Monday, January 30, 2012

Finally! A sound pony:)

( I'm kind of amazed at how non hairy he looks)
Not that he was ever UNsound ... technically:)  He may have popped a splint, but he never so much as bobbled.  This weekend, my fabu barn owner turned him out in Star's pasture, and this afternoon I decided to hop on for the first time in 3 weeks.  He was nice and quiet as I tacked him up, and I eschewed the bridle in favor of the halter.  Yes, I strapped on my helmet;)  Every time, every ride:)  I wondered how it would go when I got him up to the ring and he decided to spin himself in a circle around me, looking like a mad man.  But still, my gut was telling me all was well so I growled at him to remember his manners and stand still, then climbed aboard.

20 minutes of walking.  Leg yielded to and from the rail both directions, turn on the forehand, walked over poles and cavalettis, and worked on FORWARD.  I have to say, after 20 minutes of working at the walk, he really felt NICE.  Loose, relaxed, and happy.  Tomorrow I will put in about 10 minutes of trot work, and tonight he goes out with his boys in his usual pasture.  By Friday, I will have added in some light canter, but no jumping until maybe Friday of next week.  No harm in taking it slow; no time agenda:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A THANK YOU and a pictoral essay

First things first, a big THANK YOU to all the bloggers that posted on my blog post.  It really helped to reassure me that Tiki will live and be just fine:)  I have determined after reading up on splints that his seems to be just fine.  I unwrapped it yesterday and left it "open", and today it looked pretty good.  Still no heat or swelling, and the boo boo seems to be healing up pretty well.

Here's a few pics of how it looked today:

(view today.  Note the lack of swelling)

(even the bump is smaller than it was)

(closeup of the boo boo)

(oh so stylish camo vetwrap protecting the boo boo)

(his oh so cool western splint boots)

(nice thick leather protective padding)

(muffin's turnout digs for the next week (note his mare being nosy!))

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The verdict is in ... sort of?

(sporting the injury wrap:(  )

Well.  Tiki's leg was still pretty swollen and warm by Thursday.  He was getting turned out, but I didn't ride or work him despite being sorely tempted to longe him Wednesday.  I ended up not, and it turned out to be a good thing.  Thursday Tiki was scheduled for Coggins/shots, and he took a look at the leg while he was there.  I wasn't there, and the message I got was, "Yep, that's a splint.  DMSO, wrap, and stall rest for 5 days.  Turnout at the end of that in roundpen, and if it doesn't look any better, plan to x-ray."

How EXACTLY do I determine "better"?  As I said, he hasn't been lame.  He's STILL not lame.  I will certainly say that the swelling is 100% better.  I was afraid to wrap because last time he had his splint boo boo and I DID wrap, I irritated the boo boo.  I decided to use my brain, and decided to pad it with a gauze pad held in place with Vetwrap, then wrap over it.  On Friday, after coldhosing it I inspected the boo boo more in depth since the blood had finally come off, and it looked kind of nasty; moreso than I had originally thought.  I don't know how well the vet REALLY looked at it, but I was a little worried about it.  Bought some antiseptic cream that claims to prevent proud flesh, and began using that as well.  By today, the leg really LOOKS great. No swelling at all, boo boo looks MUCH better, heat is non-existent.  There is definitely a bump in the splint area, and he is touchy tender (as per usual), so I'm mildly panicky as to what needs to be x-rayed.  It is prohibitively expensive to bring the vet out for a 2 minute peek, but it may have to be done if I determine that bump is too scary to put him back to work.

Does anyone in bloggerland have experience with splint injuries?  Anyone deal with a fracture?  Anyone know exactly what it REALLY means when a horse "pops a splint"?  This is territory I'm unfamiliar with, and I want to make sure I give him the proper treatment so he is sound for a good, long time.  TIA for any insights!
(cold hosing)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Not really feeling it

I have this near insatiable urge to rant against the IEA, and about a few select parents in charge of certain teams ... but I will refrain myself for the moment.  I am a professional, and I strive to conduct myself in a professional manner in all areas of my life; ESPECIALLY online.  Nowhere will you find nude pics, drunk pics, or otherwise compromising information about me:)  But suffice it to say that I am sad, sick, and disheartened with my "team" life right now, and just wondering if a year off of it will do me some good.  Maybe I will look into trying to steward some shows next year and NOT actively coach ... Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

Moving on!  My boy is not, and never really has been lame at all since Sunday.  His leg is ugly ... to the point that I was semi-wondering if he's popped a splint.  It looks worse I think because it's on that leg with the old bow.  It's definitely BETTER looking, but still swollen, and still a little warm.  I did loading dose number 2 on Monday, and I have cold hosed the leg every day, and he has gone out every night, but I have NOT ridden him.  Today he had his shots/Coggins so I asked my wonderful barn owner to have Mr. Vet take a look at the leg while he was out to confirm that it's just a flesh wound.  Sadly, I had my yearly visit with the Dr. today so I couldn't be there for the vet.  Buuut ...  I haven't heard from my barn owner, so I'm optimistic about the "flesh wound" confirmation:)  I would think a popped splint or worse would warrant a phone call.

