Sunday, 31 May 2009


I'm struggling in this heat!

I was a little tardy in getting up today so didn't head out as early as I'd liked, but it was still cool enough to cycle. I walked a little more than usual, but I had to make sure I had the energy to work a horse and get home too!

I hauled Quadi off the grass when I arrived before I went to poo-pick, the longer he is off the grazing the better. His muzzle should arrive shortly but we may have to go as far as 6-8 hours in with soaked hay. We'll see how the muzzle fares!

I'm so pleased he seems so happy to work, he's always keen to take the bit and be tacked.

Lunging was hard work today. It was nearly midday by the time we got into the school. But hey, he's a Luso, and he's usually more sensible in the summer. Today he was like a little boy going round the supermarket with mum, being dragged along by the arm! He was just trying to find ways to make life easier. When warming up he was falling in through his inside shoulder, bending to the outside, running flat, etc. In the Pessoa he was curling back and shaking his head, so I sent him forwards. Normally I can see bits and pieces of good work not using the Pessoa, very much because we use it, but today...not so much. His trot was great when I used it, but both in the warm up and afterwards, his head was up up up!

The polework was an effort and he kept trying to dodge them. I didn't have my game face on because it was so hot; I struggled to concentrate but I tried my best. I got a couple of nice runs on each rein. But even then, as soon as he was over the poles his head was up, back hollow, hind legs in the next postcode. And yet, he was bang on with transitions, every time.

But I wasn't finished there. I donned high-viz and took him for a walk down The Scary Road. In-hand, exercise for both of us :) He was a little 'lookey'. There was a old garage door lying in a driveway, he baulked at it, so I asked him to come and touch it. I put a treat on it, it was much less scary when food was involved ;) I had to work hard to keep him next to me, so that I was level with his shoulder. I don't like to let him pootle behind when we are working, because if he leaps in any direction I'll likely get broken ankles! He was very good though, very up but taking everything in. We stopped a little further down the hill than yesterday and went home. He was a little naughty and kept trying to snatch a bite to eat, I don't like that on any sort of hack. He really is obsessed by food.

Anyway, he was great on the way home too. I left him in the school to have a good old roll whilst I put away his poles. A happy looking horse :) His back didn't look better for having worked but he seemed content.

I found the ride home both excruciating and infuriating. My legs wouldn't work hard and the wind was fierce enough to slow me down as I freewheeled down steep hills. Grumble! And some ponce in a jumped-up hatch thought he'd try and turn right as I was crossing his path over a busy road. I had right of way of course, he didn't even look.

I'd like a car now please!

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Mixed up day today.

Since he went so well on Thursday I decided to have a little sit on...against my better judgement it seems. I was wondering if I ought to because of my back and seat being so tight. But I'm also sick of worrying about the what ifs.

Lunging was fine. By the time I had set up his poles and come back out there was someone else wanting to ride. They didn't mind sharing and neither did I, although it meant we have to have our own halves of the outdoor school. It meant I couldn't use the full school to make lunging interesting, and also I had something else to concentrate on, but it was fine.

He warmed up really well. I got a driving whip to lunge with and this seems to have helped a lot, although he lacked respect for it (I couldn't point it at his side to bend him around it so easily!). I do find it easier to move him in and out, and up and down in tempo with the lunge whip.

Pessoa went well again, although he got a little arsey with me on the right rein as I asked him for a bigger stride in trot. The bottom swung at me a little but he goes through several stages of 'warnings', he's not explosive that way! I backed off, I'm not sure if my body language was too shoutey or whether he found it too hard, or whether he was just expressing an opinion at having to work at all!

The Pessoa was removed and we did a bit more pole work. He's getting good at looking properly and lining up for the trot over, he clunks them less in trot. Walk wasn't so good but he did improve each try. Throughout the session he was harder to bend in on the right rein. There's always a bloody tractor doing something on the farm, it's really distracting so he was good to ignore it with the groundwork.

I lacked focus today because, if I'm honest, I was looking forward to sitting on again. He was great to tack up and mount but immediately went on the defensive. I don't mean with his back, but just refusing to leave the yard. He walked off the other day no bother??? Two fellow liveries were returning from a hack as we were trying to leave. He got his knickers in suck a twist that wretched NS bit came through his mouth. I still use open baby reins to guide him so I hope this wasn't me, I don't usually need much hand with him.

I got off and fixed that, not sure what the two liveries must have thought at the sight of us. I led him further down the yard and remounted. Same song and dance. I can't, I shan't. I think it was a perfectly reasonable request to leave the yard!

