Friday, 20 April 2018

More About the Boobage

Phantom seemed a bit worse on Wednesday.

I arrived at the barn in the afternoon and went out to get her. She was parked in front of the round bale, and was not happy to be pulled away from it. We walked very slowly back into the barn, kind of hobbling over her left front.

Her boob seemed a bit bigger than the day before. A solid E cup.

I put an ice pack on it and rigged up a couple of stable bandages to hold it in place.
I used a snow pack when I went back in the evening since my ice pack hadn't refrozen enough.

I decided to hand walk her for a bit to get her moving around. I know it's just muscle pain, and some gentle exercise will likely help her work it out a bit better. She was moving so slowly, and seemed so sore, that I was doubting that walking would be the right decision. Until I brought out her food dish - suddenly she was perfectly capable of walking quickly towards her dinner!

Her temperature was back down in the normal range, at 37.8. Higher than normal, but not high enough to stress about.

I also debated about whether I should turn her back out into her paddock with her buddies or into an individual pen for the night. In the end I decided to leave her where she normally lives. She gets along very well with her friends, so I'm not worried about her having to move out of the way quickly. She will move around out there more than she would in a small pen (unless she got really pissy because she was cooped up). My only concern is whether she would walk across the field to take a drink from the water trough - a justified concern since the two times that I brought her in on Wednesday she had to stop for a drink on the way in.

On Thursday I had to go out to the barn in the morning since I had the late shift at work.
Cisco & Tsunami - synchronized sleeping.

Until I rudely woke him up.
Phantom walked into the barn a bit better than she had the day before. Her breast implant is leaking so gravity is pulling the fluid down, and she now has a bit of a saggy boob.
Should have worn a bra.
I threw the ice pack on it again and shared a muffin with her while we waited for the cold to work its magic. (She would have very much preferred not to share. Apple muffins from Costco are delicious.) We then walked up and down the driveway a couple of times before heading back out to the field. She walked very forward back to her field. 
I took Cisco's blankets off while he was in the field. He didn't undress himself!

She may have been happier to walk back out because I was finally able to turn her out naked. Spring has finally arrived!
New shades. A wee bit stiff at the moment.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

In Which Phantom Gets a (Temporary) Boob Job

I currently have a very sad, feeling sorry for herself, delicate flower of a pony.

Monday was vaccination day. Which means Phantom gets a week off of work. Because she gets lumps.
The left boob is a D cup, the right one only an A.

Well, these days just one lump. The last few years I've had her done with the intranasal flu/rhino, then the rest is given as a 4-way injection (WEE, EEE, tetanus, WNV). I have the injection given into her pectoral muscle in her chest.

She has reacted every year without fail. I haven't done the give everything separately to figure out what she reacts to method, because I honestly think she will probably react to everything. At one point we gave the west nile shot separately, which was suspected to be the one that she would react more to, but the two lumps she had from the two shots that day were pretty equal.

So bute, ice packs and DMSO for a week it is.
My attempt to strap an ice pack to her chest. 

I'm a bit more worried this year than previous years though. Vaccinations were given Monday morning. I gave her bute as soon as I got out that morning, about an hour before the vet arrived. On Tuesday I didn't get out to the barn until close to 8pm and the bute from the morning before had obviously worn off. The lump was quite large, Phantom wasn't comfortable walking forward, and most worrisome - she had a bit of a temperature. She doesn't usually have an increased temperature with her vaccination. It was just a bit on the high side at 38.5 (high normal is 38.3) so hopefully the bute that I gave her Tuesday night will take care of it. She was happily eating so I was only panicking a little on the inside.

The lump is about the size of a softball.

For some reason Phantom didn't seem to have the same sympathy towards me and my pain.

After the vet was out I had a massage scheduled for me. I get very tight in my lower back (probably from riding) and carry tension in my shoulders. My massages are not of the feel great variety, but more of the omfg that hurts and you feel like you got run over by a truck for the rest of the day type.  But they work and things feel looser and I feel straighter the next day.

This time my massage therapist wanted to try cupping to get some areas to release that just weren't releasing with her manipulation. I said sure, I'd never had it done to me before.

It wasn't overly unpleasant. A couple of times the pain was a bit too sharp and I had to have her back the suction off. But it definitely worked to get those areas to release.

But it left bruises.

