Monday, May 14, 2018

ground swell

Things have been pretty quiet in Charlieland these past few days. Our brief little heat wave broke tho, which was nice. Tho the rock hard ground persisted a while longer.

potential changes of view are coming my way. this one is refreshingly green
We knew the ground was hard, and heard all about it from competitors and other volunteers at Shawan Downs the weekend before. So naturally we planned accordingly when taking our own horses schooling last week.
 
historic and charming(ish) old neighborhood
After Charlie's great schooling ride, he got his legs all wrapped up and hooves packed to stave off any soreness from the hard ground. Alas, it wasn't quite enough and Charlie was a bit tender-footed last week. Probably in the future I'll just plan to ice his hooves after work on hard ground.

uh.... that's the block down there. nice balcony tho?
Not the most inspiring result, if I'm being honest. His lack of toughness is..... well documented. But. Ya know. We work with what we got. And I'm more than willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlie comfortable and happy considering what an actual saint he is as a jumping horse.

different balcony in the same building, with improved view of the harbor
So we've kept the magic cushion train rolling, plus stepped up our keratex treatments. I had been mostly focusing my treatments around Charlie's hoof walls - especially the nail holes. But perhaps I'd been neglecting his soles, so now they're getting extra attention too.

honestly tho these sun-seekers won't care so long as there's sufficient space and bright spots
And I also started conversations with Charlie's farrier about assessing whether going back to leather rim pads (or full pads, tho I'm not very fond of them....) might be a good idea. We'll see what he has to say about all that later this week, hopefully.

speaking of sun seekers... how on earth am i supposed to figure out which one is mine??
In the meantime, tho, I'm diversifying my portfolio beyond its current holdings of SMZs to also include Magic Cushion. Bc yea that stuff is actually seriously magic. I've been packing it in each night once Charlie is settled in his stall, so I can just squish the stuff in there and then set the hoof back down on sawdust without wrapping it.

normally i'd guess mine is the goofy one but... 
I'm not sure how long the magic cushion actually stays in the hoof without a wrap, but probably at least a little while. A couple times I've picked his feet out 12-24hrs later and still had bits of tacky gunk stuck in there. So I think it's pretty reasonable to believe it's at least sticking around for most of the time he spends in his stall overnight.

nope, there we go - i spy my fly boots! phew! otherwise how could i have known??
And I think it makes a big difference too - and helped relieve Charlie of any bruising or tenderness in just a couple days instead of his typical long, drawn out week and a half of "OW MY FEET HURT! MY LIFE IS FULL OF WOE!!!"

this is a very pretty time of year in the wooded areas
But. Ya know. It's all good either way tho, right? I feel like a broken record, but these past few months Charlie has really really settled into his job. Obviously I would like to stay on a fixed schedule of schooling rides - for my own benefit as much as for the horse.

charlie's got it all figured out where all the watering holes are lol
But.... Charlie never really seems any worse for the wear rest. Which is nice. Makes it pretty easy to keep focusing on maximizing his down time, physical well being, and comfort while trusting that the training will be there when we need it.

i did actually wrap the magic cushion in there after charlie went back to work, just to get as much bang for that buck as possible.... plus fly boots to reduce stomping.... #highmaintenance
And actually, in revisiting my goals for this quarter, I was reminded that my intention was for the lion's share of our ridden work to focus on fitness and conditioning. Which, considering that's most of what we've done - seems like it's working out pretty well haha.

woods are pretty in the rain too, plus the softer ground is very welcome!
So once Charlie's feet stopped feeling tender on the driveway, we hit the trails again. First in just an easy going hack (after which I still packed and wrapped his feet like a neurotic freak lol....), and then for actual trot sets in the woods after getting soaking and very welcome rain.

two pics stitched together to try to portray the ground undulations
And I gotta say (again) that taking our trot sets into the woods has been revolutionary. Idk why. But we both seem to really really enjoy it a lot! Like I love cruisin around the open fields too, and we're fortunate to have a few options in that regard.

honestly pics never do it justice tho
But there's something special about just letting the horse move out over the kind of varying terrain that presents itself in the woods - like eroded ruts, jutting roots, branches and brambles every which way - and allowing the horse to sort it all out himself. Ducking and dodging the branches as you go.... Laying down onto the horse's neck, trusting that he'll stay true in his aim.

but these small fields are great for some quick up-and-downs
Plus it was kinda cool to do it all after a recent rain fall. The dampness of the leaves as they whipped past added a refreshing element. And the ground was jusssst slick enough to hold Charlie's attention without actually being slippery. I can't stress just how great it feels to have this horse FINALLY learning how to read the ground himself.

easy going hack on the left; trot sets on the right
I'm also loving having the Altitude Profile app for these rides too. Partly bc the meta data surrounding overall distance and average speed is helpful. Mostly tho I really like having the data on relative changes in elevation.

