Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Silly Braids

I am so sore this morning. I've upped my ab workouts, and with the increased amount of sitting trot and overall "I'm not playing the pulling game so listen to my core" work I've been doing, my entire midsection is a big block of ouch. That's what I get for letting myself get a little...er, "fluffy" over the winter. But since New Year's, I've already lost five pounds out of the ten I want to lose by the end of the year just by limiting my junk food intake (sob) and putting more than sloth-like effort into my minimalist workouts. See, Bobby? I'm torturing you, but I'm torturing myself, too. At least you get as many cookies as you want.

Speaking of torturing, I finally got so fed up with Floppy Mane Magee that I threw in a dozen braids to train his mane over. He looks like an idiot, but that's really nothing new. And actually, he looks kind of cute in the mirrors when viewed from across the arena.

he also needs a face shave unless he starts shedding soon. slob.
Despite yesterday being "the nicest day we'll have in the next seven to ten days", we crawled back into the indoor. It was damp and cloudy and cool and not at all nice. Bobby was in a baby mode and had to put his nose and lips on everything. He finally focused long enough to get led to the mounting block and we got started.

He warmed up really well. Leg yields to the right were not brilliant, but certainly acceptable. To the left, I kept my hands lower and wider than proper, but it kept him a little steadier in the bridle and he stepped under himself better than he has before. His canter was calm and quiet. As we walked around on the buckle for a break, I was foolishly like, "You're being so good. This is almost boring!"

I am too funny.

Moron.

I decided to break up Training A and work through some of those movements. Yeahhhh, he was a wild child. I couldn't get him to trot to save his life so I was like, "Fine. We'll canter off some energy and get back to work." Nope. I got into halfseat after the first round and that did seem to help, but he was still being a bit over dramatic. After three hard days of butt work, we were cantering to the left and I think that stifle was just hurting him. Once I got a 20m circle without swapping or head tossing or bit snatching, we quit.

But we didn't quit quit. The weather is supposed to be miserable for the rest of the week, so he'll be getting at least two days off. As such, we hacked up the hill alongside the pastures. Poor, poor Bobby butt.

headed back down.
clearly not a place to take a spooky horse.
We wandered around the farm a bit when we were done, checking out "scary" things like the tarps over the wood pile. Bobby gave me his patented Look when I stopped him.

"is there a reason we're stopped? i don't give a fuck about tarps."
The vet will be out in two weeks-ish and we're going to have a long converstation about joint maintanence. He's only eight, but he's had this issue since he was a wee baby. Maybe pokes would be good for him.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Game Face

Hubby finally got home Saturday after a weeklong business trip in Nashville, so I didn't go to the barn that day, but Sunday came around warm enough that the ground wasn't frozen rock solid. Kind of, sort of rideable ground on a non-hunting day? Trail ride, here we come!

Bobby was in sleepy snuggle mode when I walked in, but his entire left side was covered in dry pee, including under his chin, so I was like, "Um, pass, you dirty goat." After I got him slightly less disgusting, I indulged him and we had a good head rub and ear tug.

There was enough wet snow still on the ground that things were pretty slippery. As much as I wanted to go out and spend two hours on trail, I had to nix the idea and instead we did our first conditioning work of the year. Almost as much fun, if only because it wasn't arena work. The field we worked in has mowed paths that make a big triangle. We "walked" the short side, "trotted" the long side where the ground rolls up and down, and then turned and did a "slow" canter uphill on the opposite long side. We did three sets.

Our walk was a jig, our trot varied between extended and lengthened, and our slow canter featured prancing leaps and the occasional test of brakes--as in, "Hey, rider lady. Do you know how to pull the E brake? Let's see!"

bobby did this move while cantering...

and this move. (pics are my former pygmy baby mable. aww!)

