It's February! I am happy that January is over, but I have to say, I am NOT a February kind of kid. January isn't so bad because I usually am still riding out the excitement of a new year and all the new hopes that come with it, but February is just bleak and cold and dark with nothing interesting to break up the wintery crappiness. (Don't even say Valentine's Day cause that doesn't count.) I am quite convinced that this February won't be the same though. I am in a much better place now than I've been compared to the last couple of years career-wise, future-wise, and money-wise, so I have plenty to buffer me against the crappiness of the month. Hey, it's already the 3rd, we've already got a good start!
Onto our January goals...
1) Continue sound trotwork and build to 20 minutes of trotwork - 50 minutes of riding total a day (we are at 40 now with 10 minutes of trot a day)
Success! Except for the fact that she had a voluntary week off this past week, due mostly to the fact that my boss was coming back for a few days and I get paranoid before ultrasounds, we did in fact build all the way up to a 50 minute ride with 20 minutes of trot, and she feels fantastic.
2) Talk to the vets about when to schedule her next ultrasound (I'm thinking instead of mid-January, we want to shoot for mid-February before we start to canter)
Success! I actually just went to the vet yesterday for another ultrasound but that will be for later in the post ;)
3) Take our first little hack outside (flat ground, around the barn)
Success! This one was my favorite! She's taking tiny little hacks around the property on flat ground and she LOVES it. I went on four - count them, FOUR! - little hacks, two of which were with company, which was very nice. I like having boarders to ride around with.
4) Set up show budget and breeding budget - how much do I need to save, how much each month, etc?
Success! I tend to do this on a lot of these cold wintery nights when it's far too miserable to actually go out and do anything interesting, or I'm too tired to bother doing anything interesting beyond hanging around under blankets on the couch with a cup of our apartment-famous spiked cocoa ;). It's good for me though because instead of sitting around unhappy because it's too cold and dark to be outside, I get to dream about the coming warmer months when it's awesome and warm outside and I don't have to be stuck indoors! My budget this year is quite larger than it was last year because I can actually afford it this year, hooray! It's all down on paper - how much I need for each show, how much I have already saved, how much I need to actually put away a month to meet my end financial goal - so now it's just a matter of execution. I have a baseline total budget for breeding too, based on the information everyone has given me concerning how much money they ended up plunking into baby from pre-conception to year two, but I will still need to do local research for how much individual procedures cost here in CT. Because you know, EVERYTHING costs more in CT.
But it's quite helpful to know things like that the breeder already told me she'd knock $1000 off the stud fee for my chosen baby daddy because of the special consideration that they give to performance mares. That $1000 will definitely be helpful going towards all those OTHER things you need to pay for in breeding.
5) Add incline work on the treadmill
I actually opted not to do this one just yet. I was cleared by Dr. Chope over the phone to do it but I ended up wanting another ultrasound before we put this one into the mix. But I am happy to report.... well wait, I can't tell you just yet, I have to finish the goals first!
1) Start canterwork, building from 5 minutes for the first two weeks to 10 for an additional two weeks, then resume regular flatwork sessions in the beginning of March
2) Map out a hacking plan - where to start with little hills, how to gradually increase... building over the course of a couple months to our regular 2-hour hacks
3) Add incline work on the treadmill
4) Wean gradually off the nighttime wraps to just every other night
5) MAYBE if everything goes according to plan and we are back to regular work at the end of the month, a trip to the beach!? (Just to walk around in the water and smell the salty air!)
So this all leads me now into our vet visit yesterday. I trailed Gogo in the morning up to see Dr. C instead of going alllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way to Tufts, which is much farther and literally about 10x more expensive (seriously, my ultrasound yesterday was only $85 and my last only ultrasound without anything added on trip to Tufts was $800!). Dr. C was the one who referred me to Tufts in the first place so she knows the case and knows the mare.
We jogged her out first and I got a terrible video of it. From this angle, you can't tell a thing, but she jogged out really well, whether or not you can actually tell in the video ;)
Back inside the clinic, we got down to ultrasounding, and one again found the RH to be totally clean. We obviously didn't expect to find anything, but we wanted to check the margins of the tendons from the residual tenosynovitis and found them to be all normal and looking great. Sweet! We also looked at the left and found the leftovers of the lesion, now completely filled in. I got to look at the ultrasound from yesterday and the ultrasound from the first time Dr. C looked at her, and WOW what a difference. And the original lesion wasn't anything shocking in the first place! The biggest difference was the size of the tendon from then til now. Back in October, the tendon at that area was quite enlarged. Now, it's back to normal size and I am happy to see that!! The area on ultrasound may never look perfect again. In fact, it probably won't. What is important at this point is her soundness. If she is sound on that leg and improving, that is what matters. We'll look at it again in two months on ultrasound and see what we have but all in all we're all thrilled with this progress. We're not quite 5 months out from the original injury and she's expected to make a full recovery and continue on as a competitive event horse. Not many tendon injuries have an outcome like this, especially in this amount of time. (Knocking on wood right now as I type.)
I am seriously overjoyed at the news. This is fantastic! Clearly there is still a ways to go but there is light now at the end of the tunnel. The tendon is strong enough now that I have been cleared to begin canter work and small hills, and can start incline work on the treadmill. I'm going to take the days that I "hack" her and start building them into real hacks, gradually increasing over the next couple of months to our full two-hour conditioning hacks with included trotwork. Excited! I outlined my season and what I'd like to be doing month by month, and Dr. C agreed that it sounds spot on. Yay!
Not only did I get that good news, but I stopped by my old barn yesterday on way home to say hi, and they gave me all the mail that had been accumulating there. Included in the pile was a Year-End award and yet another USEA award, this time an extension of the Rider Achievement award I'd already received. It appears they'd changed the Rider Achievement awards at some point last year to the Blue Ribbon Award program, so I'd actually earned BOTH without knowing it! AND I got my 4th place Year-End award
Although when I hang it up next to all the Year-End awards I won last year.... it looks a bit silly. What is it with Area I ribbons being so tiny compared to Area 8's? I love it just the same, of course, but I adore looking at my ribbons I won in 2008 every night before bed because they're just so big and fancy!
Shine on, my mare, shine on!
Zac's 3 week update
18 hours ago