Sunday, January 3, 2021

BlogHop: 2020 Summary Covid Edition

 From here! 

I've fallen off the blogging bandwagon lately, or at the very least, it's been determined to be a bouncy ball. My therapist describes it like you're juggling a ton of balls and sometimes you have to let some drop so try and let the ones drop that will bounce, not shatter. I've been dropping a lot of balls lately. 

What's the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

I took Gwyn on some epic camping trips that have resulted in some of my favorite moments and memories from galloping on a misty beach in my wedding dress to riding on the tops of mountains it's been an epic adventure on horseback.


I got one of the best jobs I've ever had. It's by far the best paying job I've ever had and it's been fulfilling in ways I never expected. It's also the greatest source of my stress lately.

A Big Girl scientist

What's the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?


Probably having Gwyn go lame in late summer and have the first vet not bother investigating past "let her rest". It took months of her remaining not quite right before I got a second opinion and I regret not getting the second opinion sooner. 


These are pet related, though thankfully not Gwyn related. My beloved fat cat, Velociraptor, got out over Memorial Day weekend and went missing, never to be seen again. He left a giant gaping hole in mine and my kids hearts.  I still expect to see him around the house despite him never getting the chance to move with us. We later lost a pet bunny my friend had given us to look after to a hawk. It was a terrible year for pets for us.

This is the last picture I took of him, May 18, RIP you beautiful boy. And enjoy this video of him as a kitten, and how he got his name

Also, fuck, I'm crying now. This song was in the spotify rotation when I started writing this section.

What was your biggest purchase in 2020?

If we're talking physical things, then it was my super matchy holo set for Gwyn. No regrets on that front, lol. Second place would be the brand new Scoot Boots in all purple accessories. If we're talking non-physical purchases then it would be the vet exam and stifle injections, which were also an investment I would make again. 


This is kind of a gimme in the personal end of things. Houses tend to dwarf most other purchases. Especially in high COL areas, which is where we live. But I am thrilled to have ended 2020 not renting, especially in that tiny ass house we started the year in. It was claustrophobic through the first bits of quarantine.

A house! 

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?


Completing a cross country derby without getting disqualified in the dressage phase! The last time we tried to do one I got DQ'd for leaving the dressage court twice involuntarily, lol.

Photo by Cortney Drake, used with purchase


I've really established myself as a subject matter expert at work and I'm now consulted by other departments when they need someone from my department as a consult on team investigations. It feels good to have my experience and knowledge be acknowledged and appreciated.

What do you feel COVID robbed you of in 2020?


I wanted to really get working on fitness for Endurance rides. I had lots of ride plans and all Endurance rides I could get to were cancelled (for good reason). I was hoping to complete a 50 mile ride by the end of 2020. But those plans were made prior to me getting my job, and I'm not sure they would have been achievable without COVID thrown in the mix. There were a lot of things I was planning on for this year that were going to be stepping stones for 2021 and 2022 that I'm on the verge of releasing and changing goals.


I had a fairly regular workout and lesson schedule at the beginning of the year that got thrown to the wind with the pandemic. I started working more and I'm only just now finding my footing in establishing boundaries about that. But probably the most is family time with extended family like my parents. I haven't seen them in person in over a year now because I'm not an absolute fuckwad selfish person. 

Were you subject to any COVID Impulse Buys in 2020?


 Oh boy. Probably that holo tack set. Cortney sent me that via messenger and it was my birthday. How could I resist? 

I bought so many dice sets, you guys. SO MANY.  Not to mention all the Wyrmwood Gaming kickstarters I backed. I'll be getting some gorgeous wooden dice soon. And eventually I'll have a sweet ass gaming table probably in time for most of my social circle to be comfortable with in person gatherings again (2022, lol). I make myself feel better about it all because none of it was from giant nameless corporation and most dice sets were handmade from small makers. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

NQR Updates

I snagged a spot on a different vet's visit to the barn. She came highly recommended and I was hopeful that a second opinion might offer some better insight into what's going on with Gwyn. 

Getting flexioned prior to trotting off in a circle
This vet was far more thorough than the first. Probably my biggest regret is knowing that the first vet did a quick flex and had an answer. I suppose it was a conservative diagnosis because time off wouldn't necessarily be bad... but, ugh. I wish I'd advocated sooner. Flexions up high in the stifle had her grade 3 lame immediately on both sides. Poor mare was giiiimpy. I felt so bad.
She gave me three options. 
A: Block the stifle, see if things improve to say for sure it's the stifle and not something else. If it is, make an appointment for later to do injections
B: X ray the stifle, which could be inconclusive due the nature of Xrays and that location on the body. C: Just do joint injections since you should only go into the joint once in a short time span.

I opted to do the joint injections. As much as I hate to admit it, Gwyn isn't a spring chicken any more, nor is she super old.This is likely our new reality for maintenance and that's okay. No point in ignoring something that will help her out. 
Pictured here: A Lightweight
It was super quick, they gave her some sedative, sterilized the area and zip zap, everything was done. For good measure, Gwyn got some muscle relaxers to help loosen anything that was compensating for the pain in the joints. She was on limited turnout and time off for three days starting that day and afterwards I could ride her and bring her back. Vet said to expect the full effects to come around week three (we're just past week 1)

"I am awake now, human. Release me."

