Saturday, December 29, 2012

A year in reveiw...2012

How did 2012 reality line up with 2012 dreams??  Well let's take a look.
The year was over all above and beyond what I planned for and hoped for.  There were some very low and bad moments like loosing Blaze and injuries.  But they were far out weighed by the great and wonderful moments of the year.
In italics is copy and pasted from my Plans for the New Year.  2012 here we come!
My big over all goal for this coming season is to compete at Beginner Novice at a recognized Horse Trial!! The timing and location are not set in stone. That will depend on how training and fitness over the season goes. There are a few different options as to when and where this may be able to happen. But this is the holy grail for the year for The Big Lebowski and Me;) 
HUGE SUCCESS!!  I not only accomplished this goal and completed a 3 phase recognized horse trial but I finished in 3rd in my division! 

OK I can pretty much end my year end review right here!  This was the moment when all my work and dreams came true to become actual eventers!  But wait the year didn't end there and there was much more in store for us than we even planned for!!

Below each month I will summarize the actual month.
My only goal for this dreadful month is to ride at least 2 days a week. I would like to say my goal is higher but I would much rather set something realistic than fail miserably. So 2 days a week is my goal. I don't care if those rides are walking for 30 minutes, hacking out through the fields/trails or a focused 30 minute dressage or jumping ride. My goal is just to ride no matter what that be.

January 2012
This was a low goal and I didn't really accomplish it.  I instead took a break from riding for a while.

18th IEA Awards Banquet at Indiana Downs!
Riding goals again are to ride 2 days a week.
If the weather/footing for either January or February are good enough that I am able to ride consistently then I will hopefully squeeze in a lesson somewhere. I do not feel it is worth it though to take a lesson when I am not able to work Steady often enough to keep his 'edge' off. Otherwise we will spend our lesson on keeping him in check and to me that is a waste of time since I know that regular work keep him in check.

February 2012
Attended the Banquet and was awarded a $500 scholarship!
Started riding again.  After the break(Dec. Jan.) Steady was very Steadyish and we had some exciting rides.  But also made a big break through with learning to stretch down at the walk! And the weather was so cooperative we started actual training and fitness work!
Managed to even get in a lesson

Get more focused in training and fitness. Primarily focusing on refreshing our minds and bodies to real work. Ride at least 3 days a week. Slowly building back fitness.
Take one lesson this month.
March 2012
We accomplished this with flying colors thanks to the unseasonably warm and wonderful weather.  I had a lesson and we had one amazing ride after another!
I got a new to me trailer this month that made my life 100 x's less stressful!
25th-29th ROLEX! I say we make a blogger meet up at Rolex, who's with me?!

Trailer to a lesson with Lee Ann with hopes to take two lessons dressage and jumping.
Start training back again. Ride 3-4 days a week.

April 2012
Celebrate Steady and my 2 year anniversary!
<3 horse

Rolex FAIL :(  I didn't get to go to Rolex.  Tragic and must not be repeated.  I mean I live 3 hours from the Eventing Mecca there is no excuse.  Well except for my marriage nearly falling apart.
Lesson Fail but we got out to a show and had our worst dressage score to date and followed that up by an awesome XC schooling and jumping our first Training level xc jumps!  So over all the month was a SUCCESS!

12th possibly have our showing debut for the year at CAF CT. Met that goal in April!
19th-20th Greater Dayton Horse Trials! This is a very slight possibility for the the holy grale but it seems awfully early in the season so chances are we will be spectators or volunteers at best for this event.  Didn't happen
Riding goals for the month are to ride 4 days a week.
XC school
May brought far more than what I had planned.  I went to Frankfort, KY and took a private lesson with Olympic eventer Dorothy Crowell.  Then I participated in a 2 day clinic in Lexington, KY at the beautiful Champagne Run Farm with Rolex rider Peter Atkins.   I came home ready to take on the recognized horse trial far earlier than I had thought!

May 29th-June 3rd IEA Horse Trials. Also another option for the HT but this is a biggy and I may not have the balls for it but you never know? It is on the table as an option for the time being. Otherwise we( we as in me not Steady but it is education for the both of us when I do these things but I also hope to bring my daughter along this year for volunteer work) will volunteer for this event. I loved doing it last year and hope to do it again.
Hey waddaya know I grew some balls and made it happen!  HUGE SUCCESS!! I not only accomplished this goal and completed a 3 phase recognized horse trial but I finished in 3rd in my division! 

7th Come Again Farm Horse Trials.This will most likey be our HT for the year. 
Didn't happen since I competed at IEA 

Riding goals for the month are to ride 4 days a week.
I slacked off a bit and took break since we accoplished so much so early in the year and the 90 degree high humidity temps began this month.
Other June accomplishments:
XC scooling training/prelim table and trekhener, double banks, bank into water
weekend camping/trail riding trip to beautiful Brown County
and survived a week at the fair with the kiddos!

July 5-12th Event Camp. If I make the cut off for event camp I do hope to do it this year. I have debated back and forth about it. Wondering if I should just attend separate clinics over the year or put all my eggs in one basket so to speak. This has been a tough decision this year and I am still not 100% and I need to mail my registration on the 2nd so I need to figure it out.
Didn't happen
If I do event camp that will be my one hurrah for the month and probably August too.

Riding goals full on training, trails, gallops and jumping 4 days a week.
Not much happened this month.  I jumped bareback in the first time in like 18 years and it was a blast!  We tried to survive the wicked heat with easy rides and little tack (aka bareback)

Another dreadful month for Indiana. I will most likely cut back riding this month and take the month "off" with just no pressure hacks, trail rides and rides when weather permits.
A HUGE surprise this month in that I competed in another recognized 3 phase event!  The event in which we survived dressage, killed XC and ate dirt in stadium!  But walked away unharmed and still happy I at least got to go XC again!!

Start training back up again once the heat dies down. Riding 3-4 days a week.
Went on a wonderful trail ride with my daughter and Lily (Lilys first) and had a great time!
CAF Event Derby at Novice!? We will see where the season takes us but if all goes well I think this is with in our grasp FAIL
Any and all fall goals came to a screeeeeeeching halt when I found a rusty piece of old fence stuck in Steady's hoof :/  Thus sums up September.
Though I did have more rides on Lily and worked with my daughters a little extra this month.

Riding 4 days a week full training, trails, hacks and gallops.
Slowly started back working after injury.

Octoberfest I loved this show and the XC schooling opportunity. If I have the money to show 2 months in a row I will be doing this show. If not I will be forced to choose between the two.
Unfortunately Octoberfest did not happen this year.  I really hope to to it next year though.
Biggest most awesome amazing dream that I never realized I had came true this month when I did one of the most fun things I have ever done in my life, went on a fox hunt!! 
We lost our sweet sweet Blaze this month :,(. 
Got a lesson in with LAZ!

Ride 3-4 days a week. Training and trails.
Hopeful for a lesson.
No lesson this month but got one in last month.
We competed in our last show of the year at CAF!  We won the beginner novice event derby and had a blast in some of the fun classes!

