Sunday, July 31, 2011

if you think your hair is more important than your head......

This was Courtney King Dye before the accident, a simple fall that she should have walked away from....

And this is her message last week to the Riders4Helmets conference.

Wear your helmet, dammit!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

still off

Nina is still off on her right front.  There is no heat or swelling or change but definitely off.  I know that leg is just not 100% healed and I felt the misstep that probably caused the problem.  She did a little sideways spook and pivoted around on that leg instead of turning.  I suppose I could just give her 6 months off, but then honestly I might as well quit on her.  She is making such excellent progress on the days she is sound.  I don't think a little walk/trot is doing it any harm, she could have taken a bad step in her pen and done the same thing.   I broke out the bute today, she will get it today and tomorrow and then we will see what is going on.

My friend and student, Deb, moved her horse back to my barn on Saturday and then had to leave for a month in Texas on Monday.  So I am looking after her horse.  I could ride her and I might a little, but she had lameness issues last winter and spring and has been at a barn with rock hard footing so she could use the month off.  However, she is more than a little pudgy and needs some exercise anyway so my goal is to get her little fat grey ass moving enough to get rid of the dimple in her butt cheeks, but not work her too hard. 
I think the improvement in footing may take care of it for me, I turned her out this afternoon and she cantered around and bucked for a while. 
This pic of her - isn't she cute? - was from last summer, before she was eating more and doing less.  Sounds like a lot of us, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

flat tire

Nina has picked up several new followers this week - Welcome!  They found this blog because I found theirs by going through bloglists on other blogs.  The horse blogger community is fun and I love finding new blogs.

Flat tire - not the vehicle, the horse.  Nina was a little off today.  That right front is still a little weak and she has worked fairly hard for the last couple of weeks.  She was off when I trotted her around the round pen but worked out of it.  When I got on she felt fine at the walk but definite flat tire at the trot.  I couldn't find any heat or swelling but I am sure it is the right front, still healing. 

On the plus side, lately she has moved off into a trot so nicely as soon as I ask.  No head flinging drama, she just jumps into a forward trot.  She did the same today and gimped along until I told her to stop.  I feel bad that she is sore, but still delighted that she is obedient even when it is not convenient.

We also discussed her rude behavior at being unbridled.  I took her saddle off and took her to a pen to roll.  As soon as I started to remove the bridle she flung her head up and started to take off (I really would have thought that smashing her mouth on the bit two days in a row might have cured that, but no....) BUT, there was this darn halter and lead rope around her neck.  Slammed her to a surprised halt.   The bridle went back on and came off - little bit of a twitch but no movement.  Bridle went back on and came off again and she stood like a rock.  I wasn't doing anything else so we did that for a while.  Now I am wondering what little bit of defiance she will think up for tomorrow.

I cold hosed her legs for a while, hope she is sound tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

earlier to the barn needs to be earlier

I didn't work today so I went to the barn in the morning to ride.  The silly hourly weather report said it was going to be under 80 until after 11am.  Yeah, right.
I got to the barn at about 9:20 and it was 81 degrees.  I did not mess around, get Nina, ride, hose Nina off and get out of there.  It was about 11 when I left and it was 91 degrees.  I had a couple of quick errands to run and by the time I got home around 12N it had just flipped over to 100 degrees. 
I am soooo glad I am not riding at 2pm today.  It was still to hot this morning, but it wasn't kill-you too hot. 
Nina was very good under saddle and good on the ground except for one arm wrestling session as we were walking to the arena when she was tacked up.  We held up traffic for a few minutes.  She has to keep trying and trying and trying. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

