Monday, September 29, 2014

Ranger showing his Age—or is He?

Ranger showing his Age—or is He?

We think Ranger is around 25 years old. There is no doubt that he has some arthritis and he’s getting a cataract in one of his eyes, but overall, he is doing well. Ellen has had to limit his riding to make sure she doesn’t overdo it and make him sore. He no longer will canter for her—she is sure it is physical since he has always loved to canter in the past. He doesn’t trot near as fast as he used to either, but he still has his great walk.

Last weekend, she bought him a new girth. She rides him English. His old girth was too short and she had to use a girth extender to make it work. Also, it was stretched more on one side than the other which was evident when on she would hook up the billets. It was a very expensive, brand name girth, but it just wasn’t working right, anymore.

She bought a longer girth, so that Ranger no longer needed a girth extender. The new girth is also contoured for comfort. She didn’t get the expensive brand, again, since she didn’t like how it pulled at his long winter coat. (She had to use a girth cover to prevent it from bothering him.)

She tested it out on Saturday. I was on Dante, and as I followed along, I was marveling at how perky Ranger seemed. He had had a few days off, and I just figured that was the reason. Ellen did notice that he moved smoother than he had been when she went down slopes. She attributed it to the new girth.

Dante had a sore hoof on Sunday, so Ranger ended up going on the longer ride—even though he had a brisk ride the day before. We figured he would be grumpy and unenthusiastic—even though it was to his favorite destinations—the show ring. I rode Cole.

Once we started trotting, I was surprised how fast Ranger went. He wasn’t tearing up the trail like he did 10 years ago, but I was able to follow at a comfortable posting trot—and he stayed like that for all the trotting we did. By now, we were starting to become suspicious. It was Day 2 and rather warm for a horse with so much winter coat. Could it be the new girth?

We talked about it and thought we would just see how the whole ride went. When we turned to go home, he pouted—as he usually does. He used to live up there, and he always thinks he is leaving home when we turn to go home.

Once we got far enough away from his old barn, though, he picked up the speed. Now, that wouldn’t be unusual for the Ranger of years gone by, but this is a pretty long ride and for the last year or so, he would walk slowly all the way home. Cole had to keep stopping to wait for Ranger to catch up. We attributed it to his age, but now, we are thinking a little different.

Horses don’t change their behavior for no reason at all. Maybe the reason he walked slow on the way home was that he was aggravated by his girth—not by his age. Maybe he is now walking fast on the way home like he used to because his girth isn’t bothering him anymore?

We met Kevin on Starry on the way home, and Ranger happily led his herd back to the barn.

Ellen just ordered a new girth for Dante…

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

Oh wow that is fantastic!!! :D