Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ambermare goes to the vet.

I got out at around 10. We loaded up and got ready to rock and roll.

She was not so great about loading. I don't know what her problem is lately with loading. Looks like we will need work on that. I'm thinking wheat thins again. Food seems to make her listen up more than anything, so maybe if getting in the trailer might mean food in her mind, she will be like "YAY! Let's go!"

She wasn't that bad though. She didn't really sit back or rear or anything, just planted her feet. Bob had a "talk" with her a couple of times. She wasn't scared, because her expression and body language wasn't nervous, she was just being stubborn. The horse that was also coming along did rear up but ended up getting on a little quicker.

Anyway, they were no trouble once they actually got on. We got to the vet and Amber behaved like a perfect angel from the moment she stepped off the trailer! I was so proud of her. She stood totally still for all her shots, blood being taken for her coggins, and for the vet to look at her teeth. The vet watched her move and said she's moving fine, so there's really no lameness issue to speak of. I'm back to thinking the angle of the hind feet needs to change and the teeth.

She got the wolf teeth out, and the vet showed me a sore that she had from the pinching. No wonder she was pissed off about work lately!

Pulling the last wolf tooth.

The vet was just as wonderful as I've been hearing of her. She let me see and feel the difference in the teeth before and after the floating, kept me in on everything that was going on.

We should be back to work in less than a week. 5-6 days no bit in her mouth is what the vet said.

I was so proud of how good she was for the vet, and so glad we can finally get back on track!

Friday, March 18, 2011

First ride in the dressage arena!

I rode Amber around the farm today. Tried to ride back beside the field, but she was so spooky and tense and I could see she was not one of those horses who is okay out alone, so I said whatever and tried to hold her steady on the way back to the barn.

We briefly rode in the dressage arena. She was okay, a little rushy. But she was the same in the big arena. When she started to trot nice I let her canter both ways once around, and we actually got some decent response to the half halts. I was pleased. She's way more nervous these days, and I don't understand why...

I spoke with the farrier. He says we can try to correct the toe dragging barefoot, but he said no promises. I expected that. He didn't get a chance to measure the angles or anything though, so I'll get more knowledge when he actually gets to do her feet. He actually said the sand in the arenas would be more likely to rub off the toe than the regular hard ground like Andrea had.

Well, *** had sand. Her toes were fine back then. Which points out to me that this isn't "just her". We will get it straightened out. She just does not use that hind end though! It's frustrating and she doesn't even feel like she did when I first rode her.

But, I have good professional help. We will get this straightened out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good mood, good food...YUCK, wormer!

My lovely mare met me at the gate yesterday. She was haltered without being offered a wheat thin first. :) Yes, she's coming around.

I groomed her. Clipped her bridle path. And then just as we were about to head out Bob showed up. It was time to worm her so we did that quickly before she was bridled. She made the most disapproving faces! Panacur. Yum. Not.

The ride was good. A little rushy in some places, not bad at all though and NICE circles. We are starting to get a little curiosity about lowering the head and getting on the bit as well.

Just a nice day all around for us. She got some conditioner on her feet, and the hock scrape is already almost gone.

Hoping for more nice days like that.

The only thing we need to work on is her attention. She likes to look outside the arena for horse eating monsters, and it gets her all inverted and on the forehand. She never spooks, she just looks. So I think I will start incorporating more random circles and changes of direction to make her have to think.

Silly mare.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taking the good and the bad.

Once again, Amber was easily caught, interested to see if perhaps she would get a tasty morsel for behaving.

We had an uneventful grooming and tack up, and then we went out to ride. She was doing well today, so I tried a canter again. Yet again, she got a little too strong. So, while that was being used as a possible reward for her, I will not attempt it any more since it can obviously get out of control, and she doesn't need that stress on the hind legs. I expect once the teeth and feet are fixed, it will be much like how I fixed her trot (which is now 99% excellent again)...just check and release until she understands slow and easy means no pressure on her face.

I'm still very excited to work with Emma. I think she will really help Amber and I stay on track and succeed. It's hard for me to school *myself* when I can't see myself.

After we finished, she was quite hot (it was rather warm today), so I bathed her. All was well until the end. I'm not sure what happened, but she went from calm and patient to a fire breathing, wiggling little brat. She even threatened to kick (which she was quickly reprimanded for!).

