November 28, 2012

Vet Updates

So the vet came out Tuesday around 11:40 and started giving Echo an exam.

All of her vitals were normal and didn't appear to have any physical problems. The vet was a little stumped and suggested we do blood work.

Then after taking one more look under her tail to make sure there were no obvious problems Echo urinated in front of the vet. It made me happy because I'm pretty sure the vet thought I was lying about her straining. Vet ran to her truck and got a tube and was able to get a half vial of urine to test. She agreed it was definitely more milky and white than it should be.

She drew blood to test and make sure her kidneys are functioning well. She doesn't believe she has kidney or bladder stones because there was no blood to indicate one.

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from the vet that all her levels were normal. She told me to stick to the plan of 7 days on antibiotics and see how she does. 

As of Wednesday night she's eating normal and acting ok. Still not done worrying. I found out today from some reputable horse people that this particular vet has had many complaints. The main vet with this clinic is amazing, but this girl seems to not be as... trustworthy. If Echo isn't feeling better or is still having problems by tomorrow night I may be looking at calling a second vet for a different opinion. Until then, she keeps getting her antibiotics and is out of work until she's better.

November 27, 2012

Quick Update - 11/27

Soo after calling into work yesterday not feeling well I got a phone call from my barn owner that Echo wasn't feeling well.

She finished her dinner the night before but showed no interest in her breakfast. I got out there as fast as possible. After messing around with her a little I could tell she was off. After a call to the vet and ruling out colic I gave her some bute to see if it would help. I feed her as normal per vet instructions and she started nibbling on her grain.

Went home and ate dinner then went back to barn around 8. She was eating better but still looked to be in discomfort.

She has been straining to urinate and it isn't like her being in heat because she looks uncomfortable in the process.

Vet is coming out late morning to check her out. Fingers crossed we find the problem!

November 25, 2012

Bits Bridles & Side Reins

I got to the barn early yesterday, around 3 and got stalls cleaned and unloaded my bags of grain and hay pellets.

Brought Echo in and groomed and lived on her. She seemed much more interested in me over the 1/2 flake of hay I gave her to munch on.

I saddled her up - she was a little fidgety for being further but handled it pretty well overall and stood still by the time I was done saddling her.

I put her bridle on and put her halter on over. This way she could learn the feel of a bit with no pressure on the bit.

I free lunged her w/t/c which she loved! She was full of energy and managed a slightly pathetic buck. I then put her on the line since K was going to be riding Glitch. I also decided to put my side reins on my saddle. Main reason being so she could feel something on the bit. I'm not a huge fan of side reins since I've found horses can become reliant on them way too fast. I kept them on the longest hole tonight since the last thing I wanted them to do was pull on her face.

She didn't mind the side reins at all. I walked and trotted her on the line with them on. She has improved a ton on the lunge line! The last few sessions I've been able to walk / trot her, ask her to stop, switch directors and change from walk > trot and trot > walk. She still doesn't live moving to the right but is much better about it and doesn't throw her butt into the one corner.

I ended our training session by making her stand next to the mounting block. I stood on the block and wiggled the saddle, just pet her and pushed a little on the saddle seat. She just stood there playing with the bit and sticking out her tongue. Ended the night with another grooming and lots of cookies for the good pony!

November 24, 2012

Luck of the Irish!

I've had a few rather uneventful days since my ride on Thursday. Yesterday Dakota's dressage girth and Echo's new girth arrived. Both fit!!!! Ill actually be able to ride with a properly tightened girth on Dakota again and ill be able to get a girth on Echo without straining every arm muscle to get it to buckle.

We've had snow and COLD temperatures since Friday morning and it has killed my motivation to work Echo. I plan on doing some ground work with her later today.

If you dislike football, stop reading now - no horse content from here on!

Love. Notre Dame. Football.

I remember being 3-4 years old and having my grandparents over on a Saturday afternoon to watch Notre Dame football. I remember requesting to watch the movie Rudy over cartoons. I also remember breaking down crying at a young age after hearing the words "when you grow up you'll go to Notre Dame" one too many times and proclaiming "but I don't want to play football" - safe to say I was born a Notre Dame fan. Yes Kentucky is my #1 basketball, ND will always be #1 football .