I never felt like he was out of control, and I never felt like I was going to get dumped or run off with. I kept a firm grip on my breastplate and let him do his thing. Cheekiness aside, he was on the bit the entire time and I could feel how round and up his back was under me. (I will say that I think the trick where you practice your trot lenthenings in an open field was patented by an eventer doing condionting work.) When we were done, I bridged my reins in one hand, stuck the other in my pocket, and he marched home perfectly polite and still perfectly connected through his entire body. A great way to spend forty minutes.

long walk home.
The best part about Sunday's ride was that I finally felt like I was doing something. I can always tell how weak his hind end is by how much he struggles to trot uphill. He was certainly struggling Sunday, but he was able to do it so that was a plus; this time last year, he could only walk or canter uphill. I like that I have a starting point and an end goal, and I like that I'm finally able to take the steps to fix the issue. I also like having a starting point for my own hind end work. Three minutes of two point is my current baseline. Yikes. Trot sets, I cannot wait to embrace you!

cookie face.
Today was dressage day. BO doesn't teach lessons Monday so once more I had a free arena. Fuck. Yeah. We warmed up with some leg yields, slowly bringing them further off the rail until I asked him to leg yield from the centerline. Tracking right, he couldn't quite pull it off so I problem solved at the walk and figured out that he could slip right over if I started asking for it as I was turning instead of once we were already going straight. He got big, big pats for a job well done and we switched directions. He's also been more resistant to the left as his left stifle is worse than his right. He gets inverted and sticky, but the same trick helped him out and he did an okay one this direction as well.

His canter is still a little wild. We spent most of it working on slowing down off the seat without breaking into the trot. He curls behind the bit and tries to lean on me when we're having this discussion, but unfortunately for him, I spent six years riding a horse who lived on his forehand and it's one of the few issues I am completely confident in kicking in the ass. When we were done, he was going on a circle carrying himself with a soft rein. Sucker.

We ended with the first full run-throughs of Novice B and Training A. Novice B was a little hairy at parts, but by the time we moved on to Training A, he had his brain in gear and did a relatively nice test.

Here's the thing about Bobby. He has his Baby Horsie moments at home, he can cop an attitude, and he can be a downright ass when he doesn't want to do something, but when we're at shows, he is one hundred percent business. He has no interest in fooling around. He's there to do his job, he's intense in his concentration, and he's a little bit of a show off. He sees the tack starting to come out and he won't even take a cookie. He just stands there like a statue until it's time to go. He was in competition mode for Training A.

not a face that says, "i'm fancy."
Every correction I made, I barely had to ask before he fixed it. He didn't get above the bit in any of his transitions. The canter lengthening back to working canter only took a little sinking of my seat. The stretchy trot circle never lost rhythm and never got quick despite coming off of a lengthening. His halt was precise and square. He just goes into this mode where he's doing his job, he wants to do it well, and he doesn't want you to get in his way. Tell him what to do and sit back and let him do it.

I can't wait to start showing again.

waiting for him to finish drying off, hence the sweat marks.
such an unfortunate looking dude.

Friday, February 22, 2013

FUCK YEAH.

Sorry for the not G Rated title, G Rated readers. You should know what you've signed on for by now. I was at the barn for all of an hour today and for once I left totally happy and satisfied with how I spent my time. It was a complete "Fuck yeah, this is awesome" equestrian experience.

No one was at the barn when I got there and the arena was freshly watered and dragged. Fuck yeah. I dragged out a couple of jumps because Bobby and I are both sick of dressage work. Not even really dressage work, but more of indoor work which is pretty much always dressage work anyway.

2'9 oxer, something' X.
both looking decidedly smaller from a distance on top
of my giant mule.
I speed groomed and tacked Bobby in hopes that I could get on and have an entire ride without having to share the arena with people who like to invade our personal space. The only person that came in was BM. Bobby gave her the hairy eye because it was getting close to feeding time, but once he determined she was only mucking stalls, he ignored her.

We did two laps and a 20m circle in each direction of w/t/c including a flying change that was so flawless, I didn't even realize he'd switched until I looked down. Fuck yeah! (Honestly no clue where it came from. Sometimes he just owns things.)

Our first exercise was starting off on the left rein, turn in at H to go across the diagnol over the X, obviously land on the right rein, and then turn in at the centerline, jump the oxer, and turn left. Fabu-fucking-loso. Bobby was taking me to the fences for once in his life and we were totally in sync with distances. Instead of seeing a spot where my mind was like, "Oh fuck. This is going to be a chip or a long spot." I was all, "He's going to need to put more umph in his jump for this. No bigs. Still smooth as fucking butter." Fist bump, Robert. Fuck yeah.

srsly looked wider and larger in person.
We did that exercise four times before moving on to numero dos. From the left rein, come off the rail just before B, jump the X, obviously land on the right rein, circle behind the oxer (basically cut off half the ring), turn down the centerline to jump the oxer, and turn left. Bamski. Nailed it without issue again. We did it twice and I made the decision to end on a good note.

