Tuesday, February 27, 2024

routine charles

It's been so so nice to get back into a habit with riding Charlie now that his epic heel grab wound is all better. Obvi bc he's my favorite and most bestest horse haha, but also bc he's such a nice counterpoint to Doozy -- they are on opposite ends of the spectrum for sure lol.

charlie and royal never miss a meal
So many things that are complicated, hard, scary or even impossible feeling with Doozy are just... old hat for Chuck. Like strolling around the farm on the buckle, visiting random areas to see friends of both the two- and four-legged varieties.

"tell me it's round bale season without telling me it's round bale season...."
(yes those are all little nips and bites, poor guy!)
Or ya know. Things like trotting in a steady rhythm LOL.... I gotta say, spending all those years riding Charlie with a metronome app tick-tocking away in my pocket really paid off. He just.... trit-trots pleasantly around in a way I decidedly under-appreciated in my pre-Doozy life haha.

spirit + flynn demonstrating exactly how these silly boys chew each other up
Bc... Well. Right now, Doozy ain't got no rhythm. And, in fact, is in a really special new phase of training that, ya know, now that she's a big bad cross country horse who boldly goes wherever pointed, trotting is boring and for the birds and she'd really rather not, thanks.

ooooooh --- in the woods with charlie, for the first time in forever!
Never a dull moment in the green horse journey, I guess! 

with a pony parade, too!
For real, tho, it's really helpful and reassuring for me to spend time riding Charlie right now. Our rides are very much focused on rehabilitation and therapy, helping him use his body and stretch his muscles in gentle low-impact movements. 

some of the mares were very curious when we cruised by, esp considering our group included two of their herd members. doozy (second from top left) was notably disinterested. apparently seeing Candee Kisses outside of the field only blows her mind when they are BOTH out lol
We're up to about 9min total of trotting, with 2-3min of cantering -- spread out obviously over the course of a ride. And all along the way, my biggest goal is to just really focus on my own posture, position, and balance. 

so fun to wander the grounds on this guy
To be honest, it's actually been a little eye opening. Charlie's consistency has helped me understand that... actually, some of Doozy's jittery skittery inconsistency is kinda my fault (big surprise, right?). Bc ya know, spending the better part of a year not riding in any serious sort of way means I'm a little less balanced than the sensitive creature would like. 

charlie is 100% a pony at heart <3 <3 <3 
I also cultivated (through a lot of really hard and intentional work) a somewhat looser leg and style of riding for Charlie, to counteract his occasional dullness and my tendency to nag with leg aids. So ya know. Nbd, just need to master an entirely different style for each horse.

"please come closer to pet me! i promise to only bite a little bit" -- Icee, probably
A barn friend recently picked up an Equi Cube, this weighted block thingy designed to be held while riding. I've always wanted to try one, and figured these early easy rides with Charlie would be perfect test environments. So we gave it our first shot this weekend!

tried one of these for the first time -- has anybody else used one regularly?
I opted to warm Charlie up a bit first, then carry it once we were really going, in case I found it really fatiguing really quickly. But actually, it wasn't quite as hard to carry it around as I expected, at least in terms of exhausting the core muscle groups.

oh charles, so sweet, expressive, and more than a little neurotic lol
The hard part was actually managing my reins and contact. Thankfully Charlie steers like a champ off my seat and legs, but he definitely relies a bit on the contact to help with his longitudinal balance (esp given the state of his hind end**). But I'll definitely need a little more practice to get proficient.

(**Cross your fingers -- he should be getting his hocks done at maybe the exact moment you are reading this!!!!)

you really are the goodest boy
Feels like maybe a cool tool to help tighten me up a bit. It's interesting with Charlie bc over the years I've utilized all these various external gizmos and gadgets to help passively instruct us in our rides --- like the metronome, the interval timer app (which I still use almost every ride with him) and maybe now this equi-cube. And some of them really make a difference! 

So things seem to be in a good place with Charlie. I'll be interested to hear the vet's thoughts on his overall condition and soundness at his appointment today, esp as it relates to his short and long term prospects as a riding horse. Cross your fingers for us!!


  1. I used the equicube for a month with my last trainer and it 10000% turned my hands around in the best way!

    1. oooh glad to hear you found it so useful! idk how much i got out of just one ride, but am definitely eager to keep repeating for a bit and see what i notice changing!

  2. I’ll be interested to hear how it goes with the cube. It’s so wonderful to have a trained, solid horse to ride at the same time as your green bean.

    1. oh man i am SO GRATEFUL for solid charles haha, basically all the time always, but esp now with doozy!

  3. Fingers and toes crossed Charlie gets the all clear to go forth and do all the things!

    1. thanks !! we'll even take just "some of the things" let's be real lol!!! we shall see!

  4. Fingers crossed that all goes well with the vet!
    I haven't used an equicube, but I do find the intriguing! Definitely keep us posted!
    I think it's SO hard to have a very green horse as your sole mount. They make you question everything you think you know. (And by you, I mean me...) Having a solid citizen to ride as well makes a huge difference. So I'm glad you have Charlie back in action!

  5. Great Charlie trail riding photos! Almost nothing better than experiencing nature on horseback.


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