Not much happened yesterday. I took Amber out for her walk/trot lunge and she was….very strange to say the least. Especially after she looked so promising Sunday. Her walk looked okay, but when she got to the jog she just looked really discombobulated. Very off on rhythm. She extended to a good trot for a bit, looked okay and then went back to looking weird. She was excited and cantered a bit, still seeming to have an outward bend. So I massaged her out a little, aaaaaaaaannnnnd it looked worse. So I stretched her legs under her, and she held her right hind really funky for a bit before she properly stretched. She looked a teensy bit better afterwards, but still moving weird and not wanting to put that right hind under her at all.
I contacted the vet/chiro that looked at her, asking some questions and seeing whether she needs to come back. I’m wondering if her muscles are just so so so so tight and stuck if she’s had this problem for a while and I haven’t caught it. Her muscles do look blobby instead of sleek in her butt, and since my shoulder issues I just don’t have the arm/body strength anymore to really try dig deep into her muscles. Maybe I should work on that today….
Even her healing from her knee surgery and suspensory didn’t feel this unknown and stressful, because dammit I want the bloody horse happy and body sound. Maybe I’m being way too overprotective mom. But I definitely think there’s something (probably a lot) going on back there that could very well be translating to why she’s still occasionally tripping on her right front. Definitely freaking out on the inside.
Maybe I just need to stretch her every day and massage her every other day for a month now. I dunno. I just wish she could speak and tell me what’s going on. But alas. Well, Amber’s been really good and sound for a while, so perhaps this is my year for horse trouble.
Many places had great sales this weekend for 4th of July. I was hoping RW was having a sale, but alas, not so. Either way, I still feel like I made out like a bandit.
So although Amber and I haven’t gone anywhere near dressaging yet (or jumping really, for that matter), I still found a few perfect things. Our local tack shop was having a 4th sale, and I’d been eyeing a few things in the store. Their sale was 15% regardless, 25% over $100 and 30% over $250. So of course I took advantage of that deal and bought a sparkle dressage pad (the plain patch I intend to DIY with our barn colors), a white Ogilvy with navy piping, and a dressage show shirt. The cool thing? The white, RJ Classics gulf breeches I wanted had been in the store only days before, so while I don’t have the breeches now, they’re on the truck back to Vegas AND since I got the 30% discount, the breeches were technically free. Can’t beat that!
Friday night we visited with a family that still are good friends of ours from our time in Hawaii. It was really great to be able to catch up with them. And of course, the food was awesome.
Come Saturday my mom and I had our first official ride at home. It was great to have such space for the both of us to ride, and I know the horses really enjoyed it as well. My favorite part was us going out through the empty lots around us. We used to do it all the time, and just hadn’t been able to at the other place. There was an area where a heavy truck had made some pretty big divots and Amber looked down into it, paused to sniff it then took me excitedly over. Once out, it felt like she was looking for something else to tackle, and I have to admit it made me feel a bit giddy. Perhaps she really will like cross country.
But the ride was very beneficial in that with a nice, flat surface and plenty of room to ride I felt that she was still not-right. Her hip felt really turned in to the right, and she would stick it out to the left. I played around and did some lateral steps, and it was a total failure to the left. So, it gave me some really good info to take to the chiropractor/acupuncturist Sunday.
Turns out, Amber’s hip was twisted. It makes total sense, and I think it happened about 3-4 months ago when she popped up off one day. I’d massage her and she’d seem to feel better, but if it were her pelvis, then that explains why it’s persisted. The lady did more manipulation than the typical abrupt creek-crack-snap I think of when I hear the word chiropractor, which was fine with me. I’d rather it be a manipulation anyway. She also got out some large knots on the right side of Amber’s neck and manipulated her bones near her poll. I couldn’t capture the look on Amber’s face in time but the look in her eye was so funny as she was wondering whether or not she liked it. Ultimately, she definitely liked it:
It was a quick, short session, and she might need one next week, but I am completely fine with that. I could already see a difference in her after those quick, minor adjustments. No riding until Tuesday, just some hand walking and a little jogging, but anything to make sure she feels 100% percent again. It was cute though because after a quick “Oh!” from the lady, I asked if everything was okay and she just laughed and asked if Amber had had work done before. I explained I massaged her, and she laughed again and said “She knew just what to do; threw all her weight into me and surprised me!” It was a very nice appointment, and Amber looked so much better after. Per the chiropractor’s instructions I hand walked Amber later, and although she was still a little short on that hind leg, she was showing a string of really good steps where she’d reach like she used to.
