Monday, November 27, 2017

Not much happening here...

Let's see. I had a rough spring/summer here. I think I may have posted that I lost Paddy? He passed away earlier this year; rather, I had to put him down because of an acute and very bad colic episode. My barn is much quieter and a bit lonely without him. I will say, however, that it is much easier having two horses rather than three. At first I thought I should fill the stall right away, but then thought I'd take a wait-and-see approach; months later his stall is still empty and his halter is still hanging on the hook. It is nice having the hay last longer and having only two horses to clean up after and move around to pastures, etc.

Mac had a weird health issue around the same time Paddy passed. We spent many dollars with the vet this year and Mac had a couple months off.

When I started riding him again, he felt great! Things seemed to be going great, we were back to cantering and increasing the work and he felt better than he had in a long time. Then I got too big for my britches and impatient with him not responding to my leg quick enough so I gave him a smack with the whip and, well, I shouldn't have done that. He WAY over-reacted and dumped me really badly. Really bad. It was bad.

Basically he took off on a bucking fit and I just couldn't get him back. He can buck. HARD. I lasted as long as I could but ultimately decided the situation wasn't going to get any better so I bailed and came off hard on the ground. At least I was as close to the barn as I could have been when I came off . . .

He continued his bucking fit for a bit then ran back to the indoor arena. Meanwhile, I was stuck on the ground and couldn't get up. Well, I could roll over. I was moaning very loudly for a while. I tried to get up but the wind was knocked out of me so badly that all I could do for a couple minutes was kneel on all fours. When I tried to get up, I realized I was hurt. I had landed on my bad hip and now I couldn't really put weight on that leg. I could get up only in a bending-over fashion and couldn't really do any more than that. Mac came out of the indoor arena to look at me and then said, "screw you!" and ran into the front yard to graze. Whatever. I didn't really care. The gate was closed, if he was eating grass he wouldn't go anywhere else, and my immediate concern was walking.

Finally I could stand up. Unfortunately I had left my phone in the barn so couldn't call Colin to come out and get me. I had to hobble back to the barn slowly and almost one-leggedly (a word? it is now!), but I made it back. I texted him and he came right out and caught Mac on his way. I was sitting in a chair in the barn and asked him to untack Mac (who in the meantime had broken his reins - good thing I had his leather dressage bridle on because if he had stepped on rope reins, I don't know that the slobber strap would have broken?) and go back in the house and get me his walker from his knee surgery last year.

I walked/rolled back to the house and got in a chair and put some ice on my hip and sulked and beat myself up for smacking Mac and also steamed at him for his reaction. Ultimately, though, it was my fault.

Colin took me to urgent care for x-rays just in case (nothing broken) and I spent the rest of the day on the couch. Sigh. Here are some ugly pictures.

Unfortunately it wasn't the kind of situation where I could have just gotten back on and so I had to wait a few weeks until I was healed enough. And when I was healed enough, I still wasn't healed ENOUGH that I could do anything more than walk a few laps around our trails in the back. If that's all I could do, then that's all I could do. I eventually did a little more and then a little more, but then we had a summer full of smoky air and it was just bad to be outside so I didn't have the fun summer of trail riding that I wanted.

So now months later my hip still hurts and I'm not totally healed and I don't have my full range of motion, but I can do a little bit. Before winter comes, I wanted to open up a new dry lot area for the horses, so we spent the rest of the late summer/fall putting up new fencing in the back so the horses have more dry lot room. Back to the earlier spring health problem for a moment...Mac is IR so I've decided to forego any hopes of grazing on irrigated pasture (even with a muzzle) and just have him on hay and dry lot. It is best for his health. So now with our newly expanded dry lot in back we have about 6-7 acres of native grasses/dry lot for him and Pony to explore. It took us a couple months to put that up but I'm very happy with it!

I've kind of said screw it to this year and am just going with the flow. Next year has to be better.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

It hurts to try to be something you are not . . .


