Saturday, August 31, 2013

Catch-Up Post, Part II (Or, Adrift in the Estrogen Ocean)

Continuing with our catch-up!!

On Wednesday, I trailered over to WD for some jumpy jump time!! I hadn't jumped her since our last schooling at Greenwood a few weeks ago, so I was definitely excited to get back to it. I set up a varied assortment of little crossrails and verticals, a one stride line, and a three stride line, just in case we decided to go for just a little bit more. 
Our little playground:

Everything except that one jump with the filler in it that has fallen over - it was just a little bit too big for her. Not included was a Pepto-bismol pink vertical off-screen... I wasn't sure how she would take it, since it has Bloks as filler and it was BRIGHT pink. I guess you just have to sit up and find out, right?
She was GREAT. Hot, a little bargy, but great. She did everything, and did it consecutively as well, even the lines and the one-stride! The one-stride I set a little too long for her considering the small size of the jumps (guess I'm still used to setting them for Gogo's gigantic stride), but she managed very well and stretched out to handle it just fine. She even cantered a few crossrails! She is NOT ready for cantering fences regularly - that whole pesky occasional no brakes thing, you know - but it is good to get her going in a rhythm and maintain it properly. Her biggest issue is that she relies on speed when she gets out of balance, and the faster she goes, the more off balance she gets. She is slowly learning how to quietly stay balanced and use her little engine to propel herself forward instead of fall on her forehand and bear down on the bit as she snowballs forward faster and faster.... it just takes time. 
We went and played in the water after she was done.... she LOVES going through the water and practically drags me in every time! That particular eventer prerequisite: check. ;)

Thursday was supposed to be the barrel race that S and I were going to go to (not to run, just to school there while S ran), but I managed the afternoon before to get ahold of trusty Dr. H, who told me to swing by in the late afternoon with O on Thurs instread. O had literally just finished her cycle, so we figured it was a good time to scan her and see what exactly was going on in there. We gave her some light sedation, and Dr. H got out the ultrasound machine. What we found surprised us - both ovaries are grapefruit sized (that's huge!!) and both are LOADED with tons of huge follicles! Basically what this means is that she is more or less one big walking estrogen cesspool, and even though she's not currently in heat, that amount of circulating estrogen definitely affects her (hmmm I wonder why she's always a little herdbound?). The plan for this month is to give her a shot or two of Altenogest (progesterone) to keep her tempered down through this month's shows, and then when she comes back into full-on raging heat, we'll try to either supplement her with oxytocin  (which, instead of suppressing estrus with progesterone, will help prolong the life of her CL after she ovulates and keep it producing it's own progesterone - basically her body will temporarily think it is pregnant), or induce an anovulatory follicle, which will delay a return to estrus. Both of these things are cheap and work with the mare's system instead of against it (like Regumate or Altenogest both do), so they're worth a try. Dr. H, you think of everything! 
Sure does explain a lot of her wacky behavior, doesn't it? I dunno about you, but I know I am a raging you-know-what when I get hormonal... kind of can't blame her there!

It was blazing hot on Friday - 107 without the heat index by the time I was done working - so I decided to call it an early afternoon and go on a date with Future Hubs instead of ride. O got her usual grooming and pampering session, but that was all I was physically up for. We've been battling an itchy tail and mane lately (and itchy everything, honestly.... so many bugs, so much sweat!), and up until this point Listerine has been working well. It seems to have stopped though, and she was back to itching as of yesterday, so I put some MTG on instead. The MTG hadn't been working before, but it seems to help... but she was back to itching today. Half her tail is gone, I am pulling my hair out! We've tried everything else: bug sprays, feed throughs, every oil and itchy product I have in my current arsenal, washing under her tail and udders, and she is up to date on deworming with a negative fecal.... ugh! I think it is time to try the high acclaimed Zephyr's Garden Stop The Itch spray.... I LOVE LOVE LOVE their thrush spray, so I am willing to bet that the itchy spray helps as well. 

Today was supposed to be a nice hack day, but of course, O had some other ideas partway through our ride! We walked out for about an hour down the road, and then trotted all the way back, and she was fantastic save for being a little too forward and a bit disconnected at times. When we got back, I kept trotting around in the big mowed field, and O's boyfriend also went trotting past her. She WIGGED when she went across the field... ooookay, so much for finishing on a quiet note. After riding her down for another half-hour (and I had places to be, so I was on a limited schedule!), I got her to a point where I was pretty happy with her balance and willingness. She is slowly figuring out how to balance better from front to back, and to release her back and stretch her nose out to find the contact instead of curl up behind it and run. I have a little quickie slow-motion video of it - when slowed down, you can clearly see when she curls up a little and when she stretches out and takes her contact back. Note the change in her expression as well, from a bit surly to ears pricked as she goes back and forth!

Now, if I could get her to look like that ALL the time, and in all three gaits, we'd be golden!


  1. Gosh you have been busy ....and I love the last photo and yes you're right you sure would be golden when you get that pose in all three gaits. I'm sure you will get there!!
    Hope the heat lets up and you get that itchy itch under control

  2. So much for my prior hormone comment. I like the idea of working with her system rather than against it. I hope it helps.