Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Worth checking out

Kate on A Year With Horses has posted a great write up about a Mark Rashid clinic she recently attended. More than worth a read!


Three doughnuts and counting!

A quick update on me before I write about Quadrado.

I went to the gym last night, I only did about 35 minutes again, but better than nothing. The boat was rolling something chronic, I had to work hard to stay in the saddle! And also I was very aware of my seatbones, perhaps the saddle is not as comfy as I first thought! I have quite enough natural padding so I wonder why it hurts? I was also aware that my silly knee, the left one, is obviously suffering from lack of strength through exercise because as I pedalled it wasn't running true, sort of bending in and out again. I have an exercise to strengthen the correct muscles I can do at my desk, so no excuses not to sort that out.

Sadly I've had about three doughnuts today. Not that reaching for sugary treats is an appropriate response to workplace stresses :s But I ate them all, including the fat-free middle bit *lol*

And onto Himself:

All reports are great. He needs a fairly thorough warm-up (although any horse should get a sympathetic warm-up of course!) to get the best out of him, but he's 12 now so I'd expect him, with all his issues, to need a while to feel limber.

He is now executing canter in the school under saddle. Nice big easy shapes just now, luckily the school at the yard is nice and big to do canter circuits, just need to find somewhere to open him up sensibly on a hack. Clever boy is also getting into his school movements and lateral work in walk and trot. Donward transitions are better still, albeit occassionally sticky early on in the session. I guess this means he needs lateral walk work in an easy outline before moving up a pace, or lunging/in-hand before riding. Things for me to remember when I'm home. Kate's doing such a fabulous job in my absence, I hope I don't come home and unpick all her lovely knitting!

He has been a little head-tossy/twitchy sometimes. It's lesser than when he arrived, so is it flies or pain/irritation/habit? He's also finding it hard to just loosen off his shoulders, this is a definite block to working properly for him.

With all that in mind, his massage on Saturday couldn't have been better timed!

The therapist found lots of general tightness and once told his history, she decided it was more appropriate to just give him a general treatment to make him feel better. Particular tension was found in his lumbar area and back end, as well as his shoulders. No surprises there, it's consistent with what both of us have found in his training, although I am sad he's still holding himself together :( He wouldn't really 'give' into the massage and guarded himself. I felt the same the first time I had a massage, so hopefully he'll get better with each treatment. And, he has been a cheerful chap since the massage so he is benefitting from it. Everyone's in agreement that the absolute key to him working his back is releasing his shoulders.

Since the work he hasn't been flicking his head/nose so who knows if it is the flies or something that was hurting? Time will tell. We will explore the avenue of physical pain/impairment and continue to monitor the fly situation. I am toying with getting him a nosenet for ridden work and then once he is out of the habit, remove it and see what happens. A nosenet isn't invasive :)

The equine massage lady (I can't remember exactly what her title is, will put up her site once I find it!) suggested pole work, which our physio already has us doing and it's very much in keeping with what both Kate and I have experienced through different avenues of treatment in the past. Quadi needs to figure out where his feet are, and his farrier work is helping immensely with that. I think I need to invest in one of the TTT books, I remember reading a lot about in in horsey mags years ago to teach body awareness. It'll be good ground work and bonding for us I think.

To be honest, I felt just awful to hear that he was still tight and sore. I'll admit to being disappointed, but it's really pleasing that he already feels better and his demeanour is so much improved, the phrase 'at ease with himself' was used and I think that's fantastic!

I really can't wait to get home and see him. Kate thinks I'll see a difference, he's losing the bulge to his braciocephalic muscle, so the pieces of this extraordinary little puzzle are coming together.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

One week to go!

For one reason and another I didn't feel like doing anything on Friday, so gave the gym a miss. Last night though (Saturday) I was back in there!

I forgot to say that after about Thursday's session, another reason I stopped was that my hip flexors, the ones down the front where my legs join my body, were really very sore. They're fine now, I think they were just in shock!

I decided just to do the bike last night, I'm not sure weights is a good idea on a moving vessel...I'm also a bit lazy and like to just sit and pedal. I took a magazine with me to read because otherwise it's rather boring in there. I didn't find it that easy, I prefer music. Lesson learned :)

To begin with, I was in pain. Only a little, but something about the saddle snagged or pressed on my sciatic nerve so I just kept going to see if it got better or worse. I fidgeted around and it got better. It's actually a very comfy saddle indeed, wide and squishy like my backside so it fits nicely! The itching returned, just on one hand. I wonder if it's just lack of exposure to fresh air?

After about 35 minutes I stopped. Not because I'd had enough, but I'd run out of water. Which was frankly idiotic of me, my tummy was burning with thirst! I was still fresh-legged though, and felt like I could pedal for the hour. Which is most pleasing, that's actually an improvement on what I was able to do at my regular gym before Quadi returned.

I did stretch out afterwards, so not sore at all today. I am aware of my knees though, they really don't appreciate the constant pedalling. I'm probably the wrong shape for cycling, I'm the wrong shape for most activities.

I'm also coming home a week early, so I have around a week left as opposed to two. But I think I'll be ok in terms of being fit enough for traversing back and forth to the yard. I also have to buy a new inner tube for my bike's front tyre, which so mercilessly decided to deflate on the way home shortly before I left. And I didn't manage to get it repaired.

