Friday, January 31, 2014

A Goal!

I purposely did not set any goals for the year, as I find it is a waste of time for me.  My directions change almost as often as my skivvies and life always seems to have a different plan for me. So long term goals are never a good idea for me.

I have however set a "short term" goal for myself.

There is another ASHA clinic on April 12, again at the location close to my house.   This time it will be a different Clinician. His name is Dick Pieper and everything I read about him is flipping awesome!   I had never heard of him before now, but then that doesn't mean much. It isn't like I have been following the competitive horse world for very long.

He has a bunch of on line video's which I can watch to kind of get a feel for the guy.

I would really like to be able to go to this clinic and not feel like a waste of the clinician's time. Not that I was a waste of time at the last clinic, but I/we sure weren't read for what was being taught there.

So with that in mind, here is my goal.

My goal is to have us doing respectful stops and roll backs by time we go to that any speed.  I don't mean big sliding stops, I just mean a proper stop, on the hind and not needing 3 or 4 steps to make it happen. I will also continue to work on those spins, although won't get too caught up in worrying about it.

They say that when you set a goal you also should oughta have an idea of what steps you intend to take to reach your goal.  Well obviously the top of the list is to ride more.

So with that in mind I am going to pick 3 days a week where my job is to ride Trax.  Everything else will have to be scheduled around it.

I think I will go with Tues, Thurs and Sunday.

I also am going to be determined to hit at least 1 (preferably 2) sortings either in my area or across town in that time.  That gives me a month and a half to get some progress coming along.

Of course the one hang up is that TC has daughters coming to visit for 2 full weeks at the end of March.  But because of my work schedule I won't be able to go with them as they are off sight seeing anyways, so maybe I won't lose too much time.  Not to say that I don't enjoy it when they come, but they have no interest in,  so as you can guess they get bored with me pretty darn quickly.  After all I do have a one track mind.

So that is my goal and my plan and today I am determined to make it happen. Now if I can just hang on to this determination.   I don't think my goal is unrealistic. Is it?

On the other hand....he is one of the top reining trainers in the country, maybe I am out of league for this one.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Couple of Videos

These are just videos of Sassy moving, not much to see.  What I did see today that is giving me hope is that those cracks in her frogs are starting to open up.  The change is slight but I can see it, and that is a good thing.
Here is the first video

I am posting this second video as a reminder of why I keep trying so hard to fix her.

Pay special attention to the last 3 seconds.

That stop is awesome!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Move Along Folks, Nothing to See Here.

That is how I felt as we rode today.

There was nothing worth seeing, nothing worth watching and certainly nothing worth filming.

I did film, but deleted it.

Our spins were all hip, no shoulder, our stops were mediocre at best, we were just all over the place.

So why?

I knew why before I ever even put the saddle on my horse.

My brain was all over the place. My horses aren't eating their hay anymore.  (because it is poor quality hay)

Last night someone parked a beat up old POS car in my arena!

And I found a bucket of 16 penny nails dumped next to a trailer that is parked next to my arena.  Technically it is in my arena but not in the arena I have today. The one I am supposed to have and hope to have again.

I was LIVID!

It threw me off kilter, which in turn threw everything else off kilter too.

The nails are gone now.  I used a super strong magnet to make sure I got them all.

The car is still there but won't be for too long.

I went and bought better hay.

But my mental state was shot. I wasn't even into the ride and it showed. Trax wasn't really into it either and it really showed.

Besides I was a victim of Equine rule # 387

No matter how good your horse is doing, if you turn on a camera, all forward progress will stop. 

One thing I will say though is that I am even more convinced that what I felt the other day was real.
The reason I say this, is because nothing we did today felt the same.  It felt wishy washy and when I watched it, it was wishy washy.

What I felt the other day was solid and smooth and unlike anything I had ever felt before on this horse.  So I know we will get again, and I am not discouraged.

I know how it goes.

3 steps forward, 1 step back.

Then 3 steps forward again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is It Real?

I did not get to ride today but I did ride yesterday for a short time and boy oh boy was I happy with my horse.

We worked on our stopping some more, and he was pretty nice at the walk at all times. We are still back up crooked but I think I know why now.  He tends to be wiggly going forward and so if he isn't perfectly straight beneath me when we start our back, he ends up going towards the opposite side of where ever he is facing.  That is what I think anyway.  I may have to have someone watch me to see if they see it too.

 I decided to bump us up to a trot and although it took a little bit of time, he was giving me some nice very ones so I didn't drill drill drill  like I did last week.  A few nice stops and I left him be.

Since we had not been riding very long I thought, "What the heck, let work on those spins again."

So I moved him in our circle, nice and steady trot consistently soft and spiraling downwards.  Then I opened my inside leg, pushed with my outside, guided with my outside hand, and I guess I opened with that inside hand as well.

(Insert heavy sigh here)

Have you ever heard your horses thoughts in your mind when you ask him or her to do something?

On this day, at that moment in time... I heard him as clear as a bell.  

He said, "Oh she wants this, I can do this...I know I can."

And the next thing I knew he was doing it!  His butt was still and his front was moving and we did a full 360 and I literally could feel the determination pulsing from his body and mind.  We connected.

I was ecstatic!  I yelled out a little yeehaw, gave him lots of praise and rode him out of it.  

Then we tried the other direction. This time we only made it half way before he fell out, but still it was a fair effort on his part.

So I rode him out of that one and we just trotted a little asked for a couple of more stops, he blew me off on the first one, (just so full of himself I am sure! LOL) but then the next two were perfect.

I decided to try one more spin so we circled again, this time the same direction as the first (I can't tell you right now if it was left or right).  We circled, and we circled and I asked again, this time with confidence and this one was even better than the first! We rode out of it, I jumped off and hugged my horse.

That was it, we called it a day.  I think we rode maybe 45 minutes tops, but I didn't care.

I put him away, gave him a treat and went in the house to let what had just happened process in my mind.

Did he really do it right or was he coke bottling again?

I tried to replay how it felt in my head.

It felt solid. It felt really solid

How do I know?

I have never sat on a horse that was executing a correct spin, so how do I know how it is supposed to feel?

 I don't.

All I know is that it felt different than any other time we had tried it before.

Tomorrow I will try again, and this time I will record it so I can see what is really happening.

I don't know if it was real.

What I do know is that his determination was real.  It was so strong and so tangible you could have picked it up and played ball with it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Hanna Mare

I had a lot of different things I wanted to do yesterday, clean my pens, ride my horses, vacuum my house (skip the dusting) and a few other things as well.

TC and MB were out there working on the shop.  I walked over to watch them and noticed that our neighbor that is moving was over there getting ready to load his horses for the move.  I considered offering help but then figured that unsolicited help can sometimes be rude, so I didn't. (These are the same horses that Killian was fence fighting with the other day)

I could hear a little banging around but nothing too serious so I went back to watching TC.  Then I heard some serious banging and TC said, "He might need some help"

I threw some boots on and headed over.

I wished I had gotten there sooner.

He had gotten the gelding loaded with out any trouble. Pretty cool since the horse had not been on a trailer in 12 years.

However, the mare was a different story.

As I walked through the driveway the neighbor lady was headed to her house and said, "Please go help him, he won't let me."

