Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm headed off to the San Juans again for some R&R, and I'm literally counting the hours before I get to jet out of here.  I know I've said it before, but the cabin is my happy place and since it's my birthday, that's where I'm going. :)

P has a busy weekend of working in front of her, and I'm excited to catch her next week on the flipside.  In the meantime, here are a few snaps of the lady from her workouts this week:

She's so damn cute it's hard to resist...

I know she's crunched here.. but look at her hocks! Pushing! we have a hind end!

 Less push... but still cuter

 Baby haunches in... not bad for Week 2!

More baby lateral work.. this time a leg yield..  (note the tail swishing..)

 Tail!!! it's growing back.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Naughty, Naughty, Mare...

I suppose we spoke a little too soon with the flowering praise about Miss P's wonderful progress and attitude...

Today was ALL MARE, ALL THE TIME.  What a twit.

I was so excited to skip out on work for a couple hours to watch her work after Tuesday's "glorious ride," but apparently Pia had absolutely no intention of a repeat performance...

I pulled into the barn just as Piasaurous was walking to the ring, and she looked good, but a little hot.  Ears were super pricked, muscles were tight, and she was a little looky, but still super obedient and responsive, so no red flags went off.

BO and I both agreed that with the uppity attitude and twitching muscles, we would let her run around a bit.  So we tied up her reins and sent her off.  Perfection.  Relaxed, forward, perfection.  P was cantering gently around the ring, little bucks and head tosses, but nothing crazy, just relaxed and fun.

When she was tired enough to come back to us, we chatted for a minute and noticed that the longer P was standing, the more "agitated" she was getting again.

"no need to push it" we thought.... so we threw her on the lunge just to get her attention on the BO and try to focus her a smidge more.. Seemed like a good idea, and P was listening, but was clearly displaying some excess energy.  After a ga-zillion transitions and half halts/pushes on the line.. we pulled her in and got ready for the BO to ride.

P. was. not. interested.

Just last week the BO was complimenting me on Pia's "lovely mounting etiquette."  which, today, was no where to be seen.  What a twit.  she'd stand perfectly still until BO moved to her side to mount, then P would swing her ass around and away from the mounting block.  Bad Mare.

This conversation continued for about 10 minutes, with interludes of backing her off, making her stand, ground work, you name it.  But every time we came back to the mounting block, P would swing her butt away.  bratty pony.

Did I mention that due to a delivery of shavings, ALL the horses were inside, which means that from the ring, P can't see a single friend?  I think her butt swing thing was an attempt to look back to the barn and hunt for friends, since she's all herd bound, but I'm not sure.

We finally got a nice still halt for the BO to mount with and started off.  P was antsy and agitated, but moving forward (small victory!). sorta.

After about 10 minutes she started getting fussy about going forward and began with her cow kicks and BSing.  BO got some moments of relaxation, but for the most part P refused to settle and kept up with her sewing machine trot instead of pushing into a nice big relaxed working gait..

P's brain was starting to fry and she began whinnying.  a lot.  loudly. and it was clear that she was doing her best to tune out any aids from her rider and have her own little party.  In retrospect, this would have been a good time to get a couple great transitions and call it a day.

In actuality, this is when we decided to get a teeny tiny bit of canter work done, so BO asked her nicely to move up into the canter. P obliged and it was lovely.

Then we changed directions, and Pia objected strongly.  the trot work was a struggle, and there was ZERO acceptance of any of the aids.  But,  we worked right, so we should work left, and BO asked for the canter.  That was it.  No big question, no amazing movement, just a simple upward canter transition.

P lost it.  She kicked, she kicked more, she popped her back up and threw a buck, then she threw LOTS of bucks, and turned for the long side looking more like a crazed mustang than a refined lady.

(note: only once have I see P drop her head and buck continuously like this, and that's when she got me off  the first week I had her.  Bitch).

I saw it.  I saw P start throwing a twist into her round back buck and I saw the first slide out of the saddle.

all I could think was "God Dammit Pia.  Don't piss people off!".  BO came off, and the mare went FLYING around the arena.

At this point I'm a) pissed at the mare.  b) slightly affirmed by the fact the BO couldn't sit her bucks for more than 20 seconds either. and c) already seeing the horrible leg twisting, rein snapping misstep that could put us back on the vet's bankroll for 6 more months..

The stupid mare galloped like an idiot for a good 5 minutes.  The BO was fine (thank god) and the mare was stupid.  Galloping, whinnying, tossing her (lovely new thinline) reins around like god damn string and refusing to settle down. 

