Thursday, August 10, 2017

Novice Debut photo dump

Apologies that it took so long to get this post up, hopefully it was worth the wait.  I had big plans....alas they all went to hell so this is the consolation prize.

Mare had the hops on this day, wood allergy in full force!

Warm up!

Mia LOVES water

We had no issues jumping up this bank, or over the feeder
that can be seen behind the grass on the extreme right afterwards
My fav pic of the day.  Position love!



Barrel attack!

What Mia looks like when she Superwoman's it

Through the woods is no big deal for Mia

All the jumps

Unsure if this is Training or Prelim, Mia
didn't care either way and jumped it with ease

Easy peasy

Ditches are SO easy now!  She also jumped the
Training ditch seen in the background SO well

Very happy mare
 I am not entering the show in the 19th because while I would really like to, unfortunately I just don't think she will be ready and I don't think it would be fair to her.  I am going to bring her back to full work this week and she how she does with some fitness by the end of the week.  We have the new farrier coming for the 2nd visit on Friday and I am excited to see the changes that come about as she is able to implement the changes she started with the first visit.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, August 7, 2017

And things go downill

On Tuesday I got Mia from the pasture.  She is "over the hill"  with an almost 3000ft walk down a good incline to get to it.  So, of course, I ride her up the hill whenever I can.  I rode her up the hill and into the barn for our trail ride prep.  I hop down and blink.  And blink again.  Her knee was HUGE.

Day one, after cleaning, bute, cold hosing, neosporin and swat
She was totally sound, though uncomfortable.  Wednesday it was big enough that she was now lame so out the vet came.
Day 2
The vet didn't think the joint capsule was involved, but we had to have uncomfortable discussion that she isn't insured and I wouldn't be able to afford the 5-8k surgery to flush her knee if it was.  Ugh.  Lots of drugs.  Lots and lots of drugs.

Day 2
Goodbye $$$$!!!!
Day 2
The very unfortunate fact is that I was traveling out of town on Friday and could not get out of it, so I couldn't even tend to her 6 bullet point list of things that needed to be done. Sweat wrapped and stalled until swelling gone.  The Tridex paste daily.  33ml of IV Gentamax daily.  Banamine on Thurs before bute 2x a day.  15 SMZ 2x a day.  Yikes.  Thankfully the barn was willing to help out (for a fee).

Lots of this.  Lots and lots of this
Thankfully by the time I returned on Monday, the knee was much better and the joint capsule was not affected.  The swelling was almost completely gone.

Day 6
Day 6
And then a small tornado hit within a mile from the barn making it EXTREMELY difficult to travel to the barn.  2 re-routes needed, drove under 2 trees over the road and through 2 flooded sections of road.Yikes

Extensive tree damage

Not even the worst, but the easiest take pics of
Driving around trees


Eh, just lines down...no biggie right?
Wednesday finally marked the 15 day mark and Mia finished her 2 weeks of drugs.  Thankfully her knee looks to be healing well, and without issue though I think it will scar.

Day 14

Day 14

She has several large scrapes and had 2 open wounds.  The biggest one (as seen above) is the one that is having a hard time closing but is finally doing so.  The smaller one (above) is the one the vet thought may have compromised joint space.  Thankfully she was wrong.  Despite many pasture walkings, no one could find what she got hurt on.  It obviously isn't a kick, not with the number of scrapes, but it is a mystery.  She is now staying in a different pasture.

She was very lethargic on the SMZs but is back to normal so I plan on riding this weekend.  There is a show on Aug 19 I wanted to go to but I don't think she will be ready for it so our tentative plan is Sep 3rd.  Fingers crossed we can keep her injury free!

**edited to add**  And then App got kicked in his good shoulder by a wench of a mare this past Saturday.  He seems to be okay, just tender.  Needless to say I had a LOT to say and got a heartfelt apology from the barn owner over it.  They had randomly decided to move pastures/herds around and set up for this bad situation due to an unnecessary overreaction.  He should NOT have been in that pasture and he should NOT have been with that horse.  I'll see him again tonight but aside from a good bit of hair loss, he seems no worse for wear.  Grrr!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mia's Novice Horse Trial debut

We have been doing a lot of CT's lately, no fault of our own.  We have entered a Horse Trial (maybe 2?) this year only to have it knocked down to a CT due to weather or other factors.  It is now mid July and we are literally having our very first Horse Trial.  Geez!

