Last week sucked in a major way. We made the decision to put our 9 year old German Shepherd, Kaiser, down. He stopped eating a few weeks ago, was having a hard time getting around, and couldn’t control his bowels/bladder any longer. The vet couldn’t find anything clear-cut that was wrong with him, but suspected a stomach tumor. Due to his age and obvious pain, it was clear what he wanted, so we decided to have a vet come out and do it at our house, since he’s always been really anxious at the vet’s office. The last 10 minutes before she arrived, and when she pulled in the driveway I seriously considered throwing the check at her and telling her to leave. But we followed through and I’m glad he’s no longer in pain. Thanks for the 9 years, bud.


So that was terrible. Friday my non-profit was having our annual fundraiser, so I was running around from 8 AM-10 PM, having to smile, act happy, and do the small talk thing. Which as I’m sure you all know, is exhausting. So even though I always enjoy lessons at Trainer B’s, when I pulled in on Saturday, I really wasn’t in the mood. P hadn’t been ridden in 2 days, my hair was a mess from the humidity (I don’t know why I cared but I did), and I just wanted to be asleep. But we’re on a time crunch now that P is entered in Virginia. Trainer B is gone until this Sunday at Jersey Fresh, so when he gets back that means we have 10 days until we leave for VA. Yikes.

We decided to work out in the XC field this time, since there were finally some jumps back out there. P was not a fan of this tiny thing…he was freaked out over the black boxes, yet the thick side of the jump was also scary. So despite my wide open left rein, and my ever-squeezing right leg, we only succeeded in jumping half of the jump. #PilgrimLogic.


Then we moved on to a jump that gave P quite the pause last year.



And then Trainer B had us string those 2 jumps together and then continue down across the road, and past the dressage arena…somewhere we’ve never been and P considered this no-man’s land. I wasn’t wearing spurs, and while he didn’t stop at any of the jumps, he was quite sure we weren’t supposed to be crossing the road and was super sticky.

Going back he was much better…until we were supposed to take the train jump the other way around and he stopped. Which I cut out of the video, because I’ve got enough sucky things going on that I really didn’t need a reminder of the refusal. When I was editing the helmet cam videos, I clicked “trim” before getting to that part. I know it sounds dumb, but I don’t need the reminder.

I think Trainer B could tell I just wasn’t into it, and he offered to get on and school, which I gratefully accepted.

I was surprised P refused the one jump that he did- I really thought he was going to go. And that’s the frustrating part. Even Trainer B said it- he’s got the talent and the ability, what’s missing is the obedience. Maybe that will come with time; I mean, he’s certainly better now than he was just a short time ago when I couldn’t get him around a single course without multiple refusals. Plus I know I’m probably reading too much into it all, thanks to my current mental state.

So homework this week was to get P moving off of both legs. Short sessions that end once he responds by moving his shoulders or hindquarters over, based on where my leg is asking.

Monday I went out for session #1 and when I asked P to canter in the warmup, I was met with much sideways bolting and throwing of the head. Which was weird, so I asked again and didn’t release pressure until he went into the canter. I worked trot/canter/trot/canter until the behavior stopped and he was going into the canter without fuss. Since I was more conscious than ever to just to use my legs and seat, I deliberately was keeping the reins on the looser side. And it’s a good thing because when I hopped off…


Yep, that’s a cut. On the corner of his mouth and a little further up, and the bit must have been irritating him. Since I didn’t see it before tacking up (but I also wasn’t looking for one) I have no idea if it happened because of the bit caused it, or was already there and the bit being in just irritated it. I know I would’ve noticed it if it had happened the day before because I bathed him at Trainer B’s after our lesson. Soooo…..fun. I sprayed it with Vetericyn, smeared some Aquaphor on it, and cried a little on the way home. Don’t judge.

So what to do? Give him off until it heals? HA. Why do that when I can risk my own life but at least still exercise my  horse?


At least I know I’m using only my legs and seat, right?




28 thoughts on “Blech.”

