Tuesday, May 31, 2011

today's ride

Today's ride started out GREAT.

Then it got a bit sticky:

 I wasn't too worried at this point. I was still centered in the saddle and though she smacked me in the face with her neck, at least I had something in front of me.

At this point I started getting a little bit worried. I had lost my centre of balance and she had started to rotate to the left.

At this point she had slammed on the brakes, dropped her left shoulder, and started to spin. I was like, "well, shit."

My rear end really hurts. Specifically, my tail bone. Some days I just want to bang my head against a wall. Today is one of those days, but as usual I will not do so because then all I'd have is a throbbing head in addition to my throbbing rear end.

But as I have learned approximately a million times over (or at least that's what it seems), you just have to brush yourself off and get back in the saddle and try again.

So that's what I did.

I made her WORK.

Ultimately we ended on a very positive note. I just wish my tailbone wasn't throbbing right now.

I have some thoughts on my confidence and how it is literally shattered every time I fall, and rebuilt as soon as I get back in the saddle. I feel terrible about how many times I've fallen off lately. Trust me I do everything in my power to stay in the saddle. It's simple self-preservation, but sometimes G-forces and gravity overpower my sheer will and off I go! It sucks, I hate it, I am embarrassed but this blog isn't about telling lies and saying "retraining this horse is awesome and rewarding all the time!" because it's not. The important thing in my opinion is to find some glimmer of positivity in every session and use that to bolster both our confidence levels.

yesterday's ride

Lucy REALLY tried my patience yesterday:

Full video:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Suffolk Downs

Kenny and I spent most of the day in Boston at Suffolk Downs Racetrack. This is the track Lucy retired out of so I more or less spent the entire afternoon imagining her prancing down the track ready to race, and walking in circles around the paddock as last minute prep work is frantically completed, then having a 115lb jockey hoisted up on her back, then making her way out to the starting gate, and then thundering down the track toward the finish line.

There were some NICE horses there today. Some did not want to be racehorses. Others were in their element. I just hope that when their racing days are done, they all find good homes.

This grey was one that didn't want to be a racehorse. He was soooo pretty, too.

YIKES, do they have enough stuff on that horses face?

This horse required three people to get a saddle on him.

two videos

This is from yesterday:

As you can see she was feeling a teencie bit fresh, but to her credit, she had two days off in a row and I didn't lunge before I rode. She was much better warming up but we took a walk break while the video camera was set up, and I think she thought she was finished. She wasn't happy when I picked the reins back up and asked her to work some more. Tough life, I'm telling you!

Lastly, here's a cute video of Cairo getting really excited to see Kenny when he got home from a 5 day golfing trip earlier this week!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

let's talk about really annoying horse clothing

I am all for fly masks in the summer and blankets in the cold winters. But really, is this necessary?

It's like a coat of armor. I would give any fly that manages to get under that a gold medal.

"God this is embarrassing."

I have to bring this horse in every day and remove this contraption, because he flips out if he's left out alone, and he and Lucy are turned out in paddocks that are close to each other so when I bring her in, I have to bring him in too. He's a nice horse, and I really like his owner, but man I just have no patience for the buckles, clips, belly straps, leg straps, and hooks that his coat of armor requires to have undone before it will come off.

Lucy gets a fly mask and a quick coating of bug spray each day, and that's it. Some days she is a brat about having the fly mask put on so she goes out without it. If she's obnoxious, why should I work harder to make her life easier? No thanks! She can live without it for a day, and hopefully the next day she gets over herself long enough so that the fly mask can go on.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

GREAT news!

There is no tear, only a "moderate" bone bruise on the head of my humerus, with edema (a collection of fluid) around the shoulder joint!

This sounds bad but really, it's GREAT! That should heal in no time and I am totally cleared to ride and do whatever I want! I am doing a half day at work tomorrow so I can spend alllllll afternoon at the barn with ponykins.


The past two days I've taken Cairo to the beach after work and barn chores. The weather here has been so beautiful and I figured if I couldn't spend it in the saddle, I'd at least enjoy the beach! Cairo can go on the beach until Memorial Day, which is this weekend, and after that there are no dogs allowed.

Here are some photos of her enjoying herself:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MRI image

I had my MRI yesterday and I haven't heard what the results are yet, but here's an image that the machine produced:

Cool, huh?! That white orb is the head of my left humerus (the long arm bone that connects the shoulder to the elbow) and on the left of the image is my chest/front, and on the right is my back.

I am going positively NUTS sitting around but I've decided that it's worth the wait to make sure nothing is wrong with my shoulder before I get back in the saddle for real. I should know the results by tomorrow afternoon. I've still been going out every day and doing L's stall (ahh, the glamorous life of a rough boarder) but not riding, other than my one jaunt in the Western saddle. Lauren (Lucy's leaser) has reported that L has been really quiet lately, which is odd. She spent a week without turnout because it poured for five days, she hasn't been ridden nearly as much as she's used to, and she's calmer? WEIRD. I remember a comment someone made on a COTH thread I posted. They wondered if being in work 6 days a week made the horse too fit and that's why she was so unmanageable under saddle. Maybe they were right. Maybe she needs 2 or 3 days a week off instead of just 1. I guess we'll have to do some experimenting once I'm cleared to ride again!

She is looking really beautiful and really dapple-y, which I am very happy about.

Ashley over at The Process of Learning has just posted a contest where you could win a bottle of ShowSheen 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. Click here to check it out!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

little update

This week was more or less consumed by rain and the kitchen in progress. Good news is that we have cabinets! And they're up! So my fridge is finally out of my living room, the new dishwasher is installed *and working!!!*, and the stove is plugged in again. We have to wait two weeks for the countertop and then we'll do the floor...but at least it's looking slightly better than a construction zone.

My shoulder bothered me all week so I finally went to the doctor and he gave me the sad news that I have most likely torn my rotator cuff. Either that, or I dislocated the shoulder and popped it back in to place in one fell swoop in the fall. I am having an MRI tomorrow to see what the deal is. BLAH!

I was a bad, BAD patient yesterday, though. I was so bored, feeling fat from not riding, and it was a gorgeous day. I *may* or may not have ridden!

That's right: I dusted off the Western saddle and we bombed around a bit. She was a very good girl. Maybe she feels bad for hurting me last week....nah, probably not.

After my ride, I went down to the fields with Claire and took some photos of her and Boe:

I am sore today so I will wait until the results of the MRI tomorrow to ride again, just in case. Instead of riding, I groomed Lu really well and banged her tail. I also pulled her mane, which resulted in a broken crosstie (hey, I'd rather buy a crosstie than a new leather halter!) because I got too close to her ears and she had a meltdown. I have basically given up hope that she'll ever get over her ear thing. I want to punch whomever twitched her ears...or twist their ears until they squeal.

I still haven't received the DVD's from Zinpro but as soon as I get them, I will send them out to the winners. Thanks for sending me your addresses! Jessica, yes I already had yours :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

contest results

Congratulations to...everyone!

There were five entrants. ZINPRO has given me four copies of the DVD in addition to the one copy they originally sent me and this way everyone can enjoy the DVD and learn more about horsey nutrition :). So I will be sending out a copy to Kelly, Karen, Julie, Jessica, and Summer :) Please email your snail mail addresses to axford.k @ gmail.com and I will get the DVD's out in the mail asap!

Congratulations to all of you, and thank you to ZINPRO for sponsoring this contest!

This is a CRAZY week because our brand new kitchen that we've been working on for a month now is almost finished. Yay, I will finally be able to take the refrigerator out of the living room! We painted tonight and our cabinets are going to be delivered first thing Wednesday morning. I still haven't ridden since my fall but I have been lunging Lucy daily so that she's not a huge handful when I finally do get back on. I just want to make sure my shoulder is fully healed before I ride, because if she pulls one of her stunts I need to be able to pick up the reins and pull/steer without worrying whether or not my shoulder is going to actually work ;) Small details, I know.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

contest extended - enter before Monday

Since Blogger decided to go on a little hiatus, I've extended the ZINPRO contest until Monday. Leave a comment on this entry (click) t0 be entered to win a copy of their Best of Show nutritional DVD.

