Thursday, June 30, 2011

All Is Well

This is what I see when I park my truck at the barn.

Hi, mom!
Sometimes she's snoozing, other times she's awake and watching the chickens from her window, but when she sees me, I'm always greeted with a whinny. :)

Things at the barn are quiet and that's just the way I like it! I've been working a lot, so I haven't been able to ride as much as I'd like, but when I do, we go out to the round pen and ride bareback. I'm curious to see how she rides in the new gullet, but I thought maybe riding her bareback for a while would be good for her.

I didn't have time to ride today but I still went out for a visit. We worked on belly stretches, pelvic stretches, and a few of the carrot stretches. We both seem to be getting the hang of it finally.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Saddle Stuff

I went out to the barn today to swap my wide gullet with the extra wide one that I ordered from SmartPak. I took a few before pictures of the saddle on Lilly's back and then a few after I was done swapping. All the pictures here are of the new gullet.

It was interesting to observe her reaction to the saddle, though. All I did was place the saddle gently on her back and she started to get extremely fidgety. She was moving around and even started shaking her head up and down. It seemed like she was anticipating some type of discomfort from the saddle...

Plenty of clearance for her spine.
Before installing the new gullet, I could quite easily fit all four fingers under the front of the saddle. Now I can barely fit all four in there, but they all fit. From what I've been reading, though, that doesn't necessarily mean the saddle is too narrow. The saddle could just have a higher pommel than other saddles.

A bit more snug...
Even though the saddle seemed to fit her fine with the wide, I like how it fits even more with the extra wide. I knew we wouldn't have to worry about it being too wide, so at this point I think wider is better.

After taking my saddle apart to exchange the gullet, I took notice of where the ends of the tree are actually located. I've circled them in red on the photos below, and you can see how far forward the flap of the saddle is compared to the location of the tree ends.

Under the flap...
From the outside of the saddle...
That being said, if we look back at the pictures I posted the other day, I'd say the ends of the tree are at least a hand's width behind her shoulder as they should be.

Her shoulder...
The ends of the tree...
The distance from her shoulder to the tree ends...
All of this is mostly for my own sanity. I want to be able to say that the saddle does fit, and that I am putting the saddle on my horse properly. I use a thin pad only, that is contoured to fit the line of her back and withers, and "tent" it in the front to keep it from putting pressure on her withers during the ride.

So if the saddle fits, why the heck does my horse seem to hate it? I'm starting to think that it isn't necessarily the saddle itself that is causing discomfort, but rather that the saddle is aggravating something else that I've been overlooking. She seems to be a lot more comfortable since Alex did the muscle adjustments on her, so perhaps she has been having back pain?

I do think the saddles I had before didn't fit her nearly as well as this one does, so regardless, I needed a new saddle. Perhaps she has was overcompensating with her back to relieve the pressure on her shoulders, thus leading to some back issues? I've had this new saddle for over 3 months now, so why this is just showing up I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with being on stall rest for so long? Maybe it has nothing to do with me, my saddles, or the stall... I'm not sure if you've noticed, but my horse bucks like a professional saddle bronc and LOVES to run like a lunatic in her pasture. Perhaps she tweaked something new, or aggravated something old?

I think I can feel good about eliminating the saddle as the actual cause of the discomfort, though. I don't see any areas on that saddle that should cause the kind of pain she displays...

Did you figure it out yet, mom?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More Bareback Riding

Yesterday we were engulfed in smoke from some wildfires along the coast and the air quality was terrible. I couldn't breathe very well just watering my plants, so I knew riding was out of the question. Today we had blazing hot temperatures, but I was determined to ride anyway. Lilly seemed pretty comfortable in her stall, so I wasn't worried too much about the heat.

After I was done brushing Lilly, I tried to get her to do the belly and pelvic exercises. For the belly lifts, her sweet spot is really far back on her belly but she was lifting it really well. I could not get her to do the pelvic tucks, though. We'll have to work on those.

