Eulogy for you and me

I stopped writing this blog on Aug. 13. That was when Oats was diagnosed with a tear in his mesotendon, the membrane that covers the medial tendon near the DDFT. I just had this 3-month check up yesterday, and how has it progressed?

All we can do is walk.

Good and bad. He does not need surgery, as it didn’t break loose. It, however, is HUGE. So…That’s not great. Any bad movement and it will snap ‘like a rubber band…’ according to my vet. So, yeah. I didn’t even ask about long term prognosis, it didn’t seem worth it.

No turnout- ever again. 😦

I can start trot rehab with him, for the next 2-3 months (what the vet calls actually rehab. My other work with him, every single goddamned day, was merely recovery. Hah.) Shoot me.

Goodbye forever jumping

Oats at least has been the ideal rehab candidate. Not stupid in the arena, basically turned into a chubby, lazy slug. I can appreciate that greatly, given he had a few major freakouts over the past three, going on four, months. I will take lazy! He thinks he is retired now.

I will do the trot rehab, with my rehab partner who handles Fridays for me (a steal at $30/day!), and then we have another re-check before he will be allowed to canter. That takes us to 7 months of this effing journey. Yay.

I have been out at the barn every single day since Aug. 6 to help Oats with his recovery (except for Fridays starting mid-Sept, phew). It’s a lot. I have not felt happy, contented in months. I don’t have great sense of humour anymore. I cringe at the touch from another person. I just wish I could get out of it.

After this saga, I was saying I either want 3 horses, or no horses. How much pain are you willing to deal with? I don’t know anymore, but I guess a lot.

BC Day Adventures on horseback

So I have a friend who is big into trail riding- she has a great trail horse, and all the fun gear like a speaker that hangs on the breastplate of her saddle, and a TRAILER! I am a self confessed trail riding chicken with my own horse. Other trail horses, no prob. Trail ride on Oats? Ughhhhhh…no.

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However, since our other friend has a horse that is recovering from a torn ligament and will likely be off for a year (god, now that is another bad story entirely 😦 ) Our trail friend had nobody to ride with, and so I gathered up my courage and said I would ride on the trails with her. And so, a plan was made!

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We went up to Glenora on Sunday, to the Cowichan Valley Trail that is basically a section of the Trans Canada Trail. There are a few trail options at the trailhead there, but we took the most basic one- straight ahead 🙂 It is very horse-friendly, with lots of parking, two small paddocks, hitching posts, water and a manure pile.

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I asked my husband to come as our lead rider on his bike! We were honestly not at all sure how Oats would be on the trail, so we thought it would be safest to have a hand on the ground just in case the horses got nutty.

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They didn’t though! Good as gold! I was really impressed and surprised. Oats can get silly waiting- he tries to rear, or go in circles, but otherwise he was as cool as a cucumber. From the minute I got on, he was just chill. He is NEVER like that at home on the trails, so I was pretty surprised.

We even got to the trestle and the horses were like no big deal?? Even my dog is afraid of bridges (but she is a huge wimp, sooo…).

We chatted, rode, had snacks and water from Katie’s saddlebags and I even rode up behind Ian to grab a Clif bar out of his backpack while he was cycling. I never thought I would be able to do that?! It was so fun, and just a really chill day.

Rocky (Katie’s dog) was also really well behaved too. The trail was busy, lots of cyclists, runners, dogs, but the horses and everyone kept it together and I was appreciative of how respectful and careful the cyclists and other trail users were. Yes! Plus it was great of Ian to come and ride his bike, because then he could pick berries for us- there were thimbleberries, wild blackberries and huckleberries. Yummy!

What a great day.

Heavyweight Champion of the Year

Jump lesson~! Now, it had been a good few weeks since I jumped (holidays, missed lessons, Oats had an abscess) so I was ready for a good one and it did NOT disappoint! 😉

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Whee! So cute

We are still in the indoor- the outdoor is…a mess and I am not sure when it will be back in action. As of yesterday it was still too deep! But we had some fun new jumps, so I enjoyed experimenting with those for sure.

We warmed up pretty well, it was feeling like a hot day and even though my lesson is pretty early- 10am, and I am warming up by 9:40, it felt quite warm and I was still recovering from a terrible sinus headache that plagued me ALL day on Friday. So my head felt like a balloon…But Oaty was great!

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Ha, I never ride in the arena anymore….Fields for life! 

