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When you think he’s tired….and he is just fooling you 🙈🙉🙊

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When it’s all worth the struggle

Alright, so my last post was maybe a bit dramatic and contained some blood, but as always in life, after rain comes sunshine.😊

In December 2015, when we had finished the Sarcoid treatment and I was certain again, that Barley was fit for fight, I couldn’t wait to get back on his back again.

I had decided to test some bareback riding in the indoor arena to be able to feel if he is tense or if he relaxes, then a friend gave me a dare

I’m on the way to the barn, meet me half way and ride him bareback on the green

Ok, to be truthful, I didn’t think it was a good idea. Most others wouldn’t dare to ride their horses after only  one week of rest….with a saddle…in the indoor arena, but ok. I thought that he would be so fresh that he would buck me off. Afterwards I could have slapped myself for thinking this way. 

I should know better!!!

First: I should have known Barley better as to compare him with other horses and should’ve trusted him more!

Second:  Just because others say you can’t do it, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

Third: I should have known Barley better as to compare him with other horses and should’ve trusted him more.

Fourth: He is the best! ❤

So we walked down to the green. I wanted to be sure that he is cool…and he was 😍!

Voilà! Barley and I after an almost 3 months break. First ride ❣

Posted in #Memories, Companions, Happy, Sarcoid, Success, Xxterra | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sarcoid killing documentary! Our findings!

This documentary is written 1 year, 4 months and 17 days after the start of the treatment with XXTERRA® herbal paste. The paste was used in 5 applications on the sarcoid. As of now the sarcoid has not returned! 

Remember this? The skin tumor (or equine sarcoid) in Barley’s right ear?

Don’t worry, if you don’t, because you haven’t read this very sporadically writtten blog before, I am a forgiving person. 🙂

If the first picture is already making you exclaim an ‘Ewwww’, but you don’t really know what a sarcoid acutally is, I found a very informing and well explained piece about it for you on www.petmd.com.  If your horse has something like this, it is a good idea to get it checked out by a vet.

*Disclaimer: GRAPHIC CONTENT!  The following images and/or content may be disturbing to some readers. You will most definitely see blood!

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Equine Sarcoid in right ear

The problem with these suckers is, that the treatment also depends very much on the positioning of the sarcoid. A sarcoid can turn up almost anywhere on a horses body. To ‘just cut it out’ wasn’t an option in Barley’s case, because it would have meant to amputate half of his ear.

After some discussion with our vet about our options we decided to go along with the XXTERRA® cream.

*Dislaimer:

1.This is not an advertising for XXTERRA® or Derma GeL®, I merely describe how we treated the sarcoid after receiving approval from our vetenerian, who had first carried out a physical examination on Barley.

2. Just because it says ‘herbal’, it doesn’t mean that you can self-medicate your horse. This is really powerful stuff!!! Please always have a vetenarian give the approval!

The author of this blog

Ok, I guess I am save now, you all have been warned, from here on out you are scroll at your own risk. 😀

Alrighty then, lets get to it…. oh boy, you have no idea how much I have been looking forward to write this post! I didn’t want to jinx it by writing it too early and then having the sarcoid returning after I posted it, but still, fingers crossed!

Here in Sweden you can’t get XXTERRA® at the pharmacy. The vet needs to order it directly from the supplier. After several weeks, I still hadn’t received the package. I called my vet again and she called the company. I was pretty surprised when I heard the reasons when my vet called me back. The company had seen on a document that the sarcoid was in the ear and didn’t want to send the out medicine, at least not until I had confirmed that I am aware of the risks and that I will be careful. As I said, just because it says ‘herbal’ it really does not mean that you can slap it on like some Nivea creme.

I believe it was good that I got this call and it made me really cautious. I clipped the hair in the ear around the sarcoid to be able to secure the adhesive plaster, in which I cut a hole for the sarcoid.

Day 0: October 9th, 2015

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D-Day: October 9th, 2015

When I opened the container, I looked at a thick, gooey black-brownish paste. I was not sure if it would become runny when it comes into contact with the body heat (although the ears might not get as warm as other body parts). A makeshift earplug was my solution to beeing able to sleep at night.