Not really bad, but I'm glad it's not swimsuit season. Not that I would be posting a picture of me in a swimsuit on the interweb. It only hurts when I throw myself into a chair and lean against the back.

I'd get the cupping done again, as long as I knew what my wardrobe choices for the next week would be.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018


The weather on Sunday was beautiful. It was actually nicer in the sun outside than it was in the barn. So I groomed the horses outside. Which meant I didn't have to sweep the hair after grooming. Wins all around!
Cisco's first time at the hitching post. He was fantastic (until I walked back to the barn).
I had another fairly short and easy ride on Phantom. Nothing exciting to write about.

I had hoped to ride Cisco. I anticipated that there would be lots of people out since it was a lesson day. Except it wasn't a lesson day. So there was no one around. And I'm still not comfortable riding him with no one around. I'm getting closer to trusting him, but I'm not there yet. 

No matter. I had a couple of things to work on. 

When I dewormed him last fall he was a bit of a twit. I got it done, but it took way more work than it should have to stick a syringe in his mouth. A taller person probably could have gotten it done pretty easily, but I'm not that person. So I had to teach him what the expectation was.

I loaded up a big syringe with apple sauce. And brought it up to his face. And he flipped his head everywhere. I could kind of sneak it against his cheek, but as soon as I changed the angle towards his mouth he moved his head all over the place.
Apple sauce muzzle.

But I stuck with it and eventually got the syringe into his mouth so that I could squirt some apple sauce in there. And he kind of went hmmmm and smacked his lips. It took another 10 or so times before I could get the syringe in on the first attempt. By which point the side of his face and my left hand were covered in apple sauce. We'll need a few more practice sessions before I spring the dewormer on him in the next short period.

The other thing that I needed to work on was one of those horse owner tasks that no one likes. 

Sheath cleaning. 

Well, more so "will he let me fondle his manbits without kicking me in the head so that I can clean them someday soon".

He had his sheath cleaned for the first time when he had his teeth done last spring. Since he was sedated I figured I might as well get the job done. The vet said something at the time about the smegma being kind of yucky, but I can't remember the specifics.

Over the winter, I have detected a certain aroma when I have been in the vicinity of Cisco's nether region. A distinctive aroma. Eau de smegma. (More like ew the smegma.)

I have been waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before attempting to de-smegma him. I wouldn't want to risk the manbits getting frostbite.
Your hand is going where?
The time has (almost) come. I needed to find out if he would let me do it, or if I was going to have to pay someone to administer some happy juice before fondling his private area.

I gloved up, grabbed the baby wipes, and assumed the position. I started off by just scratching around that area - he seemed to enjoy that. Then gingerly inserted a couple of fingers. My head didn't get bashed in. So I continued.

He lifted a leg at point when I scraped maybe a bit too hard. And there was one bonafide kick attempt which he got whacked for. Otherwise he was very good.
And because I know horse people like gross things - the smegma was quite black - is that normal?
I just used some baby wipes to get some of the gunk out, but it will need a better cleaning with actual water. I think I'm going to try to goop the sheath up with KY jelly, then use a squirty bottle of some sort with water to rinse it out the next day. I don't think he'll drop down, so I don't think I'll manage to find a bean.

Sheath cleaning is one of those things that I forgot comes with owning a gelding. Probably intentionally.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Theories and Opinions

I've only been managing to ride one horse in the evenings. Mostly due to the amount of time I have to spend scraping hair off the furry beasts.
Apparently the polar pony wants to get nekkid ASAP.

Saturday night was Phantom's turn to go for a spin. She hasn't been ridden since she had her mild tying up episode on Monday, so this ride was mostly a status check.
Still lots of hair to come off.
She felt nice and forward at a walk to start the ride. Trot started off a bit shuffly but it didn't take too long before she was trotting with some energy. Too much energy. But she felt good.

So I was surprised when I saw the symmetry that the Equisense showed. The overall score was only 7.1, and the scores through the ride were all over the place. At first, I thought that the scores were lower on the left rein than the right rein, so I did two laps in each direction at the end of the ride. And that theory proved to be false.
The bars on the right represent those laps - the first two would be the left rein, the last two the right rein.

And because I like to overthink things, based on the graph above, I wonder if there is some residual muscle soreness, and she starts off the trots feeling good and as she trots she starts getting sore.

I didn't have plans to do more than walk trot for this ride, so I finished up on those last trot laps.

Now that the days are getting longer, and despite the non-ending cold, the sun is out. And ponies with pink skin around their eyes find that those eyes are getting irritated.
A bit of sunburn and goop.
Thus it's sunglass season for Phantom. She'll wear a fly mask from now until September, except on some days in the spring when the weather is going to be crap. In the summer she prefers a Cashel mask (long nose, no ears) - that is the only kind that she'll keep on for more than a day. In the spring I'm not as worried about her nose burning, so I'll usually use a Farnam Supermask. And I'll have to tell people why my horse is wearing a fly mask when there is still snow on the ground.

Of course I forgot to bring one from home. I had an old Supermask in my tack trunk, but it was partially shredded under the jaw, so I didn't really want to use it. I remembered that I had the fly mask that came with Cisco's Weatherbeeta Duramesh fly sheet in my mobile tack room car, so I grabbed that one. 

Phantom is usually really good about her fly mask being put on - I usually carry it when I take her out, take her halter off inside the gate and then put the mask on. At the beginning of the season she's a bit silly about me putting it on (head up a little bit, drunk walk once it's on), but by the time summer comes around she seems to know that it keeps the bugs and sun off her face and appreciates it. 

Since it's the first time this year that she's worn a mask, and the Weatherbeeta mask was unknown as to fit, I figured I would put in on in the barn. So I lifted the mask up to her face just like I do every time in the summer, and she put her head up in the air, backed up, and said, "nope nope nope". I reorganized and tried again. Head way up, backed up more, and a definite "nope nope nope". Grrrr.

Fine. I didn't want to fight about it. I grabbed the crappy Supermask, and a couple of treats just to be safe. I walked up to her, lifted that fly mask the exact same way I had the Weatherbeeta one, and popped it right onto her head. 

Apparently, opinionated princess ponies don't appreciate lime green. Yet again she was only too happy to tell me her opinion. Silly mare.

Monday, 16 April 2018

No Distractions

Fun fact - my city (as of Friday) is on it's 167th consecutive day of having temperatures below 0 C at some point during the day.  The last day that the temperature stayed above 0 all day was October 28th. (For those that don't understand Celsius - 0 = 32 F.) It currently looks like we'll be adding at least another 10 days to this record. I feel quite justified in all of my whining about the cold this winter. (Edited to add that we actually managed to stay at 1 degree overnight on Saturday so the new record is 168 days.)

At least the daytime highs are starting to get a bit better. Which means - say it together, boys and girls - mud. Mud and water everywhere.
I have to go around the poo lake to get to the ponies at their hay island.

This is the first spring that the BO has had this property. It looks like she'll have some grading work to do this summer.

Thankfully the arena wasn't flooded enough that I couldn't ride Cisco on Friday night. He was super chill in the barn while I tacked up. He lunged quite well despite the sounds coming from the scary vent due to the wind.

For the first time in a while, I was going to have the arena to myself. I set up some trot poles of various styles - single, double at 9', and sets of 3. I wanted to try my theory that giving him something to keep his brain busy would settle him a bit and reduce his fussiness.

I think we've done poles only 2 or 3 times, and only one of those times did we try the three poles together. Going over the poles isn't a problem (other than the first time through the three when he brought himself back to walk over them) - it's the steering and lack of straightness that are the issues. But his fussiness definitely got better as we worked our way through them.

So we did our first itty bitty trot pole course. There's lots of room for improvement, but we got to where we wanted to go with minimal fuss.

Since the ride was going so well, I thought I might as well screw it up and try a canter again. It took about 4 attempts in the same place to chase him into it, but once he got it, it was nice and forward (with his head up in the air) and mostly steerable. We cantered about 2/3 of a 30m circle before I had to bring him back to trot because it was only mostly steerable and there was a jump in our way.

We did one more identical canter and I figured I should hop off before I really did screw up the ride.
I guess he can stay for another day.
It was nice to have a ride by ourselves to remember that he is much better without distractions. His steering into the corners took only one reminder to fix, and he could actually go straight-ish down the long sides. So is it time to put a bit more pressure on him when riding with other people? I think so, but I will have to pick my battles depending on what is going on around me. During a munchkin jumping lesson will not be a good time.

Friday, 13 April 2018


This week is attempt # 42 at trying to get Cisco going consistently so that he gets broke before he's 20.

He lunged very quietly in the scary end to start with. Then stood super well while I got on (at least I've gotten that part right).

