Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bet You'd Never Guess...

...That I own the laziest TB in the World.
He was flat out on his side this afternoon getting his tan on...too bad he knew I was coming and was able to heave himself up before I could take a picture.  
Chester: Mom, SERIOUSLY...??!!
That's twice in TWO days now!!

If there are 20 horses in the back paddocks, I would bet that 15 of them were all lying down this afternoon.  Mr. Wrangler beside Chester in the red, is proof of that.  Look at his cute little face!! I just adore him!!
It REALLY felt like spring today.  Too bad they are calling for flurries and rain for the next 2 days.
Boo Rain, Yay Spring!!!!
(humm, but, I guess they both go hand in hand.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In the grand scheme of things, I have a lot to be thankful for and truth be told it could be a hell of a lot worse.  I think immediately about the less then perfect weekend for a lot of riders in the US and in the UK who lost their Partners in Crime.  My heart breaks for them and I wish them nothing but the small condolence that their partners are now in a place where no harm, no pain, can come to them.  My thoughts are with you all.
Today was a day that has truly been a total 100% positive. First time in a very very very long time that I can say that.
1 - I had a GREAT interview with a Headhunter for an amazing opportunity with a Big Law Firm
2 - I FINALLY heard back from another company (A Non-Profit) that I interviewed with 3 weeks ago - and I am moving on to their final round, which is a case study
3 - I thoroughly marveled in watching my horse work today - on the lunge, in side reins - and the enjoyment I saw that he was having.
4 - My SO landed an incredible opportunity in terms of work. He has been at it for a month now.  While it is a major change for our relationship - it is a good one and the time we have together is total quality.  And more then anything else: He is happy. He is enthusiastic. He knows what kind of opportunity this is. That makes me more happy then anything else.
This is what I was greeted with when I came around the corner of the barn this afternoon:

Chester: "Awwww, C'Mon Mom...REALLY?!"
If I didn't know any better - I would have told you that it was the end of May back there. No wind, sunny, calm, WARM...the majority of the motley crue were all lying down.  Not going to lie, I did feel guilty in making him get up. BUT - let me tell you how GLAD I was in doing so...because I saw, first hand, just how STIFF and ouchie he is after being immobile for any length of time.  Eye-Opening.
So, it changed my approach for the day.  I let him loose in the arena so he could walk out a bit. Then I stuck him on the lunge line...there was no sign of stiffness/lameness at all.  So, I threw the lunging surcingle on him with the side reins...after another couple of minutes, I did up the side reins and this is what I saw: a horse, completely at ease, moving easily, fluidly, symmetrically and ENJOYING what he was being asked to do.  He kept his head low - there was slack in the side reins - his mouth was frothy, his nostrils were vibrating and he would snort every so often.  It was pure enjoyment for me to watch him work.  He looked amazing.
I tested him a little you didn't know he could go trot-halt-trot on the lunge did you?!  Neither did I.  His eye was on me the entire time, his ear cocked in my direction and he simply did everything I asked, willingly and more importantly happily.  Not only did I LOVE seeing this, but I also made a joke of it to him...  "See, this is your reward for being a good boy:  my ass not flopping around up there while you work." If I didn't know any better, I think he understood me.
After our lunge, we went for a hand-walk up and down the driveway - since that is where we are banished to until the ground firms up - and again, he was HAPPY.  The pickle stayed out the entire time we were walking.  I let him graze for a bit and used my hands to 'curry'/massage him all over...and we really simply enjoyed each other's company.  That horse knows more about me then anyone else.  He knows all my secret hopes, dreams, fears.  I think when he snorts when we are out walking, it is his way of telling me his secret hopes, dreams, fears...
Things always get worse before they get better.  They have been pretty 'worse' for me for a long time.  Today, there was no worse, bad, stressed, sad, there was only enjoyment.
Go Enjoy your horse and truly understand what sort of joy that can bring to you both....
I Love My Pickle...

