Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Thanks to my fabulous husband who tagged along with me to the stable the other day, I have some photos of the first time longeing Starbuck in a few weeks.  She's definitely almost healed completely from the hind-leg thing and as long as she doesn't injure herself acting like a crazy person as soon as I take her out of her paddock, I think I might even be able to start riding her again in the next couple of weeks.  Seeing her complete lack of control with the rope halter, I've decided that the next time I longe her I'm going to use some side reins just so she won't be tempted to be so wiggly.  Not too tight and not for too long so I don't strain any neck or back muscles, but I figure any adverse effects from a 20 minute longeing session with side reins will be better than her breaking a leg or a tendon out of sheer exuberance - yesterday she slipped and almost fell down during a particularly energetic spook.

She's still doing much better with her bugbites and I've taken advantage of her recovery time to take a few jumping classes on other horses which has been really, really fun!  I'm pretty sure I went over a 60 cm ex the other day which I know is pathetic but for me it was huge and such a thrill.  I've been able to work on my seat too - lots of two point, lots of rising or sitting trot with one or no stirrups, stretching, etc...

So I just threw all the photos in there, flattering or not.  If you want, skip to the end - the last three are the most exciting.  I especially enjoy the ones where I'm looking oh-so-lovingly at her butt while I spread muscle salve on it.  And here's another guessing game for you - one of them is NOT of Starbuck but of one of her lookalikes, can you guess which?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Boo-boos and Boo-hoos (or not)

My poor baby has another boo boo!  Just when she had finally recuperated from the limp in her front right leg, she's developed some swelling and tenderness on her croup right above her tail, which is making her lame behind!  At first I was worried that I might have brought it on myself by doing some light longeing and yielding the hindquarters on Tuesday, but Marina says there's no way.  Starbuck has a bad habit of rubbing her butt up against her stall to scratch her bug bites and Marina thinks she must have strained herself some way doing that, either that or slipping in a pee-puddle in her paddock and "sitting down" too much.

So another round of 'bute and another week of rest... woo hoo.  I'm trying to stay motivated and upbeat and relaxed about it but it's tough.  Between the lameness and the fact that paddock (not even stall) rest (even with reduced and lower calorie rations, hand grazing, "manners" training and hour-long grooming / massage sessions once a day) is giving Starbuck a dangerous tendency to go absolutely bonkers everytime she sees or hears anything even slightly scary, I feel like at this rate it'll be autumn before I'm able to ride again.  I really don't feel terribly safe hand-walking her when she freaks out, it hasn't been this bad since I started training her.  It's hard walking the line between physical and mental equine health, I know she'll go totally stir crazy and be miserable if she's stuck in her paddock but I also know that apart from worrying about my own (and my barn-mates') safety, every spin, sidestep, buck or rear- however small- while she's on the lead means that much longer until she heals completely.  I guess it's a good excuse to shell out some serious discipline and raise my comfort and confidence level with her even more.

On a happier note, the vet-recommended treatment for her bug bite reaction of special shampoo, aloe vera and bug spray is really working well!  Her coat is growing back over the bald spots (once again in another, darker colour so she's kind of appaloosa-y again) and she's scratching much less.  So I'm really pleased about that, since the bug bites were probably bothering her way more on a day-to-day basis than her leg injuries.  Here's the link to the "before" photos in case you want to compare.

Another good thing is that I've been taking a lesson a week on Marina's horses which is not only fun but helps out my seat a lot.  And I'm planning to take at least one jumping lesson a week on one of the lesson geldings so that when I can finally ride Starbuck again and we finally go over that first oxer, hopefully I will neither pull her in the mouth nor slam my butt on her back afterwards (I'm terrible at jumping).

I'm also on a weight-loss kick (lost almost 8 pounds so far but a lot more to go) and am doing more exercise - I got the Wii Zumba game and have started Bikram Yoga classes, which hopefully will improve my general fitness and thus my ability to have a better seat.  And if I weigh less and am more balanced (thanks to the yoga), I'll eventually be easier for Starbuck to carry.  So maybe I should be thankful for this time off after all.

Starbuck by the way also celebrates July 4th, even if she is a furner!