Thursday 17 September 2020

A Daily Dose

 Phantom had her hocks injected about 4 weeks ago at a vet exam where I said I suspected it was either her hocks that were sore and she was overloading her front end, or she was sore everywhere.

She definitely looked better after the vet appointment. Much less stompy on her front end. But she still didn't feel as good as I had hoped she would. 

I've let her loose in the arena a couple of times recently to get rid of some energy and I really wasn't happy with how she looked. To me, it still looked like she was trying to unload her hind end, and there were a few transitions from canter to trot that looked like they stung (specifically on the left hind).

While waiting for Phantom's Ventipulmin to kick in I dumped my grooming kit out to clean out the hair. I forgot there was an open pack of elastics in there. Oops.

So this weekend I started her on some Previcox. I had gotten some at the vet appointment to have and see if it helped her over the colder months in the winter when she always seems to be stiffer.

Two days of Previcox and I rode on the third - Phantom felt fantastic. Probably the best she's felt in the last couple of years.

We had easy bend in both directions and she wasn't falling onto her left shoulder through turns. I braced for the downward canter/trot transition expecting it to be ugly but she stepped right underneath herself with her left hind.

I also had a whole lotta sassy speed to deal with. Girlfriend was feeling good!

It might not look like it but this is her sassy walk.

I didn't do too much - she hasn't "worked" in a while and I don't want to tempt fate with her ending up sore somewhere else. Plus she just rides up and gets herself all wound up as I continue riding. With her, it's better to do some short rides until she's been ridden down enough to keep her brain from spinning. 

So it looks like this might be the way we are going to go with her. Last week my vet had sent an email to follow-up with how Phantom is doing after her appointment so I finally replied back with how she felt on Previcox. I asked if I should be spending money to try to fully investigate where she feels sore (which could just be peeling back layers of an onion) or, if a daily dose of Previcox works, do we just go with it? That's what my inclination would be, especially knowing how much my horse dislikes being uncomfortable. I really don't want to have to inject all the things on her body.

My homemade horse cookies work great as pill pockets. Break it in half, and it's soft enough inside to squish the pill in there and then squish the two halves back together to feed. I don't know if Phantom realized there was a pill in there - or she didn't care because it was encased in pony crack!

Phantom's "moar pony crack cookies" face. (This is old - we don't have snow yet!)

Hopefully, this continues past the first ride. It's always hard to tell when there is a bit of extra fuel injection propelling them forward!

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Baby Got Buck

 In Cisco's first three years under saddle, all legs stayed in the appropriate position relative to the ground. Until last night, that is.

The arena had a line of poles across it to split it into two sections for the lessons that were happening when I first got on. By the time I got to cantering Ciso, they were done and I saw an exercise to do using said poles. Basically, we'd canter a circle over the furthest pole at about 30 meters, then the next pole at about 20 meters, then the middle pole at about 15 meters.

To the right - our mutually better direction - it all went very well. I saw all our distances and the turns weren't too bad. 

He's not suddenly a yellow horse - it was the sun!

And then we went left.

Left lead canter is Cisco's weaker side. If he finds something difficult, he just kind of goes "ooh, this is hard" and just gives up and breaks to trot instead of pushing through it. I'm sure that the fact that I don't ride as well this direction has absolutely nothing to do with this problem.

For this particular ride, I was carrying a short jump crop instead of my normal dressage whip as I was hoping to do some 2 point work. I also kept losing my left stirrup - I think my girth may have needed to go up a hole so it was slipping a bit to the right. For whatever reason, I wasn't feeling as secure in the saddle as I usually do. I was also not terribly energetic after lazing around at home for the first two days of my vacation and not eating very well.

We made the first pole of the exercise without issue - a little long maybe, but not too bad. Continued around the circle back to the track and Cisco gave up and dropped back to trot. Grr. 

I regrouped and started again. And again he put on the breaks at the same spot. More grr. 

Came around one more time. I was ready for a fight this time.

He dropped back to trot. I asked nicely to keep going. He ignored me. I dug in both of my spurs and growled at him. And he bucked. Three times. 

I ride in the smallest spurs known to man. He was not abused.

I've long suspected that there's a buck in there. There's been a couple of times that I've gotten after him and his hind end felt a bit lighter, but he's never actually done it. I've also wondered how big a buck he would have, as I've seen some pretty good bronc bucks when he's loose. His leaping through the air kind of bucks are also pretty impressive.

Thankfully, my reins were short enough that he didn't get his head down, so his bucks really weren't all that big. They didn't knock me out of position at all. It just felt like he really rounded his back up under my seat.

Cisco got hauled up, a single spank, and we set off to do the exercise again. Which he completed without stopping. Apparently we both got our point across.

After we finished the canter I realized that my leg was sore again. I don't know if having to use my sticky butt grip caused the pain or not. So I didn't get to really push the canter issue and try again. 

The kittens are getting bigger and more active. No less cute thankfully!

I had taken my Pixio out with me but I didn't set it up because the arena was a bit of a gong show when I had entered it. So no video evidence dammit!

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Made Better by Kittens

 My car was easily fixed last week. We replaced the battery and it started right away. I took it over to the shop and had them run a parasitic draw test to make sure that something wasn't drawing battery power when it shouldn't be and it came back clean, so hopefully it will continue to start without issue.

I hopped on Phantom on Thursday night with my fingers crossed that she would feel sound after watching her on Sunday (she looked not so sound). She surprisingly didn't feel too bad! Unfortunately, despite having some Ventipulmin, she was coughing. She hasn't had a cough in over a year. I'm not sure what changed, but it has been windy so maybe some pollen was flying around? I did just enough trot to see how she felt and then we went for a walk outside. Watching the sun set was a nice way to end the evening.

The other bit of good news is that my groin injury is getting better. Very slowly, but it's definitely better. The bad news is that I gave myself a new injury by doing the stretches for my old injury. Somehow I've managed to do something to my left side and it hurts when I take a half deep breath. 

Yep, I'm getting old.

This will put an kink in my riding plans for a few days. It's feeling slightly better, not as much of a stabby pain. But a belch, hiccup or yawn definitely results in a wince. 

Thus I didn't ride on Saturday. The kids got to play in the arena together instead. Cisco showed some impressive airs above the ground - well, impressive to me. Not so impressive to Phantom, who was decidedly not impressed.

I finally got him a big boy nice halter. A barnmate was selling this practically new halter for a great price so I snapped it up!

I did ride on Sunday though. I hopped on Cisco with the plan of just walking, but I wanted him to walk with his head stretching down. Kind of a fake head down, not into a proper connection, but just reaching down. We've done this before, but it's been a while. 

He was pretty good. It helped that there were others riding with us so he was more relaxed than he would have been if we were by ourselves. He was so good at a walk that I thought I'd try it at a trot. 

It mostly continued at the trot. As we approached the scary end, his head would come up and I could feel him thinking of dropping his shoulder and diving to the inside to cut the end of the arena off early, so I had to shorten my reins and pick up the contact again. But in the rest of the arena he was good about dropping his head and staying relaxed. 

The trot brought out one issue that is usually masked by riding with contact - my horse is very wiggly. Apparently I need to do more work on a loose rein. 

This week was also made better by the barn kittens that have finally come out of their hiding spot. They were born at the beginning of August to a mom who is feral (she stays in the barn but won't let anyone touch her). There are five kittens, all different colours, and they are absolutely adorable. Everyone is working really hard to make sure that they are comfortable with humans.

And no, I have definitely not named my favourite one. Nope, I've definitely not named him Wembley, and no, he definitely did not seem to look at me when I definitely didn't say that name out loud.