Monday, February 27, 2017

Another Injury!!??

My hopes that Cupid would grow out of his accident prone-ness have not materialized, as on Friday morning I found him with another deep gash on his leg.  I'm not sure how he could have hurt himself in his stall (caught himself scrambling to stand up maybe?)  It's possible he could have done it in turnout, but I think the barn staff would have noticed when they were bringing him in.  And it still looked pretty fresh.  Who knows?

Cupid's fan club
I was planning on going for a quick ride before work, perhaps just hack around the property since it was finally dry.  Early morning it is pretty dim in his stall.  I started brushing him, and when I got to his leg he kept picking it up.  He is pretty sensitive, but this seemed unusual so I grabbed a light and was aghast when I saw the large wound, almost the same spot he injured it 2 years ago.  I cleaned and bandaged it, and called the vet.  The vet came after I left, and said it was unstitchable but gave Cupid a steroid shot for the swelling and an antibiotic shot, plus left me anti-inflammatory (dexamethasone) and antibiotic medication (uniprim) to give him the next several days. 

So Cupid has spent the last few days in his stall, just coming out for light walks and grazing as often as I can.  So far he has been a model patient, very good about letting me clean and wrap his leg.  I usually do it while he eats his grain, so that probably helps. :p
At least there is plenty of grass!

Today I got to the barn early, and discovered a broken water pipe!  The aisle was under several inches water, but luckily the stalls are raised a little and stayed dry.  The barn staff made swift work of getting the water out.

Cupid is the further dark bay on the left

Thursday, February 23, 2017


A recap of our last week:

Thursday: Raining.  Had a lesson.  Since it was hard to hear in the arena with the rain on the metal roof, we started out with me doing my normal warm up (start with a little walk each direction, then add shallow loops, then move up to trot with some circles and loops and working on a little bending) with my trainer observing, and then offering suggestions.  She liked what I did but said that after the first few laps around I need to make sure I have Cupid going more forward.  We went over poles, and then ended with a small crossrail.

Friday: Raining.  Took the day off.  No turnout.

Saturday: Not raining!  Got to the barn a little later, had Cupid tacked up around 9:30 and the arena was a madhouse.  With all the activity and him being kept in the last 24 hours he was a little lit up.  We started walking around, trying to get him to focus and relax but he was just getting more amped up, which made me tense.  I tried getting on a circle and trotting with my inside leg on, but it was hard with all the people in the arena and Cupid just got more keyed up.  I decided to get off for a bit and do a little groundwork outside the ring.  We walked around the property around 20 minutes doing halts, yielding the haunches, backing up, and a little jogging in hand.  Cupid was very good. 

We went back into the arena, there were still a lot of riders plus someone with the audacity to take up a good chunk of the arena lunging their bucking horse.  X(  I was trying to remain calm as I got back on.  We kept it simple, trotting circles and a few figure 8s.  Cupid was a little quick but overall I thought he was good.

Sunday: Not raining, but very windy!  Only one other person in the arena, yay!  I did 5 minutes of trotting in 2 point, which my trainer recommended for improving my leg.  I'm supposed to work up to about 5 minutes each direction.  Cupid had one little spook when the wind really rattled the plastic siding of the arena, but it wasn't too bad.  He got very upset when the other horse left.  He still listened to me and did what I asked, but he screamed non-stop, a shrill little baby scream.  This isn't even a horse that is in his pasture, but they walked side by side a few minutes while his owner and I chatted.  We just did basic walk, trot, and canter.

Monday: Not raining, and I had the day off work.  Yay :)  We trotted and cantered over a ground pole.  It was good at the trot, but I still have a problem getting ahead at the canter.  We also practiced leg yielding.  It started out a little rough, but once Cupid realized what we were doing he responded.

Crazy winds overnight blew some branches down
Tuesday:  Raining.  Lesson.  Cupid started out a little lazy, but warmed up out of it and we had a great flatwork session.  We practiced our hand gallop.  I had to work hard, Cupid wasn't too keen on going that fast.  (Good boy!)  I still have a tendency to pump with my arms, it's such a habit I don't even notice.  My trainer laid out 3 poles and we trotted over a few times each direction.  Then she moved them further apart and we cantered over them.  Cupid got a little quicker when we were cantering, especially to the left, so I really tried to make sure I was sitting up.

Wednesday:  Not raining.  We took the day off.

Thursday:  Not raining, but very cold.  (37 degrees when I arrived at the barn, only warmed up to 41 when I left!)  Lesson.  Cupid had some energy, but was not being too quick.  Flatwork focused mainly on me sitting up straight (I tend to collapse through my ribcage), shoulders over hips.  And also toes pointing forward and not too far through the stirrup.  We ended the lesson by trotting over a tiny crossrail, with 2 other horses in the arena.  I was worried Cupid would be distracted, but I think it bothers me more than him.
Mud pit

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy birthday Cupid!!

Cupid is 6 years old today!!  Even though he has no idea why, he got extra treats today. :p
Birthday boy
Birthday treat

He still had to work though, we had a lesson this morning.  We started off a little lazy, I had to work a little to get him going but he seemed like he was feeling okay.  My trainer reminded me that he is due to see the chiropractor.  I worked on trying to just squeeze with my calves instead of kick with my heels/bring my heels up.  I also focused on my hands, often times one of them will just float up or out, or twist at the wrist.  My trainer reminded me my whip should be pointing down, and if it's not my wrist isn't straight. 