Did you read that?! I wasn't like, "Weeeelllll, I'll just do it one more time." and then want to kill my horse. I am LEARNING here, folks! Fuck yeah!

Quick summation of arena ride:
  • Bobby was instantly like, "We're working here. Let's do business." as soon as I got on and we didn't do a single giraffe or even llama impression. What.
    • He did have a totally adorable moment where he helped me open the shutters on one of the mirrors with his big seal brown nose. Too cute.
  • Flawless flying change.
  • I actually had pace to my fences which is undoubtably why they felt so ridiculously easy. Carly? Go fast? Hold the phone, I know.
  • Because the jumps were so easy, I didn't psych myself out or start overthinking things. And do you know what I pulled out of my totally random bag of tricks because of it? My auto release. My sweet, sweet auto release that disappeared with Red because I couldn't figure out how to jump Bobby. It is my best friend in the entire world and I missed it so much.
We spent a total of fifteen minutes in the arena and I was like, "Let's cap this shit off with a trail ride. Who cares if we get shot." I don't even think anything is currently in season, but I keep forgetting to ask BO.


Despite some snow down my bra (don't even ask), we had a blast. We were only out for ten minutes, all walking, and it was kind of a boring loop I took to avoid getting in anyone's shiz in case anyone was out, but there were hills! And it was outside! Fuck yeah!

We got back just as BM was graining and my usually Paw To The Center Of The Earth When You Want Something You're Not Getting horse stood patiently on the crossties as she fed around him. Good, Pony Pants!

the ladies waiting to come in.
Not only a good time at the barn, but I narrowly avoided hitting a skunk on my way home. Double fuck yeah for that shit. Nickelback briefly tried to ruin my life, but I just pushed my tape back in and was all, "Here's some poetry courtosey of Sarah McLachlan. Fuck yeah, Baba Ganoush."

Ten points if you got the Wedding Crashers reference.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Broken things

All sorts of excitement greeted me when I got to the barn today. I came in and Bobby's medium weight was hanging outside his stall. BM had taken it off (and put a different blanket on him--she didn't leave his sorry ass naked) because of a giant tear in his bum.


The consensus is that it was probably Pilot, who has the 3yo chompies on everything and everyone. No big deal. I can sew it up easy peasy. It might look a bit puckered without a patch, but Bobby doesn't care. For the moment, Stripes is pulling the stuffing out and trying to turn it into a cave. She loves blanket repair time.

"me? be naughty? never. i was just having a roll."
I pulled Bobby's new blanket off and tied him to start grooming him. As always, I did a walk around him before getting started, looking for anything new or out of the ordinary on his giant dinosaur body. Right away I noticed a lump on his LH cannon bone. I poked it and it was a little squishy. I took my glove off (very reluctantly, I might add--it was freezing!) and ran my hand down it. It was maybe a touch warmer than the rest of the leg, but certainly not hot. I decided to lunge him before I got him tacked up and see if he was off at all.

photo bombed by barn kitty.
We headed down to the indoor to be greeted by the sound of Barn Worker dragging the arena. Not that I don't love a freshly dragged arena to ride in, but I had to roll my eyes a bit. Once more, BW is right where you don't need him. So Bobby and I took a little walk in the fresh snow by the pastures.


I waited as patiently as I could before asking Bobby to trot a small circle around me and deciding he wasn't off. BW takes forever to do anything. Back to the barn, tacked up, loafed around until I heard the tractor come back up, and then back to the arena for a real lunge. Bobby stepped out perfectly and I let him cruise around for awhile, admiring the fact that my horse might be just a little bit fancy. Definitely a giant dick half the time, but also a little fancy.

With two days off, he started off testing what he could get away with. Not today, Mr Magee! I made him do transistions up the whazoo until he decided we could just be friends and hold hands while we worked together. And then L came in and stuck her horse on the lunge again. Now when she came in, I was working on getting Bobby to bend left on a 20m circle at one end of the arena. Common sense would tell you to take the other half of the arena to work your horse in, right? Oh, no. She parked it right in the middle of the arena and let loose. BM came in with a horse to ride, joined me on my now 10-15m-ish circle, and still she remained in the middle of the arena.

