Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Grit your teeth and keep going

Kind of a frustrating, meh ride last night.  We got where we needed to get and had some good work, but we just weren't clicking at all.  He wasn't real interested in the 'move forward into the contact' concept.  Bay giraffe at any gait other than walk was okay with him, though. *grrr*

I realize that no matter how many people think I should be going to the little jumping shows, I don't feel ready.  For one, we haven't had many lessons lately because finances are the debbil.  For two, Apollo didn't much like getting galloped past last night.  It's very good for Apollo to be working with other horses, because he went "eeeeep!  RUN!" when Brego came up behind and past him.  No big deal: he didn't bolt or anything, but he still wanted to.  He wasn't connected to me well enough last night to notice and then ignore.  So until I feel like we can handle a crazy warmup arena without getting spun up like a turbine, I don't think going to the NWWJS is a good idea, what with all the chaos in the warmup (more than at a regular show) and the mirrors on one side of the arena.  Sure, we could do ground poles, cross-rails, or 2'.  It's not the jumping I'm concerned about.  It's everything before and in between.   No need to have a bad experience.

Also -- heh; it seems like when I really want to have a dressage ride with lots of free space for figures, there are standards and poles out in the arena.  When I feel like riding in my jump saddle and practicing poles, the arena is clear and blank.   Poles are easy to get out and set up, though.

Hoping for more clear space tonight.  I'll check before I tack up. If the standards and poles are still out, I'll just plan to do that.  If not, I'll go with the dressage ride.  Either way, it's one of those days when I need to push myself into getting out there; I am in that "I don't feel good and I have things to do at home" place.

Meanwhile, it's cold.  Really cold.  I do not approve.

And I hope Apollo's doing okay in the pasture still.  There weren't any shenanigans yesterday, but that was yesterday.  And he didn't have a full day in the pasture, so ... we'll see.

Honestly, I think I'm just having a bad day.  It happens.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hooligan

Productive ride last night -- I longed first, then hopped on.  Pony was a little up and spooked at the mirrors, then gave the standards in the corner a really hard look, considering whether he wanted to spook.  I decided that yknow, I'd rather not fight that fight.   Work smarter, not harder!   So I plopped him back on the line and side reins and made him work.   When I got back on 10 minutes later, Apollo was much, much more interested in being cooperative.   Heh.

So we worked on steady, rhythmic trot, trot-canter transitions, and some shoulder fore and leg yield.   We're in a good starting place on the lateral work: I get the concept and the basics, but I need to refine my aids and make the movements better.  He needs to strengthen.  This is a good place to be in.  :)

And the Naughty Pasture Instigator goes back out to pasture today.  *nibbles nails*  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried -- for his safety, for the other horses' safety, for the fences ... but I'm hoping it works out.   Please, Apollo, don't be the pasture troll.  Please.


Monday, December 17, 2012

More saddle pondering

(Another entry before this if you missed it.)

So like the Sprinkler Bandit, I too obsessively tack-shop when I'm broke.   And I am definitely shopping for my future saddle.   I got the Collegiate back from the FLTS, all fixed and with the red medium-wide gullet installed.  It needs a good cleaning and conditioning, which I will probably get to this weekend.  But other than that, I think it'll work okay until I save up some money.  I think.  I'll see if MT or TD will look at it with the new gullet in, see what they say.  I'm a little concerned that it rolls with the wider gullet -- either it rolls or I didn't tighten my girth enough on Friday, because it slid a bit when I dismounted.  That latter is possible.

ANYway.  The problem with this obsessive saddle shopping is that I'm not entirely sure WHAT I'm looking for.  I think a Black Country or a County.  Or maybe a Devoucoux.  Or maybe a Prestige.   I don't think a Stubben.

And I'm not a thousand percent sure what size Apollo wears or fits me best.  17.5?  18?  18.5?  I don't know.  Shorter flaps are definitely better for my short little legs, but those are a bit hard to come by used.

So I'm thinking I ought to get a professional fitter involved.

But ...  The only fitters I can think of around here are affiliated with specific saddle brands.  I wouldn't mind talking to the County fitter, but would she recommend a Black Country?   The other fitter is pretty loyal to her brand.   Is it worth it to send a tracing to Trumbull Mtn?  I kind of suspect yes, because they'll be open to recommending various brands, but then again, the idea of fit-via-internet is a little scary.

I guess my criteria are pretty simple:  1.  In my price range   2.  Fits Apollo   3.  Fits me   4. Appropriate for cross-country and showjumping   5. In good shape; serviceable   6. Makes me feel secure.

And I guess my path is ... uh ... clear?    1.  Figure out what I'm looking for   2. Save at least $1000    3.  Sell Collegiate jump saddle   4. Find the best deal available on the saddle I'm looking for   5.  Buy saddle.

It's that #1 that's the doozy.  :/   I'm skipping to step 2 for now.   Step 1 is, like, hard and stuff.  :/

Monday, I think.

Maybe it's just me, and maybe I'm not fully well yet, but it's amazing how much judging -- i.e. sitting/standing in the cold all day, no lunch break, paying close and careful attention to everything going on for eight hours straight -- takes out of a person!   I arrived at the show grounds at 10:20, got situated, and we got the show going at 10:40 or so.  I didn't get home until after 6:30.   And it was cold out there!  I swear, you never really respect judges and volunteers until you stand in their shoes.  Or their judging box, or whatever.

Only a couple of minor mishaps through the show -- the Swedish oxer got crashed more than a few times, and one rider had a Really Bad Day at the plank fence, falling twice and having way more than her share of refusals at it.  I felt for her; I have had that Day before!   I was only scared to death by a round twice.  ;)   So no broken bones, no broken horses, no broken fences, and only one broken piece of tack -- I will take it.

It might not have been the world's best idea to go hang out outside all day when I wasn't really healthy yet, but ... heh, I kept having to repeat things over the radio because I was so stuffed up.  I'd say "dat's zero jumb faulds and a tibe of ond ond dine," trying to communicate a clear round and a time of 1:19.   It was fun anyway.   But by the time I left, I was wiped out.  Completely done.  Stick a fork in me, paint a line down my back, dun.

So no ride for me on Saturday.  Sunday was given over to my mom and to grocery shopping before I fell over in an exhausted stupor.  I did at least pick up a new set of Bogs for the barn, but other than that there was no horsey goodness on Sunday.

So maybe I can haz ride today.  I can certainly haz longe.   I have as much time as I want, so ... yes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catastrophe arrived last night in the form of a nap.  I should know better than to think I can snooze for 30-60 minutes, no matter how healthy science says it is.  Especially when I've been sick and am trying to get better.   Especially-especially when stress is added in there.

So I'm heading out to the barn tonight.  I need to work my poor cooped-up horse.  Too much longer and I'mma have a stick of dynamite instead of a horse.  Fair warning for folks at the barn: I'll need an end of the arena to longe in before I get on.   ;)   I doubt Apollo will be terribly squirrelly, but it's good for him.

Really looking forward to getting on and spending some time in the saddle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poor Sparky!  Pseudomonas infection in his right ear -- fortunately the left ear is completely clear.  I'll be picking him up from the vet later this afternoon, avec antibiotics and pain meds.   He was really, REALLY unhappy about having the ear examined, much less cleaned.

Apollo has nice neat feet again, too.  I hauled my butt out to the barn to be there for the farrier (we loff him!) last night, despite feeling crappy.  Kind of a good thing I wasn't riding, because things were crazy busy last night - apparently Tuesday is a busy evening at the barn!  I plan on riding tonight, barring catastrophe.

Just a "not really ded" post, I guess.

Monday, December 10, 2012

House of pain (edited) (edited again)

It's shaping up to be One Of Those Winters ... I'm sick.  Again.  If an alien does not spring forth from my face, I will be rather surprised.  

It's irritating for a variety of reasons -- first, I've been doing SO well with vitamins, diet, exercise, allergy meds, all that.  The fact that I can do so well and still get miserably sick is annoying.  

Second, obviously, lack of riding.  I don't want to do anything but sleep and lounge inside.  Definitely not go outside and ride.  I just feel rotten.  I did call TW and ask if one of the three riders could put a ride on Apollo this weekend; she said that could be arranged.  This will be awesome, I think.  Still.  I will get out there tonight after work, by hook or by crook.

EDITED:  Um, well ... since I can't decide if I'm freezing or roasting and generally feel awful, I am staying home.

Third ... I'm sure I had a third reason in here somewhere.  It's lost in the headache.

ANYway.  My jump saddle is fixed and ready to go at the FLTS.  I'll pick it up Friday, yay!  We'll see how it goes.  I might need to grab a riser pad while I'm there.

Saturday is judging at the schooling jumper show, with TSB holding the timer.  Woo!

Meanwhile, I sniffle.

