Horse Life

S & P Update

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Not really exciting to report on 30 minute handwalks with P and basic flatwork rides with S.

But here’s an exciting report: P can TROT!

I took him to Tryon last Wednesday for his final shockwave treatment and for an ultrasound. The vets watched him trot off- first trot in 30 days- and he was completely sound. Completely.

So off to ultrasound he went, which was just another beacon of good news: all the fluid has been reabsorbed, all the swelling is gone, and the fibers have filled in. It’s healed.

BUT. It’s still fragile and the vets have him on a gradual rehab plan. They stressed again that he should make a complete recovery as long as he doesn’t injure himself during rehab. So no turnout where he can go wild and twist that leg. He’s still on stall rest for at least the next 7 weeks, then he’ll go back to see if turnout and cantering are in the cards for him then.

But trotting is better than nothing. His rehab plan is as follows:

Week 1: One set of 2 minute trotting

Week 2: Two sets of 2 minutes

Weeks 3-4: Three sets of 2 minutes

Weeks 4-7: Three sets of 3 minutes

He continues to be super calm in his stall, and can still be trusted with the 4 year old:

But has recently become a little wild during walks, so a small dosing of sedative will most likely be needed from here on out.

S is doing well- we’ve gone to Trainer B’s a few times and his honesty to fences has allowed Trainer B to fill in an important hole in my jump position- the hip hinge. Something completely new to me, really. When you ride P, you almost have to be behind the motion if you want to have a prayer of staying on should he decide to forego leaving the ground.

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Sitting back is highly recommended

So the last couple lessons have just been grids upon grids upon grids. S is not as athletically gifted as P, so when the fences got higher (3′) the sound effects were quite hilarious. But he’s a trier and I really appreciate the opportunity to ride him.

We did play around at home with the new jump fillers Husband made! P hopped over them on the lunge once, but since then they’ve been sitting at the edge of the arena. BO told me S would give them the hairy eyeball when he’d see them, so sorry S, but now you have to jump them.

And while he did peek a little, especially to the brick side, his honesty came through and he popped right over.

He’ll be going back to Carolina Horse Park next weekend to do his first HT at Beginner Novice. Maybe. At first I was going to put him in the BN CT since he’s never really even schooled XC (besides the one limited outing we had a few weeks ago), but after talking to Trainer B yesterday, decided to enter him in the full HT. We’ll do the schooling day the day before and if there are issues, I’ll just show him in dressage and SJ, then withdraw him. If he’s great for the schooling day, then I won’t be regretting not running XC.

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My biggest concern is the water. Yesterday after we did our million grids, Trainer B had us go through his new water complex. Much like he did when I took him to KHP for schooling, he said “Hell naw,” and sidestepped around the entire thing repeatedly until another horse led him in.

Sooooo, that could preclude him from running XC. We’ll see.

Signing off now to FINALLY go catch up with what everyone else is doing!

Horse Life

Drowning

In work, that is. Luckily the hurricane didn’t reach us here other than some wind and rain, and as far as I know our Jacksonville house is still standing and dry. People are slowly trickling back to that area, so I’m hoping we find out 100% by next week.

P is still rocking the stall rest game; though for the first time gave me trouble under saddle on Tuesday. I hopped on and within 2 steps hopped right back off. Homeboy wanted to FLY about, so we handwalked those 20 minutes. In his defense, he has been a complete star and the 3 days the hurricane was dumping rain on us, he didn’t get out at all.

I had Husband video a snippet of our ride- you HAVE to turn the sound on.

And then The Tiniest Dictator wanted to hop on as well. P was just as careful with him as always.

I opted yesterday to handwalk him to make sure all the hops were out of him and he was great, so I’ll try getting back on today. If he’s still too jumpy, then I may have to break out the drugs.

Husband just texted me a video though, and he seems quite calm.

He got his first shockwave treatment last Friday, and they’re coming back out tomorrow for round #2, then he’ll go back to Tryon for his final treatment and to re-ultrasound.

S continues to come along. I took him for his first little XC school 2 weekends ago and he did pretty well. He needed some convincing to get in the water at first, but he hopped up and down the baby bank with no theatrics. He was a bit excited when we first started jumping, as he’d never jumped out in the open before, but settled down. Very little media exists, sadly, as my friend was on her wiggly green bean and videos were hard to get.

