June 28, 2013

Back to the Grind

YAY it's Friday!

Last night I got back to the barn around 8pm. Me being me decides its a good time to work Echo, who of course is CAKED in dirt. After a 1/2 groom job and still residual dirt on her I gave up and figured it was as good as it was going to get for the night. The round pen was... a nightmare after Wednesday night's downpour so I put her bridle on and figured I'd give the dreaded lunge line a go.

One of the newer girls at the barn went with to watch, ended up helping a ton in correcting Echo's love to throw herself into a corner even when there's not a defined corner to do so.

After a good walk / trot both directions C went and got her saddle since she was being so well behaved. She was a little unsure of the saddle / girth at first 1) because it's been how long?? 2) C has a crazy ability to get a girth tighter than I've ever seen as I discovered after I untacked her. g

Once she started moving again she had zero hesitation toward the saddle or really anything. She worked up a a heavy sweat and C wanted to sit in my dressage saddle to see if it was as comfortable as it looks so she grabbed her helmet and sat on Echo while I cooled her out on the lunge line. Again, typical Echo fashion - she just didn't care.

As for me... Well this is me today >>
6 hours of work today and I'm off for 4 days! Then next weekend is D day for moving and I have 3 1/2 days off. Fingers crossed the rain holds off more so we can go to Churchill Downs tomorrow night for more night racing!

June 26, 2013

Liebster Lieb!

I'm a little delayed and behind the times but a HUGE thank you to L @ Viva Carlos for the Liebster nomination.

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.

11 Random Facts about Me:
1. I'm terrified of clowns and things in mask, but mostly clowns.
2. I have a younger sister that's 15 years younger than me. Until then I was an only child.
3. I love water. Drinking it, swimming in it, looking at it, etc. I was in the lake at my grandparents when I was only 6 days old.
4. I call my car the titanic because it's a boat and always falling apart.
5. I'm only OCD about a few things. 1) My horse stuff being organized 2) HTML formatting and the order of which things are opened on my computer.
6. My pop culture knowledge barely exist.
7. I love fruit snacks. Welch's fruit snacks to be exact.
8. Oranges / Orange juice makes my throat swell, then I break out in hives.
9. My parents divorced when I was 12. My Mom remarried when I was 16 and my Dad has been with his partner for over 10 years. I lived with both parents all through high school.
10. I have no problem staying in bed all morning. I'm more of a night person.
11. Procrastination should be my middle name. It runs in my family.

11 Questions from Lysette
1. Favorite type of Jump
Well since I'm no longer big on jumping? Cross rail!
2. Favorite Professional Rider/Horse Team
David O' Conner
3. Favorite Riding Exercise
Love ground pole grids or cavalletti
4. Lease favorite Riding exercise 
Anything that I have to do with no stirrups.
5. Where do you see yourself next years (horse/career/life)
Bachelors degree / no loner renting an apartment / showing Echo / hopefully no longer boarding.
6. Advice you would give yourself 5 years ago
Don't spend so much money, don't leave KY EVER, and be yourself - always.
7. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
My middle name - Renee
8. If you could train with anyone who would it be and why?
Steffan Peters because IMO he's the best US dressage rider
9. I'm giving you $5k what would you buy?
New riding apparel. Show bridles for both my horses. Pay bills.
10. Give me the recipe for your favorite dish you can make 
Chicken + 1/2 Lemon juiced on top + Parsley + Thyme + Pepper + Rosemary + Lots of Garlic. Bake it then before serving put rest of lemon on chicken. Yum.
11. Dream vacation destination?
Australia in November. Must go to Melbourne Cup one day!

11 Questions for you
1. Favorite racehorse and why?
2. First racetrack you ever went to or wish to visit if never been?
3. Favorite horse real or fictional?
4. What color of horse do you prefer and which markings on it?
5. Who is your riding idol?
6. Best place you've ever visited that isn't considered a major tourist attraction or is 'off the beaten path'?
7. Favorite breakfast cereal?
8. Favorite non horse animal? Can't be cat or dog either...
9. What are you most afraid of? 
10. Could you ever see yourself training or competing in dressage?
11. Three people, dead or alive, real or fictional you'd have dinner with?

Choose 11 bloggers (no particular order)

June 24, 2013

Video Monday - June 24

Trying something new - instead of Wordless Wednesday's or the other trends, I'm creating my own Video Monday. It'll be of the horses, either Echo or Dakota. Not the greatest footage but next time I promise it will be 1) Longer 2) Better Quality.

