Regaining fitness

I was sick folks. Really sick. Way worse than I thought. When the urgent care doctor told me I could die, I kind of ignored him because, honestly, who wants to hear that kind of thing. Then my primary care told me the same thing though I was doing a lot better by that point. But, damn, asthma is no joke. 3 weeks of heavy duty nebulizer medicine 4x/day (which makes me feel like crap), dexamethasone (don’t be like me and be allergic to prednisone because then no one will prescribe you steroids), I’m finally approaching the world of the living again. My lung levels are finally out of danger zone and actually resembling normal person zone and my husband isn’t worried about me keeling over and dying. So progress, right?

But, I am weak. While I got crazy bad Xmas week, the truth is, I probably was going downhill for several weeks before that and just… ignored it. Because why not? Every time I rode, I was short of breath. I was tired all the time. But, it wasn’t that bad. I just tried to use my inhaler before and after I rode and moved on with life. For future reference? Not a good treatment plan going forward.

Nay Nay in cross ties
I love him.

So, now that I’m approaching the living, I’m trying to figure out how to re-introduce riding. When I got back on the other weekend, I know it was too early, but mentally, I needed to sit on my horse and walk around. I ended up having to recover for 2 days from the 10 minute walk and 1 minute trot session. But, with steroids in my system, I’m able to do a little bit more.

This weekend, I managed to get out both Saturday and Sunday to ride. Saturday, we worked on the flat with the draw reins and had a nice ride before popping over some tiny fences. It was a good ride. I enjoyed myself. Nay enjoyed himself. All was good. But, it took a lot out of me. Lesson learned. Nebulized BEFORE I ride. Then, I got home and crashed on the couch vs nebulizing and basically missed another nebulizer dose. Not cool.

First jumps in ???

Sunday? Armed with a nebulizer treatment, I felt much stronger. Except, I left circumstances dictate my ride. Nay has been REALLY happy with the draw reins. But they make me work very hard. We can spend 10 minutes just walking and stretching into a forward walk and I felt lazy. So, since there was a lesson in the ring, I decided that I would wait until the lesson was over and then forgo the reins. I got on and forgot how much organization they help me have. In addition, the lesson left (sub trainer as trainer is in FL) opened the barn door 100% so there was distraction and glare and movement every time we passed. It wasn’t a big deal, but just unnecessary distractions and I couldn’t focus my horse. The easiest solution? Hop off, close the damn door, and get back on with my ride. But, I felt stupid doing that and to do that I have to pretty much leave the indoor (the door was open wider than it is in the summer. I’ve never seen it that far open). So, pretty much our entire ride was just unfocused. Add dogs galloping around outside, it was wasn’t the ride I wanted. And I was tired from the day before.

Baby sitter pony

I ended up giving up on flat work after a while as it just wasn’t going anywhere. I was getting tired, I couldn’t get Nay forward enough and focused and it just wasn’t working. So we popped over some little fences and called it a day. He wasn’t bad, we just weren’t communicating. I’m going to try and get back out this week and see if I can get a better ride in when I actually make a plan and stick with it.

He’s always good even when I’m a mess

I’m trying to balance a little bit of yoga (I like power yoga, but I’m not there) to regain ALL the core strength with riding. But, it’s SO FREAKING HARD.

Anyway, I’m riding again. Maybe my February I’ll actually have some strength back? All video is from the Pivo. My settings were messed up and not working, but after not letting me change anything (speed, autozoom, etc.) finally Sunday night I had access to those settings. I’m hoping that this will allow me to make better use of it. I have some flat video, but the tracking is complete crap so… I’m also still trying to find a good place to put the tripod…. The end of the arena is too far, but the middle doesn’t work well either. Oh well…

Happy New Year

Very short post since I have pretty much nothing to say. I’m on the road to recovery, or so I hope. I’m finding it’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I do too much and I’m down for the count. Seriously, asthma sucks. My goal this week is to find a good pulmonologist. So that’s pretty much where I’m at. I managed to clean 2 stalls yesterday and then pretty much spend the entire day on the sofa under a heated blanket. And on Saturday, I took Nay Nay out to the barn to lunge and against my better judgement, I got on and walked around for 10 minutes and trotted for 1 entire minute.