Apparently just after she left and right before I got there the mare jumped up, pulled back landed on the latch, she went under the trailer with her hind end, and somehow got her front foot stuck on the trailer somewhere, and had to yank it to get it unstuck.  When I got there she was hobbling around on 2 legs with a bloody lip, a huge gash under her chest and blood pouring out. He back leg was all cut up as well, but I could see that those were just superficial.  I helped him get her into a pen, just as the neighbor with the bucking horses pulled up. I guess the wife had called him for help as well.

The mare was shaking all over, couldn't put any weight on the left front or the right rear, and it seemed pretty likely from what he described that at the very least that front leg was broken.  His wife tried to call the vets personal cell, but didn't get an answer. She did not have the office number so I ran home to get my cell where I have the number.  While I was here I grabbed my vet box and threw together a bute mix in some senior feed.

As soon as I got back, I offered the bute mix to her owner to give her, which he did, and she calmed right down.

Finally the vet arrived.

When the vet she started with palpitation and said that she was actually very relieved with what she was feeling. No obvious breaks.   Xrays confirmed that miraculously there were no breaks.  We were all amazed.

She got another cocktail and they started checking out that gash. Some severed tendons and muscles but they should be repairable.

Luckily this horse is nothing more than a pasture pet because even though the wound is repairable, it would probably mean retirement for a horse with a job.  (That is what the vet said anyway)

I did learn that I over did the bute just a little, but the vet said that under the circumstances it was the right call.  Next time though, I will error on the side of caution.

The folks are moving out of that house and actually there was an open house yesterday.  Perfect way to show your house, with the vet sewing up a huge gash in one of your horses.  But with that in mind, the plan to move the horses that day to their new home was delayed for at least a week.  The folks are no longer living in this house so of course I offered to go over and give her the morning dose of antibiotics and bute that she needs for a while.  They both work in the mornings and so for them to do it would have been really difficult.

Last night when I was out feeding my horses I heard the little voice in my head again. It said, "Go check on Miss Hanna."  So I did.

When I got there she was laying down.  Given the amount of sedatives and stress she had been through I was not overly worried.  I talked to her a bit and she kind of flopped her head around and her breathing did not seem normal to me.

Now, I have never dealt with a case of colic yet, but because I know it is only a matter of time I am always reading what I can and have those warning signs engraved inside my brain.

So I smooched at her and asked her to get up.  She did and that is when I knew for sure that she was not in a good way.  She was highly agitated, flinging here tail constantly from side to side, she was biting at her sides, and pacing nervously. There was no manure in her pen at all.  She was also very sweaty.

All I could think was "Aw Crap! Why didn't I bring my phone!"

As quickly as she had gotten up, she threw herself back down again.  I raced for home.

I got a hold of her owners, who in turn called the vet, I grabbed a light and Simon came with me and we raced back to Hanna.  I had Banamine at the house to give her, but without the owners being there, and considering the amount of sedation and bute she had had earlier in the day, I was not comfortable with thought of dosing her.

By time we got back she was down and trying to roll, then she flopped on her side and I could not get her up.  I pulled, I smooched, I spanked her (not real hard) with a lead rope, it seemed as though she was giving up.

So I sat down next to her head and I talked to her. She was breathing so slow and would occasionally groan.  Simon sat there with me and we both just stroked her head and neck and tried to keep her awake.  Her partner in crime "Whiskey" was pacing nervously outside her pen and ever time she heard him she would move her head to see him.

He nickered to her and she nickered back, and acted like she might get up, so I made Simon move away and we tried again to get her dice.

About that time our flashlight died so all we had was the light of a cell phone.  She laid her head down and closed her eyes and I begged her not to give up yet.  She let out a huge groan and tears started to well up in my eyes.  But Simon said, "No Hanna!  You are not going to give up yet!" and he clapped his hands and she opened her eyes again.

Right about then her owners came.  While her husband got his generator going to get us some lights, the wife came with her little flashlight and took my spot next to Hanna's head.  She was not even supposed to be in there as per her husbands intructions (she had hit her head a few days before and has a concusion) but she was not going to stand outside the pen this time. So I helped her through the fence and gave her my spot.   She talked to Hanna and apologized for leaving her alone, and just sat there petting her.

Suddenly Hanna lifted her head and acted like she wanted to get up.  So we tried again, but still we could not.

Then the husband came with the generator and the lights and  while he was messing with that, Hanna tried again. He dropped what he was doing and we all pushed and pulled and coaxed and smooched, but then she laid back down.

So we let her rest for about 5 minutes and then she tried again and this time she really tried!  Just then the vet pulled up and ran to help us and with all of us pushing and pulling and encouraging her Hanna got back up.

The smile on the ladies face was from ear to ear, and never have I been so happy to see a horse on four legs in my life.

The vet went to work, checked her gums and the color was perfect, did a rectal and only found a small amount of dried manure. There was nothing abnormal so that was a good sign.  There were some gut sounds but they were very quiet.  She gave her another sedative and some banamine.

When I left they were getting ready to tube her just to see if anything would come up and then they were going to get some oil and water in her to get things moving.

I wanted to stay and watch but decided to let this family have their own time together without the "nosey neighbors".  Besides I was hungry and it was chilly and I didn't have a jacket.

I did go over this morning to feed and give her the meds she needed. She had passed manure and urine and was happy to see me.  Not because of me, but because she knew I was bring food, I'm sure.

She took her meds like a champ and was chowing down her food like she was ravenous.

I love that this story has a happy ending and even more I am so glad that I did not decide to ignore that voice in my head last night.  I'm pretty sure that if I had, I would not have come upon a happy scene this morning.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 4 Sassy Project

Last night at a slow moment I decided to google images of "deep sulcrus thrush" and the first thing that came up was this.


It doesn't look like much to me except that it came from Pete Ramey's website and specifically an article written on the subject.

Sassy's is not quite as deep, but definitely there

When I compare to images my "sound horse" Trax, I see this.

 The frog is wide open. Granted his is not a perfect hoof, but it does give me a baseline to go off of and helps me understand what I am looking for.  So when I compare his hoof to hers I can see where there really could be an infection hidden up in those grooves and there is the slightest possibility that it has effected her more than anyone who has worked on her could have imagined.  

Especially when I read things like this:

 Often overlooked, these infections cause severe lameness in the back of the foot, which can then cause chronic toe-first impact, which in turn can cause distal descent of P3, subslolar abscesses, hoof capsule rotation, wall flare, navicular damage, ligament and tendon injuries throughout the distal limb.... In short, every energy dissipating feature of the foot can be completely erased by the pain of a simple frog infection- and the gait of the horse altered into a destructive force.
Pete Ramey

So I have no idea what is really going on up in those cracks but my theory is to treat, since it won't hurt anything to do so.  

With that in mind I am putting together a plan of action and it goes something like this. 

I have gotten some great ideas for treatments, and have decided to implement two of them.  First I scrub the foot very well with diluted dawn dish soap and then rinse and dry it off as best I can.  I also use my pick the best I can to get everything out of the deepest cracks.  Some of them are quite deep. 

BEC mentioned using apple cider vinegar, which I have here so that is what is in the brown syringe.  I use the needle to direct my flow and really flush well up under those cracks.  Just for the record I do not inject anything anywhere even though it may appear that way. The needle is just laying in the cracks.

Then Dancing Donkey also mentioned a treatment which happens to be the same treatment that Pete Ramey uses so today we started with that as well. 

It is a 50/50 solution of Neosporin pain and Athlete's foot cream.  

It is too think to go through the syringe needle but I was able to use a smaller syringe and get it up into the cracks pretty well.  I do have the curved tip syringe that DD and Ramey both suggest to use.  But I had to order them online so they won't be here for a few days. 

