Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weekend Fun

Finally it was the weekend! Yeah!!

Friday was a bit rough, when I went over to Safeway to get a Starbucks and the ingredients for the soup I was taking to the Clinic potluck my car died :(

My car has been fabulously dependable for the last 6 years... but there I was stranded.  I called my friend Mary K. (that I do the runs with) and she came over and got me. 

Then I had to arrange to have the car towed to the shop.  Believe it or not, I have never had a car towed (intentionally anyway) in my life!  Todd met the driver and gave him the keys, so that I could stay at work and try to get some stuff completed.

It was after 6pm when I finally got home and was pretty late by the time I actually got to preparing the Roasted Winter Vegetable soup I had volunteered to take for the Saturday lunch. 

Saturday morning was easy though, I got up and got ready and picked Michelle up at 7:30.  One good thing about waking up at 4:10 am during the week???  7:30 feels like sleeping in.

We made it up to Griffinwood in just over an hour and spent a fun day listening to Dr. Susan Garlinghouse.  I had heard several of her lectures at convention one year and so enjoy them.  It was really awesome to have her come to the NW and  I hope the new riders realized how lucky they are to have access to such a phenomenal horseman, vet, speaker, and Endurance rider!

It was a great clinic, although a little more basic than I had anticipated.  I particularly enjoyed the lecture on Metabolics and picked up some new information that I can apply to our rides this year.

We watched a demonstration on Equine Massage that was really cool.  I think Cartman would love it.

By the time we got done it was freezing!  We stopped by Starbucks and grabbed a hot coffee before heading home to Castle Rock.

Sunday was another gorgeous day!  It was a bit foggy early in the am, so I took the opportunity to get all the house cleaning and laundry done.

By 10 am I was outside trying to get Cartman cleaned up for a ride. 

I tried some of the massage on C. after I got him groomed.  He stood patiently and I actually got a yawn and some lip smacking with the massage on the scapula area!

I think I will add Equine Massage to my list of things to learn more about.

We headed down to the Cooks Ferry Trail about 1pm.  I had just gotten C tacked and I was heading out when Michelle and Cinnamon pulled into the parking lot.  I took C for a 1.5 mile spin in the sand while Michelle got tacked up.

Cartman and Cinnamon had never met before so we let them walk together a bit but kept a safe distance between the two.


Cartman was fascinated by Cinn. and kept trying to touch her nose.

They seem very compatible!  Their walk speed is comparable as was the trot.  We rode about 3 miles down the trail and then Michelle moved Cinnamon to the front.  I kept Cartman back a bit, so as not to crowd her.  Cartman started getting his snotty-tude on at this point.

This time I was in a better area for schooling, so I pulled him around and gave him a few boots with my foot.  He was able to maintain his composure (a bit) and we made it to the end of the path.  I told Michelle he was being naughty and that we were going to have a little attitude adjustment off in the sand!

I took C up to the top of the dredge spoils and we trotted and cantered about 1.5 miles.  When I pulled him up he was breathing pretty hard.  We spotted M. and Cinn. and headed back over to walk behind them again.  This time C was a little better and we headed back on the trail again.

We again tried the -follow and let your buddy go on routine- and he was pretty good.  As soon as he started getting  into a snit I pulled him around and made him trot and canter the other direction. 

I think we'll be doing some schooling on this this spring.

About 1/2 way back to the trailers we spotted a white Dodge behind us... it was Todd and the dogs!  We were curious how Cinn. would react to having Buddy with us, so I called out to him and he came running like a rocket!

Despite Buddy going right behind her back legs (Will he ever learn?????) Cinn was a rockstar with the dogs.  They went about a mile with us and then Todd picked them up while we headed back to the trailers.

It was a great day to ride :)  C and I ended up getting in 7.7 miles.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Three Rides so Far in February

I finally got over that nasty cold/flu bug and was able to start doing some training rides!

Sunday before last I hauled Cartman up to Red Rock and planned to do a slow 11 mile ride.  It wasn't raining but wasn't sunny and was just barely cool enough for a light jacket.

