  8. Scott sounds awesome! His horses too. I'm glad you got to ride.

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    1. definitely so so so generous for scott to share these cool geldings!!

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  9. I can't imagine how I would be feeling if I had to give up riding during this :( But yay that you get to help two gorgeous old souls

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