Ride when weather permits and take a lesson.
This month over all was a fail at all things riding related.  Steady has some weird ongoing sweeling thing.  Though it does not have any negative affects we are still working to clear up.

I think overall I set very realistic and managable goals considering I accomplished all except one(a novice schooling show) goal and that was due to unplanned unchangable injury related circumstances.  I accomplished many things that I didn't even plan too and had an awesome year with my horse and that is all that really matters.  I am excited to put together next years goals!!!  I love a new year with a fresh start and looking at all the possibilities of and exciting new year!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fat Legs for Christmas.

Though this could probably also describe me considering the lack of activity and increase of bad foods as of late.  I am unfortunately referring to Steady.  I went out to get him out of his stall on Monday morning and immediately am drawn to his legs.  They are huge!  Not one, not two but three of his legs are twice their normal size and the fourth is also swollen just not as severe.  The two back legs are from the hock to hoof huge swollen and the one front is knee to fetlock huge swollen.  I am of course very concerned.  My first thought, 'stocking up', but I pretty much knew that wasn't it.  It was just too severe but in my heart I hoped that is what it was. I took his temperature and no fever.  On one hand I am slightly relieved because there is swelling in all four.  I guess in my mind I knew he couldn't possibly have injured all four legs so I was confident he didn't have some terrible injury.  But then on the other hand what would cause this? 

I turned him out and watched him for about an hour just to see what would happen.  I wanted to see if he was acting normal and if the swelling went down any.  Good news is he was acting perfectly fine.  Not favoring any of his legs and walking, eating, drinking.  Bad news is the swelling didn't subside AT ALL.  So a call to the vet and he was not all that concerned.  Said he has seen this a few times this month and told me to come out and pick up a box of supplies and he should be back to normal in a week or so.
Steady all muddy and sessy today after wrapping and reapplying DSMD.  I left the two fronts unwrapped because they looked perfectly normal now!!!
No reason not to be festive even if you are sickly :).

He is one an antibiotic once a day, banamine twice a day, DMSD and wrapped, cold hosed for 10 min. and walked for 20 minutes a day.  Just two days out and today when I unwrapped his legs I was so happy to find almost normal legs under the wraps.  One hind leg was very slightly swollen but if you didn't know his legs as well as I you wouldn't notice.  Phew...between vet bills for horses, cats and puppies I think that all my family is getting for Christmas are a farm full of healthy animals(except our lamb he went to meet his maker this week so that we can enjoy lamb chops for Christmas).

Oh yup you read that right, Puppy!  Blogger has been a BITCH lately and refused to let me upload photos but two weeks ago Henry aka Hank entered our herd!  He is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi.  Eventing just got cuter!  He will be my show buddy.  He is not the best subject to photograph considering he does not sit still but you can get the idea of his abundant adorableness!

We will be traveling lots over the next 3 weeks South Bend, IN to visit my family, Washington D.C. for a family vacation and Detroit to visit the in-laws.  The herd will be babysat by a 18 year old pony clubber who will stay at our house while we are gone.  Ahhh such peace of mind having someone here to keep a close eye on everyone.  I received the sweetest and most heartwarming Christmas card I have ever gotten.  It brought instant tears to my eyes and just filled my heart.  Read it for yourself...

From our farm to your home....Merry Christmas!!!
Lily also wants to send some Holiday Cheer!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Great feats.

My biggest feat this week is that I actually rode my horse.  That may not sound like much but with the way I have been feeling lately it is bigger than it should have been.  I've been lacking any and all motivation to ride the past couple weeks or so.  I have no good excuse as to why.  I have had time and the weather has been amazing.  I get a feeling of guilt over it but ultimately I know it is just where I am at right now.  Then I get on my horse after a long break and I realize it has in no way set us back and in some cases it helps.  It's almost like hitting some sort of reset button.  Before I lost my motivation I had a couple 'exciting rides'.  One I took Steady out for a hack through the fields.  I could tell he was extra high about it and it had been a while since we had done this and even longer since we did it alone.  He marched out energetic and brave all the way through our long 15 acre field, I was quite proud of him, but when we reached the end of our property and crossed the road he started to loose his head.  Since he marched out so nicely I figured he had done enough to make me happy.  If you have been around this blog for a length of time you may remember how much work it was to get him to hack out alone.  I use to be happy if he would go 10 feet farther then the day before but he is much improved from those days.  So I was pleased and turned toward home.  We get to a small ditch and he does this strange bunny hop rear and spin move about 5 times in a row.  The first one I am fine, second he gets me off balance, third I loose a stirrup and fourth I resort to grabbing onto his neck and waiting out the tantrum.  WTH?! Dude??  We were on our way home I thought that is what you wanted?  After that we had 'words' and went back to work in the arena to let him know he was not getting out of work after that stunt.  A couple days later we are having a glorious ride.  I mean he felt so good.  I decide to hand gallop a bit for some fitness work.  That went great but then I, not thinking at all, flopped down on his back in an attempt the break to a trot.  Well he did not approve of plopping and took off bucking.  First time ever he has done that.  He has been known to throw in an attitude buck here and there but the running off and bucking was not acceptable, flopping or not it's not acceptable.  It is frustrating because the ride was over that was the last thing I was going to ask and then he does that and I feel I have to start the ride all over again.  Those rides just kinda left a bad taste in my mouth and for some reason didn't help with the lack of motivation.

My goal for this ride was to get on and have an enjoyable ride and then get off.  Mission accomplished!  It was quite a nice ride. He felt very great.  We had nice trot work with leg yields, we had turns on the forehand and lovely canter transitions and I called it a day.  Though to me that in and of itself may have been a big feat I don't know that it qualifies as a 'great feat'.  In the title I was referring more to a  great feat in training that Steady and I hit yet never mentioned it here yet.  I have thought of it but just never have.

We hit this great feat a couple months ago.  In the spring I set out on a mission to get Steady to learn to stretch down.  If you remember I accomplished that and then some cause now he Loves to stretch.  If you saw our last dressage test I couldn't have asked for a better free walk(though it scored way lower than what I thought it would.)  Once he got the walk mastered I moved on to get some stretch at the trot.  The biggest challenge here was going to be some well known faults of Steady's.  When he starts to move more forward he can snowball with too much forward momentum.  Then add in the aides for getting stretch #1 leg #2 more rein.  So you tell me what you think might happen when you put your leg on and give with your hands on a horse like Steady?  Yeah, rushing was his first response.  But like with everything else he does it doesn't take long before he starts to catch on.  I started with a looong and very low walk warm up.  I take up some more contact and ask him to collect a little more but still stay stretched and low with him very much on the bit.  Now with all the walking stretch training when I add leg his initial response is to push into the bit and stretch down more.  So as soon as he pushes I ask for a trot.  Of course he initially comes up and with longer reins I loose the contact but being very quick with my hands I get good contact and push him into the bit with my leg a little.  Again at first the response is to speed up.  I half halt and continue to 'push' with my leg all the while keeping very solid contact.  At the first sign of him pushing onto the bit the contact immediately gets softer.  Being careful not to give the contact away because that is not the reward.  The reward is soft contact not no contact.  Once he pushes onto the bit I give with my hands slightly and push more with my inside leg.  Then slowly but surely he gets lower and lower and when he gets low enough that I am happy with his progress he is much praised and I get him to stay there for as long as I feel he can keep it.  At first that is a stride then it goes to two and so one and before you know it you can do an entire lap around the ring with his nose below his knees and stretching through his back.  And viola you have long, low stretchy trot!