It started after I began washing her tail. She got a little "turned on" I believe. Of course she may be in heat anyway, but I usually can't tell unless she's with other horses. She was winking and taking up peeing stance. I finished her tail though, and made her stand for me to brush it before I put her away to dry.

I watched one of Emma's advanced lessons and then checked on Amber, who was mostly dry and very fluffy. I decided to curry her over to remove the hair that was now coming off (yay, sheddage!).

It was around feeding time, which explained why she was wiggling and being stupid, but that doesn't excuse it. She was very much in my space, bumping into me and just being annoying in general. I gave her a little pop, and oh my god, I just killed her. *Sigh*. It was barely more than a tap. But she just sat down. I stepped back out of her way and waited for her to straighten up. She was tied with a break away tie, so I wasn't too worried. She stood up, observed me for a moment, and then I went back to what I was doing. She stood and behaved.

Yes. Our problem, mostly, is lack of work and lack of being made to mind. Andrea avoided conflict with her, and she apparently forgot that I don't put up with it. She's usually so easy to correct that I avoid popping if I can. But when all else have to get her attention and say "HEY...I'm in charge."

She scraped the back of her hock in her goofy moment, but it's fortunately just superficial, and I put some ointment on it. It's a dime size little scrape.

I spoke with Bob and he's going to make an appointment with the vet.

Here's to better days. Although today was, 60% great. I just wish we'd never gone to Andrea's. So many things would not be an issue right now. *Sigh*

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Food = Success

Yes. Success with the wheat thins.

Amber saw my hand had something. She was very interested, and stayed put. I fed her one for allowing me to approach, and then I haltered her and gave her another for that. Nothing more to report, very uneventful. And she really doesn't need to be galloping around stressing those hind legs, so whatever it takes to avoid that I'm down with.

Our ride was fantastic! Minor rushing that was easily got back down, and NICE circles without any running out through her shoulder. She was in a pleasant mood the entire ride!

I gave her treats after the ride. She then napped while I conditioned her hooves.

My saddle isn't fitting well anymore. She's lost weight and muscle, which has narrowed her up some.

I hesitate to change the gullet, because it isn't causing her pain, it just sits me too forward. And she will gain muscle soon, get fat on the grass, and then a medium narrow won't fit. This gullet used to be almost TOO narrow when she was fit and fat. So that's why I've decided to hold off on that.

If finances work out Emma and I will have a lesson when Amber gets her wolf teeth out (and recovers). Emma is such a nice person and seems like a great instructor/trainer and I'm excited to work with her! She also has the cutest, grumpiest, most impatient little Welsh pony she's working with. He reminds me of Jack in soooo many ways. Studdy. Pushy. Impatient. But so talented. That was Jack. I miss him quite a bit...sometimes, because Amber learns so fast, I forget she's still quite green. Jack was pretty seasoned when I left. Or at least, our walk trot work, but I won't go into all that. I could write about our relationship for days.

I'm going out tomorrow I think. It's going to be 76, so I might be able to bathe her. She needs it. I think all the other boarders are planning on doing the same, so I might have to get in line!

Also, our bit and reins came. I'm hoping the more flexible web reins will help my hands be more efficient. And I'm hoping she likes the eggbutt french link too. That will be our dressage bit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

*Le Sigh* Maybe it's the weather.

Hard to catch problem went unsolved today. I was able to approach her, but she trotted off just when I was going to put the halter on. Woo.

It took about 10 minutes to catch her. At once point she was coming back around, almost like she was playing games, and although I knew it would waste time, I stomped and yelled at her and let her know I was NOT playing, I was pissed.

I ended up catching her with an embarrassing last resort. I grabbed a handful of green grass and balled it up like some sort of interesting morsel of food, and let it catch her eye so she'd be interested in the potential hand out.

I think she hates the way her feet sound on the concrete in the barn. She always kind of gets wide eyed when she hears it. Not spooky, but kind of a what the heck look.

I was going to lunge her, but I saw her moving in the pasture walk/trot/canter, and she was very sound. We went out and had a nice warm up. A little "up" at first, but not terribly so. We had a very nice trot going on. Even some fairly round, balanced circles. She was moving so nice I though we'd try a few strides of canter as a reward. Well, the first go was to the left and it was horrid. She was PUMPED and flying. I expected that. She's been off so long.

