Wednesday 29 February 2012

Wandering Wagon!

Perfect Title for Miss Kika who decided she was (again!) not content with the turn out organised for her!
L walked her dogs passed the field at 5.40 and all was well, she went back to bring the little darlings in at 6.15ish; do you think they were still in the field? She saw shapes in the distance and thought: 'odd that people be walking there' - and she was right. It would have been odd to have people walking in the middle of a field - and low and behold there were the two madams happy as larry with their meandering!

Was the fence electrified one might ask - the answer is yes, the top half of it is at the entrance and the second strand is to the corner where they had been getting out before we put current on the what does Miss Kika do? I am assuming it was her as L's horse O has a healthy respect for white tape and electricity, something my dear girl lacks to my detriment! She somehow manages to bust the lower wire (without the current) and shimmy under it while leaving the electrified strand untouched!
I swear it isn't a horse I have at all but Houdini!

All's well that ends well though and when they saw L coming to get them they came to her meek as lambs to go back in for the night - of course hard feed, hay and heat is always waiting for them in the stables, incentive anyone? 
As Mr Saddle Fitter was coming yesterday to find out what I want changed with my saddle I asked L (aka: The Guru) would she mind riding Kika for her allocated exercise time to see what she thought of her movement in a Dressage Saddle as depending on how my time goes without my saddle (borrowing another friends dressage saddle as fits better than my GP one - all explained in previous posts ) I can see myself being swayed into investing in a second hand dressage saddle - as the small spin I had in it on Sunday had me in such a good position that I think I could really benefit from expanding my riding repertoire!

Long story as usual not so short, I lunged Kika for about 10mins then L hopped up in the smallest of the arenas available to us and not really a riding arena, more lungeing but not a round lungeing pen...I'm not really making sense, sorry, I should prob just take a photo some evening! She rode for about 15mins walk and trot with lots of rein changes and smaller circles (as i said arena is smaller than average so tighter squeeze). Kika was a bit Giraffe-y as she tried to evade working and of course decided that a door was terrifying and would eat her but other than that behaved very well, no rearing or untoward messing occured.
L was happy with her movement in the Dressage saddle and said that she felt a lot free-er flowing and was moving better...all good signs.
We didn't do too much as we are still getting her used to the saddle and the saddle fitter was due to examine her own saddle on her, so cooled her down and got stuff ready for Mr Saddle Fitter. L stayed with me as she was there when Mrs B worked on K and was able to better explain (aka in Luxembourgish) why we wanted the changes made to the saddle and where we wanted changed. I also asked that if possible the saddle be made slightly larger than necessary so that we can compensate with padding and so should Kika fill out a little more the saddle shouldn't need to be altered again. Mrs B had also advised this.
L also wanted to talk to him (Mr Saddle Fitter) as she herself is now in the market for a second hand dressage saddle although she is finding finding on a little difficult as she wants a brown one - while not unheard of they are slightly scarce on teh ground. But He's going to keep an eye out for her and see what he can find. So happy days - I didn't mention my potential need for a second hand dressage saddle as this will very much depend on how we get on for the next fortnight with N's borrowed saddle while mine is being altered.
However N's saddler is coming to check the fit of her saddle (the one I've been borrowing) on her mare A this afternoon/evening and should it require altering I may not be able to borrow it anymore as it may no longer fit Kika if it is altered - and we all know how fussy Kika can be about her back so will play this one by ear! At the same time L let slip to me last night that N may be in the market for another saddle if her current one will require too much work...if this is the case, i intend to have a word and say that I'd be very interested in her saddle if this were to transpire 
So i guess we can only watch this space! *shrug*

L and i fixed up the fencing by car headlight last night and put out the hay, restocked the ball with carrot pieces and muesli to hopefully keep Miss Kika's stomach engaged and her mind off wandering!
I'll be going to let them out on my lunch will keep my phone handy should the YM/YO need to ring to tell me the beasts are after going walkies again!
Fingers crossed this is not the case! As if it happens I'll be so annoyed with her, cos it's either stable or there...there is nothing else i can do to try and allow her turn out - it oftens seems no matter what I do it isn't enough for her ladyship!
So now they have a 15KG Original Horselyx to share, hay and the hexagonal ball type thing filled with carrots and feed to knock about the place to keep themselves entertained and out of mischief.
Maybe it being a day that only comes around once every 4 years - I might be forgiven for expecting a miraculous change!

