Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Eating Crow

It shouldn't be a secret that I love my Kastel sun shirts.  I own a boatload of them and wear them all the time.  So periodically when reviews pop up and say they are really hot, I have been like

And for that I am sorry, because I think I finally figured out the difference.  A few months ago, I finally found a navy one on sale enough for me to buy it.  And I was shocked as hell that it was awful in the heat.  So so terrible.  It has been great this winter and I frequently wear it.  But when it is hot nope nope nope.  Do NOT go there.

Of course me being me needed a reason for why they were so different.  I started with the fabric content and sure enough all of my other ones are 88%/12% nylon to spandex, but the hotter shirt is 92/8.  I don't know if anyone else cares, but it made me happy to finally figure out the mystery of the OMG hate vs OMG love reviews.

Bodywork All Around

When I found out trainer was going to be on vacation for most of January so I wouldn't have any Saturday lessons for awhile, I thought it would be a good time to schedule a bodywork appointment.  The lady that does the bodywork also is a physical therapist so I decided to have look at my hips since they have been so wonky.  Plus once I was spending all my money I figured I might as well throw something in for Cowboy.  So all three of us got put down for bodywork.

I thought about canceling Stinker, because he is quite defensive to start with and add in the sore hip I was a little worried that she wouldn't be able to do anything with him.  But I decided he probably needed all the help he could get since it is the side he tends to favor anyway and I could just give her a heads up.  Thankfully he didn't seem quite as sensitive on Saturday, because the first thing she said was "That is a good way to fracture a hip."  Luckily I was off the OMG FOREVER BROKEN train.

As expected he was very reluctant to let her work on his hind, but she did get some good releases.  And she spent a lot of time on his left shoulder, which tends to get wonky when his right hind is bothering him.  Overall it was a very productive session and made me feel better about things.

Cowboy is the opposite of Stinker when it comes to bodywork.  Stinker tends to fidget and try to avoid the releases.  Cowboy immediately got droopy and went to yawning and licking.  The most interesting part is she worked on Cowboy long before we got him, and she said he felt much better than before.  I have been concerned about his muscling, but I don't think there is anything to worry about and I just need to stop staring at dressage horses so much.

Finally it was my turn.  She set up her table in the barn aisle and Stinker stood with his head hanging over the fence the entire session.  A quick exam showed that my hips were uneven and my right hip was sitting lower than my left.  A few stretches later and one small tweak they were back to being even and I have a serious of exercises and stretches to do to hopefully keep them in position.  I really liked that she rides and knows exactly what I am talking about and how things effect the horse.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Who Needs A Hip?

In true Stinker form as soon as it stopped raining he banged himself up.  I am really not sure how he managed to do it, but it looks like he slammed his right hip into something quite hard.  He took 3-4 inches by 1.5 wide patch of hair off, but the part I found concerning was the swelling below the cut and the fact he wasn't trotting or cantering on his own.

Not that ugly, but quite ouchy

He loves to move, he is basically the energizer bunny in equine form so I get concerned when he isn't bouncing around.  I made him trot a little and while reluctant he was only slightly off so I made myself wait and see.

Friday I was starting to get nervous, because he still wasn't trotting on his own and he was still very sensitive to the touch.  I debated calling the vet, but decided there really wasn't much to be done since he was resting himself and the lameness was not getting worse.

Just wanted more time off with the nice weather

Luckily, by Saturday morning he wasn't as sensitive and was back to bouncing around.  I wasn't even upset when the little turd kept trotting away from me and wouldn't let me check the swelling.  The swelling is mostly gone and he seems to be moving normally which makes me very happy.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Work Da Booty

After the no hamster day, I decided to take advantage of one of the last non rainy days for the week and do a hill workout for Stinker.  The hill I chose to use starts off with a fairly long shallow steady climb and then ends with a short steep climb.  Overall you climb a little over 100 ft and it takes Stinker less than five minutes walking.

Top of the hill

I had intended to do the hill four or five times, but he was starting to sweat after three so I stopped there.  It was starting to cool off and he has not been clipped so I didn't want him to get too sweaty.  Silly me.  On the way home he decided he no longer knew how to walk and as a result he got himself quite worked up.

More of this please

I stayed consistent and would halt or circle when he started to get bouncy and lose the rhythm of the walk.  It was very slow progress and by the time we got back he still wasn't giving me the walk I wanted.  So he got to walk past the paddock (and his lover boy, Cowboy), turn around walk back past the empty lots and repeat.  Luckily Stinker picks up on things fairly quickly and realized he wasn't going to get to go back to the barn until he settled down.  After two passes, he immediately settled and started stretching for the contact.

