First Cally Lesson of 2017!

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I’ve felt like death warmed over since the end of last week, some kind of horrible sinus infection/sore throat/sleep deprivation thing.  Since it was gorgeous Saturday, I summoned all my energy reserves and made it out to the barn.  Cally was fab, and we jumped a couple of tiny fences for the first time since our last lesson, just before New Year’s.  I confirmed with Holly that we were good to go on my new weekly spring lesson time, noon on Mondays, and then headed back home to vegitate.

So that’s where I was starting from this morning.  I skipped morning pilates, could barely breathe, and when Holly greeted me by asking if I wanted to split lesson time between Cally and Aly, I bluntly told her I’d be lucky to get through half a lesson on my own, much as I might wish otherwise.  She said she’d get her chaps on while I was getting ready, so we could do a lesson that was a split of me riding and her taking over when I ran out of gas.

Fortunately, Cally really confirmed today something I sort of realized after that awful show we had a St. Christopher’s last spring, where she was just not herself and I came down with a horrible 24 hour bug that night–she knows when I’m not feeling well, and adjusts her normal sassy self down to a quiet, no-nonsense slug.  Because I had to kick my horse to get her to trot today, and that is just not her.  I almost hacked up a lung in the walk break between trotting and cantering.  We didn’t do too much with her, just wanted to work on a big, 30M-ish circle and get her moving and listening again, just some easy changes of direction and nothing to abrupt or tightly turning.

We then incorporated a crossrail into the circle, just popping quietly over it and coming back to a trot a few steps after, easy peasy.  Cally woke up a little then, but definitely not quiet full steam ahead.  So Holly had me come around, first at a trot, then twice cantering, over a little vertical.  Nothing crazy, just easing us back into the groove.  And she was so perfect!

After that, I pulled up and told Holly she’d have to get on her, I was cooked, and managed not to collapse when I hopped off.  Holly did a lot with her just trotting quietly around, taking advantage of the little jumps to just work on getting her using her hind end in to the jump, and staying quiet. Which, unlike with me, she didn’t not always do! But it was definitely a gesture of exuberance and happiness to be jumping, and Holly was laughing as she rode her around. Obviously, they were looking perfect!

 

So while I am recuperating from this martian death flu, Cally’s going to get at least one more school with Holly.  For my lesson next week, depending on how I’m feeling, we may do something like this again, and split the lesson a bit between pro tuneup and me riding.  I don’t think it’s going to take a whole lot of pro rides to get her back into shape, but as we figured out today, it’s been quite a while since she’s had any pro rides, due to Holly having a baby!  So Cally’s definitely due for a bit of pro work anyway, and there’s no better way to do it than have her schooled up right while coming back in to work.

Which means the outlook for the year is a lot more optimistic than I’d been thinking it might be a month ago.  We’ve taken BEST this coming weekend off the table, because she’s just not going to be ready to go jump a course by then, but I have done entries for Ladies Sidesaddle at the two upcoming PGEC spring rated shows, for undersaddle and hack.  If she’s very good at the first show, and the course looks straightforward, we may try to jump at the second of those, which would give us three more weeks of training to get ready.  Not unattainable by any means, and probably a good soft goal to start with.

 

Sidesaddle Gathering & Leg Update!

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This past weekend was the ISSO Gathering (and awards banquet!) out at Frying Pan Park in Virginia.  I’d delayed registering for it in hopes that Cally would be sound in time, but we were getting close and it wasn’t looking hopeful, so I just signed up to audit Saturday’s sessions, and attend the banquet.  For those interested in sidesaddle in the area, it is an annual event, and they do have a “have a go” session on Sunday, which is something to keep in mind for next spring if you’d like to try it.

The morning session was nice, as it started with Yoga for Equestrians, which wasn’t that different than regular yoga classes I’ve done, other than that the instructor rides, too.  Lots of reminders to breathe (which I need to think about more when riding!) and move deliberately through my core.  And open up my chest, which brings back my shoulders and makes me breathe.  There was also a session on apron pattern fitting, which was somewhat useful to me in the fiddly detail bits about fitting and adjusting darts, but was aimed a bit more at those who hadn’t done it before.  I did have a nice chat with Jeannie, who ran the session, afterwards, regarding apron making for children, because there is a wee tiny coat and vest points in my sewing room waiting for me to make an apron for Holly’s daughter.  We decided that less fitting is really better there, since children both grow super quickly and lack the sort of curves (hips!) you’re working with in fitting a lady’s apron.  There was also a great session on cleaning doeskin, which I’m going to have to try with my saddle’s seat, as apparently matches are like the magic secret–who knew!?!  There was a collective gasp in the room when we all saw how well it worked.

