Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy holidays and an update

I haven't posted in a while. It's been too crazy. First I was dealing with the aftermath of a bad fall I took on Thanksgiving morning. I had a great ride on December in the arena. We were practicing "shoulders in" at all three gaits and she was terrific. Then took her out in the field. Now she's gotten a bit skittish going into the field before, but once we're out there she's been fine. She had never bucked, never bolted, nothing too dumb, just that something is scaring me and I have to stare at it and prance around thing they sometimes do. I can feel her energy when she does it and she scares me a little bit because she feels like she could explode and rear. Nothing scares me more than rearing. But I had no reason to think she would. I should also mention when I got her she was a bit underweight. She was gaining it back slowly but when it started to cool down I was worried about her holding her weight in the cold. I upped her from 3 big flakes of grass mix hay to 4 flakes and increased her supplemental feed from 2 lbs to 4 lbs per day. She gained back the weight quickly and looks great (see the pics...yay no ribs poking out and no swayback) but I think she's too confined (in a stall with a paddock and daily turn out for only a couple of hours) to keep from going a bit stir crazy. Anyway, I got her out in the field and asked for a nice easy canter. She was fine for a couple of strides, then tossed her head a bit. I sank into my saddle to lower my center and push her into her bridle. The next thing I knew I was flying through the air and I have NO idea how. I didn't feel her buck, I didn't feel her slip. I didn't see or feel how I came off over her head. One second we were fine and the next I was landing on my tail bone. If I were a smaller girl I might have bounced back up but I've gained some weight in the last few years and I swear I didn't think I was going to get up. My whole lower back hurt so bad that I felt like my legs were paralyzed. I also got my finger caught in the reins, see pic, and may have fractured it slightly. The nail turned black along the cuticle and hurt so bad I couldn't bend it. I managed to roll to my hands and knees and there I stayed while December jumped around behind me and then took off. There I stayed while someone else caught my horse and dragged her out of the field for me. I was finally able to get up, go home and take lots of ibruprophen washed down with champagne. I managed to make Thanksgiving dinner but there was crying throughout the day as the pain increased. This was my second fall in six months and it kinda freaked me out.

I took me two weeks to feel like I wanted to ride again and I realize part of it was just fear. I did it though and the first time was pretty good. I even took her back out in the field at a walk. I realized I've never been nervous about a horse before. I tend to be in the moment and not worried about if they will act up because I've always felt like a nervous rider increases the chances of a freak out. Like Cesear Milan says, you have to be live in the moment. She was pretty good that first time I rode again and Tax was great. The very next weekend, I rode her and a friend rode Tax. They'd both been lunged and worked in the round pen and we were just going to walk a couple of laps around the arena. December spooked at the barn owner walking out to the field and tried to take off with me. I'm a pretty balanced rider and I can normally sit through most of their nonsence. As I was "disengaging her hip" to keep her from taking off I felt Tax, who NEVER spooks spaz out beside me as a reaction to her. It all happened so fast and my friend didn't have a chance. That time she fell off Tax. I've never had anyone fall off my horse but my sister and she SO does not count because I know she can handle it. It was the scariest thing I think I've been through even worse than falling myself. This past weekend I tried again. I started by longing December until I thought she started to tire out. I also rode her in the round pen until I thought I had a sense of her mood and then we moved to the arena. The second we got out there I could feel her tense. She felt explosive and hot. I rode her for a while and things were going okay but I was not doing anything I thought would let her mind wander. My sister asked what was wrong and I told her December was tense. She asked if I wanted her to ride her because she isn't afraid of the spaz and is good a tiring them out. Kim tried to ride December around the fence and I think that horse spooked in every corner of the damn arena but I have to give Kim credit. She hung in there and worked her in small circles in each corner until the brat figured out that she was just going to have to get over it. I did finally get back on her and she was better but I still had to sit through some silliness with her tossing her head and jumping around when I first asked for a canter. Sigh. I wanted to post this next pic as a reminder of why she's worth it.

My thoughts are that a) I've never owned a mare before and she's in heat. Maybe that's part of her attitude, b) I need to figure out a maintenance diet where she can maintain what she's gained with out acting like a 2 year old who's been give a diet of Snickers and locked in a small bathroom, and I need to get her more exercise even though it's winter and there are no lights.

Next, I need to update on Promise but no time today!!

1 comment:

Shanster said...

hey! Great for you getting back on!!! Seriously. As we age it is SO hard to face that fear of injury and it DOES hurt so much more now than it did at 17.

You have probably already tried this, but have you ever fed beet pulp? It is a great feed source that is low in sugar so they get all the good weight/fiber they need without the "heat" in their behavior.

A lot of rescues will use it to get weight on horses safely.

We discovered it at a nutrition conference our vet held once... if you feed it, water it down first to make a mash and don't get the beet pulp with molasses in it...

We also use pellets vs. shreds. Our guys love their beet pulp mash each night!

Cheers! Shan