Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Cripples & The Saint

First off, thank you to everyone who responded to my last post! I LOVED reading them! Also, I find it ironic, because the subject matter is relevant to today's post.

Secondly, this past weekend absolutely wrecked my back somehow, and took me 2 steps back and I spent the majority of Sunday softly sobbing (yes, actually) and laying on the floor with my feet on the couch. It was pretty terrible.

I would love to say my back has majorly improved, but it hasn't. (There for a few weeks I felt a massive improvement, but right now I almost feel the same as when it happened.)

So logically, I rode Yankee on Tuesday.

It was 100% unplanned, obvious by my total lack of riding clothes, but was actually pretty fantastic while it was happening...if you can look past my absolutely disgusting floppiness. Its def the worst its ever been, hilarious because I just talked about it in my past post. 

I beg you to please ignore everything that is my legs & ass flopping about and only focus on how gorgeous and lovely Yankee looks. Its 1000% obvious that I have lost all riding muscle/ coordination, and based on how my back felt the second I dismounted, definitely not ready to ride again anytime soon. Whomp whomp. My right leg was flying all over the place guarding my back, and on any other horse would  most likely have distracted them to the point of confusion, lol. Thank you Yankee.

God, hes pretty
The reasoning behind all this suffering was the fact that I had gotten a text earlier in the day from his leaser stating that he was lame and she was concerned because they had a recognized HT this weekend. I had an inkling he was either being lazy, or was actually slightly sore from stomping flies all I headed out immediatelyt after work to check it out in case it was more serious.

What colic surgery?

I've noticed from recent observations that V doesn't always ask for the most impulsion, and sometimes this  creates what I call "backwards energy". When riding from the hands only and not much leg, there is no real energy coming through and sometimes, especially at the walk, can create false lameness. Or, "a hitch in yer gitalong". Yankee also will take advantage of green riders (ask my mom, haha) and feign exceptional laziness to the point of concern, so I thought if I got on and demonstrated how to get him moving, that would really help V in the long run with her flatwork!

I knew I shouldn't have gotten in the saddle, but it needed to be demonstrated and I needed to make sure he wasn't actually lame. Ten minutes tops is what I told myself.

The second I hopped on him he started his old lazy routine; dragging his feet and actually feeling slightly off behind. Classic, Yankee. You almost fooled us.

With the help of Mr. Tappy, I woke him up and he marched off perfectly fine.

Once he realized who was on his back, he got right to work and was exceptional. He was forward, light and mostly straight. I could feel right away what he has been getting away with recently, and it took a bit extra inside and outside leg to keep him moving AND straight. After about 3 minutes though and a few transitions, he was foot perfect.

I ran through a few collections and extensions (as best as I could ask for) as well as walk to canter transitions. It felt so lovely to be back on Yankee again and I loved every second of my 7 minutes that I rode him. I also really hope it had helped V see  what he's capable of and how to correctly ask him for "more".  They left today (Thursday) for another event, so I'm just hoping things go well for her and I'm hoping I get some media! I can say though that I won't be riding again anytime soon. *sadface*

I posted the video at the end, if you care to watch me flop about. Yankee truly looks lovely, so if you're about videos, you might enjoy it!

Afterwards, I hosed him off, stuffed his face with cookies and moved on to Bacardi. Not before linimenting my own back and sitting down for about 10 minutes, hah.

B has been sound at the walk going to and from his pasture and has been less "campy" in the crossties, so I wanted to see how he looked at the trot and canter on grass. I tossed the side reins on for funnies, and out we went.

At first, he was mostly more tense than anything, but REALLY moving out nicely. Everyone was getting turned out, so he was majority distracted as well as stoked to be out and about again.

After a few minutes, he calmed down and relaxed across his topline a little, and then a little more. Still not 100% consistent, but I was more looking for forward at this point in time. 

Prepare yourself for super interesting, earthshattering, never ending lunging pics. Its all you'll be getting for a while.

After he relaxed his neck a bit and starting really pushing from behind and rounding  his back, I asked for the canter. Considerably more stiff in this gait (mounted or not) he was struggling a little even on a large circle to maintain the canter. The good news is he didn't seem footsore, only a little weak. 

Someone's getting fat < 3

To the right was another, predictable, story. This has always been his worst direction, and even with the LF being his worst foot, to the right has always been much harder for him. It wasn't great. 

