Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 27 ride 3.95 miles

I had a good ride on Wednesday. I wanted to get pictures of Gwyn's eyes to track the redness and see if anything that I'm doing is helping her out. 
The snakebite side. Still red, but it actually is not as bad. Every time I go out I've been using artificial tears in her eyes and she's wearing a fly mask now to go out. Hopefully that will keep damage to a minimum. When I have her at home the eye drops will be an every day occurrence prior to turnout. 

You can see in comparison to the two photos that she has drooping of the lid compared to the non-damaged side. 

Noms during the ride

She was a bit of a goosy girl on this ride. I worked on listening to steering, especially when we are traveling toward the barn and then turn away from the barn, especially at a canter. She was finally getting it on our third attempt. I really want to get out to a cross country course to evaluate away from 'home' to see if this problem still exists but it's still an issue. Correctable, but can't continue. Also frustrating that aside from consistency I don't see any quick fixes. I do welcome advice. Usually if she starts getting stubborn I'll do a quick one rein stop and then turn in the direction I originally intended and carry on. If I try a circle and she starts ignoring me we'll keep circling until she's soft and listening.

She also, in a fight with steering almost fell into one of the ditches between the hay fields and corrected at the last minute. I decided to send her through the ditch once my heart beat calmed down and she crossed it really well! I was actually a bit surprised. No hesitation and no crazy leaping. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1.5 miles family day at the barn

With it being a holiday today, I was able to convince Eric to come out to the barn with me this morning and bring Kaylee as well.  She was really excited to ride Gwyn, as she really hasn't had the opportunity to do that at Hummingbird since I don't ride when I have her around.

It was awesome. She rode Gwyn out to the arena and then around a little bit before getting bored and wanting to get off and play with Eric. I originally put her up and was holding on to the reins when she said "I think I need reins,  momma."

Well, yes ma'am.  So I got my lead rope and Kaylee got to hold reins. And as always, safety first, we always wear a helmet!

Shoes come off to play in the dirt. 

A picture of me actually ON the horse! Whaaaaaat. I really need to remember to keep my elbows bent. Eesh.

Kaylee and another kid pet one of the barn cats.

Gwyn was a good girl. She was super lazy in the canter while Eric and Kaylee were in the arena with her, which is unusual. But when Eric left to take Kaylee to the bathroom, all of a sudden her "GO" button got flipped back on!   I really think she was worried about Kaylee being in the arena with her. What a good girl. 

I've got video of Gwyn going over the ground poles for the first time at a canter. She did really well. I can't wait to work more on it. Her canter felt much rounder over each pole and it definitely made her think about her feet. She was working into a nice frame afterwards as well. Forward progress! And soon lessons again!

Eric took video too. Here it is!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2.07 miles! And some videos

I was feeling under the weather today so I decided to keep the ride simple. We just walked, but we worked on seat aids and contact in the bridle. Also steering. We worked on lots of steering out in the hay field since Gwyn likes to turn for home randomly.  I worked on sitting evenly in the saddle and also worked on really having a strong right leg when I didn't want her to turn right. 

Testing out a temporary fly mask until I can order a fancy-schmancy $100 one that blocks a ton of UV light.

The affected eye. Her lower lid should curve up and not expose as much of the sclera. You can also see the old scar on the eye itself in this photo.

The one drawback.... a top line of barb wire on this defunct fenceline between hay fields.

The awful phase where she readjusts to being barefoot after having shoes. The toe is actually breaking to a nice shape, it just looks TERRIBLE. I've been rasping it to try and control the breakage and keep it to a minimum.

I took a video today of Gwyn

And some over the ears video so you can see where I ride right now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4.22 miles under an hour!

Today was a chilly day. It never really got above the mid 50s. Thank goodness I had a jacket in my car....  All of the horses were staying in because the vet was coming today so I made sure to lunge Gwyn first.
Working well....


Working well again

I wanted to get back out into the fields again and leave the ring work be for now. I'll be a bit more restricted to ring work once we move so I don't want to sour Gwyn on it. My goal was to push myself physically and try and get in more miles in the same amount of time. This means more trotting and cantering and hitting the perimeter of each field at least twice.

Gwyn was pretty good. I'm also noticing an improvement in myself, which is encouraging with all the exercise I've been doing out of the saddle. My focus in the canter work was to make sure I could rate her back with half halts from the seat and have less a hand gallop and more of a true canter. It worked today!  We only had a couple minor spooks and nothing I fell off due to. 

I've noticed I'm way weaker on my right side and I tend to sit more heavily on my left foot. This needs to change for Gwyn's sake as well as for mine. 

It was a pleasant day.

When I got back Gwyn was hardly sweating and the vet had finally arrived. She was going to be working on a lot of horses so I went and picked up Kaylee from school, grabbed her jacket and some lunch, gas for the car, and headed back to the barn with the toddler in tow.

