Thursday 28 July 2011

Busy Bee

I've been a busy bee today, thankfully though everything fell together nicely and overlapped without incident. We had the saddle fitter visiting, the osteo booked and the vet was coming to check out warts between her back legs, phew!
Saddler arrived about 20mins later than was anticipated, but it was alright as osteo was also running late and she had 4 other horses to do as well as Miss Kika - so i asked for Kika to be done last so I'd have time to try out the saddle(s).
So saddle fitter arrived and didn't have as many GP saddles as he'd hoped, only 4 left in stock and he informed me that he wasn't going to be ordering anymore till the saddle companies released the new models in September. Tried the first one on, no go and the next three none of which sat properly on herself. There was one saddle left in his trunk, a brown one which he said was second hand to which i said, I don't mind we can still see if it fits.
Wouldn't you know that one fit the best! So he's left it with me for a week to try out at my own leisure and see how we get on with it. He couldn't tell me how much it'll cost as i presume he has to check with the seller...
Here's a pic i took of it just before i left the barn, I'm not sure what type of stubben it is have no other info on it! The girth guard does say Siegfried on it, but for all i know that is Mr Stubben's first name, will inspect it closer tomorrow or saturday to see if there is a type name on it anywhere...

So tacked herself up, she had spent a good 30mins in the walker waiting for him to arrive (as I'd popped her in at 10.45 in anticipation of his arrival at 11am), and brought her to "oour" arena where i lunged her at walk/trot/canter so that she'd get a feel for the saddle before adding my weight to it. As if she was uncomfortable in it i'd rather she let me know while i was still on the ground, ;-) Especially as she hadn't been under saddle in 2 months and only under rider 1 week!
As usual she pleasantly suprised me and behaved really well, after the few minutes lungeing on both reins, i hopped up and first thing i noticed was that the seat itself is rock hard!
Adjusted the stirrups and off we went in trot and tried out canter as well afeter a bit, we circled, changed rein, figures of eight and serpentines and Madam worked well - she got a bit bouncy in canter and threw a couple bucks, but nothing vindictive or mean or unseat-worthy. All in all i was happy with it, once i got working the hardness of the seat was forgotten, but we'll see how my backside feesl tomorrow, ;-)

Once cooled down and back in the yard, i was waiting for my (her) turn with the osteo, as we were last in line I was glad to see the vet arrive. (Kika isn't the most patient and standing tied up for long lengths of time can lead to foot stamping and sparks as her shoes repeatedly strike the floor, *roll-eyes*) She had a quick look at the warts between her back legs, one of them was dried out and practically falling off on it's own so she helped it on it's way and will send it off to a lab for testing - here's hoping they're not cancerous! *quibble* But in saying that she has warned me that it may be too dried out for proper results annd that we may have to take one of the other ones. She put bands on two others and there is one other pronounced on that she was reluctant to tough as it would need more than the bands to be removed. I am to keep an eye on the other two now and if i manage to see them/ be there when they come off to pop them in the freezer and she can send them to be tested also, ;-)
Must remember to warn parents if this happens - seeing as freezer is theirs...! But seeing as she is living out for the summer / till the end of October if they fall off while she's in the field i don't stand much chance of finding them, ;-)

As i said everything thankfully somehow managed to slot perfectly into a time continuum, and shortly after i finished with the vet the osteo was ready for us. I had left the saddle on her (mean i know, but i had loosened the girth) so that the osteo could have a look and let me know what she thought. 90% fit, which is pretty good considering it is the only one of the saddles that fit her lol.
The good news then kept coming, even after my spiel (story) about how Mademoiselle had been out injured and on box rest etc etc - including her clumsy fall while lungeing...K passed the osteo with a clear bill of health. Not a thing out of place so we are good to go to try out the saddle for the weekend (tomorrow is a pessoa day)!!! Third time the osteo has seen her and it's the first time she's gotten the all clear! To say i was happy is an understatement! Admittedly she injured herself about a week after her last visit and hasn't been worked very hard in the last 3 weeks as we have been building things slowly - but it's still great to know that i finally appear to be doing something right by her!