He was really good about walking at the scary end, probably because there were a couple of other people riding and they were also down there. He was highly suspicious of that area, but kept his brain in his head.

Other than the few bits of spooking that he's done (which really hasn't been all that much now that I think of it, just lots of looking and holding his breath), he really hasn't done anything naughty. But I have a feeling something might be coming.

There was a moment in this ride as we were walking when he had a little hop behind. It was one stride, with one leg, but definitely felt like it had upward movement to it rather than a trip. Not sure why or what to think of it.

Just after we started trotting, he slammed on the brakes when I was mean and made him trot away from where the other horses were. A couple of whacks with the crop and he was on his way again.

This happened a couple of other times as well. Trot trot trot urp stop. Tap tap and off we go again.

I think it's just a phase of seeing what he can get away with. He hasn't overreacted at all to the crop - yet. But it won't surprise me if it happens.

Otherwise, the ride was about trying to get into the corners, stay straight(ish) down the long sides, and trying to do a few leg-yield steps on both sides of the arena. There might be a magnetic force on one side of the arena that pulls him that way and that's why he can only leg-yield in that direction on both sides of the ring. I mean, I'm asking for the easier leg-yield to the track on both sides, but I guess he thinks the harder leg-yield to the center is more fun.

I might play with bits during my week of vacation and see if he gets a bit less fussy with his mouth. I think I've tried all the ones I currently have so I'm not optimistic that he'll suddenly like one he didn't like before. He's currently in a low-port Myler - I'm open to ideas on what to try next. Single joints he put his tongue over, lozenge bits (NS Verbindend, NS Tranz-Angled Baucher, HS Dynamic KK) he rooted down, both of these types he got an overly wet mouth which led me to think that he didn't think he could swallow and move his tongue. He doesn't do any of this with the Myler, but is just unsteady with his head, which I think is more due to being a bit nervous. I'd like to try a Sprenger Duo and a NS Turtle Top bit, but I don't have the $300-$400 to try a couple of bits that I have no idea as to if they would work. Not many options for bit rental here either. So no idea where to go next.
This is what he's in at the moment. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Trying to Make Sense of the Equisense

One of the things that I am hoping the Equisense will show is signs of lameness. The first ride that I used it on Phantom had a symmetry score of only 6.9, which correlated with the slight not quite right on her left front that I had been feeling.

The next ride she felt much more even. This was reflected in an increase of the symmetry score to 7.4.

The rides after that have increased again to between 7.7 and 7.9, often with a high point in the high 8's somewhere in the ride. She has been feeling pretty good in her body and the higher score reflects that.
The overall score for this ride was 7.9, with a high of 8.7.
So I was curious to see what her scores showed on the last ride when she had that bit of a tying up episode.

First, in my haste to get her over to the barn and get bute into her ASAP when I detected what was happening I failed to turn off the tracking. I think I pushed the button twice, so stopped it and restarted it. My actual ride was only about 34 minutes long, but the tracker ran for another hour sitting on my saddle stand before I figured out that it hadn't stopped.

Second, as soon as I realized what was happening I hopped off of her. So there really wasn't much time for the data to accumulate.

Here is her symmetry from that ride.

She hadn't been ridden for about 2 weeks, so that could account for the slightly lower scores throughout the ride.
All the blank time on the right was because I didn't turn the sensor off when I thought I did.
The low point was 6.1. This was before we cantered and before I felt any issues. I think that at this point of the ride I was giggling at sitting trot attempting to do a shoulder-in to lengthened trot on a ping pong ball of a very good feeling horse. It was not overly successful. Lateral work supposedly reduces your symmetry score so I think that ping pong ball lateral work = low symmetry.

The last trot symmetry score was 7.7. This was after canter, which often has a higher score, and was mainly just trying to just slow the f down. Then she slowed down to the icky poky trot, and within about a 1/4 of a circle I had dropped down to walk. I think that the symmetry score didn't register for that icky trot because it probably wasn't long enough, and it wasn't on the straight line that is required to calculate the score.

So I would have to say that in this particular instance, the Equisense did not pick up on the upcoming issue through the ride.

