All about Nay Nay

Another week, another blog post?

Nay Nay in sticker form
Nay Nay in sticker form from the Sticker Lemon Press

Throughout August, I was following the 1 ride a week routine. I wasn’t feeling well (let me tell you, vestibular migraines are the worst kind of hell), but I mostly forced myself on once a week. Mostly? I walked. Walking was good. Trotting sucked. Cantering didn’t make me want to pass out. But, in order to canter? I had to trot.

For the most part, this worked. We walked. We worked on bending and building muscle. Nay was super good. If I felt good we did a tiny amount of trotting and then cantered a lap each direction. Otherwise we just walked.

Sticker Nay Nay wearing a saddle and boots from the Sticker Lemon Press
Sticker Nay Nay #2 courtesy of the Sticker Lemon Press

2 weeks ago Nay just wasn’t feeling it. He was GREAT at the walk and then promptly had enough. Of course this coincided with other horses joining us in the ring, a puppy playing under the deck, and me not putting on Nay’s sound muffling bonnet. Nay decided that this was just too much to handle. We could NOT go anywhere near the deck. We did a lot of backing and a spin or two and were generally an utter turd. I managed to get my trainer’s daughter to walk us past the deck twice and it was fine. And then a few minutes later? Turd mode. At this point my vertigo was in full force and all stimulation was…not helping. Nay thought the pony having a lesson (basically walk trot) was the best thing to… spook at because of course he did. Mostly, he was bored and needed a good butt kicking. At this point, one of the girls who works for the other trainer offered to hop on when she untacked her ride after one more spin, I hopped off (and then almost fell over from dizziness) and we waited.

Nice hot and sunny day for a walk

And that was probably the best choice. He was actually a good boy though she admitted that he has a really good spin to him (yep! He won’t buck you off, but he is quick with the spin). But, after a couple smacks with the crop that he deserved, Napalm learned that it is MUCH EASIER to trot past the deck vs spook at it. Way less work. And with that? He was good. He trotted, cantered, and picked up both leads. He needed the work.

He’s really starting to fill out

The following week (this past weekend), I was feeling better, but decided not to push my luck. I lunged and then hopped on. Nay said way too much work, but was utterly perfect. Again, he picked up his leads and his canter was lovely. We trotted a tiny fence to end. Nothing major (we were both exhausted), but we jumped for the first time in a month. More of a miracle? We rode Sunday too. We’ve been struggling with the left bend (this was our good way, but we’ve improved to the right so much) so I ended up adding a left spur and it made all the difference. We also rode with 2 pony kids and usually I end up not doing much when the kids are in the ring because kids. But, the one was actually told to stop chasing me and stay out of my way so she doesn’t get kicked (Nay doesn’t kick, but “stay out of my way” didn’t resonate where as “don’t get kicked” seemed to) and I had a lovely ride. They let me canter solo (I have no issue cantering if I know where others are going, but I can’t do the 3-ring circus stuff (especially during a vestibular episode–Sunday was definitely verging on one)) and I popped over a small fence at the trot twice and canter once to end.

We haven’t earned halter snacking privileges yet…
I do love him, even if he’s Napalm somedays and Nyet Nyet other days. Somedays? He’s good old Nay Nay

Monday I felt beat up. I didn’t have it in me to haul out to ride. So I pulled a page from Stacie’s book and decided on a bareback snack hack. Nay HATES riding at home and decided to be Napalm for a while, but eventually after grazing near his friends, he calmed down and I felt safe enough to hop on….except I couldn’t figure out how. I tried stacked buckets. Nope. A ledge. No. Eventually, not wanted to die, grabbed my mounting block, carried it down by the other boys, and got on, but seriously? Once I was on, we snacked more, walked some circles, and snacked for 15 minutes and then wandered to the trailer and halfway up the driveway. I need to do this more often because I think it’ll be less of an issue the more I do this. Anyway, way more work than I planned, but the actually sitting/snacking part was completely fine.

There was also an incident earlier in the week where Napalm left me with a bloody and potentially broken nose, but we’re not talking about that…

Subi, Subi, Subi

Still handsome

Long time, no blog. I have about 5 draft posts that I’ve started and not finished. The usual excuses, but mostly I just haven’t felt well for the last few weeks and blogging has taken a back seat.

But Subi? It appears he isn’t getting enough attention or financial interest from me. And he decided to change that.