Friday, March 25, 2011



I'm going to Rolex!!! Ha - NO, Chester did not all of a sudden become a 4* horse overnight.  The Boss, Kelly and I are headed down to watch.  Do you know how excited I am about that?! I can't believe in all the years I have been riding I have a - never been to Kentucky and b - never been to Rolex...huh, I guess they go hand in hand.. Anyways, I am so friggin excited, you have no idea.  I can't think of better people to spend the weekend with and watching the spectacular display of horsemanship and horseflesh do what they do best.  So inspiring...and we haven't even gotten there yet!!
You know what else?! I am going to be Guest Blogging for EcoGold ( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:
a -  I absolutely adore Patricia - AND I CAN NOT WAIT TO MEET HER - I think that is what I am most excited about!!!
b - Talk about a huge opportunity and honour to get to blog for EcoGold.
c - If someone has a video camera they want to lend me for the weekend so I can walk around and give a perspective from an ammie's 1st time trip to Rolex, that would be great.  Because then, I could get all technically Savvy and post the videos to the EcoGold Blog....not like I have any idea how to do that, but I am sure someone could help me out.
d - Even better - if someone can hook me up with a media pass so I can wander around like a moron who doesn't know any better with said above mentioned video camera, that would make my month.
I will show everyone my Happy Dance
Should I actually get a video camera/media pass
Can you tell I am excited much?!
If any of you commentators/followers are going to be there too - PLEASE LET ME KNOW...I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU!!!!
Chester continues to improve and we will be doing some trot poles/cavaletti over the weekend - I am sure he is just as excited as I am about that.
Humm - speaking of Chester, although he didn't become a 4* horse overnight...if you give us 4 years, I will be writing a similar post with a title along the lines of: ROLEX...Here. We. Come.
(By then, I promise to have my own video camera and promise to find the time to continue to walk around in an awe-struck fashion, as an ammie, at my first time riding Rolex...and you can BET The Boss and Kelly will be right there beside me as we do it!! I couldn't think of doing it any other way.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Mother Nature...

Joke's over. We get it. You're the best, we all suck.  Everyone else has to change their plans based on your mood. But please, please, please do not take it out on us just because Father Time dumped you.
As I was heading off to bed last night, it was alllll over the news. South-Western Ontario was going to get wallaped (is that even a word?!) with a storm. PARDON?! Someone tell the b!tch in Green that it is now Spring. I love winter - JUST SO LONG AS IT IS WINTER.
Today sucked! Cold, windy, damp, windy, cold...the only good thing about today, was that we were fortunate enough not to get to 10+cms (yes, we use centimeters in Canada all you Yankies), that anywhere from Oshawa, Toronto and West of there got.  My SO was 550' on top of an Industrial Smoke Stack this morning in Mississauga and said it was brutal.  Needless to say, their day ended promptly.
Because I am not one of the lucky ones who can a) afford to migrate South for the Winter (I don't like any of my friends who do) b) are lucky enough to live in the eventing-year-round-States, I start to get really annoyed this time of year.  Because the only thing I want to do, is hit the trails and ride outside, not to step foot inside the indoor until November...and YES, I do school outside in the rain. We're eventers remember.  So, where is this rant taking me?!  When I showed up to ride this afternoon, I was instantly chilled the second I stepped out of my car. I can take that feeling in the middle of winter, not when it is the almost last week of spring and we are going xc schooling in 3 1/2 weeks.  Needless to say, as I walked around the back of the barn to go get Pickle, they were all standing around looking pathetic - I think the horses are all sick of Winter also.  So, we compromised. I told Pickle we weren't going to ride, but we were going to free lunge...which did not come as a dissapointment to him.  It was the best he has looked since I started riding him again 10 days ago and he was definitely trotting that 10 (in which I felt the need to remind him - again - that I have seen him do it).  I actually think he enjoys being free lunged...he will stay in a circle around me and walk, trot and canter/buck-fart-gallop, for as long as I keep him going.  The way I see it, this 'freebee' of a day still counts for something as he was moving around for 40 minutes.  That is a good day off in my opinion.  Tomorrow, we will ride again.  Friday and Saturday, I will do some trot poles and he will have Sunday off.  Depending on how he is feeling Monday, I **might** ask him for some more collection and a little bit of canter. Totally up to him.  But - knock on wood - it isn't taking him long to get back into the swing of things, I am remaining patient and pushing him a little more each day. He is relaxed, although still a little stiff, working through his back and his mouth is all frothy. I. Love. It!!
Huh - I spoke too is now snowing out my window. Perhaps Mother Nature didn't hear me at the beginning of my post...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oranges Beware...!!!