Went home then for some lunch/breakfast as it wasn't till i'd finished worrying about her i remembered the fruit i had brought with me for breakkie! As i had the new saddle to try for the week there was no room in my locker for the "old" saddle - so rang my dad to see if he might come collect me with it - I get strange looks when i walk the 10mins home carrying a saddle! I've done it before but it was dark and not many people/cars about but during the middle of the day people would think me very odd, and as my aunt likes to say "some of us have to live around here!"
He agreed and agreed to take me to a tack shop a little bit away (as in i couldn't really get there by bus) as a friend at the barn had told me that they sell saddles second hand, saddle fitter that came this morning said he wouldn't sell my saddle for me. So rang the other tack shop after a shower and some lunch to ask if they sell saddles for people and told him the type of saddle i had. He said normally we don't sell those saddles, but if you bring it out we'll have a look and see what condition it is in. Seeing as i've only had it since October i figured it was no skin off my nose to bring it out to him, especially as i'd given it the once over last night in anticipation of bringing it for re-sale. I wasn't to worried if he couldn't/wouldn't take it another friend told me of another tack shop (further away again) that also sell secondhand tack.
I needn't have worried, saddle is in good condition and he agreed to try and sell it for me, has guestimated it's re-sale value at €700-€800 which i'd be happy to get to be rid of it and put towards whatever i end up buying! It is considerably less than the €1100 i paid for it new, but as soon as i paid for it it started to lose it's value, lol.
It turns out he also fits saddles so i had a word to him to suss things out and see what kind of prices we'd be talking should things not work out with the saddle I am currently trying for the week (considering the guy i am trying it from isn't getting in anymore GP stock till September). Not only does he fit saddles but he also alters them to better fit the horse and rider, he also works mostly with stubben's. He showed me a couple GPs he had in stock along with the prices, so keeping my options open on that one. Will suss him out and ask around my friends what they know about him, although in reading his card after i left the shop - i'm pretty sure he did the saddles for my very good friend M and she raves about him...

So that's been my day so far - feel like it's been a great day off work! :D
Will be heading back up to the barn in a bit as started her on a 5 day Panacur dose to flush out a different type of worms than those targetted by the other stuff i use every 3 months. So have to pop back up to give her that later and perhaps a few of the treats i got her while at the tack shop! :p

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Matchy-matchy...going to far?

Thanks to THIS site I just spent an hour of my working day playing with colour combination options for matchy-matchy obsession...Or rather it isn't yet but may well become one soon as I had so much fun! :p
To see what I mean i saved and uploaded some screen-shots to my photobucket! ;-)

The obvious "go-to" colour for me is purple!

Next I've always fancied that Yellow would suit herself!

Then I thought I'd get a bit silly and see what fluorescent green looked like, ;-)

Continuing in my silly mood the poor ould'dear  ended up resembling a traffic cone!

(Although in saying that a friend at the barn has a nice bring orange numnah/ear-thing for her bay horse and it suits him down to the ground - not so my poor Kika)

And then back to some sense for a splash of Burgundy

And then just cos the colour caught my eye, we tried a bit of sky blue!

Unfortunately I had to leave it at that as I was getting carried away and I am after all here to work! :p

Have my loyal readers any colour combinations they'd like to see or think might look well? I refuse to go near Pink and am not sure Lavender or pale colours like that would suit us, not to mention that they would be a nightmare to keep clean!
There was a nice red-y magenta type ensemble that i thought might look nice! Also wish I'd tried bright red, although that may be a bit much for her... Who knows the day is young yet, ;-)

Also while on the subject of matchy-matchy and with the saddler coming tomorrow...I know i may not get a  choice in the colour saddle that fits us, and i went through a phase of wanting black tack... but am now thinking brown might suit us better...
Eitherway i will probably be in the market for a new briddle depending on what saddle we end up with as have had current one since i bought Kika 4 years ago and selfishly fancy a new one! Am hoping to see if i can twist a deal out of the saddler as he sells all tack... * whistles innocently *

Careful Cantering + Circles = Cheers!

I had a wonderfully detailed post written out and then lost it *rant*, so sorry if this isn't up to my usual standard of novel writing - but then again it'll probably be refreshing for those of you who have been following to have something less substantial to read, ;-)

Made new appointment with saddle fitter, he is now coming tomorrow (thursday) at 11am to coincide with the osteo's visit to the yard. So now all going well and we find a saddle that fits us, the osteo can check it out on her straight away.
The next step prior to saddle fitting and Kika and my return to work was to remind her ladyship how to canter with a person on her back. This has long been a bone of contention between K and myself in that on her "bad" rein when she is not muscled enough to cope with such work can lead to rearing and general stroppyness and bad behaviour! Conscious of this fact and that i have been using a saddle pad to ride her in we braved some cantering last night, including the dreaded (for her and by consequence me) circling on our bad rein in canter - we actually attempted circling on her bad side prior to circling on her good side which is unusual for me, I'm not sure what came over me! :p I'm not usually that brave! *blushing*

She was as calm and controlled as she has been on the lunge of late - an accidental 40mins in the walker (was chatting to friend abouther lame horse - poor sod has had an awful two months on/off of lameness which vets and farrier ahven't been able to pin-point probkme!) and 10 mins on the lunge possibly helped her in the calmness stakes. Not an iota of fuss was made about the cantering, which just goes to show that as usual it was over-analysis on the rider's part!

Before i finish up I just want to say how proud I am of Kika and how well she has taken back to work. She does still attempt to throw the occasional wobbly when i first sit up and ask her to do something, but attempt is all she has done so far. Thankfully she hasn't resorted to the bad behaviour i was privy too last autumn/winter. I hope that this kind, courteous, willing lady sticks around as this is the horse I know and love! She worries me when she turns and goes all sullen and crancky, hopefully it will not be a re-occuring autumn/winter lack of turn-out problem! But i guess we'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it!
I hope that I do not paint her in too bad of a light online, she really isn't as bad as i sometimes make her out to be! I guess i am particularly harsh on her (and myself by proxy) to keep us grounded so that we don't get ahead of ourselves or above our stations.
Wow how my posts take odd twists and turns!
I am gutted that i lost my initial post and that you are left with this pathetic excuse for a contribution!

