Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In the Arena #155 - If the good lord's willing and the creek don't rise...



Indications that life is finally back to normal again: (five long months since the big snap)(in order of increasing importance)

3. Fully employed once again. I'm back to swinging the heavy hedge trimmer, manhandling the trencher/edger machine and slinging sodden bags of mulch. I've never been so happy to be so tired at the end of the day.

*It seems like recovering from immobilizing of a limb for so long is trickier than a broken bone + surgery. The arm looks and feels normal now. My hand is still regaining lost muscle, and the numbness slowly receding.

2. All chores are being achieved single-handedly, and in a timely manner. I can move hay bales, empty feed bags, and best of all, give Val a thorough trim, two-handed, and solo.

*This last development is important for a few reasons, so humor me while I digress...

Our last farrier visit didn't go smoothly. At all. Disclaimer: it was wretchedly cold, and Val hadn't had his monthly Pentosan shot, (we were waiting for the compounding pharmacy to get it back in stock), so he was uncomfortable.

My farrier arrived in a hurry and stressed out. This was a perfect storm of not-goodness. Val and W got into a battle of wills which ended up with my horse refusing to hold his (arthritic) hinds up, and W manhandling him - cowboy style. (P.S. - Val is an angel when I trim him - every time. And it takes me easily three times as long.)

I know that W believes in how he handles horses. I know that he is an equine professional, with many more years of experience than I have. I am respectful of both of those facts.

I also know my horse - better than anyone else on this earth. He is never just randomly an a$$ for the hell of it. If he acts up, it's because he hurts or he's scared. The last time I didn't listen to my gut about what was best for my horse, I ended up with a broken arm, Val suffered a laminitic episode, and my life was basically turned upside down.

So - I gave Val a full trim Tuesday, knowing we were seeing the farrier this week. I'm planning to pay W for a consultation, and guidance on any corrections. This is how things will be from now on. I can continue learning about trimming, and W will be around if troubles crop up that I can't handle.

1. Best for last! Back in the saddle for real - post injury rides 2 and 3 this week. It feels so good to be on my horse again. SO good.

I'm riding bareback. Val's topline is non-existent, and his saddle won't be comfy until we build it back up. My goal is simply to increase our fitness slowly, at the walk for now, and focus on biomechanics (mine) and Val moving out with energy. Most importantly, me being clear and consistent with my requests and aids, and Val responding immediately and softly.

So far so good, with some fluid turns on the forehand and backing. Val seems very happy for things to get back to normal. He gave me a nice grooming during post-ride tack cleaning the other day. Later on he happily cantered back from the far end of the grazing pen when I called, bouncing to a stop right in front of me with a satisfied snort. Supreme cuteness.

Arena footing - perfect

Lady - you best be retrieving a cookie!

Check out the lipstick on my goofball of a pony

It feels like we've got an opportunity for a fresh start. And there aren't any funds in the foreseeable future for lessons or clinics. I'm going to have to dig deep, step up to the plate, pull on the big girl panties... etc. I've begun to quell the anxiety that built up from not riding for so long and sustaining a horse related injury. I've reorganized goals and priorities to be more realistic. I'm hoping to regain the joy that riding my horse should be all about.

One day at a time...

32 comments:

irish horse said...

Yeah for all of it! You really explain perfectly how hard it is to get back on track, and I feel Spring is here, with fresh ideas and experiences. Here's to more great rides, learning to trim, and riding joy.

Karen Burch said...

Sounds like you have a great equine partner to do it with and there is no rush to getting back into it. Consistent riding schedule is more important than the length of the ride. Ashke and I started with five days a week, but only twenty minutes a day, because neither of us was ready for more.

jenj said...

So glad to hear you're back in the saddle - or at least, back on the pony! And back to work, single-handedly. It's SO hard when you're used to being mobile and independent to suddenly not have that.

The Dancing Donkey said...

Very happy for you that things are finally going well again. It takes a lot to come back from a bad injury, well done.

Kate said...

Glad you made the decision you did on your farrier and listened to your horse - we have to be advocates for our horses and it's good that you're able to do your own trimming.

And very glad you're back on board again. I know what you mean about post-accident anxiety.

Hannah said...

Woohoo, recovery! Glad to hear all the good news.

billie said...

Enjoy the journey! We warmed up and are back in a cold snap right now, but I think today will warm up nicely so I can get back to riding.