still making progress

Nina got yesterday off while I taught lessons.  Today we had a minor altercation in the round pen about whether or not she was going to stand still to be released.  She has been thinking a lot about this backing stuff and had some new resistances but it didn't last long. 
And we had a great, although very short ride.  It was over 100, Nina was quite forward and ready to carry on, but in about 15 minutes I started feeling nauseous.   So we quit and I poured cold water down my neck for a while. 
She was cheerful, striking off into a lovely trot immediately with just a touch of leg, letting me keep some contact for more than a minute or two, working smoothing over poles, figure 8s.  And it was the first ride after a day off.
Very horselike. 
Apparently her attitude on the ground carries over into under saddle work far more than any horse I have ever ridden. 
She did get even for having to stand still at the beginning of work.  I unsaddled her and took her to a round pen to roll.  As I took her bridle off she jerked away, ran to the opposite side of the pen and gave me a very defiant look.  HA!   Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Round 2

I am not the only one who thinks about these problems.  Nina did some thinking last night too and had a game plan today. 
Instead of pushing past me and circling to avoid standing still she went out as far away as she could get and tried circling.  Nope, didn't work, more backing.
She tried swinging her hips around so that she was circling backwards instead of backing straight.  This cannot have been more comfortable than backing straight but you know, anything to be in charge.  Nope, didn't work, more backing.
She tried charging over top of me - ONCE.  That time the nice voice went away and I put the fear of god in her.  Nope, didn't work, more backing.
She tried sticking her head straight up and bracing hard.  Nope, didn't work, more backing. That's what stud chains are for.
She tried sticking her head between her knees and bracing. Nope, didn't work, more backing. Again with the stud chain.
Then she gave up, glued herself to my face.  She again refused to lunge, backing up on her own.  We just worked very slowly until she was lunging.  I think she had decided that she was being corrected for going forward - which she was - and so she when she gave in she just wouldn't go forward.  She was quite confused for a little while but eventually relaxed and trotted around a little and was fine.
We had a great ride, forward, relaxed, did a little work over poles.  Short ride again, I run out of steam after chasing her around on the ground and then riding in the heat.
A cloud did blow through right at 2pm, dropped 6 drops of rain but did drop the temps and make things better.  I hope it does that again tomorrow, I have two lessons to teach. 
Onward and upward.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

first you gotta get their attention

My horse is awesome...more in a minute. 
But first, it is 100 degrees here.  How is it in your part of the oven?