Gwyn greets Kaylee

I had the vet give Gwyn her spring shots, specifically Potomac Horse Fever and rabies. We discussed Gwyn's ever present red eye and she proposed an interesting cause. Long ago Gwyn was bitten by a rattle snake and while there was no noticeable long term internal damage that I could ever determine, it seems like the nerves that control her eye lid were negatively affected. Her lower lid droops and doesn't keep the eye properly covered. The upper eye lid cannot close fully and her blinks are odd. The vet even demonstrated for me and sure enough, I can't believe I didn't see it before.

The solution at this point is to give her some artificial tears and see how that changes things. It may be what she needs! I'm also going to be getting a super fancy fly mask for turnout that has 95% UV blockage. I hope those things can provide some relief. I'm so paranoid about uveitis with her being part appaloosa that I really want her eyes to be in the best health they can be. 

Kaylee watches the vet tech clean the dental tools.

Then we went outside to put Gwyn away and explored the birds nest in the arena. Hurray for science!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ground pole video

I took this video of myself over that first set of ground poles. I'd love constructive critique.

Things I already know: Lose weight.

Anything else is fair game.

I shared this in my other blog for Firefly Ranch, but here's Gwyn's arrival!

Evening ride last night 1.55 miles

I tried my new girth last night and determined that in my effort to compensate for one side now lacking in elastics, I ordered too large a size. I use a 48 girth on her when it was double elastic. This is a 52 and was nearly to the top holes on either side. Thankfully SmartPak has an awesome return/exchange system so back it goes. I'm going to try a 50 next.

I do love this girth already though. It'll be easy maintenance and while it doesn't match browns with my saddle despite both being brown Thorowgood products, I'll be close enough from far away in a show ring.

My Thorowgood stirrup leathers are still on backorder and won't ship until JUNE. Ugh. :(   I thought I had snagged a pair in time.

Gwyn was good last night though. She was lazy in the ring when I attempted a free lunge after setting up more ground poles so I just hopped on without expending much effort chasing her around and preventing her from eating grass at the edges. She was not very forward, just a little lazy instead but did offer a nice canter.

Her head felt in the right place so we worked on cantering all the way around the big arena. She can do it without me, multiple times, but tonight she was resistant to doing more than one full round. I should have brought a whip to encourage because she was also stubbornly being dead to my leg and heel as I felt her lose steam.

I'm still pretty happy, we even managed to canter over one of the poles in the middle. Her steering is getting more manageable and I felt like tonight was a huge step forward. It'll be okay if we have step backs after this, but I'm really happy to have seen progress with the two of us. It keeps me encouraged! I feel too, that this is a moment where if I work on me outside of the times that I ride Gwyn, Gwyn will improve.

And I am working on me! Eric did a 30 minute pilates session with me earlier today and that shit is all inside/outside leg muscles and core. I'm definitely seeing deficiencies in my own strength that need to be addressed and I plan to address them. I've also started calorie tracking on MyFitnessPal and just BARELY came under my calorie limit thanks to my exercising yesterday. I need to be better with food. Hopefully MFP will encourage that behavior. I need to lose weight. I also need to start running because oh god, when you hear the next two videos I'm likely to post you're going to hear a panting fatty. That needs to improve.

This was taken on my phone while we tried chasing the killdeer that nested in the arena (I know I know, I'm mean...)  But Gwyn again offered a nice canter so I'm one handed trying to steer and hold the phone. It's shaky. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

1.13 miles and some pole work!

Today was a good riding day. I again didn't have much time to ride because I spent it getting my new things settled and labeled with my name (Always a good idea when you board, trust or not) I wanted to play with some raised ground poles today since I feel like Gwyn doesn't pay attention to her feet and this would be a good exercise to work on.

As you see below, I had two different distances, one at a trot distance and the other at a 2 stride trot/1stride canter distance. I really like these raisers as a space saving way to make cavaletti! I'll be ordering more! 

I bought rail razers from Schneider's Saddlery and they arrived yesterday so I played with them today! 
We started with some free lunging for assessment. It was a chilly day again but unlike yesterday, Gwyn was not nearly as crazy. 


She did have some silly moments.

But at least this time there wasn't a lunge line dragging along behind her!

Socializing with the mare herd.

Silly bird laid her eggs IN THE ARENA. It's a Killdeer

It's marked by water tub so the tractor won't run over them.

Gwyn is not scared by the screeching momma Killdeer bird.

Pretty speckled eggs. 

Gwyn helped me clean up.

Rolling the pole with her nose.

Ultimately we had a slow, short ride, but productive and enjoyable! Now I'm going to be looking up more trot pole configurations to work on. It's a little difficult with the round arena. I also can't wait until I can just leave my poles out rather than cleaning up after myself.