Odds & Ends: Spurs, Browbands, and Antlers

watchfulThe fields and the small arena dried out enough to ride by Wednesday, so ride I did, and Eli, true to regained form, physically felt pretty much as he usually does. I am hoping to be able to accomplish a lot more this evening, as far as with flat work and pole work.

feetI’ve been flatting him in roller ball spurs, which seem huge to me, but I like Eli’s responsiveness to them–responsive, but not reactive. There is definitely a difference between the roller balls and the PoW spurs I had been using. I guess the PoWs are pokier, and Eli seems generally more easily irritated by them than the roller balls. Either pair, I wear quite low, so I have to actively raise my heel if I want the spurs to reinforce a leg aid that Eli is not paying enough attention to. It rarely happens, but having that secondary aid as back up is pretty important as far as keeping any horse responsive. The longer I ride, the more I profoundly realize the beneficial truth of George Morris insisting on a rider always wearing spurs. But of course, I usually take the roller balls off for jumping–I’m not THAT confident in my leg position. Ah, well, I can hang onto that as a tangible goal for later.

brightblueEli scored a little more sparkle. If he’s going to wear the fly mask, I guess the sparkle isn’t as visible. But I KNOW it’s there. This alone is satisfying enough. Eli’s browbands and bonnets will continue to twinkle. He will also be scoring some white BoT polos …

graybrowbandPolling the internet is always fun, yes? So I’ve been seeking a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to Conrad’s Nylabones. He’s a voracious chewer, so he’s got to have something. But he goes through the Dura Chew Nylabones in a matter of days before they are so chewed up I have to toss them, and they are not recyclable (I asked the company). And it bothers me that he can bite off tiny pieces that for the most part I watch him spit out, but what if he did swallow them? I’m not happy about that possibility. So I scoured the internet and found a lot of positive things about antlers. I had given him a small whole deer antler once, after trying antlers the first time around, but the shape of it was hard for him to hang on to for him to chew. So then I read that split antlers might be better for smaller dogs. And EVERYTHING I could find said that antlers themselves would not splinter. So I picked up a few splits and gave Conrad one last night. And of course he managed to splinter off a small chunk of antler within an hour. No, not the marrow–I’m fine with him drooling on that and eating small pieces of marrow, as it is spongy and digestible. I eat cooked marrow occasionally myself and it’s so funky and velvety and amazing. No, this was actual antler, splintered off. This meant sharp edges that resulted in me distracting Conrad with bacon so I could toss the antler, plus I think he may have cut his gum because some of the marrow looked a little pink. My next idea is to give him a whole elk antler in the hopes that he will not be able to splinter that. I also do give him ball and rope toys, but those are not as satisfying for him to chew on and he loses interest quickly. I have thought of soaking cotton rope in beef broth or something like that, but it would have to be homemade beef broth or the sodium would be way too high, and I don’t exactly have occasion to cook stuff that leaves me beef broth. He has a few Kong toys, but again, he’s not that into them. (Except this one squeaky piggy Kong thing that I had to take away from him because he got completely weird and stressed out while trying to chew it–normally the chewing relaxes him.)

antlerSo dog people, what do you think of antlers? Or raw marrow bones from the butcher? What do you suggest for a smallish dachshund with the jaws and chomping alacrity of a bull breed? I am also slightly worried he might crack a tooth, but the benefits of chewing outweigh that worry right now. He does have a sensitive digestive system, so I can’t give him “greenies” or rawhide, and I’m worried hoof or horn would be too much like rawhide. And I won’t give him anything that isn’t made in or from the US or Canada (another reason to like antlers–the good ones are hand-harvested after being naturally shed).

Strawberry Update

healingEli’s stifle scrape looks much better already. I’ve given him Sunday and Monday off, so I’ll see how he’s feeling under saddle tonight. He might get a bonus liniment bath depending on how he feels. If he’s off behind at all I’ll be consulting with his vets, but he looked spry enough in turnout.

I also got some more professional pictures from the show! Love it when the photographers have everything available for purchase the next day.

prophotoThanks for all the positive comments yesterday–I’m feeling the ammy love. In that spirit, here’s a brief clip of one of the lines that rode well for us:

Yellow line.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

Nothing wrong with that! Although I noticed that Eli seems to have filled out in his shoulders and chest a bit. The three point looks somewhat constrictive in the pictures. I have a few more holes I can let it out to, but if he gets any beefier, I’ll have to size up to the full. I’ll be sticking with the PS of Sweden three point if that becomes the case. The black has even grown on me!

