Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frustrating medical updates

I motivated the neurologist to make one more call to the insurance, and, suddenly, the other test was approved.  Completely clean, didn't find anything. 

Went to an orthopedic specialist in Houston.  Speedy place, meant swift service, but also hurried.  Felt almost more like a walk-in clinic and less like a specialist.  I started to explain the source of the pain and everything I'd tried so far, and he quickly shuffled me to a set of x-rays.  Once they were read, the results are... "mild early arthritis, and inflammation".  Ortho says "go to physical therapy, it'll all be okay".  I explained it's pretty painful, some activities make it worse, some better.  His response?  Even though riding doesn't increase the pain, or cause pain, quit doing it.  Instead, "Just take it easy".  Uhm.... I have been, and that doesn't help, either.  I asked what pain medication solutions there might be until the physical therapy starts working.  "Advil", he quipped back.  I responded, "Advil tears up my stomach", and went back into details I won't mention here. 

His response floored me.  "Well, Advil can give you a bleeding ulcer, but it would reduce the pain.  A bleeding ulcer can kill you.  Pain won't kill you.  There is nothing else I can do."

I turned in the PT request yesterday.  September 4 is the first appointment.  What I'm supposed to do in the meanwhile, I have no clue. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ovation Fixes It

A while back, I was at the Dover Saddlery store in Dallas..  I bought a pair of lime green Ovation gloves for practicing. 

Would ya believe that *already* they're falling apart at the seams?  Literally!  What a mess!  How entirely disappointing!!  I realize I ride a decent amount, but with the neck and headache pain lately, Harley's getting 2-3 days intense ride a week, and that's just not a long enough time for gloves to start unsewing themselves.

I contact Ovation - Yeah, I know .. Long Shot, and they'd probably say "get what ya pay for".  They weren't super high-dollar gloves, but light enough for daily summers here.  In about 12 hours, I got an email back.

They've got me a new pair of gloves on order, should be here early September (backordered to arrive at their shop 8-31). 

Whatta way to do good business!  Clap Clap cheer cheer! 
I'll update the quality on the new pair, and let everyone know how they hold up.

As for me, I got some riding this weekend.  Learned that, at least in this heat, Harley needs spurs to jump worth a toot.  Didn't knock the rails down, but he sure didn't leap over them joyfully, either.  Mo and I stayed around the house, and got some arena fitness work in.  We're riding a few days a week, and keeping it simple. 

Heading to a different specialist in Houston this afternoon.  It doesn't seem to matter what I do, the high neck/base of my skull pain remains.  The more I move about, the worse it is.  If I stay really still, it's even worse.  Crazy, huh? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I did it, again

I dared disagree with the FuglyMob.  :D  Welcome you fugly followers who found my comment on their WP rant. 

Yep, I said it there, I'll say it here.  That free moving in the pasture video of the groomed up Zips Chocolate Chip?  DROOL!  I love it.  He's beautiful.

Do I think the super slow jog is ridiculous?  Yup
Do I think a 4-beat lope is hideous?  Yup
I didn't see Chip lope 4-beat.  It was a beautiful cadenced 3-beat, easy, light, lope-along.  A pleasure to ride, I'm sure.

I can get Harley to lope that slow, with his neck level and nose out, usually pretty easy.  The hard part now?  Trying to lift his head up and balance that nose in so he's got the "collected dressage body". 

Come on, flamers.  Hit me with your best shot!  :) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Woke up feeling good.  Hmm.. Let's try this a little differently, and maybe I won't be owwwchie when I'm done, hmmm..

Harley, dressage, more of the same.  No longe warmup, just crawled on.  I added more contact, and asked for more from him.  He complied, mostly.  We rode a TON of transitions, not cantering for more than about 8 strides at a time before easing back to trot.  His canter-to-trot is lovely.  All of his up transitions?  Need more reminding.  Walk to trot got MUCH better as I kept at it.  Trot to canter was mediocre.  Can't ask for much more at Training Level.  I've seen some blogged videos, and the test scores.  I'm sure not riding in the same region, but I think we'll be alright.

