Saddle Woes

Tuesday when I was riding Cav, he said an emphatic no to cantering on the right lead. He’d been fine for the rest of the ride so I was confused at his reaction. He felt fine at the walk and the trot but when I put him back in the canter, his ears were pinned and his tail was swishing. So we finished the ride there and I told his owner about that.

She didn’t see anything odd with him and he was fine for her. He did show soreness around his shoulders though so she thought it might be my saddle. She had a half pad with foam pads she wanted me to try with my saddle the next time I rode. I went out to ride on Thursday but she forgot to put the key back in the lock box. Oops. So I rode Friday instead.

I did take a bunch of pictures of my saddle on his bareback on Thursday and it was very wide. I think it might be a bit long for his back as well. It didn’t fit Scarlet either but it worked with pads. I couldn’t afford a better saddle at that moment.

On Friday, I got the pad out and tried it under my saddle. It made my saddle fit better but when I asked Cav to do anything more than a walk, he told me no. Loudly. So off I got and I tried his owner’s saddle. I had to get off to adjust the stirrups again. A whole six holes down and her saddle works well enough for me. Its about half a size to small and the flaps are regular, not forward like I truly need. But Cav was fine both Friday and Saturday in the saddle. I haven’t felt any pain in my knees or back, just muscle pain. So that will be what I ride him in for now.

It doesn’t make sense to buy a new saddle for a lease horse. I won’t lie and say I didn’t seriously consider it. I even looked on resale pages for saddles. But everything I found was at least $2,200 or more. That’s a lot of money to drop on a saddle that may or may not fit my future horse. And it’s money that would be coming out of my new horse fund. So I’ll keep going with Cav’s owner’s saddle as long as it isn’t actually hurting me to ride in. At least I have something that works.

Scarlet is really loving the grass we have right now.

Back at it

I live! I joke because it was actually an incredibly easy recovery. People kept saying how it was going to be so difficult for me to recover, getting my wisdom teeth removed all the way in my ancient years of 30. In reality, I was sore but my pain level really never crossed a three. The surgery prep was hard for me because of my needle phobia. I had a panic attack right there when they were putting my iv in. That wasn’t fun.

I had hoped to only miss a couple of days of riding. I ended up missing over a week of riding time. Not because of pain but because eating was quite difficult with the swelling so I was super weak. I was able to go out and take care of Scarlet somewhat. After the third day post surgery, I took him out to the turnout so he could move around some. I had to sit on the mounting block outside the arena and rest before I could walk him back.

Scarlet taking his sweet time finding a spot to roll while I’m sitting on the mounting block.

So the first week post surgery was just walking Scarlet as much as I could and slowly eating more as my mouth allowed. By the time the 2nd thursday post-op rolled around, I was no longer exhausted from grooming and walking Scarlet, so I rode Cav again. He was very very good for me. I’ve been keeping my rides to 30ish minutes, more for my sake than his. I’m still a bit weak and so out of shape. On Saturday, we got some amazingly straight trot diagonals. I was very pleased with him. He’s always been quite wiggly on diagonals so these were incredible and I didn’t feel like I had to fight him for the straight.

Not much of an update but now I’m back to eating close to normal, though being uber paranoid about getting food stuck in the holes left behind. I should be able to ride all my days. I’m also considering trying to find a dressage trainer to take a lesson or two a month with. I’d like to improve as a rider and I feel like I’m missing some foundational flat pieces. So hopefully I’ll have more to share in future posts.

Titles Are Hard

Yeah I just gave up trying to think of a title for this.

Things are going well enough over here. The ground dried up enough for this last week to be a normal week of walking Scarlet and riding Cav.

Scarlet is doing great. I’ve been contemplating scheduling the vet to come out and do another acupuncture/pemf treatment on him. The little bit of acupuncture she did on his leg while out for his dental made a huge difference. I don’t think an overall treatment will change things for him but it would be nice to keep him as good as he can be. We’re walking between 10-20 minutes and he has his moments of being too spunky but he’s mostly good.