It is such a cool feeling for me that when I add a soft inside leg Steady's reaction is immediately to stretch and feel for the bit.  Not to rush off which was his natural tendency but to seek for contact and stretch.  The accomplishment is that much sweeter because I can say I did that and though to some who jump on a horse and the buttons are installed and you have a great ride I am sure it feels great.  But to get on a horse that you took straight from a long career on the track and slowly but surely install those buttons yourself the feeling is indescribable and irreplaceable.  This is one of our greatest feats yet!  But yet the beauty of this sport is that though one milestone is met it just gets us one step closer to the million more yet to come.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fighting a loosing or more likely already lost battle :/

I feel like a fish out of water or like I am in some weird equine version of the "Twighlight Zone".  When everyone around you is of the same mindset and everyone you speak to thinks you are speaking a foreign language it really starts to make you feel like "I" am the one who is crazy.  It is frustrating, discouraging, disheartening and I really need to sit down reevaluate and figure out why I am even trying and if it is worth it.  Why am I adding more stress to my life?  What do I hope to accomplish?  What is my purpose for fighting anyways?  It the cost of trying to educate a group of people who feel they need no education, worth the price of stress and fighting it is adding to my life?

Here is the story in the short version, sort of.  Pony Club, complete stressor, I am trying to make positive and right changes to better the club that was on it's last leg and I am met with resistance for every single step.  Sigh...frustrating.  Then I am also an assistant leader in a 4-H club.  A 4-H club that is %99.9999 western pleasure and the other %.000001 are back yard riders who pull their horses out once a year to run them off their legs for the week of fair.  I have steered clear of all of these folks for 4 years just taking my kids so they could have fun riding with other kids.  Well at the leader meeting it was brought up that they were considering adding a few dressage classes to the show bill next year.  That is awesome right!  That is what I thought too until I entered into the discussion over the topic and I quickly realized they do not want to really learn dressage they just want to "play" dressage.  They asked me what "dressage is" and I started out with what I believe dressage is, the connection between horse and rider, training to acquire correct movement from the horse by engaging the hind end with a round back and bending at the poll.  I thought it was a very  quick and basic run down of 'dressage'.  Once the blank stares started I quickly realized that is not the answer they were looking for.  Then another leader pipes up and proclaims, "it is a pattern with letters",  another says, "oh!  That's what those letters are for in arenas!"  Then the president says, "yeah they have to do things like lope a 20 meter circle!  Well I guess it is called canter??"  Then there was a collective "AH HA" moment that went across the room.  "So it is like an equitation class!!!"  "YES!".  I quitely slump back in my seat and realize I am sorely outnumbered and am new to this group and that speaking up at that point was going to do more harm than good so I sadly kept my mouth shut and they moved on.  All agreeing that those type of classes would be fun.  I have to say I am not surprised by the goings on within 4-H that is to be expected.  They are good people that are offering a good program but that is not their "sport" of choice so they just don't know.  I am happy that my kids will get to do some dressage test for free at the fair and so I am happy they made the change.  Who knows it may spark an interest in some of the kids along the way.

The most disheartening moment came when I was talking to a Pony Club Horsemasters member and was venting about what went on explaining to her the situation as I did here.  And when I said that someone said, "so it's like an equitation class".  Waiting for the Oh My they did not!  But instead I got, "well that is essentially what it is".  I audibly gasped and said, "you did not just say that, honey we really need to have a talk if that is what you think dressage is".  So not only are the expected 4-h leaders clueless about dressage but faithful pony club members who i had assumed had been properly educated.  It is so disheartening.  I know that as long as people are teachable that they can learn and that they quite possibly will some day but do I want to be that person to fight that battle?  I don't think I do.  My experience is not great to begin with then to not have even one person who can stand along side me in agreance.  It really does make you question your own thinking and positions when every single person around you looks at you like you have 3 heads.  That is where I am with that and I come here with it because a lot of you DO understand what I mean and it helps not feeling like the outcast.

Just writing this out has helped me get some clarity on the situation and I think I have an idea about what my next step needs to be.  I must first get my Pony Clubbers better educated.  We need to have some sort of winter unmounted dressage classes with an expert.  Someone who can break down the sport into it's most basic form and help the kids/members understand the importance and foundation of dressage.  Yes I think that will be a great place to start!!!  Now to find the sucker!  Thanks guys for putting up with my venting it really helps clear my head and think things through effectively!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It isn't fancy but it's functional.

Story of my life not fancy but functional.  Many many moons ago I was asked by Aimee at Sprinklerbandits to show my barn.  I agreed to do so but I have never done it for a few reasons 1) to find a point in time that my stalls were clean along with my barn being clean and not filled with random junk  2) Because most people board at facilities that actually generate an income and can afford half decent facilities. 3) because I am a procrastinator to the core of my being.

Well I found a moment that the barn was mostly clean in conjunction with clean stalls and a resonable amount of random junk.  Just got over reason #2 and decided to stop procrastinating.  So here it is my very small but serves it's purpose, barn.

We own 15 acres, with a 2500 square foot home(half out dated half redone), 3-4 acres of fenced in pastures and a 20x30ft barn.  I have 2 stalls that are 10x13 ft and a small 6x8(for mini's), a 4x8 goat stall and a 8x8 feed room and a loft that is 8x20ft.  None of it was in the barn when we bought it except the loft and a huge mess of a half rotted out floor that we had to tear out.  We hope to someday build a new barn but for right now this works.

Steady's stall

Lily's Stall
Mini stall and goat stall they have a door to come and go as they please.

feed room
Nothing fancy but the simple fact that I can look out my kitchen or bedroom or dinning room or bathroom windows or even right here from my computer and see my horses happily grazing then I will gladly give up fancy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One handed bareback riding on an OTTB!

I know Steady is such a wild and crazy beast what was I thinking??  Hahaha, the truth is that 99% of the time he is a perfect gentleman.  So much so that after I got done racing him in the bean bag toss I promptly handed him off to my seven year old to graze him.  It is so nice to get the horse you have at home to show up out in public.  People become so impressed with his progress when really that is what he is almost always like but the last time they saw you he was standing on two feet acting like a wild stallion, haha.

I entered the "ride a buck" class.  That is where you place a dollar bill between your thigh and your horse riding bareback and the last one to drop it wins.  It started out nice and easy with some walk, trot.  Then we went to canter we dropped a few of them.  But Lee Ann decided to up the ante so she had us ride with one, trotting and reverse across the diagonal with the disclaimer "without running into anyone!"  Madness I say but we were still in the game as serious competitors!  We had to post the trot, bareback, with a dollar between our thighs!  10 meter canter circles.  Then we were down to just 3 of us.  I admit Steady has some massive withers but his gaits are so nice when I ride bareback they really don't become a factor.  Now a year and a half ago they would have because he did not have steady smooth gaits and I was more like a dead fish flopping around up there but A LOT has changed in a year and a half and riding bareback is a ton of fun now so I knew that we could hang quite well in this class.  I could see my dollar slipping back though.  I was out 3rd during a canter down the long side because my dollar just slowly slipped farther and farther back.  Live and learn, now I know that in any future 'ride a buck' classes the farther forward you can place your dollar the better.  Next time, Gadget, next time!
Reverse across the diagonal at a trot, bareback, one handed, without running into anyone.  And people think dressage is hard ;)

Can you find Steady and I?  Far right!

The other fun class we did was the bean bag toss.  We had to pick up four bean bags off of a barrel one by one and take them down to the other end of the arena and toss them into a small bucket on a barrel.  It is about speed and accuracy.  It is timed and you get points by getting the bags in the bucket.  You might think we would have an edge on the speed factor since he has won $350,000 racing but if you don't know about career OTTB's I can assure you speed is not an issue but stopping?  Well that is not really required in a race.  About two strides in with those long legs I was telling him to put on the brakes. We came in last in this class but we could have been real contenders had I concentrated more on holding onto the bag.  The first one slipped out of my hand before I ever even got to the bucket, ugh.  The other three I held on tightly too and made them in.  Steady was a bit confused by the whole thing.  The first run he kind of lost his head and didn't know what in the world I was asking him to do.  Then he got the hang of it and it was fun and I think it was good for him to realize he can trust me in an unknown situation.
My other disadvantage besides riding an OTTB in a bean bag game was he had the other horses beat in height by a hand easily.   Streeeeetch!

The best part about a show at Lee Ann's (well the weather since she has some ability to make the most amazing weather for her shows.  70 and sunny and the next day it was 25 and snowing!) is the atmosphere.  She even sends out in her show bill that everyone is to cheer for everyone.  And that is exactly what happens.  Everyone is smiling, having fun, chatting and cheering.  Not a rider comes off course without a group clapping and cheering for them.  I had my own little cheering squad in the Princess Diva Diaries family!  It was so nice seeing Kelly and Lexi.  Riva is such a gorgeous girl and Kelly has done such an amazing job in the last year bringing her along.  Till next season girls!  We MUST do dinner sometime!

All Photos Courtesy of Lee Ann Zobbe she wears many hats and does them all so well!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A good way to end the season.

Though it was not in my "plan" for the end of the season.  I think the "plan" said something like "end the 2012 season with a move up to Novice schooling show."  I have to say though that I cannot complain.  Could I have moved up?  In hindsight absolutely.  Was I 100% confident that it was the right timing?  No.  And I am not willing to add anymore to chance than is already included in Eventing.  Had Steady not gotten injured I am confident we could have but I am grateful that that was not worse and we even got to show one more time.  I was undecided whether I would enter or not.  If it would be worth it or if I should just call it quits early this year.  I am SO glad I decided to walk in to the post office at closing time on closing day for entries to get mine post marked in time.  Talk about indecisive!

I got my ride times and I didn't ride until 12:10 and would be completely finished by 4 and that included sticking around for all the fun classes and watching the bareback puissance, which was AWESOME by the way.  Two girls made it to 4 ft before they each jumped but took the rail and they called it a tie.  One of the winners even has her own eventing blog so you can read her account of the craziness here.  They made it look so easy.

So with such wonderful ride times I didn't even have to pull out of my driveway until 8 a.m. and I returned home at 6:30 pm. perfect!  All went smoothly with traveling the 4 hours(2 hours one way).  Have I mentioned how nice it is hauling Steady in a trailer that he actually fits into and is not freaked out by?  Let me tell you it is such an incredible relief of stress over hauling and he doesn't try to kill himself.  For the most part.
My two daughters came along and they packed, unpacked, carried saddlees, filled buckets, grazed Steady, groomed, cleaned stalls, tacked and cheered me on all day.  I am one lucky woman to not only be comepeting in this sport that I love with the coolest horse but I get to do it with these amazing people who love and support me.

Dressage: Warm up was lovely.  He was pretty relaxed and extremely relaxed compared to our last few HHP experiences.  I was pretty nervous for our test.  I enjoy learning dressage and I respect the sport/artform emensely but performing a test is such a stresser for me. I think it has to do with the last few rides and how aweful they have gone.  So I felt myself tense up and it wasn't my best riding by far but by the time we go to the end of our test I realized we did it.  He did an amazing job.  He was good, obedient and semi-relaxed.  It was one of our best tests if not the best (at least that is how it felt for me).  He only had a couple moments the turn down centerline, the right canter depart and his halt.  The canter depart was bad but he came back to me immediately and gave me a nice canter and his halts are usually perfect but this one wasn't aweful.  The canter was my fault completly, Lee Ann picked up on it last weekend in our lesson that I have a tendancy to put my aides on and think NOW!  And that just sends him in a frenzy and that is what I did.  I thought without those moments we could have even come close to our best score which was a 31.  So when I went to pick up my test and saw a 38.1 I was a little surprised, not disappointed because it is till respectable but just surprised.  Though I scanned through the rest of the scored for ALL the divisions and I realized that all the numbers looked higher so it seemed across the board higher numbers with this judge.  I loved the judge though she was great!  So helpful at the end even schooling some.

Forgive the bouncy video .  My nine year old took it.

Then to the fun stuffs!  Jomping!  Let's jump all the things!  I entered the BN Derby which has stadium XC combined.  Steady true to form did wonderfully brave, honest and bold just doing his thing.  It was of course SO FUN! 

Steady enthusiastically leaps off the bank!

There were only four in my division I was second after dressage and the sweet girl that was in first her horse was just TOO excited to jump so they decided to scratch before jumping.  So Steady and I ended first and even though it wasn't exactly where I had 'planned' to end more than anything I am glad we ended on such a good note! 
I also entered a couple fun classes but I must leave that for another post but they were SO MUCH FUN!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

And then there were two...

I am going to start with the good part of the post.  I have been very absent here lately.  I have just been very uninspired in writing and riding.  Life has been busy and it was an easy excuse to help me ignore my lack of enthusiasm for anything training related.  It stemmed from feeling like I missed out on the fall season because of Steady's injury.  Then this DC Pony Club position that was seriously dumped on me has had my stress for the equine section of my life and emotions full.  I mean with 3 kids, a farm and the day to day of all of it only leaves a sliver left over for equine stuff as it is and now add in another responsibility related to horses well that sliver left for myself and training seems to be shrinking.  But I do intend to balance that out better because I am simply NOT willing to give up my passion to run an outside organization.

