Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What's Up With Courage

Lately, this blog has been mostly SB having meltdowns and stress shopping, which is pretty good entertainment I think. But hey, my wild-mustang-dressage-stallion is still burning hay, so I thought you might want to know what's going on with him.
rawr
When we (more or less) left off, he was in pro training 2x a week and I was riding the other days. Then BAM no riding for me. Between the godawful weather and Courage being a "challenging" horse, trainer said that riding him 2x a week was a hazard to everyone (she's not wrong) and we agreed to pick up again when I'm back in the saddle.
tail straight in air=no fun for anyone
Courage was essentially untouched for the month of December. It was mostly because I was at home in crippling pain, but Lindsey made me feel good about it by saying he probably needed a brain reset anyways and maybe a month to himself would give us more information and let him de-stress a little.
all wild mustangs wear blankets. yes.
Welllllllll let's just say the information I garnered was that Courage does really, really poorly with time to himself. The horse went feral. He was uncatchable. Un-handle-able. Unlikable. He spooked at everything and the few times I saw him, was a complete idiot. Like. Let's not talk about the night it took me 45 minutes to catch him in the indoor and then he soaked through two coolers. (And made me late on pain meds and omg that night hurt very very much).
horse shaming has it's own billboard
I'm finally starting to feel human again (many thanks to Ashley the Ninja Goddass, aka my Physical Therapist), so Courage is going back to work. Auntie Crystal recommended vienna reins for him, and despite my initial misgiving, these babies are life changing for Courage.
um hellooooooo
However, godawful weather has been a constant around here. Not a joke--we're breaking all the records since before they started keeping records. Which is stupid. But regardless, between me feeling like a steaming pile of poo most of the time and the roads being somewhere between "dangerous" and "terrifying" for most of the past few weeks, I get to the barn about three times a week.
who recognizes this horse? i do not
We're just lunging in vienna reins, which is actually super interesting to do with Courage, but not super interesting to talk about doing. For example, Courage physically doesn't understand how to step up into the canter like a dressage horse--he just tenses his underneck, braces, and flings himself. The shit transition translates into a shit gait and the whole thing is a shit show.
what? no. surely not this horse!
So. Since I can't ride, I've spent lots of time experimenting with how to explain to Courage that he can step up from behind and stay soft in his body. We do lots of spiral in/spiral out with w/t transitions until he's forward and through. And then we do trot/canter transitions with the same idea and just stay calm and patient.
withers lifted, hind legs stepping through. omg.
See, most of you checked out already because lunging is massively boring to do, much less to talk about doing. BUT. You'll notice that is a canter picture. And I don't usually post canter pictures because canter is not our thing.
i made a trail of shavings over the ice!
The Ninja Goddess says riding is 1-2 weeks out. The realist in me says riding a certain Wild Mustang Dressage Stallion with no turnout in a spooky indoor with snow sliding off the roof in subfreezing temps is not a great idea for a recent neck injury, even when one has a brain injury to impair one's judgement. The weather man says we're in for a deep(er) freeze.
this is why you have no friends, weatherman.
But spring is coming, I will get better, and someday, I will sit on my horse again.

Dammit. Just you wait.

43 comments:

  1. Your whole situation has been rough lately, and I'm sorry :( My red horse does not do time off, either, and it makes it really tough to enjoy any forced or otherwise horsey downtime that comes along. Knowing my horse is slowly reverting to being a #feralredhorse with every day drives me insane.

    The fact that you can do so much on the lunge line is so impressive to me, though. Mad skillz. And that shirt is sogreat. Seriously.

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    1. If this keeps up, I might learn to long line. Fingers crossed we don't come to that.

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  2. So interesting he doesn't do time off. Does he get much turn out? I'm right there in the no riding it kinda sucks boat with you. Though I don't have an arena to anything productive at all in so good for you that you took up the lunging alternative. In curious to see when you are able to ride again how you feel like that affected him.

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    1. He's turned out for hours every day when the barn isn't a solid sheet of ice. So most of December, he was out for every single day. Less so now because of said ice, but since I'm working with him, he's being totally reasonable. Oh horses.

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  3. Your lunge skills are better than my riding skills, if that's any consolation (prolly not tho). Hopefully by the time you're cleared to ride the weather will be more....cooperative... And you'll have so many pretty things to play with and fun new media 😁

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  4. I need to steal your lunge skills. Good on you for having patience (it totally sucks) and I hope you're healing up quickly!

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    1. I have watched every season of Bones. I either need to get better or find a new show. #struggleisreal

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  5. I feel your pain with the weather. Its killing me. I am not even impaired physically, but the weather is too bad for me to consider riding psycho thoroughbred. Unless I want to end up impaired physically.
    The ice is so bad I haven't even been able to get my horse from his pen to the indoor arena in a week. Your shavings idea is great though. Might have to attempt it this week so my horse and I can actually walk places!