Naughty ears today

We headed out about 11 am and walked for about the first 2 miles.  We had to go though a trail cut in the woods at this point and it was surprisingly dry for February!  Once we got through that part I was ready to get moving out a bit, but just as we got down a short incline we were stopped by a downed tree.

It was a huge tree too. I looked on both sides but could see no easy way around.  So, plan two. We turned around and it was like I was suddenly on a different horse!  Cartman started hopping up and down in place and wanting to take off.  WTH??? 

Red Rock

Unfortunately this part of the road is an old logging road that hasn't really been used in a long time.  It is basically two ruts with a large slick mound of grass/mud in the middle and on each side of the ruts.  Not really room to circle or do any side passes or training moves.  I tried to stay relaxed and take hold of C.'s mouth enough to maintain control but not start a pulling match or make him feel too claustrophobic.

Finally we made it back up the incline to the wooded trail.  At this point he wasn't really getting much better and was really wanting to be naughty.  I actually had to get off!  In the back of my head of course was the fact that I was out there in the middle of nowhere and if I got dumped or hurt no one would likely find me for hours.  Oh, and no cell service.

I hand walked Cartman back through the slick wooded trail and then re mounted on the other side where the footing was better.

Cartman was agreeable to walking and doing a more controlled trot at this point so we headed back the way we came.  I did stop to explore two or three spurs that I hoped might get us to some more tail but sadly they were all dead ends or were also blocked by trees!

Mt St Helens

We ended up getting about 7 rather anxious miles and Cartman had finally found his brain again by the time we got back to the trailer!

This last Sunday we got almost 7 miles riding our local jogging path trail and doing a few loops through the dredge spoil sand areas.

trailer round up! I ran into a few riders out there in the sun.
While I was riding Todd was spending all weekend working on his '53 pick up.

battery box and battery installed

gas pedal and linkage installed

Uh, some type of fuel line?

Custom diamond plate to cover a gaping hole in the firewall

1953 gauges ready to install

still some work to do in here

Tonight I left work early enough to get a short 5 miler in on the jogging path again.  I rode a bit faster tonight and did a bit more canter.  Cartman feels like he will regain fitness pretty quickly but I want to make sure his legs are up to the harder packed trail we are relegated to this time of year.

trying to get a full body shot.

I will be going to an Endurance Clinic with Dr. Susan Garlinghouse this weekend so won't get to ride again until Sunday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I've never been so happy to feel like an idiot!!!

Ha ha!!


12/21/14 I was getting ready to go do the Jingle All the Way Fun run in the pouring rain.  As I fed the horses out in the field I noticed that Cartman's left front appeared swollen. Crap.

I did a quick once over but didn't see anything obvious- no cuts or scrapes.  He didn't react to having the leg palpated and the swelling was pretty evenly dispersed on the inside of the leg, along the tendon.

I decided to wait it out. 

The next day it was down a little.  I left him out, as I was concerned that if I were to stall him it would be counter-productive to getting down the swelling.  The leg still wasn't sore and wasn't hot either.

Christmas was almost here and work was INSANE.  So, I just kept an eye on Cartman and by 12/25 his leg was pretty much back to normal.  Whew.

I decided to wait until after Christmas to ride, give him a few more days to recover from whatever "it" was and make sure. 

I had the week after Christmas off from work because I didn't pay attention to my vacation days and was going to lose those days if I didn't take them before the end of the year.  A mistake I will not make again.  It was kind of boring, although I did get some extra workouts in at the gym.

So, on 12/30 I went down to get C so we could haul into the Fairgrounds arena and ride.  His leg which had been great for 4-5 days was blown up again.  Crap.

I jogged him up to the barn and he was a little off.  He didn't want to jog on the asphalt at all.  I went over his leg with a fine tooth comb!  I ruffed back his long hair, looking for something!  I felt one small scab on the back of his fetlock. Scratches???

No, the fetlock wasn't really swollen, it was higher up. His heel bulb was a little tender.... so I decided it was probably an abscess.  I dug out the Davis Soaking Boot (a godsend) and soaked his foot.