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Caution: If sarcoid is located in ear, XXTERRA can damage the surrounding cartilage, which might cause a hole.

Since I was informed that XXTERRA® can destroy cartilage, I didn’t want to take a chance on it dropping down into his ear, destroying the cartilage in Barley’s inner ear.

The directions where quite simple…what this really meant, I learned much later.

XXTERRA® is an herbal formulation of bloodroot powder and zinc chloride solution, combined and stirred into a smooth brown paste. Bloodroot contains sanguinarine (the primary component), chelarathrine and protopine, all of which are alkaloids. Zinc chloride promotes inflammation of the sarcoids surface and with the alkaloids, alters the sarcoid cells so they become antigenic to the host. Accordingly, XXTERRA™ alters the antigenicity of a sarcoid to stimulate the host’s immune system and result in an immune rejection reaction of the sarcoid.

Directions: Apply to sarcoid once daily for 4 days. Rest for 10-20 days. Repeat process if tumor has not sloughed. Bandaging: if possible bandage area after application and check in 5-7 days. Repeat process if needed. May require additional applications.

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Day 0: October 9th, 2015

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I wanted to be as accurate as possible applying the paste. So I chose to use a small paintbrush. Only covering the sarcoid,but nothing around.

After that I tried to bandage the ear. I can tell you that it’s actually quite a challenge in my opinion to bandade an ear, so I was pretty proud over the endresult. 🙂

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Looks pretty neat, ay?

This is how I dared to throw him out again with his pasture buddies, accompanied with a little prayer that please nobody would try to investigate his funny looking ear closer.

Day 1: October 10th, 2015

Barley was definitely irritated. As you can see, the underlying skin around the sarcoid is red and the ear started to feel more fleshy, it started to swell. I was really surprised by such a reaction within the first 24 hours already.

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Day 1: October 10th, 2015

Day 2: October 11th, 2015

It took about 10 minutes before I was even allowed to touch his ear. A lot of calming, carrots, soothing talks were required to be able to remove the bandage. Not much change to the appearance though. Getting the bandage back on was also more difficult, but he was a good boy! After a deep inhalation he seemed to give up and I was able to put a new one on.

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Day 3: October 12th, 2015

We had a lenghty discussion about ‘following through with something’. I had to inform Barley that even though he is really angry with me, I am doing this to his benefit and that we need to follow through. I was somehow able to remove the bandage and brush on some more XXTERRA®. A picture was not possible since he was constantly moving his head. All I got was blurs. And no, no picutre of the bandade either. In retrospect I don’t even  know how I got it on there…..that said, you can expect it to be much less neat and tidy as the first one!

Day 4: October 13th, 2015

He is having a bit of a high temperature ! It’s frost outside, he has not done any work and his temperature is 38,7°C. 😦 His level of grumpyness is still pretty high, too. I am quite happy that we are going to have a break after today. I do believe that he will never ever let me touch his ear again if we make it through this alive!

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Day 8: October 17th, 2015

Well, it did start to look different, didn’t it. The bandage came off, so I had to make a new one. He even lost his earplug, I wonder if he had some help. Thankfully it looked as there was no damage done to it. In my mind it appeared to have shrunk, like a raising or so. And yes, it got more and more difficult to get a clear picture. Poor guy had a fever already for days now. I never would have thought that this small thing, incrusted with XXTERRA® could cause him so much pain that he’s fevering. I am really heartbroken for my little shrimp right.

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Day 8, October 17th, 2015

 

Day 11: October 20th, 2015

l couldn’t believe my eyes. When we came to the stable after work, there was Barley, in his box, without the bandage…..but with a hole in his ear where ther sarcoid used to be! Heureka!! Even though it was dark, we made the effort to find it in the pasture. It was perfectly preserved, it didn’t even got dirty. The days prior had been frosty so the ground was solid and nobody (read ‘horse’) seemed to have tampered with the evidence.

