Monday, April 30, 2012

Making Strides

Positive (and large, daisy cutting) Ones!

I haven't enjoyed my horse in about two months. He has been a real turd. He is fighting me and will not get on the bit. He has been injured. He has been just annoying. I've really not been looking forward to riding. And, as everyone knows, when you are a self-supporting, full-time-working, adult-am, you need to enjoy the thing you are spending all of your extra time and money to sustain. So... I called in the big guns.

Our new trainer Heather got on last weekend while I was out of town (at my parents' celebrating my... (gulp) 26th Birthday). She reported that my horse was being a bit of a jerk and he hated his bit, but she got some good work out of him after about 15 minutes.

So... I ordered a bit (or two). Enter the happy mouth eggbutt with a mullen mouth. And, Granite is much more relaxed. Not perfect, mind you, but relaxing his jaw and actually being more supple for me! Don't you love progress? I do!

And to put the nail in the coffin of getting back to good with Granite, I called our trusty horse mentor and equestrian therapist (that's how it feels, she can literally talk me through anything-- mainly helping me get out of my own way and that of my horse's). You may know by now that I'm talking about Ms. Jenn. She came to visit us on Sunday to ride. Now, she's coached me a dozen times but she has never gotten up on the big giant herself. This time she came decked out and ready to ride. Bless her heart, her mare has been out for almost a year with a stifle injury and she hasn't ridden anything in two months. She was brave to hop on the 16.3 hand solid beast of a horse after two months off, and did I mention that she is petite?

Anyway. She got on and warmed G up on a completely lose rein. Then she slowly took come contact and asked him to carry himself. By golly, she got it. The horse looked fantastic! I was so proud. I LOVE watching people who ride better than I do make my horse look phenomenal.  I don't give that animal credit, if I would get out of his way, he could let out his inner rock star/ show stopper more often!

So then she had me get up there so she could see exactly how I was getting in his way. She was a huge cheerleader and basically helped me to discover that I'm asking my horse to be a dressage horse. I'm asking the big baby to collect and get really round and I'm puuuushing him from behind for everything. What I'm not letting him do is be that hunter that I keep saying I want him to be. I don't let him be long and low and floaty. So, without further pause, I show you what Granite can do while being coached by Ms. Jenn and ridden by yours truly:

Here is to continued success and BiG Strides :)

PS: I may have some additional exciting news.... suspense! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy 1/2 Decade Big Guy... and bullet turns boomerang

Please join me in wishing my sweet, goofy, grey man a Happy 5th Birthday on April 13, 2012~

He's a bit parked out and his front end is on an incline, but his stance proved advantageous for some (almost) 5th Birthday Conformation Shots.

Compared to April 13, 2009 at age two, his first birthday celebrated with me. WOW, has anyone else noticed how quickly he got so light. It just kind of magically happened in front of my eyes every day.

Same sweet baby eye. At least they haven't changed.

And now, on to the "fun part" in which we don't so much dodge the bullet from last week. As of Sunday, Granite got turned out again. He is was sound and his leg doing well. Happy Rachel! Then on Monday, I got the phone call that my 12 year old (beloved) car that was in the shop for some funky smells/sounds pretty much got a death sentence. $2,000 in repair work, too bad the car is only worth that much. I was a bit devastated as I drove my nearly dead car back from the shop (felt like going home to hospice care). 

Tuesday, I rode the pony for the first time in over a week. He was a butt head. So I lined up his trainer to ride him on Wednesday and get the boy back in shape. Thanks to a series of events, his trainer canceled at the 11th hour and it was too late for me to go ride. So, G got Wednesday off. 

But, then  I got good news. TK's father had managed to negotiate with a local shop to have the work done on my car for 1/2 the price. Cue, I get to keep my red car and can avoid a car payment for yet a little bit longer!

"Red Car" when I got her in 2005. Love little old red 
(and my since deceased beloved 1992 4-Runner. I form relationships with my toyotas I think)

So I headed back out to the barn today with full intentions of riding my pony before Grey's & wine night. And do you know what I found? The OTHER hind leg swollen! He isn't lame, but god it is a hot, swollen balloon. The horse has got to be shitting me!

Exhibit A^

Another view....

Enter: previcox, cold hosing, wrapping, nights in the stall, days in the small paddock..... 
Goofy "baby" (who is now FIVE) did it to himself. 

So tomorrow, he will be having a "sick in the stall birthday." I did buy him a apple lick-it and a bag of treats to make the medicine (and boredom) go down a bit easier. I love you no matter what big guy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

In Which We Dodge A Bullet

Granite spent Wednesday night in the stall due to a very swollen left hind fetlock/area. The stall survived... so did Granite. This is good.