After a small exchange we got onto the road and he stopped. Just stopped. I just sat with him. When he tried to move off I stopped him. I asked him to soften his jaw and return is head to a more fitting position, which I gained with so little of an aid (I'm delighted with that!). So eventually he seemed happy to walk on. I should mention the road is dead quiet and you can hear cars coming so I didn't mind too much, plus we were on a straight so could be seen playing statues from afar :)

We drib-drabbed further along the road where Quadi drew an imaginary line in the road and just couldn't possible go further. Spun on his quarters (I'm sure it would have been even more beautiful if it was intentional) and tried to whisk me home. I stopped him. Cue one temper tantrum. Hand on heart, I was completely passive. I was giving him a verbal command to halt, my seat was as passive as it ever is with me. I tend to tense up more thinking about schooling than naughtiness! My legs were quiet by his sides and my fingers were with his mouth. Eventually we were stationary and pointing the right way. He tried to move. I said no thank you, let's stand. Again this worked and we moved on. What a good boy, lots of encouragement from me.

Just when I dared to think "Oh good, we're on our way now", he whipped again. This time, when I requested a ceasefire and a peaceful sit-down he retorted with piaffe and fire-breathing and a couple of fairly spectacular-yet-balanced rears. My requests were friendly, passive and suggestive. He didn't seem scared because he kept snatching at available food, mid-tantrum...

Since he seemed more determined than I to stand in the middle of the road, I dismounted and we walked for a bit. I showed him there were no monsters and that I can be trusted to look after him. I remounted at a suitable spot further along the road. All seemed well. A little onward bound in his walk, like the last time, but I'm willing to take any forward motion at this point. I walked him further than the last time, and asked him to turn around calmly. I got that, two thumbs up. When he shied at various detritus along the way he moved off my leg into the side of the road so easily. I managed a bit more softness up front too. It was sporadic but this is normal at the moment. I was happy.

A little more tense and onward bound on the way home. I tried to give him his back by inclining forwards ever so slightly. I tried to ask for less of a giraffe impression and more of a horse-shaped head and neck please. I struggled with that. He seemed to think lighter seat meant blast up the road.

Then, a car! It was the livery who was schooling earlier. I asked him to step up into a trot, she had very kindly pulled into a passing place but I didn't want to keep her all day. He tried to canter, but was happy to come back down to trot. I stopped by the livery to thank her for pulling in, and she said he looked very fancy coming up the hill. As I moved him off he threw up his front end and then levelled out a buck, and then tried to storm home. I can only imagine what we must have looked like in her mirrors! He came back to walk at my behest, but was just so intent on getting back to the yard, he'd have trotted into his stable if I'd let him.

I think I went too far. I shouldn't have ridden. What should have been a ten-minute pootle ended up being a sizable foot-stomping tanty! Maybe I ought to have arranged company? He was fine the other day, I thought it was reasonable to expect him to be fine today? Especially with the lunging going as well as ever. It's not so much that he had a nap, it was that he didn't listen to me.

I didn't lose the rag with him, I just sat there. I despaired more than anything. I can actually deal with these issues better than the schooling ones but it's been a while since he's been like this.

I think I'll stop riding. He can just be an in-hand professor. His back looked dippy when we came home. Usually his posture improves with work.

Oh, I did give him a little bath. He still has muddy patches, but mane and tail are silky and he smells divine. I caught him rolling as soon as he went out but they all do that :) I also took piccies of his neck, tummy and quarters to see if I can condition score them. Muzzle was ordered last night, I'm sure he'll be thrilled(!)

I'm off to sit in a corner and obsess about all the things I ought to have done differently...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Hot hot heat

No pony news today.

I am getting a lift tomorrow because I think I'll melt if I try to cycle. It was about 24C today, my heart rate sky-rocketed for some reason. Not enough water probably, and maybe a little bit of stress. I meant to go to the running shop today to ask about electrolytes, I think I need more than Powerade. My legs were a dead weight just walking around town!

I've ordered Himself a grazing muzzle, the Shires one. I'm actually worried that the short-cropped grass might be causing the biggest problem. The field they are due to move into has longer grass, and sadly it is a dairy farm, but shorter grass is more rich in sugar and subject to greater fluctuations, I'm led to believe.

Will have a chat to YM and see what we can do with him.

Tonight my mission is to research feeds. I think he needs to be on a balancer and joint supplement soonest. I'm a bit leery of Top-Spec because of the anecdotal evidence that it causes footiness in some. But it does contain Yea-sacc I think, and does have the best vitamin and mineral balance. I don't know what the soil nutrition is like on the farm's fields though. Norvite do good supps which are NE-specific, that's another option.

