Today was a nice day. I drove all over god's country to see some customers and since my last call put me 20 minutes from the barn right around quitting time, I pulled a louie and headed for the mare.
The driveway was jammed with cars (ok there were 4 cars, but that's A LOT for our barn) and I realized why... Farrier Truck. We have an attentive barn full of ladies who like to be present during trims (which I admire), but it does tend to cause a bit of a back up in the aisle/arena/driveway.
Usually fine, but I don't like riding right after a trim, and I knew that Pia didn't get done Monday.. so she was probably on the docket for this return visit... Dang.
I grabbed her from her paddock, saw the fresh hoof wall on her toes, (grimaced for them being "buffed" thinner) and pulled her inside. Her feet look generally good, the right hind is balancing out a little more and her frogs aren't shrinking yet..
I did get a report that apparently Pia attempted to eat her farrier.
I guess when he put her back out in her paddock, she decided that lunging at him and trying to take a chunk out would be the best way to ensure that he didn't make her stand in the cross ties ever again. (naughty mare).
Can't say I blame her.
She seemed nice enough to me, and hasn't given a hint of her ears pinned, angry mare-face to me in her paddock/food space in over 6 months. I hear tales that she's getting snotty to people picking her paddock and feeding her, which is unacceptable. I've given everyone full license to whack her a good one if she tries to be mean, but apparently Pia is still "testing." I'd school her, but she's just fine with me, so that makes it a little harder to control.
Regardless, we tacked up, and hit the ring. She looked really ouchy on the lunge. Not off, and not stiff, but her stride was little and she really wanted to pop into the canter instead of step out in the trot. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it looked like her feets were hurting so I let her just mince around for a few minutes (she was perfectly willing to go forward), then I decided that maybe we would just have a LONG walk instead of really working under saddle. As I was watching her go round and round and round on the lunge I was trying to think if we had ever just "walked" for a long time... and I didn't think we had.
We've hand walked. (lots), but even under saddle when I'd start with 5 or 10 minutes of walking, P would get more and more amped up and usually trotting/cantering was the best way to let her start to relax, so long walks have never been part of our routine. Back in my eventing days I used to throw long walks in all the time as a means to loosen up after conditioning gallops, or just let the brain relax after hard dressage schools. P hasn't had the workload to warrant the same "recovery" days so I've never really thought to add them in. But, since her muscles were a bit tight from the first two days of work, and her toes seemed to be tender, I committed to forgoing any work in the name of a long, relaxing, suppling walk.
I legged up, she was good, sticky to move away from the gate (twit) and sticking on the first pass by the gate (twit), but otherwise amicable. We walked, I asked for a bigger march, and we marched... After about 10 minutes I started playing a little more, flexing and counter-flexing her down the long sides, a little shoulder fore, small figure 8's... nothing remarkable, but just asking her to stretch and think a tiny bit.
All in all we walked for 40 (!?!!) minutes without any hint of stress or anxiety. She was blowing and stretching the entire time (yess) and we didn't get in any fights after the initial stick. It certainly wasn't our most exciting ride and my frozen toes can attest to the fact that it wasn't my biggest workout, but ultimately I think it was a good thing to accomplish.
The mare gets today off while I go meet with the (gasp) wedding planner (complete with, you guessed it! champagne...) Hopefully we get back to work and this baby, mincing stride thing goes away.