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Day 11: October 20th, 2015

The bandage was naturally formed like a cone and the sarcoid layed nestled inside of the cone.

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Day 11: October 20th, 2015

Oh yeah right, and here the picture of his ear 😀

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Day 11: October 20th, 2015 Ear minus one sarcoid! Heureka!

Then the euphoria vanished. Looking closer at it, it really looked like only the lump had fallen off, but the wound did not seem ‘clean’. My heart sank. That meant that I had to continue and put more ointment on a now open wound. I was aware that that must hurt like hell when the first part already had inflicted so much pain.

 

Day 19: October 28th, 2015

His temperature is going up and down but never really away, it’s somewhere between 38,8°C – 39.4°C.Since he developed his temperature I did not ride him. Poor guy was going through enough already. We took walks together outside instead. In my opinion I don’t gain anything by persisting on riding while his immune system obviously was fighting a huge battle. I just had the ointment on once, in a thick layer and then I left it alone as much as possible. He is now free from the bandage, but I still kept the earplugg in his ear…just in case.

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Day 19: October 28th, 2015

 

 

Day 22: October 31st, 2015

The ear started to look more fleshy again and is mood is to be described with *grumpy times 10!!!* Temperature has not been below 39.0°C since day 19.

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Day 22: October 31st, 2015

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Day 22: October 31st, 2015 in better light

Day 28: November 6th, 2015

November 6th, 2015, also known as the ‘BHD’ the big hole day. Normally this would require a blog posting on its own, but for the sake of this documentary I will keep it short.

His ear had developed a lumb on the backside of his ear. When I tried to touch his ear, he warned me. He pinned his ears back and was biting the air with such a force that I thought he is going to chip another tooth. Man was he angry!

Ok, another lump and such behavior = NOT GOOD! We had to have a better look. But all good talks, treats, petting etc. did not help. He was just not having it! He spinned around in his box and did EVERYTHING to avoid us touching his ear, although he still seemed to be careful not to injure us at that point. Suddenly I had removed the crust that was on the wound, it just popped out. Don’t know really how and we don’t know how it looked either. It fell into the peat bedding never to be found again, but suddenly Barley had a huge hole in his ear.

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Day 28: November 6th, 2015 – big hole day

I was able to make a picture, he seemed like in chock directly after it had fallen out. Then I started to panic. Guess what, yeah, *ding, ding, ding, ding, ding* – this happened on a Friday evening at about 8pm. I didn’t care, I called my vet, whom I trust and who was not on duty that night and who thankfully answered my call! ❤  I had sent her the picture a minute before I called and we discussed what would be the best thing to do. I told her the options I had in my first aid suitcase…which includes almost everything you can legally get your hands on without being an actual vet. The choice fell on Veterinus Derma Gel®

We were 3 people in his stable. 1 guy and 2 strong horse women! He slammed us all into the wall like we were nothing! All 3 of us at the same time!

Our chance to use a sedative gel was blown, I wouldn’t be able to get anything under his tongue. I hated it, but we had to use the twitch, before either one (or all) of us would get seriously hurt. I put on my gloves on and put as much Derma Gel on there as possible. Anne put on the twitch and we waited until his eyes became a little drowsy. Glenn still held his head with both hands on the halter and we all talked the baby talk….and with a swift movement I stuck my finger in the hole in his ear and placed the highest possible amount of Derma Gel in the wound.

Day 30: November 8th, 2015

We didn’t even bother to come close to the ear the day after the BHD and this is as far as I was allowed to get with my mobile on day 2.

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Day 30: November 8th, 2015 – 2nd day after big hole day

Day 31: November 9th, 2015 – 3rd day after BHD

His temperature was back to normal, 37.3°C. 😀 He seemed to have forgiven us – to some extend, he remained highly suspecious every time I came with my hand close to his head. It was heartbreaking, he acted like he had received a beating. I tried to console myself with the fact that he at least wouldn’t have another summer with an irritated, possibly infected, bloody lump in his ear that seemed to be a feast for flies and other insects.