Most of the afternoon was spent making Amber’s stall larger. We had 2 extra panels so why not? Amber now has a 24×24 run outside of her stall, and I think she really likes it. She already rolled twice, so I think it gets her approval.
I was really glad I could snatch that Ogilvy half pad with a sale. I’ve wanted to try it ever since Amber was noticeably more comfortable when I first tried the foam ECP pad. I couldn’t feel much of a difference when I used the Ogilvy Saturday, but I think that was due to the twisted hip. I’ll play around with both the Ogilvy and the Thinline.
I also was able to grab the anti-fungal line and a no-itch shampoo from Teddy’s Tack Trunk with their 4th of July sales code. I’m liking all this sale hunting….
What about you guys? What sales did you nab? What did you do with your horses this weekend?
So almost a week ago (was it really only Saturday that the ponies moved?!) I was perfectly content. Content with what my plans were for the next six months, content that perhaps I won’t have a dressage lesson until very late in the fall (probably winter), content that I probably wouldn’t get to jump until late August or maybe September.
After Sunday’s cavaletti work, a few things became clear to me: I want to start educating her to a little more jumping now that we have a new arena, and that it is going to be very difficult to dressage in a not-dressage saddle.
For the first one, while my position needs a lot of work, and Amber and I need to work on more lean muscle for her than sprint muscle, she just might be ready to begin introductions to slightly higher crossrails. She judged the majority of the grids very well. But I think the height for them at the trot and that she needed to stay trotting coupled with that fact that she’s also just not that tall was tough for her. But considering how willing and focused and content she felt at the cavaletti clinic, I think we’re both ready for the next steps in learning and developing and growing, and that something she can jump over will be easier.
I also realized that since I’ve really never dressaged in my life (though I’m used to longer stirrups and deeper seats from western) I am going to have to fight myself a lot if I try to dressage in a jump saddle. Not that it couldn’t be done, but since I’ve never learned to ride dressage, I think I’ll get very muddled if I try it in my jump saddle. It’s really what kick-started my search for a dressage saddle as well as reworking some goals I’d made.
About a month ago, I had a big working cow horse goal. There’s a new show – only 2 or 3 years old now – that is specifically for the colts that were trained and sold through CSU’s Legend of Ranching program. The goal was I’d enter Amber in the maturity class in reining and working cow for perhaps a little money, and to get in touch with the people who sold her back to me as well as have a good look at colts going through the sale that year.
But CSU is 12 hours away. And the show wouldn’t be until the end of April 2018. And I’m really excited about eventing right now. I originally thought to do all the western now because then we could focus on eventing with those goals out of the way, but what if we only do eventing for 3 years? I can absolutely go back to western and start more cow work and plan to go to the maturity show when she’s 10. And I actually like that idea better. If she can’t do it for more than a few years, now we’ll have a different plan and set of shows to go to so I’m not sitting there after eventing thinking “now what?”
So, now I’ve been reworking my goals. Which is actually really really strange for me. I absolutely hate writing goals down because it makes them feel so….permanent. Like if you don’t do them you’re a failure. But I’ve been really trying to change the way I think about them, like they’re more reminders of what you’re working towards. Which is how most people probably view them but I look at them and sometimes it feels like MUST DO THEM OR YOU FAIL AT LIFE.
