Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little Bit of Lungeing

Well, Sort of OK

Chance is getting two bute a day right now. I lunged him a tiny bit tonight and he is still not quite right on that right hind leg.

This is a bit upsetting, but, as I recall, in the past, he stayed somewhat unsound for quite a while when whatever it is acted up. I never tried bute back then, so, I have no idea what impact it would have had.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow. If it does, I will not try to ride. If it does not, I will take Chance out on a short trail ride. At the moment, the only thing I can do is exercise him, hoping that getting him more fit will make it better. That was what my vet suggested when the problem cropped up initially. Once more I will just take it a day at a time.

I hiked up to the sandpit office today to pay part of my hay bill and to tell them I needed more hay. I ended up spending about an hour with the owner chatting about this and that. He was taking a break from sorting dozens of files in his office, so I guess my visit was a welcome diversion.

Then, I hiked off and headed around the tree farm and around the pumpkin patch. The farmer has harvested a good bit of the corn out there, so I was able to cross the cut field on the way home. Of course, I found quite a few leftover ears of corn which I then tucked into my sweatshirt. That added a bit of weight so my trek home required some more calorie burn carrying it.

I was out walking for over an hour, pretty good for a non-swimming day. I'm sure if it does rain as predicted, I will regret not riding, but once I got back into the house, I found myself in cooking mode. I made a pot of onion/mushroom/potato soup pureed in the blender. Tonight, I added a bunch of asparagus to it for dinner.

At some point, the doorbell rang. It was not a trick or treater. I have had none here. (Darn, that bowl of candy just keeps staring at me!)  It was the UPS guy with my new Samsung Smart TV.  He was in a talkative mood too, mostly because he'd been honked at, and apparently yelled at by several drivers for stopping in the road after dark.

Apparently, he is not allowed to drive into driveways--insurance issues--so his only option is to stop along the shoulder of the road. My road and the other road he was driving on have practically no shoulder at all, so the truck tends to block part of the driving lane. But so what? People just have to go around him. Big deal.
But lately I've noticed a lot of drivers are more rude than they've been in the past.

I guess he just needed to vent. I had to sign for the TV and he wished me well with it, mostly because he was worried since it had been in his truck all day and was not too well secured in there. I cringed a little at that, considering how many things I've bought that have been defective recently.

But, I unpacked the TV, attached the stand, and hooked it up to my cable. I put the batteries in the remote control and, in short order, I had a working Smart TV!  There were a bunch of things I had to do to set it up, but so far it's working just fine. I do need to get the High Definition cable box from Comcast so I can access the HD channels, but for now, it's showing the regular cable stations just fine. I haven't experimented with the Smart TV features yet. Hopefully it will connect to my WiFi and I will have a ton of features I will probably never use.

Meantime, so far, so good.

Hope you have all had a good Halloween. I did not do anything special for the holiday this year except put the plastic light up jack-o-lantern on my front porch.

But there is that bowl of candy...........

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tomorrow is Another Day

We Ride a Little

I've given Chance bute for three days now and still haven't had an opportunity to check to see how sound he is.

Yesterday, I did my morning swim for an hour and then headed out to the eye doctor to collect the new contact lenses to replace the ones with the wrong prescription. On the way there, I had to, of course, stop at a few shopping malls, just on general principle.

By the time I got home it was nearly time to head back out for my knee doctor's appointment. They called to say the doctor was running about a half hour late, so I had time to feed the Boys before leaving.  Good thing I did. The doctor was running nearly two hours late from my appointment time. It was well after dark when I got back home again.

A bit later Christina, my endurance friend called, to see if I would go out riding with her today. I said we'd have to do a short ride and take it easy as I'd just had my knees injected. All was well.

We rode out this morning, I on JJ and Chris on Nordisk. It was a beautiful cool fall morning. We headed across the street to the preserved farm to ride around the cornfield. About half way out, we heard the sound of a loud engine which seemed to be approaching on the dirt road we were riding. The corn is so high it's impossible to see around the bend where the engine noise was coming from. With discretion the better part of valor--to over use a cliche just for the heck of it--we turned the boys around and headed back to safety.

