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.

Nay-date

On Tuesday Nay got a million vials of blood pulled. And luckily (sorta-kinda-definitely lucky) the bloodwork all came back normal. My vet was actually pretty worried about liver and kidney function. And the more I did research, I was was too. But, everything was more or less normal. A couple levels (don’t ask me what) were high, but they more or less indicated that he was dehydrated. Nay does drink decently, but…

So, based no the results, we’re treating every this as colitis/hind gut syndrome. With symptoms for both including: recurring lack of appetite, lethargy, colic, diarrhea, and weightless, the symptoms fit, even if he doesn’t have all the symptoms. He doesn’t have diarrhea, his manure is extra stinky and just… odd. So we’re treating it as such.

For the next several weeks, Nay is allowed to have all the chopped hay he wants (SOBS. Does anyone realize how expensive this stuff is?) and then a small amount of grain if he wants it, but not to press the issues. Beyond that? If he wants regular hay and alfalfa? It’s ok. If not, OK to. The goal is to let his stomach heal and then hopefully he’ll eat normally again. We’re also adding back Succeed (also cries over cost). It’s been ordered, but it’s not here yet. After the Succeed, I might add it another gut supplement (he’s on SmartDigest Ultra and GutX), but for now…

Anyway, that’s where we’re at. He’s eating about 12-14lbs of chopped hay a night. Only the Alfalfa Forage Blend. Only $25/bag. Only.

Feral.

Nay Nay has been on his omeprazole and sucralfate for 11 days now. He’s still not eating hay in his stall the way I’d like and I’m trying to figure that one out, but over all, he seems… calmer? When I’d turn him out in the morning pre-medication, he’d was stressed? And would rush out of his stall, occasionally bucking and acting otherwise miserable. He loves his stall so it wasn’t an “OMG I need out” but rather some sort of stress response. That is gone. I still ask him to woah before walking out, but he’s back to leaving calmly and quietly.

His face says it all

He IS eating hay outside. And he is very happy to eat his almost daily lunchtime/snack mash. He gets it as long as I’m home which is about 5x/week. Anyway, for a horse that REFUSES beet pulp or any other soaked feed, Nay LOVES British Horse Feed’s Fibre Beet. It’s ridiculously expensive, but worth it if he’ll eat it. I typically mix with carrots, peppermints, and some grain, but I actually wonder if he’ll eat it without grain… because it’s low starch/sugar it’s also safe for laminitis prone horses/ponies so I feel safe giving Jiminy a small pan while feeding Subi and Nay. The boys RUN to the fence for their mash and Nay makes a racket screaming with excitement. I should really video…

This past Sunday, I decided it was time to put Nay back into light work. No riding yet, but some time on the lunge line? Nice, easy work. Ha.

Jokes on me.

Nay was… feral. I ended up letting him run around the indoor before I could even consider lunging.

Then he became more feral.

Out of control really. I mean, he was crazy, but not unhandle-able if that makes sense? He was OK–ish until I decided there was more space on the far end of the arena. You see, towards the gate, the footing is super deep. Super deep footing means Nay decides to cross canter because he hates extra deep footing. Far end of the arena there is just extra space before jumps start and the footing is more even. So we headed down there and Nay’s time went off.

NOT INNOCENT.

You see, I wasn’t asked for much. All Nay needed to do was move forward. He got to choose the gait so he could walk, trot, OR canter. What he couldn’t do was spin, kick out, stop, or try and run me down. What did he try to do? Spin, bolt, stop, kick at me (not actually kick me), and other scare tactics. See, Nay doesn’t try to be bad, but he wants to scare me enough to get out of work. So what did I do? Make him work harder. He fought harder, he worked harder. And started screaming. But eventually, we got somewhere. And every time I thought, good, we can end! He’d throw a tantrum and we’d start back up…

Wheee!
he’s very lucky he’s cute..

Eventually, I had an exhausted Nay trotting around (screaming) but trotting consistently enough that I was able to halt trot halt and end.

I felt bad as he had sweat dripping from his eyelids, but that was on him.

A trip in the barn and a quick visit with friends (ie: OMG there are HORSES HERE!) did a lot to improve his mood and we were able to return to the indoor to walk and cool out. Nay REALLY wanted to roll (he LOVES to roll) but I was able to redirect his attention by asking him to walk over all the jumps in the indoor. With his attention refocused he was MUCH happier and cooled out quickly.

In the end, despite being feral, he seemed to come out of it looking OK and not overly stressed by the situation. So I don’t feel overly bad by introducing work back into Nay’s life.

What’s going on with Nay Nay?

Ah the post I didn’t really want to write and the post that is…lacking information?

The short story is Nay Nay just isn’t… quite right. Something is off and I just can’t quite pinpoint what’s going on.

I woke him up from his nap the other day…

A few weeks ago, he started leaving behind his grain…sometimes. This isn’t exactly weird. He’s not the best eater and hasn’t ever been, but it’s something I keep an eye on. Typically he eats some breakfast and then finishes his breakfast at dinner. But some mornings he just eats his treats and doesn’t even touch anything else. Most of the time he eats everything overnight, but once every 5/6 days, he doesn’t clean everything up.

Then he started leaving behind his alfalfa. Like not even touching his hay bag of alfalfa. Before this he’d always eat his prized alfalfa. He has a feeder that I ended up taking the lid off of because his hay eating habits were…bad. But then they got worse. So we switched from one bag (standard slow feed bag to a general bag with a huge opening) to another and he ate alfalfa again. Part of me wrote this off as it coincided with a new bale, but then again, nothing is that simple. Then last week, he stopped his alfalfa again. I started tossing it on the rest of his hay. Some days he’d eat it, sometime not.

“Mom! I’m sleeping!”

Outside he just appears… off. He’s been spooking and not himself. Keep in mind, throughout all of this, I’ve also been trying to get healthy again as I was really, really sick. So, diagnostics have been delayed. I plan to get blood pulled soon just to see. But he’s also the same sweet horse?

I’ve added lunch any day I’m home. Lunch is a fibre beet mash with treats (yes, we just add carrots, cookies, and candy to everything) and grain. I thought I’d see if he’d eat it even though fibre beet is $$$$$$. Nay HATES soaked feed. Interestingly enough, he LOVES this stuff. I don’t want to add it to his breakfast/dinner as I’m pretty sure he’ll refuse to eat it in his feed bucket because my luck, but as a supplement, it’s been great. He definitely marches to fence when he sees me walk outside during the day looking for his mash. So, that’s one positive.

Still the sweetest face

That also made me wonder if he had a tooth bothering him. So I scheduled the dentist as Subi was due anyway and she came out yesterday. She did a quick check of Jiminy (he’s good) and a thorough exam for Nay (so thankful for an awesome dentist who will check my horses! And did a super thorough exam when she heard my concerns). That said, she said his teeth were fine AND no evidence of foxtail either (so I have nice hay) so his issues aren’t teeth related. But, while we were waiting for Subi to get sleepy (his dorm gel was taking a touch longer than I thought), we all observed him.

He spent a lot of time snacking on his chopped TC baled alfalfa and definitely preferred that over anything else (he’s also been picking at ultra pricey timothy). Anyway, everyone agreed it’s likely gut related. I ordered him 40 days of omeprazole/ulcergard, but I’m waiting for it to come in since online pricing was cheaper than local, but I need to wait. I could scope, but he gets so stressed with the scoping/food pulling that I’d rather wait if I can…

If I treat plus pull blood, maybe I’ll have a better idea what’s going on? I’m not sure what brought all of this on either. Nay hates winter and he’s been out of work… Stressing plus change of routine? I have no idea.

Weekend Happenings

I’m suffering a bit from the blahs right now. I’m not in the holiday spirits and lacking motivation about pretty much everything. Mostly I’m just in need of time off of work and am looking forward to 18 days off work (I’m including weekends) as I took the first week of January off in addition to our week closure between Xmas and New Year. Hopefully, that will help me relax and recharge.

I also was able to find Nay Nay’s winning race from 2014

I did have a fun weekend. On Saturday, I visited Northview Stallion Station with a friend for their open house (I’ll post about that tomorrow) but with the weather being gross (super windy and overcast), I just decided not to ride. Sunday I was feeling anti-social and decided on an afternoon ride to avoid barn company…

Subi napping and Nay Nay standing guard
My favorite boys

And everything looked good. I arrived to an empty barn and was 3/4 tacked up when I was joined by a fellow adult rider. And then another adult and her daughter, home from college. At that point, my quiet ride turned into a mini riding party. It was fine. Nay enjoys riding with Fiona and Houston, they’re his buddies at the barn, but my attempt to be anti-social was thwarted.

Thankfully despite my wishes to be anti-social, Nay was in a good mood and super relaxed. He offered me some nice trot work and a lovely canter. I’m still cantering solo inside, but he picked up both leads and forced me to push him around the ring. I’m enjoying the cluck, push, and squeeze to keep him going. After everyone else had warmed up, we took turns jumping. I was low energy so I didn’t plan to do much, but Nay was thrilled to pop over some fences and show off. We started off with trotting the 2 outside singles to the left then cantering the first one.

Next time around? We took on the inside single, cantered the outside single. Trotted the inside blue jump. Nay landed the lead but as I hadn’t jumped the crossrail this direction, I brought him back to the trot, planning to trot the other single. He had other plans and picked up the canter again once we were straight which is how we found ourselves cantering on the wrong lead to the outside single. We ended with the other outside single the other direction.

One course from this weekend

After that, I think I ended with something very simple, but I can’t remember and I have no video proof.

At this point, I let the daughter of my riding buddy hop on Nay for a few minutes just to see how he’d look/go with someone else. She’s a strong and competent rider who can ride anything and everything. Nay was less than impressed but a good boy. He was a bit quick at first at the trot but quieted down after a few laps. At the canter? She struggled with leads until I explained that he REALLY likes you to exaggerate your aids and bring your outside leg way back. Immediately? Canter on the correct lead. He was super quick to the right (he’s quicker to the right with me, but not quick) but if you play with your fingers, he’ll slow right down. To the left, he was much more manageable. She trotted him over a crossrail and hopped off. Definitely agreed he has springs over jumps.

It was good for him to have someone on his back and for me to watch him with someone else. He definitely prefers me and all my bad habits. And that’s OK. It’s also nice to see that he doesn’t miraculously go better with a better rider. But, he did ok too. I’m his person, but occasionally I might ask him to letter others hop on.

The goodest, goodest boy

Sunday marked Nay Nay’s 2 year anniversary. If you had asked me earlier this fall, I’d say we were a mess. But right now? We are in the middle of some of the best rides we’ve ever had.

The changes I wrote about last post are really paying off even though they’re not even a couple of weeks old. But Nay is a different horse. I can’t even describe it. He’s relaxed, happy, and just… zen?

First time on bareback! He didn’t care. I fell off the mounting block the first time I tried to get on…

After a good weekend of rides where I even had to grab a crop because I COULD NOT KEEP MY HORSE GOING (one reminder and that was done and over with), I sucked it up and texted my trainer last minute to see if she had an opening for a lunchtime lesson the next day.

Despite being colder, despite riding inside, despite being in a lesson (I tend to be nervous for lessons), I had the exact same horse I’ve had for the last several rides. My trainer was shocked at the difference. It’s been at least a month? since our last lesson? Nay was relaxed, stretching for the bit, and slow. And me? I warmed up walking around without stirrups so I could force myself to sit IN the saddle vs perch ON the saddle.

Post lesson goodness

I explained the bit change (I had to remind her which bit she switched me to) and she couldn’t argue with how relaxed he was. And after a nice time trotting around where we focused putting my leg back on and messing with my hands, we worked on the canter which was even better? I need to lean out a bit in the corners and such and apply a little outside leg to the right in the corners so we don’t get stuck, but he never tossed his head once and had “never looked more calm or relaxed, ever.”

Then we just chatted about Nay. Whatever changes I made I need to keep. I told her in addition to the bit, I just cut rice bran and the flax and am basically letting him eat as much alfalfa as he wants (she didn’t know if too much alfalfa was making him uncomfortable, but he’s eating more than he was before when he was super grouchy and my vet told me to load up on alfalfa for his ulcer history).

I ended up bring up the weight comments. Not directly the “you mentioned he looked thin” part, but that I was receiving mixed advice and losing my mind. She looked at him and said he looked great (which he does). And said that everyone’s opinion is based on discipline. In general, for a thoroughbred, he’s fat. For an eventer, he might even be considered overweight. For a hunter, people would probably try to get 300lbs on him (I said I doubt they’d manage and she agreed but said that wouldn’t stop anyone from trying). But that from a body conditioning scale, he’d have an excellent score. So I’m just going to leave it as he’s fine and I’m not trying to get him to be hunter obese.

Best ears. Standing by the one jump we didn’t jump!

After all that we did a little jumping. I have not done more than trotting some singles in months. Well, I cantered one fence off a circle, but other than that… But we just started by trotting a pattern of basically every fence in the indoor. So outside single around to inside single, inside line (trotting both fences), outside single, inside single (the other direction). Then we repeated this, skipping the last fence. The second time through the goal was the hold the canter any time possible, basically, canter if we landed the lead. The only time we cantered was the inside line. Final time? Trot the first jump then simple change and canter the rest, trotting into the line. I blew the turn for the outside single so I circled, but we did everything. All of our distances were long cantering in, but we had a steady pace which was the goal so we ended there.

My trainer was actually thrilled. Nay has a history of going long, especially when out of practice, so the long spots didn’t bother her. He didn’t care AT ALL and didn’t speed up on the landing. Just jumped and continued on. The point of the exercise was just to jump and not change anything. Not micromanage. Not ask him to lengthen or shorten to get a better distance but to hold a steady pace and not change anything. He did and going long didn’t bother him one bit (me? haha, but it was fine).

Seriously, who is this horse? He was so relaxed and happy. I just can’t!

A bunch of little updates

I have a light morning catching up on email and monitoring chat before I’m off to a funeral (my husband’s uncle who I only met once), so I thought I’d post a few little updates.

Subi:

Subi looking out his stall window
Best old man

Thankfully it appears he’s come through the cellulitis scare relatively unscathed. We just needed to do the high sweat for 2 days (thanks to me buying enough material for 2 additional days when things looked pretty bad Saturday) and a few extra days of standing bandages. He was VERY against antibiotics and bute (but appreciated the flavored bute being force-fed vs the antibiotic/applesauce force-feeding) but got better with each day. By the last of the 7 days of antibiotics, he was a gentleman about it. Angry, but a gentleman. FYI drenching syringes are the best. He went off his feed for pretty much his entire course of antibiotics but it’s Subi. I’ve learned not to worry about stuff like that. He had hay, carrots, and peppermints, and whatever grain he chose to pick through (he started to eat a little on day 5). He’s back eating again and cleaning his bucket.

Jiminy:

Someone got clipped on Saturday and was both incredibly well behaved and incredibly poorly behaved. He loved the attention and he loves getting clipped, but his timer ran out plus I clipped his legs. He had some crud I wanted to get after (turns out it wasn’t on his skin, but I couldn’t know that with yak hair)… I probably should have put him away and finished the legs another day, but… Anyway, I ended up breaking out my small clippers (Jiminy hair has a habit of killing ALL my clippers). Thankfully my wahl 2-speeds were up to the task and didn’t crap out like my Andis 2-speeds… Anyway, we pushed through someone may have gotten to celebrate with a poptart… The other boys ONLY like the brown sugar poptarts so I have a box of some crappy flavor that only Jiminy will eat. He gets them VERY occasionally (usually a half a poptart at a time — 1/4 package) as a treat.

Nay Nay:

I’ve ridden a grand total of once since my lesson. Between Subi and work, I also had emergency dental surgery that sort of knocked me out of commission. And then the weather turned cold and I just didn’t feel like riding Monday or Tuesday of this week.

Nay Nay grazing outside the indoor
super skinny thoroughbred.

The other thing is he’s just been weird? I mean, he’s been trying SO HARD to be good, but tossing his head like crazy at certain times. It’s not a tooth issue as those were done very recently, but it’s something he started doing more after we changed bits. The bit change fixed several issues. He doesn’t root anymore or do the drop and drag tantrum thing and because of it, our leads are SO MUCH BETTER.

That said, I think he hates this bit. Nay is very good at going with the flow, but he definitely doesn’t love it. I’m thinking I should put him back in the old bit and then use this one every few weeks as a tune-up? There are definitely great things that came out of it, but I miss the softness of the plain D. So, we’ll see. Obviously, if nothing changes, that’s not the issue. But, I’m not as relaxed with my hands with this bit because I don’t want to accidentally hit him so I think I’m inadvertently causing an issue too… Granted, the issues are exacerbated in the indoor where more steering is necessary…

Blanket Bars:

I’ve been trying to figure out how to hang/store my blankets. I wanted to get blanket bars, but several places were sold out, I didn’t want bars with bridle hooks (they’ll be facing Jiminy’s stall), I worried that the one on Nay’s door might interfere with the door opening, and certain places kept tacking on oversized shipping fees… Anyway, the cost for what I needed kept jumping to close to $100 OR I had to wait until places had them back in stock… So January. Yes, some were available now, but… I just couldn’t commit.

DIY blanket holders

I ended up going the cheap DIY route. I bought screw eyes, chain, and clips and for less than $30, I had 3 blanket racks for my boys. They may not be the prettiest, but they’re functonal. I can let out the chain if I need to hold more blankets, tighten the chain if I need to hold less, and unclip the chain if I don’t want to have anything on the stall/door front. It’s working out great so far. The entire thing went up in 10 minutes including the use of a level.