Ok, horses.  This will probably read like a therapy session or a 12 step program, but I am going to drag you through it anyway. 
Nina has been improving under saddle, but the ground manners have been getting worse and worse.
So if you had to guess who's fault this is, who would you pick?  Ok - just to get it over with.  The human is 99% at fault and the horse 1% and I only give her the 1% because she is a tough TB and likes to win any fight. 
When I got Nina the ground manners were awful and since they involved kicking and biting I was pretty harsh and willing to do my share of kicking and biting.  So the manners improved and as she got to know me most of the tension went away and she just generally behaved herself.
Lately she has been pushy, refusing to stand still, trying to rip away when turned out.  She throws her head up in the air and threatens to walk over top of me.  She never touches me but she is about 19 hands tall and pushy.  I first tried just ignoring a lot of this and trying to manipulate her into what I wanted.  I think the pushiness is a bid for a fight and I was trying to avoid that - and the adrenaline rush that goes with it.  That worked for a short time, I think it puzzled her, but after a short time it just made her brave.
Yesterday she would not stand still while I was saddling her, eventually pulling back and then trying to run around me in circles.  I dragged her to a round pen and lunged her a bit, knowing full well that this was not the fix but just wanting to get rid of the energy, get her tacked up and get on. 
Then the rain started and I put her up and went home, in good time because a wild electrical storm started up. 
Anyway, I spent yesterday evening thinking about this latest problem and just really discouraged.  You could have bought her for 25 cents.  I was just fed up with the constant pattern of picking fights.  I also realized that I had let this escalate by trying to get past the bad behavior and ride instead of dealing with it.
So today I decided to deal with the ground manners and if I didn't get to ride, oh well.
I put a stud chain on her, under her chin.  I started tacking her up and she was ok for a few minutes, then pulled back.  So we backed and backed and backed.  Then we walked to the round pen and when she got pushy we backed some more - the length of the barn.  Several times.  I think people thought I was nuts because I was not going to fight with her, so I made her back and at the same time I told her she was a good girl and back and back and good girl - all in the most friendly and enthusiastic way possible.  She knows people well enough to recognize that an angry voice is a fight, so no fighting, good girl! back.
We went in the round pen and practiced some more, back out.  EVERY false step, every time her eyes left me, every time the head went up and the tension started - we backed.  She really didn't know what to make of it.  She was pissed but I was patting her on the neck and being SO nice that it didn't fire up her fight mechanism.  The eyes never got hard, the adrenaline didn't start. 
After she stood quietly all over the place and I fiddled with the saddle until I was even bored I took her into the round pen to trot around a little.  She ran off a little energy at a nice canter, no craziness.  Then she came directly into the center to me, stopped and backed up.  I sent her around and she made less than a lap, turned in, stopped and backed up. 
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  This mare who will fight at the drop of a hat and has resisted every step of her retraining was showing me the new trick she learned today.  Her eye was soft, she had an alert expression and she wanted me to tell her how smart she was.  Awesome.  Not what I was asking for but awesome anyway. 
Then she gave me a great obedient ride.  AND I felt like I was having fun for the first time since I got run over last spring.  I have been really working at riding her but not enjoying it, every misstep threw me off balance, every ear prick made me suck back.  I like a hot TB, I like them wanting to go forward and looking alert and happy working.  I have been faking it with her, trying to encourage her but feeling very stiff and not comfortable myself.  Today I was having fun, ears pricked, surging forward - great!  enjoying the energy instead of avoiding it. 
She was so perfect (and it was 100 degrees) so it was a short ride, but I felt like it was a break through for both of us.  Are her issues fixed?  Nope, but I think this will work and for the first time in a long time I am enjoying working with her.

2011 - Stuart Horse Trials - Socks' Helmet Cam with Commentary

This has been making the rounds on Facebook and blogs.  If you haven't seen it yet, sit back and enjoy.  This is Doug Payne with not only a helmet cam, but also giving a commentary as he goes around the course.  I had to watch it a couple of times to get the commentary, it is muffled because he had the microphone tucked into his vest.  The casual comment in mid air over the big drop had me gasping.  I hate drops anyway, I cannot imagine just commenting on how well the horse was going in a conversational tone.   This one is fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

98 degrees

Sunday Nina just stood around so Monday I turned her out to see if she wanted to trot around or roll.  She pranced around with her head and tail straight up, doing her best imitation of the Black Stallion.  And she ran and trotted endlessly, threw in a few bucks when attacked by a horse fly.  She pretty well wore herself out.  So I hosed her off and that was that.  I will ride today, 98 degrees promised again. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

no barn day

I didn't even go to the barn today.  There have only been a handful of days since I got Nina that I did not at least see her every day.  I wish I could say I was off having fun, but I spent the day cleaning up the damage and mess from the hail storm the other night.  It didn't do any damage to the house but this is an older neighborhood with lots and lots of mature trees and it partially stripped the trees.  Leaves and mostly small branches.  The morning after the storm everything within sight was green.  Driveways, streets, cars.. everything.  So I spent most of the day picking all that up, mowing the grass etc.  It is 91 degrees, which I normally wouldn't mind, I like the heat, but it is so humid, like a sauna.
So when I come back inside to get a drink and cool off I am not motivated to drive to the barn.

Maybe Nina will miss me so much that tomorrow she will throw on a saddle and be waiting and ready for me when I get there - eager to do anything I want.  Ya think?

