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Gwen’s First Rides (with me that is) June 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 12:55 pm

I rode Gwen twice this week. It seems that she’s been ridden in a “rough and ready” style. She’s not immediately responsive to a leg squeeze, but she is to a kick, and if you cluck or kiss to her you better be ready. She knows that means “go”! Whoever rode her before definitely put a good “whoa” on her. Basically you just stop your seat and she stops. I don’t think she’s ever learned how to move in a relaxed fashion using her topline. She travels inverted, but doesn’t indicate being tense or in pain (though we think she is very stoic, so it’s hard to know for certain). It just seems like that’s how she’s always done it. She definitely has been a lesson horse because she knows the all-important “stop at the gate every time” trick that all lesson horses know. Once she stretches down she has a fantastic walk with a huge overstride! Her trot is a bit quick, but rhythmical. She has a descent amount of suspension. She lifts you out of the saddle, but she’s easy to move with. Her canter on the other hand…well…during the first ride she spent much of the time crow hopping or cantering in place. Not sure why. Maybe it was the saddle. Maybe she was just very confused. Maybe she felt restricted or didn’t want to go forward. She didn’t seem upset and eventually I did manage a bit of canter each way. From what I got, it felt like a rocking horse canter so hopefully it will be comfortable once we work on it.

G ride

On the second ride, she already was more responsive to a leg squeeze. She maintained a steadier pace at the trot and she didn’t try to stop EVERY time by the gate. She even though about stretching down a couple of times, but that will come once she really understands what’s being asked of her. I didn’t try canter. I figure I’ll get her steadier and better balanced at walk and trot first and hope that makes the canter a little easier. She is very smart, a quick learner, and LOVES to be told she’s a good girl. Oh…and she was a total camera hog when we went to take pictures. She looked right at the camera with her ears forward. She was very pleased with herself.

P.S. – Earlier this week Debra came out to find that Gwen was not in her field. She was gone! Well, not really gone. Debra did find her in a completely different field. No gates were left open and no fence was down. We can only assume that for some reason she jumped out of her field and into another. Pretty impressive! I’m thinking we have a jumper or event horse here!


Things We’ve Learned About Gwen June 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 7:35 pm

Gwen has settled very nicely into her new home. Hair is already growing back on her hind legs and the puncture wound on her left front is healing. In the two week’s she’s been at Debra’s we’ve learned quite a bit so I thought I’d share.

1. Gwen is taking her royal name quite literally. She already believes the world revolves around her.

2. When she gets mad she stomps her front foot.

3. She knows “wrapper” noises and loves peppermints.

4. She knows how to lunge, although she doesn’t seem to be familiar with side reins.

5. She has had a lot of ground work. She tunes in quickly to body language.

6. She loves to brushed, petted, told that she’s a good girl, and generally loved all over.

7. She appears to be very stoic.

8. She is incredibly intelligent.

9. She is very impatient for her food.

10. She bonds quickly to another horse. Currently her pasture friend is an aged chestnut Arabian mare.

What we haven’t found out is anything about her past. Attempts to contact the people on her Coggins have been unsuccessful. She did have a special treat on Friday. Lisa Brewer, who has a soft spot for rescues, came and gave Gwen a massage. (Thanks Lisa!) Not unexpectedly, Gwen was a very good girl. Lisa found some soreness on her left side, which could have been as a result of her trailer injury. She was subsequently reactive in her right hind hip. But we think Gwen mostly enjoyed herself. She gave all the classic release signs of licking/chewing, yawning and passing gas. She followed it up with a brief rest.

G lying down

This week I plan to ride Gwen and start to see what she knows under saddle. I suspect it’s a lot.


A New Project June 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 11:26 pm

I am a member of the Camelot Rescue group on Facebook. Every week I’m tortured by the horses that for some reason have ended up potentially going to slaughter. I’ve almost “unliked” them because it breaks my heart every week knowing I can’t save all the animals even though I believe that every horse (cat and dog for that matter) deserves a good home. It’s not their fault they have ended up where they are.

Well last week there was a picture that spoke to me in a way that no other one has. It was the picture of a grey Arabian mare who was said to have been a lesson horse and was ridden through the auction at walk, trot and canter. Unfortunately she was banged up on the trailer and her legs were a mess. Still, regardless of the fact that she was in a strange place, with a strange handler, and with bloody, painful cuts on her legs, she stood up like a proud show horse. She knew her job and was going to do it. The look in her eye was one of slight bewilderment, but she was a good girl and did what she thought the person wanted. I knew, just knew, that horse had a heart of gold. She was the kind of horse that would give you her all. She obviously was in this photo. And she deserved a chance.

G glamour shot

I texted my Arabian-loving friend Debra Peebles asking if she saw her. A few texts later she asked that if she bailed her out if I would ride her and we find her a permanent home. Without hesitation I said “yes”. How did I know she was a good horse? I don’t know. I just did. Her picture spoke to me…intuition…a feeling in the pit of my stomach…whatever you want to call it. I knew she was something special, and the next day she was Debra’s. Now, there was some miscommunication with the original hauler and she was supposed to arrive Sunday, but she got left behind. Debra quickly was able to arrange other transportation with Equest Driven.  Not surprisingly, she loaded on to the trailer like a champ. One glance at the rodeo taking place behind her was all the motivation she needed. On Monday, “Guinevere” (As Debra started to call her because after all, she came from Camelot and she is regally beautiful.) was on her way to her new home in Middletown, Maryland.

G leaving

G off the trailer

Gwen arrived safely and Debra immediately started spoiling her. First a bath to get off all the auction stink. Then a massage blanket to help her relax. The vet came to check her out. He pronounced her relatively healthy, not in foal (whew!), did her teeth and treated her legs. Her left front had a bad cut and puncture wound and her left hind was all scraped up and swollen. Some rest, water, and good nutrition should put her right. Gwen took everything in stride. Here, again, were strangers and she was completely accepting of them. I got to meet her that day as well. What a kind, intelligent eye she has. She may or may not be a purebred Arabian. We’re trying to find out who she is because she’s obviously had a lot of training in her background. But if we can’t, that’s okay too. She’s Gwen and she’s a lovely mare.

G getting massage

The next day Debra let her out to roll, which she did repeatedly! Ahhh…nothing like some sand on your back and in your ears. The farrier came and did her feet and again, she was the model citizen. She was, however, a bit more rested up. She was brighter and more alert. She was calling for the other horses so in the afternoon Debra turned her out for a bit in the quarantine field. She ran and ran and ran. She was so happy to be free!

G trotting in the field

Gwen continues to settle well into her new surroundings. In a week or so we may try lunging her and then soon I’ll get on her. She’s a pretty mover so we’ll see what she can do. My guess is a lot. So I’ve decided to blog about our adventures with Gwen. Why? I’m hoping to educate people on the beauty, intelligence and majesty that is the Arabian; I want people to think about a reschooled rescue horse for their next horse; and perhaps people will learn a thing or two about horses as I share our story. Who knows… maybe once Gwen has her happy ending (and we will make sure that she will) perhaps I will find another horse that speaks to me. Until then I hope you enjoy getting to know Gwen – the Queen of Camelot.