Happy Leap Year Day!
(Is this even a thing?  ... It is now!)

Monday 27 February 2012

Destiny - Dressage Diva

Hoping to keep this short (wishful thinking I hear you sigh) as I actually only spent 10mins in the saddle Sunday, as per my instructions from Mrs B to keep Kika to a maximum of 20mins work - lungeing included.

As I mentioned in my previouus post, Kika's saddle is currently not fitting her correctly, using it will only undo the work done by Mrs B and make her uncomfortable and ratty - Kika is very sensitive about her back, this fact has been well documented within this blog. We tried a couple of saddles belonging to friends to see if (m)any of these would be better fits - my friend N's Dressage Saddle was the best of the ones we tried.
So Kika got lunged with it on Saturday evening for her allocated 20mins work to see how she took to it - glad to report that she didn't appear, to me, to take a blind bit of notice of the fact that she had a different type of saddle on her back - although thanks to Mrs B's work she was moving a lot more freely and no longer stiff behind - Happy Days!

Sunday's 20minutes allocated work time was to consist of 10mins lungeing and then 10mins in the saddle for me. Wow is riding in a dressage saddle different to a General Purpose saddle. Immediately I had to drop my stirrups a whole from where I'd estimated they should be (length of my arm from knuckles to ochster) - and I really should have dropped them another hole (I will next time I borrow the saddle) as my knees still weren't in the correct place and are kind of sensitive today
But seeing as we were limited to 10minutes work i figured it'd be alright for the time we were allowed to do stuff. Nothing overly exciting to report, only that i could see myself being swayed into doing more dressage saddle riding as I was well impressed with the position of my leg and how Kika was responding to it. I also felt considerably more secure in my seat.
Just need to fix my stirrups better for the next spin and my knees won't be a little on the sensitive side like they are today!

Didn't do more than walk/trot in the 10minutes, and it wasn't really long enough to get Kika's full attention despite the prior lungeing. So she managed a good impersination of a Giraffe, but she was calm and will take a few spins to adjust to the different feel of the saddle and indeed my weight distribution in it. I was able to monitor the speed of her trot and coax her into a better carriage for a couple of strides here and there but I wasn't going to push it as we all have our own readjustment phases...

Quick Snapshot - Just for good measure
I actually only realised in saving the image to my pc and uploading it that this is the first pic of Kika from 2012, and we're approaching the end of month 2!!
Hopefully the little snapshot is rewarding after all the waffle!

Saturday 25 February 2012


Mrs B, the masseuse/accupuncturist/homeopath lady I use for Kika came to give her the once over yesterday. I thought Kika looked stiff/sore in the right hind leg when lungeing but then she'd work herself out of it,. For the bits of work we did under saddle she felt fine, deffinitely not lame - or i obviously wouldn't have been riding her!
The Guru, L, also questioned how my saddle was fitting when she watched me lunge K before sitting up last weekend. So I had been planning to contact him today anyway to have him come check the saddle as it was August when he fitted it to her and i bought it, so no harm in having it checked as her musculation has changed since. She had only been coming back into work after her month and a bit off from injury - so of course her musculation would change.

First thing Mrs B said to me as I led Kika to the stable was, she is off behind. To which i answered yes, she slipped while loose schooling 4 days after the osteo's visit  , she didn't go down completely - which i imagine is worse for the body, but kind of did a horsey-splits in that her front end stayed up while her back legs went from under neath her on a corner. At the time she popped straight back up and continued trotting so as she was warm i kept her moving all the while looking for signs of lameness/soreness - she appeared fine.
Got her into the stable with Mrs B, and she then commented on the fact Kika clears a huge whole in the middle of her stable by pushing all the sawdust back and baring the concrete floor. Mrs B suggested i look into investing in rubber matting (oh the expense - but shall do as instructed to help the little darling ponio!) as the fact that she bares the floor every evening (despite my fixing it every day  ) jarrs her back and joints a bit every time she gets up and down!
Kika really is a hazard to her own health - and that of my bank balance it would appear!

