Indy’s Bank – Part 2

Indy and I didn’t return to the bank for a couple of weeks.  I wanted to do more work on the footing first, and then of course some jerk had to go and break the top rail.  It’s really frustrating when you, (and my good friends!) work so hard to make something nice for everyone and then someone goes and breaks it.  Not only that, but they didn’t tell anyone and didn’t take responsibility.  Imagine my disappointment when, less than a week after building it, I walked by it and noticed it was broken.

You know, I wouldn’t have even been mad if someone came to me and told me they broke it. Things happen. Accidents happen.  It would have been nice if that person came to me and said hey, I broke this, I’m sorry.  I would have appreciated their honesty and moved on.

My friend came over and fixed it, stronger than ever.  It was finally complete and safe for Indy to try going down it.

I’ve done a lot of ground work with Indy.  We’ve gone for long walks, alone or with Shady.  We walk over logs, trough puddles, and over small obstacles.  He’s never learned to refuse anything; he simply has learned that if something is in front of us we go over it.  Simple as that.  He really doesn’t understand why he wouldn’t go.  I’ve always made sure it was a fair and simple question for him to understand.

Going down the bank was finally the first time he questioned me.  Not necessarily a bad thing; I like a horse that thinks for itself.  I will admit too that our bank isn’t exactly a rank beginners bank either.

I planned a time when we had time – not at dinner time, not when it is super buggy, or hot, and not when we would be rushed to beat sundown.

We started by going up the bank. A simple question he has already conquered.  We walked by the bank on top, getting closer and closer to the edge.  Then we walked up to the edge and looked down.

Something people often forget is that horses do not have the same depth perception as we humans do.  This is why horses are most afraid of ditches, puddles, holes, etc.  This is why we use ground lines underneath our jumps.  They simply can’t tell how deep that ditch is, or how deep that puddle is.  They can’t immediately see it and understand like we can.  They have to learn.

So I was patient.  We stood at the top, checking it out while I patted and scratched him.  Then I stepped down the bank.  I didn’t expect him to just follow.  I patted him, reassuring him that I was okay after falling off this massive cliff.  He stepped back.  I didn’t let him back away. He tried to turn to go down the side and I straightened him.  Standing and contemplating is fine; saying no is not.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly he decided to jump down.  I was patting him and talking to him when he started to fold him little knees to prepare to lower himself. I stepped back to give him room, loosening his lead and talking to him in an encouraging, soothing voice.  He made up his mind, tucked his little legs, and jumped.

I tell you it was the cutest darn thing you have ever seen.  He was so trusting, and so unbothered by the whole thing.  While my heart was swelling with pride he dove for the grass.

We ate grass for a few, then went back up for a second attempt to solidify that this was indeed acceptable.  With very little hesitation, he bounded on down. I may have been slightly emotional.

That was it for the bank.  We won’t visit that again for a while. There is no sense in drilling him over it, no sense in putting stress on his joints.  He has seen it, he was great, and it made our relationship that much stronger.

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Indy’s Birthday

How it happened so fast, I don’t know. Before I knew it, a year had a gone by.  May 21st, The Big Day, raced at me like a hungry pony. Suddenly, before my very eyes, Indy turned the big oh-one. 1 year old. When did this happen? How did my spindly giant bundle of legs turn into this giant horse? Who let it happen this fast? I certainly do not remember approving this.

The day was perfect – sunny and bright with a light breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  I had planned a jump cleanup day followed by a BBQ to celebrate Indy.  Friends and well wishers stopped by throughout the day to wish Indy a happy birthday.  To him, it was just another day in the limelight (he gets lots of attention every day).

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Starting the day with a little Dunks

Indy hung out with his best bud Cal while the rest of us got ambitious and built a bank jump. I have to say I was pretty proud of it when we finished.  We hadn’t rally planned it; I looked at a pile of wood and a natural slope and said, hey, let’s make a bank.  Worked out quite well!

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Our new bank jump, built in honor of Indy

Indy joined us for the BBQ and supervised the cutting of his cake.  He did not think the green frosting he got all over his face was very impressive.  Grass, he says, tastes much better.

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Indy’s Cake!
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#notimpressed

We did an official measuring on his big day and somehow, unbeknownst to me, Indy is already 15 hands.  I can only imagine what next years height will be.

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Official measuring time!

Before everyone left, Indy got to christen the new jump, built in his honor.  He was distracted by all the tall grass surrounding it, but then followed me up the bank like a champ – straight to the grass on the top side. No big deal.  I couldn’t have been more proud. Nothing phases this boy! We ended there – I wanted the new footing to settle for a few days before attempting to go down it.

After everyone left Indy enjoyed a thorough grooming (he absolutely loves being groomed).  He and Shady the both got a nice Mash & Mix snack, complete with carrots and apples.  Before I left Indy was already laying down, snoozing away in his stall.  I took that to mean he had a good day 🙂

Indy’s return to the big field

After 6 weeks of stall rest and 30 days in the round pen, Indy went back down to the clinic to get cleared to return to the big field.  His surgeon was quite happy with his movement and how his legs felt.  He got the go ahead to go back out! (see Indy’s OCD SurgeryThe Big Day – Indy Returns To Turnout if you forgot what happened!)

He went out with his best buddy, Cal, and two other older geldings.  All he wanted to do was run!  I, of course was terrified he was going to hurt himself.

The older bay had to be taken out; as you can see in the video he’s not impressed with Indy.  He started chasing him more and more, not leaving him alone.  Indy, quite out of shape, was likely to get hurt, so he was banished from the paddock.  The older chestnut, while grumpy, remained with Indy and Cal, as he wasn’t going to hurt anyone, but would instead teach Indy about space and manners.

I’m so happy that Indy has friends.  I think it is really important for a youngster to play, learn boundaries, and enjoy life.

It’s a little crazy though, how big he’s getting!  If you look quick, it’s hard to tell them apart sometimes…

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Yes, I’m still alive!

So I apologize greatly to everyone for dropping off the face of the blog.  I’ve been quite busy and life, work, frustrations, and joy have gotten in the way.  I usually don’t get home until late and when I do I eat a quick dinner, shower, and am out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow.  Most of May I was away on work related business, picking up a third horsey job, because well, who doesn’t need three jobs? June flew by and here we are, a good way through summer already.

How I feel every night…

I have, of course, been setting aside time for Shady and Indy.  Both are doing well.  Shady and I have had some ups and downs with soundness issues, while Indy continues to amaze me each day.  He has baby moments, of course, but his intelligence and personality have been thrilling to watch develop.  

I’ve got a lot to catch up on here on the blog.  Plenty of pictures and videos to share too!  I’ll try to keep in order and not jump around too much.  

It’s good to be back 🙂