In 2014 we moved from a city lot on a golf course to five-acres just outside of town. Follow along as I work with Gentry, my current training project, and discover all the ups and downs of having horses at home on a hobby farm!
One year ago today I brought Rose home. A lot has changed in that time (read my original post here). At the time she taped 15.2h and 900lb. Today, at 3½ years old, she stands just shy of 16.1h and is a solid 1100lb. Wow! One year, three inches and 300lb! Fortunately, we took a photo of her three days after we brought her home, so I thought I'd share a before and after photo with everyone.
Just when I was about to swap out my summer/winter wardrob this weekend we were blessed with some unexpected late summer weather! As such, AR and I decided to take some quick glamor shots of Rose. So here you go...my big beautiful baby. Unfortunately we didn't get photos of her freaking out about the bee that landed on her nose. Mostly AR was more concerned with the fact that I slipped on the dewy grass and fell on my arse at her then flailing feet, which resulted in her getting loose and running amuck (no horses or humans were harmed). Luckily she ran toward the back paddocks and not the driveway! What a video/photo shoot that would have been, but alas memory will just have to suffice.
Stop the presses, Nolvasan Antiseptic Ointment is no longer being made and virtually no one even knows about it! I discovered this travesty recently while placing a SmartPak.com order to stock up on wormer, and knowing that I was low on Nolvasan I thought it was time to bulk up. After being perplexed as to why it was no longer on their site, and also not on DoverSaddlery.com I went to the forums. The result? No one seems to know what the deal is, it's just disappeared from the market. So I I called the fine folks at Pfizer and this is what they had to say: "It's been discontinued and there are no plans to introduce it back to the market". No reason given why.
Utter perplexed silence.
Given the lack of Nolvsan on the market I decided to just buy this month's wormer (Equimax) at my local feed store and also to pick up a bag of black oil sunflower seeds to add to Miss Thing's supplements. To my utter delight there were two tubs of Nolvasan Ointment still on the shelf. I resisted my urge to buy them both, knowing that barring any major injuries one tub will last me more than a year. Even Nolvasan has an expiration date after all. So the other tub is sitting there, lonely on the shelf at Costal Farm and Ranch in Oregon City. First come first serve, just saver every last little drop of it because once it's gone it's gone.
If you can't find one of the last remaining Nolvasan tubs though, here are a couple replacements accoding to the internet. The important thing to remember is Nolvasan ointment had 1% chlorhexidine in a hydrophilic base, so you want to find something similar. I've never used these products so I can't vouch for them or recommend them, but it seems that it has the same active ingredients and percentages, however they seem to be more and more difficult to find.
Personally I've just resorted to using Vetericyn Universal Wound & Infection spray. It seems to do the job for the most part on minor abrasions, but does require repeated application throughout the day, which doesn't work for most of us. I've also used Corona ointment on a few things that I'm concerned with getting dirty and that has seemed to be okay. Like with any wound, I just make sure to clean the wound with betadine solution really well before application. It is nice and sticky and seems to do the job, but it is still not a completely happy replacement for me.
I have succumbed to the world of supplements. Honestly though, I think I am still in the realm of normality. Rose gets a scoop of her vitamins (necessity for basic health care), two scoops of dried raspberry leaves (necessity for her mood swings), and now 1Tbs of Paprika per day (vanity...vanity alone).
When I first got Rose she was almost black in color, as her winter coat had just come in but was not yet long. Two months later, after her trace clip and continual blanketing all winter, she began fading into a weird pumpkin orange color. This has no effect on her performance what-so-ever, but I don't find it to be a very aesthetically pleasing color when I know that she is supposed to be a black-bay. She began shedding out in February and her summer coat came in fully by April. I had my black-bay back, and she was for more on the black side. We rushed out to McIver state park and took some glamor shots.
Come May she was quickly fading to bay again, and you can see how light she got by August. A friend mentioned to me that I could put her on Black as Knight (BAK) to keep her black. It was an intriguing, albeit vein, thought. However, being my ever so resourceful and budget minded self I did some internet research, asked around, and decided to try the generic version first. PAPRIKA! So, Rose has been on 1Tbs of Ground Hungarian Paprika since August 1st. To make it most effective, you have to give it to them before their new coat starts growing in. This month she has begun shedding out her summer coat and is nearly all black again. Now only time will tell if the Paprika works or if I'm wasting my time.
In my effort to be a low-maintenance boarder and to alleviate my Catholic guilt about becoming a supplement freak, I pre-mix Rose's supplements once a week and store them in small Glad snack containers that are labeled with the days of the week and her name. It's a process that has worked out great, and I'm sure it will continue to. I'm just too frugal to go the SmartPak route, although I have to admit it's a brilliant way to take care of one's supplements with no effort. In addition I have also heard that 1/2cu. black sunflower seeds (for the oil) will help with the coat enhancement, so I will try and track a bag of that down at the feed store. There was room in my little supplement containers for the paprika, but I'm not so sure about the sunflower seeds. We shall see.