The Portagrazer:

Hermione snuggled in a heated blanket
Far cuter than a portagrazer

Early this spring, I bought a portagrazer from someone local for $75 and I’ve regretted it ever since. I hated the thing. I marked that as the worst purchase ever and I’ve been meaning to resell. A month or so ago, I filled it up and tossed it in the shed. Subi went to town. Then, after being terrified of the thing, Nay Nay fell in love too. While won’t use it in the stall, it’s super handy for an extra feeder in the field. Nay Nay spends half the winter (and summer) in the shed sulking because it’s too cold/windy/wet/damp/dark/light/buggy/hot/dry/whatever. He has opinions. I don’t humor him with hay. But, if I’m going to have the portagrazer, I’ll fill it a few times/week. I still find it to be overpriced for what it is, but for $75, it MIGHT end up worth it…

Rogue left leg

I had my first lesson back yesterday.

The day was GORGEOUS, especially for November. 65 and sunny. Seriously. Lovely.

Nay was pretty happy and I was…not. I was spooky and reactive to a reactive horse in the ring. I once point when Nay was looking in the direction on this horse but… past it, I mentioned my tension and fear and my trainer was honest. Nay isn’t even looking at the horse, he’s watching the horses in the field beyond the ring who were…drinking water. Yes, I was spooking. Typical me.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring. It’s bad enough when a horse spooks, we don’t need humans spooking too.

But whatever, this horse scared me. And I was bothered. My trainer basically told me to pick up the canter, she didn’t care what lead I got she just wanted to canter. I wanted to micromanage to get my brain focused on something. Anyway, the horse finished his session and walked and I relaxed (wtf Sarah), pointed to the corner, and evidently picked up the nicest left lead canter transition that my trainer had seen me do since we started having lead issues. So we cantered on half the ring (I refused to go down to the far end until I felt comfortable) and we had no issues (Nay isn’t actually bothered when horses leave the ring either) and that was that.

Anyway, supposedly I need to stop micromanaging because it’s driving Nay crazy. Shocking, right? Lol.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring.
  2. Micromanaging my horse. This drives him crazy and annoys him immensely. I mean, it annoys me when supervisors micromanage me…

But then there was the right lead. Before we picked up the right lead, I mentioned I’d been struggling. Not necessarily picking up the lead, but just cantering because my right leg feels weak. Supposedly this shouldn’t matter, but I continued that my left leg feels so strong that I feel like I am counter bending.

Evidently, my right leg IS NOT weak, but rather my left leg is the problem. Turns out, my right leg is in the right place, but it feels ineffective as a result of my left leg. I’m riding off of the inside of the calf of my right leg and my toe is pointed forward on my right foot. This is good and correct. This is also why I sometimes have issues getting my right spur on vs left spur because my legs/feet are in two completely separate positions. Shocking, right?

My left leg? I’m riding off the back of my leg/calf which is causing my heel to grip into Nay’s side. I’m also sitting into my left heel which has caused my body to shift over to the left side of my saddle. This makes for my left leg to feel extraordinarily tight, but it turns out, it’s not tight in the right place. My left leg does NOT move. My right leg, on the other hand (foot?), does move/swing, but that is in part because I’ve shifted so far over in the saddle that I can’t keep my leg connected.

Things to stop doing:

  1. Spooking at horses in the ring.
  2. Micromanaging my horse.
  3. Riding with the back of my left calf and sitting on left side of my saddle.

So in order to fix this, we started by first having me sit in all different positions to feel the difference. This was weird. Nay thought we were crazy. We then also had me only focus on the damn left leg and pointing that toe forward which theoretically fixed the calf issue. Every few strides, I was to look down and I identify if I looked straight. Through all of this, Nay was very curious if he really should trot or just walk or stand still. But, he does understand a good cluck and shuffled forward even if confused by my ever-changing position… WTF Mom was his opinion of things…

My homework is to buy some velcro (or procure some from my basement because I’m sure I have some) and velcro my left stirrup to the girth for a few rides. The goal is the build some new muscle memory but also allow the stirrup to safely detach when necessary. I also need to shorten my right stirrup which has been feeling long thanks to sitting on the left side of my saddle. And just work on trotting and cantering until this feels normal.

Overall though, the comments were that Nay looked happy and relaxed. He does get a bit tense/reactive when we make tight turns whereas he’s 100% fine with all straight lines and sweeping turns. So, we need to look into that to determine if it’s an actual problem, muscle weakness, or just some overall body soreness. He’s not lame, just does some head tossing. He used to head toss a lot more but as he got stronger, he stopped so we’re guessing he’s just a little sore as he’s developing muscle. But, we’re also going to pull blood since I haven’t done that in a while and it never hurts to do a regular check for Lyme. And ultimately, if he needs some short-term maintenance, he needs some maintenance. Building strength and muscle is hard. Though fixing my position will help…