It worked out last minute that I got to get out and take a lesson from LAZ.  Ahhhhhh what a huge sigh of satisfaction.  I needed it desperately and am SO glad it worked out.  We worked on simple grids and it was exactly what we(we as in mostly I) needed.  It was very productive and I love that LAZ understands my life a bit and gave me the dimensions of her grids and said 'now go home and do this".  She knows us well enough to know our strengths and weaknesses and we can get right to the point.  I left the lesson 100% satisfied and smiling ear to ear because of the progress.  One of the biggest ah ha moments was when she told me to squeeze with my inner thigh/knee and shove my heals down to get him to slow down!!!  He had a nice canter when she told me that and he instantly broke to a trot when I did was VERY effective.  I have had many instructors tell me different ways of slowing him with my body, slow my post, tighten my stomach muscles but this was by far the quickest and most effective response I have gotten from him.  It is an AWESOME thing to have in your arsenal when you have a horse like Steady that speed is his go to solution for everything.  She also pointed out two things that I completely agree that Steady with all of his faults has two extremely important good qualities.  He LOVES to go forward and his work ethic is incredible and she is so right and love those qualities about him.  He is such a great horse for me.

Now onto the really really really bad part of my weekend.  I was gone all day Saturday and didn't return until 11pm that night.  Sunday morning was hectic and Steady was still at CAF (being trailered home by a PC member).  Lily and Blaze were turned out with plenty of water and grass so I was lazy (and very busy) and didn't go out to the barn in the a.m.  That afternoon we had a family over for lunch then Pony Club came over to make horse treats for a fundraiser.  One of the PC girls(S) went out to throw Blaze some hay.  I was outside getting Lily to let our lunch guests pet him.  S come to tell me she doesn't see Blaze so she went out to the pasture to look for him.  He is ALWAYS standing at the fence if people are outside, so I knew something was up but my first guess is he got out and is grazing next door.  Then S yells across the pasture, "MISS AMY!!! HE'S DEAD!!!".  At first I didn't believe what she said so I made her say it again.  Then I couldn't even comprehend what she was saying.  I just thought I have this little boy coming out any second to pet Lily I am going to see them off and figure out what she is talking about.  Once our guests left I asked her multiple times to tell me what she said and it came back the same, "HE'S DEAD!!".  I got my husband and asked him to come out with me and no matter how much I didn't want it to be true it was.  He was dead!  Lying in the pasture, dead.  I won't go into any more detail about what went on after that because I honestly cannot rethink any of the last few days it is just too sad but our hearts are completely broken and it will take a very long time for this pain to subside for myself and my girls.  I rarely talked about Blaze on here but that little pony owned my heart.  I had him for 6 years and he is more of a family member than a horse.  Don't get me wrong I love Steady, Moonlight, Snappy and Lily but out of all of them Blaze is the ONLY one that would have NEVER no matter what EVER left my farm, EVER!  I cannot explain it but he meant more to me than any other pet I have ever owned.  I have never been hit this hard by grief over an animal.  Then add onto that the fact that my girls have been hit very hard by it also makes it only that much worse.  They are not overly emotional kids and they are used to loosing pets whether it has been from rehoming or death and they are normally quite unaffected by it.  So to see how hard it is on their little hearts is so sad.  I am grateful for all the years they got to have him but am so sad by all the years that they will have to live without him.  I will not go any farther into it for the sake of my heart and emotions right now.  But I will leave you with a picture and a video in remembrance of THE best little pony I have ever known.

My tribute to Blue Eye Blaze

Rest in peace my sweet Blaze. For the hundreds and hundreds of days like this that you gave to my family, for the thousands and thousands of little girl giggles you provided.  For being the first horse that awakened that passion for horses in all of my little girls' hearts. For gently allowing bouncy butts, kicking legs and pulling hands to slowly learn with kindness and care.  And for the countless first pony rides you gave in your life and the inevitable smiles the appeared upon each little face.  They were smiles that you placed there and we will forever be grateful that we were allowed the privilege to have you in our lives and for you we will never be the same.  You only ever added joy and happiness to our world and we were not ready to lose you.  We didn't get to say goodbye, what we wouldn't give to hug your fuzzy little neck again. For such a tiny pony you have left a huge hole in our hearts.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Congress of the equine variety.

I have been around horses before I ever knew what a horse was. 

Exhibit A: me on a horse in my back yard before I could even walk.

In all my years around, on and with horses there has never been one time that I have even been remotely drawn to the "sport?" of Western Pleasure.  I actually know very little about it and am completely fine with that.  There is nothing about a horse that 'jogs' (sloooooooooooooow trot) with it's nose on the ground that exudes anything attractive or even natural to a horse.  The closest I have ever come to Western pleasure was a couple years ago I went to a trainers barn.  The entire experience was odd and nothing felt right about it even though the trainer tried very hard to make me think that the way he trained horses was the absolute best.  He broke horses at the age of 18months, and when I say broke I mean like the old timer BROKE.  Like if a baby horse doesn't listen the first time you pull on that big ass leverage bit in it's mouth then you take all your power and yank their face, cause then they will learn to not want to resist you.  NO seriously he said that to me.  Then since there is nothing natural to a horse to walk, trot and canter around with their nose on the ground all the time the way you fix that is you have hooks in their stalls so for a couple hours a day you tie their head up so high and leave it there.  That way they will WANT to put there head down.  He pulled out three not yet 2 year olds while I was there to show me how 'well' they were trained.  Not ONE of those babies came out of their stall without some swelling and soundness issue.  Then proceeds to tell me how all of his horses are on adequan and injections.  I left that place and never returned and though I was never drawn to WP before now I will purposely flee from it from here on out.  Now I will not go as far as to say all WP trainers are that way.  I believe there is good and bad in every equine industry.  I am just saying that was my experience and it was repulsive.

So a few weeks ago when my two friends said they were going to the All American Quarter Horse Congress  on Monday it went in one ear and out the other.  I mean go to watch the uppity WP folk all day?  Nah.  But then they told me about the shopping...hmmm ok well maybe that would be fun.  I mean I have no money to shop but one of my girl friends barn burned down a couple months ago.  No animals were harmed but the barn, everything in it and even their 4 horse trailer that was parked near it was all a complete loss.  Here are some picture of one of the days we went to help clean up the remains.

My husband, he earned the hardest worker award,

and my Macy, she won the dirties award for the day.

 My friends goal was to have all her insurance stuff done so that she had money to go replace a lot of her items.  Though I have NO interest in Congress itself the equestrian shopping available anywhere near us is so limited that I am actually really excited about going and having some girl time and shopping.  So I don't have money to spend but she has a bunch and if you can't spend your own money then the next best thing is to help a friend spend all of hers!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good news update.

Just really quick because I have no time but I just wanted to thank everyone for thier input on Steady's issue.  I made a couple changes today: Used a different saddle pad and added shims to my halfpad thinking maybe since he has lost musculing that my saddle is getting uncomfortably close to his withers again.  I don't know which or if any of those changes had anything to do with it or if it was just coincidental but today we have a nice ride.  No twitching, bucking or nipping.  He worked fairly nicely even though it was a very windy day and that makes me sigh a little bit of relief.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Peculiar Happenings.

Last week I had a strange ride on Steady. I didn't put much thought into it besides thinking, "that was strange". It was his first ride since he was hurt so I chalked it up to that. So I gave him over a week and today was the first ride since.

