Billy contemplates Mr. Universe

Billy before and after

Billy before and after

The top photo is Billy from about 10 months ago; the bottom one is yesterday. I really am astounded at how he has filled out, bulked up and pretty much straightened out his frame. All due to careful coaching and monitoring on the part of my trainer, Karin Bielefeld. For those of you who haven’t been following this blog long enough to know the history, we started out about two years ago with a horse who has ongoing degeneration of the suspensory ligaments in the hind legs. For quite a while he couldn’t even trot properly. He lost a lot of weight and muscle mass from inactivity and general reluctance to move through the pain. Through structured exercise on the lunge line, reprogramming of the rider’s (that’s me) technique, and little details such as custom made support boots (for the horse) and stretching exercises (for horse and rider) we now have a real horse again. To the point that he also got his old ornery attitude back again along with his revamped body.

Billy decided a while back that he didn’t like the great outdoors if he had to go out there alone. We had several arguments about it, and as of yesterday I was nowhere near convinced that I had won. Last summer we rode out in a large field and he behaved like an idiot, refusing to go forward, bucking, crabbing around, then hurrying towards “home”. So yesterday Karin said after we were 3/4 of the way through our indoor lesson that we would finish up out in the field. I protested. Billy said nothing. Karin insisted that everything would be OK. So out we went, and along the way we had to pass by a rattling tractor mowing the lawn, and a lot of horse trailers and horses that are usually not there. Billy hesitated a little, but  kept going. I thought we were headed for the outdoor ring, but when we got there Karin said keep going into the field. Billy plodded forward. We checked out the uneven terrain and plotted out a nice large circle that still gave us some ups and downs but wasn’t dangerous. Then we picked up a lovely trot. Billy gets energized when he’s out in the open, but he doesn’t do this in an outdoor ring. Which is why Karin insisted we head for the field. I was surprised at how easily I could sit his trot on this bumpy field. I heard a voice wafting across the field saying “This is when you are supposed to say ‘You were right, Karin’ ” so I shouted back that she was right! Then she said pick up a canter. Billy went into the most powerful canter I’ve ever felt on him, and I’ve been riding him for 10 years. He had what the dressage people call a lot of “jump” in the canter and he was truly enjoying himself without being an idiot. Although, I secretly suspect that he was behaving because Karin was there and he knew that if he started acting stupid she would be all over his case!

Billy and I share some love after our ride. The big scary field is just over the hill behind us.

Billy and I share some love after our ride. The big scary field is just over the hill behind us.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in Billy's progress, horses and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Billy contemplates Mr. Universe

  1. Wendy says:

    He REALLY did look great out there!!


  2. Jan Fedorenko says:

    What an amazing guy!! I can hardly believe the before and after…Your love picture – that’s a painting…look at his eye…what a sweet look


  3. Rayya says:

    You can absolutely tell the difference. You and his trainer have done an awesome job with him. I love the photo of you together 🙂


    • Alli Farkas says:

      Thanks Rayya! The best part about all this is that he actually stands square and balanced now, whereas before he listed to one side and twisted his back and pelvis. When we started his rehab I had to ease him into the trot and wait for him to work it out and even out his steps, but now he moves right into it totally solid. The suspensories will continue to degenerate–nothing we can do about that–if you look at the right hind fetlock you can see that it is starting to drop. But he’s not in pain, so I figure keeping him as fit as possible is best for him at this time. I didn’t do any of this for me, as I had absolutely no expectations. Whatever comes out of it is for Billy, and the pleasure I get is just a side effect! The other amazing thing is that he is accomplishing all this on absolutely no pain meds other than some liniment on the hind legs!!!


  4. Rayya says:

    Hey Alli. It really how horses just love to be fit. Billy must really be benefiting from the training especially because he doesn’t need any pain meds!


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