Monday, December 29, 2014

Entries In

Check written (ouch) and entries posted! We are (one step) closer to actually showing at Thermal again this year..

Prair continues to feel great under saddle, we even popped over a small cross rail over the weekend and I took solace in the fact that the mare's brain (and foot) stayed in tact.

The plan is to stay LOW at thermal and basically consider it part of her already expensive rehab - a post I'll write up here shortly...

If we weren't worried about rei jury, we'd be looking to show divisions from 2'6"-3' and knock some rust off.

As it is though, 2'6" will likely be the absolutely max and I'll play around 2'-2'6"ish like last year.

We have one more ultrasound in a few weeks to ensure that everything is staying happy, so holding my collective breath until then.. But in the meantime, breaking in the new boots, trying to remember how to ride like a real person and lots of mare snuggles!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love Is...

Your husband knowing that your *custom* konigs fit/look better on you than any of your other boots.

Without telling him.

Because you're wearing your boots while you sit on the couch.

And watch Jeopardy.

And even though you have other boots.

He can still tell that the exceptionally large percentage of his paycheck that went toward those beautiful, beautiful boots - is worth it.

That's love.

Or maybe enabling.

But probably love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Return of the Lessons

I'm totally screwed.  Here I've been bopping along in the horse world all year all fat and pregnant and happily judging life from the ground until I could climb back on the Big Mare and hack around which I've been doing (quite happily) for some time now.

But now Prairie can work some more, and that means I have to work some more and that means I need lessons. 

Real Bad.

If there's one thing pregnancy/rehab does for you riding it's allow every bad habit I've ever had grow and blossom and thrive like a large, rampant weed.


Today was my first rude awakening as I had a little mini lesson while I gave Prair her daily hack. 

First up - my damn hands.  Always too low, always with broken wrists, always doing something wrong.

Next? My hip angle, I've gotten comfy just scooting back on my ass and riding a bit too vertical for Hunter Land.  I'm comfy but I'm driving with my seat a lot and I've got to get up and out of the tack a tad more again.

Also? I'm bracing in my stirrup, letting my leg come too forward and using a tad too much inside rein.

So aside from feel like a floppy-slop in the saddle, I've also got to get used to riding a happier, healthier mare. 

Prair is naturally balancing herself better and more willing to maintain her shape and roundness with minimal reminding.  This means there's no excuse for me to get comfy hanging on my reins.  the mare doesn't rely on a super heavy contact anymore, so I need to not remind her how much she liked it.

The mini lesson felt great though.  Prair was super supple laterally and a very calm, rhythmic ride.

We finished canter some poles on the long side and holy MOLY it felt like a totally different horse than the one I was riding a year ago.  I'm not sure how to explain it, but her back is so much more adjustable.  It's much easier to ride her hind leg and in turn when I need to adjust for a distance it feels like her whole back rolls up and waits, or springs forward and lengthens without losing balance. 


I've never felt her so adjustable or relaxed over poles - it was really fun.  And usually I wouldn't qualify ground rails as anything overly thrilling. 

So time to buckle down and become a better rider for the better mare that seems to have shown up.
Srsly lady, get better.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ultrasound Update

Friday was the big day.  I had been simultaneously anticipating and dreading our next appointment with the vet and seeing what Prair's DDFT actually looked like. 

On days when she felt great - the ultrasound couldn't come fast enough to confirm what must be good healing. 

But on those days when she felt less than stellar I was dreading the possibility of seeing angry, disrupted tendons that weren't healing as hoped...

But irrespective of my mental mind games, Friday came, and so did the ultrasound.  First my vet looked at her under saddle - Prair was particular hot to trot which made it hard to get (and keep) a steady rhythm, but apparently she looked sound, sound, sound, so we progressed to the ultrasound.

Vets have such a good poker face when they are doing diagnostics... I literally had no idea if she was loving what she saw, or gravely concerned until she was done taking still images and stood up with an assertive "okay, here's the deal."

(heart sink)

"She looks great."


Ready to get back to business
Basically the ultrasound showed a much happier DDFT with really nice edges and minimal scarring.  Back in July the same view showed quite a bit of fiber disruption and rough edges on almost the entire medial DDFT.  Now there's just the tiniest spot of a rough edge and everything else looks beautiful.  There are a few flecks of scar tissue, but apparently given the initial strain - it's a minimal amount and not something my vet is worried about in terms of return to full work. All great news.