Mrs B, then proceeded to work her magic, she said that Kika's back end was completely tense and that this is why she does not/cannot correctly work from behind - as she has herself all blocked. As i had mentioned the need to get the saddle checked she had me bring said saddle out for her to look at it and agrees that it no longer fits as well as it should (but that as saddler guaranteed when i bought it - it should be fixable). It is tight near her shoulders (restricting movement) and doesn't fit at all anymore under the cantle - and advised me to no longer use it until it is fixed as there was no point in fixing Kika now if i was going to continue riding her in the ill fitting saddle as it'd be a never ending cycle if that was going to be the case.
She continued to work on Kika and released her back, back end and then attacked her hind legs. She said the right hind was very tense, and that she had done more damage to herself then originally thought (by me) when she fell or maybe even in her daily habit of getting up on the bared concrete of her stable. Either way she worked to release her hind legs also and said that I might find her a littel stiff but that it will pass.

Two friends were with me as Kika was being treated, The Guru, L, and N another friend - they suggested we have a look at how their saddles fit on Kika to see if we might find a happy medium and be able to keep Kika in work while her saddle is sent away to be fixed - as this could take up to 4-5weeks. The guy i bought it from is a fitter not a saddler as such and so cannot adapt the tack himself but has to send the details back to the Stubben Saddlery for them to alter it. We tried L's general purpose saddle, but it was too wide and wouldn't work. So N suggested we try her dressage saddle, it thankfully is a better fit and Mrs B said that she would advise us to work with this one till mine can be fixed or no under-saddle work at all. But she didn't want us to stop working under saddle as then the muscle development would change and when my saddle would come back from altering it wouldn't be right again. Mrs B suggested best way forward would be to have saddle sized slightly wider than Kika to allow for further development and then that can be balanced out with saddle pads if necessary. Mrs B said Kika currently is very well muscled and can't see her shoulder/back musculation changing radically with more work, however said her neck and backend are more likely to develop further. Her overall appraisal was that she is a healthy horse muscle-wise, which i have to say made me a happy owner as we have been working to make her so since osteo's visit in November.

As for working with the dressage sadddle, it will be a first for both Kika and myself! Better position here I come , I hope anyway! Mrs B said that we are to work her a maximum of 20mins in the saddle - total whether on the lunge or with me in it for the first few days to see how Kika reacts to it. Then after two days to give her a day off from the saddle and then try again and see if there is a difference - how she feels/ is behaving. And go from there...

I have some Arnica tablets and another little packet of pills to give her today and for the next few days to help with any soreness stiffness as her body recovers from the "mauling" masssage. She got 5 Arnica last night in an apple, and will get 5 this morning now when i go to turn her out then 5 of the other tables (can't remember the name) this evening. Then 5 each day for the next two days of the other tablets, Mrs B said that K may be a bit stiff/sore afterwards but that this is normal and it is only if it doesn't get better after a week or so to call he ragain and she'll come back to check all is as it should be.

I'm thinking of leaving her off today and letting her mosy about the field for the afternnon then 20mins lungeing with the dressage saddle tomorrow and we'll see about riding in it on monday. As my good friend Vix's motto goes...Baby steps not miracles! 
Never a dull moment!

Friday 24 February 2012


I was braver last night then I thought I would be after only two spins on Sunday and Monday... The Guru was due to be about but we hadn't arranged for a lesson or anything so I was just going to work away on my own! I know I have been banging on about wanting to only ride supervised, but I also don't want to be making a nuissance of myself since The Guru voluntarily helps me out, so don't want to be always relying on her to ride. I needs to be able to work on my own even if Kika and I work better under supervision!
It was no Prix St George or anything but I was happy with some of our work - what can i say when it comes to myself and my capabilities I can be quite the pessimist - but i figure this is already blatantly obvious from previous posts.
So started off by lungeing Miss Kika and all went well even if she wasn't really lengthening her stride like i would have liked, she still did all her transitions as requested and I did manage to get fits of nice lunge work. Have to say her ADD was acting up and keeping her concentrated on what I was asking was a bit of a no-go yesterday evening.
Just as I was getting up a fellow livery asked if it'd be ok for her to lunge her young horse while i rode - which of course I didn't object to, Kika does go better when there are other horses in the arena with her (just not too many, or she tries to keep tabs on them all and twists herself into knots!   )
Only thing i was slightly wary of is that the young horse would be all sorts of silly on the lunge and drive Kika  bananas, as it really doesn't take much for Kika's messing side to re-surface and take the mick...Not really what I was hoping for when trying to ride on my own again. But as usual when i over-think things i needn't have worried.
Typically Kika was worse behaved when on her own in the arena (probably due to the fact I was anticipating the other livery's arrival and not giving Kika my full attention) then when the younger horse was lungeing in the lower half of the arena.
Try as i might i couldn't get a nice calm feeling trot out of her, and her head was up in front of me making contributing to the choppy short strides in trot - so much for working on that in the two previous rides and on the lunge! Things improved when the equine company arrived and while far from perfect I managed to get her to lengthen her stride and not be so uptight in her shoulders/neck area. As I said still nowhere near Grand Prix, but better then when we started. I think had i not been distracted myself and anticipating the impending arrival of abovementioned young horse I'd have been better able to settle her on my own.