Goals are why I hate those work questions of “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And I try to Adult and be diplomatic and not say, “Who the hell knows, because I sure don’t. I could tell you what I’ll do with my horse in 5 years, but for myself? No idea. I just want to make enough to support my addiction.” Which, you know, that’ll never fly. Soooo….
I’ve made attainable goals for myself to help the “look where you’re going” instead of “this is mandatory” to hopefully complete by the end of the year:
This is quite a tall order for me, but I’m going to take it one day at a time. These all seem pretty attainable to me, and even if life gets in the way and one or two of these don’t happen, that’s fine. I’m thinking the things that might not happen are the shows because of life and money, but I’m actually kind of excited about this. We’ll see how it all goes.
I know I posted about my show clothes just recently, but we all know how that can change. And mine has. Not for my jump or western saddle though – keeping those without a doubt. But I had originally mentioned that I wanted to get a Bates Isabell saddle used.
Not a bad looking saddle right? And I loved the fact it had an adjustable gullet – it was my main reason for looking at it. You know, in case Amber ends up loathing eventing or we can only do it a few years so I buy another horse….. That way it’ll fit both. The CAIR concept was interesting, and I really liked the aspects that the stirrup bar rolled back so you can more easily get your leathers on the saddle, and the thigh blocks were velcroed – so if you have hip issues like I do and dressage is difficult, you could move the blocks to better accommodate your leg.
Also, the second main reason – it came in brown.
It’s a wee bit lighter than I’d prefer in brown, but with a bit of oil or conditioning, I’m sure it’d darken nicely. The Isabell is the more expensive model (go figure) but as I was browsing the used ones I liked, they were still a bit higher than I was expecting. So I puttered around, found some absolutely GORGEOUS Devoucoux saddles like this one
and this one (my personal fav)
and it got me thinking. Even used these Devoucoux saddles were not doable, but I was surprised that there were more than a few brown ones. So just as a curiosity I looked up some Prestige saddles. Because I love my jump saddle, it fits Amber so well and I actually know her size – no need to get saddle fitters and tons of demo saddles, and we both love the latex panels. There were a few in brown, but the majority were black. The strange thing? Most were cheaper than the Bates! About half of them were in my price point, and at least 3/4 of those I really liked.
Then, I stumbled upon this beauty: it was used and had absolutely everything I was looking for. Except it was black.
And it tickled a memory in the back of my mind – both Bates dressage and a Prestige dressage saddle had been at Rolex. And I sat in both. I remember sitting in the Bates, feeling not too impressed and my hips feeling strained. Then I saw the Prestige – maybe even this model – and I knew I shouldn’t sit in it, but I did. It was bliss. My ass had spoken. Plus, it didn’t seem to hurt my hips. And the super less stressful part – I already know all the specs I need to make a used Prestige saddle work for Amber. As much as I love love love that chocolate Devoucoux, thinking about figuring out just how wide I’d need it, and if their wide was similar to Prestige’s wide, or what seat size I am, and needing a trial for it since I’ve never even sat in a Devoucoux just made my head hurt. I’ve resigned myself that when it comes to saddles I’ll probably have to order new – for the brown factor as well as that Amber doesn’t have a difficult back in terms of odd fit – she’s just wide as hell.
Yeah, she wears a 36 cm tree in Prestige. If I am correct the widest they make saddles is 37. That is one wide horse. But that used saddle gave me hope since everything was perfect on it except that it was black. Maybe I could find a used one even though I have such a tall order.
So, I reached out to a good friend of mine who not only works at a tack shop that carries Prestige but has a Prestige jump and dressage saddle for her OTTB. She was super generous to offer to reach out to her contacts to see if they had anything in my specs. I’ll still be obsessively perusing sale sites, but I’m kind of excited. I’ll probably have to settle for black, but at this point, I’m finding myself not really minding. I mean, it means more tack and other matchy-matchy things, right? And honestly, that Prestige is a hell of a lot prettier than the Bates. Just sayin.
