Ranger Recap: better late than never?

Considering I’m scheduled to ride tonight, I might as well get around to recapping last week’s lesson… A week later, I’m going to simply try and highlight the basics. I was trying to follow the philosophy of jump the first thing I see. It seems to work for me and my eye…

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Riding with leg AND hand: We started off with a skinny (wth is with all of these skinny fences lately?) in the center of the ring) parallel to the long sides of the arena. So, first a longer approach from the left lead (it was closer to one wall of the indoor than the other) than from the right lead. On the left lead it was easy as I’m just more comfortable on the left lead some days. To the right, steering to the base wasn’t the issue, but it took several attempts before I was able to canter out with the same canter as I approached with. Partially, I was terrified that we’d duck out, but mostly I was lazy in my approach and didn’t actually ride to the base and OVER the fence. Once I added leg and rode, it was fine. But, for some reason, I just faced a bit of insecurity and was riding with more hand than leg. Skinnies do that. But, I had Ranger off his front end so I really just needed leg… I eventually learned.

Do things right the first time/I love winter Ranger: Winter Ranger is in front of my leg and I LOVE IT! He’s forward and responsive. We started the next exercise which was the Swedish oxer (next to our skinny) on the right lead and then were to do the inside line in a 7. Oxer was fine, the inside line we did in a VERY long 6. I mostly just landed from the in and let him go. It was fine, but I probably could have helped for a nice 6. We redid that and the 6 was lovely. No point on collecting for a pony 7.

Plan ahead: Next we did this 3 jump course/bending line. Basically, outside single followed by the inside single boxes bending line to the double Xs. It’s hard to explain without media, but there was a small window to turn before you’d miss your chance to get to the jump. When you jumped the single, you’re pretty much facing the outside rail of the ring so you need to plan to turn in the space between the outside single and the Swedish oxer/skinny jump… But, for whatever reason, I could steer and Ranger jumped the snot out of all 3 fences.

Listen and STEER CORRECTLY: We finished up, or tried to, but doing the same 3 fences in the opposite direction. So, outside single heading away from the in gate, double Xs bending to the boxes. I jumped the single perfectly 3 times, but kept screwing up my approach to the double Xs. The first time Ranger noped out when I cut the corner. Then, misunderstanding what my trainer was telling me (turned too soon–>I interpreted as turn sooner), I made worse, and then even worse, until she changed her wording to stay out longer… By the 4 attempt, we stopped doing the outside single because trainer decided I didn’t need to keep jumping that one and couldn’t do it better (seriously). Once I stayed out, I actually saw the straight line (::head –>desk::) and the jump was easy and then Ranger overachieved, REALLY jumping the snot out of the last fence. I swear it took days for my back to feel normal.

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Regardless, Ranger is a saint. And, winter Ranger is SO MUCH FUN (yay for being in front of my leg!!!). Even if he hates to bend. But, I didn’t feel like focusing on out bending issues this post.

Thankful.

We’ve been dealing with some horrifically awful weather around here.

It was horrifically cold on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and bitter all day on Saturday.

Wednesday I hit Dover and was able to exchange Subi’s Northwind heavyweight detach-a-neck and a exchange it for a new one as the stitch was coming out on one of the surcingles and repairing it would likely void the warranty. So, we picked up a brand new blanket just in time for the unexpected cold front.

And cold it was. Thursday was miserable. But Friday morning was worse temperature wise. Jiminy was frozen until I threw a second medium over his medium and sheet. He’d have been fine had we transitioned into cold. Instead, we’ve had temps in the 50s. And suddenly it was in the teens with wind chills in the single digits.

But worse than temperatures was the sudden frozen mud. With all the rain came insane mud. INSANE. Frozen concrete foot prints. Knee deep footprints. Neither Batt or Jiminy would walk unassisted and Jiminy wouldn’t even walk out of the paddock assisted… Somehow, SUBI was handling all of this better than anyone. I really wonder if he’s feeling good thanks to the Equioxx? Granted, he skipped the paddock completely.

Thanksgiving before dinner I basically melted down to my mom and we considered plans (including sending Jiminy and/or Batt to Tennessee and boarding Subi) and that night fed everyone as best we could out of the paddock (the plan was to use the lower grass field, but Batt said NO). We’ve continued that since. I hate not dividing them, and I can’t control confirm that everyone stay in his own bucket but it’s sort of working for now.