After lunch, we headed over to the rings to watch lessons.  I was excited to pick up some pointers, not so excited that the clinic ended up being on the coldest day we’ve had all winter.  I was wearing underarmor, a wool sweater, a down jacket, and a Barbour (with liner!) overtop all that, and was just sort of OK.  Plus a fur hat, because it is the warmest thing ever.  The first two riders were out on the XC course at FPP, and oh, how I wish Cally could have come!  I don’t know that I’d have tried the bigger drop fence, but it would have been exactly what we needed, as they weren’t doing large fences, but were working on just what I needed to hear, which was keeping hips square in the air and releasing to the right to help make that happen.  I wish I had some video to share, but it was too cold to take off gloves to video, plus it wasn’t me riding, or my horse, so it’s not really my place to share anyway.  Other lessons picked up some great pointers, too, including thinking about pressing the right leg into the shoulder to keep the hips where they need to be.  Also, massive value in dropping the stirrup a bit to help open up the left hip and not get bound into bunching oneself up into the leaping head and relying on it instead of balance.

That’s probably plenty wonky about the aside thing for most of you, since there can’t be that many aside folks out there reading this.  (Though if you are a sidesaddler out there reading this, please say hello!)  I got to meet Sue, from whom I bought my fabulous Jo the Mayhew last year, and she was happy to hear that the saddle and Cally and I have all been getting along fabulously and it’s got a good home where it’s being used, which is what her prior owner wanted for it.  She was doing some fittings, so again, super bummer that I couldn’t have Cally there with me to get it perfectly tweaked for her.

Then in the evening, we had the awards banquet.  It was a small affair, as it is sadly not a huge group of us who go aside, countrywide.  Very friendly and encouraging group, though, and I definitely feel like I’ve made a few new friends, and had a lovely time.  The only bummer of the night was not winning the one raffle item I really wanted, which was a hoof pick that was also a corkscrew, because that seems like the most perfect thing ever to have around.  But we made out really well on the actual awards front!  Champion in Dressage, Reserve Champ in Hunters, and 6th Overall!

I’ve never actually won any fancy sparkly awards before, just ribbons and a plaque, so this was just so exciting to me! That might be an even better part of the sidesaddle than the amazing pictures you end up with, because who doesn’t also enjoy awesome awards? They’re so nice that WBBF even let me put one out on the bookshelf in the living room, rather than in the horse room with all the other equine goodies!

In other absolutely awesome (but slightly icky) news, Cally actually WAS sound by Saturday, as on Monday when I took her leg wrap off, there was pus oozing down the back of her leg.  Sure enough, she’d blown an abscess out the back of her leg.  Vet was out Wednesday for shots/coggins/etc and took a look, said to keep it clean and keep it open and unwrapped, and let it drain and see what we have.  We have a very icky looking leg, but she was moving around well on it, and by the weekend it had stopped draining and was healing back up.

Gross, but amazing progress.  Plus, I have to assume all of you reading are horsepeople, and I know horsepeople all love a good freaky injury. Leg is looking good, so I hopped back on her, and while she was a spooky nutter due to lack of work and high winds, when she settled down and actually trotted like a horse, she felt great. We’d hoped to try a little half-hour flat minilesson today, but it just never warmed up enough. I did go out and hack her around lightly, and wow, was she feeling good!

Naturally, since she’s sound again we’re getting the only major snowstorm of the winter tonight, so she’ll probably have off most of this week.  Fingers crossed, we’ll do our first light lesson on Monday and she’ll get a school by Holly at some point next week as well.  I think we’re finally back on track, much to my relief.  I was really worried there for a while, since it was such an odd issue that seemed to have plateaued.  But with one oozy week, we’re back and feeling good, if a little weak from time off.  That we can fix, with good correct work, and I wanted to start back in with some dressage anyway, so we’ll have the right target to get her going well.