We broke it down and she JUMPED a ground pole when we went across the arena to change directions. I collected her a little more and the right lead, usually her bad side, was a BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, smooth and prompt transition up. We tried a big 30m circle, but we almost crashed into the fence because she was just not bendy enough to make the turn. My fault really, I let her fall in too much. I know it sounds crazy, but I almost felt her rush TOWARDS the rail like she wanted to try to jump it. It's gotta be 4ft. Not in her lifetime, or mine! ;)

We took a break, and then I was going to ask her to trot half way around tracking left and then she could be done. Well, now, she decided she wanted to canter MORE. It's her favorite gait. I like it too, but I asked for trot, so that was a no no. She ignored me. As Chasing The Dream said in a recent blog - ask, tell, make. I used this system, which you guys may have noticed I use quite a bit. Took about 5-10 minutes to get her back. When she trotted down the side she was trying to canter on the worst, like a nice little pony, I let her be done.

I hate fighting with her. I want her to enjoy being ridden. I know she's bored out of her mind right now. I started to think that that might be part of the problem with her being caught - she's bored and hates the walk/trot/walk/trot/halt/walk/trot/trot...ect...and then is just like "Um, no."

I took her in and she was a sweatball from getting herself all pissy and worked up. I hate fighting with her, but I don't pity her, because she KNOWS what I am asking for, and chooses to disobey. She works for me 30 minutes 3 days, 4 at most, and I work 30+ hours a week to keep her healthy with a full belly. I'm not asking much of her. She knows better, and that's her own doing.

I hosed her off just a little where the saddle was. Apparently she wasn't as hot as I thought she was, even though it was reasonably warm today, because she was pretty unhappy with me, fidgeting in the crossties, but she enjoyed a nice roll when I turned her out.

My issue at hand: I've got to get her motivated again. I've got to get her wanting to come in and work and be with people. I'm pretty sure she's being caught easily at dinner time.

I hate to do it, because I know good and well food bribes aren't good training aids. BUT, in this situation, I think it's the best option. She's very food driven. So I'm going to start taking cookies out with me when I go catch her. And giving her a couple after each ride. If she starts to expect it, that's fine, we can work through that later. We've done it before. Right now, I just need to give her something positive to associate with coming in and working.

I honestly think she's just been off for almost a month, not been handled that much except by Andrea, and her manners and working mentality are shot all to pieces. She's turned into a spoiled little pasture puff.

I'm also keen to have the vet look at her hind end. She is NOT dragging her right hind toe. There is a little bit, but the white line is still there, it's barely noticeable. The left hind is the one with the problem, and it's funny how the left, her usually good direction, is the one she's rushy and pissy in. Not a coincidence. There's more to this. She's not lame, but something's definitely off. I looked at her feet today after the ride. No sight of dragging at all on any of the feet but the left hind. Not even on the right hind.

Anyway, definitely not cantering her any more for a while until all this is resolved. Usually, it helps get her bending if I just go a couple of strides, and that's not enough to hurt her while we are on walk/trot only. But there is definitely something not right with that left hind though. Maybe not a lameness, but it's contributing to this attitude. I'm going to put focus on that direction less. It's kind of a crap shoot, but I just have a hunch it's not her training that's the problem. I don't want to drop it entirely and get her built uneven by just training on the right, nor give her a mental block for that side.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crazy Mare On The Loose

Okay, not really loose.

So I went out today. Amber was out with two geldings, as the other mare in the group has been brought in.

I think she's coming into heat. It's hard to tell when I'm working with her, only her behavior with other horses tells. It would make sense, since the other mare she's out with has been in heat.

Anyhow, I went out to catch her. She was just chilling. Just standing there grazing, and when I got about 25 feet from her, she BOLTED. Flat out gallop. All the way to the other end of the pasture. I wasn't going to run around chasing her. I can't outrun her, obviously, so I patiently followed behind. When she saw that I was attempting to approach her again, she flagged her tail and pranced around, head high, and then took off again, throwing little bucks of joy. They weren't directed at me, so I assumed she was just feeling good. She was definitely not lame. She ran back to the other end, and pranced along the fenceline looking at the paint that lives in the next pasture over. Then, saw I was coming again, and took off back towards the other end.'

