"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Exercise Intolerance

To continue:

I worked over the weekend, but didn't make it to the barn until Monday. I was getting home early, but since Charles was working I was trying to get the house organized. We have NO furniture since leaving FL, other than the futon, the TV console thingamabob, the bedroom mattress, the file cabinet, a large chest for sheets and blankets (a Pier 1 Imports sale score...love that thing) and my papasan (also from Pier 1, not on sale.) So the vast majority of our stuff has just stayed in boxes, and we're currently living out of suitcases, literally. We have a walk-in closet in the bedroom, but it is rather small, so I'm trying to be creative with how it will be  organized to use the maximum amount of room while maintaining maximum functionality. A trip to Ikea is in our near future, and the first thing on the list are a 6-drawer cabinet for our clothes, and a desk for the computer.

On Monday I was still hacking, and extremely pissed. I had moved my recheck appointment for my eye up from Wednesday to Monday because I had been really fatigued at work and had been wheezing going up the stairs myself at home. I wanted to get the cough checked out ASAP. It has been a month, give or take a few days, since this started. I was done. The doctor cleared me for my eye, and then I brought up the cough issue. I saw him recoil in horror, like I had Ebola or something... The flu fear is nearing epic proportions, indeed. I knew this was not the flu, as other than a sore throat from coughing so much, I felt fine. I got tested for flu anyway, and also for strep and for mono, and they took a throat culture, too... I tested negative for all of these; the culture is still pending but I'm not expecting anything exciting on that. The doctor said it was either bronchitis or severe allergies (to what??) or a combination. He threw everything in the arsenal at me: prednisone, antibiotics, and another albuterol inhaler.

We ran errands, doing some minor exploring, picked up my meds, got home, popped my meds with lunch, and I threw on some layers to go to the barn. It was in the very low 40s-high 30s. I was NOT staying away from the barn anymore, cough be damned.

The horses were in the lower part of the field, as it was quite cold with the windchill. Some of them were clustered around the gate; Lily was towards the back.

That's Lily in the background with the purple blanket. It's supposed to be  royal blue, but it really looks purple...
I brought her in, tacked her up, and decided to lunge her first in the outdoor. She was very up, wanting to canter, and canter and canter. I had to almost force her to slow down so she could do a proper warm-up. Once she had settled down and was trotting around at a reasonable pace around me, I got on.

We had a spectacular workout. Lily was very forward and responsive, to the point where around the beginning of the session, I had her lengthen across the diagonal and, looking down at our shadow, realized that she was going in her own version of an extended trot. That trot that she does on the lunge, where she snaps her feet up and out? She finally did it under saddle! Without me even trying to get her there-it just happened! We also did a lot of canter work under saddle. I had to laugh out loud halfway through, because I had been having a hard time going up the stairs at the apartment, but here we were cantering, outside in the cold fresh air, and I was having no problem at all. Towards the end, I sat up and collected her, bringing her back into a more organized canter down one side of the arena, then letting her stretch out down the other side. It was not a very obvious change in her, as she really wanted to GO, but I could feel it.

We ended the session with a long cool down-she had broken a little bit of a sweat with all the cantering- and some backing up. I'm trying to practice this with her-I SUCK at backing up (I basically have to train horses to understand the way I ask for it), and she gets frustrated with me.  With Lily I shift my weight backwards but keep my body tilted slightly forward, squeeze gently with my legs, and put pressure on the reins, being careful to release every time she gives me a few steps. If she stops, I ask again. I know I'm missing something, because most horses don't get it on the first few tries. Lily will often try to do a turn on the haunches. lol You'd think backing up would be easier...but this is why I think I'm doing something wrong. We did 6 steps backwards, then I got off as the ultimate reward for her understanding my cues.

It took a long time for Lily to dry out. I brushed her hair backwards to get it to stand up, in the hopes that it would dry faster, and threw her cooler on. I backed her hinds more, and took my time this time, stopping, letting her put her hooves down so I could look at them in between rasping. In the end, I was happy with the results, and she seemed comfortable. By then, she was dry, so I switched out the cooler for her blanket, and let her go into her stall for her dinner hay.

I was breathing just fine on the way home.

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