Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Equilibrium Update

As promised - I'm writing my final post on Equilibrium's massage and magnetic pads.

Overall I'm very pleased with the outcome. His top-line has improved greatly. He's starting to really take shape and look like a horse who works correctly and you wouldn't of guessed he had kissing spine surgery 13 months ago unless I told you! He looks like a different horse.

His ridden work has improved also. He usually has it on for 30 mins before work, either ridden or lunged. If I'm fighting against day light (not easy this time of year) then I pop it on after he's worked whilst I muck out etc. Its fab because you can just leave them to it, its no extra effort to your daily routine. I have a busy lifestyle, and time with Adam is limited during the week because of commuting nearly an hour to work daily, so it really is perfect! Even if he is having the day off, he still has a 30 min massage before bedtime.

His transitions are a lot smoother. He used to hop upwards into the transitions (especially walk to trot, I almost used to dread the first few) because of the tightness over his back, but he seems to be so much more comfortable. That is the main difference I can feel. He's also had a few changes of bit and saddle flocking recently, so I think it's all making a difference.

The battery life is good. It says you should get around 6 full 30 min massages out of it - I think I'm actually managing more than that. Its really easy to charge and the battery lets you know its ready by switching the red light off.

The Magnetic Pad is also a fab product. He has it on over night whilst he is stabled - then has a break from it whilst he is out. I have the magnets placed down the front and back of the pad as that's usually where he gets a little sore. I'm very careful not to over rug him as the back pad seems to keep him really warm. The fit is perfect for him, really easy to adjust the straps and it doesn't allow you to tighten the breast strap too tight (could become tricky for him to eat off the floor with it too tight!)

For a horse who is rather sensitive in his back now, he familiarised with the sensation of the massage pad very quickly. By his 3rd massage, he was shutting his eyes and enjoying it. He was a little unsure to begin  with - but soon relaxed!
If anyone with a horse with kissing spine or rehabbing kissing spine horses is looking into buying either one of these products, I highly recommend both. They are good value for money, well manufactured and a well known brand.
The materials are fantastic, strong and durable. The surcingle clips are heavy duty, and unlikely to break unless you jump up and down on them.

I'm very impressed and glad I purchased such a fantastic product which is benefiting my boy.

Monday, 24 March 2014

March 22nd 2014. The start to our show season

Today was d-day for Adam - would he behave and cope with his first showing show post kissing spine op?

Well the answer was yes, and he returned to the show ring with a bang. 
The venue was Tall Trees Arena in Davidstow - Cornwall. They have a huge massive outdoor school, and two indoor schools. The showing classes where in the smaller of the two indoors and the show-jumping was next door. It wasn't quiet, but wasn't too busy. Perfect first party!

He travelled well with Colin and was very relaxed when we arrived. He had his Equilibrium massage pad on for 25mins whilst having a munch on his hay and he felt super when I hoped on!
His first class was Best Coloured. I used this as a warm up class - competed against piebalds and skewbalds (I look very silly on my dun but some shows allow it) and he behaved and worked beautifully. We won!
We then continued to win Best Arab/Part Bred/, and best Riding horse/Hunter and returned home with the Champion title. I've never ever felt so proud. 
I had to hold back my tears when the judge was so pleasant and lovely about him. She asked me why I was wearing a neck strap, and I explained briefly what he had been through and she congratulated me on our achievements. She actually asked me to put him in the boot of her BMW :)

She also asked me what my plans where - I was unsure at this point, as i wasn't sure how he was going to cope with a quiet show, let alone making any more plans. She encouraged me to push ourselves and show his ability as a show hack/riding horse. Thought he had real potential. So nice to hear after everything we have been through. 

So my plans now are -
  • Continue working on my dressage tests and improve my marks.
  • Hopefully affiliate him by the summer.
  • Compete at Liskeard show.
  • Qualify for a championship again.
  • Looking for sponsorship to fund my fees.
Equilibriums products have made a huge difference to Adams way of going. He no longer goes a day without having his massage pad and magnetic pad on. I will be writing my full view and full review very soon. So for the people who have been following this - Its a positive outcome! 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

March 20th - Preparing for our first proper showing show.

Well, the time has come. I have dug out the old show bridle and his pelham and he rode beautifully.
We have our first showing show on Sunday 23rd and I'm quite frankly shaking in my boots!
Our last 'showing' outing resulted in him rearing at the ring side and refusing the go in. He went home very promptly and I lost about 90% of my confidence (this was pre op and before he was diagnosed). Since then we have been to one away from home outing doing some dressage - had one at home outing (last weeks) and now we are really grabbing the bull by its horns!

So I am hoping we will come home with all smiles - even if we are not placed, as long as his behavior is acceptably - I am a happy mummy!

A few photos of him showing in 2011 - 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

16th March - Hacking beautifully, cantering in fields and dressage.

Wow! What a weekend! I have finally sat down on the sofa for the first time... phew!
Things are going in the right direction. 
On saturday I met Jo again at the bottom of the bridle path and went for a hack with her. She took us for a good canter through a few fields which involved very narrow gates (I didn't canter through those!) and new unfamiliar fords. He didn't stick his head between his knees and fling me into space this time, just cantered happily up the hill.

Just before whizzing up the hill!

I then hacked with Baxter (our new boy) around the village today. He walked in front 99.9% of the way . We had a tractor moment going out of the drive, but nothing dramatic. 

Adam having his 30 min Equilibrium massage before his hack and dressage. 
Best wake up Adam! Work to do!

We then had our dressage test! This is our first party (although he was at home) since July 2013, and with my confidence issues it was a challenge for me. 
I rode Prelim 12 and Novice 27. I wouldn't of even dreamt of riding a Novice test 6 months ago but I do feel like we are getting somewhere. We managed 62.2% in the Prelim - finishing 3rd and 58.8 in the Novice - finishing joint 1st with Jo! 
Very pleased mother! I was nervous today, I haven't been put under pressure with him in this sort of situation for a while, so it was a good test for both of us.

Now to study my scores and comments and keep working hard! 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The sun is shining!

Woohooooo! We finally have sunshine!

Adam is now out in the field in the day time (finally) and his new friend Baxter has joined the family. Who is already proving to be a grandad for Adam! He leads across our massive field like an angel! At the moment, he is being led along side Adam and they are both good as gold :) 

We are still using our Equilibrium massage pad and magnetic pad. He feels so much more relaxed when girthing him up. He is also proving to go better in the school, although most of our exercise has been hacking recently! But boy, he feels loose! We are now on the medium setting!

I hacked again on Sunday. I met Jo further away from the yard this time. We ventured down to the bottom of the bridle path (involving a fair amount of water) and met her at the bottom! He was faultless...

We then went for a long ride in the sunshine, Jo took the lead for our first canter in company in many years, he bucked and then got on with it. We went down quite an overgrown bridle path which involved leaning down and forward a lot to avoid the overgrowth. Adam saw this as an awesome opportunity to walk a little quick, then maybe have a trot. In this process i got strangled by a bramble (got the cuts round my neck to prove it!) and then whacked in the face by a branch. So my face has been sore to say the least!
But we then cantered back up the track (after getting stuck mid way down because of a fallen tree) and Adam took the lead! he was strong, but not silly...and most of all...he stayed in front with no excuses! yaaay! We then got dropped at the bottom of the bridle path again, and he walked back very chilled. Even had a sneaky beverage from the stream! 

So overall, I'm fairly pleased. The hacking is coming along. Tomorrow i will be attempting our first hack in company away from Jo, so we shall see how that goes! 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Hacking, Equilibrium and Adams new friend

This week has been an interesting one with Adam.
We went for another hack alone during the week, which didn't start off very well! We met a tractor at the top of the road which he really made an episode about. finally got him past it (at quite a high speed) after trying for 10 mins. Ruth-1 Adam -0....
He then had a 'moment' on one of the busier roads because there was a terrifying car in the field. Again after nearly loosing my temper, i won!
Although he wasn't perfect, he did the things I have been working on with Jo. Walked straight through the fords etc.

I hacked with Jo again yesterday, and he was nearly faultless. I had taught her a lesson before hand, so had to drag him in from the field and hop on.
He walked all the way down the bridle path in front, nearly walked all the way around the hack in front, and then came through the big ford in front again. woohooooo!

He's been schooling well too. I have been putting his Equilibrium pad on before I ride if I have the time and if not, he will always have it on afterwards.
He feels a lot more supple and 'warmed up' when I get on him now. So far, I'm really pleased with how he is responding. I am borrowing a camera next week so hopefully I'll manage to get some photos of him actually working. Unfortunately my little digital broke beards ago and I have never managed to get another!
We have our first Novice dressage test next week. Im still trying to learn it, but i have been teaching it to Jo (she is gonna kick my butt with Colin!).

Today I'm meeting Jo at the bottom of the bridle path and then we are riding on from there. So we shall see what todays hack brings!

Lisa had found her horse too! We had to return Zizzle to her owner as she just wasn't suitable for hacking with Adam. She was a little to handy with her hind legs and had a tendency to nap.
So the past few months we have been looking. First one we went to see didn't have a sound leg on it! Then the second, the owner failed to tell us until the last moment that it had COPD.  Of course we where just looking for a loan, and usually horses are up for loan for a reason!
BUT! Lisa has been friends with Jo's step sister for years. She had a few children and really lost her confidence so brought a lovely 16hh school master. He's called Baxter, and should be joining Adam very soon! Lisa loves him!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Equilibrium Update


Adam is now loving his massage pad! his eyes start to close when he's got it on now :) So I'm very relieved that he's enjoying it.
He is currently having the magnetic pad on during the day, until he is out in the day time again (unfortunately our fields have been very wet, and he hasn't had a buddy to go out with)
Once he is out during the day, he will have the magnetic pad on during the night again.

