Monday, November 22, 2010


It is so bitterly cold here! It's been super cold since last week. How cold you ask?

Well tonight it's -28 celcius and with the wind chill it's -37 and it's still snowing.

I feel really badly for animals that are outside on nights like tonight. Especially my poor pony. She's got a nice thick stable blanket with a thick high neck winter blanket on overtop, so I think she's probably warm enough. I still feel bad though. I sure wouldn't want to be outside tonight. I ran to plug the car in earlier and it sure dosn't feel nice to have any exposed skin.

We had a bit of an unexpected suprise this morning when we woke up and discovered our furnace wasn't working and the house was pretty chilly!!! Luckily it just needed a new thermostat and didn't cost us a fortune! PHEW!! The heat is back on and we're tucked inside staying warm tonight.

Tomorrow it's supposed to hit -34 without the wind chill but thursday it's supposed to warm up thankfully!!! It usually doesn't get this bitterly cold until January/February here.

I have to say, I almost enjoy the cold nights because you can't really go and do much and I don't feel guilty for sitting at home just relaxing. (I guess I *could* fold laundry....but nah!)

Somebody send us some warm weather!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter has arrived

Luckily we got home from British Columbia on sunday and the storm didn't move in until last night. Had it moved in a day earlier, our trip home would have been no fun at all!! The storm blew in so fast last night and unfortunately as it did so, I was on the way home from the barn. It was VERY hard to see on the way home. Luckily the storm waiting until lessons were done and everybody had gone home before it started with the snow.
Brigit is bundled up in her new winter blanket and I've got to say, I almost think the blanket was labelled incorrectly. For a size 78 it seems HUUUUGE! She normally wears an 80 too. She's well covered though, so that's good! I feel bad leaving her outside all winter long (she's got a nice shelter) but being in a stall just seems to aggravate her stifle problems. So she stays out.

On our trip to BC we stopped at a really neat tack store and I noticed a fancy hunt whip with thong & lash up on the wall. Unfortunately it was not for sale..... although I did try to convince them to sell it!

Tonight we are supposed to go for our second round of accupuncture, that is, IF the roads aren't too bad. We shall see. I don't have a lot of desire to haul Brigit if the roads are slippery. I've seen really positive results from the first round of accupuncture. I brought Brigit in and let her trot around the indoor arena for a few minutes and I can see that she's actually picking that leg up better and not dragging the toe as much. I hopped on bareback for a few minutes too and she felt really good. YAY!

I'm dying to ride sidesaddle, so I'm hoping we can get things sorted out so we can get back on with it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First acupuncture visit

It went really well. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was really fascinating. There's a lot of science behind it. I really like my vet because she's a very down to earth, no-nonsense type person. She's not into the fluffy spiritual stuff, she uses treatments like this because it works. That's what convinced me to give it a try.
I was a little concerned about Brigit being needle-shy and flinching but she was so good. The first needle that went in was at her poll, apparently that one releases endorphins and calms them. It seemed to do the trick.

For the most part she didn't even notice the needles going in. They are so tiny and thin that they go in very easily. The vet put two in her shoulders (this was a bit of a sore area) and one in each elbow, apparently those are for their immune system. The one in her elbow was really fascinating because she put it in and some muscles on her flank started to "shiver". It really showed how everything was connected. She put a few in on her back and up by her hips. And couple in the neck. I was happy to hear that her back wasn't sore. There was also a needle put into the front of each stifle, Brigit wasn't too keen on those ones. That was probably the sore-est part of her (as expected). We had to pick up a front leg and hold it up in order to get those ones in because she kept jerking her leg away. After all the needles were in, it was just a matter of letting them sit for awhile and do their thing.

It was neat to watch the muscles around the needles, you could see them almost vibrating. My vet was telling me that some horses that have really bad muscle issues, their muscles will literally "grab" onto the needle when it goes in, making it nearly impossible to pull out again until it's ready to come out. Fascinating.

She said to expect her to be a bit body sore and maybe stiff today and tomorrow as the results are similar to a very deep muscle massage. I'm going to leave her until next week to try riding her. We'll be heading for another treatment next week as well. I think after 2 or 3 treatments, I'll be sending her to the "pool" as the vet thinks that's an excellent idea too.

So keep your fingers crossed that it's helping! And I totally forgot to try and get any pictures, I will try next time.

Anyways, I'm off for a long weekend and a road trip, so I probably won't post until monday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wait! Don't jump into the pool just yet!

Brigit's swimming adventure is being postponed for a bit. I was talking with my vet on the weekend after I'd remembered she does accupuncture. When I expained to her what was happening she said to me "I think I know exactly what is going on! I'll bet this will help!" She's a very no-nonsense type person and isn't one to fall for fad's, so if she's doing accupuncture, it's probably because she's seen results. I had a few other people suggest trying it because they've seen great things as a result. So I figured, what the heck, we'll give it a try.

So tomorrow after work, I'm taking Brigit over to the vets place for her first accupuncture treatment. I'm really curious and interested to watch! I will try and sneak a few pictures if I can and I'll definitely let you know what I think.

In other news, Brigit got a trace clip on friday in prep for the pool. I have to say, I think I did better than last year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What a horse person won't do for their horses.... aka I'm crazy.

I popped out to the wednesday night for a quick ride after work and my quick ride turned into a quick dismount. We did a few laps walking around the arena and as soon as we started trotting, I knew something wasn't right. It seems that Brigit is having issues with her left hind again. Not sure if it's that stifle or what. Poor girl was really dragging that leg and not moving right at all.

I went out again on thursday night, popped her on the lunge line and I'd say she looks about 85% better, still dragging that left hind a bit. I'm halfway wondering if she slipped in her paddock or got kicked? Usually we don't have issues with her stifles until it gets icy and slippery in the winter.

A friend of mine told me that when her older TB mare was having issues, she sent her "Swimming" for a couple of weeks. Swimming ie Hydro Therapy involves putting a horse into a somewhat warm "treadmill pool" and exercising them. The incresed resistance but decreased impact can apparently help with weak stifles and various other issues. I called and had a great chat with the lady that runs the place and am thinking it sounds like a pretty good idea (and MUCH more affordable than I originally had thought).

So call me a sucker....but I've got Brigit booked in for a week of "swimming" at the "pool" starting on Saturday or Monday, whenever I can get her there. Hopefully we'll see a difference! I will DEFINITELY try to get pictures of Miss B swimming.

Fingers crossed that it works!

(My boyfriend is going to think this is beyond ridiculous and that I've truly lost my mind.... LOL)

Tack sale!

At a tack sale last weekend I bought an "Ogilvy" (oh-gill-vee)saddle pad. I'd been wanting to try one out for awhile because they sounded really interesting. I'm a skeptic when it comes to speciality saddle pads because when it comes down to it, if your saddle doesn't fit, you shouldn't be trying to "make" it fit. Kinda like if your shoe is too small or too narrow for your foot, it makes no sense to put another thicker sock on to try and make it more comfortable.

And there seems to be so many different, weird pads out there. Filled with air, gel pads, foam, sheepskin etc etc. Ok I've had a sheepskin pad and loved it, however with my english saddle (astride) it made my saddle bridge terribly, so I sold it.

Now this new pad is made of memory foam. And I got to thinking, "hmm... we have a memory foam pad on our bed and it is SO comfortable, I bet my horse would like one too!". I was a little worried that adding more padding in would make the saddle fit weird, so I was assured that if I didn't like it. I could bring it back.

So I decided to try one. What the heck.

I tried it out the other night and carefully inspected it to make sure it wasn't making the saddle fit too tightly. I was really impressed by it! Even with my saddle girthed up and me on it, I could still fit my hand underneath the saddle (front, sides, back etc) comfortably. Brigit seemed to really enjoy it too, she was moving out really nicely. Her canter felt like riding on a cloud. It's normally a bit of work to sit but with that pad it's nice!

I also discovered that the tack shop has a master saddler that works for them and he knows how to work on sidesaddles!!! So now I've got two people nearby that can work on saddles for me! What a great find!

Back to the saddle pad, I tried it under my sidesaddle the other night as well. I figured it might be nice, especially when we're jumping since memory foam absorbs shock so well. Well that was a big mistake. It seemed to even out the saddle and made me feel VERY tipped to the left. I guess it was worth a try though! So we'll stick to our normal pad under the sidesaddle.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yoga for sidesaddle riders?

I joined a yoga class this week with some friends. We go twice a week for the next six weeks. I've never really done yoga before but wow do I feel nice and limber today! I was feeling a bit sore in my back yesterday after jumping sidesaddle the night before and the yoga stretched it out nicely!

I have to be one of THE most unflexible people, so I'm hoping that the yoga will help me with that and hopefully in turn help my riding out too!

I use a great (yoga type) stretch with my riding students to help them sit taller and open their chests. I thought I'd share it because it's a great one! Make sure you have someone holding your horse if he's not one to stand quietly.

First off you put your hands in front of your chest, palms together (make a little temple).

Keeping your hands together, you reach straight up, over your head. Reach as far as you can (feel that stretch).

Then you turn your palms to face outwards (away from each other) and while reaching up & out, you slowly bring your arms straight out to the side.

Do that once more and you'll feel much taller and your shoulders will be back where they should be.

It's a great stretch!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

After talking with a few saddle makers...

And everyone I talked with said that it's quite common for that flap to come off (the linen threads just give way with age). I was really glad to hear that it's not all that tricky to put back on. The saddle doesn't have to be taken apart, or anything drastic like that.

It was suggested that another small strip of leather be sewn onto the flap and then that strip of leather sewn onto the saddle. It should prove to be sturdier than before be more flexible. PHEW!

And luckily, I think there are a few saddle maker's within a few hours drive that can do the repair for me. (One being the wonderful Betty-Lynn Tattersall). I'm actually thinking I could likely do some of the repair myself, veeery carefully of course!

Thanks for all of your suggestions on people to help me fix the saddle! You guys are great resources!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Uh oooh......

Well I was working on my jumping again last night and it was going very well. Having a bit more pace and approaching the jump with more of a closed hip angle, definitely helped! It was feeling pretty easy to stay with my horse and I wasn't feeling as if I was getting jerked. Yay!

But here's the uh oh part... Over one fence, my horse chipped really hard and popped the fence, which resulted in me getting pretty loose and scrambling to catch my balance. And in the process, the flap that goes over the stirrup assembly came off.... It looks as if the stitching was just dry rotted as it just gave way. The saddle and the flap are perfectly fine and intact.

My poor pretty saddle.... Now what do I do??