Rehabbing Funny Bunny B: On a Vacation

From riding in t-shirts and jeans to coveralls and muck boots, Buns and I have really been slacking on doing anything to fine tune. We need to get out of vacation mode ASAP!

If you’ve been following the series about Funny Bunny B’s complex injury, you know he’s been on a long road to recovery. If you haven’t had the chance to read about the nightmare, here’s a recap: On October 7, 2019, Funny Bunny B (Buns) sustained an injury to his right hind leg. He had a fracture, a severed tendon and soft tissue damage.

On his journey to recovery I, along with In Stable Hands and Buffalo Valley Stables, have faced many challenges and addressed educational topics that I have been sharing. I’ve also discussed the reasons why I have gone through such extensive care with Buns, rather than thinking about the option of putting him down. I’ve been open about the frustrations of having an injured horse and I recognized horses I’ve had the opportunity of riding while Buns was healing.

Over the past year I kept you all up to date on Buns’s riding regimen. From walking for 15 minutes to now participating in competitions, you guys have followed him through it all. Just when Buns was really coming along and we were ready to start competing, the tables turned and Buns started rehabbing me.

On June 8, 2020, I was in a head-on collision that totaled my car and wrecked multiple parts of my body. The setback did not stop us. Buns aided me in my rehab. He stepped up to the plate for me and I don’t think I’d be as far as I am now in my healing or competition ranking without him.

My goal for Buns was for him to come back from this injury without any restrictions and be a force to reckon with. He’s shown that goal was a realistic one and one that has been met. He’s planting himself and really digging with his hind end, exhibiting minimal to no signs that he was ever injured.

Photo by Tara Lindstrom

In my last article I discussed using unconventional training methods to refine some of Buns’ weaker maneuvers. Since my last article, I haven’t revisited those unconventional methods once — and it shows. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that Buns’s handle is a tad bit rustier than usual. Between going on vacation for the last week and a half of November and all the trail riding opportunities we’ve had, we just haven’t been focusing on maneuvering as much as usual.

Photo by Jodi Yute

I mean, I just couldn’t pass up all the trail riding opportunities we’ve had over the past month. The weather in Pennsylvania has been atypical for November and I’d be foolish not to take advantage of the warmer temperatures. What better way to spend lengthy amounts of time in the sunshine than on Buns’s back? Buns and I put in some serious trail hours throughout the month and we have returned several times with a wet saddle pad and, for me, a sore tush.

Photo by Jodi Yute

We had the opportunity to ride with old friends and horses and also made new riding buddies. We’ve encountered boats, beaver dams, a plethora of creek beds and numerous steep hillsides. We’ve walked, trotted, cantered and galloped for many miles but we really haven’t worked on any type of fine tuning.

Now that I have returned from vacation, I can feel the rustiness more than ever — for me and Buns. I’m a bit sloppier than usual in my riding, and maneuvering Buns feels like I’m trying to maneuver a bus. For lack of better words, it ain’t good.

Photo by Marcella Gruchalak

Winter is now in full swing in Pennsylvania, snow and all, so I’m sure my Carhartt coveralls and muck boots aren’t the greatest attire to be riding in either. We all do it though, right? Or is it just me that adapts this attire for winter riding?

Regardless, Buns and I really need to pull ourselves together within the next week as we’re going to a mounted shooting competition next weekend.

It’s been over a month since our last competition and I’m not feeling too confident that we’re going to do anything spectacular next weekend. Mounted shooting, like any other sport, is an event you need to practice in order to excel. The lack of practice leads to weaker thumbs and hands to handle the guns and sloppier riding. Sloppier riding leads to cueing Buns more slowly and that results in Buns becoming duller to the cues. Being out of practice in the multiple skills mounted shooting requires leads to slower times, sloppier runs and aiming issues.

It’ll be interesting to see how we do after our extended period of time off. I have faith that the two of us will get ourselves together in time and be the great team we are by next weekend — or we could totally flop.

Whatever the outcome, we’re just going to take things one day at a time and enjoy each opportunity we have together. But seriously, I need to get my butt into gear, change out of my muck boots and get us back to work!