Monday, May 31, 2010

05/31/10 Lesson and Choices

Jen arrived bright and early. We wanted to get the lesson over & done before it got hot out. Yep, you Northern folks can just Hush yourselves. It’s already hot & humid here, with horses in full sweat by noon, standing & grazing. Nasty!

The lesson was hunter saddle, but didn’t remain hunters for long. Well, it sort of did. This is the first time Jen’s seen him go since his injections. She said he looks much better, still a little stiff on the left rear. Not too surprising, it looked worse before the shots. Either way, he does move nicer, and seems much happier to go.

I rode only at one end of the arena, all three gaits, tossed in a little two point. We’re planning to go together to BRM on Saturday for a lesson with Barb, so we started talking about what I was going to do at the lesson. Primarily, which saddle am I pulling out. Am I going to get a dressage lesson? Or a hunter lesson?

I hadn’t tried two point with Ransom’s new legs, and I hadn’t tried any kind of “Airplane arms” either. I did a little of both, but more two point than airplanes. I found his trot to be much more left-right in two point than I remembered. The canter feels almost downhill – I can definitely feel more push from behind up in two point.

And we talked. And talked, and talked. There’s lots to be gained when two horse-minded girls get together & begin game planning and goal setting. And so here’s the plan – we’re going to take Ransom with his dressage tack to BRM Saturday. I’ve got a goal and a plan already in hunters – two point airplane arms with good balance. What I don’t have, is a plan-forward in dressage. I’ve been riding Training #1 and #2 for about a year now, and I’m finding dressage fun, but repetitive. I don’t quite know where to go from here. So we’re going to go see Barb Saturday, ride dressage, and find out “what’s next”.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

5/30/10 Ransom Again

I've got a lesson in the morning with Jen. I suspect it'll be hunt seat, some on the lunge line for "Airplane arms" refresher course with his new legs.

R was available to, um, monitor? Okay, let me be honest.. I wanted to show off! I've been doing so much good, forward trot, and sweet canter bareback, and goshdagit I wanted somebody to see!

It took us a total of 5 minutes to get him "dressed", me helmet wearing, and in the arena. I hopped on, and he quickly warmed into a nice walk. A comforting walk. One that said, "Mom, thanks for waiting a little while later in the day for the workout."

I rode him up at a walk, and trot, but feeling his trot a little stickie, I pushed early in the warmup for a canter. This may be wrong, but, in my mind, when horses "go" in the wild, it seems more canter than trot. So, given his age, I was hoping canter would warm up those muscles a little easier. Not sure. But it worked.

His trot picked up nice & forward then, "going somewhere." R watched intently, and described his back legs as "more up & forward, and less stiff, less dragging his hooves." Sweet! I pushed for lots of good sitting trot work (because posting trot, in the puffy bareback pad, with no stirrups, and worse, nothing for my seat to "grab to" just didn't seem real bright), and a good load of canter work again.

That canter, bareback, is to DIE for. I love it. He barely moves his back, so my seat is almost stationary. I can focus on my heels, my lower legs, and my shoulders. It's really nice. I caught myself lifting my inside leg at the trot-to-canter-left transition, and have been working on it. Explains why my left stirrup keeps popping loose in the dressage seat. oops!

I stink at keeping up with this lately, I know. Working on doing better at it. But, let's just say, LIFE has gotten in the way of the dear blog. I'm not stopping, I'm not quitting, just easing up some. Maybe I'll get better here real soon. And just 'cause I ain't commenting, don't mean I don't love ya'll any less. :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The long holiday weekend

I sat at my desk Thursday afternoon, and said right out loud, "If I had to work Friday, I'd call in dead." I can't even type about what happened, but it happened Tuesday late morning, and it was pretty crummy. At some point, it'd be a neat learning experience for the "closet chemists" among us, but not worth repeating just yet.

So, riding, back to riding. Things in life always seem better from the back of a horse, don't they? Thursday, let me think...
Thursday, I think I rode. Yeah, Ransom. Dressage again, thinking he would need a few steady days back to work post-mosquitoes before any airplane arm silliness. He's awesome, he needs very little warmup, and after about fifteen minutes of all gaits light contact, he stretches down into collection, and, well, it's heavenly.

