Saturday, December 18, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Vet S moves slowly, speaks quietly, and typically doesn't have too many issues with him. Causing GP any pain, however makes him leery of S. Vet J is a completely different story. She's a fast mover, a fast talker, and is loud. Guinness really does not appreciate this. When she handles him she just walks up and does whatever she needs to do. This finally came to a head last week when Vet J came up to try to tighten the clinches on Guinness' front shoes. She came a little fast, and started sawing away. He reared, popped his halter and slammed his foot down. He missed her, that time. When we tried again, he ended up catching her with his front leg and dragging her down the aisle a bit before extricating himself and spinning off. She was fine, but I think he hurt her pride a little. Every since then, she bad mouths him as badly behaved and crazy.
I might be wrong here, but I think this is utterly unprofessional. I completely agree that my horse was badly behaved during that moment. But any horse that lets me clean a huge angry wound on his face while I'm in high heels and doesn't even get me dirty - he doesn't have a problem. I feel like the guilty party here. I need to start standing up for my horse, and for his needs when it comes to stranger interactions. He's just sensitive, and it's unfair to him to not have me be his voice when he has to be handled by the vet. I need to stop getting intimidated and just open my big mouth a little more.
Overall, it's been a good summer - and definitely a learning experience for me as a horse owner. I think everything that can happen to a horse has happened to mine. Except all the really terrible stuff. *knock on wood!*
* Acheive a more secure and independent seat. My hands are starting to rely on my seat, and I'm a little unsecure - something that I'm not really used to! I need to start doing a lot more sitting trot and no-stirrup work.
* Fully memorize my Training level dressage test and video tape every move to fully understand how to improve it.
* Work on conditioning. We need to start walking up and down hills again to keep Guinness' butt more in shape and his hind legs under him! In addition we need to get out in the world a little more to solve our spookiness issue!
* Get to a schooling show before September! The Old Stone Horse Trials are coming up on the 29th, and I want to make sure we are ready for shows later in the year!
* Take shoes off in front, and examine to see if they can be left off again. Also, investigate further barefooting techniques to keep hind feet from crumbing and getting too long at the toe.
I leave you with a photo of my two best partners in crime. Christian and Sonka-dog. Aren't they two fine looking individuals? Huh?
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Guinness 1st XC School from Austen on Vimeo.
GP's XC Schooling 2 from Austen on Vimeo.
Hilarious Run Out from Austen on Vimeo.
First, there are the tender feet: It seems to take about 2-3 weeks for GP's feet to build back up after a trim. Until then, he is useless on rocks - making our lovely (but rocky!) outdoor ring useless to us. All the rain we've been getting this month hasn't been helping much either. Plus, my dog knocked over our bottle of Keratex.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Right now, Guinness has been out for a few days with sore feet. His feet were trimmed back last Thursday, and since then he has been slightly footsore. Today he looked much better. I think riding is a possibility again. Tomorrow we are going to do our first conditioning set out in the huge cross country field. EXCITED!
Let's have a quick tour of the new place:
This is the Indoor ring. It's small, but the mirrors have already helped us come a long way in our dressage work. Jumping can be rough in here, but if there has ever been the incentive to sit up and balance, this is it!
Dressage Ring. Located uphill from the outdoor, the dressage ring is really helpful in allowing Guinness to focus on straight dressage days. This is also where the majority of our angry fights occur. Oops!
The XC FIELD!!!!!!! Complete with jumps and ... look, Mom, SPACE!
The first aisleway of the barn. There is another aisle, the indoor is connected directly behind me in this photo. Here's what I love about this barn, the intense amounts of activity in this place. Even when I'm there by myself at 9pm, you can still feel the activity.
This is also what I love about this barn. Guinness has been gaining more and more weight every day. In a week, he's going to be borderline chunky. I love it!