As for joint supps...where do I start?!?!

I think by this time next week I'll be offshore. Will miss my pony :(

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Top of the class

What a lovely day :)

The trek out was marvellous, because it was cloudy so not too hot for me. I think the sun knackered me on Tuesday!

The boys had additional turnout into the jumping paddock to help trim it down. Sadly for Quadi I removed him for a couple of hours today. I can't feel his ribs. His backside and his neck look fine, but his tummy is almost distended. Probably more to do with his lack of abdominal tone. But I'm now trying to decide between muzzling and bringing him in for a few hours each day...he did look ten times better after having worked.

Once he'd been in a wee while we had a nice groom. Needless to say he is still shuddering his shoulders. He will spend the next few days at least without a rug so maybe not having the neck opening pressing on it will make a positive difference?

He seemed very happy to be tacked up and happy to be with me. I set up his poles on the corner. Four in total, the two middle poles having the inside raised.

We started off without the Pessoa as ever. He warmed up well, transitions were really very good. I had to work hard to capture his attention. He does tend to bend to the outside and lean in over the inside shoulder, which means that inside leg never articulates properly. I took inspiration from PK and made sure I did straight lines and moved around the school with him. Moving the circle around the school meant I kept his attention.

Once we had inside bend and back legs coming underneath, I hooked him into the Horse Torture Pulley ;) He curled back as ever but I didn't panic. I pushed him up into trot and he looked fan-bliddy-tastic! Joints all working hard, the Pessoa was doing it's job and getting him reaching under. His head carriage has improved so much, he is still fiddling but I think I need to get him a fixed cheek bit, maybe with a straight mouthpiece. Once again I moved him around the school, and kept changing the tempo of the work.

He was brilliant on both reins. Off came the Pessoa and I worked him 'naked' over the poles. He cheats, he drifts in and out over them. To start with, he was clunking them with his feet but he soon got better. I also have to bear in mind that he doesn't have the correct shape of foot yet. He was much better in trot, and he really powered his hind legs through them. I didn't even have to remind him too much to bend to the inside like we did with the physio.

Due to handler exhaustion we stopped there, but we worked hard and for quite a while.

I stayed longer than expected so the cycle home was hard work with more traffic. But all in all a great day. I will have to get a video of him working this weekend, I find it hard to look at how he's going and concentrate on my knitting ;)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sound horse, lame rider

A day late but here's yesterday's installment:

For some reason the cycle out was killer, I had to stop a lot. It was rather sunny and hellish windy, so hard work all round! I didn't actually take much longer, but I walked all the way up the hill to the yard. I had a palpitation earlier in the morning, which makes all my limbs heavy and sore anyway, so I can only imagine it must have been that causing me to feel so tired. I was very lucky in that my support crew (my Dad!) came to pick me up because I finished so late :) Hopefully next run out will be less of a struggle.

I started off by riding, because the physio wasn't coming till later. Fin was great. Me...not so much! As soon as I got on he did the same as another friend's very well schooled horse...half pass left. I think my left seatbone is locked in, it would make sense as both horses are trying to move under the side I am weighting. I also found anything on the left rein hard work, my left arm is pretty useless and uncoordinated, so asking for inside bend is crude and muddled. Same goes for my left leg really. In fact, my left side has no business being on a horse. The right side is ok, but sadly I can't split the two so the left side has to tag along as well. He was lovely and patient with me, although not without tension. Tension caused by my shouting seat!

I despaired of myself a little more post-ride. I need to get out and walking in straight lines and thinking about the swing in my back and also trying to find a little more freedom in my hips. I don't allow any movement from the horse, I brace against it. Of course, I'd rather not ride at all, I don't like subjecting horses to my riding!

And so to Twitchy. Still twitching. Still stamping and swishing. To pass the time before the physio, I jabbed him with his second-last dose of Cartrophen. I enlisted the help of another livery as Chief Horse Holder and Feeder Of Treats. And she's a nurse so helped me with the scary bit, the needle and the jabbing! After several false-starts I managed. One grumpy but patient horse! HIs skin was little bumps where I'd attempted to slide the needle through his skin and failed. No matter, I did it and he's still speaking to me. And only one more dose to go!

The physio arrived and saw him walk and trot up. This was a little to my disgust, as I almost passed out on the second run. Not as fit as I'd like to be! I didn't trot so much as gallumph!

He was straight and sound, which is great news. We headed back to his stable for some more poking and prodding. He has great range of movement through his forelegs, neck and poll. And she said his back is looking better, even from the last time she saw him. Still a bit of stiffness through his back, on the left right next to the spine, but reduced from last time.