Here's hoping the rain stops upon my return. Boyo is getting a brand new saddle as soon as I'm back, so waterproofs for me are out of the questions until the following payday! Not sure I fancy a month of cycling in soaking wet clothes and extremeties turning black from being cold and wet!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

It'll hurt tomorrow

I did it. I dug deep, sucked it up and went to the gym. I might need the medic tomorrow though.

I didn't warm up and I didn't warm down, the former because I just wanted to get on with it whilst I felt motivated to do so, and the latter because I was knackered and couldn't be bothered. Might as well be faithfully honest and say so, that's what this blog is for.

All I did was a half-hour of interval work on the bike. Which was pleasant from the offset since the saddle was infinitely comfier than the examples at the gym and my pedalbike at home! It's generously wide and squishy, just like my ass, so at least I don't have a sore tailbone or seatbones now. It's also nice to wear my properly-fitted running sneaks again, I need to stock up on appropriate footwear...

5 minutes hard work, 2.5 minutes 'rest' for half an hour, I think that was a reasonable effort, although nothing special. Since I approached the task with copious fervour and no common sense, I got a stitch and my heart rate was too high. But in that brief moment between setting out and unable to breathe, I felt very good, those endorphins do help!

My skin is very itchy now though, my hands and lower arm seem to be swelling (I have Raynaud's Syndrome) and they're red. It could also be from sweat, and being under air-con 24 hours a day. And lack of fitness. All of the above really! I was a little unsteady going down the stairs so I expect I'll be sore tomorrow, but I'll go back and at least do the same again. Beat these lazy muscles into submission :)

Quadrado continues to go well. Very well in fact. I'll do a proper update about him after the weekend, lots to tell. But he's happy, I think he actually has his massage this weekend, lucky devil :D

Saturday, 11 July 2009

No news

Quadi is going great guns. He is still learning about right bend and has shown intermittent shortness in the off fore. I don't even want to call it lameness because I don't think it's seated in pain. Not anymore at least. I think in asking him for correct bend through his body, and achieving this, he is working muscle groups and joints he has previously tried to protect. It disappears once he starts working properly in warm up which makes me think once he can work correctly from the start of a session we won't see it anymore. Kate noticed he was fine once into the Pessoa and not evading. So with practice he will be able to do it without the ropes and pulleys :) Just as he is now able to hold himself up better when working 'naked' on the lunge, or under saddle.

And he's had another shoeing. Normal shoes this time, which is huge progress. He is standing straight and squarer with those back legs, and moving great too. His toes have been brought back to give him a shorter breakover.

My gammy left shoulder has been giving me grief for about 48 hours now. I'll explain. A few years ago, I broke my collarbone twice in the space of 6 months. Falling off the same horse, both times in spectacular fashion. Half pikes, somersaults, the lot! Arms and legs flailed wildly and uncontrollably...with that much activity, speed and projection I fear I looked not unlike a cat launching an attack on a Christmas tree. Danni-shaped dents were left in the surrounding flora. I believe the second fall resulted in me rolling under the horse and tumbling several times, splitting my knickers up the back in the process. Not my jods though, thank goodness. But the pants were clearly distressed by the whole thing, I must have done the splits with my legs at some point. At least, I hope that's what split them!

I didn't get very good physio rehab afterwards. So my rotator cuff muscles (don't know their proper name) are all torn away and my left shoulderblade sits proud of my back. Not a good look in an evening dress, good job I spend my life in hoodies!

I've relented and taken ibuprofen. It's a nagging ache from my back, into the shoulder, right through to my fingers. And I can't put any weight down my arm. It's been a while since it has bothered me. I haven't done anything to warrant this, save getting in and out of bed. Terrible! I'll be needing a davit to get me in and out of my bunk, and a stairlift. And one of those chairs that stands you up out of it...

One more thing. I'm hanging my head in shame as I type this. I still haven't seen the inside of the gym. I'm not motivated and have absolutely zero sense of urgency. I still have nearly 4 weeks to go so still time to build back up before I get home. Not good enough of course. My Little Pony is working hard, it's time I showed the same sort of dedication.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Birthday boy

Quadrado is 12 today, so Happy Birthday to him from me, currently in Norway!

Four years ago, when I went down to see him:

And the end of May this year:

He's lost a lot of muscling through his back right down his backside and his thighs. And his chest. Well, everywhere really! But he's sound and making great strides.

He's been doing really well in his training, every session he makes progress. Last report he managed to carry himself properly from the outset, starting on the right rein which is his iffy side. He's also holding himself up in trot, and whilst he is still having to work hard to lift himself back into walk, Kate reported that he did manage it after a couple of tries and she ended on that great note.

He's also started some more lateral work both in-hand and under saddle, mostly trying to mobilise his shoulders and as for correct bend through his body rather thancheating by twisting his head at the poll.

So two thumbs up, all sounding good! He also hasn't put on any weight, which is my constant worry whilst I'm away from home and unable to see him. Not that I don't trust those taking care of him, I'm just being precious.

Quadi did, however, see fit to cover himself head-to-toe in mud and runny cow pats last week. Very naughty hippo!

Me, well, I'm ashamed to admit I've yet to do much more than move my mouse around the desk! I went for a walk for about an hour on Monday, before we sailed, and nothing since. I have switched from nightshift to dayshift and back in the space of 5 days, so am tired and grumpy, and have stomach pains. And I won't have reached the halfway mark until next week. That sounds like a rant, but it's not, I'm fine, just missing home. And my own bed, and having baths, and eating vegetables!