Way more than I should have attempted at this point (I was shaking when I got off), but mentally? I needed it. First ride in about 3 weeks.

#husband photography

Nay Nay was the best boy I could have asked. My goal is the be ready for a lesson by the end of January when my trainer is back from FL for a few days. We’ll see. Even if I can just manage an easy flat lesson, I’m OK with that. We’ll spend a lot of time walking, marching at the walk, bending at the walking, and all that jazz until then. And building up time at the trot too. Just taking it slow and easy until then.

January 1st also marked the boys official birthday’s with the jockey club. Subi is 24 (!!!) and Nay Nay is 10! We celebrated with carrots, apples, peppermints, and gingersnaps. Nay Nay got oatmeal cream pies (Jiminy got some too), but Subi has decided he no longer eats them? Who knows.

Anyway, that’s where we’re at.

Happy New Year!

Blog Hop: 2020 Summary

Happy happy you all! I’m out of commission and holding down the couch with the help of a very concerned Hermione dog and typing this from my phone so we shall see how it goes. Had a crazy asthma flare up and I’m at home against advice of the urgent care doctor who wanted to send me to the hospital by ambulance, but that wasn’t happening. Peak flow meter showed I was at critical levels but in Covid times? Is the hospital safe for those of us with respiratory issues? So I have some new medicines and I’ve agreed to go if I get even worse (and I know I can use an epipen for asthma now too in an emergency). Nebulizing is my full time job as of today.

What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

Personal: Working from home the last 9 months has been incredible! I know my colleagues hate it but I love it!

Horsey: Nay Nay technically joined me in early December 2019 but 2020 was devoted to getting to know him and falling deeply in love with him.

Makes me smile everyday. Even if he now knows how to unzip pockets to find the cookies…

What’s the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?

Personal: Not seeing my mom much. I’ve seen her 2-3 times since March vs every couple of weeks. That plus the standard migraine and now asthma hell.

Horsey: Depression of losing Batt. Yes, I lost him in late 2019, but the grief… that and ulcer hell

Still miss these two together

What was your biggest purchase in 2020?

Personal: Lots of little things but I guess a new mattress?

Horsey: Nay Nay’s new saddle. Was NOT planning that one. Actually I bought him 2 saddles this year… but his Albion k2 was the purchase… I guess it was worth it? First ride he stopped dragging?

Love it so much!

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?

Personal: Ask me later? Preferably when I’m not nebulizing? Right now I can only come up with accomplishments like streaming the entire NCIS franchise. Or, other random LONG CBS shows in way too little time…

Horsey: so much with Nay Nay. First jumps, first canter fences, getting over blocks (jumping). But really? The damn right lead. I did that. Yes, we did need a training ride (8 whole minutes), but it helped me see stuff and even though the plan was to keep up the training rides, we never needed to again. Nay is a quick study. He wants to please. He wants to be right. So do I. So, that ride taught me how to teach him? And how to use the spur to push him over. And within 2 rides? We were getting the lead after a couple of asks. 2 rides later? Almost immediately. Now? It’s less dramatic. And I have to work the left lead a touch more just because the right is so good.

What do you feel COVID robbed you of in 2020?

Personal: Just not seeing family and close friends because I won’t with covid. It’s not worth the risk.

Horsey: Maybe I could have taken Nay out and about but I’m happy where we’re at.

Were you subject to any COVID Impulse Buys in 2020?

Personal: Broadway Leggings.

Horsey: Nay Nay got extra personalized saddle pads and a cooler and…

Rules to ride by

Goofiest horse

I have several draft posts about my recent lessons that I just haven’t had the motivation to write about. They haven’t been bad. They haven’t been exciting. They haven’t been boring. I just haven’t had the motivation. That said, I do like writing about lessons as this blog also serves as a record of Nay Nay’s progress. Still… I’m not pushing it.

Not impressed by the snow.

My last 3 lessons (all taking place in a 7 day period) have been all over the board. This reflects my recent rides. Everything as of late is lacking consistency. I’ll be honest? This has sort of wrecked my confidence a bit. But, going forward, I need to just put that aside and ride the horse I have.