Oranges are not safe in the barn when Chester is in it.  After our ride this afternoon - in which he has felt the best yet - I stuck him in his stall for a couple minutes so he could relax, have a drink and pee!!  I left his stall door open and in following what is clearly horsemanship 101 just tied his lead rope across the door as a stall guard.  I turned my back to grab my tack and as I was walking back towards him, he had stretched out as far as he could and had grabbed my orange that I had left on his blanket rack!!! Great - damn horse, ruin my perfectly good orange.  He is unbelievably picky when it comes to food and won't touch a banana with a 10 foot poll.  So, you could imagine my surprise when he ate the thing. Whole. Or, so I thought.  As I watched him in disbelief, he stood there happily slurping down the orange and making a big slushy mess on the floor.  Then, just when I thought he had eaten the whole thing... he proceeds to spit out the entire peel...He had eaten the entire orange and peeled it, in his mouth, and decided he didn't want to eat the peel...(ha - I know of some places that would consider that 'trick' a luxury....if you get what I am saying.)  I had no idea he liked oranges.  I guess we could all benefit from a little more Vitamin C!!
He cantered today - on his own. I was up in 2 point going around and around and around the sandbox and just letting him move under me...and he just slipped up into canter on the left lead...not going to lie, it felt pretty good, not going to lie, I wanted to go on, but I stopped him pretty quickly from cantering and we continued on trotting and trotting and trotting...He keeps feeling better - which is great, but I think his right stifle is bothering him (lack of muscles, problem turning sharply to the right) and I will talk to DVME at some point this week about maybe blistering it again...poor it worked marvelously last year.  We are going to continue to do a lot of walking/stretching/bending this week and on the weekend, will start with some raised trot poles so he can pick his feet up and give him something to think about other then going around the outside of the arena for 40 minutes...I have apologized to him in advance for this, but I think he gets it.  We have to do this now so we can run and jump later...!!!
The gleam in his eye is back, his 'people' are making a big deal over him when he is in the cross ties and he is snorting to himself more. I haven't been happier in weeks!!
Let's Go Chester!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Plan B

Eff you Canadian Winter.  Why?  Because it means that the work I need to be doing to get Chester back on point is very difficult to achieve.  What do I need to be doing? Trotting, lots and lots and lots of trotting. Preferably, up and down hills.  Ain't gonna happen.
It ain't gonna happen, because we are in the middle of the 'Big Thaw' in the great white North.  There is no ground anymore, only mud. I HATE this time of year.  We have been banned from riding outside so the ground doesn't get all chewed up.  While that is not good for me in the short term, in the long term, it makes the most sense.  I would rather suffer for the next 2 or 3 weeks in order to have the ground be okay/safe for when we need it most: during the Spring, Summer and Fall. 
I had the BO take a look at Chester yesterday when I was riding him.  He feels...not like Chester feels.  Not lame, not stiff, but not Chester.  She watched him go round a couple times and came up with: I see what you are saying, He is stepping short on his hind right. 
Interesting.  Interesting for a couple different reasons.  Interesting because that is the same thing that was happening a year ago when we were dealing with UFP. Interesting because he has a hard time stretching/letting go of that HR.  Almost like he doesn't trust me to hold it for him.  Interesting because he resists that hind leg when I go to pick out his hoof.  Interesting because it was his right side that was effected more then his left.  Interesting because he still bobs to the right when going around a sharp turn.
The key to getting rid of this is...yep - building up his muscles - which would be no big deal, except it is the middle of the Thaw making it impossible to get outside and trot in straight lines for 20 minutes. Eff. You. Canadian. Winter.  Getting outside is the ideal situation, however, there are other things that can be done to help over the next couple of weeks. There is always Plan B, and C and D and E and F and G and... We can stretch, bend, flex, figure 8, etc. our butts off.  We can do raised trotting poles/cavaletti in a week or so. I can lunge in side reins so he can use his butt and not have to worry about my ass flopping around up there.  We will make do with what we have, cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Regardless, I am riding, he is happy(ier) and we have been in this situation before.  We have gotten out of it and have gotten it back the point where riding is the most important the point where I need to make him trot on and push him that one final two or three steps.  Don't worry, I know my horse, he will tell me if I have pushed him too far.  That said, he is a hot headed TB, he can take the pushing.
Slowly, but surely, Chester is coming back!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's The Baby Steps That Count Most...

