Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Almost a New Year!

Everyone has such inspiring goals. I love reading about them. It gives me ideas and makes me want to push myself. 

My first goal is to live through an upcoming clinic with Marina Parris Woodhead in January. It is only a few weeks away. 

Another big goal is to take him a few horse trials with a starter level. I don't care how we do. I just want to take him out to do something fun. I know a few people who will be going so we can make a party of it. There are several events in Washington that offer from starter level to prelim or even advanced so it should make a fun weekend. 

My biggest goal is to get my back under control. I fell of bre years ago jumping and I haven't been the same since. My medical provider didn't manage the injury at the time. Now that I am riding again and in a more physical job it's become apparent the problem is getting worse. I had my first physical therapy appt a few weeks ago and have been a good girl (mostly) since then. 

Can't wait to see what everyone does this year! 
Dickies goal for 2014 is to eat more mash. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stamp Of Approval (An Small Business Rave)

The saddle fitter came out today and agreed that it fits just right. There is room to grow but it's not too tight. I am so relieved. Now I don't have an excuse for riding like crud or not riding at all. 

I ended up with the Cardanel Olympic. It is great for both of us. The only "problem" is he feels way springier and his back moves more so he is harder to ride. The other issue with a saddle that actually fits, without locking you in, is how apparent riding flaws become. When you have a saddle that puts you in a funky position you are so focused on dealing with that you don't notice the problems you have all on your own. Also, if the saddle fits poorly enough the shooting pains from hip to leg and the ensuing fetal position pretty much covers up root problems. Your legs can't swing like gummy worms when you have them on lockdown to minimize muscle spasms. I have ridden two days in a row in the new saddle and I was like a jellyfish up there. Dickie is being a saint but still has the lovely baby penchant for quick tempo changes and often wouldn't pass a field sobriety test. I am happy to say though that I am sore in all the right places. My abs feel like I had a gut punch, my inner thighs are on fire, and my back is oh so tired. All the places you should be sore if you are making an effort to ride correctly.  It's go time now Dickie-Trish team. We have to get our shiz together!!

Now for a local business plug. I purchased the saddle on consignment from a  young horse woman at Diamond in the Rough Saddlery. She grew up in the area competing in Pony Club and recently started her own tack business. She has a small shop at her parents barn. I remember the days when the only saddle fitter in the area was so far away and you had to ship the saddle off hoping you could describe what you needed. The saddle fitter at that time was a true artist named Hans Biglajzer (click on the link for more info on him). We have a few fitters in the area but they are also reps for particular brands. The one person I email asking about her fees wanted tracings so we could talk about a new saddle right off. I was thrilled for the referral to Diamond in the Rough. Lo and behold this young woman has taken the time to learn from Hans and is carrying on the tradition. She will reflock a saddle, replace billets, repair your seat, add knee rolls, remove knee blocks, convert air panels to flocking, you name it she can do it. I started talking to her when I was considering the Black Country from England. I didn't pay her a dime for her advice but she freely gave it. She even encourages me to buy the saddle even though she had no monetary stake in it. I am sorry that saddle didn't fit but thrilled I was able to give her business. Over and above all her technical knowledge her passion for horses shines through. It is glaringly obvious how much she wants both horse and rider to be comfortable.  She has been a working student for well respected trainers in the area and has started giving lessons at her family's stable. 

It is refreshing to see young horse people with a passion for everything horse. All too often the young people who want the quick fix or are in it for the ribbons overshadow people like her. I was excited to give my business to the next generation. The horse business is cruel and no one gets rich. We need these young people to bring their passion to teaching and the art of tack repair. So if you are in the area please check her out!! Chances are your beloved saddle could use new flocking. I am sure you know someone you would love custom ribbon trimmed polo wraps. And we could ALL use a new bling saddle pad. A little bling helps blind spectators to your riding faults. She ships so head to her website and get yourself something pretty. 

She keeps her stock a little more updated on her Facbook Page

Clinics AHHHHH!!!