While the other livery was lungeing we worked on a circle in the upper half of the arena. I even braved some cantering! Got my @$$ out of the saddle and worked as The Guru had me doing earlier in the week. She settled better after this in fact, and when the lungeing livery departed again I had a much happier in her work Kika and we were able to work in some seprentines with a volts as we hit the track - although the volts were rather higgeldy-piggeldy and not perfect, but not once we did we run into a disagreement!
We also incorperated some calm cantering using the whole arena and circling at either end, with me still off her back.
Have a lady coming this evening to give her the once over and hope to contact the saddler also to get him to come and check the saddle as it was August when i bought it and figure a bit of maintenace probably won't go astray - considering how uppidy Kika get's about her back!

I should prbably also try and get some new photos to smarten up the blog...Might try and get on to that at the weekend. It will depend on what masseuse says this evening as to how much work she'll have to do on Kika and whether or not she'll be getting a few more days rest to recover. Who knows whether photo ops will present themselves or not
Shall hopefully update again sooner ratehr than later with news after Kika's visit this evening!
Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Saddle Sore

I had a lovely long relaxing weekend, we'd Monday off work here.
I lunged Kika over poles on Friday, in the pessoa on Saturday and was brave on Sunday and Monday and got two lessons after lungeing herself for 10-15mins to make sure no kinks.
I've the masseuse/homeopath/accupuncturer(ist?) booked to come on Friday as my Guru reckons ovary issues may be stopping Kika engaging from behind and I think she looks off a bit behind when luneging - not so much that she gets more time off, but sticky/stiff when getting going so best to get checked - she did try to do the splits a week or two ago when loose schooling so may have twisted/jarred herself a bit typically 4 days after the osteo saw her
I also think I have to get my saddle checked again, L had me stick to rising trot and cantering off her back for fear of doing damage to her back has been well documented what happens when Kika has back issues

The 2 lessons went well, nothing extravagant as neither one of us had done much in the way of ridden work in last 4 weeks or so. I had only spent 10mins in the saddle in that amount of time and while worked on the lunge Kika had an easy enough few weeks also betwen osteo and vaccines rewarding her with 2 days off each time she has had a placid stress free time of it.
We worked mostly in trot on circles, serpentines with small circles (volts) each time we met the track, lots of rein chagening and more canter work "en suspension" on Monday then Sunday. To say that my legs have been sore since is a bit of an understatement

My heels continue to be a bug-bear of mine, so still trying to work on keeping them down...i do however know that my problem on that front is two-fold. (1) i have honed the bad habit of using my heels rather than calves to get her to move and (2) if in doubt i grip with my knees = heels popping up.
My other tid-bit to pay more attention to are my reins, apparently i don't keep them taught. Each time my attention was brough to this fact on monday the reaction from Kika was instantaneous - i am sure that the lax reins jangling the bit in her mouth lead her to be frustrated so now that my attention has been brought to this i have another issue to try and remember when riding.
Gosh list is ever lengthening, heels, hands, reins, crooked position, looking down... C's 8 steps to "problem solving" mentioned in previous post is an ever increasing and never ending cycle for me - list of problems is growing and correction of abovementioned issues is slow!

We (Kika & I) have also been working on the lunge to get her to lengthen her stride in trot. The Guru says she strides well in walk and has a good ground covering stride in canter yet when she trots she gets herself all choppy and speedy as opposed to long and smooth.
However The Guru was well happy to report that that lesson is hitting home under saddle as well - so long as i don't harry her and push her out of her stride.
So more for me to pay attention to, as i said an ever-increasing list of issues to keep in mind when riding 
So I am sticking to only riding supervised for the moment as I am a hazard to my own mental health when left to my own devices!

