Thursday, March 29, 2018

We got to jump!!!

And we had a blast!!!! Yay!

It was a lovely sunshiney day and we had a great ride. We jumped and worked on some things and dusted off some cobwebs. The first half of the ride Dan was a little lazy and behind my leg but he suddenly perked up mid way through and got bold and a little bit sassy. :) 

We started out working on me and keeping my crotch in the saddle but my butt back. We did some jumps and Dan was bored. Beth said that he needed to open his stride but stay connected so we did some bending lines. It was fun and we managed to do somewhat okay. Dan had to stay in front of my leg and stay connected. When he wasn't connected, he jumped very hollow. But when he stayed connected he jumped round and up into my hands. It was a much better connection and created a much better jump. But in order to keep that connection I had to use my leg. And I had to release then because when he was using his back, he had to reach. So... it worked though. His jump improved and between the fences improved. 

Then Beth noticed that Dan was really falling in on the right shoulder (seriously Dan... cause it was the left shoulder recently... sigh) so she had me almost leg yield him out to the left to get him from leaning in. Inside leg to outside rein. I really wanted to counterbend him, but that was not the right answer. So we got him upright on that shoulder and his jump improved. 

It was a fun day!!

And he had a blast too. He's acting like normal Dan again instead of grumpy Dan. Much happier and cute and almost snuggly but still cheeky. He was lipping on my shirt today and pants... essentially baring his teeth but not using his teeth... like a sassy little boy. I'm so excited that he was having fun today!!

And then... I saw this photo and posted it saying that Dan needed his own facebook page....
And then literally ten seconds later I went in the kitchen and saw this...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Good Friends

Ahhhh..... I feel so much better. 
I have great friends. And God is Great!

Beth said she would ride Dan so that we could see if he was really lame or if it was just me creating the lameness. So... I hopped on first and walked him around and did a tiny bit of trotting to make sure he wasn't feeling super frisky. :) He was fine. He trotted around on the buckle like an old hunter. So I let Beth hop on. (Not that she couldn't handle it... not at all. Mostly because I didn't want her to have to deal with any shenanigans because I wanted to get to the root of the issue. I wanted answers!)

He was good for her and she started trotting. I could see the lameness. And it was still in the front end only. (I thought anyways). It looked very much like he just wasn't pulling that front right as far forward. However, he wasn't really head bobby like I felt like he was with me. So... she was working and then my phone rang and it was Dr. G. I answered and we talked and basically he said that it was fine to keep riding and working him. He said that I wouldn't do any irreparable damage. He also said that I can jump but that I should ideally avoid it for as long as possible but still be able to prep for Gibbes. So that put me at ease. So Beth kept riding him and the longer she worked him, the sounder he got. She said that she felt it at the beginning, but it was more of a tightness than a lameness and that she felt it go away after a few minutes in. She thinks it really is a connection issue. And sure enough, he did look pretty darn good. 

So... between seeing him go and seeing him be 95% sound and not head bobbing and hearing Dr. G say that I won't make him any worse... I'm feeling much more optimistic now. 

Beth rode him for a little bit and then had me hop on. So... the things I learned today... (which are the same things I've been hearing from everyone, but.. I'm a slow learner)
  • Dan doesn't want to take connection on the left rein. He is heavy on the right rein and wants to throw his right shoulder out and overbend to the left to avoid the left rein, especially when tracking to the left. So..
  • Tracking left: Keep a passive connection on the right rein (Passive meaning following but supportive). Keep a very active connection on the left rein. I cannot cross over his neck, but I can lift or widen or take my hand back to my hip on the left to keep the connection active. I also need to keep his neck straight this way. And potentially even counterflex him a little bit to get him to take contact in the left rein. (And yes... THIS is what Cindy was telling me the other day that I couldn't remember). Once I get the connection in the left rein, I can allow a little bit of flexion. But it's not in the neck. It's at the poll and jaw. I should see his eyelashes and that's about it. So... I don't have to focus so much on the shoulder and keeping that right side collected as I need to focus on getting an active connection in the left rein. But not by just holding onto it. By using my seat and legs and core and elbows. 
  • Tracking right: Keep a passive connection on the left rein and create flexion in the right rein. I need to be careful that he doesn't overbend and I only need eyelashes and maybe a smidge of his eyeball. 
So yep... we worked on that and it was lovely!! Dan felt really forward and his back was lifted. And I had a solid connection in both reins. It was awesome. We got some really nice work out of him. And.... I didn't feel the lameness or the head bob!!! YAY!!! Well, not until the very end when he got a little tired. And it was very much a connection issue at that point. He was almost bobbing in and out of the connection. It's hard. And he was tired. So fair enough. And... as an added bonus.. he felt so good that I think my butt was staying in the saddle rather than being popped out of it. :) Yay!

So yep.. I'm feeling a lot better about life now. Although there is still that feeling that it is very tenuous and we are still behind and I still suck. And then there is the guilt about how my happyness is tied up in my horse and being able to ride and do... and that's not right. But.... I have been praying that God helps me find my joy and happyness again. And of course, it would be great if it's because he heals Dan, but... mostly that I just find my joy and happyness. And as bad as I was feeling... it kind of had to be God. And maybe a combination of getting over my period.. the sun coming out briefly.... Good friends willing to go above and beyond and help and be there and listen and commiserate and help me feel better. But.... I'm going to say mostly God. So... hopefully I can continue to get happier and Dan will get 100% sound soon and....  yeah... 

Danimal was a tired puppy!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sunday... a bit more fun day

He felt a little better so we did a tiny bit of XC Jumps, because... my soul needed it and that doesn't seem to aggravate his shoulder

Lazy Sat

Lazy hack....  Dan was not wanting to do much more than walk, so that's all we did.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Ugh... I just want to cry. I did cry. A lot. And I know it's stupid and I just need to get over it and keep chugging along, but... I'm just so freakin' tired of the frustration. I'm tired of trying and trying and not getting to do... not getting to progress... not getting to show. And I know... that's horses. And in the grand scheme of life... it's a horse. But for crying out loud... I'm just tired of being unhappy and frustrated. I just want to be back in hollyland... I am just done. I feel like we put in our time... I did the rehab. He was all healed, but... now we're still not right. And either it's because he's still broken or because I can't ride properly. I just want to have my happy sound pony back.

And then... to add to my crappy week.... Yesterday after my lesson I worked on a few horses and one of them leaned and yanked and I felt it in my shoulder/neck. I knew it was bad but didn't realize how bad until about when I finished the horse and picked up my stool. OUCH. I managed to be able to do the two dogs I had to do that day, but was is so much pain by the end of the day that I literally collapsed on the barn aisle in tears. It felt like someone was stabbing a sharp hot rod into my shoulder/base of my neck on the left side. Turns out.. I am pretty sure I subluxated my first rib, which was compressing the brachial plexus ganglion nerves between my clavicle and my rib. So it felt like a spasming charlie horse but worse. I've never had that kind of pain before.... I managed to blanket and turn the ponies out and came into the house. Mike had gotten me some tens units (as he had already lasered me before I did the two dogs) and some heating pads. With the tens unit on the pain was bearable but as soon as it stopped I was in pain again. I did 1.5 hours of the tens unit and then went to bed. I woke up at 3 and 5 am and had to do the tens unit again. Luckily I was able to get to my chiropractor in the morning and he fixed me. It hurt like a mother when he put it back into place and I thought I might vomit, but.. it worked. But at the moment, I wasn't sure it was going to work as it was still pretty sore. I ended up postponing UGA for the day and went home and took a 2.5 hour nap while icing my back. I woke up and felt soooo much better. It's been achy all day, like I got tased repeatedly there, but the searing pain is gone. This I can handle! But unfortunately, it's a bitter cold windy day. A high of like...45 with impressive winds. And tomorrow, my real day off, is supposed to be no wind, sunny, and warmer. I was looking forward to riding Dan and riding Fleck (finally.. it's been too long) and doing some yard work. But nope... now I have to take today as my day off and work tomorrow at UGA. Ugh... 

