Sunday, September 7, 2014

Suki does a Bit of Passage and a Capriole!

Saturday, September 6, 2014
It appears that summer has finally reared its ugly head in the Oley Valley, although the heat and humidity are expected to break tonight.  This week has been hot, muggy and buggy, but there are ways to work around it, which is what I try to do.  Since the entire summer has not been like this I think that while that is great, it also makes us more vulnerable as the temperatures climb.  The worst for me is when my horses and I are sweaty from just the preparation to work!  But it doesn't keep us from our job.  The work out is just modified.

So I am writing this post in the comfort of air conditioning looking out into my steamy yard.  I place bottled water in the freezer then drink it while it is slushy.  Suki will probably spend a brief period out in the sun, but fortunately the day is mostly overcast.  With the heat and humidity this is the lesser of the evils.  There was no way that I could put a fly sheet on her in this heat.

This week has been frustrating, as I have been only able to lunge the girls as I am still unable to get my foot in a proper boot for riding.  I was being careful because Tuesday the 5th I had to wear dress shoes, but thought that I would be able to cram my foot into a boot the next day.  Yikes was I wrong!  One toe is still pretty swollen, so any time it is pushed next to the others it screams.  Oh wait, that's me screaming!  I am not a weenie about pain, and have ridden, danced, run and tumbled through some pretty significant pain.  I think it is the angle of my toe and the fact that it keeps getting run over, stepped on (by child and pets) and having things dropped on it.  For example today I was out in the garage talking to Isaiah when he accidentally ran over that foot while on his skate board.  Isn't that the way it always is?  The injured body part has a bull's eye on it, just begging for more!  Tomorrow will be the two week mark since Miss Nicolette stepped on my toes and I am ready for it to be healed.

The lunging gives the girls a pretty good workout though.  I do a lot of transitions to make them think and use their muscles properly.  We make good use of the trot poles as well.  So all is not lost.  The damaged toes still complain a bit but I have mastered a modified gait that relieves the stress while I walk.  

Suki is still very enthusiastic about her work, confirming that I am on the right track.  Some days I think that she is impatient for more, and on those occasions I push past what we achieved in the last session.  The question mark that remains, of course is the skin on Suki's back.  Currently I am just using a regular saddle pad and so far all is good.
This is the graft site.  Nothing has changed since the start of using the surcingle.

The small pink (white in this photo) area has shrunk considerably over the past year.  The skin appears to have suffered no trauma from friction or weight of saddle pad and surcingle.  The addition of side reins will create more friction, so that is the next test.  I know I have said this before, but next weekend I will be adding side reins, weather and footing permitting.   

This morning I stuffed my foot into my old paddock boots (they are wider than current ones) and rode Nikki.  The humidity was already apparent at the early hour but we had a productive ride, especially considering the status of my foot.  I kept it simple and all was good.  Reasonable energy and quick response off the leg.  My toes were complaining when I finished but it was great to be back in the saddle!  Once Nikki was untacked, bathed and comfortable I switched from painful paddock boots to wider mockers!

Suki was also up for the challenge of the day!  Very nicely forward and sharp off the aids.  I pushed her a bit more than I had originally planned, but she seemed bored with just a regular work out.  The gnats were killing me and the flies were on Suki.  But she didn't seem to care so we continued to work.  Not an unreasonable amount, especially with the humidity, but enough to maintain interest.  Once back in the barn I was pleased to see that in spite of the humidity, Suki's respiration rate returned to normal quickly.  At this point in training I am not seeing any indication of lung problems as a result of the fire.  Fingers crossed.

Needing to bulk up my bird seed supply and a few equine necessities I headed to Oley Valley Feed.  The corn fields are bursting at the seams and I passed an amazing field of sunflowers, bending their faces to the sun.  The quilting supply store was also busy.  Is everyone preparing for the winter?

Sunday, September 7, 2014
Quite a difference from yesterday!  Temperatures hovered around 60F with a lovely breeze!  So instead of writing from the air conditioned family room I am sitting on the deck enjoying a late morning snack (after bypassing breakfast).  Although it feels like an early autumn day, I won't be fooled.  A warm up in early October is typical for this part of the country!

Suki and Nikki were happily grazing when I arrived at the barn this morning, but walked over to the fence as I pulled in to park.

The breeze was actually fairly brisk, but a welcome change from yesterday!  Nikki glanced at the swirling leaves a couple of times, but otherwise worked well.  With my foot painfully squished into my paddock boots I kept the ride simple, but effective.  Today I added leg yield and trot poles at the trot, and a nice forward canter.  There are A LOT of leaves yellow, and on the ground....seems early to me but another cold, wet winter is predicted, so perhaps this is not such a surprise!

Suki marched out to the arena with the wind in her mane.  The swirling leaves did nothing to distract her.  I worked her through some nice, sharp transitions.  The arena footing was nicely spongy after last night's rain.  Sophie and Pete trotted across their field for breakfast, and Suki responded with a breathtaking passage.  Yes, I could have corrected her and pushed her forward into a working trot, but who am I to disturb an artist at work? Moving off into a medium trot, we continued our work.  Something caught her eye in the adjacent pasture (perhaps she had not fully regained focus!) so Suki squealed and channeled her inner Lippizaner and performed a capriole!  (Jenny used to do this on the lunge sometimes when she was excited.  Must be the Ramiro bloodlines that they share!).  THEN she settled back to work.

Post work Suki was quite smug.  Gotta love a diva and her confidence!


  1. Well, y'know, every once in awhile, you have to get the kinks out of our back. A capriole would do nicely! :)

    1. And she does them beautifully! Definitely a great way to work out the kinks!

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