And as you can see from the above charts, it's helping me figure out how to string hills together so that we always have another hill to climb in our rides. For the trot sets in particular, I now know a great route where we can basically trot all the ups, and catch our breath on the downs (or trot those too if we really want).

from stopping by the arena to chat with trainer P on left; then cruising around the fields trying to maximize hills on right
And it's kinda cool getting to zoom in on the gps satellite views of the farm to get that bird's eye view of what we're really doing, and how all the various pieces of the farm actually knit together. This farm is freakin giant and I still really don't know most of its odd little corners. But we're figuring it out!

also, last pic from kentucky ;)
Plus. Ya know. Hacking out is just plain old pleasant to do <3

Hopefully we'll have a couple more purposeful schooling rides this week too. It's supposed to be rainy and thunderstorm-y all week, but that's ok. I've tentatively got two lessons on the books so we'll see. One should be a much anticipated return to dressage lessons with trainer C!! Cross your fingers for us lol!

But as is always the case with Charlie, mostly we're just gonna take it as it comes. I've got plans, like I always do bc I love plans. And those plans include our second event of the season this coming weekend. We'll see what happens tho!

For now, we're mostly just in cruise control. Which ain't really that bad, let's be real haha. Have any of you likewise been looking forward to the new season ushering in lots of fun stuff to do?

34 comments:

  1. Omg rain is the actual best, tho. Someone at the barn yesterday was lamenting the rain, and I had to restrain myself from shouting "STOP THIS BLASPHEMY!"

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    1. Yea seriously haha. I mean the timing isn’t great personally but I’m not complaining either way! Also I hope all the ppl who are like “omg we totally skipped spring!” Are paying attention to this cool lovely 60-70 degree weather lol

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    2. This has been the BEST spring I've ever seen in this area! It was like, a distinct season, rather than a single day. Haha

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    3. my thoughts exactly. like, it's been so freakin lovely for a while now. a couple weeks ago it was like mid 60s and i was standing outside with a neighbor who was like "guess we skipped spring this year!" and i sorta just looked at him, and at all around us at the blossoming trees, and just couldn't figure out what he was talking about lol

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  2. Riding in the woods after a nice rain is one of the best things in life. Sir Charlies better understand how pampered and well loved he is! It looks like rain and storms the rest of the week here which is really bad timing, but we need the rain if I want green pastures all summer. It could have maybe held off a week until I wasn’t on vacation.

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    1. Yea I feel the same way about the timing. We will always take the rain when it’s been this dry but.... yea. Oh well! And agreed completely on the awesomeness of the woods after a rain. It’s so refreshing!!!

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  3. I LOVE being the woods and just moving out and zipping around corners. It's part of why I love endurance. I think lots of horses love it too. It's interesting and if your human is relaxed and happy the horse picks up on it.

    And hey, if pampering keeps him working strong then go for it!

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    1. oh man, i'm convinced that charlie LIVES for the pampering haha. and yea cruisin around the woods is so much fun - charlie really seems to enjoy it too. he pays a lot more attention to where he's going vs when we're just out in a field. and it's such a far cry from his first few trail rides where he didn't even know how to follow a simple flat path lol!

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  4. Heck yeah hill work! Charlie's gonna be so freaking fit in no time.

    Rain is definitely welcome lately! It's provided the last push for the green to FINALLY come out. So fun driving to work this morning and seeing honest to goodness LEAVES finally.

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    1. honestly he's already a lot fitter than i've been giving him credit. like i was seriously impressed with how well he did through our schooling last week, he never got tired or anything. so i think all this conditioning is really paying off, even when we've taken more time off than i originally planned!

      also, yay leaves <3 i love how green everything is finally!

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  5. Wow the trails around you are really pretty- so glad that Charlie's tender feet didn't last too long and you were able to get back out there. I have had trainer's swear by magic cushion! FYI though, I also had a vet recommend putting vaseline on the bulb of the heel because the MC can burn that area on some horses if used frequently, just something to keep an eye out for.

    <3 Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian

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    1. yea it really seems like great stuff!! definitely a good thing to have in the tool chest haha

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  6. Ah, still jealous of all your trails lol. They're so gorgeous! I'm so glad Charlie is doing well too! Sounds like he's having an absolute blast as well with all those outside conditioning rides!