I did finally decide to go ride though. I figured I could do an easy hack and not risk injuring my neck/shoulder more. I almost didn't as it was cold and windy, but... then Mike was irritated with me and I just.... am so frustrated and annoyed, so.. I did. 

And.. it wasn't a bad ride, but it wasn't great either. I'm tired of "meh" rides. I want a good ride. I want to feel like we're ready to go show. We hacked and did some hills. Dan spooked at a small downed tree branch at the beginning of the ride but was great otherwise. Until we were trotting along Possom Trot and almost ran into some deer. Dan stopped short and I plowed into his neck, but luckily didn't come off. Then we did some cantering in the fields too and jumped one little log. Then we went to the jump arena so I could feel him out, and yep.. he still feels like he's head bobbing to me. We did a little bit of leg yielding and I worked on not arm wrestling his face and it was a little better, but still not what I want. Then the jumps were super low, so we popped over a handful. He was good but we weren't really focusing on anything so I'm sure we just plopped over them. 

It was a pretty day though, minus the wind and cold. 

Dangit man.....

Ugh.... why?!?!!!

I'm so frustrated. 

We had our lesson with Cindy today, which I was anxious to do because I wanted to see if he was better with contact. And... nope. :( Sigh.... He felt looser and more swingy but when I took up the contact, he felt much more head bobbing. To the point that since Freddie was there, I even asked him to check his feet for me in case it was a hot nail or something. Nope... Of course not. That would be too easy. 

Cindy said that he was very even but that I was arm wrestling him and holding him rather than encouraging him to lift. I had to try very hard to listen and do what she was saying. Not because I don't think that she's right, but because I was so worried that he's still lame. And it's frustrating that he's either lame or I suck as a rider and can't get him to go properly without looking lame. Sigh... Lose Lose. 

But... we did get some good stuff out of the lesson. He felt like he was going in much more of a hunter frame, but he was lifting his back some. And I was able to get my hips to cooperate a little. I was pushing off of my toes, so Cindy was telling me to stop bracing on my toes. So... I admit it.. I got a little angry and was like "FINE..... How's this?!" and basically lifted my toes up so much that I basically picked my feet up out of the stirrups. Because I swear... I think I'm doing it, but clearly I'm not. Because once I did that, I found my seat better and my hips opened more like they are supposed to. It's just hard to get my legs to cooperate and my seat to not tense up. Then I was slapping the saddle with my butt, so I had to focus more on gliding, which did help and it did get better. 

So... some good stuff in there. Cindy even said we were getting something... I can't remember what exactly now, but... something got really good. :) 

Sunday, March 18, 2018



Oh happy day!! For multiple reasons. I'm not sure what happened.... I had a friend suggest that Danny might have sand in his gut and maybe that's why he was extra grumpy. So I started him on metamucil last night. We'll see if it helps. Maybe it was that. Maybe it was the jumping on Friday. Maybe it's the stifle injection finally kicking in. Maybe it's the fact that he knew we were going to get a jump lesson.... I don't know. But he suddenly seems MUCH happier with life. Much more like his pesky dennis the menace self instead of suddenly the sullen angry nasty Dan. And who knows?! Maybe it's me. Maybe I woke up on the right side of bed for the first time in awhile for the same reasons that I think Dan is happier.... we get to jump!!

