Thursday, February 16, 2012

lessons in life and in horses..

It has been a bit since my last blog, so much has been happening, and yet somehow the words to describe the situation were lost in me. That's only odd since normally they come quite easily...

Shortly after I arrived here my stepmom had a heart attack, this came as a total shock, she is not old, and as of recently we have become quite close. In typical Lara fashion I was ready to deal with it by throwing myself into my riding.

That didn't pan out ither, lena was back in work and in fine form, but the flat work needs to be better if I'm going preliminary. So her days look like dressage, dressage, dressage. Yuck! The progress is amazing, and I am looking forward to more Linda lessons to help us continue to improve.

North however was a different story. When I brought him back to work this fall he started having what I like to call north moments again. It felt as if his brain would totally shut off and he would panic. There would be no real reason for any of it to have started, on one occasion I was walking around the arena on a loose rein, then we were going mach 2 in the opposite direction. After a few weeks of no improvement, I talked to a few different people about a plan. I decided to go back to basics, and work him from the ground. He had days of brilliance, mixed with days of panic. As I watched my special horse panic, and then calm down, I finally decided that even if he was sound something had to be going wrong. Something I couldn't see.

This is the part where I think everyone should know. I got north from a friend because he was talented, but he couldn't ride him. He was a total nut. I honestly believed that the horse had a people problem, North didn't have the best chance at life then. I can remember bringing him home, riding him for the first time, and wondering what I had gotten myself into, if I had made the right choice. The first day I can tell you I thought he was the wrong one, and on many days after, but after the first day I jumped him. Wow. He was a keeper, he jumped me out of the tack constantly, he tried harder than any horse I have ever had, and even on the days I banged my head against the wall trying to figure him out, I know I made the right one.

I started digging, called in some experts, got 2nd and 3rd opinions, and the news still sounded terrible. North has extensive arthritis in his neck, and a few fractures. This might not sound bad, however where they are located is. Every time his spinal column flexes it puts pressure on the fractures, they won't heal. North is constantly in pain. At some point he was in a very bad crash, we believe at the track, but given where he came from I have no idea. The original damage is quite old. The road ahead of North will not be filled with eventing. I have decided to retire North, and let him enjoy his life as a pasture puff. He loves people and attention, but the riding just stresses him out. He is thoroughly enjoying being fat and sassy. I still can't wrap my head around it. At 7 he can't have a job, which believe me is what he wants. North broke my heart. He taught me so many things, but mainly how to listen.

He never will have the chance to canter around a cross country course, but has taught me more than all my other horses combined, he set a very high standard, but mostly I hope I can live up to his.