Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Onward bound

Well Bally is most definitely happy in her newly adjusted Wow and we have found forwards...actually compared with last year we have found the turbo boost button!

What a revelation, she's marching out nicely and although we technically aren't supposed to add trot for another week and half she offered when we were in the school and I let her take me up the long side...Blummin heck there is power there!!

Her rehab work is coming along well, now up to 30 minutes walking and although the majority of this is hacking, we are still perfecting leg yield (side to side on the lane) flexions -down, side to side shoulder in and counter shoulder in all to help straighten her right banana default mode.

When I took her into the school on Sunday she was super, really working nicely, taking the contact forward and allowing me to alter her frame long and back up without hollowing. She does still have a tendency to lift her head into halt, which is the next thing we'll tackle.
She had me in stitches though, came round the corner on the right rein and as we walked past the gateway she let rip with almighty whoopee buck then without breaking stride carried on walking - hurrah for velcro pants..well the great position the Wow puts me in anyway lol!

Last night she was in full on go, go, go mode and had to be reined in a bit. Marched off before I'd even got my stirrups and then went to trot off up the drive...Nope, too rude! So I turned her and put her back next to the mounting block and made her stand and do flexions for a minute or so, then off we went.
Apart from a blip as we got to the gate "um, no I can't possibly stand that close to it" with a bit of persuasion and a big treat she manoeuvered around it like an old pro and we had a super hack out down the home bridleway through the woods and back.

For all I wish that Bally had not had such an awful year injury wise doing the long in hand and ridden walk rehab work really has brought it home to me how important the basic foundation and gradual strengthening work are, not to mention the benefit of leaving horses to mature before asking serious work questions. The difference in her attitude and power this year is astonishing!
Next scan in two weeks, let's hope for a good one!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wow, Wow, Wow (Kate Bush Style)

Today was saddle fitting day with Louise from FTE, the Wow Headquarters.

I love the concept of the Wow saddle and can't imagine using any other brand now - the flexibility of the Y bar tree, larger bearing surface, double stirrup bars, moveable flaps and total adjustability....what's not to love!

Louise does all Richard Maxwells Wow's and as he's just up the road she was able to pop in on the way back from two days up there, the brilliant news is that she thought the saddle was perfect for Bally - right size and panels, just very low on air and as she's lost condition and muscle through being on box rest and out of work she'd gone down TWO head plate sizes :-(

Bally was much, much happier as we walked down the lane and back, really stretching forward into the contact and tracking up. As usual the air had to be adjusted to suit my daft crooked back and dodgy hip, but she had us swinging along nicely in harmony again.

Really means we can push on with the increasing work in the knowledge Bally is comfortable in her back :-D

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Oh that's what's up!

Missy B has been a tad tense and inattentive the last couple of days, even out in her pen she seemed a little bit wired...not horribly but everything from grazing, to walking in and out, hacking and in the stable was accompanied by occasional bouts of head up snorting and her trademark four legged spook / teleport moments lol.

It dawned on me she'd finished her Hilton Herbs Rest & Recover gold last week! Just goes to show that these things do have an effect and a jolly good one at that! I'd decided that as she seemed so much more mature and is now out for 12 hours in her pen and actually doing some ridden work that she didn't need the calmer....hmmmm might rethink that one ;-D

No worries though, she's still her usual lovely cuddly, snuffly self and I'm used to her sensitivity so we'll take it all in our stride. B's looking lovely, still really needs to build muscle, but she's lost that awful skinny tucked up look she had in the horspital thank goodness. Her coat is gleaming and so dappled again....gorgeous!

This evening was a golden one, with a gentle breeze and we marched out down the lane in the sunshine, off down the hill to the start of the canter track (let's not open ourselves to temptation eh!!) turned around and pootled back up the hill. I'm throwing in some schooling whilst we're walking - leg yield from each side of the track right over to the other and now asking for a few steps of shoulder-in proper. I also work on asking her to work over her back to a contact, pushing her forward down and out to a free walk then slowly picking the contact up, all the while keeping a good rhythm and softness

Yep that all works really well until you hear the rumbling of an approaching combine (the yard is slap bang in the middle of a large arable farming operation) and B does a spectacularly good giraffe on crack impression *sigh* lol!!!
To give her her due she actually walked/ snorted / scuttled past within 15 ft of it whilst the farmer stopped but kept the engine running without actually ever feeling like she might take off...quite an achievement for a baby on semi box / pen rest without a mood enhancer I think lol.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

New Shoes....

A day off For Missy B today, as she had her tootsies done by John the farrier and I needed to be on the move taking RD home ready for her little brother's arrival.

Hopefully this was the very, absolutely and definitely last time those ruddy egg bars were put back on!!!

She was a superstar to shoe as always and John checked my front feet trimming and proclaimed them to be pretty good..then gave me a rasp as mine despite being not particularly old wasn't much use - his blunt one was still twice as sharp as mine lol!

Back to work and normal service will be resumed tomorrow :-D

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Velcro anyone?

Went for our daily pootle this evening, Bally on good form, a bit looky as she could see a couple of other liveries out across the fields, but responded well to an ask with my leg to flex then a rein squeeze to soften and come back and pay attention.

We went a little way down the lane then turned around and detoured off to have a walk in the school. I figure that the sooner I get her used to the idea of work in there again, even just straight line walking the better - there's an awful lot you can work on even when you're restricted!!

Lots of shortening and lengthening, leg yield, shoulder in, getting B to stretch forward pick up a contact without resistance...all good basic stuff that'll stand us in good stead when work starts properly. Yay!!