2 weekends ago we went XC schooling for the very first time this year.  It went very well!  We met Stacey and Mochi and had ourselves a wonderful time.  Mia went over her first training level jumps with ease.  EASE.  And 2 jumps I am curious if they were prelim because they were HUGE.  I know training is big, but these were big.  I have a pic!  And it was easy for her. She is such a beast.
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And that, my friends, is all I got typed up before things went to hell.  I have tons of pics, but those will have to be a media dump so we can get caught up with life.  So the quick recap:

Mia did excellent in XC schooling!  She loves water jumps and we got to play with so many elements.  We did a bank out of water to a three stride to a small pheasant feeder.  We went down the bank into water.  We did up and down training level banks.  We went down banks that had a small log on top of it (Mia's hardest question a few years ago).  We went over 3 different training (2 prelim?) jumps.  We jumped one of those HUGE hay bales.  Most importantly, we jumped what is the beginnings of a sunken road called a roller coaster.  You jump a fence, have an immediate downhill slope to an immediate uphill slope with a jump on top.  I am SO glad we schooled this because Mia did not understand the question!  She was game, but very confused and unsure how to proceed.  We went over it about 10 times before it was easy for her.

On show day, things went very smoothly.  Dressage warm up was good!  But....  I was still really tired and so I drank half of an energy drink on the way to the show and it really messed with my mojo.  During the dressage test, I did the unthinkable.  I.....yeah....I stopped riding.  BLAH!!  She was doing so well too and I just stopped riding!  ARGH!!  We ended with a 35% with her new "relaxed" dressage frame which had my reins WAY too long and not a lot of back/front connection.  Considering there were 2 people in the mid 20's, my 6th place placing of 10 wasn't too hateful.

Stadium was next and I was glad I took the time to walk it.  Fence one looked like you could make an easy inside turn to 2, there was NO way.  Phew!  Despite it being a relatively easy course, it was hard for everyone.  Only 2 people rode double clear, yours truly included, and one person even fell off.  Yikes!!  After fence 7 I lost my right rein and almost missed fence 8 completely and fence 10 I just froze, got a bad distance and Mia hit the jump but it stayed up and I didn't fall off despite looking down over her shoulder.  Grr.

XC was immediately after stadium, with only 20 minutes between the two rides.  And XC was on the other side of the facility.  Hustle!!  When we got there, we were held because a rider fell off, the horse took off and no one could catch it.  Yikes!  When they finally sent a horse on course, they still hadn't caught it.  XC rode very well.  Mia was wonderfully forward and got nice distances to the first few fences.  She got a little strong over 4 and 5 but came back when I asked her to trot through the woods. She dominated the water and fence 9 and we went to the roller coaster jump.

The fence was actually the "easier" jump, where you land flat for a stride before going down the hill, we had schooled the one that had an immediate drop.  She locked onto the wrong jump at first, then I got a bad distance to the correct jump so it wasn't pretty but it was easy peasy.  The up bank was a piece of cake and the ditch was SUPER!  I am SO happy that schooling the faux ditch at the barn has made ditches be a non-issue.  We finished up with a nice, slow dressage canter to eat up time and was still 30 seconds under optimum.  Double clear!

Our double clear resulted in a wonderful 3rd place finish, with only .8 points from second.  WOW!!!!!  If I had ridden just a half effort harder in dressage I could have gotten 2nd. Argh!  Not riding is not typical of me, so I am pretty sure it was the energy drink, but at least she was nice and relaxed during the ride and both jumping rides were amazing.  Mia got Monday off and we were going on a trail ride Tuesday.  Cliffhanger.....

Monday, July 17, 2017

Craziness that is life

It sucks when life is so busy you can barely get things done.  Usually I can do blogger things while I am at work or during lunch, that just isn't the case lately.  Blah!  I am struggling to get time to keep on top of everything.  Some family was in over the 4th of July weekend.  I had tried to powerwash our front porch before they came in preparation for getting a small storage shed we were going to put on it.  That resulted in the porch needing to be repainted as old paint flaked off and then we found porch posts had rotted and needed to be replaced.  So that has taken up a LOT of free time.  Plus de-landscaping the back of our house and selling SO MANY plants...  I have been a selling fool these past 2 weeks.  Next will be some tack, LOTS of girths, one day it will be quiet again lol.
Rotty rot of a porch post.  NOT cedar.
So before the 4th, the farrier was supposed to come out.  He canceled 2 hours before he was supposed to show up and refused to reschedule, saying he would "let us know" when he could come.  Except he has done this 3 times and it takes weeks to get rescheduled so the horses are then long overdue.  This last time, the other boarder had enough (it was originally her farrier anyway) and was able to get a barefoot trimmer out of New York to come visit us.  She has been talking with this farrier for about 3-4 months and we just went ahead and decided to try her.

