Thursday, November 29, 2012

The BIG Switch! (advice requested)

As I wrote in the previous post, Pippi is on the mend, and we will soon (relative term isn't it?) be riding once again. The date for the mount up is set for December 29th, unless there is a downgrade of her condition by then. She might even be fit to ride now, we are lunging, but I want to wait longer than necessary as I am afflicted with a condition called Worry-Wartism.

Anyway, a momentous decision has been made in lieu of the type of injury she sustained. We are switching disciplines and will from now on be, Drumroll please, doing Dressage.


Yeah that's right, Dressage! I have mulled it over for a while now, and I just can not talk myself into the idea of Pippi jumping again. The tendon is always weaker after a bow, and it is just not worth the risk when we could so easily switch. As stated before, I don't really care what we do, as long as we ride and learns and grow and have fun. I was jumping Hunters, because that is what Pippi does, and so if Pippi doesn't, well then I don't either.
The good news is that current BO can give me beginner lessons in Dressage, as she has a working knowledge of it, and can at least get me started. I really cool friend, offered to let me ride her horse to see what a dressage horse feel like, and I will take her up on that for sure. So I can ride my own horse, and have lessons on my own horse, and do it at home? Whats the downside? Not seeing Kara as often!! And that is a biggy for me as I adore her. I have not told her yet, but will this weekend, and I am sure she will understand. I would love to take Dressage lessons from her, but no truck to get Pippi there and I would rather take lessons on my own horse.
The plan is to start lessons as soon as Pippi and I are in fighting shape, so late January perhaps....

Meanwhile, with my scarce knowledge of Dressage, what advice do you have?
Start with what?
Work on what first?
What makes you love Dressage?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

End of tunnel in sight

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am impatient to get there. Feels like it has been a loooong road to recovery, but I realize that many times people have to wait much longer for their horses to recover and some times the horses dont. So I feel grateful that Pippi is nearing recovery.

At this point I am no longer keeping her leg wrapped, and she is doing great. Just a small knot left on the tendon, and I am not seeing any swelling or heat after work. I have asked for the canter twice on the lunge, and had her go about one circle (less actually) in each direction. She was shocked (I think) to get the cue, and kept speeding up her trot, and throwing her head, until I asked her to walk and the whoa. I walked up to her and we took a deep breath, and I petted her neck and told her she could canter. And off we went again.....

Walk up, trot and .....Canter! No hesitation, right lead right off, and smooth going. Trot a circle and walk. Good girl Pip.
Change Direction, and she picked up canter right away. I was pleased.

We have worked a lot on staying calm as Pippi can be a little bratty hot head at times. She will do so much and follow directions for a long time, and then all of a sudden she puts the breaks on. Kind of like "stop bossing me!!" "I'm not doin' it!" "Pre-teen brat"behavior from a pissy mare. Instead of getting upset, I reprimand, and ask again, until she finally understands that  I am not engaging in a battle of wills (cause only my will matter) and becomes compliant again. It is happening less and less, and I think/hope we are working through it.

We are nearing the time when I will once again mount up and ride her. I admit to being a bit apprehensive, as I wonder if she will be a mess after not being ridden for so long. But I am determined that it be me that rides her. Donna will come along and Pippi will be on a lunge line, just to be safe (mostly for my peace of mind.) This will happen near Yule, and although nervous I am mostly excited. Feels like a huge test of trust, both for me and Pippi. Its where the rubber meets the road, and we will see whether those that say she is too unpredictable for me is indeed right. Hubby is apprehensive after seeing Miranda dumped several times while jumping early on, and Miranda is apprehensive, well for the same reason. Pippi can be a little spooky and a stubborn, but I hope that this break and my groundwork has done some good. She is not a dangerous horse, but like I said she can get a little pissy and tests her riders. I can and will use my stick, and I may just have a drink prior to calm down as I hate to give off the wrong vibe.
(Pippi, and all horses (all animals), are very aware of and intuned with my emotional state. I am an open book to them, and when I am distraught I can set off even the most level headed mare. Selena, super mare, just about lost it with me after I had a long bad day at work last week. I was a stressed mess, and Selena became supercharged. And Kara had to stop me and remind me to breathe and de-stress.)

