I've decided not to take Blaze to Patriot's Day I & II next weekend. His back is looking much better already, its not sore to touch or pressure and the knot has gone down almost completely. That said I know that this issue has been in the making for the last month or so in my endless battle with my previous saddle, so I'm not comfortable in saying "oh its looks good enough, lets go to a race!" At nearly 15 years old, Blaze has lots of great years left ahead of him I hope, but he isn't exactly a spring chicken. I love him dearly and want to prolong his days of fun riding as long as possible and as such, pushing my luck over a 25 mile endurance ride just doesn't make sense to me. It would probably be a hot ride and if the trails are anything like last Patriot's Day ride (though this is in a different location and not FEI) I would probably be fairly uncomfortable doing the ride myself, let alone whatever may happen with Blaze's back. Plus my husband won't be there to pick up the pieces if I heat-stroke out again! I spoke to C about it all yesterday, since she was only going to go to the ride if I went (it would be her gelding's first endurance ride). She assured me she wasn't worried about it either way and while I already knew that was the case it helped to talk it out a little bit with her and firm up my decision to not go. Of course this morning when I fed the horses and then palpitated and checked out Blaze's back it was looking pretty darn good and the little race-fiend inside me said "heyyyy, maybe he would be okayyy.." but no, the rational and loving side of me just doesn't think its a good idea. I have never had saddle fit issues before and the whole concept of my equine buddy suffering pain directly because of decisions about saddles, pads, and riding that I make..well, it doesn't sit too comfortably with me.
SO. Blaze is going to have a week or two off, depending on the situation of his back. When I do decide to hop back on him I'll be doing a couple of short rides in the arena or just out the road and back to make sure his back isn't taking any more wear and tear damage. I certainly won't be using the Equipedic pad on him again. I'm sort of baffled by that pad doing so much "damage" to his back, I've used that sort of pad in the past with no issue. Of course every horse and horse's back is different but I really never expected such a dramatically poor result with it. I'll be going back to the new Free n' Easy with just the numnah pads it came with, which is how I rode him at the Mendo Magic 30 miler with no issue.
Sheza is 5 months old by the official week count, so she is going to be weaned here pretty quick. I think Desire is quite ready for that, there seems to be more ear pinning and youngster disciplining going on by the day, especially when it comes to Sheza hitting the milk bar. Its truly ridiculous how far down Sheza has to lean to get her head under Desire to nurse! My idea for weaning is to stick Desire in one of the big stalls on the east side of the property so she is at least out of sight, with the mini next door for company. I plan to put Sheza on the west side of the property, next to the house where I can watch her, in one of the paddocks with fresh, charged hot wire. I figure if she gets too nutty a few zaps from the wire is better than her crashing through a fence. Blaze will be in the other paddock right next to Sheza. That's the plan, I have NO idea how or if it will work! Luckily I have a few weeks to iron out the details and seek more advice. Any advice from readers who have weaned babies before, sock it to me!