Getting Freedom Fit Again

Freedom in the tall grass

After a long summer of growing out his hoof, Freedom finally is back under saddle. I’m taking it easy right now, mostly walking him. Or at least walking him as much as he will tolerate. It’s just as well that the “live” version of the featured photo doesn’t show all the head tossing or jigging that went on during that ride.

Some of it is the bugs. He’s more tolerant of them than Zelda (who is very clear about her dislike), but that day they were particularly aggressive. Some of it is his energy. Freedom keeps himself pretty fit in his pasture. Now that it’s cooler I see him running up the hill, still as light on his feet as he was a decade ago.

Under saddle, I’m not sure he’s completely sound. I’ve done a little bit of trotting and cantering and he feels okay on the right lead, a bit wobbly on the left. However, as Denny Emerson always says, walking is the best way to get your horse fit. Lots of walking. It’s low stress, easy on the joints and relaxing for both horse and rider.

As summer slides into fall we’ve had some beautiful days here — crisper, cooler and bright blue skies full of big puffy white clouds. Freedom

Every day that I can, I take him out for 30 or 45 minutes of brisk walking. I’m lucky to have such beautiful trails right across the street. They are regularly maintained by the owner. If only he could get rid of some of the deer!

I don’t know if Freedom will ever be a foxhunter again, but he has a real spring to his step when i take him out. He’s always liked to explore and he never worries about being on his own. The biggest surprise for me is how small he feels! I’ve been riding Zelda all summer and she’s a lot longer and wider than Freedom. He’s much more like a sports car and she’s a Hummer.

I guess at 22 he can dictate what he’s most comfortable doing.

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