I wanted to post yesterday, but after work and 2 barns, I just didn’t have time. Yesterday was a first…. It was the first time I didn’t ride Chewbacca!!!
I had my trainer ride him, because I wanted her to and I thought it would be an educational experience for all of us. For me, I got to see how the horse rides with a different person on his back that rides a little differently than I do. Granted, she’s my trainer, but I’ve ridden for a long time before riding with her, so I’ve got my own habits and quirks (good or bad). She used a tiny baby set of spurs with him. I mean, I’ve got fingernails longer than these spurs were, but it was just enough that I noticed a difference. He was a little more forward, a little more responsive. He got his leads right off and stepped right up into a canter without being chased (at least most of the time). He did try to rush a fence for the first time. So it was interesting to watch and I recorded her ride on him for prosperity’s sake. I didn’t have time to make a video of it yet, but that’s Ok.
So Chewie got an education too, and hopefully a few of my bad habits and mistakes got a little bit of a correction. For my trainer, I really wanted her to ride him at least once because I may have her ride him at a show and I didn’t want that to be the first time she got on him.
It was kind of tough standing there watching my horse go around without me on him! I’m so used to riding him now, I just had to keep telling myself “just this one time, just this one time.”
I want to go back out tonight just to ride and make up for it. LOL. I’ll survive. I’ll ride tomorrow. I did get on him bareback when she was done and cooled him off.
He’s doing so well it’s unbelievable and I think my trainer likes him. She said his comfortable and thinks he’s going to be fantastic once he’s all polished up. I said he’s fantastic already, but he does need polishing. The basics are in place – go forward and jump the jump- get your leads. Those are good. He’s honest and kind and readily takes to any new challenge we give him.
The polishing is a work in progress…. go straight, adjust your stride, swap leads. Those are just things that will come with time and experience. He’s only been jumped maybe 13 or 14 times now. He’s come way way far in that time – far further than I would have expected him to come.
I thought it would take a year before he was up to doing gymnastics and we did them already last week. I’m hoping to do more over the next few weeks, too, because God to I love gymnastics. Nothing helps teach a horse (or rider) to jump better than gymnastics do.
Anyway, amazing that here I am talking about how great my new horse is and how far we’ve come when one year ago to the date yesterday my husband and I were standing next to Tate as he lay on the ground with the backhoe digging a hole for him.
Nov 30, 2009 we euthanized Tate and that marked the end of what I thought was going to be my last horse. I was wanting to get another one but so unconfident because of all the things that occured with Tate and Spyder between 2005-2009 that I could not see myself getting another one.
Poor Tate, his feet were hurting so much he wouldn’t trot, would hardly walk, and stood around with his head sagged, his toe pointed, and his eyes shut, trying to focus away the pain.
Tate went out with a fight. He did not have a smooth euthanasia. I let my husband know what to expect. He’s never seen a horse be euthanized before. I told him, the horse won’t shut his eyes. He’ll get sedated and he’ll stand like he’s drunk. The vet will give the injections and the horse will sit down on his butt like a dog and then he should just fall over and it’s done. The body will exhale one big final breath, but the horse will have already been gone. I told my husband not to panic and think something is wrong if he sees the dead horse breath. The fact that they don’t close their eyes and will take a breath after they’re dead can be very disconcerting to horse owners, and the vet tech in me that’s been through it so many times before told my husband how it would happen like I was talking to a client.
But I let my husband know that out of the 10 years I worked with vets and the dozens and dozens (into a hundred or more) horses I’ve euthanized, I’ve seen 1 horse react, 1 time, and forwarned my husband that it is possible that Tate could have a reaction. I told him there’s a chance. It’ll either go smoothly or it won’t.
It didn’t. Everything was fine right up until when he fell sideways. His heart should have stopped and he should have slipped away. But it didn’t. He started panicking and kicking his legs wildly while he clung to life. It was kind of brutal to watch and I was not pleased with the way the vet or his assistant who didn’t know crap handled it. It went on forever and I’m the one that told the vet the horse should get more solution. The vet just chose to stand there and watch, the said he’s never seen a reaction like that in his 40 years. My ass. I did a hundred euthanasias and saw 2. If he’s been a vet for so long, I’m betting he’s had more than just 1 go wrong.
Anyway, what needed to be done got done. It’s a shame. Tate’s feet and legs were lousy, but his body was solid and his heart was strong. He probably could have lived for another 10-12 years and make it past 30, but to what end? To be in uncurable pain the whole time?
So he was laid to rest a year ago yesterday and now here we are with Chewbacca, planning ahead for the next year and hoping for a good one.