I managed to get to the barn at lunch time today, Wednesday evenings can be dodgy to find a quiet arena to work in as wednesday is jumping day at the yard. An external instructor comes in and an arena is set aside for them with a course ready all day - so space is "limited" (I use inverted commas as there are still two indoors and an outdoor, not to mention the walker and lungeing sapce isn't exactly non-existant and I am not bemoaninf the facilities - i know full well how spoiled I am!
But with an easily distracted horse...not always ideal,

So I worked her in the pessoa at lunch time today - and she was a superstar, she really does enjoy working - I think my biggest problem when I am riding is consistency as evidenced from my issue list above consistency is something i struggle with in my contact and position all which contributes to my horse being fussy - can't say i blame her really!
She is just too inteligent for my good!

Weather was glorious here today, not exactly sunbathing weather as come on it's still winter! But with blue skies and the geese flying in their V overhead as i brought K and O out to their field for the afternoon I was hard pushed to make my way back to the office for the afternoon!
Weather was just so nice i wanted to spend the day pootling!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Just had to share

These two images made me laugh so had to share them - I claim no copyright, so please don't sue me!

Hopefully those are legible and I don't get into trouble for using them!

I also have to share the following words of wisdom offered to me by C, who has been thanklessly helpful in keeping me on track and motivated (her and everyone who reads this blog/ my updates and offers comments and criticisms alike - everything helps!)

This is all part of the learning curve and this too shall pass. Training works as follows:
1. Your attention is drawn to a problem
2. You attempt to correct that problem
3. Someone that knows more than you do tells/shows you how to correct the problem
4. You attempt to correct the problem a second time, realizing how much you got it wrong in number 2 and realizing how difficult it is to do.
5. You look for a way to cheat (on purpose or not).
6. Someone draws your attention to the fact that you are "cheating" and you change the way you tackle the problem.
7. You solve the problem and feel comfy.
8. A new problem appears and you start from number 1 again.

I love the breakdown, although it does make me question my sanity in attempting to tackle those steps rofl! Especially after seeing them laid out in black & white like that!

I have found lungeing an invaluable tool since moving out here, I didn't do much of it when I was in Ireland as (1) I had more time to ride her and (2) we weren't doing the same work we are doing now days (read:rather we attempt to do now days). I find 20-25mins of good work on the lunge better than 45mins not concentrating/fighting with me on her back...may be the chickens way out but it works for me!
She had a wonderful session with the pessoa on Saturday evening, L was lunging at the same time as me and suggested we shorten the lines of the pessoa as K was naturally carrying herself better after the work we had been doing.
Kika's work ethic on the lunge line, whether in the pessoa or not gives me hope that all is not lost and that she does enjoy her work when she knows what is being asked of to hone my skills and learn to be more clear with my instructions and hopefully we'll be laughing then!

Work has been a bit mental this week, we're down a member of staff due to medical issues and a lot of the work she usually does has come my way. While not complicated it is a lot more time consuming and requires considerably more concentration than what I am used to doing so by the time i leave the office at 5.30 of an evening I am wrecked!
I don't think it's fair of me to expect Kika to give me 100% if i cannot do the same for her in return, so when I'm not all there I don't ride.

Thankfully we managed to sort out a battery for the fencing and now have electricity going around the entrance and where Kika was making her escape from the field. We also got our hands on a couple bales of hay, so the ladies now have something to chow on and keep them out of mischief...although in saying that the muppet still managed to get at the area where we are storing abovemnetioned hay!
Not suprising really you'd think I would know better than to leave it within her sight and to not have electricity guarding own doing really i guess!

So basically Kika is back being turned out again during the day, so i feel considerably less guilty about not having sat on her since Monday week! She spun in the walker for a bit last night and this evening I plan on lungeing her over poles as we haven't done that for a while and Wednesday is 'Jumping Day' at the barn (an external instructor comes in). They use an arena so liveries not availing of the jumping lessons (which we are not currently - may again some day) are limited in the space they have to work in. As I haven't ridden herself in a while, i prefer not to have a mahoosive audience and/or lots of activity in the arena at the same time as us, as i need to be concentrated solely on her so as not to afford her any luxury to mess and I find myself considerably less so when keeping an eye on other riders and trying to stay out of their way,

Yikes, there I go again waffling!
It's funny I always think I've nothing to report as haven't really been doing much...but when it comes to horses there is always something to say!