Then I just sort of smeared the excess around trying to push it down in the cracks like grouting tile or greasing wheel bearings. 

I treated both hooves this way although clearly the left has deeper cracks than the right. 

My next step is of my own making and I have no idea if it works.  I do not want to close her foot up, with anything but I also do not want manure getting stuck in the solution and compounding the problem   So instead I take her to arena and walk her in the clean soft dirt.  

Here is a short video of her walking...Oooh exciting I know!

I have spoken with the trimmer a lot in the last few days and she will be up here soon (she comes from Tucson) to check her again. We are talking about switching her to some epics for turn out, which leave the coronet band exposed. The heat seems to be generating from there so not trapping it in might be our solution.  I am hoping that she is going to do a little bit of work on those heels and bars as Smazourek mentioned. I can see what needs to be done but in the case am concerned that I would do more harm than good. We will talk more about the boots then. 

For now she stays barefoot and has been moved to my freshly worked round pen where it is nice and soft.   The boys spend a lot of time calling to her to make sure she is still there, but she never answers. They seem to be more bothered by her move than she is. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Randomness

Don't know if I can keep down to five today. Stop in at Nancy's for others random posts

1. The ongoing project with Sassy is exhausting!  Not the actual doing part...the mental part.

2. I called my canine vet hospital to see if I could pick up a Monoject 412 curved tip syringe.  The response I got was something like this...
"We can't give those out- they require a prescriptions"
"Um but I can buy them on line without a prescription I just need one sooner than that."
"Sorry too many addicts using them for bad things"
"You can't even attach a needle to it."
"Sorry Ma'am, I have to go now"
I ordered them on line.

3. Speaking of syringes- I used a regular big syringe today to treat Sassy's cracks and a big needle that isn't sterile, but good for getting stuff in tiny spots.  The needle was in its case and the syringe was in its case and both were on the barrel by the tack room. I had to run inside to grab something I had forgotten and when I came back out, there was Miss Sassy happily chewing on something.  I got there just in time for her to spit out the green case of the needle...luckily the needle was still in it.  She is so crazy- but fun crazy, not crazy crazy.

4. Speaking of lame....Oscar de la Kitty came in on three legs today.  I can't see what the problem is, but it is foot related. No wound, if it is swollen it isn't much, but he won't let me touch it and he won't put any weight on it.  All I can do is watch it for now and see what happens.

5. I went to Jim's Burros for lunch and ended up getting to work really early today.  So I decided to kill sometime at the Harley shop just around the corner.

I sat on one of these and all I can say is "WANT!!!!"  I've decided I'm going to trade off TC's 2011 Dodge pick up for one.  When I called him and told him he said sure....I don't think he believes me.  I would look so cool going down the road one one of flying in the wind...oh wait I don't have any hair.

6. Which brings me to my next random thought.  I am currently sporting the worst hair cut EVER!   Some days it looks like a Justin Bieber cut, other days more like Glen Campbell.  On the worst days it is some sort of odd combination of both.  I hate it!  But I am trying so hard to let it grow long enough to cut it to one length and then just let it grow out some.  Because it is so bad I wear a lot of hats. Hats make me look like a dude. I know this because a while back I was at a store and a little girl and her dad walked past me and she said "Daddy, how come that lady looks like a boy?"  Awesome.

7. Since I am talking about appearances, let me share about the other thing that drives me nuts right now. When I quit my job in WY and started the project of moving, I lost about 10- 15 lbs.  I kept most of that off up until I started working nights.  Now it is all back again and then some.  I hate it!  This has nothing to do how I think others view me, or even how I view myself when I look in the mirror. I don't even own a full length mirror anymore.  This is about how I feel when ever I try to DO ANYTHING.  The best way to describe it is "Cumbersome".   I am a person who likes "to do" and dragging all this extra weight around is getting to be...a drag.

So with that in mind I went and had Mexican food for lunch.  

I am taking steps to make the weight loss happen, starting with taking less food to work with me.

8.  I am soooooo over the construction project at our house.  I told the contractor (same one who came to WY and built our barn) to please not let the project spill over into my horse area.  Every day my arena gets a little smaller.  Its frustrating, but on the bright side, the foundation is done and the frame is going up so at least now I can imagine that it might be done by summer.  Yay!

9.  Even though it seems like I am complaining, I found myself the other day feeling giddy over how awesome my life is right now.  It really is too.  Sure there are always things I want or think I "need" but truthfully I am perfectly content.  I like that.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 2 of the Sassy Project (With Pictures!)

So I went out this morning to check her out.  I pulled the boots off to have a little look see.  Now C told me that she wasn't going to do much trimming or anything else. Especially since we pulled/lost shoes two weeks earlier than we had originally planned. So the only trimming that was done was to make the boots fit.

Sassy's feet were H-O-T!!!

Friday when BEC was here she had just a touch of warmth in the coronet band of the LF.  Today both feet were hot, LF more so, digital pulse in both were pretty darn strong.

I admit to kind of freaking out a little.

I emailed trimmer, hosed her down cleaned her up, dried her off, did a base line test to see if she was willing to stand on one foot.   We got 45 seconds on the left, 38 on the right.  Weird, right?

Of course Sassy gets agitated with the whole stand on three legs thing anyway, so since they were only a few seconds different, I didn't read too much into it.

Trimmer texted back asked how she was moving.

About the same.

She said hose her but not to worry too much.

I'd already done that so I decided to take some pictures.

Those are all the right

Now I'll show the left. 

Not really much to see.  C will be here in 2 weeks to trim her down and get those angles a little better.  One thing I wonder about is the deep crack on the frog on the last pic. I am going to have to go back and see if I can find where and what I read about those. 

My pictures aren't great. It's hard to do this stuff by myself! Lol

I find myself wanting to bring her toes back some...but not sure if that is the right thing to do so I;m leaving her along.

I took her out to the arena while she was barefoot and we walked. We did about 25 laps (we both need the exercise) and then I checked her again. The heat was almost completely gone except for the LF coronet band again.  Even that was very mild.

I'm thinking this horse needs a lot more exercise than she has been getting.

So that is where we are at right now.

The little wench ripped one of my velcro straps off the left boot. So I'm going to have to get those bell boots after all.

She wasn't thrilled to have the boots back on.  How can I tell?

Simple- she refused to lift her feet when it was time to put them back on.  I did make sure she was nice and dry before I put them on.

Tomorrow I will repeat the walk in the soft dirt.  I might go ahead and pony her off of Killian just so we can go a little further.  He could use it as well.

Then it will be time for her to do 12 on and 12 off so I have to have my soft terrain living area worked out.  That means my riding will be put on hold yet another day. :(


 It is 5:30 pm and my son just called and said her feet are burning up again. I told him to pull the boots off for now.  She has soft places to stand for now and I'll have to deal with this in the morning.  Clearly these trail boots just hold in the heat too much and something inside is generating a lot of it.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

If anyone has any suggestions or knows more about boots than I do....please help me out here!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 2 of the Makin Trax Makeover

Today is a 2 post day. The first one being on Sassy.

If you look to the right of my page, on the side bar, I have listed my positive riding affirmations.  I read them before I go out to ride, and I say them to both myself and my horse before I ever even mount up.  I cannot tell you if it is helping yet, as today was the first day. Positive affirmations have worked for me in other areas of my life so I expect it to work here too.  I tend to buy in to my own self talk sometimes, and I have to get over that.

