Thursday, October 27, 2011

Better Days Are Made By Repetition

I hadn't ridden in a week or so.  The last time I got on, even though I had planned for an early afternoon ride to stave off my mare's need to constantly be on feeding alert, the bugs were horrible, she was cranky, and my ankle was not thanking me for getting in the saddle. But any time I work with my mare whether I am going to ride her or just groom her I always involve loading in to the trailer.  When I groom her she gets tied to the trailer, when I get ready to ride, she gets groomed, loaded, unloaded, tacked, ridden, untacked, groomed, loaded and unloaded again.

Several times now instead the 3 to 5 minute staring, and tension on the lead line contest my mare has reverted to her previous trailer loading skill and walks right on behind me no fuss, no staring, no pulling. We have not yet progressed to closing the door, or the dividers.  I wanted to work on leaving the dividers open, but closing the door.  But any time anyone goes near the back of the trailer while she is in it she unloads herself. Of course I make her get right back in. I only let her be done with the loading training if I ask her to get off. I want her to get out of that mindset that she can unload herself without me asking and that A. it's okay for her to do that, and B. that at that point she's done and can go back to her horsey business.

Yesterday even though there was a breeze(breeze= hyper alertness=spooking) and I was extremely tired, I wanted to ride.  I had been in a funk for two days due to some work related/life related stuff and I needed to ride. I needed something good to lift me and give me something else to focus on. So I went through the routine, groom, load, unload, tack. 

The ride was actually really good.  She did give me the warning signs a couple of times that she wanted to spook.  Usually she's pretty obvious if she's thinking about it.  But we did transitions and circles working on bending, getting back in to a frame, and working on fitness for both of us.  Neither of us had done much physical activity in almost six months. Though the High Queen had still be able to move around her pastures, tormenting her brother as she went, I had not, and she has some considerable bulk to loose before we can do any serious training.

I also threw in at the end of the ride, checking to make sure el husband was not watching from the garage, a hop over one of the small logs in my main pasture/riding area. This actually was the same log that had landed me in to my broken-leggedness. Evil log, I shall jump thee and call myself the victor.  Seneca hopped over without a single second of hesitation. Yippee!

And the best part of the ride?  My ankle only protested a very little bit. It was down right comfortable. Though I did let my right stirrup down a lot during the previous ride so the angle, and percussion on my injury weren't so bad. I'm supposed to be starting physical therapy, though I just haven't gotten around to making the phone calls for it.

After the ride I untacked, gave treats, groomed and then began the loading and unloading again.  Over the last few sessions I had began trying to get Seneca to move past me in the trailer as a precursor to trying to get her to tie without pulling back in the trailer, so that eventually I could get behind her and shut the divider. So far I haven't been successful in getting behind her. I can stand at her side back by her huge belly, rub her, leave the lead line loose, but not leave her. If I try to leave she unloads herself.

I did start trying to get her used to the divider touching her.  She was not happy the first time I used to the divider to push on her. She unloaded herself.  The second time she stood with me having the divider touching her. So progress was made.

I really want to start trailering her out to places later this fall and in to the winter. I want to be fit by spring, I want to get to a horse trial, I want to be doing Beginner Novice by next fall.  I would love to be doing a recognized BN by the end of next fall but I don't know if that is too optimistic or not. I guess we'll see.

All in all just being able to ride put me in a much happier frame of mind, which bled over in to being slightly happier at work. I still hate my job, I still hate getting up early, throwing on the uniform, and not being in total control of my life.  I really hate being forced due to economy and that fact that I am not giving up my farm or my horses to sign away my life again for another six years, which will put me at seventeen years, and make it completely idiotic to get out when I would only have three more years until my full twenty where I can get my retirement checks every month.

*sigh* The things I do for my horses. Anyway, keep it between the flags my friends.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Herald in the Fall

I put the turn-out sheets on the horses for the first time since taking them off last spring. I must have taken them off some time last April but I honestly don't remember. Everything before breaking my leg in May is such a blur that I didn't even realize I had turn-out sheets left.

The Spotted Beast is notoriously bad about maintaining his clothing in one piece. Like a young child he'd rather have fun and tear all his clothing to shreds then behave as the High Queen does.  So I believed until a couple of weeks ago that I needed to purchase blankets to replace what Cowboy had destroyed.  I was even combing the net for the best deals. I scanned through all the tack sites, kept an eye on Tack of the Day, and browsed eBay.