Hanging porch post
What a difference.  I gave zero instruction as to what I was unhappy with currently, just let her do her thing.  She made a huge difference in App.  App went from a grade 4 lameness to walking off a 2 at worst.  OMG.  She brought his heels back (FINALLY), changed his bars and the overall balance.  He is standing so much more comfortable and when she finished his front feet, he let out a huge sigh and did some licking and chewing.  Awwww!  Poor man must have been uncomfortable for a while, damn farriers.  I have complained ad nauseam about his hoof balance and underun heels and no one would actually fix them.
New cedar bottom for porch post
Mia wasn't nearly as big of a change, she really addressed Mia's slightly clubby foot and brought her heels way down.  She changed the balance of her fronts and said her hinds were in very good shape.  The downside is this farrier is more than double the cost of a typical trim (because she has to travel so far) but if she can make App almost sound so I am not considering putting him down for the winter?

The barn got 3 new boarders this month so we are now full again and 2 of them ride at night!  So far, I have had someone to ride with every single time I have gone to the barn for the past 2 weeks.  It is really cool!  It is really different, after riding by myself almost exclusively for 16 months, but really cool.  The one who rides with me the most is a good bit older and a fearful rider but I am being a "good/bad" influence and having her do things like walk up/down a hill, trotting outside and she even cantered on her own.  Cantering is something she hasn't done outside of a lesson in a very long time (her words).  She is thrilled I am riding with her and encouraging her to push her boundaries of comfort, hopefully, she gets her confidence soon.  She has ridden in only lessons for the past 9 years, has been an "indoor arena only" person, and only with other people with her.  I told her she is welcome to ride with me, but I ride outside as well as out and about.
New porch post, "new" paint later stripped off
as "paint+primer" was not primery enough.
Primer added and new paint put on top of that.
I have more updates, so many updates, so another post is to come this week.  What did we do?  Where did we go?  Who did we see?  Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trying again

So after our last show was canceled, I ended up not riding for a solid 2 weeks.  That isn't helpful when we have another show scheduled in 2 weeks!  EEK!!  We had the abscess and then the family emergency immediately followed by relatives who came in this past weekend so no riding was done.

"new" relaxed trot
I am curious how well Mia will do with full Novice XC course, the courses are much shorter here in PA then they are in MI so I am not super concerned.  Any fit horse should be able to canter 5 minutes when full of adrenaline, and Mia is surely fit.  Never fear, I am not planning on taking a pasture puff and doing a Novice course.  On Tuesday I rode with a lady from our barn, let's call her B, on the trails and I was able to both trot and canter with her.  Not a full fitness set of either gait, but enough of a duration that both Mia and I got a good workout in.  Fitness FTW!

video

Last night we played with dressage and while it isn't where I had hoped, it was decent enough. I rode for 25 mins and worked on our new relaxation frame.  I don't think we will be able to get it when we are at the show but baby steps, right?  I ride again tonight and it should be a full dressage ride, I need to step up my game to make sure we are prepared!

This weekend we are going XC schooling so I am excited for that.  We haven't gone XC schooling all year, just making do with what is at the barn, so I am excited to go over some Novice and Training stuff!!  And!!!!  AND!!!! We should meet up with another blogger!  How fun will that be!
Not too bad, but holy short neck Batman!
Someone asked how App was doing, App is still trucking right along.  His weight isn't great but isn't bad at all for a broken old man.  His soundness has gone significantly downhill over the past year, from NQR in March/April last year to a grade 4/5 lameness at the walk.  See?

video

But you know what?  It doesn't slow him down.  Like... at all.  I have been informed that within the past 2 months App has:  Escaped from his pasture (regularly, not once or 5 times), run people over to escape out of the pasture, knocked stuff out of people's hand for no reason, JUMPED THE FENCE and encourages the 29yr old that he is pastured with to escape, run around and create havoc with him.  Ahem.  Yeah App, you are supposed to be broken and in retirement.  Being paired with this old buddy has apparently inspired all of the mischiefs that had been kept at bay for a full year.  The barn people have repeatedly said "I just can't believe it!  He is normally so calm and perfect!"  Yeah... no one believed he was an ass when he wanted to be.  They do now!

I am trying to overlook his limping because if he is creating this much havoc, like JUMPING OUT OF PASTURES and trotting to see Mia, he isn't in so much pain that he is unhappy.  He certainly still has that spark in his eye and will to live and he hasn't let life get him down.  I'm hopeful we can get him through another year, he doesn't seem ready to go that is for sure.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Not as planned

So Tuesday we went on a quick walk trail ride and Mia stumbled and acted off immediately.  I hopped down and dug around with a stick but found no rock.  She seemed to walk most of it off, as at first she didn't want to put her foot down, but was still off at the trot when we got back to the barn. She got some poultice and thrown in the pasture.  Wednesday she was still off but we couldn't really tell where.  No heat or swelling, we determined there was possibly heat in her heel.  She got her massage, more bute, some ickthammol and kicked back outside.