So, the Great Saddle Hunt has officially begun.
Maybe I should start calling these Review Wednesdays or something because for some reason I seem to have posted a lot of reviews on Wednesdays. All except two of my reviews were posted on a Wednesday. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a life on Tuesdays? Yeah, that’s probably it. Although I don’t have a social life pretty much all the other days either…. but on to the review.
I bought these basic brushing boots sometime in 2016. Probably around October or November. I’ve used them and used them hard, and so far, I really like them.
My favorite thing about these is the gel insert in the middle panel on the inside of the boot. This way if a horse knocks his leg with his foot, the gel absorbs the majority of the impact. This way, your horse’s ligaments and tendons and cannon bones stay safe. So far these have remained very breathable and they clean up well.
I also really enjoy their price point. At only $20 for a pair – and I got mine for $16 a pair on sale – they really feel like a steal. The picture above was taken after a ride, and since I do not close my boots tightly, they did slip down a little. Both pairs are size medium. The medium is a little big on her front legs, but I think the medium fits her hind legs very well. Unfortunately, I don’t think the boots come in small – just medium and large.
The four Velcro straps are a little tedious, but it doesn’t really bother me. I find that these are my go-to boots when I’m having a taxing ride or lunging the horses when they haven’t been out for a few days. Whisper is prone to knocking herself when she gets excited while lunging, so these are a staple for all 4 legs when I lunge her. Amber is pretty smart about her legs but when she’s in a playful mood when we lunge it’s either all four feet or the back ones.
For most everyday things, I really like using these boots. You do need to be careful with how tight you fasten them because there isn’t any elastic in the Velcro straps. They’ve held up well to my abuse and the Vegas red dirt, and while the white will never stay truly white unless you probably wash them with bleach, I think they’re a great boot for the price.
There’s no real “magic” to them, but I like these better than the Pro Choice SMB boots as well as many other splint boots. I think that gel insert provides a lot better protection against cold splints and potential soft tissue injuries. For me, it’s a great deal!
Yesterday was a long work day, but the best part about it was that I knew I could hop on Amber shortly after I got home. It’s what kept me going the whole day. It ended up being so gusty by the time I got home that we had to close the south and west doors, but I decided to saddle her up anyway.
I just wanted a short hack, something to get her muscles moving but nice and simple after such a good work the previous day. Plus at the other place she wouldn’t have been rideable at all, so I also wanted to give her a quick but confidence building ride. Before we used to ride in wind like this all the time, but those trees and being unable to see has really made her wary so it was a good way to see how she’d do (which she’s always fine in an open space so I dunno why I’m so determined to think she’ll lose her marbles). And riding gives me the happy feels so we rode.
It was a short, slow walk, trot and canter a little bit session. She was just a teensy bit jumpy in the beginning, and though she kept looking outside of the arena, she felt much more relaxed even when the big gusts came. We practiced a teensy bit of canter, some jogging and some loose rein trotting. We worked on a couple lateral steps, though those really weren’t very good it gave her something to think about. Plus I realized I didn’t have spurs. Those would have helped enormously for the few lateral steps but whatever. Good chill ride.
Then of course it was time to be photogenic.
So far she’s settling really well. She doesn’t care about the huge trains that come close by – it helps that there’s no cross streets so the trains never really blow their whistle. Plus we’re pretty sure we’re close to a depot, because trains coming in are pretty slow as are the trains going out. All in all you hardly notice them.
It is wonderful to be able to monitor her hay, to do her water myself and to fluff up her stall whenever I damn well please. I really missed being able to do that with her. Now that she sees me a lot she’s less inclined to maul me for scratches, but now she mauls me for treats. It’s really my fault. I just see her and she looks so cute and I just say “Oh here have a cookie” and give her a treat. Plus, while she loved the butterscotch treats I gave her, I bought the Purina apple flavored, bean shaped treats and I think she’s in love. And that weirdo bites them in half. Yep.
