May 31, 2011

Rose et al, waiting for evening feed
I snapped this photo as I was leaving the barn this afternoon, and thought I'd share it. I love how they all hang out together. Rose and Goose (her grey mare buddy next to her) usually stand right next to each other in their stalls, sniffing noses and being content. They are also evening pasture-mates, so their love affair is in full bloom at the moment.

Rose rectified herself today by remembering she was four, and behaving herself. We had a rather enjoyable ride outside, including a nice solo walk around the grass track (does that count as a trail ride?). She did try to convince me that there was a horse eating lion in the dressage judge's booth, but that argument was short lived, and she got down to work. There was still a little bit of head tossing, but nothing like yesterday, so it was an improvement at lest. In the end, our ride was focused enough that we even managed to practice Training Level Test 1.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 30, 2011

Terrible 2's? How about terrible 4's?

Rose's lip ulcer's have heeled up. There is still a bit of cap hanging onto her incisors, but they are no longer irritating her lip. That meant it was time to get back in the saddle. Given that she'd had a couple weeks off, she was pretty decent on Saturday, or at least right in line with what I had expected. I skipped the barn on Sunday in a vein attempt to pretend to be doing something to enjoy the holiday weekend, given that the weather cancelled our camping/lake/boating plans. As such, Sunday turned into home improvement and errand day, and a day off for Rose. Then there was today. For some reason Rose relapses from time to time, and tries stupid tricks that did her no good when she was younger, but for some reason she gives them a go again anyway. That pretty much sums up our ride from this afternoon.

In case you'd like the play by play, here it is:
It's raining and cold so I decide that we will ride inside. I start Rose off on walk transitions, collected walk to a lengthened walk. Back and forth. She's doing great, really listening to leg and seat and I'm pleased. Then we round the corner and head down the long side to where the bleachers are, and..."HOLY CRAP THERE IS A MOUNTAIN LION LIVING IN THOSE JUMP STANDARDS!" exclaims Rose as she leaps the the inside of the arena doing everything possible to avoid walking past the jump standards and to ignore me. Red faced, I quickly apologize to the two other riders in the arena who politely chuckle and tell me it's okay. Note: their horses didn't even flinch at our little Lipizzaner esq movements while in their immediate vicinity.

"So" I thought to myself "it's gonna be one of those days, and yep it is Monday". So, we spent a good half hour going back and forth past the horrid jump standards, and eventually she gave up the ghost and stopped spooking. That didn't deter her from tossing her head and nose in the air non-stop through our ride. That little trick hasn't been around in a while, so I was a bit perplexed, not to mention frustrated with her. I haven't ruled out that it might be a bit fit issue as I recently adjusted her bridle, but I'm fairly certain it had more to do with attitude than anything else. All in all, she ended up getting a rather long ride, until she was finally cooperative about the spooking and head tossing. On the bright side, I did get some lovely walk lengthenings out of her and a few moments of very nice balanced sitting trot...right before she'd throw her head in the air. I can't wait for Tuesday.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 26, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Rose!

Yesterday was Rose's 4th birthday. It's funny how these things sneak up on one. I had grand plans to make her a horse cake, but that all failed due to a busy week. Then, as it turned out, my day got crazy busy so I only ended up with one hour free to spend with her. But, she got a tasty apple, and a good grooming session and a quick longe.

Rose - being entirely uncooperative about her
birthday photo.
Unfortunately her caps are still hanging on to her incisors, so I am still not riding her. I am debating buying a hackamore for this sort of a situation. Unfortunately our tack shop doesn't have one in stock and my big fear is that by the time I order one and it arrives her caps will have come off and we'll be back to our regular bridle. What is one to do?

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 22, 2011

New State = New Farrier

One of the more stressful things about moving home to Bozeman was the search for a new farrier. To make the process a bit easier, I had Rose's feet trimmed right before we left Portland. However, it was so muddy and wet here that after just four weeks, she'd grown a good amount of hoof and her good old flare came back in style. So after looking at a lot of feet around my barn and getting recommendations I decided to try out the guy who trimmed her feet this past Friday. He was terrific! Not only did he do a beautiful job on her feet, looking at each on individually and properly balancing them, he handled her wonderfully. He's a really patient, gentle guy, and definitely knows how to handle the babies. Rose really seemed to liked him, and as such I couldn't have been more pleased about the whole thing.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

May 21, 2011

4-year old incisor caps

Last Saturday Rose started giving me a fit about her bridle when I tacked her up. She was tossing her head in the grooming stall and doing little hopping mini rears in protest. She continued having minor tantrums under saddle. I just thought it was attitude.  Then I gave her Sunday off, and then on Monday I got a slightly bigger bridle tantrums. After our ride on Monday, I noticed that her normally white foamy mouth was pink on the left side.

