If you are like me, you learned through 4-H, Pony Club, or just a good instructor that you should groom your horse before you rode, in part to make sure he had no bumps, scrapes, or bruises. Well, I ignored that – more about it later.
One thing we adults also often forget is to have fun. Whether that be laying the grass and watching the clouds go by, seeing how high we can bounce a rubber ball, or, in our cases, doing something with our horses that has nothing to do with perfecting the half-pass or getting the right distance. PJ worked so hard yesterday I thought he deserved a break, but it was such a nice day… I decided to just pull PJ out of his stall and hop on bareback. I hooked one end of the leadline on one side of his halter and tied the other end in a knot on the other side. (I wasn’t so crazy as to not wear a helmet.) After dusting off his back with my hand, I ungracefully climbed on from a tall mounting block, and we were off, sort of. At first he didn’t quite get that a pull of the leadline on the right meant turn right. Once I sent him forward he figured it out. I had dragged out some poles and we walked over them, and went in circles and changed directions, etc. And then I got bored, so we headed out of the ring and down to the hunt course. As we were heading down the hill he suddenly put on the breaks and stuck his head in the air. On the trail behind the field was our neighbor in a bright orange vest on her little chestnut. No biggy. We kept going. PJ was great. We made a small loop through the field and then I noticed the knot had slipped a little, so we headed back.
Next came a real bath with soap and everything. Since PJ seems to be prone to skin issues I was glad to have a lot of medicated shampoo. I scrubbed his mane, which he had rubbed out trying to stick his head through the fence. I lathered up his belly and moved to his legs. That’s when I noticed a huge scrape on the outside of his right front knee. All of the hair was missing along with a top layer of skin. It was a little swollen and warm but not actively bleeding anymore. I cleaned the wound and before putting him back put some Fura on it. I think he’ll be fine but from now on I’ll do what I was taught as a kid and brush my pony before getting on.