I took her to the round pen to do some more bareback riding. Although I opted to go bridleless again, I did use the rope halter so I could work on her being soft. I sat up on the gate to see if I could convince her to let me on and she walked right over to me on the first try! She was nice and parallel with the gate and stood stock still so I could slide onto her back. What a good girl!

We did our usual warm-up and then worked on whoa hunting at the walk and trot. She started out quite fast at the trot, but slowed down after a fair number of stops. She was a lot better about staying on the rail, so that was helpful, and I'm really learning how to use my legs and my seat more without my bridle. It's pretty amazing what she'll do for me!

It was also really easy to get her soft in the halter, but doesn't stay soft as long as she does in the bridle. I'm not sure if she doesn't think she has to, or if she just can't going in a small-ish circle inside the round pen.

I decided I'd try a canter or two before I took her back to the barn. Her transitions were beautiful and I was able to keep balanced a lot better than I did on Monday. (Monday was a bit embarrassing...) Lilly stayed on the rail and didn't cut to the inside, which helped me tremendously.

It was definitely a good ride!! I was quite impressed with her today. :)

Oh, and my new gullet came today, so I'm going to switch that out tomorrow and see how the saddle fits. The difference between the two gullets is only a half centimeter, but that might be all it takes to relieve any pressure she was feeling on her shoulders. Or, it might not even be the gullet but rather the sore spots on her back that were causing us grief. One never knows where horses are concerned.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Visit From Alex!

I first wanted to thank everyone who took the time to comment on my last post. Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated! I answered some questions and made some comments in case you're interested in finding out more about the saga that is Lilly and her saddle. :)

Yesterday was another big day for me and Lilly. We had made plans for Alex to come visit us again, and while she made me get up early, it was worth it to have her evaluate our progress. I also had her look over the saddle fit issues with me and after a pretty thorough examination, we decided the saddle does fit. We didn't see anything that pointed to an area that could cause Lilly pain, so Alex started looking at a few other areas that could be an issue.

After running her fingers on both sides of Lilly's spine, she noticed a few areas that were causing Lilly some discomfort. She also had a couple spots on her hindquarters and one on the right side of her neck. After some muscle adjustments, it was obvious that Lilly was feeling a lot better! I've had the chiropractor come out, I've had the massage therapist come out (and I've spent a small fortune on both), but I've never seen a reaction from Lilly quite like this! It was especially apparent after the muscle adjustment on her neck. I don't think she knew what to do at first... Alex and I stared at her for a few seconds and then she started blinking and licking like crazy. I was so happy to see her show such a release!

Alex also showed me how to get Lilly to do the belly lifts and the pelvic tucks. I hadn't been able to get her to do that yet, but it helps if you do it in the right spot. And you actually have to apply quite a bit of pressure. :)

After she had Lilly feeling like a million bucks, we headed out to the round pen. I wanted to show her how amazingly amazing we were, so we started there. I put Lilly through our usual warm-up routine and she performed as she usually does... she does everything I ask, except she does it with a cranky look on her face. As it turns out, that's my fault! Weird! As I have a tendency to do, I keep Lilly very close to me and I haven't been giving her enough slack in the lead rope. To Lilly, I'm nit-picking... and she doesn't appreciate me nit-picking when she's doing exactly what I ask of her. After giving her some slack, she was performing with a much more pleasant look on her face. Alex gave me a few other exercises to work on with Lilly and then we moved on to the actual round pen work.

She was not really listening to me a whole lot... she wanted to run around and have fun instead. I blame the fact that Lilly was feeling like a new mare thanks to her muscle adjustments, but Alex said it was my fault. Again. She gave me a few suggestions on how to communicate better with Lilly and showed me some more new things we could work on.

