Maybe retirement is not so bad after all…

So a few weeks ago I was floating on air after I rode my horse for the first time in three and a half years. Gen was perfect that ride back. Clearly he was in total shock. The second ride he was good, but not perfect. The third ride? He was okay, but not such a good boy. The fourth ride was a little scary. Are you seeing a trend? My sweet angle is behaving more and more dangerously with each and every ride. Last weekend, after being away for a week and having a FANTASTIC lesson on the School Master I got super excited to get on my boy.

I figured that the week off would do us good and I would get back on and he would behave himself. I even made sure to ride at 1pm on a hot day. Well, my Gennyral was bad. It was good in the fact it gave me a chance to notice a lot of things about him. One thing was the fact that my horse did not buck. Not once. That is important to note because it means Gen knows he can’t put a ton of weight on his front legs. Gen, back before he was hurt, could throw a buck like no other. On more than one occasion he would buck so high that as I leaned back to ride it out the wind from his buck would whistle in my ears.

The second thing that I noticed is that when Gen rears these days he only goes up a foot or two. That again makes me worried about his bad leg. Clearly he knows that he cannot support the two of us if he goes up too high. I am taking the fact that he knows his limits as a good thing. He is still more than happy to rear and he still loves to leap and try and bolt, but at least I don’t have to worry about him flipping over on top of me because he just isn’t going up that high.

The third thing is the fact is that I have created a monster. Back in the day when he would rear I would make him go forward. I essentially taught my horse to bolt when he gets stressed. Not such a good thing when all we are allowed to do is walk. If I ever train another horse I am going to keep this situation in mind and not trade out one bad behavior I am scared of with another bad behavior I am not scared of.

The four thing I learned is that I am terrified that his naughtiness is going to kill him. As soon as he starts jumping sideways my back locks up and I start to hyperventilate, making Gen more nervous and more tense, which makes him start rearing and jumping around even more.

So I am really questioning right now if pulling Gen out of retirement was a good idea or not. I don’t want to make any hasty decisions so I am trying to be logical about this. To try and help me I have my trainer coming out on Thursday. I need a voice of reason and there is no person better on this earth to make an honest evaluation than her. She knows both me and Gennyral very well and can tell me if I am creating the issues or if Gen is just better off being retired. I am not sure which way I am pulling for right now. I worry so much about Gen, but I also loved riding him again…

6 thoughts on “Maybe retirement is not so bad after all…

  1. You have to remember how long you had him in retirment. If you that afraid he will reinjure himself the maybe you might want to get the vet out there. Its better then not knowing and putting yourself into danger.

  2. You love your horse as a pasture pet. If riding him will injure him so that he can’t even be that. Don’t ride him. If he just needs to get the kinks out and is not hurting himself, ride him if you want.

    Did you notice any additional heat and swelling after his antics? If yes, you have your answer. If not, maybe he can handle it – but can you?????!

    Go with your gut (and your trainer’s advice).

  3. Are you noticing a progressive pattern here?… first ride “perfect”, subsequent rides getting progressively worse. Let’s not assume right off the bat he is being “bad”. He’s been “retired” for quite a long time. His muscles have lost tonus, therefore his saddle probably fits him differently, his muscles may be a little tender; he hasn’t had to to bear the weight of a rider in a long time, therefore he’s probably having to work harder at balancing himself, thereby causing tension and hypertonicity. All of these changes, subtle though they may be (and perhaps even some other not-so-subtle factors, such as your tension, etc) are no doubt contributing to his uneasiness. Certainly you should consult with your vet. And in the meantime, find his tension spots and apply your magical touch, and let the energy and warmth from your very relaxed hands penetrate until he licks, chews, yawns, drops his head, closes his eyes and farts. 🙂

  4. Maybe he needs a new job. Take him out on trails, dont ride in the arena. My horses love to get out and so do I riding in circles is boring.

  5. How about trying a tube of Perfect Prep before you get on him next time? The stuff is amazing…. should mellow him right out. You don’t want him hurting himself (or you, for that matter).

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