Speaking of galloping and hacking down roads, I'm going to shamelessly plug RoadId. I finally broke down and ordered one. With all the road running I do, and all the road riding and crazy stunts I pull, I want to make sure that I'm as protected as possible while out being active. The Id's come in lots of colors too, so you can order them to match your XC colors. You can even add extra lines of text just to remind you of things like "Keep Shoulder's Back" or, if you are me, "Close Your Freaking Fingers!" When I ordered they gave me a $1 off coupon to spread around. If you want to take advantage of it, check out their site and use the code: ThanksAusten737803. To use the code you have to order by May 13th, so get on it and BE SAFE!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
With his new diet (breakfast, huge lunch, and dinner), he's started filling out along his topline again. His haunches aren't so sunken, and you can see definite improvement in along his ribcage. Not perfect, by any means. But better. He's such a happy dude too. Always curious now, trying to get into everything. He has tons of play buddies, and enjoys a good game of "rip the stuff off the front of Cole's stall, and feed it to him." Hilarious.
The new place has a great outdoor, which has been our place for conditioning. It's huge, so that helps, but I can't wait until the fields dry enough to ride in them! The neighborhood location means that we've been doing lots of road hacks, which have actually been helping bring down the size of his windpuffs. Cool.
Right now our only issue is finding a way to keep our stall dry (ugh), and getting his feet done. They are a little long and the hard rocky ground and road have been causing them to chip, and to pull the sole away where the white line is weak. Not good, especially when coupled with wet stall. They stay relatively dry, but just a bit brittle in the old parts. Farrier will be here early next week, and I am buying a rasp.
Consider yourself quickly updated!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Of course, better rides want me to be able to show off a little. I'm looking into joining the USEA and getting everything set up to show this season. I know planning a show season in late March is a little silly, but I think we can do it.
The only thing we have going for us is a strong support system and a strong financial base. Whew. Wish us luck.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The big guy unloaded like a champ, covered in a cold sweat. Poor pony. Heavy duty trailer training is obviously in our future. He definitely doesn't feel comfortable with the trailer, getting in or riding. That's a skill that we are always going to need. It can't take us 2 hours to leave a place, that's just silly.
Anyway, the new place is awesome! Everyone there is very helpful and very comfortable to be around. The best part though? It's way closer to my house. Like on my running path closer. I'm such an crazy runner person (sometimes!) that I actually run on my lunch break (or in the mornings when the summer heat makes me catatonic). Usually I just go 3 miles, shower and head back to work. Check out the map below. It is just under 3 miles for me to run to my horse, check him over, turn him out, and head back to home! This is totally the best part!
Hello saving gas money by walking to the barn! Woot!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
a bigger price tag.
Ouch. Well, I know from the from working in leasing that people will pay for what they really want. And, it's very true in this case. This new barn is 2.5 miles from my house, and on the path of my daily runs. I can clean my own stall, and be responsible for a majority of my horse's care. Guinness will be fed three times a day, not just two. There is a vet on 100% emergency call who works with and knows the owners well. The turnout fields are rotated to cut down on parasites. They feed a fabulous low-starch pellet option ...
Obviously it's a much better option for us.
The barn owner had to meet with me today to make sure I would not be a total crazy in his facility. Luckily ... I'm sane. Apparently. I guess they had a problem with a woman boarding at their stable and trying to take over all the lessons with their kids and they wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be crazy like that. Yeah, uh? No. I never want children, nor want to deal with them more than necessary. I plan to get to the barn as soon as lessons are over, and before they begin as often as possible. Hurrah!
The last week has been a flurry of boarding searching, vigilant care of my horse and work (which has been totally nutty, of course!). It's looking like the next week is going to be a lot of work getting everything prepared and ready for the move, then settling in. The move is scheduled for Tuesday night. I haven't told my barn manager that I am moving yet ... and don't plan to until my horse is on the trailer and driving to the new barn. I know it's a horrid move, but I'm honestly terrified she would do something to my horse before I can get him moved.
Oh Giggle Pig, how did we get in this situation?
