Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Cheeky Remi :-)

Remi is turning into a cheeky monkey. And me giggling ineffectually at him, isn't helping :biglaughA:

He has started dragging me in the direction of his dinner, and barging into stable. I had serious words with him and he is better now. He has been a non greedy, non-plussed by food horse for the last four years, so this is quite amusing. His lack of appetite has been past cause of much angst. But I am breeding a monster - as he thinks he needs lots of food on tap!! Plus I am going to need a bigger girth soon - he has been 28 inches for years!!

And I have found a sack of Baileys fibre nuggets as treats that Remi would do almost anything for.
He came in a few days ago - and I put Mac in his stable, and fed him. And tacked Remi up to hack. He was so CROSS :biglaughA:. He reckoned he came in for breakfast, not hacking!  I told him if he didnt behave out hacking - there would be no breakfast or dinner. Plus there were treats in my pocket! He grumbled and then said, right let's hack quickly as then he can have breakfast. Skippety Skip! Love him.

He is very bright eyed. And he thinks he knows were we will canter out hacking. I am breeding a monster that skips along, picking where were canter! :biglaughA:

He was then adamant he wanted to go out, in the wind and rain. So out they went. Then he was rather less impressed.

Coming in tonight - he was at the gate, and Mac was at the top of the hill. Mac wanted tea in the field, Remi wanted in stable. As field slippery, Remi wins. Had to take Remi half way to yard before Mac came zooming down the hill.

Tied up them up together to pick feed out. And Remi kept biting Mac, hard. Naughty - he would not dare do that loose in field.

Remi was also observed playing with the horses in the next door field - and rearing up over the fence. Explains why I then had to fix the fence.

Mac is cheeky too - despite having adlib, very nice haylage in his feeder. He opened a small bale that he could reach, with his teeth in about 15 minutes! :biglaughA: And then ran away when I came to see what he was doing.

Both of them have too much character!!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Remi vet visit tuesday 21st January

Vet out to vaccinate Mac, and check Remi after falling on the road, and general soundness / movement check.  

Vet said Remi looking v good – soundest and muscles flowing over back best seen in a while, just need to build up strength (and not re injure himself). 

He said Remi  sound and back and SI v good. :-) :-) Just bit weak and needs carefully building back up and strengthening. Suggested lots of hacking and hill work. Said Remi a good weight and very shiny :-) Said best he had seen him move in terms of all hind leg actions being totally even – normally the left one tracks slightly shorter. 

[Side note Remi is rather random – left hind was shorter last week before body work, and the extent to which he plaits varies week to week – every time I observe him he is slightly different . . .]

I asked about work load / rehab work, and vet suggested less schoolwork and more hacking. It is January and I work in Central London re hacking – I am managing 2-3 hacks a week at the moment which is good going.

Vet said the way Remi moves he drops his hips side to side in a significantly more exaggerated side to side action than most horses (part of the plaiting he does) so his SI joint is under more pressure than most horses. So is his pressure point and the point he is likely to re-injure.

So to me a focused program of pessoa, hills, poles, 30 minute schooling sessions (where most is warming up and stretching) seems logical. (Avoiding tight turns / small circles). With the focus on building a lot more protective muscle over his SI area in the next few months. Plus bringing him in so not standing on a slippery hill if we have concerted rain, at any time of the year. As slipping when tired of bracing in mud on a hill seems to be a high risk factor.

Think I must hack him in a more connected way to help him get stronger. We tend to hack in a forwards but totally disconnected way which we enjoy but wont help build muscle. So working hacking! Not slopping and whizzing hacking!

Summary is sound, and best moving on his problem left hind, muscles good over back / neck / SI / quarters, and has some muscle, but is weak and needs to be a lot stronger.

So we will crack on with the strengthening and building work. And see where we get. I do think we need some consistency now – not sure I can rehab another SI injury if he does it again in the near future. Am hoping we can stay on current upwards trajectory, at least for a little while. My hope is the longer we can get some good work done, the stronger and more protected he will be. I have a fundamental belief that if I can get him well muscled, with good supportive muscle and moving correctly, he will have best chance of protecting his joints and soft tissue and staying sound and comfortable.

Equally I think there must be a turning point – I am not sure it would be fair on either of us, to go back to scratch again in the next few months – there is a bit of ground hog day going on, so hopefully things will mostly continue in an upwards direction for a bit. I suppose the question is, is there another internal source of pain that means he isn't building as much muscle and strength as you might expect? If so we wont build the muscle, and we wont move on from this point, and he will remain at high risk of a repeat injury. 

That said the vet strongly felt he has built up significantly from October and that his back / loins / SI area are much stronger, so maybe I am impatient – as I am still surprised he is so weak, and vet and instructor agreed he is weak. However has been a miserable Dec / Jan stuck out on a wet hill, and so maybe I need to be more patient. Hope so. 

Oops have written and essay. Tea and cakes for those who reached the end!

Remi lesson Monday 20th January

Lesson Monday - 6.30am!

Position comments

In canter – stop gripping with leg, and light quick inside leg aids to keep the jump (I find this hard)
Sit on pockets rather than bum out behind me
Sit over to the left, and drop left hip, and left leg
Don't rock with shoulders

Remi comments

Trot when warming up– slow it down, then push him on – variation in the pace.
Later said lots of trot to canter or walk to canter transitions will really help him
She had me flexing his neck to inside and outside in trot and canter to soften him 
He was initially a bit sticky in early trot and canter. But later canter I was able to ride him a lot more on and back without him breaking.
Is getting him connected, and together and using himself, it is coming.
Am sure have forgotten something.

