Monday, July 26, 2021

Honeymoon Over

 Baby horses are hard. I brought  Cinder home June 30th and am just now feeling like we’re approaching where we were when I brought her home. The transition from her being ridden by Trainer A three times a week and me having one lesson a week plus one ride on my own to me riding solo was rough. Not that Cinder’s been naughty or bad, she’s actually been really good. It’s more my mental state and trying not to pass along my anxiety to her. 


The day after bringing her home we had a lesson with my regular trainer J and it went really well. Cinder was her normal laid back self and J was happy with how she was going. Our next couple of rides is when the wheels started falling off. Cinder got a little spooky at the far end of the arena, I got even more busy and burnt out at work and my anxiety got the best of me. I was scared to ride her in the spooky end, scared to push her when she was being resistant, and just generally terrified I’d come off her again. 



It didn’t help that I got a message from one of Trainer S’s (the first trainer I sent Cin to) students telling me that while she wished me the best, me posting about Cinder being good for me was hard for her to see because she felt like I was being mean to S. She felt like I was lying and proceeded to tell me about how other trainers had done was worse things to her than what S did to me/Cinder. You know what’s not great for an already anxious and stressed out person? Someone they really don’t know that well shitting on their experience and saying how they’ve had it worse so you shouldn’t complain. I was pretty much ready to sell both my horses and live as a recluse at that point. 


And of course during this time J and I couldn’t coordinate our schedules for another lesson. We did finally have one a week ago and I spent the first ten minutes dumping all my emotions onto J. We came up with a game plan going forward and actually managed to have two other lessons last week as well. Each lesson and each ride has felt better and better. I’m feeling much more confident with myself and Cinder, and J has told me that I’m not allowed to put Cinder up for sale. She, and Trainer A, fully believe that Cinder will be the horse I want her to be, I just need to believe in myself, my riding, and in her.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Catch Up Part 2: We’re Going Down

 In preparation for moving Cinder home this week (holy shit still not ready to wrap my head around that) I bumped up to two lessons a week on her instead of one. Last week I had a flat lesson on Tuesday and then a jump lesson on Wednesday.

Cooling off with a walk down the road

Our flat lesson was pretty good. I’m able to get her consistently put together at the trot, but the canter is still a work in progress. We did attempt our first walk-canter transitions and they were surprisingly decent, considering upward canter transitions aren’t our strong suit. 

For jump lesson, we did a quick warm up then Trainer A had us start by trotting into a line. We jumped the first fence fine, kinda fell apart in the line and trotted the out fence. It felt good, I stayed with her and kept my leg on, but Cinder tripped on the landing. And she kept tripping for about 30-40 feet. A said it looked like a cartoon where their legs are spinning circles but they’re going nowhere. She finally went down to her knees and rolled onto her right side. 

My poor, poor saddle

I got tossed clear of her, landing on my right boob (possibly hitting it on something?) and my right knee. I looked over and saw Cinder down on her side. She stayed down for a few seconds before deciding that rolling would be a good idea. I tried to crawl out of the way while yelling at her to get up but thankfully A made it over to us and was able to get Cinder up before she rolled on my saddle. 

A handed Cinder off to one of the barn kids while she went to grab some ice boots. Cinder had scraped up both of her knees and I was still down in the dirt with my banged up knee. Both of us got about 5 minutes in the ice boots before I felt ok to get up. I gingerly walked around before pronouncing I was ok to get back in the saddle. Once I got on it was clear my knee was not happy when I put my foot in the stirrup so I ended up dropping them. We walked around for another 10minutes or so before I gently slid off of her. Cinder, thankfully, didn't seem too upset by the ordeal. 