Am I the only person who does not like horses going around on the end of a line in my horse's personal space? It's called a bubble. Please stay out of it at all times.

That made me a little pissy, and Bobby's lack of bend to the left (what's new?) started to fuel the fire. However, I took a mental step back, brought Bobby back to the walk, and worked on some pressure and release with the reins. By the time L got done lungeing, I was ready to try the trot again. I made sure I didn't let him hang on me and that I was releasing my inside rein, and voila! Lovely, soft left bend. He got lots of "Good boys!" and we stopped with that exercise.

We finished with a shit ton of canter work. Bobby was fresh to death, but with lots of half halts and not pretty but perfectly functional canter-halt transitions, he settled down. I wanted to do some counter canter with him, but when I took him across the diagnol, he gave me a flying change. Um, ok. He decided he wanted to work on those today instead, so we schooled them a bit. Most were pretty sloppy, but they were there and he was willing to try.

We hung out with BM on Scooter in the middle of the ring when we were done while L schooled her mare. Poor Bobby wanted to be BFFs with Scooter, but Scooter kept shutting him down by trying to bite his face. Bobby doesn't understand that his "I love everyone!" attitude in life isn't shared by most other horses.

hitching a ride to the barn on scooter during the summer.
warm weather, i miss you so much!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sassy Pants? Try Pissy Pants.

Bobby got his second "jump school" in the indoor Saturday. It wasn't really a jump school. It was more me riding in a jumping saddle so I could do some real half seat work and work on my feel of what Bobby's jumping canter needs to be. We just so happened to go over three baby jumps (2'6 and a 2' line) a few times.




He did duck out to the right the first time I turned him in to the single vertical, but it took him a bit by suprise and, turning in to it, it almost looked like you were going to jump into the oxer. An opening left rein helped, but it also made him land on the incorrect lead. Since our flying changes lately have ranged from rarely there to OMGIhavefeetwhat, he only switched in front which put us out of balance for the turn to the line.

At this point, I'm pretty much taking the "whatever" stance on it. I know the problem is his hind end, I know the solution to the problem is strength work, and I know that I can't do any consistent strength work until winter is over. Fucking fuckity fuck fuck fucking winter, is all I have to say about that.

No, actually, I have a lot to say about the matter, but I don't want to work myself into an anti-winter rage that accomplishes nothing. Yay, ponies.

"yay, cookies?"
Bobby was in rare form Sunday. (I love that expression. It's the ultimate "You're being an asshole" saying.) Sunny went down to the ring just before us which was also a big "whatever" because I enjoy riding with Bobby's long lost brother. His mom is nice to ride with because we both keep an eye on what the other person is doing and easily stay out of each other's way. However, less enjoyable people to ride with arrived so I went to work pretty quickly to try to get as much out of my ride as I could before they invaded the arena.

Bobby was crooked, stiff, and completely unaccomidating to any of my requests. He had no interest in playing that day. Then in came L who proceeded to lunge her horse in the middle of our small dressage court sized arena with two other riders in it. Awesome. There is so much room for that!!!!!! I parked Bobby off to the side to avoid collision and waited for her to finish.

She got done and her daughter came in with another horse. Unfortunately, neither L or her daughter have much spatial awareness when it comes to sharing a small space. Bobby's general pissy attitude quickly escalated to full out naughtiness and we had several of his classic flying backwards and spinning around temper tantrums. He did have some really jaw dropping lateral work though. It just usually ended with bucking and backing instead of ending with going straight.... or forward.

I finally threw in the towel and excused myself from the arena to go on a quick trail ride. I really wanted to work him out of it, but there just wasn't the room or the right riders to work around. The ground was horrendous from the constant thawing and freezing, but I just gave Bobby his head and let him do what he wanted speed-wise. We trotted most of it, galloped up our hill, and picked our way down the steepest, longest hill to get back.

"lala, not listening."
He's getting fit, he's coming off of sporadic work, he's getting bored, and it's all coming together to make both of us feel like ripping our hair out. I am sooooo ready to start weekly trot sets in the xcountry field, daily trail rides, and jumping in a big arena. Begone, winter!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sassy.

Mr Magee had his sassy pants on today. He spent his entire time in the aisleway trying to escape to the great outdoors, and then nearly bowled me over when I tried to stop him by the mounting block. Aww hell no. We had a brief in-hand Come to Jesus about personal space and stopping when I say stop before I swung on. Then we had another Come to Jesus when he walked off as soon as I was on which is my number one pet peeve in horses.