Video from last Monday's lunging with Echo

June 22, 2013

Twinkle Toes

Dakota finally has shoes on again!!! Lets all take a moment to cross our fingers and send threatening thoughts to him if he pulls them off in less than 6 weeks. I cannot wait to ride him more now.

Echo's getting few more days off. Where Dr Friend did caslisk stitches she's really swollen still and I don't want to force her into moving and risk tearing something. So last night she got a good grooming and I braided her mane in big braids hoping to tame the stray hairs to the correct side of her neck. Hopefully she heals well under the tail and we can move on from nasty uterine infections.

I see nails!!!
Ready to go outside.

Tonight - Working until 9pm so no pony time tonight.
Sunday - Off work, lunge and ride Dakota - maybe outside riding.
Monday - Who knows...
Tuesday - Work late - probably not much pony time.
Wednesday - Work late - hopefully lunge Echo in the morning before work.
Thursday - Hopefully work with Echo if she's healed, if not maybe ride D.
Friday - Hopefully work with Echo if she's healed, if not maybe ride D.

1 Week until my birthday
1 Week until more Churchill Downs night racing
2 Weeks + 1 Day until Michigan / Kitties / Moving

June 21, 2013

Flushing No More!

Updates on Echo's uterine problems...

Well the vet didn't come Friday / Saturday as planned but it gave her a few day break from flushing so it worked out alright.

Monday he came back out to see how she was doing. We discussed the possibility of there being any bladder / kidney problems and he assured me he believed it was uterine and I should see a difference once the problem is cleared up. He gave her a mild sedative and let the student with him palpate her just for experience and ultra-sounded her ovaries again.

The flush came out WAY more clear than last weeks flushes. No chunks and debris or disturbing amounts of mucus.

He gave her Tuesday off from being flushed. Basically plan was if the flush looked that good on Wednesday he'd stitch her up and we'd be on our way.

So... he came out Wednesday, another clean flush but no sewing so today's the day!

Also she got trimmed Wednesday with no problems (Dakota gets shoes today instead).

Last night I lunged Echo in the round pen again and it was a lot dryer footing so she was a little better behaved. 

June 19, 2013

Barn Chill Time

I was off of work on Monday without nothing to do really other than wait for the vet and go buy grain.

I slept in which was much needed. Then went out to help clean up tree branches from a tree that George had taken down earlier in the morning. Colleen and George took off to run errands so I stayed back at the barn to mess with the horses. 

I decided to take Echo out to the round pen for the first time since she's been here. She was feeling good and had fun plowing through the mud puddle in the round pen. By the end though she was doing really well - lowering her head, licking and chewing and actually listening to my commands.

I gave her a bath since she worked up a good sweat and took her out to hand graze in the shade while she dried off. One of the new boarders joined me on the picnic table and she held Echo and I got Dakota and we let them graze for a good hour and half and they loved every minute of it.

Sadly I had to separate the two in their turnout fields Monday night. Dakota was acting like a stallion and Echo didn't mind. They were together in Michigan but mostly Dakota took it all out of hand. They're right next to each other though and share a fence line so it helped make it less traumatic for Dakota.

Tuesday I had an awkward shift at work and didn't have much time for anything with the horses. On my way to work though, I did catch Echo passed out in her stall asleep. Clearly she was happy I wasn't going to be around to make her work!

Farrier and vet today, cross your fingers my ponies behave while I'm at work!

June 18, 2013

2013 Goal Updates

I figured since over half the year is gone (crazy!) I should review my 2013 goals. I was a little afraid to look since my grandpa being ill, loosing my job and moving had thrown me for a loop, but the mid-point results could be worse.

  • Be able to ride again - Riding again!
  • Be able to canter again - Cantered for first time outside in November 2012.
  • Canter again in arena 
  • Have health problems resolved
  • Graduate with my associates degree - Scratching this goal.
  • Transfer to Western Michigan University - Transferring now to Midway College in Kentucky. I'll be starting January 2014 if not sooner. I won't have an associates degree first but will get my bachelors.
  • Lose 50 lb - 15 lost so far!
  • Get a new car

The Horses
  • Improve headset through the trot
  • "Perfect" headset at walk
  • Work on lateral movements at walk and trot
  • Begin canter work
  • Compete in a sanctioned dressage show

     Woven Web
  • Have solid ground manners - As good as they're going to get I think :)
  • Introduce bit / bridle - Achieved!
  • Introduce saddle - Achieved!
  • Begin riding Woven Web - First ride on 2/8/13.
  • Get 30 days of solid work on her
  • Get 60 days of solid work
  • Get 90 days of solid work
  • Present to AHHA for breeding inspection - Scratch this. Going to re-evaluate what I want to present her as.