In the mean time, we’re all surviving. Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sales came and went and I purchased nothing really other than making a down payment on a barn and now I just sit and wait. I am so thankful for my mother for being here every step of the way and basically talking me off a ledge on Thanksgiving and making this journey possible. Of course, had she known 20 some years ago when she agreed to one lesson a week that it would turn into all this, maybe she would have said no. Or bought be a horse. Or leased me a horse. Maybe then I would have burned out or never wanted to get out of a full care situation? Who knows. But we’re in this mess together now!

The rest of my weekend was spent belt making. My own versions of more expensive surcingle belts. I’m taking some to a craft fair this weekend (more accurate, I’m taking them to my aunt who is taking them to a craft fair), but if interested, let me know.

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Just a few of the belts so far… 

 

How to pill a horse.

Subi started Equioxx this weekend for his joint pain/arthritis and I was a having a horrible time figuring out how to get the damn pill down his throat.

For those of you who have seen Equioxx, the pill is TINY.

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For those of you who have read my saga about Subi, you know he is PICKY and HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS.

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Always suspicious. Always. 

As a result, getting said pill into him was…difficult. In fact, I failed completely on Saturday.

You see, the lists of foods Subi does not approve of is probably longer than the foods of which he approves. I made the fatal mistake of sticking the Equioxx in a German Horse Muffin, but, as it turns out, Subi no longer eats German Horse Muffins. He finds that they are inedible. My husband tried to feed the pill muffin to him and it ended up in the mud. We thought about dumping it in his bucket, but figured that Batty or Jiminy would eat it instead. I’m pretty sure that German Horse Muffins were once poisoned by bute and now they are poisonous themselves… Subi only gets paste bute now… Thankfully I have volunteers in the form of Jiminy, Batty, (and Ranger if the first two let me sneak off the property with muffins) to finish off the poisonous muffins…

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Full of himself. Idiot. 

Defeated but not dead, I headed back out the next morning with peppermints and sticky hands. I decided to sandwich the Equioxx between two peppermints. When I couldn’t get that to work (they wouldn’t stick together, no Subi was involved), I added some Agave Nectar and made the entire thing a sticky mess. This pill would be sacrificed if this didn’t work. Then walked outside, fed him a plain peppermint (I should note, peppermints are our favorite), then stuffed the agave peppermint contraption in his mouth. SUCCESS! He looked at me like I was insane. We accept peppermints. We do not force peppermints into one’s mouth… But, I learned that Agave is acceptable to Subi… Go figure?

But, this mess wasn’t exactly conducive to daily pill giving practice so I set off to the grocery store (after a lesson on Ranger while still unable to breathe) and purchased ingredients for the pumpkin muffins I made last April. Except, I made multiple modifications from that version because it’s all about improvements. The version back in April was loosely based off of DIY Horse Ownership‘s pill hider treat recipe and based on whatever ingredients I had on hand… And this modification was based on those modifications and whatever other modifications I felt like making. So basically, when all was said and done, I more or less made up what I was doing? Because, why not?

And I finally purchased silicone mini muffin pans which made the process SO MUCH EASIER!

In the end, I made just under 7 dozen carrot molasses pumpkin muffins. Some had peppermints, some didn’t.

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So. Many. Pumpkin. Muffins. Subi will sell his soul. 

Subi will MURDER for these muffins. MURDER.

For a picky horse, he LOVES pumpkin. Who knew? Jiminy likes the muffins as well though would have preferred micro mini muffins that would better fit in his mouth. Batty, Mr. I WILL EAT EVERYTHING NO QUESTIONS ASKED (except for bananas and fig newtons) ate his, but without enthusiasm. He, evidently, isn’t the biggest fan of pumpkin. Lol.

Since then, the past 3 mornings he has eaten his pill inside his pumpkin muffin. This morning, Subi nearly took off my hand trying to grab his muffin. Evidently I was moving my hand too slowly…

What tricks do you use to pill a horse?

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Cookies!!!!

 

 

Ranger Recap: Cold. Air. Can’t. Breathe. Oxygen. Required.

We’ve been having some strange weather here lately. It’s been warm, it’s been cold, it’s been snowing, it’s been raining, the snow’s melted… Yeah. So, due to a crazy weird storm that mucked everything up, I didn’t ride Thursday and rode Sunday instead. Yay daylight! Except, it was super cold and we rode inside… It’s winter so I’m anticipating this becoming the norm for the next few months.