I hope to get back to riding on Monday because I feel like I'm wasting the loading dose.  Got 2 shows this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday, but I'm only taking Star on Saturday and nobody on Sunday because they only let in 2 kids on Sat and 1 on Sunday.  Not worth it to haul an hour+ for only one kid.  I do have kids from my other teams though, so I will be there all day.  Yay me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A third place finish, and a lame horse

Well, today was bittersweet.  My kidlets unloaded the Tiki boy, and I was informed that he had a cut on the inside of his cannon bone, and it was swollen.  GREAT.  Of course this would occur once I've decided wrapping is a waste of time for a trailer ride.

Upon inspection, I determined it was NOT a trailer injury; he's done his yearly/bi yearly splint injury.  His right foot gets crazy twice a year or so, and gouges a chunk out of the left splint area.  It's usually a substantial gash with swelling and blood.  I then decide to "protect" him with boots in turnout, and all that does is irritate the wound and cause it to keep open and weeping.  Because I've decided wrapping is a waste of time, I didn't notice the gash until we arrived at the show grounds (I'm blaming the 3:30 am wake up call).  The blood was pretty thick and had obviously run down the leg and stained the hoof.  The swelling wasn't too bad, but there was a small amount of heat.  He wasn't obviously lame, so I opted to tack him up and allow him to warm up on the flat; he isn't dead lame, but he's certainly uncomfortable so back to the stall he went to hang out while the show went on.

My girls ended up third today out of about 14 teams, so yay for them.  My middle school team is already qualified for Regionals, but my farm team isn't yet.  2 more shows to get it done!

Friday was a GREAT day.  I set up a pole pattern I learned from Sinead Halpin (an easy bending serpentine line of pole/2 strides/bounce/2 strides/pole.

Also set up a 3 cavaletti bounce.

While I set up the exercise, I allowed Muffin to run around and blow off some steam; and blow it off he did! I've NEVER seen him so wild, lol!  Leaping STRAIGHT up in the air, rearing up quite high, bucking, and running like a maniac.  Hmmm, come to think of it, he could have hit himself at this point of the day and I just didn't realize it.

The ride was lovely; soft, sensitive, and forward once I got him in front of my leg.  Had the stirrups tied to the girth, and they felt GREAT.  It's so nice when my leg is tightly anchored; wish I could achieve the same feeling without velcro.  I began with the serpentine exercise, and he was RIGHT there for me every time.  I set the 2 strides 6 ft short, and they rode perfectly.  As he cantered out over the 4th pole, I shifted out and asked him to land left.  Only one time he didn't, and when at that point I asked him for a change,he GAVE it to me, woo hoo!  I had a random line that was totally not set, and put in a quiet 5 strides each time.  I finally came through the bounce, and it rode pretty well.  I HATE bounces:)  Went through a few more times and worked on his balance and his shape through the corners; I did the random line in both a 4 and a 3 in addition to the quiet 5.  He was super adjustable!  It felt amazing to finally jump a jump, albeit a small one since our last IEA show on Dec. 4.

I was disappointed for sure that he's off, but hopefully all should be well by Wednesday.  Assuming that's the case, I will ride Wed and Thurs, Fri off, then final IEA shows Saturday and Sunday.  Tomorrow I will give him the 2nd loading shot of Adequan.

Keep your fingers crossed that Muffin's leg looks good with a little turnout tonight and some cold hosing tomorrow!:)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

weird week

This week the weather has been totally wacky.  I stuck to the plan and rode the boy on Monday.  Sadly, it was a day that has been rare for us lately ... we were arm wrestling a little bit.  I remembered to take my dressage saddle pad, but forgot the bridle!  I ended up using the regular cavesson/copper ball full cheek.  He was NOT soft in it.  He was extremely heavy at the canter, pretty stiff at the trot, and did NOT want to flex at the poll and stretch for me.  One thing I've noticed in him ... he opens his mouth.  Even in a halter with the side reins on ... he opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out.  It's annoying, but it's him:)

So blech.  I reversed and reversed and reversed and circled and leg yielded and transitioned up and down and still he was resistive and stiff.  Out of frustration I hauled on his face a few times to get him back to me, and FINALLY he quit running away with me.  I ended when we did a downward transition from canter to trot, then circled and he came up into the bridle and softened.