  • Get my Courbette Husar Touring XL Dressage Saddle Re-Flocked
  • Finish USEF registration
  • Finish USDF registration
  • Go to Rolex Kentucky - Didn't happen, next year! This year though will be replaced with many hunter derby's and the National Horse Show.
  • Go to Arlington Million - Won't be happening but I'm now able to go to many many races being back in KY. Starting with this past weekend's racetrack outing. 

June 17, 2013

Racing in the Dark

We ventured to Churchill Downs for some night racing in Saturday. The $500,000 Stephen Foster was on the card and we got to see a blow out race for last years Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned.

From the Equibase office on the 6th floor. The guys in there were nice enough to let us come watch a few races in there.

Then the guys told us how to sneak onto the roof. Pretty awesome getting a top view of the spires.

Finish line :)

Trophy from the big Arabian race they had. Really strange to see Arabians running at Churchill.

Where the 'magic' happens in the track Equibase office.

June 14, 2013

Up Close Updates

Wednesday's vet exam from Dr. Friend didn't go quite as well as I hoped. He got to the barn after I left for work too :( George however texted me to let me know that when he flushed her the fluid came back as quite dirty. Not too abnormal though for that to happen since the fluid he left in her from Tuesday is suppose to break down any build up in the uterus so the fact things are coming out is actually good. Other good news was her culture was still clean. Plan = Come back Thursday, flush again and hopefully caslisk then.

Thursday lets just say when your vet goes "Whoa did you see that" it's probably not good newes. Flush, again.

He's coming back out today to do another DMSO flush. We'll see how it goes but after yesterday I'm guessing he'll be out again tomorrow.

June 13, 2013

Wordless Thursday?

Pictures from the week that I haven't had a chance yet to upload to my computer. Making 'Wordless Wednesday' into Wordless Thursday this week!

June 12, 2013

Up Close & Personal

Saturday = Arrival and me having to call into work because the shipper took forever to get here.

Sunday = Work.

After I got back to the farm after work I had a burst of energy so I pulled Mr. Dakota out of his stall, saddled up and took a really lazy ride around the arena. It was more of a reminder introduction to the surroundings and we just walked around. I didn't bother trotting because his hooves are in bad shape and we're waiting for the farrier to come out.

Monday & Tuesday = Day's off work.

Monday the vet was out checking the barn owners saddlebred mare who is prepping to be re-bred after she slipped after her recent 60 day check / ultrasound. Vet that was out was Dr. Friend from Rood and Riddle, I've used him in the past for Dakota and he's from Michigan so we've always gotten along really well and I use to ride with him on calls. The farm's normal vet, Dr. Metcalf is due anytime with her second foal so I figured I'd tackle Dr. Friend to look at Echo since Metcalf is so close to 'foaling'.

I wanted him to look at Echo to make sure there was no lingering uterine infection that she was battling back in November. Also after thinking about it some myself, and talking to Colleen after they arrived, Echo's under the tail breeding confirmation is not the greatest. Both of us agreed that she may be a great candidate for a partial Caslisk stitching. It's something that can be left in for a really long time with no harm and if I breed her they're easily taken out / replaced / can be restitched. The Michigan barn owner made mention that she thought she saw her strain more so I figured I may as well have her looked at.

Dr. Friend agreed that her under the tail confirmation wasn't great. Since I don't plan on breeding her soon and that she is young she would do well with about a 1 inch stitch at the top of her lady parts. 

Prior to stitching however, he wanted to flush her and do a culture to make sure there was no current infection. So I held her still while they went to work on her. 

After they left I bathed both horses and did the dreaded sheath cleaning on Dakota. Really really up close and personal day with both horses. Joys of both mare and gelding ownership.
Stoned looking after her bath.
THEN Colleen and I took off and after looking at two apartment complexes we went to the complex I lived in before I moved back to Michigan. The first two were awful. I was so happy to be back into the previous complex and signed a lease agreement for a 1 bedroom townhouse in their community. They have many many many laundry areas, two pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, a really good resturant, etc. Problem being... the apartment won't be ready for me to move in until July 6th... pushing back my moving yet another week and another week until I get to see my kitties *wails on the inside*

Yesterday I lounged around, not wanting to do much. I did clean my leather halters but then I got done with the ponies early and lounged some more. 

Dr. Friend returned in the afternoon and gave me good news that the culture so far is clean. He left a flush in her today that's a mix of Chinese herbs that's suppose to be really effective. He also had the vet students do all her work today which will save me easily $100 at minimum. Love him. He also ultra-sounded her ovaries and uterus to make sure there was no masses or growths that are causing something underlying - all clear!

Today I work 3 - 9 tonight so I won't be there when Dr. Friend returns for the third day. However, unless the culture pops something up, the plan is to let out any remaining fluid from yesterday, flush her again (removing fluid this time) then stitch her up to hopefully prevent any further problems! Fingers crossed!

June 11, 2013

Arrival Wrapup

After their 4:30ish arrival Saturday, I put both horses in their stalls for about two hours to let them relax a little and eat hay and drink water. Echo had not drank well on their 20 hour journey so she was eager for water and drank about 15 gallons. I watched the most boring Belmont Stakes I can think of in recent history and then went and decided to groom Echo some. 

Both have lost weight but it could be worse. Dakota doesn't look AS bad since he had more weight on him to begin with. Echo's ribs are showing way too much, but I'm confident that even after just a week of green grass, awesome hay and starting grain again she'll look better.
After their arrival and being turned out.
Some of this stuff I'm sure I've mentioned but no clue what so it may be repeated. I found great hay last week that's a good grass blend and both horses seem to love it. Grain wise, I'm feeding Hallway's Fibrenergy. Hallway is made fresh just up the road from the barn. It's so fresh that it was bagged the day before I bought it, which is almost 'old' for how much grain that place makes and goes through. It's a newer feed in their lineup and I can't wait to see how the horses do on it. Before, Triple Crown Complete was the closest thing to my 'ideal' levels of everything. Now I'm feeding 12% protein, 20% Fiber, 12% Fat and all with a NSC level of only 7.3%. Eventually I will have to fortify Dakota's portion with their Stamm 30 since he's an easy keeper but he won't eat a pellet grain (go figure).

They're turned out together in two one horse paddocks. There's a gate between them so I can either open it or close it and let one side rest. On the diagram I've added I kinda circled the gate between them. They're stalled in the Tobacco Barn which is where Dakota was last time at this farm. The diagram is a little off because there are way more fence lines and paddocks than I have the ability to sketch out but it gives a general idea. 
The farm itself basically has 2 barns - both have tack room and feed room and wash stalls. Indoor arena, outdoor grass jumping field, round pen, LOTS of trails and creeks to ride through. The driveway is super long and one side is grassy with tree line so it's good area to ride. The one field has a 'track' around it. The pasture itself use to be the outdoor arena but was changed back to a pasture. The track I believe is 1/4 mile or so around so you can get some great conditioning in on it - everyone from the driving people to dressage riders seem to use the track.

June 9, 2013

Special Delivery

They're here!!!!!

Only way earlier than planned. 

I contacted the shipper on Wednesday to confirm the shipping for June 13th. I got a response that basically said she could bring them end of this week. After some scrambling around to get everything ready they were picked up in Michigan around 7pm last night and just got here around 4:30pm. Yes that was one long trailer ride for such a 'short' distance.

They've settled in great so far and are happily out grazing together in their field. More updates tomorrow with pictures!

June 5, 2013

How To... Hay & Bedding

While the barn I board at offers full care services, I prefer to stick to self care. Basically this means my horses get a stall, and whoever is working at the farm (aka George and Colleen) turn them out or bring them in once a day and I do the rest. I clean their stall, provide hay, grain, shavings etc on a daily basis. I like it this way because I get to see them every day and when I'm on vacation I still know they're well cared for.

Now that I'm starting to prep for the arrival of my four legged creatures, I'm remembering the quirky ways of horse ownership and management in Kentucky.

Step 1 - Find a good friend at the barn that doesn't complain when you ask them to go get hay or shavings with you.
Step 2 - If you fail at previous step, find a friend in same situation so you can complain and cry on inside together because you're about to turn your 4-5 person vehicle into a farm truck.
Step 3 - Despite seeing your shavings or hay pile diminish daily, wait until last possible minute to get more. It's a good challenge to see if you can make it to the store and back on your lunch break.
Step 4 - If you have to settle with step 2, make sure you don't clean your car before before going to pick up shavings or hay. It's a fun game of Tetris trying to fit everything.
Step 5 - Stand at the register and act like a fool trying to guess how many bags of shavings or bales of hay will fit in your car.
Step 6 - If you over estimate, don't worry about returning any. Just ask for some spare baling twine or rope and tie the trunk of your car shut.
Step 7 - Finally unload everything at the barn, but only after you let your car sit in a parking lot all day so many people get to see your new handy farm car.
Step 8 - Two options here. a) attempt to clean the hay or any shavings the might of fell out of the bag. b) leave it, you only have horse friends, they'll understand.
Step 9 - For hay - watch your horse devour the hay. For shavings - watch your horse do it's business in your efforts. Regardless, cry a little more on the inside.
Step 10 - Repeat.