This weekend we’re heading with Trainer B and team for what was supposed to be XC schooling + HT, but turned into a CT, thanks to the rain from the hurricane. It’ll be a few firsts for S: his first overnight show (and 3rd show ever), his first show jumping, and his first show with me. He’s been hopping around BN+ courses at Trainer B’s, so the plan is to school the BN course the day before, but compete in the 2’3″, since that ring is quieter with less distractions. Sort of boring, but that’s ok.

Ok, signing off to catch up with what everyone else is doing now!

 

 

Horse Life

New Ride

First of all- everyone please say a small prayer for our rental property in Jacksonville, NC…right where dear Hurricane Florence is predicted to make landfall as a category 4 hurricane.

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Our house’s neighborhood is literally on that line, 8 miles from the coast

Specifically I’m going to need prayers that the house gets flattened and not just flooded, as we have extensive windstorm insurance coverage, but no flood insurance.

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The first house Husband and I bought. Sweet memories and all, but please die a complete death.

Everyone on the east coast, stay safe!

Ok, onto horse business:

12 days of rehab in!

P got his new shoes on.

Somehow managed to get a cut right on his poll under his forelock.

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Which meant the bridle was out and rides would have to be done in a halter…not nerve-wracking at all to ride a fit TB who has been on stall rest the past week and half. Not at all. Luckily he’s been a complete star (knock on wood).

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Even when we ventured outside of the arena.

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He’s also been hanging with Husband every morning, who takes him out to graze while I’m at work.

That particular video earned him a few frantic texts back, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness. The more he can get out, even just to hand graze, the better.

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But as exhilarating as walking in straight lines for 20 minutes per day IS….the thought that that would be my only riding for the next months was a bit painful.

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After I snapped back to reality after my meltdown, BO and I talked about my riding S. Funny enough, of the 3 people that asked me to ride their horse, 2 of the horses are grey OTTB geldings. I don’t even LIKE greys, yet they keep finding me.

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S is not particularly new to this blog, as he’s most commonly known here on the blog as P’s lover.

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Like that time they had to be tied on opposite sides of the trailer and P tore up the ground pacing back and forth trying to get to his man.

They also sometimes pass as each other’s body double.PandS

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But for how much they look alike, they’re veeeery different horses.

-P is more relaxed, S tends to hold some tension pretty much continuously.

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One is almost asleep while toting a small child, the other JUST CAN’T EVEN.

-P is wildly inconsistent in his gaits- we zoom, then crawl, then dip right, then dip left (all in one 20m circle), S just keeps going until you tell him differently.

-P quickens towards jumps and waaay overjumps everything,  while S is all, “No extra energy shall be expended.”

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S over 2’3″

 

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P over 2’3″

-P has a wonderfully elastic walk and trot, S takes much shorter and choppier steps.

-P’s canter is sort of hard to sit to, S is like sitting on a rocking chair. Seriously, when I would ride with BO, I’d be super jealous of how she could so easily sit the canter…until I sat on him and could instantly do the same. Majikal.

Considering I’ve pretty much ridden just one horse for the past several years, getting on another one was hard for me at first. Luckily S can take a joke, and I really liked riding him. I flatted him a couple times, jumped him a couple times, then the final test was an outing to Trainer B’s…

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Super weird for a horse to be in P’s spot

Since I went alone, no media exists, but it went well. S is pretty out of shape (BO has horses in training so S has been on the back burner for quite some time), and hadn’t been off the property other than a trail ride or 2 since May. He was a bit spooky in the arena, which wasn’t unexpected. If your horse can survive Trainer B’s arena, it can handle anything. There are flags waving, banners flapping, baby horses running, chickens walking about, and lots of shiny and spooky jumps/water trays, fillers, etc. After a few mini-spooks, he settled in pretty easily.

I warmed up then we got straight to the jumps. Trainer B said to warmup over the gate and I said, “K,” and turned S away. Then he goes, “Wait…can he jump this high?” And I said, “Uhhh, I don’t know.” So we were about to find out together. For reference, it’s this gate (P’s favorite):

So I picked up the canter, may or may not have held my breath, and S popped right over it.

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Next we popped over the shiny shamrock jump. Nary even a peek.

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And through a 2 stride- again, zero hesitation.

Until we finally found a weakness. These barrels:

The first time, I cut the turn to the barrels too short and he just did a bit of a drive-by. Ok, fine. Approached again, and he popped right over.

