Monday, September 18, 2017

Lesson prep, show prep!

Ah....yes.  When we last left off, Mia had finally recovered from her knee injury and abscess and we were finally ready to move forward.  I had bought a tub of KrudZapper per Carly's review of it and was using it to remove the last bits of "crud" on her legs, it wasn't really cruddy but the areas have been discolored all year.  I made a comment to the barn owner that I was using it for her scratches and it was working great around the time the abcess was an issue.  The weekend after Labor Day, she came in with a huge hind leg, she had a cut on the inside hind leg that got infected and her whole leg was swollen and hot.  Seriously!  I was really annoyed because the previous weekend, she had a half dozen hairless scrapes on her hock areas.  On that Tuesday she had a small cut on the inside of her left hind and another on the outside of her right hind, but neither was sore or swollen.  I doctored them up, rode, all was fine.  I got a text on Friday that her leg was swollen and they thought she had issues from her "scratches".

First, she does NOT HAVE actual scratches.  She hasn't had actual scratches since I have owned her.  The fact the barn is telling people the leg swelling was a result of her tendency to have scratches really pisses me off.  Second, the "scratches" had zero to do with her leg being swollen.  A 5 second look at her showed the reason her leg was swollen was a pretty big cut/puncture on the inside of her leg, halfway between her stifle and hock.  OMFG.  The entire leg was huge and quite hot and she was lame on it.  I was so angry because the barn staff didn't actually look at her leg, they just threw this random "scratches" claim around.

Saturday she barely let me touch her leg and she proved her saint-ness as she tolerated an iodine wash/cold hose/Neosporin treatment without totally flipping her lid.  She came really close to flipping it though, she was really at her patience breaking point when I finally gave up.  She hadn't kicked out, just held her leg way up/out/away.  She hadn't reared, really, and hadn't bitten anyone (lol) but she could not stand still and was very angrily shaking her head/neck/body so I called it a day after working on it for about 15 minutes.  We repeated the ordeal on Sunday and on Sunday she at least let me touch/handle the cut and leg.  The leg was still huge, but the entire leg wasn't hot, just the area around the cut, so that was progress.  We did this routine every day until Tuesday, in addition to SMZ's and bute, before her leg finally came down in size.  Phew.

I rode her last Wednesday for the first time and her scab came off while we were riding (likely from her tail bag) but she was fine with me putting (even) more Neosporin on it.  It was big and looks ugly, but much better.  Saturday I rode a quick dressage ride and the scab stayed on.  She was a very good mare for our ride.  She is really out of shape, a 30 minute medium/high intensity workout was a bit much for her, but tried everything I asked and wasn't super sassy.  We finished with our dressage test and while it isn't great, she did a good job with it considering her time off.

Yesterday we went on a 2+ hour trail ride with some barn ladies and it was a really nice ride.  Mia is such a rockstar on trails anymore, I so vividly remember barely being able to get her to walk a straight line without spooking and now she doesn't care while everyone else is super looky.  Yay Mia!  She was very hot and sweaty, much more than everyone else, despite it being a 98% walk ride.  She got a good hosing and thrown outside to relax.  Tonight I have a dressage rider coming to look at Mia for a possible lease situation.  Apparently she rides 2-3rd level and is looking for something to toodle around on.  Mia has never had anyone else ever seriously ride her, if I could have some dressage training put on her?  Hmm, that would be awesome.  It would only be for 1-2 days a week and I'm not even sure if I will go through with it, but it is intriguing enough that I am contemplating it.

This Friday I have my first lessons since January?  February?  I am really excited for it, I want to really work on Mia's canter, my position and getting relaxation.  This weekend we have a small fun show, a Novice CT.  We aren't really ready for it, but we can get around a stadium course without being fit so I entered.  Let's hope she can stay sound until next weekend.  I did tell the barn that if she gets hurt again, I am putting her and App back together and they will have to figure something out in regards to their herds.  She never got hurt with App and this is her 3rd injury so far this summer and no one ever knows how it happens.  I am tired of having an injured horse.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sound and happy

Mia is thankfully still sound!  Man, what a month and a half it has been.  Hard to believe it has been since July 16 that we were able to do real work.  Argh!!  All is good though, we are moving forward, it isn't like we are chasing points or anything.

Last weekend I rode on Sunday and just did a trail ride with another barn lady.  Pass up an opportunity to ride with someone else?  No thank you!  So Mia didn't get real work.  Last night I was going to do boring ol fitness but someone left jumps up in the arena and I just couldn't help myself.  The fitness was very heavily sprinkled with 2 to 2'6"jumps and Mia was awesome.  She came back to me every time, she trotted every fence when I asked, she didn't act like a loon and I worked on two point.  It was such a good ride!