Anyway, it was nice and quiet when I arrived though Ranger’s OMG BEST FRIEND (this time, Texas) was in the ring so he stared in anxiously in love from the cross ties while I groomed and tacked up. Seriously, that horse is falls in love with any horse from his field. It’s crazy. He needs to get over himself… 

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Once in the ring, he was a gentleman. Me, however, struggle to keep him moving. He was poky and slow and my legs felt like lead. Ranger was stiff so that didn’t help. Eventually he loosened up enough that our circles resembled the appropriate shape. I realized though the lesson was going to be a struggle and breathing was difficult. Once we picked up the canter, we cantered, and cantered, and cantered, and cantered. Circling small circles on each end, focusing on where I was seated and the placement of my outside hand and shoulder. We found balance eventually and continued on. And then started on simple changes to find the right rhythm. Finally, after what felt like a half hour, we walked. And I started gasping for breath. 

Breath never returned and we started to jump working on a circle over a single, first on the left lead, then on the right. We did this about a half dozen times each way, mostly focusing on both the ride in and ride out–turning with 2 hand to the fence, turning in the air, making sure landed with pace and maintained a steady pace, etc. 

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Next we moved to our outside single around down the inside of the ring (long ride) to a Swedish oxer. First time through I was weak to the single (but made it work) and then over rode to the oxer.  Next time though I actually had pace and it worked). Then we did the same 2 and continued around to our inside line…

Success did not happen. 

So I came into the in lacking power, but to a nice spot. I added leg, Ranger extended really nicely and I found the distance. Except, I took my leg off and just assumed he’d cart my butt over. And he laughed in my face and said, “nope you idiot.” Having ridden outside most of the recent lesson, I’m used to wing standards and 10 foot wide jumps. Inside many of the jumps are not winged and the jumps are 8 foot wide. Add being passive…Fail. Advise? Ride the entire time. And start from the beginning. 

Gasping for breath (SERIOUSLY), I started over and the second attempt was MUCH better. Though the first jump was kind of a miss…

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At this point, I could barely breathe, so I had to do 3 more jumps before I could dismount. Outside single around to the outside line. I promptly missed some distances and had to continue around and repeat. I asked if I could circle before the outside the second time, was told no, things looked good/I was fine, so I continued made it over a gorgeous line and halted. The thing was, my issue wasn’t the line, but rather that at that point I flat out could NOT get oxygen into my lungs. I have NEVER not been able to breathe like that while riding. I eventually dismounted, still gasping for breath Ranger got the biggest hug for not dumping me. 

He had another lesson (a walk learning to trot lesson) so he cooled out while I tried to breathe/found my rescue inhaler (fail) and it wasn’t until steroids that night and sleep that I finally could breathe normally again. The ring was freshly watered and wasn’t dusty so I’m guessing it was the cold air? Needless to say, Ranger eventually got a huge amount of treats for taking care of me… 

Yak to cow pony.

It’s that time of year! Well, a couple months late, but…

Jiminy got clipped this weekend!

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Before!

He turned from a mini horse into a yak. His coat was about 4″ thick and he was miserable.

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Mid clip….

He briefly turned into a pony with boots.

Thankful for my clipmasters! Those are the only things that get through his coat.

And a mini who is a saint for clipping!

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Begging for cookies. 

Then he got his brand new sheet on and turned into a cow!

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Cow print!

People always ask WHY I clip my mini.

Multiple reasons.

  1. When I first got him, my farrier suggested it. It is SO hard with the minis in the winter to figure out just how fat they are with their coats… Clipping allows me to actually see just how much he weighs.
  2. Despite his coat, he gets REALLY cold backed and when he’s cold backed, he turns into evil, devil Jiminy. You don’t want to meet Mean Jiminy. With a blanket on, he’s an angel. So, clipping allows Jiminy to wear a blanket and be nice. Sounds strange, but come pony sit and you’ll see the difference. Until you’ve been kicked by Devil Jiminy…
  3. Weight control. I’ll be honest, if has to use some calories to keep himself warm, he has a few extra pounds to spare.
  4. He’s just happier.
  5. He runs warm and can’t handle warm days without being clipped. I should have clipped him 2 months ago but I failed. He can’t handle warm days with his coat.

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Looking good!

Anyway, he’s very proud of himself now. He’s marching around the paddock with extra confidence these days!

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So. Much. Hair. 

 

Ranger Recap: Blame.

I want to start this post off by saying my lesson this week was everything last week was now. Incredible. Perfection.

But, it revealed some holes(?) in my past training that I want to talk a little bit about while also recapping my lesson.

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In one of her recent recaps, the everything pony talked about how old habits from old lessons and old trainers resurface during lessons with new trainers. Stuff that’s so ingrained that we don’t even think about it. It’s not necessarily the heels down or closed fingers or the mechanics of riding, but the mental stuff that sticks with you in ways you don’t realize until you are riding with someone new. Now, caveat, my trainer isn’t new, I’ve been riding with her consistently for 2.5+ years now and have taken a few lessons with her before then. But, I rode with my previous trainer for much longer, multiple times a week at times, plus I rode with other instructors at her barn, in her program. So, I was fully ingrained.

Last week, I had issues with the one stride. I didn’t steer aggressively. Then, I didn’t do enough to get us over the skinny. It didn’t take a lot to get over the 1 stride and after 2 attempts, we were over and had no issues. The skinny, I struggle with, despite my best attempts, I still AM 100% certain I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG and a better rider could have gotten Ranger over.

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Last night, we were warming up on the flat at the trot. It was windy, but warm so we were light on flat work. Trainer mention I need to work on bending him more (his nose wanted to point out despite my best effort). To the left, I managed to get him bending (holy crap, my inside leg was THROBBING), but to the right, nothing I did worked. “I have no right leg.” “It might not be your right leg. If he’s not listening, escalate. Kick him with your inside leg.” After kicking him, we did some circles and I got him bending better to the right (I struggled with our circle/pole exercise to the left, however, I misunderstood the point was to go OVER the pole the until I was halfway through the exercise to the left the first time, so… that was the bigger issue. Lol)

During our walk break, my trainer mention that an 8 year old has been riding him and causing his right drift. I brought up that I was taught to blame myself for all the issues and never blame my horse. My trainer flat out said that is bull and sometimes it is the horse. All of the issues last week were caused by right drift. Yes, I was passive, but, I rode straight to the jumps with equal leg pressure and normally that would have been enough. I did then share that I hate 1 strides (and bounces) and left to stew about dying… She agreed that I do better when I can just get my course and go so that lesson wasn’t the best fit for me. But, my riding wasn’t the entire problem. But, I take 100% of the blame when stuff goes wrong even when it may only be 50% my fault (or less or more). Much of this is because I don’t see myself as a competent rider. I need to work on that. But, it was a really good and necessary conversation that we had.

So, after this, we canter and I rode. First, supposedly, I picked up too much of a canter? Rare for me! But, I’ll take credit here. We were outside and it didn’t feel fast so I asked for more. But, with the wind, it was supposedly too much. And, Ranger was leaning in on the corners… I was told to halt and back, but as I asked for that canter, instead I just lifted and balanced and he came right back to me which made my trainer happy. To the right, the leaning was worse so I kicked which got him fast, but, he got off my leg which then allowed me to balance him. I did have issues keeping my right hand by his shoulder so I’ll work on that for next week…

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We started back and forth over the quarter line jump. Basically, working on straightness to it, even pace, and halting on the landing. Right lead was actually easy and I made the turn without issue (I struggle SO MUCH with that turn). Left lead we were able to canter a circle first to establish pace, then a slight steadying tug UP and again, all was good.

Next we came down our quarter line around to our outside single around to the inside single oxer. Once again, the quarter line was easy, the single was fine in that I rode to it and fit what I saw and wanted in to it. Now, the spot was our worst spot of the night but it was 100% adequate. It wasn’t a chip and it was completely deliberate, but it wasn’t as lovely as every other jump of the night. But, as I struggle SO MUCH with that jump, I’ll take it. After that jump, we headed towards the in gate where Ranger got a bit excited and thankfully I adjusted early and we nicely jumped that fence.

We ended with a course. Outside line in a 6, inside line in a 6, outside single, and inside oxer. Every. Single. Fence. Just. Happened. Perfectly. Seriously. I can’t even describe it. So, the inside like was a 5, but the 5 was there. We were going home, he was in front of my leg and it worked. Heading to the outside single, I felt the right drift early and was able to get him OFF my leg and move him over and finally nailed the distance I wanted. The outside line was nice, the oxer was lovely.