Back in July I had the dentist out about a month early (5 months vs 6 months) since his teeth appeared to be bothering him. He had a molar we were watch. Yep. It was time for the tooth to come out. Fractured. Great, right? So, we scheduled that for early early August.

But before we could have that taken care of…

..we had to deal with hives.

I was treating his hives with benadryl and it WAS helping. Until it stopped.

On a really, really hot day, I found him coated in lots of hives, stocked up legs, and a swollen sheath.

And it was Saturday. Because OF COURSE it was Saturday. Nothing ever happens when it isn’t Saturday.

Thankfully I was able to get in touch with the vet on call and she had someone leave some meds out for me at the clinic and I was able to treat without a farm call. Subi was NOT impressed. I was also to cold hose, but Subi had other ideas and my life was more important than cold hosing. Between banamine, drugs, and benadryl, eventually the swelling and hives dissipated.

Happy drunk post tooth extraction

But back to teeth. We scheduled the vet and dentist to come out and had the tooth removed. It was broken in half, but in a streak of good luck, while the nerve WAS exposed, nothing reached the sinus cavity. Lots of pain, but the second it came out (with lots of drugs), Subi was feeling MUCH better. He lived in a drunk state for a little while until I gave him dose of banamine and then MAGICALLY the drugs wore off and he decided it was time for turn out. Only Subi. Thankfully he was great about letting me rinse his mouth out with a syringe for several days (they suggested a hose, but we agreed on the syringe–this was better than drugging him for the hose method).

Which brings us to more hives. Because why not? Thankfully I still had meds on hand. But Subi no longer eats benadryl. Though it appears he does eat benadryl inside an oatmeal cream pie…. Try it if you need a pill carrier…

And finally? The abscesses to end all abscesses. Or, the Sunday I thought I was going to have to put my horse down.

2 weeks ago, Subi developed an abscess in his front right hoof. It started to drain. Stopped. Started. Stopped. Started. Life was good. Then, Friday it stopped again and we were back to being gimpy again. Now, Subi isn’t sound. Ever. Not anymore. But he isn’t falling over lame either. So, I just went with it. And Sunday morning, I turned him out per usually. He was fine enough. Playing with Nay, rolling, etc. Which is why the following scared the crap out of me.

Around 1pm, my husband comes running inside, raids the oatmeal cream box, and tells me to get outside. “He’s not dead. But you need to get out here.”

Subi is flat on his side. Panting. Refusing/unable to get up. His gums have color but he won’t move. He won’t try and move. He’s just breathing really, really hard. I run back in for a thermometer. 100 even. He won’t eat the pie.

Looking old and depressed

When my husband found him, Nay was curled up next to him and Jiminy was standing guard. Now Nay is up, poking him with his nose every few moments. Subi just keeps putting his head back down.

With my husband pulling, me pushing his back, we do get him up eventually. It felt like an hour. It was probably 10 minutes. At this point he’s trying not to put weight on either right hoof.

Abscesses. Right front AND right hind. WTF.

I decided to soak both feet in white lightning and then wrap (I have handy soaking boots that I never have used) and after soaking his hind, a huge chunk actually breaks off so yeah. I managed to wrap both hooves as well and stuffed them each in his easyboots to avoid duct tape. The hind was easy, but the front was rough as he refused to put much weight on the hind and pretty much made me shoulder most of his weight. Still feeling it days later.

Still, it’s 4 days later now and this morning he’s “sound” so it was worth it.

Anyway, enough Subi. Enough.

Flatwork Bootcamp.

Nay Nay posing for a selfie
Such a goofball

I was super excited to sit down and write this post and now that I’m here, I’m struggling. I think it’s because I have zero media? Hopefully I can remedy that next weekend (I’m pretty sure we’re going to hit “It’s too hot to ride” temperatures this weekend, but you never know).

We started our flatwork bootcamp in the last lesson I wrote about using the controversial draw reins and I’m going to say, the changes in how much progress we’ve made have been incredible. Now, even when I’m not DOING anything you can see improvement. This was the connection that Nay just wasn’t understanding and I wasn’t able to teach him. For know, we’re primarily working with his front end and adding forward impulsion from behind.

My first solo ride I primarily stuck to the walk and trot (I thought about cantering but we were both exhausted and then people showed up and I decided just to quit). Going to the left has been great. But, I was visibly struggling to the right. Nay would lock up and I’d have to work really hard to get everything in place: bending, moving over, AND moving forward. Honestly, at times it was just too much. When it’s too much, we tend to work on making the good better which is probably why the right sucks so much?

