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!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trailer Maintenance Time!

After a year of not, it was finally time to address my trailer and do some needed maintenance.  We have always been good about maintenance and usually work on it a little every year, however after the move it hasn't gotten anything except some grease for the wheel bearings.  It didn't even get a bath last year, and it showed.  Badly.  EEWWW!!  To say it was dirty was an understatement.
So clean!!
At the beginning of the year, I ordered 4 new tires with galvanized wheels.  After tax time, I bought 2 sets of brakes, hubs, hardware for it all, trailer jack (the one I bought last winter sucked badly), new rear door locks and a breakaway battery kit.  Phew, that's a lot of stuff! should really be giving multi-customer discounts for realz.

Brakes in progress, steel not cleaned/painted
Brakes after, steel scraped/painted
Last weekend we were only able to do one set of brakes due to the pouring rain so we finished it all this weekend.  Despite being an all aluminum trailer, it does have a few steel beams so I crawled under the trailer and got all of the flaking paint/rust off with the air tool.  Next I put on 2 coats of paint via spray paint, I had bought some good Rustoleum Professional paint but SO had me use up virtually all of our old paint so my trailer beams were grey, white, blue, orange, bright orange and black.  Ha!

New wheels and powerwashed
Sunday after it dried, I put on a 3rd coat of paint using my good black paint so it wasn't multi colored any longer.  I would strongly recommend that Professional paint over regular or other paint, after using 5 different brands putting the 1st and 2nd coat on, wow that Professional paint went on SO easily.  One coat coverage to get great color, it sprayed so much better and was much easier to work with.  Whodathunk?!
New jack and breakaway box
After the paint dried, we applied a new undercoating called Fluid Film.  It is a fantastic lubrication and is apparently used in Canada as a rust protectant on cars and has very good reviews.  The ease in which this stuff applied was amazing, I was expecting a huge mess and there really wasn't.  Super easy to apply, within 20 minutes I was done!  Am really curious to see how well it works as we have enough to put on all of our vehicles this summer.

New rear locks, no longer need to literally assault the lock to open it!
SO tore all of the wiring apart at the hitch and replaced all of the scotch locks with real butt connectors and hooked up the breakaway battery with the trickle charger.  Apparently, my breakaway wouldn't have worked even with a charge, one of the posts on the battery had broken completely off!  We tested the new setup and it works, and now we won't have to worry about the battery being dead.  I was even able to get the fender LED light to work again with some cleaning and TLC, I didn't have to replace it.

New 2nd tire rack on the right
After the wiring was done, the new wheels were slapped on and the trailer lowered to the ground, it was time for deep cleaning.  The mats got drug out (ewww, do NOT skip a year on this folks.  For real) and power washed, the inside got a good cleaning as did the outside.  I power washed the pinstriping off because it was very cracked/faded/peeling and the trailer looked good.  I cleaned up the adhesive on one side without problems but when I did the passenger side, it was taking paint off!?! OMG.  New pinstriping is now ordered to cover THAT up.  The difference in one side vs the other?  Who knows.
New saddle racks, cost $8 total!
Lastly, I added 3 new hanging saddle blanket racks and a second spare tire carrier.  SO insists I carry 2 spares and now both are wall mounted instead of one laying on the floor.  Woohoo!  All hinges got a good squirt of lubrication and the only thing left to do is to wash the windows and load everything back up into the trailer.  We should be all ready for our show on the 25th!

Monday, June 5, 2017

In which I fall....out of a plane....and other updates

I am so glad things are starting to slow down, hopefully in the next week I can actually breathe.  Memorial weekend was the (car) race and it went really well considering it was a brand new build.  We do endurance racing so it is not necessarily how fast you are going, but if you can go and not break down.  Both Saturday and Sunday had a 7 hour (nonstop) race, for a total of 14 hours over the weekend.  It went well!  Saturday we had rain and wet to contend with but we placed in the top third of competitors.  Sunday we were doing very well (top 20 out of 90!) until we had a suspension part break so we had to fix that and ended up just better than half of the field.  We then came home Monday and unpacked (omg all the things...) and rested.

On Tuesday I simply free lunged Mia because she had SO MUCH energy, despite being out on actual pasture.  I expected she would be a little more sedate with all of the extra walking around and having a non-broken pasture mate (Mia and App are currently in different fields) but apparently not!  Lots of head flinging, bucking and galloping was to be had lol.  Wednesday I rode for fitness, Mia is good and solid at 3 min canter sets so it is time to bump that up to 4 min sets.  Myself, I can do 3 minute sets while standing in my dressage saddle but I need to really start focusing on two point because I don't think I can hit the 4 minute mark right now.  Well, maybe....but certainly not the first try haha.

Thurs/Fri is Mia's standard days off.  Saturday I went skydiving (for the 2nd time) and was even able to convince 2 others to join me.  I am nothing if not a bad influence and a good time ha!!  Not only did I skydive....OMG I was the COPILOT on the way up!!!!!!!!   I am not sure I can adequately convey my joy in this, I love to fly.  LOVE to fly.  The only thing stopping me from getting my pilot's license is the fact that I don't need a third, very expensive hobby.  I have loved to fly since I was a little girl and this was a wish came true.  It was so cool chatting with the pilot as we went up, listening to ground control and feeling the plane move around as he brought us up to 14,000 ft.  Dream came true people, dream came true.  When I am finally broken enough that I can't drive race cars or ride horses, I am totally getting my pilot license and a little plane to cruise around in.
Just hanging out, letting gravity do it's thing
 I enjoyed skydiving and will certainly do it again.  I liked my first experience better though, the instructor I had this time was a little off putting and I was simply tense on the trip down.  In an experience like that, the employee really does make or break the experience!  The freefall is probably my favorite part, with the twirling in the sky my next favorite. I am such an adrenaline junkie :)
Why yes, I do like jumping out of perfectly good airplanes!
Sunday I worked with SO and we blew apart my trailer for maintenance.  It is getting a new breakaway brake battery (mine stopped working, this one has a trickle charger on it), new brakes, new hubs, new door locks, powerwashed and a scrape/paint on the few pieces of steel frame underneath.  Unfortunately, the company that I ordered the parts from only sent one set of brakes, not two, so we didn't get the trailer done.  And then it rained for 3/4 of the day.  We have one axle left to put together, powerwash the trailer and then paint the few pieces of steel and it will be all done.

Finally, the saddle fitter came back out last night for the initial adjustment of my County saddle.  I have been trying to get her out since November, but she ended up in FL before she came back out for the adjustment and so I have had to wait for her to return.  At least she came back out!  She actually did a lot of adjustment, put more padding in the withers to raise the front up (my biggest complaint was that it sat way too low in the front), did a lot of adjustment to the left rear panel and smoothed out some of the right panel.  Wow, it fits so much better!  She said she suspects Mia had an injury to her right hind at one point in her life, she puts a lot more weight on her left hind and steps to her midline with her left but not her right.  She likely had an injury, walked this way to compensate and it simply became a habit.  Similar to how we walk funny after surgery/injury except we go to Physical Therapy to help us remember to walk properly again, only horses don't usually get that part.  As a result, it is likely why Mia's right shoulder is more developed and is also why the left side of the saddle moved more than the right.  All is adjusted now so we will see how it goes.

This week and next week is quiet, like really quiet with not a single thing written on my calendar!  I am excited to get back to riding.  We have our next show on the 25th and I want to be ready!