Getting us both into shape...
   

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Getting us both into shape...

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        04-17-2010, 05:27 PM
      #1
    Weanling
    Getting us both into shape...

    So, if you've read some of my posts around here you've probably realized I have a problem mare. She is a problem in that she can be very moody, and we've tried *everything* from trainers to mutliple vets to taking her to specialists. We've come to the conclusion that she is extremely hormonal.

    Now she's getting up there in age, she's approximately 15. She has calmed down considerably on the ground, but I still do not trust her at all. During the course of time that I had her, she's had two foals. One she was pregnant with when I got her. I could never figure out how, once her foal was weaned, she turned into a completely different horse. She was downright mean and dangerous. We sent her away for training, spent a good amount of money trying to figure out her problem. Saddle fitting, teeth specialist, chiropractic, 3 different trainers, one came here and coached us, I took her to a lesson once a week at another barn when that didn't work out, and then I finally sent her away.

    Nothing really worked. She was still very unpredictable, but I was able to take her to a few small shows. I did a little bit of jumping with her and she was in good form, but with her acting the way she did it wasn't really safe to pursue it further. Then she ended up getting pregnant thanks to the negligence of the barn I was boarding at. As soon as she became pregnant, she did a 180. Was calm. Wasn't bullheaded. She still didn't want to be around me but she grudgingly put up with me. Baby was born, she was still fabulous.

    Now... the above mentioned foal is 2 years old. We are about to sell her. SINCE the day she got pregnant with her she's been a completely different horse. I still watch myself around her, but she's totally different. The foal is no longer nursing, so the hormone thing doesn't really make since.

    I rode her for the first time since last spring a few days ago. I just tossed a western bridle with a soft bit in her mouth and hopped on. She's still a little iffy about neck reining, and she tested me a few times, but she was an angel.

    Her filly may be leaving in two weeks. I'm afraid when she does, my horse is going to turn into a lunatic again.

    Okay if you've read all that, now onto what I need some advice with. For the last two years, since she got pregnant and had the baby, i've probably ridden her 5 times. She behaved beautiful when I was riding her with the foal by her side, but she was kind of nervous (which was the foals fault, if she got too far away or got excited, so did Mom).

    My biggest problem right now is that I had an injury and have been unable to ride horses at more than a walk. My ankle is very weak, and my doctor wanted me to slowly introduce myself back into jumping and even posting. I had planned to get back to working her English and doing some flat work, a little dressage to get us both back into shape. But then I sprained my ankle simply walking down the steps, so i've been kinda set back.

    So 1) I haven't ridden English in forever and have only ridden western. And 2) Not only am I out of the loop, so is my horse. 3) We are both extremely out of shape.

    I was interested in buying a TB gelding from a lady who gives lessons, and I got to talking to her on the phone and entertained the idea of taking a few lessons to get myself back into the swing of things before attempting to see how long my horses good mood is going to last.

    What do you think? I could start some lunge work with her, and maybe start taking a lesson a week until i'm sure my ankle is strong enough (it's currently still slightly sprained, ugh! This is what the doctor says will likely keep happening).

    Basically I feel like, when I look at posts here, I can critique riders and know what i'm looking at. But I don't feel that confident in myself anymore. It's been SO long since i've been on a horse and done more than pleasure riding. I went on a few trail rides last year on other peoples horses, where I was kinda forced into trotting and canter, but I was riding western and it was all much more relaxed than Tina tends to be.

    I tried to explain to my doctor that even when you post,it's not in your ankle but your legs. He wasn't having none of that though. And i'm not certain i'm strong enough in my leg to not rely on my ankle at this time.

    I also do not have an arena...

    This post is all over the place, isn't it?

    What do you guys think? Ideally, I could take Tina to the lessons with me. But I don't have a trailer at this time. Here are the only pictures I have of me riding her after our long "off time" - in September of 2008!!! I can only imagine what we're like now... I shudder when I think about it lol. She had her foal in July, so she was extremely fat and so was I (thankfully i've lost a ton of weight since then!) It was a last minute ride I decided to take, hence why i'm in my work clothes still! Be brutal, I need it because i'm probably worse now!

    And yes, in 99% of these pictures she was throwing a fit trying to go back to the barn.


    Here she is fighting me:




    And after her fits were over:




    I was forbidden to do more than walk by the doctor, and you can see my left ankle is always goofy - it was painful at that time to really do much but let it hang in the stirrup. So excuse that. And also it wasn't my normal saddle, it was the only one that fit her with her giganticness from the foal. I did trot a little, but not because I really wanted to.. lol

    Should I just go for broke? I'm afraid i'm not going to have the confidence to deal with her if she goes back to being her loony self, but at the same time, once I start working it may all just come back to me and fall into place.

    Money is kind of an issue with Floyd and all his issues we're dealing with right now, otherwise I wouldn't hesitate to go take a few lessons to refresh myself.
         
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        04-17-2010, 06:39 PM
      #2
    Foal
    Why don't you ride westurn till your ankle is better?
    Westurn is much easier to ride in, and as you said alot more relaxing, and you are also able to post doing it, but with having longer striups you wont have to worry about having to go so far off your saddle.

    As for the temperment issues, continue working with her yourself. Sometimes if a horse is taught to many ways to be ridden it will become nasty, cause everyone rides differently, so she gets mixed messages. Keep the foal and continue working on it.
         
        04-17-2010, 07:05 PM
      #3
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hunter    
    Why don't you ride westurn till your ankle is better?
    Westurn is much easier to ride in, and as you said alot more relaxing, and you are also able to post doing it, but with having longer striups you wont have to worry about having to go so far off your saddle.