If it did, the scores were minimally lower than what they would be on a normal ride so it didn't set off sirens. To be fair to the Equisense, Phantom might not have displayed any symptoms until I felt it and then I didn't give the sensor enough time to track it, or she may have been symmetrically stiff. Unfortunately, under these circumstances I'm not willing to let things go long enough just to see what score she gets.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Tie One On

Because of cold weather and having to be social over Easter and my birthday it's been almost 2 weeks since I rode last.  The weather is finally on the upswing - by which I mean a few degrees above freezing, let's not get too excited here - so I'm hoping to get the kids going again.
There's still a wee bit of snow on the ground. (Saturday on my way out to the barn)
I know that after Phantom gets her vaccinations next week she will need 7-10 days off. Princesses are sensitive and get big lumps after jabs. So I want to concentrate on her a bit this week.

Monday night I scraped another pillow's worth of hair from the polar pony. Now that she's decided to start shedding she apparently wants to lose it as soon as possible. Still so much to come off.
How I spent my Saturday night. Scraping hair off of horses. 
I tacked her up and hopped on. Since she hadn't been ridden for a couple of weeks I decided to drop the intervals that we are doing back down to the 3 minutes instead of the 4 minutes that we had done at our last ride. Sort of to break her back into work again, and also to end the ride earlier in the hope that I would be able to take Cisco for a spin.

Despite Phantom having had a good play in the arena on Saturday night with lots of zoomies, she was quite full of herself. Not in a bad way - mostly a very happy to go forward way. She felt good though. This was also only the second time I had ridden her since she got that hematoma on her butt, so I was a bit worried about her feeling a bit off, but it wasn't a concern. 

She was looking for an excuse to canter and once she cantered I knew the remainder of the ride would be a gong show. (No walking. Only canter.) I didn't have any expectations for this ride other than trying not to hang on her mouth and give her an excuse to get short and tight. 
Here's a pic of her hematoma.
My plan at a canter was to do a huge figure 8 on the one lead (thus counter canter through half of it) and then deal with the overly silly trot that would follow, before taking a break and doing the same on the other lead. 

We started on the left lead quite nicely, which shifted to thinking about scooting, then relaxed again, before joyfully swapping the lead in front. Back to walk like 20 strides later than planned, and we picked up the left lead to finish the figure 8. And yes, a very silly trot to deal with. 

We did a couple of half-circle reverses (quick changes of bend usually helps to set her back a bit), and then I said screw it, threw the reins at her and used my body to slow her down. I closed my thighs and sat heavier and she slowed herself down. Right down. Like super slow poky trot. And wouldn't really pick the pace up again. Ruh roh. Bells and sirens start screaming in my brain.
I'll get the vet to have a peek at it next week when she gets jabbed.
Back to walk and she stretched her head down to the ground. Fack. She's thinking of tying up again. (Not that she consciously thinks about it, it's her bodies reaction to whatever causes it and she likely has no control over it.)

I immediately hopped off and led her over to the barn. She was walking quite forward, but I wasn't taking any chances. Pony Grandma was with me so she took over walking duties while I loaded up a syringe of bute. We continued to walk her up and down the barn aisle. For an hour.

This wasn't a full out not wanting to move tying up episode. More of a somewhat stiff behind but still good to walk episode. She was happy to walk, so we kept her walking. In my experience with her if she stands still she stiffens up. If I asked her to back up she kind of dragged her toes and didn't take very big steps behind. 

After an hour, most of which was walked by Pony Grandma, Phantom was walking pretty good. Tracking up for the most part. She hadn't made any noises about stopping for that hour (except to give me a major mare glare when Pony Grandma was turning her back down the aisle for yet another lap) so I turned her back out. She's not a happy camper in a stall, and the more she moves around the better. 

Why did it happen this time? I had only been out to the barn 2 or 3 times over the last two weeks, so that would have been the only times she got her chaste tree berries. There was a relatively quick change in weather. She had too much silly energy to expend (not that she really did). It was a Monday. Who knows.

I guess for the next couple of rides I'll keep it super easy and see what happens.

Monday, 9 April 2018

LeMieux Schooling Boots - Initial Review

Last summer I picked up a set of Back on Track Royal Tendon and Fetlock boots for Cisco (at 1/2 price) in cob size. I'm not much of a boot or bandage person (mostly because I'm lazy) but Cisco paddles a bit in front so I thought I would put something on him to protect him if he whacks himself.

The BOT boots have the pin and tab closure, which only have 3 options for tightness. The fetlock boots have needed to be done up on the tightest hole since the beginning, and I've been thinking that they've already stretched a bit. Overall, the boots are okay, but not my favourite. So I've been thinking about replacing them.