 

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Day 31: November 9th, 2015 – 3rd day after BHD

Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

After a lot of work with building up trust, I was allowed to touch his ear again. I believe it also took Barley some time to recognize that it was not hurting as much as before anymore, since he obviously had to go with some pain over quite some period of time. And will you please look at that! I had been able to put on some Derma GeL® only once and this is how good it looked after only 8 days! To say the least, I was very, very happy!

 

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Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

Of course I wanted to make sure that there is not another absess building under the crust. I was able to remove it without much fuzz from Barley, which really confirmed that his pain level had diminished quite a bit.

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Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

 

The wound still looked clean, not that deep anymore, and as you can see, I was still allowed to touch his ear after I had removed the crust. It did not smell badly and the surrounding tissue wasn’t reddened either.

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Day 36: November 14th, 2015 – 8th day after BDH

Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

I was sooo happy to see how fast this big whole actually healed – but better safe than sorry.

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Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

When there is some fluid att the edges of the crust…better remove, clean and put on some more Derma Gel! 🙂

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Day 43: November 21st, 2015 – 15 days after BDH

Day 48: November 26th, 2015 – 20 days after BDH

There is the light at the end of the tunnel!!

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Day 48: November 26th, 2015 – 20 days after BDH

 

Day 54: December 2nd, 2015 – 26 days after BDH

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Day 54: December 2nd, 2015 – 26 days after BDH

Day 78: December 26th, 2015 – 50 days after BDH

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Day 78: December 26th, 2015 – 50 days after BDH

Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

And the hole is closed! 😀 Temperature 37.4°C = perfect!

No swelling to be found, I was able to touch his ear without any reaction by him.

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Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

As mentioned in the beginning, since we are talking about a very delicate part of the horse with lots of nerv ending and blood vessels and cartilage, I tried to be as careful as possible with the use of XXTERRA but his surrounding cartilage was still damaged. He has now a little kink in his ear, as a permanent reminder of our struggle with the sarcoid. So I hope that my warnings don’t fall on deaf ears when I say that also a “herbal ointment” or a “natural remedy” can be very effective and is to be taken with a lot of caution!

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Day 81: December 29th, 2015 – 53 days after BDH

That’s it for now, folks!

I hope this was interesting and educational and that our example maybe can be of some help.

 

Posted in Equine therapy, Happy, Sarcoid, Success, Treatment, Xxterra | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Doing nothing together…

Nope! That’s not all we have done for the past 13 months 🙂 We have actually been quite busy and (not going to lie to you) I didn’t have the inner peace to write about all what was going on at that time.

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Doing nothing together is so much more relaxing than doing it alone!

I changed jobs in September last year and my new job is quite different to what I did before, so I concentrated on learning it as fast as I could.

And then winter came….

Honestly, I can’t even remember what last winter was like, the only thing I know is that there was not much snow but still Barley had problems with build ups in his hooves.

But finally spring came and it was warm. The grass was growing fast, although May/June had some pretty cold nights still. I was carefull not to let him go for hours in the pasture right away.

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10 minutes of heaven

We started with 5 minutes for the first 5 days, 10 minutes  day 5 to 10, 15 minutes day 10 to 15,  25 minutes day 15 to 20, 1 hour day 20 to 25, 3 hours day 25 to 30. I wanted to make sure that he really gets used to the fresh grass.

He really enjoyed the hours on the grass. For the rest of the day he was banned to his old winter pasture, where I tried to give him company whenever possible. By this I mean that I grab the camping chair, put it in the middle of the pasture and sit down.

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But he was not banned to be alone all the time, we decided to create the bachelor group. 2 geldings and a stallion.  See picture below, from left to right: gelding, stallion, gelding!

Yes, that little one in the middle, is the stallion and he is not so little anymore. By now I believe there are only millimeters in difference to Barley. The little terrorist is chasing Barley every day and I am not sad about that. At least he gets some excercise before he forgets about it all together :-).

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The bachelors

In July they were in this pasture. They slept in the stable during the nights but got thrown out at 7am and came inside between 8-10pm.

