Sunday 27 June 2021

Hot Hot Heat

 It's gonna get sweaty.

Up here in the prairies of the Great White North we tend to average only 4 days a year over 30 degrees Celsius. We're not used to really hot weather.

We currently have a forecast for 8 days in a row of 30 + temperatures. We might even break a heat record this week. The record high temperature for my city is 37.2. Wednesday's forecast is 40. That will be the hottest temperature I've ever experienced.

The temperatures get higher every time I look at the forecast.

The horses are not getting ridden this week.

I rode on Friday night, when it was only 28 degrees, so that I wouldn't feel too guilty about not riding for the next 7 or 8 days. I don't do well in high temperatures, Phantom doesn't do well in high temperatures with her asthma, and I'm pretty sure Cisco is not a fan either. 

It was still hot enough that I really didn't want to do much. But I had something simple we could work on - walk/halt transitions. 

So simple. 

I realized recently that Cisco sucks at them. I mean, he stops easily. He just doesn't stop straight. He always has to put in one last step sideways before parking. 

We kept to the rail so that he could only wiggle one direction. My goal for myself was to use less hand and have him halt using my thighs and my core. 

After the first couple, when I realized that I might be partially responsible for the step out with the right front leg by using more left thigh than right thigh. Oops. Once I got that sorted out the halts got much straighter. 

Greenhawk had an amazing sale on these Textilene fly sheets - they were only $43! I ordered two for Cisco for when he trashes his Kensington suits of armor. The brown plaid looks better than I thought it would, although I think Cisco is not a fan.

Then it was time for some lateral work - some leg yields down the wall - which he was pretty good about - and some haunches in - which I am not very good about. Ugh. Total pretzel on my part. 

I'm not anticipating getting back in the saddle until next week, when I have the week off. Hopefully, it's much cooler than this week or I won't get anything done that involves leaving air conditioning!

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Fancy New Boots Are Here!

 My boots from Celeris finally arrived!

They were ordered at the beginning February, but they screwed up the first pair that they made (full sheepskin-lined legs instead of just the foot), so it took an extra month for the new pair to be made. They got it right on the second attempt and the boots showed up last week.

And I'm really happy with them!

They're airforce blue crocodile, with a light grey stripe and piping, and a stingray stripe. There's also stingray spur straps and protectors to go with them.

Thankfully, I got the Bia's with the laces up the front because I don't know if I would have managed to zip them up otherwise! They were snug! But they seem to have relaxed a bit and I don't feel the pulse in my lower leg anymore when they're on.

You can't really see them here - too much dark on dark. But trust me - they look fantastic!

These are solid boots. The leg is fully lined with a thick leather that is fairly soft. I was surprised by the weight when I first picked up the box. The boots feel like they are built to last. 

I think that the Bia's are more of a dressage style versus a jumper style as they have the boning down the back seam. 

I chose Phantom for their premiere ride. I barely managed a half-hour of easy riding - I couldn't feel my right leg in relation to the horse or stirrup and my left ankle was aching. But about half-way through the second ride on Cisco, I forgot that I was wearing new boots. They were already starting to feel much more broken-in.

The moment of relief when I've decided my ride is done and I can let my sore ankles dangle.

The only thing that I don't like about them is that I found the footbed to be very hard and uncomfortable. I have crappy feet though, that need a high-cushioned footbed. I had a pair of Nike running shoe insoles kicking around that I put into the boots and that made a huge difference. The foot is a little snugger with them in but with thin socks it isn't uncomfortable. 

Spur straps and protectors match the stingray at the top of the boot. 

I'm only a couple of rides in, but so far I'm really happy with the boots. I'm determined to look after them and clean and polish them regularly so that they last a long time. I can't afford a second pair anytime soon!

Now I just need to figure out how to fit them in my tack box! I have a spot set up for tall boots that I used to use, but these boots won't fit in there while in a boot bag - they are just a wee bit wider than the space allows. I'm going to have to get creative with Pony Grandma's assistance and customize some sort of individual boot coverings. There's only one spot in the tack box that the boots can be made to fit so it going to have to work!

