Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tick, Tick, Tick...

Hmm, lets recap the Rosemary eye saga.
November 2010
We pick her up from Indiana after vetting. The vet and us believe the hairless, rough area over her left eye is an old scar.
Me and Rosemary in Indiana

We used vitamin E oil to soften the scar and try to grow some hair.
In June Rosemary gave birth to Roscoe and nurses until November.
In December we begin to see changes in the scar.
Rosemary Christmas 2011

January 2012
The changes become a small growth. Time for the vet.
Rosemary has minor surgery and we are surprised to have the tumor roll out of the skin when manipulated. Vet believes it is a sarcoid, but a biopsy will confirm.

After biopsy

February 2012
While waiting for the biopsy results, Mom confers with our holistic vet, Joyce Harman. Because of the location on the eyelid, she does not recommend the use of a topical treatment. Instead we began using Thuja orally.
Still rocking her pink stitches

March 2012
Biopsy comes back, its a sarcoid.
No regrowth yet, fingers crossed.
"Really another picture?"

April-August 2012
No regrowth at first, but soon some small signs show.
Thuja treatment is changed to Sulphur.
Just snoozing

September 2012
A definite growth in the same area.
Even with her bump, she still was a champion at the welsh show.
Its back

October 2012
Our conventional vet brings up the option of laser surgery $$$
Mom confers with the Joyce about Chinese herbs for treatment.

November 2012
We receive her Chinese herbs and Chrysanthemum powder treatment.
Rosemary refuses to eat the herbs even with molasses.
God bless a dosing syringe
After 19 days, she finishes her herbs and we hope the torture is over.

Here is how it looked when we started the herbal treatment

The herbs she refused to eat

December 2012
Joyce delivers the sad news Rosemary will be on the herbs indefinitely.
To help, we lowered her dose a bit.
Christmas week, Rosemary begins to eat her herbs. She surprised the heck out of me. So now we make her a medicine ball.
Her sarcoid has changed in a crazy way. So much so, that Mom sent an SOS to Joyce. The good news is the changes are positive, but things could get messy. As in it could blow. Tick, tick, tick...
Rosemary does not seem bothered, which is great.
Crazy, right?

This is suppose to be a good thing...

Caution: May blow out!!!

I bet this is a different 2012 recap than most people do ;) Rosemary's sarcoid has been a big part of our year and will be in the next. I will do the traditional recap later. Stay warm.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Video of Comrade

Well, Comrade was more up than forward today, but he still had some good push. Some day the stars will align and I will get a good video. After this we played over our new mini coop jump and I showed him the new blue barrel jump. That one will take a saddle and more prep time.

I hope everyone holidays have been great. On the good side, Rosemary is eating her medicine when it is rolled into a ball. On the bad side, my friend's husband has passed and today we found our little parakeet got a ride from Santa to the pearly gates. They are both in a better place, but it is still tough.

Well off to dinner
Have a good night

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tis The Season

For the last couple years I have abused my ponies with holiday pictures where they dress up. Here are some of this years. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hang Time

Most of the time you hear the phrase Hang Time it is in reference to jumping or basketball. My hang time was a bit different. It involved Roscoe.
Any ideas yet?
Well I played with Roscoe on the ground and found he was in a really good working mood. So when we went in the barn, I led him to our mounting block. I stepped up on the highest point, while asking him to step up next to the block. He was super, even if he got distracted by the things on the steps. Then I gave Mom the line and started leaning on his back. Roscoe could care less. He looked back at me as I bumped and rubbed.
The mounting block was a bit too high to put my weight across, so we brought out the muck bucket. It was the perfect height to allow me to lay across his back. We worked both sides, gradually adding more weight. Roscoe would take a few steps out of baby wiggles. I hung on for a little then would slide off. Roscoe gets bonus points for not reacting to the static which zapped both of us. My last hang time on his right side, he carried me for about 5 steps with no issues.
At 18 months, we are not pushing to much. This is more to get him exposed. Next year we may get him backed, but we have to see how he grows. So my hang time was literal while doing my sack impressions. I can't wait to ride this pony!
Handsome Boy, Photo by Lisa Brezina Castleberry Welsh Cobs ( his breeder )

