Thursday, June 22, 2017

Four Days

Before my trip to see my mom in Arizona, Ashke and I were fighting. I don't know if the maxim of "distance makes the heart grow fonder" works with horses, but we both seem to be past that point. My ride on Sunday, although short, was very good. My only issue was finding his left hind swollen and with a scab on part of the scar tissue.

I went out on Monday and clipped the hair around the scar tissue, finding the skin kind of swollen, although not hot, and scaley. I put some medicine on it (antibiotic steriodal cream I got from the vet) and covered it with an equisleeve. J went out on Tuesday to hold him for shoes and the sleeve was still on. When I got there Weds night, he had managed to shove it down under his fetlock around his pastern, and the leg was a little puffy both above and below the sleeve. I swear, horses!! I pulled the sleeve off and was happy to see that the leg looked better. The scaley part of the scar tissue was smooth.

Based on a conversation I had with Saiph, I covered the scar tissue with hydrocortisone cream. Hopefully, that will help keep it from itching and he will stop scratching it open.

I took him over to rinse him off since he was a dull yellow. I realized as I tacked him up for our lesson that I hadn't given him a good grooming in quite some time because he is always urine soaked. I told him that I would give him a good grooming at the end of the our ride.

He was fantastic during our lesson. I was quiet and calm and he was responsive and willing. We've managed to get past ourselves and I think the time apart made our hearts grow fonder. Now, if I can just maintain my calm on Sunday, we could have a great show.

After our ride, I spent a long time grooming Ashke. I used the sleekez (great tool), a rubber curry and a soft brush. We went over all of the parts several times until the sand around us was littered with piles of white hair. He was so happy he completely dropped. Like dangled. Even after I took a peak at it. It must have felt really good.

This weekend will be super busy. Keep your fingers crossed for me that we maintain our cool. I'll see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Home Again

The trip was fairly uneventful. The dogs only tried to kill every motorcycle or bicycle on the road that they saw. The boy spent the night before the drive playing xbox and hanging out with his friends on line, then slept the entire drive. At least we didn't have to hear "are we there yet?"

 Skittle thinks she must be the closest to traffic in front of us.

Lily takes a turn after Skittle gets in the back seat again. Neither of them fit well with the other adult in that seat.
They are not small dogs.

 Cliff Swallows with nests.

I love swallows.

It was hot. Like 110 hot. We spent the week hanging out inside keeping my mom company, getting her drinks, food, ice, helping out around the house  and watching Criminal Minds. Oh. And playing Wooden Block on our phones. If you've never tried it, don't. Wery, wery addictive. 

 Morning we left. Sun coming up in the East over the mountains. 
I can never figure out where I am in Arizona. Mostly because the mountains are in the wrong direction.

 Salt River Canyon.
Saw the wild ponehs.
Didn't get pictures.

 More mountains.
It was very pretty at 5 in the morning.
Already 80 though.

 The one thing I love about Arizona is the Saguaro.
Don't know why. I just think it's cool.

 On the drive down, I saw this house.
It needed windows, a roof and a wall.
I thought "gosh, what a cute place, it just needs a little work and I could live there."
J thought, "that house was abandoned because everyone living there killed themselves."

 Everyone tried to pass the time by sleeping.

We were an hour away from home. Skittle was done.
I mean done.
She needed snuggles big time.

Ashke seeing me for the first time after ten days.

I had to wash him off before I could ride. He was sweet and responsive. We worked on transitions at our marks in the arena. Not much of a ride, but productive. The only bummer was that he's been messing with the scar tissue on his left hind. I think the long hair there is making it itch. I ended up clipping the hair off of his left hind fetlock which exposed strange scar tissue. It's almost like there's a scab there and the skin isn't smooth. I put some antibiotic cream on it then put him in a equisleeve (I bought these a while ago on sale). I'm hoping that keeps him from tearing it open. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


I finally realized last night that both Ashke and I are tired and we both need a bit of a break.

We got in a bit of a fight on Monday over going back to canter work after sitting and talking with a barn fellow for twenty minutes. He didn't think he should have to work and so he resorted to balking and throwing his head up. It is his go-to temper tantrum. He got swatted on the neck with an open hand and then I threatened to sell him. He must of understood, because respectful and obedient Ashke returned and we spent 20 minute cantering in big circles. We would slow and walk until I caught my breath and then canter again, switching directions between walk breaks. We were both hot, sweating freely and pretty much done with each other at the end of our ride.

One night after our ride, just hanging out

I could barely walk on Tuesday. I pulled my right calf muscle on Saturday when we were riding at PVF, plus my groin and thighs are hating me right now. I had a lesson last night and both Ashke I felt off when we started. Except he felt off on the left hind. I basically hurt all over.