And then...she got a little too ahead of herself and fell on her right side. I had a mini heart attack, but before I could freak out too much, she was up, looking embarrassed, but off and running again, bucking and having herself a good old time, appearing to be no worse for the wear.

I shook my head and laughed and followed her again, just talking to her and telling her how silly she was.

She stopped at the other end by the two geldings, who were paying her absolutely no mind, and then I caught her easily, while she huffed and puffed. I told her that I hoped she had fun, but learned a lesson - you can run as long as you like, but in the end, you'll just have to work even more.

She followed me quietly to the barn. LOL. I wish I had my video camera. I think she was more or less just feeling silly and playful, considering how easily she was caught after she tuckered herself out.

Emma, the trainer, told me if she's shedding not to groom her in the wash pit, as it clogs the drain, but we have no significant sheddage yet. *Sigh* All the other ponies there are shedding buckets of hair.

We went out and she did MUCH, much better than Saturday. Only got rushy a couple of times, and otherwise I was very happy with our ride. I'm only working her 20-30 minutes at a time every other day right now while she is in a semi-rehab.

I turned her back out when we finished and she went off to graze quietly, energy depleted. I am so, so glad I bought a mare. I know some people can't stand the silly mare antics that inevitably happen, but I just think my life with her is so much more interesting. I could do without the falling down, though, but watching her flag her tail and kick her up heels just showing off? Prancing around like the queen bee she is certain she is? Wouldn't trade it for anything. And she's such a snuggle bunny. Mares are generally much more cuddly than geldings. She loves to be sweet-talked and loved on.

She was off to the right today, and even Emma noticed. I expect she was just sore from the little spill she took. But I don't think she seriously hurt anything, or she would have been dead hopping lame as soon as she got up.

Tomorrow I'm going to do some very, very light work over ground poles with her. Obviously, no cantering or jumping for us until I get those feet accessed, but I think 15-20 minutes of pole trotting would do her good. I also want to do some leg yields to get her listening to my leg more, although she was quite responsive to it today. Very responsive. And much more responsive to my half halts. She did get the bit in her teeth once, but I got her back pretty quick. I ordered the french link, which I think will prevent that, since it's much harder for a horse to get something double jointed clenched in their teeth. I'll still use the D ring for jumping and HUS. That will come later when her training gets back on track, and her trying to grab the bit and ignore me becomes a non-issue. I think she mostly does it so she can try to canter, which is what she always tries to do after she gets it in her teeth. I think she's just bored out of her mind with walk trot, walk trot, walk trot. She's got a lot of energy - she's young and likes to move. She doesn't understand why I'm not letting her canter any more for now.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ride success!

So Amber's finally got her turnout. She looked SO happy out there. She is turned out with one mare, incidentally a chestnut QH, and an odd colored little pony gelding. She has been able to begin securing her place as 'boss mare' with them - life is good, she says.

"You're REALLY taking me out for a REAL ride, mom?!"

Yeah, we went out for a ride today in the jump arena. She was a good girl to have not had real work in 3 weeks! She was trying to run right through my contact. Ignored my half halts. Now, at this point, I've got her number. It's no longer a nervousness of contact, which at first, I do believe it was. It's not pain, despite the wolf teeth - I just don't see any sign of her being in pain. She's just avoiding my direction, pretty much saying "Lalalala, I can't hear you, I'm just going to trot faster until you give up!"

Enough of this game...the more she tried to ignore me, the harder I got on her. When she responded, pressure off immediately. To get her to the point where she'd actually stop to think about this, I asked for the opposite of what I wanted: I asked trotted her so fast she was on the brink of cantering, but was not allowed to canter. Faster than she wanted to trot to run through my contact. She quickly decided that it was a lot easier to trot nice and easy and listen to the bit than to fight with me. ;)

Worked up a sweat. We are both out of shape. My seat and hands were disgusting. I'm just horrified that I'm crunching up and leaning everywhere like I am. Tomorrow she is off. I don't want to throw her into daily hard work coming right out of a rest period. Tomorrow she might give one of my friends a pony ride at best, and she is definitely getting a bath if it's in the 70s. Her mane looks so stupid, by the way. *Sigh*. Still a mohawk, and innocently I'm sure, she rolled in the pasture, probably having a party because she was finally, FINALLY free, and the nice, neat banding job I did is not sticking up in the air. Pointless.