But even with the small ride yesterday, it is awesome to just take her out, the arena is maybe 15-20 steps away from the barn, we ride, untack, and in the house I go. It is so nice to have her right there again. It really works for us because we don’t ever go anywhere, but we do have a few good friends who would be more than willing to help out if we needed.
Amber loves being able to see. Most of the time she is either inside in the shade and looking outside or outside and gazing at the warehouses across the tracks or whatever is to the south of her. Whisper took a long time to settle. We were quite worried about her for the weekend, but thankfully it looked like by yesterday evening she was finally starting to really settle. We think she got a little herdy so it’s just going to take time with her having her own side to accept being alone again.
Otherwise, I’m loving having them in the back. I go out there just to stare at her sometimes or stalk her through the windows. Poor Amber probably thinks I’m super weird.
I actually found an acupuncture, chiropractic vet in town! I know her from our club, and I really trust her opinion so I’m very excited and pleased to find someone that I know is very knowledgeable and that I trust. She’s going to come Sunday to take a look at Amber and hopefully get in an acupuncture session. Amber’s not really off per say, but now that we’re on flatter surfaces again I wonder if her SI may just be really tight because I can’t seem to massage it out. Her right hind is still short sometimes, but especially now that her right knee feels better her shoulder muscles are developing better on that side as well. And relaxing those developing muscles never hurts. It’s more preventative and to help her feel better, but that’s always the best way, yeah?
Whoever said “how do you make a small fortune in horses? Start out with a large fortune” had it right. But I certainly didn’t start out with a large fund, so….yay for broke horse owners.
Okay, had to get that out for you guys. They’ve been at home since Saturday morning. But more on that later. Also, be prepared for a photo dump because I was able to get tons of media this weekend.
As a weekend recap we’ll start by saying Thursday was a late night and it did not set me up for success on Friday. I even dreamed that I was crying trying to shut off my alarm, before waking up and realizing that was why I was dreaming about alarms. Unfortunately, I also work the front desk. I need to be polite and personable and people for some reason lose their shit when I have a day when I want to go be alone and not talk to or see anyone for the whole day. Which honestly is most days, but I am always pleasant on an early day because I can see and ride my pony after work. But whatever, I digress. I’m not a morning person, I’m not a “let’s hang with people all day” person and I’m not a “let’s always do stuff together in the evenings” type of person, but I’m a generally happy person. Which could be why they freak out, but seriously guys, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not that I don’t get angry and grumpy and upset and pissy about things, I just usually do that around good friends and I try not to bring that to work. However, I got pretty pissed Friday because freaking adults can’t act like responsible adults.
So enter retail therapy FTW.
Those of us bloggers and readers who follow Amanda Chance know she has told us about her sock collection numerous times, and as I reading an older post of hers, there they were popping up again. So “FINE I’LL GO LOOK AT THEM” and it promptly turned into one of the best parts of my day. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want socks like these?
Or these awesome ones?
Or what about this one that totally pertains to me?
You can buy them here for $10; a little pricey for socks probably but hell I love them already and I don’t even have them yet. Pretty sure I just spent about $100 on socks. I mean, I do actually need new socks, so this was totally justified. Because these had me in stitches. Absolutely made my day so much better. So really, I needed these.
The other best part was my mom texting me that she called our final inspector, and he answered that it was okay if we bring the horses early! Because of paperwork needing to go to 3 different departments, and the county is never fast with these things, I was completely resigned to have to wait until the 28th, maybe even the 1st of July before we could move them. It was so nice to be surprised! So it worked out that we’d already put mats down, smoothed out the sand, and I had a desire to grab some hay from our local shop Thursday evening. I mean, why not be prepared? Good thing I was, because usually I’m a procrastinate-till-the-last-second type of person.
So after work I met my mom at another local shop and grabbed shavings and a few other odds and ends we needed. Saturday we gave them a quick bath since we’ve got a bit of work to do before our wash area will be usable, said goodbye to our good friends and headed home.
