Monday, December 16, 2013

Grumpy and Grouchy

That's what being in the middle of week 3 of finals will do to you.  Ugh, how do they expect us to possibly fit all these little tiny facts into our overstuffed/overstressed/overtired brains?  Not feeling very zen right now.
Poor husband, he'll cheerfully say "Oh don't worry you're going to do so well!" - to a normal human being this is probably a comforting and nice thing to hear.  To freaked out med student it feels somehow both insulting and patronizing. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tricky Situation

At the therapeutic riding center where I teach and volunteer we receive a good number of horse donation offers each year.  We've had a number of just super horses come to us this way, many of them a little older but not ready to retire, perhaps not able to do the level of riding the owner wishes, or the owner may have too many horses to keep in work.. There are lots of reasons.  Our horses have amazing lives, have free turnout 24/7 on our acreage, cared for by an on-site property manager who treats them all as her own, and are doted on by volunteers and students. 
Our clients range from four - sixty-four year olds (and everywhere in between) all of whom have some type of mental and/or physical disability.  Understandably, our vetting process for new horses is pretty strict, and unfortunately we're only able to accept maybe 1/3 of the offers we receive for trial, and of these maybe only another half make it to being a full member of our herd.   A lot of the reasons we have to say no have to do with health, many people are in search of retirement homes for their loved older horses, and while we Love gentle older horses they simply need to be sound and able to be in light work (and by light, I mean at most 5 days/week, up to 4 hours (2 max consecutive) at mostly walk with a little trot).  It isn't a retirement-type situation. We have to turn away horses that have any propensity to stumbling, who need corrective shoeing or expensive health maintenance.. We also only accept geldings over the age of 10. 
After email or phone communication and a visit to the horses home (we expose them to a few of our toys and props and see their reaction, watch the owner ride, and ultimately ride ourselves if everything looks to be going OK) we ask for a trial period to bring the horse to our center and see if they'll work out.

So, the situation at hand - we've had a horse 'on trial' at the farm and needed to make a decision re stay or go.  I worked with him once a week in Oct/Nov, along with another instructor on other days, and when the equine manager asked if I thought he should stay I had to give my vote of No.  He is physically in OK shape for the work he would need to do here, but mentally I just don't think he has what it's gong to take.  Therapy horses are super special guys and it's just not a job for everyone.  They need to be able to deal with working with different volunteers every night, and have to be a little forgiving of a rider who is learning, and is going to make some loud noises or abrupt motions, and frankly some 'mistakes' too.  We always set up our horses to succeed, they wear halters and have leaders with the most involved riders, and many riders have sidewalkers walking next to them for support, but we count on our horse as integral team members to the students' success too. 

Horse in question is just not there mentally (some concrete examples include two separate occasions on the lunge line where he rushed me and has turned to kick out to the center.. 'laziness'/wanting to get of work I'm ok with but dangerous behaviors like rushing aren't good signs).  In hand he is manageable to an experienced horseperson but many of our volunteers have basic knowledge and while they work excellently will well trained superstar horses, may not be prepared to work with a horse who has 'NO' in him.  So, basically for a variety of reasons including those above, he is not going to be accepted into the program as a therapeutic riding horse. 

The problem - the owner is upset  that we don't want him, and will not agree to take him back.  This hasn't actually happened before, and we're not sure what to do about it.  Unfortunately the contract we have in our lease doesn't have language that can force her to - I'm not sure how all that is written or what the deal is but that's what I'm told.  (I assume that wasn't an anticipated problem..)   I keep thinking about it and I can't help feeling guilty and worried about what's going to happen to this horse.  He's older, doesn't have nice manners, and not very nice conformationally.  It's a difficult situation, and I'm not sure how it's going to play out.  We've been looking for people who might want a 'buddy' pasture horse, but frankly there aren't many of those homes out there especially in the middle of winter.  In any case, our contract is being re-worded. 

