Those are the words hanging over our heads right now. Remember I mentioned Deliah, our nearly 3yr old corgi, had a back issue a few weeks ago. Well we set her follow up appointment for Wednesday to get her cleared to begin the acupuncture. Unfortunately Tuesday after running out in the woods, she again showed signs of intense pain. So crazy for her to go from fine to crippled in a moment.
Too Cute to be in so much pain
Mom took her to the vets where a different doctor reviewed the previous x-rays. This doctor thought she saw something and ordered an different view. The results were clear showing either a ruptured or slipped disc near her rib cage. The doctor was amazed how sweet Deliah was even with the level of pain she was feeling. She tried to give kisses to all the techs and never tried to bite.
So Deliah is on cage rest for two weeks and will see the chiropractor for some acupuncture on Monday. We are hoping the acupuncture will be enough of a solution and keep her out of back surgery.
With Degenerative Disc Disease Deliah will always have to be careful, but hopefully we can make sure her quality of life still meets acceptable standards to keep her happy.
Okay so everyone needs to send in Foal Pool guesses to get my mind off worrying about Deliah! There are three entries so far and plenty of chances to win a prize. And here is the video mash up I did for Roscoe.
After today there are only four days left ot enter the Foal Pools. Remember you can enter as many or few as you want. I will post my guesses on the last day.
This weekend we took video of Roscoe and a few pictures. I really wanted to find someone to ride him, who would show him off better than me, but the timing did not work out. So even with my bum hand and big body I rode him. While riding, I seriously thought there would be no good content for a video. Then I watched the video later and was surprised he looked better than I thought. Yes, we did not have a great connection. My fault due to my hand. Roscoe was moving well though to me he felt lazy. All our night rides have paid off with rough but quicker canter transitions. His trot shows how great he steps from behind. We both have a long way to go and we will get there. Video has a sea sickness warning for the beginning...
I caved yesterday and went to the doctors. I could move all my fingers but the swelling was pretty bad and I worried about my knuckles. So they immediately sent me to x-ray. Then I had to wait for the doctor to tell me what they showed.
Swollen, colorful w/ her scary abrasions
Finally the doctor walks in and looks at the results. It was good news, no breaks. I was thrilled since that was my biggest worry. What the doctor said next made my jaw drop. She told me she was putting me on antibiotics for the scrapes on my hand. Say WHAT???
I really wanted to show her my left hand that has cuts and scrapes from trimming hooves and my rasp because that is what the scrapes amounted to in my opinion. But I just said I was not worried about them. She gave me a blank look when I said I covered them with Calendula and later Arnica. Ah well, I guess she did not know the natural ointments. She did decide I needed a tetanus shot. So in the end Roscoe only gave me a severe contusion with some abrasion. Hurts though.
Since it was my right hand, I did take off two days from work and one day from the barn. Barn work and a ride tonight definitely aggravated the hand, but ice and a shower seems to make it feel better. The bruising is all around my fingers and even on my palm.
The day was pretty though with the trees flowering. Worth all the pain.
PS Lisa says she has moved the mares to the area near the house. Almost baby time!
So today was an epic mess. Let's just say the full moon, stubborn Cob syndrome, and a frisky, protective Stallion resulted in a decimated bridle and me finding out the hard way Roscoe's legs have gotten longer.
Hoping it is not broken
Knuckles in hiding
I ended up working Roscoe on the ground with one hand while the other had an ice pack on it. Then I rode Comrade. It was a total grit and bear it ride, but I managed it.
Rosemary poses with the Flag last night :)
In other news, only 9 more days to enter the Foal Pool!
In our continuing search for a bit that will work with Rosemary, Mom decided to ride her bitless. After reading about the term "On the Bit" in an article, she found out that most horses in the past were ridden in a caveson or hackamore until they reached a confident level before the bit was introduced. This was to preserve a sensitive mouth. I wish you could compete bitless in dressage. Anyway I rode her the other night with the bitless bridle. She is softer and less defensive without a bit. Similar to what I found when ridding her with the HS duo, she wants to run through the front end. Halting and downward transitions are not as quick. We need more rides with the bridle to see if she will listen to my seat and aids eventually. As the work progressed, Rosemary felt heavy in my hands. Not necessarily on the forehand, but a definite weight like she was using the noseband to hold her head up. Considering she used to invert constantly, I will take this response. I just add leg and ask her to move on from behind. Fortunately, I do not see a decrease in maneuverability.