The disadvantage of doing the ultrasound instead of returning to WSU for a full MRI is that we really can't see what's going on with the navicular - which if you recall, is what we currently believe to be the root issue.   But since we think the soft tissue is a direct reflection of her comfort within the navicular.. we're extrapolating that it is also less inflamed and angry. 

Right now I'm comfortable making that assumption and think that it outweighs the cost, risk and energy involved with shipping back to the University for an MRI again..  I don't think we'll have to go down that road unless something unexpected happens in the coming months.

In terms of continued rehab, the visual confirmation of healing is what we were waiting for to ramp up the workload again.  The balance of the month will be spent on more flatwork and increasing the workload on that left front limb (pole work, extended canter, etc). 

Assuming all goes well, we are cleared to return to crossrails in the New Year, then we'll ultrasound one more time in early Feb to ensure that we haven't lost any ground with the increased work.

Prair will keep her reverse shoe on the LF for added support, and we'll add in some Tildren treatments this year to help support the navicular.

For those who haven't used it - Tildren basically impedes bone remodeling.  For us this means that we stop the bone's natural response of increasing it's density - which in turn causes it to become more brittle...

So, flatwork until Jan, Crossrails and increased work until Feb.  One more ultrasound so see if all is still well, then some Tildren to help support the navicular bone.

All in all about as good of a report as I could hope for. 

Now I just have to remember how to ride.....

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Retired. (or fired, or whatever you want to call it)

Frustrating news, Gus is being retired from his therapeutic riding program.  He's a favorite and lots of kids already love him, but a couple of times he's gotten rather nervous in the main ring when multiple therapy sessions are going on.  Even though he's not spooked or done anything dangerous I understand that the program has to be super conservative in preventing any possible accidents, so since Gus has displayed the same anxiety on a couple of occasions, he's out of a job :(

This is sad for me on a number of levels, but really it was so wonderful having a suitable day job for him, while also being close and available to M2 for regular love and carrots.  It's a scenario that I'm not sure I've ever be able to replicate. 
love this nose.

Knowing that Gus is out of a job in the New Year prompted some serious discussions of What To Do With Gus. 

I adore this horse, and when we took him on I promised him a safe, happy, comfortable home.  I was mentally prepared to put him down if we had to, but I hoped we would be able to rehab him.  I'm thrilled with how well Gus is doing, I'm happy with his soundness, general health and demeanor.  He's worth his weight in gold and the type of horse that would take you 10 years to find if you were looking for it.

But, he's never going to be my show horse, which means he's never going to be boarded with Prairie, and since The Boy and I have yet to find that magical farm, Gus has to be kept at a second facility.  Split horses has worked for me in the past, (at one point Prairie and Pia were 4 hours apart...) but with the kiddo I have even less time than I thought I would (I know, I know... people warned me... I just didn't listen). 

My issue with Gus not having a day job anymore has less to do with the $$ (though that's a consideration), but really my concern is not having enough time to visit him on a regular basis and give him love and care.  I'm not comfortable boarding a horse who I don't see at least twice a week when they aren't in some sort of full time training/care program. 

So, I'm trying to decide what to do with Mr. Man.  Right now the right thing seems to be to look for a care lease or a new home where he will be loved and adored and hopefully continue to get some light work. 

On one hand he's an old, lame horse - and I hear those are hard to give away. 

But on the other he's safe, trustworthy, loves to work and gives you the same ride regardless of whether you're riding him six times a week or once every six months. 

Anyway, we have lots of thinking to do.  If the right home begged for him, I'd let him go in an instant.  Putting him on Dreamhorse is going to be a painful thing so I'm not sure its going to happen tomorrow, but eeesh... I'm not sure what other options are realistic.

big frowny face.

On the upside his nail hole is healing well :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Not About the Nail

... Or maybe if you're Gus it is :)

I'm sure a lot of you have seen this little clip by now, but I think its hysterical and couldn't help but think of it when Gusford shoved a nail in his beak.

Gus is doing just fine, btw.  Everything came out cleanly and he's got a tetanus shot and some SMZ's to make sure he heals well :)
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