Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Worst Blogger Ever - Month Recap

I disappeared again... this time for a month... To be fair though, the past month has been really busy, I've been working at the barn and have been preparing curriculum for next school year. On top of that there were lots of horse things going on. So here's the recap of the past month (and I pinkie promise to be better in the future).
Casey being cute and bored

Casey's Gotcha Day

The most exciting thing that happened is that Casey and I celebrated our one year anniversary on August 1. I can't believe that it's been a full year and I'm thankful every day to have her in my life. I never thought I would be able to own a horse, let alone a horse as amazing, talented, and sweet as my girlie. In just one year together we've progressed by leaps and bounds. Our relationship is unrecognizable from where we first started.
One year anniversary
Cantering around
I remember that when I first bought Casey one of my biggest worries was that I wouldn't love her. I have good relationships with lots of horses and care about them, but I have loved very few horses in my equestrian career. In fact, before Casey I only really had loved two horses, Cleopatra and Molly. Horses are strange pets in that, for most people, horses are expected to perform a job. They are too expensive to own if they can't do their work. For me, I know I love a horse when their ability to do their job doesn't affect how I feel about them. For this reason, Casey's suspensory injury was a blessing in disguise. It showed me that I love her regardless of whether or not she can work. She makes me happy every day and I can't imagine my life without her.
She's the bestest

Casey Vet Re-Check

On our anniversary, we also had another vet check for Casey's suspensory injury. It was a quick exam, the vet just looked at her movement on a straight line and when being lunged. He was super impressed with how she was moving and said that she looked great. He bumped up our exercise regime to 15 minutes trotting + 3 minutes cantering (with the 10 minutes of both warm-up and cool-down). At this point we are just working on building back muscle mass and stamina so that she is strong and healthy.
Working on building muscle

At this vet check we opted to not ultrasound, as the results of it don't really matter right this second. If Casey is moving fine and feeling great, then obviously her leg can handle the amount of work she is doing. However, we did schedule another (hopefully the final) vet check for the end of the month and the plan is to do the last ultrasound then. I'm fully expecting the ultrasound to show that her injury is completed healed and would be shocked if it turned out that wasn't true. The ultrasound is really just the final seal of approval for us to go back to regular work. If all goes well we will be back in regular flat work in September and will start jumping again in October (it'll take probably a month to build up our jump height again though - so jumping at our actual jump level will probably take until November).
So excited to be cantering again!
All in all it was a good vet check and I'm looking forward to the next one because hopefully it will bring even better news!

Riding Progress

Since we got vet cleared to increase our work load, we've taken full advantage of it. I am riding five days a week and Casey and I are like a super team right now. I've never had her be so responsive before in our relationship. She's listening to all of my aids and my subtle body language cues. I can now adjust her speed by simply adjusting my seat (this was 1000% impossible before). We've become leg-yielding masters, now being able to leg yield at the trot (albeit a very crooked leg yield). She listens to my vocal cues, instantly slowing when I say "ho" or "easy."
Working at the canter
In addition to listening to me, she also is becoming more self-aware. She's figuring out how to use her body more effectively. This is especially apparent in her trot. Before, she would try to trot around with her head up and would always be on the forehand. Throughout rehab I have been experimenting with trying to get Casey to really extend her trot and push from behind, and something clicked in her brain, because now she realizes how much better than movement is. She now willingly puts her head lower and uses her butt to propel herself forward. She's still gaining strength in her back end (because her injury was in a back leg, it was weakened), so there are moments when she falls back into her old bad habits, but the moments of powerful trot are increasing daily. I hope that this self-awareness will translate to other things, like cantering and jumping, but only time will tell.
Trot extension
Leg yielding at the trot

The biggest difference in Casey, I would say, is her attitude, rather than choosing to fight me when I want her to try something new or complicated, she actually trusts me to try. She still will have moments of ridiculousness (like trying to take off bucking because Leigh the horse looked in her direction), but isn't being cruel or mean. When I reprimand her in those instances she clicks her brain back into work and calms down.
Happy horse & happy rider
She did have a temper tantrum about a week ago, but it was because she took a bad stride in the canter and it aggravated her injured leg. She was pissed off and had to show it by crow-hopping. She wasn't trying to be a jerk though, she was just really mad that her leg hurt.

