Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hands Off!

I'm still waiting on the call from the vet. Unfortunately, I forgot this was Labor Day weekend so that means I most likely won't hear anything until Tuesday. Drat!

But, I went ahead and started riding again. I just couldn't wait any longer. (Sorry honey!) My first ride back was so-so. Honestly, Loki had been off for such a long time I'm not surprised that he was super heavy in my hands and kind of all over the place. I was honestly not riding great either. I think we just needed a day to get some kinks out of our systems.

So I rode again today. It was okay. We spent a lot of time just walking and working on moving up into the contact. I threw in a lot of shoulders-in and out to break it up some. When we started trotting I tried to just build on the walk and it started out okay.

Then I had a small light-bulb moment. I started to get really frustrated because while we started out pretty nicely and somewhat soft the further we went along the more resistant Loki became. I was frustrated because in my mind I was thinking we just did this why are you 'hanging on me,' 'resisting the contact,' etc. I found my half-halts getting stronger and stronger and then I stopped and took a deep breath. We walked for a while why I thought about what was going on.

I just wanted Loki to be soft. Then I remembered something I've heard before which was along the lines of in order for him to be soft I HAVE TO BE SOFT first. So I tried a different approach. We picked up the trot again and this time I made myself just stick my hands on the saddle, looping my pinkies under neath so that I couldn't pull on the reins at all. I still kept a light contact but this way the contact was 100% stable and soft.


We just trotted around like that for a while and eventually Loki did start to soften. No, we weren't super round or anything but we were so much softer. I concentrated on what the reins felt like, imagining the two baby birds in my hand that Sally Swift talks about in her book Centered Riding. I still had contact I could still squeeze my fingers and get a response but this way I had to rely much, much more on my legs. So when he started getting heavy I had to bump him with my leg and ask him to please get off my hands. Once he realized I wasn't going to yank on his face he started staying softer.

I think Loki and I do need to take a few steps back and work on this for a while. I have let myself get too handsy because Loki is so forward and I forget to use my leg. We end up bracing against each other instead of working together. I know I should do this now I just need to make myself accountable and actually do it. It was amazing how responsive he was once I let go of his face. I was able to steer and do everything I needed to do while not changing the contact at all. I am going to ride like this until that feeling of light contact sticks with me enough I'll be able to do it in my sleep. Well that is the plan, anyways.

Sorry for the length. We're off to go see Mumford & Sons in just an hour. I hope the rest of you enjoy your weekend as well!
 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Almost Forgot these Awesome Contests

I'm sure most of you already know this but just in case head on over to She Moved To Texas and Equestrian At Hart for two great contests. Both of these blogs are fun to read in their own right but who doesn't love a contest?

Equestrian At Hart is doing a Sore No More contest and She Moved to Texas is given away a Horze Halter. I'd love to win both. ;)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting (with pictures!)

Well I had the vet out on Monday. Loki got his teeth done. They apparently really needed to be done so I am hoping this will help with his tendency towards mouth gaping. We'll see.

I also talked to the vet about our fall and how it wasn't like him to hit a lot of rails and he hit two before the fall and I also told her about how his walk had been a little slower than normal for about a week prior to this.

Long story short we decided to go ahead and pull some blood to do an EPM check just in case. If it is EPM this would be a pretty early detection so hopefully very easily treatable. The vet did some hands on tests and showed me how weak Loki is on his right side. He was placing his legs somewhat inconsistently while attempting to do a turn on the forehand (worse to the left). Also, the vet was able to pull Loki off balance when he was walking by pulling sideways on his tail. He really lost his balance when she pulled him to the right but he was okay to the left. These could all be small signs of neurological problems or he could simply just need a lot more muscle built on his right. He has always been weak on that side and it could be I haven't addressed it as much as I should.

Regardless, now we wait. I hate waiting. I will hopefully get the results soon, maybe Monday at the latest I think. Loki seems perfectly fine and sound. I will start riding again on Monday. I'm hoping to just do a nice easy trail ride with a barn mate.

I'll update when I know anything but in the meantime I was able to snap a couple of nice photos yesterday. They are just with my i-phone so not great quality and of course it is so hard to get a nice shot when you are by yourself but whatever... here ya go!

My favorite!
(As an aside I really thought I liked a lot of chrome on a horse, and I do, but I have to say I really think Loki looks so handsome even in his plain brown wrappings. I confess that when I bought him I secretly wondered if I would ever be disappointed that he didn't have some kind of white marking at least on his face but now I couldn't imagine him any other way.)
This camera really doesn't do justice to how shiny he is right now and this is without a real bath in about 3 weeks or more!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Product Review: Glanzen 3



A month or so ago I decided to take Loki off his Smartgain. He is finally looking good maybe even a teensy tiny bit chunky. Chunky for him at least! But, I wasn't happy with the way his coat and hooves were looking. He was just a little dull and while his hooves didn't look horrible (much better than last year) they still weren't perfect. So my trainer recommended I put him on Glanzen 3. There are so many coat and hoof supplements out there promising this and that so I figured I would go with the one my trainer recommended.

And I am glad I did! Loki has been on this for about 3-4 weeks now and this is the first supplement I've ever used where I can actually visibly see a difference. Loki is easily the sleekest and shiniest I've ever seen him. It almost seems too good to be true but nothing else has changed in his diet or routine to explain the difference. My trainer swears by this supplement and all of her competition horses are on it and now I know why.