Since the pasture is beside the road, we didn’t feel comfortable to leave them there alone during the night. Too many sick, stupid and dangerous people out there in the world.

But during the day, they had a blast.

This is the video from the first few minutes together in a pasture. Stifus, the big sorrel, and Barley have been together in a pasture before, but the stallion was a new addition.

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Uncle Barley is baby sitting

Well, more to come later on 😀

Cheerio, folks!

 

Posted in #Memories, #Summer, Companions, Fresh grass, Happy | Leave a comment

A chipped tooth and a bloody button in the ear!

No, I have not gone mad, this is exactly what I had to discuss and deal with yesterday. You know, when things go too well for you, life knows how to get your feet back on the ground!

Last weekend during the clinic I had him turned out in a pasture a couple of hours during the day, with lots of clover in it. I just had him put back into his stall when he flehmened (not sure if this is the right form, but I hope you’ll get it 😀 ). I was standing at the sink and prepared his Mash, so I was maybe 7-8 meters away from him. I noticed something black on his teeth and thought

Great, a clover leave stuck on his teeth, the horsey equivalent to spinage between your teeth!

The next day I remembered the “clover leave” and just wanted to check if it’s gone….so I lift up his lip…and screamed out in chock. What I had seen the other day, was NOT a clover leave, but actually a broken tooth with a big whole in the shape of a clover leave.

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Sweat started to form immeadiately on my forehead, I was always so proud that he had so healthy teeth and now there a is huge darn whole right in the middle of it. The panic rose up my spine, what if the root is affected and he is in pain. What happens if the tooth is so damaged that it needs to get pulled, he needs to eat…. Thoughts running through my brain while I was looking at this huge gab between his incisors.

Thankfully my trusted vet was able to have a look at him yesterday. Barley didn’t seemed to be bothered at all!!!

This is the only reason I did not get more panic attacks, he was happy as a fiddle, eating everything that I put in front of him…he even tried plum (minus the stone, of course) and seemed to love it. Crazy shrimp 😉

My vet said the same thing as my friend during our countless talks in which she tried to calm me down. Nothing serious is damaged, he is not in any pain because of the tooth, everthing is fine. Big sigh of releaf. Once again, what I thougth was a big deal was nothing at all! Great… 🙂

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I also had asked her to please check out the sarcoid in Barley’s ear, because I would like to get it removed since that one does seem to bother him and I  thought it’s a good time, now that the weather is getting colder and the insects are getting less.

When I bought Barley, he already had this equine sarcoid in his right ear. For the first two years it didn’t give us any headaches. About two years ago he was turned out with another horse in the pasture and one day he came in with a bleeding ear. I guess they were playing tug-o-war and the result was an open sarcoid that was bleeding a lot.

Apparantely a sarcoid is a kind of “skin tumor” that does not spread by metastasis, but when damaged, it can spread. I used a lot of Propolis tincture on the sarcoid and it healed again.

Normally the sarcoid looked like this, kind of like the button in ear from one of those Steiff animals. Nothing to worry about. It’s in a good place, nothing in the proximity that might irritate or damage it, like in the girth area or where the halter or bridle sits.

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Unfortunately this summer it started to look like this (picture below). The dry skin fell off and a bloody looking knot was on display and it is getting bigger, too. Barley got pretty irritated by flies, so I had a fly mask on him and a couple of times a week I put Propolis tincture on it, because I wanted to prevent any infection. But it happened a lot that the propolis crust fell off, too. Propably when he was shaking flies off, the sight of this bloddy “button in ear” was not so nice, so I thought, we remove it and then it’s over..

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And this is were I was wrong. I had read, that you can surgically remove sarcoids, but my vet explained, that this is not the case, if the sarcoid is located in the ear. When you remove a sarcoid, you need to remove a lot of flesh to minimize the chance of its return. Since the ear is only cartilage and skin…we would need to amputate the top of his ear.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 😮

And this is were my stomach turned. This can’t be happening! I can’t amputate his ear 😦 poor thing! Fortunately there is a cream that has had great results with destroying these sarcoids and this is what we will try first. So please, hold your thumbs for Barley, that the cream will help and that we get rid of this damn thing and he will be left in peace next summer by the flies.

