Appologies for the lack of blog posts recently… Life got a bit overwhelming and stressful, and I just haven’t had the time or ambition to keep up with everything.
My beloved heart horse, Ink, sustained an injury while riding. I didn’t have the perfect size hoof boots with me, so I used a half size bigger than would be ideal. Half size, no big deal, right? Wrong. We were cantering when a boot flipped off and I felt her take a funny step. I got off and fixed the boot, but she didn’t want to trot anymore, which is very unusual for the very forward minded Ink.
I walked her back to the trailer and gave her a week off, thinking she may have bruised a hoof since it was rocky footing where the boot came off. However, a week later she was still off and hesitant to move out. I knew it was bad news. The vet visit and ultrasound confirmed it. The dreaded S word: suspensory. As my vet said, when it comes to leg injuries, the more letters in the word, the worse. ‘Suspensory’ and ‘ligament’ are looooong words. Luckily, since we knew exactly when it happened and hadn’t worked her since, it was very mild in terms of suspensory tears. Even with it being mild, we are looking at 9 months off and a slow gradual return to work. The vet guessed approximately 75% chance of returning to endurance. At minimum, she should be able to at least trail ride for sure. Good. As I said, she is my heart horse. So the rehab plan has begun – phase one involves 60 days of stall/small paddock rest with hand walking, then recheck the ultrasound to assess healing.
I was absolutely devastated at the bad news, on top of everything else that has happened recently. I need my equine therapy now more than ever. So what am I going to do without my horse for 9+ months? My amazingly intuitive and wise husband had the answer: get another horse. Obviously. Like it was even in question. Okay, I said. So the search began. I already knew exactly what I wanted: a Standardbred.
I looked on all the rescue websites and even emailed them to see if there was anything not yet listed, but nothing quite fit the bill. I reached out to everyone I knew in the area that had connections to the Standardbred harness racing industry. Within days, a friend got word of the perfect 5 year old mare who was retiring sound and looking for a new career. Turns out her owner and trainer really loved her and just wanted her to go to a good home where she would be happy, as she did not enjoy racing. They sent pictures showing her lovely conformation and discussed in detail everything about her. We drove up to Michigan the next day to pick her up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was both beautiful and sweet. So we loaded her up and took her home.
She has been with us for almost 2 weeks now. We’re calling her Moxie, and the name sure fits. She is the sweetest horse, very silly and affectionate, but respectful and not pushy. She is very intelligent and is learning quickly, progressing through my training program extra fast like all Standardbreds seem to. They are so easy to train. So willing, so much try, so smart. I just love the breed. Moxie is a bit more emotionally sensitive than most Standardbreds, which I kind of like, as it is very similar to Ink’s personality. Moxie learned groundwork exercises and despooking quickly, and has ponied from reliable Squidy for short walks around the surrounding farm land and neighborhood, which she handled quite well.
Next was starting her under saddle. We have 3 rides in so far and she makes progress very quickly. We’ve already graduated to riding in the open field, trotting or slow stepping pace (which is surprisingly smooth), stopping, backing up, lateral flexions, crossing the creek, going up and down banks, etc. It sure helps that she was already trained to drive.
My goal is to get her well trained with dressage basics and good trail manners, then start gradually conditioning her for endurance. I think we are going to make a good team. Eventually, once Ink is healed and back in full work, I would like to take both horses to endurance rides and ride one on each day. It will also be nice to have a back up horse when one needs to take a break for any reason. Stay tuned for updates on our adventures!