The we did the entire course again- Shamrock, to the 2 stride, to the gate, and finish over the barrels. This time he popped his right shoulder and again, went right past it.

Now…yes, it was wrong of him. But I literally couldn’t be mad or upset. Because it was so….gentle. I’m used to the psych-out move perfected by P:

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But still, not jumping is a no-go, so we schooled it several times, with a strong right leg and open left rein, and he went over it with no additional issues. Came around and did the course again, and he was good as gold.

So he passed the Trainer B test, so I’ll be mainly riding him until P recovers or he sells. We definitely have some things to do- increasing his fitness being the first priority.

a9ad56fa5c7d8ca399d0983fa5dc2d2c--crossfit-memes-workout-memesTrainer B did nail him on his lack of adjustability at the canter (something he’s quite picky about with every horse), so yay, I get to work on that some more. But it’s something that was quite obvious- I would go to press him forward and nothing would happen. Then I would go to collect slightly and he’d break to the trot. So we’ll be addressing that ASAP and I know will become easier as he gets back into the groove.

While I definitely wish I could be on my own horse, I have the feeling S is going to be quite fun.

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Insert crying face here
Horse Life

The Suspens(ory) Is Over

Recap:

August 3rd: P goes to vet for chiro/acupuncture. Is body sore all over and vet puts him on Robaxin for 2 weeks with no jumping, and suggests potentially injecting SI in 2 weeks if he’s not better.

August 20th: P goes back to vet for re-checkup, is still pretty body sore but shows most uncomfortable-ness when flexed in the hocks, especially the right one. Vet decides to inject both hocks, finds arthritis in right one.

August 24th: First time getting on P. Dead lame in the right hind.

August 25th: Back to vet, who agrees he’s lame, but says no infection and thinks there’s some leftover inflammation in the hock and/or is not used to the feeling at the injected sites. Prescribes Bute. Trainer suggests suspensory based on previous nights videos. I drink heavily.

August 26th: Lameness is gone, but still has the right hip drop that was evident pre-injections. Gets Bute.

August 27th: No Bute, no riding, just turnout.

August 28th: Get back on, is pretty normal at walk, is uncomfortable at trot and repeatedly tries to stop. BO observes right hip drop. Tell vet, vet says to give Robaxin for 2-3 days and see if it gets better. If not better, will x-ray or ultrasound hock the following week.

August 29th: Wake up, realize waiting sucks, call Tryon Equine Vet Hospital and schedule appointment. If the vets there are good enough for WEG and the FEI, they’re (probably) good enough for me.

August 30th: Haul P to Tryon, meet Bette who was kind enough to come for moral support, vet watches him go, then blocks foot, which makes P worse. Based on that, vet blocks suspensory. P trots off with a gait Totilas would be jealous of. I wish I had thought to bring tequila to my 10 AM appt.

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So it’s official, we have a diagnosis. No more waiting to see if he’ll get better in a few days and try again. So that’s a relief.

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The vet used ultrasound to determine the damage, and is optimistic P will make a full recovery. There’s no tear, no lesion, the damage isn’t close to the cannon bone, and there’s no swelling or impingement. He called it “slight mixed fiber loss,” and said it was caught extremely early. The most likely scenario is that P’s hocks were bothering him and caused him to compensate most heavily on the right one (the one with arthritis) in an unnatural way, putting more stress than usual on the ligament.

Prognosis given by the vet was good- he said fall season is out, but we should have a spring one. That over 80% of horses with his injury make a full recovery and go on to resume their normal job. He’s treated Grand Prix dressage horses, Grand Prix jumpers, and 3* event horses that are back at their full workload with no further issues. His wife’s own Prelim horse is sidelined with a similar injury for the rest of the year, but is expected to get back to it early next year. The most important thing is to keep P quiet and follow the rehab schedule.

So P is on stall rest with 20-30 minutes per day of walking either by hand or undersaddle. I’ve been doing both: 10 minutes of handwalking in the AM and then 15-20 minutes of walking undersaddle, which is super boring but also keeps P more mentally engaged. The vet gave us some ace to keep him quiet in his stall, but so far he hasn’t needed any. He’s been enjoying having the door open with just the stall guard up, so he can get all the itchy places:

Eating his Licky Things:

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And salt lick:

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Cooling off with the leaf blower:

Supervising the arena and pastures (he has the perfect view of his lover, S):

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Being Husband’s puppet:

Getting hugs from kids:

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And still doing horse things:

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Happy I still get this view!