The good news: My mare is happy again and we are back in work, even if it's only walk/trot with brief trot periods. We will work again on Monday or Tuesday, if anyone is out at the barn. The only problem at Halcyon is often during the week in the morning, nobody is out there and on principal, I do not ride alone. Am I afraid to? No, but anything can happen even on a horse like Amber that I trust...what if it was totally unrelated to my ride? What if I became ill and couldn't get back to the barn? You never know.

All in all, I was pleased with our ride. She seems less mouthy with the copper roller D than she was before. Less head bobbing though. I still think it was the loose rings. They might have been pinching; I don't think that was it; I think it was a case of she didn't like the noise and the movement on the sides of her mouth.

Ordering a french link eggbutt asap. I know Bob recommended the oval lozenge bit, but Amber has a relatively small mouth and I feel the lozenge would be too much bulk for her and she'd prefer the flat french link.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hmm. Well then.

I got called by my manager and was told to come in at 6 rather than 3, so I made my way over to the barn. I gave Amber a quick grooming and then decided to hand graze her.

All was fine until I don't know what came over her, but she jigged and kind of bounced forward. I corrected her gently and let her graze some more, then I decided we'd go in the near by round pen and just fool around for a minute. I could see that my lack of work with her had affected her ground manners - even for being in a new place.

She jigged, and LUNGED into the round pen. Then stood their, eyes rolling, head high. I closed the gate and took her halter off and she proceeded to bolt around me. Why? Perhaps she thought I was going to turn her out in there. She has been in for two and a half days now. She isn't used to that. Understandable, but not okay. So I let her settle herself. She hung her head over the rail, flagged her tail and pranced around. What a mare, I thought to myself. LOL.

I made her change directions, which she was reluctant to do. She kind of gave a little buck a couple of times, more or less pent up energy.

Bob was watching and I told him what had happened. He worked with her a few minutes and said that someone had definitely rough handled her in the past. Being that she was not like this before Andrea's, I was silently thinking that my suspicions were confirmed - Andrea HAD been roughing her around. Not flat out abuse, but something was obviously wrong over there when I had not been doing anything different than usual.

He backed her, messed with her head, lead her around, in and out of the gate. He's fantastic. And he pretty much told me that I worry too much, to just chill about it. I know that, but I'm a perfectionist and I sometimes lose sight of everything that's a plus with any particular horse. You guys know that from Jack. He said she's probably just adjusting to having to be inside for extended periods of time, and there's all these horses that she has yet to meet and she wants to go out and explore. This is more than likely what's behind her silliness, I know. But I'm a worry wart and I don't want this behavior to become a habit.

After I get my next paycheck she will be getting her wolf teeth pulled and her shots/coggins.

I'm considering not riding until she's had turn out time. I suppose it depends on how she's acting. All of her anxiousness (most likely from having to stay inside) is making ME anxious about our first ride out there. My confidence issues are, obviously, still breakable.

Then again, she might be better when she's all tacked up and realizes it's time to work. The jumping arena is on the far side of the farm away from the pastures, so less temptation to be mega mare and be silly. The mare who lives beside her is in heat, so it's also highly likely she's going into heat herself. So it could be just a combination of stressful things making her "forget" herself. I'll ask Bob what he thinks about going ahead and riding. Obviously, we are clear to walk/trot with the feet, but I don't want to ask too much of her too soon out here before she has properly settled in.

It's always different, taking a horse to a new barn, than just taking them say, to a show or something. I don't know why. New place is a new place. But somehow, it always is different.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Adventure time for Amber.

So I gave Amber a good grooming and banded her mane over so that it will hopefully grow downward and train that way. De-tangled her tail, picked her feet. She was a very well behaved mare in the wash pit.

By the way, have I mentioned how everyone keeps telling me what a pretty/nice horse she is? Well, of course she is!

After I groomed her, I decided to walk her around on the property and let her eyeball her new surroundings. Emma mentioned before that all the horses kind of get silly in the dressage arena due to it being right beside the woods. I decided that this was a good place to start. I lead her out and all the horses in the side pastures came galloping over. She thought about being silly, but decided to behave. We walked around in the open area behind the barn, and made our way back to the dressage arena. I decided to walk around the outside first. She got super anxious as we started around the back and I could see she was thinking about flying back, so I decided we'd go inside and look around first. We started on the side away from the woods, and as we got near M by the woods, I stopped to let her look, and a bird or something started to make a bunch of noise and Amber went "O-M-G" and half reared and started to go back. I patiently followed along and talked to her. I definitely wasn't going to let her get away from me and murder herself by tripping on the lead. She continued to back around for a few seconds, at this point I think she was expecting me to beat the shit out of her for rearing in the first place. She trotted around me for a few seconds and then I calmed her down and let her know I wasn't going to kill her for it, but I did back her up a few steps.