Caught Adam and Lisa having a little read of the Magnetic Pad instructions this morning!

Too cute for words!

Monday, 3 March 2014

March 3rd - First play with our Equilibrium Massage Pad!

I nearly burst with excitement today when my Equilibrium bits arrived.
I literally couldn't wait to get back to the yard to try it. I charged it up at work ready too haha!

I watched the little video on how to use it first in my lunch brake so i knew how to put it all on -

I didn't tie him up, just looped his lead rope through the string so if he panicked, it would slip through.
I couldn't quite manage the straps and holding him all at the same time!

He wasn't really fussed, made a few confused faces but with some reassurance he soon got used to it.
Seemed a little tense in the neck to begin with, gave him a sweetie and he really started to just chill :)

Very clever boy! 

He then had it turned on (low setting) and he had a worried face. Didn't fidget, stood very still but felt a little tense.

He did alot of this..."what is that?"

All fixed in and happy! 

I have some videos to upload also, which I will do tomorrow. You can then see how he really reacted. Overall very impressed!

Finished the evening with his magnetic back pad on for the night under his rug :)

Equilibrium stuff is here!


Its arrived! very VERY excited! 


Sunday, 2 March 2014

2nd February - Tackling the big ford alone!

Well, Yesterday was certainly a challenge! It was a lovely day, I was expecting to have a fairly relaxed hack with Jo and Colin...

How wrong I was!
He is fine to walk out the drive, I met Jo at the top of the road and we rode on together from there. He used to be very very nappy to go out of any drive, especially when it involved going down hill (as you can imagine, this wasn't very comfortable for him) but ever since his op, he has happily walked/trotted out the drive without any arguments. He is definitely more comfortable there! BUT...

We have to walk down a fairly steep hill to the first ford. He has napped a few times going down there with me before, but i have always won. In company he is a total turd and wants to walk behind Colin. he knows whats at the bottom of the hill, and uses Colin as an excuse to be a twit!
He plants himself to the floor and refuses to move forward. If i put my leg on at the wrong moment, he will back up and back up and back up. At one point I actually waved goodbye to Jo!
He napped badly walking down the hill yesterday, then got his knickers in such a twist that he started to bunny hop which then resulted in him rearing. Finally managed to get him going forward again....then we have the ford to contend with.
He quite frankly was not keen on giving up. Our aims at the moment are getting Adam to walk in front out hacking, which includes leading through the ford. Yesterday was a 'Im not going to play your game day' and he really really pushed me. He reared, backup up, pranced about like a total turd. Colin was stood on the side of the ford, he just had to move forward on his own without having Colin to follow. I eventually won, but boy he really did push me and tried to scare me. At one moment i felt myself getting very frustrated...took a deep breath and cracked on again. I think he thought i was going to give in. Sorry mate, I'm stubborn.

Lisa and I went to watch Colin have a show jumping lesson with Richard Waygood at Barguse riding centre. Really good lesson, and Colin jumped brilliantly.
She then boxed back to my yard and I tacked up and hopped on. I left the yard before her, and trotted his little bleddy heart out until we got to the downward nappy hill. He walked down sensibly, i picked up a little trot just as i approached the bottom of the hill and wrapped my short ol legs around him. flapped like a pony club kid and he went through! So i then turned him around, and made him go in and out of the ford a few times. He then proceeded to walk to the top of the hill and through the scary farm to wait for Colin to catch up with us. We hacked through the village, and then came back through the ford on the way home....which he also went through first time in front with no arguments.

So although he was a total turd yesterday and I quite frankly felt a bit pants about it all. He really did redeem himself today. Trotting to things that i know he's going to be a monkey about seems to really work....Massive pats for pony and i think he deserves a carrot in his tea tonight :)

It really does make a difference to your riding when you don't need to worry about the other rider. Colin is terrified of Adam, he's a right softy for a stallion! Jo is a qualified equine behaviourist, and has helped my confidence boom through the roof in the past month or so. Its not the kissing spines you have to deal with, its the pain memory and attitude it leaves you with thats the biggest hurdle to cross.
Especially after Adam being so unrideable just before his op. Even bending right was a mission.
If i hadn't asked for help a few months back, i'd still be shaking in my boots.

Cross country schooling has been briefly mentioned in passing. So watch this space. He's never been before, so should be interesting!

Well, Yesterday was certainly a challenge! It was a lovely day,

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Official Pessoa Training Aid Video

I am quite lucky, as I always had someone to help me with starting out with a pessoa. I lunged Adam in one for years before his op, so he was already used to the 'evil' contraption.

I know alot of people find them confusing things to even look at/put on, i often find myself getting in a tangle if i put it away in a mess. So i just take it all to bits and start again. Somehow i really do wonder how it manages to get in such a state.

I found this video on Youtube when having a little browse and thought it may be of some use. It stresses the importance of making sure all your runners are in the correct places so the horse works evenly on both sides.