Monthly Archives: January 2013

Final try.

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Grrr. Still one more time around….

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One more try….

and then it’s back to work.  I’ve reset everything remotely possible through DW.

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By all rights the settings should be working to crosspost to Dreamwidth without disabling comments there or in LJ.


Grr.  It’s either JournalPress or Dreamwidth, and DW FAQs ain’t helping.

DW, not so fond of you!

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Testing, testing

Since crossposting to Dreamwidth is borking my comments…let’s see if I’ve fixed it.

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And so it begins…WIP excerpt

From one of the current WIPs:

“Ah.”  Alice Mary, Our Lady of Justice, Solace to Superheroes, licked her lips appreciatively after sipping her latest brew.  She held the clear glass high, studying the amber liquid carefully for any floaters.  Nothing.  “This should work for tonight’s Council.”  She took another, careful taste of this brew.  Sorrowfully, her own talents didn’t lend to fighting battles.  But at least she could brew up a beer that might ease the pain of her fellow superheroes after a long day’s fight against the Kraken’s forces.


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Another midday ride, being sick, stuff

It’s been a rough January, pretty much between workload and health.  I’m working through freeing up the hips and I think that’s doing well, but DH got The Cold, passed it to me and to DS.  So we’re the Household of Plague.  Or at least coughing and hacking.  I’m now at the stage where I’m tired of being tired, I’m annoyed at the world, and I really want to be skiing and active and energetic again.

But I’m sick.  At least I’m at the hot toddy stage.

I rode Mocha today after not riding since Monday due to work stuff and fatigue.  Too many deadlines, too much fatigue from working while dragging sick (the not sick enough to stay home thing).  She nickered at me today when I walked into the barn, and we had a good session for the most part.  There was a moment when doing countercanter to the right that she had a Failure of Willing Suspension of Disbelief, but we hammered past that and now All Is Well.  We did lots of bending and suppling work incorporating an outside bend and she was very determined that bending to the outside on the right wasn’t a good thing to do.  But we got past it.

The Alice Mary story is simmering.  I’m going to work on it tomorrow.  Today is about household chores and rest.  And horse.

Tomorrow is a new application.  And writing.  And some housework.

But mostly, writing.  Because next week will be all about grading and progress reports and sped paperwork and frantic kids and frantic peers and…well.  Yes.  End of semester.  And we have debates next week.

That will be…interesting.

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Mid-day, midwinter ride

I took advantage of the nice sunny but cold weather today to go out to the barn and ride.  When I got there, G told me that he’d had to pull her cooler off from under the main blanket because it was half off.  That’s okay because I don’t think she needs that much extra, now.  She’s grown some of it back, enough to keep her warm in her regular blanket but still have an alert and energetic horse under saddle.

Which she was.  G had opened one side door and of course That Required Notice.  Plus a dove or something big flopped up from the dusty end on the other side of the round pen, which startled her and earned A Look.  But otherwise, she was acting like a kid who’s spotted snow during class, wanting to Look Outside and Not Think.  Didn’t last long, though.  After a few circuits she settled into work.

Today’s work was mostly about inside and outside bend at all three gaits, on big and little circles.  Usual warmup, then work on the bend.  Then two track in both directions at walk and trot, then ask for countercanter, hold it for two big circuits in each direction.

No problem.  I still have to give her a fairly loose rein in countercanter, but I can sit a full seat now and urge her forward.  It’s a bit jarring as yet, but I suspect that will improve as she gains better balance.  It’s clear that working on the outside bend really does help her figure this out, mentally.

And then we finished with a rousing loose rein canter on the inside lead, in both directions.  Not the reining gallop–still too wet for that–but a nice, relaxed thunderabout which keeps The Girl happy.  And, by the way, lays the foundation for a nice, relaxed fast large circle or small slow circle.  These canters are the foundation of the small slows…the gallop with its different body language for the large fasts.  But both really require that horse and rider are comfortable cantering either slow OR fast on a soft rein.

At the very end, we went outside for a short hack, down to the elk bedding area.  They’ve not been there lately but she still gets dancy down there.  Today I urged her into a trot which she found rather exciting (in Mocha terms, which means raised head and eager forward motion looking for what might come along next).

I can tell the effect from acupuncture and Pilates now.  My legs are starting to drop better, and my hips are looser when I swing into the saddle.  Just a few short weeks ago I was wincing every time I got on.  Still not sufficiently confident in the legs to put the spurs back on, though.  I think it was leaving that spur mark on her that made me realize that the hip issue had gotten extremely serious.  Now I can really feel the difference, but I’ve still got a ways to go before it’s all better.  I want to be able to sit with crossed legs again by the summer concert season!

Now…time to go take care of a couple of things, then check in with the tutorial student.

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Small victories…PT and horse stuff

The Day Jobbe has been crazy.  Crazy as in no writing At All this week.  Which makes me grunty and growly but it can’t be helped.  It’s….just not getting there.  Other things are taking priority, and stuff that Get Paid comes first.

Medical stuff like finally Doing Whatever Needs To Get Done To FIX the damn hips as best as I can while we still have incomes also comes first.  To wit, at the moment, acupuncture and Pilates.  Things came to a head this week with the acupuncture, and I’m walking away feeling good.  Took needles, cupping and acupressure, but here’s three things For The Win:

I smoothly threw the 35 lbs Western saddle onto 14.2 hh Mocha (58 inches) without hangup or struggling, though I didn’t quite control the landing as smoothly as I would like.  But that’s a strength issue.

I threw my right leg over Mocha’s back tonight without any twinges, stings, or muscle aches.  And it went up higher than it has for a while.

