Friday, 27 November 2009

Lancelot - first solo hack and first schooling session

Yesterday Mike took Lancelot out for a hack on his own. It was his first time and when he got back Mike said he had been very strong and really wanted to canter as fast as possible.

Today I took Lancelot to the yard for a proper schooling session with Damien. He was a bit silly at first because the carriere was full of jumps from their concours a few weeks ago and he kept looking hard at the fillers and things but Damien has a fab seat and wasn't at all bothered. Lancelot decided at first that he really didn't want to trot and would rather canter round but after a couple of minutes they settled down and Damien really did work him beautifully. He kept a nice forward speed and made him accept the contact. Within a few minutes L-lot was dripping saliva from his mouth. This was something I had been worrying about as he always seems to have such a dry mouth and never mouths the bit but today all was as it should be.

They trotted on both reins and as time went on L-lot lowered his head and started to really work properly. Damien did some cantering on both reins and he settled to a nice loping stride. they did a few 20 metre circles and although you could see his greenness he coped really well and was lovely and light on his feet. The reason I wanted him to go there is that I feel I have no brakes but Damien introduced some downward transitions and also some halts and made him stand for a minute before moving off and he was fine. I think the problem has been not being able to do anything other than walk for so long and Lot was impatient.

At the end Damien popped him over a couple of very low jumps ie about 8" high and although he jumped them as though they were a metre high he was happy to do it.

They schooled all in all for about 40 minutes but I didn't want to push him and I was over the moon with how he performed.

I have booked him in for once a week with Damien and then after Christmas I will start to have a group flat lesson with him.

I love my neddy and he is such a good boy. When you look at the pics you will see that he has no muscle tone at all and looks quite weak in his neck and quarters but he has had 6 weeks box rest and then only walking for 10 - 15 mins a day in the sand school since so he now needs some serious work to build him back up.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


After giving Lancelot a bath yesterday I decided to clip him today. These things always take much longer than you imagined they were going to and also are never as straightforward either.

I took a before pic and he does look decidedly unimpressed but we had been practicing getting the clippers on him and I think he was sulking.

My plan was to do a bib clip and see how he got on with that so I marked it with some white chalks I bought yesterday and off I went. The neck got higher and higher and then I went way past the girth line and so ended up doing an Irish clip. It isn't brilliant but it will do for now. I may do it a bit more and make it into a trace clip if he starts doing a bit more work.

He was very well behaved considering it was his first time. He wasn't very keen on having his underarms done or around his tummy or near his sheath. He got a bit kicky at one point but I just shouted at him.

I turned him out after and he had a roll and then a buck and fart and I managed to get a picture of him.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Back into work

I had Lancelot shod on Tuesday by Pete. We only had fronts put on as for some reason Pete didn't want to put hinds on him. I don't know why that was but I will leave it for now. I am thinking of trying him in hoof boots as that would save me a fortune if I could use them. Mike is not keen though.

On Tuesday 17th after he had been shod I decided to ride him. I got Mike to lead him on a lunge rein and I rode but I didn't feel safe as Mike was kind of meandering along and not really taking any notice of what was going on with me and Lancelot and it felt like there were some huge open spaces out there and I am not sure that if he did anything daft that I could stop him. I really do need to work on my confidence!

In the end we came back after only going along the track a short way.

The next day I took him out in hand again and he was very pushy and bargy and I got quite cross with him.

On Thursday I wanted to ride him but I was just so scared of hurting myself and falling again and I had the appointment with my consultant in the evening and so I just couldn't bring myself to ride so in the end Mike said he would ride him. We went up into the sand school and Mike got on and just walked and a little bit of trot on him and Lancelot was a very good boy. His legs seem fine and although there does seem to be a bit of heat in them there is no swelling.

Today (Friday) I decided to ride him myself so I took him up in the sand school and we just walked around and did lots of walk halt transitions and also some half halts to try and stop him from leaning on the bit. His head was getting lower and lower towards the ground but I was really pleased because he was listening to my seat and was responding really quickly when I gave him the signal to halt with my seat.

It has given me a lot of confidence and I am going to ride him again tomorrow and do more of the same.

I bathed him this afternoon as I want to clip him tomorrow as well. I was planning to do an Irish clip (to the stifle) but I think I might do a low trace clip.
It depends on how he behaves when I try and clip him!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Difficult week with good and bad news

It has been a terrible week for us as on Wednesday 11th we had to have Jed put to sleep after a massive colic. We are both walking around as if in a dream still and just can't seem to take in what has happened.

On the 12th we had to take Lancelot to the vets at Menesplet because of this recurring swelling of his near fore. It was a long day and when the vet looked at him he immediately saw that Lancelot was lame on his off fore and not the near fore which came as a bit of a surprise. He did nerve blocks and x-rays of the foot and found nothing untoward and so thinks it is just soft tissue damage ie bruising. He then did ultra sound of both tendons and found them perfect which was a great relief.
I was so afraid when we got there as I was sure he was going to find navicular or terrible tendon damage but thank god it was all good.