I knew I did not have a ton of time for riding today, and certainly not any time for major battles so my goals were few but my standards were high.

I did not expect him to do anything other than continue doing what we did the other day....

stop instantaneously.

Today we did not lope a single step.

Well that is not entirely true.  He did overshoot my cue  for forward, a couple of times but if he did, I insisted that he stop and then backed him up.  His effort to comply, although not perfect, was real. He wants to get along for sure.

But mostly it was just walk, stay soft, collect, stop, back up, and then I would change things up a bit.  Sometimes it was "execute the turn"  Sometimes it was "Now stand still"

We rode for about an hour.  That is a short ride for him.

When I said, "now stand still" I would do all manner of things to get him to move, except of course cueing him to move.  I leaned forward, adjusted my seat from side to side, leaned back, flopped my arms around, you name it, I tried it.  One time he moved, and I stopped him and backed him up. From then on, he stayed as still as a stone.

Good Boy!

90% of his stops were very nice, a few weren't but we worked through them.

We did try a few at a slow trot, I set my goal at 3 good ones at the trot. When I had them, I didn't do it again.

We are having trouble with the back ups. Not that he doesn't want too, but that keeping him in a straight line is challenging for me/us.  I try pushing with my legs to get him back over but it doesn't seem to be working. I have not figured out if I am using more pressure on one side than the other, or just what the deal is yet.

Sometimes I wonder if he isn't wiggling all over to prep for the turn, or because he isn't sure which way I want him to go.  With that in mind I decided to ask for just a little less.

First I try to make sure that I have even pressure with both legs, and then if I can get 3 steps that are straight, I stop.  We did that a few times right at the end of our ride, and the last one was a gorgeous stop, a nice 3 step straight back up, so I jumped off right there and called it a day.  Next time I'll ask for more straight steps.

The thing I have learned about Trax is there is such a thing as over kill.  Once he gets something, he usually gets it, and as long as I am consistent, he will be too.  Beating stuff into his head until he is sick of it usually back fires on me.

I suspect that is true for most horses.  I'm sure he isn't special.  (well to me he is)

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I did work on the circles and asked for a few steps of a spin.  One time I think I got 3 or 4. They were awkward and choppy but I could tell the difference in him. He is trying so hard to get it right.  When I started in with the smaller circles, he knew exactly what I was going to ask of him, I could feel that.

His hip falls out after a few steps though. I have to figure out why.  It might be because I let it.

Day 1 of the Sassy Shoeless Project

So here is a copy of the email from the trimmer:
did not see anything crazy or weird with her feet
she does not have a central suclrus infection

she has pretty decent structure and shape considering the toe walking
the farrier rolled those toes pretty tight trying to get the breakover back, so she does not have any toe wall at all right now, nothing we can do about that, will just take time to grow

she did not seem a lot more comfortable in the boots and pads but i am hoping at the end of 72 hours you will see at least some change

this is what i would do
leave her in the boots for 3 days straight, you can take them off and make sure no rocks etc
and if they are building up moisture you can put baby powder in them
watch for rubbing on the heels, that is the first place we will start to have problem

if you need to get her out them for an hour or so i would put her in the arena where it is soft

after 3 days you will probably have to go with 12 on 12 off to avoid rubbing
so do 12 hours in the arena bare and then booted the rest of the time

you may have to change the pads after 5-6 days, you have to take them out to really tell how squashed they are
but save the old pads, they may be fine for riding later on

she is almost a size 3 right now, but no toe wall so she may fill out the 4 boot better in a month or so, i think she should be fine to use these for now
she acted like she might chew on them, i told your husband to put some cheap bell boots on over them if you have some, or maybe paint some of that no chew stuff on them
anything to keep her from tearing them up

if you want to do anything with her the only thing i would do right now is straight line walking


And here is a video of her moving this morning.  This was just out in the pasture (obviously) so nothing much to see.  Naturally she is still limping- but I expected that.

She has not been messing with them at all anymore, so I guess it was just that initial, "Hey what are these things" that had her checking them out.  

Since I don't have a way to close off my arena yet, I will have to go in and work her pen up nice and soft (maybe throw in a load of sand) or maybe work the round pen up and use that for her to live in temporarily when she is without the boots and pads.  

So concludes the "day 1" entry.

I won't be doing daily entries, but will keep track of how many days each entry is. 

Now I'm off to ride a paint horse.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

No Riding for me Today

Life got in the way today, too much busy to get to ride.  But I have high hopes for tomorrow.

In other news Sassy threw one of her high heels last Thursday, so the trimmer is there right now pulling the other and fitting her in her boots and pads. She will also assess the sole and frog/thrush situation and advise what she thinks the next step will be.

I was really hoping to be there, but we just could not coordinate our schedules.  Kind of frustrating. This damn job is always in the way of what I want to do, but without it, there is no money to pay for those things that I want to do.  LOL!

I will update tomorrow with some pics if I can.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Applying What We Learned

I spent the majority of the night laying in bed planning out today's ride.  I knew exactly what we were going to work on and how we were going to accomplish it.

Well I know you all know about "The best laid plans"

We warmed up in our usual manner only this time I made sure that the circles were of my choosing, not his.  It was all going along smoothly.  I was impressed with my horse and with myself.  So I decided to move on to something else.

The imaginary flag.

And that is when everything fell apart.

I thought that maybe if I gave him a little more room to execute this exercise we might would do better.  I was so wrong.

We worked across one end of the arena,  trot or lope forward then stop, then back 5 or 6 steps, turn the head, push the shoulder and ride him out of it.

In a matter of minutes I had a pissed off horse, which in turn pissed me off and the next thing I knew we were racing around the arena out of control, at a high rate of speed.  Think 500 mph.

I was mad.

He was mad.

And it got us no where.

So I drove him hard.  I mean really hard.  I went from letting him take me around at his choice of speed and I laid into him and made him go go go go.  He was asking to slow down and I wouldn't let him.  If he even thought about it I would squeeze again and keep him going.

During that time a million things went through my head.

"I hate this horse"

"This is ridiculous"

"We are never going to get this"

"I'm going to sell him"

"That's crazy- who would want him"

"You are just letting your anger get the best of you"

I was crying and could barely see where I was going anymore

"I can't do this"

"I don't have what it takes"

"Yes you do"

"You love this horse"

"I do love my horse"

"He was trying- you put it on him to fast"

"Make your messages clear"

"I don't know how"

"Yes you do, break it down"

"Okay, I can try"

"Do for this horse, what no one else has ever been able to do"

"You made a promise to him."

"I remember"

"Then follow through"


Then we walked.

As we walked I bumped my reins with my hands to make him drop his head.  As soon as he did I released. The second he raised his head I did it again.  And we did this over and over and over again until he started walking with his head down some.

Then one of the times I was bumping I threw in a whoa, tried to quit riding, and then immediately asked him to back up. After the back up we would execute the turn and do it again.  

This became our drill for the day, only we did it slow. Very very slow.   Walk 20- 40 feet- stop, back up 10 feet- execute the turn- start again.

I changed the distance we walked each time because he likes to anticipate rather than waiting for my cue.   I always tried to wait until he had his head down to ask for the stop.  It helped him stop.

And then he did it.

A dead stop and two steps back on his own.

I felt a glimmer of hope.