I visited before work on Thursday, rubbed on some surpass, and let him out in a small paddock attached to his open stall. Around lunchtime my barn owner texted me that Granite has taken to galloping and pirouetting around the pasture so she stalled him. Thank you barn owner!

Thursday after work I hosed his leg and took him for a nice hand walk. He got a dose of previcox, standing wrapped, and tucked into his stall for the evening.

Friday morning. Holiday from work YAY. Was at the barn by 7:30 to unwrap the pony, rub on some surpass, clean his stall, and put him back in the little paddock. Apparently he was well behaved because he was still in the paddock when I returned around 4:30 to hose/walk/wrap/dose with meds for the evening. His leg is tight and there's very little heat remaining.

Friday evening involved a lovely dinner with my boyfriend's whole family and then The Hunger Games. It was a nice night. We stayed up until 2:30am... something I stopped doing regularly about 3 years ago (getting old is depressing).

Saturday morning, 6:30am... alarm tells me it is time to go to the barn. I'm meeting Eva (High Tech Horse) at 8:30am to go check out some barns since she has to move for work next month. I unwrapped the pony and cleaned his stall then turned him out. His leg is cool and tight!!! SCORE. No meds today to make sure the swelling and heat are really gone on their own. I left a note for the BO telling her that I thought he would be good with limited turnout in the paddock for the whole day and evening and I would re-evaluate Sunday morning.

Sunday morning 7:30am: BO had put the pony in the stall (I imagine she didn't see my note). But, his leg is still cool and tight with no meds, hosing, or wrapping for two days. I make the executive decision that he can go back to full turn out after he trotted out completely sound. He appreciated that. And I sighed with relief after having dodged a bullet. Daphne dog recently had to have minor surgery after 2 vet visits to properly diagnose the issue. She is doing wonderfully, but my credit card is still reeling after spring shots/float + 3 doggie vet visits + doggie surgery. I was really grateful that A) my horse was feeling better and B) I didn't have to find more money for the vet.

My car is in the shop today (joy), so I may not get to go to the barn at all today :( I was getting used to my double-doses of the pony every day despite not being able to get any saddle time in for an entire week now. Hopefully, I will get my car back tomorrow and if the weather cooperates, I should be able to ride/lounge/something every day this week and MAYBE even have a lesson on Saturday (and possibly a trainer ride on Wednesday).

I have a 5K on Saturday morning I am running with some ladies for work in support of my coworker's mother who is fighting breast cancer. It should be a lot of fun, we are running in sparkly tutus and zebra striped shirts :) I've been on a diet/exercise routine for about 1.5 months now and have lost a bit over 10lb. I have about 18lb to go until I reach my goal weight. It is sort of shooting for the moon, but I have TK on the same plan and he needs it as badly as I do, so we are supporting each other and enjoying the results we have seen. I feel much stronger thanks to spending 6-7 days a week doing some variety of exercise. It has been nice. Maybe I will actually not dreading buying a new bathing suit this summer....just maybe.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What happens on Holiday/Lesson weekends?

Just take a wild guess...

Your horse (if he is a goofy, young, grey gelding named Granite) will injure himself. It is inevitable.

Yep, it's "Friday" here at the office and we are gearing up for a three-day holiday weekend. I even (re)scheduled  a much needed lesson for Saturday. And.... last night when I went to (for the first time this week) tack up and ride, I noticed that Granite's back right hind fetlock (outer right side actually) is swollen. No obvious injury, so he must have tweaked/twisted/torn something. I trotted him out and he is just slightly off. Thankfully, not hobbling lame, but he rarely gets noticeably lame when he has swelling or even an obvious injury: martyr. But there is definitely heat and swelling.

I cold hosed and buted and standing wrapped the boy before banishing him to his stall for the evening (he is typically turned out 24/7), then I hauled myself out of bed at 5 something this morning to go unwrap him and check him out. Still swollen, still hot. Fortunately, not worse. But, no better. So I put some Surpass on the injury and turned him out in the small paddock, leaving his stall door open in case he felt like hanging out inside today (which he won't). I'll go back after work and cold hose him again, and if there is no significant improvement I will be buting and standing wrapping and, yet again, banishing him to his stall for the evening.

So.... let's hope it gets better and not worse so I don't have to deal with vets on a holiday weekend. I'm hoping for quick recovery so I can still have my lesson on Saturday, but I have a funny feeling that it may not be in the cards for me. I may be borrowing the other boarder's little horse to hop on at some point this weekend. I'm not wasting my extra day off!

Cross your fingers for us.

I will say, being at the barn at 6 in the morning is so lovely. I wish I had the capacity to make it a regular occurrence (but, I'd have to get up in the hour of 4 to have time to ride before work). Nothing better than the smell of my sweet pony boy first thing in the morning. LOVE!