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Last Tuesday after pulling the big man out of the field, I noticed some blood on his little white coronet. I fished around in his long wet hair, but couldn't find a wound. Finally, I concluded that his injury was probably due to the chapped skin of his coronet area splitting, sprayed some antibacterial stuff on it, covered his coronets with Corona and called it a day. Unfortunately, I had missed the real issue.
Thursday I found him with a swollen back leg, stemming from a hot laceration halfway between his hock and fetlock and sitting directly over the tendon. Fabulous. He wasn't lame at all, and cold-hosing seemed to have no effect. I cleaned his leg as well as possible, sprayed it with antiseptic and we went for a light ride. After the ride? Clean and cool legs prevailed.
Friday evening he again had horrid swelling and his feet were even hot. It was clear he had not been outside since, as his legs weren't muddy (oh! the mud!). I started flipping out immediately, calling people and being a general nuisance. 10 min of cold hose followed by 10 min of walking rinse and repeat lessened the swelling by half, and I wrapped his back legs and covered him with a light sheet.
Man, I love this horse! He was definitely feeling his couple of days off, but kept his head around him. He has the ability to feel like a basket case while staying relatively easy to sit. I think it's how he can toss his head, and his neck can totally disappear. He doesn't buck (ever, really), but does have a tendency to just bounce in place when excited. There was lots of that today.
The ground was pretty nasty. Twenty-odd inches of melted snow can do that do your field. He was slow moving over the really gross stuff, but we slogged through all of it, worked on collecting and trotted up lots of hills to work on condition. Even with the temps hovering around 50, he stayed relatively cool. I'm so proud! My little eventer is getting so brave!
My fellow boarder went out with me. Her cowhorse-trained Quarter is such an adorable dressage horse in training. I couldn't stop watching them! Of course, he's a little small for my tall friend, so she's looking for something a little larger to learn to jump on. Here's his Craigslist ad. He's super cute, and just needs someone to put the jump training on him. With that and a few more miles, he would make a cute pony clubber mount for C1 and below. Easy Peasy.
Meanwhile, the barn search is underway. I've looked everywhere near me. It's difficult, as the boarding prices are exorbitant in this area. I'm still waiting on a few places to get back to me. My notice isn't in yet (don't want my B/O stop feeding my horse altogether once she learns i'm leaving!). I'm hoping to have him moved in the next 30 days.
As for me personally? I'm struggling with the thought of entering the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon. Billed as one of the most fun large running events, I can't really resist. The Cincinnati/Northern KY Apartment Association is doing a charity sponsor group - and they want me. I need sponsors, though. What do you guys think? Should I sign up? Anyone want to donate to watch me run?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
We all know how I have been struggling a bit with Guinness' weight. How he's been yo-yo-ing worse than Oprah Winfrey. How his coat's been dull. How a million other little signals that he's not 100% have been driving me CRAZY! Yes, yes? We're all on the same page right? Good, because yesterday I found out why. Ready?
His hay portions are another matter. He's been dropped from 3 flakes to 2 per feeding. Okay. At this point it just seems like one more thing to bring up. How many times can I say, "Just tell me before you have to change anything!".
In other news, our riding has been going fabulously! Even with the snow/mush that's out there right now, we're getting to hack out at least twice, and typically 3 times a week. It's slow walking work, but he's out of shape and it's a good way to work on that condition. After reading this lovely post from Andrea, I decided to try dropping Guinness' bit to see if he would stop fussing so much. And, you know, he's really doing better at accepting contact. Part of his fussing is from being bored/nervous, and that's not going to go away but with more engaging work. But the part that was just generally fussy has stopped, for the most part. Whoo!
Now, gotta run to check whether Guinea's evening feed has been made properly!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Speaking of Guinness, he's looking great on his feet (no signs of soreness!) and the slight problem we were having with his legs filling up was solved by a couple of days of stable bandages. Viola. He's been just wonderful to ride ... though I'm sure I'm tempting fate by posting that! Unfortunately, once the snow hit, his already limited turnout was really cut down due to his pasture friend's shoes. As the other ponies were compromised and prone to slipping, he got to go out all alone in the round pen ... he promptly complained loudly about being left alone and turned his butt to the door the entire time he was made to stay out there. I feel bad about him being unable to wander around, but I know he wouldn't go far alone anyway.
