Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Week 4 Review

Monday 3/23
Flatwork school. Good ride. Worked on bend and figures, overall just a solid work.

Tuesday 3/24
Fantastic lesson. Really, really awesome - one of the best rides I've had on her. Hung out at around 2'3 for the fences, maybe closer to 2'6. Pandora was 'on' the whole time. Practiced lengthening and shortening at the canter, and actually got noticeable responses. Jumped the scary boxes and the big brush fence, neither of which she's seen/jumped before, and she didn't even hesitate. I made some big improvements on: 1. avoiding jumping ahead with my upper body, while 2. still releasing, while 3. not dropping her at the base of the fence by taking away leg and hand. Once I figured that one out, she was great.
Asked her to really move out down one long side because our 'jump-off' course had a looong track around the outside. Boy, was she excited about that! She really dug in and gave me a gallop. Surprised me and took me longer to bring her back than I expected, but she wasn't trying to run away, and she came back to a nice soft canter after one circle. Oops.

On the other hand, big accident when we got home. In the arena, Mom was taking her blanket off - got all the straps undone and then Pandora took off. Blanket slipped obviously, she freaked herself out, galloped all around, tore the blanket to absolute shreds. It was terrifying. Once she ripped the blanket all the way off, she stopped, hot and sweaty and shaking. Walked her out, hosed her chest and neck a little and she calmed down a lot. Wasn't lame but got a big ol' swelling on her right gaskin. Very liquidy and soft, not hot. Under a small abrasion. Gave 2.5 grams of bute, cold-hosed, walked to make sure she wasn't sore. Normal vitals. Came back at 8pm to ice and walk again, swelling down a little but more stiff.

Wednesday 3/25
Made an AM visit. Swelling down a lot (yay!) but area is hot, no sign of stiffness, w/t/c happily loose in the arena. Iced for 10 minutes, gave 2 grams of bute.

Evening visit, free longed for maybe 15 minutes, worked up a good sweat. Fine at all gaits in both directions. Swelling WAY down, hardly noticeable, still warm but not hot. Cold-hosed for 10 minutes, put a little Furazone on the scrape. I think at this point we're more traumatized than she is.

Thursday 3/26
She was feeling great. Free longed nicely in both directions, worked up a decent sweat with no noticeable stiffness. The farrier came out, told me I was being a tad bit paranoid and they didn't need to be trimmed for another few weeks (oops :).
Then came the test. I haven't ridden her since Tuesday before she injured herself, and I needed to see if she was going to stay sound with me in the saddle. So we set up 3 canter cavaletti at bounce distance (around 11' for Pandora) and a 2'6 vertical, tacked up, and went for it. I was really worried that she was going to favor the injured leg with me on board, but w/t/c both directions was just fine. We cantered the cavaletti several times in both directions and she was fantastic, nailed it every time and went through with enthusiasm. We jumped the vertical with no issues, made it a square oxer (a rather wide square oxer) and though we kept missing the distance for takeoff, she felt totally normal beneath me and showed no signs of soreness after jumping it several times.
That's way bigger than she'll have to do at rally, so I'm very very happy and feeling optimistic for this weekend. She'll have 3 rounds with 20 minutes of warmup each, so that's only a little more than an hour of riding total. I think we'll be just fine.

We cold-hosed again for about 5 - 10 minutes, which she stood very politely for, and dosed with 2.5 grams of bute. Now that I know she's sound with no bute in her system (hadn't been dosed since yesterday morning), I think we will continue with the bute through tomorrow just to help make sure all inflammation is going away.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Friday 3/27
Bathing day! We spent four hours out at the barn washing buckets and horses, and in general just making sure all our rally stuff was loaded up and ready to go. Pandora is now very very clean and shiny - not that she wasn't shiny before - and all ready for showing! I'll make sure to do some serious de-hairing in a good grooming session before we leave tomorrow.

Saturday 3/28
Rally day! Free longed the girls in the morning. She's totally sound and you can only tell she injured that hind leg if you touch the area, because then she'll move away. Loaded everything up, stuffed their hay bags with hay, booted up, and headed out! Settled in nicely, with some screaming for McKinna, and jogged out perfectly sound. Excited for tomorrow.

Sunday 3/29
Woohoo! We had an AWESOME day at the rally. Full report here. No refusals, no rails. She was nervous but got better every round and she has mountains of try. I love it. I'm very proud of her.

Monday 3/30
A well-deserved day off. They got to be outside all day for the first time in a long time.

Tuesday 3/31
An easy ride, but very promising. I hopped on and went for a short hack down the road, by ourselves for the first time. I planned on making it very short, taking her just past her comfort zone and allowing a little grazing before heading home.
Well, she impressed me. She marched right off down the road with nary a spook or scoot - only got a little bug-eyed when a horse in a field galloped up to us. So we picked up a merry little trot for a minute or so, went up a little hill, then walked back. She wanted to jig on the way back, probably because it was a cool windy day and she had yesterday off, but she walked when I asked her to.
Such a pleasant ride, and I'm pleased that she's sensible about going out by herself. This will make conditioning hacks very easy.
I'm looking forward to it. Plus, I like to sing to give us a rhythm and calm her down, so I get to work my way through my repertoire of old camp songs ;)

No comments: