So I’m not dead, and I have been following along with y’all’s blogs, but typing one-handed sucks so much, commenting has been non-existent. I’ve been that silent stalker that brings your page views up, but clicks off without a trace.
Things are healing and I ditched the sling pretty quickly.
And the bandages were taken off last Thursday, where my dr said we’d talk about riding in FOUR MORE WEEKS. I fired him. Sort of. Ok, I didn’t. Then yesterday a kid I tutor told me my arm looks like a “zombie arm,” so that was helpful.
I started occupational therapy last Friday and the OT read me the notes my doctor put in. He legit warned her via my medical chart that I’d try to persuade her to sign off on me riding. Har har, Doc. Har har.
Leo has been bopping along in Florida, doing event horse things, such as HIS FIRST CORNER last week. Of course, no media exists of said event. Wish professionals were as media-obsessed as amateurs. Srsly.
And I haven’t really even been out to the barn (gasp), as much, choosing instead to spend evenings at Crossfit so that I can retain some semblance of fitness when I’m authorized to clambor back aboard.
AND we’re considering moving to the other side of town to be closer to all the things we do (such as the barn), so readying our house that we’ve lived in for 5 years + has endured 2 growing boys has been no minor feat.
I swore when we bought this house, I’d never move again. But that was before I was boarding where I am now, which is paradise-on-earth. The area we’re looking at has my barn commute time between 5-8 minutes, so bring on the home repairs! For Husband, that is. Obvi.
I will do my best to start commenting more on everyone’s adventures- keep ’em coming so I can live vicariously through you all for the next, um, FOREVER #Desperation
So this was my first year participating (because I never had my life together enough to get in on time) and it sure didn’t disappoint! I was lucky enough to have my Secret Santa be Sarah from Three Chestnuts and she sent some amazing goodies!
Turquoise, whitening shampoo, P’s fave treats AND a floofy wash thing-a-majigger? ER MER GERD
P’s demolished half the treats, he actually APPROVED of the floof for his bath today (with the whitening shampoo), and I wore the belt to my lesson today (but didn’t get media because #FAIL). Thanks so much, Sarah!
Praise be Emily, for some blog content! This was a fun one, as 2010 was the year I got my very first horse, and rode for the first time since I was a teenager.
I bought Jester as a pretty much unbroke 9 year old for $700 with delivery included, and the day he arrived was one of my favorites EVER.
We spent awhile getting to know each other, then headed to our first show, where we dominated the Adult W/T class. Hey, that was what local J-ville shows had to offer.
And when I finally became mobile with my own truck and trailer, headed out on our own to do real shows. He was a hunter extraordinaire.
Then I sent him off for training with an eventer while we waited for the T.D. to arrive in the world, and Jester had a pasture accident that he wouldn’t have recovered from. So he gave me my best day and my worst day.
2014 saw a new adventure…
And in 2015 we headed off to attempt eventing.
2016 brought a LOT of challenges, and was probably the roughest horse-y year for me yet. Trainer issues, barn issues, I wasn’t having fun anymore.
In 2017, after a failed attempt at selling P, we met Trainer B and things just turned around. We were pushed to new heights (literally), but I was having fun again, for a change.
And we had a major break through in 2018, where we finally, FINALLY competed Novice.
Then, naturally, P injured himself- repeatedly (tendon, Foot Hole, eye), and I rode other horses until I finally decided that jumping P was not what I wanted to do anymore, and brought home a new family member. And 5 months after coming off the track, had the absolute most fun on XC that I’ve ever had before.
What an amazing (and expensive) decade it’s been since having horses back in my life. Here’s to 70 more just like it!
With surgery scheduled for exactly a week from now (unless another spider decides to bite me), I’ve been riding as much as I can. I’ve even been taking some actual dressage LESSONS with an honest-to-God dressage TRAINER in a real-life dressage SADDLE.
But it’s been really good for me. I’ve always gotten by in dressage, but I’ve never been what I consider to be a really good dressage rider. I’m way too busy with my aids, I have hunchy shoulders, turned out toes, straight arms, and am forever fighting the fetal position instinct.
