Rolling

We have officially reached a goal post! We have gone to the back arena and rolled!

(Please ignore the weird sighs of relief and comments in the video spam coming up. My heart is in my throat still every time he rolls)

So we’ve been able to walk to the back arena and go roll three times this week. A few times the arena was being worked on or occupied and we just did our normal walk.

I’ve  been cautious with our walks when we go roll. The arena sand is much harder for Scarlet to balance on compared to the hard packed ground we’ve been walking on. I wish I had videos of us walking our normal stretch for comparison because these ones look horrible as far as the wobble in his hind. He’s walking almost normal on hard ground.

But not all ground is going to be hard. And if the ultimate goal ends up being getting back to riding (if possible) he will need to be able to walk on sand. Even for the next goals of walking over poles and maybe doing some lunging, he needs to walk on sand. So we have to carefully work our way up in time on sand. So I cut the walk a few minutes short after a roll. We head back the fast way to our stall.

Scarlet seems to be happy to get to roll. He’s pretty okay with our walks overall. He’s stopped being as reluctant to leave the stall. He walks out with only a light tug on the lead. He’s never an ‘enthusiastic’ horse about work unless its the few things he likes doing. Going fast or jumping. He’s enthusiastic there but he just goes with the flow for everything else.

I was hoping to be ready to move on to the next step of a bit of purposeful arena walking now but I ended up hurting my foot by kicking a wall. 0/10 do not recommend. My foot got all swollen and is still a little swollen. Scarlet ended up getting a day off and then two days of shorter walks with roll time. I want to have the full walk and rolling/walking in the arena loose before I move forward and I haven’t gotten to that yet.

My foot is healing and Scarlet seems to be doing quite well with what we are doing now. He has a farrier appointment at the end of next week and hopefully a vet visit the beginning of the week after. Maybe we will get some arena walking in before the farrier. Maybe not. I’m trying not to plan so that I do not rush. I have a vague roadmap but no times attached. We will get there when we get there.

Steady

Not much to report here. Scarlet has been steadily improving. We are walking about 9 minutes now. The whip works. That or it was just time to push him more. Either way, we are able to walk pretty well. He still has issues if I decide to sleep in on the weekend and walk him later in the day. Nothing terrible but he’s much less adept at balancing when its warmer. Why? No clue. But evidence shows he is so I work around that for the most part.

He has been able to increase about every 4 days for something like 3 weeks. We aren’t increasing a ton. Somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute. Its still good progress. He also doesn’t have any visible soreness issues after increasing.

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Monday I’m planning on letting him roll in the back arena. We’ve been walking past it for the last 4 days. I wanted to make sure we could do several days of walking past it before rolling as the sand is definitely going to be harder for him to move in. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Once we hit that milestone and can walk fine the next day, I plan on starting to add some sand walking to our schedule. That will be harder on him so we are going to take it a tiny bit at a time. The next milestone after that will either be stepping over a pole or using the balance pad one of the people at the barn loaned me. I haven’t figured out which yet. It will take a while to get there so I’m not too concerned yet.

Rhythms

Not a ton to talk about this week. We’ve fallen into a rhythm. A good one with forward progress. Scarlet’s up to about 8 minutes of walking. I’m continuing to go slow on our increases as I’m terrified that I will push too hard and we will slide backward. The whip is really working though. We have only a few stumbles along our walks. He hardly has any issue with our increases even directly after an increase.

It is nice to feel positive about our situation for a nice chunk of time. I can see improvement. The improvement is at such a rate that I can even see a vague timeline for doing more stuff in the future. Not quite to the level of riding again, but hand walking around the property, trotting on his own, etc. Its much easier to have a better day when I start it off not feeling absolutely depressed about my horse.

The only negative right now is his front right leg and his need to self mutilate if flies even look at a wound. He had a few cuts and then gained a rub and then made everything worse by chewing himself up. I’ve been wrapping it for what feels like weeks at this point. Probably not that long but I didn’t feel like scrolling through texts to friends to see when the first time I complained about it was.

I’ve had to purchase a bunch of gauze and elastikon. I tried a sock but it wasn’t staying in place. He itched through it anyway and still did damage. He itches through his fly boot and then move around enough that he can get right at the skin. So wrapping is the only solution.

I’ve dealt with this during the past summers here in San Diego but never on his pastern. Its a lot harder to wrap a pastern properly and keep it in place than it is to wrap the cannon. I’ve had to rewrap about every two days due to the bandage moving and bunching up. I suspect Scarlet is also not helping by still trying to itch. It is healing though while I’m doing this. So I just have to keep doing it until it is fully healed and he doesn’t try to itch. I’m getting so much practice with bandaging.

