Friday, November 25, 2011

Legend offers some relief.

So, I finally managed another ride yesterday on Gus. First ride since my last post (so just over a week since I worked with - and saw, Gus) and I'd have to say that I think the Legend offered some relief from arthritic aches and pains.

On Wednesday of this week Gus received his first Legend injection in months. I'm checking with the vet, cause I could've sworn that Gus had a Legend injection (IV) done back in August, but according to my records I'm mistaken. So we'll see... otherwise it's been since May that Gus had any sort of joint/IM injection.

He was definitely a lot more comfortable working yesterday undersaddle. On the lunge he was moving out nicely, still not reached forward as much as I'd like. But for Gus, it was decent.

We focused primarily on repeating the exercises that we did the week prior. So we did the ribbon at the walk, followed by some trot serpentines, ending with some shoulder-fores/ins before starting the canter work. Cantering was done in the same fashion as we've done in rides past. I started off with the counter-canter, right off the bat and worked Gus in large figure-8s. Gus definitely has a difficult time maintaining the right lead canter while counter-cantering... if you can follow that. He's much better on the left lead. Regardless though, the canter has improved greatly and all the issues I had last week seem to be non-existent again. Not sure if it's the Legend working that well or the fact that Gus didn't have a full bladder...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cold Weather and Arthritis

Arthritis flares and cold weather seem to run hand in hand, least when it comes to Gus. Last night, being a Wednesday night, meant lesson night again. It was a near disaster from the get go.

Gus started off very very stiff on the lunge line but for the most part seemed to work out of his issues. Definitely more noticeable going to the right then to the left - which is typical Gus. Once we began the undersaddle work, it became apparent that it was going to be one of those days.

To begin with, B had us doing 10m half-circles down the long sides. As the exercise progressed, it was almost a ribbon candy-like pattern down the arena's length. The goal in this exercise was to get Gus really bending around my inside leg and stretching through the outside. We then proceeded with our usual 3-loop serpentines, at the trot.

For whatever reason, yesterday we could not get Gus to move down and out. He was stuck in this goofy, uncomfortable jog-trot. It was even more apparent at the canter that he was just absolutely miserable. Gus definitely gets points for being a saint though.

We ended the lesson with some leg yield work on and off the rail at the trot. Basically a couple steps off the rail, then LY back on the rail, rinse & repeat. Then we worked on that down the quarter line. That seemed to be more difficult for Gus, for whatever reason. The last exercise we did was kinda like a saw-tooth pattern down the long side of the arena. To start with we took about three strides on the diagonal, then did a bit of a turn on the forehand before returning on the rail. Essentially, this exercise was supposed to work on the shoulders and loosening them up. Gus definitely felt the burn when performing this one. He was exceptionally good going the one direction (to the left, I think) but struggled to the right. End the end, he was a good boy about the whole situation.

After my lesson, while cooling out Gus (who was still undersaddle), B and I got to talking about why Gus was so miserable today. Not sure why he was... granted it was VERY cold and windy (like 20 something outside at the time), but she thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and get him injected with Legend again. It's been since August... so he's probably due for another round. FWIW, he was bute'd before my lesson, like I have been doing for the past few weeks, but the vet will be out on Wednesday for a Legend injection.

Funny thing was, immediately after dismounting, Gus dropped and pee'd up a storm. I can seriously count on one hand how many times he's "pee'd" in public, and I've owned Gus for nearly 12 years. He's very modest. I'm thinking that had something to do with his reluctance to move forward... we'll see how he goes the next time I ride. Wish he would've just pee'd if he had to go that bad... poor guy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

He's Baaaacccckkkk!

I hope I didn't just jinx myself. Or Gus for that matter.

But I think I've almost got Gus back. We had another nice ride Saturday afternoon. Gus definitely is very, very stiff starting out, so much so that I don't think we'll be able to avoid not lunging prior to riding. Thankfully, he does seem to warm up and become more fluid-moving after about 15 minutes of lunging. Feels weird to be that rider that needs to lunge her horse before riding... least in my defense it's not to settle him down, but instead to get him moving freely before I'm up on board.

