Friday, 13 May 2011

Lots to Catch Up On!

I've been mega busy over the past month and haven't had time to blog so decided to sit down today and do it after just spending 45 minutes pulling Hattie's mane!

Got my Whippy side saddle back during the Easter holiday time and am so pleased with the work my saddler did replacing all the billets. Roger always does an excellent job and managed to move them a bit more forward for Hattie as well. He also reinforced the old linen that they are stitched onto with a nylon backing for extra strength. Here are the photos of Roger's excellent work..

The cortisone injection that Hattie had last month, seemed to have taken the bump down in size but there was still a bump there but just smaller. I continued using the Arnica cream but to be honest, sometimes you just need pharmaceuticals instead of natural remedies to get the job done! I knew the bump was a Hygroma (thanks for clearing that up for me Robin!) and Googled that and found out that it is also Bursitis which people get in their knees from kneeling on the floor doing housework, gardening, etc. This is the same thing as capped hock which the vet said it was, but "just in a weird place". So I thought to myself, "how would you treat this in a person?" and found that treatment in humans is the same for horses, a cortisone injection and that you can also use Difflam cream (benzydamine hydrochloride) to treat it as it is an anti-inflammatory.

Unfortunately, finding a UK online pharmacy that sold it without a prescription was hard but I managed to acquire two tubes of it and have been using it for the past 5 days and the bump has gone right down and is more of a flat underskin bump thingey now. I am amazed how quickly it started to work and Hattie falls asleep when I massage it in. One of the side affects I read about was a rash and photo sensitivity in the area where it is applied but so far no rash but I have been keeping a light weight summer sheet or a fly rug on to protect it against the sun, mutual grooming from Jacob (it says do not ingest) and bugs biting it.

I have to apply it 3 times a day for 10 days (this is the directions for humans) and then I will reassess and see if I need to use the 2nd tube after a short break as a horse may need a longer course due to their size but so far, so good. I really wish I would have been better at math and science to have become a vet like I so wanted to as a kid!

These photos were taken on April 22, a few days after the vet came out and the day I got my Whippy back from Roger as I wanted to keep a record of how the bump went down and the fit of my side saddle on the bump. The photos were taken before I stared using the Difflam cream.

April 22 bump (I circled how wide it was):

You can see a small spot on the numnah where her bump rubbed against it...

I also found out that the tack shop ordered my new astride saddle at the end of April as they were waiting for 5 more people to order their saddles too (VERY ANNOYING as I paid for my saddle a month before and stated that I needed it for May) so haven't had a saddle to ride in. I took up bareback riding for the first time in my life and have been enjoying it! It means that at least Hattie and I can hack out and take a break from boring lunge work until her bump goes away and my new astride saddle comes. We even had a canter out too!

Fed up with the South Kilworth Riding Club moving their show far, far away, I did some more Googling to see if there were any other riding clubs in South Leicestershire that were within hacking distance and came across the Burbage Riding Club! I hadn't even known this club existed and it's the same distance (10 miles) to hack to their shows which we were originally going to hack to the South Kilworth show! Infact, the hacking to the Burbage show is safer as it's all residential country roads or rural lanes unlike the busy A-road we would have had to ridden along to get to the South Kilworth show.

Excited about the prospect of showing at the Burbage show, I emailed the organizers to see if riding side saddle was permitted. For those of you who read the Tack Tack of the Day blog, you will know of the discrimination that Jessica is receiving from the Arkansas Gaited Horse Show Association with regards to riding side saddle. There doesn't seem to be such discrimination towards riding aside here in the UK like there seems to be in other countries like the US or New Zealand, infact, I can only think of British Eventing that forbids the use of a side saddle but just wanted to email the Burbage Riding Club to make sure it was ok to ride aside. I received an email back saying that the committee was in favour of it and that they hoped to see more side saddle riding there!

