Friday, October 28, 2011


This isn't the best pictue but I think it shows how stout Willow has become.  If I had a pictue of her when I got her (really wish I did) she was a little thing with scars all over her lips and she did not like to be touched.  I may have written about this in the past but I didn't look.  Dwane actually got her for me for Mother's Day and she was my first horse in 10 years.  The first couple years I did alot of ground work with her, got her to wear a saddle when she was three did everything but step on her back.  You see I was a chicken then, I could not bring myself to throw my leg over the saddle.  In this time I had other horses also but never or hardly ever rode them.  I had Bandit who I could ride but he would get difficult and I wanted nothing to do with it.  There was Bell who was the same, I could make her go but it scared me senseless and it would take too long for me to climb back in the saddle. 

Willow was slow at growing at 3 she was still very small. I at one time worried that she would ever be big enough for me to ride.  The spring she turned four it was like a bulldog exploded, she thickened up and got taller and looked great.  I decided that I would send her to a trainer friend of mine for her first thirty days.  We wheeled and dealed and did some trading and Willow went in the trailer to my friends.  When we got there he was like "Well what do we need to teach her, lounging? or what does she need?"  I told him to just be ridden she knew everything else.  I could see his hesitation so I took her out to the round pen and put her through her paces, then threw the saddle on her and off she went again.  He was very surprised, he took a turn with her in the round pen and she did great.  I left and the next day at work (my coworker was his girlfriend) told me after I left he hopped on her and rode her around in the round pen for 15 minutes that night.  For the next thirty days he rode her after a few they were out of the pen and in the pasture.  He had me come out and ride her and she did great.  Then I came and took her home.

I only rode maybe 4 or 5 times the rest of that year.  I would be all gung ho and go out and saddle her, if she made one move that I thought was bad or she was going to act out, I would have a panic attack and get off.  The next spring my friend Sam asked if I wanted to go on a ride at Farragut State park with her and we could take Willow. I had ridden her in the corral once so far this year.  I couldn't back down in front of Sam so said of course we will go.  Willow did awesome, couldn't even tell she had never been on a real trail ride.  That year was the start of me riding again (really riding).  We did a bunch of trail riding and even rode in a parade.  Kylie was coming along on Autumn (until the end of that summer when she ran off with her).  I had friends that were coming out all the time and riding with  me.  Last year we did quite a bit of riding not a ton but quite a bit.  Willow by now was an old pro and she really seems to like going out on the trail.

Now the story changes - this last spring I could tell she was off.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out where or why.  I took a video on my phone and had my friend look at it - yep she is off couldn't find any heat, nothing in her foot, I didn't see any swelling.  She had lost some weight that winter which is not like Willow at all so I decided to take her in and get her teeth done.  Walking from the trailer to the vet office the vet asked me if she had been off or sore.  I told him yeah I had noticed this spring that she was off, he pointed out that her hock was bigger then the other one.  He then did some flex tests and what not and told me she has some severe arthritis in her hock.  My options were to bute her before riding, inject her hock, or not ride.  We need to do xrays and I haven't gotten them done, I am afraid of what they may find.  We didn't ride alot this year a little bit but not near as much as the year before.  I took her on one trail ride and she was sore after we went up a hill for a while, so we will stick to flatter riding.  This next year I will get the xrays and we will go from my dilema Kylie and I started gaming this year, does this mean another horse and what kind?  Willow will forever be with me and was supposed to be my life long or thru the good years horse :( we would grow old trail riding together and we still will as long as she can it just may not be as long as I had thought......

1 comment:

Linda said...

You'd never think a horse so young would already have arthritis. That's heart-breaking, Tina.

I remember when you told us about that first ride with Sam like it was yesterday. I know exactly what you mean about being afraid when they start to brace or back up or act like they're going to do something--that was brave of you to take her out on the trail anyway. And I remember that parade, too. She did great! I hope you get a lot more trail rides out of her...and I hope the x-rays show something different--you never know.