Monday, June 29, 2015

Enter a contest!

Contest time at All In!   700 entries ... Karley is really good about blogging regularly, and she and Henry are a great team!   Go read her entry, and check out this contest!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Two things:  first, like everyone else, I'm sending all my love and best thoughts to Lauren.  If anyone reading this hasn't seen the GoFundMe for her, here it is:  Gift for Lauren.  I only wish I could give more.

Second, thank you all for your supportive words to me.  I'm getting a lid on the crazy, mostly, and a good look at Apollo's legs tells me that yes, my fear of ringbone is ridiculous.  He does have nicks and dings and scar tissue from cutting himself - his skin keloids up like it's its job - but he's sound.  I do think, though, that I should probably consider hock injections sooner rather than later.  I think that would make him more comfortable in work.

As for the jumper's bump, yeah, it's there.  Slight, but there.  I'm imagining things.  It's not a jumper's bump, it's a slight roach.   Part of the problem, I think, is that he needs another 50-75 pounds.  He's got good muscling, but he needs MOAR.  So - plan is to continue schooling and exercising and doing horsey calisthenics to strengthen and build muscle, and I also picked up some Cool Calories to give him a better fat layer.  I never had this trouble in Idaho, and he started perking up significantly when I started him on alfalfa.  So ... apparently alfalfa is what he eats.  Can do.  It's just money, right?   (*cries as little moths fly out of wallet*)

Looks like I won't be able to run River Glen at the end of July.  Not because of crisis of confidence or anything like that, but because I have to be in Manhattan for work the week before.  I might could do the Starter on Saturday, but the possibility of having to work through the weekend is significant.  So ... later in the year it is.

And ... plans for the new arena at our barn are UNDERWAY!    SQUEEEE!  Good footing!  Dressage training!  JUMPING!   *dies*

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sudden stress.

So I'm suddenly consumed by horse stress.  So many stresses.  Self-doubt, really: am I taking the correct care of my horse?  Am I riding him correctly?  Am I actually injuring my horse?  What is this lump?  Do I need to call the vet?  Is he neurologic?  Was that a normal stumble or toe-dragging?  *pulls hair out*    Yeah.  Stress.

Last week, I arrived at the barn to discover that beloved ponykins had knocked over the panels in front of the barn designed to keep horses out of the barn.  I discovered him with his head in the pelleted feed bin, munching away; all three feed bins (beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, and Tribute Kalm n' EZ) were open, as well as the bin holding the cookie bag.  He'd also eaten several flakes of the compressed alfalfa bale I'd bought the week before.  ARGH.  I checked him out, and he seemed to be fine; vet recommended 3 days of Banamine just in case, and cold hosing his front feet, again just in case.  He didn't get *too* much more feed than he gets, total, in a day, and he hadn't had breakfast that day, but still.

Oh, and?  He'd pulled both his front shoes, likely the day before but possibly that day.  Gah.  One hell of a party in the pasture - no shoes, trash bin knocked over, panels over, eating straight from the carton ...

Temp, pulse, respiration, gut sounds, and manure were all good, no pain in his fronts, and they stayed that way.  So no real stress there, just a Thing That Happens Sometimes With Horses.

But ... I'm all freaked out that he's got a jumper's bump.  And that he's too thin.  And that he has no muscle.  And that he has ringbone.  And that he might be neurologic.

I mean, seriously.  These worries are, in order, probably silly; enh, he's a TB, he doesn't really do "fat;" patently silly; unlikely because he's sound, his x-rays never showed any hint of it, and the vet never mentioned it; and unlikely.

But at the same time ... part of me wants to collapse in a neurotic weepy pile with worry.  If he's got a jumper's bump, WHY?   HOW?  Did he always?  I'm looking for older photos of his back.  I know I have some.  And I always do horsey situps with him - getting him to tuck his hindquarters by running spurs lightly down the back of his quarters - and tummy tucks, and leg stretches, all to keep his topline strong and his back, hindquarter, and ab muscles strong and supportive.  I do carrot stretches with him too.  Am I imagining things?   And it leads into ...

Jumper's bump?  Or just my mind playing tricks on me?