Which brings we to lesson 1. Immediately the crappy right was brought up and I was advised to stop working to the left (so much). Ugh. Yeah.

After seeing how hard I was working, I was given a small spur for my right leg. And then we spent so much time analyzing my right side. See, it turns out my entire right side just sucks (my words). I am so weak to the right, BUT I also have like no turnout in my right hip so I struggle to get the spur in or my heel in at the girth. It actually hurts. So we worked on my right heel. I can turn my ankle out, but we wanted the turn out to come from my hip to give me greater control. Lots of stretching in my future. So we spent a lot of time at the walk and trot at the right working on that bend with my heel in.

Nay was…less than thrilled. You see, there were horses in the ring which is fine, but they were there in his space WHILE he was trying to learn knew stuff and a spur was bugging him. It was kind of all too much for him. But we pushed through.

Post ride bath looking like a goat
Post ride bath for the win!

We cantered left first and it wasn’t pretty. I had to keep the spur off him and keep him forward AND keep my reins short enough (new canter theme) so we did a bit of bouncing vs forwarding especially when I lacked so steering… Ugh. The right was better but I about killed my shoulder by not keeping my reins short and someone kept launching me forward. He tried so hard, but it was a lot for him to take in.

I had homework for the next day and directions for no spur. So we worked on all the same things and the ring was quieter (9amish again — we were all trying to beat the heat), but just 2 horses. He was much better, but so tired. The heel lesson the day before seemed to stick and suddenly he started moving off my heel which ACTUALLY STAYED IN THE CORRECT PLACE!!! Everything felt good except for the canter which was messy and I couldn’t keep my reins short enough despite constant shortening…

Which brings me to Thursday’s lesson. This was the hottest, muggiest day yet for out 9:30 lesson. All these rides in a row really paid off. We initially talked about riding with the spur again after the day off, but after Nay was so good on Wednesday (and I couldn’t find my super tiny vs only tiny spur), I decided just to risk now wearing one. When my trainer saw just how good he was without it, she was on board with the plan. The new plan? Wear as needed for a ride here and there and he’ll either get used to it or it’ll just be a good tune up. Either way, my leg will get stronger. But for now, not wearing it was the correct choice.

At the walk Nay Nay was FANTASTIC. I warmed up on my own a bit just to press his buttons. The ring was quieter (Nay’s preference), but we weren’t alone. My trainer was finishing up a lesson and someone was hacking and there may have been another horse in training. But it didn’t feel chaotic. Once it was our turn? Nay showed his stuff. We started to the left and quickly were told that we didn’t need to practice that direction. To the right? It was also very good. When we were standing still, I was corrected for something I was corrected on last lesson and I guess over corrected. You see, last lesson Nay, when relaxed, always looks left, so I was to praise him when he looked right. Now? I need to ask him to stand straight and look forward. So we worked on not letting him shift to one direction or another. To be honest, I don’t actually care as much about this, but I’m willing to be conscious about keeping him straight when I ask.

Next we working on trotting around to the right, using both the entire ring and also circling. The difference from last lesson was that we did a lot of nothing vs constant reminding to bend. He had the carriage for the most part when trotting around so my job was just to do nothing unless I felt him start to slip, then add heel then hand as needed. He was so good. Towards the end, I got tired (mentally) which showed (physically) so we lost it a bit on a half circle. Future point of reference, stop before you get to this point.

We took a walk and water break and then did small circles. Points to remember: get the bend and connection BEFORE you circle. Easy enough but it’s not that I remembered to do this. I really struggled with the place I was told to circle. However, we were circling around another horse and I’m pretty sure Nay just did NOT want to be that close which is why we kept losing it all. The second we made the same circle in 2 other places? All good. Only difference? No other horse. Even circling right by the gate.

Finally, the canter. Even though we worked only to the right, we still cantered left and started out that direction. Before, we discussed my rein issue. I THINK a huge part is that it’s been so freaking hot out that Nay is so sweaty that my reins just get wet and slide out of my hands. Anyway, for now, the advice is for me to not ride with gloves* and to knot my reins. I can knot each individual rein or just knot them both. Yesterday, I just knotted them both and it worked really well. If I go the individual route, I’ll probably get crappier reins to knot. For now though I like this method.

dripping with sweat following our lesson
He’s melting! That was HARD WORK.

*I hate gloves. I FINALLY got myself consistently riding with them a few years ago (it took YEARS) and I struggle with the idea of not riding with them. So, for now I’m pulling them at the canter and only at the canter.

To the left the canter was amazing. Once again, we just picked up the lead. It’s just been there. None of the popping issues existed and we just let him canter around and stayed out of his way. It was fantastic. Probably the nicest left lead canter I’ve had. To the right, the transition was lovely and the canter was pretty good. I did circle because I’ve gotten so used to circling, but again, it was good. I need to work on not leaning in and dropping my outside shoulder will help, but otherwise? Unlike the last 2 rides, the canter felt significantly better.

Anyway, all of this to say, I finished my lesson and for the first time in a long time, my trainer and the person watching (who rode with me the last 3 days) commented on just how much progress he made since Tuesday. It was truly astounding. We worked hard. He worked hard. And was dripping with sweat to prove it.

He’s getting Friday off and I’m going to try to drag us out early Saturday morning (on my 8:30?) before we start yet another day in the 90s.

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty

I had a very eye opening lesson this morning. I debated not blogging about it because, honestly? Everyone has opinions. But, at the same time, this is my horse, my journey, I can blog if I want to, right?

I approached my trainer about my current mindset. And let’s be real. I’m struggling. I need direction. Getting back into riding this spring after everything we went through from mid fall through March, taking it easy WAS the right choice. But, we’re both relatively healthy now. And now I NEED more to keep me motivated. Light and low-key is good for winter or when I feel like crap (which will be back, I’m sure, I have chronic health issues), but I actually am doing OK. So I basically said that.

Since we overhauled me position (still a work in progress), my trainer said that if Nay was her horse, she’d overhaul his body awareness to improve his flat work with an ultimately goal of teaching him his changes.

None of that, in and of itself is controversial. Or, at least I don’t think. But, my trainer is a believer of using draw reins and using them properly (hence my thoughts on not blogging).

See, I’m not against draw reins OR any other tool. But I want to know why I’m using it, how I’m using it, and I want to know that I’m using the tool properly. We used them briefly a year or so ago prior to me getting sick and I ended up not feeling comfortable using them on my own so I stopped. This time, there is no winter circuit so I should actually get some lessons IN the draw reins in between practice rides to reinforce the lessons rather than me just learning something once or twice and getting lost.

Anyway, we spent a good 1/3 to 1/2 of the lesson at the walk just work on bending and changing direction and changing the bend back and forth while being aware of the bend and avoiding the counter bend. Plus, maintaining a marching walk. We weren’t focused on the hind end today, just the front end, the forward, and the bend. It was a good way to see that tugging my inside hand back really DOES get him unstuck. I’ve been told this constantly, but I only seemed to get it today. Plus, as always, inside hand to belly button to around turns which is finally becoming second nature.

A tired Nay Nay post lesson
One tired Nay Nay

Next, we moved the trot and applied the same thing with less turns and change of direction. But, the same idea. Interestingly enough, we’re far better bent to the left than the right. I like the left, but Nay’s been better to the right recently? Whatever. We started loose with a tighter braided rein just emphasizing FORWARD (key of the day). Then shortened the draw rein slightly. The goal here was to maintain the bend (easy to the left, harder to the right, but we got that) AND maintain forward. So, it was shorten and leg forward so that we emphasized that shortening the draw rein didn’t mean to slow. Praise (I had to find a word other than good boy since that = halt… er. “Yes” seemed to work well). Then do it again. We started VERY long so we never getting him short, but rather working with him to feel the contact and such. He definitely was not upset by it and less confused by the end.

Finally, we tried the same at the canter. Just on a half circle each direction. We started to the right, his good canter direction where we picked it up and promptly lost it… but after recollecting were successful. Interestingly enough, the right was HARD, I had to work hard. Granted, he was very much on his front end and not using his hind end which we’ll be addressing next lesson next week, it was a lot of work. To the left where we’ve been 50/50 with picking up the lead? Easiest canter transition I’ve had in forever. All the bending we did early on, he just stepped right into it and I never felt like I was going to lose the canter. Usually I struggle to keep the left but not today.

So my homework is to practice primarily at the walk and trot like today. Then toss in a couple half circles at the canter. We’ll regroup next week and go from there, bringing the hind end into our training.

In a rut

I’ve been struggling with this blog lately. I haven’t really known what to write. My rides have either been decent or I’ve been riding a ball of tension. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Overall, I’ve just been in a bit of a rut. And, when I’m in a rut, I struggle with motivation to ride which makes the problem…worse?