Then, we went and stood right where she spooked. She looked and listened and then we walked up and down that side both ways a few times. Then we went and walked on the outside by the woods. Not a problem at all.

We walked around the big jumping ring, into the round pen. She definitely is interested in the other horses, more interested in them than I've ever seen her interested in other horses. Hopefully in a couple of days she will be able to go out with some of them. I'll be lunging her tomorrow just to let her burn off some energy. She's definitely got way too much of that built up from having to be cooped up inside, but obviously she needs time to settle and also time for us to keep checking her poop to make sure she is worm free before she mingles with the other resident equines.

Checking out the dressage arena after the scary bird incident.

I also walked her around the front of the barn. The ponies came galloping over fast and she danced sideways a little. I didn't fault her, because they were so loud it made ME jump too! She settled down quickly.

I can definitely tell I haven't been working with her as much recently though. She seems to have forgotten a few manners, but fortunately, she seemed to remember them pretty quick when she found out that I wasn't going to get frustrated, nor was she going to get away with anything. ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome to your new home, Amber.

So much good news! So much!

Got up early. Ran around like a nut trying to get everything together. Went to make copies of her coggins and registration, and my mother graciously saved me time by making phone calls.

Unfortunately, Ross Head gave their own shots and they do not keep records. Fortunately for us, Bob had no problem with it. We arrived and loaded my stuff into the trailer and then got Amber out to load. She knew she was going somewhere as soon as she walked out of her stall. I don't know how horses know these things, but she definitely knew. She was a little bit weirded out by the ramp at first, I don't think she's ever loaded on a trailer that had a ramp. She didn't back up, she just stood there, not wanting to move, like "Uhh, I'm not sure about this." In a minute or two she went right on like a good girl.

Amber, without my consent or knowledge, was turned out with Victoria's new horse Tommy, who is infested with worms. He should have been isolated until he was worm free. Amber was due for a wormer in 2 days in any case, so I just let Bob know that unbeknownst to me, she had been out with Tommy for at least a week. We checked her poop; and did find evidence of it, so we went ahead and gave her ivermectin. Again, crappy managment on Andrea's part.

Amber settled right in her new stall, started to munch on some hay and chill.

Now, the best news of all. Bob said he's fairly sure Amber's hind end issue is nothing more than her trim sitting her too upright. So I was right. Maybe it's not a hip issue, but it's NOT laziness. Best of all, she may not need the shoes. If anything, it will be a wedge shoe, rather than modified toe clips. Obviously we need to wait and see what the farrier there says, and she does need more growth having just been trimmed on the 16th. This is why I want to learn more about the hoof and proper trimming. Because I don't have the expert eye of a farrier and I don't know what I'm looking at.

But I feel worlds better knowing that at least I have a better idea of what is more than likely the problem here. And it feels wonderful having some REAL direction.

Bob also thinks that our bit may be too wide. I ordered a 1/2 inch up because it's a loose ring. I've always been taught you always go up a half inch with loose rings...but he said that he disagrees. Either way, it doesn't really matter for us since I believe the rings sliding irritate her. He gave me a copper roller D, which I was very glad to have since I can definitely use that for hunters. And she did like that bit when we tried it before, albeit a bit mouthy playing with the rollers.

He also recommended an oval lozenge over a french link. I will test her out in it before I buy...I'm partial to the french link because it lies flat on the tongue. Amber is a no-nonsense type of horse, and less is more for her, so I'm not sure she'd enjoy having a bigger center link. But it's worth a try.

I'm incredibly appreciative of Bob's suggestions and advice. He is definitely a very knowledgeable guy and I believe he will help us get back on track. I detest the feeling I had all through last month. Feeling lost and adrift because I had never dealt with anything like this.

All better now though. We'll be riding tomorrow with the trainer there, Emma. She said she's looking forward to having someone to ride with. Also, Victoria may be moving over with us too!