Minor freak out on my part.

I proceeded to get the bridle off of her, with much lack of cooperation from Rose (can't blame her now), and then started to investigate. She had a big canker sore/ulcer on the inside of her top lip. I couldn't figure out how the bit would have caused this, so I went home and did a little online research. Bad idea. This didn't help at all, but I did learn all about fox tail in hay and a few rare diseases. I also made sure it wasn't a symptom of EVH-1. I went back at the barn on Tuesday, with the intention to look for fox tail in the hay, and pulled Rose from her stall. She was better about letting me look in her mouth this time, and that's when I noticed that she was losing her baby caps on the last incisors on her top teeth. The part of the tooth that used to be under the gum line was now sticking out, and causing the ulcers on her lip, on both sides of her mouth, with the left side being more severe. That was when I realized that her teeth were right on schedule, since she turns four next week.

Big relief.

No big vet bill, no mystery ulcer causing disease or bad hay. As a result, Rose is getting a week or so off. We don't have a bit-less bridle, and I am not going to ride her in a halter just yet, so she's getting longed in her caveson and that's about it. She's been quite happy with her new non-working pampering schedule this week as well. With a little luck those caps will pop off soon and we will be back to work in no time.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 14, 2011

Talent coming out her ears!

The weather has been amazing here all week. So much so that I've been delighting in the outside arena. Rose loves the footing and is much happier working outside. I guess I'm only surprised by that because she's always worked in an indoor arena. I'll take it though, as I would much rather be outside too. The only mishap we've had with it is that, in the past couple years of only riding indoors and living in cloudy Portland I forgot all about something call UV rays.

Wicked bad sunburn!

Ugh. That happened on wednesday and it has been very painful. Although Thursday was beautiful out as well, I stayed indoors, overdosed on aloe, and gave Rose the day off. Yesterday the burn was slightly better, so I found some SPF 50 and went about reapplying it to my scorched skin every hour while I was outside.

Since Rose had had a sucessful flat week, and her injuries are nearly all gone, I decided to pop her over a couple little exes again. One of them was a one stride combo to a ground pole. I was curious to see if she could figure out her striding, and I like using poles as an early introduction to gymnastic work.

So, the results? Rose was born to jump! I had the most fun jumping her yesterday than I have had jumping a horse in years! She found all her distances, got her leads after the jumps (we trotted in for the most part), sorted out the one stride combo on her own, and seemed to really enjoy herself. The best part is that between the jumps she was nice and forward, collected, balanced, listening to my seat and half-halts, picked up all her feet over the little jumps...and on and on. I had so much fun with her and she was so proud of herself it was adorable! Now the hard part is going to be to hold back on only jump her once a week.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 10, 2011

Review: Toklat's Ainsley Contoured Dressage Girth

The new girth
About a week and a half ago I purchased a new dressage girth at our local tack shop, Four Corner's Saddlery. I had been riding in an Ovation Airform Chafeless Dressage Girth. The only good thing I can say about that girth is that it functions, but I wouldn't recommend it. The nylon keeper straps broke the first week I used the girth, which resulted in the billets constantly getting off center. In addition, I'm just not a fan of "plastic/rubber" girths. It stayed pretty clean, as advertised, but overall it was a waste of money. However, it did manage to get me by until I found a quality girth that liked and could afford.

Close up of Billet Keepers

Now that Rose has managed to stay sound and injury free for a few days, I've finally gotten to ride her in the new girth a few times. I love it! It is Toklat's Ainsley Contoured Dressage Girth. I really love how they created the billet keepers. Below you can see a close up of how the billet keepers work. No nylon or leather strapping to break off here! The contoured aspect clears Rose's elbow area beautifully, and it is made with good quality leather and has nice cushy padding on the inside. I got a really good price on it at my tack shop, much lower than the website.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


May 7, 2011

Riding Outside? Yes we can!