Whatever was making the noise never showed up and to this hour, I am not sure what it was. I do believe the farmer is harvesting the corn and may have been working back there. Or it could have been the power line guys who have been trimming the brush and trees under the high tension lines. Or it could have been something else.

Either way, we were fine. We headed around a smaller field, let the horses graze for a while on some nice green grass, and then, we headed back for home. All told we were out for about an hour.

JJ was his usual steady self and Nordisk, though a little more frisky than he's been, was a good boy too. He's still a little spooky at strange looking things along the trail, but his spooks are mostly sudden stops in place until he realizes the "monster" really isn't in attack mode. Then he settles right down again. With some more mileage under his girth, he's going to be one super endurance/trail horse.

When I got back home, I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my now dead living room TV set. It gave its last gasp last night. I'd been planning on replacing it, but was going to save up the money first.

Not to be. I found a way to order a new set--the one I wanted--and then needed to find a way to dispose of the old one.

After a few hours of Internet investigation and some phone calls, I discovered the Best Buy has a recycling program for old electronic equipment. Sure enough the Best Buy not too far from me participates.

The old set weighs a lot and was very bulky, so I had to call on a friend from choir to come help me. Richard was available and came over soon after I called him. We lugged the old set into my truck and headed off to Best Buy.

All we had to do was wheel the carcass into the store and in short order a really nice young clerk rolled it away to the recycling, thanking us for being "so responsible" by turning it in to them. Apparently they reap a lot of materials from old electronic stuff so it's a good way to get rid of things like that.

I went to Pet Smart next to pick up some cat food and then headed home, stopping for a slice of pizza on the way.

Home again, I hooked up my mini TV in the living room until the new one arrives and then it was time to feed the Boys.

Guess I will check out Chance tomorrow. By then, my knees will be ready for a little more exercise and he will have had enough time on the bute to feel better too.

Good thing I am retired. I'd never have enough time to get everything done if I were still working all day.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chance's Limp

Well, Maybe It Is, Maybe It Isn't

Scott, my farrier came out last evening. When I brought Chance out of his stall, it looked as if he was favoring his left front, as I had said.

Scott checked his foot with the hoof testers and did a pretty thorough exam and found nothing. There were no sore spots and no sign of a bruise or injury. No heavy pulse, no heat.

So we took Chance out to the arena to lunge him and...lo and behold... it looked like he was off in the hind end instead. The head nod down was on the right front which meant either left front or right hind. We pretty quickly decided it was the right hind. In fact, he looked exactly like he's looked in the past when that hind leg has acted up.

When I first got him, he was lame like that and I had my vet examine him. He found, even with using acupuncture points to test various areas, absolutely nothing wrong.  He concluded then that it was some sort of muscle issue that would improve once Chance was fit.

Since then, it's shown up once before for a few days. Now, I am thinking that the little extra work I did schooling him that day might have created some muscle fatigue which, in turn activated his chronic problem

Scott suggested I give Chance some bute for a few days and work him as my vet had instructed in the past. I dosed him with bute this morning, but I have not done anything with him today. Aside from the fact that it's been chilly and windy all day, I was not home.

Instead, I left church a bit early to head to the Horse Park to watch the cross country obstacle driving portion of the combined driving tests. While it was a bit warmer than Friday, it was still brisk and windy there so my down coat once again was just the ticket.

I watched several teams negotiate the water obstacle---pretty tricky for the preliminary horses, easy for the training level, and even more tricky for the intermediate horses. Then I headed up to an obstacle in the woods with all kinds of challenging twists and turns between wooden barriers. There I saw a top level driver miss a gate. That brought the Technical Delegate to sign the elimination form.  The TD was the cones judge from Friday. She offered me a seat in her golf cart and I spent the rest of the afternoon riding around the course with her.