I'm still a bit hung up on making Lilly do the exercises over and over again. I still feel like I need to stop after she does it right the first time, but I'm trying to push past those feelings and keep going. Alex is always trying to help me see why it's good to do it more than once and to ask for finesse, but convincing myself to change that mindset is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

After playing in the round pen for a bit, Alex asked me the question that I'm sure every student of hers dreads hearing...

"You ready to try something new?"

Umm... it depends on what it is. :) Just like I need to push Lilly, she's always pushing me, but I definitely need it. So the next thing I know, I'm sitting on the gate and trying to get Lilly to stand next to me so I can hop on her back. Notice there's no part of this story that mentions how we went back to the barn to get a saddle or a bridle... I still only have my rope halter and lead. After a few minutes of convincing her to stand parallel to the gate (she wanted to swing her hindquarters away from me), she finally stood where I could slide on.

We did a lot of trotting and trying to get Lilly soft in the halter the same way she would be soft with a bridle. It took a bit of work, but she finally figured out was I was asking and I had a really pretty mare. All the whoa hunting exercises came into play and even with just a rope halter (and the lead rope in my inside hand), she would stop on a dime. She even backed up with hardly any pressure at all.

I agreed to do some cantering and it became painfully obvious that I need to work on my bareback skills. We're good on the long side of the rail, but in the round pen where we're in a continuous turn... not so good. Alex helped me find a better way to balance myself which was really helpful, but I need a lot of practice. I think I'll be riding bareback in the round pen quite a bit now.

It was amazing how light and responsive Lilly is without a saddle or a bridle. Heck, I only had one "rein" too, and while she sometimes took me where she wanted to go, we were getting the hang of it by the end of the lesson.

After discussing how responsive my mare is, Alex decided to show me just how responsive by removing Lilly's halter! All I had was the lead rope around her neck to steer and stop. The steering didn't always go so well, but I was still really impressed with how little effort it takes to get my girl to respond.

We forgot my camera in the barn, so Alex took these pictures with her cell phone. (I know I just did a post about how you should ALWAYS wear your helmet, so pretend I have one on my head in these pictures. I promise I'll wear it from now on.)

Looking relaxed and on the rail!

Even when she would speed up, it took very little to get her to slow back down.

Still trotting nicely...

And we even have a really nice whoa!
Trotting was all we did without the halter on her head. I think I need a lot more work before trying that. I'm sure Lilly would be fine, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

Another great day with Alex!! I'm so grateful that she will come all the way down to where Lilly and I are and help us. I feel like I have a much happier horse since she came into our lives and I can't thank her enough. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dressage Saddles?

I'm going to complain some more about saddles and saddle fit... I thought I was done complaining, but an interesting thing occurred today when I was riding Lilly, so I wanted to "talk it out" and see if any of you have opinions.

I was dying to ride my horse today. I thought about trying the saddle on her again to see if she had the same reaction she did the other day. When I was having trouble with my saddles before I purchased my new Pessoa, the issues didn't present themselves every time I rode... it just happened on certain days. The more I thought about it, though, the more I decided I didn't want to risk it. If the saddle is uncomfortable for her, I don't want to put in on her back again... at least not until the x-wide gullet arrives. Then I thought about working her in the round pen instead, but that didn't help with the fact that I wanted to ride.

So, I decided to ride bareback! I dressed her (and me) exactly as if we were going on a normal ride, but the saddle stayed in the tack room. It was a bit hot today but I knew if I was bareback she wasn't going to get ridden as hard. We did our normal warm-up routine and she did very well. We trotted quite a bit and then I decided to go ahead and canter. I really do love my horse... she does her very best to do what she's told, while keeping me safe at the same time. I really do need to ride bareback more often because my seat is definitely not what it used to be. I say that every time I ride bareback and then I let months lapse before I ride bareback again. :)

Riding bareback would be good for Lilly too. She is so sensitive that she ends up doing a lot of things I don't want her to do because she thinks I'm cuing her for something. In reality, I'm just holding on for dear life!

