Monday, 28 September 2009

Past and present

Yesterday Dee was looking splendid and seems sound at last.  We both rode her a little in the arena and she was fine and seemed to enjoy herself.  I practised a few clover leaf patterns and transitions and she was responsive and relaxed.  This is a great relief.  The hoof that cracked is looking as good as it can until the new hoof grows through, and the hoof putty is staying in quite well now that they are in a drier pasture and the weather is also drier.

I'm a little embarrassed about her mane – or lack of it.  I always feel that cobs should be left to let their manes grow as long as they grow, but Dee's had become so uneven I decided to trim it all to the same length.  She'd had a bite or something half way down the top of her neck and had rubbed at it, so that she'd lost a chunk of mane there.  It is growing back well but it looked a mess with a long bit, then a short bit and then another long bit.  Now it looks odd rather than a mess... but it will grow again.

The second picture is somewhat historic.  My mother produced a camera that she had not touched for years but still had a film in it, so we got it developed for her.  This was one of two pictures on the film of Dee, me and my mother from 1995.  We still had Dee at Pontcanna Riding Stables at this time, but were getting rather fed up of the limitations of riding there, so we decided to take her out for the day.  This seemed reasonable at the time, but looking back it was a rather crazy idea and could have been disastrous.

We started very early on a Sunday morning so that the main road from the stables would be quiet.  The first problem was that she wouldn't cross this road.  We'd get half way across and then she wouldn't budge.  The only alternative was an underpass.  Having eventually convinced her that the white van in the supermarket car park was not a scary horse-eating monster, she surprisingly walked through the underpass as if she did it every day.  In the picture we are visiting my mother in Gabalfa Avenue where I had ridden Dee down the wide grassy bank in the centre of the road.  There were a few other scary moments during the expedition, but we got her back to her stable safely later that day.

It was an adventurous outing and perhaps we were foolish to attempt it, but it did convince us to move Dee from Pontcanna and this has been the best thing possible for Dee and for us.  If she was still liveried at Pontcanna she would have continued to be isolated in a stable for most of the time and on her own in a field for a few hours a day, whereas she now runs free with a herd of mares and geldings in 93 acres of beautiful pasture.  She would still have been spending most of her ridden time going round in circles in an arena, being agressive to the other horses and bored out of her mind, whereas now she finds occasional arena work interesting and most of her ridden work is out on the trail.  It was worth a risky ride to arrive at this point.

We are hoping to ride the Wenallt trail with Dee and Red tomorrow if I feel okay.  I have been very off balance and wobbly again today, so I hope it will be better tomorrow.

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