Delays and Dressage

Cally has been doing OK.  Her leg was starting to look a little funky from being wrapped with moist Surpass, and loosing some hair, so I made a mistake and decided to try her with it off for 24 hours last weekend.  Naturally, it puffed back up and she was very lame again.  Since then, I’ve been keeping it wrapped, but dry, and she’s been improving in soundness, and the swelling is gone again.  Having to keep it wrapped forever is probably not ideal, but it’s keeping her on the right course for now, so we’ll go along with it, and have a chat with the vet when he’s out next week for the spring shots/coggins/checkup festival.  At this point, she’s sound on a straight line, and to the right, but just a bit off going on a circle to the left at the trot.  I did try just a bit of canter to see how she’d be about her left lead, and she felt totally fine there, so I think we’re probably going to be sound for flatwork in another month, which means, fingers crossed, she can at least flat for the sidesaddle at the two spring shows the beginning of April!

While she’s been out of real commission, Holly’s generously been letting me hop on some of the barn horses to lesson and hack.  Aside from the fabulous jumping lesson on Aly the other week, I got to go along with Holly to her dressage lesson on Aly, and last week, her dressage trainer, Aviva, came to our barn and did lessons with a few of us.  I got to ride Hitch, who is one of Holly’s wonderful lesson horses.  He does a lot of adult beginners, so he mostly goes about how you’d expect a horse to go for them–easy, slow, steady, and comfortable.  But if you start to ask for more (and put on spurs!), he’s more than capable.  Dressage trainer said that since he’s basically worth his weight in gold the way he is, we don’t want to try and fuss to much with him (no need to spend an hour on lateral work he doesn’t do as his “day job”), just work on me, which would get him carrying himself better.

Never can the lessoners say “he’s so slow!” about him, because he’s more than capable of lovely, forward work when you ask him.  Not so easy as Cally to get there, but he had some great trot, and when he’s really using his back, he’s so so comfortable.  He’s just the totally opposite ride of Cally, so figuring out the aids I need with him, versus the aids I’m used to, was a bit of a struggle.  Like, it’s Hitch, he’s totally chill and not going to go anywhere, don’t be afraid to ask big, the worst he’s going to do is take one big step.  Maybe two.  And once I got over that a bit, we felt really great.

Then mostly, I’ve puttered with Cally.  I’m hoping the visiting dressage lessons keep on as a monthly thing, because they make a nice supplement to our jumping training.  And while Holly can do a great flat lesson, sometimes hearing things in a slightly different way every so often is helpful.  I think we can probably count on doing a lot of dressage this year, anyway, since it’s going to be a while til she’s ready to jump again.  I’m looking at our spring calendar, seeing if maybe we can make some dressage targets this spring for ourselves.  If she’s sound enough to do basic flat by beginning of April, by the end of the month, she should be good to go out at Training a bit, and possibly get back on track with working out a freestyle. In line with Spring Preps, WBBF came along to the barn this weekend, and did a bit of cleaning on the NewToMe Trailer, which did have a bit of rust on the hubcaps and some decals on the back I wanted removed.

It’s looking sparkling now, ready for a bit of paint on the hubcaps, and a new bale of shavings for inside, and we’ll be ready to hit the road as soon as Cally is feeling good.  Well, she’s actually feeling good, and happy to work, now.  No reluctance to go forward, wants to stretch down into contact and stretch out her muscles, bright eyed and eager.  So as soon as she’s feeling 100%, we’ll be ready to tentatively kick it into gear.

Diagnostics and Prescriptions

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I feel like a slacker for not updating this too often, but really, not a lot has been going on with Cally.  Dr. Stott came out again the other week, and found her less reactive to palpation and flexion, but we did some x-rays just to be safe, since the soft tissue seemed to be really out of line with how a tendon injury actually presents.  X-rays looked great for a 15 year old horse, and she jogged significantly sounder than she did when he initially saw her.  So she’s been cleared to have small paddock turnout when the ground is good, and to walk for 15 minutes or so under saddle!