A rode Cinder on Thursday and said she was little anxious approaching the first jump, but once she made it over she was fine. Cin has a little scrape on one knee, but otherwise just missing patches of hair. I had given her a gram of bute Wednesday night, but A said she felt and looked perfectly sound Thursday. I, on the other hand, was taking the maximum dosage of ibuprofen and took Thursday off of work, alternating keeping my knee up with ice on it, and walking around to loosen up some of the stiffness. I also have one hell of bruise on my boob. I'm feeling much more normal now, just some stiffness when I first get up in the morning, but we'll see how I feel once I get back in the saddle later today. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Catch Up Part 1: Peebs

 Hoo boy has the last week been a doozy and the next two aren’t looking any better. I don’t want to keep you in suspense, so our first update will be about Peebs’ suspensory. Sorry not sorry for that. Good new, there’s no sign of any tears or lesions, just inflammation at the top of the ligament. 

It’s been the hottest it’s ever been in the PNW this weekend so time to breakout the fans

Our plan of attack is still pretty conservative, just to make sure the inflammation doesn’t turn into something worse. We’re starting with 10 minutes of hand walking a day for two weeks, then adding 5mins per week till we get to 40. Then we’ll re-ultrasound. Peebs is also getting three shockwave treatments, and had his first on Thursday. 

My vet was out sick when we did the ultrasound, but his newly hired associate did it and I really like her. She also did Peebs’ first shockwave treatment and did a quick re-ultrasound because she said she had woken up at 3am thinking about him and wanted to double check that she didn’t miss anything. It made me feel really good to know that she’s as through and invested in my pony as my regular vet is. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

We Know What It Isn't

 Peebs had his first lameness exam last night and while we didn't get a conclusive answer, we know what it isn't. We were the last appointment of the day and the vet was running behind so we ran out of time before completing the diagnostics. They're supposed to call me this morning to schedule our next visit; hopefully soon and hopefully I have service in the basement I work in so I can actually get their call!

We started with hoof testers, and Peebs had a slight reaction on the left front, but it was pretty mild. Moved on to jogging down the driveway and he was only slightly lame on the left front on the straight aways, more lame on the turn. Flexions showed it might be his coffin joint, but again, it was slight. Put him on the lunge (tracking left first) and while he was lamer on the circle he still didn't look that bad. But tracking right (so lame leg on the outside of the circle) and he was much worse. 

 

Maybe someday we can use his new bridle for more than barn aisle pics

We did a couple low blocks, and while they helped a little, still not enough to make him sound. Vet thinks he probably has some arthritis in the coffin joint, but not enough to make him as lame as he is.  Our next appointment will be to block the suspensory, and possibly the knee. Vet is leaning towards suspensory being the issue. We also pulled blood for a metabolic panel because, while not on rich pasture and not getting fed a whole lot either, Peebs is a chonk right now, and him being ~25% Morgan makes him much more prone to metabolic issues. And horses with metabolic issues can be more prone to soft tissue injuries. 

So think happy leg and blood thoughts for us while I pray to the god of appointment scheduling that they can get us in quickly!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Inavale One Day Schooling Horse Trials

 Cinder went to her second show under saddle this weekend, the Inavale One Days. We hauled down Friday afternoon and Trainer A schooled her and then showed on Saturday. 

A spicy Cinder Saturday morning

Cinder was a little wound up Friday after arriving, but we went for a long hand walk before I chucked her in her stall and went to watch some of the kids ride. When A got on, a tractor had just started aerating the warm up area and I, being the h/j person, was like "Oh no, we need to find somewhere else to ride." while A was like "WTF, no I'll just work around the tractor." And she did. She made Cinder follow the tractor for a few minutes till Cinder didn't care about it and then proceeded to ride for 30 minutes working around it. First big difference between eventers and h/j'ers. 

After all of A's students had ridden and settled in, a few of the parents broke out the BBQ and we had a team dinner sitting around the trailers and campers. I tucked Cinder in for the night and left while A was rounding up the kids for course walks. I kinda wanted to walk the XC course, but I had worked in the morning before leaving to haul Cinder and I was exhausted. I was more than happy to pull the ammy owner card and not have to walk the course. 