We kept going. In the other direction (towards the open end) he still fought me, so we kept going until he didn't. I worked hard on envisioning the stop, convincing myself that we were going to stop, riding for the stop instead of bracing for the fight.  When I could do all those things, it worked.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity he gave me a dead stop in both directions.

I breathed a long sigh of relief.

He was getting it.

So we rode out the arena and down the road.  All we did was walk and I kept asking for his head down and he kept giving it to me, and ever so often I would ask for the stop.

What I found though is that he is still anticipating the "ride out" afterwards.   So we worked on just standing still after the back up.

We went all the way around the block. Most of it was good, some if it wasn't, but if it wasn't we did it again, and again until he got it right.

Now here is where I found myself wondering how do I connect in his brain the bump bump bump back on the reins with a lift of the reins.  I mean he is super soft on that bump, but a lift still gets a lift.  I don't know how to transition from one to the other.  I tried moving my hands down the rein, lifting and bumping at the same time.  A couple of times I got the right reaction and released immediately, but it wasn't consistent.

I still don't have my answer, but I'll find it eventually.

So we kept going. The minute we turned back down our street things started to fall apart again. I swear it took us longer to get down our road than it did for the rest of the ride.

But when we turned towards the drive we stopped and backed up one more and it was instantaneous and smooth and I called it good.

When I got off his chin was all red and I thought he was bleeding, but it was just the dye from the leather and his sweat.  He was really sweaty.  He got a nice hose down, a roll in the pasture, and a snack.

He worked really hard- I worked really hard, and it took us a long time but we made some progress.

Now it is time to go to work.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

ASHA Clinic

The day of the clinic dawn clear and cold, not like frigid cold but certainly pretty brisk.  The ponies were already munching on a quick breakfast and TC and I were hustling to get my trailer hooked and ready to go.  My guest, Brown Eyed Cowgirl (she really does have gorgeous brown eyes-in case you were wondering) was already set to go.  I don't know why I didn't take some time the day before and get my trailer ready, I know I had planned on it....oh wait, yes I do, because from the minute BEC rolled onto my property it was a gab-fest.  I'm pretty sure we talked non stop for two days!  Not saying it was her fault I wasn't ready just saying that....I forgot.  Cuz I'm cool like that.

Besides, I was only going to be gone for an afternoon, so it wasn't like it took me a long time to load, and TC, bless his trucker heart, can hook up to a trailer so fast it will make your head spin.

When she had arrived the day before I was riding Killian. We had just been trotting circles in the arena.  I knew that she and I were planning to go ride so I went ahead and put Killian away while she unloaded her ponies her incredibly gorgeous horses.  We chit-chatted, she met my horses, I met her horses (priorities ya know) and we saddled up and headed out to the desert.

This time I was on Trax, she was on Frosty and ponied Moon.  Let me just say that having someone to ride with, and talk with, who shares the same interests, who is not constantly complaining(Simon), and who I did not have to worry about getting hurt (TC) was a BLAST!

We didn't make it ten feet off my road and a young guy drove past us and yelled "Hellllooo Beautiful!" at her, causing Frosty to spook into Trax, and we laughed our asses off over it.  In fact there were a couple of times that Frosty would shy away from something, and one of the things I loved about it all, is that for was just something you deal with when riding, and we rode through each incident as if it never happened.  Its all you can do.

We had a great time, it was a wonderful relaxing ride and we made it back just as it was getting dark.

Then Cut n Jump came over and we headed out to the Mexican Cantina.  All I am permitted to say is that the food was delish, the service was wonderful, and there were cervesa's and margaritas involved. I can't tell you much except that at least one of us comes from a long line of fainting goats, at least two of us have some pretty big opportunities looming on the horizon, and one of us does not know her left from her right.

 Everything else is highly sensitive, top secret (as in secret squirrel) information which can only be shared on a need to know basis.  I will tell you that we pretty much closed the place down and in order to get us to leave the kitchen staff turned their music up super loud as a hint to tell us it was time to go.  So we headed back to my place and eventually called it a night.

Now back to the clinic.

I was surprised at how calm Trax was for the warm up.  In fact he was pretty darn good all day.  There were a couple of times that he got kind of wound up and refused to even stand still for me, but the clinician, Troy, helped me through those situations by reminding me of the things that I had learned from Jay and Mark, back in WY.   Things that I had some how forgotten.

When Troy asked me what my background was I didn't know what to say so it came out as, "Er...Um...Horse has mental issues, I have no clue what I am doing...blah blah blah."

I then proceeded to back that statement up with riding like it was my first time on a horse (It kind of felt that way) and my horse proving that he knows.....NOTHING!  Well not nothing, Trax can counter arch pretty well.  (Thanks Mark Keil)

I did learn an awful lot though. For example, I lope circles all day long at home, but when it came time for us to do our circles we fell apart.  This was a complete and total surprise to me.  I know my horses shortcomings. He can't stop, he is heavy in the face, and his rider has no clue how to communicate with him.
But I thought for sure the one thing we would do really well was lope circles.

I could not have been more wrong.

 Most of it was me.  I was trying so hard to remember all the things I had been told about my riding position (elbows in, hands like this, look where you want to go not at your horse) that I was like a cement block on his back.  Finally he yelled at me to relax and ride my horse, and I did and we did much better. It was more like loping circles at home.  And Troy was so excited because we FINALLY learned SOMETHING.

I'm pretty sure that what he thinks we learned, is not exactly what we learned.  What I learned is that when I lope circles at home, I have been letting Trax pick the route.  Not happening anymore. From now on, he will follow my guidance.  Not being able to chose where I wanted my circles to be yesterday was very frustrating for me.  That was my fault because I haven't been demanding it in the past.

The other thing I learned from both him and BEC was more on those flying lead changes, and how to execute those correct lead departures.   While I am on that subject I really need to throw a shout out to BEC. She on more than one occasion took time away from working on her own horse to help me to into action the task that Troy was having us do.   I don't mean just explain it. But she really worked with me.  It meant the world to me that she was willing to do that.  Also I want to say that one of the most important things that was said to me during this clinic came from her.

She told me, "Stop riding the horse he used to be, let go of that and ride the horse you have today."


Then came the flag work and guess order to do this properly your horse has to be able to stop and do a roll back.  And damnit we tried. We tried our very best and a couple of times we kind of sort of got it.  There was one time when I actually felt him stop underneath himself.

With that in mind, I now know what I am looking for and what it feels like.  This is important to me because lets face it, I have never had a trained horse before. I have never even had a chance to ride a well trained horse before, so when people tell me that I should know what it feels like...well I don't.  I can only imagine what it is supposed to feel like.  Truthfully my imagination is not up to par in this area.

Truly I think that flag work was one of the most beneficial things for us, and I really want to set something up like that for us at home.  But in the mean time, I can improvise I am sure.  I can imagine the flag in my head and I do the routine.  "Stop, back up three steps, turn with the head, now use your leg, now drive him out of it"  Lather Rinse Repeat.

Then came time for the cows.

Now let me just interject that each rider ended up with a dirty rotten crafty little speed demon. And every single person worked those cows until they got some good stuff going on. It was thrilling to watch, and as per Troy's instruction I watched every person work their cow. I didn't just stop there either, I made Trax watch too.  Where ever the rider went with the cow, I made him turn so that he couldn't help but see what was going on.

Then came our turn.

