Reverse Psychology or Just Reverse?

Today we took a wander along an off road track close to my yard, a beautiful sunny day. It was all very relaxed and chilled out until I spotted some large white plastic bags up ahead.

I saw them before Finlay did, and knew this was going to be an issue. Lord knows why there were there, sitting beside a gate. Maybe something to do with the tree planting that was taking place in the adjacent field.

I was ready for the spook, and boy does Finlay have a spook. Last year he injured himself spooking at an object lying in a verge by the road so this was in the back of my mind as we approached the bags.

Sure enough about 15 yards from the monster horse eating plastic bags he did a 180 turn. Nothing I could do to stop it. When a half ton of animal wants to run away there’s not much you can do. His eyes popping out his head, heart beating so fast i could feel the beats on my leg.

I held my hands low and firm and sat still in the saddle, quietly I held him there still facing the opposition direction. Hmmm how were we going to address the problem this time? I turned him around and took one step closer,…. Nope another 180 spin. Once more we turned to face the problem, we stood for a few minutes. His heart rate dropped but he was tightly coiled spring ready to run.

With a reassuring pat on the the neck one more step…. Nope! Once again we were facing the other direction. I sat there for a moment and thought, I was obviously not able to ride past this problem in a conventional manner. I would need to think outside the box.

So that’s what I did. Reverse psychology or just reverse! Rein back is the equine reversing manoeuvre. We reined backwards past the plastic bags successfully and carried on our beautiful walk in the sunshine.

One might say I was allowing my horse to dictate, he told me he wasn’t walking past that object and I gave in, thus making him the boss over me. Some might have dismounted and lead their horse past. But I believe I made the correct decision, I asked for rein back and as he is very good at that movement, he did as I asked, maybe forgetting momentarily about the horse eating plastic bags!

As our route was not circular we had to return past the problem, a with few snorts and a couple of side ways steps we continued on our way home. x

 

 

So…….

The start of this year has been a right off! Second week in January I come down with some viral thing laid me in bed for a week. I go back to work for another week then it hits me again, evening trip to the out of hours doctors to find out I have flu and a chest infection. After a course of antibiotics and another week off, I go back to work but still not feeling right.

A few days later my back goes. At first I thought nothing of it, carried on as normal. It was when I tried to get on Finlay I noticed something not right. I couldn’t lift my left leg into the stirrup. I manually lifted my leg with my left hand, into the stirrup and went for a ride. During the ride Finlay spooked at a car driving past us too fast. That really hurt my back, I knew then that this was not good. Got back to the yard, jumped off and really struggled from there on in. But of course I went to work that afternoon only to find driving home from the job I couldn’t use the clutch to change gear.

Okay! Now I need help! Phoned an osteopath/ physio I’d used in the past, she gave me instructions what I was to do and made an appointment for two days later.

You have a prolapsed disc, she said. Okay I said, how do we fix it? Ignorance is bliss yes!? During that first session she noticed I was still coughing (painfully wrenching my back in the process) She said you are still sick, you need another antibiotic. She was right, this time a 10 day course of drugs to kill off this infection.

So, here we are. Still off work and still not riding. Six weeks of nothing. What if my back is never right again? What if I can’t ride? I’m scared. Apart from my children, my horse is the only thing that makes me happy (living with chronic pain condition for 8yrs will do that to a person) I’ve been in a very dark place these past few weeks. I’d say my back is 70% better, I pray that it continues to heal.

You see, I need my horse. He’s my happy place, my peaceful time, my therapy where I can forget my pain, forget my loneliness. Where I can be, me x

Hello it’s me.

My neglected blog, I’m sorry I’ve been awol. Been waiting for something positive to write about. It’s been a bit of a dry spell on the, nice things to say, front.

 

My my mood today is particularly bleak, so best not start writing today huh?

 

 

The Not So Good Day……

My previous post was full of joy, my wonderful handsome boy got reserve champion! Super proud mum moment! A few weeks later I was cursing the ground he walked on.

Since March this year I have been nursing Finlay back to full fitness after cortisone hock injections. He has arthritic changes in his hock joints. I spent weeks, months schooling him again and had even started jumping. We had also attended some training which I had really enjoyed. he was looking fit and it was great fun to be going over the jumps again.

