Sunday, June 30, 2013

Liebster Blog Award!

I am back from my sisters bachelorette party!

I have been so busy, and I know I have been such a bad blogger, but I will try to be better! But, lets be honest, this time of the year is so busy for everyone! (Where did june go?)

I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award from two different blogs! Thank you both! If you don't already follow them, go check them out! One is Adventures With Shyloh, which is about a girl and her adorable haflinger that has way more attitude than I've ever seen in such a small horse! The other blog is Nuzzling Muzzles, who is a blogger that lives with her three super araby arabs, and her new quarter horse Rock! (Congrats on him!) She's really good about documenting HOW she is training her horses, so especially follow her for training tips!


HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
Here are my random facts :

1. I have always lived in California (I am the first one in my family born in california) but my heart and home is in the lowcountry.
2. I don't watch much tv, but I watch tv series on netflix and hulu on my computer in my room. 
3. I LOVE to read! I read all the time!
4. I am totally a hoarder.  And that makes me so upset! I recently went through my room and got ruthless, I threw away SO MUCH STUFF.  It's hard for me to throw away stupid things that I am sentimental about, but you can't keep everything! 
5. I am a really good baker.  My family always asks me to bake things.  However, I don't necessarily eat all the things I bake.
6. My brother in law wants me to go to culinary school.  I am a super picky eater, but he claims I have a perfect palate, since I can describe the tastes in things better than anyone he's ever met.
7. I absolutely cannot stand blueberries.  Just the smell of them will make me gag.
8. Peppermint Pony breath is like, the best smell in the world. 
9. I love to laugh.  I love funny things.  I will rewatch series of tv shows that make me laugh.  The New Girl is one of the funniest shows ever, in my opinion.
10. I get super stressed out about the amount of miles I put on my car.  I recently received a brand new car for my birthday, and with its whole thousand miles on it, I'm already stressing out with each mile that goes by.  It's a very frustrating thing. 
11. I have SUCH a tough time managing my weight.  I yoyo and it sucks!

6 Questions from Adventures with Shyloh

1. How did you get into horses?
I got into horses because me and my boyfriend took a break for a little while.  He moved up north a little, and our relationship had a little more strain.  I needed some interests of my own, and a way to be happy with myself (you can't love someone else if you can't love and be happy with yourself!) He had someone boarding horses at his property up there and it looked like fun, so I started for myself!

2. What other animals do you have?
I have three cats.  I have had 2 of them since I was four years old. They have been indoor cats their entire lives, and I love them so much.  They definitely don't seem their age.  My other cat is younger, and we rescued him probably 8 years ago or so. He's autistic.  I know you guys are thinking that cats can't be autistic, but I guarantee you that he is!

3. How do your friends/family/significant other feel about your horse obsession (because we all know, we are obsessed)?
My family is SUPER supportive of it.  Seriously, they're amazing.  My boyfriend listens to me drone on, but isn't necessarily into it like I am.  Obviously he's supportive, but I just wish he actually took lessons and learned to ride like I did/do.  I think he would like to, but doesn't know where to start and it's such an expensive hobby!

4. What is your favorite non horsey thing to do?
This is tough.  Horses ARE my hobby.  Other than that, I like to read and go to the lake, lay in the sun etc.  Does anyone else have non horsey hobbies?

5. What is the weirdest thing you ever tried to feed your horse? Did your horse like it?
I fed Pony mango, papaya and banana.  I guess none of these things are exactly crazy, but she hated the banana. It got stuck on her tongue and she freaked out.   She liked the mango but LOVED the papaya.

6. What is one thing with horses that you would like to try that you have not done?
Vaulting or trick riding.  I guess bareback riding is on the way to that, but it would be fun to learn how to do some trick riding things.  

6 Questions from Nuzzling Muzzles

1. Why do you blog?
Good one! I started a blog because I wanted to record what I find when working with my horses and share it with other people! What I didn't realize was how much I would learn from other bloggers along the way!

2. What problem do you have that keeps coming back to haunt you?
I keep having this problem of not having any career path! I need to figure out what I want to do and make it happen!