Am I riding him correctly, working to strengthen his muscles and his correct carriage, the way I intend to ride?  Am I getting enough hind leg engagement?  (Almost certainly not, but I work at getting more and more.)  Is working on this uneven, unlevel surface - his pasture, with somewhat hard footing - hurting him, rather than helping?  I had thought that it'd be good for him, that he'd improve his balance - if we can be balanced and engaged on THIS surface, we can damn well be balanced and engaged in a nice dressage arena, was my thought.   But is it not helping?  I can't see his hind end, so am I imagining any improvement?  I watched the video of last year's derby, and I realized that I rode pretty well.  So I *can* ride ... or I *could*.  Can I still?  AM I still?

And on this unlevel surface, he does of course stumble.  He sometimes stumbles in the fancy arena at NT's place, too, but not nearly as much.  Do I need to worry?  Is he neurologic?  He jumps fine, doesn't get tangled up in himself ... I think.  Is his constant desire to have his head rubbed and his rubbing his face on his legs as soon as I dismount a symptom of Head Shaker Syndrome?  Are the various lumps and bumps on his pasterns ringbone?  They didn't show up on his rads when we took them, but did I cause it?  Does it develop late?   IS MY HORSE DYING AND I JUST DON'T KNOW IT???


And THEN ... there's all the stress about whether we can and should get out to school XC and then go to a little jumper show this weekend.  I need to get the trailer mats organized tonight, and I hope that will help Apollo's loading issue.  I honestly think that mats plus not squshing him in with the divider will solve the issue - I think he was feeling really unstable and like he doesn't have enough room as it was.  The trailer *is* a bit too small for him.

Do I suck as a rider?  As a horse mom?   Suddenly I feel the way I imagine first time parents must feel, especially if they don't have parents of their own still living.   Like, totally adrift and wondering what I'm screwing up today.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Before Enlightenment

So.  The health saga goes on (and on ... and on ...) but I am determinedly focusing on a solution, not the problems, so I'll gloss over that.  Suffice to say that even if I don't feel 100%, I'm busting my ass to do all my normal stuff.  Including ride, do barn chores, work on improving the place, all that good stuff.

I'm working on developing Apollo's hind engagement - one of those things covered in "chop wood, carry water" - and he's doing well!  Lots of transitions between and within gaits, making sure that I don't school shit.  Today's plan, if it's not raining, is trot sets.  Tomorrow's plan, if it's not raining, is hack, then Sunday, if all goes as planned, up to NT's place for a dressage lesson in between barn chore shifts.

That barn chore shifts thing is something I'm really excited about.  Hang out with excellent people and learn from them by osmosis; get exercise doing something I enjoy; and work off lessons.  How could this be bad?  :D  The only drawback is the drive up there, but ... it's workable.  Especially if I'm working off lessons.  So some number of Sundays during the month, I'll get to hang out with the team.

Plus, things are shaping up at the home barn.  SO exciting there too.  BO and I went to Tractor Supply last night, and it's amazing how much difference a good manure cart makes in keeping things tidy.  It was downright fun to clean the stall.  (The refill of PDZ helped too.)   The push broom makes me happy, and I'm bringing a leaf style rake from home.  We also picked up some 3/4 inch matting for the trailer floor.  I think this, plus changing the way I buckle Apollo in, will make a huge difference in Apollo's willingness to trailer.  The mats will need trimming and Tetris-ing to fit precisely, but that will happen Saturday.  That way they'll be ready to go for Sunday early.

Next, a few loads of gravel to level out the stall Apollo's in, then I'll get actual stall mats for his stall, and bed it appropriately, and things will be MUCH better come winter.  And now, but yknow.  Winter is a big deal.  Just need to figure out how we'll schedule letting him out in the mornings.  A bridge to cross when we get there, really.  Just things doing better and better.

Oh, and - I had decided to skip the River Glen Horse Trials in July/August, thinking we weren't ready ... nah.  If we can get onto the course a couple of times and work hard in the meantime, we can at the VERY least do Starter, if not BN as planned.  Excelsior!

