Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Lesson 18 - Be careful what you ask for!

 With Mia finally looking and feeling better, it was time to work on me. To say my mood has been low would be an understatement. I work best when working towards something, I am very goal oriented and often struggle when I am not trying to achieve something. On the 19th, I pushed both Mia and myself with a w/t/c bareback ride for a full 30 mins and finished with riding the Novice dressage test. On Tues I asked for a lesson, and to bring the pain. I obviously need a system reset, and I wanted to to see what A could bring lol. Her reply? Jump saddle lunge lesson, no stirrups, over fences at the end. Well okay then, that does sound like an appropriate level of torture!

Someone is feeling MUCH better!

On Weds I rode even harder. I rode in the jump saddle with no stirrups and went over a small cavaletti. We rode for almost 40 mins and it was the very first time Mia has broken into a sweat since this ordeal started. I was quite pleased to see how secure I felt, however, and I felt ready for my lesson!

Thursday brought my lesson (I TOTALLY should have used my Pivo! I didn't even think about it!). I did warn A that I was pretty tight despite stretching due to the workouts I had done that week, including over 60 crunches on Tuesday. Abs were crying! Our lesson kicked off and we did all of the normal lunge line things. W/T/C. Again but with arms in the air, holding our legs up, legs back, hands on hips. I will say, cantering with no stirrups with your hands on your hips while you swing your body to look left and right was legit harder than I expected and was the only balance exercise I struggled with.

Mia was not amused with having to break a sweat. Notice no stirrups.

Mia was moving exceptionally well (FINALLY!) and we quickly started going over the small cavaletti. We found a hole in my training and suddenly I earned my stirrups back, balance was certainly not something to work on so time to work on something else! One thing I have always done, and have even talked about it on the blog, is I have loose hands going over fences. I have never wanted to jerk or grab their mouth on landing so if the horse needs it, on landing they can take as much rein as they want. (Sorry A!!) I do actually know this isn't great, especially over larger fences, but my horses have always been great about not taking the reins all of the time and when I DO need them, I don't slide them or I am a-ok jumping with long reins. A, however, was not okay with this. At all. I got a nice long talking to over this matter. Oops!

After I got my stirrups back, we started trying to install a new program for my arms. My hands have to follow the horse and I cannot slip the reins. The only way it "worked" was when I had my hands way up in a long crest release. I....I have never ridden like this. I have never ridden with a crest release at all, I only jump with an automatic release. Not only did it feel weird, it was quite difficult for me! Not only that, she had me imitating jumpers by pushing my butt up and out while doing the long crest release. Oy vey!!

Why is there a lump on your snoot Mia?

To say the lesson kicked our butts would be an understatement. I finally feel the fire in my belly again though! A said I have exceptional balance and balls of steel. Everything she asked me to do, I did without hesitation (except these changes to my riding style lol), including the time she set up a 3'3" jump. Which we haven't done since spring. The thing to work on is developing a following hand, I am not allowed to let my reins slip if I am not going over a drop fence. She says I probably drive Mia crazy with my constant rein futzing, as I drive A nuts and she isn't a horse lol. I also have excellent position in a saddle, but my two point without stirrups is non-existent. Hmm. Oh, and I am also standing on my toes in two point instead of sinking in my heels? Weird, as I have tons of pictures that show the opposite, but that could also be due to the lack of jumping this year? It is on my homework list!

Weird, hard lump on a soft nose - because why not? I think she just tries to stay broken.

Always something to work on, we are far from perfect My homework is to start bringing Mia back to fitness with lots of cross country or road work. Which is difficult since I can only ride outside 2 days a week now, but fitness is something we can do. I also need to put myself over some small cavaletti more to figure out this long crest release/following hand business. I think I have the perfect use for the Pivo tonight!

Monday, October 26, 2020

The follow up and outcome - All is finally getting better

What happens when your horse is NQR for almost 2 months and no one can figure it out? A lot of motivation loss, a touch of depression, a wonder of what you are even doing. Slap all of this onto the shit show of 2020, yeah. You get the idea. So what has happened?  Let me tell you!