So yesterday we worked the on the same exercises that we had worked on during my lesson the previous Wednesday. This included: small (10-15m) trot circles at every major letter (ABCE), shoulder-fores down the long side, trot serpentines, counter-canter and counter-canter to true canter figure-8s. Gus definitely is starting to develop a stronger canter, especially the (true) right lead canter.

My biggest issue, per say, right now is when I ask for the walk and give Gus a break he immediate nearly stops. If he could be moving in reverse he would be, as he is that unmotivated at the walk. So now when he gets his breaks he's got to keep marching forward. Only at the end of the ride can he just stumble along, if he so chooses.

I do feel like my legs (and therefore hands) are improving but that's easier said the done. Not using my legs so loudly and excessively is starting to become easier, but I do still need to think about it nearly every stride. Hopefully within another month or two of consistent riding my bad habit will be a thing of the past.

I don't think I had mentioned it before, but Gus's old turnout buddy, D, is no more. He's turned out with another horse and that horse's buddy is now back out with Gus. N and Gus have been turned out before with little to no issues. It's great knowing that neither one will be goofing off too much in turnout. Thanks to D though, I just received my first bill for fixing one of two turnout sheets that was destroyed. A whooping $42.75 to wash ($10) and fix a sheet. Sheesh. Thankfully the other one should be cheaper as it wasn't destroyed nearly as much. And neither Gus nor N are blanket destoryers... Still makes me mad though but I'm glad that Gus isn't being harassed anymore. He's too old for that.

I'm still wanting to get Gringo a new blanket though. Not entirely sure why as he rarely ever wears one. His Masta is just a tad too short, length wise. Least the drop doesn't make him look like a fat guy wearing an A-shirt. Just can't decide what type I want to buy... love the look of the Weatherbeetas but I've had issues in the past with fit. And I do like the design of the Amigos/Rhinos/Rambos but Gringo is a broad-shouldered boy... I guess we'll see where I can find a deal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lessons and Hooves

Today was lesson day. I decided to switch things up and ended up giving Gus bute before my ride, rather then after. And I think it made a world of difference. 

B commented on my nice, quiet legs today. I was so pleased with that comment. I've been trying VERY hard over the last two weeks to keep my legs nice and quiet, only asking when needed. 

We ended up working on the same ol' stuff again today. After about 15 minutes of lunging, we proceeded to undersaddle work. First up, after walk work, was 15m trot circles at every major letter (ABCE). Once we got Gus bending well on the circles, we started working on 3-loop serpentines. Eventually we switched directions and repeated the exercises the opposite direction. We finished the trot work with shoulder-fores. At the beginning of each long side, we did a small 10m circle followed by shoulder-fore down the longside, ending with another 10m circle before proceeding along the short-side of the arena. 

Canter work started with countercanter, right off the bat. Instead of making perfect corners and a nice rectangular-shaped arena, we made the arena a giant oval. Gus had a lot of difficulties with the countercanter when going to the right (so on the left lead). He constantly and consistently wanted to break down to a trot or change leads. When keeping him up off his right shoulder (inside shoulder on the countercanter ) he was able to maintain his leads better. 

We switched directions and worked on the countercanter to the left (so on the right lead). This was a lot easier for Gus and we didn't have any baubbles, whatsoever. We ended the canter with just a regular ol' right lead canter, going to the right. 

My goals for the next week are to continue working on the canter, perhaps throwing in more true canter now that Gus's hind end has gotten stronger. B could tell that Gus's hind end has strengthened and bulked up since earlier in the year, but I still think we are dealing with weakness issues. I guess that will be an on going battle. 

B thinks that a lot of Gus's issues stem from weakness and sensitivity. Granted he should NOT be sore following a trim, it's quite possible that given his older age and his arthritis, trimming isn't as easy for him as it used to be. She brought up a good point about possibly doing hoof blocks this spring. So it'll be something I plan on thinking about if we have hoof issues again this spring. Hopefully we won't have to go there.

Moving along to Gringo. Today Gringo had his hooves trimmed again. He was at 9 weeks today and definitely needed the trim. Here's the photos from today. As usual, they are taken from left fore to the hinds and back to the right fore.