Today: Trot
Sat: Hack
Sun: Dressage
Mon: Off
Tues: Longe in side reins
Weds: Dressage
Thurs: Dressage
Fri: Off
Sat: Jump
Sun: Jump? Dressage?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


To add insult to injury, turns out I'm allergic to sulfa.  The allergy manifests as hives and swollen, painful joints.  Fun on its own, I'm sure, but I had spent the day clearing brush ... at some point I must have twisted my ankle a little and strained the ligaments.  The sulfa allergy took that minor strain and turned it into a one-legged-lame, wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night pain.  

So before the doc yesterday, I looked like a one-footed leper who'd been in a fist fight.

After the doc and a shot of dex, I look like a slightly gimpy, less itchy leper who's been in a fist fight.

But at least things are on the upswing.  I get to see my pony tonight, if only to feed and fly spray, because I'm still in early days on healing bone, and that always means I'm in need of sleep.  Matt calls it the regenerative coma.  :)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Great weekend! Awful end to it.

Apparently it was not a good weekend for trailering and noses.

But let me start at the beginning.

I went up to NT's place to help clear the trail that goes around the property - it's a cool thing, but it was all but impassable in a few places because of all the brush.  So the call was put out for volunteers to help clear it.   Well, heck, thought I, I'll kill two birds with one stone and go do work in the morning, then ride in the afternoon!

So I hooked up S' truck to her trailer, packed the trailer, and went to head out Saturday morning.  Apollo is turning into kind of a brat about the trailer.  I honestly think he just doesn't like it - it's a 3H slant with just a wood floor, no mats, and it's relatively small, so he's squnched in (totally a word) when the divider is closed.  So I think he finds it an unpleasant ride, even though it's open and airy.  And I am pretty sure he has my number on this, because he refuses to load when it's just me, but when I get a second person behind him with a stick in their hand to help load him, he walks right on.  No stick even needed.  And he tries to turn around in the trailer and walk out forward as soon as possible when I unhook the lead thingy.

Trail maintenance went well!  The trail is really pleasant, and with those steep hills it'll be good conditioning work.  Clearing brush was quite the job, though ... oof.  If it weren't for a couple of ladies and their power tools on the first pass, we'd have had a much harder job.  Once we got the path cleared enough, the bush hog went through.  Woot!  I brought enough to drink and didn't dehydrate myself this time, too.  I am still exceptionally sore today.  Although, as you'll see, that might not just be the work ...

Then I had a lesson with NT.  At first, I was having trouble getting Apollo on the compressed, powerful trot step he needs, just going back and forth over a gymnastic.  I got the trot right, and we started working on Apollo really using himself over fences.  He had been jumping a little flat, just pushing off with one foot, not really making any effort.  So even though there was a great course set up, including a little liverpool and a shark-tooth that I would have liked to jump, we just worked back and forth over the vertical.  It was all about Apollo, and he had to do his job.  He hit the fence once, and he really did NOT like that.  He hit it, stumbled, and then spooked.  Poor kiddo!  When he finally got it - push off with both hind feet, bascule for days, and knees to nose, we called it a day.  It was pretty damn fun to ride, and NT said it looked great.  I have to say, it was nice to have my position squared away and be able to focus on the horse for once!

So after more loading shenanigans, we headed home.  Got home, pulled the truck and trailer into the pasture as usual, closed the pasture gate, and parked so I could unload the pony.  Opened the rear door, got on the trailer (no escape door), undid the divider, put Apollo's lead rope on his halter, and unhooked him from the trailer lead thing.  I was about to unload him when he swung his head around and bashed me in the face.

Y'all, I have never seen stars like that before.  Ow ow ow ow.  I am not sure if I unloaded him or if he unloaded himself; I don't really remember.  My nose was bleeding, my hat was knocked off, my glasses were hanging off my face, etc.  I knew this had actually broken my nose.   So I staggered over to Apollo, took his halter off, and walked up to the house for help - S *is* a doctor!  They weren't home, though, so I called Matt and told him I needed him to pick me up and take me to the emergency room ... and then I fed the horses.  Because it hadn't started to really hurt yet, and I knew that it would start, so I better get on the stick in a hurry before I couldn't any more.

X-ray confirms the break, but no displacement - yay.  Seriously, I did NOT want to go through setting it.

So I look terrible, all swollen and a nasty black eye (red, actually, since my skin is so pale) and a cut on my nose.

Sigh.  Bad juju.