ALSO?  Who needs human kids?  Sparky, my boy corgi, has an ear infection.  I have to giggle a teeny bit, because it's such a familiar story: one member of the household gets sick, then the others fall one by one.  And ear infections in kids are standard issue ... my kid just happens to have four legs and a tail.  :)    We'll get to the vet as soon as possible.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zzzz ...

There is not enough coffee in the world right now to shake me out of the sleepies.   Adrenaline might do it, but really, who wants a disaster?  Or a freaking giant needle?    No, what I really need is a good long nap.  Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen.  Finish work, go to barn, take care of dogs, maybe even eat dinner, THEN sleep.   Then get up again tomorrow morning to be at work on time, then work, then barn, then gym, then take care of dogs, maybe even eat dinner, THEN sleep in!  

(Getting up, walking around, and then wiggling around in my cube helped.  Yet another reason why I wish I worked at home: so I could do some exercise when I get tired like this and not worry about looking the fool in the office.)

I *did* have a good ride last night, though.  Apollo was listening, and I had some success with maintaining the canter.  The trick seems to be swinging my hips very clearly and, to the right, using a strong outside leg to keep him on the track.   We also got some good left bend, working on keeping his shoulders in front of my hips and asking him to push from behind.

We still need more push in the trot and better maintenance of the canter, but I think just this week we've had progress.


The OTHER thing we need?   Freakin' Miracle Groom, or maybe just Nature's Miracle.  That horse sleeps in his pee spot in his stall.  UGH.  I love him and I totally want to hug his neck, but he's smelly.  The wash stall isn't an option ... so I'll have to give him a sort of sponge bath.   Yuck, yuck, yuck, and ugh.   At least he's not grey!!   So yeah.  Must remember to take towels to the barn to deal with the grossness.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pony still tight with Jesus.

The lesson of "quit kicking at my leg and canter when I tell you to, on the longe and under saddle" seems to have stuck.  Good pony!!   :)

We're back to sunshine and roses, which makes me pretty dang happy.   Not to say that we don't have things to work on, because that pile gets larger and larger the more I ride ... but at least I have cooperation and a pleasant attitude from my sweet pony again.  

Irritatingly, I won't get to ride tonight.  Grumble.  I have to work late, so I will go from work to the gym.  We'll see, though.  I might get lucky and get to ride after all, but ... work is important.  Gotta keep a roof over everyone's head!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gen. Apollo McAuliffe

Well.   Said Sarah of Eventing in Color:   Maybe he needs to give himself a chiropractic adjustment with the help of a turnout and you with a longe whip.


Heh. Heh. Heh.   That is almost exactly what he got.  :)    Here's how the conversation went on Saturday:

To the Horse Commander:

      Come to Jesus. 

The Human Commander.

           To the Human Commander:

                 NUTS.

          The Horse Commander.

To the Horse Commander:

     Perhaps a longe line, longe whip, and side reins will make you change your mind.  I say again: Come to Jesus.

The Human Commander.

           To my Human Overlord:

                  I'm tight with Jesus.  Did you want me to come at a trot or at a canter?

           The Horse.


When I was longing him to the right and asked for canter transitions at first, he bulged as far left as he could possibly bulge and threw his head in the air.   I figured that he probably needed outside aids, so I busted out the side reins.  I didn't put them on tight, of course, seeing I had no idea whether he'd ever used them before.  But once he figured them out, the canter issues improved quickly.    That plus me insisting on forward motion at all times, and not letting him off the hook no matter how far left he went, did the trick.

After that longe lesson, I got quiet, polite canter transitions when I asked for them under saddle.  :)   

Didn't ride yesterday, but looking forward to tonight.  I do believe I'll longe him again before I ride, just to make sure he's still on the straight and narrow.    

Friday, November 30, 2012

GASP!

Apollo BUCKED.  Under saddle.   *gasp!*

I have to laugh, though.  It was a straight up and down buck, not the buck and twist that Reveille could get going.   He didn't drop his shoulder, just humped up and bucked.  Hee.

He only did it at the canter, only late in the ride, only on the right lead, and only three or four strides after the depart.   He bucked a little; I said "quit that" and asked for the transition again.  He bucked again; I growled "Stoppit," took off my spurs so as not to be inadvertently spurring him and causing it, and asked for the transition again.  He bucked a bigger buck; I said "FUCKING STOP THAT!", hopped off, and longed him at a canter for several minutes.   He didn't really want to canter or keep the canter, but I had to make a point.   I'd already conceded the point by dismounting, but even though I wasn't having any trouble riding the bucks, I don't need a fall right now.  So I found a different solution.

So we'll see how he is today, whether he's sore or what.   I hope it was just attitude after not getting ridden Wednesday.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ker-ZONK!

Last night, I don't know what it was, but when I walked out of work, it just seemed like the cold was that damp cold that seeps into your bones.  Misty, dark, wet, and cold evening.  I'd been tired to begin with, my ankle and my shoulder/elbow hurt after Tuesday's gym session ... so I decided I needed to rest.

I think this was a really good decision, even though I didn't ride.  I always feel terrible when I don't ride, like I'm letting someone down, but at the same time, my various joints feel better this morning, and I got some really restful rest.  Some really desperately needed rest.  I could have slept another few hours this morning, but gotta get to work.

I'm looking forward to riding tonight -- it shouldn't be nearly as ugh this evening, and I want to see my 'pollo pony.  :)   Note to self: grab spare blanket before going into the barn.   I really, really hate that he lays in his pee spot.   Can haz pen naow plz?    At any rate, must wash blanket.  Blech.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a video of a new favorite artist, Tim Barry.  No horse relation here, just a good song.  :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good horse.

Well, Apollo is fine.  Hooray!  Just being a horse, with random off-ness; he must have slept on it funny or something.  The left pastern was still noticeably warmer than the right, but ... well, he's sound on it.  So we rode.  Sort of.  :)  I didn't have a lot of time, but I got to play with all three gaits both directions.

And I rode in spurs.  I don't think this will need to be a constant thing, but it did help with the lazybones bit last night.  I will still need to warm him up slowly and completely, but other than that, there's no reason why I shouldn't be riding him like a normal, sound horse in training, so let's get ON with it!

For the first time in a while, I got a gorgeous, sound right lead canter.  :)  It's his better lead, and that canter is  just so fun to ride!  Now, to get the left lead to match.   I should probably schedule some dressage lessons to get some assistance on the places we're lacking.  

For instance:

* Certainly when we're just getting started and sometimes when we're good and moving, if I go to bend him (especially to the left) or take a feel on the outside rein, he slams behind my leg and slows down.   I actually think this is something I can resolve on my own by getting him pushing from behind and truly connecting through the rein, riding from back to front.   Practice required.  I see a sweaty horse in my future.

* Getting the left bend dialed in, loosening the left side of his body.

* Working on my position in the canter transition and in riding the canter.  Getting us both in the habit of long canters.

* Staying connected and round through transitions up and down -- see the first bullet, I think.

* Keeping me sitting up and my shoulders back.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm thinking about work at the moment, so.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In which I edit my post to add:

In which I raise an eyebrow, slightly concerned:

Hrm.  Got out to the barn, ankle notwithstanding, got on the pony, and he was quite off.  In a new sort of way.   I kept working, thinking he'd work out of it.   20 minutes or so after I got on, I decided that it wasn't getting better and that the head-bobbing was new.

His LF was hot, though not swollen, and it had no visible injury.  It was hotter in the pastern than the cannon or the knee, and hot down to the coronet.

*wrinkles forehead*

TW said she'd give him a once-over this morning, since it's hard to pinpoint heat after a horse has worked.   I'm hoping it's nothing.  I'm hoping he's just being a horse, which does entail occasional random, unexplained off-ness.

If it's something, I'm hoping it's nothing more complicated than an abscess.   That would be a real PITA, but it'd also be a known quantity.

But let's hope it's nothing.   Especially because he was working well (other than the ouchy foot) and I was riding well last night.

EDITED TO ADD:  TW says no filling, no heat today.  There was no filling last night, no injury, so I'm somewhat unsurprised that there's no fill today ... and quite relieved.    She'll check him on the longe quickly after lunch to be sure.  Whew.  I am hoping he looks perfect on the line, too.   Yay for TW!!

In which I consider saddles I might like:

So I won't be able to buy a new jump saddle for a good while yet.   But I am considering what I might like to try when it comes time to buy.   And putting my intentions out there for the right opportunity to come along when I'm ready.  :)  A little woo-woo, but hey -- who doesn't need all the help they can get?

Anyway, I'm thinking definitely a used saddle; new ones are right out of the budget.  (Remind me to buy a lottery ticket.)   And I'm thinking Black Country or, if I can find one at my price point, County.   Another girl (woman, really; I think I shall christen her Badass, because she is) at the barn rides a monoflap Amerigo and loves it, and she's liked a monoflap Devocoux as well.   ME and LH both ride County Conquest saddles, and the saddles made an immediate and noticeable difference in their position over fences.   TD and MT ride County saddles too.   It's a strong argument.

