Chaco is thrilled about Dulce and irritated. Whenever I’m giving Dulce attention, if he can reach over the fence to nip at Dulce, he will. If I’m nowhere around, they play and eat together. Before I turn them out together, we have some work to do to bring those two together as pals.
I took Chaco out for a couple of rides since Dulce came to remind him that we are still partners in crime, and that won’t change. He came out of the first ride so well after doing a lot of long trotting on the trail that I decided it was time to add hills to his workout.
If you don’t know, Chaco had surgery on his stifle back in November to remove three chips the size of adult teeth. I’ve been bringing him back slowly working on creating balanced strength in both legs. Hills are a fantastic challeng, because to climb a hill at the walk, the horse really needs to use his hind legs to step under his body and power himself up the hill. I knew the perfect spot to go.
There is this five mile loop in Shavano Valley with all sorts of hills. They actually start off easy and get more challenging as the ride progresses. Off we went on a nice, sunny, warm day. I add that, because it is cold, snowy and windy right now. Here is a video of Chacohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORdlkgRrO8E
Chaco and I took off with Chewy and Bella not knowing what would happen. Have I ever mentioned how wonderful it is to ride Chaco? He is a dream to ride, and he has such a good mind. He has yet to spook at anything with me on him. Instead, when he gets nervous about an area, he slows down, takes time to think about what he is seeing, and listens to me telling him he is okay. He move so nicely over the ground that you barely feel his hooves hitting the earth. His back now has such a nice sway when he walks that my back gets a good massage as we move down the trail. When I first started riding him, his back was stiff with little swing from side to side as he moved along. After a lot of bodywork and suppling exercises, that has all changed.
Chaco had no problems with the hills, and I could tell he stepped under nicely. Each hill he took on with good energy and with balanced movement. He didn’t go down the hills sideways as horses with stifle injuries do, and he paced himself well. We had fun, which is the great thing. I could tell he wasn’t hurting as we moved from hill to hill, and we both enjoyed ourselves together. When we got back to the horse trailer, he barely had worked up a sweat.
The thing that matters the most is he came out of it so well. When we got home, there was no fill or heat. He moved around nicely, and he never dragged his toe. I went out to check on him later, and he was resting standing on his right hind leg resting his non-surgical leg. He wasn’t sore at all!
Today I found another loop with some great hills for him to work that leg on. Now that he passed this test, we will keep working on it getting the leg as strong as his left hind leg. Another fantastic thing is that his summer coat is coming in, and pretty soon that shaved leg from the surgery will be gone. I can’t wait to not see that anymore.
Harley needs to lose some weight, so since Dulce came to live with us, I’ve been riding him solo. The first time we went out, he worked himself into such a sweat that he lathered up a bit on his chest. I jokingly told my friend that he lost some weight that day.
Well, he did! When we went out for our second solo ride, I had to go up a notch on the latigo, because I couldn’t get the cinch tight enough. Woohoo! Progress was made!
When we started out on the ride, he got some jumping cactus got him! It jumped on to and dove into his front left fetlock. He can spin so fast. He can out do any reining horse out there, and I was a bit woozy when I finally got him stopped. I hopped off, found a bone, and got the cactus out. He was so relieved he gave me a kiss. I hopped back on and off we went. We did a lot of long trotting again, and this time he didn’t work up nearly as much of a sweat. He is ready to go on to the next level of trails; hills. Here is a short video of Harley.https://youtu.be/-8w4D8T-PkY
He is also nice to ride as long as you don’t put any leg on him. He probably was kicked so many times by kids at the dude ranch that he is over responsive if you use your leg. All you have to do is cluck, and off he goes. If you stiffen up your back, he immediately drops to a walk. Harley is such a good horse with a good heart, and he always gives me an honest ride.
As soon as this weather clears up, we’ll hit the trail.
I feel like I’m Goldilocks but with three horses. I have one horse that is too thin (Dulce), one horse that is a bit overweight (Harley), and one horse that is just right (Chaco).