Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bits of fitness and liniments

Bits Here is some good info on the bits and nosebands (above the bits section). Currently Greta is in an eggbutt snaffle. When she was a polo pony, and probably in her previous dressage career, she was in a pelham or a double bridle. It was not used harshly, but it gave me something to think about when it came to buying a bit. I wanted something that was legal in dressage - though there are some pieces of tack that are legal in dressage that I think should be far from legal, but I'll save that for another day - but the regular loose-ring snaffle just seemed too sharp and narrow for novice hands. Eggbutts are wider, don't pinch the lips, nor do they rattle around as much. Yes, they are more expensive, but welcome to world of horses!

Greta has been crossing her jaw and opening her mouth a lot lately when I ask for her to slow up or rein back. I'm no professional and I might just be doing something wrong, but my gut instinct is that there's something up in Greta's mouth... or she's just having an attitude. She currently without a noseband until her new cob-sized figure 8 comes in, thank goodness. The plain cavesson that was originally on her bridle serves no purpose, so why have it there? I'm still keeping it though, just in case.

Just a forewarning... we'll see how things are after the noseband comes in. I might need to get a three-jointed bit. I hope not though. I'm already Craigslisting the old noseband and the saddle pad that I thought would work under the new saddle. It worked great under the old saddle but jeez I just want something to work for once! Well, the saddle has, so that counts. I might want to start looking at a French-link eggbutt snaffle, or something of the like.

Fitness I discovered the blog The Jumping Percheron and boy do I feel out of shape now! I keep forgetting that just not eating in excess and sometimes eating right (after reading Fast Food Nation I want to avoid any fast food as much as I possibly can, not just because of the disgustingness of the food, but because of the politics of the big fast food companies, the crap deals the ranchers, farmers, and suppliers get, and the gross obesity "outbreak" sweeping the nation, seriously I cannot go anywhere without seeing a "curvy" person.... agh, don't get me started on it!) does not mean that I am technically in shape. I can guarantee you that my fat percent is undesirable and my muscle mass and functionality is just above plain weak. Working with horses has definitely helped me work up some muscle, but I could afford to do some more.

As for Greta.... she is actually pretty fit since I have been working consistently with her (she had been put out to pasture for a few months before she was sold, and I know she liked it to a certain degree!) but we could afford to do some stretches. I know a few already.... and I did them once...... They don't take that long: I'll live. Greta could care less!

Liniments Today I groomed and tacked up Greta and got in the ring as I normally would, and two of my riding buddies were resting with their horses under the trees at the picnic table. They asked if I wanted to go for a trail ride behind the HELP Barn and the showjumping barn next door. I agreed, and I thought it would be nice change of pace for Greta, who I am sure is getting tired of running around a small arena all morning.

We walked around the trails, and go to where next door had cleared out land for new pastures or a cross-country course or something. Where the trucks had driven consistently over it, it was fine and flat and I felt comfortable enough to let Greta trot over it. We walked back around the trails behind our barn, and then went back over next door. Friends wanted to venture out off the trail (it was all just one big plot of dirt hills and gullies at this point, so it wasn't like we couldn't see the trail) and I hesitantly agreed. The dirt was deep! I could see the other horse's legs go almost mid-cannon into the dirt. Poor Greta hasn't been worked for two days, and all of the sudden I'm asking her to not only ride around on trails for a long time, but now go through deep dirt! We might as well be running around in deep water! I had to cut things off at that point, I just didn't feel safe at all, and told the other two I'd be heading back to the arena. We got to the arena, I walked her around once under saddle and got off and hand-walked her both ways once as well. Then I brought her into the barn and untacked and hosed her off and rubbed her down. You think she's spoiled?

I had remembered seeing some Absorbine Veterinary Liniment in the medicine cabinet in the barn. Greta had a particularly lengthy and strenuous workout today, so I thought some liniment might be good. This was always applied on the horses after a long trail ride at my old western barn, so I thought it was worth a shot. The back of the bottle said to rub it in (with a good warning of if you rub, don't wrap!) on the legs. I didn't have hot water to steam the pores open, so I had to put it on in a small amount. Greta seemed to feel much better afterwards. Even if she wasn't sore, it probably felt good anyway.

So now I know something else I need to add to my "going away" kit (aka, all the stuff that I could share at the old barn is now on my own terms at new barn, I already have some) is Absorbine Veterinary Liniment Gel. That is the stuff I had always used on Emma and Song - foster horses from long ago - when arthritis or in Song's case the pressure of having a baby on her skinny legs (seriously, you don't breed if you can't feed it, come on people!) caused some leg pains. I also learned never to rub my eyes until I had thoroughly washed it all off my hands. Then I learned to just use a towel. Go me!

So Far...
  • Towels (two for rubbing down/drying off, one for occasionally applying liniments/poultices, and extra one just in case)
  • Body brush
  • Whitening shampoo
  • Paddle brush
  • Conditioner
  • Braiding bands
  • Liniment gel
Already have...
  • Hoof pick with hoof brush
  • Soft curry and coarse curry
  • 2 Small towels, one for face and one for the "lady areas"
  • hoof conditioner
  • mint-flavored pet toothpaste (keeps those chompers pearly white and lasting longer!
Anything else guys?

I will look into getting a set of clippers when winter draws closer, because I don't know if Greta will become a yak or if she'll be like Claudia and have just small layer of shag, and I'll also see how our work level is. A quarter sheet is a must nonetheless, because I don't want to do a full body clip (I don't want to show in the winter anyway). I won't invest in standing wraps unless Greta needs them, same with polo wraps, or anything that goes around her legs. We don't do highly strenuous movements like the piaffe or passage or (God forbid) airs above the ground.

It would be great if I could just sit the trot at this point.

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