Badass offered to let me try her Amerigo; I think I'll take her up on it when we both have some time.  I've never ridden a monoflap before, and I'd be interested in trying.   Devocoux is a possibility, but I have no idea.

Might see if I can sit in one of the Countys floating around the barn, see how they fit, how I like them, what sizes are too small or just right for my butt.

So:  The list of RIGHT OUT or at least I DO NOT LIKE THEM, SAM I AM includes:  Barnsby; Ainsley; Courbette; Wintec; probably Bates; Collegiate (sad); HDR

The list of PERHAPS BUT NOT EXCITED ABOUT IT NOR INCLINED TO TRY TOO HARD includes:  Stubben, Crosby, Circuit, probably other low-end saddles

The list of NO FRAME OF REFERENCE includes:  Prestige, Devocoux, Revere, Amerigo

The list of YES PROBABLY includes:   County, Black Country

And meanwhile:  Covet covet.  County Stabilizer, 17.5, M.  Not a bad price, either.    I might prefer a Conquest, but I don't have enough data yet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Annie Underfoot

Lesson on Saturday -- we did some little grid work.  I'm still working on keeping from stepping into my stirrups just in front of the jump and on keeping a nice, positive rhythm to the jumps.  Overall, it was better than the last lesson, and I think I might remember how to ride, here soon.  :)  

I find that with Apollo I'm not concerned about the height of the jump, or even the jump at all, really ... at least, in my mind I'm not.  I would guess that MT would say, from my position and the stepping into stirrups, that I'm very focused on The Jump, instead of position and approach.   I guess what I mean is that I'm not concerned about whether Apollo is going to jump or if he's going to do something dishonest.   I know that I can think about line, position, preparation, etc.

So it was a good lesson.  Lots of work on position, heels down, patience, leg on, etc.   I'm getting better.

After MT looked at my saddle, it's official: one of the holes for the gullet screws is a bit cross-threaded.  It needs professional repair.  The piece of hardware that anchors that screw is supposed to be held down to the whole apparatus with a staple, as well ... Said staple came out.  So the right outside tree attachment is kind of floating at the moment.  Must get it fixed.   MT said it's okay to ride in for now, that the velcro will hold it together well enough to use.   He also said on the topic of a new saddle that he's a fan of using what you have and making it work.   That's certainly going to be how it is for the next while ... new-to-me saddles cost money.

So that was Saturday.

Sunday I was dressed and ready to go for my lesson.  I ran upstairs -- accompanied by my girl corgi, Annie -- to grab my inhaler case.   I came downstairs -- also accompanied by Annie.  She was excited and ready to go to The Fun Place, and she got tangled in my feet somehow.   So I slipped/fell down the last few stairs.

Ow.  Ow, ow, ow, my ankle.  Grrr.

Lesson was definitely not happening.   It's not broken, probably not even sprained badly -- but the bruise is going to be impressive.  I spent yesterday on the couch with ice and ibuprofen.  Good thing: I watched all of Downton Abbey season 2.  Bad thing:  No lesson!   I was looking forward to that second day of jump practice, since I am always better on day 2.   Hmph.    Dammit dog.

But I can't be too mad.  She's a dog.  I need to figure out how to train her to either heel or stay at the top of the stairs and let me get all the way down before she runs down.   Bad dog trainer!  Bad dog trainer!  No biscuit.

Friday, November 23, 2012

This is SO not happening

Absolutely not.  The island is NOT sinking.



Apollo has NOT changed shape.   I do NOT need a new jump saddle.  Mine is SO NOT bridging.  It doesn't rock.  NO.

No ... please ... I don't want to have to saddle shop.  I definitely don't want to do it on a budget like mine would be.

I mean, I could get away with it for a while yet.  At least until I had some money.   I wonder if there's one to borrow?  Sigh.  Just ... sigh.    It fit so well when Apollo first came to the barn ... but now it's just not working.  He grumps when I put it on and tighten the girth, which he didn't do when he came, and he grumps when I go to take it off.  I wonder if any of my newly discovered jumping position problems are attributable to this?   Meh.  Just meh.

I think a riser pad in the meantime, unless there's one I can borrow, which is unlikely.  Then, once I have some money, after February or so, I might be able to sell this one and shop for a new one.   I am going to have to think long and hard and come up with the best possible plan if I need a new saddle.   And I have the sinking (ha!) feeling that I do.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Survey time.

Real entry one back, if it's not showing on your list.

To make up for silence, have a survey entry.  I swiped it from L. Williams at Viva Carlos.   :)


Splurge or save: 

1. saddle: Save, but get the best you can.
2. board: Splurge, I guess.  Spend as much as you can afford; care matters.
3. halter: Save
4. bit: Save
5. bridle: Splurge, if I'm any example
6. saddle pad: Save
7. trailer: Splurge ... like the board question, get the best you can. Safety matters.
(See, this category is hard for me, because my thought on all of this is that you should spend as little as you can on the best possible items.  Find quality stuff, and find a way to save money on it.)

First thing that comes to mind: 

1. Haflinger:  Jellybean, Kylie's pony.
2. Quarter Horse: Short, brown, good-using, versatile horse.
3. Thoroughbred: Racehorses in mid-gallop.
4. Warmblood: Big, round-barreled thing.
5. Welsh Cob: Stocky, good bone, handsome animal.  The picture of the Welsh Cob in the horse breed book I have.

This or That:

1. English or Western:  English mostly, Western on the trail
2. tall or short:  I'm short.  I like horses medium.
3. trail ride or beach ride:  Trail ride
4. long mane or short mane: Short
5. hunters or jumpers: Eventers!
6. XC or barrel racing: XC
7. outdoor arena or indoor arena:  For what?  Jumping - outdoor.  Dressage - indoor.
8. trot or canter: Canter
9. canter or gallop: Gallop
10. paddock boots, tall boots, or cowboy boots: Tall boots
11. horse shoes or barefoot: Shoes
12. saddle or bareback: For what?  Mostly saddle, but I like bareback.


About you: 

1. How long have you been riding? Consistently from 8-16, inconsistently from 17-24, consistently at 24, inconsistently from 25-30, consistently from 31 to now.  So 14 years consistently.  But I'd say I only really started to learn to ride correctly when I came to this barn.   And you thought this was an easy question.
2. Do you own or lease a horse?  Own.
3. Breed? Age? Height? Name?  8 yo Thoroughbred gelding, 15.2 1/2, Apollo's Double.
4. Do you have any other pets?   2 cats and 2 corgis.
5. If your horse was a person, what kind of voice would he have (you can use a celebrity for an example)?  Hm.  He'd be friendly and laid back, but he'd have kind of a joke to him.  Kind of a teenager's voice, or a young adult's.  Taylor Lautner would work for a celebrity.
6. Does your horse have a “color”? If so, what is it, and what do you have in that color?   Royal blue and white.  My helmet cover, show pad, show boots, and lead line are all royal and white.  I have a white polo I use for xc, too -- I stitched royal chevrons to the sleeves.  Clever.  :)  Harder to see with my new vest, though, as it has shoulder pads.  My polo wraps are royal ... basically, if I can find something in royal I do.  Funny: our "official" barn colors are hunter green and black, since that's what TD rides in.  We kind of have three color groups of riders: greens, blues, and burgundies.   Green is TD and Andrea, blue is me, Katie, ME, and Bandit's mom, and burgundy is KR, TG, and I think LC.   I guess you could say LH is red, and Bandit's mom is partly red.  But I claim her for the Blue team!
7. Does your horse do any tricks?  Not that I know of.
8. Have you ever dressed your horse up for Halloween?   I dressed Reveille up once.

Favorites: 

1. Breed?  TB, Trakehner, or Knabstrupper.
2. Discipline?  Eventing!
3. Coat color?  Leopard spotted.
4. Famous horse?  Charisma.
5. Horse race/competition?  Rolex.
6. Brand of tack?  Bridles: Five Star Tack.  Saddles: Hennig, or County.
7. Thing to do with your horse?  Play, groom, and general brush n' hug.  And jump, of course.  :)

The haps

I feel like I should have something to write here -- things have been happening -- but I just haven't gotten around to it.

Let's see.  I judged a local schooling jumper show on Saturday.  Classes went from ground poles to 3'3, and participants ranged from teeny kids on ponies to a local trainer and a very good event rider.   It's not a recognized show in any way, shape, or form, which is why I could actually judge it.  ;)   Requirements: Know the rules, be willing to sit in the cold all day, be patient with people.   Check, check, and check.   I actually had a pretty good time.  I got to see some good rides, some good lines and choices on turns, and some incredibly cute kids on ponies.   I had at least three mini heart attacks, too, which I maintain ought to incur penalty points.  First refusal, 4 faults. Lower the height of the jump, 4 faults.  Scare the judge, 1 fault.

