Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rating Report

Ready for formal inspection

Well, the day was a successful day!

We started with a formal inspection. As you can see, McKinna was about as clean as physically possible for a grey mare with a white tail. They asked a few questions - name 20 parts of the horse, what are some signs of a hoof needing a trim, describe the proper fit of a caveson bridle, and the like. All of that was fine.
I did not have the correct neckwear for my shirt - apparently I needed a choker collar - but no big deal.

The flatwork section went very well. I had practiced my perfect, thoughtfully-constructed and -explained warm up, so when they sent us out to perform said warm up, mine went very well. Though I did have a bit of a giraffe to ride at first, because McKinna was fairly spooky at basically everything. Thankfully, she settled down and we got some very nice work towards the end of the individual warm up time.
I then demonstrated fun skills like adjusting girth and stirrups from the saddle with feet still in stirrups and at least one hand on the reins, showing a few simple steps back, explaining light contact vs long rein vs loose rein, and the like.
The only corrections I received from the flatwork portion had to do with my upper body, which I really believe is a problem either created or magnified by McKinna's short, upright neck. I did my best to correct what they asked me to, which was to not hold lots of tension in the upper body and to relax the elbows.

Over the little yellow fence - look at her mohawk!

Next we moved on to grids and stadium jumping, where McKinna was quite wonderful. As long as I remembered to add leg through the grid, she went through it perfectly. Our coursework seemed quite speedy - compared to the three mellow, plodding chestnut geldings who were my fellow candidates - but to me, McKinna felt very relaxed, soft, and balanced.
I was extremely pleased with this section of the rating. A few odd distances, but I rode three of the fences again and got better spots. In all, I felt that my position was very solid and my pacing was smooth. Later, after I got my test sheet, the comments would confirm this. Hooray!

By the way, I think it was during this section somewhere that one of the examiners commented on my very solid leg position. YES! HOORAY! Those of you who have read this blog for awhile will know that I constantly worry about my leg, lest it creep forward into that bane of my existence, the chair seat. To receive confirmation that not only have I corrected this flaw but my base of support is excellent really gave me a confidence boost.

Heading out to the XC course

A brief break in the shade while the single C-1 candidate completed her coursework, then off to cross-country!

A bit of a broken line in my hands, but a pretty good position and a cute snappy jump!

McKinna was fairly good on XC. The fences were all relatively little, and she wanted to be much quicker than I wanted her to be. I also shortened my stirrups one hole, as I usually do when moving from stadium to XC. However, the fences were little enough that I didn't need the extra height, and it kind of threw me off a little. After I dropped them back to stadium height, which they are in the picture above, I was able to wrap around her body much better.
As you can see, I had a bit of a broken line going on from hands to reins. Again, her short neck makes it really difficult to look good when releasing, whether you're going automatic or another kind! Still, I stayed out of her mouth, which is the important part.

Our first round wasn't the greatest. She was fast, I was tense, and I misjudged some turns - the course was very windy and went through quite a bit of trees. I asked to re-ride the first three fences, focused on relaxing my upper body, and did much better.

One of the keys to ratings, I think, is to listen to what the examiners tell you after your ride. If they give you a correction - in my case, my upper body was too tight and my leg wasn't wrapped around her - they expect you to fix it on your next trip around, and tend to be very pleased with you if you do.

After a quick demonstration of an emergency dismount at the trot, we headed in for lunch and then the verbal testing. Piece of cake, of course, I've been reading the Pony Club manuals since I was probably around 10 years old. With that, I passed, except I forgot my copies of thank-you letters I wrote to local landowners at home - darn it! I scanned and emailed them to the examiner the moment I got home, and as I type this, my test sheet is in the mail to her so she can change the not-pass to a pass. As soon as all the paperwork has made its way to the right places, I am officially a D-3!

Next up, C-1 in September. Between getting McKinna ready for the rating and the heat wave this week (over 100 all week, not super common in this neck of the woods!), I haven't had a chance to start working Pandora. She saw the chiropractor today with fantastic results. Minor stuff - she held her last adjustment extremely well, so the month or so off probably didn't do her too much harm. I doubt she's lost much condition either, since she has been out in a paddock and was very fit to begin with.