The majority of the time, I get more satisfaction from the small milestones rather then the monumental ones.  The small somewhat insignificant goals along the way to the Big Goal.  If you would have asked me a year ago, at this time, I would probably have been schooling meter+ grids and training level dressage movements in preparation for Bromont in June.  That was my short term goal a year ago.  My goal now is to be prepared with a happy, healthy, CONFIDENT horse going around his first pre-training in June. Sigh.
However - NOTHING could make me happier then being able to accomplish that new - revised - short term goal.  Bromont will always be there next year.  Chester is too talented to be screwed up by me being selfish and not changing my our goals to meet his needs. 
A small milestone was accomplished today.  We rode - for the first time in about 8 weeks.  I got to the barn and thought to myself - the only thing I wanted was a comfortable horse, who isn't moving like his legs are attached to boards.  Free, forward, no restriction in his movement.  Mission. Accomplished.  I did lunge him before I got on, just to see how he was moving.  If there was any sort of hitch in his step, I wouldn't have gotten on - but I didn't see anything but a happy horse so I decided to give it a shot. We walked. A lot.  I didn't want him 'collected' I did want him stretching and looking for the contact.  After a couple buckle laps of the arena, I slowly started asking him to accept my contact.  He almost went 'thank GOD' and accepted it willingly! Yesssss Chester!!  So I gave and he just stretched long and low and stayed that way.  After a couple circles, figure 8s and serpentines, I figured we would trot a little bit and while it was FAR from the medium trot we need for our dressage test in May - he was moving evenly and felt GREAT!
A couple of the girls were going to go for a hack as the weather today is great - spring is definitely in the air!! - and I joined them. We took them through the back fields, around the apple orchard, down the road and back between the paddocks to the barn.  Now, somewhere along the line, I would have liked logic to show up and told me: "now Carrie, how do you REALLY feel about hacking a TB who hasn't been ridden in 8 weeks on the first time out". Well logic - clearly you had escaped me.  On the way out, he was actually pretty calm (although he did spook at EVERY xc jump...sigh...can't wait till I have to make him jump them), then we turned into the field and his head came up, his neck got short and it felt like I was sitting on a rocket fueled spring that was about that <    > far from exploding.  We piaffed/passaged through the field, he balked at EVERYTHING and then literally marched, snorting and blowing at EVERYTHING down the road. God. Help. Me.  One of the girls I was with went "Um - he is definitely feeling better, I haven't seen him take an off step yet"....huh - interesting considering he was speed walking down the road.  If he was feeling any sort of discomfort, I am pretty sure it would have been apparent on that road.   He then decided it would be fun to jump over puddles, spook at the cows and hip check poor Casanova.  And you know what - I laughed at him the ENTIRE time. He LOVED it, was having a GREAT time and was the happiest he had been in ages! We got back to the barn and he gave me a ":if you thought that was bad, wait till next time" look.  I swear to God, if the horse could talk, he would be like an adolescent boy. 

Jen & Bridgette are in front and Abbie and poor recipient of
several hip checks Cassanova is on Chester's left.

So - I still remain cautiously optimistic that we are on the ups again.  For the next couple weeks, all I am going to do is walk outside as much as possible, then take him into the arena for 5 or 10 minutes, let him trot and stretch and build from there. If I thought I had to test my patience before - it will NOT compare to the test I will be doing with myself over the next couple of weeks.  Let's hope there are people around for me to hack with - I am somewhat scared for my safety at the moment with the raging lunatic of a 'dressage' horse I currently have...without bute!
Oh yea - I am so excited about today - that I completely didn't mention his new shoes!! I'll do that tomorrow.
Kick-on everyone!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

80% And Holding...

....holding until this time tomorrow when Chester gets his shoes put back on!!
We have a new arrival at the barn!! The first foal of the year was born on Wednesday evening around 10:00 p.m.  He is a beautiful bay, with an off-set star and on hind white sock.  His name is debatable.  I say 'Charlie'...we will see what happens.  Here he is...OMG - I could just take a bite right out of him!!!

Soooo - with the arrival of little 'Charlie', also came the arrival of DVME...she bbm'd me and said : I'm coming to see the baby around 1, can you make it? I'd love to take a quick peek at Chester while I am there.
Gee - let me think about that...
Long story short, we are allllmost there.  There is a little bit of reaction when she tests his frog and outer hoof wall, but other then that, the horse is a million times better then he was a week ago!! YES CHESTER! She feels as though the next 10% to get us to 90 will come once the shoes are back on and that last 10% from when I start to ride him again.  Which will be on Monday.  We are going to give him some bute today through to Monday as a precautionary to his shoes getting put back on.  Speaking of which - he will get leather pads and be packed with Equi-pak for one cycle...which will help him immensely.  Then at the end of April, he'll get his hind shoes on for the start of the show season!!
Spoke with the Boss this morning as she was wanting an update. She. Was. THRILLED!!! I told her I was a little concerned about being ready for May 21 and she literally laughed at me. "Now Carrie, remember last year when he got hurt? You jumped for the first time in 4 months and then went to an event 10 days later before ever schooling cross country.  He will be fine."  God love the voice of reason.  She is right - of course - we will be ready and we will rock it!
He really is starting to feel like himself again, the gleam is back in his eye, he knows spring is coming and I feel like he is as anxious as I am to get back into it.  Love him.
I am excited for his shoes to go back on. I am excited to ride him on Monday (easily). I am excited to put this behind us. I am excited for another chapter along The Embarcadero to be done.  Most importantly, I am so so so excited to be getting my Partner in Crime back.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


