Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Nice Weather, But No Riding

Not too sure why, but I haven't ridden since the last time. Part of it is because the muscle in my hip is hurting. I think I need to see the doctor to find out if that pin is causing a problem.

Don't like to think about that as it could require more surgery. On the other hand, I would like to get rid of some of the pain.

Otherwise, I seem to be busy doing other things. I had to get my truck repaired, I got some new glasses, I took stuff to sell and sold it at a yard sale at my church, and I've subbed a few times.

Not to worry. The Boys are not neglected.

I am switching Toby over to Purina Senior feed. It has prebiotics in it and is specially blended for older horses. I may be able to cut back his grain a little with the higher fat content (I am still feeding Healthy Edge) but we'll see. He's not skinny, but I'd like to see a bit more flesh over his ribs.

The other two Boys are on the chubby side, so it's hard to judge when I make a comparison.

A large tree branch fell on my horse trailer the other day. The trailer seems to be fine, but I need help with the branch so I called a tree company. The guy actually is connected to the landscape guys two houses over, so that's why I called him.

Something kind of cute happened when he came over to give me the estimate. The Boys were way out in the far part of the pasture.  The tree guy and I started talking near the front paddock.

Suddenly, Tucker's head went up and he nickered. It was really unusual. He called again and broke into a gallop racing in from the field to the paddock. Toby and Chance followed along as a thundering little herd.

Tucker came right over to the fence to see what was going on.

I have no idea why he behaved that way. It does make me wonder. Was it my voice? Or the tree guy?

Was Tucker worried about me? Had he been cared for by a Spanish groom when he was a baby--the tree guy is from Mexico?  If Toby had behaved that way, I might have understood the Mexican possibility as the last farm where he boarded, his caretaker was a wonderful Mexican horseman who was one of the most caring people I have ever met.

But Tucker?

I like to think it was my voice and he wanted to make sure I was OK with the strange person on the property.

Then again, he did get some carrots from the both of us. *G*

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Note To Self

Think Twice and Take it Easy

Well, not exactly, but I do have to remember I am not as young as I used to be. (Did one of my fellow bloggers post something similar recently?)

Nor am I in ideal physical condition since the bitterly cold winter.  As an outdoor person, I did not exercise as much as I might have had the weather been more generous.

So, what happened this time?

I went to pick up two loads of hay--13 bales each-- in my Durango.  That's an SUV.  It's not the ideal hay wagon, but it works, although the carpeting inside is pretty hayed up by now.

I unloaded and stacked the first load just fine. Then I drove the 7 miles back to the hay supplier, bought 13 more bales and came home to unload them.

Bale #16 or so was the one.

I decided to lift it up on top of the four high pile in back.

Mistake. As I lifted, I felt a tweak in my back. Yikes.  I threw one of my vertebrae out of alignment. I've done this before, so I know all to well the feeling.

As I told my chiropractor this morning--blessed be he had an open appointment--it was like one of those situation comedy "I hurt my back" scenes. When the muscles seize up, you just can't stand up straight.

So, I still unloaded the rest of the hay despite the pain. What else would a true horse owner do? Horse care takes priority over agony every time.

I did decide not to go to the feed store to buy grain, however. That can wait until I feel better.

Luckily, the chiropractic adjustment worked a treat. I am wearing my back brace for a couple days and just taking it easy. The Boys will get their hay in flakes and I have plenty of grain to last.

The truth is, while I am not as young as I used to be, I have thrown my back out for years before this, so it's not really an age related thing. I tend to be a little too flexible in my body, so I have to be a little cautious.

So, note to self:  curb your enthusiasm and just take a few more rest breaks now and then. Oh, yes, and know when to stop.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Note To Self

Stretch Before You Get On To Ride

As you can probably tell from the post title here, I rode again today.

The ride was a little longer, about 20 minutes, and I did not stretch my left hip area by "riding" the barrel before I got into the saddle.

Error. My hip and psoas muscle definitely protested. It was OK and I managed the ride, but it was decidedly more uncomfortable than Monday.  Tuesday's rain kept me out of the saddle and Wednesday, I ended up substitute teaching. That meant a 40 minute swim after school instead.

I do a lot of stretching and exercises in the water besides swimming so that's a plus, but there is nothing quite like actually sitting in the saddle. Riding just exercises a special group of muscles and joint attachments.

So, today's ride taught me a good lesson. I do need to stretch myself before I get in the saddle and it's going to take a while before I can really be comfortable when I ride.

And the lesson for all of you too. If you do suffer an injury that requires physical rehab. you need to remind yourself and your therapist you are a rider. Perhaps between the two of you you can come up with rehab exercises that will complement your riding seat rather than compromise it as mine did.

Live and learn.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Did It!!

I Rode At Last

Sitting on a barrel really helps. If any of you need seat therapy, I can highly recommend it.

After a week of off and on barrel sitting, I decided it was time to try my technique on a real horse.

Needless to say, there was only one option--Chance.

Of my three horses, he has the most level head and, although he does not have the advanced training Toby does, he is far more laid back. Toby can be a bit energetic at times, but not Chance.

So, after a warm up on the barrel, I locked Toby and Tucker in their stalls for safekeeping--sections of fencing around the riding arena are down all over the place, so the two stray Boys would have interfered for sure.  Then I saddled up Chance.

Out we went into the arena. I climbed up on the mounting block and to my happy pleasure, it was quite easy to mount up. Then, to even more delight, I found I could actually sit in the saddle with minimal discomfort.