The silver lineing about our cantering is twofold; 1) we worked in our "bogey" arena (possibly more my bogey than hers as that is the arena we first ran into rearing troubles - same spot three days in a row!) with all the distractions of it being surrounded by boxes so horses coming and going, being fed, calling - as well as big double doors onto the parking where people come and go, opening and slamming car-doors, chatting laughing, and playing with their yappy dogs add to this the main road just beyond it and there are plenty distractions readily available for a mare who when the mood takes her is well capable of messing!
And 2) we cantered circles last night, :-) *dance*

Fingers crossed all now goes well with saddle fitting! I shall lunge her in the first saddle first before sitting up, so that if she doesn't like it or it pinches she can let us know that way first! :p

Sunday 24 July 2011

Astride Again

Seeing as i am currently saddle-less i cannot say that I am back in the saddle, but if i had one i would be, ;-)
Have been hopping up after lungeing her this week to cool her down and get the pair of us re-used to working together in this way.
For our current working schedule we have returned to our three days working, one day rest formula. Within this I am hoping to work her in the pessoa on the middle day so as to keep this rotating slightly so that she doesn't get bored and look for ways to entretain herself (aka - messing/misbehaving).
So this weekend was our first trial run;
I had arranged for the saddle fitter to come at 3pm, and after a phone conversation with him the day before ahad managed to get some brand names out of him and prices so that i could do some googling and annoy the forums i post on for feedback if they'd had dealings with these brands in order to not go into the potential purchase of a new saddle as in the dark and blind as i had bought my current saddle. Which to this day i feel really stupid for doing, but things happened so quickly and in German - not my strongest language - but live and learn, thanks to this experience i now feel more confident in myself and my knowledge of my horse and hope to not repeat my mistakes; that after all is all we can realistically hope to achieve in life! Woah, sorry a bit deep and meaningful there, shall endeavour to stick to the script from now on!

Anyways, as I was bringing the muck-monster (wish I had taken pics, sorry!) in from the field I got a message from the saddler to say that he wasn't going to make it that day and that he'd contact me on monday to reschedule the appointment.
I was both disappointed and relieved by this message, disappointed as I am very much looking forward to getting back into "a" saddle and getting back to business. Yet at the same time i was apprehensive of the fact that bar a few spins where i walked Kika around to cool her off and our disagreement over her trotting last week I hadn't spent very much time on her back. So I chose to view this rescheduling as a blessing in disguise and a hall pass, if you will, to give K and I some more time to get re-aquainted and back on track before the process of saddle testing comes into play.

So spent a good 45mins cleaning the muck monster before popping her in the walker and then lunging her as is becoming the norm for us at the moment. After a good lunge session (I may be setting myself up for a fall here, but *knock-on-wood* she has been angelic in her lunge work the last two weeks and never put a foot wrong/ tossed a buck/ squeal or fart ;-) )
I put on my hat and hopped up for our stress free cool down session. I had decided to just work in walk and on our flexion and bending around corners while carrying herself correctly - thankfully a lesson she has not forgotten, :-D On some occasions as i was asking her to bend around my leg the tossed her head about in her "I-don't-like-what-you're-asking-me" way, silly mare thought i was looking for trot - which i was not as i figured where i'd gone wrong the other time was in asking for the first trot on the corner like i used to, obviously after so long out of work under a rider she would take time to re-find her balance and the pessoa work will help re-build her back to allow her the ability to preform such tasks with a rider on board again. Armed with this epiphany I did try a few sneaky steps of trot down the long side of the arena which were entered into willingly and calmy. Thus (to my mind) proving my theory, ;-)


This is not really a great angle for the poor girl, but where I had her tied didn't allow me much manouverability with body/conformation shots. This was taken post-grooming before working her in the pessoa, I figured it might work as a good before shot....if i remember to take an after shot or just for comparisons sake once i get her back into work and hopefully re-build her up the the muscly beauty (IMO) she was pre-injury.
Anyways she was good as gold on the easy setting of the pessoa, figured i'd go back to square one with her with it seeing as it had been over 2 months since she'd worked in it. Whereas before when asked to canter she'd have to stamp her say on the session with a buck/attempt to take off, she calmly did everything that was asked of her, smoothly transitioning up and down the gaits as asked remaining attentive and supple.


