Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh Girls...Sigh

Where to start?

I have always laughed at movies that have the little ladies riding the sweet mare. Ha, they would do better on a gelding. Mare's can be so opinionated and complicated.
My girl's are no exception. Since Jenna has joined the mare herd the dynamics have been crazy. Dottie is the boss. She sometimes has to use the two by four method to get that through to Jenna, which for a big horse is unusual. Rosemary is next in line and at 2 hands smaller than Jenna she has to be much more obvious. She tends to run at Jenna and move her around.
Well Jenna has been with the girls since December and the drama has... increased.

Twice in the last 10 days, Jenna has come in with really good kick marks. One on her butt and one on her neck. I think she has no clue how to get out of the way. Her previous kicks we attributed to Dottie, but these we think are Rosemary.

College Girl is back for the summer and she has restarted her rides on Dottie. She gets Dottie moving without breaking her, so we let her come. She has matured some since last summer which helps. Anyway when she brings Dottie inside, Rosemary starts running around and calling. The barn monitor hates when her charges are out of sight. She runs, bucks and burns calories. She does not care who is in her way. And so Jenna becomes her hit and run victim. Unfortunately we have no where else for Jenna to go. You would think she would learn, but who knows.

Interestingly, Mom read an article that stated that dominant mares have second in commands that do their dirty work. So Rosemary is a Enforcer just doing her natural duty. The article continued to say that the second in command mares tend to be less spooky and more forward. Ding, Ding, definitely Rosemary. I guess we shall continue to watch the drama and hope it will soon settle.

Dottie eating bunny, so scary

Now for funny mare news, according to College Girl Dottie is scared of rabbits. It must have been a great winter for rabbits because they are everywhere this year. Popping out here, running there causing the big girl to be squirrely.
College Girl is not a brave rider so Dottie is a different horse when she rides her. We tried College Girl on DaVinci once, but it was not a good ride. Well yesterday Mom, my sister and College Girl all went for a ride. My sister normally rides Dottie, but Mom put her on Rosemary. Good thing too because College Girl looked at Rosemary and said "I've seen you from the ground, no way am I riding you." Say what!!! Yes Rosemary is a drama queen, but she is better under saddle. She took care of my sister for a long ride around the fields and over small ditches. I would have been less surprised if she had said Rosemary was too small since she is like 6ft tall. Oh well she misses out on all that Cob greatness. More for us :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gingerbread Man

"You have to catch me first!!!" would be Winston's new favorite phrase.

We have been letting him go out with the boys while we are at the barn. That could be 45min to 4hrs depending on the day. He has decided that he likes being back out with the boys and only wants to come in if they do. So when Mom went to get him, off he trotted. Eventually she opened the barn doors and he trotted in there like "Ha, I am going in here." Just where she wanted you silly.

As of Sunday he is off of the B-L and not getting any pain medicines. That decision came about the time we started seeing his stall get messier and messier from him moving around. Obviously he is feeling better. More turnout has helped that issue some.

Today we decided to try putting him out for the day and having Jenna's owner bring him in for the night when she came in the evening. Finger's crossed he lets her near him. We told him he could go out, but he had to wear a muzzle. DaVinci and Roscoe need hay and Winston inhales hay so the muzzle will slow him down. Long term we worry about the typical muzzle being too hot and rubbing him. Well, this weekend Jenna's owner moved her stuff into our barn to make room for the new horses coming next weekend and she had a different muzzle Peggy had given us. We thought she had donated it thinking none of the horses could use it, but this morning there is was the answer to our muzzle problem.

This muzzle is connected to a halter with buckles and is only a piece of rubber with slits in it. If it works we need another halter because this one is a bit small around his cheeks. Hopefully ole Babycakes won't  figure out how to undo the buckles. Those Cobs have nimble lips. Winston took one look at the muzzle in my hand and off he went like the Gingerbread Man. I love how the horses know which one is my focus. As he tried to hide behind Roscoe, Roscoe was like "Nope not me, not my problem." and kept eating hay. I ended up having to open the barn doors and "let" him go inside.

So Not digging the muzzle
We suited him up in a fly sheet, boots and mask and sent him off. No call from the other owner saying she could not get him in, so hopefully he is tucked into his stall tomorrow.

Finally got his vet bill for the Laminil treatment and the Laminil cost us $125. Plus the farm call and other stuff used, that is not to bad a bill all considering. Dad of course was hoping it would be free, but I am not complaining since the results have been great. The trial person contacted me and asked my opinions. I sent him the videos and my impressions. It will be interesting how the product effects the horse world when it is readily available.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roscoe turns 2 and Kayla turns 10

This is one of our double birthday days. Our corgi of nine years turned 10 today. She is going gray over her eyes and really showing her age. Kayla still tries to keep up with the German Shepherd though.
Kayla enjoying the nice day while waiting for Mom to come to the barn.

And Roscoe turned 2 yrs old today. He is such an old soul that it seems like we have had him much longer. We celebrated by having a cook out at Peggy's farm where he was born. This year Roscoe was even able to come to his own party.
We let him play in the arena, then worked him a little over some poles and jumps. Then when he was nice and tired, thank you VA humidity, we tacked him up and I did one lap around the ring on him. I was chewing my Rescue Remedy gum the whole time to help chill me out. Being in a fenced arena with a flat surface really made him easier to sit on. Such a super pony.
When we took Comrade, Addie and DaVinci for a trail ride, Roscoe showed off his cob trot while stating his opinion at being left behind. Of course my camera was in the house.

So here is our video of our short walk about. Peggy's husband was walking with us too which helped keep him straighter. He works with Wounded Warriors to have military men and women ride the caisson horses for rehab. He has a strong, but quiet presence that just makes you feel better.

And a few pictures from the day.
Big trot and he is not even trying yet


And Canter

Cross over

Listen to the head Mare

Our oldest, DaVinci 25yrs young and our youngest Roscoe 2yrs old

Leibster Part 2

Thanks to Ruffles at justagirlandherhorse I was nominated again for the Leibster award. I love the connections blogging creates. So see my previous post for all the details about the award. And here are the questions Ruffles wrote for her nominees:

1. What is your favourite song?
I don't actually have a favorite song. Mostly music catches my attention because I can imagine riding to it. For Barry it was a instrumental called Pennywhistle Jig, Sherman it was Polka music and for Rosemary I like Adele songs. We once did a group ride to Baby Elephant Walk.

2. If you are outside, what are you most likely doing?
Doing something with the horses or the barn. Sometimes I will take a book outside to read, but mostly my time is for the barn.

3. What is your horses favourite treat?
All my horses love a molasses/grain treat called Nickerdoodles. 4 of them love bananas and my old guy loves grapes.

4. Do you have a colour for your horse?
I told my mom when I was little that I wanted a grey horse and I have since owned 3 grey arabs and still drift toward greys if they are around.

5. What is your obsession?
Books. I love reading historical fictions and some contemporary fictions. Driving I listen to recorded books.

6. What is your favourite equestrian discipline?
Eventing. I have done a lot, but eventing grabbed me early and still has not let go.

7. Least favourite?
Hunter. I see the draw, but I have never connected. I do utilize their shows for schooling though since they can be cheaper.

8. Why did you start blogging?
I saw other blogs and realized it was a really great way to keep a journal of my horses experiences with the added benefit of connecting with people I would never have known about without blogging.

9. Do you drink coffee?
No. I love the smell of coffee, but cannot abide the flavor.

10. What other pets do you have besides horses?
Currently, I have two dogs, one cat and a Sun Conor bird. Previously I have had rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, parakeets and a military macaw.

11. What are 3 things you can't live without?
My animals, my books and duct tape :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Post #200: Leibster Award

Well I reached 200 faster than I reached 100 last year. And this coincides with Carla at Collegial Equestrian nominating my blog for the Leibster Award. Thank you so much. I am still a little amazed at how many people enjoy reading about my ponies and all our experiences.

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
11 Random Facts About Me
1. I am the tallest woman in my family, but unlike Carla I am only 5'2".
2. In addition to some horsey items, I collect trolls. Yep the cute little figures with wacky colored stand up hair, including an Elvis one and an equestrian. A bunch live in a cage because one little cat used to steal them away to play with.
3. All the way from Middle school thru College I played instruments, clarinet, bass clarinet and oboe. Probably why I love to ride to/with music.
4.I hate shopping for myself especially clothes. I normally ask for stuff at Christmas or birthdays so I can avoid going to stores.
5. My bedroom is smaller than my horse's stall and piled high with books.
6. I can't swim. Totally sink like a rock. All my family love to swim and I just wade.
7. The hardest part of riding in a Hunter show when I was younger, smiling. I was having fun,but I was so focused I always forgot to smile.
8. I was part of Model UN in high school with 2 other girls from my school. We were a small but mighty group and really learned to look at issues from different perspectives.
9.When I was 7 or 8 yrs old, I disobeyed my mom and petted a horse I was not supposed to touch. The horse ended up tearing my ear, almost off,  causing me to get five stitches. I had to ride my bike home with a bloody ear.
10. In high school, my lab partner and I dissected a black cat who was pregnant. We named her "Velcro" since her hair kept sticking to us and we found out her babies were tiny. The cats served as the link between the anatomy and genomic part of the class. My family hated me talking about the various dissections we had to do.
11. I used to sleepwalk, until one time I woke during an episode. Then no more, at least that I know of. 