South Bend is only a 45 minute drive from me so I've been on the ND campus many times. I wish I had gone there simply because of how gorgeous the campus is.

If I happen to stay in Michigan after my bachelors degree (which is far from the plan) I would have to consider getting my masters degree from Notre Dame instead of Western Michigan. Time will only tell - for now I'm just anxious for the BCS Championship game!!!

November 23, 2012

Best Thanksgiving Ever!

I had gone to the barn owners house for an early afternoon thanksgiving dinner. After eating and dessert K and I went out to ride. It was oddly warm out for this time of year - 65F to be exact. I thought few weekends ago was going to be the last of our warm weather but this time I'm even more sure since we are getting snow today.

I got Dakota in and could tell he was going to be grumpy so I put him on the lunge line and W/T/C him for 5-10 minutes to get the kinks out of him which really helped and he seemed happier after.

K and I warmed up in the arena and then hit the trails. We walked around few times and then began trotting around. Dakota being sorta hyper jumped into the trot and took a few awkward strides of his trot / canter oddness that he likes to do. I laughed it off and trotted on.

My knee was feeling good and he was responsive and I got the crazy idea to ask him for a canter.

Now... For those that know me are probably in shock. It has been, at minimum, 8 years since I've cantered. After my 2nd concussion in high school and constant problems with my equilibrium cantering was not an option for me. Any time I'd ask for one in an arena, it was as if I had never rode and would slide right off into the ground any time I cantered a corner. So this is a bigger deal than it would be for most.

K trotted while I asked Dakota to pick up a canter, he was kinda hesitant but we got 3 strides before I pulled him back to the walk. It felt absolutely amazing! He has the best rhythmic rocking horse canter when he gets in stride. K and I trotted around some more and I tried a new spot to ask for the canter, this time I got in a good 10-15 strides and I was grinning ear to ear. We rode back up to the barn to get my iPhone so K could video the proof of my canter.

We went back out for one more go at the canter, see it for yourself in the video before :D right after the video ended he put his head down and started to round his back and not look like a giraffe with.his head in the air. We cooled out and K went on to do some cross country work with Glitch.

Lots of work ahead of me on cantering but had to start somewhere - it'll be awhile before I gain the courage to try turning again. I can see some lunge line lessons in my future.

Echo got yet another night off. Tomorrow is back to our schedule of training. Her new girth should be here tomorrow so it won't be such a pain to saddle her.

November 22, 2012

Turkey and Thanks

For Americans, Happy Thanksgiving. For my non American readers, Happy November 22 2012.

Canada celebrates in October, which that concept is just... odd to me and Europe, you probably don't even know what I'm talking about. So with that, I thought I'd take today to reflect on what I'm thankful for, since you know... that's the point of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is always one of my favorite holiday's. Maybe even second behind Fourth of July / Independence Day. 

First and foremost, I'm thankful for my amazing family. My Mom is my best friend. Even though we only get to see each other a few times a year we remain as close as ever. My little sister is following in my footsteps of learning to love horses, I only wish I could get to know her better by living closer. I love my Grandparents, two great people that I can never get enough of. My Aunts, Uncles and Cousins are equally as important to me and enrich my life that much more. My Dad even though we go head to head and irritate each other on a regular basis does more for me that I can ask and a lot of times I forget what all he does do for me. Also thankful for my barn family :)

Most people would call them only friends, but I consider my friends to be my second family. Family doesn't mean blood and more times than not, my friends know and get me more than my family. My closest friends, you know who you are but in case you don't - Amanda, Amy, Colleen, Erin, George, Jenny, Lindsay and Lyssette among others. Thanks to you, my second family, you make every day a better life to live.

My four furry creatures, Holly, Abu, Dakota and Echo. 

Finally I'm thankful for the small things in life; The education experience I'm receiving - my job and coworkers - healthy self, family & friends.

So everyone go eat a slice of pumpkin pie and enjoy all of the things you are thankful for!