After helping a friend and her 6year old get at another riding school to get ready, I was kind of only going to go through the motions with Kika this afternoon. I went to the barn with the intention of lungeing her and then seeing how i felt before deciding whether i'd hop up and if i did what we'd do.
I needn't have worried as usual i found a new lease of life at the barn (don't horses just have an amazing way of recharging the batteries for you?!), brought herself in and cleaned her up, popped her in the walker for 20minutes as i got the rest of gear ready and set up in "our" arena and then collected her for some lungeing. We used the whole arena and worked on transitions up and down in the three paces, with her carrying herself in her own outline in trot of her own accord. She had started doing this the weekend she returned to the field, but she now does so more consistently on her own - i really think the work we have been doing is paying off and the penny is starting to drop, :-D
After 25minutes of that I hopped up for a stroll around the arena intending to work on trotting as she was warmed up and moving correctly. To say she was amazing makes me sound like a sappy-mammy, but on this occasion i truly am. She worked correctly (for the most part, we're both still learning how to work in an outline) and transitioned smoothly from walk to trot and back, taking in circles changes of rein (with and without returning to walk), figures of eight and even a lovely calm and balanced serpentine with her bending correctly, keeping her balance and outline without falling in on herself - a big deal for me! Needless to say i only asked this of her once as she did it so well on that occasion, why ruin a good thing? ;-)
I cooled her off and picked up her head collar and rode her back down to the yard to the same spot as the picture above; I'm not sure if the double doors of the big arena can be seen in the background of the photo, but on my arrival at the same spot today i saw that there was no one in there, so before i hopped off i decided why not go in for a walk around and re-aquaint ourselves with the bigger arena as when we return to lessons they will be taking place in there.
On our first walk around we had a bit of a spook at sand that had been thrown up against the side, or perhaps it was the light coming through the ceiling, whatever caught her eye she took a jump sideways eyes on stalks, but thankfully i didn't slip out a side door. walked on a bit and pulled a circle to pass the scary Kika eating spot again with a much less ostentatious reaction, so continued our way around the arena. Chancing my arm i asked her to walk a bit more collected and to take up a bit of contact and form an outline as she walked, feeling her willing i figured i'd push the boat out a little further again and get the trotting "first" out of the way aswell while it was quiet.
The good behaviour continued and we got a nice calm trot in an outline (again lost it a couple of times but we are doing a lot better than we used to!) we did a couple of circles, changes of rein and a figure of eight. She really was such a star! Q lots of patting for a great littel horsey as we cooled down again!

After finishing up and tying her ladyship back up I went to the smaller arena to gather my lunge gear and jacket in which i'd left my phone (aka-watch); I was mortified to realise i had been on her back almost 45minutes (on top of the lungeing and walker). She really did earn her rest day tomorrow! *Scarlet-faced*
Writing about it now makes me so happy for the simple fact that she did not take a lame step and behaved so well!
Fingers crossed that all keeps going well for us and that we find a saddle that suits us!

Thursday 21 July 2011

Bareback Bumbling

As all has been going well with Kika's lungeing i took the plunge last night and after I was happy with how she'd worked on the lunge; plenty paces transitions walk/trot/canter all obediently undertaken and not a foot out of line. I decided to hop up bareback to cool her off, she is not great to walk on the lunge for the cooling off period.
I'll hold my hand up and admit i had been planning on doing this when i took her out of the walker, as although i hadd been previously lungeing her off her headcollar for the last two weeks i had her bridle and my helmet with us should the situation present itself and i could hop back up!

I would have done so earlier in the week but when i got to the barn on tuesday i found Madam with a new wound/cut on her left hind leg, just above her hoof on the outside of her foot (I have no idea how she could have done it and i'm afraid i forgot to take photos), so tuesday's notion of riding went out the window although we did do our lungeing as she wasn't lame on it. So when all continued sound last night, i figured I'd cut my losses and hop up for a cool down, ;-)
She was good as gold in walk, even rememebring how to hold herself in a correct outline! *jump-up-and-down-with-joy* I am so glad that what we had been working on prior to her accident was not forgotten!

So i decided to be brave and try a little trot, well Miss Kika had other ideas, she shook her head, bunched herself up and refused point blank to go any faster. I'm sure there was tail swishing involved, but as i was focussed on not giving her a chance/excuse to rear i wasn't paying particular attention to her backside! *blushing*
I had to resort to pony club style kicking to get the reaction i wanted out of her, I was not going to let her get away with not doing as she was told.! *Mumble-Grumble-Mare* I had originally only planned on asking for a few steps of trot, but seeing as she had point blank refused my request (not just ignored, i got a reaction out of her - just not eeh one i wanted). So when i realised she had no problems trotting, she wasn't sore or lame - just being a diva...we ended up doing a little more than the few steps of trot I'd intended. Because of her Drama Queen antics i insisted she trot a circle at each end of the arena before finishing up.
It may have been too much too soon, i hope it wasn't as she has three weeks of solid re-building lungeing behind her; and anyway i hadn't intended to do so much trot with usual she forced my hand trying to play boss when she knows she is not!

I then dismounted and picked up her headcollar and leadrope, I left the lunge gear in the arena so that i could hop back up and ride her down to the yard. There is work starting to make new boxes and enlarge the small lungeing arena into a full sized one (i think - i was told by the yard owners months ago but i forget, *blush*) so there was all sorts of horse eating monsters in the shape of JCBs, sand piles, piping, slates etc etc to greet us on our exit. K had had a look at some things on her way into the arena, and we all know how terrifying these things become when seen from another angle! *roll-eyes*
So was as ready as i could be bareback  for anything she might try to do. My angel ponio redeemed herself from our trotting dispute and did not bat an eyelid! We rode right down into the yard without any issue, nice careful baby steps as her shoes can sometimes slip if she tries to go to fast (rarely happens) or takes too large strides.