Friday, December 6, 2013


Lesson Friday!  This week I was on a new horse, I get out to the barn and trainer is in the back with the farrier and sends me out with a halter to catch Hank, an 11 yo draft-paint (??) that he has in the barn to sell for his owner.  Overall, I do think it's good for me to get to ride lots of different horses and experience different ways of going but Man do I wish I had my own horse. 
Hank was fairly good on the ground but needed lots of reminders to No stay out of my space and Hey stop flipping the cross ties around.  This was my fault for just getting up on a horse I'd never met before, but after mounting and trying to warm up he jigged all over then started bumping around up and down and breaking to canter and trot (not dangerous just excited and fresh).  Trainer was there at this point so he had me dismount and we free lunged him for a little while to let him express himself and Wow I was glad we did so - lots of 'expression' / exuberance/ bucking and kicking!  Up I went again and we began our lesson.
Theo and I have been getting along well together (and I rode Luke in my last lesson, So great to be back on him as well!) - what both of these horses have in common that I love is that they are very sensitive off my seat and leg.  Hank- not so much.  Especially with Luke, I just need to Think about turning and it happens.  Hank was not tuned in this way.  I was using a Lot of inside leg and I felt like an inordinate amount of rein support to stay on the rail, and bending was very difficult for him.  We did lots of circles to try to loosen up..   It was just a little frustrating because it honestly just made me feel like a bad rider to have a horse not listening (or not able to?) do what I've been working hard to achieve with Theo and Luke.  It was good for me to experience working with a horse like this I suppose, and yes by the end of the lesson things he had gotten better.  We worked a lot on driving him forward when he leaned on my hands and staying centered and tall in the saddle and supporting from my core.  (Good lessons to take to my work with Theo)  Finally towards the end of the lesson he started to carry himself a little more and things were going a little better, but he's just not physically as supple or capable right now as I would like/enjoy to ride. 
I have a feeling though I may be riding him in more lessons. Trainer was very kind - he said Hank hadn't had much professional riding experience and he liked seeing him go with me / someone working to make him go correctly.  Don't worry I didn't let it go to my head, but it was just such a nice thing to say and hear.  Maybe there is a nicer horse in there, the end of our lesson definitely showed promise.  We'll see what happens next week. 

In med school news, dreaded finals are underway and I'm dying.  Insert tiny whining violin. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

One step forward

And two steps back.

My last two lessons ended on decidedly different notes. 

After the first I was thinking Hey maybe I know something (anything?) and maybe we're getting somewhere on this whole dressage journey.   We were working on a 20m circle and really Theo had a nice powerful trot cooking along, I was sitting and felt connected for once..  Trainer had us throw in 10m circles to the center off the 20m and alternate between motoring off in trot and picking up the canter as we got back to our 20m circle.  It was neat.  Accuracy with canter transitions is not my forte, I'm happy to get one in a few strides.  All this circle-y stuff really helped us as we had to both stay super focused the whole time. 

(MS paint version of exercise)
Canter at the star.  This version = success!

And then, I rode this weekend.  We tried some new exercises, again with our friend the 20m circle, but it got trickier.  We were in sitting trot again, having our nice little motor rhythm, then spiraled in to a pretty small circle, I'd guess 8m, around trainer, then leg yield back out to big circle (all in trot).  This was going OK, we had some nice moments.  Then things went to hell.  The new task was spiral in, leg yield out to 15m circle around trainer and pick up canter and STAY on 15m circle.  Mind was blown, people.  Both mine and poor Theo's.  He's doesn't have a super balanced canter and trying to get him to stay on that smaller circle was not so doable.  It was like 15m for maybe half a circle then skitter skitter skitter Right past my outside leg - like blow right past it you're not stopping me lady kind of thing.  It was disheartening.  THEN we added in a ground pole, this did not help.  Theo loves to jump and I think he was getting pretty sick of my trying to thrust my amateur dressage on him. Instead of ground pole helping us get him to rock back on those hindquarters and balance it was more of Ohhh whee let's grab the bit in our mouth and vault, then take off excitedly in rushy rushy canter till rider can organize herself enough to get even a modicum of connection.  Not my finest moment, and frankly I Still am at a loss on what to do.  He gets very strong and I KNOW dressage riders are Not supposed to have sore arms so I feel pretty that's a pretty obvious failure.  It feels like he's pulling and leaning on me to help him balance, but I'm just not quite sure what to do about it.  Trainer says to just keep sitting still and resisting and no pulling back whatsoever, sit tall and use my core buttt.... nothing seems to be happening (or at least, it wasn't in that lesson). 

