Tuesday 31 August 2021
Monday 30 August 2021
I really need to get some media of my rides. I keep expecting that the arena is going to be busy when I ride so I don't take the recording equipment out with me, and then the barn turns out to be empty and I have the arena to myself. I've had the Pivo in my car for a few days but it struggles when the overhead doors are open and loses me with the change of light, so there's really not much point in setting it up if I'm riding inside at this time of year. I need to charge up the Pixio, but I don't like to leave it in my car while I'm at work and this week I went straight out to the barn from work.
Thus, no media.
Not that my rides have been fantastic and I'm missing capturing amazing moments. Far from it.
I've been riding much better this week though. It appears that the problem was what I suspected - my new boots that haven't broken in yet. They have been feeling much more comfortable in the calf this week - in fact, one almost felt loose. Not to worry - there's still lots of adjustability due to the laces.
Cisco has been a VGB (very good boy) and has been trying really hard. At the end of Thursday's ride we had some deep corners at a trot that felt amazing.
|Cooling off and enjoying the sunset.
Our canter, however, has been not so amazing. Head up, nose stuck out. I'm not sure if it's me, if he's uncomfortable somewhere, or just a training issue. I'm trying to just ignore it and keep riding the movements (lots of transitions, 15m circles, a bit of leg yield).
He also feels a bit locked in bending to the right. At the end of a ride I can get some right flexion, but it's a struggle until he's done a bunch of work. When he had chiro work done earlier in the year she had found him out in his poll and her work seemed to help. I'd like to get him looked at again but would really like to take him to a vet I've used in the past who does chiro. She's about an hour away so we'd have to trailer. My goal is to get a few more trailer practice sessions in and get him over sometime in September.
Phantom had two back-to-back rides this week. She was pretty sassy! We weren't at the point of not being able to walk, but not far off. She felt pretty good, provided I didn't let her get too fast (not that I had an option much of the time). Then she gets a bit too much on her forehand.
She also had an issue with bugs. Because she has to wear a flymask all summer to protect her nose and eyes, Phantom gets very sensitive about bugs. As in, she can't stand them touching her face. If I ride her outside I just put a light fly mask on over her bridle and it keeps everyone happy. When I ride inside, I don't bother as the bugs aren't much of a problem.
Apparently, after the rain we had at the beginning of the week a bunch of bugs came out and Phantom had issues with that. There was much drama and head flinging happening, although I didn't see or feel any of them.
This weekend I was bad and ordered not one, but two pairs of breeches from Decathlon. I really like the warm (well, warmish) pair that I had bought last winter and I've been eyeing these summer-weight ones. Well, they're now on sale for $50.
|The sale colours are turquoise and navy.
I wasn't planning on getting two pairs, but I was having problems finding something else to add to get free shipping, so I said screw it and added the other colour to my cart. There are many things that I'm interested in getting, but they didn't have the size I needed or I didn't like the colour. Plus, they're opening a store this fall in the province so I'm hoping to take a road trip and would rather try things on before buying.
Hopefully these breeches are as comfortable as the other ones I bought from them!
Sunday 22 August 2021
You know when you're like "I've been sooo busy" but then you look back and can't think of anything that's happened that's out of the ordinary? That's kind of been my last three weeks.
Let's catch up.
I did another car ride with the kids a few days after the previous one. Cisco was a wee bit stickier about getting on - he went backwards a couple of times, and tiptoed his way to the front of the trailer, but it still wasn't too horrible. We did the same drive under mostly the same conditions as I had for the first drive, and he stepped off the trailer about half as sweaty as he has been. Hopefully that's progress! I need to get a few more days in over the next few weeks - once winter hits I don't want to trailer unless I really have to.
|A much less sweaty boy.
We had quite a few days of poor air quality, but it has been much better for the last 10 days or so. I had to work a week of overnights through the last of it, so I didn't have any inclination to ride anyway.
I intended to ride Cisco this past Monday after I was back to days. I started getting him ready and noticed the twinkle in his eye and thought he might appreciate a chance to run in the arena instead. Oh yeah, he was a wee bit spicy. He did three laps of the arena at a gallop on his least favourite lead, which he never does, so that was a good decision.
It held over until Thursday when I was able to ride and he was pretty chill for a horse who hadn't been ridden in almost two weeks. Sadly, I'm riding terribly at the moment. I'm not sure if it's because I haven't been riding much, or because I've been dealing with some body soreness (wondering if it's due to a medication change), but I'm leaning towards it being because my new boots are still not broken in. I can't get my heel down as much as I would like to, and thus my base doesn't feel as balanced as it should and everything else suffers. Thankfully, the boots are quite sticky and my leg isn't swinging in the breeze, it just hurts my shins to push weight into my heels. They feel better as I get further into my ride (maybe because I have lost the feeling in my legs at that point).
|Very chill post-ride, even after all his friends left him alone in the arena.
Because he hasn't been ridden much and I'm riding crappily, Cisco's stickier bits have popped up again - namely a lack of right bend and pushing into his right shoulder. It got a little bit better at the end of Friday's ride so I'm not too worried about it. I also wasn't happy with the quality of his canter so on both rides we did a bunch of canter-trot-canter transitions and it made a huge difference very quickly.
