Sunday, 29 July 2012

Wonderful Weekend

After a quiet few weeks I managed to string a couple of schooling sessions together and am very very please with how we got on considering the lack of work since the start of June!
I was in Ireland from Friday 20th to Wednesday 25th, so Kika had another wee break for herself - a friend kindly popped up to check on her in the field each day I was away. I did snap a couple photos of Kika showing off her new circus pony tricks before I left on Thursday evening (19th):

"I can show off on one leg also!"
"What do you mean you've no treats?! - Like not even in this pocket?"

And a tender moment with her Babysitter
I got back too late to do anything Wednesday evening, bar stroll up to the field to say hi. Thursday was a scorching day here 31C at 8pm at night, I had brought Kika in with the intention of lungeing her - but considering the heat I changed my mind, hosed her down to cool off and I lead her for a 45min stroll in the woods.
Friday was another scorcher, still 30+ when I got to the yard at 7.30pm - I'd waited as long as I could to bring her in. I knew the arenas would be stifling if we'd attempted to work in them any earlier! Tacked up and after two leisurely strolls around the arena, up I hopped in my new jodh boots and gaiters. Almost forgot to mention I finally picked myself up some new ones while in Ireland - my other ones were falling apart and really should have been replaced 12months ago. I managed to get the same boots as I had worn into the ground, my trusty Mackey Oak Paddock Boot (LINK - this is the shop I bought them from) and although I had hoped to get stick with the brand and stay with the gaiters I'd been using they unfortunately did not have my size in stock and they told me that the manufacturers were discontinuing the Glen Gaiters. So the staff were very good and fitted me with the shiny Tredstep Pro G2 Gaiters 13/17 (LINK), they are considerably higher then what I had been using and will take some getting used to - cue slight bruising behind my right knee where they are a little tight. This is why i had put off splurging on new boots & gaiters as i didn't want to go through the breaking in process again hahaha.

Enough side-tracking - sorry!

Worked only in walk and trot on Friday, while we got re-aquainted with each other and working life. Lots of rein changes, circles and serpentines - these however were a bit sticky as Kika tried to fight me on some of the turns pretending to be afraid of the sides of the arena - silly sod!
She (well we both were) well sweaty after 30+mins so cooled off and hosed her down completely again and prepared her first of many feeds with her supplements for her low Selenium levels and Liver issues. Shall see how we get on with them.
A mahoosive thunderstorm rolled in Friday evening, the lightning and small rolls of thunder were lighting up the sky as i turned her back out and I thankfully managed to make it to the door of my house before the heavens opened! It spilled down, sheet & forked lightning for a good hour and a half to 2 hours! Interrupted our viewing of the Olympics opening ceremony, hahaha!

Saturday was thankfully considerably cooler at 21C at about 5pm when i made my way to the barn with great intentions of doing some pole work to keep things interesting for Miss Kika. Unfortunately it was after 7pm before I actually managed to get my backside in the saddle as the arenas were busy so i couldn't get the poles down any earlier. However I did endeavour to put down 8, two lots of four poles along the shorter sides of the arena in the upper and lower half. My intention was to work on our serpentines which had been sticky the day before by distracting Kika's attention from being silly on the turn by engaging her brain by paying more attention to what her feet were doing.
This didn't quite pan out as planned...not in a negative way - in the most pleasantly surprising positive way. We worked in walk trot and canter, circles, figures of eight & serpentines maintaining positive stress free relaxed work - which i am over the moon about. As i have been tensing in our canter transitions of late and skewing us both up - so was so happy that we seemed to have a bit of a breakthrough yesterday. The initial canter work can still be a bit head-in-the-airy, but i managed to not tense my lower back and sat into the saddle keeping my balance and allowing her to come to me - which doesn't often happen!

I have taken to listening to music while I ride and find myself much more relaxed and that we work better together keeping me out of my over-analysing head! This was probably a hugely contributing factor to our better canter work yesterday - here's hoping i can come close to replicating it tomorrow evening!
She did all this great work prior to us going near the poles on the ground, after having taken the time to put them out I did take her through them a couple of times from each rein but not on my originally intended serpentine plan as she really was quite whacked at that stage.
After another thorough hose down and her second day of supplements she returned to the field with one happy owner reliving a great spin.

