I would like to start by thanking everyone who has taken the time to send positive thoughts and energy my way; it's working! I was able to walk downstairs this morning without any significant discomfort - well done people :-)
|Photo: Roberta Coppler|
These pups are the "security" team at Coppler Farms, where I've been horse riding this fall. They take the job very seriously. Every time I arrive they threaten me with barks, tail wagging, and in Arthur's case, usually a long story about how he's been waiting for someone to go riding so he can run alongside. Arthur likes to run along with the horses, while Aimo likes to run about three miles for every mile the horses walk. I don't think there could be a more perfect exercise routine for a Jack Russel.
This suspicion was not alleviated when the latest trainee recently arrived at Coppler Farms.
Poor Buddy - he looks different, he sounds different, and Lizzie cannot walk by him without stopping and staring. Really, rudely, ears forward, with a "What!" look that is just not friendly.
This week Lizzie did finally allow a nose sniff from Buddy and did not squeal (something mares tend to do when they are making a fuss) but she's still got a way to go on being more accepting of his glorious differences.
Sampson however, must be kept on a "dry lot" without access to green grass which has a high sugar content; he's on a perpetual pony-diet. Unfortunately for the little dude he gains weight just by looking at food, a condition I can easily relate to. I think it is plain to see here that he is saying, "Please miss, just a crumb!"
|Photo: Roberta Coppler|
Lizzie at a fun show with a Jr. rider
Over eating in horses can lead to both intestinal problems like colic and hoof/leg issues like laminitis and eventually founder, where the horse's hoof rotates, resulting in not just permanent damage but causing pain with every step. To avoid this easy-keepers like Sampson are fed grass-hay, as dried grasses have a lower sugar content than green grasses, plus daily intake can be monitored and limited. Like most Labradors, ponies would prefer the option of eating to death.
The weekly riding therapy is proving useful not just for keeping my joints mobile but for supplementing my mental health. I'm also greatly enjoying the opportunity to spend some time on a farm again. Especially when, at the end of the ride, I get to go home and leave all the clean up chores to someone else!