Phantom has been enjoying her semi-retired life. I think she's been ridden once in the last month. She definitely gets a pass when the air quality is bad. I need to make sure I hop on her this week.
|Awaiting the farrier after her pre-farrier bath to clean her poopy back legs and tail.
To top everything off, I have to find a new farrier. Our longtime farriers (they work together as a team) told us at our appointment last week that they would no longer be able to service the barn. I don't know the reason but I suspect that they have just gotten too busy (this last time they had to adjust their schedule and give us a different day than usual as our barn was taking them most of the day) and since they only come to our area once per cycle, we had to be cut.
They gave us a suggestion on someone to contact so I think I'll try her. There are a couple of other farriers that come to our barn, but I know that I don't want to use one of them (she has a history of being unreliable). The barn owner has already contacted the suggested farrier and she has said that she can do our barn so I'm going to try to set up an appointment and let the other owners know.
|The Friday night crew were not overly enthusiastic.
So, that's what's been happening. Not too much on the horse side of life, but I have been getting some saddle time. Work has quieted down a bit, I have another week of vacation in September, and the temperatures seem to be much more moderate for the near future, so I need to try to make the best of it for the next little bit. Winter is coming all too soon!
Monday 2 August 2021
It got hot again this weekend. It doesn't feel as bad as it could because there is a haze in the air again so the sun isn't as strong as it can be, but that haze has trapped in the humidity at ground level.
I decided that this weekend would be better spent with life lessons for Cisco instead of riding. Namely, more trailering experience.
Every time that he's been on a car ride, Cisco has come off the trailer soaking wet with sweat. I totally admit that I've neglected getting this sorted out. Although I've had a 2-horse trailer for a few years, up until last fall, I didn't have confidence in my dad's truck that I used to pull it. One horse it had no problems with, but I didn't like how it felt with two horses on board.
|I do not want to arrive somewhere and have to tack up this sweaty creature!
Last fall my dad got a new, bigger truck, with more than enough power for my little trailer (also with a backup cam which is awesome for hooking up!). The issue has been finding a time that I can get the truck - my dad is a busy guy.
It worked out this weekend that I could do two days in a row. Cisco is going to need a whole lot more than that.
As per usual, I loaded Phantom first to be Cisco's emotional support animal. He'll follow her anywhere and she's a pretty good traveller.
I had a couple of loading sessions earlier this summer with Cisco and they went pretty good, so I was hoping that I wasn't going to have to start from the beginning again.
Day 1 - he was slow getting on, but it was always forward. Probably 5-7 minutes with me not making a huge fuss about it - I only cared that he continued to step forward. Once on they chilled for a few minutes before we went for a drive of a loop along the local roads. All of the roads in that area are dirt roads, so I drove quite slowly - there are some washboard sections near the intersections.
Upon return to the barn, sure enough, I could smell the sweat emanating from Cisco before I dropped the ramp. He was soaking wet. (When I cleaned the trailer afterward, I thought he had peed in the middle of the stall - nope, it was sweat marks from where it had dripped down his legs.)
|The wet marks are from the sweat that dripped off of him.
Day 2 - the big question was would he get on relatively easily or would we have to go back to the beginning?
It took a few more minutes, but it was mostly forward steps again (he went backwards once on his own and once when he nose-butted me in my nose - while I was holding a whip - not his best decision). There was a period where his forward steps were literally an inch at a time, but they were still forward, so I would give him a short release before asking for another step. Once he is fully on he's pretty good about staying put, and sure enough, we were able to lock him in and head out. I'm sure he was on within 10 minutes, which to be honest kind of surprised me. I expected it to be much more of an issue.
This time we went out to the highway. I hoped that the smoother road would help, although we had a stretch on the dirt roads at the beginning and end. I also put Cisco's sound-proof ear covers on him. He's quite noise sensitive, so maybe reducing the noises would help?
Yeah, no. He arrived a sweaty mess yet again.
|Sweaty muzzle, sweat under his eyes, super sweaty body.
Granted, it was close to 30 degrees, and I had left the back canopy down, and there were two horses in there. This was the only time that Phantom has come off the trailer sweaty (just around her elbows) - was it hot in there due to the temperature, or did Cisco turn it into a sauna?
The ear coverings didn't make an obvious difference, so I don't think I'll bother with them again.
I had set up my old phone as a video camera so that I could see what he's doing in case he has a hard time standing, causing him concern. I didn't see any reasons - he didn't seem to lose his balance and scramble at any point (I drive like a grandma with the trailer) so it appears to be all mental.
It appears that Cisco is going to need a whole lotta miles before he comes off the trailer dry.
If anyone has any ideas to try let me know! I'm not concerned about it taking a few minutes to get him on, I would just like him to arrive cool and relaxed. I don't want to use a sedative as I don't want him groggy and not able to balance, but I might have some Chill I can maybe try. I have a feeling though that it's just going to take time and experience.