My husband doesn't understand why I'm making such a bit deal about it, but I rode Rose outside for the first time EVER yesterday! In addition, the conditions were not ideal, nor was it my first choice, but I decided to just suck it up and see what happened.

Thursday - Rose enjoying her freedom, and dry footing!
When I left my house I decided to throw on my britches, thinking that I would ride her if she was sound and all was well with her abscess drain hole. I arrived at the barn to find a clinic going on. I had know that Lendon Grey was doing a clinic all weekend in the indoor arena, but I'd simply forgotten that it started on Friday. Pulling Rose from her stall, her leg looked great, so did her heel bulb, and she was completely sound. Since she had galloped her hind end off the afternoon before and was still sound, I figured that it was safe to start riding her again. However, I couldn't use the indoor arena because of the clinic. To my dismay, no one else was riding outside, as everyone was watching the clinic. My plan for her first ride outside was to wait for a nice day, no wind, and to have a buddy outside with us. Unfortunately, none of those parameters were met yesterday.

After a quick FYI and a request to one of the stable hands that he keep an ear out for a scream and a loose horse, I walked Rose out the back door and to the very large, non-fenced, outdoor arena. She stood nice and still and let me mount. Then I let her get used to the sights and sounds, and wind, by walking her around the arena in both directions for about 15-minutes. After that we trotted in both directions, and since she was being cooperative and calm, we cantered for a bit as well. She seemed to really enjoy the springy footing and her gates felt great. In the end, we had a nice little 40-minute ride. Now that I know how well she does outside I cannot wait to ride her out there again.
Rose is very happy with her new daytime stall.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 4, 2011

Injury updates

Things are looking good. When I got to the barn today, Rose was back to normal and full of herself. There was no swelling or heat in her leg and she was walking soundly. Here is a pic of the hole where the abscess blew out.You can see it right at the hairline near her heel bulb.

Abscess 5/4/2011

As for the cut on her leg from 12-days ago, it is healing well. Here is a comparison pic from day one and from today:
Leg wound 4/23/2011
Leg wound 5/4/2011

Given that Rose was in good spirits, I decided to longe her rather than just hand walk her. Basically, she's not getting turn out until tomorrow night to avoid mud exposure, so I needed her to burn off some energy before she starts climbing walls. Boy did she need it too! Now that her feet are feeling better she put on a good show kicking up her heels, bucking, and farting. Normally I don't let her do that on the longe, but since she was feeling good I thought I'd let her blow off as much steam as she needed to. For good measure I iced her leg again afterward, and then I put her in her stall.

Yes, stall. My stress level can't deal with the 27/4 mud and paddock situation anymore. Our new barn has a night turn out option, which I think will work for Rose. Night time is always when she was grumpy being in a stall in the past, so with a little luck this new situation will work. Fingers crossed! I would really like this to work, so that we can finally settle into some sort of routine.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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The Kentucky poultice worked!

Based on how fast the poultice worked on Rose, I'm sure that derby horse will be tearing up the track this weekend! Yesterday morning I got an update from the BM that Rose was walking soundly on her leg. That would be a 17 hour turn-around. Given the fact that it blew prior to morning feed check, it obviously worked even faster than that.

I decided to give it a full 24-hours anyway, and arrived in the afternoon to take off her bandage and call the vet with an update. Before I took off the bandage I walked her myself, and sure enough she was pretty darn sound. I threw her in the cross-ties and went to work at cutting off the Fort Knox of bandages. A few minutes later I got the thing off her leg. The mash was hot and steamy, and good and smelly. A little investigation showed a half-inch "hole" right where the coronary band and hoof wall meet, right next to her affected heel bulb.  In addition her swelling on her leg had gone down. The vet was amazed at the speed of the poultice and was happy to hear her positive reaction to everything.

I gave, a much happier mare, a good grooming session while I iced her leg with my ice boots (I'm not a big fan of wasting 20minutes of water cold hosing).  Then I hand walked her for 20minutes, and iced again. I'm looking forward to getting up to the barn today and seeing how she's doing. So far no early morning call from the BM, so I'm taking that as a good sign!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 2, 2011

Monday, bloody Monday!