I did look into a rehab place, because the vet had said he could do some aquatread, but it’s over $3,500/month. So yeah, love ya, P, but nope. You’re stuck with me.

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He’s getting steel egg bar shoes on tomorrow, to relieve some pressure on the suspensory.

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Trainer B has had similar experiences with horses, and made a list of stuff for me to get (some holistic, some medicinal) to help healing any way I can.

I added SmartTendon to his SmartPaks. Yes, I’m quite aware that this is probably nothing more than a placebo effect for me but I couldn’t NOT.

The vet said IRAP, PRP, and stem cell injections were not options because there was no hole to inject anything into and he wasn’t about to create one, but that shockwave could be beneficial. Since there’s not really inflammation and it’s not near the bone, it’s not something he said was necessary, and was up to me, since it’s expensive ($1200 for 3 sessions). But it’s covered by insurance, so P is scheduled for shockwave with the hospital’s mobile division the week of the 10th, the week of the 17th, and then will get the final treatment when he goes back to the hospital the last week of September to get re-ultrasounded.

Then as long as it looks like it’s healing, the vet will start to add some trot into his daily routine.

On the riding front, I’m considering leasing or half-leasing BO’s horse, S.

He’s a good egg, and BO isn’t really riding him because she’s busy riding client’s horses. I’m taking him to Trainer B’s tomorrow to get his opinion, but I’ve ridden him a couple times now and have enjoyed him. Yesterday I also got to hop on a horse in for training for her first little gymnastics!

That was my first non-TB ride in years and when I first swung my leg over wasn’t sure my legs would be able to separate that far. But it was still a blast and I will literally ride anything I can.

And now I’m headed off to catch up on everyone else’s blogs and live vicariously through you all!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about my meltdown.
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Horse Life

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

The Asmar WEG Challenge comes to an end today. Since BO and I didn’t catch wind of the contest until they were on their 3rd challenge (eventing)), we went back for some extra credit and submitted videos for the first two, dressage and vaulting, and then also submitted our entry for the last challenge, para-equestrian.

Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Here was mine for eventing, where you needed to multi-task and perform 3 tasks at the same time. My submission included my absolute saint of a horse who had never dragged anything that was attached to him before. Please also note that I’m on him bareback.

And BO’s submission (which won because it was so damn funny!):

Then the Endurance challenge, which said to complete as many jumping jacks as you could in one minute (I won this one!). BO’s husband in the t-rex costume still makes me laugh everytime I see it:

And then show-jumping, which is still my all-time favorite. You had to show your most creative jump, and nothing is more creative than a half-dino costume with a large former-Marine screaming at you in his wife’s riding tights. Asmar contacted me after we submitted that and said while it was their favorite, we had already won twice so we couldn’t win anymore. Understandable, but we were having so much fun making the videos, we continued on.

Then there was reining, where you needed to perform 8 spins on or off a horse as fast as you could. So we got the group together (BO and both our husbands) and beat each other with inflatable baseball bats.

For the para-equestrian challenge, the directions were to perform a task with your non-dominant hand.

BO is a good sport. I had to get to my son’s football practice, so she donated her face for this cause:

Then BO coerced one of our other friends (who is too flexible for her own good) for the vaulting challenge. And she KILLED IT.

And then created an 80’s-crossed-with-Halloween workout video for the dressage challenge, which said to show off your most creative dressage-inspired dance moves.

No idea what we’ll do with ourselves now that the contest series is over.

Horse Life

Why Tho?

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This for real has been my face for the last 72 hours

After not riding my horse for pretty much the entire month of August, Friday finally arrived. He’d had injections on Monday, stall rest until Tuesday afternoon, then normal turnout until I could finally get back on Friday.

So I tacked up and power-walked him down to the arena. I had no expectations for how it would go and was fully prepared to deal with an insane P.

I was NOT, however, prepared for this:

Yep. I had meandered awhile at the walk when I first got on, and he felt sort of strange. In a loose sort of way, like he wasn’t all the way put together. Which, I reasoned, was probably normal for us both having had so much time off. As soon as I asked for the trot, I felt his hind end disappear and not come back. Clearly he was lame.