I turned around for one second, and SNAP.  Bye.  There go the reins.  Stupid, Flipping, Mare.

At this point, Pia pulled her head out of the clouds and stopped dead in the middle of the ring.  Thanks Mare! Thanks for stopping AFTER you snapped the pretty, squishy, comfy reins.  You ridiculous animal....

I ran for another set, BO put the snot back on the lunge and brought her focus back to earth with LOTS of transitions.  She popped back on for few seconds, got a good trot both directions and then we called it a day.  I felt so bad.  She kept apologizing since P was such an angel on Tuesday, and I kept apologizing for the mare tossing her into a wall... NOT a good way to make friends, P...

The good news is that the arena is so super soft and squishy that you feel like your landing on a cloud (aside from the initial smack into the wooden wall)...

The bad news is that I'm embarrassed, Pia is a twit and I have to go repair my reins (waaah).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Small Victories

I just got a super excited (and prompt) email from the BO praising Pia for her "superb ride" today.  Apparently we are very excited because there were  (and I quote) "no bucks AND no stops."  Brilliant mare, she managed to get our expectations so low that we're thrilled when she isn't outright ignoring us... Clever trick, I should see if that works at my job... 

Anyway, I'm excited.  I'm glad that P is still moving forward and cooperating more and more with each ride.  Thursday I go out to witness firsthand again, I promise I'll take more video.  For now, I just have a Glamour Shot from BO's camera phone:

Pretty Girl.  She's been extra showy-off recently.  I'm pretty sure she thinks/knows she's a rockstar...

Monday, July 26, 2010

She's baaaaaaaaaaaaack !!! (with video!!)

What a weekend!  First off, one of my dear friend's Angie came to visit for some R&R on the lake before starting her new post doc job as a professor (how fancy does that sound??).  Angie and I met while working in the same animal cognition lab at Tufts so, while she's not "horsey" per se, she's pretty savvy to the world of animal brains and operant conditioning.  Needless to say we had plenty of fun conversations about where Miss Pia is headed, as well as fun time at the barn just watching the BO ride and train. 

Miss P has had a really big week.  She's settled in like a champ and is currently enjoying her "summer home" outside full time.  The big dry gravel in the paddock is drying her hooves out beautifully and miss mare is already losing the attitude and relaxing.  There wasn't too much downtime however, since it was straight to work for Princess P (BO put her first ride on her last Thursday) so this whole "I have Wobbler's" excuse isn't going to cut it anymore. :) 

I was bummed to miss the first couple rides (which meant I didn't get to witness the "discussion" regarding forward movement), but I had a saddle fitting scheduled for Friday, so I'd get my turn on the Mare to see where things were after only a couple rides. 

Pia was literally a difference horse.  This barn is clearly her happy place.  She's back to being calm, and sweet and attentive. No jaw crunching/ear pinning or general snottiness. I stuck her on the lunge first thing and had the best session we've had in months.  She was swinging, pushing and C.A.L.M.  Big wide circle, very attentive with my vocal commands. no bucking, head thrashing or refusal to stop galloping.  GOOD MARE.

As I mentioned, I was trying two specific saddles (the Optimax and D1..) so we threw the Optimax on first.  Loved it. I felt super balanced, supported and comfy.  Of course, it was hard for me to pay too much attention to the saddle because P felt amazing.  seriously a different horse (do I keep repeating myself?). She was pushing, forward, reaching for the bit, basically just RAD. 

Of course a fly started bugging her after 10 min which started causing her to hollow her back and swish the tail unnecessarily along with some nice head tossing, but I took that as an opportunity to dismount, switch saddles and give her a quick break.   It seemed like a good theory, but apparently there was no "fly."

We tacked her up in the D1, took pics, measured, fussed. Then I got on in it.  immediate swishing, objecting and general bad mare-ness.  I got a couple good circles in (did not like the D1 nearly as much) before Pia was so pissed she started crow hopping and kicking out. 

"hmm" says I, "this is a persistant mother-effing fly."  after her second bucking bronco routine, I popped off (thank YOU emergency dismount) and starting trying to find whatever the hell was biting/pinching/bugging her.  P stood dead still while I ran my hands up all her legs, inspected, felt under the saddle.. .and.. nothing.