I got to see a number of drivers negotiate obstacles I never would have seen if I'd been on foot. And I got some insight into the finish line vetting, the timing issues, and resolution of a number of other issues that cropped up.

We got to the tricky woods obstacle just as a very talented woman driver was getting through it in a fast time. On the way out, however, her carriage hit a stump and overturned, throwing her, her navigator and her horse to the ground. The horse got up before the stewards could get to her and ran off with the overturned carriage behind her. Fortunately, there were dozens of volunteers and horsemen around--many on golf carts to managed to stop the horse a little ways up the hill before she was seriously hurt.

Everyone seemed to be OK after the crash, although the horse had a few minor scrapes. The vets gave her a good going over at the finish line. The driver and her navigator had on helmets and protective vests. They will probably be sore, but don't have any serious injuries. The carriage? It is one of those marathon carriages built to take some abuse. Bent? Hard to say. One of the golf carts pulled it back to the stable area and it seemed to be in pretty good shape, considering.

I had a front seat view of the accident which happened about 20 feet in front of us. Scary stuff and proof again of just how potentially dangerous horse sports can be.

Helmets and vests saved the day.

Friday, October 25, 2013


A Day at Chilly NJ Horse Park

I was called to volunteer at the Garden State Driving Society's combined driving event at the NJ Horse Park today.

I opted for a job I've never done before--Cones Scribe.

This is a loft title for the person who sits next to the judge in the driving obstacle course--a tricky pattern where the carriages have to pass between numbered sets of cones with tennis balls on them. The course is timed and the cones are set apart with just a bit of room wider than the carriage wheels.

The course, according to my judge--who was from Massachusetts--was very difficult today. To start off with, it was in a smallish arena. The Horse Park has put in some new footing and the larger arena was a bit too deep for driving. Our arena was soft too, causing some sliding of some of the carriages. The time was tight and of the 40 or so competitors who drove, very few were able to make the time.  However, since one or two did, the judge felt the time was OK, until we got to the advanced horses. Then, making the time was near high impossible. But there were only two advanced teams, so it really didn't matter too much.

Now, my job was to mark in boxes under the number of each set of cones whether the driver went clear or had a knockdown of a ball, a cone, or a marker.  Each knockdown was a 3 point penalty. Then I had to record the time of each drive as there were penalties added to the score for each second over the time limit.

It was really fun.  Because I was not a dressage scribe having to write oodles of comments, I got to watch the rounds. As a matter of fact, I had to watch the rounds because I, the judge and all the cone setters and timers needed to keep eagle eyes on those tennis balls to make sure we were scoring everyone fairly in case of a knockdown.

There were horses of all shapes and sizes--including two minis, known as "VSE's" or "Very Small Equines." There were several pairs teams, and some very lovely horses I wouldn't mind having in my dressage barn.

All the drives were excellent, even when they had penalties.

Today was a combined test with just dressage and cones. Tomorrow will be one phase of the two day combined event with another round of dressage and cones. Sunday will be the marathon with all kinds of obstacles to navigate on the cross country course. As I was leaving, I saw some of the workers setting things up at the water complex.

Hopefully it will warm up a little for the volunteers as it stayed chilly all day today. (I had my long down coat and was the envy of many.)  Then again, I think, aside from the wind, the weather was perfect for the horses.

Wishing everyone well over the next two days. It's going to be a great competition!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Definitely Off

And I Ride--My Bike--Sort of....

I decided not to go swimming today so my exercise of choice was to take my mountain bike out for a spin. Suffice it to say, I am not in shape to really ride hard, so it was a ride/walk/ride extravaganza. I'd put a new seat on as well and it did not work out as well as I expected, so that didn't help. I changed it back to the seat I'd already used to replace the very uncomfortable one that came with the bike.

Anyhow, I went all the way around the big farm field, rode around the tree farm and then back around the field. I was out for close to 45 minutes. Eventually, I should be able to ride the whole way, but for now, I walk the bike up the hills. It's a combination of my legs not being strong enough yet and my complete ignorance of how to change gears to make uphill easier. I read up a bit on a website, but my brain is mush as far as the explanations of how the gears work.