Then I needed something out of the hay shed, and an old muck bucket that I had passed by a dozen times to get hay caught my eye and I found the sheets that I must have put away last spring. Well that's one thing off my mind.

So while feeding my four foots tonight, its always easier to blanket while they are eating, I slipped the blankets on. It felt bitter sweet. My whole summer had been spent not walking, then relearning, I'm still struggling. How could something that happened so quick take so long to heal? My leg will never be the same, so sayeth my surgeon.  I will always have hardware in my leg(I sort of wonder if I will make the metal detectors at the airport go off), and I don't know if I will be able to ride again the way I used to.

Will I be able to handle the strain of jumping? Will I have to give up eventing in favor of straight dressage?  Will I ever be able to fly over the cross country course again? Right now I don't know, and it hurts to not know.

Riding right now is not comfortable, I had to let my right stirrup(the injured side) out another to holes to make it possible for me to even think about staying the saddle without crying.  I had planned to trailer out(now that I can get the Queen in to the trailer) to lessons, and indoor arena's this winter so we both could be fit by spring, but if I can get my leg to tolerate it I don't know where I will be by spring with my riding.

Then there are other things invading my mind that make everything else blurry.  Bills for one, they never end.  And my Dad. He's not doing well.  After the second surgery the results came back, and then it got even worse. At first they were just going to take his bladder but now its that and chemotherapy, and a bone scan to see if the cancer has spread.

It feels hard, and dark and too much like I should be shopping for  a black dress that I don't own. I am the world's best pessimist.  Usually my way of dealing is to ignore things until the bad thing goes away. It usually works, but I can't ignore this, I can't hide from it. My dad might be dying and I can't do anything about it.

This year has truly sucked. Let's hope next year will be better.

Keep it between the flags everybody because it's too crazy outside of them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hiding It and Moving Forward

Lots more things to blog about since the last post. Lets do the bad first, just like lessons, or training you always want to end on a good note.

My dad had his second surgery not too long ago and everything looked okay. And then the results came back a week later. Not so good. The cancer just won't stop taking things. Now my dad has to have his entire bladder removed. Will this finally help him be pain and cancer free?  I am a bit of a pessemist, so I'm betting not. Because the doctors already told us twice that he was good to go, only to come back a week or two later and have them sign him up for another surgery.

So we shall see what we shall see.  My own health? Not too shabby these days.  On the weekends, and afternoons when I'm not working I am crutch AND cast free. After I get my official piece of paper from the doc that says "No you cannot due the mandatory physical fitness test this fall"  I will probably start trying to go to work without the boot, but we'll see. My leg has actually started protesting going back in to the boot. It feels like when you wear a ski boot for too long.

And as I carefully look over my shoulder to make sure my co-workers are not shoulder surfing my blog typing, I will say I have finally started getting back on my horse.  I've ridden her twice so far. Not for very long, only about ten minutes, but it is soooo great to be back in the saddle.  Riding isn't too comfortable yet, that would be asking for the cake AND the ice cream, but I can do it with tolerable pain.

Our new puppy Midnight Hill's Agate Beach aka Baker Street Back in Black(he came to us already registered and I don't know if I want to or can change his registered name)  Anyway he is just HUGE!  Three times the size of Jasper at the same age. He is a voracious eater, player, digger, but unlike Jasper, Agate has an off button.  Jasper also liked to be completely under my feet constantly.  Agate will sometimes take a nap in the kitchen by himself.  So he's got more indepence than Jasper, and Agate is not afraid of the horses at all.  There is one section of front yard fence that borders a side pasture. If the horses are anywhere near it, Agate hangs out by the fence hoping for a friendly visit.

But what's up next for Midnight Hill Eventing? Hmmm, training and getting back to fitness over the rest of the fall and winter.  If I can make the High Queen happy about being in the trailer so that I can load and unload her by myself I can start trailering to an indoor during the bad weather, and down to a couple of other arena's in the good weather.  There is an eventing trainer up about two hours from me that I have been eyeing as a prospective instructor. I want to go watch a lesson first though. I do not do screamers, or people without an easy, encouraging style of teaching.  I want someone who actively competes, and who I can trust not to abuse me. I've had bad trainers in the past. Not going to do that again.

Then hopefully in the spring it will be our year to make our debut. I've only been trying to get there with the High Queen for three years!  Anyway, time to head home. 

Stay between the flags, and hugs all around.