It’s not a secret unless it hurts you to keep it

Oats is lame, and this time it’s not a ‘oh just a big abscess’ sigh of relief. He is REALLY lame, and it looks serious, and it felt serious. And I also feel like I caused it.

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From this, last weekend…

He went kind of off on Thursday. I got to the barn early to set up some jumps in the field (love jumping in the field!!) and prepare for my Thursday lesson, which is my dressage lesson but to keep Oats fresh and interested, we do some jumps here and there too, mixed in.

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To this, this weekend. FML. 

When I got Oats into the cross-ties, my heart sank, a bit. I saw his right hind ankle/pastern was very slightly swollen. I knew that this meant he was very likely lame, and I was right, unfortunately. I took him down to the field, hopped on, walked around to warm up and trotted…BAM. Head-bobbing lame on the right. Pretty good on the left though.

We both saw it, I definitely felt it, and I hopped off to cold hose & wrap his leg. It wasn’t that bad, the swelling and everything, so on Friday I decided to saddle him up and ride him, see if a day off made a difference (he was not turned out at all). He was ok, about 80% there so I could sense ‘some’ change but nothing that bad. We did light w/t/c and slowed to a walk, I was going to hop off and everything changed in 1 instant. He stumbled, HARD, and almost went down.

He was instantly, seriously, lame.

Game over for us. 😦

With my friend facing a recent, terrible lameness episode (that will take up to 2 years of rest/rehab) to resolve, it’s fair to say I am on an absolute hair trigger. Oats has a vet appointment on Thursday and every single day I play a miserable waiting game. This summer has been just terrible.

Argh!! Life!!

Things have actually settled a bit, but for some reason the horse ‘issues’ just seem to keep freaking rolling! In the past month, every single damned week, I am getting texts or phone calls that something has gone wrong. Fortunately most of them are pretty minor or resolved within a week or so (abscess) but DAMN can this stop happening?

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Oats drugged out of his mind last Friday for an ‘extra special cleaning’ courtesy of my friend 😉

Ha, my husband said that’s life- you get major issues every week. You are just waiting for a new thing to go wrong this week. I guess it’s true…

This week, it was Oaty’s bridle that was the victim! He has a 1 day a week leasor who takes lessons with my trainer. I got a phone call from his leasor that Oats had charged out of the cross ties when she was bridling him, and ran through his damned bridle AND was hard to catch, to boot.

EFFFFFFFF

This is NOT the first time that has happened- though it’s not really a normal thing for Oats to do, at all. This happened last summer, coincidentally while I was out on a TEAMS deployment for 8 days in Lillooet. So, two bridles busted to hell in the span of a year.

Not enough to think it’s a pattern, but still. I can’t really afford to replace bridles that much…This is number 3. I was pretty steamed. Accidents do happen, and this is random enough but..ya know?

Sheesh.

Luckily for them I have a spare bridle, so I told them to take the bit off the broken bridle, replace it in the new bridle, and use that one. Which is fine.

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A palate cleanser- cupcakes with gummy unicorns I made last week when I had a few friends visit (within our appropriate bubbles, safely!)

But damn. I’m just SO OVER IT. Maybe leasing…Isn’t Oats’ thing.

I also had a dressage lesson (after two weeks!!) and it was pretty good, not as ‘fun’ or as ‘flashy’ as my past few, but after two weeks off, I knew I was going to have to take a big step back, ha.

So, I texted the leasor’s mother to pay for my new bridle, see what her schedule is like next week (I offered a few extra practice ride days, and obviously I offered this BEFORE they broke my second bridle….So i’m not thrilled but I also don’t want to renege on this..).

We shall see!

 

 

Mr. Oats abscess journey

So as I mentioned, I was in a real tizzy…A panic spiral the past month or so. It just felt like EVERY SINGLE WEEK there was some new drama with my horse. You name it, I had it. And I felt like I was on a hair-trigger, since my good friend’s horse has had some terrible health issues recently (two colic episodes, and he came up dead lame a day after Oats did, but it was more serious than Oats and continues to be…) 😦 Just awful.

So, in light of my friends miserable horse journey, every single week I get a panic text or call or message from the barn, I rush out and find some new disaster. Fortunately they were not serious but still. I am on a real hair trigger…And Oats came up dead lame on Canada Day, so we had to rush back from our little ‘stay-cation’ out of town but first our car died, so we had to get a jump, to get a new battery, THEN to the barn. Jesus.

So Oaty went lame, dragging a leg, very lame. No heat, no swelling. I called my vet and he suggested we check for an abscess, since it came up so suddenly with no obvious trauma or swelling. I got the farrier out that day and BINGO! She dug in and was like yep, big abscess.

So this is his foot journey for the week he was lame (THANK GOD!!!) it was only that long. Thanking my lucky stars!

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Saturday- some progress, you can see puncture spots and 1 bruise-like area I circled that was the big one!

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And this was on Sunday- I poked at the bruise spot and it was bleeding/puss a bit.