If you'd like to try it yourself, I use www.herbalcom.com to buy my raspberry leaves for $4.50/lb (Mare Magic is $33.90/lb and it's the same exact thing) and the paprika for only $4.55/lb (BAK is $11.71/lb, but does contain more than just paprika). As you can see, the paprika is a fairly affordable experiment and will save me about $100.00/yr (raspberry leaves save me about $208/yr). If I were to use SmartPak instead and go name brand instead of generic I would spend $478/year. Currently I spend about $123/year. So in all, going generic saves me about $300/yr and $356/yr mixing my own supplements. That's almost one month's board, or a really nice bridle...
Rose is going under saddle pretty well for a three-year old, so with winter approaching I've decided to mix things up a bit. If I had my own property that she could be turned out on 24/7 I would probably give her the next six months off to simply grow and be a horse. However, that dream is not the case, so I'll keep her under saddle through the winter, but I'm going to cut back on our riding times. I think that three days a week is plenty for her at this stage, so Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday remain our "under saddle" work, and then Saturday or Sunday will only be our ground work, trailer loading, hand grazing, head scratching...enjoyment day.
Also, after much thought and discussions with our trainer, I've decided not to take her to the dressage show in October. I don't think she's ready, so I don't want to push it. She'll get to go to a show in the spring, and she'll be a bit more mature then. Regardless, I thought it would be nice to have some dressage letters up in the arena. I know that there are plans for some permanent all weather ones to get put up, but I'm a bit impatient so I thought I'd make some temporary ones. They are small, but they get the job done and won't blow around in the wind/rain since they fit within our posts. Hopefully this will help out our transition work a bit and make things a bit more accurate. If you'd like to download a PDF of my letters for your own use, click here.
I have learned with Rose to always expect and plan on the worst case scenario. Not that the worst case is usually what happens, but it is definitely best to be prepared for it none-the-less. Rose had two weeks off, so I expected that she'd have some pent up energy. It's also winter here in the great PNW. Apparently Summer decided to take forever to show up...skipping spring altogether, and now we are going to be robbed of Fall as well. Hello 45 degree rain...you are my favorite (not). I do know that it is this delicious winter weather that keeps people from moving here in larger droves than the economy forces. July and August are great and I don't want to be anywhere else, but the other 10-months of the year cause me to day dream of living in Hawaii or Cabo or some such delicious non cold and rainy places.
Anyway, I digress. Summer gone, winter here, which means Miss Rose has a lot more energy than what had become "the usual". We also had a new trainer and 10 of her clients (or horses at least) move in while I was gone. I met one gal last night, and she was super nice. It's great to have some social time at the barn at last. Although it's nice to always have an arena to oneself, it can get pretty lonely. With all of the new boarders the barn is more than full now, which means the horses only get turned out every other day. I understand why they are doing this, and at least she has a paddock run, but every other day turnout isn't something that help's Rose's energy levels at all. My suggestion would be to give them all 3 hours of turnout every day, or pull down some of the hot tape fence-lines and do group turnout (which I would absolutely love), which could also be rotated twice a day. Mares in the morning, geldings in the afternoon, etc. Unfortunately I dont' think I have much say, as the barn owners are also the managers and are not necessarily around during the day to rotate turnout. Anyway, I am fairly certain that yesterday was her stall day. Couple that with the fact that there are a bunch of new horses (geldings) in the barn, and I'm fairly sure that she's in heat this week from the look of the vast quantities of urine in her stall...and boy was she full of herself. Luckily, this is what I expected, and I'm getting very good at not reacting to the behavior and just making her keep going, keep working, and working harder when she does act up on the longe.
As a result, we had a good long longeing session. That was my plan. Let her gallop and buck on the longe until she's tired, then make her work some more, and then ride her. All in all, it was one of her longest workouts ever. The longeing session took about 30-minutes, and then I rode her for about 40-minutes. By the time I got on her, she was focused and was actually really good. I think the time off was good for her. She was bending, and trying really hard to balance properly. She was actually a really good girl and I had a great ride. I am excited for our first lesson with the new trainer tonight. Hopefully Rose won't be too tired after last night!
I simply cannot wait to get out to the barn today to see Rose. She's had a solid two weeks off now, thinks to our wedding and the "not" honeymoon that we took. Although it seems like she's been out of work forever, I'm sure that it's actually good for her young joints to get a break like this once in a while, and I'm thinking that I should plan them into our routine every couple of months. However, I have goals of taking her to her first dressage show on October 2 & 3, so that means we need to start practicing the intro tests and get down to business for the next four weeks. Our first show...now this should be interesting!