Anyway, I'm hoping I can actually get to and compete in one of these shows this year.  All depends on confidence and how Apollo's doing.

The first part, confidence, is going to be fine as long as we keep doing what we're doing.  We had a jump lesson on Sunday, and Apollo was -- as expected -- a total gentleman.  I had issues with sorting out my position, remembering the course, and getting all caught up in OMGJUMPING!   By the third time through the course -- bending line to bending line with bounce to 3/4 cloverleaf to bending line with bounce -- I had calmed down some and was able to ride some of it.   All the pieces are in here; I just need to get them rearranged and get them moving at the right times.  

It seems that I've gone from being behind the motion and sitting too straight, not enough angle in my hips, to being a little ahead of the motion and coming too far forward.  I have no idea how this happened.   Other main issue is I've not re-locked-in the part of my leg that needs to be on for a jump.  If I can remember to get my heel out of Apollo's side and close my leg at my knee and thigh, things go beautifully.   It takes some reminding (like every stride) for me to get there at first, though.   Sigh.    I think that's a combination of Apollo being a different shape from Reveille (who I did ride for five years, so it makes some sense) and just being out of practice.  Since the last jumping lesson I had with Reveille in June? July?, I've now had a total of four jumping lessons.  Maybe five if my counting is wrong.   So I'll keep improving, get stronger, and get more confident.

Especially because Apollo is just the most wonderful horse on the planet.   Patient, willing, honest, and athletic.  I get all frazzled and he just keeps coming on to the jump quietly.  He doesn't charge jumps, and he keeps a lovely steady rhythm (unless I foul him up).   He jumps well.   MT said in the lesson on Sunday that he doesn't think I could have bought a better horse.   :D   I agree.    Apollo's just the most amazing fellow ever.   (er, except for the troll-brony thing.)

So I'm thankful for Apollo.  I'm thankful for what seems like a second chance.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I could've sworn I had words here

A few brief thoughts before sleep ...

Is there anything better when you're not feeling good than a normally-cheerful horse who's in an extra-good mood?

Clean mirrors are scarier than dirty mirrors.

Even so, Apollo's spook was easy to ride, easy to see coming, and easy to defuse the next million times past the mirror of doom.

I am pretty sure I had something else, but it's gone now. Gnight.

EDITED TO ADD: oh yeah. Why the fruitbat do I not have an electric heati pad??

And have I mentioned lately that my horse is the best? He is. Fuzzy and sweet. Except when trolling other horses.

Hey, if you haven't been over to Katie's blog, wander over: http://youngdreamsandeventing.blogspot.com. She's the working student at the barn, and she makes a mean YouTube video. And clipping stencil.

Monday, November 12, 2012

You are SO GROUNDED, young man!

So yeah.  My horse is the asshole in the pasture.  Sigh!!   I'm so embarrassed -- but at the same time, it's not like I trained him to beat the crap out of other horses or am saying "oh no, it couldn't be Pookie's fault! He's an angel!"   I mean, he IS an angel ... to me, and when in his own area.  ;)    Sounds like he probably deserved and provoked the kick that hurt him, though I'll argue that I didn't deserve the heartache and wallet ache!  Heh.

Anyway, for the meantime, he's back in Folsom Prison for aggravated assault.  As soon as there's a pen for him, he'll go out in a pen.

I know I had it coming;
I know I can't be free.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Loff!!

OMGiH I loff my horse!! I loff him so very much. :)

We had a very successful lesson today - only jumping tiny crossrails, but dude! Jumping! It was so nice to get back into a lesson and jump! It's been 8 weeks or so for us.

And pony was sound and cheerful through all of it. O mein Gott in Himmel, I loff that beast. :)

EDITED TO ADD: gah, how embarrassing. My sweet fellow is the kid who got kicked out of kindergarten for biting other kids. *facepalm*. I guess they can't be all perfect, but gah. My kid's the bully! And I can't exactly take him to counseling. :/ Talk about the walk of shame!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Could it be?

I think my guy is feeling better. :) And my sweet horse turned into A Thoroughbred (tm) today. Fortunately, he turned back into a sweet horse fairly quickly.

I didn't get to the barn last night due to something or other I ate laying me low, so Apollo didn't get worked at all. He was anxious to Get Out! and Do Something! today, a desire he expressed quite clearly in the cross-ties. I didn't even bother wondering and just got the longe line before I got him tacked up, ready to go.

Apollo really hadn't run around on the longe yet since I got him. Been longed, yes, but raced around with his tail flagged, no. I wasn't too worried about his leg, since I started him to the left and he wasn't showing any evidence of pain or even discomfort - just energy and loving the feeling of running. He'd race around, kicking up sand clods, then spook cheerfully away from the sound the dirt made when it hit the metal walls. Then kick up more dirt. Rinse, repeat. I had to laugh - it was pretty darn funny.

After he got the squirrellies out, I hopped up. And he was quite gentlemanly. :). Really, how cool is it to ride a horse whose default mode is cooperation and obedient?? He didn't start seeming uncomfortable on the leg for quite a while, so that's a really good thing.

Of course, we'll see how his leg is in the morning, make sure he held up to the high spirits as well as I think he did, but I suspect we're almost there, almost to the end of the ordeal. I hope. Knock on wood.

We have our second or third lesson together tomorrow, too. :) Here's hoping!! And if he's doing well, he also gets to go back out to pasture tomorrow. Yay!! Crossing my fingers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Transitions

I think I'll take TED's advice and go for the fecal analysis.  What's another vet bill, yeah?  *maniacal laughter*   In all seriousness, it won't be too expensive.

Meanwhile, Apollo did well last night again.  I realized that he is now as sound on his right (lame) side as he was on his left (sound) side two-three weeks ago.   Woot woot!  Progress!

Had some actual fun (*gasp*) in the canter last night.  Hee.   And started working on little lengthening and shortening in the walk and trot.  Very doable in the walk; in the trot, though, he goes "walk? fall on my face? head in the air? all three at once?"  Which means we need to do more of it and work on his balance.   This is what we've been doing all along,  but lately more side to side balance than back to front.  Not that we haven't been working on back to front balance, but I have mostly left it secondary.    I have been working on transitions between gaits and getting him to move FORWARD into the down transitions rather than fall onto his nose.  We got some good work on the trot/walk transitions last night, and the walk/halt is coming, so we'll keep working on that plus ground poles.  (Of course, shortening in the trot is good for ground pole work and vice versa.)

I think I'll keep working on getting a true, strong canter both directions before I work too hard on lengthening/shortening it.   And getting prompt, balanced up transitions.   His canter/trot transitions are pretty good, if canted somewhat onto the forehand.

So we increased intensity but not necessarily duration last night.  Yay us.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yuck, good, and yay.

Oh bleargh.  Further worms in waterer.   I'll spare you the grisly details, but I am fully grossed out and tempted to deworm him weekly!    Obviously I won't do that, but ICK.    TW says let's check him in two weeks or so and go from there; probably deworm him again then.

Daily wormer is a thought; I don't know how much more effective it is than monthly/bimonthly paste, though. And it won't happen until the 15th anyway due to money.  (Stupid money.)

Meanwhile, we did trot poles again last night, and added a bit more canter to the mix.  I can see that he's not totally comfortable in the right lead canter, but he's not acting like he's in pain either.  So we'll keep doing a little bit every day or every other day, and I'll keep doing left lead canter as well.   Must try to keep his work balanced on right and left.

I am SO glad everyone's home from Galway!!  Finally!  Woot woot!   :D

Also.  I'm finding that the stronger/fitter I get, the more confident I get in the saddle.  Hard to say whether that's causation or correlation, though, because it could be related to Apollo himself or to the fact that I've been in the saddle or on the end of the longe/lead line every day for the last six weeks.   I think the exercise is a major factor at least, though.  So we'll keep it up.  :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Heart that horse.

Ground poles are a definite win for Apollo now.  He was really into it yesterday!  Nice lift to his trot, ears forward, neck and back round and tail arched.  

 ... yeah, he was a little enthusiastic.  :)

When we went to do a little bit of canter, he took the left lead once tracking right, but I brought him down and asked again, careful to have my weight aid correct and bump him with my inside seatbone as I asked for the transition with my outside leg back.   He bounced into the right lead canter.  It was a short stride, but it was a true canter, and he probably could have kept it up.  I chose to not push it to the right.  

The left lead canter ... heh.  I giggle.   He's done this move on the longe a few times, rock back onto his hind end and give the first part of the stride with his front end some ... expression.   It's usually accompanied by an arched neck and a tossed mane, sometimes a snort.   It's terribly poetic, terribly cinematic.  And funny.  I bet this will be his move when we leave the start box for XC, too.    Anyway, he did that as we launched into the left lead canter.  I started out a little startled, but then had to laugh, because he was perfectly fine in the canter, didn't try to leave town or anything.