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Secret Trainer

During this time of turn out drama and medicine mad caps, my oasis has been riding Comrade. He has been absolutely amazing. Some time in the last few weeks he has found the forward button. That forward goes all the way from his tail to his head.
When I started riding him two years ago, I could never imagine getting this movement out of him. He was so stiff and barely knew his own body. Comrade felt blocked especially in the mid section forward. Over the last year he has really started to loosen the blocked area. And these last rides, I am not feeling the blockage at all in the walk and trot.
To be honest, I think he is cheating on me. He must have a secret trainer coming in between my rides to work with him. Though the trainer needs to work on the canter some more:)
I wondered if it was a fluke at first. Just a hot pony strutting his stuff. Plus riding bareback, movements feel fuller. The first time, I enjoyed it. The next time, I played with it. Did he maintain during corner work? Yes. Did he maintain during lateral? Yes. Okay who is this pony? Finally I asked him to lengthen. If you have followed my posts you may remember that Comrade prefers collection to lengthening. That stems from the blockage. Well not only did he give me an awesome lengthening, reaching through his shoulders, he also maintained the connection before, during and after in the transition to working trot. Amazing!!!
Then I got to wondering if all this great movement would transfer to when he was wearing a saddle. Saturday was the test and the movement was there. It was not a fluke. Well I decided to try and get a video of Comrade to show everyone, but Mother Nature said "Not today." Darn rain. I still rode him, but I had to chip him out of the mud since he rolled as I walked out to get him.
Rare shot of him standing square in the cross ties. See his muddy glory? His mane is full of mud and leaves.

Typical shot in the cross ties, resting. Ready for a bareback ride.

Overall I am really happy with the progress Comrade has made. We have both stumbled along with only a little help from a trainer and sporadic help from my Mom. Could we move faster? Sure, but right now this is working. He is obviously doing his homework and putting together the pieces I give him to give me these awesome rides. Hopefully I can get some video soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What the Heck?

And I really debated using the colorful version of that question.

This week has been horrible at work and home. Then on Monday the farm manager asked Mom "When is Jenna going to be moved? I have promised the field to someone with a couple of horses." What? Talk about pulling the rug out from under our feet. Mom told him Jenna was still being integrated into the mare herd and that right now she is lame so the process is slow.
When Rebel died, Gretchen basically told them to sell the field because Jenna would go out with ours. I knew that would come back to bite us in the butt. Why anyone would take her seriously when she is grieving I don't know. Anyway we asked about extending the sacrifice area for the girls into our front field. With three mares we wanted to make sure the area was larger. Getting it done would be fun, but in the long run would be easier on us. Today we found out the owner does not want us running a hot wire fence, because it will look bad. Argh!!!
Mom told the farm manager that without that extension, we did not have the room to accommodate Jenna. At this point they need to talk to Gretchen, who I do not think has been addressed, and get a timeline and hash out these issues. If all else fails, we can move the girls to the boys side, with the larger sacrifice area and run in, and move one gelding to the mare herd. This is not ideal because it leaves one gelding probably DaVinci to deal with Roscoe. Roscoe takes a lot of energy to deal with. We would have to make sure Jenna does not injure either of the geldings since she is bigger than them. The whole situation sucks.
The other big question is whether they will get use of the other barn too. We store Rosemary's cart in there and Gretchen keeps her food and hay there. So many things to think about and such a great time of year to deal with it all.