Instead of recapping the rides, I’m going to instead recap the takeaways.

  1. Sit DOWN. When I’m uncomfortable, I have a habit of tensing in my thighs and ankles and sitting ON the saddle vs IN the saddle. If I really sit down, Nay starts to relax. If I tense, I give Nay reason to tense.
  2. Engage the brain. When I get on, get to work immediately. Work doesn’t mean trotting. Work mean getting into the center of the ring and circling and changing direction and marching forward. Start the trot the same way. ONLY once the brain is engaged and the body and back is warmed up do we leave the center and continue on. Once on the rail? Sometimes the brain still needs extra engagement. Nay likes poles on these days so circling and adding some pole work and lots of change of direction once his back is warmed up is good.
  3. Utilize draw reins. This one might be controversial to some, but, like everything else, they are a tool and when used properly, they have a place. We’ve introduced them and Nay Nay is responding well.
  4. MARCH ON. This is especially important when using draw reins. If I am using draw reins, I CANNOT have an up and down trot. It needs to have power, it needs to be forward, it needs to have controlled speed. Basically, I need to ride. So often when trotting, I just am happy if we are trotting slowly and not dying, but this isn’t OK. This isn’t a proper trot. So, March On.
  5. Ride the horse you have today. Basically, stay in the moment. I can’t ride concerned about what happened last week or yesterday because the horse I had those rides might not be the horse I have this ride. This one is SO hard for me. I fixate on past issues or mistakes or fears rather than embracing the moment.
  6. Control what you can control. Some rides just don’t happen. If Nay is tense? It might be worth it to take advantage of running through the indoor. Preemptively. If I get on and it’s STILL not going well despite engaging the brain? I can get off and lunge or run around the indoor. That’s OK. Sometimes the only thing you can do is free lunge or run around or lunge. That’s OK too. If it goes really well and everything is accomplished in 10 minutes? It’s OK to end there too.
So gross

While Nay Nay hops around and curls up in a ball, he doesn’t actually do anything beyond that. In addition, he ONLY does this at the trot. Never at the canter. So, as long as he warms up and works out of it, things are usually fine once we do canter. I’m so much more comfortable at the trot MENTALLY, but my horse does NOTHING at the canter. I have no clue. Brains are strange things.

Anyway, it’s cold and miserable (temperature wise, we finally have sun over snow and ice) but I’m hoping to get out to ride by Saturday if I can dig out the trailer. We’ll see if I can follow my own advice!

Winter wonderland

1 Year.

Somehow, it’s been a year since Nay Nay joined the family. While the last 18 months have been pretty awful (and obviously 2020 is 2020), Nay Nay has been the bright light.

I was planning to do this Saturday, but we spent our anniversary having a terrible ride. It was cold and windy and I questioned the last year. Of course, Sunday we had a great ride so I just wrote of Saturday. There is a reason I never ride on horse-anniversaries.

Anyway, enjoy a year of Nay Nay pictures. Way too many. But, these made me happy this morning. LOL

First ride!

Coming Home:

December and January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

June:

July:

August:

September:

October:

November:

December:

Chugging along

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I keep meaning to and then I just…don’t want to. Life and work has been getting me down and I just haven’t been up to it? Life’s got me down for no real good reason.

The horses? They’re doing OK. Jiminy has decided to get all heaves-y on me so that’s fun. I have him on zyrtec plus leftover ventipulmin as needed. It’s fine. I should start steaming his night hay but the issue is he doesn’t necessarily eat a full flake if it’s in a net so I don’t really know how much to steam. If it’s not in a net, he’ll eat too much. Dilemmas. So I do nothing.

Doesn’t get much cuter than this, does it?

Subi. Subi is currently feral. Some days he’s dead quiet and others he’s a wild maniac. So typical Subi. He’s also grown a coat for the first time ever so there is that?

This fool… there are no words.

And Nay Nay. We’ve been alternating really good rides and less than great rides. He does better when he’s ridden a lot. I’m just trying to find the right balance. We had a fabulous lesson the other week where he pretty much grew up.

Blurry video but video nonetheless

And the proceeded to have crappy rides every day after.

