January 24, 2014

Keeping Warm

Our 50 degree Monday got me too hopeful. Not much going on here. Ponies are wrapped up in layers. I'm spending as little time outside as possible. More snow is heading this way and they haven't managed to de-ice the roads from the last bout of cold wet crap we got!

We lost power the other night at the barn, thankfully only for a very short time. The barn doesn't have city water and runs off the well so not electricity = no water. No electricity = no heat to keep pipes from freezing.

Not considering wind chill!

Anyone have keeping warm tips? Something other than lots of layers? I'd love to hear any ideas!

January 21, 2014

January Springtime

So it may be snowing and blowing today, but yesterday was a gorgeous 50 degree day and I made my happiness well known by walking around the barn in a T-shirt. 

Got to the barn at noon to meet the vet so he could do the dental appointments. Of course I checked in with him and he was super delayed with lots of colic calls. I had already brought Dakota in and the barn was busy with everyone out enjoying the weather and off for MLK Day. Dakota had bee sound Saturday and Sunday when I lunged him on the line w/t/c. I decided to take the plunge and try riding. 

I went out with two other girls at the barn and Dakota was back to his normal rock star status. He was too well behaved and set the standard high again for himself. It was nothing too serious however, just a nice leisure walk down the driveway and back up to the barn (our driveway is pretty long!). The farrier switch was definitely the way to go and now I'm super happy I kept debating with myself over injections. Farrier switch = long term fix. 

By time we were done riding, it was pointless to turn Dakota back out before horses started coming in for the evening. I took him out to graze and waste time away while I waited some more. 

Jealous Echo
Vet finally made it out to do teeth. Dakota was a wham bam / in and out. Few sharp points but otherwise he was in good shape. Echo on other hand my vet just kept saying 'wow' at how bad her mouth was. He spent more time on her and got her to where he felt she was in a good spot. Now I have no hesitations to throw her back into work full force!

Drugged Koda for Vet

January 15, 2014

Free Lunge Freedom!

Why is the mounting block the safe spot in the arena? No matter if a horse has a rider on their back or not that always seems to be the hoover point! Now that Echo has a clean bill of health, her blood work came back normal, I have no hesitations starting up her training again. 

As always, plans change, this time thankfully its just slight. The person I first planned on doing 30 days with her is being kind of flaky on working with the horses she has in training right now and I want consistency with Echo. Instead, a different person at the barn is going to be working with us. In long run it's a better fit and she's the one who was going to help us out after the initial 30 days anyways. Biggest difference, she is an eventer! 

Anyways, the other night I put Echo in the indoor to free lunge her. 1) I wanted her to get a chance to become familiar with the arena again. 2) I wanted L to see her move. 3) I wanted her to move around because of the muddy fields and her paddock is on the smaller side. We let her loose and she gave her normal show of trotting and cantering around. Of course she sought out refuge from the mounting block to only quickly learn the mounting block can't save her when she has 2 girls wanting to make her move pretty! I decided to put a few ground poles up just to throw her off and make her think while she got her arena freedom. This only led to us setting up a small rail for her to free jump over. L was super impressed with how bold she was at a jump. Even if it wasn't pretty, Echo was super proud of herself for going over and would stop and look at us as if saying 'did you see that!'

Already have our first goal of the year. May 4th is the Thoroughbred show at Kentucky Horse Park. They have lots of beginner classes in just about everything so it should be a good time. Even if she goes and does an in-hand class I'll be thrilled!

January 14, 2014

Post Texas Vet Visit

Vet came out yesterday to see miss Echo. I headed to the barn about 11:15 to only find a flat tire on my car. Again. I rolled over to the gas station across the street from my apartment complex to quickly fill it and get on my way to the barn. Sadly I had to wait behind a dumb frat boy and his friend who couldn't figure out how to use the air pump machine! I texted my vet that I was delayed and we pushed back the appointment a little to make it all work. Got to the barn, cleaned my stalls, set my feed and brought Echo in for a good grooming. One of the moments I'm super thankful for blankets. It was rainy and gross so having her mostly dry helped.

Weight must be added! Taken a week after arrival as a before shot. 1/13/14
Verdict is a clean bill of health! She drew blood to run a panel to make sure and took extra for a coggins to last me all of 2014 since mine will expire in April. She agreed that she needs to put on weight (don't know anyone that would disagree), and having her on an ulcer supplement is good too right now.

Hamming it up in the wash stall.
Next step: Next Monday = a different vet coming out to do both Dakota and Echo's teeth. It's been a little too long since the last visit, about 14 months. I had hoped to do it closer to 10-12 but this will have to do this time around. 