3. How do you deal with annoying people?
I try my hardest not to be mean to anyone.  But, at the same time, I find it to be REALLY important not to be two faced.  For example, if someone irritates me or annoys me, I'm not going to be mean to them, I will be kind, but at the same time, I'm not going to pretend like they're my best friend and then tell people I don't like them behind their backs.  So, if your annoying, I will be kind, but also distance myself from you.

4. Go without television or your cell phone for a week?
I think I could easier go without television for a week.  However, I think I would enjoy going out without my cell phone for a week.  It would feel liberating!

5. What do I do to relax?
See my pony of course!

6. Who is my hero and why?
My mother of course! She has been the most amazing person I have ever met.  She has done so much for her kids, and we mean the world to her.  

11 Questions that my bloggers can answer 
1. What is your biggest accomplishment with horses?
2. Do you have any hobbies apart from horses that you love?
3. What is your ultimate goal that you are working towards with your horses?
4. What is your favorite tv show?
5. What kind of music do you listen to?
6. What is your personal love story? (With a husband/boyfriend/ex? If you don't want to go that deep, with a hobby? Or more obviously, with horses?)
7. What is your favorite love story? (Movie, books, etc?)
8. What is the most important thing to you when looking at a horse boarding facility? (Obviously our horses care is the first and foremost thing.  So lets skip that one and be really picky and selfish. So basically what is your favorite thing at your barn that you couldn't live without, or the thing you most wish you had. Lighted arena? Indoor Arena? Covered tack area? Trail access?)
9. What is the most lavish thing you have ever had at a barn? Or, considering a lot of us board at something that is awesome for the horse and not so awesome for us, what do you wish you had in your wildest barn dream? (Air conditioned riders lounge? Heated tack area? Showers and lockers for riders? Couches?)
10. I think my questions have been pretty awesome, but I'm seriously running out of steam.  Did you guys like my questions?
11.  Who is your hero and why?

11 Blogs that I want to nominate!

There were a LOT of blogs that I love and read that have already been nominated and done their post! Also, I suck at the 11 theme....so what, more love to go around! Also, I didn't really check to see how many followers a lot of you have....but there again, more love to go around! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

SO busy

I have been so ridiculously busy. My sister is getting married next month, and I have barely had time to do anything between working and doing my maid of honor duties. 

Pony is unfortunately still off. The massage has helped, but not as much as I would have hoped. After not being ridden for a few days, she's back to being just as stiff as she was before.  With my trainers help, I'm going to do a flexion test on her, to make sure that there's no underlying lameness that bothers her but isn't obvious normally, I just want to rule out any other options before I get the chiropractor out. 

I know that there is something bothering her, yesterday I made it out to ride and butted her before I rode. I rode bareback (since that's what I've been doing for the past few weeks, I wanted to make sure to change as little as possible between my previous bad rides and the butted ride). And let me tell you, she was fantastic!!

She was kinda hyper and hot, but totally in a 'I feel good and haven't been worked much in a month' and not 'I'm bracy because something hurts'. 

The difference wasn't only obvious to me, it was obvious to other people around as well. Even the BO said she looked good , and he has some scary high standards. 

Also, get this, I got her framed up and collected for a whole lap around the arena at a walk. She was trying so hard to be good for me, and this tells me that this problem with her booty has been going on for a while, since I've never gotten her to give to pressure like she did yesterday. 

Can anyone think of anything that could be bothering her that doesn't show up as lameness? Something that could change her gaits/riding.

I have though of arthritis, but I honestly don't think that's it. She's 15, which is still relatively young, but also, in terms of riding, she's got pretty few miles on her. She's only been broke to ride for 7 years. 

Would arthritis show up in a flexion test? 


However, I can tell you that pony is loving her time off, she's been pampered!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Massage

So, I went out to the ranch on Thursday with the intention of giving my pony a massage. 

I put her in the round pen and watched her move, and my trainer wanted to see it. She was moving better than she was before, but still not great. So, we watched her move and then my trainer had to go to the feed store and I decided to go with, so I put pony home. 