I am not sure if I mentioned it here but I recently had the chance to watch an Anne Gribbons clinic at Quailhurst Stables near Dickie barn. It was amazing. If you ever have the chance to see her run there. I missed part of the first ride but managed to catch the rest of the rides for one day. There were mostly upper level riders with one 2nd level rider on a schoolmaster. I loved how one thing just flowed into the next. The person would say "I want to work on piaffe" and they were start on something that appeared unrelated and it just flowed. They suddenly they were doing piaffe without stress or fanfare. One rider wanted to work on more expression in the front. Anne said that she saw Totilas as a youngster and he didn't have that exaggerated front end movement. She said the rider's horse was going correctly from behind so getting more in the front would be easy. Then she gave some very very simple instructions for how to use her seat and BOOM that horse was transformed. Another horse came in and I was impressed by how the rider warm her up relaxed and stretching forward. She almost looked hunterish in the warm up. While it was nice to see a horse warmed up so relaxed I didn't see any WOW in the horse. By the end of the ride you wouldn't recognize that horse. They channelled all of that elastic relaxation into a dynamite horse. Anne told her this was a Grand Prix horse.

Here are some photos from the clinic: Anne Gribbons

The week after watching Anne Gribbons Marina Parris-Woodhead came to a local stable called Lake Oswego Hunt Club. She is a Grand Prix rider who spends some of her time here in Oregon. The owner of my barn helped coordinate getting her to the area and now she makes regular trips. Here is a article in the local paper about Marina Parris-Woodhead

The riders at this clinic were more at my level. There were a few upper level riders, some good riders on young horses, and other mid level riders. Marina also had a very simple approach to problems. She showed how simple exercises like voltes can be used to strengthen anything from canter lengthenings, to half pass, to helping a hot horse relax at the walk. I was shocked that we had such a wonderful clinician and there were almost zero auditors. There wasn't even an audit fee!!  I learned so much at her clinic that I am planning on riding with her in January. I love riding in clinics. I am not someone who likes a weekly lesson. I like to have time to process information and work on things independently. I also like to ride with different people so I can get new perspectives. There were several really young horses in the clinic so I feel like it will be a great setting for our first under saddle trip away from home. If he ends up being a handful baby brain it will be great to have someone give me guidance on how to work through that. Even better it will be at a place were we plan on showing.

I am nervous but really excited. It is crazy to think a year ago he wasn't even under saddle!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Now that we have moved from just getting the baby forward and being happy he tolerates a rider I have realized I need a different saddle. My cheap cheap saddle isn't bad. It's a thoroughgood. Despite being synthetic it is wool flocked and made in england. They are great little saddles. However I have to admit I do love leather. And while it doesn't hurt my bum hip it puts me in a chair seat. I also don't feel like I can't really fine tune my commands. This was really brough home to me when I got on my eventer friends horse. It was her Black Country Quantum. I felt like I was bareback. The twist was narrow, my legs were in the perfect postition, it was like the saddle wasn't even there. So the search began......

I decided to start with a dressage saddle. I will eventually need a jump saddle but for now our work is on the flat. I started out looking for a Black Country. I loved my friends and they seemed to fit him well. On the wide side but he is filling out like crazy so wide is better than a perfect width. They are way spendier than I could afford so I went to the UK ebay and a UK site called preloved. I found a lovely saddle over there and with shipping it was $600. Used they go for twice that in the US.

The workmanship on BCS saddles is amazing. They are sturdy and the leather is to die for. I am not a fan of the switch to flimsy calfskin leather saddles. They might be soft when you get them but your expesive saddle will soon have holes. I love a good english made saddle. They seem to know how to make a saddle with sturdy leather that is still soft and supple. I put the saddle on Dickie and it was perfect. It had enough room for him to grow but sat very balanced. Sadly the knee block hit me wrong and the twist was too wide. I couldn't seem to get my leg stable and my hip was a mess after riding in it I tried a few times but could make it work. It broke my heart to sell this lovely saddle. 