Just about the time the fitter and I were like "weird, well, let's try again."  P shook like a wet dog, then started bucking again, this time with me at the end of the reins.  My only thought was to pull the tack (if she took a pause), so I tried to manuver her away from the wall, and get her twitching to a minimum, before I just ripped the girth off and slid everything off her back. 

Perfect. calm.  (what mare?!)

It almost looked like her skin had little hives under her (clean) pad, but as soon as I smoothed her coat, I couldn't see them anymore.  Super weird.  Apparently, P does NOT like the D1.  :) Though I don't appreciate such a strong objection..

Anyway, that was Friday.  I wasn't thrilled about the pad/saddle coniption, but honestly, I was so thrilled just to be back on her for a few minutes that I don't really care... I know that's not super productive, but I'm taking small victories.  Oh, and we ordered the Optimax.  (YAY.) Should be here in September, complete with the weird scrolling... at least my thigh will hide most of it...

Saturday I was able to get out to the barn to watch the BO work miss P in the morning.   I knew from our discussions that P was back to old tricks in that she was attempting to just ignore leg and not move forward off of it.  Day 1 was summerized as "lots of kicking, and pokey trot."  Day 2 was "better, but still resisting" and Day 3 was AMAZING.

Ok fine. Maybe not amazing, but P moved forward immediately, only threw in a few small kicks during transitions and for the most part is adorable.  I have a quick video, which I will put a few caveats on. 
First - be nice, the mare hasn't worked in months
Second - this is toward the end of the ride, and the BO is addressing the evasions that pop out when P is "tired"
Third - She looks a little jammed up, but that was the "conversation." She warmed up long and low. 

But most important, look at her push! she's using her butt!

Watch this old vid for comparison.. this was before any diagnosis or Vitamin E...

And now look at Saturday.. I know its a little hard since she's not moving freely here, but I see a big difference...

I'm almost embarrassed to post that clip, but it's all I have and I'm too excited!!

She's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paradise Found..

I know, I know.. I shouldn't speak so soon, but honestly I couldn't feel better about the move.  Of course my camera decided to run itself out of batteries so I have zero fun Pics of Pia in her new palace, but I'll get some, I promise.

The move was super quick and super easy. Thankfully our old barn was deserted due to all the munchkins hitting a H/J show in the area for the weekend.  I let P run like a lunatic for a bit in the ring then we had a nice bath and threw all of our stuff in the trailer.  20 minutes later we unloaded and I am already feeling so good about things I don't know what to do with myself.  P has the first stall on the North side of the barn, which means the driveway points at her run so she gets to see everyone coming and going.  It's also a pretty big run, and she seems to love it.  Her neighbor is a cute pony named Poppet, and they are already snorting and squealing at each other over their fence.  (P's other "neighbor" is the feed room... so she's right where she wants to be..).

The South side of the barn has more of a "view" since it looks out over the hill, and the BO says that the horses feel more "liberated" when they can see farther, so she feels bad for sticking P on the other side.  Honestly I'm so happy she can sit in the sun all day long I don't know WHAT to do... BO does have a nice paddock/shelter right off the barn that if P wants more "open view" we could move her to.  It's $25 cheaper a month and lovely, so it's a thought, but given the giant upgrade already, I'm not worried about P getting enough outside time at this juncture.  :)

Anyway, once we unloaded, I threw P in her "non-view" room and was expecting similar muss and fuss as she has shown whenever I drop her at the vet/when she moved to our last barn.  This was not the case.  It's like she just took a big sigh and said "FINALLY, what the hell took you so damn long."  She was calm. started munching hay immediately, and sniffing around.  She was marching inside and outside a lot, but mostly because she kept just checking out the action in the arena.  Calm, happy, eating.  Can't ask for much more... :).  What a good mare.

But the rest stops there.  P is back in full training as of today.  BO is putting rides on her today, tomorrow and Saturday.  I'm out there for our saddle fitting tomorrow after her ride (YAY) and I'm planning on watching her Saturday ride.  Maybe I'll finally even get some video back up on here!

I will say that while free-lunging before the move, I was IMPRESSED how much more impulsion P is showing in her gaits.  I think the Vit-E is really making a difference and even barefoot, without boots on the hard sand, she's pushing and driving.  Let's hope that stays around and we start to see an engaged, happy horse under saddle.

Lots is exciting right now! I can't wait for the next few weeks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moving Day!!

Man, oh man I could not be more excited to move Miss Pia today.  Our current barn has gone to shit  since I gave notice.  reduced turnout, dirty water buckets, gross stall, its absurd.  I mean I get it, you know longer have to keep me as a happy client... but STILL.  Take care of the horse..