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Wed/Thur- All healed! I was able to check him on Wednesday and it healed over, and then ride on Thursday and lesson on Saturday and then BEACH on Monday! 🙂

Living with endometriosis

So yeah, I inadvertently got diagnosed (unofficially) last summer. The extreme pain got too great for me to handle and I was desperate. The fun thing about endometriosis is that you can get it at anytime, at any age apparently. Mine got triggered by having the Mirena IUD for some reason, and then it was a full-on ride to pain town for years. 😦 It does not respond to painkillers, at all. I have burned a hole in my stomach from trying to use ibuprofen with Tylenol to try to function, and it never worked.

On bad days I am vomiting in pain with extreme bloating and discomfort. I have chronic fatigue with terrible back pain with flare-up days and my stomach is in a turmoil with IBS-like symptoms. It’s miserable.

On good days I can function, I am not dizzy and incredibly fatigued, my stomach looks NORMAL and sometimes even *gasp* Good??

Sadly, even with a new medication (Visanne) that I started taking about 5 months ago, I don’t have all good days. It started off terrible- horrible periods that hemorrhaged, awful cramps, bloating, back pain, exhaustion- and then for about 2 blissful months I had nothing! It felt incredible!

And then it immediately relapsed and now I have bad weeks again. 😦 the doctor I am seeing- who is a specialist- said to hang on and it should be getting better, but so far it has NOT gotten better. My bad days aren’t as bad as they were, but they still suck a 100000% worse than those good 2 months I had.

I am starting to wonder if Visanne is enough, or I should start looking at other options, like a surgical intervention. This is a life-altering disease, and causes severe, chronic pain and discomfort. I hate living with it, and it greatly affects my personal quality of life.

The pain caused by the good fortune of others

I am feeling this right now. UGH. I can’t remember what the german word for this is, but I’m sure they have a good one…

And honestly? I can’t really complain much. Oats is still lame, but his abscess is definitely progressing and day by day it’s grosser and grosser… On Saturday I peeled off his poultice and saw two bloody bruise spots on his heels. Oh good! I added a new poultice and asked the farrier when I should be replacing it, given how his abscess seemed to be moving quickly- and it looked HUGE.

She said every day now, so my husband and I decided to do our mega run on Sunday Funday a run…To the barn to treat Oats. Ha. Well ok that was my idea. 😉 His idea was to add in a detour to the barn. that accidentally added on about 7km to our regular route…It was an adventure, all right! A cool 20km journey TO the barn and 12k HOME from the barn. A 32km day! hahahha

At the barn we had our snacks and I took off Oat’s old poultice to examine and clean his foot. It looked about the same at first as Saturday- photo below:

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It’s basically his entire heel. FML.

But then I started poking harder at his heel, particularly in the space between the two eruption spots- you can see a sort of dark shadow there in this photo, and WOW it is so soft and mushy, it started turning red and pussing out immediately. Yick! Also the puss was pinkish? Not yellow? Gross and weird. I wanted to keep poking it, but left it alone with a new poultice for tomorrow (today’s) gross adventure in abscess-world… OH and my rotten pony pooped on my ARM when I was treating his damned foot! ARGH.

He’s loving wearing a boot, clearly feels good with it on. That is good because it shows me that this is indeed an abscess, and NOT another type of lameness. That is the worst!! My friend who has had a very difficult spring with her horse (Oaty’s big brother Donato!) had him come up suddenly lame last week also, a mere day apart from Oats’ sudden lameness. Only Donato’s was not his hoof- it’s his check ligament that is swollen. 😦 how much bad news can 1 person get?? I feel AWFUL for her. And creepily relieved that it’s not Oats with that problem just his bad hoof.

Can we get a break over here? I miss everything.

The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

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You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

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It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

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We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! 😉

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We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

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The cliffside was really cool! 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

Jump to it!

So I had my jump lesson on Saturday (like, real jumping, not dressage jumping) and it went pretty well! We worked over a small course, and the jumps were teeny-tiny, ha. I, on the other, hand, was feeling like total crap. We had gotten rudely woken up by movers wanting us to move our car so they could get into out neighbour’s house, which is fine, but they were here before 8am!

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I want this…

I had a terrible sinus headache, staggeringly bad allergies, and felt fuzzy, muzzy and really exhausted and weak all day. Great for a riding lesson eh? My head felt like an effing balloon. I couldn’t remember a damned thing and my head/sinuses were going to explode.

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When I am doing this! How?

So yeah the lesson was fine, I just felt like absolute garbage for the entire day. I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep on the damned couch. Which I basically did as soon as I finished my lesson, ha. My allergies have taken over my damned life.

Also I am having trouble trying to get the right ‘feel’ from my Thursday lessons to translate to my jump lesson days on Saturday. I LOVE the feeling I have on Thursday, and then I get to Saturday and it feels… wimpy? I can’t get him off my leg, or get any connection. He breaks gait, slows to the fences, etc. Just not the same. How do I reconcile this?

Something to work on!

New adventure in dressage-jumping!