January 13, 2014

The New Diet

You're probably going to read this and think I'm insane and I have too much time on my hands. Truth is I am insane, and I don't have this much time but I'm trying things out. At the bottom I've listed out general descriptions of the things I'm feeding at the bottom. Basically all her meals end up soaked for now because of the beet pulp.

1 lb       Beet Pulp Pellets
1 lb       Timothy/Alfalfa Cubes
1 lb       Rice Bran Pellets
1 oz       Thia-Cal 
1/4 tsp   Source
1/4 tsp   Oregano Leafs
1 tsp      Rosemary Leaves

1 lb        Beet Pulp Pellets
1 lb        Rice Bran Pellets
1 oz       U-7 
1/2 oz    MSM (14,000 mg)
1 oz       Raspberry Leaves
1 tsp      Ginkgo Biloba Leaves
2 oz       Whole Flax Seeds

Separate PM Meal
1 lb        Timothy/Alfalfa Cubes
1/2 lb     Beet Pulp Pellets
1 oz       Equamin

Beet Pulp - The pulp that remains after sugar has been removed from the sugar beet. A high calorie, low protein, low sugar, fiber source for horses. 
EquiMin - Vitamin/Mineral supplement to balance the diets of horses fed non-fortified or small amounts of grain. Biotin, yeast culture and organic minerals are added to increase nutrient digestions, enhance immune response and support hoof and coat condition.
Flax Seed - Protein, Fiber, Omega 3's.
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf - Improves memory, concentration, cognition, improved circulation, antioxidant. 
MSM - Anti-inflammatory, hoof and joint care, detoxifies the body / can make the pH levels in body neutral.
Oregano - Omega 3's, antioxidant, repels parasites, antibacterial properties, actually a top flavor among a study done. Echo eats it right up!
Raspberry Leaf - Calming properties, improves uterine health and relaxes the digestive tract.
Rice Bran Pellets - 18% fat supplement. Supports muscle development and hoof growth. Fortified and high in vitamin E. 
Rosemary Leaf - Used in aromatherapy, the aroma is used to help stimulate concentration. Also ranked in a horse flavor study!
Source - Broad spectrum supplement of trace elements, micro-nutrients, vitamins, etc.
Thia-Cal - B1 Calcium calming supplement. Doesn't test 
U-7 Gastric Aid - Promotes a healthy digestive system including foregut and hindgut. Not an anti-acid or an acid production blocker. 
2nd PM Meal

January 8, 2014

Coming Clean

First! Happy 13 Years to Dakota! You've survived me owning you this long!

The last two days haven't been the greatest for Echo getting to move out of post trailer stiffness with being stuck in a stall all day but today she finally got turned back out and from sounds of it was very pleased. 

Exploring the arena yesterday to stretch her legs for a few minutes.
Monday she has a general vet exam to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with her to cause some of the antics she was displaying in Texas. I want to rule out uterus problems again as well. From there she will also get a clean bill from a dentist and chiropractor. No excuses. She was just done by the farrier but when Dakota gets done in the next week I'll make sure he doesn't see the need to even her out in any way. 

I saw her stretching oddly in her stall last night. Whether it's being stiff from being boxed up in a trailer and now a stall or if she's sore somewhere I'm not 100%. I do know I got a bit of a reaction from her when I ran my hand over her back - so I think there could be something there. My vet will point me the right direction for sure.

Her diet is very basic for now. No grain. Just my own blend of this and that. I'll post my insane blend once I have it the way I want it and am keeping it. It's going to be tricky because while I'm trying to do everything to stay away from things that could make her hot, she needs to gain weight (again). She was supposedly eating 8lb a day of Triple Crown complete in Texas. I can easily see her ribs from the side, not even at an angle. 

Once temperatures are stable again and she has clean bill from vet, dentist and chiropractor one of the girls at the barn is going to put 30 days on her of just basic riding. Just to ride out any initial bucks or quirks she may put out. The things that should of been done in Texas.

Cold and ready to go back inside to have her other blankets put back on.

January 7, 2014

Conclusion of Texas

Oh what a cluster ____.

So my friend A that had Echo in Texas basically pressured me as of Dec 27th about moving Echo back to Kentucky. Things just kept getting worse and I started requesting shipping quotes New Years Eve. 

Friday (1/3/14) - I get a text asking if I can take Echo back this weekend for half price shipping. Shipper would be leaving tomorrow (Saturday) and is watching the weather to determine best time to leave. I texted my barn owner where Dakota is and made sure there was a stall open and gave the ok that Echo could come home this weekend. 

Saturday (1/4/14) - 

4:30pm - I get text asking what blanket I want on her in trailer. I make silly assumption this means she's leaving very soon. 