So, this weekend the conditioning starts. Longeing and light riding the first week, more moderate riding the second week, start jumping the third week, and go from there. So far so sound, but I will be going very carefully at first! I really hope I will be able to go for my C-1 on her at the end of September, as so far all three of my ratings have been on McKinna and I would like to ride my own horse for a change ;-)

I need to post to accept my Honest Scrap award, so I will do that soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone else is surviving the heat!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quick Rating Update!

Just wanted to let you guys know that I passed my D-3 rating this weekend!

It was a great experience and I came away feeling really positive about my riding and about a possible second rating in September.

More details, plus pictures, later today!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pandora Update - Cautiously Optimistic

Hey guys, it's me again. I am pretty busy preparing for my rating on Saturday (!), but I thought I'd check in with a Pandora update.

Her two weeks of bute and paddock rest are over, so I've started slowly reintroducing her to work. She's had a couple light free-longeing sessions, then today I longed her on the line and gave her a pretty good workout.

She still does not look 100% right to me, but I'm also very picky, and she really worked out of it today. To me that says a lot of it is stiffness, either from incurring the injury, compensating for the injury, or just having that much time off. So, I'm cautiously optimistic. The right front hoof, which was where the lameness originated, appears to be fine.

Pandora will receive some body work next Thursday, so I'm going to hold off on riding until after then. If all continues well, I should be able to bring her back into work over the month of August. If she seems to be bouncing back quickly both mentally and physically, I'm considering preparing her for a C-1 rating in September. Other options include preparing McKinna for the C-1, or just waiting until next year to rate up again. Either way is fine, I'm not wedded to a particular timeline.

I have been having a great time with McKinna, as my mom has informed you. She was fantastic at Inavale, and the times I've ridden her since then have been just as awesome. I practiced my emergency dismounts today at the trot - something I have to do for my rating - and she was adorable. As soon as I kicked my feet out of the stirrups and began to swing off, she came to a smooth halt. Makes my job easy when she's practically stopped before I hit the ground!

Getting her clean for Saturday is going to be a royal pain, but she's so beautiful when she's clean that it's worth it. Tonight I am spending much of my time updating record books. Unfortunately, since Pandora's my primary mount and McKinna is my rating mount, I need to bring records for both. The level required for D-3 isn't much, but I keep a ridiculously detailed book for Pandora, and I haven't updated it in a month or so. McKinna's is even less updated!

After this weekend, my horse schedule is basically empty unless I choose to do a rating in September.

I have to admit, it's kind of a nice feeling. I have been pushing and pushing, with the occasional lull, since about January. It's amazing to think of how far I came with Pandora. My January goal was to get a reasonably balanced w/t/c. Really. And I took her to her first schooling show to do 2'3 classes, and was so nervous before the Show Jumping Rally where I was also doing 2'3. I kind of laugh at it now, because I was jumping just shy of 3' before we took our lameness vacation, and she has never blinked at a stadium fence. And her w/t/c is just fine!

I'm so proud of both the horses. Every time I challenge them, they rise to the occasion.

Alright, off to do some more record book work. I will let you guys know how the rating goes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Energizer Bunny - Inavale Eventing Camp Day 2

On day two we actually got to sleep until just after seven because camp was much quieter. I think everyone was pretty tired from the day before! Misadventures fed McKinna and we lazed around a bit. When it was time to get tacked up I offered to go get her out of her corral. I got there to find her laying down. She saw me, got up, squatted to pee and then walked up to the gate. She was ready to go.

They had a nice stadium lesson. After warmup she put them through some more technical courses and raised the jumps some also. One of the other horses, a big bay appendix was pretty tired and wanted to be pokey. He’s only four and just learning to jump. He actually did great, all things considered, but his rider told me a couple of times she’d love it if McKinna would share some of her energy with him. She was definitely the energizer bunny. The main thing the trainer had Misadventures work on was slowing McKinna down with a definite half halt/release, half halt/release. It worked great and she got some nice canter work out of her at times.

Back to camp for lunch, a nap, hay and beet pulp and then it was time for round two of XC. I’d seen the trainer earlier and she said “How’s the pony doing?” I assured her the pony was peppy and ready to go.

