I Am Too Tired to Think of a Good Title     

Tiredness, always a problem with Multiple Sclerosis, has me in its unrelenting grasp.  Last weekend my husband and I went to Raleigh, just two and a half hours away, to see my youngest son and grandson.  We stayed overnight so I got to rest before the drive home, but when I got home I was too tired to write my blog, and today, a full week later, I am having trouble finding enough energy to do anything.  I am managing to ride and I am VERY glad that the mares are content to just walk around the ring.

I have just been riding Mia over at Debbie’s stable, both for my lessons and my “homework” ride.  With the new medicine my brain is changing unpredictably, one day may hands are steady but my legs may be wandering, on other days my legs may be perfect but my hands are wandering through the air.  Fortunately my hands have stabilized enough so that Mia does not fling her head around when I keep contact at the posting trot, but she tells me, by becoming inverted, that my hands are still not as good as they were before I started changing my medicines.  At the walk contact is fine, my seat, legs and hands are stable enough to meet her approval.  She also lets me keep decent contact at the sitting trot though she carries her head a little higher than usual.

In my lesson two weeks ago Debbie had to get after me because my left hand was wandering around without me noticing it.  My lower legs were fine, my seat was stable in the saddle, it is just that my left hand developed a mind of its own.  The only reason that this did not irritate Mia hopelessly is that I keep my fingers loose and relaxed on the reins.  So long as she meets a soft and yielding contact she does not mind my wandering hand too much, and I managed to keep a steady contact no matter where my hand floated off into the air.  When this happens Mia listens to my seat and my legs to determine if I am giving an aid, and if she does not feel reinforcements from my seat and leg she seems to have figured out that I am just being unusually klutzy and she just adjusts to it without getting too irritated with me.

This week’s lesson was better.  Both of my hands stayed stable as did my lower legs.  That was better than I expected because I was REALLY tired from my trip the previous weekend.  I even looked more tired than usual, Debbie told me not to even try to rasp Mia’s toes down as her hooves were in good enough shape to skip rasping them down for a week.  Now that the weather has cooled down and the grass is not growing quickly I have noticed that Mia’s hooves don’t grow much at all in a week’s time, unlike during the summer when her toes seem to grow at least 1/8” to ¼” each week.  The ring was freshly raked, I could clearly see Mia’s hoof prints, and there were almost no wet spots, and Mia gave me a good ride only spoiled by her coughing when I trotted her.  Debbie is now talking about putting her on an expensive equine cough remedy because she cannot use Mia as an emergency walk/trot horse for beginners with that cough!  I reminded her that the last time we tried a cough remedy that Mia got more fretful, spooking at things that had not bothered her for years.  Horses can get mental side-effects from medicines just like people can; it is just something I will have to work through with her. 

Then that night it rained again, 2.6 inches in twenty four hours.  My husband got stuck on our driveway and had to call a two truck to get out of the hole the tire dug when he tried spun the wheels trying to get out.  This past month we have had 2 to 4 inches of rain each week and it has not drained off very well.

On Friday I did Mia’s hooves, even though they are not growing fast I still have to trim the outside of the sides of the hoof so she does not develop flares, and I like to keep her sole trimmed down.  Our “homework” ride was uneventful; I just trotted two times so she would cough up some of the stuff that is accumulating in her lungs again.  She only seems to cough when I trot her, in the pasture she seems to be fine.  There was a cool, brisk breeze from the Northeast, and Mia DID NOT want to stand around for more than 30 seconds in spite of the exercise sheet, poll cap and ear bonnet.  So we meandered around the driest parts of the ring, staying away from the take-off and landing spots by the jumps which looked like puree instead of sand. 

Last Sunday I rode Cider, the first time in three weeks because of all the rain we’ve had down here.  She looked fine (such a cute mare!) and was walking around without a hint of lameness.  But once she took three steps under me I could feel little flinches in both front feet.  Shannon got her hoof pick and started re-cleaning out her hooves.  The right front leg was fine, but when Shannon went to pick up the left front leg Cider did not want to pick it up, so Shannon “pinched” it between the tendons and Cider FLINCHED.  Shannon and I discussed it; Shannon thought Cider may have slipped in the pasture and told me to let Cider dictate how fast she walked.  There was no swelling and no heat in the leg so I ended up just letting Cider walk around at the speed she desired (much slower than usual) and mostly practiced my two-point.  Cider was not limping; if she had limped I would have gotten off her immediately.  I did not ride as long as usual, and when we walked Cider back to the grooming station (still not limping) Shannon massaged some liniment into the sensitive area of the leg and told me she would keep on massaging the liniment in during the week.  I hope this will be enough to clear up matters and Cider returns to soundness soon.  Dr. Green, 24/7 turnout, and gentle massaging are often enough to encourage healing of minor leg problems if there is not a lot of swelling or heat.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran        


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