She says "Weird"
While I play with the bitless, we will still be looking for a bit to suit her. Peggy found a test bit option out of Dressage Extensions where you pay shipping and $16 to trial a bit for two weeks. If you decide to keep the bit, the trial cost comes out of the bit price. Some of the bits mention being designed for horses that lean onto the bit, but are too sensitive for a tougher bit. These bits take the pressure off the sensitive sides of the tongue and put it on the center instead. It kind of describes what Rosemary needs. I just need to decide if paying $150 for a bit will be doable if she likes it.
Roscoe has moved from the dog bone to a Happy Mouth eggbutt mullen which is slimmer and seems to fit his mouth better. It is slightly too long though, so I am looking for bits for him too. He is pleasing me with his continued growth in learning contact while maintaining his rhythm.
And not to be forgotten, Comrade is actually doing some great trot work. He just needs to build back the muscle he lost during his lame times last year. That lack shows in his canter work. We do have two leads though, which you know is a battle sometimes. Comrade actually was walked around by our new Barn Rat (let me steal Jen's term). She has some ride time, but definitely is green. He took care of her though and was ready to work when I got off of Rosemary.
BR is a work in progress and a little hard to get used to having around. That extra set of hands kind of messes up my routine. So far we keep her to the simple tasks of picking manure or brushing the horses. Peggy straight up told her that riding was not a given, but hard work was. BR was surprised by how heavy hay bales were, but she still tried to help put them in the stall. Maybe once she gets the hang of the work, we all will ride more. I can hope right?
When you sell a horse, you actually have pictures of the animal. You may even have video. Plus potential buyers can come and see the horse. When you sell a Stallion to Mare owners, you are selling an idea. The end result is not something I can put into pictures or videos. All I can do is post awesome pictures of Roscoe that show off his movement and promote his intelligence. Maybe now that the weather is improving, I can get an updated video.
The hard part for Roscoe is that I am a no name in the horse world. I am not a breeder or a trainer. So my promotion of Roscoe has no weight beyond owning him. And because of my Turtle track plans, he does not have fancy show results to add to his credits. He has no full siblings I can compare him to and only a few half siblings showing. In some ways I feel bad that he is overlooked because he is owned by me. I can't afford to advertise him in magazines or paid websites. But a larger part of me believes this is his path. If he is meant to breed, the mares will come eventually.
Peggy asked me if I could put a number to how many breedings I would do a year what would it be. Immediately the number "3" came to mind. Which in the stallion world is very small, but seems just enough for Roscoe. This year I have had interest. Some people ask about him, then turn to more established stallions. One bugged me a bit since Roscoe is a better mover, but that older stallion has the show scores and tricks to make him look fancier. Ah well the horse world has always been subjective. Another person asked yesterday because he reminded her of a horse she used to own. Hopefully the collection costs will not drive her away since she is on the west coast. As a young Stallion owner, I won't make money off breeding so I can be selective. One mare owner has a Welsh Cob that is an older maiden who will need live cover. The kicker is she lives in PA close to MD. I am not sure how she wanted it to work, but I told her we use ERC to handle Roscoe. For safety I am not going to offer to handle Roscoe. I told her we needed him handled by someone with experience. Unfortunately, I have not heard anything else from her.
Selling a young Stallion is tough, but I believe in Roscoe enough to grit my teeth and keep moving forward. Once this years foals are on the ground, I can include pictures of his offspring in his ads. For some mare owners that visual will help sell the "idea". I would love to see how he crosses with a warmblood since his sire produced some great half Welsh. Maybe someday. Right now I will deal with spring Stallion antics and hope he gets to let off some "energy" this year :)
16 days left to enter his Foal Pools. Once I have the entries, I will put them on a calendar so everyone can see who picked what days. Then the wait begins for the foals.
So since my goal to ride or work someone every day I am at the barn, I have only had six misses. Those were due to medical (dog or horse) or weather/footing. I did manage to ride 19x during February. 9 of those rides were on Roscoe. I am trying to keep his work consistent. When I started working Comrade all those years ago, he was on a two day a week program. That worked well for him and it is starting to show positive effects for Roscoe.