There is a blizzard going on outside my window.  Wicked. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE winter, but when it is the middle of March, the last thing I want to be thinking about is how long it is going to take to shovel the driveway.  Because it is so dang windy, the snow feels like little needles hitting your face.  Needless to say, the ponies were none too impressed.  Their butts all turned into the wind and snow-missiles.  When they saw me coming around the side of the barn this afternoon, they all went 'pick me pick meeee...!!!'
Chester, was less then amused.
In his stall, he sat staring out the window - almost like he was enthralled with the blizzard that was going on outside.  While waiting for Dr. Cove to arrive, I caught myself looking at the calendar on the wall.  You know the one that lays out 4 months at a time and is filled in using an erasable marker...then I saw May 21, 2011 with 'Grandview' written across it.  Grandview.  Our first event of the season.  Two and a half months, 73 days away.  I glanced outside and thought - ha yea right.  I almost laughed out loud when I realized that we have about 30 days until our first xc school of the year. Then I had a mild panic attack.  O.M.F.G - we have 73 days to get back into start start at a new jump a full set of fully decorated scary horse eating stadium make sure I don't look like a total jackass and get dumped into the water...Geeze - LESS then that even considering I haven't ridden in 6 weeks and have yet to ride him. 
Enter Dr. Cove - thank god because I was psyching myself out.  I stick Chester in the crossties and let Dr. Cove do his thing.  Chester, of course enters immediately into his state of 'relaxation'.  He is so embarrassing. 10 minutes later Dr. Cove tells me: He's all clear.
Pardon?! I think I started at him with my jaw on my knees.
Dr. Cove: He is all clear, all the adjustments have held, he is reacting as he should and his muscle mass is considerably, noticeable better.  Those electrolytes are doing their thing!
I have never done a back flip before in my life and if someone would have asked me to do one right then and there, I would have done it.  His tendons, ligaments, joints are all fine... the biggest thing now is to keep him moving!! He has - since going outside, made leaps and bounds forward.  Dr. Cove said there is no reason why I cant ride him on Saturday after his shoes get put back on. Yessssssssssssssss!!!
His feed will start to be increased again so he has the energy needed to burn off.  Him being turned out, the electrolytes, MSM and Hemp Oil have made a considerable difference in just a week...not my words, but Dr. Cove's.  It is incredible.  I would say he is at about 80-85% right now.  The other 15% will come as his shoes get put on, he continues to move and starts to be ridden.  That 15% -  a lot of it is up to make him do it and work a little harder.  As with human athletes, there is a risk to plateauing - and it is up to me to make sure I push him that one step further.  That said, it is just as important for me to understand when I can push and ask for that one extra step.  I have been there before. My horse is tough, he can handle it.  I can make him do it.  I have too.
I have 73 days to remain cautiously optimistic about getting Chester (and ME!!) back into shape and get him going like he was in December.  Knowing what we went through a year ago, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be done.  And that we CAN and WILL do it. 
Watch out Ontario...Chester, is making his (2nd) come back...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Are, Getting It Together...!!!

You know what I saw today?! I saw:
A HAPPY HORSE, who came to greet me in his field
A horse who was resting his hind legs in the cross ties...haven't seen that in months
A free trot with a rounded neck and back and tail streaming out like a flag
A bucking, snorting dragon
The pickle - out and dangling after his romp around the arena.
The best my horse has looked since December 30, 2010.

Dr. Cove comes tomorrow.
Farrier comes Friday.
I WILL ride my horse on the weekend...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Inch By Inch...