Of course, he has been getting plenty of snow play himself! On Wednesday when the snow started to fall, Christian and I grabbed our stuff and headed to the barn immediately after work. I managed to convince my barn manager to let us use one of her old Tennessee Walker geldings for Christian and I to go for a nighttime snow ride! We tacked up Shaker and Guinness and warmed up in the indoor, then headed out to the pasture for 20 minutes of tramping through a winter wonderland of fun. Both horses were extremely well behaved, though full of energy. Shaker was reluctant to leave the barn, and Christian learned quite a bit about turning a mouth-dead stubborn horse. Guinness, meanwhile, was brave enough to walk on his own and not even spook at the cars going by on the road. I was so proud of him. It was just what we needed to get back into the swing of things.
Later in the week we did some more trot work, focusing on my position (which has seriously deteriorated, can we say 'needs lessons'?) and taking a light contact. Forward as become the name of the game for us, and the Pig has been happy to oblige.
I was looking for something pretty specific when I was saddle shopping, and I'm really glad I found it. I already have two saddles, but neither really fit Guinness well. I know saddle fit can go a long way into helping a horse with behavior and cooperation, and it was super important to find one that would cover his high withers and still leave room for his massive shoulders. He seems very happy in the saddle, and I have a better feeling of security in it. After riding in older saddles my whole life, having one this grippy and nice is an amazing change! What do you think?
Today, I plan to get us back out in the snow. Whatever good karma keeps giving us good weather, and good terrain to do some easy conditioning on Guinness' back and legs needs to be taken advantage of. Now that we appear to have his feet put back together and healing some, I feel confident putting together a training plan we can stick to. I still want to be able to hit some local jumper shows and maybe a local Horse Trial. How much fun would that be?
Friday, February 5, 2010
Sometimes, in the middle of a nasty, sleeting, spitting day, you need a reminder of why you are even into this "horse thing". Here are some shots of Guinness from the day I tried him out and the day I decided to bring him home.
He was an off balance 11 yr old TB with mouth hooks making him crazy and a bad shoeing job. But, he had character and movement. He was also a willing jumper and had just enough spunk. We're still dealing with all of his issues, but I feel like he's getting better all the time.
Today we are heading out for a little exploration in the woods behind the barn. There's a nice soft field back there we are going to do a little lunging and stretching work. Gotta get that blood flowing!
Monday, February 1, 2010
When Guinness came to me he was shod all-round. He had badly hewn wedge pads propping up his crushed heels in the front, and his back shoes were contracting his heels so badly they were pinching his frogs! It was a gross mess just asking for a nasty case of thrush and an angry bucking fit from a horse in pain. His previous owner informed me that he had been shod since she had known him. Since he had come to her from directly off the track, I assume he's had shoes on all four feet for at least 9 years! The poor guy had a reputation for pulling shoes (and with his swinging walk and poor hoof wall, I can understand how!), and a pair of raggety bell boots came with him to the new farm. Needless to say, blindly shoeing him was not something I could do and still have a concience.
Here's a shot of his front left from below. Please excuse the mud. Though it's difficult to see, his foot is starting to widen a bit, and finally come into some sort of shape. The new heel growth is starting to grow down as well.
This story repeats every day for the next week. There's always a little heat and pulse in his feet after we walk, which worries me even more. As the days go by, he gets a little easier to get in and out of his stall and he walks a little more surely - but not without pain. I bribe the barn workers to spend the time to coax him out to the field, where he spends days befriending a fat lazy Arab. Life is okay, but I still feel terrible.
The first part of January sees us taking family walks through the woods. With Christian and Sonka (our husky-mix), I handwalk Guinness on wandering tours through snow covered wood paths behind the barn for hours at a time. He starts to gain confidence, not only in his feet, but in me. I also come down with the death plauge. Walking him is just about as much as I can manage. Things are looking up.