It’s not that they were bad. They weren’t. They just weren’t… good. They were fine. But I’m struggling to find the balance between forward and quiet, slow and dead, and spooky and stupid. Most of the time he’s been slow, dead, and stupid. But not actually dead or slow? I guess what I need to do is suck it up, get after him, and find the forward button?

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. He’s fine. He’s not doing anything. But some days? Work is sort of, kind of optional. And then I struggle to keep him moving forward and we end up with this behind the leg crappy canter that I just can’t ride. And, instead of smacking him with the crop and saying knock it off you fool, I just sit there and don’t do anything? I don’t know. User error.

The far end of the ring has become spooky town for us (read: me). And well, that’s not helping. I mean, we’re fine. And Nay doesn’t do anything. Other than the weekend before our lovely lesson when neither of us were feeling it (and I was almost dumped 3x). But besides that day? He’s done nothing to make me nervous so who the heck knows.

So that’s where we’re at. Lesson tomorrow. We’ll see how we do.

The tale of 2 rides

Or however many rides as it’s been since I’ve actually blogged.

There seems to be 2 Nay Nays out there: Good, perfect, willing Nay Nay and opinionated, angry, energetic Nay Nay.

They grow up fast

Neither Nay Nay really does much wrong, but Good Nay Nay is my preferred ride where as Angry/Opinionated Nay Nay is a little more unpredictable and makes me work harder.

Also clipped Nay for the first time last week.

A couple weeks ago, Angry Nay came to play. Leading up to my lesson, I just didn’t ride enough (lacking motivation) and Nay Nay, enjoying his time off, was a bit bitter about this “work thing.” A normal horse might try and buck you off or take off or be fast. Nay Nay doesn’t buck. In fact, he was pretty quiet. But, instead, he put all his excess energy into spooking. And by spooking, I mean, getting distracted by various things like cats because, Nay doesn’t really spook either (he did at the end of the lesson when some crazy farm equipment came speeding down the road — he was fine once he saw it). But, scary invisible cats just… Yeah. So cats plus just not feeling the ride? Not good. He decided he didn’t want to jump (we got over our outside line) and then he decided he under no circumstances was jumping the inside single. Not because of the jump, just because he didn’t want to. So we fought it out and he got angry and lost. It had NOTHING to do with the jump, but it was that kind of day. His brain hadn’t been engaged enough leading up to the lesson and yeah.

Just a little canter fence, no big deal

Post lesson, I decided to put my sweaty horse into boot camp. We working Friday-Sunday plus Tuesday and I had a very perfect horse. He was happy, quiet, but annoyed with this work thing. Yet, perfectly awesome to ride. Then, because, adulting, we skipped a lesson that week, and resumed riding this past weekend with rides Saturday and Sunday.

We can trot in, but cantering into this line? I screw up the striding every time.

Saturday? The outdoor was a bit mucky from rain, but despite that (and a lunging horse at the start of the ride), Nay was a gem. I mean, he is a wild thoroughbred as all videos will show (my husband has retired again so enjoy video until he un-retires in 2-3 months). But, completely, utterly perfect thoroughbred. Showing shades of growing out of his green been status.

We have a right lead canter now

Sunday? It was windy and ugly and I rode inside because, why not? Ride started perfectly with a quiet horse. We jumped some fences as part of our flat work (I like to incorporate some crossrails or tiny jumps into flat work just to spice things up and all was good. Then, later, we jumped a small jump on the diagonal (we’re not jumping much, just a handful of 18″ fences that we usually trot over and then 2-3 2’+ fences that we usually also trot and maybe canter 1-2 18″ fences) and things went… array? You see, he landed on the wrong lead, no problem. Except, he landed, balanced, and when I unintentionally touched my spur to his side, someone decided to toss in a full change. Then, he did it again the next time we landed without any accidental cues. Then, he decided he could toss his legs all over the place because he’s awesome like that… Not that his legs go anywhere because he’s not athletic, but….