I'm going to see the horses this morning and have a lunchtime meal with my barn family. I'll go spoil both Dakota and Echo with plenty of treats and give them their 'dinner' before I leave. They'll get the day off from work.

Taking care of my friends animals - 2 dogs cats and a horse, neighbors dog and still staying the night at my Grandparents. Hopefully getting a chance to see 2 of my best friends over the holiday weekend as well.

November 21, 2012

Pre Turkey Hangover

Dakota's lesson has officially been cancelled tonight. Now if I can only get the college close due to lack of interest of employees my day would be better.

I didn't see the ponies last night :( By the time I got done with homework, my hair done, packed up and everything + cats moved to my grandparents it was 11pm. Not to mention in the car Abu (one of my cats) decided to get car sick while I was driving, all over my lap. And I mean ALL over. The real kicker? I had just pulled onto the drive my Grandparents live on and the car would of been stopped within the next 90 seconds. Damn cat. Thankfully all my Grandparents neighbors are old and most were in bed already because I ran in the house, threw (ok not throw but tossed... lightly) Abu into the bathroom and shut the door, got my Grandparents cats locked up so they wouldn't go outside - and took my cat puke covered sweatpants off. Thankful for boy-shorts right about then because all my clothes were in the car still and I had to run back and forth to get stuff in the house.

Finally got all the animals settled and a clean pair of sweatpants put back on and I crashed.

I feel like a zombie that hasn't come back to life yet. So I'll be sitting at my desk all day waiting for the text to come through that reads "College Closed Due to Unsuitable Work Conditions" because of the lack of beds and pillows provided.

I have to run to Tractor Supply and get Dakota more MSM and then I'll fumble through doing chores tonight - at least stalls are clean since they've been outside almost every night now. Bad weather is coming again though so its back to stalls at night! Hopefully I'll be seeing one of my best friends tonight so we can hang out all day tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

November 20, 2012

Supplements The Lazy Way

Before I start... I'd like to say I love SmartPak and if they carried the 3-4 supplements I use I'd probably get SmartPak's for both horses. I love their services, supplements, all of it so this is nothing against them. But alas, I don't see the point in SmartPak's if I'm still going to be scooping supplements for ones that they don't carry. Also for the record, I've contacted SmartPak about carrying this particular brand of supplements.

So I bought 8 packs of the Gladware 3oz food containers, 4 packs for each horse - 32 individual containers for each. The 8 packs came out to roughly $30. Then I bought 2 drawers to store the containers in which came out to about $16. So for $46 I have reusable containers that the amount I spent, makes up for what I'd save in using all SmartPak supplements in about a month and a half's time.

Before I made this decision - I took a step back and looked at my combo of supplements to make sure nothing would interfere with each other by being mixed together. I do this anyway before I decide what supplements to feed at what meal but being mixed together adds a new element. 

Months worth being prepared.
Finished off with a therapeutic dose of psyllium! 
Pretty layers
30 fitted pretty in the drawer. I can squeeze 32 in there but it ruins the pretty-ness.

Starting tonight I'm staying at my Grandparents. One good, or bad depending on how you look at it, about holiday weekends is it never fails I'm asked to pet sit. This time though, I've got my hands full.

Tuesday to Tuesday - Grandparents house. 15 min from my house, 20 to the barn and 35 to the college. Taking my cats with me since I'll be there a solid week. Yay for a house of 4 cats!

Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon - Neighbors dog and cat which means driving from my grandparents to her house multiple times a day.

Thursday night and Friday morning - Friends 2 dogs, cats and horse. At least this one is on my way to the others!

I can see already my time with my horses will be limited with my running around but I plan on doing some work with them at least Thursday and Friday afternoon / early evening.

November 19, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up - Nov 19

Well I thought last weekend was uneventful, this weekend was even more so.

Friday and Saturday night the horses stayed outside. All I did was bring them in to give them their grain / dinner and then went back outside for hay.

Last night I had both horses fed when K came out and made me ride. It was one of those bribing moments on her part to get me to go ride with her. I was ready to turn both Dakota and Echo out, head home and go to bed.

