Thursday, September 20, 2018

No Patience

I have been waiting not so patiently for the farrier to come back out.  Because Stinker had the pad on, I couldn't see how anything was healing and it was making me crazy.  I had no way of knowing if I was keeping things clean enough or if I needed to be doing more.  I had myself half way convinced that his foot was going to fall off when the pad was removed.  #nologic #justparanoia

Thankfully, everything looked good.  It is slowly growing back, but he didn't show any sensitivity on it, so the pad was left off.  I have mixed feelings about that, because he is stepping short in the trot which means it is bothering him, but at the same time I like being able to see it.

I guess I will see how it goes.  I am still waiting on the new head plate for my saddle so I can widen it.  Once that comes in we can start doing walk rides (sadly no trail rides) to start building his fitness back up.  In the meantime I am hoping that I can sneak in a couple of rides on some borrowed horses.

It totally blows my mind that endurance riders are like SURE COME RIDE MY HORSE!!!!  I guess not everyone has particular weirdos that mind strange riders.  Either way it will be good for me to ride other horses and hopefully I don't make a fool out of myself.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Holding Steady

Stinker is mostly standing around and getting chunky, which isn't the worst thing in the world for him.  I got a new toy to help keep him in shape since he isn't really rideable, but I have been so busy with work that I haven't had time to play with it much.  Eventually I will get around to using it and write about it.

I gave up on getting the saddle fitter that comes through this area to fit my saddle.  So I sent pictures off to my old saddle fitter (she is a total wizard), because I thought I may as well do it when I am not riding in case I have to ship my saddle off.  Turns out that he just needs a different head plate in the saddle (which I am fine swapping out), so that is coming in the mail.

Shockingly, I really haven't been too much of a tack ho.  Probably because even that seems like too much effort.  I almost bought the long Kerrits coaches coat, but I have two of the shorter ones (one barn and one work).  I really need to buy some boots for winter.  My old pair have split at seam on the heel.  I haven't bothered with it because it has been dry, but eventually there will be snow so I do need to do something about that.

I am also casually looking for a trailer.  The old stock trailer gets the job done, but eventually the age will catch up to it and essentially any repairs on it would cost more than the trailer is worth.  I can't really decide between a two horse and a three horse, so it will probably end up being whatever falls into my lap.

I am helping with an endurance ride this coming weekend, so maybe I will remember to take pictures and write about that.  Life is pretty dull without lessons and riding.  Next week the farrier will be back to see how the foot is healing.  Fingers crossed that everything looks good, because I am going a little nutty not being able to see if I am doing ok at keeping it clean.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Leave It To Stinker

Last spring I started feeling something a little funky in Stinker's hind when I was riding.  I was unable to see anything from the ground, but it just didn't feel quite right.  Eventually I had the vet out to do a full lameness evaluation on him, but she also couldn't see anything.  A few days after the vet was out he came up super lame and proceeded to blow out a massive abscess.

I chalked the funky feeling up to the abscess coming on and then he proceeded to have a couple more at fairly regular intervals.  I justified those with the thought that it was because the previous one hadn't grown out and that provided an opening for another one to start brewing.  I finally got everything grown out and thought it was all good.

Then he acted like he had another one, but I never saw it open up and the soundness resolved.  I started getting worried, but decided as long as he was sound I shouldn't freak out.  A couple of weeks ago the same thing happened.  There was zero reason for him to have an abscess and even less of a reason for it to happen in the exact same place.

My farrier thought that he had deep thrush in the central sulcus.  I didn't understand how that would result in thick whitish pus repeatedly (the farrier never saw the pus).  Regardless, we both agreed that I should get the vet out.  I was super happy with the vet.  I sent her a short text asking for an appointment, she called me back quickly.  Then immediately called the farrier and we had a time set up for everyone to be there.

After the initial poking and prodding without many ideas, we snapped a couple X-rays to see if any space or foreign bodies showed up.  Thankfully, nothing showed up.  The next step was to start opening up the frog and seeing what was there.  The end result was at some point he had severe central sulcus thrush and it eroded the connection between the frog and the digital cushion.  When it healed the tissues were unable to reform that connection.

This left a gap between the frog and the digital cushion and that space continued to abscess.  The best way to rebuild this connection was to remove the frog until it was connected to the digital cushion and then allow it to grow back naturally.  Poor Stinker had the majority of his frog cut out (which he was a total trooper for and was really good for the farrier).  It was then packed and we went with a leather pad for protection.

It is going to take quite some time for his frog to grow back and he is quite sore.  But he is fine at the walk and can have his normal life.  So right now he is getting a bit of a break and I am only doing groundwork to keep him from being too bored.  Sadly he isn't going to be able to go on the trails for quite awhile (until it is totally healed because there are so many rocks) and hopefully in another week or so he will be ok to ride (vet said its fine to ride now, but I want to wait until he is fine trotting at liberty).

The good news is since we took x-rays of his one foot I asked the vet if she saw anything of concern. I have always been concerned about his right hind (foot in question) and I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.  She said that she did not see anything concerning and there was the possibility of maybe kind of sort of something in the fetlock, but without more views she couldn't say anything for sure.  She followed that up with "I really wouldn't worry about it.  He looks better than he did in the spring, and he looks way better than a horse with his conformation should.  The best thing for him is to keep doing what you have been doing."