Fortunately Chris, my endurance friend, has some expertise at mountain biking. I'm hoping she can help me to make sure I have the seat and handlebars adjusted correctly and how to gear. No rush, though. I need to get in better shape. When I was a kid we used to ride all over the place on regular street bikes. I had a beautiful Schwinn middleweight and I took it everywhere, including through the woods and the very trails I'm trying to ride now. Compared to my young self, I am a physical klutz. I do suppose some 50 or more years to make a difference. *G*

As for the "Off" in the title?  That's Chance. I put him on the lunge line for about five minutes and he has a definite, but slight limp in his left front. Considering that is the foot I thought he'd taken the bad step on when I was riding in the arena, I'm pretty sure it may well be a stone bruise. I called my farrier, just in case he can come out to have a look. I am debating whether to soak it or just wait to see if it gets better on its own. When I cleaned his hoof out, I really could not see anything and I don't have hoof testers at the moment. I'm not too keen about calling the vet out since it's so slight.

At least I feel a little better to see the limp on only one side. I was worried that he was sore on both fronts when I was out on the trail. I was imagining all kinds of things as you may recall.

When I finished with Chance, I lunged Tucker for about 20 minutes. He always looks so innocent and well behaved on the lunge--for the most part. You'd never suspect what a naughty boy he can be, but then, for no obvious reason, he will buck and take off for a few strides. This time, that was all it was, but in the past, he's pulled the line from my hands and galloped madly off.  Not today, thank goodness.

I'm not sure my biking legs would have been able to keep up.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Out Again with JJ But.....

I Rode Tucker Too!

Chris and I went out on an hour and a half trail ride behind her farm today. She rode Nordisk and I rode JJ.

I had no idea there were so many nice trails out that way. I've always stuck to my side of the State Park and not crossed the next road to the north.  There is a county park there and tons of trails going every which a way.

For those Google Earth oriented, my park is the Pigeon Swamp State Park and the park behind Chris's barn is Ireland Brook Park.  We have struggled long to save the acreage around here and the success is wonderful. The only disappointment is that despite the fact they are banned from both parks, mini bike riders and ATV riders do race around the trails. Local law enforcement has limited ways of stopping them.  Because most of the land is unsupervised the riders often camp out in the more remote areas and often leave all kinds of trash around. Then too, of course, is the constant danger to horses and riders from the vehicles.

Most of the time, if I ride in the morning, or on a week day, I am less likely to run into any of the recreational vehicles. Today, we saw no one else on our ride.

JJ was his usual good self for me. I'm convinced he rather thinks he needs to take care of me out there, not at all sure of my competence. I do let him do a lot of the thinking in the tricky terrain, so it's no wonder.  He's never really naughty, but he will try to take advantage if I take too casual an approach to things. He's a smart, sweet boy.

Nordisk continues to be a brave young man. He's getting better and better with the hills, learning more and more how to navigate them wisely and carefully. I'm really impressed with his progress since we first started going out.

Once I got back home, I headed for the feed store to stock up on feed for Chance and Tucker and some alfalfa cubes. Then I ate a quick lunch and eventually headed back out to the barn to ride.

It was Tucker's turn. I stayed in the arena again. After my post on "A Year With Horses" about basic obedience, I realized Tucker needs a bit of refresher training nearly every time I get on him. His essential issue is that he does not always go forward when I put my leg on. I can always tune him up in the warmup, but his initial reaction to leg pressure is to stop and threaten.  Some of this harkens back to when he had the ulcer issues, I know, but the rest is just his contrary nature. I'd give him a good swat with the dressage whip if I was sure he wouldn't buck, but I have to admit to being a big cowardly about that. I'll just keep working on it with less demanding methods.