Chester was outside all day today. 
Instantly, he was happier.  He saw me coming and came to greet me.
Farrier was there - tested his reaction.  Not a flinch. Not a muscle moved.  He IS still pointing a little with his left and the stiffness is still there - but it is considerably better then a week ago.  It is more apparent when he is going around a corner. Farrier will come back on Friday and put shoes and pads on. The pads are packed - with something, but I don't remember what - and the frog remains open.  I will try to remember to take some pictures.  He showed me the pad this afternoon and it looked pretty cool.  I will also get a better explanation of what it is that is packed in there...Thinks it will help a LOT and he won't become dependant on it.  His hooves all feel the same in terms of temperature.
I think now, it is going to be a mix of making sure he MOVES as much as possible, the amazing Dr. Cove and my ability to remain patient and not push it.
That said, if we have significant improvement by the weekend, I am going to get on him and make him stretch...walking only.  That said, at this point in time next week - if there is no significant improvement, then we are going to upgrade to the dreaded Mystery Lameness Stiffness and I will have to reassess the situation.  (Let's hope it doesn't come to that as my pockets pretty much have holes in them.)  The Electrolytes are doing their thing - he is drinking almost 1 1/2 more buckets a day!! 
Day by day, inch by inch, I am getting my horse back. 
I haven't been happier in weeks...neither has Chester.  And THAT is more important then anything else.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Conversations With My Gut...

Your gut will tell you a lot and normally it is right.
Since Wednesday, Chester has been lying down during the day in his stall, with people all around him.  He has lost a little bit of that gleam in his eye, the perky ears that always greet me haven't been seen in a while. He is glum, he is bored, he is depressed.  I have been told he needs to stay inside and hand walk him as much as possible...but it was to the point where I didn't think it was doing him any good.
I knelt down beside him this afternoon while he was lying there, looked him in the eye and went 'What is wrong with you?  Something else is up isn't there?'  I could see the World behind those eyes..."Mom, this sucks". So - I took a breath and thought to myself as I sat in the shavings with him and scratched his neck....
His circulation is down which is why he is stiff -> we have been hand walking/free walking in the arena as much as possible.
He comes out of the stall STIFF -> It takes him a couple minutes, but he comes out of it once we start walking around in the arena...when he moves, it isn't 100%, but it gets better everyday.
He is bored/depressed for being in his stall for the past 6 weeks.
Horsey, has to move.
At that point, I looked at him again and said - okay buddy - you're going out.
One of the barn's coaches was there and we took a walk back to the paddocks (There was a torrential downpour yesterday, which promptly turned into a town wide skating rink as temperatures dropped over night) and I wanted to make sure it wasn't too bad.  It wasn't, so back to barn we go, on goes his Rambo and back to his paddock he went marched.  Head UP, ears Pricked, snorting and alert.
Okay horse - this is your chance to prove it to me that you need to be outside as much as possible...don't screw it up and don't prove me wrong.
I came back 3 hours later and watched him from around the corner of the barn.  He was standing with one of his buddies and I am sure the conversation was about how brutal I was being to him making him stay inside for so long....When I came around the corner, his head jerked up, ears pricked and he walked towards me..humm, this is a good sign...
We went straight into the arena and he proceeded to trot around with his nose to the ground, snorting...he wasn't 100%, but he was damn near close.  His legs and feet were cool an hour after being in his stall.
Tomorrow is another day - but today gave me hope. He is going outside from now on until he gives me a reason not too...

Sometimes, you have to listen to you gut...because it knows best.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Did You Know...

Sooooo - I get this message the other day on my FB Account from BO - Hey - Chester is on here somewhere - being fed a LOT of treats - hope you don't mind!
Apparently, there is a play being put on in Cobourg called 'Nunsense'...and Chester was lucky enough to be part of the promotional video.
Chester's 15 seconds of fame begins at 6:09 (Good thing he is super cute and didn't try to bite anyone...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Want It To Be Over...NOW...!!

Annnnnd here I was thinking that with a couple snaps, cracks and pops, I would have my horse back... Not so much.  Chester this morning, and afternoon and evening, was almost worse then he was yesterday. Ummm - I thought Dr. Cove was supposed to fix you?  I guess his magic wand wasn't working as well as it had been in the past.  Dammit!! I want my horse back!?
Logic here - Of course he is going to be more sore today then he was yesterday moron - would you feel like the cat's ass if you had all that cracking and popping going on? Doubt it. Pack your patience Missy, this is going to take a couple days.
Hey logic - Two words: EFF! OFF!
Dr. Cove assured me that his stiffness in front is because of alllll the things that were wrong in his hind end. And I am doing my best to believe him.  This is going to take time.  I mean, that makes sense right?! All his muscles have basically shriveled up into nothing and all of a sudden he is moving again.  If it were me, I would hate that. And be sore in the process of beginning to move again.  Dr. Cove was nice enough to point out where my pelvis was - and he said to me 'what would you do if you got hurt right there?'  My response was something along the lines of 'become stiff as a board'.  I guess when you weigh 1200 pounds, working out the kinks takes a while. (The horse weighs 1200 pounds, not me...ha.)  I did ride one of Kelly's horse's today - Tiki - and we had a little jump lesson with The Boss at their, speaking of sore, it has been almost 2.5 months since I have ridden - let alone jump anything - and I am pretty sure tomorrow morning when I wake up, I will be feeling much like Chester is.
He was out of his stall for 5 hours today...and I spent 5 hours today walking around the arena, making sure he kep moving as much as possible. (Not a whole 5 hours straight mind you.)  He comes out of his stall sooo stiff - it is heartbreaking..but then as soon as he is in the arena he moves much better.  He will also be the recipient of a Hot Towel/Epsom Salt soak tomorrow morning before I make him walk. 
Here is hoping we see improvement tomorrow. 
Speaking of magic wands, I could really use one right now...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And Now: The Amazing Dr. Cove...