But my BO has decided she’s all in on the USDF stuff and has been working with a local dressage trainer who, bless, COMES TO THE FARM. As much as I love working with Trainer B, it’s an hour trailer ride one way, and while totes worth it, being able to arrive 1/2 hr before a lesson and walk 2 minutes to the arena? IN LOVE. P’s less enthused that Home Base has been infiltrated and eyes the arena suspiciously every time we walk down there.
But it’s working and P is more forward than before, starting to carry himself in small bursts, and even the canter is coming along. And as for me, I’m getting more comfortable being in the correct position. I tend to have fairly straight arms, especially in transitions, thinking I’m “giving,” when really, I’m throwing contact away and then yanking it back. And keeping my toes turned in and my ankles out is keeping my leg more correct.
All good stuff. We have another lesson this afternoon, which, depending on her schedule, might be my last for awhile since my surgery is next Friday.
In Leo news, he arrived in Florida safe and sound, but had some trouble settling in at first. I know horses aren’t like people, but I DO feel a bit guilty. He’d only been with me for 6 months and every time we went to Trainer B’s, he, ya know, came home with me. Until the time he didn’t and instead got on a much different trailer and drove 8 hours to a new farm with strangers (minus Trainer B). But he’s been settling down and both working students have even gotten on him to hack him (at the walk only). He’s tentatively going to be hitting a show in February, and I’m so hoping to be able to make the trip down to see him at least once.
I did ask Trainer B to try to ride him like crap at least once a week so he’s not too shell shocked when he comes home and I climb back aboard. We’ll see if he complies with my request.
And speaking of being a total ammy, the other night I rode P and he was sooooo good, that when it hit 20 minutes, I felt like it was enough and hopped off. Went to loosen the girth and…
P & his buddy S got the farrier a thoughtful mug for Christmas (least he could do after stomping him in his quest to insert The Foot Hole). While S has never stomped the farrier, nor chopped off half of his own foot, he IS prone to ripping off shoes within 24 hours of getting them on.
If I don’t get a chance to write again before, Merry Christmas to everyone!
So since I last posted, uh, 2 weeks ago (oops), not much of interest has happened. Leo was on break and took full advantage:
P and I went to Trainer B’s for some dressage lessons:
P’s been ridden more in the last month than he has in the past 18 months, and is finally in some semblance of shape:
Though he’s sure to keep me on my toes at least 100x every ride:
4 days before I was supposed to have surgery on my nerve, I got bit by a spider AND got poison ivy on the arm that was supposed to be operated on. So now surgery is scheduled for the 27th, which means 3 less weeks of healing time before the end of winter.
But on the plus side, more time to ride P. Oh yay.
Family came from Chicago for Thanksgiving and I tried to show off P:
But really, I have no leg to stand on because, as my mom pointed out, this is what I did when everyone thought it’d be great fun to decorate for Christmas:
And finally, Leo left for Florida this AM with Trainer B. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a bit (and that I’m not TOTALLY JEALOUS). I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some time to go visit down there, and if all goes well with the arm, be ready to go once he comes back.
Until then, I’ll be here in cold, dark (by 5:30 waaaahhh), wet North Carolina, dreaming of this:
Last week I had a fitter out to try new saddles on P. Due to Husband’s nonstop traveling mid-September through mid-October, P has been severely on the back burner- having a measly 4 rides in that 30 day period. But I’d already rescheduled with the fitter twice, so if I wanted to try new saddles, it was then or….not then.
And in saddle #1 (which P clearly liked), we made it through trotting both ways and the left lead canter with no issue, but the right lead canter had him bunny hopping a few steps.
And I…well, sorta freaked.
Because while that certainly could mean something as simple as weakness, it ALSO could mean suspensory. So naturally I went with the theory that HIS SUSPENSORY HAS DEGENERATED AND LOOKS LIKE SWISS CHEESE.
If you read my post The Meltdown, this won’t have surprised you at all. For newer readers, I have this weird love-hate relationship with P where I routinely wish him death and misery, then when he blinks funny I rack up emergency vet calls.