They warmed up and then started with a repeat of the course they’d done the day before, but she asked Misadventures if she wanted to try something a little harder and she said yes so she directed her over a few novice fences too. Of the three other horses, two were young and one was ten, but had the brain of a four year old (his owner’s words) so Misadventures and McKinna looked like old pros and got to do the harder stuff.

In the they end did a course which included several novice fences.

They jumped logs,

they jumped barns,

they galloped,

they went up and down banks,

they jumped the novice ditch,

and they cruised through water.

They had one not so good fence where McKinna took off long and the fence was pretty wide (hopefully Misadventures won’t kill me for posting this, but I love the look on her face!) – it’s wasn’t pretty, but she just clipped it a tiny bit with her back hooves.

Other than that it was beautiful, so at the end of their course they re-did that fence and nailed it. Misadventures told the instructor she’d like to call it good with that and she agreed. While the others did just a bit more, Misadventures got off and let McKinna graze. Good Pony!!

We went back to camp and had a great dinner. We ended up with about thirteen people in our campsite including the eventing trainer and a few of her friends. One of the ladies owns a winery and brought some wonderful wine to share. Eventers are so cool.

Misadventures had chosen to do stadium for her lesson on Sunday morning, figuring it would do her the most good to prepare for her Pony Club rating coming up. She got up and decided since she was exhausted McKinna probably was too and there was no reason to push it. She went over to tell the instructor who told her she remembered her saying she wanted to work on her position, but she thought it was rock solid. That made her very happy – she’s been worrying about it some because she’s been hearing horror stories about how hard Mega Ratings are and how they are sticklers on position. So we packed up and headed out, as did several other campers. All the way home, she kept saying “McKinna was so good!” I’m really proud of both of them. McKinna is a great little mare and Misadventures worked so hard to prepare her for this in a short amount of time.

We all had a great time!

Inavale Eventing Camp Day 1

The format of the camp is two 1 ½ hour lessons (one stadium jumping, one XC) on Friday and Saturday, a 1 hour lesson on Sunday morning (your choice, stadium or XC) and a flat lesson if you want one on Sunday afternoon. All the lessons are semi-private with no more than four riders per group. You can either camp onsite or stay in a motel nearby and the horses stay in pole corrals. They provided straw for bedding and McKinna thought she’d died and gone to heaven because we were bedding her corral with food!! She ate the straw at first, but soon figured out the hay was much better. We were mixing her beet pulp to soak next to her corral. She likes her beet pulp.

More beet pulp please!!

You also provide your own horse and people food. It’s a great deal though at $180 for 5-6 lessons. I went last year with Misadventures because she didn’t know anyone and I figured it might be fun to tag along. It was so much fun that I decided to do it again even though she had a huge group of friends to go with. I’ll probably go again next year too. I really enjoy it!

We arrived at Inavale Thursday late afternoon, with camp scheduled to start on Friday. We met some friends there, got McKinna settled in and our tent set up. Setting up the tent is always an adventure. We’ve done this several times in the last couple of months though, so it went up pretty easily. It’s designed with a mesh section on the roof so you can see the stars and it comes with a rain fly that you can put over the tent if you need it. The rain fly requires more assembly, poles and stakes so I let Misadventures talk me into not using it since there was no rain forecast. I’m sure you can tell where this is going.

Early in the evening everyone decided to go for a little “trail ride” out on the course. There was an extra horse because the husband of one of our friends was coming to ride in the camp, but was arriving late that night. They offered to let me borrow the horse and I got to go too. We had a nice relaxing ride, cruising around at a walk checking out all the prelim and intermediate jumps on the course. Since I don’t event, it was great fun for me to see the course from horseback.

After the trail ride we cooked some hamburgers, visited and then turned in early. We were a bit tired. Packing for a long weekend of horse camping and bathing a grey (read white!) horse before heading out tends to have that affect on you.

We were planning to sleep in until about 7:00, but we woke up at 5:40 am to, you guessed it, a light rain coming into our tent through the mesh ceiling. So we hopped up, attached the rain fly, and went ahead and checked on and fed McKinna. We decided to go back to bed to try to sleep a bit more. Of course, by that time it was after 6:00 and those riders with an 8:00 ride time were up and not so quietly getting ready.