The plan is now that we have him shod on the front and then start work with just walking initially and then after 2 weeks we can start some trot work.

I walked him out in hand yesterday and he was perfectly behaved and today took him out to graze in hand.

The sad thing is that now I am back to being able to ride and I have to ride out alone.

They say that time heals and I know that it does but at the moment the pain is so acute. None of us knows what is around the corner and we should make the most of every day like it is our last or maybe that special person in our life whether horse or human.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

One step forward and three steps back

As you will know L-lot has been suffering with a thickened tendon for about 5 or 6 weeks after doing some free schooling in the Manege (I think it was from that although can't be sure as I found the swelling a day or so after the session). We had the vet out and he had nearly 4 weeks box rest and cortisone gel applied twice daily for 10 days. He had a course of bute and of course lots of hosing. The vet said that it was inflammation of the tendon sheath and not the tendon damaged. Dunno how he knew that though because he never scanned it. I couldn't get my usual vet out and so had to have the crap vet but he was very efficient and seemed to know what he was doing.
He has only ever been very slightly lame on it.

It has got progressively better although on the odd days it does seem a bit thicker but I am so paranoid about it I am out there with a micrometer measuring it. Mostly there was very little heat in it just swelling.

I have been turning him out now in the daytime and he does have a buck and a fart but it still seemed to be doing well. I always bandage that leg when I turn him out.

Yesterday he came in from his turnout and I took the bandage off and his leg was absolutely brilliant. In fact it was the best I have seen it. Not a trace of thickness or heat.
I went out and hour later and I was just devastated. The leg was huge and really swollen all down the back of the cannon bone and really hot. He is not at all lame although I only trotted him up the lane about 30 metres and back.

I put a bag of frozen peas on it for 20 minutes and hosed it. This morning it is still the same.

I have phoned the good vet and he can't get up to me this week and so I have to take L-lot to him which is a 1 1/2 hour trip. Our appointment is Thursday at 4.30pm.

I am not sure how much good it will do him to do a 3 hour round trip but we don't have much choice really.

I am so depressed and worried about him. I couldn't sleep last night with worrying and when I did sleep had horrible nightmares about his prognosis. I can't put it into words but you can imagine how it ended.

I have phoned my farrier Pete and am hoping he can come today or tomorrow to see what he thinks.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The long walk!

Today I decided it was time to go outside our comfort zone and take Lancelot for a good long walk in hand. I planned it with Mike as I wanted to go for a flat-ish walk so that I wasn't putting too much strain on his leg. We planned to walk up to Jouillac along the chemin and then across the field to Maunac and then home.

I was very nervous about it because I had no idea how he would behave and if he did go nuts how I would cope. Having seen him go bananas in the field I know how well he can kick and buck. Mike agreed to come with me to give me some support which made me feel better.

I got him suited and booted and myself as well with hat and gloves and off we went. Well we had only gone about 300 metres along the track and sods law... Bloody Le Valois cattle were out with the bull and so we did a rapid about turn and came back. I was really pee'd off because I had planned our route. L-lot didn't bat an eyelid though.

We got back to the house and then decided to carry on down the lane. We turned left along the road and a couple of cars came past and he never even looked at them. Rosie and Bella came with us (our dogs) which was nice although we had to get off the road because they really have no car sense.
I had in my pocket a couple of carrots which I had chopped up small and every now and then I would give him a little piece which would just keep his attention on me. It really did work a treat and he did keep one ear on me most of the time.

We decided not to push our luck on the road for this first time so we did the circular route along the right hand track which comes back to La Forest. It is a bit more hilly than I would have liked but he coped wonderfully.

We had several brushes with deer as Bella chased them across the track but he wasn't at all bothered. Not once did he try and trot or spook or do anything really other than have a good look at the countryside and watch what was going on around him. Bella galloped up behind us a couple of times and he never even looked at her! Rosie walked across in front of him right under his feet as well and he was just mildly interested. As we went along I collected some chestnuts off the floor and shared them with him which he loved.

As we got back home and we approached the front gate one of Rose (next door) ducks decided to flap its wings and it made him jump but I wouldn't call it a spook more of a start and then on he went.

When we got back I turned him out in the field and he did his usual buck and fart and gallop around as far as he could. I love it that he keeps it for the field... I hope!

The more I play with him and the more time I spend with him the more I love him. It scares me to death to get so enamoured with him because I need to ride him and to trust him and he may not turn out to be as perfect as I feel he is at the moment. The only thing I will say about him is that he is perfect so far. He has never put a foot wrong, never scared me, never been naughty, never been anything other than well mannered and respectful and I cannot ask for more than that.

He is making me very happy right now and our relationship is building slowly which is exactly what I wanted. This tendon thing might be a god send really.

I liken my relationship with Lancelot as being like starting a new human relationship. We have started off slowly and got to know each other. We have become friends before we have moved on to the next level. I really think that it is paying off and I am building my trust in him and I hope that he is learning to trust me.
Please God let it long continue!