Friday Friday Friday.. What the hoo did I do on Friday?! The boys got new feet, which is awesome. Mr D saves the day with nice short feets and happy shoes. Love it! He's great, keeps track of the schedule, calls me a week ahead of time, and tends to my boys without demanding my presence. Love that! I also did laundry, housework, ran errands, decided my rump needed more horse time. But what to do? Oh yes ... Bareback, about 35 minutes before the mosquitoes from hell arrived in the arena. Walk, trot, canter. Yeah, that trot, with his new legs, wow! A little hard to sit bareback without serious collection. Now, his canter? Honey, all day long! No problem. Gosh it's smooth.

Saturday. Romeo Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo, with your newly trimmed toes, and your happy little self? Ransom? Yeah, you're covered in sweat from the heat, don't think I'm riding you today.

So Romeo, let's go play bareback in a halter, hmm? We're just gonna walk, nah, let's trot a little too. Oh yeah, sassy pants? You think you're gonna be silly at the trot, tossin' that happy little noggin? Oh yeah?! AH! Well, that's why God put mane on a horse. Wadda mane, cluck, kiss kiss, squeeze. WHEE! Oh yeah! That's smooth, toO! Now, it ain't Ransom smooth, but sweetie, it'll do me just great! Love that bareback Mo canter, too!

My boys spoil me. No long warmup lunges, no silly side reins in circles, and no "bracing for terror" gallop in the warmup. Love them for that! Especially when it's so frigging hot out, so early in the year, that we're all dying after the ride ends.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rides Since Then

I have had one moderately decent dressage ride on Ransom since 5-20. And the rest? It absolutely, completely, no doubt about it, poured rain with heavy storms on 5-21 and 5-22. I estimate about 10”of rain or more at my house between Friday & Saturday.

As a result, there was a puddly, muddy arena. Then, there were and still are, mosquitoes. Some things are bigger in Texas, and these blood sucking bugs are no exception.

I’ve been confined to trail rides down the road mostly. Those started out as a good idea, but then I realized I treated more of my property with bug killers than my neighbors did.

The one dressage ride was good, but short. I got about 20 minutes of decent ride in, taking advantage of Ransom’s new hocks with a really nice set at sitting trot. I felt my butt tuck underneath me, and I was able to push him forward without holding on with my legs. Really nice. I thought I’d reward the good brief work with a walk down the road. We both ended up coated in mosquitoes & frustrated.

The walks out the road have been mostly uneventful. Ransom spooked at a flatbed trailer/truck combo. Romeo jumped sideways at some barking dogs. Both have been quiet around traffic, other quieter dogs, which has been nice.

I’m eager for the bugs to ease up, to get back in the tack, and get back settled in my hunt saddle on Ransom. I miss my stirrup-free airplane arms.

Friday, May 21, 2010

5/20/10 Julie Goodnight Lesson #2

JG posted a Facebook link to her audio lessons with a discount. I was thinking about ordering, so I did. Here’s a capture & review of CD #2’s riding lesson. I rode it first, because while the downloads worked to my MP3 player, it didn’t recognize the IDs stuck on CD#1. Well enough.. Let’s get on with it.

It starts out with about five minutes of safety reminders & disclaimers. Probably the most entertaining remark involved “having the ability to ride your horse.” Okay, if you bought a riding audio lesson, and you’re lunging? Anyways..

The audio moves along to the actual lesson. Good, solid, warm up with a long time at the walk. The walk works through circles and straights, even down the diagonal once. Julie always reminds “Ear, shoulder, hip & heel”. Here, I made one neat discovery – I can feel Ransom’s inside back muscles lift in the walk. That was cool!

Progress to the rising trot. Julie wastes no time with circles and direction changes. There’s about three to four circles each way. But don’t get comfortable at the rising trot, because after nearly one trip around my arena, the audio calls for a sitting trot. Here is where I will get my “workout” in the lesson. I was listening to the audio for direction changes and body position reminders, but I also was pushing for a nice forward sitting trot in the background.