As per normal, I researched the crap out of what boots I wanted. I like the look of fleece - when it's new. Our arena has sand footing and sand is harder to get out of fleece than neoprene type linings, so decided against the fleece. I wanted durable. I wanted them to look classic but stylish. I would have loved them in a leather print like reptile or ostrich, but there weren't too many options in that. I wanted them in cob size. And I didn't want to pay too huge an amount for them.

I decided upon the LeMieux Schooling Boots. They have the neoprene type lining, a durable pebbled faux leather exterior, and I like the look of them. The size chart recommended size medium for fronts and backs for cob sizes.

I've never seen LeMieux products in person, but have seen lots of reviews on their items and they've all been positive. Many people said that they bought their items from the UK for a much better price, so that was where I focused my shopping. I received a 15% off code for Ebay so that dropped the landed price down to about $145 for an all-round set. Shipping took about 2 weeks and I didn't have to pay customs (yay!).
The pebbled faux leather appeases my desire for texture.
They feel good - the faux leather doesn't feel stiff or plasticky. The velcro straps have super sticky velcro on them - they will take a good pull to separate. (Mediums have 2 straps, large/XL have 3 straps, which I prefer the look of, but oh well.)

The boots have a polycarbonate shockproof shell between the layers but are fairly soft and flexible. They are machine washable with cold water.

The bottom strap is slightly angled.
The height on the medium sized boots is just right for the fronts. I might like them to be a touch higher for the backs, but the mediums will work fine.

What I don't like is that the tabs seem too long and stick out behind the leg. I would say that Cisco's legs are of average bone, and the boots don't seem to overlap very much. I'm not overly worried about them coming undone, I just think it doesn't look as tidy.

The back leg
Other than the tab length, I am initially happy with them. They seem to be durable and well-made. Cisco has never worn high back boots before, and he didn't seem to have any complaints about them.
New boots did not interfere with zoomies.

Friday, 6 April 2018


A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to an event put on by our provincial equestrian federation. We skipped the first part, which was the AGM and vote for directors, and showed up for the lectures and food. Priorities.

The first lecture was from a vet on the topic of colic. Most of the information was known to me, but I did pick up a few new things that I didn't know.
  • If you suspect your horse is colicking, take away their food. Water is okay for them to have. You don't need to add more to a backed up system.
  • It may be better to administer a half dose of Banamine versus a full dose - a full dose works for about 12 hours, and a half dose about 6 hours. If the colic is of the more serious variety, it may be better to discover this and move on to the next phase of treatment earlier rather than waiting for the 12 hours, after more damage may be done. But of course, follow the recommendation of your vet.
  • Colic surgery ranges from $6,000 to $20,000. The lower cost is for a simple displacement, the higher cost for more involved surgery and the weeks of aftercare at the vet clinic.
  • The purpose of walking the horse is to try to get the gastrointestinal tract moving again, and help to hopefully move gas along. If the horse is laying down but is staying quiet, let them lie. The large intestine is attached along the horses back and hangs down, and is very heavy. When they lay down it relieves some of the tension and can reduce some discomfort.
  • And not new information, but needs to be repeated - do not give Banamine intramuscularly (despite what the bottle may say). The chances of a Clostridial myositis infection are too high, and nobody wants to deal with the results of that.
The other presentation was really interesting and will hopefully be useful in real life as well as horse life. 

It was presented by Richard Monette, of Inner Warrior Consulting. He is a Leadership and Performance Coach, as well as a Mental Coach to Olympic athletes, including this year's Bobsled gold medal winners.

The topic was about having a Purpose Map to help one achieve their goals.

What is "purpose"? To choose to act now in a way that will benefit you later.
Those are supposed to be plus and minus's.
A person is able to control their focus and the amount of energy they put in play to achieve their purpose. One who lacks focus and energy procrastinates. One who has great focus but low energy is disengaged (someone who reads all the things about riding but never rides their horse). One who has great energy but little focus is distracted. And one who has great focus and great energy is purposeful, which occurs in only about 10% of people.

How does one make purposefullness a habit? By using a Purpose Map.

The Purpose is a Why. It should be clear, concise, guiding, unifying and compelling. It should apply to you. It should tell the complete story of success by using as few words as possible. 

The Success Factor are the factors that are critical to success.

The Behaviours are observable behaviours that are critical to success.