I spent the next few weeks sitting in every dressage saddle in town. I sat in $4,000 saddles down to the low price cardboard saddles. I sat in at least 20 saddles. Only a handful of the saddle actually felt good on my hip. I brough home a neidersuss because I used to own one and love it. It was a no go. Too tigh on Dickie and the thigh block killed me. I quickly came to the realization that saddles these days have giant knee blocks in the wrong place for the average person. When did that happen? 

I decided to wait until my BCS sold because it would increase my budget. I found a few saddle in my price range I wanted to try. I also discoved the kent and masters saddles. They are a decent price new and come with lots of bells and whistles. They are adjustable, narrow twist, and have a removable knee block. Just when I was about to give up and wait until I could afford a new Kent and Masters, I found a JRD accord in my price range at my saddle fitters shop. I sat in a few JRD accords and loved the twist. They were too small for me though and out of my price range. This saddle was in my range and the right size. I made the treck to her little shop and was dissapointed to find it had a giant thigh block. JRDs are custom saddles so they vary drastically. She encouraged me to sit another saddle. It was a Cardanel. I would have discounted it simply because of the super deep seat but happened to read a review online the night before. The person said it didn't feel like most deep seat saddles so not to discount this brand even if you don't like deep seats. I loved it right away. It was the best I have sat it. I currently have it on trail. So far so good but I've only had one ride with teh holiday madness. I'm heading out to ride in it now......

Trainers and Things

I have broken down and my badass eventer friend is riding Dickie one day a week. I really really want to train him myself and think I can do it. It was hard to break down and ask for help because I don't want to admit defeat. The more I thought about it the more I really don't feel like I am admitting defeat. I don't feel stuck with our training, I don't feel like I can't do it on my own. My schedule is just too crazy to do it. I had her ride him a few times when I was super busy with pre holiday madness. When I had her ride him in the short term I was amazing at how relieved I felt. Owning a horse is a responsibility. Owning a young horse is a HUGE responsibility. They need you are there alllll the time. You can't just take a day off because you are tired. He doesn't understand. He is a big horse who can get downright pushy when he isn't being handled. It isn't the horses fault that you need to go Christmas shopping, or haven't seen your friend in forever. If you can't give a young horse the time they need then get an older trained horse. I didn't want to go that route. I wanted the challenge of starting a horse myself. When I made that decision I knew there were going to be some big sacrifices in my personal life.

That said, I am a nurse. I work 12 hour shifts three days a week. Sometimes I work 16 hour shifts. Riding on a work day is out of the question. I leave the house before six and get home after 8pm. My body is usually toast before my day is even over so riding would be stupid on a work day. That means I need to get out there on all my days off. Some weeks that is really hard when you add in spending tim with my better half or with my family. Since Cricket came on board I can have a day off. He adores her and I am always happy with how he rides after she has been on. So far we have been on the same page with what to work on. She even took note of my hip injury and is working on an issue that is hard with my hip. I have her ride on work days and she is super sweet. She sends me really long texts about how he did, what she worked on, and how cute he is. It makes those long rough days much easier. I look forward to my update texts.

I am glad I decided to have her offically help. I earn more working four hours than I pay her for a month. It helps my stubborn nature to know I am perfectly capable of training this horse myself. I would be an idiot though to pass up the chance to have a trainer ride my horse for half the price of most trainers. I probably wont have her ride him forever but for ride now it is pretty freakin awesome.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Breedle Deedle goes for a ride

We had a few chilly days this month. It felt like Alaska and reminded me of all the fun rides Bre and I had in the snow. I decided to go for a ride with my friend on a chilly 26 degree day. We went bareback to keep our tushies warm. Bre seemed happy to get out and about and took good care of me.

The view between these red ears is the best view in the world. 

This is what we usually see from the same point in our ride. 

She heard me put a hand in my pocket. She thinks that's her cue for a treat stop . 

Bre's lease lady riding Romeo. 

The red princess and I keeping warm in December. 