Today as soon as I started tacking up he started doing the "strange thing". I ignored I continued tacking up and got on. As soon as the ride started it all began. It is strange, peculiar and I just can't figure it out. I am completely stumped. It has never happened to me before and I have done all I can think to do to try and figure out what is causing it short of calling the vet. If it continues tomorrow then that may just be what I will have to do. So what is this strange thing?

I am warning you it is strange so it is going to sound strange explaining via the Internet. It starts with the signs that he is obviously irritated and annoyed and not really caring to listen to me at all. The he starts shuttering his skin on his right side repeatedly. Then goes on to reaching around and trying to 'itch' his side. Acting exactly as if he was going after a fly. But the thing is THERE WAS NO FLY!! No nothing. When I ask for anything, and keep in mind I am not asking much just a simple relaxed trot, his ears are back, his tail is twitching, he is continuing to try and "itch" his side while trotting, shivering his side and randomly throwing in completely irritated bucks.

So what do you think? What is going on with Steads??

 I have checked everything like tack, or actual source of something touching his skin and annoying him. I even got off and took the saddle off and got on bareback and the he was still wanting to explode so I emergency dismounted and decided to not try that again. I put on the lunge line and check for any soundness issues. He did not do any of the strangeness on the lunge. He started out acting like a prick (he has never been the best lunger) but we worked until we ended on a nice note. I decided to get back on and see what I got. He started out like he was thinking about starting it all but then I got about 10 minutes of mediocre trot work and since he didn't have his ears pinned, tail swishing, twitching or itching so I called it a day. Not exactly what I was looking forward to after spending the last 2 months trying to get him healed and sound just to get this strange behavior pop up. I have to admit it is pretty disheartening, I was looking forward to making the best out of the last month of the year that we will have enjoyable riding weather. humph...thoughts?

 On a more totally fun and kick ass note I am STILL on a Fox Hunt high. Here is another video for your viewing pleasure. at about 4:15 on the video when we stop that is the end nothing exciting happens after that so you don't have to keep watching after that :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Remember that really fun and exciting stuff? Well I had NO idea!

At the end of my last post I mentioned some fun stuff that I may have had the opportunity to take part in yesterday.  I am stoked to tell you that it did happen and that my helmet cam came along for it.  Enjoy the video of the days events. 

My mount for the day, Dave a former 4'6" jumper prelim horse who also had been a whip horse in the past.  He was amazing!!!  To say the least.  He knew exactly what he was doing but loved hunting so much that he had that fire in his belly and made the ride safe, fun yet completely thrilling.  He could be chill with the hilltoppers but was game in first field.  In the video you can see a bit of head tossing excitement anytime I had to hold him off at all.  He just LOVED to do his job!  It was awesome.
In beginning of this video you see a man standing next to his horse as we pass him. He and his horse hit the ground in this fall but thankfully they were both stunned but ok.

If you are ever in need of "growing a pair" I recommend hunting.  Holy cow I had no idea how badass they were.  The speed, the narrow paths, the terrain and the jumps.  You can see me dodging branches and hear them hitting my head as I am flying through the wood.  Yes there were a lot of small starter-BN sized fences but there were also quite a few solid Novice height fences out there too.  They had a couple two stride 8 jump combinations.  Those were low crossrail type fences but they were one of my favorites because of the rhythm you had to have through that many fences in a row.  It was like cross country on steroids.  On cross country you get a map, get to walk and memorize each step of you path.  Most of the galloping takes place in an open field and all paths I have ever ridden on have been wide and completely cleared of low hanging branches. And only last a total of 5-6 minutes tops.  Don't get me wrong the trails were nice and they had good footing but you have no idea what is coming.  One second you are hauling ass and the next second you are doing a sliding stop to avoid hitting the horse in front of you.  Once one of those stops happened when Dave and I were halfway over a jump.  The saint that he was half way over he planted his feet then climbed over the jump with his back legs. And this goes on for TWO HOURS!!! SO AWESOME

4-5 riders came off and they do not stop the hunt for a rider down.  Within the first 10 minutes a young pony clubber came off when her horse reared.  In one video you see the girl in front of me came off and one of the huntsman stays with her but the rest of us are told to go on.  In another video at the beginning you see a man standing on the ground holding his horse.  He and his horse had just fallen.  Everyone was fine and immediately returned to the hunt.  There was only one injury and I believe it was a broken ankle.
Here you will see the sweet girl in front of me fall off of her horse.
I went on a very special day, it was the "Blessing of the Hunt".  They have a priest come and have a short service praying over the horses, riders and hounds for a safe season.  A friend was the one who allowed me to ride Dave and hauled him up there for me.  She was so sweet and kind and generous to do that and would take no offering she just asked that I braid her brothers horses mane.  It was the least I could do.  All of the people there were very friendly and helpful.  I learned a great deal but feel I just scratched the surface on the sport of hunting.  So now I, of course am in the process of finding one near by to better my "education".  This hunt was in Battle Creek Michigan.  I was up visiting my family and jumped at the opportunity to go along with a friend.  One thing I learned was that hunters like their 'beverages'.  At check points they pass flasks and you are greeted with a smile and glass of champagne at the end of the hunt.  It was amazing and I can see myself searching for a way to make hunting a regular happening in my life. 

It will be an interesting process to get Steady out there and sane but it will be good for him I think and he is smart enough to catch on. There are more videos that will come.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I got, what I want and then there is what really ends up happening.

First what I got.  So with my first call from the school for 3 days of substituting I figured what better way to celebrate going back to work after nearly a decade then to spend all the money (and a bit extra) before I even get it?!  Great logic, right?  My husband has become a patient man over the years to my ways.  So yesterday I got to experience that extreme joy when you see "the box" on your doorstep that some of you, not going to mention any names SB, get to experience on a very regular basis.  My daughter and I share the same obsession and we tore open the box like Christmas morning and rummaged through all the goodies.  This can all be blamed on Sabrina at WeanieEventer.  She posted about the sale at Horze(my husband gets a kick out of their name choice).  50% off of everything and free shipping?!!  How can a girl pass that up.  I am by no means a tack whore nor a brand slave.  I am more of an affordable, functional yet not a piece of crap kinda gal.  I had never purchased anything from this company nor seen their items first hand but I figured for the prices it was worth the gamble and they had free return shipping too!  Here is what we found when we opened the box.
Horze sporty tall boots  I only paid $50 for them.  Oh and a boot bag came free with the purchase of a pair of boots!!  I have never owned one of those and now I can feel all cool and stuff.  I am an everyday tall boot and breeches kinda girl.  Don't know why, I just like it that way.  Probably has most to do with growing up in a Hunter/Jumper barn.  That is what we did.  I am most comfortable riding that way.  My tall boots have paid the price for it.  They are in much rougher shape because of it.  I just had them repaired and I would like them to last at least another year.  These will be my schooling at home/barn boots.  They are perfect with a fluffy pair of winter socks or even two just the way I wanted them, YAY for not freezing toes in the winter!!!Ones I won't be concerned if I go from Steady's back to mucking stalls to tromping through mud which happens on a daily basis around here.  They are synthetic and not super fancy boots but they are cute enough and they will do just what I wanted them to do.
French Link Pelham  I only paid $20.47.  Now that I know Steady goes well in a pelham I figured it was time I got my own and returned the borrowed one.
Venice Breastplate/running martingale I paid $40.97.  I liked this version because first off it is black.  It is hard to find black tack in an item you actually like in the USA.  Black is much more common in Europe but everyone is brown folk here.  So I snatched this up because it was the style I wanted with the martingale attachment that just easily clips on and off and it was black, WIN!  What I noticed and you will if you spend any time on this site is that their descriptions are lacking.  I was afraid that was because their quality and makes were lacking.  In receiving the items I realized that no, they just need to hire someone new to write their descriptions.  The Breastplate was much nicer than the description gave credit for.  It is a nice supple leather(not the best ever but nice and soft) and it was padded on the part that goes over the neck and the whole piece that goes on the chest and between the front legs and attaches to the girth(sorry don't know the technical names) and has a few inches of elastic at the top on both sides for a comfortable fit.  I have yet to put it on Steady but I am really happy with the quality and appearance and for $40, that's a great price!
Horze Stirrup Leathers  I paid $22.50 in brown.  These are for my daughter.  Though I need some she needs them more.  If I showed you the ones she is riding in that are probably 20 years old you would all surely drag me to the center of town and stone me to death.  They were real bad and I rode in them when I was not much bigger than her, yikes!  They are nice soft and and reinforced and light years better than what she was using.
The rest of the items were small miscellaneous items like, two slow feeder hay nets $6.47 each, a 3 blanket rack $7.97, 5 winch snaps $.82 each am I the only one that uses these things for everything?  I never have enough, 3 bridle racks $3.00 each.  All a steal of a bargain and good quality!