Monday 8th September, out for a very normal hack. Only there was one thing that wasn’t normal, to Finlay. Fly tipping is what we call it here in Scotland. Where someone dumps rubbish at the roadside, illegally. It had been lying there for around 10 days. As the council hadn’t pick it up yet I was guessing it contained asbestos. Anyhow we walked up the road towards it.

Anyone who knows my horse will not be surprised at what happened next. He flatly refused to go past it! The rubbish was on the verge, not the road, plenty of room to pass it safely. It wasn’t a windy day, nothing was flapping around. But he would not walk on, resulting in a huge fight. Fifteen minutes later he snorted his way past it and immediately calmed down. Thinking that as he had, eventually, walk past it he would not bother too much on the way home.

Wrong!!

He was even worse and constantly spinned away to the left every time. Cue another enormous fight. In between letting cars passed us on this narrow road I spotted a guy walking up behind us. Every time I looked at him stopped, I shout to him to keep coming – I had an idea.

As the man came along side I explained my problem, he must of thought I was nuts! I’d given finlay 10 minutes to calm down a bit then I asked the man to walk in front of us, which he did. Finlay followed the man past the rubbish. I thanked the man for his help and walk home. Nothing else untoward happened, put Finlay in the paddock for an hour and that was the end of that. Or so I thought.

The following day I noticed a slight swelling on is near side (left) stifle. It was only slightly puffy so put him in the paddock and phoned the vet. After I explained what had happened the previous day we agreed that he needed to come out and examine Finlay. My worst fears were confirmed the next day, all that nonsense on the road and spinning away to one side had resulted in some kind of ligament damage on the stifle joint.

A week of box rest, high dose anti inflammatories then a trip to the vets for joint block, x-ray’s and scans. Finlay coped very well with box rest, I was doing my own healing on him and it’s really helped him stay calm. The scans showed inflammation in the middle patellar and collateral ligaments. Another two weeks box rest and weekly injections to assist ligament repair. Then 10’days of walking out in hand starting twice a day increased to three times a day.

We are on day four of walking in hand, at times it’s been tricky but on the whole he has behaved. I’m terribly worried about his hocks after the 3 weeks confinement but only time will tell how bad they are. He looks awful, lost so much muscle and with a changing coat etc never seen him look so bad.

I felt quite devastated at first, months of hard work gone in a few seconds of stupidity. Horses can be tremendously fulfilling yet infuriating at the same time! I only went down the road that day because I couldn’t get in the school due to the fact someone had put the stallion out. But that’s another story.

Finlay will recover from this injury the ongoing problem will be his hocks, praying i can get him back to full fitness again wish me luck x

One Hot Summer Day….

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After a difficult two years with ill health and an arthritic horse we were in the rosettes once again! This was a local equestrian centres annual summer show in July, it was extremely busy! Unfortunately the two jumping arena’s were either side of the ring where the light horse section was taking place – much to Finlay’s annoyance. In fact Finlay was finding it rather difficult to cope with all together. There must have been hundreds of horses,,lorries, trailers, kids, dogs, prams… You get the picture.

Fortunately my lovely friend Clair came along to help, for one I don’t think I would have actually been able to get on him without her help! Then the warm up. What warm up?! We don’t do warm up because we are so completely hyper! So the class started, true to form Finlay thought it would be much more interesting to leap around every time someone jumped a fence in the neighbouring ring. Thankfully for us, as the class was so large it was split in to 2 sections. Being in the second section a few of us lined up in the middle in the ring. Then the sun came out!

The gods were shining on us that day, the timing perfect. The very hot sun totally knocked him out ha! We stood for 30 minutes to wait our turn for the ride judge to get on, by the time she did Finlay decided to behave. In fact he was the perfect gentleman!