Oh did I mention that the BO isn't prorating my last week, OR giving me my deposit back?? the clever/confusing part is that she said my deposit would "cover me through August 8th if need be" but when I asked for it to be cashed out since I would be gone TODAY, she said "oh, well I used it all on replacing her mat." OHHHH right the mat,  the mat that was uneven because you installed it wrong? and it was under warranty? Oh right. and my horse destroyed it since she was bored out of her mind without enough turnout??

Anyway, keep my $$, maybe you can use it to build some better paddocks, or maybe you can use it to pay for a groom who pays better attention to the horses in her care. OR MAYBE you could learn how to run a barn and stop adding wood chips to "deep paddocks."  Adding footing does not better drainage make.  I mean jesus.

Today:  Work on work. Actually accomplish something before 3pm. At 3pm, go doll up the mare-mare and pack up her clothing and toys.  5pm, get to paradise, let her gallop and run and lounge in her HUGE NEW STALL with a run.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, cannot wait!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Ok, so thank god S could come down and help me with Miss P and the saddle "test" yesterday.  Like I said, all I wanted was to get on, sit on her back and feel how the Prestige Optimax balanced my seat.  Ideally I'd like to walk a few circles, but nothing more. 

Well, as predicted, as soon as I started slinging a pad over her back, P's eyeballs started bulging out of her head and the girl got a little excited.  I guess I would be too.  Aside from not having a job for the past couple months, P has been subjected to the second session of PONY CAMP out at the barn... So I could understand her excitement at actually getting out.

Long story short, The saddle was gorgeous, I enjoyed sitting on my pony's back, and Sabrina helped keep the monster tethered to the ground for our very exciting giant walk circle under saddle.

Seriously. tethered. to. the. ground.  I hadn't even asked for a walk after mounting before P started in with her bunny hops.... silly mare.

but look how happy she is!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The surgery, err saddle fund...

What does one do with a $10k check they didn't end up writing?

Spend it of course.  Which is why on this gorgeous thursday afternoon, I threw my current saddle (I love it, P hates it) in my car and headed for the tack shop. 

I spend money easily. very easily. and if I feel like I have a little extra to spend, I'll spend all of it. Oh, and if it's nice out, I get a little punchy and just start waving my credit card around like a fly swatter.

Hence, what ensued was a Pretty Woman-esque scene with saddles flying everywhere, testing leather, looking at catalogs and discussing the next big purchase.

Here's my justification:

P is already tight and weird due to the wobbles, which means an even slightly ill fitting saddle will exacerbate an already tenuous situation and cause balance issues that I really don't need to create.  Control the controllables, I say.

So there we have it.  Justified.  Sure there were some decent consignment options, but why stop there! My leg is retardedly long and difficult to find a flap for.. that right there screams custom!

So here's what is currently sitting in the back of my car awaiting P's long unused back:

The Prestige Optimax.  I'm not wild about the goofing scrolling in the panel (thank you Italians), but its really super comfy and pretty close to what I've always enjoyed riding in...

The other saddle up to bat is also a Prestige, but its the D1 model:
Pro's for this one?  An elastic front billet to keep from restricting the shoulder along with a cutback panel that takes lots of pressure off the top of the shoulder/wither.  Neato.  It's on trial right now though so I don't get to play with it yet, but it's also designed for serious collection and weird things that I doubt will ever affect me or Pia in our lives. 

Anyway, I'm excited.  I like Prestiges, they're a good value for what you get, and I can get one here in less than the typical 4 month wait for a new saddle.  

P's going to be so excited when we tack her up this afternoon, I bet she squeals...

I wish we got to play more, but we will be restricted to walking due to this nasty little bit of flesh:
(Before you freak out, it looks WAY worse than it is)

What it is is the result of "fixing" one of P's self inflicted seizure wounds.  This is the little scrape that looked superficial and like a thin scratch, but in reality it was a deep slice that basically left a flap of skin loose over the top of it.  It didn't get infected, but it wasn't closing up (cause she rips it open with every step), so stitches were not a solid option.  Instead, we just doped her up, blocked the joint and cut the whole flap off so that now it's a huge flat wound, instead of a huge deep wound.  It looks extra gross in the pic since I snapped it RIGHT after the vet removed the flap, which basically created a whole new cut.  Sick. I know.