And the velcro...ah yes, we'd only just got into the school when the lovely but rather eccentric local lady Viv who patrols the village with her little dog, popped out of the big conifer hedge at the top end of the school just as we were walking up....cue B's ears up my nose and combined scoot, spin and rear combo whilst travelling backwards at speed....well sat even if I say so myself!!
Bally was quite upset by the whole thing, but didn't take too long before being able to listen and relax back into her work. It was actually quite a good training exercise for getting her out and about at ridden competitions where she'll be exposed to all sorts of sights and sounds and need to be able to re-focus.
Nicely relaxed again we finished with some centre line halts and walked back to the yard on a loose rein, what a good girl!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Walk on.....

So a couple of weeks in and we're now tootling along in walk for a whole 20 minutes at a time (whoohoo) lol!

Now if I'm completely honest I never really enjoyed hacking Bally out last year after I'd backed her, she was generally a little argumentative, a whole lot joggy and exceedingly spooky....not always an exactly relaxing experience (although she had me in stitches on several occasions with her shenanigans)
But now we've started her walk hacking rehab, well..... Baby B has grown up!

Being Bally she still likes to have her opinion heard and that's fine with me, but so far so good - she's attentive, forward, looky, but not flighty, she's walking out calmly and confidently and we're both enjoying it tremendously (well apart from the day the heavens opened and we got absolutely and totally soaked to the skin - we found the backwards and sideways crab style head almost up her backside buttons that day.

Tonight we went up through the woods which involved negotiating a big double five bar gate which has caused no end of problems before, reversing, jumping about etc...but not tonight - it was opened, walked through, and closed and latched both ways without too much fuss. What a good girl!!
That twenty minute walk, just the two of us, totally chilled and pootling along in the lovely late afternoon sunshine was absolutely blissful.

It's been so long (8 months!!!) I'd almost forgotten just how lovely she is to ride.......and I cannot wait to get back to being able to school her again, BD watch out!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Anybody out there?

We are back in business!

That little knock in February turned out to be a lot worse than I was hoping. After seeing the vet the swelling got worse despite penning and ice packing poor Bally, so she was hoofed up to the yard on YO's trailer (nearly breaking my wrist in the process, thanks B!) and into a stable.

Xrays clear for splint bone damage, so with 4 x ice a day plus bandaging, I got the swelling down enough to scan...and there right at the point the suspensory ligament branches above the fetlock was a fibre disruption and swelling. No actual tears or lesions thank goodness! Probable cause hoolying in the field. Her right hind scanned clear though so no inherent weakness, a definite injury and just sheer bad luck
And so began the box rest...and the injections and the joint supplements and the herbal potions, with the 4 x a day ice packing...oh and the ultrasound twice a day, and the massage and the 2 x 20 minute hand walks, not to mention the egg bar shoes!!
For a feisty little Luso girl who'd spent the previous year living out in a herd on 17 acres it was an awful big ask to go into solitary confinement in a box....but she took to it like a duck to water. I reckoned she loved having me as a personal slave on call to tend to her every whim lol....me on the other hand...well it nearly broke me emotionally and physically...thank goodness for wonderful husband and sympathetic bosses, who let me reduce my work hours as I really could not cope with everything. Dark days :-(
Several months down the line and Madam B was allowed some pen turnout again, so she came home for a few weeks with a companion, Polly.
All well until the day she was tied up in the gateway, spooked, bounced into the gate and went over / through it, the gate post snapped, the baler twine didn't...so Bally took of in a red mist panic with the gate attached to her. She bolted straight through three lines of post and rail fencing. I got flattened trying to hold her to get the headcollar off and finally the snap hook on the leadrope gave way.
When I caught her I could see she was badly injured, totally non weight bearing right hind, blood pumping from her leg, scrapes and cuts all over including a big gash under her elbow. My vet and my friend Di were soon on the scene and with a makeshift splint on we got Bally to the horspital. I felt utterly distraught and sick with worry as we were sure she'd fractured her leg.
Thankfully no fracture, but she had shadowing that looked very much like it could develop into a hairline fracture and metal shards from the gate embedded in her leg. Her front and hind on the right swelled terribly as did her chest and belly.
So B had three weeks in the horspital on strict no movement box rest having her leg scraped down to the bone and flushed and regular x-ray monitoring...unbelievably and rather miraculously she healed completely and apart from a few small scars that will fade in time is as good as new and signed off fit and well from the accident!!

When she came back to the yard she had four more weeks box rest, then I gradually introduced pen rest with in hand walking...the last scan two weeks ago was a good improvement and as Bally sat and launched herself into the trot up Conor my vet was just..."WOW look at her move!!!" He reckoned the swelling was so minimal now she's pass a vetting on the leg no problem. Bally is enjoying being allowed out all night in her pen too!
So we have the OK to start ridden work...yes a whole 10 minutes straight line walking only, but increasing 5 minutes a week until the next scan...then hopefully we are properly back in schooling business.

So blogdom begins again now we actually have something to talk about other than disasters and upset!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bailarina Schooling Nov 2010

Ahem...we are still alive!

Oh dear

I really was bad at keeping the blog up at the end of last year...good intentions and all that!!

For anyone that's interested in an update the following photo's and video are from Bally's last ride in 2010. She' started her last baby holiday in November but a sunny Saturday and chance of a freebie lesson with a photographer and handy videoer in attendance meant she was dragged out of the field for one last ride.

Very pleased with where we got to, lots to work on this year, but I have to say that working with her has been hugely rewarding!

Sad news that as I was looking to bring her back into work this year she has picked up an injury to her left hind leg - not sure what as yet due to a lot of swelling and Bally being a big baby and being ouchy to touch from hock to hoof. We're keeping fingers crossed it's just a knock and with hot / cold therapy, pressure bandaging and restricted movement she'll be right as rain in no time
- I wanna ride her again!!