June 4, 2013

Lovely Surprise

Monday I was off of work so Colleen and I (George too somewhat), ventured around and went to multiple horse stores. I got royal blue stall chains from Central KY Tack, they're one of few places that carry stable things in kelly green so I'll be going back there to get the full vinyl stall guards next month. Standlee Hay distributor... the store is super simple and small but wow wow wow... I may become a crazy horse owner feeding $30 3 string hay bales after all! 

Then we wandered toward Paris. I took my time driving because the scenery of that drive is second to none. My goal was to get Echo's registration papers or get a bill of sale so I could request duplicates. Neither of those things happened of course so I'm back to a waiting game there. However, I did get to see Lovely Surprise, Echo's 2yo filly by Don't Get Mad.

Her and her pasture mate, a grey filly that's a half sister to a millionaire and by Lemon Drop Kid, were both annoying to the extreme. Lovely Surprise definitely has a lot of her mother's personality but is built a lot like her sire. Both fillies though were more interested in searching our pockets and eating the iPhone instead of standing for a photo.

Her pasture buddy by Lemon Drop Kid
Lovely Surprise is definitely growing. Quite downhill right now but I didn't see any reason why she won't outgrow that. They're keeping her right now to keep the Lemon Drop Kid filly company until she goes off to the track for training. Plan is in the fall they're going to let me know when other filly leaves and I'm going to take Lovely Surprise for 30-60 days. In that time I'll work on ground manners and introduce her to tack. Then I have 2 different friends already interested in taking her from there, possibly a few hunter jumper stables interested too. Also in the time I have her I'll have to work on getting her Jockey Club registration completed. She's been named and things have been processed but her application still shows as 'pending' so who knows what they're waiting for at the farm.

Fingers crossed everything works on getting Echo's papers and eventually taking Lovely Surprise on so she can become a show horse and give her dam a start to progeny records.

June 2, 2013

KY Horses: Meet Puck

Puck is an old fashion, traditional Morgan gelding owned by the farm I'm boarding with. He's about 14 years old and is basically used for whoever needs a horse to ride.

The farm owner got him through the humane society. Though he never had to stay at the humane society, his previous owners were in process of taking him there. The HS called the barn owner and told her about Puck and she took him before he went there.

His past owners wanted him to go to a home where he would never be used in driving gain since be had been in a driving accident before they gave him up. 

I've been grooming him and am hopefully going to ride him a few times before my horses arrive... Probably later today!

Here are a few picture I took of him yesterday in the round pen.

My Life of Countdowns

Patience is not a virtue, to me at least, I despise waiting. Yet I find myself counting days.

3 Days - Jenny may or may-not show up to KY & determine if I'm going for 1 or 2 bedroom apartment and which location.
7 Days - Desk Moving at work - YAY
11 Days - my 2 four legged animals get off the horse trailer - YAY!!
13 Days - Night racing @ Churchill Downs
26 Days - I get to drive home to MI and see my cats - YAY!!!!!!! - Probably what I'm most anxious for, I need my fuzzbuckets to cuddle with at night.
27 Days - I'm 25.
29 Days - Drive back to KY / get my apartment.
32 Days - favorite holiday of the year.

June 1, 2013

KY Horses: Meet "Early Glow"

While Echo and Dakota sit in Michigan waiting for their June arrival, I thought I'd introduce a few of the main horses I'm around now in Lexington. When they arrive they are most likely going to be turned out together and not with any other horses so no field mates to introduce but possible riding and barn horsey friends.

Early Glow or EG is Colleen's broodmare by Easy Goer. She bought her at Keeneland in foal to AP Warrior - resulting in the filly Garden Treasure who is now racing in New Mexico. She had the filly by Sightseeing in May. Sadly she was unable to raise either filly because of problems with her utter and the were both raised with the one eyed nurse mare "Maggy Moo" who Colleen acquired for Garden Treasure and kept her knowing she'd need her in the future.

Early Glow is seriously the sweetest mare ever, very very kind. Cannot get a nicer well mannered sweet horse than her. 
Early Glow with her 2013 filly before being switched to the nurse mare.

Garden Treasure as a weanling.