I did get some pics of the hail.  My camera isn't fast enough to catch it bouncing 4 ft in the air, darn it.  It came through in waves, I finally turned on the weather channel and they showed about 6 little storm cells all lined up and moving through the same area, right over top.
With the exception of damaging the house, I rather enjoy violent weather, so I enjoyed the storm more than the dogs and cats. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

thought for the day

Here is a nice eventing video to put a smile on your face for the day.
Watching this I have two thoughts....
One - how could anyone NOT want to do this? and
Two - what do the horses think when they are asked to jump a skinny in the middle of a great big field? lol

This video came from Eventing Nation.

Monday, July 11, 2011

beginning contact

On the post with the photos Rita (who is not a rider) asked about the straightness of the reins.
I find when I am teaching that contact is one of the hardest concepts to get across to riders.
This Jane Savoie video features some exercises on developing a soft, fluid contact.  Horses have to trust the rider to do their half of developing contact and riders have to let go of some of the ideas about 'putting the horse' in a particular frame and let the partnership develop.
I use these particular exercises all the time, they worked well for me.  I still train with reins bridged almost all the time, it is a constant reminder to keep my hands quiet and I make my students ride with crops like this to make them aware of hand movement.   This is a well done video.

fitness - long and rambling...

Stacey, over at The Jumping Percheron has been posting about physical fitness and the lack of it in the horse world, especially or maybe entirely among amateurs.
I totally agree but I wanted to post some thoughts about it and perhaps end up with some sort of rousing new focus for myself.

To start I have to get my disclaimers out of the way.  If I dump them all at once maybe I can keep from doing a significant amount of whining throughout the post.  And like most people I can whine up a storm about my own (lack of) fitness.
Ok, first up - I am old enough to be Stacey's grandmother, I am 60 and will turn the amazingly old age of 61 next month.
Second - I have done the type of physical fitness that she does, military style.  I was not in the military but for 18 years I worked a contractor job that involved fun and games with Navy Seals and Delta Force and anyone else of their type who said they wanted to come and play with us.  (For 10 years before that I was a police officer.)  That, in my opinion, is not horse sports fitness - it is a lifestyle.  For those guys it is life and death, for me it was a paycheck, but it is not fitness that normal people with jobs and kids and horses and dogs and dental appointments and soccer games.....etc etc etc.... have any interest, much less time, to achieve.
Third - my weight crept up on me when I stopped doing that job, started sitting at a desk and like many many people, let motivation to be fit, also known as FEEL GOOD, slip away.
Ok, so there are the disclaimers/excuses  and I think most of us have our own little list of WHY we are not fit.   When we write them down, they tend to look pathetic.

But I like riding horses, I like jumping, I like galloping across country and to do these things without being fit is stupid and dangerous.
So, not wanting to spend my life in a gym being talked down to by some twit who has never actually DONE anything with his fit body.  (And I have had a real fitness trainer, it is a different world, I just can't afford the trainer anymore.)  And having all the excuses that anyone can drum up, how do I go about getting fitter?  Am I ever going to be my 30 something fit again?  I don't think I can live long enough to get back to that and don't, honestly, want to.

I have radically altered my diet, eating less and nearly all organic.  I am eating less meat than I ever have, more veggies and trying to get my sugar addiction from unconcentrated fruit juices.
I walk as much as possible, but I am a long way from my 10k steps, which is only 5 miles. 
I do not run, 25+ years of daily running ruined my knees and each time for the last 10 years that I have started running it has not been worth it.
What I need is someone to barge into my house on a daily basis, after I get home from work and the barn, and force me to work out.  Probably not going to happen.

I need to be accountable.  When I first started doing anything after cracking my head I was logging distance walked on Nina's training log.  Perhaps that could be a start, hold myself accountable for logging something and shame will cause me to do something worth logging. 
I will work on that, Stacey's posts have been a kick in the pants.

Now I would like to offer some comments about the horse world.  For a SPORT, there isn't much talk about human fitness, workouts, what works and what doesn't to improve riding, it is all about the horses.    There is very little, if any, attention paid to physical fitness for amateur riders.  Those of us who take lessons, ride in clinics and compete at the lower levels are perfectly aware that trainers and coaches are frustrated with dealing with unfit riders.  At least we are if we are not deaf, dumb and blind.
I had ONE upper level event rider that a took a few lessons with, when I was fitter than I am now, who told me 'You need to be fitter, he is big strong horse and you are not going to be able to give him a good ride if you are not as fit as he is."
THAT is the only comment I have heard along that line, directed to me or anyone else in many years.
That's it?  Every clinic I have been to starts with a short discussion about goals and fitness levels for the horses, how about the riders?

HOWEVER, there is an unfortunate comparison made by trainers that causes amateurs to go out back of the barn and throw up.  This is the 'Look how nice she looks on a horse, look how good her posture (or her hair) is.  Look how nice her hunt coat fits."  always spoken about the anorexic young rider who weighs about 80 lbs and can't saddle or unsaddle her own horse because she cannot physically do it.  THOSE lovely comments, made all the time at shows, just justify to unfit riders how, at least they are better than that.  At least they are not dying from lack of oxygen after jumping a few fences, at least they have the strength to pull on the reins when they need to.

So between this nonsense and an overweight/obese society - why is physical fitness not stressed in equestrian sports?  ALL equestrians sports.  I for one was embarrassed that at the WEG our beer belly champion reiners, who won, looked like beer belly champions by comparison with the athletic European riders.  Does THAT promote being fit, being an athlete?  Look we won, beer bellies and all.

Most professional riders stay fit because they ride 8-10 horses a day AND work out - because it is their livelihood. Why don't they promote fitness in their students?
Why do only the old school pros talk about fitness and strength?
Maybe being PC has changed but a charging 1200# horse hasn't and is still just as dangerous - or scary - as it ever was.
Many riders quit riding when they are college age and then gravitate back to it later, only to find that their fitness and reflexes and lack of fear have all changed, and maybe it isn't fun any more, or it is too hard, and they quit again.    That is a loss to the sport with its dwindling numbers.

I think it is time for a change of culture in the horse world.  I am not sure how to go about it.  Helmets4Riders has accomplished a lot just by yelling about it and refusing to shut up.  Eventually the message sinks in.
How do we stop pretending that my fat ass in the saddle is just fine?  That anorexic teenager is not fine either.  Neither are the thin and lovely and soft riders who think that weight is fitness.

Trainers are afraid to offend clients, so it has to either come from grass roots or from the very top.  Nobody stops lining up to clinic with George Morris because he calls a rider fat.  He gets torn to shreds from behind anonymous names but he is hardly not in demand.  Why don't other top trainers follow his example?  Perhaps in a more constructive way, I don't know that he takes the time to explain what being overweight and unfit does to your balance and to your ability to recover after a mistake.

Years ago I was surprised to find that Ian Stark, at the top of his career, riding multiple 4* horses in each competition, trained for and ran in marathons and had a trainer help him with weight training with the goal of staying fit enough to survive those 4* rounds.   It has stuck with me.

Why doesn't this ethic trickle down?  What do we do about it?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

professional pics from the fun show

I really like this first one.  Nina looks very balanced, her striding is rhythmic and even and her neck is coming UP out of her shoulders instead of that stiff and down posture that she adopts.  Maybe we are getting somewhere.
The others Nina looks good but I got into a shadow, just as well :-)
You can tell how bright the sun was by the shadows, this was around 9am, but it was a couple of days after the Solstice.  It doesn't get brighter than this!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

day off

Nina and I got a day off.  Well, Nina got a day off and I did laundry, cleaned house, mowed the grass and pulled weeds out of what was at one time a flower bed.

I just took her beet pulp over to the barn and added a nice big carrot that I just picked up.  She was happy to see me - or the carrot.  But she was friendly and bored. 
Back to work tomorrow.  I am going to try riding her long enough to get her tired.  If that doesn't work before my lesson shows up I guess we will do a little more lunging. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

the battle for supreme dominance of the world

Apparently my gut instinct was right and Nina's appalling and sudden lack of ground manners was a bid for dominance.  She has become quite agreeable about riding but had to make a last ditch effort to be the one in charge.  It is, after all, her norm.

