In the last six months I feel like there have been an absurd number of “and then I rode Murray for the first time in ten days” moments. Good news for me is that he’s actually getting better despite all of these breaks, and we continue our slow climb up the mountain of dressage, training, and more generally: life.
So here we are again. Another first ride after ten days away, although at least this time Murray managed to get out for a few rides with our barn manager’s kid. Unfortunately, Davis also got buckets of weird and aseasonal weather with thunderstorms and a hurricane warning (an actual hurricane warning!), and aforementioned kid made the same decision as I have many times this season and chose not to ride any time the rain and wind got louder than her phone. Murray appreciated it, and I totally understand.
Murray was a ball of filth when I got to him. Earlier my barn manager had sent me a video of him poking his tail through the bars of his stall and scratching his dock and butt crack on there, so the boy must have had an absolutely wild itch. In fact, the whole of his body was probably one big itch because he has bug bites seemingly all over, and several scrapes from where he’s clearly tried to scratch too vigorously. This amounted to a nice, fist-sized edema/bite on his belly, and a raw and slightly bloody patch on his sheath. Yes, his sheath. Pony somehow scratched himself so hard he bloodied his own dongle.
I curried him ferociously, channeling a bit of L and my former self in terms of grooming habits, and was very happy to see his hair coming out in brush-fuls. Even the hair I clipped is also coming out, and with a fair bit of skin gunk and dust I also managed to dislodge a lot of that short hair. There is a summer coat coming in underneath, it’s just not terribly long or strong just yet. While currying I found all kinds of lumps and bumps on him associated with bug bites, nicking himself in turnout, or just general stupidity I think? He had a big scrape across the point of his hip where the hair is now gone, and through his front legs and in his armpits he’s got dandruff like woah. For a moment I even thought that the kid had given him spur rubs because the hair at Murray’s girth area is falling out in tufts, but I think it’s just a yucky humidity-associated skin bug. I’m going to try to bathe him in tea-tree oil shampoo this week to see if that will help, but if nothing else the drop in humidity should dry out the skin gunk.
Murray’s feet were also a touch thrushy, for the second time I’ve ever seen in four years. I scraped them out and put some Sore No More “The Sauce” in them after my ride, and expect it won’t go any further than that. And in doing so I found a whole host of little nicks and cuts on his lower legs from … whatever it is he’s been doing.
Then we lunged. And Murray was like “did you not hear? I don’t canter any more.” He’d shake his head around and flail and tranter a bit and then fall back into the trot. He cantered once when he spooked but not for more than half a circle.
The horse was the definition of a hot mess. I could do nothing but roll my eyes at him.
He was surprisingly reasonable under saddle. There were a few pony club kicks when he didn’t feel like trotting at first. And I had to get a little rude when he thought that sticking his neck to the right and twisting his head left was a good way to trick me into thinking he was moving into the contact. I felt really centered and quiet through my lower body, and Murray eventually gave up his charade, so I kept it short and sweet.