Rather than anger my neck lifting the endurace saddle, Mo wore a bareback pad.  Still rode all three gaits, but less canter than Saturday.  Lots and LOTS of trot, me focusing on my position.  Heels down, toes up, posting trot.  Arms out airplane, Arms up over my head.  I wouldn't recommend this to anyone that's not in a safe enclosed area, that doesn't 120% trust their horse to stay calm in a nervous moment.  Please do not try this at home, fall on your head, and say I told you to try it!    It's a great drill, no saddle no hands, for building balance, and add a posting trot for leg strength training.  I felt it good after.. but at least it was in my legs and core, and not my neck.

Sunday came and went, without the need for pain medicine.  Monday, more of the same.  Yesterday, I got too much darn time at my computer in the afternoon.. Paid for it dearly.  I had two pain pills yesterday evening, one before and one after supper.  Huge disappointment.  I've called into the doctor, been more persistent than previously, and there's progress being made.  A completely different unrelated appointment this afternoon, and hopefully some neck-pain progress in the next few days...

and perhaps some Mo-therapy tonight.. if I can get the saddle on his back from the front porch...


Ever have one of those days?  You know, wake up, and say, "Screw it.  I shouldn't, and it might not help my body, but #@$*^ it, it's going to help my mind.  I'm riding today."  Yup, welcome to my Saturday morning.  I had coffee, protein bar, and Advil for breakfast.  yeah yeah, I know.. Advil's terrible for acid reflux.  tears my stomach up.  yeah, well, so does the coffee, so screw it.  I am already sore, my neck hurts, but heck with it.  I'm riding.   That was me ..

I grabbed Harley first.  Dressage saddle, helmet, longe line, bridle, gloves.  see?  Helmet!     As I sent him out on the line, he meandered to the worn-to-the-dirt circle, and hopped to a trot.  Happy kid to be back to work.  A ten-minute longe, and I climbed aboard from the mounting steps, dang it.  not dumb enough to strain my neck pulling up from the ground.  Harley walked off, and seemed pretty darn happy with himself. 

We rode the gaits, light contact, then went over some turns, backups, straight lines, diagonals, figure8s, anything but "ride the rail".  His trot to canter was crazy-lazy... I had to dig my legs into him, and kiss loud.  Lazy snot.   Total ride, plus warmup, 40 minutes. 

Then I caught Mo.  I grabbed the endurance saddle, and launched it to his back. ouch, dangit.  That monster's heavy.. owwwww... neck hurts... owwww... crap....  Shouldn-a-ought-a done that.  crap!  
Rode Mo all three gaits as well.  On the line warmup, Mo thought he was a big monster, running like a nit wit.  Didn't take him long, before huffing & puffing in the heat, I heard him.. "Mom, that was stupid.. can I just carry you now??"  Mo and I rode happy, 30 minutes, so another 40 minutes total.

I went inside, showered, grabbed a snack.. Started cleaning house.  Pushed the vacuum around the house.. ow.. heavy... owwwwwwwch.. crap!  Took some pain medicine prescription, and took a nap.  Woke up still hurting, but not as bad.

I rode anyways. :)

8/10/12 The Buffet, is Cut Off

R snuck over to my house last Friday, riding mower in-tow.  See, my riding mower has flipped me the mighty engine bird.  It refuses to turn on, second year in a row.  Last year, it was repaired with a clean-up, and was cooperating.  Oh no, not this year, nyuh uh..  Might bird flipping mower.. Anyways..

He mowed the front yard, and the sides, and even the back yard.  Nice, generous, and short.  Looks good.

Then, he mowed the arena.  On his way to the arena, he reported Mo and Harley running laps up and down their shared fenceline.  RUNNING, people.  It's well over 100F heat indeces during the day where we're at.  RUNNING... freaking nitwit horses.

Harley, seeing R on the mower, shortening his grass buffet in the arena, walked around in front of R, munching the taller grass.  As the grass got cut, the 'tall stuff' got less, and less... and less.. and less..

And eventually, in total frustration, Harley took a look at R, stopped a minute..

and calmly left the arena, head hanging down.

Daddy-R cut off my Buffet, MaMa!  I swore I heard him tell me at supper. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Since The Last Post

Not much has changed.  I'm still fighting the pain from true hell with no assignable cause headache.  Can you even believe it?  Dr had a test run, saw nothing useful.  Battling insurance to get a second test done, and reports so far aren't sounding like it'll happen.  I'm running out of ideas, and energy. 