Friday 4 June 2021

Vet Day

 Wednesday was vet day.

Cisco got his teeth floated. He had some sharp edges (more on the right than the left) but otherwise he was good and I was told he can stay on the every two year schedule he's been on. 

The corner feeder made a good nose-rest. He was probably dreaming of noms.

All gelding owners know to take advantage of sedation and go searching for beans! I removed a couple of pea-sized ones before I did a smegma transplant - his boy parts have been a bit stinky again.

I had hoped to hop on Phantom while Cisco was having his post-dental nap but it was far too hot. I worry about her breathing in this heat, and I don't think she's completely lost her winter coat, so I'm also worried about her overheating. The vet had also mentioned that she's had a whole lot of heaves cases this week due to the high pollen count. 

Thus, no one got ridden. But they both got their tails washed, before they got hand-grazed.

Always a bit of a gong show - Cisco eats super fast and won't lift his head. Phantom is much pickier and slower, and walks backwards as she eats. Trying to keep them somewhat together can be a challenge!

It looks like the heat should break on Friday, then it's back to perfect riding temperatures.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

The Return of the Drama Llama

 Although I was on vacation last week, I didn't get much riding done. It was a combination of a few things - super windy/rainy days, a three-day migraine, and minor car issues. I got a quick ride in on both horses on Tuesday, which was also farrier day, managed a ride on Friday with the migraine so I felt pretty weak and didn't do very much, and on Sunday when it was pretty warm so I didn't do much again.

I cut Cisco's head off, but there was a line of grey horses lined up for the farrier. Phantom had already been done and was back outside.

This week, we are experiencing a short-term heat wave, with temperatures around 30 celsius. That's just about as hot as we get in my area. 

Tuesday was the first hot day. I was at work a bit late so went straight out to the barn and arrived a little after 7 (it hadn't started to cool off yet). 

When I got out of the car a horse whinnied and I thought it kinda sounded like Phantom, but thought, nah, there's no reason for her to be yelling. 

I went out to grab Cisco and Phantom whinnied again - yes, it was her I had heard earlier. Odd, but I threw a halter on Cisco and left Phantom in the paddock and didn't think anything of it. 

Except she kept on screaming. 

Which meant that Cisco had to reply as I was getting him tacked up. Over and over and over. 

I peeked outside a few times to make sure she wasn't running around (way too hot for her to do that) and she was always standing still, usually eating, but constantly calling. I realized that the other two horses that live with them weren't in the paddock. Pete is Phantom's bff and he isn't ridden all that often, so I wasn't sure where he was, and Lucy was usually in a lesson at this time (but Phantom doesn't care about her!). I'm pretty sure she was mostly screaming for Pete and not Cisco, much to Cisco's dismay. 

A pic from this winter of BFF's Pete, Phantom and Cisco. Lucy isn't part of the cool club.

When I arrived in the arena with Cisco, Lucy and Pete were both being ridden. However, they were done, and walked out of the arena as we came in. Cisco kind of lost his brain about the fact that his friends were abandoning him. Some groundwork ended up being required, during which some cuss words may have been aimed towards his general direction.

All I had wanted for this ride was a quick w/t/c, then go for a hack outside. I was hot and tired, and hadn't even bothered to put my half-chaps on. It appeared that my drama llama hadn't read the memo.

However, he stood rock still when I got on, which was my first surprise. Didn't really expect that.

Our walk warmup was slightly better than I thought it might be - he was stretching down - when he wasn't screaming back at Phantom and whoever else had decided to get involved in the conversation. 

I eventually girded my loins to pick up the hot mess of a trot that was inevitable based on his mindset. But it didn't happen. 

He picked up a relaxed, soft trot - with a straight transition that didn't have flinging shoulders towards the gate. 

I totally didn't expect that!

He gets to stay a little bit longer...

So, after all that drama upon our entry to the arena, I ended up having the relaxed ride that I had been wanting. 

I don't know how much the heat had to do with Cisco's relaxation, but I think we are finally getting to the point where his training is able to supercede some of his outside worries. I mean, it's only taken four years!