When you surround yourself with good people, who are knowledgeable, communicate well, take the time to listen to you ramble and know how to fix things...good things will happen.  It is especially helpful when you find yourself surrounded by people with the aforementioned qualities who are good, very good, at what they do.  Enter stage Right: Dr. Richard Cove, Horse-whisperer/(human) psychologist/teacher/Chiropractor extraordinaire.  He is a big dude, has a soft spoken gentle way about him and horses LOVE him.  (I might love him a little bit too.)
In a nutshell, I can't believe poor Chester was even able to stand up...ugh: his pelvis was rotated down and to the right, several of his "L's" needed popping, his hips were wonky, his pole and jaw got cracked. OMFG.  WHY? You ask...Well....
So the million dollar question:
ME: Sooooo, do you think he got all out of whack because he was standing in his stall for so long or maybe he aggravated his pelvis when he spooked and when he got the abscess it just made the whole situation worse?!?!
Dr. Cove: -with a look that said 'really Carrie, are you asking me that question- Hard to tell for sure how he originally got to be this way.  What I CAN tell you is this.  This horse was completely seized up from standing in his stall, lack of circulation and if he was only standing on three legs the majority of the time, it wasn't helping him. 
Me:  - Looking like I was about to cry - Okay, so what do I do now?!
Dr. Cove: First of all, get some electrolytes into him. He is an ATHLETE, just because it is winter, he was still working 5 or 6 days a week right? (I nod solemnly.) So his muscles completely cramped up on him when he got stuck in his stall for a month.  Secondly, get him moving as much as possible.  He needs circulation to get rid of the heat in his front feet.  Hand walk and turn him out in the arena. See how it goes, try to get on him on Saturday.  If that goes well, then try again Sunday.  Monday he can have his shoes back on and go outside: IF the ground is soft (hahahahaha) and IF he is moving like a somewhat normal horse.
Thank-you Dr. Cove.
We put him into the arena and free walked him around for about 15 minutes afterwards...and he was looking pretty limber...still somewhat hesitant, but not nearly as stiff as he was this morning! :-) Yessssss!!!!
Ahhhh, Dr. Cove - your word is my gospel for the, let's hope for a good couple of days and that I can find my electrolytes somewhere in the basement...
OH!! You know what else?! He also said, if I wanted, to try powdered Gatorade crystals in a (separate) bucket of water!  Which I might try. 
The next couple of days are key for him to loosen him up, hope the adjustments hold and get him moving. Fingers, toes, eyes, all crossed...

Hopeful...Yet Again.