Out walks Lazy Lulu, who I am quite sure is a direct descendent of one of Michael Johnson's dairy queen cows. She was a beautiful little Charleigh (sp) who was just






She stopped to smell the flowers, and looked up at the sun in the sky and I'm pretty sure I heard her singing, "La la la la la"

Then she saw Trax and said, "Well Hello there pretty pony, do you wanna be friends?"

And of course Trax, who doesn't have a mean bone in his body, says to Lulu, "Why sure!"

Then they touched noses and skipped off together to play hopscotch.

And I had no clue what to do with a cow like this. The tiny scrap of confidence I was holding on to shattered, and I looked to Troy for guidance. Bless his heart he tried to talk me through it.  But in the end he just called for a different cow.

So what I learned from the next cow was that we have a long ways to go before we are ready to properly work a cow.  Troy finally told me to quit following the cow and send the cow where I wanted him to go. Once I was able to do that we did much better.

Now this is where I feel the need to interject a revelation that I had last night which totally connects with what he was telling me.

Back when I first got Trax, we were invited to help some folks drive a herd of cows on an 11 mile trek.  At one point we were pushing this herd through a gate and one big old heifer squirted off down the fence and it was up to Trax and I to go stop her. She had a good ten feet on us, but I pointed him where I wanted him to go and gave him his head and we caught in an instant and without me even saying a word he turned and cut her off and spun her back down the fence where she joined the rest of her herd.   So knowing that he is capable of doing such a thing, why on earth do we have such a hard time in the pen?

I can tell you why.  Or at least I can tell you what I believe.

That day I KNEW that we HAD to stop that cow.  I rode my horse with complete conviction. I saw the entire maneuver play out in my mind before it ever happened and my horse, who on this day was completely unhindered by my lack of confidence, got the job done without a single misstep. Those were back in the days that I didn't realize that my horse didn't know anything. I believed he could do anything.  I had no fear, no trepidation, and complete and total confidence in my mount. I also had no clue of what a crappy rider I was.

Perhaps ignorance really is bliss.

Those days are long gone, and I do want to be a better rider, and I do want my horse to be better...but my confidence in both my horse and myself, to perform in this sort of venue,  is completely gone and I have to find a way to get it back.

The more I think on it the more I think that this may be one of the roots of our problem...ok problems.   I am so sure that we can't do this that or the other thing, that even when I give the command, in my mind I am convinced that it isn't going to happen and so it doesn't.  This is especially true with stopping.  I don't envision the stop, I envision the fight.  I don't sit the stop, I prepare for the brace.

I am not sitting here trying fool myself into thinking that this is going to fix it all.  Trax and I need help.  Most people, or at least everyone at this clinic, can pick up on the reins and their horse will drop his head. Trax lifts his.  I don't know how to change that. Someone is going to have to teach me. Until we get that, none of this other stuff is going to happen. I am pretty sure it is going to take someone who is willing to ride my horse and teach him and then let me get up on him while they instruct, and teach me how to do it.  Just like what I was doing with Mark Keil.

Anyway, after the cow work BEC decided to head home.  I was about done but really felt like I needed to end on a positive for my horse so I moseyed on over to the trail pattern.  We worked the gate, not perfect but successfully.  We backed through a series of L's without a single fault.  Of course no one was there to see that!  We side passed over a telephone pole....4 times.   We did all kinds of things and it was good and I thought to myself, "Well he's not a bad trail horse"

At one point I was chatting with one of the other gals by the trail obstacles, and she said to me, "Oh he must still be pretty young huh?"

", he is about 13."

It is hard to explain to people about his back ground.  I finally just said, "He's a blown up rope horse"

And she smiled with a look of sincere sympathy and rode away.

I did attempt the log drag (with me on the ground) but Trax made it clear he was not ready.  I didn't push the issue.  Not because I was afraid, but the space was limited, and I know that for working on his fear of ropes space is a must.  I have to give him room to work through it and to do so there would have had us crashing into other horses and obstacles.   I chose safety for my horse (and others) over winning this time.   I know how to work on this. We have done if before and we just need to do it again and then never stop doing it.

CNJ did come out and watch and she did get some of my cow work on video. But I will not ever share it.  In fact, there will never be any showing of the video that BEC took either.  It isn't pretty and it isn't good.  It is my own personal training tool and that is it.

I don't know if my post reflects that I had a great time and it was a great clinic. Troy Rogers was a fantastic instructor and he did help me alot.   I learn so much from watching the others ride and from watching Brown Eyed Cowgirl ride.  Let me tell you....that girl can ride!

I can't believe that throughout the weekend I only took one single photo. Here it is. Lunch Break.

I am anxious to get to work on my horse, and myself.  I am also looking for a trainer who can help me the way I need to be helped.  I might check with Charlie Hill to see if he is willing to ride my horse as well as working with me.  I am not sure he does that anymore as he is getting up in years and has a lot of physical limitations.  I guess more will be revealed.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Random Five Friday!

Hooking up with Nancy again this week for some random thoughts for Friday.

1.  At night when I am driving home, sometimes the urge to play "Pac Man" with the road construction markers is almost irresistible.

2.  I hate dusting, but live in the dustiest place on earth.

3. My house decorating plan is as follows:  Write down your ten favorite decorating themes, then use them all sporadically through your house.  Make sure nothing matches and that way everything will not matching.

4.  I secretly would love to drive in a demolition derby just one time.  But then they say you can't do it just once and I'm afraid I'd become addicted.

5. When I was a kid and wold go visit my grandparents in Louisiana, on of my favorite things to do was to pick pecans from and around their big pecan tree.  I love fresh pecans. Cannot stand the store bought ones.  I want a pecan tree so badly.  Recently I saw some kids down the road doing the same thing in their grandpas tree.  Now, I really want a pecan tree!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  I know I'm going to!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Today is Thursday

(In case you didn't realize already)

So the 50 year old, very mellow, relaxed woman in me is saying, " Oh yeah, BEC is coming over tomorrow and we are gonna ride a little, hang out and then mosey on over to the ASHA clinic the next morning.  Yeah, it should be cool, CNJ is gonna meet us there and we'll just be all chill and stuff.  No big deal."

Then there is the ADDHD 16 year old trapped within who is more like "Squeeeeeeee!   OMG I got horsey friends coming over, and we are gonna do horsey riding and stuff, and OMG I'm so excited!  Is this day ever gonna end? OMG what am I gonna wear!?!  Holy Crap my grey roots are showing!  What will my new friends think?  OMG I'm gonna make a fool out of myself at this clinic! What was I thinking??? OMG OMG OMG!"

Seriously, some days it hurts to be this dorky.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Recipe for Disaster

Start with one lovely and down right handy John Deer Tractor....

Next, add in a large, bulky, yet equally handy gannon. 

Firmly attach your handy dandy gannon to the back of your handy dandy tractor.  Thus making your piece of machinery doubly handy dandy and also twice as bulky and slightly more difficult to maneuver.  

Next add in a driver.  

We find it best to use a dorky, less than handy, elderly driver of the female persuasion. This recipe is especially successful if your driver does not know her left from right and often has trouble with forward and reverse as well.  Someone similar to this: 

(one who clearly should try combing her hair or
 putting on some makeup once in a while)

Be sure to inform her that, although yes, the tractor is easier to handle without the gannon, you want it left on there for now so that you have it for the endless construction project you have going on the other side of the property.  

Feel free to turn her loose with your piece of machinery for use in cleaning her horse pens.  Don't bother commenting on her "speed racer" tendencies, not only will she not hear you over the tractor, but she doesn't listen worth a damn.  