Just after our vet visit, we start lunging a bit in the arena as a preface to getting back into shape. Guinness looks mildly lame, but works out of it after warming up. I start thinking the slight lameness I've been seeing recently is more associated with his arthritis and being cooped up in the cold weather than with his feet. Lack of movement = sore joints. Finally, I break down and buy a bottle of Keratex. After using it every day for a week, it's been a miracle! No more tender steps on his feet, and now I become sure that the slight off-ness in the start of work is arthritis. That's easier to deal with, and a lot easier on my mind. Long warmups? I can deal with. Unknown pain from the foot, makes me toss and turn in my sleep!
Last week we started a light conditioning routine. I'm back riding, and it feels SO GOOD. He's very short strided for the first twenty minutes of our walking warm up and his first few turns at the trot are awkward and trippy. After he gets warm, he's much better- long striding and swinging at the walk and the trot, though still tripping a little. Unfortunately, just as things turn around, it's about the time I get off. He's so out of shape, I want to take it easy on him. Right now, that means no more than 30 min under saddle, and mostly at the walk. I don't want to rush him into shape. I want a balanced, supple and well developed horse as I head into good weather season. For now, it's nice to be able to take it easy and work only on his condition and my seat position.
This afternoon, my farrier came back out for a follow up visit. I was adamant that he come out today due to the problems Guinness has been having stumbling. I think his toes are too long, and he's starting to chip around his quarters too. My farrier agreed, and nipped down his long toes. The farrier isn't a barefoot practitioner, but he is familiar with the practice of rolling up walls, and did a really nice roll on his wall edges to help with breakover. I didn't realize how fast Guinness' feet were growing until I took a look at what had been taken off. Almost a half inch! Wow. And, he walked off tender, but not lame. I Keratexed the newly exposed wall/white line and sent him out in the pasture to walk it off.
After talking with the farrier, I feel so much better about his feet. His wall is noticeably thicker and stronger now than when we first pulled his shoes, and his feet are spreading out remarkably fast, and he's even re-growing a real heel! It really is amazing how quickly hooves can change when they are given the ability to move. Now, if I can keep him pain free and feeling good - we'll be out jumping those XC fences in no time!
We'll be jumping WHAT?!?!!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Buying a new horse, bringing him home to a barn new to you, and meeting and dealing with a whole slew of new horse challenges can sometimes come to a head like it did yesterday. Whew. I am so glad it's over.
Since the end of November, Guinness and I have been battling a bit of a weight issue. For starters, he would lose weight. Then, just when I'd start to think he was looking like I needed to really boost up his feed - he'd look better. It was weird. I was concerned. He started getting 1 cup of corn oil added to his morning low-starch and supplements. He was already eating 6 flakes of hay a day, in addtion to pasture and round bales and getting a scoop of grain divided into two feedings (morning and evening).
Through December, his weight balanced out. While still a touch thin, he had stabilized. I wasn't too worried. Then January hit. BAM! Here I was feeling like a worthless owner with a ribby old gelding. After pulling my hair out, I called the vet. Diagnosis? A bad case of dental hooks (Some of which were punching him in the side of his cheek! Doesn't that just explain the wierd head bobbing?), and a positive fecal exam.
Here are some body condition shots to give you an idea of what we were looking for. I know he's not terrible, but he's not great either. His condition was bad along his neck and spine.
A week later and here we are. Sedated as hell. The vet grinds down his teeth, stops a moment, and pulls out a hunk of ... rope? Wow, buddy. That's just nasty.
Hooks taken care of, Guinness got started on on a 57g Fenbendazole PowerPak (the first dose of which he promptly spit in my face). I'll keep you posted on his condition. Right now I don't feel like adding more grain or oil to his diet is necessary. I think once he's no longer wormy he'll start putting weight on.
Next up! Sore feet, and how they suck.