She then allows the horse to take a walk break. Here, I got a little disappointed. She introduces that “the canter is coming” in almost a dreadful voice, like it’s the “Big bad monster Canter! Oh No!” Goodness! For the disclaimers at the beginning “You must be able to ride at the walk, trot, and canter to continue in this audio lesson”, why make the canter sound so daunting? She even consoles riders afraid to canter that “you can continue this part of the lesson at the trot if you don’t want to canter.” Um, duh.

The canter part of the audio? Short! I got about a dozen strides of canter out of Ransom, followed by one canter circle, then back to trot. A few transitions in and out of canter from trot, but those come with about 6 strides. Change direction, repeat.

And the lesson ends about there. Bring the horse back to a walk, pat him, pat yourself, good ride!

It’s short… And I expected short, but I expected more intensity than I’ve been riding. I usually spend more time at canter, and less at trot. If the trot carries well, I push to canter. Shoot, if the trot feels lethargic, I push to canter, which usually picks the trot up nicely. I hoped for a more intense ride.

On the upside, this will serve as a great “refresher” ride, and will give Ransom and me a focused ride of low impact.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5/18/10 Polar Opposites OR What You Can Do in the Puddles

I’m torn between the two titles for the entry from last night. I got home after work, changed shoes only, to some nice rubber boots, and sploshed through the puddles back to Ransom.
He’s terrific. Never before has a horse walked up to me from across the pasture and dropped his head into a halter as often as he does. With the days he’s had off due to puddly stormy weather, he walked with great eagerness to me, and dropped his head straightaway into his halter. Love that!
I saddled him up western, in his twisted wire bit. Snapped on my helmet, tightened the girth, and got to walking. Since my side yard is nearly underwater all over, I walked him through it, testing a few things. What kind of mood was he in, and, if faced with a puddle across the road, would he go through it. Well, his belly got splashed with water he was so eager through the puddles.
Down the road we went. I walked away from the mailboxes first, eager to see just how far my courage would take us. He almost broke to trot, but was settled with a few half halts. I love that about him – he never tried to turn back to home, never weaved around the road, but settled in just on the edge of the gravel, and tromped happily. We didn’t see any deer, but encountered a few bunny rabbits and a few territorial dogs. One would yap her little head off when his toes hit her grass, but if he got his toes back on the gravel road, she’d hush. Funny! We walked five driveways down, which I believe left only one more at the dead end. We made it all the way to the last pond on the right, halted, and turned back to home.
Ransom slowed to a crawl. He poked tail the whole way back to the house. I realized it hadn’t been but a 15minute ride at this point, and it didn’t seem fair to quit just yet. Back up the road, towards the mailboxes. And again, how far would my courage take us? Would I see the neighbor’s goats splashing in his hideous pasture, and chicken out for home? Or would the incoming traffic send us trotting back to the trailer?
We made it! All the way to the road’s end, made a 180 turn, and headed for home. No goats to fear, just one silly car-chasing terrier cross that thought she could conquer Ransom, until he started walking towards her. Ransom pinned his ears at her, dropped his head, and I *swear* he was trying to cut her like a cow! It was hysterical. That dog was running from him, barking all the while, and Ransom stayed right along with her. So funny!
As we completed our journey, Ransom carried me safely straight back to the trailer, as if he knew he’d gone as far as he was going to, the adventure had come to a close. He let out a huge heavy sigh on the way back as we crossed into my property, as if satisfied with himself. My horse isn’t eager to get back to the barn, he’s eager to get going away from home. The polar opposite of a “barn sour” horse. How fabulous!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/14/10 – 5/17/10 Weather Related Delays

Ransom’s all good to go back to full work.
Romeo’s wondering why he’s standing around with shoes on.
And I’m pouting.

Okay, not really, but I had to find other things to do sans ponies this weekend. It rained Friday afternoon pretty hard, Saturday morning it poured, and Sunday was too muddy & puddly for anything but feeding. Monday, I got home from work with high intentions on riding, and was rewarded with a storm just far enough away it wasn’t pouring at home, but just close enough I knew if I got out a horse or saddle it would rain.

