Monday, March 27, 2017

Emerging from the fog

The last 6 months or so have been fairly rough, with a lot of things happening at the same time.  Work issues, life issues, physical health, mental health, it has not been a barrel of monkeys around here.  While in no way is everything resolved, I think in the last few weeks I have started to find a way to mentally re-calibrate my coping mechanisms (aka anxiety medicine).

Odin has been a source of nearly constant fun and joy since I bought him so having him go through health issues at the same time as everything else was depressing and I probably didn't handle it well.  I try not to ride much when my anxiety is bad because the horses can always feel it so that meant plenty of walking only rides or skipping rides entirely and I am forever grateful to my trainers for stepping up and covering my slack.

On the positive side, the horse is doing fan-freaking-tastic right now.  The steroid injection seemed to get that stifle on track and so far he is holding leads in back and feeling good.

However - that didn't resolve all the tail swishing, nose flipping, angst that Odin was feeling.  Trainer R decided to experiment with some left over tubes of Ulcerguard and Ranitidine and bam, magic, horse stopped being so twitchy.

We have been able to get some really good work done lately on trotting, cantering, and jumping.  His jump is miles different than last year, much easier to ride.  And his canter is coming along so nicely.  We have to make up some lost ground from the downtime dealing with his stifle and belly, but less than I thought we would have to.

And to keep both of our brains happy, we have been doing lots of trail rides too.  I think daylight savings time is stupid, but I will still totally take advantage of it!  Odin really likes to graze on our trail rides and has become something of a punk about wanting to be the one who decides when we eat.  Since I don't fancy being dragged over his head, we have been having "talks" about it.  Sometimes I have to boot him pretty hard and then he squeals in protest.  It is kind of funny.

Here's to hoping spring continues to bring improvements overall.  Oh and photos, I really need some photos!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Diagnosis Odin

Just kidding, like anything is ever clear in horse world.

Last Friday Odin got the good drugs injected, a quick racing stripe clipped onto his leg, and we took a look inside his leg via ultrasound.

It is a special kind of torture watching grey on grey blobs float around the screen while waiting for your vet to examine each tendon and give you their opinion.

On the plus side, all of the tendons look clean and healthy.  On the negative side, there is obvious inflammation in the stifle joint. Best guess is he tweaked the tendon somehow, it got inflamed, and now it is catching because of the swelling. Probably related but somewhat peripheral to his overall stifle bugging him.

After much agonizing on my part - and snoring on Odin's part - we decided to throw a steroid injection in the joint.  I hate injecting young horses but both vets from my practice were there and were aligned on this as a treatment with the rationale that continued inflammation leads to degeneration and we do not want that.

So a million hours of scrubbing later, he got his steroids, antibiotics, and HA injected with a mandatory 3 day vacation.

It has been 70 degrees here, by the way.  I don't generally recommend having your horse be hurt and laid up when you are getting spring in winter.

On Monday, he had one hell of a snotty nose, but the injection site was cool and clean.  I assume the vets brought him a little bit of a bonus cold on Friday (sigh).

Tuesday his nose was better and he was allowed to go into turnout and have a light ride.  Trainer R reported he seemed to be feeling good.

Today is the day we find out for sure how his stifle is as he goes back into full work.  Vet said he should be feeling great.  I am withholding optimism.  I can't get to the barn until tomorrow but I am hoping for a trainer report.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Horse mysteries

Odin was doing really well with his Surpass.  Even before the Estrogen order came in, after a couple days on his magic lotion he was moving 100% better and felt great.  The estrogen finally came in on Friday and he got that shot and had a great weekend of riding and jumping.

7am work meetings suck but at least I saw this sunrise
The weather even finally gave us a smidge of a break and we were able to do a trail ride!  Hell, Monday we even did a quick hack in the outdoor arena - the first in months - and we were both a little giddy about it.

R said his training ride on Tuesday was probably the best ride she ever had on him.  I left a voicemail for the vet to discuss next steps to make sure he stays this sound.

And then yesterday happened.

I got there after work, got on, and could immediately tell he was unhappy.  Tail swishing, swinging his butt around, head flipping.  I asked for trot and he kind of blew up, kicked at the wall and half reared.  OK, I get it buddy.  Got off.

Trainer R said she rode him earlier and it was the same deal.  Of course colic was the first assumption, but he was eating, drinking, and pooping normally with good gut sounds.

Here is Aragorn helping himself to my sun chips

Maybe an allergic reaction?  Maybe he has been working hard and is having a teenager moment?  He has such a good work ethic I lean towards pain over attitude but so far can't rule out either.

Giving it a day or so and will call the vet out if he gets worse or doesn't improve.  But damn.  We were doing so well.

Think good thoughts for the Odin, please!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tune ups

Thanks for the comments on my last post, I am still clearly not keeping up very well, but I appreciate them!

Putting Odin back in training for the winter was an incredibly great decision as I am still barely managing to get to the barn these days.

But when I did ride a couple weeks ago I noticed two things, he was absolutely horrible in the mouth region and he seemed stiff on his right hind.  Trainer R was positive he needed his teeth done and thought it was time for a soundness check too.

A teeth float has mostly done wonders for his mouth, although he has some residual mouth stiffness (probably still expecting it to be uncomfortable).  So at least that was an easy fix.

Last Friday, the vet came to do a soundness exam and pretty much immediately said the Odin needs some help in his right hind stifle.  Not too surprising, as this has been his bad stifle since I vetted him 15 months ago and his workload has been lighter this winter.  We x-rayed it then and it x-rayed clean.

He is only flexing positive about a 1 and as a comparison we flexed the left hind and he came up positive on that stifle too, although much less so.

