Wednesday, October 11, 2017

meanwhile....

Life continues to chug right on along lately, bringing us to the official one week mark since Charlie's surgery. I'm not sure whether that's a meaningful benchmark or whatever, but it's reassuring that he's just continued to get on with getting on throughout the past couple days.

pictured: charlie enjoying some sun + grass filled bliss
It's hard not to feel like the horse is somewhat neglected while on stall rest, ya know? Like I can take him out to groom and graze him. But no purposeful walking allowed.

didn't bother him that the ground was so dry and dusty either
And I can throw all the hay in the world at him, and keep adding extra water buckets just in case he gets extra thirsty.

we're not technically hand walking... but there's a little exploration going on
Plus naturally there are always the occasional extra meals when I need to slip some medication or another into him.

this little pony stallion was SUPER interested in meeting charlie lol
But it still makes me feel so guilty knowing he's all cooped up. Especially on days when I'm not able to get him out at all, or can only get him out for a few minutes.

this one too
Worst are the days when I can't get to the barn at all. Idk why it makes me feel so guilty -- in some ways I know the horse tends to be a little quieter when I'm not around. As opposed to when I'm there and he gets a little frantic and unsettled, trying to tell me all about his current plight and convince me to somehow fix it.

these studly little dudes have the BEST hair
But.... Only time will do that. So hopefully time will just keep chugging along until we can get him back into at least a little bit of hand walking and then turnout. And in the meantime I'm trying to not let myself feel too guilty by keeping my schedule full of fun distractions.

scribing at a dressage show!
Like volunteering as a scribe for a dressage fix-a-test clinic at our barn. We saw almost exclusively Intro level tests during my afternoon shift, and it was a little monotonous. Except it was pretty clear that for most pairs this was either the rider's first show or the horse's, and everyone tackled the experience with their own combination of nerves and excitement. That alone made it a cool atmosphere.

I like scribing too, tho it might be more of a challenge at higher levels. At least at this event, bc of the fix-a-test structure, it was pretty slow going work. We'd score the test as it was ridden, then the judge spent ~20min working one on one with the rider in a lesson type format, then they'd ride the test a second time. It was cool to see the riders improve so quickly too!

stewarding cross country warm up!
I kept the volunteer train rolling by signing up to be the cross country warm up steward at Loch Moy's recent recognized event. Usually I just go straight for the easy job of jump judging - esp if I'm doing it with Brita since we just sit around and chat all day. But trying out a new volunteer job was actually pretty fun!

it's another pony(ish) stallion, Lion!!!!
I actually REALLY enjoyed being able to see everyone get into the zone for their rounds - from the nervous just-moved-up riders to the pros on their 4th or 5th rides of the day.

i liked the look and feel of these boots a lot. but then i impulse purchased a different set on ebay so.... yea lol
Luckily there wasn't really any drama either. A couple trainers who were a little bit entitled and rude when it came to getting their clients into the starting box. And a couple horses who struggled a little with the hard ground and greasy top layer of grass from a morning of steady drizzle.

sugar loaf mountain + loch moy's stadium ring. pretty sad i won't be riding in that arena at all this year. sigh.
One poor horse didn't land straight from a jump and slammed the rider down hard as they both lost balance and toppled over. Luckily both were ok and were able to continue through to run their course. But it was scary to see!

also disappointed to miss out on leaving this start box too. womp. volunteering at the warm up was AWESOME tho!
Mostly tho it was a great way to spend the day, and I actually really liked the warm up volunteer position. Plus the folks at Loch Moy know how to treat their volunteers - we got a lot of swag (including a very nice long sleeved shirt and an xc schooling pass!) and TONS of good food and snacks. If you're local-ish to Loch Moy, I highly recommend volunteering at their events!

oh look, another leedle pony!
Tho obviously it must be stated that seeing so much fun action had me feeling a little blue about my own horse's current status. Luckily Velvet has been more than happy to fill the void!

i make her go scary places, poor thing
I've been getting in pretty regular rides on the pony over the past week and feel like we've reached a pretty good understanding. Yes, she's probably going to spook at some invisible monster on the walk up the driveway.... but No, she's not going to nap about leaving the barn any more (thanks spurs!).

including riding past strange critters
Her work under saddle hasn't necessarily gotten meaningfully better yet. There's still a fair bit of jigging and trantering. Tho the better I get to know her, the quicker I can be to keep her in trot even if it becomes a very fast trot.

and she has to wait patiently while friends finish getting ready
For her part tho, she's learning to trust the process and relax a little bit. The trees lining one edge of the arena aren't always as spooky any more, and she's not always totally distracted by what other horses in the vicinity are doing. She's also had to cope with taking long breaks to chat with folks, and then go back to work again (the horror!).

she's great with dogs tho!
But I like her. She's a good girl. The parallels with Isabel are so strong, too. Like someone clearly started this horse - taught her some stuff. Laid a foundation. Then.... through circumstances that all too often befall horses, she ended up passing from place to place, either being left entirely alone or only ever getting irregular work. So she's just.... rusty at a very fundamental level.

and itsy bitsy jumps!!
And this has led to the erosion of her own confidence at the same time it taught her how to scare people into not making her work. A nasty combination. Luckily tho, she's not actually naughty. She's no Krimpet.

wheee go velvet!
And actually she seems to like and enjoy the work when we can get a few breakthrough good moments. And the more good moments she has, the easier it seems to be to find them again and again, and make them last longer and longer. Long story short, Velvet is figuring it out.

nice and relaxing, just as it ought to be
So I'm starting to push the envelope with her a little bit. Making her hack around unusual areas of the farm. Walk alone down different paths. Daring her to feel curious about exploring instead of worried and nervous about the unknown.

This approach seems to be working too - for our latest ride we just hacked out through the fields with Brita and Bella. And Velvet was immediately the absolute most relaxed she's ever been for me. So relaxed that we actually played around a little bit with some of the elementary jumps in the field - our first time jumping together! And she was pretty darn good!

if only we could all be as happy and carefree as this pup!
So we'll see where that goes. She's a neat mare and I'm glad to have the ride on her while Charlie recovers. But.... she's no Charlie. And the jumps definitely do not look the same from the back of a skittery spooky pocket rocket as they do from the back of my giant solid steady behemoth.

Still tho, it's fun to play :) We gotta keep ourselves busy somehow, right? How do you handle time away from your #1? Do you try to find other rides? Or stay involved in the action one way or another, whether by volunteering or just hanging out? Or do you go in the other direction - taking the opportunity to get in a little bit of a breather from the whole routine?

38 comments:

  1. Aww, Charles, you'll be out of jail soon enough big guy! Just keep quiet awhile longer so you heal up really well!

    Having 3 horses keeps me busy fortunately. One is down and out, I just focus more time on another. Admittedly though, I absolutely have and will use their time off as a means for my own sometimes! Guilt-free breathers from riding are sometimes just what I need to recenter and motivate toward a goal.

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    1. while i'm pretty sure i would be overwhelmed by three horses i definitely see the advantage of being able to spread it all out so all my eggs don't need to be in a single horsey basket

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  2. So glad that Charlie is healing well. And it is fun to ride crazy little ponies like Velvet, even for just a short time! She's keeping you busy and you are definitely giving her a much needed education!

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    1. i'm definitely grateful to have velvet on hand - she's honestly reasonably straight forward and safe for my purposes while still being fun and hopefully beneficial for her!

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  3. The warm up ring are so crazy! Major props to you for volunteering in that role!

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    1. thanks it actually wasn't too bad at this event - after a few horses we had a pretty good rhythm down and were able to keep folks moving through smoothly. tho.... yea it ain't always like that haha!

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  4. Yay relaxed velvet sounds awesome! What a great experience for her and confidence builder. Good job Emma

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    1. thanks i'm hopeful for this little pony! gotta get her owner riding her to really be sure if any of the work i do carries over, but i'm hopeful!

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  5. yeah i know exactly how you feel. it'll get worse when you start handwalking. and then you'll go crazy. i think towards the end of runkle's rehab right before he was cleared for (heavily sedated) turnout i was really losing my crackers.

    i wish i had better advice besides chin up and it'll get better!!

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    1. ugh i hope it doesn't get worse! i'm really looking forward to getting the clear for hand walking bc at least then i'll be less worried about over-doing it and can practice all our fun ground work from last fall / winter. but thanks - i'm trying to stay hopeful. charlie was the quietest he's been since coming home from new bolton last night and it was a HUGE relief to my heart to see that. nothing like a horse just quietly ignoring you while eating hay to make your heart sing!!

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  6. Volunteering is a lot of fun! How cool that you were the warmup steward! And I laughed at the entitled trainers problem bc some friends of mine had the same issue during the AEC’s with big name riders trying to push the envelope. One even said “oh that rule doesn’t apply to me” 🙄. But at least you still had a lot of fun!!!

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    1. lol seriously! one trainer scooted right on out behind me while i was talking to the TD and put his rider straight into the box. then got really offended when the starters called out a different number. i was like, dude they called the wrong number bc you jumped the line. gfy.

      another trainer got upset when i put her rider behind another (i put them in the order they had arrived to check in with me) and was like "but my rider went before her in stadium, it's not fair that she has to wait now!" and i'm like.... lady i wasn't there in stadium, ya know? idk what happened, all i know is what i see now. i let her rider go first but not without reminding her that i actually had the authority to do as i pleased and she should just hush lol

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  7. Stall rest is definitely hard on the feels, as well as hard on everything else. Try to be kind to yourself, you are taking great care of Charlie! I feel like the OTTBs at least kind of understand the concept of being stalled long term? And loving the Velvet updates!