And the poles were just terribly fun for him.  I was working on keeping my leg on, the trot steady and forward, maintaining a soft contact, and keeping straight through the line (unsurprisingly, easier tracking left than right), and he really likes that ride.  He swept through the poles like nothing.  I mean, of course it's nothing, but ... yknow.   This also means that the poles were set at the right stride length for where he is now.    Go me.

Anyway, I'm glad the barn is getting back from Galway soon.  I need some advice on rehab and work.  How far is too far to push, am I pushing far enough, are there other exercises I should be doing (cavaletti?  Go right 75% of the time?), ought we get him ultrasounded, et cetera.   I am in an experience desert here!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nature is gross

PRESENTING: A TEXT EXCHANGE.
Guaranteed to make me want to shower.

Me: Do earthworms ever get packaged in with hay? Two days in a row I've found an earthworm in apollo's waterer. Doesn't look like a horse worm, just a regular worm

TW: Probably not an earthworm then. I would deworm him again

Me: Ugh yuck yuck yuck yuck
Me: Horror

TW: Just nature

Me: Ivermectin or pywhatever?
Me: Nature is gross

TW: Yup
TW: Ivermectin

Me: K. Blech



Yuck. I just dewormed him four weeks ago. And I clean out his waterer every day; he's a mouth-rinser.

Anyway, due to his impending tummy ache, I chose not to do much exercise-wise with him tonight. Just a bit of work, then back to the stall.

And then home to wash my hands for the third time, then shower. And never eat again. :/

Friday, November 2, 2012

Constantly evolving plans

Pony was a little stocked up when I brought him out of his stall yesterday evening.  Not hot or sore, just stocked up in both hinds.   Understandable, but sigh-inducing nonetheless.   I went ahead and got him groomed and ready and figured that if he hadn't improved after I worked him, I'd wrap him for the night.

20-30 minutes on the longe line later, and he was back to normal.  Yay!  Not unexpected, though.  I didn't want to have to wrap him, so this was good.   He did canter on the longe last night, and he gave some very enthusiastic trot, tail up in the air.  :)  It's good to see.   He's so handsome when he gets the tail going -- not all horses are as expressive with their tails as he is, I think.  Reveille, at least, mostly expressed irritation or relaxation with her tail.  ME's gray horse expresses frustration and anxiety with his tail.   TD's Rolex horse is one that expresses all kinds of things with his tail - excitement, irritation, relaxation, interest, et cetera.   Anyway, Apollo says all kinds of stuff with his tail.  Stop poking me, yay let's do this more, I want to run, I'm interested in this, oh brush me there, I don't like the way you do that, screw you hippie ... all that.   It's pretty funny.   And very pretty when he expresses happiness and interest, with his tail arched a bit!

I'm thinking I'll start pulling out the ground poles tonight or tomorrow -- depends on how much time I have tonight before I hit the gym.   And, also inspired by L. Williams and Carlos, I think I would benefit from some no-stirrup work, especially while we're still rehabbing.  Good for me, good for Apollo.   And if we're going to do a lesson next Sunday, I should start with the ground poles.   No idea if we'll be able to do the lesson for sure -- it's kind of up to MT and TW to give a go/no-go on it if I think we're able -- but I at least want to be prepared in the event of sound-enough-ness.  

It's been kind of interesting to see how the rehab plan has evolved over time ... and to see how much time it's actually been taking.   We're six weeks out now from the original injury.   I'm not sure if I'm surprised at how quickly the wound has healed or how slowly he's coming back to sound.    I guess I can be both, seeing as they're separate issues in a lot of ways.   I don't really expect him to be fully sound in the next week or two, which puts us at 8 weeks.   Maybe at the 12 week mark, assuming all continues to go well.   Maybe pasture turnout will help him sound up faster.  I hope that's the case; if he's worse after being turned out we'll have to come up with a new plan.   But I really, really hope turnout helps significantly.  It'll certainly help his poor pony brain.  :)

Then again, I'll miss his whinny when I come in the barn door in the evening.  :)  I don't know if he whinnies only for me or if he does for Mary too -- Mary is the one who feeds him most consistently, after all -- but it's nice to hear him go HEEEEEEEY! when I come in and to answer back "Hi, pony! How're you?"   Warms the cockles of my little black heart, it does.  :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chopping, carrying.

Apollo got shod on Tuesday evening; the farrier appointment was in place of our usual ride time.  I have to say I love my farrier.  I think I might have said this before, but it bears repeating!   He's excellent at his job, affordable, punctual, reliable, communicative, and altogether a wonderful fellow.  I feel like we're really lucky here in this area to have a handful of good farriers.   I recommend two of them wholeheartedly to anyone looking for a farrier.  :)   One's more expensive than the other, but the more expensive farrier works closely with Idaho Equine and does some higher-level work.  If that's what you need for your horse, Skip's the guy, no question.   He does all the ULHs at the barn.    Dan's more affordable and does great work, so if you're not riding at Prelim or having shoeing issues, Dan's your guy.    The fact that there's a choice between two awesome, punctual, professional farriers is SO COOL.   

So after an evening of not a whole lot, I went to ride yesterday, and poor pony was pretty darn stiff.   I'm thinking we'll have a better ride tonight, after he moved around for 40-45 minutes last night.   I'll probably not worry about the canter until tomorrow, if even then.  Depends on how pony feels.

Meanwhile, I got my Chronicle of the Horse Secret Santa assignment.  :)   I know EXACTLY what I'm getting this person!   Heh heh heh.   Or ho ho ho?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rehab thoughts.

We had a left lead canter last night, a fairly decent one, even.   Not so much a right lead canter, so I didn't push it.  The right lead is the one that isolates his injured leg, so not surprising that it's harder for him.    Tonight he gets shod, so he'll not get worked much at all.    I won't try the canter again til Thursday or Friday, I think.

On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure how to go about rehabbing the gastrocnemius (superficial flexor? sounds more plausible?) tendon, which is the issue now, I think.  The cut is healing so well that I don't know how much effect it's even having on him.  It's down to the size of a half dollar or so, and it's got a good firm base on it.   The tendon, though, is still swollen in the area. Since it was nicked, I have to think that the tendon sheath was damaged.  I don't want to overstate the original injury to the tendon/sheath though.  It wasn't a huge cut, nothing was ruptured or severed, just nicked a teeny bit.  A few millimeters only. The fix for that is just time and work, but ... is there a better way to work than what I've been doing?

What I've been doing is riding most nights, with at least 10 minutes of walking on a loose rein, then more framed up toward the end, before we pick up the trot.   We go both directions in the indoor arena, and we do 20m circles and spiral in a ways, then back out, both directions.  Trotting goes in 1-3 minute intervals, and we do mostly laps of the arena, with 20m circles and changing direction on the long diagonal scattered in there too.    After trotting, I'll ask him for some leg yield in the walk, both directions.   As he gets sounder, we do more trotting, and I'll be asking for some smaller circles at the trot in the foreseeable future.  And we've worked in a teeny bit of canter now too -- a lap of the arena or less on the left lead, as many strides as he's comfortable with on the right.

When I longe him, it's walk and trot primarily, spiraling in and out in both gaits.  A little canter lately, as mentioned, but one or two circles of each lead only.

So does anyone have any suggestions about how I could improve this routine?    What's a good way to get that gastrocnemius/superficial flexor tendon going?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baby steps, sir, baby steps

Good weekend.  I still haven't quite struggled out from under the Tired anvil, but I am a bit less sleepy.  I suspect the first opportunity to really catch up won't happen until Thanksgiving break.  During which I am SO looking forward to sleeping late and getting things done around the house.

Meanwhile, I think I've decided for sure that Apollo needs to get chucked out to pasture instead of into a pen, and I'll just suck it up and get up early.  Boy needs to move his feet!   We're going to try him with a different, more laid-back group of horses to see if it's easier for him and to keep him from getting hurt again, so I hope that works out.   If he can't get along with the northeast pasture (he got kicked in the southeast pasture), I don't know if he'll get along with the west pasture.  We'll see!   I'd be surprised if he didn't get along with Rocky's gang in the northeast pasture.

So a week of rehab after his last attempt at cantering on a longe line, I decided we'd see where he was this weekend.  He was certainly happy to trot out yesterday, with that big hoof-flipping trot he does, and worked out of stiffness well.   So I asked for the left lead canter first, so as not to overload the right hind too much right off the bat.  He didn't seem to have any trouble with it, no head-tossing or cross-cantering.   I only had him do two circles of canter, then back to trot.    On the right lead canter, he'd cross-cantered last time I tried, so I was prepared to bring him back to trot within a few strides.  However, he gave a true canter, if a short-strided canter, so I let him work into it for two circles, then back to trot.   Yay!