I kept him in the barn for 24 hours and soaked morning and night.  On the next day the swelling had gone down so I turned him out during the day.  I brought him up at night and soaked the foot one more time.  The next morning I saw a small slit along the back of his hoof.  It was in between the coronet and the bottom of his foot.  Hmmm.  Was this the offending abscess???

The next day I turned him out again and left him for a couple of days. 

On 12/31 I stayed up until midnight! That's a first in a long time.  I did the Year to Year 5k with two of my friends from work.  It was really fun and really cold!  I did like all the fireworks going off as we ran through town. 

Unfortunately I did not improve my time at all... I am very slow.

During the next week I brought Cartman up to the barn on nights that I didn't have to get up at 4am to go to the gym.  Somewhere in here I hurt my back doing deadlifts (I got sloppy and wasn't using proper form).  It was really irritating, but went away in about a week and I am back to the strength training finally- Yeah!!!

I had taken my horsetrailer down to the RV repair so that they could fix the seals on the tackroom door, but I finally got to twitchy and called them Thursday to see if I could pick it up for the weekend while they waited for parts.

I guess that was tempting fate because I got the flu? on Thursday and on Friday when I went down to feed guess who's leg was all blown up again?????

I felt so crappy that I couldn't even bring him up to the barn.  I went in and slept for like 16 hours and then Saturday morning I went down to take better look.

The leg was completely filled in along the tendon on the inside and there was a bulge high up on the back of the tendon.  As the other horses galloped over to the arena to meet me I could see Cartman head bobbing.  Agh!!!!  The leg was also warm.

I drug him back up to the barn and called the vet for an appointment.   Later in the day I went out and washed his leg up and put Ice Tight on it.  I then wrapped if with a cotton bandage.  He seemed really kind of mopey and not himself. 

I decided to not give Bute as I wanted the vet to see the injury as it was.

Sunday morning the leg was still huge.  I washed off the Ice Tight and applied Absorbine Linament.  I walked him up and down on the driveway and let him graze for about an hour.

Sunday evening the leg was down a little bit.

Monday morning it was even better.  He was getting antsy and cranky from being stalled up.  I went to the gym and then worked until noon.  Then loaded him up and we went to Columbia Equine in Gresham.

Dr. Hansen is an awesome vet.  I really trust him and he has treated Cartman before.  I took a couple of pictures to show him that Cartman is really doing 50 milers now! 

I went over the events of the last few weeks and we got Cartman all unwrapped and he felt the leg. Noting that the foot was significantly hotter than the other foot.

He explained that the inlarged area along the back of the tendon was actually a blood vein.  Whew!

He grabbed the hoof testers and checked C's good foot. No reaction.  He checked the other and got some reaction.  Yes!!!!

He said "I'm liking this."  I was starting to feel a bit better at this point.  He got a rasp and did a little work on his foot.  As he picked the foot up and rubbed the coronet band a flap of skin came away exposing the large slit and oozy spot of a blown abscess!!!!

"Well we can put away the Ultrasound and the Stem Cells :)" he said. 

I wanted to jump up and down and scream "Yes!!!!!!" 

So, if I had re-picked his feet before loading him in the trailer, I might have saved myself several hours of driving and a quick vet appointment.  No matter, I am just thrilled to feel like the silly horse owner that drags her horse to the vet with an abscess that's already blown out :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cartman's First Dressage Lesson

Today was the day!  I like to try new things every once in a while and thought some basic dressage might be good for us.

I hemmed and hawed a bit before taking the plunge... Cartman has been trained primarily Western style and I didn't want any part of "pushing him into the bride" or anything that would make him less responsive.  I'm addicted to the neck-reining thing!

So, my friend Amber work's part time for a competitive dressage trainer and she suggested I give her a call and try a lesson or two.  Coincidentally, I also ran into a lady at Mt. Adams riding a TB that comes up to Castle Rock to work with this trainer too!  She had nothing but good things to say as well.