I had the vet out. Who watched him race around the pasture, fancy as could be, then watched closer as he w/t/c on the lunge and then gave me his official prescription—
Yes, that’s right. After a solid year of injury after injury, where I had to do everything from hand walking to bandaging feet to putting in eye meds (not to mention chauffeuring him around the state to get ultrasounds, shockwave and eye surgery), a vet is telling me I need to ride my horse more.
The look on P’s face was priceless:
So I’m trying my best to fit more time in on him- right now he’s learning how to steer and stop off just the neck rope (and bareback because saddle fit woeZ), in anticipation of my December 2nd surgery. And then when we do “real work,” it looks an awful lot like the rehab protocol we followed last year.
And in a little over a month he’ll be my sole focus, because Leo is heading to Florida for the winter with Trainer B since I’ll be out of the saddle for awhile.
It goes without saying that P is obvi back on suicide watch. We’ll see how this pans out.
When the decision was made to enter Leo into the Windridge HT, my biggest dilemma was deciding who would ride him. Trainer B opined that I could do it just fine, but if I wanted him to do it, he would. I hate making decisions like that. I’m no good at it. For being as decisive as I am at home and in my job, when it comes to these horses, man, I can’t make a decision to save my life.
In the end, I decided it would be in Leo’s best interest to have a pro ride for his first competitive outing. Leo’s a bit of a ball of nerves and I didn’t want my ammy nerves expounding his- I want him to find outings to be as positive as they can be. That tends not to be the case when you have someone who’s competed once in the last year to be sitting on you while vibrating with adrenaline.
Ad I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still suffer a bit from haunting memories of horse trials past.
And the final reason was because of my hand. I’ve mentioned this issue sparingly in some posts, but I finally have a diagnosis (after nearly 2 years of MRIs, nerve tests, injections, therapies, etc) for why my right hand/wrist/fingers are failing to cooperate with me. And that’s because my radial nerve has decided it no longer has a reason to live and is choking itself on some scar tissue and, ya know, dying. In other words, I have a suicidal nerve. I’m now past the point where there’s hope for anything other than surgery to stop the degeneration, and while I canwill still ride until then, the uselessness of my right hand doesn’t make for the most stellar rider.
But the plan HAD been for Trainer B to pilot Leo around HT #1, then for me to take the reins (literally) for #2. So to prepare, I brought Leo along on my excursion to Carolina Horse Park the week after Windridge. I was already going to support and help some friends who were competing, and got Leo a stall so we could participate in the schooling day on Saturday. Our instructions were to trot all the Green as Grass (18″) and Maiden (2’3″) jumps and work on downward transitions after each fence.
And he was, in a word, AMAZING.
He was just so game for everything, yet so rideable, that I never wanted to get off him. Even fences that backed off other horses with much more experience than he had (this was his 4th time seeing XC fences) he took without so much as blinking.
AND we jumped his first (flagged) BN fence AND cantered into water for the first time. It was so hard to call it a day, let me tell you.
So two days later, when I was staring at the Rider blank on the entry form for the upcoming HT, I couldn’t understand why I found myself in the same dilemma as before. Leo’s already done a HT, we JUST had an incredibly successful XC schooling, he’s never stopped at A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G….there seems to be no reason why in the world I was still hesitant.
But I am. And it’s ridiculous. I’ve done 99% of the riding on the horse, and 99% of THOSE rides are outside of lessons (aka, unsupervised). I clearly haven’t messed the horse up yet, and doubt one weekend would do that, even if I were to ride like a total monkey.
And it also makes no sense that I would be more nervous to show than to school. Schooling at CHP, which I’ve done twice now with Leo, is not exactly a chill environment. It’s actually fairly insane, with hundreds of horses/riders of all levels congregating at one facility and schooling the same 50 or so jumps during a single 6 hour period. That schooling day has made even PILGRIM melt down. If Leo & I can handle that atmosphere, we should be able to handle anything.
So in a nutshell, I KNOW I’m blowing this way out of proportion, but I seemingly can’t do a thing to stop myself.