Good for you for standing up for Val wrt trimming. If you ever want the name of someone else, I know someone (very very good woman trimmer) who would probably head your way periodically to do consulting in exchange for a weekend of boarding to ride on the beach. She is incredibly gentle and yet also no-nonsense/no drama - she trimmed Salina and the donkeys and taught us a lot.

And, so happy to hear you're back to work and that life is getting back to normal!! Yay!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

So happy for you! Everything seems to be getting back to normal.

Love the pictures of you send Val. You both look so happy. I'm sure he's missed your rides together as much as you have. I see a great time ahead for the two of you :)

L.Williams said...

Last picture says it all.

Annette Mickelson said...

Excellent news on all fronts!

Val said...

I love your arena! Glad that things are getting back to normal for you and Val.

tailsfromprovence.com said...

I don't know how you are restarting bareback!!! Both of mine have horrible razor blade-y spines & Aero's is compounded with a high withers. All that aside, it's great that you're back in action xx

Tiia said...

Lovely weather! Sun<3

Jen said...

How exciting, I'm glad you're finally able to get back to normal!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Do whatever you feel comfortable doing on your rides, and you will realize after awhile that you are back "up to speed." Glad that life is finally starting to feel normal again!

eventer79 said...

Yay for riding and recovery!!! Congrats, I know it feel so good!

Wolfie said...

Loved this post! Congratulations on feeling healthy, happy and focused.

Sarah W. Kinninger said...

Love the cocked-ear-waiting-for-a-cookie picture- Dassah will be minding her own business, and as soon as she hears the zipper on my jacket pocket, she is craning her neck and perking those ears. Love giving them to her from the saddle just for that.

So glad you are back in the saddle! You have a giant virtual support group here for you!

The Equestrian Vagabond said...

Yay! congrats! I know just how you feel.
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Bakersfield Dressage said...

Yah! :0)

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Good for you for getting back on! It's always hard after time off, especially from an injury..
Enjoy those rides! I'm hoping to ride this weekend--damn you winter!!
I also completely know what you are talking about re' the trimmer and battling and witnessing the argument and I too step in. It's either the trust they have in us, or the height we hold their leg/hoof at that they are used to but sometimes I just say--Let's give him a moment, or let me do this for a minute. If they don't like it--buh bye. I've been down the road wayyyy too many times keeping my mouth shut and I simply don't. I am always respectful as you are to their profession but I have my horse's voice too.

baystatebrumby said...

Well all right! Things moving in all the right directions! Well, with the exception of your rushy and cowboyesque farrier. These things happen. Sorry to hear that Val felt hurt or scared. I NEVER like to hear about an animal feeling that way, even if it is part of life on earth for so many. Sigh. But the good news is he has you all day all the time. A fabulous pairing! Woot Woot to spring and mended arms!

juliette said...

This is a very happy post - except for the farrier part. Glad that will never happen again - you are there for Val and will keep him from unnecessary stress like that!

Sounds like you had great rides. Keep it up - enjoy that pony! He is just adorable cantering up from one end of the arena to you and also the post ride grooming - too cute! I love Val from afar!

Terry said...

Holy molly! I had no idea you were hurt! So so so sorry! So glad to hear you've mended!

Victoria Cummings said...

Ah, the sweet continuum of life - healing, riding again, not having to think twice about standing up for your horse, gaining strength and recovering from pain - so happy to read that everything is on the up-swing for you and Val! There's much wisdom in what you write.

Austen Gage said...

It must feel soooo good to be getting back to normal. :)

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Haven't heard from you in awhile, just checking in!!

Samantha Hobden said...

Hi - Why not come and join Haynet which is the UK's No1 Equine Social Blogging Network. Not only will you meet fellow horse bloggers but will generate more interest and traffic to your wonderful blog. Come and visit www.hay-net.co.uk

baystatebrumby said...

Come back! We are hysterical, backward and very crooked without ya.

Hannah Hooton said...

Hi Calm, Forward, Straight,

I am an equestrian novelist soon to release my new racing romance, Share and Share Alike, and was hoping you might consider reviewing it on your site. Drop me a message if you’re interested.

Best wishes,

Hannah Hooton (hannahhooton@yahoo.co.uk)

Terry said...

Okay, my friend, how are you? Getting worried :(

eventer79 said...

Just checking in to make sure y'all are ok after the storm! Get some rest!

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