Aargh - long time, no post! Again!
Well, for the second week running, I have actually been able to ride Marco! Eeeeee! We're still only walking - well, and will be for some time yet, I think - but J rode him yesterday and he was still sound and happy to trot up today, so it _finally_ feels like we might be getting somewhere.
He's been off work since about... April? I think? And we've cycled through several different injuries and issues with his feet/legs, but eventually J decided that what he had was probably some kind of bone spavin in his hocks, so since then, he hasn't been ridden at all, and we also started him on a green-lipped mussel supplement called Pernamax, and it took a while to see a significant improvement, but certainly over the last eight weeks or so, he's been going from strength to strength!
I've been hand-walking him out on the common, for the last month or so, keeping him moving and doing odd bits of trot in hand - which is a really good sign of how much better he must be feeling, because when he was really sore, he wouldn't trot at all. And it just feels amazing to be back riding him again!
He's still a bit delicate - I got off today after about half an hour, when I could feel him struggling to work a bit harder with his hind legs - not uneven, but not the same kind of movement as I'd been getting up til then, and he stepped out fine the rest of the way home, so I'll check him again tomorrow before riding him.
Part of the thing for me as well, is learning to trust him again - not temperament wise, because he's a really steady, generous, lovely, safe horse, but when I was riding him back in the spring - before we really knew what was going with his legs - he was very clumsy with his feet, and would stumble a lot with his front legs, and one time he tripped on (I discovered months later) a half-covered over tree stump in the middle of the path as we were trotting round a corner, and just went down, throwing me off over his head - both of us ending flat on the ground! Thankfully, we were both ok, just cuts and bruises, but it means that I'm still cautious about whether he's going to be able to keep his footing and stay upright! He's barefoot at the moment though, and that seems to help with his footing on the roads, and the pernamax also seems to be helping with the stumbling too - he's not doing that any more. I just have to re-learn that he really is capable of managing his feet!
If I'm honest, riding him again is also bittersweet, because since Marco's been injured, I've been riding a couple of other different horses, and one of my friends at the yard keeps saying that if I want to progress my riding, I need to ride a horse with a bit more athletic ability, and I know that logically she's right - but I just really love Marco. And I really wish that he was even five years younger, so that I could have longer riding him now... Realistically, he's probably not going to be strong enough for me to start having lessons on again, even. And I'm not looking for another share, because I don't want to give him up. And I am trying just to enjoy the time I do have with him, but it's still... bittersweet.