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Halloween for horses? 

My trainer thought it was a good idea to end while we were ahead. I agreed. I didn’t miss one distance and Ranger was perfection.

25 Questions

Amanda asks 25 questions and since it appears I’m blogging this week, why not? I’m not sure I’ll actually answer all of them since I don’t actually have answers for everything, but other than that? Why not?

Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling?

Mostly because I played soccer and softball and didn’t like playing them? I wasn’t good and in team sports that matters? Individual sports it doesn’t matter so much. And curling? Well, I DO want to try that one day… Lol. Plus, horses. Animals are so much better than people, just saying.

What was your riding “career” like as a kid?

My riding “career” started as a teenager as the deal for lessons was I could start lessons once I could find a barn and schedule lessons myself. I actually got into horses through horse racing and a phenomenal organization called Kids to the Cup founded by the late Trudy McCaffery who sought to bring young fans to the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown races. I won a trip to the 2001 Preakness Stakes through an essay contest and joined KTTC to the Breeders’ Cup and 2002 Triple Crown for my senior project… The organization introduced me to trainers, owners, jockeys, etc. and brought me to the backside.

Anyway, riding wise, my mom paid for weekly lessons until I graduated high school and then I was on my own. So I started working off my lessons for my instructor and went from riding 1x a week to 3x a week…

If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be?

Forsooth. He was probably always a better match for me than Subi. Just as athletic but always a little quieter?

But truly, Ranger is the real answer here.img_8600

What disciplines have you participated in?

Hunters, eq, and short lived IHSA stint in western stock seat

What disciplines do you want to participate in some day?

Perhaps eventing? I’ll steal Ranger and we can go event. Lol

Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue?

Nope

What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid?

Thoroughbred

If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be?

Irish countryside or Icelandic horses!

Do you have any horse-related regrets?

That I couldn’t fix Hayley. Maybe if I figured out what was wrong with her earlier I could have fixed or saved her?

If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?

This I don’t know. Perhaps Louise Serio for hunters?

What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?

Riding in the Dixon Oval was a bucket list item that I’ve checked off…. Riding in Ireland?

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If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses?

YES! Considering I have a retired Subi horse and mini….

What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal?

Large farm! I just want LAND and no mud. Fine, that’s a horse goal not a riding goal.   To be comfortable and confident almost always?

What horse do you feel like has taught you the most?

I think Ranger, being a packer, has taught me that I know more than I believe I do?  When you can just work on you, it’s SO NICE. Subi taught me to have a strong leg and quiet hands. Batty taught me to wait at fences (yay for stoppers…)

If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be?

I’d have money and be able to ride multiple times per week? Maybe I’d have a riding horse that can actually do ring/fence work? I want a Ranger!

If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be?

I don’t love showing/competing so no real needs here! Lol. Showing  at the Devon grounds was just an experience  because, tradition.

If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice?

I’ll start with NotRolex and go from there

Have you ever thought about quitting horses?

All the time! More due to finances than reality. After Hayley, I was an awful person and ignored my boys for about 2 months…  So much guilt about that…

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be?

How fragile horses are…

What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well?

So many dumb things…. Riding Batty around the neighborhood? Buying Batty?

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Not a planned purchase…

As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of?

Head injuries.

What horse-related book impacted you the most?

I’ll try and fill in later…

What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most?

Willingness and loyal and kind.

What do you love most about your discipline?

Non scary jumps!

What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment?

Trusting my eye!

Happy Halloween, throwback style! AKA a little sugar with your gore?

**warning, graphic content**

I don’t think I’ve posted this before…

10 years ago, right around Halloween, I got a call from my barn owner/trainer that Subi was FINE, but had gotten kicked in the shoulder and had a nasty open wound that couldn’t be stitched… Darn hind shoes…

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Instead, he was getting SMZs and they were packing it with granulated sugar at the vet’s direction…

Being a new library graduate student, I had to research the crap out of what my trainer was telling me, but yes, it was a thing. Sugar packing, who knew?

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He was also on stall rest and hating life. But, no swelling because a certain IDIOT walking circles and kept the swelling down. Lol.

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Sugar packing was fine. My trainer attempted to clip is leg and everyone nearly died…. They decided they’d skip that step. I scrubbed and curried sugar and blood off that leg FOREVER. 