Exercise 2: Not successful
Black arrows at trot, spiral all the way in around disgruntled looking trainer, grey arrows leg yield out to 15 m circle and pick up canter at Star, attempt to canter 15m circle but instead careen out to orange line matching despairing trainers face.

Oliver says to stop whining and get back to studying. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wake me up when it's all over

When I'm wiser and I'm older..
(Aloe Blacc)

It's a rainy night and I'm muddling through a seemingly never-ending stack of notes, test tomorrow.  Current lecture I'm working on is over recognizing and differentiating causes of chest pain (hint to my fellow med students out there, after MI, think P P D and four little E's).  Time to learn. 

Giddy up.

(myocardial ischemia, pericarditis, pulmonary embolism (central or small), aortic Dissection, mediastinal emphysema, esophageal rupture, esophageal spasm, esophageal reflux)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lesson musings

Luke threw a shoe before my lesson two weeks ago so I rode one of trainer's more experienced horses, Theo.  This weekend I came in to the barn and Theo was waiting for me again.  I had mixed feelings frankly, Luke and I are finally developing a good working relationship and things have been coming along in lessons.  And, I have to admit it's a little secretly cool to get to ride the more 'difficult' horse of the bunch, who isn't used in other lessons. (don't get me wrong, Luke isn't actually Difficult in the real sense of the world, he's really a sweetheart but comparatively a horse that has an opinion and isn't afraid to share it with you.)
Theo is older and already knows his job - all the cues are nicely installed and he is more capable and comfortable in collection and 'dressage-y' things.  I feel like I'm learning a lot from him, just different things than I was with Luke.  Luke taught me to sit up and ride forward in tricky spots, and was patiently teaching me confidence.  Theo is teaching me what a floaty sitting trot feels like (awesome). 

In my lesson this weekend with Theo I was having trouble getting a nice bend to the left, he felt stiff through the neck and I felt like I couldn't get through to him.  After multiple attempts to communicate what to do and my dismal failure, Trainer (who is super tall) came up and walked next to us and actually reached over and took the reins on each side (reaching up over this 16something hh horse), and had us walk along with him controlling the reins  --- yep immediately Theo arched that pretty neck of his and had lovely bend to the left.  It was so cool!  Helpful, too - we started to get it sorted out at walk and trot (canter not so much, there our focus right now is just my posture, pony can do more or less what he likes as long as we're traveling the right direction as I try to sort myself out).

School marches on.  It does not take time off for riding in beautiful fall weather.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Not a fan of the 0.5mm pencil lead.  Lead breaks constantly, and it doesn't show up cleanly/dark on page.  And as someone who writes a crap-ton of notes, this is legitimate issue.  (you know, relatively speaking)

 Bought to save $, of which I have little.  Utter crap.
Much better.  0.7m Matic grip BiC pencil.  I take exams with the green ones.  not weird.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hour 15..

Of studying today, that is.  Pharmacology is going to be the end of me.

I've been having fun with my Anki flashcards though.  I take pictures of mechanisms with my iphone and email them to myself to then add to a flashcard.  So cool, right?