Following the, IMO, very good schooling session yesterday I re-organised my plans for today and decided to lunge Kika in the pessoa and give her a proper Shampoo wash. She worked very well in the pessoa in the outdoor on a much cooler day than of late (18-20C). Walked her around a bit to dry off after the wash and then tied her up outside for a spot of sunbathing while i cleaned some tack. The plan had been to clean all my gear, but after bathing her I wasn't so much in the mood for a whole hog cleaning session of 2 bridles, 2 saddles, breast plate, martingale, new jodh boots, 2 sets of gaiters (new & old) & the leather headcollar. So i settled on doing the newest items in my posession namely the boots, gaiters (both sets), leather headcollar and my bridle just for good measure as she has been sweating so figured it wouldn't do any harm!
She got some dinner & her supplements shortly after this photo was taken, then i turned her out before soaping my gear and tidying up shop for the evening!

Was hoping a good scrubbing might help with her coat - she's still very wiry so we'll just have to wait and see what kind of impact the supplements will have on it.

Thanks for anyone who has read to the end of all my happy-head drivel! 
Going to squeeze another spin into her tomorrow evening and then give her a rest day on Tuesday as I won't make it to the yard till too late to ride due to a class, shall go visit her in the field after my class to give her her  supplements & some feed to ease it down - buts he'll have a well deserved rest day. Thankfully she seems to have managed to slightly shift the bloated hay belly she'd had 2 weeks back, here's hoping i can up the workload a bit more to trim her down some more and keep it at bay.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

New pictures & a hopefully brief update

Vet came back yesterday to discuss results of Miss Kika's blood & stoll samples - thankfully no worms, so all is well with our worming schedule!
Good to know!
However from the blood tests it would appear that Kika has low levels of Selenium & some liver issues. Thankfully the vet is not overly worried about her, so I am taking my cue from her. She gave me a Selenium supplement in granule form to add to Kika's feed for 6 days with a day off until the packet is finished at which time we'll do another blood test to see if she improves for it - so Kika will be very happy to now have an excuse to eat hard feed again, I hadn't been giving her any as she was doing so well on air & hay in the field (see last post about Chubby McCubberson!)
Vet said not to be too worried about liver issue as not life threatening and she has successfully monitored horses with liver troubles before. She has perscribed a herbal powder to help the liver's activity, the effect of this will also be monitored when the blood test is taken for Selenium levels.

As I am making the trip back to Ireland for a long weekend (Friday to Wednesday) to see family I did check with the vet that it would be alright for me to wait a few days to start Kika on her treatments. She also said it wouldn't be a problem to keep working her - so happy days. Operation Slim & Trim Pony can get going properly upon my return next week!
I haven't been able to do anything with her since the weekend as I've been under the weather myself - but on the upside the hay supply in the field hasn't been re-filled since Sunday so she has lost the bloated look. I shall be asking that they give them another bale this weekend as I can't be doing with getting a phone call when I'm in Ireland to say that my horse is after breaking out of the field!

Right so that's the wordy stuff out of the way, here are the pictures I promised!

All taken on my new camera (Canon EOS 600D) as i am learning to use it - don't know if anyone has seen my new blog to keep track of my progress for myself...assuming there is any! Phoenix Pix (LINK)

Whip out a camera and Madam can't get enough of coming to say hello!
Getting Warmer
Love Me - I'm such an attention starved creature....
So my friend duly obliged and Miss Kika was less than impressed with the affection, lol
And the relented cos she's not really as cold-hearted as she pretends to be, ;)
Shiney Pony during grooming
Full body shot post grooming with yours truly in background (my friend kindly took these photos)

Kika's field buddies P (black) & C (grey)
Field neighbour KF

and W
"I'm a-comin for ya"
"What're ya doing down there Mammy?"
"Did ya know I love having my picture taken?!"
All that posing works up an appetite...
Sleepy munching
Two parting 'arty shots'

Shadow Kissing
Parting Body Shot:

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Chubby McChubberson

As the title suggests Kika really enjoyed the break she got surrounding her stiffness/lameness prior to osteo's visit a while back and is now the roundly size of a house!
To back track a bit as it has been a good while since I updated, apologies in advance - time lapse between posts could lead this one to be wordy & long!
So from where I left off last post Kika wasn't healing as I'd hoped after vet's visit so the osteo was called in for a once over - in fact Miss K appeared to get worse, so I put a stop to the riding & did minimum lungeing until osteo could call out. With a plentyfull supply of hay in the field, I am sure you can now understand how Madam is after getting so FAT!