My questions for you:
1. Outline your riding experience.
I started out going for pony rides, then trail rides. When I was old enough my mom started me with lessons. I wanted nothing to do with jumping so I was taught by a dressage instructor from Holland. With a strong start in basics, we moved to VA and I began to learn to jump. With my size, I rode a lot of rotten ponies and had so much fun. Soon the eventing bug bit me. I used Hunter shows to get mileage, but they were not for me. Nearly all the horses I showed were grey, by my choice and my first horse was a grey Arabian. He and I competed in CTs and HTs for the next 5 yrs or so before he was sidelined by an injury. I competed my Mom's Morgan for a little bit in eventing but he was a bit of a chicken. After the loss of our two first horses, I have done little competing. With the addition of our Welsh Cobs to our herd I am learning the joys of totally green horses. Also the scary side of that too.
2. Who was your favorite instructor and why?
I have been fortunate to have great instructors, but my favorite was my second one Ruth Perkins. She really is the one who developed me into the rider I am today. She brought Barry and I from a completely green horse/rider pair to winning our first CT. She had great insight and compassion, but she did punch a horse that bit me in the calf when I was mounting. The saddest day was when I outgrew her and had to move on at her urging. I still have a shirt she painted me and a book she wrote called "Off Centered Riding," which has a forward by Sally Swift author of Centered Riding.
3. What is the best thing that has happened horse-wise so far this year?
Being able to sit on Roscoe and seeing his growth.
4. What is the worst thing that has happened horse-wise so far this year?
Winston being diagnosed with Laminitis.
5. Are you a cat person or a dog person--or both, or neither?
Both. All my life I have had cats and dogs. I told my mom the two dogs were all the grandkids she would get out of me :)
6. What's your favorite piece of equipment?
Mounting block. Being short it really helps me and it saves my horses' backs from being torqued.
7. What's your favorite thing to do with your horse?
Stretches or tricks. They anticipate and give so many answers because they are happy. Simple things that keep them supple, but are enjoyable to do with horses of any age.
8. What is something you've always wanted to do but never tried?
I would love to ride on the beach. I may not like water, but with my pony it would be fun.
9. Do you and your horse have "colors"?
Currently our barn colors are green, black and white. When I evented my colors were Royal blue and white, Royal and Hunter, Hunter and Navy and finally Hunter, Navy and Maroon. The Morgan's colors were deep Purple and Black. For Western, the colors were Red, White and Blue.
10. What is your favorite easy dinner to make after coming home from the barn?
Grilled cheese sandwich.
11. What is your #1 riding goal for this year?
To ride with some consistency. I need that before I can even think about bigger goals.

Choose 11 Bloggers with under 200 followers:1. *TBA*
2. horsecrazyamerican
3. Bringing Up Baby
4. Eventing Unicorn and Gigantor
5. Poor Woman Showing
6. PonyEventer
7. shemovedtotexas
8. simplyhorse-crazy
9. Oh Gingersnap!
10. Dressage Adventures
11. adreamcometrue-mystic

Okay 11 questions from me:
1. Did you find your horse(s) or did the horse(s) find you?
2. What is the most unusual item in you tack trunk or barn?
3. Do you believe it is bad luck to change a horse's barn name?
4. What is your horse's favorite treat?
5. Any unusual breed of horse you would ride if given a chance?
6. Do you cross train your horse (s)? If yes what other stuff do they do?
7. If you had your own place what other animal(s) would you own?
8. What was your inspiration to start riding or being involved with horses?
9. What is the worst horse's name (show, registered or barn) you ever heard?
10. What happy moment riding you would want to repeat?
11. What is a funny fact about your horse(s)?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Piaffe, Rein back

And a Rotten Pony.