That pretty much set the tone for our entire ride. We walked for a solid fifteen minutes working on a plethora of things--things Bobby really had no interest in participating in.

Bobby: I think I heard a noise.

Me: No you didn't. Keep moving.

Bobby: Oh, okay.

Me: No, keep moving faster than a sloth, Bobby.

Two seconds later...

Bobby: PRETTY SURE I JUST HEARD A NOISE.

Me: Put your fucking head on straight before I let you hear the noise of me ending your life.

Five minutes later...

Me: Bobby, why are you incapable of keeping the contact when I ask you to walk off from a halt?

Bobby: Wait, what?

Me: This. This is what I want, Bobby!!!!

Bobby: Ohhhh. Got it.

Two minutes later....

Bobby: I call this move the spinning giraffe on ice skates.

Me: All I wanted was a quarter turn on the forehand.

Bobby: Weeeeee!!! Look! I'm still spinnning!!

His trot was moderately more cooperative, so I decided to end with a run through of Novice A in sitting trot. Not because it's difficult, but because it's more fun. And it looks prettier. Bobby hasn't cantered in nearly two weeks and the first 20m circle was a bit of a rodeo. Plus, it was obviously his cue we should be cantering nonstop for the rest of the ride.

Bobby: Canter? Why not gaaallopp!! Trot? How about.... gaaallopp!! Across the diagnol? How about.... wait, hold on. My front and back ends just went opposite directions. Alright, better now. Gaaallopp!! Down the centerline? Gaall-- No, time out. I like going down the centerline.

And then he had a fancy prance and ended on a 10 halt.

His foot isn't a hundred percent healed, but it's clearly not bothering him any longer. Hopefully sassy pants will get a real workout this weekend.

sunday sass.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's a bird, it's a plane...

No! It's a saddle! On my horse!

don't you judge my shitty tack. it fits my horse.
Eight days off, three days of stall rest, no pre-longe session, and Bobby stepped right back into work exactly where we left off. We walked to the left while Sunny did his w/t/c work, focusing on basics like not leaning on the bit, lateral work, halting and walking off without poking his nose out, and rein back. When we switched directions, I asked him for the trot. He felt good. Maybe not as big and bouncy as usual, but not short or sore either.

I asked him to really go to work on sitting on his sad little butt and bringing his two ton head up. Suprisingly, this was hardly difficult. I did some sitting trot straight down the quarterline, then asked for the walk on the short side and did shoulder in down the opposite long side. He was so fab, I decided to try to shoulder in at the trot, something we've gotten maybe one step of so far. Down the quarterline feeling fly, Sue called out that we looked really pretty, and asked for the shoulder in.

Bobby did a beautiful interpretation of a drunken giaraffe trying to do ballet. All four legs went different directions, his head went up and out, and we kind of drifted off the rail and kind of didn't. The patent is pending on this upper level movement once I figure out what to call it. I giggled the whole way down the longside because I could see us in the mirror and it was such a mess. Back to the walk where he gave me his best effort yet, and he let me know that was the limit his foot could take for the day. A good place to end, and a good exercise to work on in the future.

foamy slobber face.
He'll get tomorrow off. Our ride was only twenty minutes at the most, but come on. The dude just had a hole in his foot. I'll cut him some slack.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

POP.

This is my third winter in PA, and I must say that I am still blown away by the tizzy fit these people have about a little bit of snow. Not all of them, but most of them. We got a whopping two inches (!!) of snow from Nemo. Whoa, Nelly! Schools got let out early, yada yada, the whole shebang. Really, people? Two inches? Back in my days of upstate NY living, no one even noticed two inches. In fact, it wasn't until we got two feet that people started relaxing. I salute all of you New Englanders that are all, "Yep, we got a lot of snow. Moving on."

Since we didn't get anything exciting, I'll post a few NY pictures of blizzards over the years because I'm feeling a little nostalgic for real winter (although I have enjoyed not having to pull the snow shovel out once this winter).

previous ottb storm let loose in the yard while i did his stall.
feb. 2010
he loved to antagonize my goats.
same storm in '10.

darcy in an '09 storm. (oh my gosh, my puppy is getting old!)
valentine's day '07.
same storm. i lived in a basement apt. and this bunny tunneled
to my window to eat sticks.
red pony! '07.
So suck up our lame two inches, PA. You guys are just silly.