Friday 10 February 2012

Wow - I got an Award

I am shocked, thank you very much to Lysette @ Viva Carlos for the honour - I honestly never thought this blog would get an award as it really is just me waffling on inconsequentially about what I get up to (or lack thereof as the case is more often then not of late!)

Given to me by Lysette @ Viva Carlos
Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules: 

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award

3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.

4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

Unfortunately I do not follow many blogs!
A grand total of three in fact! But each one is thoroughly deserving of my bestowing upon them a Liebster Award! *nod*
As they brighten up my days and keep me plugging without further ado:
(a) Viva Carlos is the blog i follow most closely. Lysette and her handsome OTTB Carlos as they juggle working full time, training and competing as an Adult H/J in the States.
(b) When Sally met Harry is a favourite of mine, which although not updated for a while I am still in touch with S through other means. She illustrates wonderful Real Life events with her unique artwork which completely captures her and her horse Harry's adventures.
(c) A Fat Girl and a Fat Horse is the final blog i dip in and out of. Manda took a stance a few years ago and decided to open a froum for plus sized riders to counteract false claims and share their achievements in pride of place. Herself and her gorgeous amre Bornwyn and all the wonderful bloggers who contribute are all inspirations!

Now to potter off and fulfill step 3 of the above listed Liebster Award rules and let them know their contribution to the blogosphere is much appreciated!

Thursday 9 February 2012

Unusual Update

These are possibly getting predictable and as such the title for this one is probably well off - again no real news to update as such. Sorry!

Last weekend went well with her walking/loose lungeing after the osteo visit on friday, I was revising for an exam which took place on monday morning so the lul in her workload coincided well for me - for a change!
Monday evening I had intended to lunge for 15-20minutes in her tack to make sure Kika wasn't going to act too ridiculous after her break and touch up from the oseto, I ended up lungeing for a good 25mins as she was slow to settle to the job at hand. She has mastered the art of listening to voice changes of speed while simultaneously managing to avoid really listening - magical multi-tasker my madam is! *roll-eyes*
When she settled I hoped up, and wouldn't you know i'd forgotten my crop, so thankfully she was not in a testing mood!
We walked, trotted and even braved a couple canters, which still not of a great quality were much improved on the choppy unbalanced stuff which lead to the osteo check - so good news on that front! :-)
Her lessons were retained from L's ridden work the weekend previous and no attempts were made to pitch a fit at any stage - although that may have had something to do with the 25 minute lungeing session i had sneakily snuck in in the hopes of focussing the mind to job at hand.
I was only in the saddle for 10-15minutes as I didn't want to do much unsupervised, as i mentioned in my "Questionable Intentions" Post, I have decided to only ride supervised for a while as I felt I was only going backwards when working on my own of late - I have a nasty habit of getting caught up in my head and focussing on the bad. So i need eyes and a voice on the ground to keep me focused which in turn keeps her focused ;-)

Happy with our return to "work" I arranged with L to have her supervise us on Tuesday evening - we agreed on 8pm start time. So i went to the barn at lunch time on Tuesday to loose lunge Kika to get rid of any fizz that may have built up now that she's not getting daily turn out for the moment.
The big silly billy went to take a corner too tightly and her hind legs went from under her, now she didn't fall completely but I can imagine that she did manage to jar herself - but she kept going and worked away fine afterwards with no sign of unease or discomfort. She was not lame and had not resumed her head shaking/snaking or disunited cantering. So I assumed she was alright in herself and popped her back in the stable with a plentyful supply of hay for the afternoon.

As it turns out I ended up cancelling L for tuesday evening as the temperatures were the coldest they'd been to date (still -10 C during the day) so i figured as it was only going to get colder as the evening went on and we weren't due our lesson till 8pm, that I would be better off cancelling then freezing my backside off and then not getting anywhere. So popped back to the abrn direct from work, sorted her stable and gave her a hay top up and was home for 7pm.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the farrier came to re-shape her feet, he and I are both very happy with how she is doing without shoes so so far so good and we are more than managing without them. :)
In fact every 5 weeks I am suprised when my friend who uses the same farrier reminds me that it is almost 6 weeks since they were done...the time just flies for me now. Whereas before after 2 weeks she would start slipping on the tarmac after the nails would wear a bit on her was a nightmare!