As I said, once we get going, he tunes in pretty quickly and generally works off the aids.  I did find the buck in him, however, when I decided to ride a pretend dressage test filled with all the exercises we can do. That included, leg yield, half pass, shoulder in, haunches in, lengthenings all at the trot. Reinback, walk pirouettes, extended walk, and then canter. Basic canter work, including changes through the trot and through the walk were fine. The little "whoopsie!" came at the canter lengthening when he put his head down and tried to crow hop as we started to move out. Ah well, guess I have to work on that on a circle until we get some better control.

Now, I did not do all of this in much more than a training level frame, so it was not as physically challenging as it might sound. When we were done, Tucker had some sweat under the saddle and girth and between his hind legs. The rest of him despite his winter coat's growing in, and the nearly 70 F temperature, was dry. He really hadn't worked too hard at all.

Eventually, I will do all those exercises in a more demanding frame with better impulsion. For now, it was more "pretend dressage."

Maybe that's the best kind after all.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I Needed That

Trail Ride in the Assunpink

NJ has its share of open space and the Assunpink Preserve, just outside of the Hightstown/Allentown area is part of it. That's where the NJ Horse Park is located--in a small corner of the park--and where the Monmouth County Hunt rides.  The Preserve is laced with horse trails.

Some 20 years ago, I boarded across from the park and used to ride there regularly. Yesterday, I would have been lost on the complex of trails. Things have changed SO much.
Jean and JJ at the end of the ride. 

Regardless, Christine invited me to go riding with her husband Larry and her again. I would ride JJ.  I did have some house cleaning to do, but I made short order of the bulk of it and joined them.  The weather was perfect, the horses were wonderful and we had a great time. JJ and I seem to get along quite well, although he does like to take advantage of me now and then. Nothing serious, but he figures he knows a lot more about trail riding, seasoned endurance horse that he is, than I do as a prissy dressage princess.

I must admit, I do tend to be a little more tolerant of things than some riders might be, but I do "know my way around a saddle. "  But JJ is not my horse so I'm a little reluctant to make my point when he, for instance, refuses to turn around in a sticky situation so we can go back up the trail we've just gone down only to find it blocked with a tree. Instead of being sympathetic to his problem in tight quarters with brush and briers on both sides, I had to listen to Chris's instructions to just kind of haul him around and give him a kick to tell him he had to do it.  So I did, and he did, and we were fine. Not sure my more tempestuous TB's would have so graciously accepted my demands.

Other than that, all three horses seemed to have a good time along with us. Nordisk, Chris's youngster continues to prove a brave and promising endurance horse, although he does some cute little "spooks in place," at unexpected things along the trail--he's not too keen on coop jumps at the moment. Larry's Juan is a bold "let's go" kind of fellow, and JJ varies from "I want to be in front," to "Hey, let me go last, that way the monsters will eat everyone else first. I'll just mosey along back here until there's a reason to trot to catch up."
Needless to say, the "order of go," varies depending on which horse thinks being in the lead is his turn.

I needed the ride. My week was a bunch of stops and starts. Flat tire on the truck--one I had "repaired" back in August, that still wasn't. A broken front strut--part of the suspension--on the car, so I have to drive the truck. Have to wait on the car repair so I can get it done at school since commercial garage fees will cost me more money than I have. Scale purchased that didn't work---had to return it. Weather radio that didn't work--had to return it. New TV missing a part--had to return it. Cat toy that did not work--had to return it. And then brand new contact lenses that didn't work right. Called doctor to find out they had accidentally ordered the wrong prescription--have to return them

Truck tire is fixed. I will soon order parts for car. TV is now fine. Didn't try the new radio yet.

But best news is that the lawn tractor is back--the spindle on the mowing deck had completely broken off--and it cost less than half of what I expected to repair it.

Silver linings in the clouds.  And the trail ride was the shining moment.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not Sure What's Going On

Ouchy or Not?

I took Chance out on a trail ride today. Along the back field, I asked him to trot. He was reluctant, and felt a bit short strided to start off. Then he felt fine, then he took a bad step and pulled up with a limp. Then he walked out of it.