There are 142 drugs on this exam (one of my classmates counted and posted this encouraging tidbit on our facebook page), not so bad I suppose compared to what it will be come final exam time.. But really right now poor brain is at maximum capacitance.  Exam in T-8.5 hours!  Ahhhhh!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ride on

Kicked the test on Thursday's butt.  That was neat.  But, my favorite part of last week was my lesson on Saturday!  I just had so much fun - Luke was really forward and was Right there when I asked with the leg (this lead to me letting him run away a bit though and reminders from trainer to keep things rhythmic).  Canter work was pretty good for us, that is we had the correct lead each time and generally got into it within a few strides (low standards here, people).  A few minor frolics occurred, as is generally the norm for our cantering as we get warmed up (again with the low standards) one of which resulted in a lost stirrup for me and the requisite shouts from the center to SIT UP SIT BACK in response to my reflex hunched shoulders and grasping of mane.  Did manage to sit up and back despite instincts pressing me the other direction, and Luke was saintly and didn't take advantage of my poor equitation.  In typical advanced rider fashion, trainer is rather blasé about these moments and simply sends us back off to the rail to try again.  This, I think, is part of what makes trainer such a good fit for me. 

Should I be worried about that shadow??
I feel like I'm a fairly neurotic and high-strung person (a la most med students), so having someone on the ground who's so relaxed about these moments when I struggle helps Me to be more relaxed.  Actually, I feel like he treats me exactly as one might treat a high-strung and spooky horse - lots of new instructions to make me concentrate if I start to look nervous and a super relaxed chilly manner to encourage me.  I constantly overthink things, he tells me to just Sit Up and RIDE FORWARD.  He doesn't baby me, which I think would just make me realize oh yes maybe that does sound scary or hmm maybe that Is something to consider/worry about.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Well, that escalated quickly.

M2 year has begun, just starting week 3 now and holy batman they aren't kidding around this semester.  We have four courses, two of which are absolutely giant and soul crushing (pathology and pharmacology - but don't worry the slightly more manageable clinical practices and infectious disease courses are still beasties in their own right). 

I'm trying out a new system for the big courses, using a 'smart' flashcard program called Anki.  You make cards like any old flashcard system but it sets up quizzes and reviews of the cards based on how you rate the ease of answer (easy, had to think, forgot) as you flip through them.  The web version is free but there's a fee to download onto smartphones.  I think it's helping, I've never been a flashcard person before but I'm hearing they are imperative for the big gun classes.  I guess we'll see come exam time (first one this Thursday, then non-stop once per week till the end of the semester... yayyyy)

I was able to lease a very kind older gentleman horse over the summer from a friend at trainer's barn, it was very reaffirming and just good for my confidence.  He is a schoolie and as long as you do the right things up top (ie don't pinch him with my knees!) he just opens up and powers along.  When I took lessons I was still able to ride our friend Luke, which of course kept me plenty humble.

Kinda the worst picture ever, but shows the sweetest most darling gentleman horse.

Oh yes - and I got married this summer!   Yayyy!
Since med school started back up I've ridden twice.  Sad face.  I was supposed to have a lesson this past weekend but when I showed up trainer had forgotten and was 2 hours away picking up a horse from the vet clinic!  After a super stressful first two weeks of school frankly I was unreasonably sad about this, #whitewhine.
However, I will be more sad, and reasonably so, if I don't finish getting through all these notes for the exam on Thursday.  Byeeeeeeee

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I'm struggling right now with what to do riding-wise this summer.  As far as medical goals go I'm pretty set, I'm working full time in a great research lab with lots of opportunities for publications.  My PI is a little eccentric but aren't they all?  At least he's passionate. 

I'll be teaching therapeutic riding lessons again this summer and have been out at the farm quite a bit this week, working with some of the new horses we have making sure they're ready for classes.  Actually, today I went out to evaluate a potential new horse.  He was such a sweetheart, this cute little palomino quarter horse who was absolutely bomb-proof, but he has laminitis in both fronts.  Apparently his soundness comes and goes, unfortunately we really can't take anyone on that isn't 100% and ready to go.  As a non-profit with limited resources that's just the way it is.  It was a bummer though, his owner is a young girl about to go off to college in a neighboring state, and her parents won't care for her horse in her absence.  It's obvious these two love each other and the horse just follows her like a puppy.  On the other hand, it makes me a little upset - I feel like horses are life-long commitments and I have no idea how she's going to find a loving home for this horse of hers with obvious lameness problems.