We hauled to Morning Run for a lesson with Beth. And it was such a beautiful day too! We got there early and went for a quick spin in the fields. And Danny was Animated!!! He was springy! Holy moly was he springy! He was power trotting and tossing me out of the saddle almost. :) It was glorious! Wild.. and a little bit almost out of control. But I was so happy he was feeling good again. We didn't spend too much time out there as I only had 15 minutes before my lesson, but we had fun. We did a little canter and then he almost got a little fast and almost bolted but I was able to contain him. :) Good boy. Then we went and had a jump lesson. YAY!!!! FINALLY!!! It's been 7 months almost to the day. 
We had a good lesson. Beth started us out over a cross rail just... trotting over it both directions. Oh man was I rusty!! Jeepers. I kept jumping ahead of him and putting way too much effort into it. I was throwing my shoulders too much and getting my butt out of the saddle too much. Beth had me put the reins in one hand and put one hand behind my back as we jumped. That made it so much better. She said that I had to think about keeping my butt in the saddle and then pushing my hips back a bit. She said I was getting too forward. Aha! Yep.. I forgot. So we got better. Yay. Then we did a pole to a cross rail then a two stride to another cross rail. And it was the same thing. She had me get him a little bit together to the pole and ride to the pole, then I softened and let him do the rest. He was good. I was bad. But I got better and better. He was actually pretty straight at first and then when he wasn't, with my hand behind my back, I had to use my legs to steer. We did pretty good. He kept landing on the wrong lead but when I looked, he landed on the same lead. So yay! Then we added a little tiny mini course. We did the two stride, then turned and came around the corner and diagonal across the arena we did another cross rail, and then a turn and around another cross rail. Beth said that it has helped her to start counting from the corner. She said that we will count related distances and it helps, but that if we start counting from the corner (and pretending it's a related distance) it helps. So I did that, and she was ride. It does help. We had a rough round or two... mostly him getting behind my leg in the two stride the first time, but then we had some decent work. Both him and me. :) And... Beth said that she was quite impressed. She said that she actually expected much worse and that he did really well. She thought he was jumping better than he was before the time off, so whether it was the injection, the time off, him growing up, the increased flat work, or whatever.. he looked really good. :) YAY!! She also said that he looked much better up front. I agree. He felt pretty darn good. Oh, and in the beginning, she wanted me to warm him up in the canter by asking for a bigger canter. And if he didn't respond, whack! But he did. He was quite happy to go forward. Yay!!!

When we came home, we decided to try out the boots and practice! I just stood him in them for a minute. No ice, no water. But he was good. He didn't panic and didn't move. Granted, he was in cross ties, but still. Good baby boy!! Ah.... I'm so excited. I really hope that we're on the final upswing now and can get back to going and doing and not stressing and worrying nearly so much. :) Fingers crossed and praying hard. I'm so grateful for everything and trying very hard to not get greedy, but man.... I cannot wait to get out on the XC field and do some galloping and ... just get back to it!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sneaking one in

So... sometimes I like the time change. Sometimes I get off of work early enough that I can sneak in a ride and don't get stuck working til dark. :) Yay! Today was one of those days. I was kind of depressed... I was afraid that Danny was still going to feel terrible and I was tired of being cautious and doing all the right stuff. I know... stupid.. But still. I was just irritated and grumpy. I almost didn't ride. BUT.... Mike was so nice about it and I knew I wouldn't get to ride Saturday. Partly because it was supposed to rain and partly because it was Mike's Saturday. So I rode... 

And I'm so glad I did. We had fun. I decided that today was a "No agenda" day. And if some logs happened to get in our way, we might just have to jump over them. Danny felt good, but still wasn't chomping at the bit to go and do. But we had fun. We mostly walked. We did all the hills we could find. We trotted some. We cantered some. And.. we found a few logs to jump! (And I'm so bummed because I have a video of us jumping a lot into the sunset but my phone somehow erased it. Ugh!). He was great. He just cantered and jumped out of stride. Granted, we were just hunter-ing it... nothing fancy. But still!!!!

It was a good ride and I think we both had fun. We finished up jumping a few little logs in the cross country field too. :) Cause, you know?! :)