So after asking BO to video and confirm that he was definitely lame, I untacked him, took a jog video and sent both to the vet.

Who said, “Can you come in tomorrow?

Sigh. Sure.

My first thought was there’s an infection, but he had no swelling or heat in the leg, and his temp was normal. Still, I wanted to know what was going on.

Saturday I hauled him to the vet and he was still just as lame. We jogged him, flexed him, and it’s definitely the right hind. She said most likely the injection site needs a bit more time for the inflammation to come down, and wanted him on Bute (and GastroGard!) for 3 days, then see how he is. If he’s doing ok, I could get on him. She also pulled blood to check for infection, just to be on the safe side, and said to jog him Sunday evening and send her the video.

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So $170 later, we headed back home.

Later that evening, Husband and I went to Trainer B’s for dinner. I hadn’t talked to him since before I tried riding P (I seriously didn’t want to talk about it with anyone), so when he asked how P was, I had to tell him everything. He watched the videos and then asked if she’d ultrasounded the high suspensory. I said no, and he said it looks like that’s the problem.

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So I drank a bottle of wine. Sorrynotsorry.

The next morning after church, we stopped by the barn so I could give P his bute, but before I did, I wanted to jog him. At that point, P hadn’t had bute since 2 PM the previous day, so nearly 20 hours prior. It was definitely out of his system. And this is what happened:

We all went home and I sent the video off to Trainer B saying I was so confused as to how he was so much better, despite not having any pain meds. And he texted back and said to put him on the lunge line on a circle. So I headed back out to the barn, this time with the 10 year old in tow (we had to get school supplies), and sent him those videos:

Then he said, “Get on and see if it’s different,” and I hesitated. I mean, the vet said not to ride, but he’s clearly not feeling as terrible as he was Friday night/Saturday morning. So I did.

Trainer B said he could still see some right hip drop, which says he’s not all the way better, but doesn’t immediately scream suspensory either. So I took another jog video that evening and sent it to the vet, saying he looked much better than he did Friday, but now he just looked like he did pre-injections.

She said she wanted to give it another day, but to stop the bute and send her a video Monday night.

And she then said he looked good, and I could get back on today but to stick to w/t this week. If all goes well, add in canter next week.

So blah. But in the meantime, BO has had me ride her horse (who is P’s BFF) a couple times and last night I got to jump for the first time in 36 days (not that I was counting…). This guy is so much fun (and for sale!). I jumped him once when she first got him over a few little cross-rails, but BO concentrated on dressage so he doesn’t really jump. He’s a muuuuuch different ride than P (the 4 in that first line is super easy for P), but that’s my problem, not his. I had an absolute blast and am glad BO got some video so I can relive actually doing something on the back of a horse besides trying to determine lameness!

 

Horse Life

Is it Monday Yet?

Last Thursday I went to ride my horse. The jump arena was a little soggy, so we headed to the dressage arena, since the footing was a little more packed.

Aaaaand, he tripped. Twice. Whole hind end out from under me for just a split second, but it was enough.
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It was a real bummer because we were supposed to head to Trainer B’s the next day for the first time literally forever. Ok, maybe not literally, but it sure seemed like it. So I texted him to let him know what happened and that coming up there would be pointless, and we agreed that working P until he goes back to the vet wouldn’t do any good.

So more easy days, I guess.
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At this point I’m going to just go ahead and prepare for injections. We saw the vet on August 2nd, and since then P has pretty much had the whole time off. Between it storming every afternoon, to me just not being able to make it out, he’s maybe been ridden with purpose 3 times since then. So there’s still something wrong. He goes back next Monday, so fingers are super tightly crossed.

Friday I went to the barn to just hang with him in the pasture. I plopped myself under a tree with a book that I actually wanted to read. P was having none of it.

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“Are you hurt, Human?”
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“I see phone out. Me get in picture.”
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He could NOT get over my toes. It quickly got weird.

Saturday I went to Windridge to hang with/help/cheer on Trainer B and the rest of the crew.

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B’s Barn Mgr and I (with my favorite of Trainer B’s horses) looking way too happy for it being  like 150% humidity. PC: Danica M.

I was quite sad to not be there competing, as I really love the venue. And they changed up their XC course from even a month ago, which looked suuuuper fun.

Though I was a little startled to see this, when we were walking the courses:

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This looks familiar….

Recognize it?

