Monday, June 14, 2021

Nothing like a kick in the pants to get moving again!

 This is the first time I have ever had a trainer. I have been riding for 20+ years and have never had more than the occasional lesson until this past year. Sometimes it was due to money, sometimes it was due to time, sometimes it was due to a lack of both, and sometimes it was due to having no one who wanted to be that person. Having A give me lessons since Dec 2019, I can certainly say we have evolved into a trainer relationship. It is cool, I haven't had someone to rely on like this and I do enjoy it for sure. She really enjoys teaching me (even when I drive her batty) and I (sometimes begrudgingly) love her challenges. 

This lyme journey has been a long two + months. On April 4th Mia was definitely weird, we attributed it to the saddle fit. April 13th she was much worse after a chiro adjustment. April 15th is when the wheels fell off of the bus and we stopped all training when she broke out of cross ties, dumped my saddle, and refused to be caught. April 30th is when we did a full lameness exam with Lyme testing. She has been on Doxy since May 5th until June 8th.

Mia finished up the round of Doxy on Tuesday. She has been frustratingly off/stiff on and off for the past 2 weeks which I have been attributing to the antibiotics. Everyone tells me being on Doxy feels horrible, and even though Mia felt amazing at first, she was likely off due to the drugs. As a result, I have continued to ride very conservatively, 99% walking on flat ground only when she was comfortable. I rode on Thursday as the first time off of Doxy and while in the grass, she felt great. In the sand arena she still felt stiff, we did our normal walk ride with some light trot thrown in on the grass. On Saturday, she was not only NOT stiff in the arena, she felt amazing! I rode with someone else and they also said Mia looked amazing. Tracking up, very swingy in her back, and looking like she was very ready for work. We trotted on a loose rein in 2 to 3 minute sessions and it showed just how out of shape Mia is. After our third trot session, she was breathing harder than I was expecting. No worries though, we are both out of shape. We can get this fitness back in no time if she is comfortable!

How does this relate to A? After I told her about our amazing ride, she sent me a show for June 27th and said she wants me to go to it if Mia stays sound and comfy. Not only is it a show, but an actual horse trial that is "fairly" close to the barn. HA! Uh, we haven't been riding? Or training? Or even trotting! I conveyed my skepticism with vivid animation but finally caved and committed to ONLY go Beginner Novice only if Mia get can be fit by then. A knows I am very goal focused and there is nothing like a swift kick in the pants by being presented with a short deadline.

A BN show is something we SHOULD be able to do easily. Mia should have no issues what so ever going over 2'6" jumps in competition, since that is the height we typically warm up over. The dressage test should be an easy challenge. My big concern is the fitness for cantering, which A says we should have no issue doing by then. Besides 1. it is a schooling show and XC may not even be timed 2. we aren't going to the show to win a ribbon. 

This show is a super duper cheap HT to get Mia out and going over something that should be super easy for her. Going to the show is a goal for me to focus on to get back into a competition mindset, something I have definitely lost over these past 2 months. The actual goal will be to get out and scrape some rust off of ourselves. The goal is to assess our fitness and mentality. The goal is not to win a ribbon (that will be a bonus if we do!), but to just get out and find the joy in showing again. When I find the fun, doing the harder stuff shouldn't be so scary and maybe my brain won't freak at Training level like it did in 2019. 

Fingers crossed, tonight is going to be our first true ride in almost 2 months. We are going to do trotting with lots of walk breaks, but we are going back into training. With a show in 2 weeks, we have something to aim for! Not to mention I now have a lesson on Thursday, I think my butt is going to be kicked. Fitness here we come!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Coming back, one scoop at a time

Mia is finally finishing up her 30 days of Doxy and the turn around has been nothing short of miraculous. Do we have our ups and downs? Yes. Is she a fire dragon one day and totally body sore and lame the next? Also yes. But her demeanor has made a complete turnaround and I can't be happier with the results. Hyper-reactivity around the neck/poll/face? Gone. Often explosive reaction to simple requests? Gone. The overall sense of "something is wrong"? Mostly gone. 

She is looking GOOD

Looking back, I can see now that when things really started to come apart coincided with the time that I got my 18" saddle. I was telling my trainer that something was wrong, but we thought it was my saddle fit. Which, I mean, the saddle DID need adjustment but that wasn't all of it. Right after that, Mia started having weird reactivity including breaking out of cross ties twice. And having weird soreness/lameness. Even the second ever chiro eval was wonky, and the vet said she could tell Mia was amiss and very uncomfortable. Stupid Lyme being so hard to diagnose, why can't it present the same way in each horse for simplicity?

The weight loss she had is gone, she is BEEFY again!

This week will mark a full 2 months since Mia has been out of training. I have been walking her both in hand and under saddle constantly during this, as she always moves better at the end than at the start of a walk. I did try trotting her a few times over the past 2 weeks as she is totally over walking around. The first couple of times went very well, but then I let her actually do some fitness/work trotting last week and boom, completely uncomfortable again. I am going to wait until she is off of Doxy before I try again, many people are telling me their horses felt badly on Doxy. While Mia has felt great most of the time, sometimes she doesn't. No sense in trying to hurry the process, every time I have tried to get "back to normal", the wheels have fallen off of the bus. We are getting blood drawn this week to retest for Lyme, fingers crossed the numbers are good!

This is the face of someone who wants to do fun stuff again

IF Mia is comfortable and sound, we are going to aim to start working this week and maybe go to a schooling horse trial on the 26th. We would be doing Beginner Novice or Novice, depending on her fitness level. I had already paid for a USEA entry in either June or Sept, so fingers crossed we can get our fitness back by Sept. I would love to go Training for my USEA debut, however with the timing, going Novice may be much more reasonable of a request. I am also aiming to go to Loch Moy in October (Hey Emma!) with someone else if she stays sound. #Goals

It has been a really defeating spring, we had worked so damn hard to fall short at the start line. I am really optimistic that things will get better. Mia is already so much better, it can only go up from here right?  Here's to hoping she gets back to feeling great all of the time and we can start doing the fun stuff again!