I rode Consolation on the flats Wednesday. There’s an unbroken stretch of irrigation canal that winds between cow-dotted BLM land and vast wheatfields, where the footing is good and there’s no traffic or downgrades or fences to distract us from pure, exhilirating effort. It was Consolation’s first test on familiar terrain since I returned her to work after her spring weirdness.
I’ve suspected for a couple weeks now that she is back to normal, but it was hard to evaluate given that we’ve been riding in such different environs. To be positive, we needed to ride in one of our old haunts. Conditioning-wise, we also needed the kind of long, brisk trot that we can’t always do out in the hills. Wednesday was the day.
I was a little nervous. What if she wasn’t better? What if the balky, jumpy, witchy mare from our last ride along the canal resurfaced? What if I was wrong, and we wouldn’t be ready for Cheap Thrills after all?
I needn’t have worried. Wednesday’s ride was the flight of spring all over again, complete with ducks, but without the muddy hide or rain. We blasted through 12 miles at 10 mph, and at the end Consolation was still full of air and offering speed. It was just the ride we needed.
So, what was her problem? It’s hard to be sure, because I was too interested in finding a solution to waste time being methodical and scientific. I tweaked several factors at once, at least some of which must have been the right ones. My best guesses:
- She was footsore. Most of a month off, with careful barefoot trimming and vigilance against thrush in the wet weather, followed by rides on trails instead of gravel, could have addressed this. Her hooves have certainly done some remodeling of late.
- She was marish and/or magnesium deficient. The more I think about it, the more I believe this was an issue. It helps explain why Consolation exhibited some similar behaviors last spring. After a month of magnesium supplementation, she is no longer cold-backed or girthy, and her attitude has improved dramatically. I also tried a sample of Mare Magic that I had sitting around, and she seemed to benefit. I’m now awaiting a shipment of bulk raspberry leaves from HerbalCom. (At $20 for a year’s supply, how can I go wrong?)
- She was bored. Consolation isn’t a huge fan of trailer rides, but she’s learning to relax, and she surely does seem more intersted in workouts when we use them to explore new trails.
Now, if only I can remember all this and apply it next spring, perhaps we’ll be all set.