One should keep score. This I found interesting. You should score the tangible and intangible moments that matter. (On my run today - did I enjoy it?)

Reflection. What worked? What could be improved?

We did our own Purpose Map during the event. It was quick - I think we were given about 3 minutes for each part. In reality this should take much longer, and may require many revisions to get the phrasing that works for the individual. He showed the Purpose Map that the Bobsledder had created before the Olympics (scribbled on a piece of paper in a cafe somewhere in Europe) that had taken about 6 revisions to get to that point. 

Here is the Purpose Map I did (with some other scribblings on the page).

I would like to get further along with Cisco. Motivation has been tough to find this winter with the neverending cold that we have experienced.

My Purpose was to have Cisco able to do a training level dressage test. Which, at this point, is a ways away. It doesn't have to be at a show, but just to have him at that level. I need to work on this phrase to make it more simple but impactful (the Olympian's Purpose was "Performance on the day").

My Success Factors are:
  • Ride consistently. I need to ride at least 4 times a week. 
  • Exposure to experiences. I don't want a horse who can only do things in the ring. Things done outside and away from home are instrumental to a horses education. Thus I need to have him trailerable this summer. And I need to take him to other places. I have an opportunity to trailer him to a friends place which will be about as low key as I can make it and I need to take advantage of it. 
  • Invest in training. I need to find a way to afford to take lessons with a suitable trainer on a somewhat regular basis. This teaches me new skills, but also gives me motivation to ride and work on those skills. 
I plan to write this up a bit fancier and put it on the fridge. Hopefully it will help to give me some motivation on those days when I could ride but am looking for an excuse not to. In general I am a terrible goal setter, so we'll see if it works.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Hairy Days

I had great plans for Wednesday. I'd head out to the barn in the morning, hold my two horses for the farrier, and have the afternoon free to do a few errands.

When I got out to the barn at about 10:30, there was no farrier. Apparently they were coming out for 1pm (which had been announced on our Facebook page but I failed to read for comprehension). So I now had enough time to do a couple of things with the ponies because it wasn't worth heading back into town to do my things.

Since I hadn't been out in a week, I put Cisco in the arena to burn off some energy. He had a pretty good time running around with his head straight up in the air and his back totally dropped down.

Then I took him back over to the barn to begin the de-hairing process.
One side of the horse done.
So much hair. And he's not the hairy one that I have to groom.
Both sides of Cisco done.
I gave up after about 40 minutes. I didn't have any energy left and needed to go into town to get some lunch before the farrier. Cisco was turned back out and I went for food.

Cisco was first to get his feet done when I got back. I was hoping that the earlier running around would enable him to stand relaxed. It totally did. Not that he's usually bad for the farrier, but he can sometimes be a bit impatient and annoying to me. And I can't pop him one on the nose when his foot is in someone's crotch. But today he was just about perfect for his trim.

Phantom was also super good, as per usual. She was seemingly a little reluctant to stand on her left hind, where the hematoma is, when her right front was being trimmed, but when the shoe was being put back on she was fine. So I still don't know if that hematoma is bothering her. I'll chat with the vet about it when she is out in a couple of weeks, but I'm pretty sure it will just be a while before it reabsorbs.

I scraped a fair amount of hair off of her also, but she's still very fluffy. Polar ponies take a while to shed out.
Phantom's fresh pedicure standing in front of the blanket she threw on the ground to express her pissiness at being jailed.

Phantom made a new discovery today - donuts are delicious.

Someone had brought donuts out to the barn. I grabbed a chocolate dip and went to rescue Phantom from the jail cell stall that she was stuck in while the farrier backed the truck out of the barn. She was loudly disputing her incarceration.

I figured I would be safe by taking my chocolate dip into the stall with me, as she has never liked any type of bready thing before. I gave her a small piece, fully expecting her to just spit it out.
Om nom nom nom.
But these were magical Tim Horton's donuts. A Canadian staple. And Phantom is a patriotic Canadian pony.

She loved the donut. And wanted moar. And moar. And moar.
I ended up sharing the chocolate dip. I'm surprised I managed to get as much of it as I did - she came close to grabbing the whole thing in her lips at one point.  And then we shared a sour cream glazed (I stood back this time to keep the donut in my hand out of lip range).
Delicious donuts.
It looks like she'll get a frozen lemonade and a donut for her birthday this year. (Must remember to take pics and tag Timmie's - maybe she can become their mascot....)