To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

These boots are made for walkin'

(Boy, did I just date myself with THAT title!)  ;-)
Still here, still riding, but having to adjust my expectations. Lance is still coughing, and when he needs to cough under saddle, it is a big, physical effort for which he needs to put his head down; whatever we were doing is disrupted.

Working on the assumption that Lance has allergies (which would also fit with the seasonal mane and tail rubbing), Rick had me start him on prednisolone last Sunday. That has had no discernible effect, so we're going to try a regime of dexamethasone (Azium) to see if that quiets his symptoms. If it does, we should be able to go back to the milder prednisolone to maintain him; if not, scoping Lance is probably our next step.

Yesterday evening we went to the arena for a short schooling session, and I noted that the sand is drying out. Avoiding the loose, shifty areas and allowing Lance to cough seriously limited our schooling options; it's time to hit the "trails" (hacking on the roads and fields accessible from home). This morning I had some unexpected free time, so I strapped on his Renegade boots
(still love 'em!) and headed up the lane to put a check in a neighbor's mailbox. Then we walked back down the lane, past our driveway, and through the neighbor's property (with permission) to ride the gravel lane that winds up the wooded hill. We got some good hill work in and Lance was really good, never escalating from occasional tension to bucking or bolting. As if that wasn't enough, I saw one patch of my favorite wildflower (click to biggify)!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Turning that frown upside down

Kate and I planned to take combined lessons with Julie today. Forgot about a weekend seminar that conflicted, so had to move my lesson time to later in the day; no co-lesson or friend Kate time. :-/  When I got back from the seminar, Rick was working on the trailer lights; he had forgotten that they aren't working. Still aren't working; my lesson had to be cancelled. :-(  Because of those and other disappointments, I had a hard time making myself go out and enjoy some dancing time with Lance, but as always, I was glad I did. My mental health Mustang is good medicine! :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Good days

True to the random nature of Lance's random breathing/coughing problem, he's been mostly fine the last two rides. A bit of coughing, and that's it. We were going to scope him today, but Rick graded the arena instead. (The grading was sorely needed so I am thankful he did it.) Rick said we might try a regimen of Azium on Lance to see if that helps; if it does, Rick said there is a milder drug with less negative side effects on which we can maintain him. We tried steroids to no avail when Lance had those several days of heavy breathing, which we thought ruled out allergies, but it may not be that simple.

Brian has been riding Oliver and doing well with him. The first day he tried loping, Oliver humped up and tried to crow hop, but Brian did what I coached him to do and got Ollie redirected. Then Brian wanted me to ride Ollie, but I told him that wouldn't help his confidence like learning to ride through the problems himself. So he persevered and they are becoming a nice team.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Disturbing and sweet

Yesterday afternoon I took Lance out for a ride. As we got underway after warming up, he sounded a bit rattly, like he had phlegm in his throat. I thought he'd cough and clear it, as he often does, but it wouldn't clear. It is impossible to dance when your partner has to keep putting his head down to hack, and his breathing worsened from audible to audible and labored with very little work. I hopped off as Brian came down to the arena to check on us, and he was alarmed by the sound, too. I grabbed my camera to document it but messed up my controls and didn't get it recorded; Brian said Lance's breathing had improved a little by the time I tried, anyway. So I led Lance back to his stall to untack him – and that short walk made his breathing worsen again. (His sides were heaving as much as his nostrils were flaring.)

I haven't shown this to Rick yet, but I did tell him about it. Rick mentioned checking Lance out with the endoscope; I'm hoping he does it soon. Something isn't right with my handsome horse, and it is worrisome – and strangely random.

This morning during chores, I found Brian taking a break from cleaning stalls to curry Breezy. He has been avoiding her because of the stench of cancer, so I was touched. He wants to ride Ollie again today, so we are trying to get everything caught up in order to have the time to play. Right now Brian is in a "cowboy phase." It's hard to keep up with all the personas my adolescent tries on; I must say the current one is far preferable to "the punk"!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lancy-pants fancy-pants

My big red goober gets called lots of things, all terms of endearment. But he does look particularly fancy in his new halter, a lovely gift from Kate last week:
If you click to biggify, you'll see that the beautiful brown leather is lined with a great green, very nice colors for red goobers. ;-)

Last week was extremely busy so short on rides, but Lance and I are back on track this week. I wasn't sure I'd get to dance today, so I turned him out for about ten minutes between ferrying my son to and from activities. What I would have given for a video of what happened! When I turned Lance loose he spun around to take off – and lost his balance, landing hard enough on his side that he rolled completely over. He scrambled up and just stood there facing away from me. He coughed a couple times but otherwise didn't move, making me wonder if he had actually hurt himself. Then, all of sudden, he took off, bucking and running to the far end of the arena. I think he was a bit stunned – or maybe embarrassed!

After my son's fencing class, I did get a ride in – and my son rode, too. He really wanted to ride Oliver, perhaps because Rick has determined that Breezy's cancer has taken off again and she'll need to be put down soon. Brian did really well with Ollie, who can be a nut-case sometimes. We'll see if the interest in riding continues, or fades quickly as it has in the past.