Now add in one gate: 

Go ahead and start with a perfectly straight one, still attached to the fence.  By time your driver is done it will look just like this one! 

You will then be able to retire said gate to the "Herdlife Gate Graveyard"

Especially if you are smart enough to choose a driver who has "priors". 

When your driver tries desperately to turn the tables and put the blame on you for not removing the gannon from the piece of machinery you may simply distract her by pointing bright side of things:

A) At least she didn't take down any awnings.

B) She did managed to add 3 feet of width to that narrow spot in drive way and got some lovely work dirt done.

There use to be a hole there. 

C) She also was able to get a lovely tan...albeit a fake one made of dirt which will wash off in the shower. 

This concludes our recipe for disaster.  WARNING: If you attempt to do this at home with out the guidance of a non-professional, we cannot be held responsible should your project turn out fine without any bent gates or otherwise damaged pieces of property.  

Apparently over here at Herdlife...we are just plain lucky to have such talented folks on our payroll.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

I am a Gentleman

Good Morning Nice Ladies of the Blogging World,

Trax here again today to tell you about our practice today.  It was fun and I did so good. My lady said that she was most proud of me.

She said we were going to work on obstacles today but the nice man of our herd is using them all to hold up equipment right now, so I got out of that.  I don't mind obstacles but I'd rather lope in circles all day.  I can't imagine why he would rather have equipment than ponies though.  Well I guess sometimes the equipment is handy so that I do not have to plow my arena myself before getting to use it.

I would not make a good plow horse. Killian however would make a great plow horse. After all he looks just like one!  (I'm gonna pay for that joke later I'm sure)

So today we loped more circles and worked on stopping.  At first I was all like "Shooot, I can stop as good as any horse." and we would lope and stop and lope and stop and my lady was all like, "Awesome! You are so good Trax!"  and I'm thinking, "Well Duh, after all I am a paint pony right?"

Then we worked on spins and leg yields and I did so good, and once again she was so proud of me.

But then we worked on something called "Right Lead Departures".  Have I mentioned that I do not care for right leads?  I'm a lefty ya know.  But I tried really hard, even though my lady sends confusing signals and pretty soon we were all messed up.  But I have to hand it to her. She didn't get mad at herself this time, and even better she didn't get mad at me. We just kept working and then finally I got it right.  But by then I was a little frustrated because she wouldn't just let me lope.  Loping makes me happy.

So then I just wanted to run really fast, because when I get frustrated that is what I want to do, Run really fast.  So when she asked me to stop...I wasn't ready yet and she had to run me into the fence to get me to stop.

I think she understood though, because then she let me run some really big circles for a bit, and I got to go really fast!  Once I felt better about life she asked me to stop and I did my very best and she was proud of me again.

That is one of the things I love about my lady, she is kind of simple minded and it doesn't take much to make her happy.

Oh and my lady is also very kind of me.  I kept telling her that I do not like her spurs.  So she put tape made out of duck feathers on them to make them softer. Obviously the spurs were too sharp because the duck tape went right through. I could have told her that, after all ducks are pretty wimpy.  

So any way she bought some new spurs that she said I would like better.  (Go ahead and show them your spurs, Lady)

Thank you Trax for letting me participate 
As you can see they have round balls on the end and are shorter.  So I can feel them and I understand what she wants but they do not jab me.  I like her new spurs and because of them I knew exactly what to do most of the time.  I do not have to get irritated and try to whack her in the back of the head with my tail anymore.

So anyway, after we were all done loping circles she wanted to practice opening a gate.  (Heavy Sigh)  Oh Lady, I do not understand why you think we need to know how to do these things.  But she found the perfect gate right at the end of the arena that goes into the cow poop pen.

So she asked me to stand next to the gate.  I was cool with that.  Then she reached down and unchained it.  I was also cool with that.  Then she realized that we were facing the wrong way and so we had to start over.  She does not know right from left very well.  I could help her with that but since she has never been a roping pony, she probably wouldn't get it anyways.

So we started again. She asked me to stand next to it.  I did.  She unlatched the gate, and being the gentleman paint pony that I am, I reached down and pushed it open for her with my nose.

Apparently being a gentleman pain pony is not appreciated around here, and we had to start again. This time she held on tight so when I tried to open it for her she almost fell off.

This is me laughing at the thought of her falling off
But she didn't and we pushed the gate open and went through. She never took her hand off the gate which I must say is a little awkward.  So when we got around the gate and into the pen I tried again to help her out by pushing the gate shut with my nose.

Clearly my talents are under valued around here.  I mean seriously?  How many horses do you know that understand how to shut a gate as well as open it?  Not many I am sure!

She told me I cannot shut the gate for her with my nose. She wanted me to move my butt closer.

So here is my question.  Why is it okay to shut the gate with my butt, where it might bump against my legs and hurt me, but not okay to shut it with my nose where I can see it and keep myself out of trouble?

She says I have to trust her to shut the gate.

I don't have any problems trusting her, it is the gate I don't trust. They have minds of their own ya know!

Anyway, we finally got the gate shut and latched and then my-sometimes-not-so-bright-lady realized that we were trapped inside the cow poop pen and the only way to get out was to go back the way we came.

Hey!  Wait-a-minute....I think she might have planned it all along!

This time we did it different.  Instead of opening the gate away from us, we opened it towards and went through. It was not quite as awkward for her (trust me, she is a total clutz) and without too much trouble we did get it closed and latched.

Then she decided that we were done for the day.  Just in time too, because I had only eaten half my breakfast and I was getting hungry again.

Do you know what I love most about my lady???  After we ride she always scratches the sweaty parts on my face.  Oooooh I love a nice face scratching.  Because I am a gentleman I am never pushy about it, but when she asks I will lower my head so she can scratch up by my ears. Then I move to the next spot, and she totally understands what I am asking.  She is a good good lady.

It makes me sad that all the horses of the world do not have a nice human in their lives to love them and scratch their ears.  But that is a different topic all together.

So for now Nice Ladies, I shall bid you all a fond adieu.  Don't forget to hug your horses today!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meeting the new Trimmer

The new trimmer was here Saturday.  All we did was visit and she took some video's of Sassy moving.  She seems like she has a pretty good handle on what she does for a living.  She has a plan of attack in mind.  I think that is a good thing.

She is very outgoing, a little opinionated, but also very compassionate about what she does and understands where I am coming from.   In fact, the very reason she started doing what she does is because she had a horse, just like mine, and conventional methods weren't working.  She had to learn in order to fix her own horse, and moved on from there.

The pan is to give Sassy a few more weeks to grow out. Then we will pull the shoes and see what is going on with her frogs up underneath there.  If there is Thrush we will treat for it. and then she will be in pads and boots.  She says that I should be able to use the boots I have (we did some measuring) or I can opt to buy a pair of EasyBoot Transitions. Either way I need to get some pads ordered so they are here when it is time to pull the shoes. She will not be in boots 24/7, but it will be more like 16 hours on, 8 off. When she is off she has to be in soft sandy terrain.

We did talk about pea gravel and her assessment is that although in some states it works great, in AZ often times the gravel we get is not nice and round but more jagged, and can some times cause more bad than good.    So I will probably opt for the sand. I don't know if I will haul some in or just work her pen so it is softer.

