“Do u think you’ll ever hop back on for a walk around?”

The title of this post was written into with another comment by one of my regular readers, Kristen, and I thought it warranted its own post.

The answer to that question changes with my moods.

Gen’s leg is doing great. The swelling is minimal and he is dragging his toe less than he used to. The scar tissue is slowly breaking down and giving way to a normal leg. If you would have told me 3 years ago how good my horses leg would look I would not have believed you. Watching Gen carry on like a crazy horse and not impact his leg is something that still amazes me because it was not always so. Even just one short year ago it was not possible. That being said, I still know he is not normal. The big giveaway that something is up with Gen is the fact that sometimes the veins leading away from his front legs are like popping out of his chest. It is a very clear visual representation that all is not normal.

It has been well over a year since I have gotten vet clearance to be able to walk around horseback on Gen. I can get back on him today if I wanted to ride him today, but I am just to scared today. It is coming to the point where I am starting to look to the future and I don’t always see myself being too afriad to ride him. Gen had a reputation a mile long. When he would get overwhelmed under-saddle he would go up and flip himself and his rider over. His brain never thought “I might get hurt to”, Gen only wanted the stress to end. Gen was also known for bolting. And being the winning sprinter that he is, he goes really fast when he is getting away with you. My smart little bugger also learned how to toss his head in just the right way to get both reins on one side of his head so his rider had no control, and then he would bolt. I swear Gen needs to take an IQ test because he is just a very clever guy.

Gen did try all that crap on me and more, but I never felt nervous or worried about it. He never wanted me to come off. In fact, I can count over and over again the number of times that I should have come off after some of his antics when Gen helped to save me. Gen was MY horse and he knew it. He knew when to cut the crap and save mommy’s ass. That being said, I also knew Gen well enough that when he started to tense and freak out I would stop the melt down before it happened. I had no fear on my Mexican General. If he started to rear, I would drop the reins and tap at his sides until he took off with me. After a few laps around the ring without being in control, his brain would clear and he would slow down on his own ready to work again.

Because of Gen’s injury I am not going to be able to just let him run around the ring. This is not a good thing. It makes me nervous. That was the only thing I could do to get Gen out of his own head, and it is gone.

It is scary getting on a horse after 3 years who you know panics in a way that you cannot fix.

That being said I am still moving forward with everything because I know Gen wants to be ridden again. He just does.

So instead of starting off with lunging like I did last time, I started off with the bridle. A few days a week I will bridle Gen up and we will go for a walk in hand. Gen has been a saint. In fact, he is so good that after a week of our walks I decided to add something more challenging. The mounting block. I will bring Gen over and then put pressure on his back. I started off slow by just putting my hands down, but now I can lean all over him and even have put my leg on his back and lifted it up and down. That was when Gen was the best, when he thought I was going to get on him. He put his little nose down and did not move! That was yet another sign that he wants to be a working horse.

My biggest challenge is going to be the saddle. I think once he gets the saddle on we can go back to lung work. When I just put the saddle on, just to put it on Gen almost took down the barn with his dramatic antics. The saddle is also kept at Phoenix’s so when I start working on it with Gen it is going to be a total pain because I will have to carry it back and forth. Gen never liked a saddle, so convincing him this time around that it is a good thing is going to be hard.

So yes, I am taking strides to work towards getting back on my Gennyral. I do want to get back on him and walk him around. I think he would like that also. It is all the emotional baggage and his one leg that might stop us from doing that. If I could trust that his leg was 100% (which it is so not) I know that all my fears would melt away. For now I am just going to keep working with him until I am ready to take that leap of faith. The Young Rider already joked that she will be there when I am ready to get on…so she can call 911 because Gen will kill me. I laughed when she told me that. I know that I can get on Gen, I am just not as convinced that it is a good idea to do so. At the same time, I want to get on him again just to feel his powerful walk and see what the world looks like again from the back of the worlds most perfect pony.

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8 thoughts on ““Do u think you’ll ever hop back on for a walk around?”

  1. Good for you! If it helps, here’s my take:

    1) After seeing Gen’s antics in the paddock, I think he would be able to handle your fix of his regular antics – the running him forward. So, do what you need to do to ride him and don’t worry about it. You’re taking very good care of his leg.

    1.5) If he wants to work, than that is the best thing for him. You mentioned that you’re afraid he’ll break down and you’ll have to put him down. I also know you think having a useless pony for a long time is better than having a useful pony for a short time, but if you really believe he wants to work than the reverse is true. It’s better he has a short and happy life than a long and boring one. Of course, I do NOT think he will break down with the work you are proposing. And as you have told me many times – anything can happen to any horse. Go for it!

    2) Have someone there when you do get on, not to call the ambulance, but to provide encouragement. And for you to show off!

    3) Keep going slow but not too slow. Is there a saddle at the barn you can borrow, at least until you actually get on? This way, you’ll have one less thing to remember and one less excuse (oh, I can’t b/c the saddle is at the other barn). Plan to get on the next really warm day. As my vet suggested – if you are worried about a horse acting up, stand him in the sun for 20-30 min and he’ll relax – better than any drug.

    Keep us posted.

  2. How about getting on bareback. Maybe saddle fit has been problem for him in the past and he thinks it will hurt. You could have someone just lead you around bareback (or you lead someone else) and see what happens. It would be a good starting point.

  3. I’m definitely PJandSpeedys mom on point 1.5. 🙂 Horses are so good at telling us what they want and need, we just have to listen.

    Of course, they also don’t always know what’s good for them … so while he wants to ride he may not pay attention to how it affects his leg. TB’s seem notorious for that – all heart at the cost of their bodies sometimes.

    I’m super excited that you are working towards getting on him again; as scary as that is I know you will both love it! And you are super smart and in tune with your pony, so trust yourself to know what he can handle and what he can’t. You’ve got this!

  4. The first thing I thought was, is bareback an option? If you can put your leg over, maybe the next sunny day, stand him outside lead him around get him all relaxed, then gently get on! You can always dismount if you have to.

  5. I totally agree with the bareback idea. I restart horses all the time and use a bareback pad. The horses have the tendency to relax and so do the rider. do you have a round pen? That would work as well

  6. Pick a nice warm day… I’ll come balance his energy until he (and you) are nice and mellow…. and we’ll just take it nice and slow and easy. He probably won’t panic unless you do.

  7. i know what it’s like to want to get back on a horse after so much time, but have doubts… my mellon is also an unpredictable ride at times and, after he dislocated his tendon i was worried about getting on him again, but i worried for nothing! it sounds like you are doing everything possible to ensure a safe start. best of luck getting back on him! and have fun!

  8. OMG..I am so happy to read this..I’m catching up from being away for a week! I think bareback is a great way to start and hope all goes well for you both.
    I’m sure Gen is excited to use his obviously strong mind, as well as his body to start riding with his Mom again! Yea!!! 🙂 xo
    PS I KNOW how you feel worrying about his leg…I’m sure Laz and I will be dealing with that if I can ever get back on him again (with barefoot/vet approval), I will be thinking of “Am I hurting him??”
    Gen is lucky to have you

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