7:00pm - I get a very rushed texted asking if I'm by my computer (I'm at barn taking care of Dakota) asking if I can sign the shipping contract or shipper won't put her on. Ummm why couldn't this be done Friday more promptly? Did I mention my phone was dead so I never saw this text?

9:30pm - Thank god for tech savvy phones that allow you to sign documents when your phone comes alive and you see worried text and you freak out. 

11:30pm - Told the shipper should be there at any moment. At that point I just want to sleep. A sends me pictures of Echo all wrapped and ready to go and pictures of my stuff packed and ready to load. 

Sunday (1/5/14)

12:54am - Finally a text from A saying she's loaded and homeward bound. 

11:17am - Report they're in Little Rock Arkansas. 

4:02pm - Shipper reports they're stuck in traffic in Nashville Tennessee. 

7:00 - I can't stand sitting home longer and I go to the barn to at least take care of Dakota. 

8:02 - Shipper reports they're in Elizabethtown Kentucky. Finally they're at least in the correct state. 

9:08 - A text me (not the shipper which adds to my level of annoyance) - that they had to put the truck in 4 wheel drive and it started driving funny so a mechanic was heading out to look at it. Meanwhile the arctic blast crap was starting to hit full on and it was becoming icy.

10:00pm - Truck is fixed but the shipper wraps the horses up and and waits the storm out for the night because of the wind and road conditions.

11:00pm - I'm finally told this and head home from the barn.

Monday (1/6/14)

1:30am - After talking to A some more, I finally go to bed. Not much else I can do at that point. She's instructed the shipper to contact me as soon as she gets back on the road since the shipper stays in better contact with her than me. 

8:30am - I text A asking for any updates because I haven't heard from anyone. Neither has she. Every time from the start of the trip, if I call the shipper she does not answer.

10:30am - I get a text from the shipper that is jumbled and makes zero sense.  I'm irritated. After some back and forth with her she straightens her texting out and says she will be to the farm in 20 minutes. I find out she's been in contact with A all along and no one passed it along to me. I quickly get going for the morning and call the barn to tell someone she might show up before me. 

11:38am - George (barn manager) calls to tell me she's there and in her stall. 

I finally get there 5-10 minutes later to find the shipper sitting at the end of the drive. I had to give her a saddle to take back to Texas to A, which was back up at the barn and the shipper assumed it was in my car so I had to go up to the barn and come back to end of drive with the saddle. I finally got to go in barn and greet Echo who was poorly dressed in blankets but safely in one piece. The shipper also forgot to unload one of my blankets - A claims she'll snatch it when she sees her back in Texas - I have my doubts. 

Echo is just settling in for a few days in her stall until its safer conditions for the horses to go outside. Negative wind chills = not good for any of us!

January 6, 2014


Ummm so guess who is back in Kentucky? Yep that's right... Echo!

As I hinted at in my last Echo update (linked here) things with her haven't been going fully as planned. She's gotten herself into a fair bit of trouble since that update and there was a spot open on a trailer heading north and basically had no choice but to put her on it to come back.

To save myself the pain of writing a lengthy blog and the pain of my readers for when I write a novel I'm going to attempt to summarize here. 

Grain has been switched - twice. MareFace is has had a hard time with retaining any training and looses focus. You 'lunge' her - which is more like a wild horse show - for 20 minutes and then her brain clicks and she's back to a sweet loving horse. You put her away after your session and you return 30 minutes later and she forgets who you are.

The video below just... makes me semi worried that maybe the idiot ways of her sire are maybe genetic - he died in a paddock accident in which he basically impaled himself on something. In that case who knows what I'm up against. This was taken last week:

She's also taken out two stalls, kicking and destroying them overnight. Well built stalls I'd like to add - not something flimsy like a temporary show stall. She empties 300 gallons of water at a time - going tank to tank dumping them. Basically making lots of enemies. 

Anyone have thoughts or advice on improving focus? Other than routine and consistency? I've ordered her an ulcer supplement and put her back on raspberry leaves and have another calming supplement on hand if it's needed. The only thing I can connect is that maybe the trailer ride from Michigan to Kentucky, that took 20 hours, stressed her enough to start ulcers - causing the behavior changes. She's not really the laid back puppy dog mare I knew then. Not that this makes me love her less, just stumps me somewhat. I know Michigan was not as stimulating as an environment and the hay quality etc are better now so that may have part to do with it. 

Now that she's back with me I plan on letting her settle a few days and let the ulcer supplements get a good week in her before I start messing with her brain. Then it's to the drawing board for her. 

So despite things not going as planned, I'm determined to look at the positives.
  • It's now known that she's terrified of pigs, especially in potbelly form. Any subconscious desire to ever own a pig is gone. 
  • She no longer spooks at a donkey bray.
  • Trailer rides are no big deal. She's a pro.