It’s not much, but it’s something, and she seems to much happier and brighter out of her stall.  I was partly worried so much because she just seemed so bummed, in a way she hadn’t as much when she’d been on stall rest on prior occasions.  She’s definitely happier, and I could feel her perk up right away as soon as I hopped on her, too.  Granted, we’re just walking, but since it basically seems to be the equine equivalent of a sprained ankle, we’ve been doing a bit of real work at the walk.  Asking her to carry herself, walking squares (with turns on the haunches, not the forehand), a little bit of shoulder in/haunches in, even a bit of leg yield.  She wasn’t thrilled, but hopefully it’ll help keep her hind end and topline muscles up so that when she’s able to go back to full work, she’ll be in a good place to start from.  We even walked over two poles the other day, because that’s at least more interesting than plain footing.

In the meantime, as long as the weather holds, I’m going to try to do lessons on Aly, another horse in the barn who’s an experienced 3′ hunter/eq horse. He’s massive, and one of those quintessential natural hunters who feels like he’s going nowhere even though he’s rocking a 14′ step.  So it’s taking some adjusting my eye on him, because the first few jumps we did I felt like I saw nothing coming in.  I also have to adjust to doing less, because he totally knows his job and will cart me around while I flail like a drunk monkey, but will go amazingly when I sit up and ride well and allow him to do his job like the pro he is.

Hopefully that will keep me riding-fit until Cally’s ready to go again.  The vet seemed optimistic that another month of resting it should do it, so I am hopeful that at least we can aim for the undersaddle and hack at Showplace Spring Festival on March 31.  It wouldn’t take much fitting up to get her ready for a flat and one line of jumps, presuming she’s sound.  Fingers crossed my timex of a horse keeps on ticking along!

Soundness Update: Holding Pattern

When Dr. Stott came out to see Cally, it had been a week since she’d done whatever it was she did to her leg.  She’d been horrifically lame on Friday, but was just really lame when he was out.  Since it was fairly recent, and she’d shown some improvement with rest, he wanted us to rest her another week and try to get the swelling in her leg down before we decided on the next step, since pretty much no matter what she’d injured, the treatment was stall rest, so nothing harmed there.

She showed some marked improvement there, with a few days application of Animalintex pads, and the swelling came down quite a bit, not fully normal, but better.  And she’s sound at the walk, which is a big plus.

I jogged her for Holly Monday, and there was definite improvement over how she’d looked for Dr. Stott, so we decided to give it a few more days before touching base again to see if there was more change.  More regular poultice, rest, and jogged her today, to see her pretty much exactly as sound as she was Monday.  Like maybe a 1.5, not quite to grade 2.  So we’re setting up some diagnostics for early next week, starting with some x-rays of her ankle, since that’s where he found the most stiffness last time, and the encompassing nature of the swelling doesn’t present at all like a suspensory type injury. Holly’s mother, a very old-school horse lady/trainer/judge, has guessed osslets, which actually sounds super plausible, once I started doing some reading. And would be good, actually, because it’s treatable and should allow her to return to turnout and light work fairly soon. Fingers crossed!

The Best Puffy Knee Ever

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Just a quick Good News update on Cally’s leg/soundness situation.  Before I could even get out to the barn Sunday, Holly had brought her out long enough to unwrap/cold hose/repoultice, and saw that that swelling had clearly moved up to include the knee as well.  This, plus lack of response to even stacked NSAIDs (bute/banamine) led to infection, not soft tissue, suddenly becoming the likely culprit.  I have never been so happy to receive a text that my horse’s knee was swollen as I was on Sunday.  Apparently just super-weird coincidence that it coincided with slippy footing?  Leave it to Cally.

Call went in to vet this morning; his office is closed for the holiday, so we’re keeping her on the SMZs we started with over the weekend until he gets out to us with something stronger tomorrow, and she’s allowed to go out again.  I left the barn Friday close to tears over how three-legged she was, but even just a little cold hosing and walking around in the field today has her much sounder, and while the SMZs haven’t eliminated the swelling, it’s definitely going down.