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    1. ugh seriously, i'm SO GRATEFUL in some respects that charlie is such a career race horse through and through. he knows what layups are. he has rehabbed before. stall rest is not a new concept to him. nor is being expected to stand still while painful things get fussed with and poked and prodded. for this, i am grateful. his being a good boy makes everything *infinitely* easier.

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    2. He's such a good boy :)

      I'm jealous. Arya is technically an OTTB but never raced, and her single experience with layup that I know about (her ankle surgery) seems to, if anything, have made her more of a witch to deal with. Standing still to be poked and prodded is totally not a thing at my house.

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    3. yea that definitely makes it more challenging! there are many, many, many reasons why i shopped specifically for a war horse ottb. but this particular quality about the horse - that they've already seen and done and experienced just about everything - is high on the list!

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  8. Velvet is so cute lol But just like you said: she's no Sir Charles! Thankfully, he seems very nonplussed about stall rest. I feel like OTTBs would be pretty verse in lots of stall/travel time. Amber would go nuts lol. She'd poke and prod me with her nose like GET ME OUT WOMAN. lol

    The only time I didn't have her due to injury was when she hurt her knee. I took on TWO independent study horses in college. I don't know why. I only needed one lol. But I enjoyed them both!

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    1. ugh charlie's mostly been a pretty hot fucking mess about the stall rest since coming home from new bolton and it's been seriously stressing me out. luckily he seems to be settling a bit!

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  9. YOu are filling your time up beautifully! I enjoyed the Velvet update.

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    1. ha what can i say but i like to have things to look forward to! and velvet's doing so good, i'm glad she's around to play with!

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  10. It's great you get to keep riding while Charlie is laid up! Glad he's continuing to do well. P's had some time off in the past due to stone bruises, abscesses, random lamenesses (nothing like Charlie's deal), and I would feel guilty if I couldn't stay long or come at all a day. Kind of like I can only make time to stay at the barn a couple hours for riding, ya know? But luckily horses don't think that way :)

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    1. yea that's definitely true. and i keep reminding myself that the horse is probably way more calm and settled when i'm not around -- it's just when he sees me that he gets all upset. maybe expecting me to take him out or feed him or do *something*. so maybe he'd be better off if i actually spent *less* time with him lol? idk.. horses, blargh

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  11. Continuing to ride while Charlie is recovering is so great. And you're doing way better at staying busy than I would be!

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    1. lol i definitely don't like to be too bored - gotta keep busy to keep from being sad about the pony's plight!

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  12. Hacking other ponies is always fun (to me). Velvet's progress is really adorable to see - hopefully you'll get floppy ears on her soon enough!

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    1. she's definitely doing well! i'm not sure she'll ever be a floppy eared type of horse and that's ok (isabel certainly never was) but she can certainly be a little more confident and responsible for herself!

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  13. One week down in rehab. Little steps closer and closer to full recovery. Velvet is so darn cute and she is lucky she has you to give her some training time and consistency.

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    1. it's oddly relieving to already be a week in. one day at a time, right? and yea Velvet is freakin adorable. just what the doctor ordered!

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  14. Awesome you are making some progress with Velvet! Question about 2ptober....are there any rules about using the same horse for all your times? With someone still not feeling great....I have other horses I can practice on but wasn't sure if you can do That?

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    1. yep the only thing i care about the horse is that it has to be alive and you have to be sat atop it. i don't care whose horse, what type, how old, whatever. all that matters is that the position is held without relying on hands for balance or letting your seat touch the saddle!

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    2. Omg I almost choked laughing at "has to be alive". Now I have an image in my head of someone doing their two point on a dead horse hahaha! Probably would be like doing wall sits! I don't know anyone that can do a wall sit for 10+ minutes!

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  15. I'm sure Charlie feels downright pampered! :) Glad that you are able to get out there into the thick of things even if Charlie has to take a step back.

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    1. pampered probably is not the word charlie would use haha (with the humidity he's basically constantly drenched in sweat and can't get a bath so... yea). in time tho!

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  16. Sounds like you're keeping pretty busy. I scribed at the show this weekend and it's so valuable, but man do I get a hand cramp.

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  17. Oh man, sometimes I WISH I could take a breather!! lol. What is it about us horse people that we can't step away? Velvet sounds like a great horse until Charlie is back at it. We're both lucky to hve horses to work with when ours are down!

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  18. I'm really lucky and have three so I always have lots to ride, and my mom has three too so if I run out I go ride hers. Volunteering would be my next thing to fill the void too! Thanks for doing that! Volunteers are so important.

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  19. You do keep busy. Glad you're having fun!

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  20. Thinking healing thoughts for Sir!! 2point time for the week was 3:43

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