Sadly this doesn't shed any light on this twitch. I've spoken to the vet and he said if he's still doing it next week he'll come out. He said it won't be a trapped nerve, those are painful and he'd let us know about it. The only thing that it might be is a psychosomatic reaction to the injections. The area that is twitching is the area the nurses down south were injecting into. I am injecting further up the neck but perhaps my lack of skill as a horsey nurse is making him twitch! Watch this space I guess.

We went on to pole work. Working on a fan of poles on the lunge. I have never been so rubbish at lunging, I even got the line under his legs at one point! Coordination and forward planning are two of many aspects I have to work on!

When Quadi goes over the poles, I have to activate his side with the end of the whip. Actually, the handle end, he's not especially switched on at the moment! And raise the inside of the middle two poles to really bring under his hind led. All of this should engage his abdominal muscles.

He was rather lazy, and in my enthusiastic endeavours to ask for more forwards, I have been pushing him flat and with his hind legs trailing. So really what I ought to try is moving the tempo up and down within the pace. He did show signs of lifting his back, but also had moments of hollow, hind-legs trailing, star-gazing motor-biking. Thankfully the good moments are ever-increasing and the bad moments are less with every session.

I think I will try some in-hand work before I lunge him tomorrow to increase his attentiveness. I live in hope!

And fingers crossed I am fit for the trek tomorrow!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Gratuitous Mucky Pony pics!

The squeals and squabbles of the first couple of weeks were just bluster and posturing, firm friends now! Doesn't Fin have the coolest tan lines?! You can see the dip in Quadi's back, although he does have his head quite high to groom his taller buddy.

Nothing from me or Quadi today. I'm carrying a lot of tension, I woke up with a splitting headache. Am relaxing watching PK's first DVD. I daren't try any of the techniques of course, no worries there. I am, however, very inspired with my lunging and groundwork for tomorrow, hope it's a nice day!

I may even ride The Sound One, I just have to get on with it :)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Itchy and Twitchy

Twitchy first. He was a happy little toot today, lovely company. This twitch though, it's still there! Because I had to cycle today I decided to do groundwork. So Quadi was suited and booted for a spot of lunging. I put some poles around one corner of the big school, which runs alongside his field. I couldn't be bothered lugging the poles into the little school! Just a fan around one corner with the edges raised on the outside, I wanted to try something new and interesting, as well as beneficial, instead of pushing the same work too far.

When warming up, before the introduction of the Pessoa, it became apparent that Quadi was not sound in front. The off fore lameness that the vet warned me about has crept back in, I hadn't seen it since he arrived. We were doing so well :(

At the vets, it was worse on the left rein when the off fore was on the outside. But today it seemed worse on the right rein. It wasn't until I first asked him up to trot, his head was nodding quite obviously. He popped up into canter no problem though. Downward transitions were dribbly again but I couldn't ask him to balance when he wasn't sound. On the opposite rein he immediately popped up into trot. I'm not sure if my body language was pushing him or if he wanted to. The lameness was less obvious but still there. It didn't disappear with warming up, which is my biggest concern. So we called it a day. The physio is going to try and come out on Tuesday night but she is poorly. A couple of days off for Twitchy.

Itchy (Fin) and I didn't do anything because we didn't get on very well in the stable! I need to learn to be more patient. At least he seemed none the worse for wear after my riding him!

The great news is that the boys get to stay in their stable little herd of four, which I am so happy about on the poo-picking front! They all seem happy with each other :)

The cycle in both directions was a real chore today. Less so on the way out but the wind was in my face both there and back, AGAIN! I really struggled on the way home, but I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I need to keep a stash of Powerade at the yard and at home. I have adjusted my saddle to be a little higher in order to try and alleviate the knee pain I get post-ride. And I finally have mud guards, which were tricky to fit. Yay for Dads and cable ties!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Back in the saddle

I rode twice today, and I'm in moderate pain now!

Luckily I had a lift to the yard and home again. I don't think I'd have been able to cycle home.

Quadi still has that twitch. I'm not thrilled, I thought he might have unstuck whatever is sticking. But it's still jiggling away. It seems to get worse when he is agitated and it almost doesn't happen when he is standing sleeping. I rubbed the area today and he went all droopy. He doesn't seem sore, but he is still flicking his tail and stamping his feet, I think out of irritation more than anything.

I had planned to ride and then wondered if I ought to. My plan was that I'd tack up and see how he felt about that. He was fine, very willing and compliant. So I thought I'd see how he felt about being walked around the school in tack. Absolutely no sweat there. So I decided to mount up and see if he was ok with that. Even though a trailer came rumbling onto the yard at the moment I put my weight in the left stirrup, he was brilliant. He just stood and waited.

