Friday, March 15, 2013

Tender Loving Care

Wa mare receiving the gentle, effective therapeutic touch from one of her favorite  equine therapists, on a  recent rare sunny day.

The year I met him, I watched as he helped several horses at my stable regain health. Sometimes  he worked without being paid, coming out in between appointments to do a ck up.
He made sure the horses were calm and comfortable, while healing from their serious maladies. He is a "give, give" kinda guy. 

Washashe mare Here, the first time she met him  , I truly thought she would try and lay him low!  
As he found the area's of trauma, she made terrible faces and also began kicking the ground with her hind leg, to relieve the pain as he did the same, by massaging the blocked area. 
We knew he was a "Keeper" after that session. He also uses pure essential oils, and the horses sniff them, as needed to soothe themselves.

The weekend he came, it was so nice and bright out (CCCold in the dark arena) we chose to partake of this  therapy session  outside in it! Wa was very aware she could NOT SEE her 2 mares out back, and tried to get us to walk that direction a few times. She soon settled into his handiwork, with yawns and droopy eyes. He liked how she kept breathing through the work he was doing. Apparently, some horses hold their breath and it does block releasing.

We all got SUNSHINE THERAPY  weekend before last, here in the PNW.  Trails started to dry out and the warmness reclaimed our cold bones for movement again.

 After a good long ride atop my steed,  the warm radiant sunshine filling us up to the top with JOY, my "CARDIO TRAINER"  App  told me the mileage had reached 5 miles. 
I then hopped off to  walk a few...and a few became... all the way home with my mare, happily walking beside me!

It  certainly was a great therapeutic workout for the both of us.   AND*** I did it, I walked the entire long hill  up to the home trail!  Instead of her pulling me up, because the grounds were dry and non slick, we both happily strode the entire thing up- NO STOPPING-!  The C.T. App then told me how much reward I'd  earned. I was Alarmed with the calorie burn!  6 Avocados! Who could eat that many?

We be a tired duo, arriving home to stable.

  I got the "GROOMA" hand held rubber massage tool out for a massage. Now Wa, she doesn't like much touch but , when she has deemed it beneficial, she'll really tell you  Exactly where she needs/wants the massage, and how long!
I spray her all over with "Sore-No-More" firstly.

I had "thought" To have finished the left side of her body when suddenly, She blocked me from walking around to the right side, by turning her head that direction.   I asked her to straighten, she did. Then again, she blocked me!   I just cocked my knee forward, shifting my hip, and asked her,  with my body language,"Then WHERE?? Wa?!  

 If I could have had the video on...amazing........
She then quickly bend her neck around to the left and pointed at her shoulder, touching it repeatedly.  I was astonished and said, "Alright girl, I will attend that for you."

A nice large sip of water from her "Better Bucket" my sister gave me to use, then a day off or two was on order  now, for "Resting therapy"!

D'apple and Pantz, my sister's 2 mares,  have certainly benefited by our therapist's Robb's skilled ways also. 
Most recently D'ap has been receiving treatments from Robb.  Our barefoot specialist had said, "  D'ap really has no connection through to her hind end".  We have had many lessons with her on just picking the hind hooves up calmly. She has a terribly difficult time, often SLAMMING them to the floor...and if your foot is in the way, woe to you!

Robb has had several sessions with her. She seems to really enjoy them. The HOMEWORK has been to build her hind end muscles up and engage her in lateral work more. Our Dressage teacher "C", also wants this for D'ap.  She is not traveling under herself and is very weak. 
We knew all this, and sister has taken many a day into weeks, to focus upon hind end work in hand.

"KATE, from "A Year with Horses",  recently posted about this very work she has begun (again) with "Pie".  It is the sort of basic work that really engages the horses to use themselves correctly, bolstering balance and strength. 
 Along with the in hand work, we shall also use Cavaletti poles on the straight.

"It is natural for the horse to lower his head and neck to look at the poles this, in turn, rounds the long muscles over the back and loins and allows greater freedom for the hind legs to come under the weight of the body, while the need to lift the legs over the poles requires greater flexibility and, therefore, suspension."
 Quote from ,  "LUNGING The horse and Rider" by Sheila Inderwick

Other work sissy has done with the D'ap is taking her through many obstacles. Outside there is a  huge course of bridges, poles in a pattern to back through and also, random RR ties to step through. But when weather is ick, inside there is a reinforced covered pallet, and poles to arrange.

 HAHAHA!!! Sister sent me some shots, after the first time she asked D'ap to step up on the pallet. She willingly did, and stayed...while sister took shots. Then  my sister decided to go to the tack room for something.  D'ap was still on the pallet, when she returned!!!

While Wa had some time off, I took another set of lessons with D'ap.
 We did some in hand laterals firstly, and then some pallet work with "one foot at a time". She is very good at listening and will stop movement, if you ask her too.

My Sister's tender loving care of this mare and her unique willingness to try anything we've asked of her, seem to go hand in hand. She snorts if she is pensive, and breaths deeply, blinks and chews if she accepts . It's like a game to find the way to her heart...

This mare D'ap, has given me such a loving therapy too. She is non reactive, and I can trust her.  She gives 110% and during my recent lesson, with trainer "C" , I received "New legs" and "New arms"! 
D'apple continues to train me!  

My legs came to me after trainer "C' told me to Drape my legs around the horse. My sister has told me this for ever...but, when "C" added the, "Feel the outside of your foot in the stirrup, and the little toe". CLICK***!  My legs suddenly felt as though they went around the horse and my thigh lengthened, with the calf contact suddenly becoming more apparent. 
I feel badly that something my sister has taught me for years, I learned how to apply with another trainer. BUT, "when" you get it, you get it!