And after talking with Trainer B about it, I decided he’d ride Leo again. Then I hung up the phone and immediately felt sad. I almost called him right back to go, “NEEEEEEVERMIIIIND!” but figured I’d sit on it for awhile longer. And after getting home and staring some more at the entry form, I finally submitted it under Trainer B.
Then I went upstairs and tried on my show clothes.
Let me tell you, it’s SUPER fun being Husband right now.
I’ve been on the blog struggle bus for some time now- reading and writing. Husband, who told me when he took this job that, “it’ll be a night or two traveling some weeks,” has spent approximately 2 days at home in the last 3 weeks. That means I have 1.5 hrs at the barn after work (a TRAVESTY) before I have to get kids, get home, microwave them dinner, do reading with the kindergartner, attempt math/science nonsense with the 6th grader, etc. The upside is my house remains sparkling clean because we aren’t home enough to mess it up.
P has been a pasture puff since his diagnosis of thin soles until he gets pads next Tuesday. because 1.5 hours is simply not enough to get both horses tacked/untacked/ridden, and there’s no point in risking a bruise. Let’s be real- if I were to put a saddle on him, he’d likely find the pointiest rock on the way to the arena and pierce all the way up to his coffin bone. So we trick him by using a bareback pad + the Tiniest Dictator. Works like a charm.
Leo has also been on his own set of adventures, such as jumping all the BN/N XC jumps at Trainer B’s, his first oxer, and…AND….the rolltop that haunted P’s nightmares.
But Leo gave it no more than a cursory glance the first time over it, and then the second time didn’t even blink. He didn’t stop at a thing or even try to, not even the big coffin ditch.
And at home when a horse at the barn refused to go over this tarp repeatedly, Leo was all, “What’s the problem?”
But the last couple rides he’s been a little more reluctant to go forward, even on Monday after having THREE DAYS off (I totally wore sticky breeches and they totally weren’t needed). No lameness, just a little fussy about staying in the trot/canter. So the vet was out today to do shots/Coggins for everyone and I asked her just to do a general check to see what she thought. And after watching him go around the lunge line, felt he was a bit stabby with his hind legs, likely indicating sore hocks. So he’ll be getting hock injections in short order. I also had him on a 30 day trial of a joint supplement, and the not-so-stellar rides happened after he’d run out and been off the supplement for about a week. So he’s starting back on it tomorrow to see if that helps any as well.
Much like a recent news cycle, it happened. Shortly after coming off of suicide watch (obvi way too early), and being left alone for longer than he should’ve…
…Let me back up a bit. After P’s trip to Trainer B’s on September 2nd, the next day we went for a relaxing hack around the farm…where he, of course, twisted a hind shoe off (HOW?).
So that got him out of work on September 4th, then he had his tootsies done September 5th and later that day I rode him in the jump arena for 45 minutes, where he was perfect. Then September 6th he had his teeth floated, which earned him another day off. Leo & I went to Trainer B’s September 7th, which got him another day off, as I had familial duties to attend to when we got back. September 8th I didn’t ride at all, so when I arrived at the barn after work on Monday, September 9th, I was ready to tackle riding both horses that day and being productive.
The vet came out yesterday and blocked his feet, which instantly improved everything, so she took some x-rays of his feet and declared him thin-soled and needing pads stat.
Then she made a comment about his hind end and asked which leg it was that had the injury. And when pressed, said the possibility of reinjury was in the back of her mind because he seemed sore. But then said of course he could be sore because of THIS:
That’s where Leo decided to kick P this past Sunday afternoon, after spending 30+ minutes in the arena alongside each other with no issues. Why? No idea. P was literally minding his own business with Husband and Leo turned himself 180 degrees specifically to kick him. So then I had to hand Leo his ass because sorry, I don’t do kickers. P has never kicked a horse a day in his life and (for once) did nothing to deserve it.
So P is on Bute for a couple of days with walking under saddle, and getting pads next Monday. And then we’ll re-check the hind to make sure nothing is amiss there. So in the meantime, I’ll be mildly freaking out. NBD.