After the judge rode we did our trot up for the second judge, tacked up and got back on. The whole class then walked around for the final placing. I was really enjoying it by this time, Finlay was calm, the sun was shining and I’d had great fun chatting other competitors. The ride judges had made their decisions and the steward called out the winner. A few seconds later the girl behind me shouted ‘it’s you!’ …… Me?! I was oblivious and couldn’t remember my number ha! The steward waved me over…. We had won! Two years of horrid stuff and now we had won! I admit I cried, just a little. My friend whooped and cheered from the ring side! Really couldn’t believe it, out of such a huge quality class we won Large Riding Horse.

We had qualified for the championship which would be held at the end of the light horse section. So we waited for the Hunter and Cob classes to finish. After starting out completely cursing my crazy horse I was now, of course, totally loved up and he was the best horse in the world lol!

There were 16 horses in the championship ( 1st & 2nd from each class in the light horse section) I didn’t care, my amazing handsome horse had won his class, I didn’t care about the championship. After a trot and canter the final champion and reserve champion were selected. The Hunter was champion and the Riding Horse was reserve champion. The Riding Horse!? That’s us! My god I couldn’t believe we got reserve, my nutcase horse got reserve!

My amazing crazy horse pulled it out the bag……. I will never forget that day x

Thirty Minutes of Heaven….

That’s all it was, 30 minutes but how good it felt.

After an enforced two and a half months out of the saddle today I finally got back on. And how wonderful it was! The weather was not playing the game however, wind is not Finn’s friend. He hates it with a passion. It makes him flighty and sharp, spooking at the slightest thing.

I have to admit I was feeling anxious about riding him again. Being anxious is quite an alien feeling for me. I’ve always happily sat on anything and having had Finlay for nearly four years I have never felt unsafe or scared. But this morning I was definitely nervous. I hastily tacked up… think my speed was to just get it done and get on a soon as I could so I would stop feeling anxious. Finlay has been lunged for the past two weeks plus on the walker to try a build up a little fitness but he had stood in yesterday as I was working all day. Being aware of this added to my nervousness. I had put on a martingale too which I don’t normally ride with.

Anyway I lead him out the door and popped on. And relax…….

Well sort of! With the wind up his tail we has some nonsense but nothing too serious. The school was busy with some practising for tomorrows competition so we just calmly walked around doing some stretching. With a little trotting and a walk down the drive we were finished. Thirty minutes was enough after such a long time off… for both of us.

Tomorrow we will try again and knowing the yard will be quiet with the others away competing I will have space to potter around without horses jumping and flying past. Maybe even do some proper schooling! The IC seems calmer but this can change hour by hour. Riding today hasn’t totally lifted my spirits, the feelings of isolation and loneliness are strong but its a start and maybe one day soon I will find me again. How noticeable the change in confidence levels. I have felt this in my day to day life over the last few months but I wasn’t expecting to feel so unsure of myself this morning tacking up Finn. Maybe this recent IC flare has had a deeper effect than I first thought. Or maybe its simply the lack of my daily therapy in the saddle……. x

That Dark Lonely Place…..

That’s where I have been recently…

It is a very lonely place when you are burdened with a chronic pain condition. For the last six years I have suffered mine. Anger, despair, isolation, desperation….. but also acceptance. During the latter half of 2013 until August 2014 I had a period of normal pain. Normal pain is there every day, every morning and every night but it is manageable. I can just about function, be a mum, be a friend, be employed and enjoy my passion for all things equestrian. Life is ok, I feel blessed for my two healthy children, supportive friends, my handsome four legged boy. I can actually enjoy life.

Then the flare comes… August this year, out of the blue, no warning. Just bam! Here I am!! A big flare and the aint nothing you can do about it Im going to wreck your life for as long as I please! And so it did.

Until four days ago, as quickly as it arrived, it left. Sunday afternoon.. nothing special happening… no change in my day, what I’ve eaten, what I’ve drank….  nothing different to the last two and a half months…. its just left. Oddly I was at my breaking point the evening before. The lowest of my lows, many tears and desperately lonely.

So, four days on and I am very much hoping my body has recovered, that the inflammation has calmed. IC is a silent predator, I still have it, its still lurking in there. I can feel it every day. I still use six catheters a day…. should I dare to hope? Should I make plans? It could come back at any minute. This is my plan…. enjoy everyday. x