Delaney was super horse this weekend. I cannot express how proud I am of this horse. From the very beginning he has taken care of me and protected me in the saddle. He was so brave and willing, jumping things he’s never even seen with barely a glance. For a half blind Percheron cross that people told me was just a mule and wouldn’t be able to do much, he’s proven to be an incredible partner and I am so very blessed to be able to call him mine. He puts so much heart in everything he does, I couldn’t ask for more.
“I know you have treats peasant, I can see the bag in your hand.”
Still recovering, but 6 weeks in and doing well! Farrier is due Friday for a much needed trim, and the vet is coming out to do our last sound wave therapy. We are up to 20 minutes of hand walking and 2 hour turnout in a small grass pen. I hate that I can tell where the muscle is starting to go on his neck, hind quarters, and over his shoulders, but I can’t do anything about it. As soon as he’s all healed, we’ll just build it back up.
I am so very blessed to have a horse that tries so hard to be everything I want him to be. He is completely blind in one eye, built for pulling heavy carts, and still he follows my lead blindly into the jumping ring everyday and gives everything he has in his body to please me. I have been working with him so much lately that when he hears the gate from across the pasture he will start walking to meet me with ears forward. I am so incredibly lucky to own this glorious creature. Goodness me, next month we’ll have been together for seven years!
Ignore me in the first picture gosh I look terrible. Admire his shiny instead.
I love him more and more everyday. He saved me. Through everything that has happened, every overcast day, dark night and impossible morning, he has been loyal and constant. On the days where it was impossible to get out of bed, he gave me a reason. Even if it was just because I couldn’t bear the thought of him being hungry and waiting for me, it kept me from ending myself.
My goals have been scattered lately. I can’t keep forcing my ideals on Dell. I’ve only been looking at what I want him to be, not what he already is. Dell was born in an Amish community in Wisconsin. At some point he suffered an injury that caused him to begin to go blind progressively. He ended up at a sale barn in northern Georgia as a seven year old, being advertized as a hunter horse. I bought him in May of 2007, and my life has been forever changed. But because of his shorter neck and his blindness, Dell has learned to carry himself in which it is easiest for him to keep an eye on his surroundings. He is not a spooky horse, but there are things that make him uneasy and when he canters on the left lead, he resists traveling in the corners and close the rail because he can’t see far enough down the rail to feel safe. I’ve always treated him like any other horse, but I now realize that I can’t approach his schooling and conditioning like this anymore. I’ve also put so much effort into making him what is considered presentable, such as in frame, bending perfectly, forward moving, when I’m probably not even going to compete much anymore. Dell is a fantastic hunter under saddle, but I can’t keep demanding things of him that are not necessary for him to learn. He moves well, and rounded. Dell is an honest jumper, just not scopey. He’s an excellent trail mount and is great for children. Dell is amazing all around, and will do anything asked of him. He’s never going to be the high level show horse I gave up to a friend three years ago. He’s going to be my friend, my sanity, just as he always has. For the lower level of competition I’d like to do for fun, he’s absolutely perfect. And I need to accept that and stop trying to reclaim lost glories. I have a whole box or blue and red and other colored ribbons thanks to him. At 14 years old, he deserves to be accepted for what he is.
On a side note, despite my anxiety, our ride today was very nice. The arena was a swamp of mud, but we did a lot of trot work. I’m still very pleased with the progress he’s made with the snaffle and I can’t wait to order one that actually fits him tomorrow morning! He’ll be outfitted in a nice German silver French Link Boucher snaffle, something I’m hoping will be a lot more comfortable for him.
From today’s ride. Switched Dell to the old D - ring snaffle to see how he did and was pleased with the results. The subtle difference in half halting and turns is the reason I’m shopping for a size 6 broken snaffle. For some reason, Dell goes a bit better in a jointed snaffle rather than a french link. Go figure, my horse is weird. Anyway he did good today.
Ignore my heals. Please just ignore them. I’ve broken bones and damaged growth platelets too many times to count and getting them to go very deep is a work in progress. It’ll come with time as I stretch things out more, or at least I hope so.
There are days I have a draft cross, and then there I days I have a warmblood. Then there are days where I have both.
Really happy with today’s ride, mostly because despite the rain we got last night the arena wasn’t all that bad. Good footing is usually the base of a good ride for us. Anyway, Dell was extremely responsive today. We did mostly flat work. His trot is really nice and paced, which is good for the hunter ring. He tends to get a little lazy the longer we go, but that’s his draft cross side. The warmblood comes out when we canter, though the draft comes out when we downward transition. Still working on that. Did some really nice canter circles though which is a HUGE improvement from three months ago when it was all I could do to get him to canter a full lap around the ring. He tends to lean on me and cut corners so I just let him do smaller circles. We ended up doing big figure eights with lead changes at the center of the ring - the more I do this with him, the more he wants to try flying changes which usually just work on the front end and he breaks into a trot. With enough time though I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to swap his leads nicely. Today was also the first day he’s really tried to reach down into his long and low stretch. We’re a few steps away from having him hold it consistently I think (if it stops raining so I can actually keep working with him). God bless his fast learning. We did jump a few times today and I really just have to push him up to the jump. Now that our flatwork is getting better I feel like we can actively do more jumping sessions. I may need to suck it up and go buy some more jump poles though, we only have five, maybe six solid poles left. He’s killed the rest and the ones we have are pretty cracked up. My equitation is also getting better and I feel like I have a more solid seat.
Overall, I really think that having so much time off is actually working in our favor. He’s picking up all good habits and I’m not having to make too many corrections, just improvements. At least that’s a positive.
Today I switched Dell’s bit from his Kimberwicke, to my old OTTB’s D ring snaffle. (This picture was from yesterday, before I chose to do this) I am absolutely AMAZED at how much a different made. Without all the unnecessary poll pressure he was so much nicer. Turned smoother, yielded more sensitively, and carried his head lower. There were times were his neck locked up to keep me from asking for a bend, something I’m aware draft crosses are known for, but he worked through that pretty quickly. He even rounded up for me and worked in frame for a few strides at a time. It was such a lovely ride! I don’t know why I’ve honestly kept such a heavy bit on him this long. Can’t wait until pay day when I can order a snaffle in his size! Also, we were totally rocking the plaid. Courtesy of my lovely mother, he now has plaid polo wraps and a saddle pad :D Doesn’t he just look so handsome? I love this horse!