Misadventures was scheduled for stadium at 9:30 and XC at 3:00. You pretty much couldn’t ask for better ride times. Not too early for stadium, then lunch and maybe a little nap before XC. So we got up and Misadventures got herself and McKinna ready while I tried to boil water on our little bbq for coffee. One of our friends had a nicer bbq with an actual burner so she offered me a cup. Yea! Then they were off to their lesson.

The instructor, who was awesome, spent a few minutes getting to know each of them, asking them what their goals for the weekend were. Misadventures let her know McKinna was her backup horse and had been in work a total of one week and that she really wanted to make sure her own position was solid because of her pony club rating was coming up. She told Misadventures to take a break whenever she needed to. After a general warmup they did some trot poles and grid work.

Then they put a couple of small courses together. The fences were set pretty much at Beginner Novice level the first day (2’6” and under). McKinna was a rock star. I think Misadventures stopped for a walk break once during a round of grids, but other than that McKinna was peppy and willing. She didn’t even come close to refusing a fence and I don’t think she knocked down one rail all weekend. Her biggest problem was that she would tend to get strung out and rushy at the canter, but all in all she did great. Misadventures came out of the lesson with a big smile on her face.

After the lunch and nap I mentioned earlier, it was time for XC. We wondered what poor McKinna would think when being tacked up for the second time IN ONE DAY, and after JUMPING no less. She was cheerful, go figure.

The instructor for XC is someone Misadventures has cliniced with before and she is absolutely wonderful. So she knows Pandora and was bummed for Misadventures that she couldn’t come, but she also remembered McKinna from last year‘s camp. They warmed up and proceeded to tackle a few beginner novice XC fences. All I can say is WOW. McKinna was great and Misadventures was riding so well! Her position was rock solid and their only refusal was caused by this little guy jumping out of the brush.

They jumped a log and a table and put a little course together.

Then they wandered over to try a ditch. You can’t quite see the chestnut behind McKinna. He’s about to say ‘NO FREAKING WAY AM I GETTING NEAR THAT HORSE EATING DITCH”
And he continued to say that for about fifteen minutes. As you can see, McKinna said, “Ditch? What ditch?” The instructor even tried to use her to calm the upset guy, having Misadventures walk her back and forth over it and then just stand on the other side. They jumped the ditch at a slightly wider spot with a log in it and then moved on to doing another little course with slightly bigger jumps.

To finish the lesson the instructor had them jump up and then down a pretty good sized (I’d say three foot) bank. Here’s McKinna launching herself off of it.

The instructor kept saying “She’s doing great. She looks like she’s having fun!”
She wasn’t the only one having fun. The picture may be too small to see the smile, but it was huge.

Tomorrow – Day 2. Will McKinna decide enough is enough? Or will we need to rename her The Energizer Bunny? Plus the pictures on day 2 were taken by Misadventures’s boyfriend, who is a much better photographer than I am, and has a really nice camera. Stay Tuned.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

You Go Girl!

Hi. Many Misadventure’s mom here. Misadventures is off to a leadership camp this week and she asked me to post for her about the great weekend she just had at an eventing camp. We got home from Inavale at 1:00 PM today and she left for her other camp at 3:30. Busy girl… So here’s my perspective of the weekend.

By the way, for those of you wondering, Pandora is happily resting in a large paddock with McKinna, eating a lot and getting her daily dose of bute. Fortunately she’s been mellow because the vet said “no running!”, and she would be crazy if confined to a stall. Keep your fingers crossed that she trots off sound next weekend after she goes off the bute.

Anyway… The Inavale Eventing Camp is a camp that Misadventures has had planned for months. She loves Inavale and loves the trainer that does the cross country portion. She and Pandora had just done Lily Glen and she felt their cross country had reached a new level. Needless to say, she has really been looking forward to it. Then, a little over a week ago Pandora came up head bobbing lame and was prescribed paddock rest and bute for two weeks. What a bummer in so many ways! She thought about withdrawing from the camp. She was not only disappointed, but worried about Pandora and didn’t think it would be any fun.