I wanted to be a cowgirl, I really did. I tried and tried and tried. I tried multiple saddles, and each one failed me. It was not meant to be. I am not a cowgirl.

After almost two years of hip pain, I finally realized that there were two saddles in particular that were contributing to it - my beautiful JJ Maxwell western saddle, and my Heather Moffett Vogue treeless saddle (granted, that isn't a cowgirl saddle, but it did contribute to my problem). I finally gave up on them and sold them. I found a Circle Y trail saddle that had a narrower twist and gave that a try, and that failed me, too. I bartered it and all my western saddle pads, spurs, bridle, chinks, and cinches away. The only thing I have left is my bosal and mecate because those were gifts and I can't get rid of them for sentimental reasons.

And you know what? I am feeling better. Well, getting rid of the saddles and finding an amazing chiropractor who does applied kinesiology are what most did the trick.

But after a gradual transition from my jumping saddle (because it had the narrowest twist and allowed me to comfortably ease back into riding Mac) to my dressage saddle, I am happy to say I am feeling like myself again. And I know it sounds remedial, but I CANTERED MAC YESTERDAY!!!!! I probably hadn't cantered him in a year because that was the gait that caused me the most hip pain and had me contorting myself on the floor to try to stretch or pop my back, sacrum, and hip. But I cantered him, and it was WONDERFUL! He felt so good! HE was so good. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. No muss, no fuss. Smooth transition, smooth canter, nice circles, and moments of his back coming up underneath me....ahhhh, heaven!

So I am happy to say that I am no longer trying to be something I am not. I am embracing my natural state as a rider whose comfort zone (literally) is doing dressage, and because of that I am happy in my skin, in my saddle, and with my horse.

Lesson learned!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring has sprung!

It was a long hard winter, with lots and lots of snow and ice. Many days I couldn't even scoop poop because either the snow was too deep that I couldn't slog out into the paddocks, or because the poop was frozen to the ground. The horses seemed happy enough, although they were confined to their paddocks and not allowed to be out together for fear of accident-inducing shenanigans.

Many days Mac's back looked like this:

Everyone stayed happy and warm with plenty of hay and the covers of their stalls (although no matter the weather they could always be found standing outside).

Toward the end of winter, when much of the snow melted, I let Pony and Paddy out together for lunch in the sacrifice area and kept Mac in his paddock (he'd rotate out at night). One day after I did the rotation, Mac didn't realize I had closed his gate. He tried to run out and join P & P in the sacrifice area and realized too late that his gate was closed. He tried to jump it, but he was too close to the "base" to get over safely, so he hung a leg and flipped over it and then somehow got a hind leg stuck. He then somehow freed himself. Holy shit! It was probably the scariest thing I've ever seen with my own eyes. He got himself up, trotted it out for a second, then I went to get him and put him back. I had to go through Paddy's gate and stall, though, because Mac's gate looked like this afterward:

Amazingly, he only had two scrapes on his forearms. No blood. No broken bones that I could tell, as when I put him back he was standing squarely with weight on all fours. He was very muscle sore, though, because he'd drag his right front leg for a couple days. I gave him a bute protocol for about 5 days, and in less than a week he seemed totally fine. How that is even possible, I don't know.

I hadn't ridden him all winter and had just started Pony back and already had a chiropractor appointment set up for her, so I added Mac to the list. I wasn't going to get on until he got checked out (chiropractor is a vet).

He had his appointment and checked out fine, go figure. So I started him back to work with some walking on our little trails for a couple weeks, then into the arena for some walk-trot work. He actually felt really good - nice and swingy through his back and soft!

A couple weeks ago we headed out on the BLM trails, and I snapped this picture just the other morning:

What a winter! Glad spring has arrived and the days are longer, the weather is better (still too windy for my liking, though).

This is Mac today having lunch in the pasture - he is very happy!

Oh, and I've given up hope of ever being a cowgirl. I sold my beautiful JJ Maxwell saddle. My hips just can't take a western saddle, so I'm riding Mac in my jumping saddle and life is much better. Sigh.