Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dressage lesson

Wow... dressage lesson number 3 in a row!!! How exciting that Fleck is back to work and doing well. :) I'm still thanking God every ride that I get to enjoy again.

Anyways... Fleck and I are still having fun though... still taking it day by day. But... and while I hate to jinx it... so far so good :)

We had some good lessons this month. And I learned some good stuff from Liz too. So to sum it all up...

  • long and low... close the leg and that means he should go long and low. Which helps with the free to medium walk and also with the stretchy trot
  • don't hold him up.. he wants me to hold his shoulders up and "trap" him and instead...I need to make him hold himself up and then it works
  • close my calf (Cindy's been telling me this for years, but the new saddle finally let it sink in). This solidifies my foot and prevents it from swinging but also helps open up my hips. This is hard for me, but I'm getting there.
  • counter bend then correct bend to get him upright on his shoulders
  • if I don't bend my hips and shoulders, how can he bend his?
  • don't nag.. the goal is soft quiet aids and immediate response and then take my aids away. If he doesn't respond, turn on the forehand, and then soften.
  • don't lean forward into the transitions... he'll do it!
So yep.. that's the gist of it. We've been riding at Ashland farm a lot and going trail riding before and after our rides. It's been great.

Monday, August 20, 2012

NEVER again Mother... never again

ha ha... Poor Flecky..... I left for the weekend with Dan for his FEH debut. And poor Fleck stayed home. He was okay... he neighed after Dan a bit but seemed content. And I missed him... oh, how I missed him. But we both survived. Without even any grudges.

Or so I thought!! So the next day I went to pull the truck and trailer through the pasture to turn it around so Fleck and I could go ride.  Fleck neighed as loud as he could, then trotted after the truck and trailer, and followed it to the gate. Then he stood there staring at me. It was CLEARLY a warning... "Leave me again, and you're in BIG trouble"!!!

hee hee..... I love that he loves to work :)

So I obliged and we went and had some fun. :) So far so good. He was a little stiff and icky after my last trail ride. However, we figured out that was blocked/locked/stiff in his shoulders. I think he spent the ride trying to catch up and me trying to hold him back, etc and just got stuck. Once I did a little massage and some long and low and stretchy stuff he was back to swinging and forward and sound. Yay!!! We also ran through 1-3 the other day and he did really well :)

So whoo hooo... Again, one day at a time and I'm thanking God for each day that we get.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thank you God!!!!

So.... I thank God every night for all the wonderful things in my life.... the beauty of this planet, my family, my friends, my job, my health, my pets, my ponies, the fact that I did not hit that car today when I wasn't quite paying attention before the turn.... But today... today is an extra special thanks!!!!  I am so glad and thankful that I still have Fleck and I can love and squeeze on him every day. I love being able to look out my window and see this view...

and I do cherish this more than anything else. BUT... today... today is a day of rejoicing!!

I really think Fleck is back!!!! And for how long, who knows?! But the Big Guy upstairs must have gotten tired of my whining too. :) I put Fleck back to work. We flatted twice, did a trail ride or two, and then... came the big test. Tuesday was dressage day with Aunt Cindy. I was so terrified that he'd still feel funky. But wonder of wonders, he felt AMAZING!!! Cindy didn't see any lameness. I didn't feel anything but one or two steps at the very end. And he was happy to work!!! And work we did! After about the 3rd canter lap I told Cindy that this was more cantering than we had done all summer!!! But we did shallow loop counter canters and some spiral ins. And wow.. he did great!!!! He was tired and sweating, but he was happy to do it. And man... it felt so good to be "home". Oh how I missed riding MY horse!!

So then I suppose the real test was the day after. How would he hold up?! Unfortunately, I worked Tues and Wed overnights, so he got Wednesday off. Thursday was the day to find out. And, unfortunately my timing was just horribly off. I started with a nap, which was a bad idea. Then went to get the oil changed, which needed to be done but took forever. Then by the time I got hom and hitched and loaded, the skies were black, the wind was whipping, and the thunder was rumbling in the distance. Well.... let's try to squeeze a ride in! Not quite.. got about 3 minutes into the ride and the rain started. With the new saddle... and more importantly the lightning in the distance, I decided it was stupid to keep trying. So I got off... and then it rained another hour or two. And then stopped, but by then I had pretty much given up. But... he felt pretty good during those two minutes!