The osteo manipulated her a bit on 29th of June but raised queries over Kika's hairyness and said that if she wasn't better by the end of the week that might be best to call out vet and test for liver-related issues or Lymes Disease (evil tics ). She did say that she had a few blocages prior to manipulating her and that she did walk out better afterwards - but to keep an eye on her coat all the same as even though the weather has been very all over the place for this time of year here, her coat shouldn't be as poorly as it is.
Needless to say I felt like a Bad Mammy for putting her poor coat down to the changeable weather and not questioning it more!

After the required 2 days recovery time and some...4 days in total in the field as I had other things on which meant I didn't make it to the barn to bring her in from the field - went to check all was well with her outdoors alright, but didn't haul her in. So it was Wednesday last week (4/7/12) before I was able to lunge her and see if the osteo's tweaking had helped straighten her out, it had , so the decision was made to hop back up on Friday evening (unfortunately had something else on Thursday evening hence a little more delay).
As her coat still wasn't great I had contacted the vet on Thursday (5/7/12) to see when she might be able to come take her bloods to be tested - she was unfortunately going to be away for a long weekend so we agreed to meet Tuesday 10/7/12 (today).
I decided that as she wasn't lame and hugely fat she had to be worked in between so ploughed on with my plans to ease us back into work over the weekend. Needless to say my legs haven't thanked me since Friday as when Kika isn't rideable - I don't have anything else to my lazy muscles forgot all about what they be at and were complaining at being put back to use.
Thankfully all better as of this morning - no more John Wayne walking around the office for me! 

Lunged her for a good 20mins before hopping up for 10mins walk & trot on Friday - all went very well considering it was 4 weeks to the day she had been kicked (I last sat on her on the 20th of June). We had no temper tantrums despite riding in an arena neither of us are particualrly fond off - which I know in itself is ridiculous - but there ya have it...I am going soft in my old age and my self preservation instincts are kicking in.
As it went so well on Friday, I decided to dispense with the lungeing on Saturday and hopped straight up. 30mins of work later and we were both hot & happy, 15mins walk flexing etc, 10mins trot and then 5+ minutes cool down with some more flexing.
More of the same was done on Sunday with slightly less warm up walking, about 15mins of trot work and some canter work thrown in to see where we were at. Our canter still needs heaps of work, but I managed to stay relaxed(ish) in the saddle and not grip so much with my knees so although far from perfect it wasn't the worst pieces of canter work we have ever done.
It didn't help that I had decided to ride in my glasses instead of contacts - which in the heat/humidity was an awful idea as the galsses kept sliding down my nose so I ended up taking them off (friend was keeping me company - on hand to call ambo if necessary  ) - which meant my spacial awarness was slightly off and I had at least one near miss woopsy with the arena sides in canter...but Kika was very good, she can't be blamed for her numpty rider!

Last night I decided to re-aquaint Miss Kika with the pessoa in our attempts to trim her down as she works better in it than anything I could hope to achieve on her in the same amount of time. After an Oh-My-God freak out moment on her part where she almost snotted herself in her silly fear of a grey horse in luminous green numnah & brushing boots joining us in the arena. Thankfully I was still warming her up and hadn't attached the front straps, or she may have gone head over heals and undone all our healing as she pretty much lost the run of herself and any smidgeon of common sense she posses when the poor grey entered the arena - sometimes I can but laugh at her antics (obviously so long as she doesn't hurt herself, others or me!)

So very long story short - that brings us up to speed with Kika & my Kingdom...the vet was out at lunchtime (cue my mad dash across town on my lunch hour and means I have to stay a little later this evening in work to make up time), took her bloods & a stool sample for testing. Thankfully she thinks it unlikelyit was Lymes Disease and that although possible in horses it is extreemly rare and very difficult to diagnose - in fact she said it is often a 'last-ditch' diagnosis when all other avenues have been explored without an answer.

She didn't seem overly worried about Kika and her fuzzyness - she like me said it could be down to the odd weather conditions we have had this year, which made me feel less guilty about not acting on her furry coat sooner.
She said it could be worms (hence the stool sample), K was due a dose and in fact got it saturday week back (after the osteo's visit) so maybe that might have had something to do with it - thankfully Miss K has been blessedly sound since the osteo manipulated her - so fingers crossed all will indeed come back with good news. As my dear girl is as big as a house and cannot be doing with another break in work *faint*, am actually seriously considering ordering her a grazing muzzle to try and ration her hay intake.

All going well should have blood test results by the end of the week - fingers crossed