I rode last Friday morning, both horses.  True rides, rustling through the arena grass with Harley and Romeo.   The rides were awesome, but I paid dearly for it later.  I had a splitting headache, and had to resort to strong medicine to ease it.  Sunday morning, I took Harley for a short walk.  Lifting the endurance saddle to his back increased the pain, so I knew better than to repeat with Mo. 

Last night, I grabbed my helmet and Harley's bridle.  I clipped my helmet chin strap, bitted him in the arena, climbed on from the mounting steps, and we went walking.  All over the pasture, total about 15 minutes.  I feel like I'm letting him down.  I know he wants to do more, he let me know when we got done, and I was safely out of his pasture by running amok bucking & farting.  He is bored.. and it's driving me as crazy as the headache is.

Edit after the fact:  I forgot to tell Harley's funny story last night.  I walked him towards the pond, he splashed in, walked up to the deep end, and stood.  Pawing at the water, he got himself wet up to his neck with splashes, and my jeans were wet up to my knees.  As we approached the water, I realized, "My horse hasn't had true work or a routine in about a month or more.  I haven't been riding much at all.  And here I am, bareback, helmet, bridle, on a loose rein, asking him to splash through muddy water he can't see through.  I have utterly lost my mind, and apparently without realizing it, I'm learning to trust him.  Ain't that nifty."

So much going on outside of my little world... The Olympics yielded the US Zero medals, first time in a long time.  Beezie Madden is reported to have whacked her mount suspiciously hard for a few stops, Rich Fellers got so super close but had a few blips.  I watched Stefen Peters' last ride, and compared with the Brit who won gold.  There's a blip in her ride, around 3:15min.  Give it a look.  What on earth happened there, and how did that NOT push her out of the medals?  Was she consistently better on all the rides?  I watched Rafalca's first ride, and was mezmorized.  Jan Eberling is one heck of a rider. :)  LOVE LOVE seeing riders pleased with their horse, no matter if they're 80%+ perfect, I love seeing riders praise and love on their equine partner.

Then, of course, EVERYONE has blogged about the Kittel rollkur BS, and that Canadian horse with the suspicious cut on his coronet band.  My opinion?  Cheaters suck, and they should be taken to the metaphoric woodshed and whacked with a riding crop.  I didn't see either incident live, no video of either the rollkur happening live, or of the Canadian horse's hoof cut.  Cheaters suck. 

If you're well enough to ride, and your horse is healthy enough to carry you, go ride please.  I'm going to keep limping along at the walk with the occasional harder ride (pain killers ready at the end), and nagging the doctors for answers..

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

7/28 Rides & Update

Harley and I had a nice easy, light dressage day last Saturday.  Total work about 35 minutes.  I skipped the longe warmup, and was a little tense myself during his initial few minutes of trot work.  He was pretty determined to take off on a cantering tangent, but a few strong half-halts, and he came right back under me.  A decently cooperative ride, but nothing dramatic or new in the terribly hot weather.

Romeo and I headed back to the arena for some light work as well.  He didn't have his brother's energy level, so we were able to focus on walk/trot with a little canter.  Mo did let me know when he wanted to canter, increasing his trot length and tensing up his back a bit.  I let him tear off, knowing that once he got a little work in the heat, he'd ease up quick.  :) And he did, bringing me straight to loud laughter.  Another 35 minutes of relaxing easy work.

Me?  yUCK!  I'll just be honest there.  That one headache episode, according to the brand new neurologist, was treated inappropriately by the ER I visited.  The Nuero doc called them with a totally different course of medicine, and I spent yesterday 75% of my awake hours in the emergency room again, medicines slowly delivered for the "status migraine" I had acquired.  As of this morning, it seems to have slurked back into some corner of my brain to visit another time.  I'm a bit groggy (ribbit) from the large doses of medicine I endured yesterday, but I'm awake, the lights aren't making my brain scream, and I can focus... :) 

Hoping to be out of this headache fog, because I'm 120% ready to get back in the saddle more often.