So then today was another test. I had a jump lesson with Beth! I rode with Christina and Peri, which was fun. And Fleck had a BLAST!!! He was so glad to be jumping again! I have completely forgotten how to ride him, but that's okay. Everyone said he looked good and he felt so good he even did "the porpoise" again :) YAY!!!!!

So.... lots of icing and linimenting and lubing up with injectable meds and we'll keep going day by day and keeping our fingers crossed. Fleck seems much happier to be back in work and I am too!!! I"m trying to not let on to him... lest he feel he needs to keep it up.  But man it feels good to be home again.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Saddle!!!!

It's so pretty!!!!

So.... just before I realized Fleck was hurting... I had him fitted for a new dressage saddle. While my current one fit him great... it didn't help me much with my position. So... we got him fitted and of course, he prefered the most expensive one. Sigh... Although I did too...

So... we ordered it... and then realized Fleck had arthritis... I almost cancelled it, but I chose to be optimistic instead and hope that Fleck would make a comeback. And figured I"d wait and see... Well... it is perfect timing!! Fleck finished his treatments and is ready to go back to work... right as the saddle arrives. And quite frankly, I'm way too impatient... I'm not sure I could have handled the wait had Fleck been going. Of course now I'm not sure that Fleck is going to make a full comeback and it seems sorta silly to have a custom dressage saddle when he may just be a "fun" horse and not a "show" horse. But... oh well. Hopefully it'll fit the other horses I ride too.. or Dan. Or... even better.. Fleck will still make a comeback, even if it's just dressage!

But it's so pretty!! And Fleck likes it too!!!

And speaking of.... Our current plan is to put Fleck back to work for a good two weeks! He's not 100% yet. He's not lame... and happy to work, but still a bit short strided and maybe a bit funky behind (probably either compensatory or just lack of fitness). So.. the plan is to put him back to work for 2 weeks, while hitting him with everything I have (legends, adequan, etc) and see if fitness helps. If it does... awesome... we take it day by day. If it's still not enough.. then we either officially "retire" him to fun play horse. OR... keep fighting and try another round of IRAP, injections, or even consider Tildren.

And some of you may wonder... Why?! Why not just let him retire happily and find another horse in the meantime. And you might be right... but it's just not that simple. He isn't ready to retire... not even as a fun horse. Well, maybe as a fun horse, but only if he's still my main squeeze! He's a very jealous horse.. he likes to show off, he likes to be the center of attention... So I owe it to him to keep him the center of my world. And it would be hard to do that while also having another horse to show. So... I'll just keep trying to keep him happy and do what he can do...

Fleck's still got it!!!

Oh.... He KNOWS!!!!!

I was talking on the phone on the way to ride and even tacking up. Bad Mommy, I know. And I was chatting about trying to bring home Evie, a cute appy mare that is owned by Danny's breeders and seeing if I can teach her to event and have something fun to play on. You know, take the pressure off Fleck, etc. So then I finally got off the phone and we went for a ride. I rode with friends and we had a good time. Then I was planning to come back to the ring and ride, but Judy opted to go "larking" in the cross country field. I figured no problem, I can play out there too. I was planning on just w/t/c and feeling Fleck out. Well, Judy and I trotted off and then she went to jump a few things. Fleck lost his cool!!! He basically took off with me at a gallop across the field. So... okay, maybe I let him a little... But he wasn't giving me much of a choice. And I just had his loose ring snaffle in. So off we went at a gallop. Then I figured, you know.... if he feels this good, we might as well hop over a few jumps. Why not right?! He may not feel this good again. So we hopped over a few jumps. WHEEEEE!!! They were maybe BN fences, but still. We had fun!! Fleck even did a bucking spree afterwards. I don't think it was a painful buck, but a HAPPY buck!!! I think he missed it too.

So... we iced and iced after and liniment and have our fingers crossed that he feels this good tomorrow!