Thursday, February 27, 2020

Lame again

After the super productive weekend, I was looking forward to our lesson on Tuesday. Only when I went out on Monday and she was lame with the full head bob, she felt like I was riding with a flat tire. I thought it was maybe an abscess with the bit of heat and swelling at the top of her hoof so I put ichthammol on her and gave her the night off. Tuesday she was still lame, but not as lame as Monday. Still head bobby at the trot, but not always head bobbing. No issues when walking. A said Mia was definitely sore in the left front, though it is posing as a possible left hind because she is short stepping.

Monday odd swelling
Last night she was still lame, but even less so than Tuesday so I rode a little. She also has this weird swelling on the inside of her pastern, which had me concerned about ligament or tendon issues. It was soft on Mon/Tues, but last night it felt more "thick/hard" and not as soft. She doesn't seem to mind me poking at it, but the swelling is definitely bigger than on her other pastern. After riding, and noticing no difference after turning in small circles or changes in walk and trot speeds, I think I am more comfortable with thinking that it is an abscess and not soft tissue.

Tues swelling still there

Yet another week without a lesson... if only there wasn't 8 weeks until our first possible show. Horses AmIRite

Weds swelling is "harder" (?) and not as soft
The farrier comes out on Saturday and if we can't figure it out by then, I'll call the vet. *sigh* I am hoping it resolves itself, or that the farrier can find the abscess. Fingers crossed!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Homework galore

Right after my last post, I had (of course) big plans to do X, Y, and Z. Then I fell and bruised my right seat bone area. Enough I could legit barely sit. And when I did sit? I had to sit slouched because I could NOT sit up or put weight on my right seat bone. I thought I had bruised my actual pelvis, though FIVE DAYS LATER I was finally able to determine the pain came from the muscles and not actual bone. It was a long ass week y'all. No lesson that week!

I tried to ride while I was bruised, with various levels of success. I couldn't sit down, I couldn't sit up, I sure in hell couldn't sit back, so I did some two point twice in that week. Unfortunately, I had also tweaked my bad knee when I fell so I couldn't do two point very long. Or with stirrups. *sigh* In the end, I gave Mia several days off. She got to free lunge and be fed treats and she seemed content with that. I was finally able to SIT last Saturday, but wasn't able to be productive in the saddle. Instead we just be-bopped around in the ring (hello 22 degrees and super high winds! No riding outside!). Sunday I was able to do a little bit of work, but in the end just walked, chatted with other ladies at the barn and took it easy.

On Monday (8 days after my fall), I felt good enough to ride and so we had a true dressage ride. There were various degrees of success, but the ride went well enough. Mia was SUPER full of energy and we did some long trotting (trotting with head low, as big as we can, for as long as we can) with some canter work. Mia loved that we were doing long trotting again, and was throwing in some super huge extended trot steps. LEVITATION BABY!

On Tuesday our lesson was cancelled because the instructor, A, was under the weather. I rode and worked on homework: walk/canter/walk transitions, lots of transitions, transitions all over the place, gait transitions, speed transitions, all the transitions. Mia did most of them quite well, but wasn't feeling the canter/walk transitions. She was pretty sure they couldn't be done without jigging, and we had a long argument about it. Trot in them? Eh, not ideal but whatever. Jigging? No. Bad mare.

On Wednesday, we went back to work on the canter/trot transition and Mia had obviously taken time to reflect on our Tuesday ride. She was much more willing to w-a-l-k in the transition. I am quite sure A won't like them, as I think I am tensing and I am super collecting Mia's canter which makes her tense, but it is baby steps in the right direction. Mia is understanding the request and trying, so now we just need to fix me for it to come together.

It was also super cool to canter on Wednesday, Mia is so much more adjustable in her body position! When I feel her be crooked, I can put my leg on and she moves her haunches!! I am now able to feel when she is straight! Her right lead is still her hardest direction to keep her haunches behind her, and we still struggle greatly with haunches in the canter/trot transition, but we have come so far in these 3 months. It's hard to imagine that 7 lessons have made such an immense difference!

I really, really wish I had found A sooner, but everything happens for a reason. At this point, I would put her up as tied for the best instructor I've ever had against M from Michigan. She has made such an immense difference in such a short period of time, she explains things so very well, and she seems to really, truly enjoy giving lessons to us. I hope it doesn't end anytime soon, because I think we are going to go really far by keeping up these lessons!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Lessons 6 and 7

I've been falling into the "too busy to blog" trap again, and for that I apologize. I should be making a much better effort to document the lessons at least!

I had lesson 6, then a week off due to super cold temps (12 degrees at the barn, yay!), then a lesson, then this week off because I fell and bruised my seat bone area. Good times! Lesson 7 was the better lesson anyway, as lesson 6 was cut short. Mia was stiff, hormonal and moody and while she tried to work, she wasn't very happy and it was pretty obvious.

Lesson 7 was all about developing power. Since I am on track to go Training level (again), we need to increase Mia's power and desire to go forward. Overall, it is coming together. Mia is straight about 50% of the time to the right and 75% of the time to the left. We have found some of the tricks to get her really moving forward (bigger canter and transitions), and she is much more steady on a shorter rein.

The instructor, A, said Mia is now easily doing 3rd level movements for a 1st level horse. I think she is saying that we are now able to do the movements, we need to now create the power and suppleness to match. She said Mia is quite supple for her build, while she will never be as supple as a Totilas or big warmblood, she is developing wonderfully for her body. She isn't stiff and bracing against me for the entire ride, and we are moving much more freely.

A also said that she loves teaching riders like myself, who desperately want more information and who actively works on homework vs the kids who ride because it is something to do. She says she really enjoys our lessons and spends a lot of time thinking about our upcoming lessons. She is putting together a plan for us for spring, to help develop our fitness and training schedule. It's weird, I guess I can say I have an actual trainer now? Someone who is actively developing a path for us, and working with us to get there, it's really weird. I've never had an actual trainer before!

And she is making our canter look like this
My future will include 1 ride a week doing exclusively transitions for 45 mins. She doesn't want us staying in one gait for more than 15 seconds before changing to something else. THAT will be an interesting ride indeed! For now, I am simply waiting for my butt to stop hurting so I can ride. I can currently sit up on my horse, but I can't sit down or sit back. I am able to do two point, which is what I did last night, but I can't jump yet because I hurt my knee when I fell. *sigh* When I do my fitness rides, I am to change my speed in the gait every 30 to 60 seconds, from slow to medium to fast to medium to slow to fast to medium to slow to fast, etc. The rationalization is to really get Mia to think forward and to really build muscle through transitions.

The good news is Mia is sound, happy, and is moving very well. I am doing some sort of moderate exercise 6 days a week and that will be increasing to moderate-high levels as winter finally moves out. I may have my first show on April 19, a Combined Test, so fingers crossed?