My personal struggle has been in trying to figure out where/how to allocate my financial resources towards riding.  A wedding coming this August certainly has been stretching my already tiny med-student budget even more thin!  I want to make progress and become a better rider and I'm not sure what the best way to do that is. As much as I'd like to lease or half-lease a dressage-y horse this summer, I think it's probably best for me to designate all my spare funds for lessons.  I can at least be on a horse whenever I'd like at the therapeutic riding farm, but there my role as a rider is to gently reinforce cues, give the horses mental stimulation through trail rides and new exercises, and help keep them in shape.  We don't do much if any work on contact and I use the same cues we teach our students, which are not usually like the invisible refined cues of dressage.  It's not fair to our horses for me to try to sensitize them to tiny requests, and then ask them to ignore similar movements from students who are just leaning over to pick up a toy or asking for a Walk not trot!

Who knows, maybe my future horses is out there right now, maybe a little foal enjoying his first spring or a mare preparing for her first show.  I keep trying to think of this horse-less time in my life as preparing for my future horse wherever he/she is.  I want to be the best rider I can when that time (will it ever come??) comes. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


I don't really have words at the moment, it hasn't quite sunk in yet.  M1 year is over!
And now I rest. 

Summer fellowship starts on Monday, but NO MORE STUDYING (well, till next year)

(and ps, horse show was cancelled on Sunday.  disappointed, but gives us more time to get ready for the next one)

Friday, May 10, 2013

One Week!

Yep, just one week till I'm through with M1 year.  One week and a whole buttboatload of studying.  After my histology final this afternoon I was able to escape to the barn, and had a really great lesson on Luke. 
Not the most graceful of beasts (enjoying a pre-ride roll)
Toweling off after said roll.

We are getting better and better about moving forward off the leg, and the amount of sass and ear pinning has significantly improved.  Right now I'm working on not collapsing my hip angle during downward transitions, especially canter to trot, where things can get disorganized quickly if I don't keep it together on top.  If I get in his way he certainly lets me know about it. 
I've decided to just do Training Test 1 next week, I figured I had enough to memorize in the next seven days (and enough stress!). 
Ollie has had quite an excellent week.  Yesterday we saw ducks on our walk

And on Wednesday one of my classmate's dogs had a birthday and he got a piece of cake!

I had to stop and take a picture of this little cutie on my way home from the barn today, spring is the best time of year!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In which I stare into microscopes for hours and realize I'll never be a pathologist

Microscopes are pretty neat and all, but this past week of prepping for my histology final (tomorrow afternoon, yay) has somewhat tempered my appreciation.  There are 127 slides in the slideboxes we were all given at the beginning of the semester.   Our task tomorrow will be to identify 40 items on new slides that depict the same tissues but in different slices or stains (can't make it too easy on the visual learners), we'll rotate through microscopes and have 75 seconds at each, at which point a buzzer will sound and you must move on to the next.  It could be like a fun game I guess, but it's not.
Like this, but sadly much bigger.
When I started studying histo it was absolutely mystifying.  Everything looked exactly the same, just a bunch of purple and pink blobs.  The trick is in recognizing patterns, and key features.  For example, the small intestine has three distinct regions which you can tell apart histologically; the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.  All of small intestine has simple columnar epithelium, which means the very outer layer of cells is sort of rectangular (best for absorption, makes sense right?), and all small intestine has big folds and dips (villi and crypts).  Now, to tell the regions apart:
 Duodenum: This one is the easiest, you see a bunch of Brunner's glands in the submucosa (the light purple little circles in the pink layer below all those folds) 

Ileum is next easiest to identify because of the large Peyer's patches (lymphoid tissue).  This is only tricky if you forget to search the entire length of the mucosa, because usually the patches are only on one side of the tissue. 