I had a bit of a woopsy/blonde - aka: Malteaser moment (blonde dressed up as a brunnette ;-) ) when I got to the barn and found Kika's stall empty. Went up to where the farrier works thinking my friend A had been very kind and perhaps brought Kika up for me, to find that they were there alright working on her horse but no sign of Miss Kika. Said to them "sorry, I think I'm after losing my horse" and wandered off with their laughter following me - tis alright they are beginning to realise I can be a bit ditzy at times teehee.
Anyways, when i get back to her box after checking that she wasn't in the small loose lungeing arena or walker and noticed that her outdoor rug is not on her door where i typically leave it - which in itself was odd as i was no longer turning her out due to her Escapoligist endeavours last week. So went to see was O in her stable (which if she had been I'd have been rightly bamboozled) to see my buddy L at the end of the aisle lookin at me with an "angellic-butter-wouldn't-melt" look on her face.
Now knowing nothing was wrong with Kika she asks me is everything alright barely hiding her grin, to which i reply that i appear to be missing something rather large...a horse, she might have seen it...
Turns out the yard paddocks have been "opened" as the ground is frozen so she turned the two girls out there for a change as O wasn't enjoying herself so much on her own in "our" paddock - the neighbouring ponies are staying in their lean-to/shed during this cold-snap so O was pretty lonely without Kika.
L told me that K was good as gold when she let them off and no messing ensued, which is great news considering it had been a week since she'd last been out. Yippee!

So yeah, the blacksmith saw to her and the vet also called out to do her vaccines so she is now on another two day break to allow her system adjust. We also got some cream to put on the one remaining wart/sacroid after the course of injections finished last week and doesn't seem to have affected it. Thankfully those that we were able to "rubber band" in the summer have not come back so there is just the one left on the inside of a hind leg - and as such cannot be rubber banded. So i have now been given cream to apply to it, which i think will have a similar affect to burning it off - sound snasty and painful so vet has warned that some horses pay more attention to the "burning" than others and she may find it uncomfortable so behaviour may alter slightly during the course of treatment...consider me forwarned.
Potential Behaviour Alterations - Noted.

So that is how things currently stand, L is away for a few days with O for training in the North of France, a bit of a change of scenery. :) So Miss Kika is going to get her few days rest after the vaccines and then I'll do groundwork, lungeing - loose, pessoa and with poles until L get's back and can help me from the ground again as I mentioned above I want/need someone to keep me out of my own head and on the straight and narrow when attempting ridden work!

Friday 3 February 2012

Friggin Freezing

Temps have severely dropped here this week, brrrrr, it's cold!
Only saw the themometers as i went to work a few days this week, but those I saw were anything but encouraging!
Wednesday -10 C
Thursday -12 C
Friday -13 C

With a forcast for -20 C tomorrow and snow galore on Sunday. Yikes!
All in all I'm glad the osteo was out to herself today and so it's monday before we can do anything that might resemble work!

Besides freezing my backside off, what have i been up to since i last posted...well in all honesty equine-wise; not a whole pile!

New degree has taken up all my evenings and all available time at the weekends as am 2 weeks behind due to paperwork delayed trying to play catch up and not really succeeding!
Thankfully I have a yard friend who works across the street from me and goes multiple times a week during her lunch break, so i get a spin to and from the yard. Door to door service, better than i'm used to as typically it is my own feet that take me to the yard as it's only a 10min walk from my i'm not complaining really (although this week it has been a bit more of a refreshing stroll than usual - teehee).
Anyways, so I had been going on my lunch breaks to let Kika and her field buddy L's mare, O, out to the field or bringing them back in as the case may be.

