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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Thinking of You

Fall is coming. The temperatures have dropped this week. The high today was 63.

Astarte says, "I'm a Puerto Rican Shorthair. 63 degrees is cold!" 
We had a 50% chance of rain, which has meant sun lately so I had great plans: I was going to go for a 4 mile trail run with Charles this morning. I was going to ride Lily, maybe do hill sets in the park. And hop on Gracie for the first time in 2 weeks.

The weather chose to go to the other 50% and of course it rained all day, so we just ran errands. I absolutely had NO desire to ride with this kind of weather.

In the afternoon I went to the barn. Charles stayed home and told me to give the girls a kiss for him. I thought about Beka's recent post on support systems. I couldn't ask for more with Charles.

I got Gracie from the field. Lily was worked yesterday and G-mare needs to move around for her arthritis. She didn't get formally worked yesterday because she was sore after all the poking and prodding from the vet. I really wanted to get her moving today, especially with the cooler, humid weather. The rain had finally stopped but it was overcast and chilly. I thought of Gail and her recent post where she mentioned taking a break from intense conditioning in November, and thought, "Man, I'm looking forward to that too."

I trimmed her feet per the vet's orders, and thought of Mary's comments on my previous post re: injectable HA. I was still grinning about Dr. Ramsey's opinion on IV HA.

And then I put my spare lunging bridle on her and the surcingle, and took her out to the new round pen. It is a 40 meter round pen, larger than the circle you would do with a lunge line. I failed at the picture taking during this session because I had no pockets so my phone got left in the barn. So the text will be broken up with photos from previous lunging sessions that I have not posted on the blog before. :)

I let her walk around initially then had her warm up at an easy trot for 10 minutes sans side reins: we did 5 minutes going left first, so the arthritic leg was to the outside, and then changed directions and worked at the trot to the right. Interestingly, today she was stepping short with the RF when going to the left only. You'd think it would be the other way around. There was a lot of sass: she did a turn in each direction cantering and throwing tiny bucks. Not protesting, just happy to be working.

Sassy mare being sassy on a different day. She was trotting sideways on the lunge...
And no, she is not that fat. :p Oddly enough, my cell phone camera will really distort images depending on the angle at which I take photos.
After the warm-up, I clipped the side reins to the D-ring bit on my lunging bridle and had Gracie go 5 minutes in each direction again. She was doing silly things, sometimes curling behind the bit and sometimes going above it. I thought of Dom and her recent post on Booger. Gracie eventually started going consistently in the bridle.
Like this.
The boys started bringing the horses out for evening turnout. Gracie got very "up", flagging her tail and doing her floaty trot around the round pen. She stopped at the corner gate of the roundpen and I let her stand there while the boys walked by with 3 horses each. I didn't want their horses to freak out about Gracie running around while being led.

The round pen is in the corner of one of the fields. She was stopping at the one gate that is on a corner, the one on the left side of this drawing.
The boys had to do multiple trips and I let Gracie stop at this gate each time. The problem (and I knew this would end up being A Problem) was that Gracie then tried to take advantage of this: when I asked her to work around the round pen after the boys were done, she continued stopping at this gate. I had to get very BIG with my body language. I didn't have a lunge whip with me; I'd been using the unattached lunge line to prompt her to keep going by swinging the end of it around in circles, and this was not working anymore. So I had to smack the earth next to Gracie with the lunge line to get her to continue around the round pen. Despite this, she continued stopping at this gate every. single. time. And then she started stopping at the only other corner of the round pen, and then I realized that she had me running back and forth from one end of the round pen to the other in an attempt to keep her working, while she got to have breaks at each corner. I was working harder than she was.

Ummm, no.

I put her on the lunge line and had her work a few more minutes in each direction while walking a large circle in the center so she was still using the entire space of the round pen, but keeping her from getting stuck in the corners. She obliged with a long-strided trot, no RF shortness to be seen at all.

We then called it a day.