I had intended to bring Cartman up to the barn last night so he would be presentable for our lesson, but the power was out when I finally got home from work at 6pm.  I had no way to fill the water bucket so the horses had to stay out in the field.  I gave them plenty of hay in hopes that Cartman would stay under the arena for most of the evening and wouldn't be too muddy.  Ha ha....

After spending about 45 minutes trying to get him clean and packing all my tack back out to the trailer we were finally ready to go.

Cartman was actually a little excited when we entered the barn, he's not much of a spooky horse so I was surprised to see him bounce around on the lunge line and flag his tail like an Arab!  He didn't do much though and after a few minutes I climbed on and we walked around the arena. 

I think Cartman's favorite thing was the great footing and the MIRRORS!!!  Ha ha, I didn't know I had such a vain horse, but he kept wanting to stop and look at himself every time we passed one.

The lesson went really well.  She had me ride him with really light contact and concentrate on using my body and seat to influence his movement.  It's so nice to have a knowledgeable person to watch you ride and explain how to be more effective.  You just can't get that from a book or video. 

One of the things I need to practice is asking Cartman to lift up into an upward transition and not just think forward.  She had me concentrate on bringing my shoulder blades back and sitting a little deeper prior to asking for trot from walk. When I did this I could feel his back lift a little and he felt more balanced,  as opposed to just asking him to go forward, where I could feel his hind end lowering as he let it drag behind him in the transition.

 Then for trot to walk again using not the reins but my seat and core to get a transition that isn't all strung out.  It's really hard to write about this stuff- I feel I'm not explaining this well at all... but it was really cool!

She pegged his sticky spot right away after we had done some trots, circles, and little shoulder fores.  I always have thought it was his right shoulder but she actually thinks it is his forearm that is a little locked up.  She actually came over and stretched his right front a little and did some stretches across the opposite leg.  Cartman was really intrigued by this but after the first couple of stretches he relaxed and seemed to be fine with it.

After the stretching we worked on moving him off and on the wall by moving his shoulders.  I have worked on leg yielding off the wall a little (OK, I've tried) but have always used too much hand I think.  This was way more subtle. 

At one point she had me close my eyes and ride the long side of the arena (it's pretty long!) and try the exercise.  It was funny but I could completely feel it better with my eyes closed! Luckily I trust Cartman enough to be able to do this and stay relaxed. 

I think my favorite take away from the lesson was a new perspective on how we actually complete a circle or turn.  Instead of turning by pulling on the rein or shortening up the inside side of the horse we should actually turn by lengthening the outside.

This is what we were doing all the shoulder work for, trying to get Cartman to step out and forward with the outside shoulder.  Kind of like you don't stretch your right side out by kinking up and contracting your left side.  You stretch your right arm up and over and make that side bigger.

She did suggest that I try a plain snaffle for this type of work (as opposed to the short shank Myler leverage bit).  I have several at the house and will dig one out before our next lesson. 

It was really fun and I learned something new!!  I think we are going to enjoy this, and it is good for both of us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Oct-Nov in Pictures

Buddy and I

Todd and Nick

2014 Pumpkin crop

When is started raining I found something hidden in my hay barn!

One last ride before pulling shoes,  early Nov.

sky was pretty that day

Cartman grows a thick coat this year

Cartman sneaks up on Buddy,

Pretending to graze

Just a little closer

Buddy pretends to be unconcerned

Cartman can't help it, he likes to herd things...

Headed north in late Nov.

Saw some pretty things, including this scarey narrow bridge- Todd warned me about it!

Hmmmm, who is this?

She can lope in a tiny tiny round pen!

Doesn't she look like Cartman in the face?

Michelle brings home a new mare! By the same sire as Cartman :)

Getting ready to Turkey Trot on Thansgiving with my friend Mary and her daughter

Thanksgiving- Paleo style
Spent the evening watching Marshawn!
Todd is back to working on the truck, early Dec.

Buddy and I

Going for a run on the Castle Rock path


Cartman and I getting ready to haul to the arena early Dec.
 Friday am is our first dressage lesson! Will report back then.