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I am going to do a kind of documentation about our journey, so stay tuned if you are interested.

 

 

Posted in #Summer, this can't be happening | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A valuable lesson!

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Three years ago, I attended my first clinic with Barley. It was a clinic in Västerås arranged by the local western trainer and we were riding for George Maschalani. The only thing I knew was, that he had won the european championship several times, he had won the Futurity and was crowned Rider of the Year. At that time I was riding for six months. You can imagine how nervous I was! In the beginning of this year I was asked, if I would like to be the organizer of this clinic. I was thrilled and honored and accepted gladly.
Last weekend the clinic took place and this time (I think it’s the fourth time I am riding for him), I promised myself to just push all nervousness aside and really listen. He is a really nice guy and wants to help. The past clinics I felt that my nervousness got in the way of me listening to what he has to say, this time this should not stop me.
I was very focused and tried to suck up every little piece of knowledge he had to offer.

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Barley was very relaxed and didn’t either act up during warm up and I believe that my relaxed state of mind had a lot to do with it.

The past year I had problems again with him leaning to the inside when we were on a circle and I didn’t know how to fix it. I had become very frustrated with myself because I know that George had showed us during a clinic and I had forgotten. Thankfully he picked up the issue by himself because we all had problems with it. The other thing was the usage of our spurs. Over and over we heard him say

More leg, not spur!

I know that he was right again, we were all too sloppy with them.
Before it was my turn to ride the next excercise, my DOH appeared at our side and told me to take off my spurs. My friend and personal trainer Anne had send him to collect my spurs and I think it was a great idea. During the first excercises I tried very hard to not touch him with them but it still happened. I leaned forward and whispered to Barley

Please, listen to my legs, it will make life easier for both of us! Please, please listen!

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Then it was our turn. The excercise was to jog/canter on a circle over 4 poles.
We started with the jog and and he did an awesome job, then we were asked to canter a right circle. I felt right away what I had felt the past year when we were loping indoors..he leaned to the inside.

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So I carefully lifted up my hands a little (I was riding with two hands), the left hand a little higher to put him straight with the neck. My reins were so long, I didn’t even touch the bit. I kept the rythm with my legs, although it was not visible for those who were watching, except for George, I guess ;).

Suddenly everything felt so easy. I got some great comments from George. I was so happy that I was able to correct Barley before George told me to. And then I remembered all the months I had pulled on him and was yet again unfair to him because I didn’t know better. I know that he could hear me, so I appologized while we were loping on our circle. Then George said that we were allowed to walk now and I am not really sure but as soon as he had slowed down a huge wave of emotions run over me and I started to cry like a baby.

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The day after the clinic I found a quote on facebook.

The beauty of horseback riding is that you need to learn how to be in complete controle while at the same time in complete surrender…

I guess that is what happened, I had that moment with Barley!

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George started to panick and asked what’s wrong??? What happened??? 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Until I had the strength to answer, that it was just such an awesome to have ridden Barley like this and that I was just overwhelmed.
Then he actually cracked a smile :).

My DOH said, that even a visitor watching turned around to him with tears in her eyes. I tried to get it together and stop sobbing while stearing Barley back into the line up to allow the next one to start this excercise. The third member of our little group came up from behind and touched my shoulder. When I turned around, her eyes were filled with tears as well.

I almost started to cry again when I saw that she was so touched and happy for Barley and me, that we had this beautiful moment. He was standing in the line up yawning over and over again and was completely relaxed.

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I wish you all that you will have this moment with your horse, it is the most awesome feeling. ❤

Posted in #Fun, #Summer, clinic, George Maschalani, Happy, Workout | Leave a comment

A fountain of new inspiration…Charles de Kunffy!

Jumping excercise

Jumping exercise

During my vacation I was browsing the internet and some how ended up watching an interview by Rick Lamb from The Horse Show with Charles de Kunffy. (The Horse Show, Episode 530).