The appointment was on Friday, so Sunday I took the kids to the barn with me and we loved on her and groomed her. 

And then I took loads of photos of silly faces, which was JUST in time for the #show your beautiful horse head challenge on facebook which allowed me to just send in the weirdest ones.

"Dis is my moose impression"

On Thursday I came out to lunge her and possibly ride, just to get an idea of how she was feeling. 

She was moving very evenly in the walk. And honestly, when I had her start trotting, she was spicy. She hasn't been spicy like that in months now. Honestly, I just took off the lunge line and let her move. She was obviously feeling good and was snorting and acting like a fire breathing dragon. Everyone at the barn abandoned the arena when they saw her coming in. 

I missed having this horse around. I miss her acting like a fool on the lunge line and then getting right down to business.
Totally feral
I stuck mostly to walk. I did some trotting. She was forward and happy. She wanted to canter which I allowed once or twice. The difference from a week or two ago was astounding. She felt like she did before August and before what I see now, in retrospect, was pain. I am SO sorry, Gwyn. I know what to listen for now.
I came home that night gushing to Erica about how Gwyn felt. She'll get a recheck on Black Friday at the vet clinic, where they want to see me ride her this time (talk about thorough!)  and if there's other things we need to address, we'll do it then. I'm feeling pretty good about it all. 

Spicy Meatball

Friday, November 6, 2020

Ralph Dreitzler Clinic

Ralph is our local FEI gold medalist trainer that Trainer ED will have over for clinics. BO Allison decided to have him come to our barn for a full day clinic since everyone wanted to ride with him. The clinic fee included free food and auditing the other participants. It was a surprisingly pleasant day considering it was supposed to be rainy.

Cassy and Henny 

Gwyn had been put out in the paddock close to the barn in anticipation of me riding in the clinic. This proved to be less than ideal since her buddies came to her and that was novel and she was excited

Faheed is a photogenic gelding and KNOWS when you're taking pictures


That heel first landing is aces, tho!

Thanks to her gallivanting about, I put her in the cross ties earlier than I intended but not too early. I took my time getting ready.

BO Allison and Sunny

I did a good walk warm up and Gwyn was moving well to my senses. Ralph had me give him a brief history of me and Gwyn and what we wanted to focus on. I told him what we've been struggling with and some recent things that seem to help (namely, focusing on weighting my stirrups evenly despite it feeling off kilter). He had me pause and walked around Gwyn and I, had me lower my left stirrup one hole.

Suddenly things felt better. It was SO strange.

 But then, as we picked up the trot in front of the clinician, he thought she was stepping weird. A bit more confirmed, she was NQR in the hind end, on the left side. He felt on the inside of her leg and found a huge knot in her muscle.
As demonstrated by the arrow and grumpy face
Ralph thought it better to not stress the muscle if she had pulled it (and she was being an idiot in turn out) because we'd be making her work correctly and it could hurt her more. I agreed, how could I not!? and hopped off. He showed me where it was. I could feel it. 
I'm just dejected and frustrated right now. I'm second guessing everything we've done since mid August when this first popped up. I let her marinate in her BoT sheet. I REALLY wanted to ride with Ralph. I think his knowledge will be really helpful for me. I listened to the other lessons and gah. 
Instead I massaged the heck out of the knot for her. 
And I let her clean up the hay that Faheed and Reign dropped.
And so I gave her more time off and what riding I did do I kept to a walk under saddle and just kept evaluating her on the lunge line. And her strength in stepping under herself waxed and waned within the same session. So she's not working that left hind consistently.
But she got a new waterproof sheet since mine are not holding waterproofness well.

Getting dizzy watching her footfalls

We take breaks to watch the deer

And vote

We treasure the sunlight we do have, coming into our short days and rainy season

And I finally got the bodyworker out. The under leg knot had long been worked out, but I wanted her hands on Gwyn to see what she could find.
Spots make for easy relocation of where to massage
Her left hamstring was extremely tight. She had compensating tightness in her right back (bodyworker expected right shoulder)
I got Henny snuggles while I learned

Henny tried helping

Hamstring stretches
Relaxing into the stretch and releasing

I took election day off for the bodyworker. That was a good plan all around. Plus I wanted to see and feel and make sure I had homework to do with Gwyn to keep her body feeling good. I don't know what else I can do if it's muscle related other than time off and bodywork. I looked into supplements and I'm pretty sure she's on CalTrace + in which case it has the muscle supplement levels handled. I'm not sure a supplement is the magic wand I'd want it to be anyway.
Late night barn time when you work over 40 hrs a week
Liberty play with the ball

I spent a lot of time grooming her because it was warming me up and she was just SHINY!

And both before the ride and after the ride, she got some massage and stretches. Plus organic carrots because they came with carrot tops and I could give those to the bunny at home. 

So I hope this works. Because I'm hoping to take more lessons and clinics through the winter. And I'll make sure to advocate for things to be gentle with this in mind.