Dakota was really moody. I wanted no part of his moody attitude last night so I got on, held on and just steered. I wasn't about to ask him for much, I knew the results would be counter-productive. One of the benefits of having him for so long. It's deer hunting season, it was dusk and the horses were spooky. Glitch wanted no part of the trails so we worked him through it and did one lap on the trail and came back to the barn. Dakota and I were both thankful for the short ride. 

I got Dakota taken care of and turned back outside for the night - it's been 'warm' in the low 40's - hence their staying outside. I decided to do a little work with Echo. I tied her outside of the stalls like normal but she knew everyone else was eating their hay. She threw a fit and broke her halter. I got her re-caught, retied her and she stood like an angel. I took her in the arena and just did a little respect lunging and loved on her. Took and stood her next to the mounting block and just petted her on the back - trying to let her know that even when I suddenly grow 12-24 inches that she doesn't have to freak, still has to listen etc. She was, as usual, perfectly fine with everything I did to her. It was one of those sessions that left me thinking she has had training before (even though I know she hasn't.)

Good way to end my weekend with Echo time.

I need to go to my grandparents tonight so I won't be going to the barn after work. I hate not seeing the duo for even one night but gotta do what ya gotta do!

November 16, 2012

TWR Training Updates

Okay... between the dentist updates, life being crazy and leaving my camera at home, I haven't had photos or video to post yet of the last three days. So here it is, in ALL of it's glory! Back

Tuesday Night
CRAPPY video, but this was her first night with the saddle on so I wanted to document it. (Its still uploading but its on it's way)

Wednesday Afternoon
This was after the dentist came. My friend Erin had an old beaten up saddle that she gave to me to use for breaking. This one had stirrups on it already so figured it'd be great for the added weight and getting her use to things on her side. So now I have 2 old beaten up saddles that I'd never ride in, 1 that I haven't used in 5-6 years to ride in that I'd be lucky to sell for $20 and my crappy made AP that I don't care much about - all to use to break her in. I think the abundance of saddles says something for Dakota. He broke a tree and 2 surcingles when I broke him out for riding. So far Echo is behaving much better than Dakota ever did. Enough of my blabbing here's my miss Echo.

Side note - Dakota gave his first lesson on Wednesday night and it started out a little rocky but we ended on a very good note and by the end she was getting him to walk and trot without him making too much of a fuss.

Thursday Night
Both horses had the night off. I don't want to overwhelm Echo on training so she got the evening off. Dakota I plan on riding over the weekend so I gave him the night off too. I got home super early for a change which was amazing!

Tonights  plans are not very exciting either - for the horses at least. I'm having dinner with a friend from Kentucky on her way to Chicago. Which means late to barn and probably will be freezing by time I got to the point of working either one. So they'll be getting a second night off.

November 15, 2012

There's a Flea On My Back!

So I REALLY wanted to post this yesterday but I had the Dentist post ready to go.

Tuesday night, I just wanted to groom Echo and bond with her with no interest in working her. As I started grooming her I remembered what my trainer told me about letting the saddle sit on her back while shes eating and being groomed. 

So I grabbed a curry quickly and brushed her down and quickly got all the dirt of her back and put the saddle pad on. We had done this many times before so she didn't even flinch at the pad - that's old news. I went and grabbed my crappy AP - its far from what I plan on beginning her riding in, but it's the saddle I care about the least if it were to be broken. The stirrups were off it so I figured it was lighter and the most logical choice.

Once I had the saddle in the stall, I tried getting Echo to smell it and investigate. She looked over once at it and went back to her hay. I took it to her left side to let her see it from both sides - again with zero reaction. So I set it on her back - no reaction. I fussed over the saddle making sure it was in a good spot on her back and looking at how the saddle fit her. Saddle definitely needs to be a bit wider, which just means I definitely need a new saddle. I put the girth on very loosely - last hole on each side - which means it was actually a bit tight since Dakota's girth is going to be a bit too small for her - just so the saddle wouldn't fall off if she stepped to the side. 

She quite honestly did not care. I tried and tried to get a reaction out of her with zero success. So I took her soft brushes out and brushed her all over and picked her feet and fussed over her mane and tail. I had her happy enough that she looked ready to crawl up in my lap and fall asleep. 