Due to all of these changes in our relationship, Casey and I are now able to try new things that before would have been impossible. One of those things is bridle-less riding. I got a neck rope (review coming soon) and have been building up to riding with only that. Girlie is really understanding how to pay attention to all of my aids and so we have been able to ride at a walk and trot using just the neck rope (although with the bridle on as my emergency brakes). This month we were able to ride bridle-less for the first time ever. I wasn't sure how Casey would react, so we only walked around, but she was so good! This is definitely something that we are going to continue working at, because it is really fun and a good challenge for us. My big dream for this is to eventually be able to ride completely tackless (just a neck rope) and I really think that some day we will be able to achieve that.
Neck rope only

Barn Life

I've been spending a bunch of time at the barn lately. For the past three months I've been able to work off all of my board, which is really nice because suspensory injury vet visits really add up. I've gotten a few more riding clients, which is nice because I love teaching riding lessons. The barn has been really hectic this summer, with a bunch of new lesson clients coming in and there is currently a long wait list for people who want to board their horses. It's nice to see business picking up my trainer deserves the clientele.
More trotting
I've also gotten to spend a lot of time with my barn buddies. One of them taught me how to stretch out a horse's legs and Casey has gotten really into it. She will throw her legs all the way forward and really lean into the stretch. The first couple of times this caught me by surprise and her motion almost sent me sprawling, but now its become our little routine.


The biggest non-horse-related thing in my life is that I got LASIK surgery last week. I've worn glasses/contacts since 2nd grade and at this point in my life felt that I just couldn't do it anymore. Glasses are annoying because they aren't very comfortable and get dirty (especially in rainy Oregon and at the dusty barn). Contacts are annoying because they dry out my eyes and stuff gets in them. So when I started my career job and had insurance options, I opted to get the crappiest, cheapest insurance plan + an HSA (health-savings account) which my employer deposited money into every month. I knew that regular insurance wouldn't cover LASIK because it is seen as an elective surgery rather than a necessary one, but I could use an HSA to pay for it.
Obvi not going to show photos of my gross burst blood-vessel eyes, so instead look at Casey's pretty eyes!
The actual surgery was not the best experience of my life, but what could I expect when lasers were cutting into my eyeballs? But LASIK was sooooo worth it. I can now see everything. I wake up in the morning and I can see. I take a shower and can actually see my legs when I try to shave. I don't have to worry about taking out my contacts before I go to sleep. It's really like a miracle.
These will be the last photos EVER of me riding with glasses on
I haven't had any major side effects, the first three hours after surgery were miserable, but after that it's been smooth sailing. My eyes are dry and itchy, but no more so than they would be with contacts at the end of a long day. I do notice that my eyes get tired a lot faster than before, but that's because they are still healing and so that side effect will go away once they heal completely. So yeah, if you are a glasses/contacts wearer who gets annoyed with that lifestyle, I totally recommend LASIK!
Fancy mare

Well now you are all caught up on what's been going on in my life. I will really try to be better about blogging. In some ways I think going back to work (I start next week) will help because having a routine works better for me. I have summer brain right now and can't even recognize what day of the week it is, let alone work on abstract things like blogging about my thoughts.
Enjoying our last days of summer


  1. happy anniversary - awesome that she's recovering so well and getting back into work!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, we are really excited about going back into work mode. Rehab sucked so thank goodness it's almost over.

  2. Glad that Casey is doing better and your relationship has blossomed even more. Good for you getting Lasik. I am absolutely skeeved out by it so still pretending its not an option for me (even though it totally is).

    1. There were definitely skeevy moments during Lasik. Without going into too much detail, the smell was probably the worst part. BUT it really is amazing to be able to see, so I think it's worth it.

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