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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Moves Like Lily!

I worked until 2:15 am last night as part of another overtime shift. Pretty much got home and went straight to bed. Woke up at 10:30 am only because of the alarm. It was in the mid-30s, but the snow is gone and the footing at the barn in general is a mucky, nasty, muddy mess. I LOVE snow but HATE when it melts. I puttered around the house until around 2:00 pm, when with a groan I finally put on a million layers to go out to the barn.

I want a pair of these so, so badly!

Sally's trainer was riding Circe in the arena when I arrived. The car thermometer dropped 5 degrees between home and the barn, even though it's only 10 miles away, and when I got out of the car, I discovered that there was also an arctic breeze that made it feel another 10 degrees colder than it really was. Sally was standing by the arena watching Circe and the trainer in action, and freezing in the wind. We stopped to chat. Circe looked really good - she's just starting to figure things out when it comes to contact and leg pressure. Completely different horse from when she first arrived two months ago.

I went to get my beast. She was out in the mare field, standing in the middle of the muckiest muck, and she came to me when she saw me. Her legs already look WAY better. I had to order Furazone to follow the vet's recommended treatment, so in the meantime, after clipping her legs yesterday, I applied MTG (the only product I had on hand sans tea tree oil; the products I had been using prior had been irritating her due to the tea tree oil per the vet) to get the scabs to continue to soften. The inflammation was greatly improved in just 24 hours. Her hind fetlocks look positively hideous without the hair, now that you can plainly see the scratches, but her white leg looked less pink and ouchy.

The replacement Rennie boot arrived!! I ordered a size 0 with the minimum (6 mm) cutback for her left front (the foot that had lost the boot in our epic recent adventure). I had originally gotten a regular size 0 Renegade through Mel, but after going through Lily's measurements again, I figured she might be better with the cutback for this particular hoof, since it's her clubbier foot.

I removed all the mud from her hooves and tried it on. It fit perfectly! She still has a titch of room if that foot widens, which I'm hoping does happen with our increased mileage.

The round bales are finished in the fields and Lily attacked the hay stacked by the barn entrance when I walked her into the barn. I gave her a flake of hay to munch on while grooming & tacking up. The footing in the arena was much better, thanks in part to Sally's trainer riding her girls out there, so I tacked Lily up in the Wintec dressage and we headed to the arena for a dressage school.

I removed a layer after adding my protective vest because I got hot just standing in the barn, so I was only wearing my ELT fleece jacket, Cap 4 fleece layer, and Cap 3 base layer with silk bottoms under my Power Stretch Kerrits. And my 10 Below SSG gloves (those things are awesome, btw...you can actually grip the reins with them). The wind had died down by the time we stepped back outside.

I set Lily free in the arena to watch her move. Yesterday she had been a little ouchy in the arena when I let her loose (we didn't ride), and I wanted to confirm that it had just been due to the icy frozen footing. It was; she was fine today now that the ice had melted further. She trotted around a couple of times in each direction, and then I asked her to whoa and bowed. She immediately stopped, turned, and came to me where I was standing in the center of the arena. I LOVELOVELOVE when she does that; I still grin like a little kid. She didn't use to be that good about coming to me before the move to this barn.

I hopped on and we ended up working for about 45 minutes, until the sun set behind the back woods. We just worked on the 20 meter circle that had previously been set by Sally's trainer. We started out at a walk where I asked for a more upright collected frame with occasional stops and backing up followed by a prompt transition into a forward walk to get her really engaging her hind end. We then slowly moved on into longer and longer trot sets maintaining that frame. Lily was happy to oblige. She was not so happy when I started really asking for an inside bend. Figuring she needed more warming up, especially given the temperature, I gave her a break and asked for a canter in each direction, then walked some more, then trotted some more, and returned to asking for that inside bend. She tried faking it, bending her neck to the inside but turning her nose slightly outward and popping her outside shoulder. We'd do a down transition, regroup, and I'd ask for the up transition again. She didn't really start complying until I switched gears to do my favorite exercise: the 10-10-10, which involves 10 strides of walking, 10 of trotting, 10 cantering, in no particular order. To make it easier today, I asked for the transitions in an upward sequence, then a downward sequence, then started all over again. For the initial canter in this exercise, she was lagging so I did reinforce my leg aid by tapping my boot with the dressage whip. By the second set in each direction, she was nailing both the transitions and the bend, and giving me an AWESOME uphill forward trot. We ended on that note in each direction with a circle of stretchy trot. I was sweating under my layers by then. Dressage is a workout for everyone involved!

Her canter in the arena was lovely overall. I'm just thrilled that the wonderful uphill canter she's giving me on the trails is starting to translate into her arena work. I don't feel like I'm riding a banana anymore at the canter!

No more bananas!
(Image from Google)

I listened to Pandora, as usual, while riding. Some people out there hate riding to music but I just really enjoy having the music set the tone and rhythm of the ride. It's also an easy way to keep track of time without looking at a watch if you notice how many songs you've listened to during the ride.  I have playlists on Pandora that are just for riding.

There is always one song that just really hits the nail on the head during each ride, and today's was Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger."

Totally appropriate for this ride!

I love Maroon 5. The song really set the tempo for our last 10-10-10 sets. And I love later hearing a song on the radio and having it remind me of a really great ride on my mare.

I dismounted immediately after finishing our last trot set, and took Lily's pulse. 45 bpm. Pretty freaking awesome after 45 minutes of w/t/c.  I walked her out on foot for 10 minutes.

Afterwards I fed Lily her grain + forage mash in the wash stall while removing the MTG from her legs with hot water and dish washing liquid. I then shampooed all 4 pasterns and fetlocks with chlorhexidine scrub, left it on for about 10 minutes while FINALLY being able to remove some fungus scabs from her hind legs without her protesting. Rinsed off her legs really well, toweled them dry, then applied the vet's antibacterial + steroid cream. I'm repeating the MTG tomorrow. Yay progress!!


  1. Glad that Lily is responding to the MTG. I swear that stuff fixes everything.

    1. It's like the Windex of the horse world...I just wish the smell were a little more attractive...

  2. I'd want those pants too if I lived where it snows and agreed, MTG is the bomb!

    1. I know right? They are next on the wish list!

  3. I want to have a horse's show name be Moves Like Jagger!! My trainer said no lol!

    1. That would be an AWESOME show name!!!

  4. LOL the banana riding w/graphic made me smile.

    1. I was surprised at the variety of images of people riding bananas you can find on Google...hahaha...

  5. I had the same 5 degree drop between home and the barn Wednesday night! Weird how in such a short distance the microclimate can be so different.