After it had a chance to sink in we started talking about it and decided there’s no sense skipping the camp when she has a perfectly good backup horse. Why not go, have fun and get McKinna ready to take her to her Pony Club D3 rating at the end of the month. She knew she would need to use McKinna because Pandora would only be back in work a week at the most by then and she certainly wouldn’t want to push her and hurt her. What better way to prepare for her rating than an eventing camp. Of course, she didn't want to hurt McKinna either so she told herself she wouldn’t be able to do as much with McKinna, but she’s still go and have fun. She figured she’d explain to the instructors that McKinna was out of shape so she’d take it slow and stop when McKinna was tired.

So McKinna got pulled out of the pasture and put to work. Poor pony. Let me give you a quick review – Misadventures evented with McKinna last summer, did a little bit of stadium jumping with her in November and December and then pretty much turned her back over to me full time (She’s actually my horse) because she started working with Pandora in earnest at the start of the year. I am nowhere near the rider Misadventures is so McKinna had it pretty easy. I’d even go as far as saying she was semi-retired :) Not only that, but through a series of circumstances I hadn’t ridden her at all for about a month. Add to that the fact that they’d recently been turned out into the big mare pasture 24/7 and that’s what Misadventures had to work with. Notice the belly.

They had about a week so they started slowly, worked nearly every day, and by early this last week we were very proud of that little mare. She is such a quick learner and loves to work once you get her going. You could actually see her change physically too. She lost the bloated hay belly look and started to look like her old self.

So off we went Thursday afternoon to a weekend of fun. This is what my little mare had transformed into.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of BOTH of them! Stay tuned for Day 1 of the camp!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lily Glen: Days 3 - 4

They've started putting up some pictures from camp, and they don't have them all uploaded yet, but so far there are almost NO pictures of me. One awkward front shot from jogouts, and three of Pandora and me standing around waiting in the cold for our lesson to start. From one of our XC sessions, the photographer got at least three shots of each of my group members but somehow none of me. I really hope they have some that they can post, otherwise I'll be really disappointed!

Saturday was cold. Really cold. As in, I rode XC with several shirts and a sweatshirt and my safety vest, and didn't get hot.

Cold cold cold. And wet. That is her heavy winter blanket there.

I think I freaked out the instructors a little with how wound up Pandora was at the beginning, but I assured them that with a calm purposeful warmup she'd settle. Which she did, good mare.

Pandora was rock-solid while jumping, but she picked up this obnoxious habit: she simply WOULD NOT stand still. She was champing at the bit and every few seconds would want to move. If I made her stop, she'd flip her head and get pissed off and threaten to pop wheelies. She didn't let up at all. Constantly walking was getting really old. After about an hour of this, I finally figured out that I can just gently pull her head around to the side. She'd walk in a tiny circle until she got tired of it, then she'd stop and I'd let go. The instant she tried to move again, I'd do it again. It was an easy, non-confrontational way to get her to knock it the hell off and it seemed to work.

Jumping was, like I said, amazing. She has started seeing distances and going for them with so much confidence. At the end, because I was wavering between choosing BN or N for the derby, I schooled a whole bunch of N-level fences, several of the maxed out. She was fantastic! Including the freakiest one (for me), a maxed-out vertical of narrow logs with fairly short face. Of course, I just kept my eyes up and pretended it didn't freak me out and she jumped it like any other fence. Bending lines, light-into-dark questions, nothing fazed her.

Here is the skinny-ish fence, AKA "linkin log fence," with me and the (big) dog for scale.

Dressage was so-so. It was still absolutely freezing outside. On XC, at least you're moving around a lot - out there, we stood still for most of it, because we were doing individual work on riding our tests. I don't really have a lot to say for it, I guess. Pandora was so-so, we worked for only ten minutes or so, and the instructor focused on riding the test, not riding the horse. It was a very very good thing for me to learn, because nobody's spent much time on test-riding strategy with me before, but not too conclusive for training. Still, she was well behaved.

I actually put her heavy blanket on her for the night, and as I slept curled up in my sleeping bag, wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, underneath a horse cooler and down blanket, and was still cold, I was very glad I'd put it on her.