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I might’ve had my eyes closed here

 

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Nailed it

Sigh.

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Sunday, Baby Noah, aka the Tiniest Dictator, requested to ride P. I’m never one to say no to that. P is so gentle with him, and puts his head down for Noah to halter him, then follows along wherever he goes. Despite not having been ridden in 4 days, he stood at the mounting block, and plodded along around the arena for a few laps. It was a bit boring in the arena, so I suggested we head to the pond. Noah at first didn’t want to because he “didn’t want to go underwater,” so I hopped on with him:

 

 

So yeah. If that doesn’t explain why I want to try absolutely everything to fix the stopping, then nothing will.

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Horse Life

Takin’ It Easy

P’s been on Roaxin for the last 6 days. Well, not Robaxin, exaaactly:

 

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Pretty sure BO thinks I’m a child

I’ve ridden him a little bit, but it’s stormed here pretty much every afternoon, coinciding exactly when I get off work, so nothing extensive. Trainer B wanted him to take it easy for the first week or so anyway, so it all worked out.

Plus we had things to do, videos to make.

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Pretty sure Trainer B thinks I’m a child also

Let’s take a closer look at P’s face:

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So thrilled

Naturally we were filming an Asmar video, this time with the Combined Driving theme. Our original plan had been to have BO’s big dog (the one in the raft above) pull her smaller dog in the raft, but the smaller dog wanted nothing to do with that mess.

So we broke out P, since he’s pulled the raft before, and settled the pooch in.

Aaaaand, it ripped the anchor out and deflated the raft right away. Boo.

But we weren’t to be deterred. Can’t keep us down.

**SOUND ON**

At this point we know we won’t win because both of us have already, but we’re still having a blast making these. We’re prepping for a dressage one soon, stay tuned!

Sunday I had to decide what to do: go ride my horse or go with my family on a hike?

So we compromised:

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Trust me, the looks you get when you’re out with your family walking a dog and, oh yeah, a horse, are priceless.

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Especially when you get lost and have to take the road back to the parking lot.

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Today I’m for real going to ride my horse.

 

Horse Life

Vet Check

First of all, let me start by saying thanks to each and every single person that commented and texted me after my last post. I have like a dozen draft posts that I had started to write from those 2 weeks I went AWOL, but just couldn’t finish or publish. When I finally finished the update post and hit Publish, I had no idea of all the support that was headed my way. So seriously, thank you all so much!

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Tuesday I had a vet appt for P to get his teeth checked and for the annual x-ray I get of his enlarged front left knee (which has never had any changes, but I get x-rayed every year anyway). The vet I use for that stuff is not really a lameness expert, but I asked him if he could look at P anyway, and see if there was something there.

The vet watched P walk up and down the aisle a couple of times, then started with flexions. On the left, P jogged off just fine after having both the fetlock and hock flexed.

Then the vet went to his right leg, and started with the fetlock. While not lame, there seemed to be a little something.

Then he did the right hock and there was no reaction.

So he went back to the right fetlock and while less than the first time, you can see a slight hesitation and him sort of swing that leg out in a circle.

Still, though. The vet said he couldn’t even really call that a 1 on the lameness scale, just that it was more than what he saw on the left side. Sigh.

Then he took scissor handles and ran them along P’s back. On the left side, nothing. On the right side, you can see P flinch away, indicating some soreness behind his right shoulder.

Of course I immediately started internally screaming “saddle fit…nooooo,” but the vet said not necessarily, that it could be secondary to something else.

Then he had the assistant walk P while he pulled on his tail. And when he came back said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but this is something we do to test for neuro signs.”

When P was standing still and the vet pulled on his tail, P braced to stay upright. When he was walking and having his tail pulled, you can see is hind end get pulled out of place. The vet wasn’t convinced that was a weakness, though, or a positive sign for a neuro disorder; he said P was such an easy going guy that he seemed to be more “whatever” about letting the vet pull his hindquarters out of place rather than it being something he couldn’t control. So. Not confusing at all.

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He then told me there were a million things we could do, but he wanted to stay conservative at first. So he recommending putting P on bute (and GastroGard) twice a day until Sunday, with no riding until then. Then coming back next Wednesday and bringing my tack to ride him. If there seems to be any more NQR-ness, the next step would be to x-ray or ultrasound that right hind fetlock.