And yet, after a couple of weeks, it healed nicely (despite the face that at one point, you could stick your entire hand inside the wound).  It ultimately healed without a scar. Then my idiot horse somehow scratched himself the SAME PLACE (no blood) and THAT scarred…

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2 weeks post kick

If you are interested in reading more about sugar…

Scholarly Articles

Dunford, Cheryl, Rose Cooker, Peter Molan, and Richard White. “The use of honey in wound management” Nursing Standard 15, no. 11 (29 November 2000): 63-68.

This article discusses the history, background, and use of honey in the wound healing process. A more well known treatment (dating back more than 2000 plus years), this article also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using honey in wound treatment. Furthermore, multiple images are included.

Gordon, H., Middleton, K.; Seal, D.; Sullens, K. “Sugar and wound healing” The Lancet 2, no. 8456 (21 September 1985): 663-665.

This article chronicles the treatment of foot abscesses using a sucrose sugar paste and includes both scientific text as well as images. Furthermore, the article also address the use of sugar in wound treatment throughout history, referring to Egyptian use of honey as well as explaining how sugar works in the healing process.

Mathews, Karol A. and Allen G. Binnington. “Wound management using sugar” Copendium 24, no. 1 (January 2002): 41-50.

This article discusses wound management in dogs and other small animals using sugar. Written by a pair of veterinarians, the article chronicles a research study on sugar impact in the healing process of large wounds in dogs, includes multiple images, and address the healing properties unique to sugar.

Seal, David V., Roderick J. Hay, and Keith R. Middleton. Skin and wound infection: investigation and treatment in practice. London: Informa Health Care, 2000.

This book addresses infection and wounds and discusses different treatments and practices related to wound care. Though not entirely devoted to the use of sugar, this book does devote an entire chapter to sugar paste and wound healing.

Ranger Recap: Laughing at me.

So it was bound to happen. I finally had a crappy lesson. At least for the first time in a while. I’m pretty sure I never wrote up my last lesson, but too late.

Nothing starts well when you get there and 1. notice everyone is riding in the indoor and 2. are early (enough) and are told to get on as soon as possible to ride with the other girls.

I typically ride at 6:30 so arrive between 5:50 and 6:00 which gives me enough time to groom, relax, and hop on by 6:20. So, being told to hurry up so I can ride with the 6:00 lesson is never a good sign. And, it turns out everyone was riding inside because the rated show was indoors this weekend. This sort of meant that I wasn’t going to a priority because 1. lesson person and 2. children’s hunter and larger division pony in my lesson. So yeah. Granted, I was defeated before the lesson because I hate rushing.

I won’t go over our warm up/flat work because it was decent enough. I’ve been struggling with bending on straight lines with him. He’s being ridden by a lot more kids now and no one works on bending at all so I get on and it’s 1000% harder for me. So… Corners/circles/etc. are fine, going straight? way too much work. Especially as my inside leg wasn’t working (both directions interestingly enough).

As the other pair were the focus, I didn’t jump as much. I can’t complain as this rarely ever happens. But, when it does, it’s frustrating. I didn’t help things but not being on my game. But… I started off with my nemesis. A 1 stride around to a skinny. Except, I had to wait a while as my trainer kept messing with it while I sat and contemplated my impending death. Lol. But it’s true…

So, when it was finally my turn (other girls were jumping other more fun stuff), we jumped the in, I gave zero direction and Ranger NOPED out to the right. So, we turned, cantered back around, and Ranger NOPED at the in (twice I believe. The second time I was actually trying and he grabbed the bit, laughing all the way, ha! Ha! HA!). Thankfully, anger got in the way of my fear of death (I seriously despise 1 strides) and I picked his massive head up and got him through the damn line a couple of times…

We next added in the skinny and again had the SAME problem (thankfully, he stopped playing with the 1 stride once he realized I was not not jumping it). So, my trainer is on a skinny kick. This one is NOT as bad as the skinny in the outdoor that was so skinny that, jumping the center, I tapped my foot on standard, but that freaked me out. This one was hard to get to and I kept overshooting the approach and Ranger first got his eye on the out of the inside line… So, first step was correcting then trying to get straight. Except we ducked out to the left. Ugh. Instead of going back to it, we repeated the entire thing and I’m pretty sure we got over it the second and third time, again, sitting deep and LIFTING a big and ultra heavy head. But, it’s been a while since Ranger has tested me that much.

