Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lost Timing

In my last lesson I was on the struggle bus.  For whatever reason I could not manage the trot.  He was throwing his body around and inverting and flailing.  Everything just felt wonky.  Trainer asked if she could hop on to get a better feel for what was going on and I said be my guest.

I am pretty sure she has only been on him one other time and that was shortly after I started taking lessons with her.  Needless to say she was really impressed in the changes.  Some of the improvement was due to his level of comfort.  Any time he gets a new rider he gets really anxious.  But he has improved a lot too.

I really enjoyed seeing him go and she had fun riding him.  The conclusion we came to was I give too much, which results in me dropping the contact and then he immediately inverts.  After she rode a bit, I hopped back on and did slightly better.  For whatever reason, my timing was just a little off that day.

But yesterday, I did an actual dressage ride and he was so good.  I made sure not to drop the contact and just give slightly.  Everything was really consistent and right there.  I am sure that it wasn't picture perfect, but it felt fantastic.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Check It Off

I was finally able to get the vet out to take a better look at Stinker.  And I have to say, I like this one much better than the first one I tried.  It is very important to me to have professionals that take an interest in my horse.  I am well aware of his limitations and I am trying my hardest to do what is best for him, and I don't want to give someone my money while they phone it in.

So tired after his lesson

First the vet ran him through a serious of ground tests to see if there were any neurological symptoms.  She actually ended up working him longer because she was so amazed at how well behaved he was on the ground.  "Do you do ground work with him?"  "You must do ground work with him?"  "Look at him, my horse doesn't even do this this well."  "No really, I haven't seen a horse behave this well ever."  She must have overlooked the fact he nips when you trot him out.  But other than that he is quite well behaved on the ground.

She then asked to see him under saddle, which I was actually very thankful for.  He is such a different horse under saddle than he is on the ground.  It is hard to explain to people how he goes under saddle, because it is not reflected in his behavior on the ground.  She wanted to see essentially a simple lead change and I said I was willing to give it a shot, but that was not something we have really done.  I also explained to her that I haven't been cantering him a lot and I spend a lot of time working on relaxing and stretching.

And itchy

Of course he walked around really nicely to start, but unfortunately the trot was not great.  In hindsight I think the abscess was starting to bother him, because he was much more inconsistent and scooting than normal.  At the time I thought it was just because I was riding poorly.  It was probably a combination of both.  I never did get very good trot work out of him, but I did get some smatterings of ok work.

We finally called and the vet said, "Well I can see why you are having trouble, but I think you are doing the best you can with what you have.  He is very lucky."  Which it has been awhile since someone told me how lucky he was to have me.  I always translate into "a normal person would not deal with that BS" but I am not normal and I love my little anxious troublemaker.

I was trying to check his legs and he was looking for treats

So the final verdict was to keep doing what I am doing and from what she could tell everything seems to be fine.  She did say that because of the way he gets tense and flailing under saddle it is very difficult to sort the behavioral and physical out from one another.  Which that has basically been the story of the last few years.  The game plan is to get my saddle checked again next month, do another loading round of adequan and keep doing what I am doing.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Scarier Than A Warmup Ring

I finally found something that is scarier than a warmup ring.  It was so scary that I didn't even take a single picture.  #bloggerfail

Grumpy Cowboy

Since my horse was hopping around on three legs I needed a new plan for Saturday.  The only good thing about Stinker's timing is there was an endurance ride right next to us on Saturday.  (We won't talk about how pissed he was about not being able to move while all the horses trotted by.)  I decided that I would show up and see if I could help out.

It all started by me finding the ride manager and saying, "Hi, do you need help?  I don't know anything, but I am good at following instructions so if someone tells me what to do I should be able to do it."  She told me to stick around and she was sure she could find something for me to do.

Sure enough about 5 minutes later, the ride manager paired me up with one of the people taking pulses.  My job was to write down the time and heart rate prior (and out time) for each rider that the person I was working with took the heart rate on.  They neglected to mention that I was supposed to be filling out the out time until about half way through the second check for the 50 milers.  Whoops.