After talking with Trainer B, he wanted to get a second opinion and some body work done. I’ve had P chiro’d before, but never saw any major changes come from it afterwards. He wants to combine that with acupuncture, which P has never had, to see if that helps as well. So he set me up with his vet for that.

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So Thursday I hauled P off to another vet appt. Without me saying anything, she noted P looked short on his right hind, and that he was dropping the right hip more than the left. Flexions didn’t make it worse, and he still wasn’t lame, but you could see the unevenness.

We brought him in and she started adjusting him. She noted he was pretty sore over the SI area, and spent some time popping things back into place. Then she started the acupuncture, and it all kinda came to light.

P’s muscles were so tight that there were places she could hardly get some needles in, and when she removed the needles, a few were literally twisted from his muscle tightness. She noted he was most sore over the SI area, and then pretty much his entire right side.

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So she has him on Robaxin for 2 weeks: a high dosage for the first week, then cutting it in half for the second week. We’ll go back to see her in 2 weeks for another round of chiro + acupuncture, and if he’s still sore like that, she wants to inject the SI. In the meantime, no jumping for at least the next 2 weeks. Which means no Windridge next weekend.

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Sad, because the closing date has passed, so even more $$ wasted, but if this gets us back on the right track, then of course it’s worth it. She said when he’s cleared to start jumping again to back him down and start small, until he realizes jumping doesn’t hurt, before bringing out the big fences again.

And the barn has a reputable saddle fitter coming out on the 20th, so I put P on the list. Fingers crossed that dear Volty gets the all-clear, because I seriously love that saddle.

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But while it fit him when I bought it a year ago, he’s definitely filled out more and gotten way more muscular, so it’s possible it no longer fits.

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September 2017; he definitely doesn’t look like this anymore, thanks to the the Best Barn Ever
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July 2018; closest thing I have to a confo picture

Now who knows if this is the cure to stopping, but the vet definitely knew her stuff and works with jumpers all the time (she does the 1.30m jumpers herself), and said that with the level of soreness he was exhibiting, she wasn’t surprised he was stopping. I told her it just seemed so random, and sometimes we’d go days without stopping, and she attributed that to him being a stoic horse who tried, but sometimes couldn’t bring himself to jump since he probably knew it would hurt. And she said that could explain why he was stopping at the very last second- that he was going to go, but then really just couldn’t make himself.

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Which may be true, but also maybe it’s not and he’ll feel 100% and still stop, and which in that case, it’s time to part ways. It definitely made me feel like crap, though, when I think about all the times I’ve punished him for stopping and then made him jump anyway, if it is due to pain. Thanks to Bette for the long conversations to make me feel better about that!

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So good news is that I’m not crazy and there may be a physical cause to the stopping. Bad news is only time will tell and I’m not very patient. Good news is that there’s no major injury like a fracture or torn muscle. Bad news is I’m still an impatient person and would like a crystal ball, please and thank you. And a million dollars.

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P.S. If you read this and have a blog of your own- please leave a comment or email me at kcscott85@yahoo.com and let me know where to find you!

Horse Life

Sooo…It’s Been Awhile

Work has been crushing me- seems like the summer, which is typically a slow period for me, was over in the blink of an eye and everything needs to be done RIGHT. NOW.

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There is no greater dream

Not too much has been up with P. Just, ya know, getting eliminated on cross-country at a “confidence-building” HT, going an entire week not stopping at a thing (including his first ever Training trakehner), then getting a chance to redeem himself where he goes clear over a super spooky stadium course, then on XC gets us eliminated again…at jump 3.

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But at least he puts in nice dressage tests. Sigh.

He almost didn’t make it home at all. Driving home after the 2nd one, there lots of huge fields with horses and I thought quite seriously about pulling over, unloading him, and setting him free. His lip tattoo is difficult to read- it’d be really hard to trace him to me at all. Only half kidding.

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Clearly he can make it over 2’7″ when he wants to

Needless to say, I spent the next few days writing P’s “For Sale” ad (to sell him as a reiner), and stalking horse ads for my replacement mount, until Trainer B ruined it all by talking me off the ledge.

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Meanwhile, Husband built me new fillers
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And then I screwed up the only one I had the responsibility of painting. Take a wild guess which one. Doh. Also please note the sad looking traitor in the background. He knew what was coming.

I’m tired of talking about P stopping. I’m tired of thinking about P stopping. I just want to jump jumps and be happy.