Mia had only a few unhappy moments
My PLAN was to give her Thursday off, check her again Friday and scratch from our (first of the season) Novice HT on Saturday if needed.  That flew out the window when we got a call that we had to rush to OH for a family emergency.  So the show was canceled as we were not even in the state dealing with family stuff.

Most of the time, she was simply content and hanging out.
We finally got back from Ohio Weds am.  I went out to the barn last night and my horses were alive and kicking.  Mia was being eaten alive by gnats, she had big sores on her chest and on her udder, so they were both covered in fly spray.  Mia looks like she could possibly still be lame?  But it is very mild if she is.
Writeup of the findings, sideways bc technology.
This weekend I have relatives coming in to visit so I won't be doing much riding, it lets her have more time off I suppose.  Things simply came to a very abrupt halt and it is disappointing horse wise.
Diagram of the muscle groups corresponding to above
So I suppose the best way to finish the post is to talk about Mia's massage.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but I am not sure I got it.  They use a big vibrating cylinder over her withers and a handheld one for everywhere else.  They didn't use their hands on her as much as I expected and the knots that were found were better, but they weren't eliminated.  She was pretty tight in her cheeks and shoulder and they gave me some assignments to do on her to help keep her loose and comfortable. I know Mia did enjoy it, I guess I was just expecting more.  Holding a vibrating massager and running it over her body to eliminate knots is not what I expected.  Has anyone else had an equine massage?  Should the knots have been eliminated?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Less is more

Why yes, I am super busy still, why do you ask?  Oh the blog silence?  Well, it hasn't been THAT silent, geez.  So what has been going on.  Well, my trailer got it's pinstriping put on, or rather stripes since they are 2" and 1" tall.  The trailer got delivered back to the barn.  Powerwashed the entire front porch of our house, got shelving and lighting up in the garage and some yardwork done.  Phew.
So happy this is done, back to the barn we go!
Mia was going to have an easy trail ride last week but decided instead that she had to lose her marbles and actually smacked me in the face with her head by drama llama'ing so badly.  She's done this before, but had not actually hit me yet.  I was surprised I didn't have a black eye, because she hit me pretty hard.  She got spanked pretty good and then I made her trot along the road for about 2 miles, including over the ouchy rocks she didn't like.  Her attitude greatly improved after that.  Damn horses.
Ready for fitness!
Another day, one of the barn ladies watched me ride and commented I am over riding, I need to ride with less.  Mia carries a lot of tension in her chest/neck and suggested I really need to focus on relaxation as my next stepping point.  When I rode (what felt) like a newbie and flopped all around, Mia trotted around all relaxed and they said it presented a much better picture. Hmmm.  Personally I think it was more that Mia wasn't being put into a frame, as that is when she gets tight and tense, but I'm up to try anything.  Feedback from almost anyone is welcome at this point.

The next day was super hot so I we worked on getting into that outside rein.  The barn friend hopped on Mia and remarked how soft and responsive she is.  Well, I hope so, I am the one that put every bit of training on her!  Sometimes I just have issues putting it all together, it's why I keep asking around for lessons.  I have actually tried really hard to train her correctly and not use shortcuts or gimmicks.  Yesterday I rode dressage and while it was super humid, Mia was pretty good.  I tried to focus really hard on not micromanaging and instead, apply more leg.  What's the answer?  More leg.  Head up?  More leg.  2+2?  More leg!  We still have our spots of inconsistency, and I am not sure we will be there by the show, but I am trying.  Her being relaxed is more enjoyable to ride, that is for sure.

Tired mares tend to look very downhill #fitness4lyfe
What was that?  A show you ask?  Why yes, a show this coming Sunday.  Hopefully we are ready for it.  It isn't supposed to be too bad weather wise which will be nice.  And MC from the barn is going to go to the same show, so we may be able to haul together.  I tried to go xc schooling at the facility but the owner just wouldn't return my calls so schooling is going to be over the logs at the barn and hope for the best.  Mia is a beast, we haven't had a single issue since our very first horse trial, I need to trust my pony more.  This is the mantra I have told myself every time I think about the lack of schooling we have done.  Ack!!!

Roll all of the stress away Mia, roll it all away
Mia has her first ever massage scheduled for Wednesday in hopes that any residual tension will melt away and she will be amazeballs.  MY last massage was in 2009 so I am not quite sure how it is fair, but it is what I have scheduled.  Fingers crossed!