Finally, jejunum.  Actually I find this the trickiest, because of the Absence of any key identifying feature in the mucosa.  If you are sure you're in small intestine, you know it's jejunum by the absence of Peyer's patches or Brunner's glands.
This is stomach, to give you an idea of the similarities between tissue.
And here are some of my favorite histology slides.  They're quite pretty actually!   And perhaps more importantly, easy to tell apart - a key requisite for my love):
Peripheral nerve

Pineal gland.  Note the 'brand sand' (real term) on the lower left border.  I think it looks like a geode


Monday, April 29, 2013

3 Weeks to Go!

Until finals are over and I become an M2 (fingers crossed that the exams go well and all that), and until my first horse show! 

I'm so ready for summer.  I'm getting a little (a lot) burnt out of the constant studying.  I need to just buckle down and power through these next three weeks, but my attention span seems to have simply vanished.  I blame the beautiful weather outside (and Oliver's sighs and pleas for walks outside and playtime).  Or maybe I should blame the past 15 weeks of weekly exams, intense pressure, studying late into the night (every night) and feeling guilty for taking any time off!  (whine whine whine, I know, but seriously guys, doctor school is stressful!)
Oliver gives me sad eyes while I study
So, with said copious amounts of studying to be completed for finals over the next 3 weeks, it may be a little tricky to get in quality riding time with dear Luke, trainer's horse that I'll be showing.  But, I think we'll just manage our expectations for this first show (it's just a schooling show, too).  I'd like AN experience in the show, well, schooling show, ring.  It doesn't have to be an awesome experience, even a great one.  One experience would be great.  Then, we'll make plans for the rest of the summer with an idea of what we're getting into.  We'll be riding Training 1 and 2. 

Luke and I thinking happy thoughts about our upcoming debut

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Swift as a shadow: Medical student nights off

"...Swift as a shadow, short as any dream
Brief as the lightening in the coiled night
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth;
And ere a man hath power to say "Behold!"
The jaws of darkness do devour it up..."
-Midsummer Night's Dream Act 1 Scene 1 141-149

I always take Friday nights off (of studying).  I don't take any other nights off.  Therefore, my Friday evenings are routinely very quickly devoured up by the jaws of darkness (sigh, I miss reading pretty things)  This particular Friday I was able to accomplish a few tasks off my wedding to-do list, including purchasing a veil (cathedral length, simple) and finding undergarments to 'hold it all in' as the sales lady put it.  I ended up deciding against the Spanx, they reminded me too much of that suit Robin Williams wears in Mrs. Doubtfire.  I think it was the nude color. 

De-fatting vs fat-adding, body shaping is a realm I'm just not ready for.

Other exciting news (my life is not that exciting), we found new toothpaste for Oliver and he loves it. It's chicken flavored, so although he hates having his teeth brush he'll allow this one, as long as he gets breaks to lick the bristles. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lesson videos: great for education, horrible for fragile esteem

Medical school does a number on most of our self esteem / worth, it's sort of a 'the more you know, the more you realize you don't know' sort of situation.  I have no idea how I'm ever going to be ready to take care of real humans.  But you know, that's the way it goes - I've sort of accepted I'm going to feel like an idiot for my foreseeable future (light at the end of the tunnel is currently residency, we'll see how I feel when I get there!). 
However, it is not so fun to feel completely inadequate in one's leisure activity.  A friend was able to record some of my lesson on Luke last week for me, lets just say I hope someday I'll be able to laugh about it!  I'll post a few snippets, for posterities sake, but seriously guys I DO know how awful I look and yes I really am trying not to.  What really makes me cringe is the super chair seat I seem to constantly be in.  Oh well, sucks to suck and I'll keep trying to get better.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Currently studying for a neuroscience exam this Friday, it's going to be killer.  (Immunology is turning out to be one of my favorite classes by the way, surprising how things turn out).  I keep daydreaming about having my own horse.. somehow that just seems like it would make everything better.  It's been a rough and busy last few weeks, today especially I just feel so anxious about everything, really want to do well on this upcoming test.  I easily slip into getting jealous of all the people that have horses, but then I try to stop being ridiculous.  I'm really lucky in this whole Life game, I'll keep trying to keep things in perspective.  Medical school is such a bubble, exams and studying are tied into self-worth and it's all anyone talks or thinks about. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

If you ride him forward he can't buck so much...