Saying hi to the judge

For Saturday, we would be juggling A's rides on her gelding going Training, A's rides on Cinder and one of A's students at Beginner Novice (but in different divisions), then the rest of the kids at intro and grasshopper. A's dressage on Metro was at 8:06 and her dressage with Cinder was at 9. Thankfully one of A's friends was there to play groom for Metro so I could focus on Cinder. As soon as A was done with Metro we threw her saddle on Cinder and she got on for a long warm up. Which was definitely needed as Cinder was super spicy. The temps had dropped about 30* in four days, and we had some strong winds and a little bit of rain off and on all day Saturday, so that plus the show atmosphere had Cinder feeling herself. There were some bucks, and one impressive bolt, but about 25 mins in you could see her relax and start to focus. 

Dressage is tiring

The test went really well. Cinder did want to pop above the contact, and did a few canter steps in the second trot circle, but overall for a 4yr old's first dressage test, both A and I were really happy. She got a 38.9 which A felt was little high and put her 11th out 13. I was just happy she did the things when she was supposed to, stayed in the court, and A stayed on her back! 

My mom is 4'11" for scale

Cinder then had an almost 2 hour break before show jumping, so she got untacked and got to hang out in her stall for a while. A had both SJ and XC for Metro in between, plus her student's dressage. I brought Cinder back out right when A was done with Metro so we switched tack again and A headed out with Cinder. The SJ course was the same for all divisions, with Training having two, two stride combinations and BN just having one. 

 


The SJ arena is on the smaller side (for the recognized horse trials they use the grass fields for SJ but for the one days they use their sand arena) and they had a lot of jumps crammed in there.  And they had maxed out the height/width of all the fences. A actually said the course was more of a Novice level course than a BN, especially for a schooling show. Cinder had never actually done a full course at this height and A was a little worried about how she'd do.

Overall Cinder did great! She was definitely impressed by some of the jumps, most notably the blue barrels in the two stride which caused a number of run outs/pulled rails, but she took everything in stride and came out much more confident. A got a little lost on the way from 7 to 8 which was a really, really tight roll back turn from the two stride to a single diagonal, and wound up off her line to fence 9 and which aimed Cinder at the standard of 9.  Cinder blew past it and they had to circle back. But even with the refusal and circle, they still ended up 2 seconds under time. 

WTF are those things

I really, really wish I had kept clicking the shutter on my camera but I was certain she wasn't going to go over the barrels but she did! The fence on the right side of the frame in the bottom pic was the next fence they had to jump. It was an impossible turn.

A was kicking herself for messing up to the last fence, but I was just happy they got over everything. It was a tough course for a seasoned pair, let along a baby horse. Like I had no desire to ride that course with Peebs. Even with the 4 faults, they moved up to 10th out of 13. 

 

Cinder got about a half hour break before XC while A warmed up her student for SJ. Both A and I were expecting Cinder to be a little fried, but she seemed to settle into the whole horse show thing really well. She was happy to stand around SJ warm up, then XC warm up till it was her time to go. A didn't really do much to warm up for XC, just pop her over the logs they had set up maybe twice before ambling to the start box. She trotted out of the box and to the first fence, then let Cinder have an easy pace around the course. 


There was an option on course, either do the water or a log and trot up the mound. The log/mound route was longer, but A decided to do that instead of trying to get Cinder in the water. Which was a good idea because Cinder looked hard at the water and almost stopped at the log because she was so concerned about it being next to the water. But she walked over the long and happily trotted up and down the mound. 

Last fence

They had 8 time faults on XC, and ended with a 50.9 in 8th place out of 13. But Cinder finished happy, and much more confident which was what the outing was all about. She had her spicy, green moments, but she learned and enjoyed herself and wasn't mentally or physically fried. A was super happy with her and so was I.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Mr. Tender Toes

 While not as bad as he was, Peebs is still slightly NQR in both front feet. We've had some odd spring weather, with it getting hot and dry, then rain and some hail, then really dry, then a day of rain, then dry again. I think his feet are protesting the changing conditions. 


Oh hey look, the pics from Cinder schooling XC
 

His left front does have a little thrush going on, and I treated all four just to be sure. And to cover my bases I scheduled a lameness exam for him on the 15th. Friend A was having the vet out for Scottie, so I'm piggybacking on her appointment. 