Anyway, even I am taken aback by how much I fucking ramble sometimes. Bobby's abcess blew Friday night/Saturday morning. I got to the barn Saturday and he was hanging out in Simon's stall while his got cleaned.

looking for attention. stall rest is boring.
Our dear friend Barn Worker decided once again that throwing hay down as I was trying to utilize my stall was a good plan, so I took Bobby down to the indoor until the aisle was cleared to see how he was feeling. He practically dragged me down and then the second his lead was unclipped, he took off bucking and farting to the end of the arena to roll. After he was thoroughly coated in dirt, he spent the next ten minutes tearing ass around on his own accord.


 I would like to insert a very brief rant in here. There is a difference between free lungeing and letting your horse loose in an arena/round pen. Free lungeing is controlled exercise with your horse, telling it where to go and at what speed. Free lungeing is having your horse listen to you and the cues from your body--back up, come in, turn around to the inside or the outside, etc. Turning your horse loose and chasing it with a whip as it bucks and snorts and probably rolls is not free lungeing. It's chasing your horse. Probably has its place, but it's not the same thing. Want to learn more? Buy Fundamentals of Free Lungeing by Dr Stephen Mackenzie, one of my all-time favorite professors during college. Please, everyone in the entire world, stop saying that you're free lungeing unless you actually are. It drives me fucking batty.

Off my soap box now.

That was officially the end of stall rest. I cleaned his foot off and finally saw the decent sized hole in his heel where the nasty thing blew. I asked BM if I should bother wrapping it again, but we decided to just let the fluffy snow (they got six inches at the barn) keep it clean. We brought Spyder and Bennie in and turned Bobby out with his nighttime pasture mates Silver and Ranger for a bit. He was like, "I'm outsiiiiidddeeee!!!" and couldn't stand still for a second.

polite, patient pony for stall rest, but who doesn't love to eat snow?
This morning, the hole looked really good and he wasn't bothered by me poking at it, so after giving him a good grooming, I took him up to the outdoor and jumped on bareback. He shot about three feet sideways as I jumped on, but my thunder thighs are good for something and I stayed on and repaid him with a boot to the ribs. That was his only naughtiness and we went right into real dressage work, albeit at a walk, for about ten minutes.

I tried to convince him that it would be cute if he romped and rolled in the snow, but he was more convinced he should just take a nap.

"really, lady? i lead a hard life. i should be allowed to nap."
napping conformation pic.
i love how much his neck has filled out, but that booty...
following me back to the gate. i got bored quickly.
So hell fucking yes for a four day turnaround of, "You need to come to the barn right now. Your horse is lame to the extreme." to "I'm a maaaaniac! Set me free!"

Easiest patient ever, Mr Magee. We both thank you for all of your healing juju!

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Call.

Yesterday afternoon I got The Call from BO. I'll spare you the dramatics (though Hubby was not so lucky when I called him up in hysterics that he had to come home from work and take me to the barn right now), and say that Bobby is not sick! Broken, yes, but not dying. That's a nice change from The Call(s) I got about Red.

The gist is that Bobby came in lame the morning of his farrier date. Farrier pulled the shoe on the leg he was lame on (RH) to look for an abcess. No cigar, but he said not to rule it out. Yesterday, he came in so lame, BM opted not to turn him out and BO called me.

I got to the barn and Bobby was hanging out in his neighbor's stall while his got cleaned. He was perky and happy and nosing my pockets for treats. His RH was also the size of my thigh and completely non-weight bearing. I immediately thought leg, but BM suggested abcess. His foot wasn't hot, but his leg was. I decided the best course of action was to cover all our bases and doctor both.

I trudged up to BO's house with my fellow abcess battling boarder to get hot water, and then dragged my hopping pony out into the aisle where he proceeded to paw with a front hoof and adamently refuse to put any weight whatsoever on his back hoof. I gave up on soaking after less than ten minutes before we both had full blown temper tantrums. I packed his foot with Epsom salt and wrapped him up. I put a sweat on his RH and wrapped his LH. He gimped back into his stall and tucked into his hay. Hubby and I watched him for awhile and occasionally he'd put weight on the bad leg. That was good enough for me to leave him for the night. I was worried more about his LH than anything, but I know he likes to lay down so I hoped he'd be smart and do that when his legs got too tired.

weight bearing! hoorah!