Bit Bits Bits. So many sizes and shapes and colors. When we last met Dickie graduated from the side pull to a full cheek KK aurigan snaffle. He was going just fine and dandy for a baby horse but I wasn't 100% happy with it as time went on. He was getting to the point where he should be taking the bit and putting a little weight in my hands. My trainer friend started riding him once a week and was feeling the same thing. Luckily she has an arsenal of bits. Normal bits, weird bit, small bits, tall bits. You name it she has it. I took home a loose ring mullen, one hing sweet iron loose ring, three piece D ring, and three piece loose ring. Since I had tried similar versions of every thing else I went with the mullen mouth. I've never ridden in a mullen or even seen another person ride in one. Now I am wondering why not!!

It was magic from the second I put the bridle on. Usually he chomps away at his bits but with this one he acted like nothing was there. The ride was night and day!! I don't want to imply that he hasn't been a good boy. He has been an amazing green pony. But add this bit into the mix and we progressed exponentially in one ride. He is now stretching down for most of the ride. I feel like we are having a conversation through my reins. He is much less tense and is more willing to move out. It surreal to get on him now. His attention span is still pretty short but he is ready to work the second my foot hits the stirrup.

I have Cricket's bit on loan and ordered an egg butt for Dickie. Hers is a loose ring but I like to go with less cheek movement for the greenies. Can't wait until it gets here. f you have a horse who is fussy with the bit, doesn't want to take contact, or suck behind the contact give a mullen mouth a try. They are inexpensive, dressage legal, and mild. It can't hurt to give one a whirl.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Assisted Boot Camp

I have three major goals to reach by the end of the year. 

1) Assaloosa will go FORWARD with a whisper of my leg. He will go forward into a faster gait and go more forward within those gaits. We had a glimpse of this when I first arrived I at new barn but need real obedience. 

2) Safety while riding with other horses in the arena. We didn't get a chance to share the arena much with other horses because lessons occured in an arena packed with jumps. Jumps on both rails, jumps on the diagonal, jumps on the ends of the arena, jumps on the quarter lines. Not the safest configuration for baby horse riding alone let alone with other critters. 

3) TRAIL RIDE!!!! We have miles of gravel roads just outside the barn door and I am dying to get out there. Trail riding is the best cure for arena boredom and a safer way to condition baby legs. 

I was starting to feel like these things wouldn't happen until boot camp occured. As I shared earlier I was supported into action by BO and my eventer friend. Enough was enough and I had two rides with a ground person encouraging forward with a whip and voice. Step two was event friend bringing her horses out. She brought her dead calm grey the first day. We practiced following and walk and trot to make arena time fun. Then we worked on passing his new friend and leading the way. We went back and forth Dickie in front then Carson in front and made it a game. There was also some liberal spotted butt kicking. 

Ride #2 w my friend was a week later with her spunkier bay TB Frankie. Frankie is level headed but a but a little spookier and energetic. After the ride w grey horse I kicked it into high gear and had been riding with purpose so he was already a different horse. I decided to be on and riding when she arrived and instructed her to be loud and disruptive as the trailer pulled up. He's seen a trailer before so it wasn't like it was his first expirience. I want him to get used to things that might occur while we are in a clinic or show. He was very intersted in Frankie and asked if we could please go say "Hi" but didn't completely blow me off. We went about our buisness while she rode big brown horse and practiced passing, following, and being left behind. Then WE WENT ON A TRAIL RIDE!!! We just walked right out that arena door and went down the road. Dickie likes to follow and dawdle a bit but isn't spooky and seemed very happy to get out on the road. 

So now I have achieved all three goals (more about goal #1 soon) so everything else between now and Jan 1 is gravy. I never thought I would get this far so fast and I can't thank my wonderful assistants enough. Thanks Frankie and Carson and my human friends of course. 

This scenery is why I can't wait ot hit the road. 

Mom let's go see where this leads. 

This was from one of our trail hand walks and he's trying to eat the reins because he can. 