How can I tell?  She is pissed at me.  She pins her ears and stomps her feet and glares thru her one good eye (the other is still a little swollen) and makes mildly threatening gestures.  Then she comes over to me and wants to be friends and get her head scratched.  She has been pushing people around for so long she doesn't know how to give it up.  But I think the secret is that she really wants to and she will, on her own, eventually.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

tired yet?

This horse is seriously difficult to get tired.  I have never seen her tired and certainly never tried to get her tired.  I have been working her for 2-3 hours in the hottest part of the day.  Alternating riding and lunging.  She not only has bottomless reserves of energy but when she does get tired she can hit the adrenaline button and go again. 

Today I watched her turn the adrenaline on.  She had been working for over an hour, I got off to set some poles on the ground.  She was looking a little tired and I was going to quit soon. 
I stood for a minute talking to someone and Nina decided to work up some new energy.  She tried to circle around me and when I wouldn't let her she started chomping on the bit, then tossing her head, then stamping her feet.  Then tried to walk over top of me, then took a few hard kicks at nothing while she stoked up her temper and adrenaline.  Pinned her ears, tossed her head, eyes slitted, working herself into a temper tantrum.  When I got back on she was trembling with adrenaline and spooking at everything. 
We made some big circles at a trot and finally she took a deep breath and relaxed and then she was tired again. 
She did this a couple of times during the afternoon, it reminded me of a human runner at the start of a race; bouncing in place, swinging arms, clenched jaws, getting the adrenaline started a few seconds early. 
Nina can do it on demand.
I am trying to make the riding part of getting tired the easiest and nicest with lots of pats and encouragement and the lunging is just hard work.  I would like to take some of the fun out of lunging and see if we can cut down on the rush and just be tired.  It's ok to just be tired and not want to run like a fool every minute.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

wet saddle blankets....

a tired horse is a good horse
wet saddle blankets make a good horse

Hear this, Nina?  Life is about to change.

Nina has been getting better and better under saddle and worse and worse on the ground.  Yesterday just tore it for me.  I was carefully putting her bridle on over her head bump and she jerked back and took off.  She was in the round pen so there was no place to go, but she was dragging my bridle under her feet.  She got it tangled around a foot and stopped before she stepped on it and tore it to shreds.
That was the final and last straw for me with this horse.  She winds herself up and acts like an idiot on the ground and all of the correcting or training has no effect.

What this horse needs is to get TIRED.  I don't think she has ever been tired.  When she was hundreds of pounds underweight she had no energy, but she still didn't really get tired.
All of her riding and most of the lunging has been for exercise and training.  Quit when she is good and all that stuff.  I think that was necessary, she had deep issues of distrust and was more than willing to defend herself.  But that is gone.  She still can be a bit of a shit when ridden, but no more than any other horse having an issue with something. 

I think I am falling into another version of the reason she has been handed around.  For her previous owners she was unrideable.  She reared or bolted or whatever and got put away.
So now she doesn't rear or bolt, but she comes out and acts like a goof, she gets ridden for a fairly short time and she gets put away.  It is all fun and games with energy to burn - prancing all the way back to her pen.

There is no way I can ride her long enough to get her tired, she ran at a dead run for about 15 minutes today (without me on her) and had broken a light sweat.  It was 99 degrees with blazing sun.
So I have a game plan - make the TB tired EVERY day.
It will involve a lot more lunging than I want but at this point my attitude is a little on the -so what? - side.  There is a turnout that she can run in if it is empty, that will be better than a round pen.
We started today, my plan formed as I watched my bridle flying around between her steel shod hooves waiting for her to step on it and tear it to shreds.   My anger peaked and then mellowed.  How to make the HORSE tired without killing myself.

