Friday, July 14, 2017

100 miles

So I realized Prophecy & I hit a milestone while updating our conditioning log...Of the mileage I have tracked while riding, we have hit 100 miles together in a year :)  He actually didn't have a saddle to work with until July 2016 and I don't always track our workouts, so really it is more  🐎

Proof I ride thanks to Jen!

Before leaving for FL I helped Doug lay the first quarter of the deck planks and upon my return we finished another quarter.  Seems to take way longer than we expect it too! 😝 This coming weekend I get to start staining (weather permitting) while Doug & Asher keep moving on installing planks.

Dogs while we worked the first weekend

Even Asher wanted to help screw in planks

1st bit complete

2nd bit
This past Sunday I met Jen & Suzette at the barn to ride again, we did almost 3miles this time wandering about (we had ourselves stuck at 2 on our "normal" path).  The humidity was lower, but the sun still strong and bugs still annoying.  The boys were all very good; Prophecy pretty relaxed and cooperative leading and following (learning he can't be on someone's rump!) and listening to not being allowed to stop and eat all the time. We had one big spook over a baby deer running off, he bolted forward a few steps but quickly came back to a stop and I had him face the woods, to which he let out a nice deep sigh after.  It definitely helped that the other 2 boys barely reacted so he didn't feel he should.   We did a lot of walking, a few trots, and nice hose down after of course.  He is averaging a ~3-3.5 mph walk without dawdling, but still totally out walking the other two!  The Matrix stayed where it needed to since going back to twine.  He was hardly fussy, and we are just coming on 4w post trim so maybe the was the culprit for the attitude change?  More rides to confirm that suspicion needed!

He keeps getting better about saddling :)

This week began our crazy camp schedule for Asher combined with Skyler taking swim lessons for 2 weeks after work, which means I get to the barn at 8pm!  Kind of nice that isn't as brutally hot then at least...

Monday night I went out and had the intent of either riding in the empty pasture or lunging.  I decided when I caught him to do some "dancing" on our way back and it only took one time of him not keeping with me to get it.  It engaged his mind a bit as we made our way back across the field.  As I started to groom my plans changed and I decided to do hands on body work instead.  He really loves his hamstrings worked on and had a few neck and shoulder spots too.  I also went after his back some to see if he was sore at all.  I kept a close eye and avoided being stepped on as he adjusted this time! (see further explanation below).  In following Dee and the SET method I make a very a conscious choice to be aware of his responses/reactions any time we are together.  While he greatly enjoyed the body work, once I moved on to fixing the wind knots in his mane and then looking to do a few braids for the heat, he said he was "done" and did not want the braids.  It was very clear when he barely moved for 45min, and now was backing himself and blocking me from standing in the right spot to braid that he did not want that.  So, instead of forcing a stand still, I let it go.  He helped me put his muzzle back on when got into the field and then went off to graze contently while I visited the rest of the herd for a few scratches.

Skyler working on kicking using a float

She was intent on catching minnows after class

Prophecy wondering why I've stopped Monday night
Unfortunately I can't seem to catch a break on my right foot/ankle.  PT ended officially mid June, just doing it on my own now. I can still feel knots at the base of some calf muscles which is causing heel pain (per the PT) so stretching and massaging a lot.  The ankle itself can still get tender on the ligaments too. Knowing that I might have to run a bit in the airport and that I would be wearing heels at the funeral, I traveled to FL in my brace to give it extra support and rest.  First thing that did me in was opening my parent's freezer drawer and found out there isn't much clearance to the floor, therefore nailing the top of my right foot = bruise and of course in the spot where the brace edge sits too, so there went wearing that!  Next, upon returning home and carrying wood to work on the porch my ankle rolled, the opposite direction of the last sprain in April, no idea why (no hole in the ground).  OK, so when I went riding Sunday I played it safe wearing the brace in case it was weak.  That was all fine and dandy until the 3rd offense, when Prophecy took a huge step over while I was grooming and working on his hamstrings to land right on top of my foot. I was not quick enough to get out of the way and had to shove him off. That smarted!  I guess he came down pretty square on me & now have a bruise that is going along the base of my toes and the arch with some swelling.  I can walk and ride fine, the only pain is in boots as it feels a bit rubbed by them on the top.

Thursday was another late night. Suzette & I poked and prodded at Prophecy as we discussed some of my thoughts on him, and found a concerning reaction to palpation on the inner hamstring of his right hind, on the back side of the stifle. I've had suspicions of something not being right on the hind as the culprit of his bucking under saddle; the saddle fit checks out good and the head tossing pretty much stopped with a bit that has greater tongue relief.   So, I think an exam with a lameness vet is next on our list to make sure his body can handle the demands I will be placing on it for endurance, or if he needs to be an LD horse, or a pleasure horse only. I likely will have him tested (titer count) for Lyme as well to be sure since it is so common now.

We also marveled on how good his weight is looking now... His neck does react to the change in grass so it is something an eye on; he still has some fat pockets, but you can see where ribs are! Not hugely defined, but his body is shaping up nicely again, just needs the long miles to muscle up and get rid of the fat - but first to make sure he is doing it pain free.  After we thoroughly annoyed him, I ended up just lunging him a bit in the open pasture.  A few discussions on NOT eating the grass and he did his work nicely.  I got him into a canter going CW, but not CCW. He sure looked pretty moving, other than the pinned ears. I was hot and sticky after only about 10min out there at 8+ at night so we didn't do much. It was more a mental day and I played with some again dancing - run, stop, back, turn - keep your eyes on me while leading - then back to the pasture he went.  I walked off about 10' when he was just standing and the gate and squatted down to watch the rest of  the herd. He walked up, placed his muzzled nose on me, on my head, into my back, breathed deep and then started grazing right next to me.  A sweet end to the night.

Trying out some new colors from Two Horse Tack - full review to come!
Friday morning I got a blog update from one of the blogs Jaime turned me on to, a few quotes that hit home from Anna Blake.

"If you are looking for a better relationship with horses then listen more. Strive to understand them more for who they are rather than who we want them to be. 

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Let the rest go. It’s the opportunity your horse is waiting for. He might need a while to trust it but then he’ll tell you his side of things. It will make perfect sense."

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