We'll be going to the June 5 show all being well and hope to show side saddle in the "Best Turned Out", "Style and Appearance" and "Best Senior Rider" classes as well the "Best Condition" inhand class. So that I would know what to expect in these classes, we went to their show last Sunday to get an idea on what tack/clothing people and horses are wearing, what to do, etc. I got the show schedule, the list of club rules and turnout and tack guidelines. It says for Best Turned Out class that you need a blue helmet (mine is black) with a blue jacket (my habit is blue so that is fine) and that there is extra points for quarter marks on your horse.

So over the week, I've been practising my quarter marks....

and managed to find a 2nd hand blue velvet Charles Owen for £20 out of a local horse magazine! The lady that owned it used it for showing and it has never been in a accident or dropped, she was only selling it as she bought a new Patey hat!!

This Sunday is the Diamond Horse Show which is only 6 miles away so I'll probably lead Hattie there and ride bareback some of the way on quiet roads. My husband will meet us there with all my show stuff (including my "new" helmet!), grooming stuff and tack but I will plait up at home. We'll be doing the "Best Turned Out", "Veteran" (need to check to see if Hattie is old enough for it, I think the cut off age is 15 years) and "Prettiest Mare" classes riding side saddle and the "Best Condition" class which is inhand. I also emailed the Diamond show organizer to see if side saddle was permitted and it's fine!

With all these inhand classes Hattie and I will be doing, I thought "when in Rome..." and got myself a proper leather show lead with brass chain which is what I saw people using at the Burbage show for the inhand classes. It looks neater than holding a pair of reins and is more convenient.

When the vet came out last month to inject Hattie's bump, he said that I could start riding her and bringing her back into work slowly as long as the saddle did not touch that area. Since I do not have my new hi-wither astride saddle yet and my Whippy is heavily flocked up, I couldn't ride her with a saddle due to her bump still being largish (another reason why I didn't go to the last Burbage show). Since seeing the noticeable improvement with the Difflam creme over the week, I had Roger Whitehead, my saddler, have another look at my Whippy on Hattie to see if there was anything he could do to the panels so that we could at least do those few easy classes (they are all walk/trot only) at the Diamond show on Sunday.

Roger said that he could take out some flocking at the spot where her bump was and to cut a portion out of one of my fleece side saddle numnahs at that spot so that the rest of the numnah lifted up my saddle a bit and took the pressure off of the bump. He did this and I got my saddle back yesterday again and it seems as if the plan will work!

I had a ride in the field in it yesterday and the panel does not touch her "flat bump" and even when I put my fingers in that spot when riding, there is no pinching or pressure. Roger said that eventually, the flocking will migrate up but to keep an eye on it and it will help to harden her up gradually in that area.

I won't do any long distance hacking it it just yet but will be ok for bringing her back into work slowly and for the easy horse show classes at the moment. It hurt me to cut my numnah though!!

It's not all bad though as I also saved up and bought us a lovely tall mounting block which is handy for playing on (as you can tell by the child & dog!) and for getting on a side saddle! All I do is step onto the top step, swing me leg over and I'm in the Whippy. Best money I ever spent and my hip thanks me too. Yes, before you ask, there IS a Stargate on them!


  1. The shows over there sound like so much fun! I wish we had shows where there were neat classes like "Best Turned Out" and "Prettiest Mare". Really keeps the atmosphere fun!
    I've also never seen or heard of a "blue" helmet, interesting!
    As always, good luck & can't wait to see photos!

  2. Thanks Michelle! They always have classes like that here in the UK, it's common at nearly every local show :)

  3. Your saddle is lovely!

    I am looking for some extra long reins for a double bridle. do you know anyone who has any?


  4. Hattie looks like you could play checkers on her!

  5. LOL, I think I went a bit nutty practising the quarter marks on her ;-)

    Thanks Caz, it sure is a beaut! I see you are near Edinburgh. Scottish Side Saddles would sell extra long reins. They used to have a website but the only number I can find for them is: 01560 484916.

    Failing that, check any of the UK side saddles I have linked to the left OR if you go on the Robinson's website, I have these reins that I use:
    The leather is actually not too bad and I used them at the side saddle show I went to last year, all I did was cut off the martingale stoppers on them and voila! Cheap and nice side saddle reins!