Bre's awesome lessee getting led on road. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Just in time for Thanksgiving I have a gobble gobble story. When I first moved to the new barn there was a family of turkeys. Momma, poppa, and five babies. Pops left and two babies disapeared. We decided to start feeding the turkeys because they are pretty cool birds. They make the sweetest little chirping noises and are pretty dang friendly. They follow me around the barn like dogs. I am sure that I will get people cringing and telling me how dangerous boy turkeys are. I know and I don't care. I love these turkeys. They come to "turkey turkey turkey" and when I had apples would meet me at my car door. They have decided our barn is the place to be and never go past the horse pasures. Even the horses seem to like our turkey friends. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Boot Camp Results

I had planned on putting this post up later but I am so proud of Dickie I will share it now. Posts of our last three weeks will be forthcoming so you are kind of getting the final product then going in reverse :)

I have had the YHG (young horse guy) ride Dickie three times so he wasn't sitting around during my work stretches. Normally I think it is just find for a young horse to be lightly worked. However, at this stage he really needed some steady work for things to stick in his brain. Between YHG rides I was getting on him every day so for two weeks he had five rides a week. The results are fantastic. Dickie starts a ride ready to go. He seems happy and relaxed. He is even being a big well behaved puppy dog when I am not out there.

Here is a video of just before I decided we needed to get it together. He was very much protesting trotting or any leg whatsoever. He was also very offended at not being allowed to gaze at himself in the mirrors. I wasn't riding him in a bit yet because he was acting like he had a sore tooth. I had the vet out a little over two weeks ago and his teeth are just fine. All of his 3.5 yo teeth are in so we are in a clear until Spring when I do the big teeth float.

YHG came out on Tuesday and I was excited to watch him ride. I hadn''t seen him ride Dickie yet because my main reason for using him was to increase under saddle time. If I was at the barn I was doing the riding. He has been feeling great but is is hard to get photos and ride at the same time.Very forward (I actually ride him more forward with less circles than YHG) an is even starting to give to the bridle. Now that we have come to an agreement and I am allowed to use my leg he is actually really light off the leg. It only took a few times reinforcing with voice to help him understand seat cues for walk.

Here is video evidence of post boot camp: Dickie walking from first warm up  and Dickie from the first trot of ride 

Jackpot of Resources

I left my old barn and some awesome friends due to difficulty finding quiet jump free arena time. The new place has been a perfect fit in so many ways. The barn owner was a long time eventer turned dressage queen after a head injury that cause major health issues. She has a wealth of knowledge working with youngsters and has four homebred warmbloods from yearling to 5yo. She also has several OTTBs in various stages of training. I have been able to ride some of those horses and glean a wealth of information from BO. An added benefit to my location is several wonderful trainers who live nearby and are willing to come to me. Some of them even come to the barn for BOs horses routinely. 

One of my resources is an old school bad ass event rider. I made friends with her at the old barn and she has been a great support. She has evented all the way up to Rolex. Currently she has two OTTBs she events at prelim and teaches a handful of students. She is tough but a kick in the pants. She doesn't run a major training buissiness and just teaching who she likes. Her rates are a steal. She hauled her horses to my barn and added in an extra ride on Dickie when I had a long work stretch for barely more than the price of one lesson at most barns. 

Quailhurst Stables  is located about five minutes from my stable. The BO is friends with Quailhurst barn owner which means I get the lowdown an clinics. It also instroducted us to one of the Quailhurst young horse riders. He worked with Buck Branaman and showed Arabians. He is now learning dressage and is a natural. He's calm, relaxed, and looks like he was born riding dressage. I love that he still shows up in wranglers and a sweatshirt even though he rides at one of the fanciest barns in our area. When I started to get my act together I realized Dickie needed a month of stead riding to really "get" what is expected of him. That gets hard in weeks where I work more than three shifts. Awesome young horse guy (we shall call him YHG) has been riding him during work stretches at less than a steal. I don't even want to say what I am paying him because as soon as word gets out he will be out of my price range ;) 

Yet another person who stops in our barn is a local Grand Prix jumper. Sadly I have yet to cross paths with her because she always seems to be there on a day I am at work. She jumps BOs horses since she can't jump herself anymore. I hear she is great to work with and excells at a dialogue with owners about what she is feeling up there. I can't wait to watch her ride sometime soon!!