He did try to go to his stable, I had get him focused on leaving the yard to go for a walk. But leave we did. A very nosey pony he is, I couldn't get much sense out of him because he wanted to look at everything. And I couldn't get home to walk slower than a scuttle. So not sure I'm going to be terribly effective at his ridden rehab. But it was a first attempt.

I'm borrowing a Fhoenix for him because he isn't being ridden regularly, but I'd prefer a treed saddle. The Fhoenix kills my hips and lower back anyway.

I also rode Fin. He's a lovely horse to ride, so well-schooled. He confirmed that my seat is a very, very big problem but he sported me around the school and down the road without complaint.

Don't really feel like typing much more, my back and hips ache so much I just want to go to bed!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

No horsey update

Rather a boring update since it is non-horsey!

Kate had very kindly offered to work Quadi for me tonight, and for a second-time the weather scuppered her plans :(

He was a git anyway, not wanting to be caught and trying to remove a shoe on the fence! Naughty bad pony!

Last night when I came home my shoulder, the one I broke twice, was throbbing the way it used to. A toothachey pain. It used to hurt when I'd worked it too hard. I can only imagine it was the bike ride home. It was still sore this morning but I quickly forgot about it.

My sciatica was also giving me gip today.

After a day cooped up in the office I enjoyed a long walk home in the rain, it was highly refreshing! As I walked I was thinking about the way I was walking. I am aware that I will, eventually, have to ride my pony. And to do that I have to unlock my lower back. I can feel when I walk that I hold myself tight and up. I thought about what I am asking my horse, to use his tummy but to relax over the back. I could do it for a few strides only, but it's something I'd like to work on whilst on a horse. Kate has offered to teach me on Fin, I will definitely take her up on that.

The rubbish news is that, as soon as I'd made plans for the next fortnight for the horses, I am probably going away soon :( Never mind, need the pennies.

Oops, forgot to add that I got some photos of Quadi's feet and in all four there are signs of bruising and I think he has had LGL at some point. Here are the backs before the shoes and glue went on. I'm pleased with the shape and horn quality, and the heel isn't too weedy:

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Strange twitch...

Quadi hasn't done anything since Sunday. Kate offered to work him on Monday but the weather had other ideas. And Tuesday was competition evening at the yard. At the moment I am working in the office and only manage up once or twice during the week.

Today was farrier day. All went well, Quadi was quite good apart from being twitchy and swooshy-of-tail.

He had been like that about half an hour after he came in to be groomed. Shuddering at both his shoulders and swishing his tail up his back, stomping feet. I gave him a good brush and massaged him with the rubber-pronged massage brush. He enjoyed both, wibbling his top lip and offering to reciprocate the grooming. But he didn't stop twitching. I stretched out both his front legs, he seemed a little reluctant to release them fully, but did in the end. Snatched them back though. Carrot stretches were no problem, and he hasn't forgotten how to bow. Nor has he stopped his funny habit of waving his boy bits around when he gets clicker treats *lol*

I had to wait on the resin in his hind feet curing. Once it did, I took him out roll, to see if he could sort out whatever was bothering him. Still twitching. So I lunged him, hoping that warming up his muscles would help.

Warm-up without pulleys was fine, he was lovely and soft and in a great relaxed outline. He tries to evade the Pessoa initially, which freaks me out because he curls right back, so I sent him straight into trot and that helped immensely. Downward transitions were a little boggy again today but I didn't cry this time ;) He was throwing his head up in them, so I sent him forward to try and rebalance. It worked in the end, and I wasn't sure if he was at all sore, so I ended on a good note. He is so willing.

When Kate arrived she poked and prodded him and found some grainy lumps in both sides of the base of his beck, before the wither. She gave them a good rub and he seemed to enjoy this a lot, although the twitching persisted. He certainly wasn't sore, best guess is a possibly trapped nerve or something like that, so he is out tonight in the hope that he will roll it loose.

He also had his second jab of Cartrophen. I wimped again, but did manage to watch this time so I think I should be ok next week. There are three nurses at the yard if I get stuck, or, more likely, wuss out of the task *g*

Monday, 18 May 2009

Busy Sunday!

I oozed out of bed at an inhumane hour to go and turn the boys out. Not before I had a small fit at my bike because I couldn't fit the mud guards I bought. Nor could I adjust the saddle. The former being important so that I didn't get soaked knickers yet again, the latter so that my knees weren't so sore from my current saddle position.