Anyway, the point of all this is to share with you that she never ONCE chomped on the bit. She was relaxed, happy, calm, and content the entire ride. Even before the canter, even after the canter, and for the entirety of our ride. Normally she chomps and chomps and chomps... but she is also normally wearing a saddle. If there's a time where she should be nervous or upset, it's when I'm asking her to canter, while at the same time gripping her sides with everything I have!

I have never had a ride on her quite like the one I had today. I've had great rides on her where she seems happy and content, but she was still chewing on that bit. Today, she was in a completely different place.

So now I'm wondering, even though the humans in her life have looked at this Pessoa, even picked it out specifically for her, and said, "yep, that'll fit her perfectly"... does it really fit her the way she wants it to fit her? Is it uncomfortable enough that she shows her discontent by chewing on the bit, and then if it gets too painful she starts exhibiting the usual signs?

Or was today just a big fluke?

Something else I haven't been able to figure out... why, if the saddle doesn't fit her, does she not seem uncomfortable every time it's on her back? Maybe that's where the chomping comes in? But I can ride and ride and ride without issue and then all of a sudden, she is too uncomfortable to move.

I've been reading up on some of the saddle fitting articles because I wanted to make sure I was putting the saddle in the correct spot on her back. The articles say, "...run your hand up from the elbow; a vertical line from that point will run by the edge of the shoulder muscle. Just behind that line is where you want the saddle to lie."

So here's the vertical line from her elbow...

And here's where I put the saddle...
Does it look like the saddle is too far forward or sitting on her shoulders? I am very careful to make sure I place it properly on her back because I know what an issue she has with those shoulders...

This picture of the saddle shows the amount of clearance between her withers and the pommel of the saddle. If anything, I think there might be too much, indicating that the saddle is still too narrow for her.

Too much clearance?
I was chatting with the BO today about all of this and she suggested I try her dressage saddle. It's a wide tree because she uses it on her GIANT Oldenburg, but she said the dressage saddles have a larger area of contact and that might be what Lilly needs. I have zero experience with dressage saddles, but I'm willing to try it out and see how Lilly reacts.

Do any of you dressage riders out there have any comments regarding how your saddle might fit vs a hunt seat saddle?  I have been told that most of the hunt seat saddles on today's market are designed for Thoroughbred type horses with high withers and a more narrow back... not for those horses with beefy shoulders and backs like a table.  The dressage saddles, on the other hand, are built for giant Oldenburg horses like the one my BO has.  A saddle made for that type of horse would definitely fit my Lilly better than a saddle made for a Thoroughbred.

The potential "problem" here is that the dressage saddle might be just what the doctor ordered, but how can I show hunt seat classes in a dressage saddle?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Extra Wide Pony

We've been having really nice weather here in North Carolina... mid-80's instead of mid-90's and a lot less humid. It's been great for riding!

Here's my sweet girl all ready to go for a ride!

"We aren't going over there to the arena, are we?"
She was in a mood today... during our warm-up, she was fidgety, cranky, and kept swishing her tail in disgust. I couldn't get her attention for anything. Normally she chomps on the bit, but today she was gnawing away on that thing and refused to be soft. Assuming she just had an attitude, I pressed on.

We did our usual routine of walking on a loose rein, stretching down, various types of circles to get her to engage her shoulders and hindquarters, and then started on the whoa hunting exercises. It was a chore to get her to engage, so I decided we'd speed things up a bit and see if that helped. I asked her to trot and her speed was really nice, but she just would not get soft. I couldn't figure out what the problem was.

After about 20 minutes of fighting with her, she got a bit more specific with her communication methods... she started shaking her head. I was wondering if her fly mask was poking her eye, or if a bug managed to get in there, or if she just decided she didn't like having the mask on, so I took it off and hung it on the gate.