Fancy vineyard/horse farm right down the road. 
GP jumper I can't wait to watch ride. 

Eventer trainer on her super cute OTTB I might get to take a lesson on :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sometimes the Peanut Gallery Knows Best

The last time I left you I was reluctant to push him. I felt like he didn't have the attention span for it to be fair. However, I have seen changes that make me think it is time to get this show on the road. He stands on the cross ties, can focus with chaos in the arena, and is mellow during our trail walks. He had also started to be a big stinker under saddle. He had the very basics down. Walk, trot, stop, turn. Forward trot however was not something he was very interested in. I realized that I was holding back on pushing him partly because I wondered if his heart was bothering him. He had been entirely cleared from the cardiologist for hard work but it was nagging at me without even realizing it. I wondered if he was being sluggish because he wasn't getting enough oxygen. I decided to take his heart rate after I had lunged him hard. I also took his heart rate after a lunge/ride session. I discovered something very very interesting-his heart was barely above resting. He is also never very out of breath by the way. BUSTED!!!! Dickster was being a trickster.

The barn owner had been nagging me to get his arse in front of my leg. I finally gave in and let her get behind me with a whip. I finally feel like he has the attention span and the fitness to handle putting his big boy pants on. I also had a friend and local advanced level eventer in the area come out. She brought her horse so we could practice focusing with other horses in the arena. She also rode my ass hard. She had me hold my crop like a jockey and whack his spotted butt. And she yelled at me to sit up and stop babying him. It was magic. I needed some tough love. Apparently so did Dickie. Three weeks later he doesn't even feel like the same horse. He moves off the leg immediately, will hold the tempo until told otherwise, and is even starting to give to give to the bridle.

Sometimes it is hard to have the peanut gallery telling you what to do and how to do it. Especially when you have experience and have a long term game plan. Things are often not so pretty when riding the babies so there are often times when you look like a hot mess even though things are on track.  I also have to admit I am a bit stubborn because I had terrible experiences with "helpful" bystanders with Bre. Bystanders who thought I should be rougher, put a tie down on her, or steer clear of her altogether because she was dangerous. When Bre was Dickie's age I wouldn't own her for another year and had to balance what I knew was the right way to bring on a youngster and what I was being forced to do. I get a bit pigheaded because this is my chance to do it right. I own Dickie so I can shield him from things that permanently traumatized Bre. I need to remember though that these days I surround myself with others who share the same horse care values as I do. And in the end it is OK for me to take what works and leave the rest.

Treats? Now?

Between cow kicking and tail swishing in protest over being told he can't just hand out and admire himself in the mirror. 

Midtantrum pre boot camp days. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thank all of you my wonderful blog buddies!

I have been away from blogger quite a bit this last summer. However, I do check in and try to keep up on how you all our doing. I see that some ponies are now barefoot, people have new babies, others have sent their ponies on to new wonderful homes. I wanted to go through and comment but I have been such a delinquent commenter that I have months to catch up on. I just wanted you all to know how inspiring you are. I appreciate all your stories. They keep me motivated and inspired.

Friday, October 11, 2013

He's Closer to Four than Three AHHHHHH!!!

We are at a bit of a stand still training wise. I had him going really well undersaddle. He could steer decent, stop, go, and back. Then his old lady momma hurt her back and I was out of commission. I came out to longe him and love on him but riding was out of the question. I missed a bunch of work and spent the better part of one week lying on my side attached to a heating pad. Then I was ready to ride but we had a crazy windy week. Trees were falling over and there was thunder and lighting. I didn't want to hop right on my wild 3yo after a month off with a hurricane going on. 

Finally last week I was able to hop on and he was naughty. I think he was great for a 3yo with such limited riding but I was sweating. We had our first ride with another horse in the arena for the full ride. That blew his mind. When he gets focused on something he finds the requests of his rider quite annoying. He would trot trot trot happily along then see something interesting and it was suck back, kick out, mini buck, hop, hop, annnnnnd go again. 

