Sunday, July 30, 2017

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

Literally.

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.