Innovation

So on Tuesday, we had a really interesting situation happen. While I was grooming Scarlet, one of the other boarders pulled up their trailer to the tack sheds. We walk past the tack sheds while on our walk. Scarlet locked on to the trailer.

He puffed up and showed off the fact that he is an arab. Snorting, arched neck. The whole shebang. He gets a bit anxious when trailers are out as he thinks we might be getting on one. He doesn’t believe me when I say we aren’t.

What really shocked me was how well he was moving while he was snorting at the trailer. The boarder even commented on it. He JIGGED for about a minute on the way back. I was so shocked. We’ve been struggling with the increases. There was no world in which I imagined that Scarlet would be able to jog.

The fact that he could move so much better when being uber focused on something like a trailer got me to thinking. Why were we having issues with increases? He obviously said he could do more on his own. What could be the cause?

What I came up with was: He’s not moving his body correctly. When doing physical therapy, you have to move correctly in order to regain proper usage of your body. I can’t tell him in words why he needs to use his body as properly as he can. So, I came up with a substitute. I decided to bring my dressage whip on our walks.

Thursday was the first day I tried this theory. My idea was that if I had the whip, I could give him a little tap on his left hip to remind him to shift his weight onto his right hind more. I didn’t necessarily get that shift but he did march forward. While marching, he definitely moved better so if we have to march to get better movement, we march.

Scarlet still has a moment or two of losing his hind end but some of them are starting to look like its because he’s spooking rather than actually loosing balance. But we’re seeing some good progress. Friday we increased again and he seems to be doing well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can continue to have this sort of improvement for the next few weeks.

Wednesday Writing Wrap-Up

I definitely didn’t manage to keep my goal of writing every day this last week. However, I did double my output. I wrote for TWO days. Baby steps right?

Its a bit difficult to write as I’m worried about my inability to edit the previous stories I’ve written into something that feels like a whole cohesive story to me. I’ve written three novels where I’ve said ‘the end’ but when revising they are… well a hot mess is too kind.

And it could very well be that I’m a bit to harsh on myself. Some of that is likely. But I also cannot see clear motivations, character growth, non-cardboard supporting characters, plot arcs etc. And those things are just as important as a cool super power or fantasy element.

I’ve been trying to figure out a better way to edit as a lot of my editing is just taking the chunks I don’t like and rewriting it. Which works but isn’t the best for productivity. I’m trying to figure out if that’s a problem in my editing process or a problem in my writing. Currently leaning toward the latter as my rewriting is coming mostly from plot problems.

I’m not an outliner. I’ve got a vague path and a few vivid scenes along the way but I don’t outline. I’ve looked at a few methods but they feel off to me. I am thinking I may have to figure out how to plan a better plot arc near the beginning of the process. It’s all a learning game at this point.

Word Count: 691

Two Weeks Out

It’s been two weeks since the vet came out to give Scarlet his acupuncture and equipulse treatment. I’d love to say its been transformative and we’re ready to start doing more things. But that’s unrealistic. However, it has been really good for him. And I’d like to do it again. If not monthly, at least after his next farrier visit.

The good things that have come

  • After farrier visit, he wasn’t nearly as sore as he normally is. That generally sets us back in walking. This time, there were no setbacks.
  • We’ve increased by 2 full minutes since the appointment. That’s basically the whole month previous’ increases. Even if I cannot continue for the rest of the month at this pace, I’m already at 100% of the previous increase
  • Scarlet can balance while his hooves are being picked out without being 100% focused on what I’m doing. I’ve been picking while he has been eating his breakfast and other than a momentary wobble when a hind foot is picked up, its been great.

So as far as walking, things are going great. Its been nice to feel positive about things. But its still hard to not worry myself over how far will we actually get in healing. Will it be just hand walking for forever? Will Scarlet be able to be lunged and that’s it? Will riding in any capacity be something that can happen? I don’t have answers. I try not to even think of the questions but that’s like asking myself to not breathe.

Other than walking, I’ve been trying to deal with a rub/cut on Scarlet’s leg. The back part of his pastern decided to get rubbed pretty badly. Not 100% sure what caused it. I switched his flyboot on that leg to a new one in case the fact that it is misshapen from being pulled on caused it. It doesn’t seem to be getting worse so I’m just monitoring it to see how its going.

So positive but small issues to still be dealt with. We’re going along as we can. I just need to hold onto hope that everything continues positively. 🙂