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    1. It is a big waste of shavings, especially in the wind, so either buy them yourself or make sure whoever does is ok with it.

      But it works, hooray!

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  6. I'm always impressed with your ability to lunge and hold a phone. I am not that talented. Hopefully the weather will get its shit together and the lunging will reinstall a brain and you will continue healing.

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    1. I will say it is hard to replicate the quality of work I can get when I'm not holding a phone, but obviously, we can overcome.

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  7. Winter is literally the worst. Its times like these I contemplate moving to TX then I remember I hate summer more than I hate winter

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    1. There are so many more things wrong with places that don't get winter. Plus I'd be missing prime riding season instead of ice sheets and awfulness.

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  8. Glad you're starting to feel better. Great firefly shirt! M

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  9. Dude he is looking AWESOME with the Vienna reins! Love how he's figuring out the canter! Also your lunging/photo skills are enviable. Whenever I try to lunge and take pictures they come out blurry or just... not good haha

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    1. Vienna Reins are my new favorite thing. <3

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  10. Better being laid up over the winter when the shit weather is a good excuse not to go out there anyway than missing the fun of taming a wild stallion in lovely, sunny, warm weather! Also what I had to tell BM when she was like, "I think Pongo might be trying to kill himself or me, so we're going to slow things down even more which kind of makes me feel guilty." Suck itttt, winter! All the more time for Netflix!

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    1. If it was 70 and sunny, I'd be in the tack already, no question. Eff you doctors. What is med school good for anyways?

      So yeah hopefully older me is really grateful younger me is in the middle of a record breaking winter. Because I am. And it sucks.

      Netflix and I are embarrassingly well acquainted.

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  11. I am so horrible at lunging photos. Why you so good at dis?!

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  12. Glad you found a Ninja PT lady, and hope you're back in the saddle STAT! And Courage finds some brains or something...

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  13. Ughhhh waiting to heal is the worst ever. So sorry girl. Cold comfort but at least it's not great riding weather anyway

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  14. That canter photo! I'm glad to read an update on Courage even if it isn't all good. The inability to ride sucks, but it seems like you are learning even more about Courage and what works and doesn't work for him, so yay for that. Hope you are fully mended soon and that the lunging work pays off under saddle.

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    1. I keep my trainer constantly updated with what he's working on. 100% certain she's RIVETED. :p

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  15. I find your lunging posts fascinating, honest - no assume kissing here. I'm often knackered in the evenings after work and cannot always find the motivation to ride. I love having lunging as an option and am deffo going to look into Vienna reins for my girls as the person training aid I have is a smidgen tight for Kika and 100% no go for Nancy.
    Thanks for the heads up, if sensitive Mr Courage can handle them I sure hope Sassy Kika will adjust as well

    PS winter + snow/ice socks major balls. I don't even bother thinking about riding Kika when snowmelt and roofs combine. I'm an absolute ammie & need my brain/body to earn monies to keep the preciouses

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    1. Yeah I can't blame them for spooking when it sounds like the sky is falling and I spook too. ;-) Snow is scary.

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  16. If I were to get started on my feelings about the weather and mother nature.... UGH!!!!!!!!!
    I think the work on the lunge is going to be huge for you guys though. It sounds like the vienna reins are a godsend! I hope you're feeling better soon, and I think you're wise to possibly wait a bit longer given the circumstances.
    It was really cold here the last week, like highs around 9 cold, much like where you are. But then today was randomly close to 50. I want to ride so badly, but my rideable horses share 2 brain cells between them on a good day, so I too am opting out until the weather and footing are more agreeable.

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    1. I'm really hoping all the lunge work translates across to the saddle stuff because if so, it could be a game changer.

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  17. We're having a rough winter too so I totally feel your pain. Even though I'm not injured I've been struggling to get to the barn more than 3 days a week for the past few weeks. I'm really hoping that the weather people are correct that we'll have a much nicer week next week!!

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    1. Fingers crossed. I hate hate hate driving on ice.

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  18. I hope you feel better and glad C is responding well to Vienna reins workouts. Double thumbs way up for the shirt, love that show SO much!

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    1. Haha yeah facebook targeted ads got me this time. I had to have the shirt. It's now my favorite.

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  19. The weather here has been wild too! Fingers crossed that the weatherman is WRONG

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    1. It's bad here. It's flipping bonkers where you are. At least we're almost halfway through January??

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  20. I'm on the lunging train too right now, hence the lack of Smitty updates. Just not the most exciting stuff to write about (though Vienna reins are pretty exciting, still)

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    1. Right? Like, "we went round and round in circles and until he relaxed and gave and then WE DID IT IN A DIFFERENT GAIT".

      Riveting.

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  21. That canter photo looks promising!

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