Anyway, P got lots of nice drugs, drooled all over me and was a total wobbly mess for the process.  I find it a little disconcerting that I find my horse the most adorable when she's drugged.  I'm sure that says something about my maternal instinct, but I'm just gonna ignore it. 

(P stoned out of her mind, found the wheelbarrow exceptionally interesting...)

For now, I'm just thankful that everything is healing well, we have great saddle options, we move to our new home next Wednesday and our barefoot adventure is proceeding nicely. :)

Sleepy-P says enjoy the weather.... 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Barefoot Beginnings...

 New Person? New people have TREATS!

Since P's shoes came off for her first myelogram, I've decided that I'm going to make a go at the whole barefoot thing.  I know, I know... SO TRENDY.  :) well that's me.. on trend all the time.  or not. who cares.

With regard to her feet though, I think we've got a shot.  For one thing, her hoof is strong and already in decent shape.  For another, P didn't have shoes put on until later, so her natural hoof hasn't altered that much yet, and maybe, just maybe, she might achieve concavity again.

Also, at our new facility (we move next wednesday!) she'll have nice hard dry gravel turnout which is ideal for the first transition year in toughening up her feet.  For Pia's first barefoot trim, we had a really nice (and excellent farrier) come out to pull her shoes and trim her up. He did an okay job. nothing to complain about, but he certainly didn't trim her up with an eye for staying barefoot. 

Last Friday, as P was approaching 4 weeks since her pull and trim, I had a really lovely barefoot specialist out to trim up Pia's toes and talk to me about the strengths and (literal) weaknesses of Pia's feet.  The good news is that she thought P already looked pretty good, and that her sole was pretty hard and already firming up nicely.  This is a semi-miracle given that her current turnout is either sole-soaking deep hogsfuel, or hoof eating sand.  She definitely isn't walking the recommended mileage on a daily basis to callous up her sole, and she definitely ends up essentially soaking her feet if he gets turned out in the back.  (thankfully at P's insistence of tearing the fence down, she rarely gets turned out in the back..)

I was encouraged that our trimmer barely had to make any adjustments.  She took some toe off (there's more to come off, P's white line is definitely a little stretched by a long toe), gave her a nice mustang roll on the front and scraped off some dead sole along with trimming her frogs up a bit. 

P's bars are non existent, Mrs. Trimmer Lady said it looked like they broke off (I didn't know they could do that..), but that the hoof in general looks pretty balanced.  Frogs are healthy, heels aren't TOO contracted and aside from her right hind, she's wearing pretty evenly..

All in all we laid out our game plan.  Ride (!!!) her in boots (just on the fronts), trim every 4 weeks, and try to keep her on firm ground as much as possible.   I'm thinking all of these things are possible at this point, so we're good to go.

(sorry for the blurry pics, I keep forgetting my real camera, and this is the best the phone can do...)

We took measurements so that we have a nice starting point to know if/when her feet start changing.

Fronts 12cm x 12cm (they match!)
Left hind 12 cm Wide x 12.5 cm long
Right hind 11.5cm wide x 12 cm long

Right front – 55 degrees
Left front – 57
Right Hind – 52
Left Hind - 55


Okay, so technology (among other things) is not my strong suit, but I finally figured out how to make tabbed pages for the blog! Kudos me, I'm about three years late on everything... sigh.

Oh well. 

If you're so inclined, I added a quick "about us" page for some background on Miss P and myself, and other pages are in the making... maybe something on Wobblers and whatever else seems entertaining or relevant.  At this point that might include a page on "how to pay extensive vet bills (step 1: marry rich, damn..), or possibly a page on "humans: how to bite, kick and glare at them" authored by Pia. 

Who knows. But I'm feeling slightly more proficient and productive (not at my "real" job) this morning!

Happy Tuesday! Real post coming this afternoon, I promise.....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jigga WHAT!?!??!

I can't even really type straight right now. I mean, I am, just wow.

Just got off the phone with the vet, with the results of our Myelo v2.0.  Remember how I asked that he perform an additional neuro test to video and send to Dr. Grant for additional info when consulting?  Well he did.  First he said it's really hard to learn much from watching the videos.. it helps to be touching and feeling the horse's response, so Dr Grant couldn't get "that much" information just by watching. (sad, well it can't hurt right??). 

BUT, then he said "but I could feel the horse, and man, she is night and day from where she was at her first neuro test a few months ago."