I got up from my mandatory acupuncturist and Pilates instructor floor exercises without using my hands.  Well on my way to crossing my legs again…

Horse night was pretty good, as well.  Nice schooling, let a couple of trusted barn folk take her for a spin (with many compliments to The Girl, she did well though she tested both riders immediately by trying to see if they’d give her a completely slack rein.  But she settled right in when they took up contact and told her to knock it off, she was still working).



At the end of the ride, I had one of the trusted barn rats take her bridle off so I wouldn’t need to take it off, then remount.  I forgot to tie a rope around her neck, but the first few bits were a bit weird and woozy.  Then I looped a rein around her neck and we went on from there.

It was just five minutes at a walk.  Both of us were fumbling around trying to figure out our cues.  But we did lovely “whoas.”  And at the end, we did a nice reiner backup.  And a spin in each direction.

Mmmm.  Yummy.

Lynn Palm says this is a good exercise for an experienced horse looking for a changeup in their training routine.  While I don’t think Mocha loved the exercise as much as Lynn was enthusing about it with the horse she was training in the video (Mocha’s immediate reaction to having the bridle pulled off with me still in the saddle was the famed WTF?! turn of the head and glower), I do think the exercise of “how do we communicate with human still on my back in the saddle and NOTHING ON MY FACE” engaged her and got her thinking.

Good thing with this horse.  FUN thing.

Keeps me sane these days.

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Injuries, a quiet ski day # 3, and a quiet but warmer riding night

What with going back off the holiday and everything else going on, I’ve fallen behind on the blogging front.  This year, though, I’m trying to be more productive by being kinder to myself.  That also ties into skiing–taking the long view rather than the nail-it-now view.

For one thing, I’ve been wrestling with a long-term muscle injury in my hip that has stubbornly refused to improve.  I was able to finish out last year’s ski season with little impact, but skiing was definitely harder and more challenging, despite an improvement in skill level.  I kept wrestling to control things I shouldn’t have needed to control and fatiguing more in my legs and hips than I should have been.  The hips have been difficult for me to deal with when I get injured.  I thought this last injury was just another strain and I’d be able to work through it.

Well, a year ain’t working through it.  I still had hip pain and my range of motion in the hips has been drastically limited.  While I’ve never been able to adopt a full yoga sit, at least I could sit cross-legged.  Not now.  I’ve been to the doctor, the massage therapist, the yoga studio, and now the acupuncturist, soon to be joined by a very short Pilates interval (a LivingSocial coupon for private Pilates training, three classes).  Dr. Lady, Massage Guy, and Needle Guy all agree it’s the hip, not a back or joint issue.  Another flareup of the lovely myofascial pain syndrome I’ve been wrestling with most of my adult life.  I don’t get bone and joint failure, I get tendon and muscle issues.

The acupuncture has appeared to have some dramatic and effective results, however.  I went to a local sports/athletic-oriented acupuncturist.  We talked, he had me lie on the table, assessed my range of motion in a manner similar to my sports massage therapist, and summed it up in simple terms–hips frozen up, range of motion significantly limited, acupuncture on back and hips this time, next time the quads, series of exercises to perform daily.  For the most part, the needles went in smoothly.

Two stood out.  One, on the side of the new injury, burned.  I commented about that.  The other, on the site of the thirty-two year old injury, slugged me.  I literally felt as if I’d been hit by a hammer.  Obviously, I commented on that one.

I moved slowly the next few days, but there’s been some obvious pain relief, and maybe a little bit of freedom of motion.  Horseback riding has definitely shown improvement, and skiing….

Well, I also had the boots assessed as a factor in why I’m fighting the skis again.  The most crucial piece was that once again I’d overlooked the adjustable factor on the boots, with one ski set to soft flex and the other to hard flex.  Soft flex is more forgiving and takes less muscling; hard flex is more aggro.  But the fitter also added heel stabilizers to the custom footbeds (thankfully, those aren’t packed out) and adjusted my buckles.

Between the needles and the fitter, things appear to be better on the boards.  DH was happy because the conditions were the hard pack he prefers to ski.  I was just plain happy because, while I was still being overcontrolling (taking care of myself), I wasn’t fighting the skis.  The frustrating thing was that I got tired and achy after two runs down Kruser, a little run down Pucci, and then four runs down the Mile.  Yeah, some of that is still early season conditioning stuff, but still, it’s annoying.

But–sunny day on top of Hood while clouds boiled all around us for the win!  And of course I forgot my camera.  At one point, I looked across at Mt. Jefferson and could barely see its tip while clouds boiled between Hood and Jefferson.  The cloud bank boiled just about at eye level up at the top of the Mile, but it didn’t curl around the upper, open slopes or the higher level of trees.  Very much a low-level foggy mist cloudbank.

So a nice day and sun we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Last night was my first ride after going back to work.  I was late getting to the barn, of course, but that’s not surprising.  It’s warmed up so Miss Mocha was plenty warm and energetic.  We did an enthusiastic but low-level schooling based on inside and outside bends at all three gaits, with some two-tracking.  She’s definitely regressed a little on the counter-canter, but I think that also has to do with my hips deciding to lock up more this winter, footing slickness, and her own winter issues.  We had solid inside and outside bends, and even got some nice short counter-canters.

Happy girl at the end, with treats, a good roll, and a thorough brushing.  As we went into the stall, I noticed that one leg strap was looser than I liked, so I had her stand at the door while I adjusted it, before I pulled off her halter and let her eat.  She waited patiently.

Damn, I love this horse.  No worries about taking her away from her food.  She leaves it willingly for work and, while she’s eager to get back to it, she’s confident it will be there (though the barn manager says she’s been noisy at grain time).  And she waits for me to okay it before she goes to her food.  Lots of training there, though, it didn’t happen overnight.  Plus I am generous with the cookies while tacking/grooming.

And now, time to write and then head off to the day job.  Whew.

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