This was my “OMG I’m finally going to ride my horse!!!111” face:
There was an epic sigh of relief (maybe a small groan too) as I settled into my saddle for the first time in a couple of weeks. The sun was bright and hot in a cloudless blue sky, the horses were all out in their shoulder-high grass fields and it was the most perfect day to ride my mare.
I set the timer for 30 minutes and we plodded around the arena for a bit before moving out onto the track; it’s hogsfuel so super soft and great footing. So. Darned. Wonderful. to ride again. Vesper was miss happy camper and content to plug around. After about 15 minutes I tried a very brief trot which felt pretty solid, so I added a few steps of it here and there a couple more times throughout the ride. Even on the firm arena footing she didn’t feel “off”, so I was cheering inside.
After our ride she got to go out into one of the small fields for a graze… And this is where we cue the poor starving orphan music and the Puss in Boots sad eyes. Speaking of eyes, I’m rolling mine hard at my drama queen of a mare.
I decided that, because we went from rainrainrain to SUN and the sugars in the grass would likely be sky high, it would be safer to put Vesper in a grazing muzzle to start her off. She’s never worn one as far as I know, but I wanted to err on the side of very cautious.
Right from the moment it went on, she was hilarious and had me literally giggling. She kept wiggling her lips and nose against it and just looked really depressed. When I set her loose in the field, she was 100% perplexed. She had no idea what to do. She tried to eat through it but didn’t understand the concept at all and started to pace back and forth.
She kept coming up to me looking for help, but I told her diets suck for everybody, get on with it, and she was so flustered that she began trying to shake it off. I even hand fed her some grass to show her it’s possible to eat through the thing, but that just seemed to make her more frustrated/confused. I was laughing at her misery (nicest horse mom award) because I’ve just never seen her perplexed like this before… She’s the most self-assured horse I’ve met, if horses can even be self-assured.
After about 5 minutes of this (ok I lied it was like 2, I felt too bad) I took pity on her and too the muzzle off. The relief was palpable. She promptly marched over to the tallest grass and chowed down like it was her last meal. A girl after my own heart.
She got to spend 30 minutes in Heaven and as I came to drag her away so that she doesn’t colic from over-eating the most succulent grass you’ve ever seen, she saw her neighbor leaving and started running up and down the fence. The recently-lame horse who needs to be on Careful Senior Rehab. Idjit. I yelled at her to stop being dumb (1 guess as to how effective that was) and anxiously checked her bad fetlock for damage. The swelling had actually gone down. WTH horse, you’re supposed to be injured, you’d better not be faking!
I had better not find a fat injury when I check on her next or the grazing muzzle is going back on for reals.