I'd finally decided to run Novice at the derby the last morning. I figured, our dressage is going to suck because of her tension either way, and not a huge difference in the tests if you're only schooling. And what better place to test out the gears of a higher level than a low-key camp where you can take time to school or drop down if things don't go well? All evening, though, I struggled with whether or not to scratch. The constant drizzle hadn't let up. I was tense, the way your muscles never seem to fully relax when you're cold and tired and slightly miserable. Pandora was tense, probably also from the cold but a lot just from being there. To be perfectly honest, I'd have traded the derby to be home and dry!

Cold, wet, and grumpy! (Maybe she's grumpy because I don't have her halter adjusted right)

By the next morning, Sunday, I was fully decided to scratch. Not only were we both pretty tired and a little stressed, a mass of fog rolled in and the rain still hadn't stopped. The footing out on the course was good when dry, but the mud turned hard and slick when wet. To me, it just wasn't worth risking our newfound confidence, and I knew she'd want to go fast.

Turned out it didn't matter - they canceled the derby for all the reasons I mentioned. I was glad I'd made the right decision anyway, and I certainly wasn't heartbroken that it meant I got to pack up and head home earlier than I'd expected. My parents came to pick us up, so I was a little disappointed that they didn't get to watch me ride, but they've seen me before and they'll see me again. I'm probably anthropomorphizing, but Pandora sure seemed glad to get on the trailer later that morning.

Before we left, my buddy and I took my parents and my dog on a course walk. It is quite the hike, but it was worth it. The dog had the time of his life. I don't know if I've mentioned him before, but Kuma is a 2 year old Rottweiler/Chocolate Lab mix we got from the humane society last year, and he is a big 100-pound ball of affection and energy. He ran all over the place, fell in the creek, chased sticks and his ball through grass twice as tall as him, and in general had an awesome time. He bounds like a deer when he runs through the tall grass, so cute. Someday I'll post the video I have of me and him playing fetch with a blade of grass - yes, he's that focused on playing fetch.

So, after that we loaded everything up and headed home. It got warmer as we went, which was nice - I'd been wearing a tank top, t-shirt, long-sleeved riding shirt, turtleneck sweater, crew-neck sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt, AND rain jacket. Might have been a little overkill, but I hate being cold. That's why I'm so puffy in the blue rainjacket picture!

McKinna hollered awfully loud when she saw Pandora, poor thing. I think she thought we took her away forever! Anyway, they had their joyful reunion, Pandora got several days of well-deserved rest, and then you know what has happened with the injury and lameness nonsense.

So, Lily Glen was a really good experience. I'm pondering whether to go back next year - it is a long drive, and horse camping is plain exhausting, especially when no parents are there to help out! I had some really good lessons, but I also had some that weren't all that useful. The first two horse-management lessons taught things that I already knew, though the third was very interesting. It was cold, and tends to be cold on a regular basis.

On the other hand, I did have a good time. I enjoy any opportunity to really get to know kids from other Pony Clubs, since we don't get the chance all that often. The course is beautiful, and I would love to ride it as they continue to make progress rebuilding. (I've heard they're looking for old course maps to help rebuild the course, so on the off chance that any of you rode there in the past, let me know!) It's also only $200 for many days of lessons and activities and food, though you do have to factor in gas and travel time.

Anyway, it's not something I'm decided about now, and who knows what my summer plans next year will be. Overall I had a very good time, learned a lot, and I'm glad I went.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lame Pony


So, vet visit. Interestingly, her hind leg is fine. Nothing big with it. The lameness is, oddly enough, in her right foreleg. I find it hard to imagine that it's a coincidence that it occurred at the same time as her injury, but she did have five days off after Lily Glen and since she was only walking during that time - she's still sound at the walk - I may not have noticed.


Diagnostics suck, basically. There's no really good way to know what it is. He did a nerve block on the foot and her head-bobbing went completely away, so that means it's somewhere in there. Could be any number of things. For now, the course of action is two weeks of anti-inflammatories (2g bute per day) plus antibiotics to help with the wound on the hind leg, then re-evaluate. Ideally, the lameness goes away over those two weeks and doesn't come back.