I was over the moon and on cloud nine (yes it hangs out above the moon, :p), deliriously happy with my girl. Rinsed her new wound out with the house and sprayed it with the stuff i had been using to treat her initial wound - thankfully i have plenty left. Gave her her treats and brushed her off again to make her all pretty before tossing her back out to the field.
Now here i was bold/naughty, ;-) her field is a bit of a walk away from the barn (it's half way down to the woods - like 5 min walk at most, when she's dragging her feet). But it was drizzling and we pass a bench on our way down, so as i was still high as a kite from my earlier spin, i fixed the leadrope to her headcollar in such a way that I could use it as reins and hoped up again to take the final few (well like 20) steps to the field gate. Not a peep out of her, she was goog as gold! Yippeeee!
(although perhaps best to try and keep the excitement in check, I don't want to get ahead of myself and cocky! - surefire way to ask for a dressing down that would be!)

My good friend L has offered me the use of her saddle, she has the lovely chestnut mare O, seen in earlier pictures - namely Kika's first day out in the field back in April. We tried it on her on saturday (before she tried to do her headstand - thankfully saddle was long gone from her person when she showed me her lack of gymnastic skills in attempting her cartwheel), while not perfect Kika did not object to it's presence on her back while lunged in it for a bit. Further clue that the saddle i bought for her in October doesn't fit as she always has something to say about that one when being lunged - she's very expressive in her bucking/plunging/attempts to take off. L is going on holidays tomorrow, so will lunge K in it this evening and have another spin off her tonight, with the saddle this time. Again just walking, maybe with a little trot - just to make sure everything greased and in place. I shall ring the tack shop this afternoon and see when the guy can come measure her for a new saddle (ideally this evening - but may well be too short notice) and then hopefully i can purchase one that will hopefully fit properly this time and it'll be onwards and upwards for us again soon....I hope!

As usual this has gotten much longer than I'd intended! *blush*
As a reward to anyone who was good enough to read all of that waffle - here are some pics i took of her ladyship on the 11th of July for comparison as we get her back into work.

"Look at how well my shoulder has don't believe me?! Watch me flex my muscles!"

"What do you mean that's not what you meant by pose?!
How about a bit of Zoolander?"

"Oh alright, we'lld o it your way! *ahem* Boring!"

Now for the other side:

I have no idea why she's standing with her back legs spread, i hadn't noticed till i seen the pictures on screen she looks funny...She's not as badly conformed as her stance makes her look...silly mare, always has to put her twist on pictures!

Monday 18 July 2011

Head over Heels and Heart-attacks

As usual I am hoping this will be a biref update and that I don't paint myself in a "bad-owner" light! *blush*

Lungeing was going really we on saturday, we even moved back up a gear for a smooth, calm, controlled and  most importantly un-laboured & balanced canter. When we changed direction we were walking and trotting building herself back up and finding our rhythm going in the "scary" other direction (aka: bad rein and if that wasn't enough it is also the side she injured). She was trotting away happy out and settling when out of nowhere she must have hit a light patch of sand and down she went on her head!
Trying to remain calm i didn't rush her and calmly moved towards her, clearing the lunge line out of her way for when she was ready to stand, in fact when i got to her head i unclipped it. She was worrying me with her slowness to rise and after unclipping her she gave me more cause for concern with the way she was holding her mouth open and seemed unwilling to move her jaw, so not only had she gone down while working on her injured side, I was now worrying she may have broken her jaw!
However after a few moments she did move her jaw in a side to side motion, like humans might, she also closed her mouth to swallow but then let it hang open again - not particularly easing my worries any! She was still laying on the ground!
After a few more minutes she did rise and shook herself a little, i noticed a tiny graze on her shoulder thankfully above where she had hurt herself in the field and that wound proved it had healed as it did not re-open!
Deciding the best way to do damage control was to have her walk on the lunge again so that i could see her moving i asked her to do just that, she was still favouring her jaw slightly and took a few turns to relax it and do a bit of chewing - that sight in itself gave me no amount of relief! She was walking alright so as she was still warmed up from the pre-fall lungeing i thought it best to try a bit more trot as that'd be a good way of finding out if she had done more damage than met the eye at walk. When she was trotting without lameness i pushed her into more of a working trot (we had moved away to the other side of the arena at this stage - to avoid a repeat fall) all still going well we tried a teeny tiny bit of canter which was just a smooth, calm, controlled and balanced as had been on the other rein. Slowing her down i cooled her off with walk-trot transitions, thankfully she had stopped favouring her jaw and to my untrained eye seemed none the worse for wear considering the fright she gave me.
I brushed off the sand that had remained on her coat from her tumble, hosed the graze and sprayed it with the stuff that had been used on her injury wound (some kind of bio product - label in german and can't remember exactly what is in it). I had already prepared her "feed" before lungeing her so i fuigured this would be the best test of her jaw and see whether she could eat it (I will highlight that I had put my thumb in as if asking her to take the bit after she initially stood from the fall to check she hadn't bitten her tongue), her "feed" consisted of carrots rolled in garlic and some lekkerli horse treats (multi-vit, apple/red berries and banana flavours). It's not so much a feed I give her as a bit of a treat/reward...everything in there required a small bit of chewing so my thinking was if she could handle that she hadn't damaged her jaw in the fall.
Turns out i needn't have worried on that front, she had no problem chowing down on it and showed her appreciation by picking up and tossing the bucket when nothing else came from it!