Ah, well back to work for me.  Fingers crossed this drama works out okay for all of us.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Operation Integration Part 2

Today turned into a day of delays. First up was getting our last load of hay. He was suppose to come at 10am, but he had to help his wife so he did not come until nearly 11am. As Dad was putting hay on the elevator the chain decided to jump off track. Luckily Dad and our hay guy were able to get it fixed. Since our hay delivery took longer than expected, Gretchen could not stick around to watch the girls go out together. She told us if we wanted to put our girls out, it was okay.
Before we could put the girls out, Lily showed up to ride. We were going to let Lily lead Dottie out, but Lily just wanted to ride. Mom put the saddle on and took her for a stroll around the field. After that we were finally able to get the girls out in the field. Jenna was in her sacrifice area when we let our girls into the big part of the field. Rosemary did what she normally does in an open field, run. Dottie surprised us by taking off too. Then we got an even bigger surprise when Jenna started running in the sacrifice area. She ran straight at the four strand hot wire fence and did not stop.
She busted the fence, broke some of the clips and gate handles and went running with the girls. Mom went to turn off the hot wire and assess the damage. I pulled my cell phone and called Gretchen. Since there was no way we could secure her back into the sacrifice area, we put her grazing muzzle on and let her stay with the girls for a little while. Jenna stood there realizing she did something wrong. It was really funny to see her looking over at the girls, like oh boy what have I gotten myself into now. She got scratches from us then braved the girls. Well Dottie at least. She knows Rosemary won't challenge her. She went up boldly to Dottie, poofed up and squealed. Dottie squealed back and definitely won the I am the big mare here contest. Then they went off to their own spaces and grazed. A little anti climatic, but a really good result.
Jenna got a bit pushy when we took the girls out and called a few times. She settled down quickly and went back to eating. Another good result. We still have a long way to go before they go out together full time.
Group shot just after the Dottie vs. Jenna match

Friday, December 7, 2012

Backwards for Forward

One of the biggest training methods Clinton Anderson promotes is the idea of being able to get your horses to move, forwards, backwards and side to side. Although we do not follow his method completely, we do use a lot with Roscoe especially.
Being a young stud, Roscoe has his moments of being a royal pain. We are more stringent with him because we are trying to let him stay intact and maybe breed next year. So even though all our horses walk themselves into the barn and to their stalls, he has to be led. A couple months ago I decided to make the distance to his stall more challenging by having him back the whole way. Clinton has horses back or side pass nearly everywhere and I figured what the heck. Roscoe picked it up really quick and does back down the aisle, though we still have to work on getting more speed. When we reaches his stall, he yields his hind end, I wiggle the lead line and he backs right into his stall. It has turned out to be a great way to get him to listen and pay attention while he has also learned to keep his distance from me until invited closer. This will be a huge help showing him in a line class.
After seeing how well Roscoe has done, I started applying it to Rosemary. In typical drama queen fashion, she overreacted first then began to do the work. She really did not like the part where she had to back into her stall, but once she got over that she has no problems. Rosemary is to the point where I just move my arm side to side in front of me and she will back. With both Roscoe and Rosemary, I have noticed they are learning to trust my directions and gaining a better understanding of their own bodies.
Now for the forward part of my title. It has been amazing to see the difference in Rosemary's trot work under saddle since I started backing her around the barn. The backing engages the hind end in a way similar to how we want the horse to engage at the trot. I have always been taught that a correct back is when a horse moves diagonal pairs of legs. Where else does that happen? Yup at the trot. Rosemary has more suspension and steps through better in the trot now. I used backing under saddle before as a technique but now I can see backing on the ground helps too.
With all the differences I have seen in my guys, I began to look at Comrade. Maybe it is the Science major in me to want to test on different horses and levels, but it has been fun. I started small with Comrade by making him back into his stall. He too questioned this at first, but I just set him up and asked. Now he knows what to do. The other day I upped the difficulty and made him back from the barn to the arena. In the picture you can see the narrow path down a little hill from the barn that leads to the arena (on the left). Comrade was a star for his first time. Then I got a really nice surprise in the arena.
Roscoe butt first time to the arena as a baby.