Anyway, the rain ceased by the time I set off. A nice cycle to the yard, except for the wind!

Two very keen ponies were duly turned out and of course the usual handbag-swinging ensued. They actually connected hooves this time, I think it was an accident because the remainder of their encounters were more measured. Save Quadi presenting his backside to Fin when he really was getting up his nose!

I am a little achey today because in addition to cycling there and back, I poo-picked three big barrowfulls out of their field. I could still have gotten another couple out but my back and knees limited my progress. And I mucked out three stables, which I always enjoy but I guess it's still a novelty!

Kate was on hand to help me with my lunging. First I warmed him up on both reins, making sure we had a few transitions to get him switched on. The he was hooked into the Pessoa. Onto the intermediate settings because I didn't think the baby settings were having much of an effect on him. It was set up even on both sides but we soon saw that, whilst he had adecquate outside rein to bend, the inside rein was too baggy and having no effect, so that was shortened an inch. I guess the idea is trying to replicate what a rider would be doing if on board.

I worked him on his good rein first, his left. Primarily getting him walking actively and asking for inside bend. And much verbal praise when he got it right. We managed a 20m circle with correct bend, relaxation and forward activity. So we stepped up into trot, again asking for the same thing. When we got the same three again, I asked him to come down. I now know that he couldn't come forward from trot to walk because he was resisting and unbalanced. So he found it much easier to come to walk once I knew how to prepare him for it.

On both reins in warm up he found it hard in downward transitions, but even on his bad rein, the right rein, on the Pessoa he was instantly soft, relaxed and working in a great frame, holding himself up. I was amazed at how he improved as he warmed up. So I just worked on our transitions. The last couple he really got his backside under him and what lovely transitions they were :)

Much praise and kisses from me, and a herb treat sweetie!

But we weren't quite finished. We tacked him up, which he seemed perfectly happy with, for Kate to have a sit on. He was also happy to be mounted and waited for girths to be checked and so on. As soon as he stepped off he threw his head up and dropped his back, hind legs trailing. Kate halted immediately and showed him there would be no fight from her. Instead, he was asked to come back to earth and shown, via the magic of a soft seat, a better way of going. He needed baby rein aids (wide and exaggerated) but that's ok. The reward for us was that when he did let go, his head settled beautifully and he was soft and rhythmical. He still threw his head up a couple of times but I think that was to be expected. In this case I think muscle memory is an exceptionally large factor. And he still looks dipped behind the saddle, although he was using his body correctly. Lots of work ahead but the great news is he CAN do it, and seems willing and happy to work.

Kate was due to work him this evening but sadly bad weather interrupted play. I was supposed to go to the gym this evening, instead I came home and ate pizza :S

I don't know how to add video to my blog, so here are the video links from Sunday's efforts:

Please excuse the circle in one of the vids, he is supposed to be on a 20m circle but I think Kate was trying to persuade him not to bog off with his head up at a trot. The aim of the day was to wear a person without constant hollowing :)

I feel better for having a friend here to help, to point out the wood amongst the trees!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Rain rain go away!

Another miserable day of rain, rain and more bliddy rain. So today was spent in horsey shops. I was actually very good, I bought more bits and pieces for my cat really! Today was more about feed and supplements for Mr Fin, I have some research to do on that front before I commit to more than beet. Luckily neither of the two of them are wasting away.

I can't remember what time we got to the yard, but it was almost teatime, the theory being that if the rain hadn't stopped we could just bring the boys in to be cosied into bed. But the rain had eased, and feeling like I ought to run through another Pessoa session with Quadi, we were both suited and booted for work.

There are two outdoor school are they were both a little boggy with water but the whole yard is on a hill so I expect they'll drain quickly. We did have a lot of rain these past 24 hours, so it's hardly a surprise.

Quadi started off well, unattached to any pulleys or strings. He was sometimes bending to the outside but it was blowing a gale between arriving and tacking him up, so it wasn't so ideal by the time we started to work. But he was nice and active and his posture was great. Head not to high nor two low. However, transitions were sticky. Barely acknowledging my requests for a downward transition, dribbling into them really. And he is most frustrating to try and keep on a 20m circle. It obviously doesn't help that I am deficient to the tune of one cavesson. I have ordered one from Portugal, but we'll have to wait a week. In fact, it might arrive after I go away for work.

In my frustration, I think I ended up bringing him closer to me rather than moving out to him. And becoming increasingly irked with this session, I buckled him up to his Pessoa. Onto the baby, between-the-foreleg setting as discussed with the physio.