This week will be mostly fitness work as I hurt my shoulder, again, and am trying really hard to rest it for this week.  While I don't want to do dressage due to the fighting, we should be able to do fitness without any real issue.  Fitness it is!  That said, I really do love my jumping saddle.  It is so comfortable and really does whisper "be here" and my body just agrees.  It makes me happy.

App is still doing well, he is moving so much better after the farrier and now he is being turned out with a yearling filly.  He is now running around a lot more to keep up with her, and is even running around without her!  I am so pleased that he is moving so much better.  Here is a video of his lame self running around for no apparent reason last night.

This is super short because I am SUPER fricken busy but wanted to share Olivia's giveaway.  A Total Saddle Fit girth!!!  Mia has one for her County and I am not sure if she rides any better in it, but I do think it fits Mia better than her normal, straight Thinline girth.  Her saddle has to be back to be really off of her shoulders and we also have to use the 2nd and 3rd billets instead of the normal 1st and 3rd.  This girth seems to prevent the saddle from sliding forward and it looks good.  Go enter!
https://diyhorseownership.com/total-saddle-fit-shoulder-relief-girth-review-and-giveaway/

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lameness on, lameness off

After Mia FINALLY came off of her antibiotics and was moving FABULOUSLY, what happens?  She comes up lame.  Of COURSE she does.  I rode on the prior Wednesday and put in a semi-serious work out for the first time in 2 weeks and hoped to hit our show on Sept 3rd.  It went decently and I was optimistic.  By the time the farrier was out on Friday, Mia was lame. She was uncomfortable on her right front but showed no heat/swelling anywhere.  She then proceeded to stay like that for a solid week.  No heat.  No swelling.  Just a slight head bob at the trot and a short step over tight turns.  Argh horses are so frustrating at times!
But you give me treats so it is okay right?
Thankfully she wasn't super lame and I figured since she isn't all that lame (because she really wasn't), I could still make her earn her keep and walk around so we did several bareback walking with only a halter type rides.  She has become such a solid citizen, I remember all of her antics over the past 3 years and was always curious if I would be able to ride comfortably bareback, let alone in a halter.  Now I am doing that on a semi-regular basis!  One day we even went on a "trail ride" with another border and they were so impressed with my mare.  Even with others, on a trail in which we encountered turkey and deer, we were bareback in a halter and didn't have a single issue.
Someone was VERY happy to be out and about.
Finally on Sunday she came up sound.  Finally.  I hopped on bareback and we did some quick w/t/c in the arena and she felt good.  I kept it really short because I did NOT feel well at all (an allergic reaction which made every joint ache, along the lines of bad flu pain) but I had to finally sit on my horse at more than a walk!  I was impressed with my balance, considering I have effectively had 3 weeks off, and Mia did wonderfully.  She even hopped over the cavaletti that were out!
LOOK!  At anything and everything!
Last night I was going to give her a semi-relaxed ride, we were going to do some light fitness work in the form of some walking/trotting on the trails but in a non-structured format.  She is not in shape for the show on the 3rd and I don't think I will get her there in time, but no time like the present to get back to work. Mia, however, was super excited about being outside.  Look over there, look over here, spook at the fish, spook at the bird, spook at the stick, straight lines are for sissies.... all while having a huge ground covering walk.  Eventually I gave up on the semi-relaxed trail ride and went for some true fitness.  I made her trot up and walk down the big hill 3 times before trotting on our normal fitness route.  After the third trip up the hill, she finally settled down and was acting like her normal self.  Nothing like some good hard work to take the edge off of the energy tank!
Tired mare was tired
We had to bushwack the trails a couple of times due to downed trees but we finally got to the destination, the lower hay field.  It is the last field we come to during our normal fitness work and is a great place to really open her up and let Mia just fly.  This was the only place I let her canter last night and she was.....excited to say the least.  I let her canter, she took it to a gallop and then adamantly refused to come back to me.  Great.  Thanks Mia.  It took not only sawing on her mouth, but also pulley reining her to get her to stop before the 90 degree bend which was downhill thanks to the direction around the field we had went.  Uphill with no control?  Eh, maybe.  Downhill?  No.  Just no.  I then very sternly told her that if she wasn't going to respond when I asked her to slow down, she lost the privilege of cantering for the day.  I made her do 2 full laps of the big field in trot (approximately 5 mins, with pretty decent elevation changes) and by the second lap, as soon as I sat down and relaxed, Mia took the opportunity to slow down and walk.  Tired mare was tired!

I will do this same type of ride tonight to get Mia back into the "work" mindset and to skim off any remaining "extra" energy she has in reserve and will work on dressage on Wednesday.  Since our Sept 3rd show is shot, I'm not in a rush.  Here's to hoping she stays sound and injury/sickness free for a while!

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!