Sunday, November 30, 2014

Well *That's* A New One

I've owned a few horses who seemed to be built of iron and impervious to the normal self-destructo-nature that others seem born with, but I've also had my fair share of dingbats who manage to find anything and everything that can possible hurt them/make them sick/give them hives...

My first "real horse" (not a pony) was one of the latter. He could injure himself on a pinecone and was prone to colic if one stray weed made its way into his hay.

He was truly a special snowflake.

Anyway, I would hardly claim to have seen it all when it comes to horses injuring themselves (thank god). But Gus, bless him, is committed to furthering my education.

Some of you have asked how the old man is, and in general he's great. He's still in his therapeutic riding program and I get regular updates about how much everyone loves him, so that's also great.

But today, this is how he is:

That, my bloggy friends is a nail. In his nose.

But you will notice that he did not traditionally poke himself on a stray nail.

No, no. Far more impressive than that - he somehow dug the head of a nail into his face then pulled the nail out of wherever it was happily living being a nail theoretically nailing someone together.

A nail. Somehow sticking out of his face instead of in.

Points for creativity my dear man.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 24, 2014

On Track

Whatever clunkiness was cropping up in the canter is gone again (thankfully) and upon reflection Prair kinda felt like crap a few days into trotting for the first time too.  So perhaps its just a muscle issue as she remembers how to be a horse again....

In fact the last couple of rides have felt over the top amazing.  While the success of this rehab for Prair's left front remains to be seen - all of the walking, stretching and boring repetitive everything has done wonders for her back.  She feels really strong and really light, which is not what I expect when I ask an out of shape, out of practice mare to work.

I think the feeling of strength is coming from Prair being much more comfortable over her topline and her newfound willingness to sit.

Whereas I used to be able to ask her to sit back and wait (especially in the canter).  It was something that was hard for her and longer we did it (like in a flat class) the more of a struggle it was, usually ending up with a long, flat, rather quick stride.

Currently, if I sit up and half halt, I can literally feel the mare lower her hocks and settle back into her stride.

And then?  She just stays there.  Loose rein, light seat, STAYS THERE.  Floppy ears and all.  The ease of it has me being a tad lazy/lenient in our canter work since the whole concept of slow and steady is just so novel and so much fun!

So at least we're solving something.  That fact makes everything feel a tad more productive than a never ending-rehab-purgatory.  But the glimpse of strength and relaxation makes me all the more greedy to be jumping and working and enjoying that easy, soft ride. 

Here's another clip from the other day.  More trot. 

Since we've added the canter back in the mare's frame is a tad easier to elevate and energize, though she can only sustain that for a few minutes.  This clip is from the end of our trot set, so you can tell she's a bit tired and not as snappy as she is when we start.  I'm also slowly adding in more lengthen/collect work and will try to get a clip of that at some point too :)

We tack on another 5 minutes to our trot work after Thanksgiving (for which I'm thankful) and then assuming all continues well we will ultrasound again two weeks from Thursday. 

Thermal is still on the radar, though I'm scared to buy my plane tickets as I think that will totally jinx things....

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Really Do Ride My Horse

It's just sorta boring, and I rarely get picture/video proof... I hate writing boring blog posts without pictures/videos.  I mean, I'll do it, I just don't like to. 

Thankfully I finally got my act together and booked a fun day with Supermom, who not only played with the little Nugget while I rode, but also managed to take some cute videos of me and the mare. (That kind of multitasking is something I could benefit from doing myself a little more often...)
they are seriously too cute

It was a good day complete with Egg Nog Lattes (my first of the season) and a yummy lunch once barn fun was done. 

Prair continues to feel pretty good.  Yesterday she felt a little stiff in her left lead canter, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.  N said she felt great on Wednesday, so I'll see if that stickiness is still there today, or if maybe it was some muscle soreness as her work load ticks up a notch...

Here's a quick clip of the canter.  Somehow through the unintentional magic of iphones, it's in slow mo, which is sorta cool.  I love it for looking at Prair, I could do without the extra time to stare at my left wrist, baby weight or other Eq issues that plague me....

I'm fighting with YouTube a bit, but as soon as I figure it out, I'll get a few more clips posted.  I'm loving how much Prair is really trying to carry herself and how often I can literally loop my inside rein.  She's respecting my outside aids really nicely and overall just being a pleasure to ride. 

It's so nice to be back to WTC on this girl.  I apologize if I sound like a broken record but if I do then it's an accurate portrayal of my brain when I ride - "fun fun fun eeek was that a weird step? fun fun fun WHEEEEEE fun fun hmmm stiff? fun fun fun fun"

Super sophisticated, I know.

Friday, November 14, 2014

And We Canter

Praise the lord we are CANTERING.  It's only for 5 minutes, but still, we canter. 