As I led her back out to the field after caring for her feet, I rang home to tell someone what had happened, my mother gave "oh no the silly girl & what did she do that for" reaction, as i spoke to her Kika was her usual stalling/spooky self going for the field so the Mammy was reassured that she wasn't too badly affected by it.

That was traumatising enough, but as usual these things don't affect me in the moment as *touch-wood* I usually remain calm and clear minded and just do what i think is best in the situation. After turning her out and on my stroll down home i did begin to wonder/worry that horses might get concussions and that perhaps i shouln't have left her out and then i was also worrying about having given her the bit of a snack and what if that made her colic! Her field is that bit away from the main houses that no one would know she was unwell unless they happened to be passing on the way to the woods and as this was after 8pm at night there weren't going to be many passing! All i could do was scold myself for worrying about things i have no control over, and remind myself that anything could go wrong on any given night and I wouldn't know till the next day (now really - with that thought I should be a motivational speaker, right?!). So i had to just get on with it and wait and see what the next day would present me with.

Sunday dawned wet and grey, I didn't get up to Kika till 5 going on 6pm and the Mammy came with to see what she was after doing to herself. The Mammy would be fairly practical like myself and try not to worry about things outside of our control, so she is a handy person to have around to keep you calm should your silly side take over. Admitetdly we do both prefer not to scare the other one when we can help it and will both stay silent as opposed to syaing something out loud that we might later regret! eg: When Kika arrived she had the pair of us very worried but neither one commented until we had her safely in our control in Lux, hahaha - only a few months later did teh truth come out as to how worried the pair of us had been about her condition when she arrived. The photos I took on her arrival in Lux are an improvement on the sight that greeted us when we went to see her in her Belgian stop-over.
Anyways we walked up to the field from our house and I'll tell ye right now the bloody mare had me worried (hence teh heart-attack mentioned in the title!), she was lying flat out on her side with the two boys (E & G, her field companions) standing around her, but not too close! I was having palpitations and worrying that I had done the wrong thing in letting her out the previous evening, but i had figured allowing her the ability to keep moving would be better than cooping her up in a stable and seising up if she had done damage to herself in her tumble...
Anyways, the Mammy called her name as we approached and we saw her muzzle move slightly as we stirred her from her sun-bathing! Flat out in the muck so she was and happy out with herself, she pulled herself up into a "normal" lying position and lay there looking at us quite literally like Lady-Muck! By the time i got into the field, the Mammy had mocked her from the sidelines into getting up (along the lines of "get up ya lazy yoke!" ;-) )

I'll tell ya i was having awful bad thoughts when i saw her flat out in the field, it is not the first time i have caught her lying down, but considering the previous days events my imagination ran away with me! *blushing*
She came in had 20minutes in the walker then 20mins or so of lungeing, walk-trot transitions and then an even smaller than yesterday bitteen bit of cantering. Oddly enough she cantered smoother on her "bad" side then she did on her typically good-side, she was a little bit sore so i didn't bush her too hard figured i'd just keep her ticking over and see where we stand this evening.

So that was my excitement for the weekend, hopefully my melodramas don't make me out to be a soppy worrier, as usually i'm not, but I'll admit she has me a little on edge and I want to wrap her in cotton wool. But rest assured i won't she is still an animal, no matter how much she means to me, and will be treated as such to the best of my ability - despite the treats and easy re-building work. Hopefully it will all come together soon! I had been hoping to get the saddle fitter out this week and all going well returning myself to the saddle (hopefully a new one that fits like a glove) next week...but we'll see where the weekends escapdes leave us with that "plan".

Thursday 14 July 2011

Finally Field Friends Again

I managed to nab some snaps on my phone (despite bringing two cameras to the barn on the day for the photo op occasion - i forgot them both in my locker after working herself *rollseyes* ) of Kika's return to pasture life!
I think i was more overjoyed than she was! *dance*
I'm glad to report that the transition was smooth, you wouldn't have known she hadn't been out - out with the last 6 weeks! There was only a little bit of trotting and one little buck/fart as a gust of wind caught her funny, ;) , but the other two stayed calm. Thankfully as E had only pulled a hind shoe the night before and his farrier can't come till the middle of this week and G is "technically" retired although he can still do light work and hacking as he is only in his early teens - but was retired from full work due to leg issues.
So right, enough waffling out of me, time for some pictures!

(All taken 09/07/2011)

E and K have buddied up - K is possibly coming into season or else she wouldn't be so nice to him, lol!