Friday, R & I travelled to Houston for a “His & Her” shopping trip. We visited a few gun stores, guitar shop, and the saddle shop. We enjoyed lunch at our favorite stop, George’s on Dairy Ashford. Yum-O! Love the food there bunches! Hit the massive evening thunderstorm on the drive home – thank heavens for back roads outta Houston proper. Otherwise, I can’t imagine what that trip would’ve been like. Heavy rain, thunder, lightening, wind, and traffic? Nah, not so much.

Saturday brought more early morning rain, housework, laundry, errand running in town. We went to the gun range in the afternoon to blow off a little steam, and had a blast! Literally and figuratively. I’m getting better with each trip, my comfort level is up enough I don’t feel like I need watching with every trigger pull, so that’s good. My general position & accuracy are improving as well. One of these trips, I’m getting a target all my own, I’m going to blow a few dozen holes in it, and hang it on my office wall, I swear…

It was a muddy puddly mess at the house this morning, but determined to get a fix, I think I’ll hop on somebody bareback tonight and walk around the muddy puddly pasture a bit. It’s necessary to maintain my general sanity, at least keep it at its normal level.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I finally found a way to make Ransom eat – stall lockup. For about three meals straight, I locked him up in his stall for a few hours, with water & grain. No hay, no attention. He got the hint – if he wants freedom, he’ll eat. J Works like a charm.

Thursday after work, the wind was howling my name. Howling “boo look at me.” I bucked up my courage, and got in the tack.

Ransom was delightful. We rode all three gaits, both directions, and even looked at the cows a few times. Yes, cows. They were grazing in the pasture next to us, and a few even laid down for a rest. Right where they usually are that spooks him. He didn’t flinch. That was absolutely delightful.

Knowing that dressage is getting boring & repetitive for both of us, I asked for some leg yields at walk. Sweet, and pretty. Stepping it up, I asked for leg yielding at trot. Heading to the right (left leg pressure), he was gawgeous! Heading left, a little stickie, but it got better the longer we did it.

I rode for about 40 minutes before admitting that weather had more wind and sprinkles than I had courage. We did have fun, though.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5/11/10 Rider Error

I grabbed Ransom after work. We were going to play dressage. Focus on bending, forward, and straight lines off the rail. I always feel like my lines are wobbly, and learned from the last BRM lesson to look up & over, and don’t look anywhere else.

I had one hekuva time keeping my feet in the irons. I quickly did some dog&frog stretches, and discovered my upper legs were ridiculously stiff. With them stretched out, I was so hopeful I could ride better.

I was better without my stirrups than with them. I was mostly having trouble keeping them in the transitions. Frustrating for sure, to feel like I’ve made such great progress, and then have a stickie day that my stirrups keep jumping off my feet. Of course, I could cheat, buy those magnetic stirrups – then my legs and feets could look like poo and I’d never lose my irons. That’s cheating! *giggle*

Total ride, nearly 50 minutes. I was singing along with my MP3 player. I’ve also committed in my mind to snag longer rides, by focusing on music, riding with the songs, taking walk breaks through a music interlude, or through a chorus, transitioning in verses or choruses. I’m not so much riding with the music tempo as I am riding gaits through the pieces of the music. Makes it variable, and helps me concentrate on keeping the ride going. Getting in that habit of the “20 minute power ride” again.

Wednesday brought a break to both boys. Saturday’s trail ride is looking worse and worse, with horrid weather on the way. Tonight, Ransom is up. I will start out in the arena, concentrating on longer legs and steady heels. We’ll cool it down with a walk out the road. It’s horrendously windy today, so I expect him to be a little jumpy.
Also been fighting with him about grain. He’s been refusing 75% of his grain for about 4 meals’ worth now. I’ve given him two doses of ProBios hoping that will help. This morning, as I left for work, I opened a brand new feed sack just for him, thinking maybe it was just a bag he didn’t approve of. Hoping to see more gone tonight. He’s diving into grass, and tearing up every bit of hay I give him, so it’s a minor upset tummy, or general frustration about his irregular work schedule. Hold tight, buddy. This weather windy madness eases up a bit, we’re right back to solid work. I promise in a day or four, I’ll get those rail razors back out, and we’ll get back to Momma’s airplane arms in the saddle.. I promise

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

5/10/10 Romeo Exploring

With the trail ride coming this weekend, I had to start exploring away from home again. Ransom was none to happy with this decision, working himself up a sweat running fence line looking for us, but it needed doing.