I had someone mention that they thought the root problem was him being behind the leg. I suppose I could have been more assertive about him not getting behind the leg. However, he has such a poor attention span that I am not sure that would have helped. When he is paying attention to me he moves right out then BAM something sparkly catches his eye and he wants to check it out. Is that really behind the leg or is it just my 3yo dofus has the attention span of a gnat? When he feeling particularly focused I can get a good 20 minutes of forward trotting (with rests of course) and he is downright snappy off the leg. 

It is so hard starting a baby. I wouldn't trade it but sometimes I second guess myself. Am I pushing him too hard? Am I not pushing him enough? Where should he be at 3? I have only ridden him in a bit once but he is teething so he hasn't wanted a bit in his mouth. We aren't cantering yet but I still don't feel like I have enough control to canter him in a big arena with lots of room to gain speed and bucks. And I know if I sent him off for training he would be further along, but do I really want him further along?  know that many 31/2 yos are doing more but I don't want to ruin his growing body. His spine won't finish growing til six, he just grew a half inch in two months, has a mouth full of baby caps, and has the chest of a starved mongolian pony from the front. Do I really have anything to gain but pushing him at this moment? I don't want him to have an injury at four or five and find myself wondering if it is because I pushed him too far at three. For some reason once he turns more I will be more confident about pushing him. 

I HAAATE putting a bit in my mouth right now mom.
Le'ts play. 
Go get it Dickie!!

He kills the ball!!!

He's ready for mom to kick it again.

That baby chest I was talking about. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bre Update (Bad blogger here)

Bre is doing FANTASTIC!! She was a royal shit two days after the injections. I tried to hand graze her and she was dragging me around on the wet pavement like I was water skiing. The first day she had turnout she ran around the arena like a mad woman bucking and leaping. The woman who has been leasing Bre said she is looking 100% sound and I have seen her trotting around sound. She seems really happy. She is my old horse again. Pushy, sassy, and runs when a sane horse would walk.

I am sad to admit that I haven't actually been on her. Life has been so busy. I have Dickie and I have been helping work horses where Dickie lives. Dickie now lives 20+ from her and it is already a drive for me to get to the horses. She is well taken care of though. She loves her caretakers and they love her. In fact I think she's sees me as a bit of a buzz kill. She was trying to drag me around like some newly captured BLM horse. I said "BRE!!!! Do you know who I am" she looked me right in the eye and thought about minding for a second then continued being a nut job.

I am thinking my lovely retired mare needs to have some basic lessons on ground manners. My friend has been leasing her and spoils her rotten. It might be a good opportunity for her to learn how to handle naughty ponies. Romeo and Bre have both decided that they are feral ponies who can't be told what to do. Maybe I should tell them that wild ponies don't have warm blankets. They also don't get to come into dry stalls with sand runs at night.

It might seem silly that I dropped so much dough to get joint injection for someone else to ride my horse. For me it is a quality of life issue for one of my best friend. If Bre isn't running like an asshat in the pasture she is miserable. She also loves to go on trail rides and have adventures with her people. She gets bored and pissy when she doesn't have a job. It makes me heart happy to see the red mare causing trouble again.
Bre waking up from the procedure. 

The good part of stall rest was constant food. 

Feet all wrapped up to keep injection sites clean. 

Hay and a nice fluffy stall. Rough life. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Where Do I Start?

I guess I will start with Bre. If you have been on my blog much you will know Bre has been plagued by soundness problems over the years. Dickie came into the picture because Bre just can't hold up to steady arena work. Over the years she had various vets look at her, xrays, creative shoeing, and even a pet psychic. Eventually we came to the conclusion she has really thin soles, an old shoulder injury. Her shoulder gets better with work and she responds well to chiropractic. She doesn't do well in soft arenas that pack in her feet but does great on hard ground/grass. Arena work mentally fries her so that was for the best anyway. If arena work is kept to a minimum Bre will happily gallop for miles and carry me for five hour trail rides (no, not exaggerating). 

