Monday, July 3, 2017


This post was started at one point and paused.... it remains untitled because I cannot figure out a good one.  What is fact:  Life is full up and and downs, and the certainty of death one day.
Not an hour of finally being home on the 28th from my trip (below), I learned of my Grandmother's sudden decline in health, and later that day she was moved to hospice care.  Her COPD and Congestive Heart Failure finally taking hold just after her 97th birthday.  On Sunday at 2:28am her fight ended, she is now at peace and with my grandpa.  I'm glad for the good times we had in my younger years, though we drifted apart later, she was still my grandmother...the last grandparent of mine, and therefore the only one to meet Asher (and many pictures of Skyler).  She was a strong determined lady who bounced back from numerous health issues, and as many have experienced, her memory failed her the past few years.  I used to call, but it became difficult to carry on a conversation. I visited last summer and found she did not remember me...It is so hard to on everyone else to watch someone slowly slip away.  

Cherish the good memories always

My dad took this picture of us June 2016. My last with her.

The original start of the post
As is always, things change...while I thought I had the perfect tack combo, I might not... It is a process of elimination and why I keep such detailed notes to figure out "what changed" (if anything) or if it is an attitude/training thing.

I rode last Friday & Saturday (alone) before heading out on my work trip the 25th.  Friday's ride had a fun little 180 while cantering up a hill due to the big leaf/tree pile catching his eye.  We continued on and had a small discussion (waiting him out to move my direction) on continuing to walk down the other hill rather than the shortcut back to the barn.  Saturday was a bolt stint after a deer (I think) spooked him in the bushes on the straight away early in our ride.  I ended up dropping my stirrups and had to hold on tight till he came back under control but I refused to be unseated!  It was really a short issue, but definitely got our hearts pumping! Most of the ride after was fine, with another discussion when asked to head down a trail head instead of towards his buddies, but we got through that (with just waiting him out again) and finished up the ride with little trouble.

Discussion point Friday on the hill

Finished up on Saturday

Getting ready to go Thurs eve

Fast forward past a crazy work trip...really good training class (on ISO 13485:2016 changes if anyone is interested in what I was doing!), but horrible traveling experience.  It ended up taking me an extra 14 hours to get home due to a shutdown and pile up of planes at LaGuardia airport.  Fortunately my corporate travel app was able to find me a hotel that night, but I wound up flying into Richmond and renting a car to get back to Charlottesville the next day. 3 nights of crappy sleep and I slept through the alarm Thursday morning!

Basically he got another round of a week off until my return to the barn the 29th.  I went out with Suzette on Willie and boy was he just 'fussy,' to use her words.  Head fussy (but not the tossing we had before, and more that just bugs); he also attempted, and completed, bucks several times (but never to where I came off).  The last one being going up the hill as we headed back to the barn.  Craziness that I could not find a tack reason for.  So what changed?  The 'fresh'and fussy attitude resurfaced after his last trim, as well as his visit with Sandy ... I'll be watching to see if it improves as he gets further into the trim cycle or not, and I know Sandy plans to return later July too.  The pad placement for that ride was not "perfect".  I noticed into it that the matrix was not perfectly centered in the gullet, my bad for not catching that pre-ride but it wasn't horribly out of place either.  I have trimmed down the Dixie Midnight to better match the saddle pad contour now, I just think it looks "cleaner" too with the matching shape... not a perfect match but pretty good.

I used the weight tape on him after our ride Thurs and it shows ~980lbs, which is down from last Aug's, and probably this spring's, weight of 1015 (Aug was done on an actual scale).  He is looking pretty good, and we keep a close eye on his neck to ensure his crest isn't getting hard or bigger. You still can't see ribs, but the extra fat around the shoulders and tail are disappearing and you don't have too dig too much to find them.

Continue on today's update
So I made my flight arrangements to travel to FL for the funeral. I will unfortunately have to miss the 4th at home with the kids, but we will get to enjoy some celebrating at home Monday night and Tuesday morning before catching a flight mid afternoon.

Before my emotions go awry I grabbed another ride with Suzette & Willie this morning (Monday).  Prophecy came in stiff today, so I spent some extra time on his lower back and hamstrings.  He was flinchy on his left side lower back, not normal for him.  I learned they were all a bit riled up last night, so maybe he took a spill.  We tacked up, but not without him attempting to bite me to which he got a swift reminder about the unacceptability of that action.  I decided to press on, and if he felt off or acted out I would just hand walk to keep him moving and stretched out.  Once mounted he relaxed and perked up.  We kept things mainly to a walk, only a little trotting at the end. He loosened up and was not nearly as "fussy" as the last ride, just a little bit of buck but nothing as big as before.  His back stopped flinching after our ride and he got a nice hose down before turn out.  Hopefully the riding and hill walking helped loosen that tight spot.

I did notice the matrix again not staying nicely pulled up into the center again, so I changed back to bailing twine to keep it in place, where I had been trying a velcro strap to make it easier to pull the saddle and pad apart for cleaning.  Have to see how next ride goes...

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