We were at the point of no return, so I just decided to stay on and walk the rest of the way back home. Twice, in the woods, he decided to trot on his own and felt just fine. There was one point where he even cantered up a hill and again felt fine.

I cannot feel any heat in his feet or anything out of the ordinary in his legs. I took his temperature and it was normal.

I am suspicious he may be footsore for some reason. Could be a bruise that only bothers him on hard ground, or it might be an abscess brewing.

Then again, there is always the worry about something like Lyme disease. We haven't had many ticks lately, but that doesn't mean anything.

Right now, it's not even noticeable enough to call the vet, as it's more of a "not quite right" feeling.

My plan is to watch him for a few days, ride a little now and then to see how he feels and hope that either something more clear shows up, or he just gets better. He was trimmed about three weeks ago and is still barefoot. I've never noticed a problem like this before, but you never know.

For the time being, it's just wait and see.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Short Scare

Off on a Limp

I rode Chance in the arena yesterday. I would have liked to have taken a nice long trail ride but there was the sound of ATV's in the woods and I opted to take the safer choice.

We had some really nice work.  After some circling at the walk to supple him up he offered some of the best on the bit effort he's ever given me.  He stayed round through transitions from one rein to the other and in between gaits.

I asked for quite a bit of trot within about a half hour schooling session and at the end did some nice round canter on the right lead.

Suddenly, something happened and Chance pulled up totally lame on his left front.  My heart caught in my throat as I jumped off to see him holding the left front up, reluctant to even put it down again. I checked his foot in case he'd picked up a stone and found nothing, so I led him back, limping, into the barn.

There, cleaned his hoof, again finding nothing. I felt his leg. Nothing. I did some flexions, nothing.  The only conclusion was that he had taken a bad step, perhaps hitting a stone, or twisting something. Since there were no other symptoms, I called it a night and put him in his stall for dinner--with turnout at his option.  Later last night he appeared to be walking sound, but I still was a little worried.

Today, I put him on the lunge line and trotted him in both directions. Nothing. No sign of any lameness. I guess he had just dinged himself and the pain was only temporary.

After I lunged Chance, I saddled up Tucker for a workout.

While he continues his lazy ways and still resists my first leg aid to go into trot--something we clearly need to work on AGAIN.  He did give me some relatively nice work.

After a long rein warmup at the trot with some canter, I began some suppling exercises.  These consisted mostly of some turns on the forehand to loosen his poll and jaw.

Well, I guess turns on the forehand were not part of my basic schooling, because, at first, he had no idea at all about what I wanted. He wasn't naughty, just confused. First he tried a turn on the haunches, then a side pass, then reinback.  I was very patient since he was trying various options and as long as he was doing something in response to my aids,  it was positive.

We finally managed a few almost good ones, so I quit that and began to ask him to do some up and down transitions keeping his jaw soft. Eventually we graduated to shoulder in on each rein.  While the trot was not totally engaged or dramatically forward, it was soft, and for now, that was all I wanted.

We ended up the school with some more work on the half pass. He is ever improving although I would like my seat and aids to be better.  I'm still pushing him too much with my outside aids instead of "sitting into the half pass" in the direction we are going.

Ah well, at least I know what I'm doing wrong. That gives me at least a 50/50 shot at fixing it.

That finished up the ride on a good note.

The rest of the day was spent driving about taking back things I'd bought that didn't work, including a weather radio and a scale. I've had a rash of things to take back lately.  For some reason I've managed to buy defective items more than once now.

Then to top it all off, my car started making a "clunking" sound in the front. I eventually drove it to the shop only to find out the front struts need to be replaced.  That would be fine except that the total repair bill is way over the amount of money I currently can afford to spend.

Fortunately, I have the truck to drive in the meantime, and the option, I hope, of taking the car to school to have it repaired at cost. I just have to wait until I can get in touch with the auto shop there to take it in.

Someone suggested that with my current run of upside down luck, it might be a good time to buy a lottery ticket.

Think I will.