Gringo was so dusty/dirty today... it wasn't even funny. I tried hard to get him as clean as I could, but there's only so much you can do without throwing soap and water into the mix. Oh well, once it snows once or twice I won't have to worry. Gringo seems to self-clean come winter... that definitely comes in handy. 

Gringo also was subjected to a deworming today as well. Just a dose of plain ol' Ivermectin, but it was definitely needed, that's for sure. Who knows if that'll help with the pot belly, but definitely won't hurt - that's for sure. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Well, I'm definitely not an old dog, but I am having to learn a "new trick". After riding on and off (mostly on) for over 20 years, I'm having to learn all over how to properly use my legs and hands. And boy, is that going to be a HUGE work in progress. I'm not entirely sure why my trainer decided a couple weeks ago to tackle that challenge, but she did. It's going...

Gus had been progressing fairly well. I truly felt like we had made some progress with bending/flexing, etc. And then the farrier struck. Go figure, he's off again. I wouldn't call it lame, but he is most definitely EXTREMELY short-strided undersaddle and on the lunge [see previous blog post regarding hooves]. He was trimmed last Wednesday (the 2nd) and that evening when I was out he was very choppy in the trot and had a disunited canter. Both directions were very disorganized... but it felt a bit more unorganized to the left then to the right... I think.

My last lesson was October 26th, since my BO came down with the flu/cold/etc last Wednesday. So since the 26th, I've only ridden like twice. Definitely trying to keep up with the anti-nagging that I do without even knowing it, but it's hard to do. I literally have to tell myself to GET MY LEGS OFF MY HORSE. Do you know how hard that is to do? I feel like I ride like a "dude", you know the city-slicker types that go to a "dude ranch"? Oh well. I'm trying and believe it or not, Gus is responding much better to this type of riding. If only I had started to change my habits years before.

Funny thing is, I think my resolution from 2010 is finally being put into effect. I distinctively recall stating to my BO/Trainer about this time last year that I wanted to work on Gus becoming more responsive to my aids. Well, he finally is and I must say that our rides are a bit more enjoyable.

I did manage to get out to see Gringo this past week as well, actually Thursday in fact. Gringo is such a good boy. I didn't really do anything at all with him, didn't even make it into the barn, to tell you the truth. Ended up just snapping some photos with the camera phone. He's very photogenic, even if he enjoys standing around poo...


I still think he looks preggo... but my MIL won't change the amount of hay he's being fed. It just isn't worth the fight, so atlass he's just a chubby gelding.

Hoof Montage

Last Wednesday, Gus had his hooves trimmed again. Unlike recent trims, after this trim Gus was EXTREMELY sore. Only noticeable undersaddle and on the lunge, but enough to warrant a "this is from a trim" thought versus a "here we go again" thought, even though they are a bit one in the same. [<--- Sheesh, talk about a long, run-on sentence. Oops!]

I left a message for my BO/Trainer regarding Gus and his offness (I wouldn't call it lameness, per say). I guess the farrier is supposed be back out again this week sometime to trim more horses, so I asked her to check with him, seeing as he doesn't communicate well at all to me, unless I'm there in person. [<--- There I go again. Another run-on sentence.] We'll see where that leads. I'm doubting nowhere, but you never know.

Here's the photos from this past Wednesday's trim. As usual, they are taken from left fore to left hind, right hind to right fore.

Still trying to figure out what is causing that funky wavy crack in the left fore. I do believe it's been there for a while...

I'm really not pleased at all with how the fronts look. They look short-toed and a bit crushed in the heels. Sheesh, I think we're back to what we've been dealing years back. For reference sake, here's what the left fore has looked like since August 2009 through today. Hence the post title of "Hoof Montage".

 August 2009

May 14, 2010 - Can we say "yuck"?
June 12, 2010

July 2, 2010 - Yikes, LONG toes!
December 16, 2010

February 13, 2011

February 19, 2011

March 2, 2011

March 9, 2011

April 6, 2011

May 11, 2011

June 17, 2011

July 4, 2011

July 6, 2011

August 12, 2011

September 27, 2011

November 2, 2011

I guess I'm not seeing such a dramatic change, overall in general, I'd say they are A LOT better then what I was dealing with in the 2010 year... but still. Uggh.