K had finished up in the arena with her pony and I figured I'd go walk Echo around a bit to see if she'd react to the saddle with moving. Once in the arena she stopped, stretched her neck around, sniffed the saddle, looked at me and yawned. Yep - that's the reaction I got, a yawn. She walked and trotted a bit with again, no reaction and I had a major Echo party. I told her what a good girl she was and gave her treats and kisses. 

Yay for crappy iPhone photos at night and scary eyed Echo.

Dentist Update!

Dakota - He behaved better than ever before! He had no need to be drugged this time. The dentist, Greg, confirmed that I had let him go way too long. Feel bad but at least we're back on schedule right? He also confirmed what I knew about him wearing uneven and having 'waves' on his molars. So he balanced him out and got rid of all those nasty hooks.

Echo - Echo clearly had never had her teeth done before. No wolf teeth to be removed (yay). He then put the spectrum on her to open her mouth. Her reaction was pure confusion and frustration. Greg let her set there for a minute to relax a little and took his time opening up her mouth. As soon as he got his hand in to feel her molars he looked at me and just simply said 'she has definitely never been done before' - again grateful to this point I haven't put a bit in her mouth or asked her to do much regarding her mouth. It would of been unfair and probably would of hurt her mouth. Greg took his time and gave her mini breaks. By the end she had relaxed and was her usual curious self. So thanks to Greg we're safe to progress to a bit and we'll be seeing him in a year!

Probably wishing she was back in Kentucky right about now!

November 14, 2012

Dentist Time!

This afternoon, the equine dentist is coming! I don't know why this excites me. Maybe its my personal love of visiting the dentist. Yes, I love the dentist. Nothing beats the feeling of freshly cleaned teeth and receiving a piece of mind that there are no other problems going on.

The guy I'm using from Superior Equine Dentistry has been recommended to me by several people so I'm pretty confident going into this on the work he'll do with them.

I'm not sure if Echo has ever had her teeth floated. I'm sure she has at some point, but I'm going to assume she hasn't. From me playing with her mouth a little, I don't feel wolf teeth, but of course that doesn't mean they're not there. So I get to set her on a dental schedule and make sure there are no problems to prevent me from starting to introduce a bit.

Dakota gets hooks really really easily. He really should be floated every 10 months, yearly is pushing it. He's terrible about having his teeth done on top of it, and usually needs a dose of a tranquilizer. He last had his teeth done in August of 2010 so he's WAY overdue. I have tried time after time to get the name / number of this guy I'm using but was never able to get it out of anyone. Finally got the name and had one of those thank god for Google moments so I could just search for a phone number.

Anyway, I'll update tomorrow with a recap of what he found on both horses. Fingers crossed for a good dental visit!

November 11, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up - Nov 11

Friday - I had a doctor appointment with a ENT trying to solve my 10-12+ week long ear infection. He thinks he has an idea of what it is and I go back in three weeks after trying some more medications. I got to the barn around 3:30 and started cleaning my stalls. A friend that works at the community college and I graduated high school with her son, came out to meet Dakota and Echo. She has a friesian gelding and an APHA mare and rides dressage so we have a lot in common despite the obvious age difference. I lunged Echo so she could see her move. We had a ground pole in the arena and Echo no longer has a fear of ground poles! She walked, trotted and cantered over it like it didn't even exist. After my friend left, I took Echo back in the arena and set up a 9" rail to see how she would go over it. She loved it and pulled a Dakota and turned around quickly after the rail and went back over it. I plan on setting up a cross rail jump at less than 12" once every 10ish days now to give her some variety in lunging. I don't want to take the free jump too fast and figure a 12" cross rail won't do much harm.

Saturday - Absolutely gorgeous day here. In the low 60's and sunny! I wish I hadn't slept so much of the day away and had gotten a chance to ride. The week finally caught up with me I think and I slept a ton. Did a few things around the barn, fed the horses and turned them out for the night since it was going to be so nice.