For now we decided to go back to routine estrogen (I had him on a 4 week cycle) and Surpass.  The estrogen hasn't come in yet but after a week on the Surpass he is feeling a ton better.  Not sure what the next steps will be - an ultrasound was mentioned but I bet that is spendy - but for now with new teeth and his magical lube, he is a happy horse again.

The winter weather has not been so kind to us, but I am relieved he feels better.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The best brain

I could probably title every post about Odin similarly and I bet it will show up again if it hasn't already.  But he continues to impress everyone around him, especially in this so far craptastic winter.

Not much has changed since my last post 3 weeks ago.  Jon got sick over Christmas, then I got sick, the weather tanked some more, and last night when it was warmer, the winds got up to 90mph.  Take a pill, CO, we are already sick of this.
from warmer times

I did decide to put him training through the end of March so if there happens to be good weather during the day, he will get worked, but it is definitely inconsistent at the moment.  Last week he basically spent the whole time wrapped up in all his blankets like the kid in a Christmas Story.  And yet while some of the other horses went basically feral and were giant irritations to handle, Odin remained polite on his lead.

Which doesn't mean he isn't feeling the weather.  In turn out, he is definitely, uh, exuberant, and he has had plenty of lunging and carefully managed rides.  But it seems pretty clear to me that his brain has come a long way since when he is feeling pretty bouncy he restrains himself to squeals and minor dolphining, and has never taken it any farther. We listen to him so maybe something would happen if we didn't, but I really appreciate his early warning system.

We jumped a little bit yesterday and while he was cracking his back over the cross rail (ow saddle cantle hitting me in the butt), he never got overly excited or did anything but lope off quietly after the fence.  Hooray for an excellent brain and careful training!

My trainer has been very complimentary of my riding too, which is a surprise to me given how I am barely riding more than once a week.  Who knew this was the key to my riding successs?  Sigh.

And one of my good friends is adding some lessons in on him after having to unexpectedly retire her horse.  She says he is fabulous and, well, I tend to agree.

So mostly quiet times but with the best TB around.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Seasonal adjustment

I guess I dropped off the face of blogger land.  Forgetting updating here I feel like I will also never catch up on everyone else's blogs!

Jasper is not loving the cold
Things have been fine here with the Odin, although mostly at a stall for multiple reasons.  The weather in CO has been a total roller coaster.  It seems that generally if I can manage to schedule a barn day the predicted weather is something like 1.5 million mile per hour winds, a high around absolute zero, and/or an ice storm.  For example - the predicted high tomorrow is 7F.  Eff that noise.

Sigh.  3F

When the weather hasn't sucked, I have either been sick (I feel like I have been sick off and on for forever now but it really started right in mid November), stuck at work events, or just totally unmotivated.  I believe Seasonal Affected Disorder or something has struck hard. So most of my physical activity is at a much lower rate and my alcohol consumption is at a higher rate.  Hey, that is sort of like having a balance, right?

I do still run on occasion.  It was more fun that I expected to run in the slush
I also discovered an online Lord of the Rings game  - called Lord of the Rings online, oddly enough - and that has how I am spending my downtime.  I am a huge LotR fan and this has been nice to have when the short days and frigid temps have me down.  Plus you can collect horses in the game and "ride" around middle earth.  Of course the first horse I acquired I named Odin.

All of which is to say that I still hang out with my horse and we ride, but we are not really trying to progress much at the moment.  He will likely get thrown back in training in Jan or Feb for a couple months to get ready for spring but unless my life, brain, and the weather get their act together, it might just be a pony bonding winter.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A jumping weekend

Last weekend we managed to actually get two jumping lessons in, which was great.  On Saturday, we really worked on my position and Odin's straightness.  The horse has a monster stride in there but is content to take the add, which is really nice at this stage of his training.

Trotting into jumps coming away from the gate is a real bitch.  R2 struggles with it as well when she jumps him.  But trainer R keeps making us do it anyways, freaking trainers, always making you do the really hard things.

The issue is that as you turn away from the gate, Odin sucks back behind the leg.  No matter how much leg you add, he keeps losing momentum.  Then he gets to the cross rail and is like, meh, stumble/lazy jump.  I will cheat by cantering up the long side just to wake his ass up, and it usually works.
We get through, it just isn't exactly pretty

One time we did a crap lazy jump into the line and R was like "canter NOW" so I booted him in the ribs.  This was exceedingly offensive to the baby who promptly squealed and cantered sideways out of the line.  We came back around with more focus and he trotted in and cantered out nicely.

For me, this was the key point of the lesson because it exemplified two things with this horse.  One, he doesn't hold a grudge.  Shit goes sideways, you ask him to calm down and re-focus and he says, sure, no problem.
Our game faces are ready for bigger things. 

Two, the absolute hardest part of riding him is that you need to add more leg and more leg and more leg and THAT IS TOO MUCH LEG.  While it is fine in his head for him to ignore you (for example when you are asking for the canter) for awhile, if you escalate the aid just a hair to much, he gets mad.  His being mad is ears pinned with a squeal and often some other minor objection - butt bump, one leg kick, or getting crooked.

I am guessing this is all just tied back to be green and still getting stronger and whatnot, but I had never stopped to think about it before so it is something I will pay more attention to and see if it merits a change in riding technique.

Then on Sunday, I rode with R2 and she was like, let's give the baby a challenge and let him jump something a bit bigger.  And so we did.

I was incredibly proud of him.  He didn't get overly excited, he didn't misbehave, he just went out there and did his job.  The highest we jumped was 2'3" and the first time over that he cracked his back.  After that he was like, oh, this doesn't require that much effort.  I continue to get the feeling he is going to be a horse who you have to jack the height to get the best form, but that is fine.

I look like I have jumped a horse before, hallelujah.
Also, I can promise you that he was enjoying himself, I call those his concentration ears :)