Friday 25 October 2019

A Grey Chunk Up Close

I really like taking pictures of things close up. I love being able to see texture and details that the naked eye cannot make out. I'm not very good at it - I have a macro lens for my dslr camera, but to get really good pictures I would need a ring flash and a macro rail that would allow me to do bunch of pictures that would get merged together in a process called focus stacking. Since I'm not going to make any money off my pictures, I don't feel the need to invest a bunch of cash in equipment.

So imperfect pictures it is!

A couple of years ago I took some pictures of parts of a horses hoof that were trimmed off by the farrier (and apparently I didn't blog about it). And then I took some pictures of a tooth cap that I found one day in the arena footing.

Last week I finally got around to something I had been wanting to do for a while.

A horse chestnut!

I managed to peel a good sample off of Cisco two nights previous. This wasn't my first attempt at this - I've taken many pieces of chestnuts home in my coat pocket. However, I usually forgot about them and by the time I remembered it had dried and shriveled up.

The pictures left me a bit disappointed.

You know how they say that a horse's chestnut is like a fingerprint? Everyone is different?

I expected to see lines and formations that would be noticeably different from another one.

But no. It just looked like a grey chunk of something keratin-y.
The inside.

The outside.

Maybe I need to apply an ink pad to it.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Good Rides

I'm behind on the whole blogging thing as of late. I feel like I've been super busy, and the little time I've been home and not sleeping has been trying to catch up on a few household things. My thyroidectomy surgery is next Tuesday - so far I've been far too busy to stress about that, but I'm sure it's coming!

Cisco has been giving me some really good rides lately. He's been super relaxed and trying really hard. We still have to work on our forward - I think that's going to be a lifelong issue with my naturally lazy-ish horse. I've been schooling a ton of transitions, including halt/trot, and he gets those pretty easily and with energy, and then as we are trotting around he settles himself into a trot that's just a little behind my leg. I'll be doing transitions within the gait for days and days. So exhausting.
Post-ride selfie after a really good ride last week. Cisco is a hugger.
Last night I really wanted to pop him over a couple of crosspoles. I had to wait until the beginner lesson was over, then a friend made a couple of adjustments to the jumps for me.

Cisco was super! We did the single crosspole a couple of times and he was straight and on a very light rein. He didn't put much effort into it, but we're still in the just get to the other side phase, so I'm not worried.

Then we attempted the line that had been a one to a one stride. Were not ready for that yet. But I left the placement pole in front and left the pole down for the first one stride. He looked but didn't really even hesitate and on the second time through had the idea of cantering over the pole. So I left it there, really happy with him.

I was hoping to do something with Phantom to get her moving a bit but the expected crappy weather  had hit and I didn't want to be out too late. She's definitely sore in her left hock but it gets better with movement so I'm pretty sure she's decided that since it's gotten cold she's feeling her age. She'll just get some light work for the next couple of weeks as I can manage (not that I'll be up to doing much anyways) and I'll have to remember to bute her for her next farrier appointment.
Hoping I don't see her behind Cisco and make her start to run again.
I've got a few other rides and a lesson to blog about - hopefully I get them written up before I forget how they went!

Wednesday 16 October 2019

The Old Gray Mare

Despite getting Phantom's hocks injected in late August, I've been thinking that something is going on in her left hind. I wouldn't say she feels lame. Left lead canter feels slightly uncomfortable (but it's our tougher lead at the best of times). She's been a bit stiff/reluctant to bend to the left. And I keep seeing her rest her left hind a bit oddly.

On Tuesday night I let her loose for a run after a week off. And confirmed my suspicion.

Her first couple of downward transitions from a canter looked like they stung. Not comfortable.

But it got better, and instead of bunny hopping behind she started to keep her legs separated and step into the walk or trot from a canter. So I'm hoping that it's just arthritis type stuff. She's 16, it's been cold and damp, and she hasn't been getting much exercise. All contributors to stiff joints.

Not that I'm going to do anything about it at this point. I hope to get about 3 or 4 rides in on her over the next couple of weeks, then she'll likely end up with most of the next two months off. If there still seems to be a problem after I start her up again after Christmas I'll have her looked at at that time.

The good news is that her respiration has been good for the last month or so and I haven't had to give her any Ventipulmin. It definitely helped her this summer. Traditionally she is usually better in winter, although last year that wasn't the case. We'll see how this year goes!

Tuesday 15 October 2019

A Turkey Day Ride

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canuckistan. My family was doing the big turkey dinner on Sunday evening, an hour away from home. So I had re-organized my lesson schedule for the day so that everyone was done early and I would have just enough time to run home and get changed before heading out of town. 

I got out to the barn early so that I could let Phantom go for a run in the arena before I used her for a beginner lesson. When I arrived, I discovered that the local 4H group was starting up again, which meant that the arena was not usable. There had been no notification of this, despite me asking a couple of people over the last few weeks when they would be starting up again. I was not impressed.

I ended up having to cancel the two beginner kids, but the first rider (an adult who leases) was already on her way out. 

Since I was there, I decided that I would go for a ride with her. I wasn't really dressed for it - I was wearing jeans, I had my glasses on instead of contact lenses, and as I went out to catch my horse I realized I wasn't wearing a sports bra, and was in fact wearing one of the least supportive bras I own. So it was going to be an easy ride. 

It was a chilly morning, only a couple degrees above freezing, with a threat of light rain all day. I threw my chaps on over my jeans - I had no idea how silly Cisco would be feeling in the cool weather. That caused another problem - I couldn't bend my knee enough to get my foot into the stirrup when I was getting on. I had to unzip the leg up to my knee and then find someone on the ground to zip it back up again once I was on. It was not a graceful mounting. 

We hacked around in the big field. Cisco was very well behaved and pretty relaxed. I wasn't really asking much of him - my position reverted back to my hunter/jumper days with my shoulders rounded and a forward lean to try to minimize the bounce to my boobage. Sitting trot was definitely out of the equation. 

The other person hadn't ridden her lease pony outside much so we decided to go for a walk down to the neighbours driveway. I can't take Cisco on the gravel road as he is very owie if he steps on a rock (barefoot) so the grass on the driveway is perfect for him.

Cisco hasn't been down that route for a few weeks. He was happy to let the other horse lead and walk along on a loose rein. He didn't even spook at the shed like he normally does, and when the other horse did a splat spook he just kept walking.

It was a nice relaxed ride. And the best part was that we got back to the barn just as the rain decided to start coming down. Perfect timing. 

And I only had to grab my boobs once when Cisco took a bad step. 

Thursday 10 October 2019

Nothing to See Here

So what's been going on in the Gray Flannel world?

Not much.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've gotten a few rides in on each horse. On Cisco I continue to work on the homework from my last lesson of using my inside seatbone to get him to step into my outside rein and hopefully fix our lack of straightness going to the right. We get it, we lose it, we get it again. His hissy fits about having to stand on contact have gotten shorter, though the left leg in the air makes at least one appearance per day.
Well, the arrival of my Equestrian Stockholm saddle pad was exciting. Still not the right shape for my saddle though. Sigh.
As in typical horse fashion, when you try to fix something, something else breaks. Thus we no longer have a right lead canter transition. Ugh. It's all related to the same problem - lack of straightness/dropping the right shoulder. I think he's in a pretty good balance and as soon as I ask for the canter everything falls apart and the shoulder drops and he picks up the left lead. The other part of the problem is that the transition isn't overly clean/quick, which allows lots of time for things to fall apart. So I've also been working on asking for many transitions to try to sharpen them up.
And I bought a Bucas Atlantic blanket in the hopes that it would work with my Rambo liners. It doesn't. But I think I can add some tabs to them and then it will be fine. I really like how the Bucas fits Cisco.
Phantom has been getting her two or three rides a week. She's either super relaxed or super bouncy and silly. Her hocks are definitely feeling better since they were injected at the end of August, but I have a feeling that something is going on with her left hind. It's probably just some more arthritic changes (she is 16 after all) as it seems to work out through the ride. At this point I'm about two weeks away from the horses having most of the following two months off, so I'm not going to worry about it until she gets going again around Christmas.
Phantom's tail is now up for the winter. It's too cold now to wash it, though I still need to wash Cisco's.
So yeah, nothing overly exciting. I have a lesson this afternoon. I have to make two cheesecakes for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, my work schedule is all over the place (very early mornings, regular days or evenings), I have to clean my house/garage in the next week as my garage door is getting replaced, the fall tack sale that I have a table at is coming up quickly, and my thyroidectomy surgery is in 19 days.