Finally, we were to end with the skinny, around to the 1 stride around to what was a bending line of our picket fence jump to oxer in what was anticipated to be a 7. But, the damn skinny. See, the first few times we did the skinny, my trainer was standing near it and then she was down towards the end of the ring. And Ranger was not having anything to do with it. Finally, I was told to forget my distance (I saw my damn distance every time and rode to it and then lost it when Ranger dropped and rolled–well, not quite, but I could not get on the same page when I knew where I wanted to be) and just get over the jump. Lol. So, I fought him, we lost our canter, ended up trotting the skinny (at the distance I wanted because, I can’t let everything go). Then, from there, the one stride was easy (the out now being an oxer but that didn’t matter). While I was concerned about the picket jump to the oxer, it was mostly because I despise the picket (it’s my death fence) and the oxer was a much larger than anything else we had jumped that night. I was told it would probably be 7 strides but we jumped the in out of a forward canter and landing, Ranger was so in front of my leg that I saw that 6 that I just went for it vs fussing. After all the cruddy first fences/lines, it was nice to have SOMETHING look nice first time through and to ride aggressively.

In the end, I’m not sure what to make of the lesson. It wasn’t great. Part of that was because I wasn’t riding well. Part of that was because I was down on priorities list. But, Ranger doesn’t test me like that often. He’ll test me when I’m not trusting my eye (ie: add if I don’t keep my leg on). But, it’s been a long time since I’ve dealt with this ducking out stuff. So, it was a good reminder to stay square, keep leg on to the base, and lift his head UP a half an inch as needed when he STARTS to feel a tiny bit heavy…

I may not have enjoyed all of it, but I’m pretty sure Ranger had fun. He had a twinkle in his eye every.single.time. he ducked out. You could see him laughing. He has too much personality…

Fair Hill Recap (Part 1 of 60000)

Another Fair Hill is in the books! My goal this year was to attend everything. Soak up as much as I could and volunteer as much as I could and just be there.  I haven’t started editing pictures, but here are a few to get started…

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And I sort of accomplished that and sort of failed.

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Much of my volunteer work came before the event with pre-event set up. I was out bright and early Saturday a week ago helping decorate the venue. Moving mums, driving around in gators, watering mums, breaking water tanks in the stabling area (oh, wait, never mind) until the water guy showed us how to work the damn tank, stacking straw cut side up and then, 20 MINUTES LATER, arranging straw (SO WHY DID IT MATTER HOW WE STACKED THE DAMN STRAW), moving chairs, etc. img_2313-1

Sunday was dressage ring set up. I said last year I wouldn’t do this again so of course I signed up to help and once again I’m OCD enough to be volunteered to make the courts straight… there were two of us left making everything straight after the bulk of the group left because it appeared it was out talent… Oi. Wednesday was merchandise set up and my OCD took over again as I was volunteered to put everything in size order… Is anyone seeing a pattern?

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Charlotte Collier & Clifford M (3*)

What I missed was the jogs. I was originally going to volunteer for the jogs, chickened out, then when I went back, the slots were filled. Friday, was Young Event Horse Jumping and jump crew– the best volunteer position EVER. I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the judges and learn SO MUCH about what they were looking for. And, accidentally voiced my opinion and cast my vote for the safe harbor winner… Can someone PLEASE buy me this horse? I can’t wait to volunteer for YEH next year too. Learned so much!

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Celtic King and Charlotte Collier

2*/3* cross county on Saturday was incredible with the exception of a super scary fall in the 2*. I didn’t see the fall, but heard it. Horse was down for a very, VERY long time, brought out the curtains and everything. He trotted the fence before hand and… Despite that, horse and rider were OK.

The rest of the day was a lot of fun and the course was challenging.

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V3 Red Thirty Six and Campbell Jourdian (YEH 4 year old)

Sunday was windy and blustery. In the 2*, jumps were blowing over and Master Frisky was held up mid course so that the jump crew could re-assemble a fence that fell over completely. Despite that, he went double clear. Boyd and On Cue went double clear to win when a plank was almost flying into them. In the 3*, 8 in a row went double clear towards the end before the final riders started to have trouble. Then Frankie Thieriot Stutes put in an incredible double clear to win. All in all, another incredible Fair Hill in the books!