I adjusted it to give him plenty of room for natural maneuver (sp?) but not so loose that it was flapping around having no effect. All he really wanted to do was to sniff the floor, threatening to roll. In fact, he ended up putting his leg over the rope that was running along his side.

By this point I had a total sense of humour FAIL and escorted him back to his stable. No point in trying to work with a horse in anything other than a calm frame of mind with clear intentions. I rushed through the lunging as it progressively became a pointless exercise, which only increased our downward spiral. I should have stopped on the first revolution where I saw he was annoyed by the rain.

Upon arrival into the barn, I proceeded to have a small tantrum. Lunge whip was cast to the floor, tack was carefully removed from a soggy pony but I didn't thank him for his work as I always do. When Kate asked me if I was ok my face just crumpled into a pathetic little sob. It's great to have friends to cry on! I was also quickly cheered by my naughty pony unzipping my jacket pocket to obtain his post-work treat. I'm not so amused with his begging with a foreleg routine he gave me, will have to insist to him that only quiet, squarely-stood bog ponies get sweeties...

I just so very much want to get started and get him going, and this effing weather and all other elements conspire against me. Isn't that pathetic?! It's all about me, it's all obstacles in my way and a conspiracy! I don't think I'm the sort of person to give up, but I complained that this is too hard and I don't think I can do it. Tonight I'm going to read a couple of my go-to horsey books. Only to cheer me up, reading is not the same as doing something constructive with my boy.

Tomorrow's plan, weather permitting, is to get Kate onboard him and see if he is easier to ride than lunge through this finding-our-feet phase. I don't think I have great enough control of my bum to ask him to control his. He actually looks strong enough to deal with some ridden work and I've been given the ok to ride him anyway. Plus, I will have another bash at the Pessoa in the more intermediate setting.

Meanwhile, I'll be having a glass of wine tonight!

Friday, 15 May 2009

A night off

This weather! It was glorious yesterday, and the day before. Not so great today, but even so, at dead on 3pm it was raining all of a sudden!

The boys were obviously pleased to see us. Their field is at the top of a hill and the rain was horizontal. Quadi wasn't terribly warm under his rug but not cold either. Even on the way out to the yard I was thinking I could cope with a bit of lunging, but it started to hail and it really just wasn't weather for man or beast to be trying to work in!

So They Mighty Q is all cosied in his stable tonight. No rug on because he isn't exactly thin and I know he'll eat the straw from his bed, so he'll be toasty all night. There are a few others in tonight, should make for a cosy barn :)

His back looks less dipped than I was imagining, I needed to step back and take in the whole picture, he's looking quite good. I'm already thinking about tack. Kate has bought an Easisit and I really like the look of it. Can't stretch the budget to even a second-hand saddle till I've been offshore, but that's time enough to build up some strength in his abdomen.

I had hoped to take some piccies this weekend, with assistance. But not sure about this weather at all.

In lieu of any sort of constructive update, here is a recent piccie of Quadrado's dam (I didn't take it). She's the grey, her name is Altiva, I can't remember exactly how old she is but she must be into her twenties by now. She is an absolute poppet and I adored her as soon as I met her, such a sweet old lady. You can see from the pic she only has one eye. More importantly, you can see how dipped her back is, even for a broodmare.

Anyway, she is now retired from breeding duties to spend her time with friends at pasture :)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Baby Steps

We were supposed to have a vet and physio visit last night, but the vet has hurt his back quite badly. Between the three of us we decided that since the physio is the key to Quadi's recovery, and since he's showing almost not signs of lameness, that we could postpone the vet.

But physio came out see how he is looking after his travels to the North East, and to make sure he didn't have any knots or bumps after settling in.

Walk and trot up showed no unlevelness, he has great range of movement in all limbs. There are no knots or lumps in his back and just a bit of stiffness/reaction along the muscle (can't remember which one!) very close to his spine on his near side. This improved but did not disappear with exercise. It's very superficial so we are just keeping an eye. It could easily be soreness from hooning and rearing and generally being silly. He had a good roll prior to the physio and didn't look to be in any discomfort :)

I am very nervous about this Pessoa business, so what was key for me last night was to make sure I was doing exactly what was required to help Quadi.

I also had a chat with one of the nurses down south, and she told me exactly what they were doing. He was moving up to the more intermediate settings of the Pessoa, but wasn't quite ready for it in this manner for a full lunge session.

Because he is still settling in and we are finding out feet with each other again, we are going back to baby settings so that I know any adverse reactions are genuine and not through worry about unfamiliar noises/being away from friends/muddled communication from me/etc.