Cav hadn’t been ridden much for about a month before all our crazy rain as he’d smacked his leg hard in his stall and we were worried about the bump. But when he never was off and the vet said its just superficial, we started him back in full work just in time for the rain to shut it down for about 10 days. I had the first full ride on him and we just did a trail loop with a bit of trot and canter in the arena. The following Tuesday was when I next rode and he was so stiff and sore. He’s a very forward horse so when he was very resistant to moving off, I knew he wasn’t feeling great. I carefully loosened him up with lots of turns, serpentines, and stretching. His owner mentioned she’d worked him hard the day before. Thursday he felt better but I still kept it focused on stretching since he was out of shape.

Saturday I wasn’t feeling a real ride so I figured I’d do the trail loop and then just enough trot and cantering to call it a ride afterward. We did the trail and were almost back at the barn when he spotted two horses halfway back along the mile loop. They were trotting and for some reason, that broke his brain. He flipped out. He did this weird rear and buck move which was actually easier to sit than either one alone would have been. It felt like what people do with toy horses to pretend they are running.

Normally when a horse does that, I pull their nose to my knee and boot them in a circle. But on the trail, there are tons of holes and I can’t avoid them. So I somehow muscled him forward. We trantered into the barn and when we got to a flat space, we did some trot side pass circles until he was willing to stop. He was super tense and stupid so I went to the arena to ride him down. It took a long time to get the brain back between the ears. I ended up being on him for an hour and fifteen minutes. I made sure to not ask him for hard things, just things that would make him think as he is still out of shape. But apparently he has enough energy to be stupid.

I got him tired but I was equally tired. I ate a huge lunch and then passed out for two hours right afterward. My legs and butt were so sore the next day. I’m not too annoyed at him though. I’ve been riding him for months and that’s the only blow up he’s ever had. And it didn’t come close to unseating me. I am contemplating how we could safely work through that issue. It’s not a great one to have since I can’t control who else decides to be on the trail.

That is unfortunately the last ride I will have for a while as I’m getting my wisdom teeth extracted this week. So no riding for me until my face resembles a face and not a melon.

What’s All This?

What's all this? What's all this?
How I feel a lot of the time lately.

Tis I! Resurrected from the grave of procrastination and lack of motivation.

Yes it has been a long time since I posted and even longer since I was consistent with posting. Which I’m disappointed by because by most metrics, I’ve actually had a lot to talk about. But having a lot to talk about also seems to put a block on me mentally with trying to get it out. Its a bit frustrating.

So, lets do a bit of a 2021 catch up here. Scarlet’s doing great. Walking and trotting when he feels like it. A pill sometimes with the cold mornings and feeling too good. He got a broken tooth removed during his last dental and I was reminded that he’s a terrible dental patient. Still leasing Cav. Riding him is going well. His owner changed his bit and I don’t love it but it works. I just feel like he’s not connecting with it as well as the previous. Not my horse to make these decisions with though. I have gotten compliments on riding him which always feels weird. I don’t consider myself that good of a rider but then I get people telling me I’m doing well and I just look at the gap between myself and where I want to be and wonder who the hell they’re looking at. Did NaNoWriMo again and won again. Got a huge raise at my job to top the year off. Not to shabby an ending.

He thinks my photo taking is silly but he humors me.

Now we are on to 2022. I don’t do resolutions and while I always have goals, I’ve never put them out there before. So lets see how this goes.

Goals for 2022:

  • Scarlet
    • Stay as healthy as can be
  • Riding
    • Continue leasing Cav
    • Consider dressage lessons
      • Find a dressage trainer focusing on rider biomechanics/improvement
    • Maybe add more lease days per week
  • Writing
    • Write 2k words a week
    • Blog at least once a week
    • Finish draft of either PWF or Nano-2021 novel
    • Edit finished draft
    • Beta reader(s)
    • Write query letter
    • send out one query before end of the year
  • Work
    • Get promoted to QA2
  • Fitness
    • Get back in shape
    • Fix eating habits
    • lose weight

This is quite the list now that I look at it. I’m glad I have a whole year to work on it.