In Lucy news, she's been quite a freshie this week. In the beginning of the week, the weather got drastically cooler than it has been and it was like someone lit a match under her heinie. I did my best to make sure we did at least some constructive things, but unfortunately getting her attention required a lot of lunging. I've been trying to back off the lunging lately, because I know how hard it is on joints and I don't want to run her into the ground. On the same note, I also don't want to get tossed, so some lunging here and there is necessary for her to take the edge off.

Yesterday it was pretty warm outside and I thought I'd school her over a few baby crossrails. She warmed up GREAT, was so relaxed and happy, and jumped the first three crossrails well. Then we trotted down a line to a single crossrail with a flower box between the poles, and might I add that we have jumped this before, along with other flower box jumps, and had no issues. Well she trotted eagerly toward it and then at the last second looked straight down at it, slammed on the brakes, dropped her head, and off I went right over her neck and onto the jump.

I knocked the whole thing over. I had fake flower petals down my shirt. My left shoulder was on fire.

I was SO mad, and now not only was I bound to get back on and try again because a dirty stop like that is sooooo unacceptable, but I also had to get back on and try again because I FELL OFF.

Long story short she finally went over the flower box but in the fall I really screwed up my left shoulder. I will give it until Monday and go see the doctor if it still hurts this bad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Equine Nutrition 101 - win a copy of ZINPRO's Best of Show DVD

When I got Lucy, one of the biggest learning curves that I had to overcome was horsey nutrition. I remember looking at her after the trainer I was working with left abruptly. I felt like I was all alone with this skinny horse and I had NO clue what to feed her. Obviously she needed to gain weight, and a LOT of it, but I was afraid to feed her the wrong thing and make her either sick or crazy.

I can't even tell you how many hours I spent researching, and it took me about a year to get her to the right weight and come up with the right combination of grain, supplements, and hay, but I am pretty happy with where she is now in her weight and condition.

ZINPRO is a company that specializes in trace minerals. They offered to send me a copy of their Best of Show DVD that takes the viewer through a complete overview of equine nutrition, including how to read a feed tag, how to make sure your horse has a balanced diet, how to recognize if there are any deficiencies, and what individual minerals do for your horse.

Since I am always interested in learning more, I watched the DVD (and took notes! my college professors would be so proud!). It was actually pretty good! There are different sections of the DVD, which is interactive and allows the user to click through at his or her own pace.

The DVD has five parts:
  • An overview of equine nutrition
  • An informative section about their 4-Plex-EQ product
  • A more detailed section about equine nutrition that goes into depth about different requirements in a balanced diet
  • How to read a feed tag
  • Additional tools and resources
I found the section on how to read a feed tag the most informative, because it also explained the units of measurement that are listed alongside the ingredient. I know PPM means "parts per million" but how does that really translate to my 1100 lb horse? Now I know!

I am a visual person and enjoyed "exploring" different parts of the program. I would have liked to see some video, maybe a vet explaining why he thinks trace minerals are so important (this was explained, but by the narrator), and also maybe a section on different ailments and how they might be linked to trace mineral deficiencies, but other than that I liked the DVD.

ZINPRO has offered four copies to me to give away to four of my readers. If you'd like a copy, leave a comment with a link to a photo of your horse that you feel shows him or her in great condition, and explain why you'd like a copy of the DVD. Four winners will be chosen on Friday 5/13!

This is one of my favourite photos of Lucy. It was taken in October 2010
and her winter coat is peeking through, giving her a lovely chocolate look
speckled with dapples that are catching the light. I love her weight here
and I think she has a pleasant expression on her face and looks happy.

Tally ho!