We had about 30min  to hop on and work the 3 rideable horses. Mom got DaVinci, my sister got Dottie and I got Rosemary. I was a little behind them tacking because I had to put Rosemary's bit back on her bridle after harness try out the other day. This resulted in Mom and my sister mounting before me and Rosemary having a snit.
She went all barn monitor on me and started calling. At the mounting block, which is inside the barn, she stood as I got on then decided herself that it was time to go. Uh, no pony. Time for a discussion.
I told Mom to go head out.
All I wanted was for Rosemary to stand, four feet on the ground not moving until I say move. We almost got it a couple times, but not quite. Rosemary would pull towards the door and I would make her circle. I would tell her to stand and she would piaffe. Not too bad a rhythm either. Then her best move yet, I circled her and stopped her facing away from the door. That pony backed her butt right out the door. You teach them stuff and they eventually use it against you.
I walked her right back into the barn. A few more circles and piaffes later she finally stood still. She then tried to trot out to the arena, so we did more tight circles. I rode her away from the other two until she quit pulling their way. With about 10 min left, we did a little trot work in the longer grass. I read somewhere that long grass is similar to pole work. By the end of my ride time she did relax and stretch down. Whew! Much more exciting than I expected.
It was more of a mental work out for Rosemary, but still a good lesson. She is too damn smart for her own good sometimes, but never boring.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Stuff

In between rain showers, we have had moments of sunshine. Not enough to ride though.

So, here are some new stuff we have gotten over the week:

A new mower!!! Not as big as we would have liked, but my parents had to replace the AC unit at home so Dad had to go smaller. It is a Cub Cadet with a 54" cutting deck and power steering. This will also pull our spreader easily. We feel so much better finally having a working mower again.

Hoof testers!!! I have wanted a set ever since I started trimming feet and finally my parents gave me a set for my birthday. These are something any horse owner should own and put in a medical kit. A much better gift than my black and blue gift from Roscoe last year :)

 And from my coworkers, a Clydesdale version of Roscoe. He walks and is suppose to jump since he comes with a jump. He will decorate my office. I got a really cute card that goes with the horse. This year they all went above and beyond. Including a homemade cake decorated by another coworker.

Anyone else think this pony is missing a leg?
And finally Peggy brought Mom's new harness for Rosemary. Peggy shined all the brass and cleaned the leather. These are not great pictures, but I will try to get better ones. Rosemary was so good for Peggy as she harnessed her up before we drove up. She dealt with all the adjustments, of which there were many and was so happy to go to work. We did not have time to hook her to the carriage. Ah well another time. As soon as Mom took off the harness, drama mama appeared. Rosemary started calling and looking for Dottie. Somethings never change.

You can even see the brass buckles on the crupper
Bling Bling

Pretty  brass and patent leather on headstall


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Battling Badly Placed Bars

And no I am not talking about drinking establishments ;)

In this case I am talking about stirrup bars. On most saddles they are notoriously placed too far forward making it difficult for a rider to maintain the shoulder, hip, heel line and their center. This problem was brought into glaring focus when Mom and I went to see Swayze and his owner for a lesson.
She has the additional problem of the saddle balance being off too. The saddle sits a bit low in the back, which gives the rider the feeling they need to lean forward. One way to check the balance is to roll a pencil down the horse's back and make a chalk mark on the body where it will be visible once the saddle is on. Then do the same to the seat of the saddle. In Swayze's case the saddle's center is about an inch or so behind his natural center. Mixed with badly placed stirrup bars and tension makes for a jammed leg and loss of center. Unfortunately you can't solve the discrepancy by putting a pad under the seat. That will lower the front of  the saddle and put pressure on the wither/shoulder area creating a whole new problem. His owner just has to work with the issue and adjust until another saddle can be found.

To help with the stirrup bar issue, Mom moved the leather to sit further back on the bar. A temporary fix, but the difference was apparent right away. Swayze's walk opened and his owner looked less braced. I really wish I had a camera because they were like a different pair. Mom recommended she buy some tubing to put on the bars to keep her leathers further back.
Her walk warm up was really good and relaxed. Into the trot, that relaxation stayed. We helped by reminding her not to pinch with the knee. When she pinched at the knee, her leg would invariably jam forward bringing tension to her and Swayze. If she opened her knee, maintained her position Swayze responded softly. All during this time she actually kept a longer rein, which is a big step up for this pair.