Just like Christmas!

I want to do a quick review on my winter blanket I purchased last year.  It seems some are shopping for/purchasing winter blankets now and I have LOVED Steady's from Schneider Saddlery we have the medium weight royal blue.  It looks brand new and though we did have a mild winter and Steady is easier on blankets than some it is still very well made and crazy affordable and kept him dry and cozy last winter.  They are offering %50 off of neck cover with the purchase of a blanket right now too!  Wish that was going on when I bought mine last year.  I will be purchasing the neck cover soon.

What I want:  The great news is that Steady is now happily sound!  There were no complications with the metal in the hoof thing.  I attempted to have my first ride on him on Saturday but he just didn't feel right yet.  The Vet said 2 weeks and that was about 4 days early but I thought I would try.  The ride only last 20 minutes before I could see he was NOT happy and I just let him be.  I will be back out there today(hopefully).  He appears to be moving better so I think we should be in the clear and now if he gets pissy I will push him through it.  But what I really want is for him to have not had the last month and a half off because of issue after issue when we shoulda, coulda, woulda been out there hitting it.  Getting ready to have a fabulous October.  I want to be riding Novice in CAF Horse Trials in a week and a half not volunteering(though volunteering is great fun and I think essential to being being a well rounded Eventer) but we are just now getting back to work.  I cannot complain too much, I set some lofty goals that I thought they might have been high yet achievable and I have met all but one of them.  The one I am lacking is ending the season at a Novice schooling show.  If I can get our butts in gear that can still happen, just not when and where I had wanted to. I am now shooting for the Novice derby at CAF in November.  I have been lacking that get up and go since it feels as if the season has ended before it began but I have challenged myself and Amy over at Moose on the Loose who is feeling quite the same way I am right now, to meet me there in Nov.  Come on Steady (and Moose!) let's get this!!!

There is also some possible really fun and exciting stuff for me(sorry Steady you are going to have to sit this one out) in the next few days.  But I will post about that after it actually happens, but I am SO excited, it is something I have always wanted to do!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Less drama, more fun.

So before the day before Steady's successful attempt to get out of spending the past weekend at Come Again Farm in lessons and having a blast schooling XC, I took my daughter and a fellow Pony Clubber/student(S) of mine to an open show that had a small XC course to play around on.  It was my daughters first open show and first time ever schooling XC and they were both firsts Lily also.  It was such a great day.  Loooong, exhausting but good.  My daughter and Lily did awesome schooling XC.  I am still nervous about letting them go out in the open so it was great to have S there to be her buddy.  They did all the starter size jumps 18"-2' with no issues.  There were two that Lily really questioned but my daughter eventually got her over them, once getting jumped completely out of the tack which was a new experience for  She landed on Lily's neck then proceeded to jump off.  She went back and got her over it nicely then they even strung 3 jumps together and then we called it quits.  The two of them are just a bundle of cuteness.  Lily puts in the minimal amount of effort it requires to get all for legs over any jump and my daughter loves that pony with all her heart and Lily can do no wrong in her eyes.

For the show my daughter did amazing.  Her best class was the Hunt seat equitation class.  She did the pattern(which I completely forgot to have her memorize so she did it by watching those ahead of her) perfectly and in a class that had many older kids and 13 total she got 2nd place!  I was so proud of them!  The show was drawn out so long and they didn't do their last class until 6:30pm.  Lily was tired E was tired and Lily being drafty when she gets tired it is reeeeally tough to get her going, let alone asking a tired 9 year old to get her going.  Their last two classes were their two jumping classes.  They did well, my daughter remembered her courses but Lily took out a rail and didn't bother picking up her back legs AT ALL for the last fence on both courses, oops!  She didn't just knock a rail she plain ole' took out the whole jump.  I wasn't hard on either of them about that cause they were just pooped.  Lily didn't want to get moving and my daughter was too tired to get her moving.  What can you do?  Over all I was SO proud of both of them, they had such a great day and learned a ton and got some great experience!

In other news I am now the leader for our Pony Club, yikes!  I told the current leader that I was happy to help out and I knew that she had done if for many years and was looking to get out so I said that eventually I would be willing to take it on.  Well we had a meeting yesterday and she happily handed it over to me now!  I am kinda freaked out but I know it will all work out.  She is staying on and helping but she wants me to take over the decision making.  I guess it will be a learn as we go and we are a small club so I think it is a good place to start.

Steady is doing ok.  No signs of a temperature and I have completed the round of antibiotics and today the wrap is coming off.  He is not a 100% on his foot yet which has me a bit worried but the vet said it could be 2 weeks and it is just 1 week out today.  I was supposed to be at Lee Ann's all weekend having multiple lessons and it was tough looking at all the photos she posted of everyone schooling this weekend, that was supposed to be me...sigh. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rusty old wire debacle and a shrinking farm.

We are on day 3 of anibiotics and still  no sign of a fever or infection!  He is walking soundly on all fours, YAY!   I am now capable of giving medication in the vein and into the muscle.  Something I feel I probably should have been able to do before now but never had done.  I am actually very glad to know, though I was quite nervous about doing by myself the first day.  Here are the x-rays of Steady's hoof.

My farm is shrinking.  I have mixed feelings about all of it.  I know in my head downsizing, especially before a winter when the hay is scarce and $$$, is the best thing to do.  But it does not stop my heart from the sadness of having to say good bye.  This week my little Snappy sold.  I have owned him for 8 years!  He was my first horse that I owned as an adult.  I got him as a yearling and he was also the first baby that I trained myself.  I officially own 5 horses and while my husband thinks that is five too many we agreed upon keeping 3 which I can, in my head, reason that that is the best decision. 
We are really going to miss the little furry dude.