I’ve had some good and some bad rides, but mostly I’m just struggling TO ride.

One thing he is good at is hanging out at the trailer.

Between the weather (hot and rain and storms) and health (fly spray chemical burns and vaccine reactions — Nay is a hothouse flower plus me having some fun allergic reaction some sort of insect bite), I have not ridden consistently over the last several weeks. The less I ride, the harder it is to ride.

Over the last few months, I’ve taken fewer lessons, taking off the pressure. But, at the same time, I think I’m in a place where I need lessons to force me to ride? Or a ring at home. Since the home arena isn’t happening, lessons it is. I have one this week and 2 next week. Hopefully, this will be enough to get me back on track?

Anyway, riding now, good or bad I’m trying just to ride. And good or bad, useful or pointless, I’m also trying to blog.

Oh Flies.

I’ve started a handful of other posts and haven’t finished any of them. That’s my life right now. A series of unfinished blog posts.

For those of you who follow me on social media, you will know my current drama is fly spray. Or, more specifically, Nay Nay’s allergy to permethrin and/or pyrethrins. Subi too, but his is nowhere near as severe as Nay Nay’s.

It started last year. I was using Ultrashield Black and I noticed their skin was slothing off. I stopped using it and went back to Repel-X. Things were fine except that it didn’t work well. I had a quart of Pyranha, same thing. I quickly donated the left overs of both fly sprays to the barn and stuck with the Repel-X and some Mosquito-Halt (which we were OK with as well) and tried EcoVet. No one liked that one (but skin didn’t fall off).

This season, I started with Mosquito-Halt (I have a quart sitting around so Jiminy will be well covered). Then Nay Nay started getting funky crud, I switched to watered down Repel-X and we were OK. Then some more crud, but nothing too terrible until suddenly…

You may need to scroll to see the actual photo…

One day we were fine and then, chemical burn. He’s actually pretty OK about it, but it hurts me looking at it. He also has some spots on his left hind leg of all place. Subi also has the start of minor slothing, but nothing like this (just looks like a snake shedding skin).

Anyway, no more chemicals for the boys. They’re going natural fly spray only. This morning I hit the feed store when they opened at 7 and picked up a selection. I have a couple others on order so we’ll see what works.

In riding news, Nay has been fabulous up until the last couple of rides where he’s just been a bit full of tension. That said, the last 2 rides have had fuller rings and kids on ponies in every which direction. He was miserable last ride so I ended up taking him inside, tossing him on the lunge line where he was… quiet. Then I got back on and he was tense-r. I rode through it and questioned my life choices. In the end, I guess I just need to ride it?

Sharing video of the canter. Despite the tension (that was actually quiet), the canter was actually very quiet. Better than the trot. Turns out, if I just stay still and keep my hands still, Nay relaxes, especially at the canter.

What’s in your feed bucket?

All feed buckets
Feed buckets ready and waiting

Moonlit Pastures asked what’s in your feed bucket? Since my feed, er, program is more complicated than it should be, I figured I’d devote an entire post to it. After all, no one eats the same thing. Because, that would be EASY. I don’t do easy. Nor do my picky horses…

Nay Nay:

Nay Nay probably has the most complicated feed routine. He’s picky AND soy intolerant. Granted, his pickiness likely comes from the soy intolerance. Add in chronic hindgut issues (hind gut ulcers/colitis) and you’ve got a problem child. He came to the right place… I put up with a lot.

Wholesome Blends Senior
Wholesome Blends Senior

In terms of hard feed, he gets Tribute Wholesome Blends Senior. He gets 5.5 quarts (I cannot remember what this weights) at night split between his mash and his feeder. He’s had the performance but the senior has less sugar and seems to work better for his hind gut. At night, he gets smartgut ultra and smartvite as well. Plus Simplyfly. Morning he just gets just under 3 quarts. And carrots and peppermints mixed in both meals. Because.

dry fibre beet
Dry fibre beet nuggets

His mash base is Fibre Beet. I cannot say ENOUGH GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS STUFF. It saved him when is gut was in crisis. It is low starch/sugar and is the only soaked feed Nay will touch. Now that it is summer, he’s getting about half what he got in the winter, but he still gets it. It is $$$$ but worth it. Good for ulcerprone horses and laminitic horses. He likes grain mixed with it. Plus carrots/peppermints.

Chopped hay
Nay Nay’s chopped hay

He gets free choice orchard grass mix outside and has a net in his stall (not a small hole inside). Plus a bag of western alfalfa inside. But, when is gut was bad, we discovered chopped hay. He likes Triple Crown Alfalfa Forage Blend. That stuff is gold. When times were bad, he was eating 15lbs/night. Now he’s down to 5-8lbs/night. I’m budgeting his chopped, but still giving it to him as he doesn’t eat much hay inside. I bought a leaf mulcher and chopped his alfalfa and some orchard and he ate almost 15lbs of that mixed with his TC last night so I think we can make a bag of the TC last a week now. I don’t mind buying it (I refuse to stop with the chopped since it is key in keeping his gut healthy and happy), but 1 bag/week please!

Plus 1 tube of succeed each morning. The final piece of Healthy Nay Gut.

Final bucket of chopped hay
Final bucket of chopped hay

Subi:

Subi used to be my tricky horse. Now he’s easy next to Nay.

At night he gets one bucket of Alfalfa Cubes.

Subi's mix of feeds
Subi’s grain mix

A mix of Omolene 200 (performance not RT, he doesn’t like the RT as it sticks to some of his teeth) and Equine Senior mixed with carrots and peppermints. 3 quarts of each at night, 1.5 of each in the morning (no one finish feed in the morning if they get as much). And simplyfly.

A feeder filled with orchard grass mix. A hay net of western alfalfa. For a while he stopped eating the alfalfa. A year? 2? Then I started feeding him when I got this batch. He’s been inhaling it. And put on so much weight my farrier was shocked. So yeah. Alfalfa is here to stay for as long as he’ll eat it. Once he can’t eat long stem hay, I can start chopping it, but he’s doing OK for now. He sees the dentist next month and we’ll see how his loose tooth (teeth?) are doing.

Jiminy

Jiminy's dinner mix of fibre beet and TC balancer
Jiminy’s feed mix

Oh Jiminy. He’s still growing out his feet from his founder episodes. They’re starting to look like feet again. His weight remains perfect so there’s not that much I can do. He gets orchard grass mix which is the same hay he’s been on for years. He foundered last August so it could have been a weed. And again in the freaking winter so who the heck knows. He’s at the age where they’re most susceptible to metabolic issues. He wears his muzzle any time he’s turned out even if he’s just eating hay.

At night he gets a large handful or 2 of Fibre Beet, soaked. I mix in a cup of Triple Crown Balancer which is one of the lowest NSC balancers out there and remission and simplyfly. The Fibre Beet has a strong flavor so he doesn’t mind the remission. Mornings he just gets the balancer. This seems to be working well compared to either alfalfa pellets, timothy pellets, or plain beet pulp.

Nay Nay Happenings

I’ve really struggled to blog lately. Honestly? I’m not sure why. I’m just struggling with life right now. Nothing bad, just not feeling it. Major work burnout.

I may be burned out, but Nay Nay is looking pretty good right now…

Anyway, following a nice lesson a few weeks ago, Nay had a couple of nice rides and then a 2-week vacation due to some pretty gross weekend weather and a minor injury. 2 weekends in a row where we had cold, heavy rain. It just wasn’t worth it to try and ride. So I stayed home and watched old seasons of Grey’s Anatomy all weekend because why not? Honestly? That’s about all I could do.

Then on Friday, 5/13 I managed to get kicked/stepped on while trying to feed Nay breakfast? He spooked at something? Nay is a lot of things, but spooky isn’t really one of them. I ended up with a nasty bruise/cut on my calf and some nice swelling. Between the cut and weather, Nay got the weekend off and finally, on Tuesday, I ended up riding. I took last week off work to finally get a break. And the break was nice. Our first ride of the week was nice. Nay was good, the weather was good. And everything was good.

My trainer had been working on my position. I’m FINALLY in the habit of riding without my heels down. Which probably just means I’m not jamming my heels down and riding defensively. I’m also effectively using my hands and pulling properly to steer. You know, basic things I should have been doing for years but wasn’t? But Nay has been responding SO WELL. Our right lead is lovely. And our left was going well and then we lost it at the end of the ride (we were cantering a circle over a cross rail and then the very last time lost the lead and that was that…)

I ended up taking a lesson on Thursday. It was LOVELY. First. it poured all night Wednesday so the ring was puddle-y and gross so I had to kick Nay like was a big oversized pony, but he now trots and canters through puddles. Then we worked on the canter. My trainer has determined that he didn’t lose the lead, but is just confused now that I’m properly using my hands… We did pick it up properly the first 2x I asked even when he almost didn’t once (I had to kick into it). So, we figured out when he’s tired, the lead is harder. Aids are more important as is leg. Right lead is just there. This ALWAYS happens when I struggle with the left.