If it doesn't go away, then we get into x-rays and the like, which both I and my wallet are really hoping to avoid. Especially after today's vet bill. Still, if she needs it, she needs it.

Needless to say, I will no longer be riding Pandora in next weekend's eventing camp at Inavale or at my rating two weeks after that. Thankfully, I am lucky to have a quality backup horse with McKinna. She's a little out of shape now, but she's a sensible, tough, sane little mare and I know she won't have any problem with the curveball. I rode her last night, not suspecting she'd need to become my primary mount for a little while, and she was great.

So, meh. I'm bummed, and I just want my girl to feel better - though she still seems perfectly cheerful for the most part. I have no plans after my rating, so I'm comfortable giving her as much time off as she needs. I was planning to wind down in September and give her an easy schedule until January, but if the wind-down time needs to start now and we start back up again a little earlier, I'm okay with that. She is only 7 and we'll have a lot of good years together.

It is odd to think that just two weeks ago she and I were such a powerful, athletic team. We were galloping together, jumping fences almost 3', having a great time. I was so in touch with the power she had, the way she opened up her stride at bigger fences, the way she wanted to really let loose when galloping in the open. And now she's banned from any sort of exercise for the next few weeks.

So, she's banished from the big pasture to a paddock - too much of a risk of the other horses getting her riled up if she stays in the pasture. McKinna of course is coming with her, and as for me, as long as the words "stall rest" don't cross the vet's lips I'm okay with it. She'll stay mellow in the paddocks, the walking will probably be good, and she'll be happy. We've got peppermints and apple sauce and molasses to make sure she gets all the powdered antibiotics and bute, and I've got a great second horse so at least my next couple events aren't ruined.

I'm still disappointed, of course. She's so fun - we were making so much progress - but I just have to keep telling myself that it's a small setback, we'll work through it one day at a time, and it won't be long before I'm riding her again.

Sorry for such a downer post. Like I said, got plenty more in the works, but I just wanted to let you guys know how today went.

Hope everything is going a little better for you guys!

Quick Update

I have at least four posts in progress right now, so once I get time to finish them all out you'll get frequent posts for awhile. I've got some good stuff in the works.

I had an amazing time at Inavale grooming for friends and watching the upper-level XC. I even got an impromptu braiding lesson and braided my friend's mane for SJ since she was in the ribbons - turned out pretty well for a first braid job! You could actually see the improvement as you went up the mane ;)

We did see a rotational fall, which was not something I'd ever hoped to see. Basically, it's where a horse hits a fence and the momentum carries it in a perfectly straight rotational arc so that it lands straight on top of the rider on the ground on the other side. Big problem in eventing. People die from being crushed, horses die from broken necks. It's just not pretty.

Horse seemed to be fine - got up and galloped away. Rider, from what I heard, wasn't unscathed but was going to be okay. Still scary to see. Was like I swallowed a big lump of ice, the way I got chills in my stomach.

Unfortunately, Pandora's lame right now. I gave her 4 days or so off after Lily Glen, then went out to ride her last Thursday and she had blood all down the back of her left hind. Hosed, treated, whatever. No deep puncture, walking sound, no swelling. It swelled up over the next few days but we kept hosing and icing and it went down. She seemed fine. Put her on the longe a couple days ago only to find she may be sound at the walk, but she's head-bobbing at the trot. Definitely kicking myself for not jogging her out, I don't know what I was thinking - the day after she did it she cantered in from the pasture with the herd, but I wasn't paying attention so I probably didn't notice she was cantering funny. Argh. She seems perfectly cheerful, though.

Vet's coming out in about an hour and a half. Like I said, she seems to be on the mend, but the lameness isn't going away and I'm starting to worry. Fingers crossed it's something minor that will go away soon. I'll be sad if I have to rearrange any plans, but I do have McKinna as backup and mostly I just want my girl to be okay.

Headed out to the barn now, I'll let you guys know what the verdict is. The receptionist at the vet's office said something about sending the ultrasound machine out with the vet since it's on the back of her hind leg. Ugh. Please no soft tissue damage.

Updates later, hopefully good ones.
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