Sunday, January 19, 2014

great day, great ride

This afternoon I ventured out in this lovely sunny and near-perfect day (54 degrees, a very slight breeze) with three peppermints I collected eating out in Asheville last weekend. I sometimes get peppermints when they have them and instead of eating them myself I bring them home to Keil.

I treated him to the first peppermint when he met me at the pasture gate and marched through, the second when he came back to the barn from the hay tent so I could groom him in the stall again, and the third after our very nice ride.

For some reason it occurred to me today that instead of the bitless bridle I might put the clip-on reins on Salina's old halter and ride Keil in that. I had also done some new spine-stretching exercises I found on Mark's Daily Apple a couple of days ago. I've been trying to do them each morning along with plank exercises, and I think today, riding just after doing these stretches, I felt a noticeable difference in the relaxation of my back. I don't tend to hunch over much but I sometimes arch my back without noticing or meaning to and I can see that in my shadow. Today my shadow back was very straight - who needs mirrors! - and I also felt like I had a much clearer feel for what Keil Bay needed to do to warm up, i.e. where his stiffness was.

We warmed up and then moved into walk/trot/walk transitions, then on to doing shoulder in/out at the trot on a huge arena-sized oval. This really freed up his shoulders and at that point he was more than ready to move into bigger trot work.

We had one big spook when Dickens the cowboy cat snuck up from the back forty and leaped out at us - but it was a very controlled spook, and the only issue I had with it was that somehow I sliced a  small chunk out of my ring finger with one of my other fingernails. It bled like crazy!

I felt Keil was moving well and feeling good so I asked for some very engaged trot on the 20m circle today after we had fully warmed up to it. We had the best trot work we've had in weeks. I suspect my back being nice and stretchy and straight helped.

Might I also add that I have been on the Doris Rapp elimination diet for almost a week now. I wanted to clear my system and see if I could identify any foods I'm possibly reacting negatively to.

I have not cut out my half and half in my morning coffee, and I am still having red wine most evenings, but other than that all I've eaten are fresh fruit, veggies, and local meat. (potato chips with no additives are okay - thank goodness for Trader Joe's olive oil potato chips and Cape Cod chips - I needed something salty and crunchy to get me through the week!) I am noticing that I am more flexible, have probably lost a bit of weight, and generally have more energy. On Tuesday I add dairy back in all the way (for me this means whole fat yogurt, kefir, and cheese) and I'll see how that goes. I suspect wheat is the source of some of my issues, but will test that later in this process.

I also had a chance to review the video of Keil Bay's walk and trot in the arena. I haven't yet figured out how to put that here - I am able to view it frame by frame on my iPhone so not a true slow motion, but in some ways better because I can see every single frame of the footfalls. He is landing heel first on his left front, both hinds, and is landing "level" on his right front. That's the hoof that he uses to splash in the water trough (not so much this time of year) and that's the frog that tends to get thrushy on and off. Right now it's okay (no thrush that I can see) but frog development not great - I think this might be why he's not landing heel first on that hoof. I can treat the sulcis and try to get it healthier - and then re-video. 

Next I want to video on a harder surface and see how that looks.

I've been allowing his hooves to self-trim for the most part. We have done minor trimming/touch-up but he is not needing much. They aren't perfectly round but they are balanced and the concavity looks great.

The only other thing I've noted is that he periodically does a funky step behind during warm-up. His pelvis was rotated out last time and the chiro felt this was contributing. After the adjustment it was much better (and still is better) so I'm hoping when she comes back in February and tweaks it again we'll be in good shape with that. I'm getting ready to put him back onto his full-blown joint supplement protocol - I had rotated him off chondroitin and glucosamine (kept him on Mov-Ease and HA gel) and we'll see if that makes any difference. For 25 years old he is moving beautifully, in my opinion. 

Our warm weather has come in and now it's going to go back toward cold again - highs in low 30s, lows in teens. I need to find my helmet cover that comes down over my ears - that makes it bearable to ride if there is any wind along with the cold. Now that I think of it, husband is at the barn right now and if I run out there I can get him to get the bins down for me!


Grey Horse Matters said...

It does sound like you had a lovely ride with the big bay.

I feel that stretching really does help before riding. I've thought about doing a post on it but never did. Good luck with your new cleansing diet. That sounds like it's working too.

billie said...

This spine stretch work-out (about 20 minutes) was really wonderful. I didn't do it today before riding and I could feel the difference from the day before when I did.