 How Snappy got choosen as the one to move on to a new home?  It was the process of elimination.  Steady was obviously staying, then my daughter getting older and wanting to get into eventing Lily was the best choice for that.  Then there are my other two daughters who ride for fun here and there but their main thing is 4-H in the spring.  Blaze is really best for my 5 year old to do her first year with just like he has done with my other two.  The horse is seriously a saint.  Then my 7 year old can share with Lily because she is still in Mini 4-H.  Blaze is getting up there in age and to me it made the most sense for Snappy who is young enough to last a long time for someone yet old enough to be safe for young ones.  It just made the most sense.  When I knew a potential buyer was coming the idea of it was quite sad for me but after meeting them and seeing what a great home he was going to it really lifted that sadness.  So Snappy is sold, then yesterday someone came to buy one of my baby goats.  Just two weeks ago we counted 13 animals on our farm we are now down to 10 and the goal is 6.  The lamb is a given since he will be butchered in just a couple months.  Then we have two kittens and a cat that need new homes.  I would be happy to get to 7.  Snappy is going to a great home where his owner is a vet tech and he will be truely spoiled and they are not idiots who will throw their 4 year old child on him and let him go.  That was my biggest fear with a mini getting an uneducated person who would just do something stupid then blame it on him.  For some reason with miniatures people think they are not dangerous like horses.  These people were horse people and I am very happy with where he is going.  He is a great little guy.  We have been through a lot together and I will miss loving on him.  These people just recently had to put their beloved mini down and I know he will fill that void for them and do a great job at it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

SON OF A %&$#@!*&&%$@#, &^$#&!!!! UPDATED

I am in tears writing this.  I have to come here and write it because my mind won't stop and I need to do something.  I am supposed to just sit here and wait for the next two &%*$*$# hours until I can load up and take Steady to the vet.  TWO #$*&%@& HOURS!!!!  I am NOT happy about that but what can I do but come when the vet tells me to.  Why do I need to rush him to the vet ASAP???  You may ask.  Get ready for a self-abusing post.  I am SO pissed off at myself.

Here is the story.  Yesterday I sent my daughter out to feed Steady his breakfast as I got ready for church.  We went to church, came home at lunch then friends came over.  At about 2 pm my husband was sitting on the new deck we just built and when I walk outside he says, "you know your horse is walking on 3 legs??"  I am like, shit!  I go out and look at the leg and it is the same one that was giving us issues a couple weeks ago.  I didn't think a whole lot about it because it looked the same as last time.  I mean I was worried but no need to have an emergency vet call.  So I made sure he was comfortable had food was completely covered with his fly gear and spray.  We had friends over that are quite the city folk and I didn't want to spend much time out in my field messing with the animals since they don't enjoy those things and we never get to see them.  So I proceeded through my day.  I checked on him that evening and no change had been made but I guess now I can see  when I go to turn him out in the back pasture for the night that that he was favoring a bit more than last time.  I thought I will give it over night then make a decision in the morning as to what to do.  I woke a few times throughout the night worrying about it and when I couldn't get back to sleep at 4 am I made the decision that he needed to go the vet to be checked out.  The first time it got better pretty quickly but he came out of it nicely and was completely fine within a week but the fact that it recurred this soon after I had suspicions that this could be more serious. 

So I was eager to go check him out once it was daylight and the kids were off to school.  So I go out there this morning and was VERY disheartened when I saw that not only had it not gotten any better but it was actually worse.   I immediately knew something was very wrong because if it was the same issue as a few weeks ago it would have not gotten worse over night.  I then took the time to investigate further.  All it took was picking up his hoof and my heart sank and ran to the house to grab my phone and call the vet as fast as I could.  What was it that caused such an immediate response?  A rusty piece of wire embedded into his hoof crease of his frog.  My heart is sick with worry and guilt.  The heat in his leg has moved up and I am so afraid of how far it has gotten.  I am almost certain it is infected and now it is just a matter of how seriously.  Blood stream??  Oh I feel like a big stupid *^%$!  It gets worse.  Now I am thinking back and realizing this could have been in there since Saturday.  I fed him Saturday morning and I then took my daughter and a lesson girl to a horse show all day and didn't return until that night and I had the girls give him his dinner.  So that means the last time I had actually stopped to take a good look at my horse was Saturday morning.  I am such a stupid idiot!  I am so pissed off at myself right now and the tears that are flowing are half because of my anger and myself and half for fear of my poor horse.  UGH I want to throw up.....

My two hundred dollar Monday morning surprise!  The short side was the part in his hoof.  It was about 1 1/2 inches deep.
So called the vet back and said I was freaking out can I please bring him in before noon??  He said, "yes, bring him right now".  So that is what I did.  Upon further looking it was piece of old rusty fencing that most likely worked it's was to the surface of the ground and found it's way into Steady's hoof.  After x-rays to see exactly where it was, he came out with the good news that it did not touch the navicular bone.  But it was close and very close to the tendon but didn't appear to do any damage with any major areas.  THANK GOD!  He cleaned it pulled it, cleaned it again, cleaned it some more soaked it, packed it and wrapped it.  Gave antibiotic Genamiacin and Penicillin to cover all the bases.  Steady did not have a fever!  So no signs of infection as of yet, more good news.  So he showed me how to administer antibiotic into the vein and muscle and he will be on them for 5 days.  I am to repack and wrap in four days.
All doctored up.

My sexy boy is all gimpy :(

Thank you ALL for all of your well wishes and assuring me I should not start banging myself upside the head for this.  It helps that there was hopeful news from the vet.  We are by far not in the clear now it is a watch and wait.  Just to clarify I do not believe that there random lameness a few weeks ago had anything to do with this.  That they are completely separate incidents.  Thanks again everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Walk/Canter Transitions.

This will probably be a "what's the big deal" kinda post to a lot of people but for Steady and I it is a huge success.  We have never had Walk/Canter transitions and to be fair I really have never put much effort into getting them.  I mean I hailed from the Hunter/Jumper world that every horse had that installed along with flying changes but that was years ago and I was not the one who installed said abilities.  Eventing is different, it seems that certain things are added as a progession as you move up levels.  If you never move passed Novice then Walk/Canter transitions are never really required.  So I focus on the things that are required.  Well today I went out with one goal in mind and that was to work at the canter.  I realized that I spend a majority of my time working at the trot.  I never really even thought about that until today.  I need to spend more time cantering.  More time on canter transitions up and down, the quality of the canter and the adjustablity of it.  So that is what I did.  We troted for a brief warm up and then it was on to the canter.  Upward transitions were mostly good with the exception of one in particular.  He was feeling very uphill at all gaits and I thought his walk felt good enough to possibly get a hop into the canter that is needed when transitioning from a walk.  I was right!  He did a walk to canter twice in both directions.  I am quite pleased with my horse today and that makes for a good start to the day!