Last weekend, he'd been rather off after the canter attempt, but this week he was doing better, so I got on him for a bit.  Just to get him really moving, yknow?  He needs more time and work.  So walk and trot and circles and two-point, and as I was encouraging him to move out in the trot, he offered up the left lead canter under saddle.  Whee!!  I didn't force him to stay in it, just rode the three or four strides he gave me, then when he started to fall out of it asked him for a trot transition.   Tracking right, I asked him for more trot, and he offered a canter transition, one stride, then back to the trot.  I didn't want to push it on the first day cantering under saddle, so I just worked in the trot.  I heart my horse.  :)

Anyway, this is a good sign!  I think we'll be back to normal soon.  *beam*   Or at least in the foreseeable future.  Maybe not soon, but I can see it in the distance.

And yknow, as I mounted up on Sunday and Apollo stood still, waiting for me to take my right stirrup, I had to say a little prayer of thanksgiving aloud, right there in the arena:  Thank you for this horse.   God, the universe, fate, my own intuition, whatever force prompted me to email on his ad or put us in each other's paths, however you want to think of it ... I'm grateful.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Idea strikes at midnight

I only thought I was sleeping, apparently! Ideas strike in the night; it is known, khaleesi.

This one is the solution to my current tack locker storage issue - where to put saddle pads! I can combine the over-the-door towel rack idea with the saddle blanket rack idea, like they have on jeffers equine or whatsitsite. Yeeees. This frees up space on the door and in the locker. And lets pads dry nicely, which I insist on.

Need a saddle blanket rack and an over-door hook. Stet!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I heart weekends

Nope, still tired.  But the house is cleaner, the laundry is 80% done, and Apollo is as happy a camper as he can be.   I got to cook and eat two whole meals today, and I even got to eat at the kitchen table like a civilized human being.

I'm also in bed at 9:30 on a Saturday night.   I live the wild life, yo.  My weekends are hot.

It was nice to have plenty of time at the barn today, without feeling like I had to hurry home and get the dogs, or get to the gym, or get to the next thing.  Apollo is so mentally ready to go back OUT, and working him helps his brain so much.  And his leg.   It takes about 15-20 minutes for him to really loosen up and work out of the stall-rest and injury-stiffness, but once he does he is delighted to trot and trot and trot.   Until he gets sore.  Still, it's good to push through that some.

I've also put myself back on saddle restriction -- jump saddle only until 11/11!   I can take these two weeks and work on getting my two-point back and solid so I'm ready to go by jump lesson time.   Of course, I started this restriction the day after my personal trainer introduced me to the concentrated evil that is the stair stepper machine.  Ooof.   Sore quads plus two-point after weeks of not even using a jump saddle equals really, really sore quads!

On thinking about how I've been feeling just slammed, running from one thing to the next, it occurs to me that working 8-4 will help, for one.  For two, I really do have plenty of time five days out of seven.   I can't stay late-late during the week, but there's plenty of time.  Especially if I get there early on gym nights - I don't start with my trainer until 7:30, so 4:45 to 7 ish is lots of time.   I can probably even make more nights gym nights, which I ought to do anyway.

Anyway, yes.  Horse continues to improve.  Rider maintains Tired status.   Carry on, world.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday, finally

The anvil labeled TIRED has landed on my head.  Long week at work, long evenings at the barn and the gym, no real time for relaxing on the weekends ... all this adds up to a very, very tired Rinsie.   However, beloved horsie still needs attention, so one more night of busy-until-bedtime it is.  

Tomorrow, though?  It'd take an act of Congress to make me set an alarm for tomorrow morning.  And seeing as how this Congress doesn't get a whole lot done, I think I'll finally catch up on some sleep.  :)

Meanwhile, I'm pondering whether I ought to just chuck Apollo back out into the pasture when he's healed, rather than have him in a pen.   Pens are quite a bit more expensive, and I can't swing it easily.   I'd have to get to work no later than 8, though, during winter hours so I could leave at 4 and make it to the barn before sunset.  

I know the rest of the world operates on dawn-time, but ... I have a hard time with that.  :/  Early mornings are really tough for me.  Really, really tough.   The question is whether $(pen board - pasture board) is worth getting up early for.   I'm leaning toward yes.   Plus, pasture is good for horses.    As long as said horses aren't getting kicked by other horses and hurt!  ;)    I'll talk with the boss tonight.

Also, in theory, we're going back to lessons as of 11/11, at 1100 hours.  :)   I say in theory because who knows what the horse gods have in store for me?   Still, we should be able to walk and trot at least, and trot over ground poles.   We can do those things already, actually, and we could probably do a lesson at that level now.  It'd have to be a shortish lesson, or at least one with lots of rest for Apollo, but still.   Maybe we'll be cantering by then.  I would think so, in three weeks.   Maybe we'll be able to do cross rails!   Gasp!

Though yknow what my unlucky number is?   Yep, you guessed it: 11.   I have no idea why, but I just don't like that number.   17 is lucky, 11 is unlucky.   17, 3, and 51, all lucky.    Ah well.  I don't think it'll affect us. Shouldn't.  Lucky numbers are superstition anyway, right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to distill time

Recipe for Tincture of Time:

100 ml water
pinch salt
pinch electrolytes

* Mix all ingredients in an Erlenmeyer flask until completely dissolved.
* Place the flask on the counter.
* Perform normal daily activities until all liquid has evaporated.
* Pour contents of flask on affected area.





That face, that face, that lovable face!
It melts my Irish heart!
I'm certain if I fall in love
I'm lost without a trace
But it's worth it for
That face!

No tears, no sea (more's the pity), but a little bit of sweat.  Not much, because it's cold!  Seems awfully cold for October in Idaho.   But more work than before -- I can push for more trot now, measured in minutes instead of laps.  He gets sounder the more he works.   Tuesdays and Thursdays are hard for me to get much more than a token ride in, because I go to the gym at 7:30 those evenings, but I put 20 minutes at least on him.   Looking forward to a longer ride tonight!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ask Dr. Internet, DVM

Yep.   Feeling better + stall rest + cool weather = bouncy pony.

He was definitely feeling froggy last night.  I started out just mounting up and getting going, but I decided that he needed to get some of that energy out without having to deal with a rider, so onto the longe line he went.   Still off, but boy, even off ... can that horse MOVE.   I think we'll have fun with extended gaits.  ;)   He flicks his front feet out, even.

On the longe, I asked him to canter for the first time since he's been hurt -- four weeks yesterday -- and he was off, but he was also quite pleased to canter.  

So clearly his brain and his muscles are ready for more than his leg is.  I do think that working is the best therapy, so we'll increase the time and effort on rides.  

Of course, then I start second-guessing myself.  Again.   Am I dealing with this correctly?  Should we have an ultrasound done just to be sure we know what we're dealing with?   Should I be walking him only until the swelling around the tendon is completely gone?   I should not read COTH forum discussion about this kind of thing, because I hear everything from "it's nothing" to "OMG I only walked my horse for 2-4 months and only then did he heal!"  Dr. Internet, DVM is not very consistent.  :/      I wonder if I'm assessing his lameness as more severe than it is, or not severe enough.    TM said she wasn't worried terribly.

I think more patience is in order.  It's funny -- I'm comfortable with the path we're taking (heal the wound, controlled exercise for rehab of the leg) when I don't read about it.   When I read about things, all these various situations come up, and I can't decide whether I should worry or not.   So ... tincture of time, I think, and I'll know when to worry.

RIGHT??

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall friskies, apparently

I wonder if I should be concerned.  Miss Katie texted me to mention that Apollo is feeling good today, bouncing up and down and tossing his head.   Oh dear.  :)    Cool weather, healing, and stall rest make for a bouncy pony, I guess.   

Depending on how he is when I get there tonight, I might longe him before I get on him.   I might just hop on if he seems like his usual self.  He's so good under saddle, but I don't want to tempt fate!   Plus, it's always good to see how he goes from the ground rather than try to evaluate from the saddle.

I am looking forward to the point when Apollo can go out into a pen.  He probably could go to a pen now, but we don't have one available.  Soon, I hope.   Maybe someone will get shuffled around, or maybe the hay barn stall/runs will get done when TD and ATH get back.  We'll see; I'd prefer to have him in a pen or run than back out in the pasture, especially when he's not fully healed, and especially especially because winter is coming.  (Yes, I am a Stark.)  I think I've mentioned before, but I don't feel at all safe catching my horse in the pasture when it's dark.  Time change is coming up November 4th, and it'll be dark by the time I can get to the barn most nights by then.  