Then, when we got back, I pulled her out again (she was so confused!) and went to find somewhere to give her a massage. There was a tractor where we usually tack up, so I took her to the wash rack. It was super windy, and of course as soon as I tied her the tractor moved to where I was. So, I took her to the tack area, and there was wind and other horses and weird noises, and this little girl who was SO EXCITED to see pony. She kept like talking really loudly and squealing and pony was so strung out !

So I relocated to inside the barn (our arena is connected to a barn area, it's super nice and pretty much enclosed for the most part). Luckily it was quiet in there and I was able to rub down my pony in peace. The BO and my trainer were in there and talked to me while I worked on her and have me some tips. Pony wasn't quite sure what to do at first, but she eventually relaxed. Her favorites were doing carrot stretches, and back stretches. BO got her spot on the tummy that makes them hump up (I can get her to do it from the butt muscles, but not the stomach spot) and I have never seen a horse so high up. It almost looked like she was on tippy toes, and she looked so contented. 

Her favorite part though, was me doing cross fibering on her left side through the ribs. She turned and looked at me and her face looked all droopy and relaxed, it was the most contented she looked the entire time. 

Afterwards I put her back in the round pen to keep her walking since I didn't think it was smart to let her just stand once I got her muscles all soft. 

After a few laps, she stiffened up really badly and she was visibly lame on the right hind. (The left hind is what I had problems with) I kept her walking for about 20 minutes, and then she had to get her feet done. 

I didn't have time to get out again until today, and she seemed SO much better. Still definitely not 100 percent, but I think the massage did a LOT of good. She is no longer back sore, so I planned on walking her around bareback, since clearly getting her moving is the best thing for her. 

I took her to the round pen to watch her move, and the second I had taken off the rope, she was absolutely off like a bullet. She still had trouble picking up her left hind lead, but once she was better warmed up it was easier on her. Once she was in the round pen, she literally would not let me catch her, so I opened up the gate to the arena and let her run. She tore it up. She galloped around like I haven't seen her do in a while. The windy weather could have partially contributed to it, but I think that she was honestly feeling a lot better than she has in a while. 

So, while she still doesn't look perfect, I think that I am on the right track and clearly time off is not going to do her any good, getting her moving is the best! And obviously the massage and I need to get a chiro appt when I have the money !

Massage

So, I went out to the ranch on Thursday with the intention of giving my pony a massage. 

I put her in the round pen and watched her move, and my trainer wanted to see it. She was moving better than she was before, but still not great. So, we watched her move and then my trainer had to go to the feed store and I decided to go with, so I put pony home. 

Then, when we got back, I pulled her out again (she was so confused!) and went to find somewhere to give her a massage. There was a tractor where we usually tack up, so I took her to the wash rack. It was super windy, and of course as soon as I tied her the tractor moved to where I was. So, I took her to the tack area, and there was wind and other horses and weird noises, and this little girl who was SO EXCITED to see pony. She kept like talking really loudly and squealing and pony was so strung out !

So I relocated to inside the barn (our arena is connected to a barn area, it's super nice and pretty much enclosed for the most part). Luckily it was quiet in there and I was able to rub down my pony in peace. The BO and my trainer were in there and talked to me while I worked on her and have me some tips. Pony wasn't quite sure what to do at first, but she eventually relaxed. Her favorites were doing carrot stretches, and back stretches. BO got her spot on the tummy that makes them hump up (I can get her to do it from the butt muscles, but not the stomach spot) and I have never seen a horse so high up. It almost looked like she was on tippy toes, and she looked so contented. 

Her favorite part though, was me doing cross fibering on her left side through the ribs. She turned and looked at me and her face looked all droopy and relaxed, it was the most contented she looked the entire time. 

Afterwards I put her back in the round pen to keep her walking since I didn't think it was smart to let her just stand once I got her muscles all soft. 

After a few laps, she stiffened up really badly and she was visibly lame on the right hind. (The left hind is what I had problems with) I kept her walking for about 20 minutes, and then she had to get her feet done. 

I didn't have time to get out again until today, and she seemed SO much better. Still definitely not 100 percent, but I think the massage did a LOT of good. She is no longer back sore, so I planned on walking her around bareback, since clearly getting her moving is the best thing for her. 

