Monday, November 17, 2008

Separation Anxiety

I finally went to my doctor last week because I still had severe pain in my shoulder from the fall two weeks ago. He took new x-rays and ta-da, I have a separated shoulder. It is an injury that most football players (especially pro) have. It is where literally my ligament was torn and will eventually come together, but never completely heal. Dang. My doctor wants me to take 6 weeks (from the accident - so another 4) out of the saddle, just because if I do fall on it again it could mean surgery.
In my eyes, rules are made to be broken and six weeks out of the saddle (especially after having the whole summer off) just doesn't seem doable, so I've come to this conclusion with my mother: I'm giving it another week off completely and then starting next weekend I'm going to just get on and walk around in the arena. Now I know that this may not be the smartest thing in the entire world, but to be honest with you, at this point my mental health is dependent upon it. Coaster has enjoyed the last two weeks off I'm sure, but I'm thinking of going out and testing my shoulder on the lunge line tomorrow so that he will at least be worked.

Monday, November 10, 2008


A lot of my friends are cowboys and make fun of me wearing a helmet when I ride. Now I will confess, there have been times where I have schooled on the flat without a helmet - shame on me, I know; but I absolutely wear a helmet every time I jump a horse.
Well now I need to buy a new helmet, thanks to the thorn tree in Kansas, and was planning on buying another Charles Owen J3 - which I have been riding in since 2002-ish. I love this helmet, this will be my 4th one - yeah, I've fallen (hard and on my head) a lot, oh well - at least I always get back on, right?

I mainly just wanted to write about this topic for two reasons:

1.) Make sure people know you need to purchase a new helmet after ANY direct hit (this includes dropping the helmet on a hard surface, even if your head isn't in it!)! You'd be surprised how many people I've seen ride around in helmets with cracks in it! Really people?! Come on! My other fav is people riding with the harness undone - it won't work if it doesn't stay on!!!!

2.) See what other people's favorite helmets are...what do you ride in on a daily basis? For shows?

PS: Have y'all seen this new toy?! They never had anything like this when I was a kid!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why I Can't Ride Equitation

I got a response to my blog awhile ago about the last NWAHJA Show and my stirrup length. I have in fact shortened my stirrups a hole as well as worked on getting Coaster in front of my leg sans-spurs. One of the hard things about riding an extremely talented and athletic horse, is that he doesn't have to use himself over fences until the jumps get either really wide or over 4 foot, so getting him and keeping him in front of my leg can be a hassle at 3'3", which is the height that we are competing at in Training level right now.

Though something major about my riding that I would like to point out as "not pretty" is my toes. If you watch my videos or look at my pictures, my heels are not down and my toes are pointed out. However, if you have a skilled eye, you can see that my weight and balance come from my lower leg. The heel up and toes out thing comes from my own conformation. Just as some horses are built to look "pretty," some people are not put together correctly for the textbook position. My calf muscle and overall soft tissues of my lower legs are too short for my shin bone. If you saw me walking down the street, you may notice that I toe out as I walk. LoL, I've even been known to interfere and fall down on my face!

With my lower leg conformation as well as my knee problem, the result is a not-so-equitation ride from Lauren! This is why I do eventing, it's not about being pretty, and even in dressage your stirrups are too long to have your heel down. Look at the upper levels of dressage, their heels are level with the ground.

Speaking of eventing and eventful cross country runs, the shoulder is healing well and I'm hoping to at least be able to go lunge Coaster next week and start some light riding.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Okay, So I've Been Avoiding This

I guess I need to go ahead and post about the show this past weekend. Here it goes...

I decided to give him the day off for several reasons. 1.) I was extremely pressed for time. 2.) If I didn't give him the day off he would have had 7 straight days of working from Sunday to Sunday. 3.) I didn't want to get in a fight. 4.) He usually does well after a day off.

After hauling to the show and getting settled in we tacked up to ride. I figured out quickly that I should have screwed the four reasons listed above and worked his ass off the day before because he was a complete butthead. I was literally so upset that I was almost in tears. I know my horse is better than that and he was not giving me an inch.

Dressage: Got to the show super early so I could lunge him in side reins before a short warmup. The test was not one of our bests, but considering the schooling the day before, I was pleased. The first half went well - he was somewhat consistent, but I didnt' pick him up soon enough in our "stretchy circle" and I never really got him back - it is okay though because I know we are in the process of creating an awesome dressage horse, we just are in a transitional phase right now, so I was prepared for not a winning test.
Stadium: He was very forward in warm up - which is a great thing - and was jumping extremely well. The first fence on course he backed off a bit, but I fixed it immediately and we jumped a double clear. All in all I was happy.

Cross Country: Warmup was great. He drifted right horribly on jumps 1 -6 (they were all really close together), but I was able to get him galloping after 6 and he straightend out for the most part after that. We hit our first 3 minute markers early (my goal) and he was jumping great and responding perfectly to me. We fly through the water complex (jump 18) and over a max table (20) and pop up the bank (21). This is where it gets interesting. We were supposed to go straight across the top of the bank (no down bank though, just a hill) but Coaster decided he wanted to veer right - down the hill towards the warm up and the prelim jump B. This was going to work out okay, I was just going to go around a group of 3 intertwined trees, except there was this other big thorn tree. Long story short, Coaster wanted to go right around it and I wanted to go left. We both got our way.
The thorns grabbed me and literally ripped me off the top of him and into the trunk of the tree with my right shoulder. I hit so hard my trainer, who was about 100 yds away and out of sight, heard it and thought Coaster had flipped over a jump. I sat up, saw the big blob of gray and then laid back down. After about 10 minutes of the medics checking me over - on the ground - me crying and lying a little bit, they finally released me. My trainer took me to the ER where they doctored the cuts (it looks like I went through a pane glass window) on my left side and told me I had extensive soft tissue damage on my right shoulder. All in all this is a huge testimant to body vests and helmets. A doctor/medic who was at that jump as a spectator thought I had broken my neck. If I hadn't been wearing my helmet or vest I don't even want to think about the injuries I would have.
Coaster is fine - he galloped off a couple of yards and realized he lost something - namely me - and then stopped a little confused. I will be fine, just a week or two out of the saddle. The only part that really bugs me is that I was 2 fences away from the finish flags, it would have been a double clear and qualifying ride. Damn. At least it wasn't fence related so it goes on the record as "Retired" instead of "Eliminated."

I'll get a video up of show jumping and the water complex as soon as I can - I refuse to post the dressage video, sorry, but it isn't my proudest test!