She was still shaking her head after I took the mask off, but then she also started to stagger around like she's drunk... I know all too well what that means. She was telling me she was uncomfortable and something was wrong with the saddle.

NOOOOOOOOOoooooooo.......!!

I just got this saddle and it's supposed to FIT HER!! It's obvious something has changed and my saddle isn't fitting her properly anymore. She has definitely gained some weight and probably some muscle tone as well, so it might be getting snug on her shoulders again.

I haven't totally freaked out yet (and made my appointment to be committed) because my saddle has an adjustable gullet, so I can order the extra-wide and see how she likes that. The potential problem there is she's in the wide now, and the extra-wide is as wide as they get. It boggles my mind that my 14.3 hand Paint mare is going to be in an extra-wide gullet... my SmartPak order hasn't shipped yet, so I added the gullet to my order. It should be here next week.

Something else I contemplated (this is how desperate I am...), is changing her girth. Right now I've got her in a Wintec girth and their whole shtick is that the entire girth stretches, thus putting even pressure on the saddle and yada, yada, yada. I don't care about all that... I got it because it's easy to clean. I really do have a difficult time getting it tight, but I prefer to ride Lilly with a loose-ish girth anyway. It seems to not have a lot of stretch to it, though... so maybe a regular, run of the mill girth might be a better choice?

Have I completely lost my mind?

Today was a learning experience for me, though. I really should know better than to think Lilly just has an attitude. It is a rare occurrence that she is defiant and cranky just because... I should have known something was wrong and I feel bad that I pushed her to the point where she was really uncomfortable. I just never dreamed I'd be having saddle issues again. :(

Monday, June 13, 2011

ShowSheen 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner!

A few weeks ago, I entered Lilly in Ashley's ShowSheen giveaway contest. She wanted everyone to leave a comment about how dirty their horse gets, and while I think I have the cleanest horse on the planet, I thought I'd enter anyway.

Here's part of our entry:
"I'm lucky enough to have a tobiano Paint mare who actually stays clean! You see, she lives for the compliments she gets from barn visitors and if those visitors were to find her a muddy mess, well she just wouldn't get nearly as many. Not good for her image."

We were one of the lucky winners!! My new shampoo and conditioner arrived the other day and I put it to the test!

Ready to go to work!
The ShowSheen shampoo/conditioner is sulfate and paraben free, has a pH balanced formula specially designed for horses with sensitive skin, and contains pro-vitamins to nourish the skin and coat. Being that it is a 2-in-1, it claims to strengthen mane and tail hair, eliminating the need for a separate conditioner. I've been using shampoos that are sulfate free on my own hair, so I was anxious to try one on Lilly as well!

First, let me show you what I had to work with...

Absolutely filthy (and in need of a new tail bag... lol)

Hanging her head in shame... shame!!
Okay, so the before and after pictures won't be all that stunning, but I had to take them anyway just in case!

The first thing I did was take a big whiff, and I loved the scent! It wasn't overpowering, but had a very clean, fresh smell. I tried to follow my normal routine so it could be a true comparison of other products I've tried, but I did follow the directions on the bottle and washed her mane and tail first. I wasn't quite clear about whether I was supposed to leave the product in while I washed the rest of her, but that's what I decided to do.

I was impressed with the amount of lather I got from her tail, considering how little of the product I used to start. I usually have to wash her tail twice, but even though the suds were dirty, they held up enough that I only needed to wash her tail once.

After I was finished scrubbing her mane and tail, I moved on to the rest of her. Again, I was really impressed with the lather. Considering most companies add sulfates to increase the foaming action of their products, the lather of these sulfate free shampoos is quite impressive. So why do these companies continue to add these chemicals?

Anyway, like I said, the lather was great! When I bathe my horses, I don't make a bucket of soapy water, I just put the shampoo directly on my plastic curry and start scrubbing. Normally I have to add a lot more shampoo to get the kind of lather I'm looking for.