These are all things that left me feeling very good today, good enough to have a bit of a chat with Holly about some of our dressage goals, which are a bit out of line with the main focus of the barn.  If Cally continues improving, I think we’re on the right track and I’ll be sharing them soon, and if nothing else, I’m making plans to tag along with Holly on some of the dressage lessons she’s going to be doing this winter with an area trainer.  Fingers crossed that eventually includes some lessons for me on Cally!

Starting Off With Good and Bad

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I’d hoped to have a goals post up by now, but things have been busy, and I haven’t had a chance to actually sit down with Holly for a few minutes and chat about them.  Mainly because it seems like every weekend, we’ve been having horrible icy weather, and around that I was trying to check off one of the goals I had in mind, which involved a new-to-me trailer.

So I’ve at least accomplished that much! It’s a 2006 Collin-Arndt, and looks nearly pristine. I mean, not in the photo, because it’s covered in road salt, but it’s got brand new tires and the literal only things I could find wrong with it was one running light needing a bulb replaced and one of the rubber guards on the hooks in the tack room being missing. It’s lovely, hauls well, and HAS A DRESSING ROOM!

It’s Cally-approved, as we was a bit confused at being pulled out of her warm stall at dinner hour and loaded into an empty trailer, but marched right on at the second try, and seems to have so much more room in there.

Things were still pretty frozen Monday after I bought it, so I spent a little bit of time moving things like brush boxes and brooms from Ghetto Trailer to Awesome Trailer, and basically brushed Cally off, fed her a few mints, and headed home to warmth and Daisy A Dog snuggles.

Which naturally meant that as I was getting ready for work Tuesday afternoon, I get a text and picture from Holly, noting that my horse’s left front leg was swollen and she was somewhat off.  She got wrapped, buted, and put in her stall.  I headed out to see her Wednesday morning, and the swelling seemed down a bit.  I jogged her quickly in the (super nice perfect) footing, and she was head-bobbing off, at least once she got over exploding into the trot like she was coming out of the starting gate.  We figured she’s slipped in the thawing ground on Tuesday, tweaked/whacked herself, and seemed to be fine but sore.  So she got poultice, wrap, bute, several days of rest.  We also decided to wait til Friday to reevaluate before we’d contact the vet, as there wasn’t anything obviously medically urgent going on, and the basic advice no matter what would be wrap/rest, so I didn’t feel that to be a particularly immediate need.

Friday I went out to see what Cally’s leg was looking like.  Unwrapped, and noticed no change in the filling, and could see just walking her down to the wash area to hose off the poultice that she was off.  Like, a non-horse person could tell from the walk that she was off.  So Holly put in a call to our vet.  He wants us to wait til Monday, which is basically a week of rest/wrapping/NSAIDs, and see what we have before setting up diagnostics.  Because, unless something really really weird is going on, if it’s a soft tissue injury, that’s all that’s getting done anway.

Which means that for the weekend, we’re in a holding pattern.  What worries me is that it’s gotten worse over the course of the week, rather than better.  And I’ve known and seen horses with suspensory injuries, and never seen any of them with legs that entirely puffed up like this–most of the time I’ve seen it, it’s just been an offness, and nothing at all visible; for this to be firmly filled like it is really has me worried.  But that leg has also been compromised by at least 3 other major injuries over the years, so it puffs up easily, and this could be some massive over-reaction on the part of her body to something relatively minor that’s only making her lame because of the swelling.

So while I’m hoping that this is something like the most bizarre abscess presentation ever and we could go on to work on the Big Goals I was making for 2017, I’m also trying to prepare myself for something like needing to stall rest her long enough to get to the point she could go on retirement board somewhere.  And considering what my options would be if that were to need to happen.

 

Wrapping Up 2016

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While 2016 didn’t end up exactly as I’d planned it–I had some more goals for the fall that I’d have liked to work on, or at least another dressage show and jumper division–it did have a lot of great moments, and we did a good job of making the goals I’d set out at the beginning of 2016, though there was already some revision by mid-summer.

    1. Sidesaddle!
      This goal went even better than I’d hoped!  Not only did we make it out into the Ladies Sidesaddle division, by the end of the season we even attempted the Over Fences portion.  It wasn’t perfect, and I’ve got a lot of learning to do, but we’re getting there and looking fancy doing it.