Yesterday the weather didn't really cooperate, and plus he had a pedicure ( I didn't know farrier was coming then!) so I didn't ride.  I did dose him with his first shot of Adequan; not expecting any results from the first week, but hoping to feel a positive change by the time February rolls around.

Today was dressage saddle again, and I DID remember the bridle, yay!  The dressage bridle has a single jointed Myler D-ring with no hooks or anything, and a flash noseband.  The ring was completely saturated (it STORMED this morning, badly!), but the ring was perfect since our footing is still straight up M10 with no sand on it.  I started out with a whole different attitude from the other day; I stayed soft, soft, soft.  LOTS of leg, w/t/w/t/w/t transitions, and I had a different horse from Monday.  He is so much more supple in the dressage bridle; I just think he needs to keep his mouth strapped shut, because I didn't love the Myler D-ring in the regular cavesson, either.

I did a LOVELY figure 8 at the trot with a fantastic bend.  He was very flexed at the poll, he was soft in the neck, his butt followed his shoulders, and he just felt happy all around.  I finished by cantering the figure 8 with simple changes through the walk, and he gave me THE most stellar transitions EVER.  180 degree change, yay!  This morning I was in short sleeves in the sunshine, and this afternoon I was teaching in gusts of icy wind, huddled in a fleece and a jacket, dodging the sideways blowing rain.  Gotta love GA!

Tomorrow it's back in the cc saddle, and I will probably use my cross country bridle with the waterford bit.  At the show on Sunday the kids will use my stadium bridle with the figure 8 and the wonder bit.  LONG week this week!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I love hacking out!

Tomorrow is a new day.  Adequan regimen to begin!  I'm excited to see what kind of results I'm going to have.    Waiting for a break in the rain so I can get off my lazy butt and do 4 miles.  Friday I rode the boy in his pasture.  Meandered up the long gradual hill, went back down, back up again, walked across the way over to the other side, then went up and down the steep, short hill twice.  We then wandered back across the way over to the long hill, where I guided him RIGHT along the fence line, in areas I'm pretty sure he does NOT hang out in.  I was very proud when he squeezed in between a huge dead tree root and the fence.  He has issues with tight squeezes, and I was happy when he didn't even so much as speed up.  It rained pretty good yesterday and today, so the footing in the ring should be lovely tomorrow.  I plan to ride in the dressage saddle for 2 days, then do 2 days of hacking in the cc saddle; will probably do some bounces and some poles, but don't plan to jump an actual jump until the IEA show on Sunday.  Got this weekend and the following, and then I'm DONE with the regular season:)  My new team qualified for Regionals, so we do have that to get through; not sure what my barn team is going to do.  They don't seem into it at ALL this season, so I'm debating taking a year off from my Patchwork team.  The boss is 110% on board with that, so I guess we'll just see how this season finishes up.  It's disheartening when not a single one of the kids takes ANY initiative to step up and be a leader.  Oh well!  I will check back in Tues or Wed with an update on the Tiki Monster!!  Until then, stay dry:)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pushing through the pain

... of not riding in a month!  Ouch!  I was so sore this morning I had planned to wimp out and head into the pasture to hack and walk up about 4 hills.  Usually I do 6, but not when he's had a month off.  Be proud of me though, because I tacked Muffin up and headed into the ring to work hard again for about 20 minutes.

We did the COOLEST thing!  I dropped the reins completely.  Put both hands straight out to the side and also alternated stretching them straight up over my head.  I then walked Tiki a full lap around the ring, AND reversed direction ALL with using my eyes and legs, YAY!

 He was unbelievably responsive, it was amazing.  Tied my irons to the girth; I needed that super badly.  Trotted several laps around the ring both ways holding the buckle with my right hand, and keeping my left hand on my thigh.  He had some moments where he really took the contact and reached down to the ground, but for the most part, he kept his head fairly high and his back pretty flat and hollow.  The good news is his rhythm was SUPER.  Big, open, and forward without me having to nag him at all.  I did strap on the spurs today, and I'm glad I did.

We did a better job trotting over the 9' cavalettis today, lol.  Also threw in the shallow serpentine exercise, working on changing the bend, not leg yielding.  I did a couple of turn on the haunches, and those were just average.  Worked the canter transition from both the trot and walk, and they were quite nice.  Again no cross canter, and today he didn't flub a lead.  Yesterday on the straightaway from the trot tracking right he missed the right lead.  I would say 98% of the time I ask for the canter transition on the straightaway so he's always in tune to my AIDS, and not the bend of the corner.  I am SO glad I tied my stirrups, because I could feel my left leg especially want to get wonky and move like crazy at the canter:(  It KILLS me, I wish my legs would just STAY STILL.  But they don't, so I do things like tie my irons to the girth!

Approached the cavs from a different direction today and didn't miss a distance.  Yesterday I stayed on a bit of a smaller circle and approached them off that.  Today, I came at them from the longer side of the ring, approaching them a bit straighter.  I held him on the lead, and he didn't land right when we were tracking left.  He prefers landing right, so I try and work on him landing left if I want him to.

Finished by cantering right lead from a walk, then made a shallow loop and swapped cleanly to the left lead.  THIS is the year of the lead change.  I want to work on them, and I want him to reliably change all the way when I want him to.  It's time.  He's 9 years old now, it's time to grow up and be a big boy.  All in all, a fabulous day!  Tomorrow I will finish out the week by doing that hack/hills.  Monday begins with 2 days in the dressage saddle, muwa haha!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


It is SOOO hard to get a good longeing pic of him, haha!

I don't know in how many more ways I can count the ways of how much I love my horse.  Yesterday I took him up with the longe line on, and was QUITE happy to see he was sound, sound, sound.  Not that I had any doubts, but the last time I hooked up the longe line he was practically 3 legged lame.  I clucked and popped the whip, and managed to get him to throw a few half hearted bucks.  He showed me his usual cross canter.  Grrr, it is so obnoxious that he will not canter CORRECTLY on the longe line.  He cross canters both ways.

Today, it was riding day.  I picked well!  Monday was absolutely miserable; low 30's and wind gusts to 25 mph.  Yesterday mid 30's and wind gusts around 10 mph.  Today, sunny and high 40's!  I shed a few layers of clothes, zipped on the half chaps, and swung a leg over my boy.  He was 148% perfect.  Not a head shake, not a kick out, not even a crow hop.  No cross canters under saddle, no short choppy trot ... what a rock star!  I left off the spurs because I figured I would NOT need them ... let's just say I was kicking:)  Didn't do a whole lot; walk for about 7 minutes on loose rein, canter both directions about 4 times around ring on loose rein, go back to walk and put him on contact.  He was his usual self, NOT wanting to come up and round at the walk.  Picked up the trot, and he was lovely on the contact, just a little slow.  I had to nag him a little bit, but he finally picked it up and carried me a little bit.  I had 2 cavs on the lowest setting set at 9'.  Began trotting him through; he and I can NOT trot through cavalettis.  We are pathetic!  It was embarassing, actually.  Cantered left, cantered well through the bounce, reversed with a flying change; it was clean in the front, and I skipped the back.  I was happy because he didn't get fast and worried about it.  He DID get a little heavy tracking right, so I circled him through the bounce about 8 times until he backed himself off.  Finished with a couple of trot/canter/trot transitions and quit when he stayed steady in the contact throughout.

Love him, love him, love him.  I will ride him tomorrow in the cc saddle and the copper ball full cheek and plain cavesson again (did that today as well).  Fun times!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Alternative therapies

(One year ago)
More specifically, for the human!  My goal this year first and foremost after getting Tiki started on Adequan is to introduce chiropractic care.  I WISH I could share with y'all the PAIN I have felt in the last year that has been 100% alleviated by chiropractic adjustments.  Now don't get me wrong, I am the first to head to the bottle of ibuprofen when I hurt ... but I haven't been to a "real" doctor since my boss 'made' me after I fell off Audrey and got a concussion.

Most recently, I was battling a near debilitating hip pain.  For a few months, I've felt a little stress in it after a long day of riding, working, and walking.  Last month at the most recent IEA show I attended, I rode 2 horses that didn't belong to me ... and were significantly wider than my Squeaky boy.  From then on, my little hip stress became hip PAIN, to the point where I could barely climb up in my truck.  800 mg of ibuprofen barely touched it, it was that bad.  So, off to the chiropractor I went!

My particular chiropractor is also a kinesiologist, which means he uses muscle tests, herbs, and machines to adjust you.  He also uses a "cold" laser, foot soakings, and laser accupuncture.  He is NOT a cracker type of chiropractor, which is super important to me.  Cracking my neck makes it really, really hurt.

So, he did all the crazy muscle tests to determine where the issue was, and realized the joint was out of alignment.  He adjusted the joint, adjusted my back and neck as per usual, and sent me on my way.  Nearly 2 weeks later, I went back for a follow up, and would say my hip was at about 96%.  He had to adjust it again, along with a whole NEW area on my back and neck, and today I'm sitting here feeling 110%.  It is amazing.  NO pain, no issues, I'm feeling ready to ride tomorrow!  If I feel THIS good after an adjustment ... I can only imagine how good my horse would feel.  So not only do I want to compete recognized at BN one more time, I want to do a few CT's at Novice and at least one schooling trial at Novice.  All of that is after I get him seen by the chiro.  If you've never tried it ... I recommend it!

Riding the boy tomorrow after a month off ... wish me luck!:)