Nothing exciting on the horse front is going to continue to happen. Hopefully.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Mr. Roboto

I have a milestone anniversary coming up at work at the end of the month. And I just discovered it comes with a cash prize.

Not a huge one. But a decent one to be able to do something fun with.

I should be a responsible adult and use it wisely.

But I have horses. So that isn't going to happen.

I'm not going to spend it on custom boots - which was oddly the first thing that popped up on Facebook after I found out about the money. They are still going to have to wait.
Purple boots? Yes please Celeris!

It might be this guy that I've long lusted for:
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!

It won't pay for the whole thing, so I still have to decide carefully. I already have a camcorder that will work for it, so that won't be an extra expense. I also already have a tripod that should work with an inexpensive adapter added to it, so again, one less expense. 

I'm thinking of allowing it to be rented out to people at my barn to record their rides (totally justifies the purchase, right?). I would have to set it up for them, they supply the memory card and take it home for any editing. I'm not sure if this would work well or not as trying to organize my schedule with someone else's might be a huge hassle. If it would work though, how much would you be willing to pay? I'm thinking $15 for an hour or so.

It's still in the "we'll see" stage. I don't think that there have traditionally been Black Friday deals on these units. If that is true again for this year, I'd wait until the new year to order it as I don't anticipate riding much November/December. They have a 14 day full-refund policy, and these things can still be a bit buggy, so I don't want to waste that period and not be using it.

It won't stop me for shopping for a storage case though.... (I'll be sitting on my ass for two weeks after surgery at the end of October - I know I'm going to buy something!)

If you already have a Pixio, let me know if you think it is a worthwhile purchase or an expensive piece of crap!

Monday 7 October 2019

Officially Fall

I've had this queued up for a week but I haven't managed to get any pictures to go with it. Since I've been too busy to write anything else, here it is. It still applies - our weather just took another turn and there's a good chance I might wake up to snow on Tuesday morning!

Many people in North America are complaining that it's too hot and it doesn't feel like fall these days.

Boo-hoo for them. I'm sitting here after being out to the barn today wearing my long-johns, fleece breeches, my winter coat, and a touque. And still freezing.

We had a little bit of snow fall on Saturday - not enough to amount to anything, just enough to be able to say that it snowed. In the southern part of the province however, they had a huge dump. I know one region for sure has declared a snow day for school on Monday. In September.

The cold hit us on Friday. I know that it's not the crazy cold we'll get in a few months, but man, I cannot get warm. I don't know why but when it gets cold early in the fall my body just doesn't seem to be prepared for it.

Thus, when I went out to the barn on Friday, I couldn't make myself ride.

I bundled myself up in my warm clothes though to let the ponies go for a run. Phantom had a great time - she hadn't done anything all week so she had lots of energy to burn.

The owner of Cisco's little buddy, Blue, showed up just as I was heading out to grab Cisco. I asked if Blue could join Cisco for a playdate, and she said sure, and could her TB join them. The arena is plenty large, and none of the horses are assholes, so it was no big deal.

Cisco decided that Blue was his best friend, and he was not allowed to talk to Ocean (the TB). Cisco and Blue totally mean-girled Ocean, who just stood by us in the corner staring at them. It was pretty funny. And rather surprising to see Cisco be possessive.

They didn't play as much as they usually do (and by play I mean Cisco continuously bite Blue on the bum trying to egg him on) since Cisco had to make sure that Blue didn't talk to Ocean.  But they got lots of exercise moving around!

Then I went home and bundled myself up in bed under two duvets and a blanket and tried to warm up. Gotta love fall!

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Throwback Thursday - Sunflower

I've had a whole bunch of 13-14 hours out of the house in a row types of days lately. And I feel like I'm this close to getting a cold (seems like everyone I work with is already sick). So when I get home at 10:30 at night I've been pretty well going straight to bed and not blogging about what's been happening with the ponies.

So enjoy these throwback pics.

Sunflower was my first pony, who I owned from 1987-1993. She was a QH/Appy/Arab who was born in November, 11 months after a stallion jumped a fence.

I was looking through an old photo album recently and found this one from about 1991.

Not too shabby right?

Also from that jumping session, I present to you:

Pretty sure I ended up with sand in places it shouldn't be.