One last thing for fellow ottb owners whose horses are campaigning for jobs in the Ministry of Silly Walks every time any kind of wrap or boot is on their hinds: Sheepskin Eskadron fetlock boots. Eli doesn’t walk like a drunk rooster after I put them on. The down side is they fill up with arena dirt, but every fetlock boot I’ve tried has done the same.

Look for another Rider Adapts post later this week!

USG Bonnet Review

mintyeliEli makes a pretty good bonnet model. I’m just a bad photographer.

It’s no secret that I’m into bonnets for my horse. Bonnets keep the flies from bugging my horse’s ears and muffle sounds just enough to make it easier for me to keep Eli’s focus (kind of?). George Morris isn’t into bonnets for that same reason. Well, we can’t all be perfect. My horse will wear a bonnet, God of Hunt Seat Equitation! Heresy is not new to me.

So of course, when I say I “needed” a bonnet for schooling, just smile and nod. I want to keep my nice custom bonnets nice, but I still want to use a bonnet at home. As far as price and fit go, the USG bonnet fit the bill for a good schooling bonnet. And once I got my hands on it in person, I realized this bonnet would be nice enough for the show ring, as well.

bonnetwithstrapgoodsDouble cording, scalloped edge, nice material, a nice, open stitch (probably machine-stitched), subtle branding on the ear … I am very impressed with the quality of this bonnet for the price, ~$30. SmartPak has some colors, but KLSelect.com has MANY colors. I picked up this mint & anthracite bonnet from KLSelect.com.

bonnetearsPeople indulge me by complimenting the color, but it kind of does look good on a bay. The bonnet is also available in more show-ring appropriate colors such as black or white, and I like this bonnet enough to be seriously considering a white one.

Eli had no problems wearing it. In fact, the bonnet has a feature that makes me think its designers KNEW how popular anatomical bridles would be.

topbonnetThere is plenty of material behind the ears–enough to keep this bonnet in place even with the wider, shaped crownpiece of my PS of Sweden bridle. This is probably my second favorite feature or the bonnet, the first being its cotton construction. I will definitely be using this bonnet all summer long.

The bonnet does lose some of appeal in my eyes for one reason.

dyebleedThe color bleeds. A lot. I hand washed this thing three times and color was still bleeding out into the water. I set it out on a towel to air dry, and the color bled into the towel. If you get this bonnet, hand wash really well it before using it. I think I’ve got the excess color out of the bonnet to where I feel comfortable to put it on my horse’s head without having to worry about the dye/color irritating him or staining him.

Overall, however, the USG bonnet is an excellent value. I recommend it, with the one reservation being that the dye washes out of the bonnet.

A Bridle for All Seasons

If you are looking for detailed, well-written, helpful reviews of the PS of Sweden High Jump Bridle, you can find them on $900 Facebook Pony and SprinklerBandits.

What you will find here is an illuminated ode in free verse to my new favorite Bridle.

Photo courtesy of She Moved to Texas
Photo courtesy of She Moved to Texas

New favorite Bridle, you don’t look like anything I’ve known, but eventually I came to realize you were next on my list of bridles I’d like to own.

You see, my gallant steed can get testy, irascible even, about anything he doesn’t like.

The list of things he doesn’t like is long, but you, Bridle,

You are not on it!

psofyes
like wearing pyjamas

He finds you comfortable, and he harbors sensitivity more exuberantly than the Princess of the Princess and the Pea. You, Bridle, are comfortable indeed!

uniquecrownpiecePoll and jaw pressure relieved!

bridleprofileYour unique form, it grows more favorably in my eyes by the day.

O, the endless number of easily-adorned sparkly browbands piques my desire.

And so, Bridle, I leave here for you a testament to the athleticism you inspire:

oxer
Photo courtesy of Diane Segura

My horse will don, ever constantly as we ride, your elegant and uncommon contours!

 

 

The 27 Stages of Mortification

stallwindowsThis is important, y’all. I want to clarify something I wrote in my show recap that, understandably so, y’all might have thought was just hyperbole on my part. But there actually ARE 27 stages of mortification.

It is possible to go through the entire process in about 6 seconds.