So after I retrieved my miraculously undamaged bridle I put the dirt caked thing on her, tied up the reins and NOW it was time to run.  She actually asked to stop a few times.
Then I got on and we worked until I was about to pass out - I forgot to go get my water bottle, I was distracted by the bridle.
AND THEN, for the coup de grace - she got lunged again after I got off.   NOW she is starting to get sweaty but she is hours away from a lather.

I hosed her off until her body temperature came down, walked her around for a while and put her away.  When I took her beet pulp to her she put one tired foot in front of another and chowed down.

Tomorrow we are going to do the same and everyday after that until I don't have to deal with her trying to bolt off for a fun jaunt while I am trying to tack her up.   And after than too.

The worst off track horse I ever had was my first, he was a bolter.  We went many hours and many miles along the ditch roads in Albuquerque while he learned that when he bolted he was covering ground going away from home and every inch of that had to be ridden - at a trot or a canter - in order to get home.  It took a while but he became a very dependable horse and learned to save his energy for when I asked for it.  I think Nina has never learned this lesson.  It's past time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

barfight, hangover, pictures...

Just kidding.... but Nina is acting like she is regretting getting her bell rung.  
I went to the barn hoping that the swelling yesterday was just a skin abrasion full of fluid and dreading that she would be much worse than yesterday.
The swelling is down quite a lot, which makes me feel better that she probably did not break any bones.  But it is very painful, stretched so that you can see fiery purple and red skin through the hair. 
She is eating, drinking, wanted her beet pulp, but really doesn't want to be touched. 
I got some pics today, they pretty much convey her mood, although it is hard to see the bump.
A friend of mine suggested that this might discourage her from flipping around.  No, it won't, because it didn't hurt while she was flipping around, it started hurting a few minutes later - like about the time I got on her.  *sigh*

This is the undamaged side of her head.  You can see the shape of the bones above her eye.

Here is the lump above her eye, hiding all of the shape of her head.

This gives a little idea of how big the lump is - but smaller than yesterday.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

if it's not one thing....

Nina whacked her head today in the round pen - hard. 
She did a little galloping in the round pen, but not out of control - I was actually thinking that she was going to get some energy burned and not hurt herself.  HA!
I took her over to the arena, got on, she walked a little ways and then started tossing her head, with one ear pinned back hard.  This went on for a minute or two and I decided that she had somehow gotten something stuck in her ear.  When I got off to look I realized that she had a big skinned place above her eye - ouch!  So I took her out of the ring to find something to take the sting out of the skinned spot - at this point I thought that's all it was.  But within a few minutes she had a lump above the skinned spot, then within a very short time the lump was the size of an apple and she was frantic with pain. 
I got her untacked and turned her out in a pen.  She paced around for a while, flipping her head over and over, finally calmed down enough to come over to me.  She has a huge lump on the left side of her forehead, which is, fortunately, where the skull is the thickest.
This is one of those times I saw how far Nina has come in relating to people.  When I walked into the pen with her halter she stared at it and walked away.  It took about 10 minutes for her to let me approach her with the halter (without it was fine).  She was sure it was going to hurt.  She finally stood and closed her eyes, hunched her shoulders and let me put it on her.  I may sure not to touch that side of her head and we were good.
I gave her some bute and then my massage therapy friend said she wanted to try an infrared light gadget that she had.  Nina would not let her get anywhere near her head, so she worked on her neck and along her spine. 
Now I have done lots of research and reading on light therapy and all of the 'studies' say that it doesn't work.  But I stood and watched a horse who was in pain, veins bulging, head tossing, gradually calm down, take a few deep breaths and start to relax.  We didn't put a halter or anything on her, just let her walk away if she wanted.  She didn't.  When my friend stopped working on her and moved away from her Nina followed. more, more, more
When I left she had calmed down, the bute seemed to have kicked in and she was eating dinner. 
We will see what it looks like tomorrow.   Poor thing. 
.... and I forgot to get pics - would have been exciting.
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