We lunged them in the new arena and they absolutely loved it. It took a bit for Amber to settle in, and she was especially temperamental when we took Whisper away to lunge her. Even though she can see her it was horrible if they weren’t across from each other. Horse logic I suppose? Whisper was fine at first, then something kind of startled her and she didn’t settle for the rest of the day.
My mom agreed to go with me to photograph the clinic. I got the videos from my lesson, but the resolution is all messed up so it’s this blob of blur happening and you really can’t see anything. My phone takes awesome res photos, so I was happy to have her there to take plenty of pics so I could see all that needs work.
It was a really good clinic. There was only one other person there since the others had to reschedule for various reasons, but 3 of Instructor’s students were there as well, so it was a really good time of feedback, encouragement and horsemanship. The grids were a lot more challenging this time, and it really had us working. Instructor also incorporated many different body positions to help improve balance and to give us even more of a challenge.
Amber was a charm. Considering the move just a day prior, I was a little nervous that she’d be distracted since I hadn’t ridden her since Monday, but from the moment I hopped on she was extremely rideable and ready to work. She definitely remembered from last time, but still had to knock the poles a few times before she realized they had height difference and she had to be a little more focused and judge them better. Overall though she was fantastic. Although I haven’t gotten to ride her this past week, we felt more in sync than we did at the last clinic. It’s weird because while there weren’t as many ah-ha moments like the last time and though we felt more connected, we were a little more wobbly on some things but it felt good. You know what I mean?
She misjudged a few of the cavaletti a few times, especially the fan one. When she got a little tripped up she did this tiny canter and got herself out of it. While she wasn’t supposed to canter, she was smart with her footwork so I’m actually quite proud of her for it. After those two times she had a split second to canter and totally switched up her feet mid-poles and completely worked it out. I was super proud of her for that too. At the moment, it’s little things, and I’m honestly happy that she’s being smart with her footwork and really trying and committing to going for it instead of backing off and giving up. And she so wants to please and do it right.
I’m crouched a little low – all my old hunter habits coming back as well as I’m just not body strong yet at all – and my hands and elbows and feet and everything isn’t perfect, but it’ll all come with time, work and shorter stirrups. I’m slowly putting them up since I’m currently used to western stirrup length, so it’s all a work in progress. But it still felt really good today.
It was really nice to see just how much this little girl wants to leave those poles alone. She was absolutely fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder of her with this outing. It also really showed that even with those strange days last week, we actually look a little better than last time, and for sure I feel like we did better. We had more misses, but it really drove home the good feelings when we got it right.
What also really impressed me was how honest she was even after she felt like she was nearing her limit. Twice she really tripped from not judging the height of the pole correctly, and due to my light hold on the reins she took them out of my hands, but there was no doubt she was finishing the grid. I just sat back and she got herself up then finished the grid with her ears pricked. It was a kind of “crap” moment for me, so I just sat back and didn’t do anything, but I was so proud of her for catching herself and still going. It was just really nice to know that she was so honest through it. It was a proud mom moment. Plus, she really felt like she was driving with her butt the whole ride. Most of the “pushing off of hind end and going through the back” things I’ve read have had the lower hind leg angle match the opposing forearm angle.
We weren’t in frame most of the time, but I feel that that will come in time as long as I am diligent to keep her forward and working off her butt. Although her butt really doesn’t need any more muscle….
I know, I’m probably gushing way too much and making you guys roll your eyes but I was so damn pleased with her Sunday. We even absolutely nailed two canter to trot transitions to go directly into a grid and stop. I was so proud of my baby girl.
I really had plans for the rest of the day, but I really got nothing done. There was a Get Smart marathon on, so I just sat on the couch and watched that and went to bed at 9. I know, I’m old, but I think all of us get there at one point. Today is going to be another long work day and hopefully I can hack around tonight in the new arena.