Today was one of those days that just needs a cocktail, a sleeping pill, and to be completely forgotten! Just so you know how strongly I feel about this...I have never had a sleeping pill in my life. Okay, perhaps I'm slightly over reacting, as when it comes to horse injuries I certainly have nothing on Denali's Mom, but it was one extremely stressful day for me. At 8:30am I got a call from the BM and my day started with this:
yea, cold hosing
60 seconds prior to the BM's call I had just sat down next to my dog in a lawn chair, coffee in hand, and was processing some vitamin D and thinking about how nice it will be to enjoy the warm sunshine for the day, perhaps even ride in the outdoor arena for the first time. Well that was certainly not how it panned out! 20 minutes later I arrived at the barn to find Rose in her paddock favoring a swollen left hind pastern. To explain my anguish and stress, I feel like the last two and a half weeks have just been injury after injury. It's like the universe is playing some cruel joke on me where the clock was turned back a year and no one told me. The powers that be are just sitting around somewhere watching me from above, chuckling and pointing at the stupid girl with her injury prone horse all while they eat pomegranates and sip absinthe!

After some investigation, I thought that perhaps Rose was simply having a bad bout of thrush, as she had a good sized frog and heel crack going on. In theory I figured the swelling could be coming up her pastern from the thrush. However, aside from the crack, there are no other signs of thrush. One of the regular farriers was going to be at the barn in the afternoon, so I decided to wait and see what he thought. After a few hours the farrier arrived, took a look, and said to call the vet as the swelling had moved further up her leg, all the way up her cannon bone, and he thought it might be a tendon issue.


Every scenario was running through my head and I was feeling like a complete fool for having jumped her on Saturday. Seriously though, how could she have messed up a tendon going over a 18" cross rail, with open front jumping boots on? Regardless I did a really good job of beating myself up mentally while I waited. An hour and a half later, the vet arrived. He did some investigation and determined that she is in the process of blowing an abscess out the back of her heel bulb (HUGE RELIEF...NOT A TENDON!) and that the swelling is due to that and possibly also from her injury to the inside of her leg two weeks ago.

My vet did a new poultice wrap that he learned yesterday in Kentucky. Apparently he'd just got off the plane, went to his clinic, and then our barn called. I guess while he was in Kentucky there was some race horse that is running in the derby this weekend started to abscess. The Kentucky vet's secret weapon for all the fancy race horses he cares for is what is currently on Rose's leg. It is supposed to draw the abscess out faster than the regular poultices. The poultice is a combination of bran-mash with hot water, Betadine, and Epsom salt. I guess the bran-mash is in its own right very good at drawing out abscesses. This poultice is applied to the sole and heel of the foot and secured to the hoof in a doubled plastic bag. Then that is all secured with good old duct tape. Rose's cannon bone and pastern, which are swollen with pitting edema, are wrapped in cotton and vet wrap and she is on bute and an antibiotic to take down the inflammation. Hopefully by tomorrow the abscess will blow out her heel and she will be sound again. Fingers crossed I suppose. For now, I'm having a G&T and probably going to bed very early to forget all about bloody Monday!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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May 1, 2011

Rose’s first time over a jump!

Yep, that is right, I took my girl over a little 18” cross rail yesterday. Last week I managed to pick up a girth for my jumping saddle that fits her. She has a much larger girth area than my old TB and a 48" just doesn't cut it anymore. Girth in hand, I decided to ride her in my jumping saddle and see what she thought of it. Understandably, she was a bit confused by the change in location of my weight, so I did my best to keep my weight centered and off her shoulder. She quickly got adjusted to in and settled in, although she remained a little bit rushed, with the exception of the canter. She was thrilled by cantering with me in 2-point!

After she warmed up I cantered her through our canter poles once again and then I put two of them up into a small ex. Before getting back on, I trotted her over the ex jumping it along side her on the ground. Double checking that my video camera was still on, and with my blood pressure rising and heart in my throat, I sang myself a little song and trotted her straight down the line. As you can see in the video below, she went straight over it without a hesitation. The video shows our first three times over the jump...then my battery died :(. The lump in my throat immediately disappeared and I took her over it a couple more times. At that point, we were both having fun! I was so very happy with her, and I could not wait to get home to see what she did with her knees over the fence. When I pulled a still frame, I was very happy to see two perfectly square knees! Even thought it was just a tiny ex, she put in enough effort to clear it and jump correctly. Rose is definitely doing her grandpa, Gonzo I, proud…and me too!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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