This was the theme of my lesson today, on my handsome young steed who apparently decidedly does NOT appreciate my awkward riding being thrust upon him when he's used to being ridden impeccably by my trainer.  Trainer bought Luke to eventually be his son's step up mount, the 'real horse' sort that he can 'do things' with.  Luke is still relatively young and quite green in his training, he isn't really the school horse sort which for me is definitely new.  I'm used to riding and schooling the horses at the therapeutic riding facility where I volunteer - they're amazing boys but not exactly big or particularly forward movers.  Trainer, we'll call him B, is consistently shouting at me to RIDE and Make Things Happen..  This really is never an issue with the horses I've been used to riding, but I know if I want to step up into the next level of my equestrian education I need to start riding horses that are of the 'real sort' that can 'do things'.  I think B has the same idea he has for me as he has his son. 
Anyway, I've been struggling with Luke because when I have a horse pin his ears at me or get nappy in response to the leg I think ohhh maybe he's not feeling well, ulcers?, maybe he's a little off?  (or maybe I think uh oh I don't want him to start bucking - self preservation and the good ole' sympathetic nervous system definitely kick into gear).. regardless, I've been working really hard in my last few lessons to ignore the little bounces and attitude, sit up and ride forward.  It's definitely getting better, but I know I'm not there yet because our canter work is consistently filled with... shall we say expression.  Just about every time I ask for canter, Luke bucks.  This is not a good cycle, I get tipped forward, I tighten with my knees, this makes him mad (understandably, I know), he bucks more.  He's not the sort to tolerate bad riding in this stage of his life, I guess it's actually a good thing for me (trainer certainly thinks so) because it's a pretty good barometer for my equitation.  Luckily Luke's bucks are the sittable sort and he isn't really a malicious horse, just a  HEY what are you doing up there stop getting in my way sort.  Which I suppose I can appreciate.  Sucks to suck, as we say in med school.
Pinch me with your legs one more time, lady...

This is the horse B thinks I'll be making my showing debut with this spring.  We're going to be doing a training level test, too... I'm a dressage newbie, but I'm pretty sure that test involves a canter.  Hmmm, well when he's 'expressing' in the canter he certainly has an active hind end, maybe that will save us a point or two. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Brilliant scientist does not brilliant teacher make

I had a fun weekend trying to teach myself immunology from my textbook and le internetz (thanks Wiki, other med school's immuno web sites, and Dr. Najeeb's youtube videos).  Not my lecture notes, you ask?   Nope, unfortunately our highly acclaimed new prof is a fan of the "Spiral Curriculum".  Have any of you heard of it?  I think it must be for students way above my league.  Basically he free associates on whatever complicated immunological concept comes into his brilliant mind (my interpretation) and spouts off many letters and numbers in seemingly random patterns.  Several lectures later we learn the 'basics' (ie immunology??) that should help us understand the crazy free association lectures... 
Unfortunately this makes studying for his exam tomorrow terrifying. 

Dr. Najeeb, my web hero - seriously all you med students out there he is amazing!  Check out his lectures on the complement system, so clear.

In riding news: My trainer is currently in Wellington, so jealous!  It's also been super super cold here (not to mention above complained-about immuno exam, organ systems exam on friday, and research proposal due Sunday..)  so I haven't ridden since last Friday (can you tell I'm counting the days?  Plan is for a training session/ride on a new horse for our therapeutic riding facility this Sunday, should be in the 40's!)