For those who do not know anything about Charles de Kunffy. Charles was born and raised in Hungary as a member of the Austro-Hungarian nobility and has collected so many equestrian credentials that it is too much to list them all.

If you want to find out more, you can find out more under Charles de Kunffy – bio.

I even added the link to the interview on YouTube.

I listened to it over and over again and found Mr. de Kunffy’s answer just perfect!

Rick asked: When did you get interested in jumping? Your book (A Rider’s Survival from Tyranny) is filled with pictures of you jumping. I always thought of you as a dressage (rider), I thought that was your thing.

Charles de Kunffy smiles and answers:

Yes, it is, because, we didn’t separate anything. There were two kinds of riding. Good and bad, and the good riders did everything. Jumping is an extension of dressage and flat work.  You control the horse to the fence and after the fence and in flight you are only following, not controlling. So, it is a dressage movement, you can do a piaffe or passage or you can jump a hurdle.

Rick Lamb asks the follow up question:

Does it bother you that today those are very distinct disciplines?

Charles de Kunffy:

Yes, it bothers me a lot, because some jumpers jump, the horses are very good and they do the jump but they are not in correct balance and of course, content defines form. Correct content is what is called a beautiful form. Very few jumpers have beautiful form because they don’t have beautiful content, they are out of balance over the fence, but it doesn’t bother a horse that is bred…, it’s the triumph of contemporary breeding. It’s no the triumph of horsemanship, it’s the triumph of the breeders that give you a horse that can do it, in spite of…..

In my opinion this is not only valid for dressage or jumping, but for all other disciplines within the equestrian world as well. I feel more and more reluctant to say that I am a western rider. I would rather like to say that I am a very well balanced rider, sitting (most of the time) in a western saddle. 🙂

That would be something that I could be really proud of. The be able to say, that I am a balanced rider, who is not a burden to my horse and is not pulling on the reins for balance, would be the most wonderful thing.

Fortunately I know that I am far away from being able to say this as a true statement, but every day I am in pursuit of this goal.

I know, however, that I have become better. On Monday I was delighted when my trainer said:

Now look at that…. you actually start to ride your horse, and look what happened to him, he is a completely new horse!

This comment slingshot me to the moon and back, not only because it was a very nice comment, but because I felt it. You should have seen him, he was chewing on the bit and licking, with his tongue stretched out full length, and his back elevated me in the saddle a couple of inches. I know that Barley is not one of those fancy dressage or jump horses, he is a western horse that is not bred to do piaffes or passages or jump high fences, but I am very proud of what we have achieved together. We learn basic riding, where I learn how to relax my body in the right places and to find balance, and he learns my aids and builds the strength to carry himself with me on his back.

Hey you...

Hey you…

Well, this is maybe a bit wrong, I have come to understand that he actually knows what aids are needed to do specific things, it’s just that I need to do them correctly and when I ask things of him that he finds difficult, it might just take a few minutes for him to accept and actually do what I ask of him. For this I need the help of my trainer in order to know what is what.

The goal is still for us to grow together, develop further and to strive after perfection. I believe in our versatile training, there is to be learned so much from other “disciplines”, if you now want to call it that.

Most important for me is that we both have fun doing it, Barley is still yawning when I put on the saddle and bridle and his muscles are like jelly when we are done with our rides/workouts and this, I find, is a very good sign. My biggest goal, in everything we do, is still that he enjoys it and it is in benefit of him becoming a healthy, strong horse with a relaxed and stable mind who is looking forward to our working together instead of being uncooperative and reluctant due to pain or discomfort.

Here another beautiful quote from Charles de Kunffy:

For horses can educate through first hand, subjective, personal experiences, unlike human tutors, teachers, and professors can ever do. Horses can build character, not merely urge one to improve on it. Horses forge the mind, the character, the emotions and inner lives of humans. People can talk to one another about all these things and remain distanced and lonesome . In partnership with a horse, one is seldom lacking for thought, emotion and inspiration. One is always attended by a great companion.
~Charles de Kunffy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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