So we will keep on keeping on and hopefully be right back at once he heals.  I am hopeful that this will clear up the lingering funky feeling I got in the hind end.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Mine All Mine aka Its Went Shopping

I was supposed to have a lesson on Saturday, but there was so much smoke it got canceled. Obviously that left my day open but the smoke left me little desire to do anything outside. Then I remembered that Kastel Denmark was having a warehouse sale. I looked up the location and it was a reasonable distance.

I love my Kastel shirts and wear the first batch I got (off of eBay when they had the super cheap lots) all the time. I already had 11 of them, but a few are starting to show the wear (2+ years of regular use) so I figured why not if they were cheap.

I was like a kid in the candy store when I got to the warehouse. They had boxes sitting out all marked $15. I don't mind if I do. I dove into the L, XL, and XXL box and immediately started sorting through everything. I *might* have gone a little overboard and bought everything in fun colors in my size and a couple in the next size up, bringing my grand total up to 21. But even the merino wool shirts were $15 so I really couldn't pass that up.

But really the purple shirt was an absolute necessity because now I have a shirt that matches my pad and I can have a full purple and grey outfit #winning

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Super Trooper

Stinker and I set out on an adventure.  After my misadventure last fall with following the endurance ride I decided I wasn't going to do that loop again (white line on the map).  But there is a lot of country in that area I haven't covered yet.  So after stalking google maps satellite images and putting together what I knew from both ends of my loop that I had covered I came up with a plan (blue line).

Misadventure vs adventure and yes that one place was quite steep on the misadventure

I honestly wasn't sure how far it was going to be or how big of a climb it would be, but Stinker is in pretty good shape and I could putz along on some of the steeper climbs to give him a breather.  Although he gets very frustrated with my omg can't breathe I'm dying pace.  He will put his head on my back and push.  I really should figure out how to tail him.

It ended up being a really pretty ride and we could see quite a ways in all directions.  Stinker got a little tired on the second climb (the first is cut off the map), but it is a pretty long and steady climb no matter how you slice it.  Essentially all of the climbing is in the beginning and it was about 2,300 feet.

It took us about 4 hours to go just over 15 miles (mostly because I am too much of a chicken to let him trot).  I keep telling myself that we can start adding in some trotting, but the paranoia is still too strong.  I try to remind myself that he is a healthy horse now, but I still treat him with kid gloves and I am really over protective about his legs and the wear they get.

There was lots of sign of the wild horses, but none of it was fresh so I think they hang in the area a lot in the spring time, but as the water sources dry up they drift into other areas.  I am still pretty leery and prefer not to get up close and personal with them.

By the time we got home I was very much omg so hot and tired.  Stinker was not the least bit tired.  He got hosed off and then I turned him loose.  He immediately rolled, tanked up on water, and then started chasing Cowboy around.  After he got bored with Cowboy, he dug into the hay and looked quite happy.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Logic or Emotion

I had two very good lessons (all the media is from one of them) and then I had a very rough lesson.  Logically, I know Stinker is a very tough ride.  I have watched trainer get on him and have similar issues (she is much better at correcting them more quickly, but the problems don't magically disappear).  Emotionally the lesson left me feeling totally incompetent.

After the fact I realized it was essentially all a physical issue on my part, which didn't really help with my emotional butt kicking.  His back used to curve to the right, so his hips were always trailing to the right.  My tendency is to collapse my right side and I really sink my right seat bone into him.  Which was magnified when I was trying to correct the haunches.  Now that he is straight, I can't break myself of the habit.

Sometimes I do better than others, but when I sit too much at work (especially when I am doing technical things that require full focus) I start sitting heavier on the right seat bone and it spirals from there.  Poor Stinker was suffering from me telling him to move his hind to the right while shoving it to the left with my seat bone.  He did not appreciate my mixed signals and got quite frazzled (I don't blame him because I get quite frazzled when I get opposite instructions).

I got a lot of inverting and flailing as my poor horse tried to tell me he wasn't capable of doing what I was asking.  If I get my butt out of his back and give him room to work he is totally capable.  But he is not the time to ignore one signal in favor of another one, he tries to do any and all plus some extras most of the time.

After much struggle we finally got some semi ok work and let him end.  After we talked a bit I suggested that the next time trainer gets on him, since she is crooked in the opposite direction going to the right is much easier for her.

On Tuesday I schooled at home and really focused on getting my right hip lifted and coming forward and the work felt really really good.  Hopefully I am able to recreate that feeling this weekend and find out if it looks as good as it felt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Progress In Pictures

In all of these pictures he is standing on level ground and I tried to take them from a similar angle.  Keep in mind my pictures are not the best because I don't have a lot of patience for taking pictures and someone *ahem* Stinker lacks patience at standing still and reasonably square.

May 2015: I knew something was wrong but didn't get a diagnosis/treatment plan for almost another month.  I stopped taking pictures after this point because it was not rock bottom and he continued to look like shit.

July 2016:  We had been on the walk program since the beginning of the year and he was starting to settle down a bit.

September 2017:  He was really settling in after the move and had started gaining weight with all the hay he wanted.  We had been taking lessons with trainer for about two months.

July 2018:  We've been here for a year and I had three separate people on different occasions tell me he wasn't as dropped in his pasterns.  I didn't believe it really until I put these photos together.

I am totally amazed at how much he has changed and recovered.  I still feel like there is a long ways to go, because he would prefer to prance around like a giraffe (side effect of having your neck and withers tie in mid back?).  But it is nice to be able to remind myself that yes we have made a ton of progress even if it feels like we are light years behind the curve (maybe because we started way way way back there).