So will try to stay calm, have a drink if need be, and just enjoy the ride. My gut tells me it will be fantastic, and I am just excited to take charge and get on with our future riding together. I am seriously considering dropping jumping though and concentrating on dressage. Might be better all around, and with Pippi's leg she could only just smaller heights anyway.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

From Picture to Stitching

Kara, Trainer, is amazingly kind and all creatures reap the rewards of her giant heart. She fosters dogs for the local Humane Society and horses for a local rescue.
One of the dogs she adopted has a job that he just loves. He leads Butter from the field to her stall at the end of the day.
Here they are:

Kara saw the work that I did with Pippis' picture, and how I turned it into a stitched project, and she just wondered if I could do the same with her pair. And so after hours of playing with the image, and then digitizing it, and then working with that, here they are.
Archie and Butter:
Sorry, my test runs are always done on Felt and I stupidly used black. Oh well, you get the idea!

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Free-Lunging Fool.

Mondays are my LOOOONG days. Work all day, lesson, then a 40 minute drive to see Pippi for an hour, then grocery store, home and all the chores there, plus I also had some sewing to do. This is why the barn and Pippi brings me such joy - the quiet!! Aaaahhhhh
Pippi and I have been working on "parking." My goal has been to get Pippi more compliant, but in a quiet way. Just sort of giving, not being forced, or feeling forced. So we are Parking. I give her the "whoa" command, then touch her on her bridle path and tell her "parked." And then I walk away repeating "whoa" whenever I sense she is thinking about moving. At this point I have left her in the arena, and walked out, into the tack room to put away items and pick up a treat, and she stayed parked until I came back. No ground tie, just halter.
So last night I stepped it up. "Parked" her and ran like a mad woman all around her, waving my arms, speaking loudly. I even ran over the "trail bridge" making a ruckus and she still stood parked. She turned her head and looked at me, but never moved a muscle. I even jogged towards her, stopped on bridge right beside her and she stood still. What a great horse!!

Then it occurred to me...............did I just teach her to "park" or did she just finally get me to "free-Lunge?" Makes you wonder.........

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Working on patience

It has now been over TWO MONTHS since Pippi bowed that tendon, and I am going a bit mental. Wanting to ride her is taking over my every thought, and I can't help but think that Kharma is trying hard to teach me some patience. Good luck with that, Kharma. Blech

So.........I have been keeping busy with ground exercises, and we are now even trotting a few circles once a week. With no increased swelling, well, no more than just the walking. Things are getting better, I am convinced of that, and we will get there. At this point it is important that we start moving a bit more, so that the tendon will heal without becoming tight and rigid. That of course is the reason they heal so slow, along with the lack of blood flow, because we are healing something that has to inherently stretch and bend. Pippi's leg is still wrapped, and when removed her leg looks perfect. Then after some "exercise" the swelling comes back. All normal I hear. the good news is that the swelling is different now, less and smaller if that makes sense.

I could mount up for some limited walking, but I have decided to wait. Until Yule, and then I will take a quick ride as a gift to myself (as long as I my instincts agree at that time.) If you are wondering if perhaps I am being too conservative, the answer is a resounding "HELL YEAH!!" I feel strongly that patience and care now will produce better results in the long run, and that it can't hurt. Meanwhile Pippi and I are building a relationship between just the two of us. No stress, just her and I working on things together. I want a willing compliant partner, and with the lack of deadlines, shows and pressure Pippi seems to be settling nicely this being her first time in almost four years of not being in high gear training mode. Might be a blessing in the long run. A nice break as she transitions from Miranda's competition horse, to Mom's hobby horse. I do intend to learn and grow as an equestrian, hence my lessons, and we may even compete, but it will be at a more leasurely pace and with less pressure on Pippi. Which I think will fit Pippi's nervous nilly tendencies better. ( I say that until Pippi allows me to fly over a jump without her. LOL)

Here is a pic of my latest 2-Point Bling Design. I am quite proud of it, and hope to make some ornaments with custom lettering out of it. Of course I can sew it on whatever the customer would want.

I am busy with several logos and have some work going on. Do wish I had more though.....