Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Ranger is basically, retired. For a 27-year-old, he is doing well, except for his breathing. He has COPD, which is bad enough, but if he gets frightened of something, he has what can best be described as an asthma attack. His head goes high and he struggles to catch his breath.
Lately, we have been just leading him on the loop. Ellen did ride him a few times last spring, but since he doesn’t seem to want to trot, it is just easier for us to lead him. It’s good exercise for us, too.
Last year, we would walk him down to the river a lot. He had trouble going back up, and we had to stop a lot for him to catch his breath. This year, we have had so much rain that the mud at the very top of the hill has been horrendous. It was so bad, that Cole felt that no horse in his right mind would step through it, willingly. (It is funny how much trouble he will go through to try to keep his feet from going in the mud.) Because we didn’t want to take an out of shape horse through deep mud--and we didn’t want to walk in it, ourselves, we just stayed on the loop behind the barn.
We finally had a dry spell, and the mud improved enough to lead Ranger through it. We decided to see how he would do on the hill. This summer, he seemed to be breathing much better on his walks. Most days, Ellen hasn’t even had to give him antihistamines. That is in spite of the fact that his breathing is usually the worst in hot weather.
We led him down the hill with ease, turned around and made our way back up. It was with much disbelief that we observed--no loud wheezing. He was able to walk up the hill better than he did last summer.
The next day, we tried it again. I am so happy to say that the first day wasn’t an anomaly. Once again, Ranger walked up the hill without any breathing distress.
Well, we decided it is time to integrate the hill on his weekend workouts. It is more interesting than going 6 laps on the loop. We can do the hill and a few laps to bring his workout up to a half hour. He seems to like the variety--and we sure do. Plus, it is shady!
Ellen was thinking she might just dust off his saddle...