We did a little canter to loosen up. My trainer encouraged me to get him going in a bit of a hand gallop down the long sides (using my legs not pumping with my upper body!) 

Next up was some pole work.  We started with three trot poles, and Cupid went through smoothly each direction.  Then we did a little pole pile at the canter, working in some walk-canter transitions.   I focused on sitting upright - it's just a pole so I don't need to come into two point!  We did a good job at coming to the base of the pole.  Then my trainer moved the poles out, so we bounced through three poles.  A few times Cupid got a little quick going through, somehow the three poles seemed to make it a lot more exciting for him.  I tried to remain upright, even thinking of leaning back - which gets me pretty straight even though it feels like I'm behind the vertical I'm not!  We had a little added distraction of people moving jumps just outside the arena, but Cupid was good.

Yesterday we lunged in the round pen.  Cupid hadn't been there in a while, and had a lot of energy bucking and crow hopping around!  Initially I had him off the line, but I thought I better put it on before he hurts himself!  I'm not sure why he was so fired up.

Last Friday and Sunday we did some conditioning work for both of us - 5 minutes of trotting in 2 point, and cantering a few minutes each direction.  On Sunday we also did a little walk around the property, which we haven't done in a while since it had been so muddy.  We had a nice little break from the rain, but it's supposed to be back tomorrow night. :/

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Stormy Weather

We got a brief respite from winter, but it has been back full force the last few days.  During my lesson Tuesday morning the rain was pouring, it was foggy, and the wind was blowing like crazy.  My trainer had to shout to be heard, but the lesson was going well.  Cupid seemed pretty nonchalant about everything, even though he didn't get turned out the day before.  As we were trotting along I heard a few pop sounds.  I wasn't sure what it was, I kind of looked in that direction then reminded myself to focus.  All of a sudden a giant tree branch came crashing down, just outside the covered arena!  Cupid was understandably startled, and spun around and took a few running steps the opposite direction.  But then he came to a stop, and seemed okay.  I was wondering if I should resume a trot right away, but my trainer told me to walk a minute.  So we walked for a minute, then back to a trot.  Cupid was very good, he didn't get quick or anything.

We kept the lesson pretty simple (no jumping, didn't introduce anything new) and cut it a little short.  I was very proud of Cupid for being so good.

Wednesday I planned to lunge Cupid but didn't have enough time before work.  I'm not sure if they're getting turned out today.  If not our lesson tomorrow might get a little more interesting!
All cozy back in his stall

The picture doesn't do justice to how horrible the weather was!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The last few weeks had been going so wonderfully, I suppose I was due for a bad ride.  It started off pretty good.  We did a short warmup and some flatwork, then moved to our warmup fence, which was a little crossrail.  We jumped the crossrail from both directions, first from a trot then a canter.  Then my trainer turned it into a little vertical.  It was on the quarterline about halfway down the long side, and we were to jump in from the right lead and go around the end of the arena and loop around to jump a one stride combo on the diagonal.  Both of the jumps in the combo were crossrails, not very high but the sides were a little steep to entice me to jump the line straight (still not my strong suit).  I am still a little intimidated by combos.

The first time through we were a little long on the first jump, but okay on the combo.  The second time through the first jump felt really good, and we made it through the combo okay.  We added a third fence, the little brush box down the other side of the arena with plenty of time to adjust but it was on an angle so my trainer told me to be sure I got him in straight.  The first jump and combo felt really good, but I did not get the angle to the jump right and we made it over but it was messy and then I just fell apart and reverted back to all my old bad habits.

Another rider came into the arena, and for some reason that just made me really nervous and self-conscious.  Coming to the combo I was not straight and took my leg off.  Cupid went over the first jump, and we were pointed straight at the standard of the second fence.  I'm not even sure what I was thinking, if I was trying to get him over or out but Cupid somehow jumped over the second jump, all the way up on the highest part of the crossrail, and I shakily brought him to a stop.  Then all I could do was lean down and hug his neck and thank him for trying so hard, and getting us out safely.  But I felt so bad, I knew I let him down.  My trainer said that is the good thing about thoroughbreds, most of them will always try to make the jump.

My confidence was shot after that.  My trainer guided us through some flatwork exercises so I can regain my composure a little, then dropped the first jump and combo into very tiny little crossrails so we can end on a somewhat good note.

I was very discouraged after that lesson.  I felt bad about myself that I couldn't do better; all I need to do is sit up and support Cupid with my leg but I failed.  It just felt like I spend so much time and money pursuing this sport, I should be better by now!  And poor, sweet Cupid deserves better, he is still learning himself!

After that horrendous ride Cupid and I had an appointment with the vet.  I decided since he seems to have more frequent that average problems relating to his front feet (soreness and/or abscesses; or looks like abscess but clears up pretty quickly without any sign) that it might be worthwhile to get his feet x-rayed.  To rule out other possible causes of pain, though I wasn't expecting it but just for peace of mind.  And also to have as a base line for for the future.
Cupid was very good about standing still on a block, and patient in the cross ties.  He seems to really like his vet.  The vet took several shots of each foot and we viewed them on the screen.  He said overall everything looks very normal.  He said he would talk to our shoer about some very minor adjustments, but nothing to be concerned about.  He also recommended trying iodine or product to toughen Cupid's soles a little.  I was glad everything is okay.