Sunday - Another gorgeous day in The Mitten. Once again though, I didn't go to the farm soon enough to enjoy all of the day. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say it was last day of the year we'll have temperatures above 60 and probably 50. I did manage to get there early enough to tack up Dakota and go for a ride. K was out riding her Mustang on the trails when I got there and I just thought what the heck and got Dakota ready in record time. K came back to the barn and switched out horses.

I finally got the stirrups back on my Courbette so I decided to use that since I <3 that saddle. We started in the arena to warm up both Dakota and Glitch. Dakota was great, I'm glad we're past part of his brat moments. We worked on walk / trot transitions and trot to halt transitions. I also managed to keep him in good form through a few circles at the walk and beginning at the trot. Circles are by far our biggest weakness.

We then made our way out of the barn and having two 'spooky' horses that hate riding past the dog kennel proved to be interesting. Dakota is fine with a horse that doesn't think twice about the dogs, but on this ride, he was the more 'solid' of the two. He hates to lead and K ended up getting off and walking Glitch past the dogs and Dakota followed. After that both were rocks on the trail! We walked and trotted the paths for a little bit and then K jumped glitch over the log we have for a cross country jump while I filmed her. It was a big accomplishment for them since he has had cross country trouble in the past.

By the time I was done riding, I was pretty tired and decided to pass on working Echo. She was happy to stay in her stall and fill her face with hay I think.

Tonight's Plans - Get off work at 5 - do homework that has to be done on campus computer as fast as possible, get to barn and clean stalls / prep them, attempt to have time to work Echo, get home to watch How I Met Your Mother and more importantly, Kentucky Basketball at 9! Yes priorities... I <3 my UK Basketball and its that time of year I start planning my life around games.

November 10, 2012

Breeders' Cup Post Thoughts

This post is six days delayed but better late than never right? Overall I think it was a great edition of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park. There were no major injuries, one mare was pulled up because of tying up at the start of the race, and I believe one other did not finish the race but both were fine after. That in itself = major success after recent years.

Breeders' Cup Distaff - Ok so the 'Ladies Classic' - I'll forever call it the Distaff because that's what I grew up know it as. 4-5 years later I still think the name change was well, retarded (for lack of a better term). Anyways... Royal Delta, who won the 2011 race as well, proved she was yet again the best and won in her classy fashion. I really hope they keep this mare running in 2013 as a 5 year old. Also have to give credit to her new owner, Leon, for keeping her with Bill Mott for her training.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf - Two year old, George Vancouver won the race pulling away from the field. Now, George Vancouver is owned by Coolmore / Ashford / the million other names they go by when racing. Therefore, I didn't even look at him before the race since I historically despise them as owners. My KY Bestie texted me later in the day telling me he is a 1/2 brother to Saarland! George Vancouver is then in a distant way, Echo's uncle :) 

Breeders' Cup Juvenile - Kudos to those who didn't throw a sissy fit and refused to run their two year old's because of Lasix. Yes Mike Repole I mean you. No worries you weren't missed. Rant aside, I'm pleased Shanghai Bobby won! Mostly due to the Lasix factor again. It proves US horses CAN and WILL win without the use of Lasix. North America is one of last areas that even use it and American's can't seem to get it in their mind that our horses do not need it.... I could go on for days, but I'll spare everyone the pain of reading that.

Breeders' Cup Mile - Wise Dan was brilliant in the mile! He has my non counting vote for Horse of the Year.

Breeders' Cup Classic - There wasn't one horse in particular that stood out to me in this race. I like To Honor and to Serve, Mucho Macho Man and a few others here and there. But after For Larned's performance I'm pretty sure I'm going to become a groupie of his. Plus it was great to see a grandson of Bayakoa carrying the same colors she did and in the winners circle.

Now it's time to switch modes to Eclipse Awards talk and start dreaming of a Triple Crown winner in the spring!

November 9, 2012

Rest In Peace May

Last night went nothing as planned. Got to the barn around 4:00 and after hanging out in the house a bit, headed out to the barn to start chores around 5:00. Everyone seemed fine and K and I started to clean stalls.

While I was unloading shavings and grain from my car, I noticed May, Echo's pasturemate laying down. I found this odd since normally all the horses are along fence line when it's near feeding time. Called the barn owner in the house to let her know my concern. K was in the field getting Glitch out, May got up and I had her check her for gut sounds, she said she heard them so we continued on.

