Monday, January 30, 2017

Call Me Crazy

Admidst the crazy of inventory, I saw the ad on Facebook showing the Adult Dressage Camp being held during two weekends at Sprieser Sporthorse. I guess some of the month's crazy rubbed off on me because I signed up even though I have not ridden much. I could not resist the price though.
Sprieser Sporthorse is mostly known for Lauren (in FL for winter) who writes on COTH, but she also has two assistent trainers who also give lessons. They have been on my short list to take lessons from since their lesson rates are reasonable at $55. The farm is about a 45 minute drive and they have an online scheduler. So when I saw that the dressage camp would consist of 2 private lessons and either another private or a group cavaletti lesson, plus a catered lunch w/speaker and an overnight stall for $150, I had to go for it.

I contacted them for the camp registration and asked if stallions were allowed. Once I told her that Roscoe behaves and is just a little guy, I got the okay to bring him. It was a tough choice as to who would go. My first choice was actually Rosemary. She has been really working well and I am not feeling the hind end weakness she dealt with last year. Comrade was my second choice as my most consistent horse. Roscoe was a hope, but since he is getting over that dang cold I was not sure if he can do three lessons. But he is the one I need the most help with and he will be the one going to camp. I did choose the cavaletti option to give him a little bit of a break. Plus what eventer is going to say no to any kind of raised poles :)

Now I have to dig up my Pegasus boots for him to wear during the cavaletti and my polos for him to wear during the two privates. Hopefully he will let me wrap him and that I will have a chance to try before we go. I don't normally use supportive gear except for jumping, but this will be a tough weekend and I want him to have it. I thought about clipping him, but he does not sweat as bad as Rosemary. He is still pretty sluggish, but he will be off the SMZ's for about a week before we go. I am hoping the energy of being at a new place will help him.

This will be a trial run to see if we click with these instructors. Then maybe I can do a lesson a month and move my ponies along. I have all those dressage tests to get ready for after all. Ah, let the countdown begin. D- Day is Feb 4th.
Call me crazy because I will have only had 4 days off since the start of January when we go and I have been on the back of a horse about the same amount. My main goal will be getting experience riding away from home and hopefully remembering it. I may even resemble a zombie since the day starts at 8am both days and I ride first on Sunday. The good news is they allow auditors, so Mom and Peggy can come and they will have a photographer.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Winston Update

What his piles are supposed to look like
This morning Mom found a stall full of normal poop. I think horse people are the only ones who get excited by good poop. His gums were pink and you could actually see refill, which was not happening yesterday. The scary part was that Winston's feet were cool this morning showing how warm they were yesterday. Definitely take the time to know how your horses feet feel. He got to wear his ice boots yesterday and twice today as further precaution.

Will stand for hay :)

The vet called twice today, once before Mom went to work  and again with the blood test results. His white cell count was off so she wants us to take his temperature for the next few days. It was actually a little low yesterday at 96. He tends to be around 99.

Back to moving Rosemary around

We think it was a gas colic because when she tubed him a ton came out. Still can't say what caused it, so we will focus on fixing his gut.We are breathing easier seeing him acting normal again. But you always wonder when the next thing will happen. Thank you everyone for keeping him in your thoughts!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Colic Came Calling

The day started dreary with rain and mud, but got worse when Mom called "Winston is colicing." Earlier Larry saw him laying on the gravel and then when Mom opened a stall he laid in the stall. Very not normal for him. Hay is his priority, not sleeping in the morning.

So I nabbed him while Mom dosed him with ProBi and Nox Vomica. Then I listened for gut noises. The left side had a ton of gurgles and squeaks, while the right had slightly less. He was getting warm with sweat building quickly. That freaked Mom and I out. Then the weird continued when he passed some gas and then laid down in the stall where he pooped a messy pile while still laying down. After that his gut noises were way low and his gums were pale. Time to call the vet.

While we waited, we started to see him relax. The sweat stopped building and he chewed and yawned. A cooler and a towel began to dry him. Soon we were able to put him in the stall without worrying about him going down. He actually began to look for food. We told him he had to wait for the vet. At one point he even did a "downward dog" stretch. Cautious optimism began to grow. So did his gut noises.

The came about 40 min after the call and we walked him to the aisle. Where he promptly had projectile diarrhea. Well time to see what this new to us vet was made of. Turns out she came prepared. She reviewed Winston's history before arriving and did a thorough exam. Winston seemed to like the English accent, but not the tummy tapping or the temp taking. She recommended doing blood tests to make sure the GI upset was not caused by something deeper. Unfortunately the blood draw was tough since his vein was shrunken.Then she wanted to tube him since he was severely dehydrated. Surprisingly, she did not sedate him for the process. Winston said that the tube felt really strange. He took a half a bucket of water and then a bucket of water infused with electrolytes. I was impressed with him and the vet since there was no bloody nose.

As a preventative measure she had us ice his front feet. We don't want his laminitis flaring up and his feet had some heat. She gave us Banamine in case he had any pain later on, along with Bio Sponge to help the diarrhea and another Probi which has a mint smell. Winston won a new fan and I lost $500.

Winston happily ate hay while Mom ran out for ice. He was perfectly fine staying in the stall as long as he had hay. He peed, but no poop while we were there. The vet was not worried when she called to check in since that meant no diarrhea. We opted not to give him any pain meds though.

