Saturday, November 24, 2012

Where's John?

You may have noticed, that in every post I've written about riding, I've been riding Secret. If you didn't notice, I did! But it may have you wondering, where's John?

John has been holding down the pasture all summer and fall, keeping everyone in order (including Tim!) and mostly enjoying the good life while Secret has taken on the responsibility of keeping me entertained.

I posted back in July about the tough choice I made not to do any more CTRs with him this year. That decision was hard for me, but the ensuing months were harder.

I would occasionally take John out for a ride, but every time I did, I was second guessing whether the tendon was fully healed from Crooked River and if I was making it worse.

I took him out in August and he got spooked badly by a deer eating corn along our access strip. To be fair, the deer spooked me badly too. I made light of it in my blog post about wildlife a few weeks later, but in reality he did re-injure his tendon with that adventure, and I knew as soon as we got home. He was never lame, but it was sensitive.

The farrier came a couple of days after the deer spooking incident and he noted that John's tendon was sensitive again too. After that I hung up his saddle and decided not to ride him anymore for awhile. It seemed like I was taking one step forward and two steps back, and it was really just because I was pushing him because I wanted to ride him.

So, John has had three solid months off. And he has enjoyed every minute. On the other hand, it has taken an intense amount of discipline for me to leave him alone and ride the others. He is my favorite and a lot of fun to ride, even if he is a handful.

Yesterday the farrier came and I asked what he thought about the tendon. He hasn't seen John in awhile so I would get an unbiased view. Geoff said he didn't even notice it.

I didn't want to undo all of the discipline in giving the tendon time to heal by one rambunctious ride through a muddy corn field, but I didn't want to ride around in circles either. So, I took John out and hand-walked him for an hour on one of our usual trail loops around the farm. True to form, he pranced along beside me, spooked at a few things, and in the picture above, stopped to watch Bob pulling the baler and a wagon of hay out of one of the fields.

I think I'm going to take John "hiking" with me a few more times before I start riding him again. It's a good way to ease him back into work, and try and de-spook him a little before we head back out to play hide and seek with the wildlife.

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