In addition to giraffing, he tends to fall in severely going this direction (mounted or lunging) and will take considerable time to readjust from being off. He's been sidelined almost as long as me, so I'm honestly not surprised.

Behold, my gorgeous giraffe
Slowly but surely he got a little less tense and starting giving to my "half halts" at the trot going left. Still going forward wonderfully though and didn't look at all footsore, which is all I really wanted.

The canter left was the worst. He was so stiff, he almost looked like he was leaning to the outside and cantering with his butt in the circle. I think with time he will get back to straightness/fitness and not impersonating a 2x4. Again though, still going forward nicely!

I was tickled that both my boys were moving so well, despite my agony, I went home happy.

Wednesday's are long days at work, so I usually don't make it out to the barn on the long ones these days with my ole grandma back... I also don't feel comfortable lunging him  just yet on our hard arenas (summer can end any day now) and I can't exactly work in the dark. Plus, my back is lit after 10 hours at work and I kind of want to die by then. I also thought B might need a day to recover. I definitely needed one.

Thursday though I dragged my hurting' bum out to the barn, despite the 92* temp with 65% humidity (it was as disgusting as it sounds), and got B out for another lunging session.

He wasn't thrilled.

Mom, its hot. Can we not.

He was much more stiff today, and what looked like a little more footsore than he was on Tuesday. I'm not sure if its because it had JUST rained and the grass was wicked slippery and he was tiptoeing around trying not to fall, or because he bugs were attacking us in full force, or the heat, but either way...he was moving just slightly less fabulous. Since it was so hot and he wasn't moving out as well as Tuesday, I kept the session brief, but we both were dripping after 15 minutes.

He moved better to the left again, per usual, but was visibly more backed off than previously. I noticed it occurred more where the grass was shorter and the ground was harder, which made sense regarding his footsies.

Long grass= better
My phone ran out of storage about 30 seconds in to me filming the left, so we sadly don't get to see him giraffe to the right. I did manage to get a bomb photo of the storm clouds moving out though.

Overall, I wasn't really sure if he was actually lightly footsore, or if he was just tiptoeing in the slick grass, but I am still happy with his progress. I am hoping to lunge another week or so, every other day and then maybe add in 1 hack a week. That's of course presuming I can handle it, but we will see. My friends volunteered to hack him more often too, so thats legit. #PassthePony

Lastly, here's the short video of me riding Yanks the other day. It took literally 3 hours to upload, so you better enjoy that shit.


  1. Awesome that he isn't too foot sore. He's looking great

    1. I am SO thankful he seems to be OK with bare feetsies!

  2. What is your cutoff for "retiring" your horse for the day? Anytime my horse is slightly off I feel so guilty and just let him spend the rest of the day eating snacks but I'm starting to figure out it is just stiffness that he works out of pretty quickly.

    1. Usually about 10-15 minutes. If they haven't worked out of it by then I feel bad as a horse mom asking them to continue. Generally then too its most likely a bit more than just stiffness, and most likely a real issue!

      Yankee as hes gotten slightly older always needs a little bit longer of a walk warm up in winter, but in summer (unless its on super hard ground- aka our areas rn) he's good to go from the start.

      For B, I'm assuming some stiffness since he's been off so many weeks and is transitioning barefoot, but I also want to try and get 15 minutes of work in each time to help promote blood flow in those feets! If he wasn't working out of it after 15 min I would call it quits.

  3. Hope your back feels better soon! I don't think you can judge yourself too harshly when you're riding with a sore back :)

    1. I'm trying not to haha. But I can't help it!

  4. I hope your back feels better soon!

  5. Riding Bestie leases out her Dutch Hippo and he loves pulling the "I'm so lame (jk, just soooo lazy)" trick out all the time, too.

  6. I hope your back gets better. Back pain is the bane of my riding existence (as I broke my back 3 years ago). But it's gotten better over time.

  7. Ugh that back pain sounds miserable. Glad that it turned out nothing was actually wrong with Yanks tho - hope he and V have a great time at their HT!

  8. Back pain is the worst!! But look at your sound, shiny ponies! Glass half full?

    1. Absolutely right :) they've been my beacon of light the last few weeks

  9. Sucks about you back, but I'm glad you got to ride Yankee again. I loved the video. He is so gorgeous. B is too. So shiny!

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