He is a lazy fellow, so I do have to lunge him by getting closer to him and, when he falls in through his belly, using the end of the whip to ask him to engage his abs and bend the correct way. Basically a very gentle prod in the ribs, using the whip as an extension to my hand, or indeed my leg if he were being ridden.

I also have to really chivvy him along with a cheery voice, but he does respond to it well, and I'm so pleased that our old in-hand commands are remembered. He might be a lackadaisical little lad but he is so sensible, I'd rather his sedentary pace than a Wall-Of-Death approach!

I think he's also bored of solely lunging, so we are going to do some long-reining and polework, and I might look into some TTouch work. I had thought of giravolta but I think that will be too much at the moment. Some in-hand shoulder-in might be fun though :)

His back is looking rather dippier than I remember, I think this will be our constant challenge. I will have to try and post a recent picture of his dam. Although she has been a broodmare for a long time, even still her back is very dipped :(

The general concensus is that he should get a lot stronger with a rider up top, so I won't put that off as long as I thought I would, but he will need to be a little stronger first. It should be less boring for him to be ridden, his ridden physio involves hills.

He also had his first Cartrophen injection courtesy of Kate, because the needle was huge and I flaked. But with me at the bow shoving in carrots, once the needle was in he was great about it. And the physio said it was nice to be working with a horse who wasn't trying to kick or bite, or combine the two!

He and Fin are sorting themselves out, I think once Quadi relinquishes any harboured fantasy that he is as special as the younger model, they will be just fine.

The cycling was MUCH easier last night in the sun, can't believe the difference. I had a bottle of Powerade with me too, that also helped. I managed the 8.1 miles home in 50 minutes. I was a little delirious from the cold but apart from that, great! Still don't have total feeling in my butt today though...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Grumble grumble...

I could type lots...

but they are settled in bar a few hiccups.

To be honest I've had a pretty low weekend because now I see we're at the bottom of a hill and just how far we have to go. And it's hard building up a bond with him again. Actually, it's not him it's me. He's been a sweetie in the stable, apart from trying to chat up every other equine on the yard. I know I'm putting a lot of pressure on us both but I'm also aware that I must keep up his physio rehabilitation work. I'm also finding the 16m cycle there-and-back hard work. There have been tears...crying and cycling are not to be combined, I recommend separating the two activities or it takes a lot longer to get home!

I refrained from posting till now because it would just have been a self-indulgent diatribe about how life and everything else entirely sucks. I wouldn't say I feel any better, I'm just too tired to write all about it.

The physio and vet up here would like to come and see him this week, I should find out when exactly tomorrow. Which is great actually as I need to be reminded of how to do IM jabs, he is on weekly Cartrophen injections for the next month. I'm also going to get a little more information on how he was working before he came up, I'm leery of pushing him too hard but I'm also aware that we're just over a month into his treatment so it's still easier for him to evade and revert to the habits of a lifetime. We had a spin on the lunge today. I felt like a lot of pairs of eyes were on us, which may or may not be my imagination. But sufficient to say I got my knitting all wrong as a result. And I really don't like the Pessoa. Not that I at all dispute why I'm using it, it's just...I wish I didn't have to use it. But we do, and it's because Quadi needs to become much firmer acquaintances with his abdominal muscles!

I'm not sure how much I'll see him this week but I plan to get to the gym and just switch off; think about something else or nothing at all for an hour or two.

Maybe I'll cheer up for next time!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

He's here

And I'm tired, oh-so-tired. So just a short note to say that two weary but fabulous looking boys were received last night. Both had a good night and and Quadi has been having a great time hooning around with his new chum Finolis. Fin has travelled all the way from Norway and I think they're going to get on like two peas in a pod. Hopefully I'll have some decent shots of them this weekend but for now...a terrible photo but here he is :)

(His nose isn't rubbed, it's dye off of the leather headcollar)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

One more sleep...

...till The Mighty Q arrives. The Mighty Q is what the Pete the transporter has dubbed him :)

Sufficient to say I have been far too busy and distracted to go to the gym. Actually, I ended up in Amseterdam, and more exactly in Schipol airport, for a couple of hours yesterday. So honest guv, I really have been all over the shop!

My brother has expressed an interest in coming to the gym with me, so I will be back soon to help him.

Back to ponies...I think I have lined up all the professionals I need to help maintain rehabilitation. Farrier, physio and vet :) I'm going to have to be uber-organised this next few weeks so that he can have continuing care when he needs it, I still have no idea when I'm being shipped off to work. A pirate's life for me!

I think I'll be able to sleep tonight because I'm so shattered after a hectic weekend.

5 carrots Lu?! Do I have to do that every day to retain his affections? *lol*