    As for the temperment issues, continue working with her yourself. Sometimes if a horse is taught to many ways to be ridden it will become nasty, cause everyone rides differently, so she gets mixed messages. Keep the foal and continue working on it.
    Definitely something to think about, thanks!
    I did moderate Western riding with her a few years ago. When I hopped on her bareback the otherday with the western bridle and tried to neck rein, she was tossing her head all over the place and giving me a hard time like she'd never done it before. I had a snaffle bit on the bridle, and as soon as I started to direct rein, she was fine. I could probably ride her western and direct rein until I can remind her that she knows how to neck rein lol. My ankle was better until sprained it recently, so that hopefully won't be an issue once it recovers from this sprain.
    For the fun of it, this is from the other day. She is sooo out of shape, still! This just goes to show.

    However! This was in the middle of the field and I had to use a tree to get on! I climbed halfway up a tree and led her to me and then practically jumped on, and she didn't flinch. Very unlike her! I'm hoping maybe she's past her issues with age, but who really knows.
         
        04-17-2010, 08:18 PM
      #4
    Weanling
    For your ankle injury I would listen to the doctor. Because even though you really are using your legs, not your ankle to post, you put extra pressure on it while mounting, dismounting, and just riding around. I've had 2 surgeries on my achillies tendons in the last 2 years (which made me not able to ride for about 3 months each time) and I know its super annoying that the doctor tells you not to do things but in the end your ankle will recover quicker and better if you listen to what he says. You don't want something to happen and to injure it more either...

    That's just my two cents. Sorry, I don't have any advice about your mare.
         
        04-17-2010, 08:34 PM
      #5
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rowzy    
    For your ankle injury I would listen to the doctor. Because even though you really are using your legs, not your ankle to post, you put extra pressure on it while mounting, dismounting, and just riding around. I've had 2 surgeries on my achillies tendons in the last 2 years (which made me not able to ride for about 3 months each time) and I know its super annoying that the doctor tells you not to do things but in the end your ankle will recover quicker and better if you listen to what he says. You don't want something to happen and to injure it more either...

    That's just my two cents. Sorry, I don't have any advice about your mare.
    Thanks Rowzy. Injuries suck, there's just no other way to put it. Whether it's you or your horse!

    I am clear to ride now. Or was, until I sprained it last week. It's just really very weak, which is how I sprained it. I need to work up to full use slowly.
         
        04-17-2010, 08:54 PM
      #6
    Weanling
    Have you talked to your doctor about physical therapy? It was very very helpful for me. I know what you meen about it being very weak. I had my last surgery at the end of december and I still can't run very long or post for a long time. Another thing that helps keep me in shape is swimming because it is low impact (I think that's the right term?).
         
        04-17-2010, 11:12 PM
      #7
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rowzy    
    Have you talked to your doctor about physical therapy? It was very very helpful for me. I know what you meen about it being very weak. I had my last surgery at the end of december and I still can't run very long or post for a long time. Another thing that helps keep me in shape is swimming because it is low impact (I think that's the right term?).
    I did some physical therapy and stopped as soon as the doctor okay'ed me to. The medical bills were becoming outrageous, I had no insurance.

    I used to do 3 day eventing, I miss the days when my WHOLE body was in shape. Amazing how one bad body part can change everything. I can't believe what I "lost" in just a few years (a combination of reasons, but the injury topped the cake)!

    Swimming is a great idea. I may look into that. I have some exercises I do every day with a resistance band. They don't seem to be doing squat for me though. Sigh.

    All I did to sprain it was miss ONE step. I tried to catch myself and landed on the bad ankle and it completely collapsed.
         
        04-18-2010, 01:03 AM
      #8
    Green Broke
    I think it would be good to work with the lesson horse a bit if you can afford it to help get your seat back...sort of what I am doing before riding my new green guy. When you are more in shape and your seat is back you will not only be a better rider, but a more confident one and your horse will sense it too which may hep her to have confidence herself.

    And I know you were mainly posting about getting back in to shape, and I know you said that vets, chiropractors etc have tried everything but have you checked into a possible food intollerance? I'm only asking because her bahavior sounds like the QH mare I had years ago....she even busted the stable hands knee when he tried to clean her stall. It turned out she had an intolerance for the high levels of iron and protein in alfalfa. We switched her to a lower grade feed and special vitamins that did not have high levels of iron and she was a completely different horse.... she even became a 4H horse for my friend's 10 year old who had never been around horses until she joined 4H. With the pregnancy, the foal may have absorbed enough excess for it to not affect her so bad. Just a thought...I know most people (especially me) wouldn't think food intolerance.
         
        04-18-2010, 02:10 AM
      #9
    Started
    I have a bad ankle, too. It is extremely easy to sprain. Have you tried any of those ankle braces/supports? I have one that slips on just like a sock. It offers my ankle much needed extra support and I barely even notice it. I work as a waitress and a lot of days its not always possible to just walk...some days I have to get into a running walk or even a trot . Of course the support is not 100%, but it really helps.
         
        04-18-2010, 02:40 AM
      #10
    Green Broke
    Ugh, I know what bad ankles are like! Both of my ankles are actually pretty much useless. I can sprain either of them just by taking a wrong step. I can't mount from the ground or a mounting block. I have to climb on to the trailer and just swing my leg over. And then of course if for whatever reason I have to get off I have to walk until I can find something high enough for me to get back on with!

    Anyways, that was my tangent. Sorry I don't have any advice to offer!
         

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