Is my horse lame and if so, how bad, and if bad, where exactly is the problem?
Let me spoil it for you a bit: yes, my horse is lame. He came out on Sunday last (11/10) with a hitch in his right hind. It was most evident in the walk, but did not seem to be causing him a great deal of pain or other problems. Mostly it looked like a mechanical hitch: he just wasn’t using his leg as thoroughly or as through as he might.
On the longe, he was sassy and pissy and freely offered a canter when I asked him to move out. In the trot, he just shortened and quickened his hind legs rather than take an obviously off step. (I mean…feature or bug?)
We gave him two days of bute and then I went out again the following Saturday to longe him again and here’s what I got.
(Ummmm, the thumbnails are upside down for some reason but I promise, the video is right side up.)
So…still a touch off. You can see it most evidently in the walk tracking right.
My feeling: he’s tweaked something up high, like stifle or SI. Possibly he did it rolling or in turnout. It is getting better, and I am so stupid busy right now he can certainly afford some time to laze about and heal.
The plan is to check him again on Friday morning and at that time make a decision whether to add him to the lameness vet’s list for Monday.
In the meantime…it’s snowing and cold and I have enough Etsy orders to keep me working far into the night, every night, which is great because yay people like me, they really like me! and also it means I can set aside some money for the vet visit if it happens. But also: tired.
I keep describing this to people as an accidental renovation, which then causes them to make a disbelieving face…but I promise, I did not intend to do this quite yet!
About three weeks ago, the upstairs tub faucet started to drip. A good drip, the kind that was easily filling a bowl every 2-3 hours. Some months ago I had already had a conversation with a plumber about some intended changes to the tub to get a proper shower in it, and when I called to have him fix the drip, he said “well, sure, but you know we can do the shower part for basically the same cost as fixing the drip?”
So, about two weeks ago, I stripped the first layer of wallpaper and opened up the wall above the tub to get access for the plumber. That’s where we stand right now. In the coming weeks I’ll strip the remaining wallpaper, paint the walls, remove the existing tile, replace the tile, paint the vanity & other things (towel rack and toilet paper holder), and think very hard about doing the floor.
I’d love to have it finished by mid-December, but we’ll see.
Before & in progress photos below.
I’m going to try to pick these up again! After my dad died, I lost a lot of my motivation to keep working on the house. It was one of the things we did together.
But in the last two months or so, slowly, slowly, I’ve started to pick up and plan projects together.
One of the things that needed to be addressed quite urgently was our deck. It turns out when the geniuses who built it placed the posts for the stairs, they did so by digging a shallow & narrow hole, pouring some concrete into it, sticking the post in, and calling it a day.
Not only is that not code (though I suppose it may have been at the time) it’s not a good way to ensure longterm stability.
So, in August, my brother came up and we took apart that portion of the deck, re-seated the posts in proper sono tubes to a proper depth with a proper width of concrete, and then rebuilt the deck.
Except…we forgot one piece. So part of the deck started sagging again. Then this morning, my neighbor came over to help me lift that last piece, add the wood bracer back in, and now it’s more or less set – and I just need to make a trip to the hardware store for more screws to finish securing it.
Home stretch! It had to be finished before the snow starts falling, which is…depressingly soon.
L. said it a little while ago: after bright resurgence (due, among other things, to the final collapse of LiveJournal)(damn, I miss LJ), horse blogging is starting to fade again.
I’ve been putting myself on a bit of a media diet, and have been trimming out dead blogs from my RSS reader, as well as a variety of things I just don’t need to be exposed to (I’m looking at you, Harvard Business Review).
But checking and reading blogs is still very much a part of my daily routine; trimming doesn’t mean I don’t want to read them, just that I want to focus on quality content that makes me think.
So, to that end: recommend a horse blog or two to me. What are you reading now? Whose blog should everyone be reading?
I’m still thinking and working hard on my posting mechanics: how do I move as quickly as my trainer wants me to, and build a better and more stable posting base as we re-establish Tristan’s baseline for forward and through?
For about a month now I’ve been attending CrossFit classes locally. (Well, not quite CrossFit, but an intro/on-ramp/learning class that is designed to teach CrossFit basics as well as do a workout.) I am…not really an exercise person, but I am enjoying it. And I’ve already noticed that it has given me additional strength and body perception. So my plan is to keep going with it as long as I can; it’s really, really hard to fit in schedule-wise and budget-wise but it’s also become very important to me very quickly. So, one more end of the candle to burn. (I need more candles.)
I’ve been working hard on a couple of things:
- flexibility and strength in my hip flexors, and thinking more of my hips as a hinge, warming them up by almost over-following the walk and then using a controlled open and close during posting
- focusing hard on stillness in my lower leg; my trainer took a video of me posting and I was horrified at how much I was still flopping my leg around and over-exposing him to my leg aid. So a quieter lower leg, sometimes almost off the saddle entirely
- thinking a lot about weight down through my leg as distributed, not just into the stirrup. Early on, I think, we over-focus on “drop your weight deep into your stirrup and down through your heel” and for me that developed into a lifelong habit to rely too much on weight in the stirrup. Because the more I weight the foot in the stirrup the more I use the stirrup to shove me up out of the saddle, which leads to more movement in my lower leg and if that’s where all the thrust is coming from – it’s not a stable base to move from, it’s too tippy.
- stupid #@!$#@$@ hands and keeping them still which means opening and closing my elbow joints
- sliiiiiiiightly tipping forward to stay off his back to encourage more hind end activity. it feels like I’m going full hunter but I’m probably only adding 1 or 2 degrees from straight. it’s also a better place to react from if he does something like trip or leave a hind leg behind so instead of caught behind the motion and sitting deep and back for a second I can maintain a stronger position over the saddle and flex my arms more easily to allow him the space he needs to have his dramatic moment but then bring him back quickly.
Whew. Boring, sorry, but it’s been an intensely thinky and physical couple of rides for all that we’ve mostly just been doing trot sets once we warm up.
I’ve been able to stack quite a few lessons recently, so here are a few good takeaways from recent ones.
- if I feel like he needs more bend (especially to the left) what he probably needs instead is to have his haunches moved over and be traveling straighter
- shoulder-fore to a turn on the diagonal, repeated in sequence for 5-6 times, is a great way to sharpen him up and get him lighter off his shoulders
- to quote S., “both of your hands are too low when they’re on the inside, but your left hand is criminal.” so yeah.
- in general, focus hard on hands closer together and higher up and more actively following, not buried in my lap waiting for, I dunno what, an imaginary down bank or something?
- if he offers to break to canter when I’m asking for more in the trot, then ask for the exact same thing I’m asking for in the trot – forward, into the bit, and supple