Follow The Rules
Lucky enough to have a horse.
Previous Horse had rules. No. Previous Horse had Rules, with a capital-R.
For example, he had a specific show arrival protocol. He got off the trailer. He had a hay snack. He had a nap. I could shorten these to a bare minimum on occasion. Woe betide me if I skipped a step. That included trying to save time by grooming during nap time. In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, Previous Horse was metal. Very, very metal.
Another rule was that he got the day off for shoeing. One time I tried to do an end run around that by riding before he got shod. History does not record exactly what he did in retaliation – this was over 20 years ago (really?!?) – but I never tried it again.
House rules develop momentum of their own. Rodney and Milton inherited this one. Made sense to me. New shoes meant new angles to their feet. Give them a chance to get use to the changes. I had no science behind this, simply squishy anthropomorphism. I’ve seen horses go from the blacksmith to a ride without turning a hair. It could be done.
Last week. Didn’t ride on Tuesday. Tired after second dental adventure [Hard Times Horse]. Blacksmith coming early Wednesday. Hmm. By Wednesday evening Rodney would have had a day off & most of that day to get used to his new kicks. Maybe I could fit in a short hack.
Usually, Rodney licks and chews while getting shod. This time, he started waving his feet in the air as soon as the blacksmith was finished nailing. It was as if he had heard my plans.
He wasn’t sore. The best way to describe it was touchy. He was fine in the field, trotting and cantering hither and yon. As soon as I put a saddle on, he placed his feet with care, working the nomination for Best Dramatic Rendering of Evil Stepmother in red-hot, iron shoes.
Remember, he was trotting and cantering while at liberty.
It took three days of getting 50% better each day. Even after we had reestablished all three gears, he threw in a few questionable steps as we walked back to the barn afterwards.
I hath learned my lesson.
Follow. The. Rules.
Stay safe. Stay sane.