Sunday, March 18, 2012

Torture Day!

Yesterday was Pangea's weekly pool day, a few days later than usual given the fact that I did not wake up to my SIX alarms on Wednesday and was therefore late to work instead of early to the barn to pick her up on time. (Not my usual... I was totally thrown off all day long. Hate that.) Yesterday was also our first trot day in the pool, which I am very excited about - this should give her the strength and flexibility she needs to prevent Pogo Trot when she begins her warmups under saddle. The AquaTread puts a mean topline on everything it sees, I can attest to that!

She did a power walk for 8 minutes, trotted for 3, then power walked again for 4. Absolutely no need to do more than 3 minutes of trot... fitness will come in time. Soundness, strength and flexibility are all products of smart choices when it comes to fitness and there isn't any need to rush. We're not exactly training for Medal Finals or anything.

In terms of her conditioning, while I have started to very lightly play around with other speeds (mostly to just get an assessment of how she is feeling under saddle), mostly I am still doing all of my work at the walk. I believe in walking for fitness - those of you who read the Eventing-A-Gogo blog will remember our weekly 2 hour walk hacks to Dunkin Donuts - and did most of exclusively as roadwork in an effort to turn her tendons into iron. Of course, that did absolutely nothing for her as she blew both hind SDFTs out at the end of the season... so much for that idea. At least my mind was in the right place? Maybe? I try not to think about it too much anymore because it makes me too sad.

Aside from all that, I am super happy to report that her manners have vastly improved over the course of the past few weeks. She only needs to be scolded for naughty behavior once (at most, twice), and then she understands and doesn't try it again. Last week she was a pawing maniac in the barn, completely ignoring every reprimand I gave her in her persistence. This week, I tried a different tactic: completely ignoring her when she paws. This seemed to have a profound effect on her mind. I noticed that when she was pawing and I scolded her, she perked her ears towards me and occasionally nickered while still continuing to paw. Basically, any sort of noisy attention I was giving her was good fun, and she in her own way felt as though she was being rewarded for it. D'oh! How about we take two on that one. Her brain finally wrapped around this idea of "pawing = no attention" when we pulled up in the trailer for our swim date at the barn. She wanted to get OFF the trailer RIGHT NOW, so she started to paw as I went for the side door. And I walked away. I made it all the way into the barn before she realized I was no longer there, and stopped. I walked back. When she saw me coming out the window, she started to paw again. I turned around, and walked away. She stopped. I turned back around, and walked towards her. She started to paw again. I walked away. And so on until the wheels turned in her head and she stopped pawing the moment I started to walk away. "Crap, she is leaving when I do that... maybe I should stop it" would be what was floating above her head had she been able to produce a visible thought bubble. She eventually stopped entirely, and I unloaded her. The effect lasted on into the barn, where she refused to paw even once when I was walking around to and away from her. She did paw every time a horse got in or out of the treadmill, but with a verbal "quit!" from me, she stopped immediately. (Yes!!)

Following her pool session, she got a full on bubble bath completely with salon-style tail care, spritzed down with conditioner and fly spray as a finisher. Yep, our flies are out in full force... we've had spring weather for weeks and weeks and the bugs are mad crazy already! (Oh, and the black widows too... the black widows are EVERYWHERE. I'm amazed I haven't been bitten yet... I'm sure that time is coming, and you'll get to hear about a lovely story like this one.)

And as a final torture session, Pangea got to enjoy the Theraplate for 30 minutes while drying!

She was a good girl and walked right into the stocks with no issue. We keep the Theraplate there in the stocks because a) it fits perfectly and b) we can tie up a quiet horse and leave it to cook there for 30 minutes while we do other things without worrying about it moving/leaving/wigging/etc. If you've never seen a Theraplate, it's essentially one big humming, vibrating metal plate that you stand on for vibration therapy. Like hyberbaric chambers, Theraplates are being toted as the next big fix-everything miracle machine... only time will tell if that is true or not.

She was mostly a very good girl around standing quietly on her own little personal earthquake pad, save for a moment of uncertainty when it first begain. It feels incredibly weird at first, so I can't blame her! I think I will also start standing on it whenever I get a moment.... my back has been killing me and I need some relief!

What a good girl. Well, almost...

I was going to trail ride today but had a new client to attend to with several horses, so I spent most of my time doing that instead. We'll see tomorrow how she feels under saddle!


  1. She looks amazing, Andrea! The work you've put into her really shows (both exercise and grooming). Amazing, amazing, amazing!

  2. You guys have the coolest stuff!

  3. Wish we had an aqua tread here! I WANT to do it so bad for Yankee. The video was pretty cool :)

  4. Holy cow, you have some seriously cool stuff at your barn! :)
    Pangea looks so relaxed and happy, I'm so so happy that you went with your heart and brought her home.

  5. I wish I worked at that barn lol. :) It sounds like she's really benefiting from everything.

    I fixed my old mare's bad habit of pawing using that exact same method lol.