I took her back into the barn, removed the bridle and surcingle, hosed her off outside quickly, then took her for a long walk up and down the driveway to finish cooling down. I'd had to be so BIG in the round pen that now Gracie was a little skittish when I reached out to touch her. I felt bad when I saw her reaction. :(

So we walked up and down the driveway and I scratched Gracie's neck as we walked along. And she got over her skittishness. I walked in front of her and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gracie reaching out to very gently touch her nose to my back, like Ashke does with Karen. I thought of Lytha and how Baasha also used to do a similar thing, and thought about what happened recently at a clinic with Mara, and had the idea of placing my open hand behind me...and Gracie reached forward and placed her nose in my hand. I grinned, rubbed her nose, then walked along normally. Then I did it again. Again Gracie reached forward and touched her nose to my hand. We walked along together and I continued to occasionally hold my hand next to me or behind me, palm facing backwards, and each time Gracie would lengthen her stride so that she could reach forward and place her nose in my hand. Each time I rubbed her nose and her forehead. Each time I resumed walking in a normal fashion and so did Gracie, respecting my personal space bubble. Until I showed her my hand again.

It was a fun and very sweet little game, and it made me grin from ear to ear. That mare always cracks me up. I deliberately chose to not do a prepurchase exam on her when I bought her. I knew she had some physical issues when I took her on. But that personality was way too awesome to pass up, ringbone or no ringbone.

As I was getting ready to leave the barn, Liz texted me about a friend that is pregnant. Her friend is coincidentally named Hannah, which reminded me of Hannah from The Longest Format. Liz and I talked about winter babies, and I then thought of Funder and the son that she is expecting.

As I was driving towards home, I thought of Gracie again and how I hope that she can stay comfortably rideable for years to come. And I thought of JWall's comment on her wonderful experience with Pentosan and her previous horse and thought, "Maybe Gracie can stay sound even longer?" Thank you for that comment, JWall.

I got home as the sun was finally coming out, thinking how I hope I can get a long run in this week. I read Mel's most recent post on the Orangemud hydration pack as I was walking up the stairs to the apartment.

It was kind of an odd day, but at the end of it, I thought about how everything that we post on the virtual world of the internet can affect others. The ripple effect that mere typed words can cause, and how what one person does and writes about can change the life of another. It's a fascinating thing that never ceases to amaze me. I carry all of you with me when I'm out with the horses, and today was a day where it was especially evident.

Thank you, all of you, for writing your blogs, for sharing your experiences, for following and commenting, and for being you!


  1. I was just thinking along similar lines the other day. Meeting bloggers has literally changed my life.

    1. It really really has. I never dreamed that blogging could connect people this way. It really brings to light that old saying that all things are one, you know?

  2. That cat looks so cozy! Glad the weather cleared up so you could have a good day at the barn. I've just started blogging pretty recently, and it's a lot of fun meeting other horse people!

    1. Welcome to the blog! It really is a wonderful experience. I met my two best friends through the blog!

  3. Cool post! Blogging has connected me to people in ways ai never imagined that is for sure! I look froward to that day when you come back to WV and we can all get together!

  4. Aww, thank you, Saiph. :) Really sorry that Gracie's got arthritis, but hopefully it will be very manageable and she'll be happy for years to come.

    1. Thank you Funder! I hope so too! :)

      I've never mentioned this on the blog, but here is an example of what I mean above: I started reading yours shortly before we moved from FL. While reading back on your adventures with Champ, I stumbled upon one of your moving posts entirely by accident. We hadn't figured out what we would do to get our truck from FL to VA and were worried because we knew it wouldn't make the 1,200 mile drive. You had posted about using an auto transport company for your vehicle. I hadn't even considered that as an option for moving our truck. So I started looking at auto transport companies and that's how we had Charles's truck moved up here. I'm not sure if we would've figured it out without the help of your blog! :) You and Dixie were an inspiration when it came to working through my issues with Lily, but this was a very specific thing that you posted about years ago that made a big difference in our lives!

  5. The mornings sure were crisp this past weekend in New Jersey as well. Sometime rainy days are the best days. I can't even tell you how much inspiration, motivation, and support I have found in my short blogging experiences. It is very comforting!

  6. Replies
    1. The equestrian blogging community is so wonderful!

  7. I love how everyone in the blog world is so supportive. Just knowing that there are other people out there, struggling and having successes, and writing about their experiences with such emotion and humor has been so motivating to me!

  8. Aww Gracie is such a sweetheart. It's so cool, the thing you were doing with your hand is like the target training I did with Chrome, just without the clicker!