This past winter/spring Bre went off. I wasn't too surprised because she gets an abscess every year like clockwork. One big whopping abscess when the weather starts going from wet/cold to wet/warm.When she gets an abscess she is three legged lame then it pops and she is back to normal. However, this year it seemed different. The lameness never really resolved and she seemed reluctance to go forward under saddle. She loves to canter and was refusing to take her left lead. 

Navicular had been ruled out during previous lameness but lately she has been acting like we needed to revisit those pesky QH feet. I decided to have her fronts x-rayed to figure out what we are working with. The farrier pulled her shoes just before the vet arrived and she was so sore she could barely stand up when we tried to get films. Oddly she didn't react when hoof tested over her navicular bone. However, the picture showed a different story. She has changes in both navicular bones with rough surfaces and flares at the tips of her coffin bones. She also has a cyst on her left navicular bone causing inflammation in the coffin joint. 

I felt sick when I saw the films. I have always known that Bre didn't going to be that horse who lives happily into her late 20s. I  just wasn't ready to start getting dire diagnosis yet. Fortunately my vet quickly gave me hope. She said she has seen horses much worse off than Bre (both symptoms and xrays) be showing sound after cortisone injections into the coffin joint. She said if the injections work they last six months to a year. They aren't cheap but spending $400 once or twice a year seems reasonable to have a happy and SOUND pony. 

Bre trying to fit a whole apple in her mouth. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

State Of Affairs

I was sick about moving Dickie because I really do hate moving. Bre lived at the same barn in Oregon after the move from Alaska for six years. We moved only because I needed her to get more attention while I was in nursing school and it was the best decision for Bre. This is the third barn in a year for Dickie. The first place was a move primarily for him. He wasn't turned out long enough and it was making him batty. This last move was more for me than for Dickie so it was harder. He was happy as could be messing around in the pasture all day but he was destined to be a pasture puff there. I already have one pasture ornament the last thing I needed was two. The new place has turnout (about an acre) but it isn't a huge field and there won't be grass. The turnout he had at the other place just doesn't exist in this area unless you want pasture board only. He also isn't out in a herd. He shares the fenceline with other geldings but for now is in his own pasture.

I quickly discovered my fears were unfounded. Dickie is such a trooper. As long as someone tells him he is a good boy he is happy to go anywhere. He hopped right in the trailer and started making friends the second he arrived. He hit it off right away with the stud colt next door and they played bitey face all day. He is right in the middle of a group of young delinquents. He finally isn't the only one who steals halters and throws them in the hall or bangs on the door at dinner time. He threw some tantrums the first few days when the owner was paying attention to her horses and not him but he quickly figured out he will get his turn. When they are in she dumps hay on them like it is going out of style and she gives them all carrots and treats. He is out 24/7 unless it is raining over night. Then he gets to come in at night. So far he does well with that. At his old barn he was in a private four stall area and I think it blew his mind to go from there to all the activity of the main barn and be expected to focus for a ride. Now he seems to eat up watching all the activity as we get out other horses. He can see the tack room and cross tie stalls from his stall and watches very intently.

Overall I am just amazed at how calm he is. He tested each person who led him in and out for the first week to make sure they knew how to be boss horse. After that he has been acting like a gentleman. He ambles along behind you with slack in the lead. And he does that for everyone. We have to lead two geldings through his field and he learned the rules really quickly. He stands back and does his best not to molest them as you walk through. It really helps that the owner has raised many big young, unruly horses from birth. She's a wisp of a thing but every one falls into line. He still has the fire and naughty that make him Dickie but he's so much better at focusing and getting a hold of himself these days.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday (New Barn Edition)

Dickie looking very concerned over the wild turkey's who have taken up residence in the barn. 

He loves just standing in his stall watching the activity.

Begging for just one more treat before mom leaves. 

Please don't go!! I want to play. 

He's looking all grown up!!!

If he looks greasy it's because he is. I've been oiling him up with Calm Coat because his highness hates bug bites. 

So bored with you.