  1. Confusion as to why my body just did something my brain did not tell it to do
  2. Curiosity about whether I may be under the spell of a witch
  3. Or a body snatcher
  4. Or whether I am experiencing amnesia
  5. Decide amnesia is least likely
  6. Get control of rebellious/possessed/enthralled body
  7. Realize that what rebellious/etc. body just did is actually pretty bad
  8. Feel shame
  9. Feel remorse
  10. Crave doughnuts
  11. And beer
  12. Feel thirsty
  13. Get brain back on track, and tell body to get its shit together
  14. Sit tall
  15. Piercingly gaze forward
  16. Accept that body has made a mistake and that brain is a slacker
  17. Focus on the beer waiting for me at the end of all this
  18. No wait, brain, focus on the task at hand
  19. Attempt to accomplish task at hand
  20. Wonder what body looks like accomplishing the task at hand
  21. Wonder if people are watching me
  22. Confirm that people are indeed watching me
  23. Piercingly gaze forward again
  24. Suppress urge to scream and whimper
  25. Accept the difficulty of the situation and pursue it to its natural conclusion anyway
  26. Sigh
  27. Shrug shoulders and smile awkwardly

I imagine each stage is highly gif-able, too, possibly even exclusively with cat gifs, but I’m not that fancy.

EliIsSparklyPS of Sweden High Jump bridle reviewed tomorrow!

Long Weekend: TWO Lessons

Looking for pictures? Skip to the second half of the post.

Last minute decision from the people in charge of people at work resulted in the library being closed for Good Friday. Hooray! I asked my trainer on Thursday night if we could school Eli on Friday and she said “sure!”

Eli has been doing great flat work, so I was looking forward to a productive lesson, and I think I got one. One thing that I’ve been working on–and it still needs work in the form of finessing so it will never not need work–is how I ride to the base of the jump. Last summer, I got into a rut of picking up the reins, taking my leg off, and thereby chipping in. So how does one work on not doing this, and instead stay on pace, keep hands steady and relatively low, and close leg (just a little, not a lot)? Mental game. I am trying to develop it. Basically, I am trying to program my muscle memory in to just knowing that if I don’t know where I am in front of a jump distance-wise, my reaction needs to be close leg, not pick up rein. I think I kinda am finally getting that down, as quite a few times during my lesson Friday, as soon as I felt my self hesitating, I closed my leg. Consequently, Eli was all “RAWR” and trainer was all, “um, could you maybe, um, you know, LESS.” However, I ride in a program where trainer would rather ask me to chill out and drive a little less than tell me to step up my game and get going already. It’s a good feeling, knowing my horse and I have the energy and the desire to attack the jumps now.

However, the bad thing in the lesson was our turns. And not just the turns themselves, but the ride to the jumps we’d roll back to. The turns were messy, and therefore, twice, I reverted to the pick up the reins habit instead of the new close the leg habit I’m trying to hone. Each time, trainer asked me to come back through and correct the ride. The turns were still messy, but I kept Eli going forward through them, instead of trying to hold him in the turn, and we got to much better, easy, non-chippy distances. (We jumped a 3’6″ Swedish on an angle, for crying out loud–of course I’m going to miss at that the first time! Ha! Trainer still insisted I plan for success and nail that s.)

So my flat work project for this week is circles. I’d been working on transitions and some lateral stuff, and that has done wonders for Eli over fences, and even helped him get leads while we’re cruising around the jumps. But rollbacks? We just haven’t done anything lately that translates to easy turning and steerability on course. Adjustability, yes, but if you get stuck at the apex of a rollback turn you can’t get out of, you immediately lose the ability to adjust. You can’t turn anywhere if you can’t go forward, and you can’t go forward if you’re trying to turn with your reins instead of your leg and seat. My oversight. Flat work circle camp starts today.

So after this lesson, which over all was great, not because we were great, but because I made mistakes that I then successfully corrected, trainer and I discussed doing a grid the following day. Something easy, to take Eli down a notch, as he was pretty amped Friday around the jumps.

I consulted my Linda Allen book, and decided a good exercise for Eli to keep him relaxed but also not lackadaisical would be:

easygridEli was pretty easy through it. Trainer and I were both happy that he was relaxed enough without being dull. He certainly tried to tell me that we should be cantering a few times, but I just relaxed my hand and pet his neck and he decided that he could then trot to the exercise. He’s getting that jumper go button. I love it. One last MAJOR take away from the grid was that I am chasing the jump a little with my shoulders, so I need to really concentrate on not doing that, and let Eli jump up to me instead of ducking at him. The rest of this post is media.

bigtrot
Okay, so when I said easy and relaxed, I meant specific to Eli.

