Thanksgiving is next Thursday (a week away) and my mind is still thinking it’s August. Time truly is relative and definitely moves at different speeds, at different times. So much has happened over the past 6 months, that were I to write it all out, no one would believe me.
One of the topics on that list is Rudi’s feet. Suffice it to say that after a disappointing Summer, thinking I would be able to back Rudi, I am now the one doing his feet myself, and I might, perhaps, be able to back him next Spring or Summer (but the jury is still out on that).
I do agree with Napoleon Hill (of “Think and Grow Rich” fame), that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. And so it is, with Rudi’s feet. The program I had been following ended up causing more issues (abscesses in both front feet, vet calls, more pain for Rudi), instead of creating solutions. But I guess I needed that extreme situation in order to step up to the plate and be willing to take over the care myself.
I am learning, through reading Pam Grout’s amazing series of books, E Cubed and E Squared, to look at everything which transpires in every day, and say “Awesome!”.
being able to respond with “Awesome!” to everything which happens is certainly a new skill, and there is very little cultural support for this perspective, but I’m kind of used to functioning without cultural support, because of our business. (If you don’t know our business, we are on the cutting edge of food: we have encapsulated produce and vertical aeroponic gardens, so that people can get more produce easily). In my work, every day, I face the challenges of being on that cutting edge, and it apparently is a space where either I feel most comfortable or I am attracted to, because I am there with Rudi and his care and rehabilitation, too.
Currently, I am letting his feet grow in very different ways than we had been doing before. I’m not following any one system, but instead, reading and researching a variety of approaches and then applying what will apply, to his particular feet.
Fortunately, I have been able to spend quite a bit of time just training him, and this, too, is another seed of equal or greater opportunity: Frankly, I know myself. If he had been sounder sooner, I would have skipped a lot of this basic ground training, hopped right on him, and started training him under saddle the way I’ve always ridden and trained.
This time, I have been forced to wait out weeks, actually months, until some modicum of soundness has returned, and that has made me look for other things we could work on together. As a result, we’ve got a much better connection on the ground that I have ever had with any other horse, and it has shown me that much more should be established before I even consider climbing up on his back.
So this next few months will be spent developing my skills (and his) with in-hand work. Thanks to my former trainer, Peter, I’ve done a lot of in-hand work, but mostly using long lines. This time, I will be working up close, with a short line off of a cavesson. I have so many bridles, that I took one bridle to a shoe repair shop, with my old lunging cavesson (which never fit ANY horse well) and I’m having the hardware taken off of the lunging cavesson and put onto the bridle cavesson. That way, I will have the ability to use an outside rein while using the cavesson ring on the front of the bridle. It should allow things to be much lighter, and keep me from creating too many problems.
Rudi does understand the whole concept of training now, which is also very helpful. Rewards are a part of the deal for him, as they should be, but even without treats, he is into trying to figure out what we are doing on any given day. He likes to work, he likes to move, and he also is enjoying discovering that he is quite the athlete. Its going to be a great journey!