If you look closely, you can see his muddy stomach and legs

We warmed up jumping cantering the out of our outside line, right lead. Super easy. Mostly just making sure I had a straight approach after I turned. And that I leaned out into my corner to balance (I had to go between jumps to take the approach my trainer wanted so leaning out was ultra important). Then we did the same the other way, this time with a single on the diagonal on the left lead. Much harder as I had to go as close as possible to the in of the outside line, use 2 hands to turn, use 2 hands to get straight, etc. We did that too. Last time we got discombobulated, but we still got the jump without issues.

We ended with a mini course. Another inside single (brick) around to the outside line. All on the left lead. Nay was fantastic. Not only did we pick up our left lead (!) but he landed the lead and held if for his line. Considering we’ve done a jump here and there, this was the most jumping we’ve done since December? He was fantastic.

Closest green jump (out of line), Blue/white single on diagonal (other single fence), Brick with red gate and purple flowers (approach between blue sea horses and stone wall)

We headed out again on Friday to practice and basically just repeated Thursday’s lesson. Same trot work, same canter work. Same jumps. The leads felt a little better, but the left obviously needs practice (confusion and being tired is definitely a possibility). And over fences? Pretty good. We didn’t do too many reps over the singles (we did each 1 or 2 times), and the course we did once and then I screwed up the outside line (I added hand when it wasn’t necessary), but to my credit, I actually corrected the lead and cantered back around and did it again without interfering…

It was in the 90s this weekend so we took time off and who knows if I’ll manage a ride this week (work), but I’m trying and my horse is lovely. It’s something, right?

Nay also learned to tie to the trailer this week. It gets crowded in the barn in the summer and I wanted an alternative to tack up/groom in case there are no crossties available. So I tried this. Turns out he doesn’t care. At all. Straight tying is easy. Bonus? I don’t have to carry my saddle into the barn

catch up with nay nay

Goofiest boy

I’m really behind on blogging. I’ve just been… I don’t know. Low on time? Low on energy? Low on motivation? Either way, the blog has been pushed to the side. Not that much has happened.

A couple of weeks ago, Nay and I had our first lesson back. It was fine. Nay was an angel. He was good. Really good. The lesson itself wasn’t all that exciting. We’re taking it slow. But, we spent a lot of time working on me and let’s be honest, that part isn’t fun.

You see, I have bad habits. Lots of them. But one of my worst ones is my heels. For most people, their issue relating to heels is that they don’t put their heels down. My issue? I jam my heels down. So, we’re working on NOT putting my heels down and relaxing my heels and bringing flexibility to my heels. All those years of trainers telling me to PUT MY HEELS DOWN has backfired. My default position is to lock my heels down. This is bad. It gives me security that I crave, but certain horses hate it. Nay does a good job of ignoring it, but he’s 100% quieter when I relax my heel… Oy. So heels up folks. Which ideally gets my heel relaxed vs jammed down?

Green nose!

My other issue? My hands. I often ride with equitation hands. If I was riding in an eq class, my hands would be fine. Actually perfect. But, I’m not. I need to lower my hands and focus on almost pressing them against Nay’s neck to get used to keeping them LOW. These things are hard! I also have short arms which make things harder. I may need to adjust Nay’s pad to help, but I’m not there yet.

Final issue? I sit off to one side. To the left. I have issues leaning left. My left leg cramps up and I twist my left calf. I adjusted the shimming of Nay’s pad since he’s way more even now and I HOPE that helps me sit more even, but more on this…

After our lesson, we rode a couple of time and then took some time off. I just wasn’t feeling it and Nay had a loose shoe. Farrier came out Saturday and Nay had his best shoeing yet (he’s been a little…poorly behaving for the farrier in the past but has been much better to angel like the last 2 times). All of this brings us to Sunday’s ride.

