Saturday, July 16, 2011

Five Weeks - Downs and Ups

It's five weeks since my accident, and while things are slowly improving, I'm not fully back to normal yet.  But my body takes care of itself - the day before yesterday I was very active, taking a long walk and having my first ride again on Pie.  Yesterday I was very tired and felt like a limp noodle and also had a headache, so rested most of the day.  Today I feel much better and have done some walking and managed another ride on Pie.  I'm expecting to continue to have these downs and ups for a while and don't worry too much about it - I do what I'm able to do and that's enough - there's no point in getting frustrated about it.

I think Pie's name should be changed to Saint Pie - there aren't too many 5 year old horses who would be so perfectly well-behaved after almost 5 weeks off.  Once again he stood completely still as I got on and didn't move a muscle until I asked him to walk off.  He halts and stands for as long as I want, anywhere I want.  He walks just as I ask him to and never picks up the pace unless asked. He's a very special horse and I'm lucky to have him, particularly right now.

We walked around for about 10 minutes, throwing in some halting and some backing, and lots of turns and figures.  I'm starting to work with him on his backing - he backs well and immediately, but he's not particularly soft and tends to put his head down almost between his knees - I expect this was how he was taught to back.  I'd like him to be a little more relaxed and soft about it - he tends to rush backwards - and to carry his head in a more natural position which will allow him to lift himself with his hindquarters rather than drag himself backwards on the forehand.  We're also starting to work on our softening at the walk as well - might as well take advantage of the walking we're doing!

We're supposed to have extremely hot weather for the next week - I'll be turning my horses out in the late evening and bringing them in the morning before it gets too hot so they can spend the day in their stalls under the fans.  And my rides will have to switch to early morning, as it's going to be too hot to ride any other time of day.  Here's a good post at Equine Ink on how hot is too hot to ride, depending on such factors as air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed - I've printed out a copy to put on the bulletin board at the barn for reference.

20 comments:

  1. I'm glad I live in Colorado -- according to that fantastic post you linked to, very few days here would even be in the caution range. Our humidity just isn't high enough here to add much to the heat stress index.

    You are so lucky to have Pie! He's a wonderful horse, to be looking after you so well at his age. But I think we should rename him Angel Pie -- partly because I think he's your guardian angel, and partly just because it sounds like angel cake. :-D

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  2. One thing I do not have to worry about, living in Spokane, is it ever being too hot. I'm beginning to think we don't get summer here--just winter and spring--everyone actually says, winter and construction, which is true, too.

    Saint Pie fits him very well.

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  3. We're having such a bizarrely cool summer in the Northwest that it's almost like the laws of physics have changed here. There have been marked increases/decreases in the wildlife populations around here this summer.

    I've noticed that dark-colored horses seem to suffer worse in the heat (makes sense, since they are basically walking solar panels). I really dislike having a ditch through the middle of the pasture for mosquito reasons, but on hot days the horses will stand/splash/roll in it, and I'm glad that they have that "self-cooling" option.

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  4. It sounds like you're healing slowly and have a wonderful horse who's taking good care of you. I hope you're feeling back to your best very soon!

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  5. Pie really sounds like a great horse.

    Thanks for the link about riding in the heat. We rarely have much for humidity in our part of Montana, but we do get some days that feel questionable. It's nice to have some guidelines.

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  6. You're right about the ups and downs in your healing. Both Betty and I have experienced that. The heat index scale was interesting. Living in the Southwest our humidity rarely gets above 40% and is often down around 10%.

    Dan

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  7. I think this heat and humidity is making everyone a limp noodle. Yes, I think Pie's name should be changed too. I also have a 5 yr old, so I know what you're talking about. I have a pre-flight checklist that I used to do, I know I would be doing it again if he hadn't been ridden in 5 weeks.

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  8. Pie really is just wht you need right now! Listening to your body is so crucial during the healing phase, so often we tend to want to push ourselves to quickly. Keep up the recovery!

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  9. Pie has been a fabulous horse for you in so many ways. I think he is very deserving of the Saint Pie title.

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  10. Saint Pie, eh...??? I like that!

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  11. So true about being tired the day after. Muscles need to be stressed and then require rest so they can build up in the recovery period.

    I agree about either St. Pie or Angel Pie. He is one special horse and just perfect for your comeback. You did really well in finding him.

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  12. Saint Pie is right! What a nice guy he is!!!

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  13. I'm so glad you are riding agian. Good ol' pie!

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  14. I'm so happy to hear of your constantly improving progress. It's better to move steadily and slow sometimes, than quickly and suffer a relapse. Good for you for listening to your body....and good Saint Pie for taking such good care of you, too.
    Apache took very good care of me on Saturday, even though I asked a lot of her to carry me over 7 miles over mountains on a 90F+ degree day (less than 10% humidity, though) while competing on strange obstacles. We are were both out of shape and condition after not riding for a year so riding for so many miles was a little too ambitious the first time out.
    Still, my mare has heart, and like your Pie, aims to please. Gotta love a horse like that, especially if your mind, body and soul are trying to heal from an injury.

    ~Lisa

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  15. St. Pie is a blessing for you!
    One of the exercises I do to lighten a horse in backing is to ask them to do a quarter turn out of the back up, which essentially makes the back up a forward move; asking the horse to collect up first, then back a couple of steps and ask for a quarter turn on the haunches and move forward.

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  16. Shirley - thanks for the reminder that backing should be thought of just as if it were a forward movement and should feel the same - I like your quarter turn on the haunches exercise and will try it out the next time I ride Pie.

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  17. I've been catching up on your blog. Glad to hear that you are continuing to heal and that you are getting to do some riding.

    Thanks for the article about riding in the heat. We've been having some nasty hot weather here! I will pass the article on to friends.

    Mary

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