Anyway, we'll see what the boss says and what develops, and we'll go from there.  Rolling with it.  :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Still chopping wood, carrying water

Funny thing about Apollo: he actively tries to take the bit when I go to bridle him.  :)   (Have I told you this before?)   There's no grace on having straps out of place when I get his halter around his neck, because he starts nosing around for the bit as soon as the halter comes off -- if the straps aren't ready, he tries to bridle himself with the reins!  Or the cavesson, or whatever he can find.    He wants to GO!    I have never ridden or tacked up a horse that bridles itself before.  :)

He was much sounder yesterday at the trot tracking left, quite noticeably sounder.

At the trot tracking right, he's still very off.   I think this is something we can fix with practice, so lots of going right for us.   Balance is important, but we need to strengthen up that leg.

TED recommended Granulex for the wound.   Anyone have any experience with it?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Half-chaps acquired!

Eeeexcellent.   I have half-chaps.  The FLTS had a set that I think I can work with pretty well -- the Ovation Sport suede variety.  The large fit fine through the calf, and they're tolerable in the leg.  I can pull them down over my boots, heh.  Acceptable!   And affordable, especially for the FLTS.   The base price would have been lower online, but then there's shipping costs plus time, so this is a great deal.  Instant gratification FTW!

I also picked up some interim horse-bandaging things so I can cover Apollo's leg back up before the boxes from Valley Vet get here on Thursday.  (Side note:  I love that they ship so fast and so cheap, and I adore that they do shipping tracking so quickly!   Plug for Valley Vet!)

I also grabbed a cheap bit from the consignment area.  The FLTS has this general policy where consignors can state if there's negotiation available on their item and list a price in the book that's a little lower than the tag price.  I always ask if the seller is open to offers; I always am when I consign.   Well.  When I took the bit up to the counter, I asked about it, the owner checked the book, and HMPH!  The consignor had put a note in her file saying "Don't bother calling me about offers; all prices are as listed and no negotiation."  HMPH, I say again.   I'm tempted to put a note in my own file saying if whoever that person is wants to haggle on anything I'm consigning, the price goes UP by 5%!     Well, okay, fine, there's no negotiation for her, but not a price increase.  Not like I know who it was anyway, but still.   Rude!

Last night was actually the first day in three-plus weeks I didn't go to the barn at all.  Shock!  I wasn't going to be able to make it for any significant amount of time before work, and then right after work I had to do a family thing.  My aunt and uncle were in town from Indonesia, so it's not something I could really skip.   TW said she or Katie would do the stall this once, so bless them!   :)    I can't wait to get out there tonight and see how he looks all clipped.

Gym tonight too.  My trainer said he's going to have an upper-body circuit ready to go so we don't aggravate the hip flexor.  Yay!  I was starting to feel kind of blob-like.   I really ought to figure out a way to get to the gym daily.   I could easily tack it on to the end of the day, if I manage snacks well enough; I already do work -> barn -> gym two days a week, so doing it two more days a week shouldn't be too bad. I could use some extra cardio, plus I want to get further with Zombies, Run!   I bought the Zombies, Run! Couch to 5k program, too, so that'll be way fun.  :)

And now, today's musical interlude* -- brother of my favorite folk singer** and a superb singer in his own right, Garnet Rogers, singing Small Victory.   Guaranteed to get something in the eye of any TB lover.   Song starts at 1:18 -- I tried to clip it, but apparently it doesn't work that way with embeds.  Anyway, on with the musical interlude!










*:  Well, with a horse called Apollo, it's almost mandatory to have lots of music going on around here!

**:  Stan Rogers, amazing Canadian folk singer, gone far far too soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clever Title!


Apollo's doing well.

This is Apollo being cute and a bit baffled.
This is me laughing at Madison trying to get
Apollo to look at the camera.

TW told me on Friday that she'd chatted with the vet about Apollo, and she had some concern about how he was walking.  He wasn't breaking over well or letting the leg stretch out behind him, just picking it up pretty quickly when it hurt.   The vet/TW conclusion was that if he wasn't better by the end of the weekend, the best idea would be to bring him in for an ultrasound to check the tendon and tendon sheath.  I wasn't bothered by the idea of this at all -- by all means, if he's not improving, let's figure out what's wrong!   I think that if he had damaged the tendon or the tendon sheath, it would be pretty minor surgery to get it stitched back together and then heal up from there.   Maybe faster healing than what he's been doing so far.  But if we can avoid it, let's.

So TW looked at him yesterday, and she was quite positive about his improvement since she'd last looked at him go.  Woohoo!   So we don't need to worry about ultrasounding him at this point.  If he doesn't keep improving, maybe then, but I won't need to worry about it until everyone goes and comes back from Galway.   Barring significant change, I think that'll be a good point to reevaluate.

Apollo got a bath yesterday.   For one, TED's here to do clipping today and Apollo's on the list for a body clip -- clean and Show Sheened horses clip better.  For two, he lays in his pee spot in his stall and gets just disgustingly dirty and smelly.   I'm glad he's not in a stall day in and day out as a regular thing, because YUCK.   I'd have to figure out a way to bathe him in the winter.   Anyway, he's currently cleaner than he's been in a long time, I think.  Certainly cleaner than he's been since I bought him.  I wish I could have some time with him all clean and Show Sheened, but ... alas, work.   It'll be nice to have him clipped!

If I go to a fall event next year, I totally know what design I'll ask TED to clip into him before we go:  *grin*



A lyre, of course!   It'll be interesting to get a stencil of it, but I'm sure we can figure something out.  :)


Let's see ... what else.  Ordered a metric shit-ton of Co-Flex and Telfa bandages, and ordered a few rolls of Elastikon.  It turns out to be cheaper to buy Elastikon by the roll at D&B than to buy it from ValleyVet, but VV has by far the best price on Co-Flex.  I'm not interested in ever running out of supplies again.

I also have to look into trying on some half-chaps, since my tall boots have given up the zipper ghost.  Must get those fixed.  But in the meantime, half-chaps.   I can find some inexpensively, but ... can I find some that FIT me?  There's the rub.  We'll see.  I could go ahead and order a pair, but there's the shipping time and the wondering whether they'll fit, and the extra money for shipping, and whether I choose to buy a nice pair or a good enough pair ... argh.   I'm going to hit the FLTS this afternoon and see whether there's anything I can make work, then go from there.  I really do need something to ride in.

See?  Harder to tell in black breeches, but
the paddock-boots-only look just
isn't too cool.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One foot in front of the other

Apollo is such a good sport.   We rode for 25 minutes last night indoors, and I even asked him for a teeny bit of trot -- like the length of one wall in the indoor.  He was obviously off, but he was a good sport about it.    I had thought that I should get myself out of the saddle to keep from unbalancing him or making it harder for him in any way.  So the first long side trot, I tried to hold myself up in a weird dressage-saddle two-point.   I think that did more to unbalance him than a steady post would have done ... so the opposite direction long side trot, I posted, being careful to post from my thigh and keep my own balance.  He appreciated that much more.

The wound is healing well, still.  It's got a good base on it, so I decided that I can go ahead and give the Equaide another try.  The proud flesh is still there, so we'll see how the Equaide does with it.  I am not worried about it irritating the leg now, not with the heal on it we have.

We're also down to once a day care, which works a lot better with my work schedule ... especially because I have to be much better about arrival time.  Hmph.  I don't like morning.  Watermelon, carrots, peas, and elephants.  Just because.  There's an echo in here lately.   Anyway, I am really looking forward to the weekend -- I might sleep in, but then again, my friend will be bringing her horse back to jumping lessons after her horrible injury.  I really want to be there to cheer her on!    Plus, maybe I can tag along with the 11 AM lesson I am usually in, maybe walk over ground poles or something.

Chop wood, carry water.   I wonder how long it'll be until he's 100% again.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Good day at the barn

Well, I wanted to have an ears picture to go with this, but it was not to be.

What is "this"?

I started tack walking Apollo this evening! YAY!! It wasn't a long walk, but it felt good to be back in the saddle. :). He's doing well at the walk and got looser and used the joint better as time went on, so unless he's really unhappy tomorrow, this will be the order of the day for a while!

Yay saddle. Yay Apollo. :D

Monday, October 8, 2012

Horse Five

So the better Apollo feels, the longer I need to walk him.  Wandering around the indoor arena at a walk can only keep us occupied for so long ... I walk through dressage tests, do spirals in and out, three and five loop serpentines, 10 meter circles strung together like pearls, figure eights, half circle and reverse, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, hands-free direction, back up straight, move this foot then that foot, et cetera.  Anything to get that leg working and keep us both from dying of boredom.

At the same time, I'm looking at it as exercise for me.  30-40 minutes of walking through deep-ish sand is great for me.  But I have been missing my Zombies, Run! game.  I usually use it on the elliptical, because I don't really run due to being prone to shin splints.  BUT.  It occurred to me that I could stick my phone in my pocket and play Zombies, Run! while walking Apollo!   I don't have to use headphones, which is fortunate, because I generally think not being able to hear what's going on around you while you're working with horses is a safety concern.