There has been a lot going on and a lot of planning has taken place and I had a moment of being super HIGH and then a moment of being super LOW and now, I am somewhere between those two emotions.  We have a plan.  This plan is absolutely nothing like the one I wrote about a couple days ago - shocking I know - and I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what was going on before I sat down to write about it because it has been a pretty emotional couple of days.
I will attempt to keep this short and sweet and not go off on a tangent and let one thought cloud my original thought which will lead me to another thought that has absolutely nothing to do with my original though. 
Monday - imagine my surprise when I am lunging Chester and I see none other then the Boss and Kelly coming towards me!!!! WHA..?! YEA!!!!  Kelly is on reading week this week and they were in the area, saw my car in the parking lot and decided to stop in!! I couldn't have been happier.  Boss watches him on the lunge - he is moving pretttty good and she goes to me "Get your ass on that horse and start riding him.  That's the only way you are going to know how he is feeling. Keep in mind, he isn't going to feel like how you remember him to feel. Walk for 20 minutes in either direction, do some circles, trot a couple times each way, then tomorrow increase it my 3 or 4 minutes. That is the only way you are going to know if he is ready."  Whoo hooo!!! So - that afternoon, I went back and tacked him up.  There was dust on my saddle. Brutal.  Walking, he was superb...even looking for the contact and stretching down into my hands.  (Please rest assured, I was not asking him to collect at all, but he was more comfortable with a little weight in my hand.) I was thrilled at how he was going. Then, I asked him to trot. Then, it all came crashing down as he proceeded to stiffen instantly.  I had one of the coaches get on him at that point so I could see what he looked like.  And he looked like how he though there were 2 boards attached to his front legs. WTF?!  I update the boss and she is perplexed and tells me she will meet me at the barn tomorrow so we can take a look.  I call DVME and give her my update.  In a nutshell:  I think his pelvis is out. This could have happened a - when he spooked 2 months ago b - become a secondary issue from him having the abscess, standing in his stall and becoming stiff.  Actually, we know his pelvis is out - but, I will get to that in a second. So, because he has gone however long with his pelvis out - he is now super stiff in front from a -not moving b- over compensating.  DAMN-IT - why didn't I notice this earlier??!! (Probably because I was so wrapped up in his front end..anyways.) Not to mention, his feet are more then likely sore because he has been standing for so long and hasn't had any shoes on for a while...he ALWAYS has shoes.  DVME agrees. She says: "Get the chiro out, leave him in, I will come Thursday to check him out." 
So, my new million dollar stupid owner question: "Soooo, why is he sound on the lunge line and then I get on him and he is crippled?" 
DVME: Well, think about it. He has found a way to protect himself on the lunge by over compensating in the places he needs.  When you get on him, you screw that all up because you are asking him to use himself properly.  If his pelvis is out, then think about what that does to the rest of his body.  Actually, think about where YOUR pelvis is and what would happen if you landed on it and put it all out of whack.
Me: Stiff as a board?!
DVME: You got it.  Get Dr. Cove out ASAP.
Tuesday: I meet the Boss at the barn.  We are watching Chester in the arena.  He is standing like a normal horse, walking like a normal horse...we turn him in a couple small circles and when turning to the left, rather then crossing over his hind legs, he pivots on his HR..huh.  So, we take a closer look and sure enough - right at the base of his pelvis on his right side - he absolutely flinches at the touch..$hit $hit $hit!!!! When he originally injured his pelvis a year ago, his right side was worse then his left.  By this time, my mind is going a MILE a minute and I am thinking: Did he maybe throw it out again when he spooked?! And I have left it for so long... $hit, $hit $hit!!!! So maybe Dr. Cove will be able to work his magic, put him back into alignment and get him sorted out.  I call Dr. Cove and tell him I think Chester is out of whack (he knows the situation) and is aware of his original injury to his pelvis and stifles a year ago.
Today: he was in the arena in the morning, came out of his stall stiff. I showed up to hand walk him, came out stiff and then eased out of it...phew.. His front feet are a little warm, but that is to be expected. Dr. Cove comes tonight at 7:00p.m.
Thursday: Our barn masseuse will be giving him a little rub long as he isn't too sore for Dr. Cove..because I have a feeling he will be a little ouchie for a day or two after tonight.  DVME will come out and give him the once over...we have talked about acupuncture for this horse and I think it is something we are going to discuss again...The Boss mentioned it yesterday too.  I think it will be beneficial to him and will help to strengthen any damaged ligaments etc back in his butt...
Friday: Farrier is coming out to put shoes on and special pads that I think help cushion his toes (because he is a toe stepper) but I don't know too much about them yet and he is going to have to explain it to me...
Saturday/Sunday: ride...maybe?!
Somewhere along the line, we have to make the decision when to start him with a little bit of bute - probably tonight after Dr. Cove or tomorrow after DVME - and I don't think he will be going outside until at least Saturday after his shoes are back on.
Chrio -> Masseuse -> DVME -> Farrier - > Ride - > Right?!
Geeeze.  I am back to feeling like a horrible owner and NOT knowing what to look out for in my horse. I guess, as always, I should have had the Boss out much much much earlier...Lesson learned - again.  You know what else I learned?! That I am NOT going to talk about his problems with the masses...there are 3 people that I will talk to about it: The Boss, DVME and Farrier Expert...Those are the people I trust the most and when you involve more people, your head just simply spins.
So - now, once again, I find myself with my fingers crossed, hoping, praying that the adjustment, shoes/pads and a little bute will get him back to normal...I did remind him today that our first training level event is only 5.5 months away and we need to get it together. A.S.A.P!!!
Ahhh geeze - this did turn out sort of long didn't it...although I do remember saying 'attempt'.
Update - good or bad - after the incredible Dr. Cove is out tonight.