Now, I still have some pain in the bad hip where tendons, muscles, whatever still need to adapt to horse shape, and my left knee on that side protests with the associated hip pain. But it wasn't unbearable and I could use my legs to cue if I needed to.

Chance, ever so determined and feeling pretty sound after all his lamenesses (Special shoes and pads for navicular symptoms, and that darn OCD  issue with his right stifle and, of course, the bout of Lyme disease) headed straight for the gate to go out on the trail and while he was quite easy to steer away, I fell prey to his longing.

I opened the gate and we headed out.

Now, mind you, this is a horse that has not really been ridden on over a year. (I broke my hip in March of 2014.) The only work he's had have been occasional lungings of a few minutes by me or the vet to check his soundness.  He's schooled enough on the flat that he might, if tuned up, put in a fair training level dressage test.

I have owned or leased about eight horses in my life, ridden dozens more not my own, but of all those mounts there are only two I would ever saddle up and take out on a trail ride after a year long layoff.
Let me tell you, putting Chance in company with the number one horse of my life, Russell R,. is highest praise indeed.
Russell R. in his prime. 
Chance, looking adorable and ready for a ride. 
And Chance earned every accolade. Aside from few joggy steps, mostly up little hills in the woods, he was a perfect gentleman and a super ride. We took the infamous trail where Tucker left me lying on the ground so that too was historic. There are a few more trees down, but I had walked the same trail the other day and knew it was more than passable. Chance took every detour in stride and listened to every aid.

Talk about a superstar!  All told, we were out for perhaps 15 minutes, maybe 20, but it was a solid start to some good rehab for us both.

Am I happy?

You bet.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Sorta Sore

But Not Too Bad

After my knockdown on Easter Sunday, I am feeling a bit sore.

I am a bruised butt sore, but not too bad. One shoulder is a little achy. My core muscles in my stomach area are sore as well. I must have tried to stop the fall or twisted as I went down. And muscles on either side of my neck are sore as I kind of whiplashed as the back of my head hit the dirt.

I was sort of hoping to try a little ride on Chance this week but until the sore behind part goes away, I am opting out.

Again, it's really not much pain to speak of. I don't quite bounce the way I did when I was younger, but apparently there is still a little bounce left in me.

Now that the weather seems to have broken out into legitimate Spring, I do hope I don't need to deal with sheets until the bugs return. At that point, the Boys will get their fly sheets. I hope they appreciate the respite from clothing for the month or so.

Meanwhile, the shedding season is in full force. It's really amazing how much horse hair I can rake off each Boy in a grooming session. The undercoats they shed are dense, fuzzy, and neverending. It's always a challenge trying to make a horse in full shed look presentable. Every time you think you've gotten all the loose hair groomed out, there is always more to come.

I've been grooming them in their stalls for the most part, but perhaps I should do it outside where the birds can collect some of the hair for nesting material. Don't you think a nice little cozy bed of fuzzy horse hair would be a great place to bring up babies?

Update: Phooey. Supposed to go down below 40F and be rainy tomorrow and Thursday. Looks like the sheets are back on. Have to use a different one for Toby. Thank goodness I have a spare.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter

Knock Me Down

Well, my Easter surprise was a tumble in the paddock, knocked down by none other than Tucker as he bolted in reaction to Toby's bolting off.

Why did Toby bolt?

When I came home from church it was quite warm and since I'd left the Boys' sheets on from the chilly night, I decided to take them off. I've done this dozens and dozens of times in the paddock.

I had all but the front straps undone on Toby's sheet when, for some reason, he spooked and took off, sheet flapping around his neck and body. That set Tucker off, knocking me out of the way. He's never been one to pay a lot of attention to where I am, and I constantly have to remind him of my space. Today, he forgot....again. Down I went and off he and Chance went, rip roaring around the paddocks with Toby.

Eventually, after I found my breath and got back to my feet--sore backside and clonk on the head where it hit the ground too--I found Toby's sheet, torn asunder in the paddock. Another nice new sheet bit the dust as it really doesn't exactly look very repairable. The front straps are ripped out along with the front flap of fabric and trim. I will take a good look at it later, but it really didn't look very good.

So, that was my Easter gift from the Boys of Follywoods. Thanks a lot.

Meanwhile Spring rolls in with Easter sunshine and the promise of new beginnings.

Pink Tulips In Basket Colorful Easter Eggs X Wide Wallpapers Net Clip Art

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Nibbling Invisible Grass

The Boys Go Grazing

Well, not really. There is evidence that the grass is sprouting here and there but it certainly isn't much. However, with the snow cover gone at last, the Boys seem to think the pasture is lush and they are doing their best to cultivate the illusion.

I think the warmer weather helps. They are moving out of the paddocks by the barn where they spent most of the winter months--at least the cold ones--and going out and about into the far reaches of the pasture.

Now, mind you the pasture is only about two acres, so we are not talking miles from home, but it is nice to see them wandering out and about. There has also been a bit more galloping and frolicking going on.

I am blessed to live on just enough of a hill that most of my land drains pretty quickly. As well, since my soil has a thick layer of sand below the topsoil and a layer of clay, the ground does not hold water. While I do have some mud near the barn, the outer areas dried out pretty quickly and the footing is good for frolics.

And, for riding. I am back to working on stretching my hips and thighs with the goal of trying to ride Chance next week. If I'm comfy enough in the saddle, we may try a little trail ride. I walked the woods trail a day or so ago, clearing out any fallen branches and making sure it was navigable. It looked good enough to ride so it's waiting for us. Since it's perhaps a 15 minute ride, it would be the perfect outing tor a totally unfit rider on a totally unfit horse.

Besides, I think it would make Chance smile.