I'm pretty excited for 2014 with Licorice. He came out of his last bout of not feeling well pretty quickly. We wet down his hay for 24 hours and he has been fine since. We'll be watching him closely to see if we can figure out what triggers it for him. Also, a few of you were concerned about grains possibly being the cause. The only grains he gets are from the Succeed, which has oat flour in it. Since we started him on this after the first colic, it's not likely that this is the problem. So far, our best guess is that it has to do with weather changes. Only time will tell.
Licorice has been on limited turnout for a little while for a few reasons. His turnout buddy injured himself, so they were only getting half days. Then he colicked so they wanted to keep a closer eye on him. Unfortunately, the communication wasn't great between the barn and myself and when I showed up to ride yesterday, I had no idea that he hadn't been out.
He was pretty tense in the cross ties, but it had only been two days since I had ridden and I didn't want to give in to my fear so I got on. He was sluggish and crabby, but we managed okay. Then we went to canter to the right, which is the hard side for both of us. He kicked out. I asked him to go forward and he bucked. To be fair, it was nothing I couldn't handle physically but from an emotional place I kind of freaked out. I knew I needed to get through it so that he didn't think it was okay, but my heart was pounding a million miles an hour.
I got off. I know, I know. I totally could have ridden him through it, but I was scared. So I got off and put him on the lunge. I'm glad I did, because what my sweet boy as trying to tell me was that he needed some time to stretch his back and legs without me pounding on him. He was fine to the left, but when we turned to the right he took off bucking and snorting and leaping. Then he cantered and cantered and cantered.
At that moment, one of my trainers wandered by.
"I thought you were already on that horse?"
"I was....but he bucked and I got scared."
"Time to get back on, then."
So I did. She reminded me to ride with confidence. Licorice had loosened up his back and was so light and forward. It was almost a little scary. Who am I kidding? It was totally scary, but also totally fun. Forward makes them so much more adjustable. It also means that instead of slamming into them with a death grip on my 'oh crap' strap when I want to canter, that all I have to do is think about cantering and voila! Canter.
I am going to work on visualizing this kind of forward at every ride and remembering that this is safer and better for both of us. Forward. Forward. Forward. Even with a new horse, this remains my constant mantra, my new year's resolution and my One Big Goal. Forward.