      We finished with a 4th place year-end award from the VHSA for Ladies Sidesaddle, and finished 7th in the Zone by .5.  Which is amazing for our first year out!
    2. Adult Eq
      Sadly, this kind of ended up being a non-starter this year.  We did do some eq stuff, and finished 4th in the Low MSHA Medal at McDonough to qualify for finals, plus pulled a 3rd in the M&S Low Adult Medal at Culpeper.  But since I knew I wasn’t shooting for the MAEF this fall due to it being the week of the election, I didn’t put as much effort in to this goal as I originally planned.  It’s definitely something that is going to stay on the goals list for us, though.
    3. Stirrup Cup
      This just didn’t happen at all, and not from lack of desire.  Both of the B/C show series here ended up either not running at all (MSA) or running unrated (WBTA).  We did end up with a 6th in the TB Hunters from WBTA, though.
    4. HITS Culpeper
      So maybe we didn’t get the whole August weekend I’d originally planned, but we did make it down, and came home with ribbons in every class but one!
    5. PVDA Year-End at Training
      Goal met and delivered!  We did all our classes sidesaddle, finished the year with a 63% average, and were 8th overall in the Adult Amateur Training division, which tends to be PVDA’s most competitive.  We also did well enough at rated shows that we finihed 5th in the Zone for PHR’s Silver Stirrup awards!
    6. Jumpers!
      The goal was to just try this out a bit, but it turned into so much more than that.  I did a couple classes at BEST in the spring, then by the end of the summer, we ended up doing jumpers at rated shows at both Swan Lake and at Maryland Horse & Pony.  It’s a different ride than I’m used to, allowing and encouraging the forward pace, but we had a lot of fun with it, and are definitely planning More Jumpers for next year.

7. Lessons on other horses
This ended up being a big part of this year, after Cally got hurt this fall.  I not only did a lesson and showed Sophie once, in a pinch, at a dressage show (nothing like a dressage catch ride!), I also did a few lessons on Cat, who is a total blast to ride.  Easy and fun and I can’t believe someone hasn’t bought her yet.

Overall, I’m really happy with how our year ended up.  There are a few more things I’d have liked to do, but they got caught up in both Cally being hurt and me spending the last 2.5 months of the year moving.  I think we had well-rounded, ambitious goals, and we did a good job of meeting most of them, which really pleases me.

I’m looking forward to a great 2017, and already starting to think about our plans for the upcoming year.  I think it will involve a new trailer, more jumpers, a musical freestyle, and of course, sidesaddle!  Stay tuned as plans take shape for another fantastic year.

We’re Still Here!

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It’s been a crazy couple of months, and I realized it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  Which is mostly because while we were in the process of moving, Cally pretty much had a fall vacation.  I’d go out and pop around lightly, but she was still healing up from her leg wound, and I just had very little time to do much.

While Cally was healing up, I did have the chance to do a couple of lessons on Cat, another TB mare in the barn, and she was fantastic.  Totally my kind of ride, we got along well, and left me wishing I could afford to keep and show two.

Then the madness of moving began, and for about a week and a half, the one time I got out to the barn was to drop off my board check.  I did see Cally, technically, looking happy and fat out in the field with her friends.  So no worries, it’s not like she minds not being in work.

But eventually we got (kind of) settled in to the new house.

Daisy A Dog is loving it, especially once she realized that critters actually come through her yard. She’s been on Deer Patrol the last few mornings, and we have neighborhood foxes, too. It’s fantastic. PLUS, I am not 15 minutes from my horse, which is the closest I have ever been to her. It’s fabulous, and I’ve got good stuff between the two of us, so it’s easy to run errands on the way home from the barn, too.

We’re getting settled back into as much work as the weather will allow. Since Cally was out with her leg injury and my subsequent move, she’s really out of shape, and frankly, fat. The fat is good heading in to winter, she looks great, but has no topline muscle to balance that out. I’ve been trying to work on building those muscles back up, just working on big loopy circles and figures at a back-stretching trot. You can really feel when she gets tired, because she goes from happy stretching down to leaning down on my hands. Getting back in shape from that is going to be a bit of a process, one that the 21 degree weather is not cooperating with. We did get out for one nice hack before things froze over, though.