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We spent the week of the 16th doing things like this every damn day. Decorating jumps, jacking jumps up high, changing the look of jumps, going over all the XC jumps on the farm, all to establish the response that if I point him at something, he goes over it. And it worked all week…until we got into competition.

Because I’ve made every excuse in the book to explain his stopping.

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Hay scattered in front of and on top of a jump- something he’s never been a fan of

He’s green/insecure/inexperienced. 

This is no longer true. No, he doesn’t have a ton of eventing experience, but he’s done it enough that he knows his job. When I point him down centerline, you can literally feel him become a professional. He knows when he’s pointed at a jump, the intent is for him to go over. And he’s been over enough jumps enough times to know that he’ll be fine. He also has stopped enough that he knows he’ll be disciplined and still have to jump it. Yet, the punishment is worth it to him and I have no idea why.

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The day before the 2nd HT, we spent the day on Kingfisher’s XC course and had zero stops. I thought this would be super spooky for him with the slats, but he wasn’t bothered by it.

I’m not that good of a rider. If I were better, he wouldn’t stop.

Again, not something that’s true any more. No, I’m not suddenly God’s gift to riders, but I’ve come SO FAR this past year. Never have I been more confident, secure and balanced in the saddle. And P doesn’t even seem to appreciate that, or give any indication that he notices (how dare he, right?). There have been jumps where I’m literally pulling on his face, flopping around trying to get my stirrup back on my foot, and he jumps. And there have been times where the stars have aligned and everything is perfect, and he stops. There’s no rhyme or reason for either to happen.

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He thought about stopping at this one- grass is growing through the top of it. But after a slight pause, he made the right decision and was praised heavily for it.

I have a few trains of thought going here. I’ve talked to Trainer B at length about this a couple times over the phone while he’s been gone, and his take on things is that P believes his job is negotiable. He knows how to fake me out, and what buttons of mine to push to get me to back off (throwing his head and flailing around in the canter, stopping and spinning) so that he doesn’t have to work hard. I can see his point of view, and 95% agree.

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This was at the top of a steep hill and he nailed it.

But I also can’t push down the thought that perhaps something is going on with P physically. While he’s not lame and he doesn’t look or act like he’s sore or off, he occasionally will take a step that feels like his hind end has fallen out from under him, usually at the trot, sometimes at the walk. He always carries on like it didn’t happen, and it doesn’t happen often, so I’ve been just attributing it to weakness that MOAR hillwork will help fix. The other thing that happens is that occasionally in the downward transition from canter to trot, he gets all disunited in the hind end and has to come down to the walk for a second to get reorganized. Again, doesn’t happen often and he always carries right along, so I just thought with more fitness that would fix itself.

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Always happy in the water

The other reason I sort of think it might be physical is because it’s hard for me to believe that this is his personality. We’ve all seen the crazy things this horse does for me, right? He obviously trusts me enough to put himself into whacky situations, but doesn’t trust me enough to hop over a log?

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Horse, you make no sense.

We were supposed to go to Windridge in 2 weeks for our recognized debut together at Novice. It would be my first recognized HT *not* at the starter level, and P’s 2nd. But after the last 2 weeks, I decided no, let’s not have the first entry on my record be “E.” I was going to scratch, but Trainer B offered to take him so he’s still going to go, and hell, he’ll probably jump it all. Of course I’m incredibly thankful for Trainer B because it’ll be another notch in the experience belt for P, but I want to compete my horse. Scratch that. I don’t want to compete him, but I want to WANT to compete my horse. Big difference right now.

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First big-boy trakehner: no stops any of the 4-5 times we jumped this, despite the big ditch underneath. Next day’s HT: stops at log shared with STARTER.

If he needs a 4* rider to get around a BN course, then clearly I’m all wrong for him. Because…never going to happen, kid. I try my best every ride to be correct, but I’m an amateur with limited time and will, quite frankly, never be at the skill level of Trainer B. He’s so ammy friendly in every other way, I just can’t figure this out.

He’ll be seeing the vet in short order, to see if there’s something that has been previously missed to explain this behavior, and then Trainer B and I will plan from there.

So there’s my doom and gloom for the day. Now I’m going to catch up on everyone else’s blogs (feels like forever since I read anything from anyone), and hope you all had a much better week than I did!

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Monday morning mood for real

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