It was actually really fun, but that box is a terrifying place to be in the middle of a rush.  Picture this, there were four people taking heart rates, a line of horses waiting for the vet check, more waiting to be pulsed in.  You are trying to hear your person call time, then calling out the rider's number and hearing the timer call back the rider's number plus the time.  Then getting that plus the heart rate written down, all while ducking horses and people.  The wind was blowing cones and chairs over so you have to keep an eye on spooky horses, plus all the red ribbons.  So many red ribbons in tails of horses and everyone is just packing on in.

The lady I was paired up with was really really interesting.  She has over 12,000 miles.  During the down time (and there is plenty of it) everyone sat around and chatted.  I learned a ton about booting and sizing them and why some people prefer certain brands.  It was also fun to see all the different tack setups and hear discussion on why you would do a certain thing.  Like the person that had a running martingale on some type of halter setup (so the horse couldn't flip the reins to the same side of the neck).

Plus there was so much purple.  Some of these girls put Megan to shame.  My favorite was the girl that had braided purple sparkly ribbons into her horse's mane.  My favorite was when someone asked me if I did endurance.  I said no and they asked if I was thinking about doing it.  I said not with my current horse.  So then they asked what I did do and I said mostly dressage.  To which they responded after a beat, "Well that is a type of riding."

The new shoes that I really like

At some point I would love to do an endurance ride, especially since there are so many in this general area.  I don't think it will be with Stinker.  I am pretty sure his mind will be totally blown with the whole atmosphere, but it looks like fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Gimp Life

I had grand plans for the weekend.  I was going to have a lesson on Saturday and then Sunday we were going to go for a trail ride since the weather was going to be amazing.  Stinker decided to poop all over those by getting not one, but two abscesses in the same foot.

Friday I was going to drive him, since that seems to help him have a more relaxed ride the next day.  Except as soon as I asked him to trot he was super super lame.  I did jog him long enough to get a reading on the equisense, but that was it.  Since he had been fine the day before I crossed my fingers for an abscess and texted trainer to cancel the lesson and the farrier to see if he could come out on Monday if things weren't better by then.

The farrier cautioned me that it could take a few days for things to show up and made plans for Monday.  I was hopeful that Stinker would follow his standard pattern of not showing any symptoms until right before the abscess blew.  In the past he would be super lame for 24 or less hours and then it would blow and he would be back to walking normally.

Sure enough Saturday there was pus oozing, but he was still acting super lame and I was getting a little worried.  But Sunday morning there was more pus from a second spot and he was back to walking normally.  I am crossing my fingers and hoping that everything heals up quickly and without complications.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hos Gonna Ho

Also known as a very long round about way of justifying any purchase.  This all started way back when I first got Stinker.  D was sponsored by Eponia and I fell in love with their bridles.  When I upgraded Stinker's bridle I ended up going with PS of Sweden because of the elastic cradles.  Which at the time was a good choice, because they seemed to help him learn to trust the connection.

First bridle

Needless to say I have been lusting after the Eponia bridles (and the purple hackamore) ever since.  I begged SB to go touch them when she went to Rolex last year and was ecstatic when she bought brownie.  I was a little less ecstatic when I discovered it was horse and not cob sized and was never in a million years going to fit Stinker.  But that doesn't mean I didn't buy it off her with the justification that I could use it on Cowboy.

So delicious

Then I got a super awesome bonnet during the black friday from If The Bonnet Fits.  The bonnet just happens to match the topline that I got from SB (#teamfundZB).  The topline has been living on the bridle (also acquired from SB) I use for long lining, but I used it for a lesson a couple weeks ago and hated the fit.

Couldn't handle it

Then it just so happened that ITBF posted and browband less Eponia for sale.  It was black and cob sized.  I tried to tell myself I didn't need it (but I really did).  I tried to tell myself I didn't have the money (I can always find money for tack).  Then I said screw it the topline deserves an Eponia bridle.

Pretty sparkles need pretty leather

So I got it and then sat around one evening sniffing my bridle.  It smells like delicious leather because it is delicious leather.  I did manage to stop sniffing it long enough to use it a couple of times.  My only complaint is there are so many buckles.  With my PS I don't have to undo the cavesson to slide it on and off, so it requires zero buckling.  The Eponia has a throat latch and I have to undo the cavesson.  It is much #effor