I took her to the round pen to watch her move, and the second I had taken off the rope, she was absolutely off like a bullet. She still had trouble picking up her left hind lead, but once she was better warmed up it was easier on her. Once she was in the round pen, she literally would not let me catch her, so I opened up the gate to the arena and let her run. She tore it up. She galloped around like I haven't seen her do in a while. The windy weather could have partially contributed to it, but I think that she was honestly feeling a lot better than she has in a while. 

So, while she still doesn't look perfect, I think that I am on the right track and clearly time off is not going to do her any good, getting her moving is the best! And obviously the massage and I need to get a chiro appt when I have the money !

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life doesn't go as planned

And neither do horses.

My quest for a soft face and collection is on pause. Btw, I never responded to the comments on my last post because I'm lazy, but I really appreciated the comments and I did begin working with her on it but as I am about to explain, everything is on pause for a little while. 

I posted a post (redundant much?) about chiro work, and said I felt like pony was 'off' in the back left specifically. Her left lead lope is very very different from her right, in a bad way, and since it has been progressing and becoming worse, it leads me to believe that something is out of whack that is giving her trouble. 

There is absolutely no visual lameness, other than looking stiff. 

Since I was on vacation, she had about two weeks off. My trainer took her out one day and they just went up and around the hill, she said it was strictly walking, they didn't do any arena work or anything, so she wouldn't have necessarily felt anything weird. 

I rode her last night bareback at a walk. She was a superstar, she didn't care about any of the funny sensory things we did. She got bad once we started to walk around the ranch and she kept trying to walk when I asked her to stop. I blamed it on simple hotness, but honestly I felt something else. 

Today, I tacked her up western and she seemed super fidgety and uncomfortable and started stomping a lot as soon as I through a saddle on. That should have been my first clue. 

I took her in the arena and finished cinching her up. BO was teaching a lesson. I went to mount pony and as soon as I through my leg over, she FLEW halfway down the arena sideways. This should have been my second clue. I thought possibly something spooked her, but that is still unlike her. Even BO said 'well, that pony is crazy but that was weird for her'. 

The thing about Pony is that she is a crazy half feral thing, but she is super predictable, and not stupid. She's never done anything that I can't explain or couldn't have predicted. 

She felt super tense as soon as I mounted. Every time I squeezed for a walk, she felt like she tried to fly somewhere. It was weird. She settled down quickly and was able to walk around, but still felt somewhat nervous. Not just hot, it was slightly different. 

She did a reasonable trot, and we did some trot work. A lot of trot work. It was rarely a sittable trot, but it wasn't fast. Just strung out and unresponsive. Finally, after quite a bit of trot work, I asked for a lope. A circle to the right, perfect, easy and calm. As soon as I switched to the left I could feel her anxiety rise. I couldn't get a decent trot to the left, and when I finally asked for a lope, it was an off balanced gallop. 

After that, she was a bundle of nerves. Long story short, I got continually mad at her because once she gets uncomfortable she tries to jackhammer trot every few steps. 

Finally, I pulled her saddle and put her in the round pen. I wanted to watch her walk and check for visual lameness. There was none. She loped to the right and it was fine, no big deal. I asked for a lope to the left and she physically could not do it.  I have never seen a horse do that before. She would toss her hind end up and towards the inside if the circle everytime it came to that part of the lope. It was similar to a buck, but clearly because of discomfort. 

Obviously she is off. She cannot get her left hind where it needs to be. I went to talk to BO afterwards to get her opinion on chiros (her and her husband have serious money performance horses and have done some serious showing and using them, I definitely trust her opinion and wanted to see where she stood). She felt pony up and found back soreness. Not to mention that but could see some muscle atrophy in her hind and said based on what she saw with the mount alone and what I told her it was obvious she was out somewhere. She gave me the name of her chiro and said when her horses are in serious work, she has regular chiro and massage appts for them. 

My trainer hadnt been there when I had pony out, so hadnt seen her, but showed up when I was walking to put pony away. I showed her the tender spot on her back, and my trainer said she's never seen her that back sore, even after 20 mile endurance rides. 

I can say its definitely not saddle fit, since she basically had two weeks off. Also, I rode her bareback, and I'm thinking she already had some soreness. Plus, it's one side and I've ridden her bare back much more majorly before. 