Unfortunately, the temporary fix failed and her leg moved forward. She lost her center causing tension to flow from her to him. Mom and I could see the downward cycle. I will say she was much improved handling the tension than previously. We worked with her and tried to see what was up with Swayze. Was he bored? Was he being naughty? Or was he in pain? His owner made some headway, but Swayze did give her a few bucks. Luckily, keeping her knee open puts her more around the horse and she was not displaced during the bucks. That behavior really did not seem like him. At about the same time both Mom and I realized I needed to get on him to see what was up. His owner, at this point was not going to find her relaxation again, so it was better to stop.
So I literally crawled on the the 17h+ Swayze. I credit our Wintec Isabel with the fact that I did not have an issue with the stirrup bar placement. It is one saddle with bars placed correctly and has helped my muscle memory. As I rode him, Mom used me to point out to his owner about position. His owner is awesome about observation and applying to herself. Swayze was really falling onto his right inside shoulder, so I did a little lateral work to pick him up. At times he would just stop and I would ask him to move on. At his trot he listened and only needed about 5 pounds of pressure compared to the last time I rode him. But he never gave me the relaxation. When I added lateral to the trot work, I got a buck. It was like he would try to give me what I wanted and then just pitch a fit. He showed more resistance with me than his owner since my boundaries were more solid. I looked down at the saddle and realized the fit around his withers and where it contacted his back was tight. I mean I could not even wiggle a finger underneath. Both Mom and I think he is getting pinched. He does not have enough clearance. I feel bad for his owner because she just had the saddle fitted. She is going to try a sheepskin pad or ride bareback.
I am also going to bring Peggy's dressage treeless to try on him. Untacked we noticed Swayze has lost some muscling around his withers to the extent it looks atrophied. Hopefully the sheepskin, treeless and bareback will give him room to build that muscle back.
In the end the battle of the badly placed bars grew into the war of saddle fit. We lost this one, but have better intel for the next time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Moment of Freedom

For the last week or so, we have let Winston roam the barn. Mostly he wanders stall to stall eating up any hay leftover by the others. Occasionally, he has picked up a trot. He sounds nice and even on the rubber mats. He is less grumpy and his stall is cleaner with the additional roaming time. He is now down to 1oz of B-L a day, which is the same amount DaVinci and Dottie get for their old bones.
So with all the good signs, we put a muzzle on him and let him out with the boys in the sacrifice area for the first time. Winston trotted off, so happy to be free. Roscoe and DaVinci also were happy he was out with them. He nibbled what little grass he could get through the muzzle, chatted with the girls and put Roscoe in his place.
Seeing him out there took some weight off my chest. It was only 45min, but he enjoyed every minute. Then he came in, ate breakfast and settled in his stall with his hay for the day. You could not wish for a better horse to deal with the situation.
Here is a link to a short video of him in turn out almost a month post diagnosis and Laminil treatment: 6-4-13

Checking in with everyone

Trying to graze next to the jump Roscoe played over the other day

Winston 6-4-13, see he has withers

Winston April 2013, see how much weight he has lost

Sunday, June 2, 2013

From Lumpy to Bumpy

What's the difference?

Well Comrade was previously lumpy with bad fat. You could literally see lumps where they should only be smooth muscle. Then Peggy started her "Laminitis Prevention" program and Comrade has lost weight and smoothed out that bad fat. The hay soaking and extra work has worked wonders.
The funny thing is as Comrade loses weight, Peggy's 25 yr old Anglo Arab is gaining. Soft, wet hay is easier for him to eat.
Mr. Lumpy is now much better looking

Now onto bumpy. Yesterday I purposely went to Peggy's later to avoid the heat. It ended up being even later than expected as we got watching "Chicken TV." Who would have thought chickens could be so entertaining? Put six chickens in one area and add a cicada, pure fun. Those girls went after that bug like it was the only food around. So finally, I made it over to Comrade. As I started grooming I noticed rough spots that looked like dirt, but turned out to be flaky skin. The closer I looked, I found hives. He was bumpy on his neck, belly, butt and even on his legs. Last year he had chronic hives, but they were only a small smattering on his shoulders. These are much bigger and more angry. I asked Peggy if she had gotten a new fly spray. She thought about it and realized that yes her husband had gotten a new spray. With the Shoo Tags, they do not use a lot of fly spray, but like us they do use some.
 And as a side note, the Midge Shoo Tag works great. At the show while Roscoe and other ponies were bothered by gnats, Comrade stood happily with Peggy wondering what all the fuss was about. Definitely worth $20.
I did a quick, quiet ride on Comrade. I mainly focused on opening and closing the trot while he kept a longer frame. He likes to get all bunched up. This ride he did really well lengthening his neck and staying soft. Comrade gave the right answers, so we quit. I worried about where the saddle and girth sat relative to the hives.
After the ride, Peggy hosed him off, then used a Tea Tree product to help with the itchiness. Poor Comrade was grooming me and making funny faces the whole time. I wish I had some Apis or Rhu Tox, which are two holistic treatments for hives. Time for a visit to Vitamin Shoppe. Today since thunderstorms threatened, he got the day off. Hopefully he will look better soon.
So Comrade is no longer lumpy, bad fat, but he is bumpy, hives.