Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lameness, Lessons, and Learning

HA! Do you know HOW LONG it took me to come up with that third "L" word to finish the alliterative (I think I just made that word up!) title? HUZZAH!! Anyway, back on topic, while I can still hold my eyes open.

Lameness: POOR CRICKET! She is still unbelievably sore. I have NEVER seen a limp this bad in a horse before other than a founder case in all 4 feet, but this is only one leg. We poked and prodded and wrenched her poor leg around today, TRYING to find the source of the pain, and we're having little luck. Her foot isn't hot, it's not cracked, she's not swollen anywhere, and there's no evidence of abraision. We did find a little hot pocket in what would be considered her "armpit", but it's not tender to the touch, so we have no clue what happened. I'm hoping it's not a fracture or something more serious, although I would guess that would be more than a little tender to the touch if it were the case. Anyway, she's gimping around, we let her into the north paddock to fill her belly in peace (she's low on the totem pole and they push her around on that leg) and also, we tried to get some bute into her as well, to at least make the pain more tolerable. She's pretty sore, but man did she fight the syringe going into her mouth. For having a bad leg, she did surprisingly well.

Lessons: Gave 2 lessons today, both of which were very successful. First came Phoebe. Such a talented rider in such a little package. She rode Princess in my Wintec Wide ("It's actually pretty comfortable" she says!) and had her first (That I know of) cross country gallop, completed in two point, with her whooping and hollering, and Princess looking sheepishly proud (she loves to teach kids, whether she'll admit it or not). I was impressed with the pair of them!

Next came Cynde and Shashi. They had a HUGE breakthrough, and it made me feel wonderful as a teacher. The breakthrough was fairly simple, and that was that Cynde interrupted a RBE blasting circle VERY assertively (but neutrally), then brought Shash in and stroked him with a friendly look. For Cynde, this is HUGE because she's got a fear of being firm with Shash. For me, it was a wonderful breakthrough, because I was the one shouting "INTERRUPT THE PATTERN!" and she listened and acted on it. Makes me feel effective and VERY proud of my students.

Also had some good effects with "Breathing while you act"...Something Farrah REALLY emphasized in the clinic was how important breathing was as you played with a horse, especially with a tense person/pair. From the second she mentioned it last weekend, I realized that breathing, as well as possibly singing (LOL... Farrah, if you ever read this, Cynde was ready to stab me after singing the ABC's 3 times!) while she played would greatly benefit Cynde, because of how tense and nervous she is. So whenver I saw her get tense, I'd just lightly say "Breath while you do that..." and she'd exhale and say "Thank you, HOW can you see that?!" and then she'd get WAY more confident. Interesting, eh?

As far as learning goes, I'm referring to Princess, here. We did some learning of new actions in 3 separate short sessions today. First we played with lifting and placing a single leg (Prep for Spanish Walk and bowing/lying down) and then we worked on getting more energy underneath us in the back up, and then we played with "How SMALL can we canter?" when we went on a trail ride. Prin's doing really well with the bowing, backing, and tiny cantering (Richard was teasing Amigo, saying "Why can't you just copy her?" as he jogged along beside us as we loped like seasoned pleasure riders) but we're still sort of struggling with the concept of picking up a foot and holding with the driving game, though I'm sure it'll come, since she's sort of getting it.

Her bows were probably the high point for me, she REALLY got down low today, on her knees twice (and NOT because I pushed her, either) and completely LB andconfidently. So proud!

Anyway, off to bed. Pray for Cricket please!


Renee said...

Poor Cricket! :( I hope she gets better soon.

Have you checked her neck? One horse at Shadow Creek was wierdly lame for a year, and the problem ended up being a compressed vertibrae in her neck.

Otherwise, yay for your students! :D

Fran said...

Ehhhh...I highly doubt its in her neck, she's favoring her leg WAY too much for it to NOT be the source of the problem. It was a bit better today, although still not perfect, but whatever, I just hope she gets better soon!

See you Thursday!

Renee said...

Sometimes things show up in wierd places. My mom used to get bad headaches where the problem was in her back. She didn't have any back pain, but the chiropractor cleared it right up. Just thinking out loud. :)

What time were you thinking for Thursday?