As far as how palatable it is I'm afraid I can't give you a lot of feedback. I have really never seen Loki turn his nose up at anything before. He seems to be a Hoover when it comes to eating and he has been fine with eating all of the supplements he has been given so far. Apparently he is NOT a picky eater.

Anyways, if you happen to be looking for a coat/hoof supplement this is the one I would recommend.

Loki update: I did go out and lunge him this week. He seems absolutely, 100% fine and fit as a fiddle. He even went so far as to give me a little horsey finger as I was lunging him which is not really like him so I think he must've really been feeling full of himself. I just ignored it and had him continue cantering for an extra few minutes after he wanted to stop. He isn't showing any signs of lameness or anything but I do have the vet coming out on Monday. She's coming out for some other horses so I'm going to have her look Loki over too just to get another opinion. She's going to check his teeth and some other things. I should be riding again by next week so hopefully all will be well. 
Not quite The Black on the beach with Alex but it's a good substitute for day dreaming.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Job!

Life keeps on keeping on. We're finally all in the house with the exception of a piano that someone is giving us. Most of the boxes are even unpacked! We haven't quite got pictures hung yet but we are almost there.

This is a very slow move for us, usually we are unpacked, organized and pictures hung by the third day of the move. However, this has been a much more complicated move. The Japanese movers that packed us were super fast and efficient but the way they packed has been a little interesting to say the least. I still haven't found my toilet seat covers. They've either thrown them away or they are packed in our box of wires or somewhere else strange. I found my washcloths in with a box of books and of course none of the boxes are marked, at least not in English. So I'm trying to cut us some slack. We're almost there!

Okay, I'm not this busy but somehow it feels like it!
All three kids have started back in school. This is the first time in eight years that I won't have a child at home with me for at least part of the day. Holy cow! I was so excited and sure that this would mean I'd have tons of time on my hands to get stuff done but so far no such luck. We've had PTO meetings and so many other things that have come up. I'm hoping it will slow down here soon. Add in my fall last week and I've sort of just been trying to keep up as best I can. I haven't even made it back out to the barn yet. Don't worry! Loki is fine, my trainer has checked him over and is keeping an eye on him. I will be out there tomorrow and there might be some vet appointments in our future but more on that later.

To the actual point of this post. I got a job!! Yes! It's just part time and it is mostly from home and the pay isn't great but it is a start. Believe me when you've been out of the work force this long it is really intimidating to get back in. Most of my references and contacts are hopelessly out of date. My work history is a blank for eight years which can make you feel like you've done nothing that whole time. I have to remind myself that taking care of three kids is NOT nothing!

But anyways, I say all that to say I'm sorry I've gotten so far behind on blogging. I have been reading your blogs I just haven't had much chance to comment lately. Surely life will slow down again, right?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ground 1 Face 0

Wow! Sorry it has been such a long time again. We've been up to our eyeballs in the move. The good news is all of our stuff is finally in the house and mostly unpacked. The not so good news is we are still waiting for my M.I.L.'s stuff to be moved in and sorted. She has a bajillion tons of stuff and she wants to keep it all. This is very stressful to all of us b/c Jay and I hate clutter but his Mom is very attached to all of her stuff. Hopefully we'll get this worked out soon.

On the horse front I'm afraid we've had a pretty massive set back. As you might have guessed from the title my face and the ground got into it and of course the ground won. I'd love to tell you all the grizzly details about what happened but unfortunately my memory is very limited due to the concussion I received. I was apparently unconscious for a minute or two. I know we were jumping and everything was going just fine until the last line. I remember jumping the first fence and pretty much nothing after that except that I clearly remember my foot getting stuck in my stirrup and the sensation of Loki falling. My friend happened to have looked away as we were going over the fence so she didn't see what happened. I'm not sure if Loki tripped going into the jump and just didn't clear it or if he just really crashed through the fence and tripped himself. It was not very high, 2'6" at most so I don't know what to think, other than I'm 90% sure the fall wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't gotten my foot stuck in the stirrup. The first thing I will do when I get back to the barn is switch my stirrups out.
By the state of my face afterwards I would guess I landed something like this
My chin and nose are quite swollen and I have a hole in my mouth behind my chin from where my teeth hit. All the ct scans and x-rays came back negative, though, so I will be fine. I'm just not sure where we will go from here. We were supposed to go XC schooling the next day and all I can think is thank god he crashed at a fence that will give/break rather than having that happen out on XC where the results could have been much more disastrous.

I apparently told my friend I needed to get back on Loki right after the fall and I checked him over about a hundred times as well as got him untacked and all my stuff put up with out any recollection of doing so. I guess that stuff is just so ingrained that I can literally do it in my sleep! The good news is Loki doesn't seem to have a scratch on him from the accident.

So that is my news. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll figure out what to do next. This is by far the most serious riding related injury I have ever had so I'm a bit at a loss for what to do. Right now I'm just resting and taking it easy as we try to finish up the house. Loki will have some vacation time as well but I might have my trainer put a few training rides on him to make sure that this was just a fluke and not something that is going to become the norm for him. I'm  not sure what my plans will be if it turns out he isn't safe to jump after all. :(