Romeo and I went farther down the road away from home and found some cut down power line grass paths. I think they are power line clears, and doubling as little 4wheeler trails for some neighbor kids. I went a little ways off the road down the paths, then chickened out & turned back for home. Didn’t want the neighbors who own the property fussing and/or shooting at me, and sure didn’t want to match up with a 4wheeler & frighten Romeo. Maybe the next time those neighbors drive real slowly by my house snooping I’ll take advantage & ask permission to be out there.

We came back towards home, then went towards the mailboxes. I got distracted by a phone call and, knowing the last house by the boxes had their goats out, I was in no way going to tackle Romeo, goats, barking dogs, traffic, paved road, and my phone call all at once. I turned just before the goat pasture, and headed for home.

On the way back, a lady in a strange car slowed down as she approached me, so I turned towards her, and dropped the reins. Romeo took advantage and dropped his head to grab a bite of grass, and the reins flung forward. I managed to grab them right before they were over his ears. Giggling, I looked up, to see the UnID lady looking at me sadly, shaking her head “no no”, and drove on by.

Later, same UnID lady stops on the dirt road right in front of my house, then pulls up in front of the house, and proceeds to get out of her vehicle. I got a bit nervous, but knew I had Mo, and could easily hop on bareback & make it chase for her – house was locked, truck was locked, so not much to gain there.

UnID lady speaks – “Hi, I’m ___. I work with the Census Bureau, is this ###?”
“Ooops, nope. That’s WAY down the road, sorry. I filled all my paperwork out quite a while ago.” She then let me know “it was hard to know for sure, since I didn’t put #s on my house.” I ignored her remarks, and told her to have a nice day.

Total ride time, about 35 minutes. Too short, but light easy work. I expect tonight, I’ll turn the pressure up & work it good on Ransom. I owe him a light-day goofing off, but I also feel a bareback ride coming in the not too distant future. Mrs. Mom inspires me…

Monday, May 10, 2010

5-9-10 Test Drive Ransom

Anticipation builds! I was so anxious to get back on my big SuperStar, see how he moved, see how he felt, and flat out just get back to bonding with Ransom!

I groomed, I wrapped legs, I felt hocks (cool and even), I cleaned feet (released a few small rocks, one from the middle of his frog, ouch!). I noticed during grooming, he was more willing to lift his back feet for cleaning. He didn’t lift them in protest with a fuss or swishing tail, he just lifted them agreeably. Nice improvement!

I lounged him, and I watched. He seemed pretty calm, relaxed, but moving somewhere. I won’t say forward & collected, but he wasn’t chasing running but certainly getting around the circle. His canters were really pretty, they looked very fluid.

After about 12 minutes, I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to get on & try. I started him right out at a walk, flexing his head & neck in from the rail, and out to the rail, both directions. I didn’t spend any time goofing off loose rein. He was very soft, and gave very little resistance to my requests.

The trot, was, well, felt spectacular. It felt, softer, easier to sit, and easier to post without EVER once having to add leg pressure. I got to use inside leg to bend him around me, but I never had to squeeze him up to keep him at trot. Not once.

Easy squeezes & a thought, and we were up in a gentle canter. This is probably the first ride *ever* on Ransom that I wasn’t out of the saddle, even once, at canter. Both directions, even when he lost collection and lost bend on the circle, I felt connected to my saddle.

