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December 8, 2011: Older Horse, Older Rider, Good Combination

Without even giving the matter much thought, I decided to take Tinni out first today. The road grader had been by earlier and scraped the top layers of snow off the road, leaving an icy surface. Tinni would (again) help me test the waters. I decided that if we together determined that it was too slippery, that I’d forgo riding the other horses.

I don’t know what I’d do without Tinni; in fact, when I was here and he was at Nilla’s (this was prior to our trip), I felt at a loss. I depend on him to help me figure out what I’m going to do on a given day.

I remember when Katelyn Barnett, then

Tinni the old horse
Tinni the old horse

18, sold him to me. She was moving on, and needed to be horseless for a while. She elected to keep Blossi, who was a more difficult mount than was Tinni. She could then do things on Tinni that I then could not then do, like ride him bareback, and vault onto his back from the rear. Tinni turned out to be the right horse for me. I learned on him how to ride in a confident fashion. I now routinely ride bareback, though I haven’t yet gotten the vaulting thing down.

Katelyn learned a great deal from young Tinni. I’m learning a great deal from older Tinni. I do not mean just riding-wise, although this is a big part of it. I mean horse-care wise. Tinni came with heaves, a respiratory problem. The outward symptom is a terrible, dry, hacking cough. I took care of this by giving him dust-free, mold free hay, and every so often, Ventipulmin. He hasn’t coughed now in a few years. He’s always been a slow mover, but when he came back this summer from Nilla’s, he was practically immobile.  

I treated Tinni for white line disease with White Lightning, and resumed exercising him, first walking him, and then riding him every day. This, and a diet change, has brought him back to life. I give him Biotin, Flex Max (for his joints) flax, Millennium Gold, a small amount of concentrate feed, a quarter of a cup of corn oil, and either an apple or a carrot, every day, at mid-day. I also do TTeam body work on a daily basis. I haven’t had to blanket Tinni this year. In past years his coat has been patchy. This year, it’s the best it’s ever been.   

Staying attentive to Tinni’s needs requires me to be diligent. The tradeoff is that he gets to continue to do what he does so well, which is to be a wonderful riding horse. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. He’s got many human friends, who know full well that he’ll watch out for them when we go on rides. I’ll of course continue to treat Tinni to the best of my abilities when he can no longer be ridden. Older horse, older rider, it’s a good combination.

Next: 9. 12/9/11: Snow Day