So we revisited the lesson from last Thursday, with a focus on ‘building’ the canter up to be a bigger, more energetic and ‘jumpy’ canter rather than a very tightly controlled ‘small’ canter.

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Some choice screengrabs 😉

Dressage with speedbumps!

I now tend to think of dressage for me as a process of going through stages. First we developed his ‘stretchy’ frame, next we bump the frame up a bit for his ‘jump’ frame and then kind of toggle through both. But you need the first one to get the second, if that makes sense?

It’s a sort of transitional phase.

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But so uphill! I love it! 

And yesterday had some very rocky moments (his right rein was not a thing, apparently) and he had 1 BIG spook that almost got me off, hahah. Stupid pony! But no matter, I enjoyed the end process and I think I am getting a better idea of how to manage his canter, both on the flat and through the jumps. Both trainers are right- his jump/my jump issues stem from a weakness in managing the canter.

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Heading to a small jump and he still looks good! 

If I’m not connected to him at the canter, how WILL I know where the takeoff spot is? I am too disconnected to know or figure it out! And I can feel that, I just didn’t know how to fix it.

This time I am happy to say he nailed every single distance, ha. We didn’t really jump (ok, they were cavaletti size, ha super small) much, but it was higher quality and the canter improved. We did get a little shakier and flat as we wrapped up, but I was able to watch the video and damn…His canter is looking FANCY. I also am reaching the point of jumping where this little stuff is…Not hard. Taking the spectre of ‘jumping’ out of jumping is working well for me.

My hands suck and I sit behind the motion, soooo ignore me. But Oats! Wow! Loving this. I also appreciate that in the 10 years I have owned him, I am still learning so much with him. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

 

 

 

Wanting things isn’t enough

Had my jump lesson this weekend, and it was a good one (before my actual weekend went to hell in a handbasket, but that’s definitely tomorrow’s rant..). We worked on a very simple exercise, focusing on almost exactly the opposite of what I did in my dressage-jump lesson, hahah!

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Enjoy some blurry screenshots! I miss riding outside in the summer…SIGH. Oh and my leg definitely slipped back here, ha. 

I intellectually understand the value of both exercises, but still feel a bit torn about which one do I follow more closely? Can I do both? I feel like Oats is good at cruising, but he’s also… just cruising, so if you want to go anywhere, you’re kind of SOL. Whereas maintaining a more ‘showjump’ seat and ride, with those sharp turns, and flexible hands, seems to get me nailing EVERY distance. What to do?

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One jump was a decent size. Old me would have laughed at it, but new me is like, WOW it is bigger? Oats didn’t care one way or the other. 

I want to be soft, forgiving and flexible. I also want an active, energetic seat that nails every single distance. How do I get both?

Oh and my ride on Sunday should have gone better but I had SO much tension and it kind of sucked. Like, it was ok but I want my hands to be softer, more forgiving even if he loses his marbles in the corner? Maybe I just need constant trainer supervision to keep me honest?!

I do want to ride better, and I think each day I can make that my opportunity. I just need to not get sucked into his drama (OH and there was drama this weekend arghh).

Oats gets a lesson in patience

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He looks so innocent.. 

I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but Oats has quickly developed into a total moron in the indoor stable cross-ties. He was ok for the farrier a few times, and then last time he was fidgety and rude, and when the farrier left, he had a total meltdown…Managed to flip himself around in the cross-ties, SAT on the garbage can and handwash stations, flinging stuff absolutely everywhere and had a giant scrape on his face, thanks to him managing to turn completely around.

Jesus!

Ok, so the next farrier appointment we had outside and he was not great either, but not terrible.

Yesterday I had the saddle fitter come out to check my saddle and put more air in it (he is the owner of the brand I have, so I have him check everything once a year). Oats was only in the cross ties for under 30 minutes, and yet….

He starts going crazy and crashing the crossties as loudly as he can and banging around and generally being an idiot. And that’s how this idiot ended up hung up on the damned ceiling, like a fish! EFF!!!

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I had to run to him, unhook the cross tie from his halter, get a CHAIR, stand on the chair and unhook the damned x-tie from the ceiling.

After that, Oats got a really good ‘come to Jesus’ lesson that involved me being puffed up, big and VERY ANGRY every time he moved backward, forwards, sideways or was being otherwise dumb. One FOOT and I came roaring in to make him regret it. (I held the broom and slammed it against the wall, floor or x-ties, he doesn’t need to be physically hit with anything for this).

We repeated that little exercise a few time, he moves, I come RUSHING in and make him regret it! I pretended to leave, and waited to see what happened. He has to learn that he stands, end of story. No dancing, no sitting down, no flinging.

In the end, he stood somewhat nicely and that was ok. He got a candy cane as a treat 🙂

And I do have a real feeling we will have to repeat this little exercise a few times to MAKE HIM GOOD IN THE XTIES AGAIN. I’m just glad there weren’t any people around..It was pretttty special.

Chriiist..He is 18 years old turning 19. And this? Still being an royal idiot.