 

jump

air

trotpole

oxer

leapafterleap

odetokneesAnd since it’s obvious the above photos are screen shots from videos, it’s only fair I post the videos. We didn’t film every time through, just a few times.

20150404_113914.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

20150404_114232.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

Lettia Memory Foam Clik Girth: Review

leftsideTo suggest Eli is “girthy” would be an understatement. I have been using the Lettia Coolmax nylon girth with elastic on both sides on him since, like, the second time I rode him because his girth area is sensitive. I actually hated these girths (I tried one on a different jumper I owned and felt completely unstable), right up until I had to tack up Eli regularly. He just minded this type of girth a lot less than a leather girth.

I noticed that Lettia also made a memory foam nylon double elastic girth. $79.99 later, and I had one in Eli’s typical Lettia girth size, 50″.

rightsideThere are a lot of things to like about this girth. One is that Eli seems to be comfortable in it, and isn’t any more girthier that he is with the Lettia Coolmax girth. Two, it’s memory foam. So squish. Want for pillow. Want for car seat. Want for desk chair. Want for feet. Pretty cool that it comes in girths, though!

blingbuckleThe third and overwhelmingly important feature for me is that the girth is machine washable. I have already washed it once, hung it to dry, and it came out basically looking like new.

foamyThe memory foam is along the entire length of the girth and is thick and squishy without being bulky. It is not as thick as, say, an Ogilvy jumper half pad.

nylonTwo more features of the girth that make it appealing to me and very useful are the buckles and the center dee ring. The buckles are Lettia’s Clik design, that have springs that make tightening the girth while you’re in the saddle a snap because they hold the prongs of the buckles in position. While I do try to tighten the girth from the ground before I get on, I may need to bring it up another hole after trotting around. Without these springs on the buckles, it would be a struggle, partly because getting Eli to stand still for longer than 7 seconds under saddle is not currently possible, so I am usually trying to tighten the girth while he’s walking.

The girth also has a center dee, handy for training aids and other equipment, like breastplates with clips, draw reins, or martingales with clips. Or neck-stretchers, but I don’t use those, although I think they do have clips for attaching to a girth dee.

There are a couple downsides to this girth. The memory foam side that rests against the horse is not especially grippy the way sheepskin or synthetic fleece is, so I have experienced a great potential for the saddle to slip out of place a bit. I know if I get the girth  tight enough, this isn’t an issue. However, the mounting block I use is at the base of a hill and the arena is at the top of the hill. It’s a short hill, but if I haven’t tightened my girth up to that last hole that I like it on, my saddle can shift while I’m walking up the hill, and I do not experience that with the Lettia Coolmax girth that has synthetic fleece.

The other downside is a small one now, but may be a bigger deal over time, and that is that the elastic is stretchier than the elastic on other girths I’ve used. By kind of a lot. Enough that I could go down a girth size, maybe even two sizes, and probably still get the girth on without a lot of difficulty. This makes me wonder if the elastic might wear out more quickly than on other girths.

Overall, I am pleased with the girth and would be willing to buy a second to keep nice for shows, although I would probably go down a size. I am reaching for it about as often as I am still reaching for the Lettia Coolmax girth. While the Coolmax girth is still my “favorite” (as favorite as a not-leather girth can be for me), this memory foam girth is a close second and Eli doesn’t protest when I tighten it from the saddle. This is a well made girth and for under $100 I think it is a good value.

Back on Track Saddle Pad Review

dramaticAfter reading a ton of positive reviews on Back on Track products, I thought the saddle pad might be a nice addition to Eli’s winter wardrobe.

I’m not going to talk about the science, or Chinese medicine, or testimonials from top U.S. riders, because you can find all that easily if you’re interested. The testimonials are from riders I greatly respect, so that was a factor for me. In this review, I’m going to talk solely about my experience with the product. I had a Dover gift card, and purchased the saddle pad at Dover’s retail price of $83. I paid extra for the monogram. And the shipping.

withallthetackIt looks like a regular saddle pad. The thing is, I’ve been using baby pads with half pads since 1997 or so, and I had forgotten how freaking big an AP pad can get. The Back on Track saddle pad seems big to me, but only because it’s not what I’m used to. I think it seemed weird to Eli at first, too, because it’s not what he’s used to. Because there is some bulk that isn’t usually there, he gets a little girthier than usual with the BoT as opposed to a baby pad, but he gets over it quickly.

packagingIt comes in a lot of packaging. The zippered bag it comes in will be handy for storage–it’s similar to zippered bags comforters come in, so I’m going to hold onto it in case I need to store the saddle pad.