I kept it around 45 minutes, not wanting to over-do his first work back on his new hocks. It did feel quite different, and I’m anxious to keep after it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

5/8/10 Romeo Argues, and Ransom’s Tantrum

I grabbed Romeo after a fairly stressful day, running errands, gathering grain, and even going to work. Yup, work, on the weekend. I saddled Romeo up, got him to the arena, and hopped on. Ransom found a loose spot in the arena fencing, and wandered into the arena. I hopped down off Romeo, laid the reins over the fenceline, and told him, “Whoa”. Normally, this works. (who else is laughing now, and saying to themselves “She said normally, uh oh!”) Romeo and Ransom quickly took off, at a gallop, running, bucking, farting, kicking, all around the arena. I couldn’t catch either of them.

After about ten minutes of complete chaos, I finally got Romeo’s attention with a sharp “Whoa!” I grabbed the reins, and took Romeo to his own pasture.

Romeo had plenty of git’up&go, too. For well over 45 minutes, we got walk/trot/canter, goofiness. I got some bending at trot work in, nice tight circles, a few turns, and a handful of rollbacks & side passing. I finally got the canter down to something I could easily ride & manage.

Took Romeo back to the trailer to unsaddle, and I saw Ransom pawing & laying down squirming a fit. Got Romeo to his stall, and apologized for not hosing him off. I looked across at Ransom, who was standing up, in his stall, pawing and pawing more. I quickly took Ransom to the round pen, and got him trotting & cantering. He had his tail up almost the whole time, I can hope he was passing gas. After about ten minutes of that, I started hand walking him down the road. Part way down the road, he started grazing, grabbing up huge mouthfuls of grass. I locked him up in the paddock, gave him water only, and supervised. Finally, I found a pile of pretty solid poop. His supper portion Saturday night, and breakfast Sunday morning were both reduced just in case.

What I think happened --- Ransom is used to a work schedule. He normally poops right after I turn him out after work. Without the work, he wasn’t on an exercise schedule. Without the work, he wasn’t sweating, so he wasn’t drinking as much. Change the schedule of work, and we apparently directly impact Ransom’s digestive system.

Friday, May 7, 2010

05/06/10 Vet Update & Mo’s Turn

I checked Ransom’s hocks straightaway when I got home, and found them warm on the inside – expected.

Grabbed Romeo, got him dressed Western saddle, French link bit. His rear pasterns looked a little swollen, but sometimes this eases when he works.

Walking out to the arena, Ransom followed along quietly. I turned my back to them to walk in the arena, grab the gate tape, and when I looked up, whoosh! Romeo was pinning his ears, Ransom had turned a 180, and lifted up to threaten-kick Mo. What the heck?! I don’t know who angered who, and that has NEVER happened before with these two. They’ve bickered over fence line with ears, but never kicked out at each other. Goodness Gracious!

I got Romeo in the arena, Ransom settled on the rail, walked up & down a little, then proceeded to graze calmly. Romeo and I enjoyed about 35 minutes, warmed up on all three gaits, argued a little about leads, and then settled down for some trot bending work. I bent him solidly one way or the other on a tight circle, and, when he gave & bent nicely, I’d let him travel straight a while. This went on for about ten minutes, with a few solid stops and backups.

We did a few rollbacks, some ugly, some nice. Side passing was beautiful, turns on forehand were nice, too.

I found Ransom’s inside hocks still a little toasty this morning. I’m avoiding giving him anything for pain, because I’d like to monitor symptoms to know how to best treat and deal with him. As long as he’s still out, walking around, and grazing, the pain must be minimal.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

05/06/10 National Day of Prayer

And the show must go on, even if it’s in a legal debate right now.

And, for once, the President got it right.. I’m almost shocked.

President Obama issued a proclamation last Friday as his Justice Department appeals a federal judge's ruling last month that the day of prayer is unconstitutional.
"Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation," Obama said in the proclamation.

Prayers continue for our country, our leaders, our military, and the unbelief.

05/06/10 Patient Update


Dr.Sam got busy with an emergency colic call in the afternoon and got started on Ransom late. Deanna called around 6:30, “Your Little boy is ready to pick up.” “Little?! You mean my big monster?” I arrived about fifteen minutes later, and found him standing in the tie stocks, hocks wrapped neatly. Dr. Sam rattled off the drugs & quantities, and I tried to pay attention. Ended up having to call the vet this morning for the details again.