Prair got a quick check in with the vet yesterday where we were cleared to add five minutes of cantering to our thirty minutes of walking and 10 minutes of trot... Assuming things go well we'll stick to that plan for two weeks, then bump the trot to 15 minutes for another 2 weeks, then ultrasound and (hopefully) return to a less structured work schedule for the remainder of December with an eye toward small jumps in the New Year.

Prair's still feeling great, there is some stiffness in her left shoulder when we start our trot work, but it disappears after a minute and since it shows when I ask her to bend right, Vet is not concerned that its a result of "impact" soreness, but rather a side effect of being in a stall since JULY and holding tension in her front end. 

I'd be much more worried if she was stiff when that Left Front was on the inside as I think that would raise my suspicious about her still being sore.

The only bad news is that the mare still isn't cleared for turnout, but I think better safe than sorry in terms of controlling her movement at this point.... but still, it pains me a bit to keep her cooped up and I remain totally impressed that she's still sweet and calm in her stall. 

In terms of the canter - it feels really different. Much loftier up front which threw me for a loop yesterday.  In my head I'd like to think it's because the mare feels better, but really I think it might be because we haven't cantered since July and she's a bit of a rocket ship right now. 

so fingers crossed that the added canter doesn't set us back.  There's a very loud voice in the back of my brain that keeps shouting that rehab isn't supposed to be this easy....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pet Peeve: Shadbelly-Belly

Since the whole walk-walk-walk-walk-walk, trot-trot routine is not all that thrilling to document, I figured I'd move onto one of my pet peeves that has reared its (totally unattractive) head while I've been busy streaming the big indoor shows back east.

Shadbelly Belly. 

Oh the horror. 

I think my sensitivity might be due to my equestrian upbringing in the land of eventing and dressage, where Shads are worn only at the upper levels and are a reflection of the formality and impeccable turnout that goes hand in hand with competing at that level. But regardless, my preference for Shadbelly style and fit is strongly influenced by that background.

How I think Shads should look
mmm, belt free and streamlined.
Now, I am the first to admit that there will never (ever) be a reason for me to wear a Shadbelly in either of those disciplines.  I am simply not a good enough rider to earn the right to wear one for dressage, and I don't have the balls to get there on the Three Day stage...

So trust me when I say that I am THRILLED there is a (reasonable) chance that at some point I might be able to justify the purchase of (and wearing) a Shadbelly for some sort of Hunter Derby type thing. 

I acknowledge a relatively limited understanding of Hunter Land and all of its traditions and nuances, but it seems that while the Shadbelly still carries an air of extra formality - a much, much higher percentage of competitive Hunter riders will have an opportunity to (appropriately) bust out the tails at some point in their career.

Which brings me to my pet peeve -  Shadbellies worn with low rides breeches that result in an unsightly peek at not only one's belt, but also one's shirt between the two.

what the crap.
I have a personal dislike for all things low rise (especially breeches) but that is mostly due to my total lack of a waist and general abundance of love handles which render low-waist-anything sort of horrific.  However, I find Shadbelly Belly unsightly and sloppy looking even on those riders with waify, equitation-perfect figures, so being skinny doesn't really solve the aesthetic issue for me..

My first, not so generous, assumption upon noticing the horror of herds of Junior riders scampering around with crop-top shads that prominently displayed half of their shirts along with some blingy belt - was that this unsightly gap between shad and breeches could be blamed on an irreverence for good turnout and a general misunderstanding of formal attire. 

I turned  to google to find appropriate examples of this trend and was horrified to learn  that even the catalog pictures for "hunter" shads show them worn with low rise breeches. 


So am I to understand that is this a deliberate style???

If so my grandmother is for sure rolling over in her grave and I suddenly feel very old and sort of want to shake my fist at those darn kids and their fancy horse riding coats....

But seriously, these are catalog photos... Which, dare I say are less extreme examples of Shadbelly Belly than what I see scampering around at the shows - but still, this is how Shads are marketed to the Hunter crowd?  I'm so confused.

put your g-- d--- belt away

Any seasoned Hunters out there have an explanation?  I have noticed that several of the pros tend to wear their Shadbellies with high rise breeches, and sometimes even with a real vest (gasp, I love that).  But most of the juniors and ammys run around sporting the exposed belt/belly look.

I have a feeling that even is the shirt-gap-belt-showing thing is "correct" its one of those looks that I'll never, ever quite get used to. 

Fortunately for me, my whole super-short-waisted thing means I'll never have to worry about this issue personally.  Well, that along with the fact that I would need to be showing 3' + before I even worry about this to begin with, but I digress...

What do you guys think? Who has a shad and cares to share?
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