THEN he rated her a "1" or "maybe a little less than" in terms of the severity of her Wobbles!!!

Long story short, she's had such a good response to the high dosage of Vitamin E, that they aren't even recommending surgery at this point!!!! Let me say that again.  They aren't recommending surgeryShe should continue to improve on the Vitamin E for several more months, plus fitting her up should help and BAM. healthy horse.  She probably has some chiro issues that could be fixed, but we'll see.

I don't even know where to go from here! I'm reeling at the thought of not spending $10,000 + to glue her neck bones together! Fancy Barn #1 it is! plus I can afford some serious full time training for a month or two to get her back on track before we go back to some slightly more humble accommodations.  I think that P deserves a fancy stall for a few months after having no work and crappy turnout for so long.  What a gem she is!

By no means are we totally out of the woods.  It won't be super simple or easy to get her moving like a normal horse, but what ever is? I'm just glad we won't be having any more seizures or overnight trips to the vet (for at least a little while).  

The Vitamin E effect is pretty profound and there isn't too much puclished yet.  Apparentyly my vet and Dr. Grant are friends with the head of UC Davis Vet school, who has been doing lots of big Vit E studies recently and their effect on Neuro horses and nerve damage.  He also viewed the films and suggested that surgery isn't necessary given the improvement we've already seen on the Vit E. (!!!).
He did say that there's a huge difference in the quality/formula of certain products, so we're hunting down some super secret excellent product that apparently P will be frosting her grain with for the rest of her life. 

Sunshine in Seattle, a new farrier coming to trim our barefoot toes and NO SURGERY!!! What a Friday this is... Man oh man, sometimes life is really, really good.

Here's a short article on the effect of Vitamin E apaprently a lot of the spectacular results haven't been published yet...
UC Davis Vit E study

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Boarding, boarding, what to do!


I made the decision that it's time to move Pia from her current locale.  A) she's grumpy, B) she doesn't get enough turnout and C) the facilities don't justify staying there even for when she's on stall rest.

This means I've been on the hunt, and I've narrowed the field to 3 totally viable, totally different options.  My goal is to have her moved and settled for a few weeks before she has surgery (still unscheduled), so that when she comes home from the hospital, it's to a familiar place.  Any, and all comments/thoughts are welcome... here are the contenders..

Barn #1 - The Luxury Collection

$700 board
10 -14x14 stall w/ run + 1/2 day gravel turnout (and grass paddocks available whenever you personally turn out).
Training not mandatory, but available. all dressage all the time.

Ok, this place is STUNNING, the owner/trainer lives on the property (++) and is obsessed with her horses.  Everything is top of the line. The stalls are massive and have those gorgeous wrought iron stall gates in addition to sliding doors.  The stalls are bedded knee deep in fluffy (not dusty) shavings and the aisle is paved with rubberized paver stones with inlaid grooming mats.  The ring is a standard dressage ring, covered, lit, angled walls, huge mirrors, automatically watered, drug daily and just redone with that squishy sand footing (owner didn't like her nike footing and replaced it).  The stalls have flower boxes, the feed is gorgeous, the care is over the top.  All the horses were in great condition, gleaming and happy.  Owner also mentioned that she's installing video cameras for surveillance and constantly adding new perks.  Oh, and there's a big ol dressage giant there who had (dum da da duum!) SPINAL SURGERY 2 years ago for his wobblers syndrome!!!!  ba da da!

The place seems chill, all the other boarders are riding anywhere from first level to GP.. so there's a range.

The downside? its 30-35 minutes away.  my current barn is 30min and I hate it.  PLUS it's 30min away on a 520.. which is the wrong highway to be driving home on at 6:30 after a nice afternoon ride... hmmm

Barn #2 -The Pony Club Mecca 

$600 board
30 12x12 stalls with full day turnout every other day in (!!) Grass pastures.
Training not mandatory, one event trainer, one dressage trainer.

This place is super friendly.  The facility is a little old and worn, but everything is well maintained and workable.  The insulation is falling from the big metal roof, but the stalls are well bedded and have bars between horses so they can socialize. I like that feature.  Also, the owners are "known" for rehabbing which is nice, and they have a variety of paddock sizes to help accommodate rehab procedures.  Also, they teach, a. lot.  The barn was buzzing with capable, committed pony clubbers and its a pretty tight ship.  I liked the vibe and how often they are out at shows and schooling.  It was fun.  Did I mention that its 10 minutes from my vet? cause it is! Makes check ups nice and convenient... BUT they charge $40 for trailer storage, which puts board up over my current $625 number. 
pro's? cost, expertise, fairly easy commute of 25min.. decent turnout (when p can use it again) and good community
cons? only one smallish indoor ring, and LOTS of lessons to work around. plus its just sort of grimy.  not the gleaming gorgeous facility you want to show off.