Friday, October 11, 2013

More Trail Pics

Endurance Ride in Horseshoe Bend

Once again, I offer pictures of a trail ride through the beautiful New Jersey countryside.

This time it was a Horseshoe Bend Park in Kingwood Township, near Frenchtown, NJ.

Chris is on Nordisk, her young Arabian with the narrow blaze. I am riding JJ her seasoned endurance horse with the wide blaze, and Chris's husband, Larry, is on Juan, the seasoned gray endurance Arabian.

Never underestimate the beauty of our trails and forests. There were many fields too and trails through lesser vegetation. But the photographer caught us in the woods, having a wonderful time!

One of these days, I'll get some pictures of me riding my own horses, but it's hard when there is no photographer around. 

By the by, this ride was over 10 miles and it took us about 3 hours to complete. While we did trot a lot and did some cantering, the hills were very challenging and required a lot more walking and careful negotiation. 

I've not ridden many Arabians before, so I must say, these three horses really impress me. JJ is very surefooted and willing. They are also quite fit, unlike my Boys are now. I think Chance would have run out of steam halfway along. Guess I need to work on that. *G*

This was the day I forgot my half chaps. My legs were fine, though, so all was well. I still would have liked to look more polished for the photographer. 

JJ's hind legs were bandaged because he had apparently caught himself under the fence earlier in the week and he still had some scrapes that needed protection. It didn't seem to slow him down at all. 

Maybe next time. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lost Count

Knee Injections

How many injections did I have in each knee?  Even counting the little magic marker dots on my legs, I lost count somewhere around 38-40.  

Don't be too impressed. The injections are pretty superficial and all I feel is a tiny pinprick when the needle goes in. Either I am rather oblivious to discomfort, or they really don't hurt much. 

So, what's all this for?  Neural therapy.

Found this on a website that explains it pretty well:
"Neural Prolotherapy is an injection therapy with 5% dextrose (sugar) that focuses on treating the nerves in the skin that have become injured and entrapped due to inflammation.   Although the nerves are superficial, the pain they create is often felt in the deeper tissues.  The injection of low-dose dextrose changes the pain signaling and stops neurogenic inflammation (what your doctor may have called neuropathic pain).  The dextrose solution also has a regenerative effect on the entrapped nerves helping them to heal and preventing recurrence."

The fascinating thing is that there is immediate pain relief from the initial injections. Hopefully, each time I am treated it will last longer until the pain is gone altogether. 

While my knee replacements have fixed the instability problems in my joints and overall made things much better, I have still had both soreness and pain in the surrounding muscles, particularly in my right leg. that have made some things difficult. I cannot pull myself up the pool ladder with my right leg, for instance. And going up stairs is a bit slower than I'd like. I can't really run, either. Not that I want to run, but it would be nice to be able to jog out to the barn on a rainy day to get my chores done. 

Speaking of rain, the East Coast is under watch for a Nor'easter. This is a typical winter kind of storm that comes in from the ocean. The wind circulates as it does in a hurricane or cyclone and blows in from the north east, bringing both colder air and lots of precipitation from the ocean.  I don't think this one is expected to be too powerful, so hopefully the shore areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy will be just fine.  There is likely to be a lot of rain, though through the next several days. 

Times like this I am glad I have plenty of shelter for the Boys. They have the run-in roofs on both sides of the barn--east and west--access to their box stalls, and the run in shed in the arena area. 

Still I will probably find them standing out in the rain, heads down, backs to the wind, looking quite drippy and miserable. 

Nothing like horse sense. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tuesday Two

What a Beautiful Day!

The promised heavy storm did not hit here although other parts of New Jersey were hit with high winds and heavy rain. What did "hit" was a cool front bringing in some delicious autumn weather.

After I fed the Boys in the morning, I spent some time poo picking the arena.

Then I came in, had breakfast, did a few little chores and eventually headed to the eye doctor to pick up my new contact lenses.

Back home again, I headed out to the barn to actually ride!