Well the other day I decided that I just wanted Roscoe to GO. We have not addressed canter in ages, since he has been so sticky at the trot. I don't think Roscoe is a great multi tasker. Anyway, I told him we were cantering. I did not care how he picked it up or how long he cantered, but we were doing it in some form. Let me just say the boy listened.
We cantered and the transitions were UGLY. I probably looked like a crazy person getting him to canter, but you do what you have to. My weird little boy did his normal travel right and canter left thing. I did not care, he was going. The transitions did get quicker, with less work coming from me and more from him. We also managed the correct leads both directions. Roscoe soon decided this cantering stuff was pretty good.
Roscoe earned a roll in the sawdust :)
The bonus factor was that once he cantered the gait was awesome. Plus he actually stretched into the bit during the canter. Maybe it is because I am doing this by myself, but I find these little things so wonderful. His neck was so floppy afterwards, I could only smile. I will never call myself a trainer, but at least my pony is headed in the right direction. At this point I am okay that we are on the Turtle track. I want to be like those people on Facebook posting pictures of their 30 and 40 year old Cobs. Because in the end you remember the pony/person journey rather than just the show highlights. Looking back I miss Barry's presence more than I miss showing him. Roscoe and I have time and I am going to take it.
Speaking of time, there is just over 3 weeks left to enter Roscoe's Foal Pools. Emma of 'Fraidy Cat Eventing has kicked the contest off with her entry. Remember to share on your Blog and send me an email. That way I know who is entering.
Okay, maybe I should say give him a dog bone. Ever since the driving lesson where we learned Rosemary hated her bit, I have been wondering about Roscoe too. For Rosemary we put the Herm Sprenger Duo on and she seems less defensive under saddle. And since she is not fighting the bit, she is actually listening better, which allows for better work overall.
Unfortunately, though she was softer driving with the Duo, she also figured out that it has less bite and proceeded to ignore Mom's cues. Not good when that is your only communication link to the horse. So for driving we will have to keep looking.
Since the rubber bit worked well for Rosemary, I decided to try one on Roscoe. He was started with a Happy Mouth mullen, so it was worth a try. I saw a black dog bone bit in the grain shed and decided what the heck, I would try that.
Well Roscoe seriously thought I was joking. "You want me to put that in my mouth?" said the pony who normally puts the bit in himself. I finally convinced him to give it a try. He chewed and chewed, slightly worrying me it would be too fat. By time we walked to the arena he settled until we were moving. The bit was weird and it took most of that first ride for him to figure out it was not too bad. He was softer, less resistant and because of that he did not pop that left shoulder as badly. T's advice helped get his shoulder over the rest of the way.
I was pleased with the positive result, but not sold yet.
Two more rides makes me think the bit is working for him. Each ride he settled quicker and was reaching into the contact. Roscoe is still thinking really hard about the bit which makes him move really slow, but I can ask for more later. A part of me wonders if he has some teeth issues because with the metal bit he was against turning left. It was a battle to get him to go left. He has not fought turning left after putting the dog bone on his bridle. I will have to check with Mom to see if he is due for a dental visit. At least with this bit I am more optimistic about Roscoe's progress.
That is good news after a two negative vet visits. One for Winston's eyes which resulted in a diagnosis of uveitis. The vet believes it had been brought on by his periods of puffy, leaky eyes over the years. So now Winston is on Previcox for life. Luckily the dose is only a 1/4 tablet a day which will cost us about $200 a year. At least the medicine won't break the bank. The other visit was for Deliah. The poor puppy was walking crooked and with her back hunched like a cat stretching. She was in considerable pain. We thought it was a tummy issue since her belly was tight. Deliah has always been a picky eater with digestive issues. I really think she was a runt. Anyway, she looked slightly better Monday, but still not great so Mom took her to the vet. I received a call from her telling me it was not her belly, but her back. They did xrays and found no spinal damage. She had injured the back muscle causing her serious pain. The scary part was that the vet put her left hind foot in a bent toe position and Deliah did not fix it. Definitely will be watching that. So now she is on a muscle relaxer and pain medication. Plus she has to stay quite, no stairs, no jumping and no playing. The vet thinks it is possible 100lb Shadow bumped or ran her over while playing. At 19lbs Deliah is pretty small. It was pretty hard to see her shaking and in pain. The good medicine helped her yesterday look more normal. Later she will need chiropractic and acupuncture.
A life with animals is never boring.
Don't forget to send in your entries for the Foal Pools.