So Poor G get's left on his own - quite literally in a corner!

The Three Amigos grubbing up in an orderly fashion!

Then I went back later in the day to check all was still going alright, what do ye think?

And last but not least her ladyship in all her regalness (in my totally unbiased opinion of course!)

To say that I was overjoyed to let her back out was a massive understatement, and the fact that she didn't tear off round the field potentially damaging herself even more brought her right back up in my esteem.

*hug my horse*

I am so proud of how she has been behaving ever since just before the injury!
(I'll apologise now, this is about to turn into an "I *love* my horse" sop-fest)
The last two spins i got out of her before saddle fitter came and re-itetrated my belief that the saddle wasn't fitting were nigh-on-foot perfect for us. She was working calmly and properly! Which was a huge step forwards for us!
Then for the whole 6 weeks that she was on box rest, getting hosed & poked and proded, and then walked like a mahoosive dog on a lead - she behaved really well bar one or two minor strops towards the end as she was building up energy due to lack of movement!
And then to top it all off we eased her back into lungeing work last week and paddock turn out, increasing the lungeing sessions (only walk, trot and halt) by 5 minutes every two days and the paddock sessions (1st outing was 30minutes, 2nd an hour, 3rd 2 hours - then she went out out on saturday from 3pm onwards). I had been apprehensive about letting her out as she has been known to go loop-dy when let out after prolonged stays indoors, lol, but as i mentioned above after one fart/buck and a bit of trotting she was fine!

Her luneging has also improved massively as well, :cheer:, she responds immediately to voice commands (although stand still takes a bit for her to listen lol, she's not really one for the standing still as such!) and now she is also starting to carry herself correctly in trot on the lunge withought a training aid! I have posted before how we'd been using a pessoa to build up her back musculation ... but that had practically stopped by the time she got injured, however will resume it again probably next week to build her back up slowly again and continue with our slow lunge work, as she is still having up and down days with limping while lungeing. Most days she is still taking a few stiff steps before working herself slowly and calmy into un-lame work.
She has also stopped taking off on the lunge, ;), worked her monday night, for only 15minutes as it was still 26C at 7.30pm so after having been in the field since Saturday and moving of her own accord i didn't want to do too much in the clammy-ness of an indoor!
But we were working in the "spookier" of the indoors as this one has a gallery, is behind a row of stables and has a big double door which opens onto the car park that overlooks the road - so provides more than enough excuses for a horse that likes to take every opportunity she can to mess.
Bless her cotton socks (or three white ones, ;) ) she didn't put a foot wrong for me that night, when a car pulled in and someone got out slammed the doors and droped plastic bottles or something all in the sapce of a minute she half-thought about taking advantage but after a "don't" she reconsidered and dropped the head again relaxing back into a bouncy flowy trot! *dance**dance*
She was a little sorer that night than she had been last week which also contributed to my working her less, but overall the quality of her work is imrpoving in such a way that i don't mind at all doing a little less if it means what we are doing is actually having some effect, ;)
Just out of curiosity on Saturday, before she went out, I tried a little bit of canter with her on the lunge - now usually this can lead to mahoosive fireworks and rejuvenated bucking/farting/plungeing with energy she had hidden away in reserve somewhere - now i wouldn't have asked her to go up a gear if i hadn't been 99% sure she'd behave - I am getting better at reading her, ;)
Anyway she was good and did no messing however she wasn't comfortable either so after 2 rounds i brought her back to trot and cooled her off, ;)
Sorry, as usualy my post has gotten a lot more long-winded then I'd intended! However I am just so happy with how she is doing and although it may be incredibly slow by professionals standards I want to make sure I give her the best chance at durable recovery as possible and have no intention of rushing her back!
My end goal for the end of the year is to have bought a new saddle that fits and eventually (this is the dream for now) get back to our weekly lessons, ;) - but for this i need to feel happy in "our" ability to behave in company of others as the arena lessons are in can get pretty busy so we don't need any temper tantrums, ;)
I may be jumping the gun here and she could yet prove me wrong, but I am hoping that getting a saddle which fits correctly will add to the work we have done and enable us to get right back on track!

Saturday 9 July 2011

Road to Recovery II - Outings

As we are still very much on the road to recovery and still a bit away from returning under saddle (due to need for re-conditioning and my need to purchase new saddle) this week the focus has been walker (to get mind at ease), lungeing (to start re-building and work out kinks) and then paddock (to refresh the mind).
Took us a few attempts to get this "schedule" down and working in mine and Kika's favour. Our first attempts at lungeing from the box resulted in an over excited ponio moving at faster than a walk for the first time in a month and "forgetting" she was sore - cue jumping/farting/bucking/cantering/more-farting about - which as you can imagine left me with a feeling-sorry-for-herself ponio more lame finishing then when she started!
So we (my mother suggested it and I readily agreed) decided that perhaps the best plan of attack would be bung Kika in the walker for 30-45mins and then lunge her alternating walk and trot for 5mins in each direction (first two days - increased by 5 mins every two days since), then the holy grail for me since she injured herself getting her back out to grass!
It started with 30mins in a paddock on tuesday evening;
(please excuse quality as is becoming a bit of a "bad" habit of mine, shiny 'new' phone was out of battery so trusty old phone was used to snap a few pics) (Tuesday 05/07/2011)

This was our second paddock up the back of the yard, I had let her loose in a front paddock just prior to this, but the road runs alongside this and the prospect of being able to run anytime anything passed was not what i had in mind for our "relaxing" first outing in a month. Thankfully despite her messing in the earlier field she did not appear to do any more damage to herself and we could continue on my self-made recovery plan.