Sep 29

This part you already know. Aug 29 the farrier was out. Aug 30 we went on a group trail ride that I will never do again. Sep 2 I had a lesson. As we warmed up, Mia's right front was clicking. Weird. I mentioned it to the trainer, A, and she watched us walk around the arena and listened to the clicking. 

Sep 29

We stopped, chatted, and Mia was dead lame when we tried walking forward. Her legs were all blown up in weird ways, as seen in the last post's pictures. Had the vet out Sep 7, she thought maybe a ligament issue, give her some rest, bute and poultice every day for 2 weeks. Done. That catches you up from my last post.

Hooves pre-trim - sent to farrier Oct 8

2 weeks later? The same. No change. Had the vet out again on Sep 21(?) and had a full lameness done. She said there is no way Mia had ligament issues, as Mia was basically asleep in the cross ties as she was being palpated. Hoof testers pinpointed nothing. Flexions showed nothing. Lunging showed her a .5 or .75 in lameness in the front, but there was nothing obvious. The vet said Mia isn't lame enough to actually diagnose even if we wanted to try more diagnosis like nerve blocks. She said the swelling was distal limb swelling and Mia was likely footsore due to a hoof angle being off. 

Hooves pre-trim - sent to farrier Oct 8

Since 2 weeks of rest/bute/poultice didn't fix her, I should ride conservatively until the farrier is out with the idea of riding her until she is fixed or broken enough to diagnose. If  the swelling doesn't get better after a trim, I should look at putting some sort of supportive shoe on like aluminum or pads. Perhaps Mia has some arthritis that is flaring up and some additional cushion and support would help. *sigh* Okay.

Can you see the issue?

I rode lightly this whole time, and since I couldn't do much, I might as well work on me so I spent about 4 weeks riding bareback. Mostly walk, some trot, mostly in the 20-30 minute mark, mostly in the arena since it is now dark at 630p which is when I get to the barn. I realized I definitely needed that, as my balance was good but some work at it was certainly needed and I felt much better about bareback riding after a couple of weeks. During this time, I would curry/cold hose/liniment/sometimes poultice her legs before and after every ride. Her legs would sometimes look a little better, but most times they looked the same. Swelling that felt thick, was always random, and didn't really go down.

How about now? Her camber is off!

On Oct 8, I rode and took pics of Mia's feet for the farrier so she could see the angles. She said Mia's angles looked fine, Mia had some toe to remove, and her right front needed to come down a little. Fine. For whatever reason, I happened to glance at Mia from the hind end and it was like the curtains parting, the sun shining in a spotlight, and the angels started singing. All of this time and apparently no one, not me, not the vet, no one at the barn, no one looked at Mia's hoof angles from the rear and that was where the issue was obvious.

Post trim, still have a way to go

Several trims ago, the farrier specifically said she was letting Mia's right front outside wall grow to counter something that was happening to her inside. I don't even remember what it was now. In the last trim, I was leaving and didn't micro manage, and didn't notice she hadn't really trimmed the outer wall. Professions are supposed to know what they are doing! This seems to have been the issue this whole time. Mia is traveling at such an angle, her legs became swollen trying to accommodate the slant. 

Oct 21 - swelling almost gone

The farrier was out Oct 10 and we worked on fixing this issue. It will take 1-2 more trim cycles to completely fix it, but I made sure to convey that I wanted Mia level again. Whatever she was trying to do had months to fix and now Mia needs to be level.

Oct 21 - swelling almost gone

There was a slight improvement on Oct 12 and 13th, and then I left on a 5 day trip. On Oct 19? Mia's legs are much, much better. The swelling is no longer thick feeling, it now feels soft and puffy! A huge difference and one I can live with. I fully expect this to take another trim cycle to fully resolve the swelling, as her leg structure has to accommodate the new balance and that simply takes time. The difference just 2 weeks has made though? I'm beyond happy. Mia is now forward again, something I noticed had stopped, and we even took a lesson on Thursday. More on that in the next post, and Pivo updates!