One of the things she talked about is the vet she works with. This vet is over on the west side of town and he strictly does lameness. Nothing else.   She said that through him she has learned that there are so many underlying causes of toe first landings that have nothing to do with the hoof at all.  He has told her that he see's at least 1 horse a week with toe first landings that is actually caused from neck injuries.  The second most common is tears in the flexor tendon.  She also said that very often these are misdiagnosed as navicular because, well lets face it, most of us cannot afford an MRI.

One thing that she asked me which has me a little nervous is about what happened when we did the nerve blocks on Sassy.  She wanted to know if she was 100% sound. Well the answer is no.  It was more like 95.  An indicator that there is likely some soft tissue damage.

That doesn't mean she can't be healed, but it could explain a lot.

The plan of attack is pull the shoes, put on the boots and use the pads to give her cushion.  The trim that day will be slight.  Then in four weeks, she will get another trim. and we will keep at that for a while and see if we can get her landing on those heels. It will take some time, but if after 2-3 months she is still not landing heel first, then there will be no doubt that there is more going on. Then I will have to decided if I want to try to go on.  I think it will depend on if she is any better at all.  If there is progress then I will go on. If there is none then I will be done. If there is no progress then it will be likely that there is some serious soft tissue damage and the treatment for that is way beyond my means.

At first it was hard to not get my hopes up.  For some reason that has changed. I do not have high hopes anymore.  I'm not sure why that is. I mean yes I have hopes, but I'm more prepared for it to not work this time around.

In other news, I am very excited about next weekend.  I had to cancel my plans for Ranch Versatility for a while, but there is lots of other stuff going on.  As it turns out there is an American Stock Horse Assoc Clinic just 25 min from my house next Saturday. It is relatively cheap to join in and I get to go!   There is a competition the next day but I won't go to that. It would double the money I'd have to spend and also I've decided not to rush my horse this year.  I am perfectly happy to go to the clinic and then go home and practice what I learned for a while.  On Top of that, there is another blogger going, and I am excited to meet her.

I also found out that a couple of streets over from me there is Sorting practice every Saturday, so that is something else I can do for almost nothing.

So when one door shuts, another one opens...I guess that is how life works, huh?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fence Fighting

Yesterday the herd was in the pasture.  It was the first time they had been out in a week due to irrigation.  I hate keeping them locked up that long but my pens are huge so it isn't like they don't have room to bounce around a little if needed. The main thing I hate about it is that they don't get the social time I like them to have.  They can talk over the fence, and they can all see each other, but that is it.

On the back side of my arena, and adjoined to the end of my pasture via a gate is a cattle pen with shade.  When it is really hot I always leave the gate open so they can have shade if needed. Right now, they don't really care about shade so I have been keeping it shut. Said pen also boarders one of my neighbors pasture. They have 2 horses, very sweet horses. A palomino and a bay.  These two always come to the fence and watch if I am working in the arena.  There is a little cow dog over there also who takes great joy in trying to herd the horses. The horses how ever, just pin their ears at the dog and shoo him away.  It is comical to watch.

Yesterday I had opened the gate to the pen.  I'm not really sure why I did, I just did.  I guess because there was some new green growing in the pen and there is very little green in the pasture (Note to self- research annual winter grasses) as our bermuda is all dormant right now.  About noon I was outside talking to TC and heard equine squealing.   Sure enough, there was Killian at the fence fighting with the palomino.

I didn't do much at first, as these things are usually over and done with before it gets to heated.  Not this time.  I saw the Palomino do a full rear up, and Killian had turned and was kicking at the chain link fence.  Sassy of course was right there egging the whole thing on.   Trax was there but watching from a safe distance.

Side note:  Trax is like the little kid of school who tags along but doesn't really fit in.  The bigger kids let him hang out but not too close.  So if there is trouble, he always watches, very interested, but always from a safe distance with a clear escape route not too far away.

I yelled at Killian and headed back to break it up.  I have been through this before with him.  He is very possessive over his mare.  He is the herd leader most of the time. The only time he isn't is if I am there.  Then I become leader and he does as I say...albiet a bit grudgingly.

So I yelled his name.  He looked right over at me, I could read his mind as clear as day. "Aw crap here she comes, oh well I can get in a couple of more insults before she gets here."  And he turned back to his fight.

Sassy heard me too.  She raced away from the fight to the end of the pen.  The pen floor is dried cow manure. It is old enough that it is starting to compost and is really more like nice soft dark dirt.  Sassy ran to the gate, then turned and raced back towards Killian.

At that very instant I watched her execute the most gorgeous sliding stop I have ever seen on a horse.  It was textbook!!!! Then she rolled back on her hind end and did her short little legged race out the gate and past me.  For just a moment I forgot why I was headed out there and watched in awe.  That horse, even lame, has more athletic ability then my other two combined.

For half a second I was able to close my eyes and envision myself on her at a reining competition and riding her to one of those gorgeous stops.  We turn and spin and race to the other end and slide again....the crowd goes wild....

Then another squeal from the two geldings snapped me back to reality.

I yelled at Killian again. This time I was close enough he knew he was in trouble. At that point he and Trax both raced out the gate and into the pasture where Sassy was.  I shut the gate behind them.

Then came the chicanery!

I would have given anything to have my camera right then, or even my cell phone, but I had neither and knew if I went to get it I'd miss out, so I just leaned against a pole and watched.

They raced back and forth bucking and snorting like a bunch of wild horses.  They poured on the speed, running as fast as they could. Holy cow!  He stretched himself out long and low to the ground, like a race horse.  I never knew Killian could move that fast. I mean, I guess I should have, after all he has some long legs and powerful muscles.  However, he still cannot outrun Trax.   Trax has the edge of being in fantastic shape, and the heart of a marathon runner. When Trax turns it on, no one is going to catch him.

Sassy was having a great time being the center of attention. She would try to race and play with Trax and here would come Killian, ears pinned, moving himself between the two acting like he was going to go after Trax. Trax would just laugh (literally I could hear him laughing) and say, "You may be tougher but you can't catch me!"  With the blink of an eye he was gone and Killian, feeling superior would give up the chase and go back to herding his mare.  

I stood there for the whole thing with my heart just pounding in my chest.  Not from fear or worry, but just enthralled by the magnificence of it all.  They were all bucking so high and racing so fast and just having the time of their lives and I heard myself say out loud, "Oh My!"  Not even realizing I had spoken until the words were out.

Then Trax went to trotting up and down the fence line snorting so loud, it sounded like he was blowing through a bull horn.  I watched him move back and forth, head held high, and and tail out. He is all muscle right now, not overly so.  Oh he is a thing of beauty!  All of my horses are pretty, but there is something about that horse that just takes my breath away.  I know, I may be a bit biased, but watching him move is one of my greatest joys in life.

Then as quickly as it had begun it was over.  The red horses went to get a drink, of course not letting the little nerdy kid anywhere near the water tub until they were done.  Poor Trax, he needs a friend..

As I watched Sassy walk across the pasture though, I knew that she had paid a price for her foolishness.  She was limping badly even at a walk. That little scene in my mind of riding her in a reining event, which before had floated about like a little bubble blown by a small child from bottle of soap and a wand, now landed on a blade of grass and popped from my mind with a soft splash of soapiness onto the ground.

She will never be that horse, she will never be able to carry a rider for that sort of stress.  My only hope is that she can carry a light human down a trail with out experiencing too much pain.

The horses went back to grazing, and I went back to chores, but for the rest of the day...and even into today, I find myself smiling and even feeling a little bit giddy over yesterdays show.