BoTsaddlepadThe plastic bag inside the plastic bag might be overkill, though.

fuzzysoftThe underside of the saddle pad is soft and felty. Except that you know there is ceramic in the fiber, you’d never know there is ceramic in the fiber. I half thought it might feel gritty or rough, but it doesn’t.

The pad is contoured at the top.

clearanceIt just barely clears Eli’s withers. Any less contoured or any more withers, and it would not work. Eli definitely has ottb withers, but we’re not in shark fin territory. I’m not sure how this pad would work on a horse with more prominent withers. When adding the half pad on top, I made sure that the pads were centered under the saddle, and pulled up enough. It took more wrestling than it does with just a baby pad.

I have been using the saddle pad for about a week, and have not jumped in it. I don’t know that I would jump in it. My two concerns are 1. the contoured part over the withers isn’t contoured enough to accommodate Eli’s withers over a jump, if he jumps at all round (which he definitely does sometimes) and 2. whether the heat generated by the special fabric loses the therapeutic qualities if the horse’s back gets too hot. Eli seems pretty warm by nature and I don’t want so much heat that it becomes detrimental. In our week of using it, I noticed Eli’s back felt warm where that pad had been, the warmth was evenly distributed as far as I could tell, and his back was never overly hot after a ride. He has not had back issues while I’ve had him, and I check his back after every ride, and he didn’t flinch anywhere. He had no negative reaction to me poking around his withers and along his spine, so the saddle pad is not causing problems. I did not see that the saddle pad rubbed his withers in the week we have been using it.

During our rides with the saddle pad, I will say I noticed Eli was a little more willing to stretch his nose out and down earlier in the ride than usual. Our typical flat work session  in the winter starts with roughly two laps on the rail of just trotting forward with no contact. I don’t touch his face at all except with indirect rein to steer a little. With the Back on Track saddle pad, it seemed he was ready for contact and framing up after about one lap instead of two. I noticed this two days in a row. Now, we did have a few days of warmer weather, so maybe Summer Eli was showing up to the party instead of Winter Eli. Maybe the saddle pad brings out Summer Eli even in winter. I think there are too many factors to say for sure it’s the saddle pad, but I am comfortable suggesting that the saddle pad is a contributing factor to Eli feeling relaxed in the tack.

relaxedAfter a ride, as you can see Eli is relaxed. If nothing else, the saddle pad doesn’t hurt. I think I’ve noticed just enough positive effects of the saddle pad that I am interested to try more Back on Track products. I am also interested to see any changes over a longer amount of time with the saddle pad. And I think it would be extra special super great if Back on Track would make baby pads, if that’s possible.

I washed the saddle pad over the weekend in a top-load washer. It washed up well, but the care instructions indicate hang dry. That means the felty underside of the saddle pad still had quite a bit of horsehair that wouldn’t be caught in a dryer’s lint filter. I lint-rolled the underside thoroughly to remove the horse hair. Dirt and light staining from my boots and saddle all washed out completely.

To really give Back on Track a fair test, I want to use a product where Eli might really need it and could stand to benefit from it more so than with a saddle pad, as he doesn’t really have back problems that I know of, and I don’t have access to heat imaging technology to see a difference that way. In light of this, I have purchased a set of the 125″ Back on Track polo wraps for Eli’s back legs. He has a history of lightly stocking up behind sometimes, wind puffs on his back left, and random swelling once or twice, although he manages usually to stay sound through all of that by some miracle, knock on wood. I will be very interested to see how the Back on Track polo wraps affect especially his wind puffs and stocking up, to see if the swelling goes down after a ride in them. So stayed tuned for another Back on Track review!

Sunshine and Swelling

Friday’s ride went fantastically. We had the ring to ourselves, no distractions, and perfect weather for a light hack.

blorgh
Eli is like, no.

But Friday, you may remember, also involved my car getting worked on. And it was really sunny. And the cedar pollen count was astronomical, I’m sure. So after riding, I felt a little headachey. Here’s the thing. I get migraines. The combination of stress, bright sunshine, and allergens was certainly enough to trigger one, so I took some medication as soon as I started getting a headache, even though I didn’t have any aura leading up to it. The medication makes me feel kind of weird. I got a ride from the barn to pick up my car (thanks, Mom!) and decided I needed a crap ton of protein and fat to make my brain feel better (literally–there is a complex relationship between food and migraines; fat helps nerve tissue, so I draw my own completely unsubstantiated conclusions about what does and doesn’t make me feel better during migraine symptoms). Enter Whataburger.

whataburgeristhebest
Must have fat. And chocolate shake. And more fat.