Stinker wants more of this

Now if we could just do that without the dramatics I would be happy camper.  In the end he got a bit more of a workout than I had intended, but considering it rained Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I don't feel bad about it.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Wanted: One Hamster

Poor Stinker lost his hamster on Saturday.  It was a no good horrible rotten day for his poor little brain.  I grabbed him early because he was filthy.  It had rained and he found the one slightly muddy spot and rolled in it.  Both sides, face covered, all the way over.  Such a filthy pig.

He started getting anxious in the barn and kept getting pushy and wouldn't respect my space.  I tried distracting him with hay, nope hamster was fully lost.  He finally calmed a little when Cowboy was brought in, but still almost murdered my saddle twice when I was tacking him up.  Needless to say I was rather annoyed and making threats (not that he cared).  I hoped he would settle once we started moving, but he didn't really settle until we climbed a steep hill.  Then he perked up and started acting like his normal self.

Unfortunately, on the way back down the one trail we ran into a large group (10+) of dune buggies.  Usually Stinker is better than Cowboy with dirt bikes/dune buggies/traffic, but not without his hamster.  Stinker hit the brakes and refused to go forward and felt like he was about to spin and bolt.  I decided the best option was to not press the issue and just get off.  I was rather annoyed, because the people (who were stopped and out of the dune buggies) did not even leave a path for the horses to get through.  So we had to scramble through the brush and drop off a bank to get around them.

But poor Stinker was totally frazzled and I had to walk him for about another half mile before he settled enough.  He was pretty twitchy for the rest of the ride and was quite relieved to get home and turned out again.  I haven't felt his brain so out of sorts for a really long time.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Less Than Perfect

Stinker has been excellent for the lessons, way better than average.  He adores trainer and puts his best hoof forward for all of our lessons.  We finally had an off lesson.  It actually made me feel a little better, because the inconsistency at home isn't just due to my inability to ride.  He wasn't bad, just tense and frazzled.

Tack room is scary

After the fact I decided it was caused by his right hind being a little sore.  My main reasoning behind that is he would not let me post on the correct diagonal when it loaded the right hind.  He would tense and jig and toss me off.  He used to do this when his right hind was weaker, but over the summer and the fall it strengthened up enough that things were fine.  Plus he has been being especially bratty in the paddock.

He had been running circles around Cowboy for awhile

Anyway back to the lesson, it was nice to get a few more tips on how to manage him when he is having a bad day.  The bad days are a lot fewer and easier to manage, but more information and tools never hurt.  Most of it was reminding me that my riding has to be better and more precise when he gets like that.  I need to be steady and firm, but not harsh.

Post lesson noms

He feels more secure with contact, but at the same time when he gets frazzled he bounces off the contact a lot.  My timing and position need to be on point to get him to settle.  Luckily with trainer reminding me how to ride and getting my hips in line, we were able to get him some what consistent. He never settled as much as I would have liked, but he was stretching and working correctly.

Trainer asked me if I wanted to canter and I declined.  She did not push the issue even though I could tell she really wanted to work on it.  I liked that she took my word for what I was feeling with him and didn't push for more.  While I do have a tendency to error on the side of too cautious, I do think cantering him would have been a very poor choice, especially if he was a little sore.  Sadly that was my last lesson for three weeks.

My plan is to really work on getting him back to being settled and being able to use my leg more.  Hopefully the weather will keep cooperating, so far this winter has been really mild and the footing has been holding up really well.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Year of the Canter

I am dubbing 2018 as the year of the canter.  It doesn't feel like it is a stretch goal.  It feels attainable, but I also am waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Stinker has had me so well trained with various physical issues that I am just waiting (and hoarding my money) for something else to pop up.

But I want to have Stinker consistent in the walk trot and canter.  I think physically everything is ok, especially if I can keep getting him out on the hills this winter.  It has helped to build up his hind end so much, and so far the winter has been pretty mild.  I just need a little more daylight and spending less of it at work.

I want to put my budget towards lessons and saving to replace trusty rusty, so I am not planning on doing any showing this year.  Last year I wanted to take him places so he was some what used to hauling before the move.  But he has been in a show environment and it didn't blow his mind.  We see a reasonable amount of traffic at the lessons, plus he has short hauls to the lessons on a regular basis.

As far as goals for me, I am not setting anything in stone.  My life still feels upside down from all of the changes and I don't want to add in goals.  If I don't meet goals I have full control over I feel like a failure which isn't a great feeling.  Maybe in the next quarter I will feel more settled and have a better idea of what is sustainable for me.