Well not as of Monday/Tuesday this week when Kika decided that she no longer wanted to stay in the turnout area we have for them.
Monday i got a call from Yard Owner saying someone had passed the field that the wire was down and they couldn't see the delightful beasties!
Cue slight moment of panic from me, but thankfully i was not in work so was within 5mins of the barn as my lovely mother was also home and opted to run me up and help me search for the little darlings. Thankfully it had snowed on the Sunday night and as the two girls were in blue/navy rugs they were readily spottable against the white backdrop! Thankfully they had decided to head in the direction of home and not down for a stroll in the woods! As typically we don't leave them out with headcollars on as we don't want them getting caught in trees, panicking and hanging themselves or taking out an eye or what-not...
Caught them anyway, they were good and came up to me which i was presently suprised about as typically when Kika gets a bit of a notion about herself under such circumstances she'd normally run a mile at the sight of me...but i guess they realised it was cold and i meant the quickest route back indoors to comfy stables and hay!
So the Mammy and I fixed back up the wiring as best we could and attempted to make some natural barriers where they made their escape by dragging old christmas trees and fallen branches and anything and everything we could find to create a deterrant as we'd no electricity on the wire there wasn't much else to stop them wandering otherwise...We hadn't put current on the fence keeping them in as they both wear rugs and as such wouldn't feel electricity through them so I didn't think there was much point in "wasting" the battery - Bad Owner = me, I know...but of the same token i know my horse and when she has her winter rug on up to her ears she cannot feel current - fact from winters in Ireland  where Kika in full view of the kitchen window could frequently be seen brazenly leaning right across the electric wire to get at more hay just because there were others in her way at the hay left out for them *roll-eyes*

So that was Monday...Tuesday L and I decided to chance letting them off again but for a shorter period of time this time. They went out for an hour while L walked her two dogs and by the time she came back to bring them in Miss Kika was outside the field, happy out with herself - this time I'd left the headcollar on her just in case of such an occassion as again from past experience I knew that once she'd gotten a taste of "freedom" and found a way out she was not going to stay put for much longer. Oddly L's horse, O, did not venture out the second day - she unlike my dumbo had a healthier respect for fencing stretched infront of her.

Needless to say that Miss Kika has not been out since!

Monday I'd loose lunged her before turning her out to knock some fizz out of her so that she wouldn't go do-lally at the sight of the snow. In doing so i thought she was moving a bit oddly and not cantering smoothly - she almost looked dis-united at times and was inclined to snake her head/ neck about and not really want to motor. Distracted by the break-outs the next two days i didn't think much more of it until I lunged her on  Wednesday when she was just awful in herself. Matters were not aided at all by the fact that an army (well at least 4) farriers were at work in the grooming area outside the arena we were attempting to work in, so that in itself had madam's neck craning in their direction and stiffness in walk and trot - which she listened to the cues for but no way was she paying any attention to the canter request - she insisted on dangerous fast-terrified-looking-trot like a demon was after her. So i brought her back and worke don transitions till she settled, stopped listening to outside and was properly listening to me...although still then her canter was far from good.

Decision made, it was time to call the osteo back out to see what was going on under the hood. I had spoken to L the previous day as she'd ridden her Friday and Saturday last week and said she had a bit of a fight on her hands, particularly the first day. She was quick to insist that Kika did not stand upright as she has done to both of us in the past, however she had threatened to rear, lifted her front feet a small bit off the ground, but mostly head tossing and refusing to turn when being asked. L rightly in my opinion got off, got her on the lunge and reminded her what manners are for - hopped back up and said that she behaved well after that. The Saturday L hopped straight up again and Kika went to throw a wobbly but a reminder from the stick and she went about her business, however L still mentioned that she too found her stiff and not as maleable as usual.

Long story - not so short (as usual), osteo came out today and found a few trouble spots in Kika's neck and a vertebrae out in her back under where the saddle sits - nothing too strange or startling. Osteo reckoned she may have done it at any stage messing or getting up and down. She can be expressive when she gets up from a roll and takes off bucking and farting have a great time for herself.
This was the same osteo that had seen her for the first time in November/December and had said she needed a lot of work on her neck and along her back to muscle her up to help her carry herself better - hence our return to more frequent pessoa work (on a different setting to last year) and the introduction of pole work while lungeing and increased pole work under saddle also combined with more stretching after ridden work...all in all it would appear we were doing something right as the osteo said her neck was much improved and Kika's muscle development was after considerably improving since her first visit - Happy Days. :-)
Fingers crossed now that after the next two days of hand-walking/walker/ loose lungeing - no ridden work or lunge work. That when we get back to work on Monday I'll have a better behaving horse again and that her rearing threats were "just" her way of expressing to me that something was amiss. Doesn't mince her words my girl, nope, something's up with her and she'll let you know in no uncertain terms that she has a niggle *nod*

Will keep you posted with how we get on from here, thanks to anyone who has read this much of my waffle. Fingers crossed all goes well and that temps pick up a bit!