Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is spring really here? We are ready to train!

March 30, 2014.  34F.  REALLY???  Rainy, dreary and damp.  Suki and Nikki are back in their Rambo heavies, which have received quite a workout this winter!  Every weight of sheet and blanket is dirty and disgusting, but I am afraid to send anything to be cleaned because I may need them soon.  I also think that almost every one of them needs some minor repair work.  Except the Rambos.  But shhh!  Hope I didn't speak too soon.....

Other years by this time crocuses have begun to make an appearance, and in some places, daffodils.  Not at my house, because our daffodils are in the front of our house which faces north.  They don't appear until later.  But not one brave crocus has dared to poke its green up through the earth.  Of course the soil had been frozen pretty deep up until very recently.  

I keep looking at the weather and saying "next week we will get to start work".  But we have yet to have weather consistent enough to render the arena suitable for work.  It has improved, but the soaking rain over the past few days has kept us from working.  Remaining optimistic, I think beginning Tuesday we may actually have a chance to get it started!  So bridles are cleaned and ready to go, polos, boots, saddle pads.  Saddle needs to be cleaned again (from sitting for the past few months) but I will be starting with a surcingle any way.

I continue to read and watch videos.....this is Bentley watching video of Andreas Hausberger teaching.

I have a new book to read: Ridden: Dressage from the Horse's Point of View, by Ulrike Thiel
Should be interesting.

April 1, 2014
A post on Suki's Facebook page made me take a step back mentally and think about a potential problem with Suki's training.  The comment was regarding the poster's respiratory (sinus) challenges in the rain, asking if the girls experience this at all.  It suddenly reminded me that in addition to Suki's physical scars she may have hidden respiratory issues.  Although Suki did not have any complications with pneumonia, etc. after the fire, the doctors were not sure just how much damage there was to the upper airway or lungs.  There was some concern that during humid weather Suki might have some labored breathing, but this has yet to occur after almost 5 years post fire.  Veterinarians also said that if Suki were back in work heavy exercise may be difficult if severe lung damage had occurred.  I have not noticed any problems in the past few years when Suki has been lunged, but they have been short sessions.  This year will be the true test, but I will take it slow to gradually build stamina.  True, she may never have the lung capacity to be an event horse (which is moot), but I have to consider the possibility of stamina to perform 3rd and 4th level tests, if that were to become a possibility.  Honestly, I don't care if she ever sets foot in the show ring again.  And if I never sit on her again that is fine too.  I knew from the beginning that it was unlikely that Suki would be able to be ridden again due the extent of the burns on her back.  I accepted that.  My main concern has always been that Suki live a happy and healthy life.  Which she does.....I consider her fully recovered.    However, as time marches forward and Suki has been doing some lunging and in-hand work, I see how much she enjoys it.  If physically she is able to work and can hold up both physically and mentally then she should do it.  Ultimately I may find that her capacity is limited to light lunging a couple of times a week.  That would enable her to use her mind and body and give us additional time together.  But my plan is to gradually increase the work, add the surcingle and side reins, long lines and hopefully a saddle.  Suki will tell me how much she can handle.  Together we will go forward with the ultimate goal of me sitting on her back.  We'll see.  The process will be slow because I have seen first hand what can happen when people rush training and push the horse physically past what it can handle leading to mental anguish and meltdown.

I will have a busy time working both Suki and Nikki, but won't that be fun!  I can't wait to get back on Nikki, as I anticipate putting my foot in the stirrup in just a couple of weeks.   I had hoped to get started again today but the horses have been in for a few days due to rain and muddy fields.  So the girls are out today in the paddocks (fields still very muddy) and wearing only light sheets.  There was a bit of leaping and passaging when they first went out then Suki, of course, had to drop and roll.  Did I mention that I had just finished grooming her?  Yes, tomorrow morning's grooming will require a bit of time.  But they needed to get out a bit of that energy so that we can start working.  I brought home Nikki's bridle to clean it again for tomorrow.  It is still in the trunk of my car, so hopefully I will be able to get to it today!

I was contacted a month or so ago by the editor of Andalusian World Magazine who was preparing an article about barn fires, preparedness and plans.  He wanted to include a reference to Suki.  I agreed and requested that he include a photo of how she looks today, so that readers are able see that she is indeed happy and healthy.  Take a look at the magazine.... and what a BEAUTIFUL cover!!


The weather is supposed to remain somewhat consistently in the 50'sF.  I am quite hopeful that I will get to lunge tomorrow morning.......

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