Summary from instructor - he is sound, but very weak, and needs to be a lot stronger. He is clever and can quite easily displace me for the easiest way of going.

Was a good lesson.  Remi was very pleased with himself, and the work we finished on was pleasing. :wub:.

I am hoping steady, gentle work in next 6-8 weeks, and he will stay sound, and build muscle and strength (to then be less injury and accident prone). All crossed.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Remi 13th bodywork session post Rockley

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Remi notes 30th November ‘13

Lunge session:

Remi looked really well – his coat was gleaming and his weight was good. He looked free moving and sound on the lunge but really strung out. His hind legs were not stepping through as well as they can do and his left hind looked to be twisting in as it landed more than usual.

Remi had fallen over while out hacking recently and landed on his right side. There were no obvious external injuries apart from a couple of scrapes – one of which was upper neck so query whether he banged his head?

Palpation and massage: 
Remi palpated sore right shoulder, behind left shoulder and latissimus dorsi – the shock of the fall may have exited there – left gluteals were very tender, some tension in hamstrings. His back felt really good.

He responded well to massage and Physiopod and all areas released off well.

2nd lunge session post massage

He looked much more connected and half the length of the pre-massage lunge. He was more freely forward and stepping under better behind.

As you have been!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Remi update

I have got a bit behind with updates.

Remi started to struggle in the relentless wind and rain, and get tired and sore. Whilst the hill drains nicely, it does take 24 hours to drain, and the rain was almost never ending. Remi then started to get mudfever. So we managed a yard re-jig (roof still not fixed), and Remi and Mac came in to their stables at night for a break. Remi had some bute, some stretching work on a good surface, lots of Equissage massage, and was very pleased for the rest. He came in tired, and sore, but quickly threw off the mud fever, and has bounced back.

Not sure what has got into Remi, but since coming in at night, he has been eating, and eating, and eating. He has also decided he LIKES his stable, rather than in early December - when he didn’t like it and wanted to be back out, and didn’t settle in stable. For a not normally very food focused horse, that needs more bulk, greedy is great. :-) He didn’t come in thin, but he was tight and sore. But he has put on a few inches more weight since being in and having significantly more copra / linseed / beet / alfa a (without Mac getting extra). I would like him a bit heavier, as I think need some bulk to then convert to muscle with work. Him liking his stable makes life easier in terms of bringing him in.

The logistics of two stabled horses, working in Central London, mucking out and riding both have kept me very busy. And very grateful to those who stepped in to help. Both horses have stayed in regular, structured work through holidays, wind, and rain, but it has been hard going at times from my point of view.

Remi then unfortunately and seems to be random - slipped right over on the road, whilst hacking, the weekend before last. Cuts to neck and hock, but he walked away sound, and hasn’t shown any sign of doing it again. <fingers crossed> My foot jammed in stirrup (realised too late that new Ariat riding trainers are too big for stirrups - now have NEW STIRRUPS!) and took a while to wrench free.

He had body work this Saturday. He was moving on lunge a bit strung out with some screwing of left hind. After treatment (tight shoulder and quarters possibly from falling over) he was moving much better looked much more connected, with left hind more normal. He is looking pretty good, back, loins and movement wise, but he is weak and needs to build up and be stronger.

After 12 nights in, I put both horses back out on Sunday, intention is they stay out nearly full time as field has dried up and isn't slippery. Has turned generally colder, but dry and sunny, long may it stay like this. Remi is coming in on quite a few days as Mac is doing lots of outing gearing up for Regionals, and I don’t leave one out alone in field. My current plan is to bring Remi in when it rains for more than 12 hours so he doesn’t brace on the slippery hill and get tired or risk slipping.  And to bring him in regularly for a break, and to eat more. Now he is settled enough in stable, and greedy, he can have feed in stable every time I bring both in, whilst I ride Mac or do jobs.

Stables roof is now fixed, and normal access to my stables is restored.

I had a 6am lesson on Remi on Monday. Was good and helpful - Remi v pleased with himself. He is looking good, moving well, and has the most weight and muscle over his back / loins / SI that he has had since August, so fingers crossed he is on an upwards trajectory, and we can carefully build him to be stronger.

Wet, wet, wet

3rd January

I am grateful my horse’s field is on a good slope, and is mostly sandy soil that drains fairly well. Whilst there is some mud and poaching in places, it isnt flooded.

However it has been a wet, windy few weeks. And it is starting to feel a bit relentless.

Remi and Mac are coping, but I think we are all getting a bit fed up. Wet schooling, wet hacking, roadwork hacking. Wet horses, wet tack, wet riders. Lack of daylight and dry weather is making all a challenge.

The roof blew off the yard on Christmas eve, exposing three stables to the elements. As a result I have lent Remi and Mac’s stables to two other horses, which limits how much Remi and Mac can come in. The bad weather is now hampering the builders from being able to fix the roof. Hopefully they will be fixed soon, there is a sadness to having stables for bad weather and emergencies, and then having persistent bad weather, and not being able to bring my horses in for a few days rest. Remi has the beginnings of mud fever, so am hoping that stays at bay.

Our New Years long hack was rained off. Ponies are feeling the slippery ground, and are tighter in their hamstrings, and glutes from holding themselves.

On the plus side, rugs are holding up well, and they are staying warm and dry underneath. I got some lovely horsey Christmas presents including new headcollar, new haynets, new matching numnahs.

Some dry weather, and a chance to bring horses in for a few days, and I am sure we will all bounce back.

Here is my favourite summer photograph, rather than a picture of wet, muddy, windswept horses.

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