I saddled Tucker first. Three false starts later--on then off to move a rail out of the arena path, on then off again to make sure Toby didn't get into the arena when he knocked down a fence rail, on then and finally off on the ride--I started a bit of work.

Nothing too fancy as Tucker is not really in shape to be a truly proper dressage horse.  We did some trotting and cantering to warm up.  He tends to warm up better if I canter a little to get the trot going--very TB.  Then I focused a little on lateral work.  I started off with some leg yield and then worked on transforming that into half pass.

Tucker is not the most flexible horse I've owned and his short back makes it a little harder to get him to bend through his body.  I broke it all down into small steps starting at the walk and by the end of by about five minutes of schooling, he gave me the best half pass to the left at the trot that he's ever done.

We finished up with some canter lead changes through the trot on a figure eight, and then some trot work really on the bit before finishing up to cool him off at the walk.

Once done with Tuck, I saddled up Chance.  We worked just about five-ten minutes in the arena before heading out on the trail.  He gave me some nice, round stretchy trot and, in the canter, some more round work.  The transitions down were not so good, but again, it's something to work on.  I've not concentrated on his schooling as we all know, so I am really quite pleased that he seems to be progressing despite the minimal education.

Then we went out on a nice trail ride along the field and through the woods via the middle road. Good thing I had decided not to to all the way out to the back as there were a bunch of trucks parked along the cornfield. I'm not sure what was going on, but I suspect it was the power company tending to the high tension lines. Could have been something else, but Chance's reaction to seeing the trucks made it clear he didn't particularly want to investigate.

Back home, it was carrots for everyone.

Lovely day, lovely horses and some good riding.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Back Out


My ride in the hills cost my back a rather painful few days. My pelvis tends to go "out" of alignment now and then and either it, or an issue in my lower back started a flareup.

No biggie. I've done this to myself dozens of times before. Usually some heat will loosen up the muscle and, in this case, I took some Valerian to also help the stressed muscles relax.

But, I went to the chiropractor for a much needed adjustment anyhow. I'd had a good swim in the morning, so I was feeling a lot better when I got to the doctor, but it was clear things were not right.

I had issues with my pelvis, my lumbar vertebrae and some neck vertebrae out of alignment as well.

The adjustment was Monday afternoon and I was still sore in the evening. I was much better on Tuesday, but still opted out of any serious exercise--especially riding--hoping to keep everything in place.

This morning, I went for an hour's swim along with my leg lift water exercises. They stretch my back, build up my abdominals and core muscles, and work my legs. Once again I felt even better after my time in the water.

I still may wait until tomorrow to ride again. The weather seems to have taken a turn back to summer around here with temperatures in the mid 80's F.

I do need to get into some kind of riding routine, but another day or so won't matter too much.

And the Boys don't seem to care. They are happy just hanging out being horses.

WARNNG: Political Rant

The impasse in Congress over funding the government is intolerable.

I do not disguise the fact that I am a Liberal, so the Right Wing's agenda is far from mine. I am totally disgusted with their insistence that somehow gutting the Affordable Care Act has to be part of a budget deal to pay the United States's bills and keep our government running. Frankly, they have acted like spoiled children being denied a piece of candy at the checkout counter. Healthcare for our citizens and the budget should not even be on the same menu.

The Democrats in the Senate are standing firm, but to my eyes, their position is much more solid. It's not  a matter of bargaining away something this country has needed for years to accommodate the desires of the political opposition. Nor should the President back down.

A clean, simple funding bill, with no strings attached would keep our government running and solve the problem. I actually think that if Mr. Boehner had the political courage to put that bill before the House of Representatives, there's s good chance it would pass. Instead, he's catering to a radical wing of his party in order to curry their favor and look like a Tea Party hero.

Enough already. The security of the country is more important than a petty agenda. The security of thousands of Federal workers lives, now at risk due to losses in pay, is more important than a petty agenda. The security of our economic stability is more important than a petty agenda.

And besides, why shouldn't thousands of Americans be able to buy health insurance when they could not before?

RANT OVER: For now.