I’ve also renewed our USEF & USHJA memberships for the next three years, so hopefully that should carry us through the next few fun show seasons.  I’m starting to think about goals for the next year, and how to get us back in to shape and rolling in spite of the terrible weather.  I’m also thinking about a new (probably new-to-me) trailer to replace Ghetto Trailer, since I did make a little money off my condo sale, making it a good time to be able to buy something like that with cash in hand.  I’m keeping an eye on various sale sites and FB, and am going to pop into a few local dealers over the next month or so.  Hopefully by the spring shows at PGEC, we’ll be back in fighting form, and ready to roll down on new wheels too!

Officially Done For the Season

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Not quite ending on the note I’d hope to, but it turns out our solid showing at Maryland Horse and Pony was our end to the 2016 show season.  I’d wanted to more, amended it because we found a house, and now Cally amended it even more with some injuries.

To anyone who’s known this horse’s history, this should not be a surprise.  She pretty regularly injures herself on a biannual basis.  Though this time it’s not totally “herself.”

It started off with what seemed like a brewing abscess, naturally the day after I’d done entries for WBTA.  Fortunately, I was able to scratch that with no financial hit, though it was a hit to our hopes of a Year-End award there.  It seemed to be resolving, despite not actually popping out anywhere, by early last week.  She got clipped, and was looking glossy and sleek and ready for some fall lessons, at least.

Alas, she had other plans. I got one ride in, on Wednesday, just a nice bit of walk/trot/canter on an unseasonably warm day. I got to wave to Trainer as she headed off to the hospital to give birth, and tell her my horse was feeling better.

HA! So I thought.

Naturally, the next day, as I was getting ready for work, I get a call from poor Liz, who was mucking and noticed my horse bleeding in the field. With a pony-hoof sized gash on the inside of her leg, bleeding like crazy. Awesome. I told her unless it looked like a vet emergency that needed a lot of stitches, clean it, wrap it, and leave her in.  Also, DO NOT BOTHER TRAINER CURRENTLY IN LABOR.  Maybe that sounds cavalier, but Cally has hurt herself so many times, I’ve sort of got a skewed perspective on injuries. I was kind of expecting the worst til I got out there, but other barnmates checked on her that evening and said she looked fine, no swelling or more bleeding, and I was relieved to get out there on Friday and find an injury that while not looking great, was definitely not horrific.  Then I texted trainer, so she didn’t come home from the hospital that night to the surprise of a mummy horse, but it was all under control.


This horse has given me Serious Wrapping Skillz.

Yeah, a few stitches in there would have been ideal, but that’s also weighted against the horse being a total nutcase to the point of needing laid down to get leg stitches in the past.  So.  That’ll maybe leave an uglier scar, but it’ll heal up fine, and as Holly’s mother pointed out, it’s not like she’s doing the Conformation division.

Already, it’s actually starting to heal up really nicely.  The biggest problem is actually filling in the leg, because she’s had two other injuries to it (it’s been stitched up once, and it’s ALSO the knee that she banged up to grapefruit-sized while coming out of colic surgery) and thus some scar tissue, it tends to fill a lot.  So while she’s stalled while it needs to stay wrapped, I’ve been hand walking and grazing her.  Monday I actually got on her and walked her under tack for a little bit.

It might seem a little odd, but for an injury that’s not serious or in a weight-bearing way, I actually think that’s often better than handwalking, because I end up keeping her moving forward more, I end up actually moving her more, and I can get a feel of how she’s using herself better than I can walking beside her.  We actually trotted once around the ring each way, too, and while she wasn’t sound, she mostly felt stiff, not off-off.  Which is a good sign, I think, that we’re on a good track to recovery.

She even got to go out in the little paddock while I was doing some stuff and could keep an eye on her.  One bit of squealy run-n-buck, then she settled down and was fine.  And obviously couldn’t be hurting too much if she was up to that.  Cally is a tough cookie, if  a problem child, and I’m sure that by the time spring rolls around, my condo has been sold, and I can add horse showing back into the budget, we’ll be ready to go.

After all, we ended MDHPS with a crack at doing the over fences class in the Sidesaddle.  We’ve got to be there for serious by the time Showplace Spring rolls around April 1st!  We’ll pick up right where we left off, but better than ever, I’m sure.