He received
40mg Hyaluronate Sodium (HA)
6mg Triamcinalone (Corticosteroid)
125mg Amikacin Sulfate (Antibiotic)

Ransom cheerfully loaded in the trailer, I stopped off for some quick groceries, and headed on our way home. That was the slowest drive down the dirt road to my house, EVER. I snailed along down the road, paranoid I’d injure his freshly injected joints.

When we got home, I clipped on the lead rope, and left the trailer, holding the lead rope, encouraging Ransom to exit the trailer. He bent his head back towards me, with a worried face. “You can come out any way you want to, today, Mister Man. I leave it entirely up to you.” He moved his front end just a little, still staring at me with a worried face. “It’s okay, Buddy. If you’re too sore to back out, back legs first stepping down, come out head-first. I’m okay with it. Aren’t you hungry? Don’t you want out of there?” I tugged ever so gently on the lead rope. He came out, head first, and very delicately stepped down off the trailer on his back legs.

We carefully walked to the paddock, and I let him stay there for his supper. Remembering what Dr. Sam said, “You can take those wraps off in a little while, and he can have turnout for his rest”, I opened the paddock and took the bandages off. Ransom walked very slowly out of his paddock, drank water from the big tank, and began grazing.

I found him this morning cheerfully walking his fence line towards the barn, looking for breakfast. I didn’t feel any heat in his hocks, and when I applied a little pressure, he looked back at me, but didn’t pin ears, and didn’t stomp, swish tail, or fuss. I will be watching with great intent for the days to come. Dr. Sam told me I may see some swelling, but that’s a normal part of healing and adjusting to the meds. If it lasts more than 4 days, give him a call.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

05-05-10 Vet Call

Ransom and I arrived at the vet’s office promptly, and the work began.

Dr Sam watched him trot down & back, then performed flexion tests on all four legs. Here’s what he found:

Slight head bobble when flexed on the pasterns up front – both legs. It is only visible for the first 3-4 strides away.

Stiff and uncomfortable when flexed on the hocks – both legs.

So I agreed to a bunch of xrays.
Front pasterns
Front left knee (there’s a “bump” on the inside of his knee, either from whacking something, or otherwise)
Back hocks

And here’s what he found…
Front pasterns look good for his age – a little wear & tear, but nothing dramatic. Some “rough edges” on the bones, but away from the joints enough to not be causing a problem.
Front left knee – has one spot on it, just on the outside front of the joint. It’s either calcification or a bone chip buried in soft tissue, or a floater. He’s thinking buried in soft tissue, as Ransom didn’t fight flexion or the trot-offs enough for it to be a floater.

Back hocks – Congenitive Bone Disease in the joints. Left moreso than right. There’s very little space in the joint on the left, and a little more space on the right, but still not pretty. “Much better than Dr Sam expected, for his age and use.”

The treatment? Inject the hocks with medicines (cortico steriods and HA). We could inject from top & bottom, but Dr Sam suggested we inject from top only, and pray it seeps down into the joint. After the injection, he asks that Ransom have three full days off work, and “then he can go back to full work.” I may go easy to start. “Full Work”, also includes he’s allowed to go back to jumping. *whew* Glad to hear that!

He’s getting done this afternoon, and I can pick him up later today. He was a good patient for all the exam work, stood steady, and generally cooperated with Dr Sam and Deanna. I’m grateful they did such a thorough job, and explained everything to me so I understood.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

05/01/10 BRM Lesson

I arrived nice & early to Blue Ribbon, and due to a cancellation, got my lesson started at 10:30 rather than 11:00.

We started out at a long stretchy walk, and Ransom didn't even pause to look around. He was ready for action. Barb told me, "Warm him up like you normally do." So I stuck him out at the trot on a loose rein, barely guiding his body, and as I slowly started shortening the reins, she said...

"He's off behind. Slow him down, it looks stiff & painful the more he goes. Don't push for that big trot - it just gets fast & ugly." We worked on shortening the stride back to a reasonable trot, and Ransom was bending nice left, but ugly right.

Did a bunch of trot circles right, a few volte's at walk (that's new!), and I learned how to push him out on the circle, bending in, and transition to a nice forward walk, make a smaller circle, and right back up to trot. He was very stiff, very lazy, and it took quite a while to get a nice bend going right.

I rode through TL #1, and Barb watched. We fixed a few small things. #1 Coming down centerline, only look AT the Judge. Nothing Else. Don't look too far above C, but don't look down if she's sitting just behind it at ground level, either. Look straight dead ahead, don't even shift my eyes to E & B to find X. He halted square & beautiful whenever I did that, and moved muck straighter down center, so that was cool. #2 Smooth transitions, think about them ahead of time, and give him time to prepare for a smooth transition. #3 Bend low at the poll, keep my hands active & keep his head down.

Then she called TL #2 and we rode through that. Many improvements from TL #1, all from the previous reminders. I was super satisfied that it was going to go well.

Barb cautioned - "He's going to probably get some lower marks for his trot. Just prepare for it now in your mind. His walk is good, his canter's a 9 if you bend him well. But I know the judge, and she'll want his head low. Keep his head low, keep the transitions nice & smooth, and enjoy the ride. You'll do great."

For the stiffness, the soreness, and the general lack of forward from behind, she suggested Joint Injections in his hocks. We're guessing, based on everything we've seen so far, Ransom has had very little maintenance. Barb asked that we make a vet appointment and get his back legs looked at, and injections done. So tomorrow, at 10:15 or so, we're meeting with Dr. Sam and Deanna. I'm going to get a lameness evaluation done, that will probably involve flexion, maybe xrays, and a long discussion.

Yes, I know he's older. At 20, Ransom's done a lot, seen a lot, and he's still got "go" in him. Barb even commented, "He's working very hard for you, and for his age, doing very well. He's got more life left competing, he just needs some lube in his joints." I've thought about it ... Ransom and I worked from 4/22 all the way through 5/2 with one day off, 4/28. That was it. He had one day off in 11 days of work. Wow! That's a lot! I also was doing a lot of hunter work, ground poles, cavaletti at trot & canter, and even those few 8" "jumps at canter", and the crossrails at trot before the dressage was serious again. He's working really hard - and so it's only expected he'll be stiff & sore.

Tomorrow's the big day! I don't think it'll be super serious or disastrous news. But I need to take care of him, since he's taking such good care of me.

Show Results 05/02/10 Freestyle Farms

You'll see sometime in the coming days why these scores are adequate for the conditions...

The show was nice. Full! The tests were ridden in the indoor covered arena, which turned out to be for the best. The outdoor arena had incredibly uneven footing. Fortunately, when I prepared to warmup, there was a crowd in the outdoor. The grassy tree field beside the outdoor looked beautiful. I warmed Ransom up out there, weaving in and out of trees, and generally enjoying the day. When I did find a break in the outdoor, he was irregular and yuckie. Poor guy was going from loose soft sand to rock-hard sand. Hard to perform his best in that. The indoor footing was nice, soft, and even. Judge sat inside a pick up truck, with tinted windows, so I couldn't see her nod and acknowledge my salutes, but oh well.

Anyways, if anybody's interested, I can post up judge's comments tomorrow or Thursday. Comment appropriately if that's what ya'll would like me to do. Here's the skinny..

Test #1 Ransom felt great. He was soft on the aids, listening to me, and I had really nice up transitions. A couple stickie down transitions, but square halts, and nice round circles.

Test #2 Ridden spectacular. I was all smiles, and even laughed a few times to myself at how hard he was trying. The trots felt really good, and the canters even better. He tugged hard at the transition to free walk, and I tugged back. Paid for that.. along with some other things I can get to later.

Placings weren't the best. Second in Test #1, last in Test #2. That's okay. I don't ride dressage for placings - I ride for scores & comments.

As for Ransom, he's on a break until we can get to see our vet Wednesday morning. I'll explain why in another post, but he's showing his age. Poor guy, he's trying so hard!