  1. i am so sorry for your loss. that sucks. But you were the best to him by doing this even if it doesn’t seem so!!

    And you would think Trainer B would learn to not stand so close. I was nervous every time you went by him, will this be the day P tramples him? 🙂 HA HA HA

    Sounds like considering your state of mind it was as good as it got and you jumped the things 🙂 And glad P got jumped by B too!

    hope his mouth heals fast. 🙂 Wild horse the rope halter 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was all “go around me and then here to angle it,” and I was like, “maybe move?” 😂😂 P was somewhat sane yesterday- pray he remains having mercy on me today as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ I'm so sorry. That's super tough. You guys still looked good out there. And no it's not stupid. You have a lot going on and not a lot of time to process, so if it helps to cut the video then do it. It's your blog after all <3. Keeping you in my thoughts.


    1. Thanks, it was so hard to make that decision! But definitely the right thing. P has actually been agreeable to both the halter rides he’s had so far- I’m impressed with his sanity as of late!


  3. So sorry to hear about the loss of your pup. They are finally acknowledging that losing a pet can be even more difficult than losing a family member.

    I get the just “dialing it in” thing sometimes. We are amateurs. This is a sport, not a life for us. It’s great that Trainer B was able to take over the ride and identify some homework for you.


    1. It makes it hard because they can’t tell you exactly what they want and the guessing totally causes guilt. I was panicking right before that we hadn’t done everything we could. It was the right decision, I know, but yeah, the guilt gets to me.

      Exactly my thought- I’m an ammy, I have a fantastic trainer- handing over the reins is something that’s gotten a lot easier for me lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You jest, but… when I got Henry and literally could not touch him with my legs or hands without him massively overreacting, the sidepull was what helped him learn. If you take all the “cheats” out of the equation, it’s amazing how fast and quickly they become more attuned to your seat and leg. Even though you have a little bit different problem, I bet it ends up helping you in the long run!


    1. Ha, my first thought when I saw the cut was that I totally wouldn’t be able to cheat my way through this week. And when I first got on I was totally lost; yesterday not nearly as much. A barnmate is bringing a side pull out for me to try, but ya, definitely not able to cheat right now!


  5. I’m so sorry hun. It’s never easy when we have to let our animals go. I’m so impressed you managed to even move after that happened. I’ll keep you in my thoughts. ❤


  6. Hugs to you for Kaiser. And to your vacuum cleaner that is either sighing in relief or depressed about not being used as often 🙂 (but in all seriousness lots of hugs bc our pets are a big part of us)

    P just has to keep B on his toes. Trainer B needs to be humbled every so often so I think Pilgrim is just doing his duty! Hahahahaha. But very curious how riding in a halter goes. I did this with my grey TB when she cut her face and the bridle irritated it but not a rope halter. She went really well (except when it came to stopping) so I think they learn a lot when having to rely on the seat and leg. But still HEAL QUICKLY PILGRIM!!!!!! VIRGINIA IS CALLING AND YOU SHOULD ANSWER!!!!! 😜


    1. I haven’t vacuumed once since last week and there’s so little hair it’s weird 😭

      😂😂😂At him humbling Trainer B. They definitely keep each other on their toes!

      I rode him in the rope halter Monday and his regular leather halter yesterday. I’m actually really pleased with his brakes (sit up and give a little squeeze with your knees and he practically stops on a dime). Steering was much better yesterday- he only ran into the fence once and a jump twice 😂


  7. I’m so sorry about Kaiser. It’s so hard to say goodbye but I believe the true gift of a good dog is all the memories to make you smile and laugh for the rest of your life when you think back.


  8. I appreciate your resourcefulness in making rides happen without bugging the ouchie lip! Seems like P is doing really well! So sorry to hear about your family’s dog tho, that is never easy 😦


  9. I am so very sorry to hear about Kaiser </3

    And lol to knowing you're using your legs and seat by using the halter only! A definite silver lining to having to spend time out of the bridle. He's such a good egg.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s