Rinse and repeat the following evening with 5mins extra lungeing and her paddock exposer ectended to an hour. This time there was no messing on either of our parts, i let her out directly in the paddock up the back and she settled like the pro grass-eater, and was happy out while i went messing about with her stable and gassing with friends. She reserved her galloping and bucking for my return to bring her back in from the field! *roll-eyes*
She was down the end of the paddock when i got the the gate (as she always is when I don't stay gawping at her at the gate she moves off down the field), the previous evening she had galloped up the field to me - so i was very happy when she calmy walked up to me on wednesday evening. However before she got to the gate the messing madam turned and cantered off back down the field (nice calm bouncy canter I might add!), threw in a few bucks down there then cantered back up the field and down once more before she was happy to come to the gate and come in!

(Wednesday 6/07/2011 - Just after turning out)

Thursday we tried a new farrier recomended by a friend (A) at the barn. He does her horse and comes from Belgium specifically to shoe her horse, she has been most complimentary about him and has used him for years on numerous horses. As I had been in the market for a French speaking farrier having had a German speaking one for the past year whom I could not communicate with and who I had never met, after asking the friend (C) who was on teh same shoeing cycle as me if it might be possible to change Miss K's shoeing slightly (C always contacted the farrier and did all the organising), however she told me she wasn't really too keen on asking him to do something to someone else's horse because the last time she had he had wound up doing request to her horse! At the same time she mentioned that she didn't think he knew which horse was which (there were three od us on the same cycle - getting our mares shod together), this combined with teh fact that every 6weeks the three of us were being asked to pay different amounts from each other and from month to month despite the fact that the shoeing was identical; was the final straw to get me to look for a new farrier!
Anyways long story short (mine are never short though are they! *blush* ) Kika got new shoes and for the first time since she initially got shod out here her feet resemble those that she had when she was shod back in Ireland. Those of you that I whined at before about not being sure the shoeing she was receiving here was right will remember my concerns from way back when.
I have 2 photos of her front feet taken on Thursday the left foot has the new shoe on and the right foot is as it was shod previously (but minus the shoe). I'm not sure how clearly the difference will come across as again photos taken from my phone...


Now nothing against the style of shoeing the German guy did, I'm sure he is very good at his style of shoeing it is just very different to that which i was used to and i am not sure it suited my horse. The new farrier was also suprised at the way she had been shod, he said that from what he could see from what was before him that it would appear that Kika's heel was cut right back and then that the shoe was also then cut back while the front of the shoe was slightly turned up (think Aladdin shoes but on horses) - which now has me a little apprenensive that the formation of her hoof may have been altered. All in all he measured the angle of her hoof and it was way off the 45degrees to the ground recomended.

Now once again, i repeat I am not angry or annoyed at my previous farrier, this is just the way he was taught - every country has different methods and I am sure he was doing what he was taught and what he thought best.

To finish on (what for me is a very) good note! :D
After the walker-lungeing last night, I hopped up on K bareback to cool her off! *dance*
We just walked around "our" arena a couple of times. 2x in one direction - 1x in "bad" direction and she did feel unbalanced at first as "bad" direction is a) the rein she dislikes of the two and b) the fornt leg she injured - go figure!
I was slightly nervous and apprehensive getting up as i hadn't planned on doing it and so had no helmet or nothing, she was in her headcollar and i'd looped the lunge line back and forth across her neck (had three reins). Now I do not advocate what i did and know that it was terrible and it could have ended awfully for both her and me, but sometimes you just know that the timeing is right and I knew taht if i didn't do it then when i was feeling positive and good about it (and there was no pressure and no one watching) that by the time it would eventually come around to my getting back up I'd have been bricking it. Whereas now that first initial mind block has been breached and hopefully all will continue to go smoothly for us!
Also following this and with me on cloud 9, she got to spend the bones of 2 hours out in the paddock yesterday evening and was good as gold as horses were taken in from around her and others passed back and forth being taken to other fields.
To say i went home happy last night was an understatement! ;)

I am going to head up to the barn now shortly (it's 12pm here) and walker/lunge my Madam then she is going back out to the "all-day-and-night" field with two of her original buddies from her pre-injury field. All going well with her re-installation out there I am hoping to leave her out there for the forseeable future. It probably would be best to bring her in this evening, but as the other two will be staying out and it won't be her first time out this year (it'll just be her first overnight in a month-ish) - all being calm when i check back on her this evening I'd rather leave her out and avoid a potential argument when/if she were to be re-introduced to the field the following day after being in for the night.