Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Small but mighty

Since the show I've only been lunging Kaswyn so I can get his heel to finish healing. It's coming along nicely, thanks to some miracle products. The first one, called Derma Gel, was recommended to me by my trainer who used it on at least two horses at her barn that had some type of hoof/foot injuries. She came over the night before the show when I thought that Kaswyn's heel had exploded outwards. When she saw the foot, tried in vain to get a vet out that night, but ended up running back to her barn to get the Derma Gel. The next day it looked like a whole new foot. Let me tell you, the stuff is amazing. She says it's expensive, and I got some the next day from the vet, but I haven't gotten my bill yet. I'm sure that will just be lovely.

But regardless of what it costs, the Derma Gel is worth it. I can see differences in the healing process overnight. Every day I go out to the barn, lunge Kaswyn, and unwrap the foot. I clean the area with sterile saline and nolvasan solution (iodine solutions should not really be used on broken skin, but I used betadine when he first hurt himself because I had no other scrub available), and rinse with saline. I dry with sterile gauze, and apply the Derma Gel. Then I scoop some SSD cream (silver sulfadiazine - it's primarily a burn cream) on some more gauze and cover the wound, wrapping the whole thing in a roll of vetwrap. Then I cover the bottom of his hoof with strips of duct tape, and wrap one pice of tape all the way around the bottom edge of his foot. It's getting close to being healed, and I think I'm going to give it one more week and then I'll get back on and ride.

Anyhow, I haven't ridden Kaswyn, but we've been lunging and doing what I call our sitting exercises. Years ago I was told by my first dressage trainer that Kaswyn would never do the upper level because he didn't know how to sit his back end down. I decided I would try to teach him, so I stuck him on the lunge line on a small circle. Then I took the lunge whip and tapped the top of his tail, making him tuck his tail under and rotate his pelvis. It took a few tries to get him to do it without running, but eventually he figured out that all he had to do was put his butt down and sit. We do this both at the trot and the canter. I'm not really sure if this helps at all, but it looks like he's rotating his pelvis and sitting to me. I'll get video of it and you all can give your opinions. Kaswyn seems to be building muscle from all this lunging, and I think he's even muscling over his butt a little.

I have been riding Albert, and boy has that been a challenge. After the show I decided that we'd try some new things and put some pressure on him so that the other stuff seems easy and not stressful for him. We are doing a little shoulder-in, and some trot half-passes. Also, my trainer had worked with him on flying changes years ago, so I decided to start that work again. We first did simple changes across the diagonal, and that worked just fine. So I put him in the counter canter on the 20 meter circle, then changed the bend and asked for the flying change.

It's been years since he's schooled the flying changes, but he remembered the training from my trainer. However, he was totally scared about it because it's something new, it's hard for him, and it's something he doesn't quite understand totally yet. So he did what Albert always does in these situations - he sticks his big strong neck in the air and bolts.

Now Albert is only 14'3" (if that). But let me just tell you how strong this little guy is. He can pull me out of the saddle without even trying, and I have not doubt that if he wanted to buck me off, I'd be eating dirt. But he's not malicious this way, so I'm really not worried about him purposely trying to unload me. What I don't like is his reaction to new things. We simply must get through this somehow.

So we worked on the 20 meter circle, trying to go from counter canter to true canter via the flying change. In an effort to control the bolting I made the circle smaller when I was going to ask for the change. This made it better because he couldn't go as fast, but he still took off a little with his head in the air and neck very tense.

However, he was doing the changes some of the time. But last night he bolted on me, and then kicked dirt on the wall and spooked himself, and I wasn't sure if I was going to get him stopped before he hit the wall or fell down. Luckily we did stop, but when I got off (after a few more tries) my back was wrecked. I had shooting pains across my lower back and down my right leg. I called my trainer to tell her that I need her to come out and help me with this, because I can't have this little guy crippling me every time I ride him. And I know that if he's bolting like that I must not be doing this right.

So that little horse is many things. He is smart. He is talented. He is a blast to ride. He is scared of new things. And he is as strong as an ox.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I don't think we've ever used Derma Gel but it sounds like a good product. Our medicine of choice for most anything is Animalintex, this stuff works miracles on basically any wound we've ever had to deal with. Hope Kaswayn is better soon.
As for Albert he does sound like a strong little bugger. We've got a young (5 yr.) old rescue Arabian that was originally a stallion when we got him last August. He's been gelded since and he is strong and smart and knows nothing yet. We're just starting his training this spring. I can tell even though he's about Albert's size he's a little powerhouse too.

Katee said...

I'm so glad that Kaswyn is getting better and I can't believe you're staying on that wild little Albert!

Great new profile picture, by the way. I'm guessing that's from the show this past weekend. Your girls are adorable.

dressagemom said...


I had read about your arab rescue horses and I think it's wonderful that you gave them such a good home. I'm sure your guy will love being in training. Very few arabs hate having a job!


Yes, Craig took that picture at the show. And thanks, I think they are cute too. :)

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr