|Fred’s first time out of the arena.
Working with Freddie is already an exercise in patience. She somehow yanked off a shoe earlier this week, which is terribly inconvenient. Moe and Gina have been barefoot for years without any trouble; farriers regularly comment on how good their hooves are. I’d always silently thank the Thoroughbred gods for giving me two tough, hardy horses when I’d read fellow bloggers’ posts about hoof and lameness woes. Well. Now I’m right there with y’all.
Freddie’s a little gimpy at the trot without her shoe, but totally sound at the walk. I spent about an hour on her yesterday afternoon, walking endless laps around the indoor arena while asking her to soften her jaw and bend the tiniest amount. We worked on halting. We worked on steering. We worked on letting other horses zoom around us. We worked on standing still. Freddie did well; I’m pretty sure she fell asleep while we were standing the the middle of the arena.
While we were watching other horses canter around, a couple of riders tacked up and decided to go on a short ride around the facility’s hay meadow and back pasture. It’s about 8 acres of lush green grass with a small pond in the middle. Freddie hasn’t been out of the arena since her racetrack retirement, and I figured there’s no time like the present. Right?
Freddie and I followed our friends out of the arena and into the unknown. Three dogs were escorting us on our ride, joyfully bounding through the tall grass and into the pond. Fred was unfazed by the knee-high grass and marched over to the pond as if she had every intention of getting in. (We didn’t, only because no one is sure what the bottom is like.) She happily followed one of her stablemates around and bravely led the way through a gate. She spooked once, when a dog suddenly rushed out of a thicket to her right, but settled down shortly thereafter. She was definitely interested in everything that was going on, and while she was a little tense, she didn’t feel afraid.
I’d say Fred’s first trip outside was a big success. The farrier is coming Monday to trim her hooves and reset her shoes; I hope she’ll keep them this time! Tomorrow and this weekend, we’ll continue working at a walk. Next week? Trotting- maybe in the great outdoors!