 BEAMING RIDER...all smiles I was!

The arms came shortly after this moment during the lesson. My sister has gotten me to CLOSE my hands around the reins and  also, not to "Puppy Paw" my contact, by breaking over at the wrists.   Trainer "C" effectively related last LSN, for me to not "GIVE AWAY" my contact of "Being there" for the horse, as they seek the bit and contact.  I am getting that feel now. She knows I had a mindset instilled in me by a former trainer that I was hard handed. She has blown that bogus ( I now realize  maliciously spoken) theory out now!

I love trainer "C",  she makes sure you KNOW "where you are going rightly", as she begins to change the ways in you that are not beneficial to growth in your rides.
 She stopped me firstly,  to make a point. She took the reins, behind the bit, and asked me to hold her hand. I gently felt her. She then told me, "Good,  you have excellent hands that are sensitive and gentle".
She had instilled again in me the confidence.
 We then proceeded,  her asking me to breath upwards for the trot, thinking it mostly. D'apple moved upwards into the trot. HERE IT IS- Trainer "C" then said, 
" I don't see your armpit muscles engaged!"
....!!!.... what, but it worked....I tightened those unknown beauties, and my shoulders went back a notch. D'apple went down into the contact and I again, BEAMED WITH DELIGHT! 
It allowed me to "Carry my hands" easier, I found. 

I totally had to apologise to my Sissy after the lesson. Nothing "C" had asked me to do is new to my ears, sister has tried to teach me these things all along, but it came as an "AHA moment", with the addition of the new "visualizing suggestions" I think.

Love this mare, her nature is helping me learn. She and I are forgiving and understanding of each other, going very easy.  TREATS of green grassy delights came after the lesson.

Thanks to you D'apple mare, I can take all my new body parts back to Washashe! Using them in "Trailssage". 

The D'apple of my eye you are!

 New beginnings abound, as I read around the globe. It's all good, huh!

This is one happy, drunk bee!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just keep going

                                                                                          ~ Mare walking in the rain~    
 It was raining, icky, cold out. I trimmed my mare's hooves and then, gave her a massage.
 I was avoiding going out in the cold rain. 
 I knew I wouldn't melt. That is what I told the barn owner, when I saw her briefly, " I need to just keep going, and not let this stuff stop me"!
So I DID go on out into the foreboding day.

 I recently installed the "My Fitness Pal" App back onto my new phone, and have been doing very well with my diet tracking.   It even gives me "pep talks" in the form of  "exercise  note's, as I document  Cardio /Strength and workout activities.  It is quite hilarious!   But, for me right now, super motivating. The  all to recent non- riding-winter- blaws- weight , has to leave me!

The mare and me, happily set off, breathing in the moist air. She took in liquid refreshments, as needed, and they were plentiful. 

All in all it was a great 3 1/2 mile walk...burning off several hundred calories. Today, I am a bit sore from how fast my pace was, in between the mare's grazing times.  I walked and she trotted!   The last long hill up was the killer though.  I got myself into position behind the mare. Rope in left hand, Tail in right.   "Okay", I said chipperly, there she went.   It was too slick to actually walk, so she kinda moved her feet a bit faster. I was joggin' behind!    Before we actually reached the top, I said several times, " And....." .  
It is the precursor "half halt" word I use before a change. She kindly stopped for me, after I said the "AND".   Huffing a little, I again asked her to move forward with the ,"Okay".

My goal, before long, is to be able to walk up the entire long hill, with no stopping. If the mare stops, that's fine.

                                                                                          ~ Panorama of Wa mare near Boulder pond~

That was really fun! The mare took just as much delight, I am sure of it, in munching the greens we found everywhere.

Today, now the SUNSHINE is out!    
I will be burning some of my  calories upon my bay- Grass Powered Beauty!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Silhouette Haiku

Darkened forms Dancing

 Pleasure In The Moonlight's Gaze

Sway Seeds Sway Then Fly

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wet Wonderful

Pond like puddle we take pleasure in. Sometimes with the mare pawing, often sipping. Or sometimes, just standing and gazing at the sky, while looking down!

We were able to get out a few times this week, for short and sweet rides. Either my energy, or the sky's energy, were foreboding.
It mattered not to the mare, she was into come what may.

Let's go!!!

One day we got in right as it began to spit. I had none of my rain gear on, so my leather saddle got a few dashes of moisture. 
I finally made the switch to my "E- Z RIDE STIRRUPS".  They are super duper cushioned platforms!

 One is unable to "Run them up" as regular irons though, for safety sake when unmounted . I just toss them over the saddle and that does the job. 
You can see the thin spot in Wa's mane above...soon, it'll all be that shortest length...makeover time is coming!

Wa was telling me that her top line was not supporting our longer rides with this harder, tree'd saddle. It is in need of some more wool flocking, so until then, the cushioning of the closed cell foam"bumper pad" will do the trick.

We came upon a herd of local llamas...and they suddenly presented us with a trail obstacle.
I knew what was about to happen so I focused myself straight ahead(after photo) .....

I had my leg on, and kept light contact with the mare. When it did happen...a Tandem Llama scratch...woo hoo...that noise sent Wa scooting forward! I allowed her to walk back to them and check it out, as they continued the itching. It was really funny!

There is always time for a bite here and there, makes the mare all relaxed as she chews the newly sprouted greens.

Fabulous water !! Really amazing color!! Even Wa seemed to take it in.

And another pond view offered us this little "Promise" reminder.

When the weather turns the corner, and I know it will for you too soon, my snowy/cold friends , it really lends lightness to one's spirit.

It has been wet, and more wet will surely come our way...but all and all ,"The Ridin' Days" are so welcome!

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