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    1. yea he's definitely always appreciative of the time we spend outside of the ring for sure!

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  7. Charlie!!! He really is a prince? “My feetsies are sore! Care for them!!! I deserve the most magical substance in the world for my tootsies!!!” 😂 But he’s the cutest so for sure worth buying stock in magic gunk!!!

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    1. omgosh he is seriously such a prince. it would be exhausting if he wasn't such a good boy lol <3 but he is in fact a very good boy, so he gets all the magic gunk he wants!

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  8. I'm glad that his feet have weathered the hard ground pretty well. I am still getting back into it but when my husband asked me yesterday if there was any weekend in the summer that I would be home I had to pause and think about it.......

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    1. it's amazing to me how quickly the weekends get booked!! there's too much to do and not enough time - if only i could get full time pay for part time work lol....

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  9. I love the windows in that first apartment :)
    My summer is pretty empty as far as firm commitments this year - for the first time in a few years. I'm enjoying seeing where the weekends take me!

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    1. yea that green view really appeals to me too haha. and honestly that sounds kinda nice about being able to see what happens instead of being constantly entwined in rigid plans!! charlie is teaching me to be a bit more flexible too just by nature of being slightly, uh, unreliable in the soundness department. in some ways it's kinda nice to not always feel committed!

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  10. I miss having some good outdoor areas to ride in. My current place has a ton of gopher holes to dodge. The neighbour apparently has decent trails, but we have to pay a fee to use their property. I'll probably do it for July and August.

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    1. oh man that's such a shame about the gopher holes. growing up and even through college i really never rode outside an arena very much (tho we had outdoor arenas too) but ever since getting in the hang of hacking through the woods at isabel's barn, i've found that it's a hugely important part of my routine. and i was surprised by how much i missed it at the first barn charlie lived at where hacking options were limited...

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  11. Full pads aren't a lot of fun. Glad you're working on a solution. :-)

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    1. Eh I can certainly think of much worse. Considering the fun I have riding the horse, a little specialty farriery seems like a small price to pay.

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  12. I used magic cushion once... and May managed to get it ALL OVER herself. I mean like, on her stomach, up her legs, and on her back legs. I guess when she laid down she tucked her feet and some of it squished out? Idk. It was a nightmare to get off tho. (rubbing alcohol is your friend)

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    1. omg really?? how on earth did she manage that???? usually the stuff seems to stay put inside the shoe after it gets coated with sawdust... tho i guess if clumps fall out of the hoof it would be easy enough to then lay down on top of them.... sigh. horses. yet another reason i like 'em brown lol

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  13. Ugh, sorry Charlie's been so ouchy, that definitely is a bummer. And totally agree- Magic Cushion is the bomb. Love that stuff

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    1. well luckily he was just ouchy a couple days, then as written above was able to get right back at it. and even more luckily, we've gotten a lot of storms lately so the ground has softened considerably from its previous concrete-like status

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  14. It’s nice to see there’s a routine of product and upkeep that seem to be helping your boy’s tender soles.

    Is it terrible that I’m so horse starved I’m envious of how much time you spend with Charlie, even if it’s to do horse husbandry? Haha.

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    1. luckily charlie's soles aren't actually particularly bad. but the combination of fresh grass, rock hard ground, and jumping around were enough to make him a little sore. plus he's a pansy so.... yea lol. also the time i spend with charlie is so so so important to me - i hope your job and living situation settle down soon enough to get back to spending more time with your ponies too!

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  15. It is so great Charlie is totally fine with time off. Good luck with apartment hunting and the move!

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    1. thank you! i kinda dread the idea of moving but it's kinda time. and yea i'm super grateful that charlie does well with time off. it's not really the schedule i would pick for myself personally, but it's very reassuring that he does well with it!

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  16. Fingers crossed you guys knock it out of the park this weekend!

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  17. I'm a big fan of Magic Cushion too. I usually don't wrap, and it will stay in about 2 days.
    Cupid had recurring abscesses, thrown shoes, or just tenderness, which has improved after we 1) added clips to his shoes; 2) had his feet xrayed to make sure what I thought was soreness wasn't really something more serious, which allowed my vet and shoer to discuss making minor adjustments to how he's trimmed and shod; 3) Durasole approx weekly; and 4) adding a pure biotin supplement. (Or it's just coincidence, but whatever the cause, knock on wood, his feet do seem better!)

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