And a left lead

So, the rest of our ride was spent dodging legs and remaining vigilant, and getting out excess energy because a certain bay horse suddenly was feeling very full of himself… He didn’t toss in anymore changes, but he did think about it. I don’t plan to try any on my own (I’d like help for those thank you very much!). After I finished some work and a particular display of… leg flinging, we ended up trotting for 20 minutes to end and cantering a few times around each direction without acrobatics before we ended… Despite all of that, he never came close to unseating me and I don’t think he was trying. There was no buck in there, but lots of front leg flinging… I wish I had video of that.

Nay’s favorite jump

It’s a BRAND NEW pony!

I need a Nay Nay update. And I survived the 1 year Batt-anniversary, but today I want to introduce my new pony.

NAKED Jiminy!
He very much did NOT appreciate his legs getting clipped. Those are usually skipped.
The boys checking him out…
Subi says, “Who the eff is this?!?!”
No before pictures, but this gives you an idea as to the dramatic difference!

I’m an idiot.

I could blog about a lot of things. Like my recent lessons. They’ve been OK. Or my rides. Nay Nay’s had a lot of energy. Or the damn right lead. It’s been pretty consistent. Or the fact that Nay Nay has now been renamed The Frat Boy. He’s a pig in his stall and has a party every night. Damn frat party.

Me? Frat Boy? Oh what little you know…

But no.

I’m too much of an idiot to focus on that.

Instead?

I rode on Tuesday. And destroyed my 3 month old helmet.

Yes. I destroyed it.

He’s laughing at my pain.

The guy helping me at the tack store described it as catastrophe.

Lady at register: Did you fall off?
Me: No.
Man helping me: Her helmet was involved in a catastrophic event.

So yeah. There was that.

Somehow? I managed to drive my trailer over my helmet.

I ALWAYS put my saddle in my truck followed by my bag before loading Nay. Except there was a shit ton to election day traffic on the road outside of the barn and Nay Nay kept getting stuck and I almost dropped my saddle. So, the barn manager grabbed it from me and I unstuck Nay. Then, she tossed it in the truck. Instead of putting the bag in the truck? I must have left it next to the truck and just hopped in after loading him… I don’t know!

Anyway, I didn’t feel myself drive over it, but I made it the 3 minutes home and received the following:

And with that? I’m the biggest idiot in the world.

Thankfully, Fair Hill Saddlery was having a 20% off sale with an “I Voted” sticker. For the first time in my voting career (every election since I turned 18), I got a sticker. And like an idiot, repurchased my Charles Owen MyPS. Ugh.

So advice to you all? Don’t be like me. But, as my mom said, at least I didn’t run the helmet over with my head still in it?

Freaking Succeed?!?!

Back when Nay Nay was having all of his stomach/ulcer issues from March-June, I stuck him on Succeed at some point in a fit of desperation. I had no idea if it did anything, but he liked the taste and something he was on (Ulcergard, Succeed, Outlast, or Redmond’s Daily Gold) plus a massive diet overhaul seemed to fix his stomach. Not the way to test supplements/medicines but I was desperate and Ulcergard wasn’t doing it (and by month 3…).

Well, mid summer, I decided to remove the overpriced Succeed. Haha. Something went wrong (saddle fit) and Nay Nay got a touch grumpy and back on Succeed he went and I don’t know if it was the Succeed or just life working out again.

I recently decided that spending $100/month for 1(!!!!!) supplement was crazy. Especially one that I don’t know was doing anything. Nay is on Platinum Performance ($$) plus Outlast plus Daily Gold plus electrolytes on top on his diet of alfalfa pellets and rice bran and special hay and alfalfa. Feeding this damn horse costs a freaking fortune. Not to mention Ulcergard as needed for lessons and/or rides if he’s feeling stressed…

Nay has been off the Succeed for almost 10 days and is becoming increasingly grumpy. Until yesterday, he’s been good under saddle. Yesterday he was fine, but had the bug up his butt attitude. Today? Complete turd. Until we jumped. Then he was happier. But he’s grumpy. He’s got mushy poop too. And a sensitive flank. And he kicked out at me. Once. He learned never to try that again.

All coincides with time off the Succeed. So, thanks to his generous sponsor, a new autoship is being placed and back on he goes. There’s something in this oat flour concoction that makes his belly happy. And a few days of Ulcergard or Esomeprazole/nexium might not hurt either.

Horses. Trying to bankrupt us every step of the way!