Getting cleaner...
Once I was done scrubbing her from head to tail, I rinsed. The product claims to rinse easily and I found that to be quite true. Normally I scrub, rinse, scrub, rinse, and by that time the water runs clear... but this time it rinsed out the first time. I found that to be a bit of a downside for my routine because that's usually how I get her really clean, but I thought I'd wait and see how clean her coat was once it dried before making the final call.

After rinsing her tail, it was clear I was going to need to use an actual conditioner. Without conditioner, her tail feels like straw, and this time was no exception. So I still followed my normal tail routine of shampoo, conditioner, and then added some Vetrolin detangler and shine serum.

Here's how she looked after she was dry!

Shiny!!

And soft!!
I think she looks amazing! Her white is super white, her Palomino color is shiny, and her coat was really soft! Normally I follow up a bath by spraying her with Vetrolin Shine (which is a coat conditioner), but she was so soft I didn't think she needed it!

All in all, I think this is a great product. I love that it's sulfate free and the lather is fantastic. It didn't live up to the 2-in-1 hype as far as her tail was concerned, but it was great in every other way. I'm curious to see how her coat feels in a day or two, but I anticipate purchasing another bottle of this when it's gone!

"Yay, I'm clean!"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Helmets!!

As many of you already know, today is International Helmet Awareness Day. Organized by the popular Helmet Awareness Campaign, Riders4Helmets, International Helmet Awareness Day is designed to educate equestrians on the benefits of wearing certified helmets. Riders4Helmets has teamed up with many of the leading helmet manufacturers to offer discounts on helmets and a huge number of retailers have already signed up. Now is a great time to get a helmet at a great price.

I haven't always worn a helmet. Back in my younger days, my mom forced me to wear a helmet whenever I was on horseback and I absolutely hated it. I thought I looked stupid, I was hot, and the other kids didn't have to wear one (you know, the typical excuses). As my skill level increased, she did let me get away with not wearing one every once in a while, but she wasn't happy about it. She knew I was vulnerable on horseback no matter how skilled I was, who I was riding, or in what discipline.

I always found it interesting that the 4-H rules for our week long county fair stated that anyone under 18 years of age MUST wear an approved helmet when riding english, but if we were showing western or riding in our western tack at the end of the day for schooling, they weren't required. Were we safer in our western saddles? Hardly! I remember kids always riding western when they schooled so they didn't have to wear a helmet. They did make us wear helmets for 'speed and action' day, thank goodness. Why not a blanket rule stating we must wear helmets whenever we were on our horses period?

When I grew up and moved away I adopted my very own "helmets suck" policy and I didn't wear one. Thank goodness both of my horses were easy going and fairly easy to train... Lilly only bucked me off once during her training when I was trying to get her to canter, and I wasn't wearing a helmet. I always seem to land on my head too, but I lucked out. I was very fortunate to never have a serious horse-related accident because I could have been seriously injured.

I'm smarter now than I used to be, although there have been times where I have ridden helmet-less. In fact, there are some recent pictures on this blog of me on Lilly's back without a helmet. It isn't often I ride without one, but we all know it only takes that one time... I'm to the point now where I feel a little "naked" without my helmet and I need to do better about making sure it's on my head EVERY time I get on to ride.

I used to ride in a Troxel helmet, but I eventually decided that I hated that helmet more than words could say.* I have an oval head and it's difficult to find hats/helmets that actually fit. Since I had decided I was going ride in proper attire (helmet included) I decided to drive down to the local tack shop and try on the helmets they had in stock. Whichever helmet fit my head the best was coming home with me, no matter the cost. I ended up getting an IRH ATH style helmet, which was way more than I ever dreamed of spending on a helmet, but it's like heaven on my head. It fits perfectly, is light, airy, soft, and oh so comfortable. I actually look forward to putting it on my head!