We worked over a small course, smoothing things out. The circle jumps went really well for the first few times and then by the last course, I was tired and definitely not on my game. HOWEVER because I have a bad habit of bailing out when I get tired or to my third round, I just felt like, who cares? I will keep doing it! Keep trying! And it was fine- we did grind to a stop in the final fence, but I take credit for that mistake..I kind of stopped riding. We re-approached and bingo! It was excellent.

Love the summer weather for sure- just wish the pandemic/work wasn’t so insane as per usual this summer… 😦

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! 🙂

So easy to root for

So I know I grouched mightily about how miserable my ‘summer’ has been but you know what, I finally have something fun to talk about!!

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My dear pony is sound again, so I took Monday off work to join a few friends for a beach ride!! I had this idea last week, when I was moping around because Oats was lame with an abscess…I just was DYING to do something fun with him, you know??

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Fortunately it resolved by Wednesday, I rode on Tuesday and I was able to have my jump lesson on Saturday even! And then on Monday it was the big ride 🙂 Even better, the weather finally cooperated and it was sunny for once. We actually had a pretty lousy weekend for sun- 16 deg and raining for pretty much all of Saturday, which was great (NOT) because I had invited friends over for a small patio party…That turned out to be indoors wearing jeans and sweaters because it is so cold here now!

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Oats trying to exit stage left… 

And then finally Monday was nice! So we did it!

And the horses were pretty well behaved too, considering how busy the beach was. Boats, trucks, RV’s tents, beach umbrellas, kids, babies, toys, dogs, bikes, kites, beach blankets…You name it, it was there and flapping around!

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Luckily the horses were very well behaved about all of it and we had a nice time 🙂

It just felt SO GOOD to be able to go and DO something with my horse since it’s been such a lame and boring summer, with the occasional absolute disaster.

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.

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?

 

 

 

You, Forever

So I alluded briefly to this, but damn the weekend really went sideways. I was working/on call Saturday, so I had Monday off as my weekend. Sounds good, right?

WRONG.

I had a poor ride on Sunday- it felt crummy, and 100% my fault- so I was looking forward to meeting with my equine counselor to review my issues on Monday and I had the luxury of time! What a good opportunity, right?

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Oats decides to eat his hay (we don’t keep halters on in their homes, I just wanted to see if he would eat after I hand-grazed him).

HAaaaaa.

I woke up to about 10 text messages from the morning feeder, who said Oats didn’t eat any of his night time hay, wasn’t eating his morning hay, was sulking at the back of his paddock and refused to get turned out.

Instantly alarm bells were ringing in my brain. Colic? What is going on? Oats’ friend Donato had a big bout of colic on Tuesday last week (and then I learned ANOTHER round of it on Sunday which is quite rare and frightening). Shit shit shit shit shit!!

So I called the vet, they said to go out and take his temp, see how it is and let them know.

I rushed out, tossed on jeans and a tshirt and raced out to the barn. Oats looked fine, his temperature was normal-to-low, and yep all of his hay was still there. The vet asked me to hand graze, and he was very eager to eat grass. So the next step was to shake out the hay bags and see if it was the hay, or if it looked different, would he eat it? Yep! He started eating it.

So WTF? They just said check on him, see how he is throughout the day. So I left, ran some errands (and yeah just went nuts at Greenhawk and bought a bunch of stuff…a new helmet, gloves, a replacement fly mask and SWAT for his poor swollen sheath).

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My stress buying stuff. June has been just so crappy. To be fair, I did need a new helmet for safety.

I went back to the barn to apply the SWAT and Oats was back to eating his hay like nothing had happened. Weird. I left a note on the board saying to not turn Oats out in the paddock he was freaking out about, and flagged it online to the stable community…And then I got the message about why, exactly, he was acting so weird.

He had gotten left out till about 8pm in the paddock. His stomach was likely sensitive to due to being out on grass for that long, and he was in a big snit about being ‘abandoned’ in the pasture the next morning too.

Soooooooo that was why. SIGH! I had to text my counselor to cancel. Just too many things going on (see below also…).

No harm no foul, but sheesh I almost had heart failure after my friend’s TWO colic episodes last week…On a hair trigger.

OH and the best part? My hot water heater also died this weekend, so we enjoyed some cold showers and then it got replaced yesterday, a cool 4 hours of that happening and we got to kiss about $2k goodbyeeeeeeeee…FML.

And when I took my dog to the beach, there was a naked guy swimming. UGH.

I hate weekends sometimes. Jesus GOD.

 

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).