Barn #3 - The Convenience Factor


$550 board
15 10x10 stalls with runs attached. full day turnout in solitary large paddocks (most with grass)
training not mandatory - S teaches here regularly.

Not sure about this one.  But, for one thing its super close, as in less than 20 minutes from work and keeps me on I-90 which makes getting home after a ride MUCH easier... Its not fancy, at all.  The aisles are dirt, nothing is gleaming, nothing is new.  The ring is decent sized and indoor with ok footing.  It's assets are that a) its easy to get to, and S is there all the time to keep an eye on the pony.  b) the groom is SPECTACTULAR.  the stalls are spotless, buckets are spotless and the pastures look like they maintain footing really well.  The drawbacks are the small stall size (we're looking at 60 days stall rest, remember?) and not rad ring (not that we'll be using it anytime soon..). Also, the owners aren't super experienced, but they are friendly.  They recently made a "serpentine" paddock for a laid up eventer so that he could be turned out, but was unable to buck and run like an idiot... It's nice to know they are willing to accommodate problem children...

So, what do I pick? where do I go? spend big for the super comfy stall and peace of mind that comes with an obsessed owner and trainer even if it means longer commute? Do I go with the Pony Club barn that has a decent facility with experienced trainers even if the turnout is not rad? Do I go the cheap route but have S's watchful eye over here and a reallllly affordable price tag?

So confusing.  I'm considering the expensive barn for rehab, then once P is up and running again moving to the cheap barn where I can afford more training along with my board? The pony club barn strikes a balance between those two... so it could be a decent comprise for a longer term solution.

I'd be lying if I didn't think it was really comforting to have another wobbler in the barn (at #1)... I can't imagine having someone who's gone through this before and also having a trainer who's worked with a recovering wobbler and their mysterious new hind end?

decisions decisions... Here's a map of my life.  The far west purple pin is my house, "a" is my office.  Northern orange pin  is barn #2, middle pin  is Barn #1, and the southern purple pin is #3

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It's all about small victories right now...

hosed off the mare's knees yesterday.. and, drumroll please............................

Look! that's not so gross!

So glad it's staying clean and getting less gooey... small victory!  plus it looks like there are little hairs (you can't see them in my iphone photo, but not EVERY hair is gone.. a few stragglers survived) which is encouraging for the amount of skin that must also be there holding the small hairs in place.

Good mare! way to heal!

In other news... I toured a new barn today (ooohhhhh aahhhhhhh) and have a few more to visit in the next couple of days that promise more turnout and real, live grass! I think Pia would want that.  details to come!

Oh, and the sun is OUT.  I'm headed to the lake.  seems like a good idea...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rug burns..

Friday afternoon we went to grab the mare, and bring her home for the holiday weekend.  I mentioned that my vet reported that Pia had a "stormier recovery" and "bruised herself" a bit in the process of coming out of the anathesisa and also experienced some (not uncommon) seizures related to the myelogram.

He was pretty casual about the "abrasions" she gave herself while seizing, which made me think that they couldn't be anything that some corona ointment and extra lotion wouldn't have soft and happy within a week... boy do I wish that was the case...

When I got there, it was pretty obvious that miss mare was not thrilled with anything and mostly just wanted to sit in the stall and sulk.  Remember last time I picked her up and she was a pacing, puffing, sweaty mess??? She couldn't have been farther to the other end of the spectrum.. She nickered and finally came out of her corner and didn't seem interested in much other than resting her head on my chest and slowly munching on some carrots.

I took a quick once over to look are her "abrasions" and my heart sank.  While Pia's poll and neck were less goopy than they were after myelo round #1, her "rug burns" were 10x worse than what I was expecting.  Both of her knees looked inflamed and gooey, and the rest of her joints had bangs and bruises from what look like clipping herself with her own feet..

Here's a highlight of the damage:
our bloody knees..

Significantly less bloddy (though equally hairless) hock, and the dripping evidence of a serious hoof smack on her pastern...