This morning, BM greeted me with the news that he was looking okay. That was a huge understatement. He was looking waaaay better! He walked out of his stall lame, but able to use his RH. I unwrapped him and poked around his foot to see if I could find a hole because his foot smelled. Not freshly blown abcess smell, but not very appealing either. I couldn't find anything, but I got a violent reaction when I prodded his heel. That was a good sign, but his leg was still warm and a little swollen.

I walked him around the barn a bit and while visibly off, he was weighting the RH without fuss. I stuffed his foot in his tub and got him to stand squarely. However, while I was grooming him, he was obviously not comfortable. Every minute or so, it was like his leg spasmed and he jerked it up. I'm sure it felt good to rest his LH, but it was clearly still hurting his RH. Poor pony. We got fifteen minutes of soaking in and I re-wrapped and re-sweated, almost getting my face kicked when I grabbed his heel to move his foot. Once his diaper, vet wrap, and duct tape bootie was on, he did seem happier to stand on it in his stall and he left his hay to come over to the door to get his goodbye cookie--something he couldn't/wouldn't do yesterday.

Fingers crossed it's just an abcess and the swelling in his leg will go down once it blows. I'll give him this weekend of the same treatment, and see where we are on Monday. If he's still lame, or nothing's come out yet, I'll probably have the vet out to make sure it's not something else.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Not my horse.

Hey, Pitbull. Guess what? I'm not having a good time. I'm experiencing the full affects of a Super Bowl hangover. But the right team won, so it was all worth it. As Hubby so eloquently put it last night, "I'm glad your team won because you're a sore loser and I didn't want to have to deal with it." I don't give a fuck. I'll own up to it. I'll ride this hangover all the way to the betting bank, bitches.

Bobby lost a front shoe on our trail ride yesterday. My new bell boots are on their way (because I hate driving all the way to the tack store), so he will remain unridden until he gets a new shoe on Wednesday or until his booties get here. Probably the latter as I ordered them from Dover with a gift certificate I got from Bucks over the summer. Stupid Dover.

Here's a helmet cam video from the end of our icy, slippery, miserable trail ride. The boys got a lot of walking up and down hills work, but I would have preferred it if we hadn't had to do it on cement-like frozen tundra.


(P.S. Nothing happens in that video, so don't feel obligated to watch it unless you're really bored. I figured I'd just throw some media at you.)

I went to the barn this morning to make sure nothing had gotten into Bobby's boot, leave a check for the farrier, and to poke cookies down his throat. I went ahead and rode Spyder to make the drive worth it. (Though I'm sure my farrier will think it was worth it to have a check waiting for him.)

handsome spyder

I spent some time tidying up Spyder Pants--banged his tail, trimmed his bridle path, and gave him a really good curry. Then it was down to the indoor where Barn Worker (oooooh, I dislike him!!) thought it would be a good idea to use the chainsaw to cut up firewood right outside the arena when he knew I was about to go ride and when J had just pulled in with her horse. It's like he waits around doing nothing until I'm about to Do Work, and then he intentionally gets in my way. He twice this year has barred me in Bobby's stall by throwing hay down and blocking the door. You know I'm in there, asshole. You can't wait two fucking seconds for me to leave?

Needless to say, J and I longed our horses for a good fifteen minutes to get the crazies out as they reacted to the horse killing demon saw they could hear but not see. I jumped on while J tacked her horse up at her trailer and went right to work. S still hasn't cantered Spyder because she's afraid of what he'll do (fair enough), so my main goal in riding him was just to canter him until he was polite.

Fortunately for me, Spyder doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He has lots of "I'm a silly, green, underworked young OTTB" bones, but he never does anything maliciously. The point being that he could have dumped me on my ass a few times, but he listened to my corrections and we worked through his bucks/scoots/lunges/"Look at me, I'm a racehorse!" prancey leaps. We had a little discussion about how to politely pick up the canter to the left--it did not involve spinning and leaping forward at the same time, by the way--and ended with some quiet trot work.