"Thanks, I hate it."-Cinder, most definitely

Peebs gets his feet done next week, and I'll see what the farrier thinks as well. I'm hoping it's just the thrush and a little tenderness from the wet/dry cycles. I did scratch from our show in  a week and a half because even if he's sound tomorrow, I haven't really ridden in two weeks and we won't be ready. There's always more shows.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Cindes goes XC

Blogger is shitting on me and not letting me post photos but there is video farther down.

 In prep for next weekend's schooling horse trial, Trainer A took her students, her gelding, and Cinder XC schooling yesterday at the facility. I met up with them at Inavale and played groom and videographer. A split up her students into two groups, and rode her gelding in the first group and Cinder in the second. I hand walked Cinder out on the course during the first group so A) she could see everything, and B) she wouldn't be left alone at the trailers as the two kids in the second group were coming later. 

I grabbed a stud chain to walk Cinder out to the main XC field, just in case. A had gone out with Metro a little before the girls and I headed up so she could work through a few issues with him. When we met up with them A had the girls start warming up while she ponied Cinder through the water. Both A and I were sure if Cinder had any issues on the XC course, it would be at the water. Princess pony HATES getting wet, especially her hind legs. Metro is a saint for calmly standing around while Cinder pulled some very acrobatic moves about getting into the water, but eventually she did get in. A walked them back and forth a few times and stood in the middle of pond before finally handing Cin back to me.

While the girls jumped, I alternated between walking Cinder over a few small logs and letting her graze. She really wasn't concerned about the horses going away from her, or walking away from them. When the group moved to the smaller side field I walked her over the BN ditch and up and down some of the hills. 0 shits were given. 

We then headed back to the trailers to switch out groups. I tacked up Cin while A took care of Metro, and then we switched. A got on Cin and I hand walked Metro out to the field to play babysitter.  Cinder's pasture mate Polly was in the second group and the two have become a little buddy sour when one leaves the pasture so I was a little worried about how they'd be, but as soon as they realized they were working both were great. God bless mares that know when it's time to get down to business. 

The water demon reared it's ugly head (and Cinder did try rearing) when A tried to get Cin in the water under saddle. I provided a lead in and Cin went in. You could pretty much see her saying "F*ck you" to all of us, but she did it. 

 

A popped over a couple little logs before trying a hanging log and Cinder wasn't phased at all. She got a couple odd distances, but you could see her thinking about it and she's fix her mistake on the next try. She then got a break while the girls started schooling over fences and was perfect standing around and waiting. When A took her back out she happily left the group and acted like she'd done this a million times. A schooled her over some BN and N fences, and the only thing she had issues with was a BN table that she stopped at. A did get her over, and wasn't sure why she stopped. Two of the other horses in our group stopped at the same table, as well as another horse in a different group so A thinks the horses just have a hard time reading it, or are distracted by something in the distance.  

We then moved to the smaller field to practice the ditch and banks. I hand walked Metro over the BN ditch while A and the girls followed. Cinder was happy to pop back and forth over the ditch in both trot and canter, but when A aimed her at the N ditch next to it, she stopped out the first time. She did get over it, but gave it plenty of clearance. The banks were a complete non issue. Again, she popped up and down like she'd done it a million time, doing both the BN and N ones. 

We finished up back in the main field and Cinder was absolutely, not ever going into the water. I had to lead her in a few times before she finally decided to go in on her own. A just kept walking back and forth through the water before attempting to trot in. It was like a switch had been flipped and now Cinder totally A-OK with water. She trotted and cantered in and through the water like she hadn't just had a meltdown about it. It's completely her personality to have a tantrum, act like the world is ending, then do the thing and realize it wasn't that bad. Hopefully she remembers the water is her friend next week for the show! 

Both A and were really, really happy with how she did. A even asked if I ever wanted to be that owner who has a pro campaign the horse, and I honestly said if I ever win the lottery, or get a sugar daddy, she can take Cinder up the levels.  A was just so impressed with how Cinder handled everything and didn't feel at all mentally or physically fried. Cinder was out either being walked or ridden for almost 6 hours and A said she felt like she could keep going. A said it best, "Cinder's not a normal horse, but in the best way possible."