I had finished putting shavings in Echo's stall and noticed May laying down again, this time flat out but still no rolling. I saw her get up and pass matter and so I sighed in relief and went on trying to finish up so that I could get Echo in to work with her. 

I went out to get Echo and noticed May was laying down again (no rolling). I called the barn owner, again, and told her it was 3rd time and she needed to get out. I got Echo in her stall and got a halter and lead to get May out of the field as the owner was getting out and we immediately got banamine in her and started walking her. Started giving her mineral oil at 6:10 and kept on walking her while she repeatedly tried to lay down. 

By 8:20 it was clear she wasn't going to improve. She went down and we hardly got her up but did after 2-3 minutes of pushing and pulling. After another 2ish minutes of walking she fell and never got back up. When she was down she passed the mineral oil but was still contracting her muscles and in severe pain. At 29 years old, her owners decided euthanasia was the most humane choice.

I'll always remember her as the mare with the smoothest trot and canter. If you didn't know she was APHA when you were on her back you would of thought she was gaited with how smooth she was.

Here is a picture of May in 2005 in her field. 

November 8, 2012

Riding Time!

Dakota was suppose to start giving lessons to a 13-14yo girl last night, but something came up last minute so they had to cancel. Which ended up being for the best in the long run. I was tired and did not feel like being out in the cold that long. I thought great, I'll be home for dinner for once this week. Nope. 

Shortly after getting to the barn, K started begging me to ride with her. She even went as far as telling me she'd bring Dakota in, groom and saddle him. Then she dumped my wheelbarrow for me and continued the begging. I agreed as long as I could use her dressage saddle since my stirrups weren't back on my saddle yet and my dressage girth was at home.

So..... I finally got on. It was great to be back in the saddle! I had only been on three times since my knee injury this spring. Once when I tried riding about 12 weeks ago, once when I rode Glitch after K conned me into trying him out and the past Sunday I got on Dakota for a very short ride.

I still haven't gotten back on in my Courbette dressage saddle so I don't feel quite back yet since all I've rode for the last year has been dressage. Riding in my AP feels quite odd... It use to be my saddle of choice until my dressage saddle came this spring. Other than the fact that it's a poorly made, cheap and uncomfortable saddle - I just don't feel balanced in it anymore. I think next year is the year for me to search for a new CC or AP to use for hacking and general riding after I get my Courbette reflocked. Yes I know that AP's are controversial, but I have no interest in jumping and pretty much want one just for when I go on trails or don't want to use my Courbette that day.

I gave Echo the evening off from lunging. I did put a saddle pad on her back and left it there the entire time I rode - she flat out didn't care, even when it fell to the ground she didn't flinch!

Planning on working Echo tonight, might ride Dakota again tomorrow night.

Fuzzy Dakota Before Our Sunday Ride

November 7, 2012

I (dis)Like Big Butts & I Cannot Lie

If Echo was a human, Sir Mix A Lot would be disappointed to learn she's loosing her juicy butt. I know not everyone would be excited to post about their horses butt, but I'm definitely not one to follow that trend.

Hard to tell in this photo since it was pitch black and taken on my iPhone. Also makes her look REALLY dirty like I didn't groom her. At any rate, here's a photo of her improved butt. I'll have to look through my photos at home to see if I have a comparison. As you can sorta see, there is no crease around the tail head and her butt has shrunk. Before, she looked like she had a giant QH butt and her spine column was a good 1 - 1/2 inches lower than her blubber.

In other Echo news, I think I've found the solution to her being stubborn while lunging her. She's been super excited to get to her stall. I'm pretty sure she hasn't figured out the twice a day hay schedule and every time I bring her in she thinks its going to be her last meal. So last night I put her in her stall while K was riding and arena was in use. Let her eat for a bit and then I took her in the arena to work. It was almost night and day in her willingness! So from now on when I plan to work her, I'm going to let her go in her stall at least 10 - 15 minutes to munch on some hay.