He’s looking SO GOOD right now.
Love him so much

It was warm and lovely. I start with a nice 10-15 minute walk without stirrups but once I pick up the stirrups, I feel tight. So, I ended up lengthening a hole. They still feel short, but this felt better. I might go down another half hole, but for now, the longer length definitely helped me not jam my heels down. We had a lovely time trotting on a long rein (we just did figure 8s). And then the canter? I’ve had this issue where the left leg really causes issues. I either jam my heel/leg or I push/pump to keep the canter. So I ended up picking up a crop to help keep the canter. Honestly? Nay is SO RELAXED right now that I don’t want to start kicking and the crop definitely seemed to help me keep the canter (I had to tap…) without stressing him out. We were able to canter longer without losing the relaxed feel or lengthening his stride.

We ended with a couple of jumps. The first fence he really wanted to canter. The second time he barely held a trot. The third time (we attempted a line), we trotted both and called it a day. He was tired but thrilled to jump. It didn’t have to be perfect, but we did some stuff.

At the end of the day, we had fun and stayed relaxed.

We can’t survive just on strawberry applesauce…

…but if you ask Nay Nay, he certainly would try.

DO YOU HAVE MY STRAWBERRY APPLESAUCE?!?!? I see a big syringe. It better not be succeed or ulcergard…

In today’s episode of As Nay Nay Turns, we’re going to start by recapping Nay’s current diet. Because what else would we do?

Nay Nay’s current obsessions include 4 things:

  • Chopped hay (Triple Crown’s Alfalfa Forage Blend because we certainly WON’T eat anything else)
  • Fibre Beet (Why would we want to eat a feed that’s NOT imported from the UK?)
  • Strawberry Applesauce (I mean, regular applesauce just is NOT acceptable for medication delivery)
  • Junk Food (By junk food, I mean almost ALL junk food including peppermints and human cookies)

Does he eat other things? Yes, but that list is his preferred diet. A mix of high end and imported goods combined with a special flavor profile (we prefer generic strawberry applesauce thank you very much) and junk. It’s all very… special.

Someone might have been tacked up this weekend…

I’m starting to cut back Nay’s chopped. We’re down from 15lbs/night to 10lbs. And Nay isn’t taking it well. He gets his chopped in a tub in his feeder. He eats in and drowns it in his water bucket (and wastes some because dunking hay is messy work). Now, in the morning, he has taking to pulling his tub out of the feeder and leaving it by the door in protest to it being empty. Oh Nay… To make up for the “less chopped hay goodness,” Nay has 4 hay nets in his stall (tonight I’m combining nets/bags so he’ll be down to 3) — 3 alfalfa nets and a orchard grass/timothy hay net. He is picking through them. But, filling up on chopped doesn’t leave THAT much room for hay. So, I’m cutting back on the goodness of his chopped hay and pushing him over to his excellence of “crap hay” as he puts it. Ideally, I’ll get to the point that a 40lbs bag will last me a week vs 4 days (I’m up from 3 days so…).

As for the fibre beet? He’s still obsessed. This he’ll get as long as he eats it. He’s getting less grain right now (I haven’t even weighed it lately) so I only know by volume but he gets half his ration in his feed bucket when I bring in at night and then the other half mixed with the fibre beet right before I go to bed. The last few days he’s finished both his fibre beet AND dinner. The night I gave him his fibre beet with his full ration at dinner? He didn’t finish it so I’m not entirely sure why. Splitting it up seems to work better.

And then the strawberry applesauce. This is his obsession. He goes into a state of bliss when you squirt it down his throat. It’s the carrier of his sucralfate and he’ll be finished this week. I’ll have a disappointed pony. So, I’m pretty sure he’ll be getting syringes of strawberry applesauce as treats on occasion. But, not daily. Or twice daily. I’ve gone through way too many syringes due to an overly enthusiastic horse…

We did this thing…
Missed these ears and missed riding!

In other news, we actually went for a ride on Saturday. I debated lunging or letting him gallop around, but in the end it was very warm and we just rode. After a long walk, we had an enthusiastic trot where someone was pulling down like a freight train until he got a touch tired. After that? He required a little too much leg. Turns out? 3 months off leaves you (well, both of us) with very little endurance). We stuck with half the outdoor and just working on a large circle, but he was very good and happy. He kept asking to canter and I ignored him until the very end when I gave in. It appears that 3 months off is the answer to perfect canter transitions in both directions. And a balanced canter. Who knew?! We barely could keep the canter for a full half circle each way, but Nay was thrilled to get to canter and then completely exhausted by his efforts.

I had planned to ride Sunday too, but after warm and sun on Saturday, it was cold and windy and I just didn’t want to. I’m pretty sure Nay spent the day sleeping from his “efforts” the day before.