It doesn't matter how experienced you are or how bomb-proof your horse is. A simple fall by your horse can send you flying... horseback riding is dangerous and we all need to be very careful when we ride. If you don't have one already, please consider purchasing a helmet, and wear it every time you ride!

* (Nothing against Troxel, by the way... I had a Troxel earlier in life that I loved but had to replace when I fell of at Alex's clinic. I just couldn't find the same style and was never happy with the replacement.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mystery Scrapes

Another scorcher today... my truck said it was 97 degrees outside. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with Lilly today, but I had a bag of carrots that needed to find their way to the barn refrigerator. The BO had emailed me about a few scrapes on Lilly's leg, but she said they weren't anything to worry about. She said they weren't there when she brought her inside yesterday, but were there when she turned her out last night. I can't find anything she could have scraped her legs on, but you know how horses are.

Mystery scrapes...
When I saw them this morning, Lilly's right hind was pretty swollen. I asked the BO about swelling and she said nothing was swollen this morning when she brought Lilly in. I'm guessing she's just stocked up so I cold hosed her legs and slapped some Swat on there to keep the pesky flies away.

The BO's hubby has been doing some work on the arena, so it's temporarily out of service. Lilly's leg and the arena gave me a good reason not to feel guilty about skipping a ride, so I just groomed her and fixed her tail. Her tail bag has a small hole in the bottom, so her tail keeps poking out. You'd think I'd just go ahead and replace it since they're like, what? $8?

Lilly was happy about not going for a ride today, but she didn't show much emotion.

Whatever, mom...
In other news, I took myself to the "vet" the other day for some routine blood work. As it turns out, I have virtually zero vitamin B in my body. On a scale of 200-900, my levels came in at a whopping 211.

My doctor is like, "have you been feeling run down and out of energy?" Not particularly, but if my levels have always been low, I might not know what I'm missing... I can always use more energy! So she suggested I start taking a B complex vitamin and she thinks I'll notice a difference. So I have my very own SmartPak now. :)

Funny how we rush right out and get whatever our horses need, but then forget all about taking care of ourselves. I'm anxious to see if I notice a difference.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nice and Quiet

I admit my blog has been pretty quiet lately... it's something I'm actually thrilled about because that means things are going well! Things are also a little boring, but I welcome such an experience with open arms.

It's still quite hot here, so I haven't been riding as much as I'd like, but I'm still spending quality time with Lilly. It's been nice to just hang out at the barn with her and enjoy how great things are. I have nothing to be worried about or unhappy about and I love it. In the process, I've found this has given me a bit of a mental break as well.

Hopefully we'll be able to get back into the swing of things and I'll have some exciting updates to share in the near future. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Made It 6 Whole Weeks!

I wonder if Blogger will ever update the status of the blog issues everyone is having?

Anyway, we've been having 100 degree days here in North Carolina. Well, with the heat index we're registering around 103 or so and the only things loving this heat are my cherry tomato plants. I have a ton of little green tomatoes that I cannot wait to snack on!!

I actually love the heat too, but I wouldn't feel right working Lilly in those kinds of temperatures. She's happier in her stall with a hay bag and a fan. I've been visiting her, though, and we spend a little bit of time in the round pen just to keep her mind in work mode. I feel terribly guilty when I can't/don't work her because it feels like her fitness level declines, and then when I do finally get on again to do some real work, I'm extremely cautious of what I do with her. It feels like we have to start all over again, over and over and over. This ligament issue haunts me every single day and I probably baby her a little bit more than she needs. I just can't help but err on the side of caution because if something were to happen while I was riding... I'd be devastated.

My farrier came out this morning for a scheduled trim and reset. We haven't had one of those in a long time, so I was very happy to show him two front hooves complete with shoes when he arrived. He said her feet are looking really good and he can tell that we've been keeping her in when it's wet outside. The crater has grown out completely and we have two functional front hooves! It's the little things that matter where Lilly is concerned.

I hope everyone is staying cool!