Hopefully there will be poop in his stall tomorrow and the blood tests don't bring bad news. Till then keep your fingers crossed for Winston! PS the English vet rode a Gypsy Cob in England so I told her she could ride my guys if she needed a horse.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Day Is It???

Ugh, I am on day 9 of inventory, with 4 more to go before a day off and the days are getting lost. I think I was last at the barn Friday or maybe it was Sunday. The only good thing was that those missing days were freaking cold so I did not miss out on riding.
I did miss Ember's first snow day, but I made my Mom get some pictures.

Daddy is photobombing
Little man got a clean bill from his fecal and is a Low Shedder. I think his round belly must have been a hay belly. He does manage to eat a bunch. Mom called to get coggins drawn for the older horses and the vet looked at him again today. Ember has gained 100 lbs since the last visit and has been cleared of the cold he brought with him.

Roscoe got a little extra vet attention since he still has not kicked the cold. Our yo-yo weather has not helped. The vet listened to his lungs and thought she heard something, but he coughed and cleared it. Since he has had it for awhile, she put him on SMZs. Luckily, he ate them in his dinner. Hopefully that will continue while Peggy is helping with the feedings.

Roscoe is feeling his oats as usual for this time of year. He took an unauthorized spin out with the girls before the vet. The girls told him that they were not interested. So he walked up to Mom and put his head down, like saying "You love me, right?"

Ah well I will get to see my ponies tomorrow. Maybe I will fit in another ride :) The only benefit to working so much is that the month will fly by. I can't wait for February.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Trail of Painted Ponies: Sherman

Even as we add new horses to our herd, you never forget your first, and that is true about Sherman. My Dad was a Marine for over twenty years, so we had a few moves in our family. When we moved to Virginia, the talk of getting a horse became more solid. My parents wanted a family horse that could babysit my siblings and step up for Mom and I. As we waited for the family horse, we leased an Arab mare and took care of other horses. One of those others, was Sherman. He was a blood bay, 7 yr old old style Morgan gelding about 15.2h. Sherman had a big presence and scared a lot of people. He had a tendency to make a run for the stall door too. But something about him connected with Mom. She could handle his quirks and he responded well to her.
So when the day came that his owners offered to sell him to Mom, she had a hard decision. Sherman was not a family horse. He came with tons of baggage and could not babysit. Still underneath that big presence was a horse who wanted a protector. And he called to her. In the end she took the chance and answered the call. My parents made payments on him until the $2000 bill was paid and he was officially ours. Okay Mom's with the understanding we could borrow him on occasion.
Sherman still had his quirks but they became more manageable. He liked to chew on old lead lines and we had to keep a shirt/coat Mom used to wear hanging by his stall as his calm item. At times we had to put a kick chain on him when he let his opinions known on the stall walls. Many times we received calls that Sherman was playing catch me if you can. He hated needles which made Coggins a fun process. Even the holistic vet would not use acupuncture needles with him, only the laser.

With his "dressage ring" star showing his path

Another part of Sherman was that he was a "Stelding" or "Stud-y." He would get excited to some extent over the mares, especially the dark girls. He had the cresty neck and well developed canines too. Only once though did he drag Mom to a mare. When Dottie came to live with us, she was all over him  and would have raging heats. That boy put off some pheromones. Little did we know he was prepping us for dealing with a little stud.
As big as his presence was, he actually was a bit of a chicken. He would prefer Barry to lead and clear any scary things out of the way. He also preferred to lead the herd gently. With his size a warning went far. His sense of fairness served the herd well. Though he was not a fan of men, he evolved over the years to let more people into his inner circle. Sherman would frisk anyone for treats, give kisses and remove hats if he could. Around Mom, he was protective.
Riding wise he excelled at dressage with his fancy movement, but could also jump. More than once I jumped him bareback. But you always had to have a bit. No bit meant no work to Sherman. When Barry retired, Sherman and I went on to compete in low level eventing. We received a second place ribbon our first trip out. Where Barry only saw the jumps, Sherman saw everything but making for a "green" looking round. He did eventually turn into a horse that could babysit and give lessons. Then turn around and play with half passes and beginner canter pirouettes. But even as he let others ride, he was always Mom's.
Valentine gift from Dad 

We joked that Dad was her husband, but Sherman was her sweetheart. So when we lost him July 2010, only two weeks after my Mom's birthday, to colic it was a serious blow. I had to find the right Painted Pony for this special horse. And as it always seems to happen the right pony was there: Sweetheart Pony.

The elegant dark horse who held my Mom's heart

Clock put together by a friend

Can you see why we went to the Cobs after owning him?

13 yr old me with 7 yr old Sherman

Still to this day Sherman stays with Mom. We chose cremation since we let him go during surgery, and he is in Mom's room. Sherman was an example of owning a horse that was not perfect, but taking the time to work through and in end having a wonderful journey. A horse communicator told Mom that she and Sherman had connected before and their relationship was meant to be. Mom taught him to put his foot on stuff during a layup and when he passed she said to just put his foot on something when he came back. I can't say he came back in Roscoe, but one of the first things Roscoe did was put his foot on the food bowl. I like to think Sherman was passing the baton to the next stud in our herd. Life cycles are amazing things. Sherman was a one of a kind Morgan and a perfect beginning to our herd.
January 7th 1988 - July 26th 2010