If you are not from Texas, you are missing out on this stuff.

frieswiththat
Also a good hangover cure

Saturday I just rode Eli around at the walk in the fields because the ring was super busy, and I let him go for a roll in a turnout after, but watched him the whole time as the turnouts were still muddy/tacky and I didn’t want him to pull a shoe. He walked right up to me right after he rolled anyway. I brought him in and cleaned him up and gave him peppermints and let him graze a bit more.

Sunday was a perfect Texas winter day. It was also busy at the barn. Eli played in turnout, as the turnouts were now all dry. I bring him in, let him get a drink and chill in his stall for a bit, then tack up, get on, pick up a trot to the left which goes okay, I then change direction and half halt because Eli’s getting a little quick, a little on the forehand and BAM! Giraffe-mode. And okay, we need to longe. Plays, bucks, and runs on the longe. Cheetah-mode. I get back on, but there is now too much going on in the dressage arena, and the jumping side still too wet. Plus the footing in the dressage arena needs more grooming. (At the rail, it’s almost cement, but toward the center it gets more forgiving.) I go up to the field and never get a good trot but do get a good canter with an occasional opinion from the pony, but nothing melodramatic. Wrap giraffe cheetah pony and curry lots.

cutiepie
Post workout cuteness
demonface
Or perhaps a face fit for a freaky horror movie. One photoshop away from demon clown.
nopestillcute
and back to being cute.

Got to ride while it’s dry, so Monday (a state holiday woohoo) I get out to the barn and pull wraps off, everything looks good, I turn out the pon-pon. Eli plays in turnout, but is decidedly less amped, the tension is gone. Bucking very lackadaisically. Playing his pawing game with his pawing game friend Tophat in the adjacent turnout. Has a good roll. Same routine from yesterday, but the ride is great, seriously wonderful, no longe necessary. Lovely long trot and forward canter both ways, trot over all the jumps while they are set at cavaletti height. We go for a short walk out in the field. It’s warm enough for Eli to get rinsed and he dries while grazing in the sun. I put liniment on legs and notice localized swelling with heat on inside of his right hock going about 1/3 way down the leg. It wasn’t there before. Argh. Found no cuts or suspicious bug bite welts. For a minute, my brain is like fuuuhhhhhh I broke my pony but then I snap out of it, and focus on making sure Eli is comfortable. Too late for what ifs.

I wrapped him, and trainer/barn manager will check on him Tuesday. If it’s still swollen, she will put some DMSO on it. Turnout should be fine. I plan to walk Eli and cold hose the hock Tuesday night. Eli has not taken a single lame step over this entire time, so hopefully this inflammation is minor, is just a tweak or twinge and no connective tissue damage, probably from not working because of the weather and then working quite a bit on Sunday. Maybe he has a little arthritis (not exactly unheard of in an 11-yr-old OTTB). Maybe I’m going to try the BoT hock wraps. He has swelled up randomly before in different places, and the swelling has always gone down within a few days, if not just a day, and the swelling improves with movement and light work and standing wraps. If he gets even slightly lame in connection with this, I will want x-rays and ultrasound, and will go over every possible therapeutic resolution before deciding how to go forward, but we are not there yet. We’ll stick with wrapping, liniment, possibly bute (powder in some grain, preferably) if he seems stiff and see how he goes. Could try a sweat wrap for a few days. I can’t make it out Wednesday night, and Thursday’s weather looks like shit, so he’ll get a bit of a break regardless. Already got a text today from trainer saying he still has swelling but there is no heat. She went ahead and turned him out, which I’m glad for, as in Eli’s case turnout seems to reduce swelling rather than aggravate it. I’ll see how he is tonight after work.

In other news, I’m trying a Back on Track saddle pad. I used it for Monday’s ride, the one where Eli felt great. He doesn’t have a history of back issues, so this is purely for adding to our arsenal of things that make the pony feel good.

BoTsaddlepadIt came in all this packaging, in a zipped cover, like how comforters are packaged. I also had it monogrammed (duh).fuzzysoft The underside of the pad is extremely soft. So far, I like it, but I want to use it for a while before I know just how much I like it. It will probably be just a winter-only saddle pad, as we have no problem creating heat everywhere on every body part in the summer.

Fingers crossed Eli is sound tonight!