Last night I got her to walk and trot her bad way on a lunge line without throwing herself into the corner and refusing to move. She was fulllllll of it last night and after ending on a good note on the line I turned her loose to free lunge. She took off bucking and kicking and ran herself into a good sweat. So overall, a good workout night last night!

I've done a few things to try and minimize her urgency for food we'll see if any work. First, I upped the amount of hay pellets she gets at night. Second, I'm now giving her 1 pound of grain in the morning so she isn't so hyper to get to her field. She's up to 3 pound total now of the SafeChoice.

November 4, 2012

Odds, Ends and Bits

I haven't posted in a few days mainly because I've still been sickish, busy and flat out exhausted. Basically going to post the odds and ends that happened over the last 3-4 days and get back on track for next weeks posting.

On Wednesday the Halloween party was better than expected. I only worked a few hours Wednesday morning, went to class and had to take afternoon off of work because I was still sick. Went home, napped, went to the barn, fed all the horses - didn't work Echo - and went and plopped on the couch in the house. It was mostly laid back, didn't watch any overly scary movies, had good food and no one really dressed up. Also got news that my barn owners horse riding invention got through the patent search and was time stamped as submitted to the Federal Patent Office so I'll be posting about that more probably next week.

Thursday was about the same. I got to the barn at a decent time, groomed Echo and then lunged her for less than 5 minutes before I was tired and ready to just lay on the ground and sleep. So I just called it a night and went home. Only two things really happened in the time I was there Thursday.

1) Most exciting part of the day was the fact I put her bridle on without a bit to size it to her, and then decided to put the bit on her. I put her halter on over the bridle so I wasn't putting any pressure on it and I could still tie her if needed. So I let her sit with the bit on while I groomed her and for the first 20 minutes or so she didn't care at all and then started getting a little antsy with it and I took the bridle off before she got to the point of frustration and hating the annoying thing in her mouth.

2) I decided I hated my 'custom' grain. As I posted before there was corn in it when I threw a fit about wanting no corn when I ordered it in the first place. Secondly, the horses did not like it. At all. Dakota regularly ate his hay before going onto his grain and Echo pretty much just picked at it. I called the grain mill and told them my concerns and after a lot of hassle and back and forth they agreed for me to return it. I went to Tractor Supply and bought a bag of Nutrena SafeChoice to try out. It still has corn in it, but I trust it's carbohydrate control to feed to Dakota. I was going to try the Nutrena LifeDesign Complete on Echo but figured if they both like the SafeChoice I'll feed that and then special order the SafeChoice Perform for Echo in the spring when her training increases. Since they're on a new grain - that means redoing their diet of course on FeedXL and new charts will be coming in the future.

Friday Dakota had a farrier appointment at 3:30 but I forgot I had a vet appointment for my cat at 4:00. Bumped the farrier up to 12:20 to accommodate the day. I went and returned my 'custom' grain before meeting the farrier and they didn't give me any hassle about the return. Farrier and I agreed to try Dakota barefoot and see how he goes. She lives really close and if we need shoes on him again she can come out and do it. Since I had time to burn before going home and getting my cat for his appointment, I did stalls and got them ready so all I had to do in the evening was bring them in. After a 2 hour visit to the vet with my cat, I took him with me to the farm - since it's only about 3/4 mile away - and put the horses in. I agreed for K to spend the night at my house so we could hang out. So we went back to my house, just hung out and watched movies and ate pizza.

Echo and her TB buddy, Glitch
Sleepy in her field on Friday
She really needs to grow into those ears!
Saturday morning K and I got up early and were back at her house / barn by 9:00 and we left for a tack sale a barn was holding about 45 minutes away. It was bigger than I expected, but no where near the size of the one in December or March that we have. I did manage to find a REALLY nice leather halter for Echo. I got it for $12 and its quality would probably put it in the $70ish range brand new. I'm semi convinced that it's Kentucky made because of the style and stitching used but I can't tell for sure. It fits her perfectly too! We got back to the farm around 1:30 and I again got both of my stalls ready early and headed to my grandparents for the evening to finish watching the Breeders' Cup and watch Notre Dame football.
Her in my $12 halter find!
Dakota watching Echo