The last twelve months have been really testing for us. Everything was going so wonderfully, I could barely contain my happiness.
I couldn’t believe my luck
But because I am simultaneously unlucky and highly paranoid, every ride had me wondering what would give first.
I swear, this was how I felt after every ride
We had a few small downs but within six months Bumper and I had attended our first event together. Held at the racetrack he’d trained on no less. And he was perfect.
It was this weekend which made my faith in this horse limitless
As everyone will know all too well, this all changed on August 13th when I finally got a diagnosis for a small niggling issue we had been having, but we’re now just 12 months shy of dealing with this issue and I can honestly say I never expected it to take this long.
For something that seemed so close to being done two months ago, I can’t help but throw myself a pity party at the number of emotional and psychological bitch slaps I have been dealt since bringing him home from Caitlin’s place.
Feel free to give me a literal bitch slap for constantly whinging
In the last 4 weeks we have had the following delays/problems/whatever:
- No saddle
- Abscess (again)
- Sore feet
- Waiting for shoes
As I mentioned last week, I decided to gift Bumper with a session on the water walker for his birthday, now that he had his shoes back on and physically seemed to be doing better than ever.
I feel really lucky to have access to this wonderful facility, and the owners are just so lovely (as well as being incredibly knowledgeable).
To his credit, he was a very good boy. The water walker is pretty daunting, but he was happy to walk down the ramp and into the pool (on a 3 deg C morning) and work his little tail off. Colour me double impressed as we’re fairly sure it was his first time on there, and he took to it like a fish to water – pun intended.
Magical porpoise horse
He was also very quick to figure out how to move his body through the water in the correct way, which is apparently something that takes most horses a few sessions to achieve.
Friday had me feeling absolutely ecstatic.
He was sound.
I have my saddle.
He was working well.
Cue the next metaphorical bitch slap.
I brought a wonderful, knowledgeable and experienced horsey friend with me on Saturday to come watch me work him, and also give suggestions on their own ground work methods.
I am always looking for new tools for the tool belt, and I also wanted to make sure I hadn’t become sloppy or too forgiving in my expectations of him.
Unfortunately what awaited us was a fire breathing dragon, even though Friday night he was so tired from his activities he barely kept his eyes open through dinner. He’d worked hard that day.
He had also received many scratches that day
I was mentally prepared for “fresh” given the sheer amount of high sugar grass he has access to, and his inability to be worked due to… well… everything. But here was a horse that was so hypersensitive he could barely hold himself together.
Twigs snapping on tree branches in the distance had him exploding, the ATV had him snorting and going sideways. And it wasn’t even on.
If he was standing still, his whole body trembled.
I questioned if it was as simple as being feed related.
He was worked on Saturday.
He was worked on Sunday.
Both days were (very) decent levels of work but I honestly am yet to see much difference in him. Maybe I am expecting too much too soon.
But what’s weird is he’s likely to be obedient to what’s asked of him but you never get the sense of actually improving his overall anxiety about the world. Anxiety he never used to have, and comes and goes in waves day to day.
It’s never a consistent “thing” or “place” that sets him off.
Bumper on the left, me on the right
I don’t know what to think anymore, or what angle to approach this from…
He’s never been allowed to be rude, or get away with behavior that could be construed that way, no matter the situation.
He is on no hard feed at all anymore (BCS is pretty much spot on at this point and if it is feed related I had hoped decreasing intake would help).
All physical issues have been addressed, and he is comfortably sound now.
The property he is on is quiet, and he is not confronted with anything that is different to before, nor should be a cause for concern.
The anxiety is not just limited to periods of handling, as he has displayed weird behavior in his paddock. But I cannot find any trigger for it.
The only hope I have is we are once again experiencing a battle with ulcers, as he had these explosive tendencies in our past dealings with the things.
Perhaps if this doesn’t work I may need to resort to a grazing muzzle, but I am honestly lost, and clinging to the last thread of hope.
Am I being too sensitive?
Have I missed something?
I honestly feel like the plot was lost a long time ago.