The ride made me appreciate A) What a bad ass I used to be. I found myself perched over rank, rude racehorses on and off the track daily for the three years I was in college and it rarely fazed me. Now I'm a little more aware of my mortality, but I still kind of have fun when a horse tests me. B) How well schooled Bobby has become. I take for granted that he knows how to move off my leg in every direction, and that he knows how to w/t/c in a straight line down quarterlines and the center line. I could barely get Spyder to walk in a straight line on the rail.

This won't be much of a riding week. I have things to do which happens rarely enough, and I kind of think my car is ready to do bad things again.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Our horses are smarter than us.

I know I wrote that I wouldn't know when I would get out next because of the weather, but the weather was all, "Let's be friends!" Thursday. Sure, it was chilly and still wet from all the melted snow and the downpour from Wednesday, and the wind was gusting at 40mph (legit wind advisory), but there was SUN!!! Sunnnnnnn!!!! Damn right we'll be friends, weather.

There was an apparently impromptu lesson going on in the indoor and I really wanted to do more than avoid people for once, so I threw on Bobby's jump tack and slopped through the mud up to the outdoor. It was sloppy, but totally rideable. I rolled two ground poles together in the middle of the arena to work over. I really wanted to set up an X, but sinking up to my ankles convinced me the footing wasn't that good.

not even close to representing the slop.
also, we lost a bell boot.
Bobby was a super star. I don't know if it's that he just finished up his ulcer treatment (which did wonders for his weight and general pissy attitude about touching him anywhere near his belly), or if he's left his Terrible Sevens and his brain has clicked over to Work Horse Magee, but he has been so focused and.... pleasant to work with. He didn't get turned out because of the ice (and he's used to 17 hours of turnout a day), the spreader was running in the field next to the arena, the tarp was whipping around by the gate like a horse-eating blue flag, and horses were racing each other. He didn't glance at anything. "Time to work? Oh, okay. Move faster than a snail? Oh, I guess."

We had a really nice w/t/c, collecting and lengthening his canter from half seat. Sane, happy work over the poles. Some no stirrup work. Leg yields. Nothing ground breaking, but all easy peasy. Well, easy peasy on Bobby's part. Holy shit, do I lose fitness fast. Too much time in my dressage saddle has made my calves feel very, very sad doing two point. Very. Fucking. Sad. I feel a trail ride in two point coming on.

giant dopey donkey head.

Today I read two blog posts when I came home from the barn. One from Savvy's mom, one from Shyloh's mom. I point these out because they both carry the same message: I underestimate how awesome my horse has become, and how much of a bad ass she is. I was like, "Dudes! You don't say. I was just telling Hubby the same thing!" Only I wasn't because I was just reading a blog, but I'm saying it now, Savvy and Shyloh's moms.

I wanted to set up a couple of jumps in the outdoor today, but when I went up there, the ground was literally cement. Something about wet stone dust freezing? Who knew? So I very begrudgingly went down to the indoor where there were some trot poles and two lines of jumps set up. Bobby warmed up a little sloth-like, but I had my spurs on and he eventually went to work.

As we were cantering along, I got ballsy (and bored) (and mad I wasn't in the outdoor) and went over the tiny X while on a circle. Bobby went over it in stride, landed on the correct lead, and carried on like it hadn't even happened. We switched directions and went over a little vertical the same way. Uh, what?



Hubby was like, "Is everything going okay?" with a look like, "Are you about to have another crazy person melt down?" Fair enough, Hubby. Fair enough.

Basically, what it comes down to is that I'm trying to be a little more Zen in my approach to Bobby, and a little smarter. Since he's such a dope, and so slow in general, I just expect him to lope around a stadium course like a hunter. Well, he's not a hunter. He's actually a very similar ride in stadium to Red. Give him his head, if he rushes, he rushes, and move on to the next. No picking at his face, no hauling on his mouth, no running him into the jump. While Red didn't always find his own perfect distance, he was the tidiest jumper I've ever sat on. I think Bobby, while a giant awkward doofus, can be the same way. He doesn't like to hit the rails, and he goes out of his way to get us over without touching anything.

That was a very long, rambling way of agreeing with Savvy and Shyloh's moms. My horse is awesome. My horse has confidence in himself. I need to have confidence in my horse because he is awesome.

favorite face rubs.
A trail ride is on the docket for tomorrow first thing in the morning so I can come home and park myself in front of the t.v. and drool over Joe Flacco all day. Football? There's a football in this game? Hmm....