 More random video

I talked to Amanda about it during our lesson. He was obviously stiff and we worked a lot on stretching out the left side. We had a great ride and he was very responsive to my requests. Our transitions are getting better every time. However, we both felt tired.

I realized that I have been riding four days a week, mostly dressage stuff, consistently since Expo. The things we are working on are more and more difficult. I know I am feeling sore and old. Like really old. I can imagine that Ashke feels the same. He's seemed tired and a bit lethargic over the past couple of weeks. I was reevaluating whether or not I needed to adjust his feed (I really don't want to add oats because of his feet, but am considering some amplify, since his ribs are beginning to show and the extra fat will increase his energy) but I think we will try some rest first.

I love watching him move

We are going to give him four days off in a row. I am going to Arizona for a week to visit with my mom, and I will have our next show the weekend after I get home. I don't want to let him just sit, so Amanda will put three rides on him while I am gone. I will do a lesson where we will ride the dressage test on the Tuesday when I am back and then we will just hack and hang out on Thursday. Then our show day is Sunday. After the show, I think we will both take a break for the week and do a trail ride of some sort the weekend after. He's learned so much in the past three months and gotten so much stronger that giving him a break might be exactly what he needs.

Monday, June 5, 2017

WE Playday

We have a show in three weeks, at Plane View Farm, where Ashke and I will be showing at L3 (Novice B). I had hoped for an opportunity to ride an EOH course before then and the BO at PVF heard my spoken/unspoken wish and scheduled a playday for anyone interested in working the obstacles. I signed up for a ride on Saturday, and then encouraged Amanda to join me with her Maggie. We ended up going and her sister and mom joined us. I was excited since it would give me the opportunity to look over the venue, would give Ashke and I some practice and exposure in a new environment.

We got to PVF way earlier than we expected and spent time outside warming up our horses. Ashke was looky but not too bad and once we were warmed up, he was really good. When it was time to go inside, I was feeling pretty confident that he would listen and not fight me to go faster. I tell you, getting him to understand the difference between EOH and Speed may be our biggest challenge. It's a real struggle. It's amazing to me that he will do any obstacle without hesitation, but I can't keep him from racing when I ask for the Canter. It became a fight because I didn't have the patience to do otherwise. I should have slowed down but I was feeling like I only had an hour to work through all of our issues. And I was a bit frustrated with his behavior. Plus, I might have been fighting the hangry monster as well.

At the end of our ride, I really wondered why we were still doing this. WE is hard. It's really hard to do well. Ashke is more fond of doing things fast than doing them right. I need to develop better coping mechanisms, remember that we should be having fun and that my relationship with him is the most important. I made a comment to Amanda and she said we did better than I thought we had. After reviewing the videos that J took, I can see that she is right. However, I can't allow the upfront fight we sometimes fall into to derail the really great moments we had.

Santori and Leslie

He's so brave doing new stuff in the arena but a complete skatterball when it comes to items on the fringes of the arena.

Maggie refusing to go through the water. Again.
She just decided no.

The first time over the jump was exciting.
Ashke completely took a long spot and jumped me completely out of the tack.

I think that a huge part of my issue on Saturday stemmed from my feeling like I was going to run out of time. That, and I wanted to treat it like a show, where there isn't an opportunity to school the obstacles. Ashke was of another mind. Once he overjumped the jump, we went back and schooled it at the trot, then the trot to canter and finally the canter. He was much more reasonable in his jump effort after the first time. 

Doing the drag an object for the first time

Again, I really thought this would be an issue for Ashke, especially since he is so nervous and anxious about dragging items behind him. But Braveheart was Brave. He was more anxious about the rope in my hand than the drag behind us. 

Maggie would do the water obstacle in hand, but not under saddle.
She finally followed Ashke through the water without a big fuss.

When we were fighting. He just was so reactive about the far wall.

And more.

Bridge. No biggie.

Double slalom

Dragging the log. 

He will not stand.

Hand on my hip telling him to stand still.

Rounding an Obstacle


Sidepass poles

At the end of the session, Ashke was hot and tired. His right hind was showing signs of fatigue and I was hot and sweaty. We spent the last few minutes just walking from point to point. Then we unsaddled, loaded up and headed home. I have some stuff to talk to Amanda about on Tuesday during our lesson. I want a solid strategic plan in place to help me deal with my frustration at Ashke's behavior. 

When we got back to the barn, I clipped Mez. He's a huge guy, very sweet, but covered in long hair. I offered to make him more comfortable and so we did that after our ride.

He didn't move. I had to use a step stool to reach his back and ended up covered in long black hair. He was so much happier when I was done. 

We picked up pizza for dinner then headed to bed. J rode Elephant Rock on Sunday.