Comrade was full of it and lucky me it was the ride I put on the bareback pad. As he warmed up and finally got into a working frame of mind, his trot morphed into this wonderfully engaged movement. He had awesome push to point of making me check my seat. At first I enjoyed the feel, but wondered if it would last. Comrade has had great movement before during naughty times but lost it once he settled. This time he maintained. I really had to focus on keeping my shoulders back and down while keeping my hands level. One of my worst habits is burying my hands by the neck.
If he got strong, I just asked for a shoulder in or made a corner to reorganize. And as a side note, can I once again recommend the Spursuader spurs. Comrade has been so much more supple since I have used them and has not once gotten cranky. If possible the lateral work made the trot even better. He opened his stride, closed his stride, leg yielded all while maintaining his rhythm and connection.
So going backwards gave us forward. Not a bad result for a little bit of work. I fore see Comrade backing to the arena more often. Roscoe has moved to the side pass and is doing OK. Going left to right he is great, but he does not always cross well going right to left.
Tomorrow we have hay coming, possibly Lily riding and another meeting of the mares. Fingers crossed :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ugh, The Torture

Mom talked to Joyce Harman today to find out the plan for Rosemary's treatment. It seems the torture medicine must continue until the symptoms, the sarcoid, disappear.
We could be doing this routine of trying to get the medicine into her for the next 6 months :{
Financially, this will also be torture. The Chinese remedy lasts about 3 weeks and costs about $125 and if you include the cost of gas used making an extra trip to the barn every day, it will be over $1500 minimum by the end. Time to see if there is anything to sell in the tack room. Anyone need a saddle?
What we may do is get her an appointment with the surgical vet, to get an estimate of how much removal will cost. Maybe if there is less sarcoid to deal with the remedy can work better. It is so tough to decide. I think we may give it until the end of January before making the decision.
Poor Rosemary really hates that remedy so we may try applesauce and maybe even mushed bananas to see if those will make it more palatable. Let the torture begin...Again.

Now for better news, My friend's husband has had some changes in a positive direction. Considering it is a week since the DNR was placed I will take anything. So keep up all the good thoughts, he is fighting.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Operation Integration

Jenna, Gretchen's remaining Appy, has reached a point where we believe we can start trying to integrate her into our mare herd. Unfortunately, she came up really lame the first time. So their first meeting through the slats in the stalls, then Gretchen grazed her near the girls out in the field. Dottie and Jenna exchanged ugly faces, but no crazy stuff.
Today Jenna was looking a little better. We brought Dottie and Rosemary out to her field this time. My girls were thrilled. It is an 8 acre field with a lot more grass than their current field. All my horses except Roscoe are still wearing muzzles. The grass still has not died back enough.
We gave my two time to explore before we added Jenna to the equation.
As you can see they followed the fence, while taking in the sights. When they came back around, I hooked Rosemary on a lead line so she would not run anymore. Then Gretchen brought out Jenna.
The girls grazed together for a little while, each keeping track of the others. Then Dottie poofed up to her full 16h drafty self and approached Jenna. Jenna poofed up too and squealing ensued. Gretchen pulled Jenna back and Dottie walked away, not impressed at all. Rosemary kept grazing keeping her distance from Jenna. She moved to follow Dottie and ended up getting charged by Jenna. I almost lost the lead line she moved backward so fast. Yep, no lead mare in that pony. After that she kept a close eye on Jenna and widened her bubble.
I was able to let Rosemary off the lead line, but Jenna stayed on. We had one more Dottie vs. Jenna incidence where Jenna tried to turn and kick Dottie after squealing. Again Dottie was not impressed. Today was not going to be the day Jenna roams free with the girls. In the end we put Jenna in her sacrifice area and kept the girls in the field while Gretchen did her remaining work for the day.
Mares are tough and Jenna seems like she is going to be even tougher. I do not think she has many herd manners. It will be hard to let Dottie teach her a lesson with the worry of injuries.
If anyone has any suggestions on merging mares, let me know. Rosemary was a dream to integrate when we brought her home, so Jenna is definitely a challenge.
Stay tuned for more ;)