So here's my theory. You know how when you fall off a horse, if you get up and get back on, you'll be sore, but nothing terrible. However, if you immediately climb into bed and grovel, when you finally get out, your going to be seriously sore. 

I'm thinking that she is out of whack somewhere, and it's clearly affecting her back left majorly. I'm thinking that keeping her in work (I ride 4-5 times a week) has made whatever had been bothering her stay dormant, but slowly get worse. However, her getting to hang out and not work for two weeks cause some serious stiffness and is now showing how out of whack she seriously must be. I think that the back soreness (it's along but below the spine on the right side) was from overcompensating for whatever is hurting. It's crazy how muscles can all relate to eachother!

I am seriously broke at the moment, and really can't afford a chiro (yay my sisters wedding! And not working much!) so, tonight I'm gonna research lots of massage and tomorrow massage those butt muscles with some linament gel. I am going to round pen her again and record it so I have some basis for how terrible she is looking. 

Ugh, always fun with the ponies!



Monday, June 10, 2013

Vacation!

So I have been on vacation since last Thursday. We're spending ten days in Georgia and South Carolina. This time, it's just me and my mom, which has been awesome. 

I still think that something is going on with Ponys back left, something that simply makes her uncomfortable somehow when we're on that left lead, but obviously for now, she's getting some time off, and lets be honest, I can't really afford to have anyone look at her, so for now well just see how it goes! 

My trainer jumped on her the other day when I told her what I thought was up, and she rode her around a bunch and said she thought she feels fine. But honestly, I get frustrated by the way my trainer rides pony. She is super soft and gentle with all horses, but much more aggressive with pony. So, while she didn't feel any difference between her gaits, pony was all hyped up and basically doing a hand gallop around. When I ride her, she gives me a nice lope, so it makes sense that I would be able to feel her differences better. 

My trainer got really fussy with her mouth, and said it feels like I haven't been riding her much asking her to use her hind end and collecting her up. Well, that's true, I haven't. 

Pony gets really aggravated when you start fussing with her mouth. She's really responsive, but she is hard mouthed if that makes sense. 

Basically, she gets attitude, and tosses her head and speeds up and gets mad. I normally ride her with contact on her mouth and a lot of body language. She is sensitive, but at the same time, she needs a LOT of support from her rider. (Such a complicated little feral thing). So, while I give her very gentle contact, I rarely ask her to step under and collect herself more, because the second you start to get on the reins, she gets mad. 

Obviously, I have not been the problem. My trainer said she knows that she started her incorrectly now, and she has been like that forever. (It's amazing this mustang that wasn't broke until she was 8 is broke at all!) Since I have soft hands (really, my best accolade in riding) and she has calmed down so much with me, I'm ready to start getting her soft in the face. 

Honestly it's not something I thought a whole lot about before now with her. She is so good, and listens to me so well of of body alone, that I've been focusing a lot on simply working on my own riding and seat and getting her responsive to exactly what I want with as little as possible. 

But, I do think that she needs to be able to be soft in the face, and be able to collect when I ask her to. 

So, I am going to chronicle this with blog posts from the beginning. 

My question for you faithful blog readers is to give me your tips and tricks for getting a horse soft in the face. 

Here's the funny thing with her. 

- lunging her, the second she feels an ounce of pressure on the line, she'll stop and look at you. 
- leading her, there never needs to be any pressure on her at all. 
 - she is great at flexing. She'll flex with a bit laterally, she'll flex in a halter laterally, she'll flex freely if I have her in the round pen and ask her to. 
- she has no teeth problems, she's just as bad at it in a halter as she is with a bit
- she just has attitude! She doesn't like having her face touched, and she lets you know!

So please, give me your advice on tips and exercises. Obviously, I understand only doing 1% a day, and giving her release as soon as she gives me what I'm asking, and of course I have heard of gently see sawing the reins, and also using the reins like 'sponges' to take up contact, gently squeezing them. 

Also, does anyone have any qualms about teaching them to give their face in a hackamore vs a bridle. She is so sensitive to me and my body, that we ride about 50% in a bridle and 50% in a halter with a rope tied to it.