Saturday, February 4, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Hey! This is MY blog!

Yes, it has been a shockingly long time since my poor steed has been featured on his own blog. He reminds me frequently that his public requests, nay (neigh?) demands an update on His Royal Highness. Unfortunately, not much is going on in the world of Salem right now--his days are full of eating, wandering around his paddock, eating some more, harassing the horses in the neighboring paddocks, grooming, hand walks around the neighborhood, and occasionally *gasp* a bit of longeing or liberty work. It's a hard knock life.

Occasionally, his afternoon nap is interrupted by a visit from Candy. By now, she has transformed Salem's hooves back into the gorgeous, balanced, tough-as-cement super hooves that he had back in April of 2010. It took a lot of time and effort, but it has made a huge difference in his soundness. 

I swear Salem is not part-Clydesdale. Candy is just a tiny little
Polly Pocket of a hoof trimmer (and Salem is a very naughty
little trimmer's-butt-nibbler)

So, here is the one interesting thing that has happened to us lately: Back in January, one of my fellow borders had her trainer Heath come down from Kentucky to judge a horse show, and she had him stay an extra day to ride a few horses and teach some lessons at our barn. I had hoped that I would have Salem sound as a whistle and back in work so we could have a lesson with him, but unfortunately I have yet to find a money tree. But I figured, hey, why not at least get a good groundwork session in.

I think Heath might have gotten the impression we were a bit more "special" remedial than we are, but I do think our lesson was very productive; I got some good insight and pointers. Heath worked on Salem's tendency to travel inverted, with his head to the outside and his body bent in completely the wrong direction. (I'm not sure why he does this, as it only showed up after he came down here from Chicago--??) He noted that Salem is just very weak and needs to work properly in order to develop his muscles and balance. 

Of particular interest to me was his comment that Salem is extremely weak in his right hind--he didn't say "off," just "weak." That got me thinking: Is Salem over his original injury, whatever that injury might be? Were all those months of hoof rehab and hand-walking and Tincture of Time and anti-inflammatory supplements really all he needed? Do I now just need to build his strength back up? It would be *amazing* but with my luck I am not going to get my hopes up. It seems too good to be true.

Luckily, one of my fellow boarders caught a few minutes of our lesson on video:

Anyone notice that Salem is a horse of a different color? His left side is an orange-y, bleached-out, dull brown and his right side is a slick, dark chocolate-y brown.Why? Well, apparently there is something of great interest in the nursery next door. Because 98% of the time, Salem stands facing west, staring at the invisible Something Interesting that resides in the nursery. His left side catches the southern rays, while his right side remains in the shade. Result--multicolor pony.

So, there you have it, Salem fans. My boy is still fat as a tick and living like a prince. It might not make for exciting blog posts, but I do think he's content with his current life of leisure.


Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

I literally was logging on to start chanting "SaLEM, SaLEM!!" so thank you!!!!!
Also, this is SO interesting. Laz totally does the banana body, as I called it, where they are bent the wrong way ie to the outside like how Salem is. I cranked my volume and watched the whole video, but what did he want you to do? I either missed it or couldn't hear it. Gently pull his nose in?
Also, Laz totally does that cut the circle thing too! So, I think I heard the trainer mention lifting your arm and like pointing to where he should go, to keep Saley out of your area? Was that right?
Also, jealous of that arena! YUM.
and could Salem be any more shiny? I think not and he's GORG!

eventer79 said...

Yay Salem news! I was really glad you got video-although I laughed because Heath sounds almost exactly like David! Watching Salem go, just from that one video, altho he looks fabo healthy and shiny, I would agree with trainer. I don't think he looks lame, I think he looks very weak behind and lopsided. I would not be afraid to get on him and start working on straightness and stretching and the walk. Heck you don't even need a saddle for that!

Frizzle said...

Kristen, Heath had me put the longe clip on the side of the halter instead of under the chin like I usually do. He wanted me to focus on keeping Salem very forward, and when he really took his head to the outside, I was to raise my arm and sort of gently pull his nose back in by bringing my arm out to the side. It was actually quite difficult to do that without making the circle Salem was on smaller. And I do need to get a different longe line because that one has bungee on the end so it's really hard to pull his nose back in!

Eventer, I WISH Heath lived here because after watcing him ride and listening to him talk theory, I would love to work with him on a regular basis. He sounds very classical dressage-y in his theory, despite the fact that his base is in hunter/jumper and he had a long stint in reining.

Interesting that you also don't think he looks off. I still feel that RH doesn't look right, although maybe it's now just the weakness. I'm trying to scrape together the cash for a few chiro/accupuncture sessions (and maybe at least a basic lameness exam to make sure nothing else is going on in his hock, stifle, hip, etc.), but for now I will work on strengthening that back end. I think I need to get some vienna reins! Last night after I longed Salem, I did go so far as to work on having him stand still while at the mounting block. We'll get there. :-)

Chris said...

I'm so glad to see a Salem post! I was beginning to worry! He looks great!

Frizzle said...

Lol, Chris, no need to worry! :-) I just figured lots of blog posts saying stuff like "Today, Salem was longed and groomed and taken for a walk etc.,etc." would be pretty boring.

Alana said...

SALEM!!!!!!!!! Woohoo! He is such a handsome beast!
I dunno, I think some simple under saddle walking might just be the ticket for him. Right now he looks actually a little less stiff than Bails, but that has been determined to be her incredibly out of shapeness (shameless brag here, we are about to be moving into a barn, where we will be in full training, from the ground up. SQWEEEEE). If it were me I would tack up and start strolling around. If he acts off, stop, if not, keep going!
He really is so shiny, and that arena!!! Drooooool

Anni said...

Hi! This is Anni (flakemusic on Equisearch back in the day!) Lily and I are doing wonderfully (although I'm far too busy to blog now, unfortunately, but I do come to check on you & Salem on here when I can!) but sadly my trainers had been renting the barn I board her at, and it's being sold. I'm looking for a (hopefully temporary, while they find another rental) place to keep her, but I'm very VERY picky, and have a list a mile long that's making it hard for me to find a place that's a good fit. I was wondering if you had any recommendations? I'd love to email and chat about it!

Frizzle said...

Anni!!! Wow, I have been wondering how you and Lily have been doing. So glad to her that you're both well, although total bummer about the barn being for sale. I feel ya, as my boarding barn is also for sale and it's behind stressful. I would love to email with you--feel free to drop me a line at I'm sorry I didn't see this comment earlier, as the email that is connected to this account was hacked and I'm still in the process of switching everything over.
As for barn recommendations...that's a toughie, as the only barn I rode at in Chicago is not one that I would board at, sorry to say. The owner is amazing and provides great care, but there is practically no turn-out, which is a deal breaker for me. I do recall seeing a plug for an eventing barn that's supposed to be pretty good, I'll try to find that for you.

achieve1dream said...

Sorry I haven't visited in a while!! I'm glad Salem seems to be doing better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's just weakness. :)

That's so funny about him bleaching out one side more than the other lol.