Another week gone, or is it two? Time does fly when summer finally arrives in Washington. It is 10:30 at night and I am sitting outside. OK, actually I'm freezing in just a T-shirt, but in theory it's pretty exhilirating!
What's new... hmmm? Nigel had his first hoof trim today. My friend Stephanie handled him for the farrier -- I'm just not that good at foal wranglin'. I do use that term in jest -- we try to make it as easy on the babies as we can. A former farrier taught us how to make a "suitcase" by looping a soft rope around the foal's butt and chest in a sort of figure 8 -- then you can hold the rope up by the withers (the middle of the 8) and have a tidy, controllable package. Well, pretty much anyway! Nigel still managed to do some airs above the ground. He has very underrun heels in the back to go with his dropped pasterns. Our farrier thinks she will glue leather extensions onto his heels when she comes back on 7/12. That will keep him from being able to rock back, and should help the muscles and tendons get stronger. I still don't think he has anything abnormal going on, nothing he can't or won't grow out of. I hope!
Cathy mentioned in the VLC blog that I had had a good session with her colt Frankie. (To add to the confusion of all of our horses, I too have a Frankie, also a yearling... but he is out to pasture with his gelding and stallion buddies, and not having much done with him at the moment. He knows how to lunge -- the NH way, a smallish circle with a rope halter and long lead -- and is pretty good about his feet, so he is on holiday temporarily.) Anyway, I had some trepidation about working with Cathy's Frankie because I didn't quite "get" him the first time out. I'm pretty good with youngsters but he puzzled me -- I didn't know how to attribute his behavior. Basically I didn't know whether he needed a whack or a hug! He just seemed unsure and I didn't want to confuzzle him. Well we hit our stride in this session! I did more walking with him, and lunging him at the walk rather than the trot. We did bending and backing. He got lots of hugs! And only one wonderful whack: I was rubbing his front legs and dealing with his tendency to reach around and nibble at my shirt. Um, farriers HATE that! I was trying to discourage him by shrugging him off and saying "EH!" in that tone that means business. Moderate success. Then I stood up from rubbing his right leg, and my elbow went back at the very moment he swung around. THWACK! He clocked himself in the head, all by himself. I watched the stars and little tweety birds rotate around his head for a minute. Then I resumed the leg rubbing. You probably won't be surprised to hear that he didn't reach back ONCE. Huh. I love it when that happens. I'm looking forward to working with him again. He figured everything out so well, a very smart young man.
Other than that, I'm doing some experimental work with my pain problems. I have this massage device from Brookstone that I hadn't been using for a while. It has a wonderful, SERIOUS massaging system but it has one drawback which is its shape. It is made (hence the term "lumbar") for one's lower back. And on the pain-o-meter, my lower back is NOT a top scorer. Yes it can get very stiff, probably in reaction to the other pain areas, but it isn't a twanging, aching mess like my upper back/neck or, particularly, my upper legs. Well, I've gotten creative. I'm glad no one can see me. The positions I've been getting into are kinda like a cross between an odd sex act and the beaching of a blue whale. I lie on top of the thing, I cradle it, I straddle it. Oh go ahead and laugh... sometimes *I* laugh. Bottom line is that I have been able to use it on the areas where I need it, and that's a Good Thing. The net results are mixed but tending more toward positive. It is doing wonders for my legs. Oh does it hurt while I'm getting the torture, er, I mean, massage -- but it loosens things up like nothing else I've tried. On my middle and upper back, it seems to just move the pain around. The day after, I'll be better in the spot I worked on the night before, but worse in another spot. I'm going to keep playing with it though to see if I can crack the code.
In fact, I'm really cold now, and it's about bedtime, so I think I'll go in and hump my massager again. I'm fixin' to RIDE again soon.