Anyway, the indoor arena in the evening, with no one else around, is a very quiet place.  Hoofbeats, the occasional sneeze or rustle or waterer noise if a horse is in a stall, but that's it.  Very conducive to focus, very solitary.   Usually, very comforting and zen.

But when you're listening to an episode of Zombies, Run! that has you, as Runner Five, stuck outside Abel Township at night, surrounded by zombies, and the radio operator from Abel has only one-way contact with you, it's deliciously shivery and creepy.   In the episode, the radio operator is kind of a voice in the dark, talking to you even though he doesn't know if Runner Five is dead or zombified or lost or what.  It was very very fun.  :)  Very Halloween.  

I turned to Apollo at one point -- he seems terribly interested in the noise coming from my pocket -- and said, "It's you and me, guy, us against the zombies.  Think we can do it?"   :)  Runner Five and Horse Five, surviving the apocalypse together.


So the wound is looking good.  I've gone to changing the bandage just every 24 hours.  It seems to do quite well when the medicine just sits and soaks in.   He does bleed more these days, rather than ooze, but I think that's fine.  He's moving around more, laying down and getting up and whatnot, and I think that helps the proud flesh slough off.  I think it also just kind of breaks the scab a bit, like it would on a person.  He's walking well and chipper, so I'm confident.   The wound is healing from the bottom (inside the leg) to the top (skin layer) and from the outside in.  This is good.   We'll keep on keeping on!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chop wood, carry water - UPDATED WITH FUN!

Hm.  Well.  A list of facts:

* Apollo's wound is a little puffier and warmer than it was yesterday.
* His hock is a little more swollen than it was yesterday.
* Due to work and other scheduling, I didn't get to walk him yesterday.
* We finished up the doxycycline Wednesday evening.
* I started putting the Equaide on the wound Wednesday evening.

Based on these facts, I decided to stop the Equaide this morning and see how he does with the SSD ointment, if there's any change by tomorrow morning.  The idea is to see whether the swelling has to do with stopping the doxy or using the Equaide -- correlation or causation with the Equaide, basically.

It's not a perfect experiment, because I walked him for quite a while today and even asked him to trot a little so I could see how it was doing.  (He's able to trot without being shocked, but he's definitely lame lame lame on it.   Better than he was, but I'm not going to be asking for much trot this coming week.) My friend and I also swapped little Rhett and Apollo for the afternoon, Rhett in the barn and Apollo in Rhett's pen.

So if the swelling looks way better tomorrow, it'll be hard to tell exactly whether it was the SSD or the exercise.  I'm glad to have him out for at least part of the day.  It's not an ideal turnout situation, but it's better than nothing.  Neither Apollo nor Rhett seems to be having trouble adjusting so far, and Apollo's new neighbor is doing fine too.  Of course, Caden has been leaning over the fence to lick Apollo's neck, so ... odd horse.

I don't know if I'm just not giving the Equaide a long enough trial or what, but ... if the swelling stays down and it looks pink and healthy, I'm going to stick with the SSD and the proud flesh ointment the vet gave me.

Overall, the wound looks pretty good.

And now, a picture and a musical interlude!

(with apologies and thanks to Johnny Cash)





I hear the trailer comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when,
I'm stuck in horsey prison, and time keeps draggin' on
But that trailer keeps a rollin' on down to Galway Downs.
When I was just a foal my mama told me, Colt,
Always be a good boy, don't ever kick or bolt.
But I got into a squabble, got kicked by some mean guy,
When I hear that horn a-blowing, I hang my head and sigh.

I bet there's top eventers with perfect braided manes
They're probably drinkin' water and eatin' fancy grain.
Well I know I'm hurt and injured, I know I can't be free
But those horses keep a movin'
And that's what tortures me...

Well if they freed me from this box stall,
If that trailer trip was mine
I bet I'd move it on a little farther down the line
Far from horsey prison, that's where I want to stay
And I'd let the riding lesson blow my blues away.....


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Equaide

Well, the Equaide seems to be doing well on the wound so far.  It's weird and gray, but Apollo's leg looked good this morning.

He had, however, kicked off his bandage.  I think it's really itchy now that it's healing.  I'm hoping the bandage stays on this afternoon.  I wrapped it more tightly, so that should have done it.  I might need to abandon the quilted wrap now; we'll see.

Also, this morning Katie described Apollo's ... unique ... method of keeping himself occupied in his stall: he stands a little diagonally, with his head toward the hay net and his butt toward the milk jugs.   He leans forward enough to get a bite of hay, then leans back just enough to switch the milk jugs with his butt.

I was wondering how he was getting the tail rubs!!   :)   It's not enough to make me worry about worms, though I'll deworm him tonight, but I was really curious.   Working students for the win!

Don't wanna ...

... sleep.   This is going to hurt in the morning.  Which has to be an early one.

However, here are the fruits of my sleeplessness.  There are two.   First:

How, then, shall I sing of you who in all ways are a worthy theme of song? For everywhere, O Phoebus, the whole range of song is fallen to you, both over the mainland that rears heifers and over the isles. All mountain-peaks and high headlands of lofty hills and rivers flowing out to the deep and beaches sloping seawards and havens of the sea are your delight.

It's a Hymn to Apollo, of course.  :)

Second, the Equaide arrived!   It's dark grey, and it looks like one of its main components is zeolite.  It's the consistency of slip -- if you've ever taken a ceramics class, you know what I mean.  If you haven't taken a ceramics class, it's the thin, fine slurry of clay and water you get when you throw clay.  The friction of your wet hands and dribbles of water suspends the clay in the water, then you slick that off your hands and use it for, basically, gluing wet clay bits together.   

Anyway, this is not a pottery blog, so I'll leave off.   I'm excited to see how the Equaide works over the next week or so!    I think that when I run out of vetwrap I'll see how he does unwrapped.   This stuff is supposed to be able to be used without a wrap, so ... yeah.   Wound looks good, pink and healthy still.  Go go gadget healing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hurry up and wait

Not only is Apollo bored with his no-doing-anything routine, I am bored with his no-doing-anything routine. Seriously, I am bored with this. I am not giving up or anything, just ... bored. I want to ride! 

Unfortunately, it's very obvious that Apollo isn't up for anything other than hand walking for a while yet. He tried to trot yesterday, and I think he surprised himself by hurting -- his head came up so fast and he scooted forward like he'd been bitten, all the while holding the right hind leg up off the ground and hopping, trying to figure out where his feet should go. Poor guy.  

I am anxiously awaiting delivery of the Equaide.  Hurry up, goo!   The cut is looking good, pink and healthy, but still swollen over the tendon.  Sigh.  No more yellow ooze, though.  This is good.  I think the cellulitis is gone.  Now just for healing.   Without proud flesh, kplzthx.

Waiting for bandages to dry now so I can get out to the dang barn and take care of stuff!!  *drums fingers*

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Combating boredom

So Apollo has been given a nibble net for his hay, a milk jug horse toy, and several long walks.   I'm hoping this helps to cure the boredom!!

As far as the nibble net goes, I am pretty sure that's working as designed.  He's having to work harder to eat, and he's already doing the problem-solving involved in getting the most hay in the quickest manner possible from the torturous device.  :)   He figured out how to stick his nose in the top, then I rearranged the net, then he found a workaround, and I've rearranged the net again.  This is the goal!  Busy pony.

It also seems that Apollo is a player-with-toys.   :)   I caught him nosing at the milk jugs more than once, and he seems to find swishing them with his tail amusing.   Let's hope this interest lasts.

Long walks ... I'd been wondering why my ankles and Achilles tendons were so sore lately.  It occurred to me that taking long walks in deepish sand while wearing less than supportive shoes might be causing this.    Yep, after this morning's walk it's certain.   Sigh.   Oh well.   We'll keep walking.  In the sand.     Apollo needs more and more walking as he feels better, so walk we shall.

Tonight, more pony care, then gym, then dollar tacos with Little Rhett's owner, who's on her own for a week.  :)  Fun!   Nice to have more horse friends, always.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bored now

My poor horse is officially bored. After ten days of stall rest, I think he's ready for something new. He's not crazy or explosive or anything, but ... when I got to the barn this evening, I was greeted with this: "So I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your perfect horse is learning to crib."

"Oh no ... no, nuh-uh ... really? Gah."

Pony is officially bored. Sigh. I walked him for 40 minutes this evening, both in the indoor and outside for a while, over some ground poles and onto the grass. (That was funny - he pulled at that grass like he was starving.) I am going to have to think up some entertainment for him. Maybe I'll hang the nibble net and keep the hay out of the pee spots in the stall at the same time.

I want to turn him out, but a) logistically that doesn't really work and b) he's officially on stall rest for the rest of the week. Poor pony.