Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spyder's Checkup

On October 8, which would be 2 months since the initial diagnosis and 5 months from the suspected injury, we went back to New Bolton. I was worried about the news I would get because I haven't seen Spyder do more than walk, and his lameness isn't apparent in that gait. I was both excited and nervous to see him trot, but he was so much better than the first time around, even to the left. There was no head bobbing, but he was still having trouble bringing that leg up to speed. Sure, it was better than last time, but it was still apparent.The discharge papers say, "A mild, less than 1 out of 5 degree, right front lameness is evident most pronounced when circling to the left. This is significantly improved from his last visit."

On to the ultrasound. They were already happy with the lameness exam and seeing that most of the fluid dissipated. It was a quick move to get the ultrasound completed because they knew exactly what to look for when poking around. More good news! It looked like there were fiber patterns in the previous areas that were torn. They were black spaces the first time with no fibers seen, and now,  the area was turning gray because of the rebuilding. Whoo! The old injury which I forgot to talk about before (because I forgot what it was) remained the same. It says, "The old superficial digital flexor lesion is unchanged." Hmm, wonder if he had that before I got him or if that was part of this same injury

Now what?  We're still hand walking and waiting for more fibers to regrow. The progress is headed in the right direction so we'll go back once we get up to 45 minutes of walk. The suggestion is another 2-3 months. If that appointment brings more good news, some of the walk will turn into trot and we'll go from there. I can get on him to do the exercise, but for now, we're keeping it on the ground to work on his manners. I'm glad it's been good news and hope for even better news next visit.

I did have a lesson that went over heels again, and I did a full jump course which was a blast. There was a lot of cantering and sinking into my heels as well as two-point... and even an attempt at posting the canter. Yes, it seems impossible, and I did try, but I failed. I'll talk about that and my ride this coming weekend next post.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Get Your Heels Down

I had another lesson a few weeks back on a much different horse/pony (? he's kind of in between). He was hard to get moving and you had to push, push push, but he was a DREAM for cantering once you got him going. Perfect for getting my damn heels down, right? I did a lot of of going around in two-point and a lot of sitting back in the saddle as far as possible and stepping into my heel for so many strides at a time. 5 steps of trot in the left heel, 5 steps of trot in the right heel and feeling them bounce and take impact vs. lock and be a swinging mess. I did the same at the canter and man did I feel the burn. It was a GREAT change to fix my heels, and I'm a bit confused how the left is worse now instead of the right, but either way, they both need help.

I kept my stirrups long since I was getting used to my dressage saddle and the endurance one, but they had to go up after the first jump I did. Yeah, those damn heels. I also had to work on my thumbs. Thumbs on top? Ha, yeah right. My thumbs always turn in towards each other and look bad. I had to trot and canter around with a crop in my hands to keep them straight. Funny thing is that the crop kept getting more and more vertical as I went. Sure it kept my hands together and my thumbs closed, but both of my hands would turn together, and I'd be reminded to keep the crop horizontal. If only I had a horse to practice this on more than once or twice a week and sometimes a month.

Little arab
I didn't just throw what I learned here away, rather, I used it when riding the arab that weekend following the lesson of good habit creation. Riding on trails is obviously a lot more lenient than the ring, but your heels should always be down for those moments when you might die (aka fall out of the saddle into sand - ha). The owner of the arab realized I was really working on my heels, posture, and balance. He let me know that I was a lot more balanced in the saddle and looked great compared to prior ride. Thinking about what I learned was just something I needed to be told because it wasn't coming to my mind on my own. Sure, I knew it, but I never tried to fix it. Soon, it will become second nature again. We did like 10-15 miles in a few hours with some controlled canter for a change. There was one episode, but we didn't get the scoot. He was falling into the bit and getting sloppy in the sand and had a nice trip, but problem solved - heels were down!

Campsite on the lake.
I didn't ride the arab the first weekend in October because I was camping with my friends in a state park nearby, but he was ridden for me to keep him in work. I am not riding him this weekend because the owner is away, but next weekend, we're riding both days because the 25 mile CTR is the following weekend - 25th!! We're going to go over the pattern that you need to do for vetting and hook up a heart rate monitor so I know how the horse is. Next post, I will talk about Spyder and his follow-up appointment as well as my last lesson which was the day after his ultrasound. Trying to keep up to speed, but all of the hand walking keeps me busy.

Spyder looks like a slob - no muscle and ungroomed everything
Fall is starting to come to the farm