 (There are a few other bumps and bruises, but not very significant ones... These are the ones I'm worried about.  For one thing, her knees are where she had skin grafts, and I can't tell how much of the "patch" has been removed, and I don't really know what that means for healing.  Her hock isn't that worrisome, it isn't pussing, it isn't hot and the joint isn't inflamed.  The clip on her pastern worries me a little because its still weeping and until yesterday it was hot and she didn't want it touched/dressed or wrapped.  P was favoring it when she was standing, but walking sound on it... )

Anyway, after some jaw dropping inspection of the gashes, I pulled P out and got her ready for her trip home.  It was a little difficult wrapping her since she was wincing away from any pressure on the wounds, but we finally got (decent) wraps on, or at least something that made me feel like she wouldn't contribute to the collection of bumps and bruises during our ride home. 

Sad mare with wraps - note the nicely favored left hind.. 
nono, i'm not freaked out at all that your resting that foot constantly...

I was feeling extra bad about shoving her into the trailer, so we experimented with removing the front divider to give her a little more room to spread out.  I didn't want her scrambling at all in the back on the ride home, so I figure the big girl could try riding in the front two stalls of the trailer.  The Boy had the divider out in about 3 seconds, and it looked viable (plus no sharp hinges bits were sticking out) so we decided to give it a go.  
Mind you, at this point Pia was still acting like a Sad Sally complete with droopy ears and she's not at all acting hot or bothered.  SO, when I led her out to the trailer I didn't bother putting her chain over her nose (whoops).  I realized that I had left her head bumper in the trailer so I  handed P off to The Boy and darted to the tack room to hunt for her little hat.  

Just about the time I was shouting "babe, where did you hang that up" I heard a "NO, Pia!" coming from the other side of the trailer and I poked my head around just in time to see Pia circle twice around Eric (presumably to test the level of control), before she immediately took off running down the long driveway (toward the road filled with cars, trucks and certain destruction).

The Boy maintained fairly good instincts in "hanging on" and I decided to be super helpful by shouting "don't let go of her!!" (which, in fairness reminded me of S's helpful "Stay on!" right before P bucked me off a few months ago..). 

To give him credit, he did hang on, and although he was mostly waterskiing down the driveway (dear god do I wish I had my camera out...), he finally managed to let go with one hand long enough to smack the crap out of her neck to get her attention.  

For the record, he doesn't get mad easily, and if he does get mad, he doesn't show it.  So I was pretty impressed when he stopped her, smacked her and backed her shit up for a few steps before bringing her back to the trailer.  Needless to say, the chain went on, and my sympathy for the poor-sad-mare declined significantly.  She, apparently, felt fine
Thankfully that was it for shennanigans, and we had a nice uneventful ride home.  I'm not sure she noticed the extra room in the trailer, and I fully acknowledge that half the crap I do for horses is mostly for my own piece of mind, but I figure no harm no foul on this one..

Mare says "oh, hei, how roomy..."

Currently we are back to our normal "time off routine" plus she's getting medicated goo applied once a day, with some gentle cleaning happening as necessary.  Since she managed to literally scrape every major joint, the amount of sawdust and random debris that is collecting in the sores is staggering.  She's got a week to show some signs of healing before we start worrying about her skin grafts, and everything else should just be a matter a time - assuming that we avoid any weird infections.  At least its sunny and dry at the barn.. so she won't be packing gross manure mud in there anytime soon.

Also.. we are awaiting the "results" of the second consult on the film (both the radiographs from the myelo and the video of her neuro test).  I'm expecting news on that today or tomorrow...  so I guess my fingers are still crossed. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Up and A-OK (ish)

Alright.  Well the simple good news is that "Pia is up and OK."  the only caveat to that is that this procedure was slightly stormier than the last one and she didn't respond as well to the anesthesia or dye. 

Apparently Pia ended up needing significantly more sedation than before to stay under, which meant that she was "out" for MUCH longer than she was last time, and that basically she woke up with a way worse hangover. 
Unlike last time, when she just bounced up and was happy, this time she had a few seizures and "got a little banged up."  I'm trying ot be thankful that my mare is up and functional, but its hard to keep your stomach from flipping when you think about a 1200# animal seizing in recovery and smacking themselves around a bit. 

It sounds like P convulsed a little as she regained consciousness, but it was minimal and she was still laying down so it wasn't too traumatic.  The unfortunate thing is that she apparently had a second set of seizures once she was back in her stall which resulted in her wacking her legs around and scuffing up her knees. 

(My vet told me not to worry about it since "her knees are scarred anyway," which almost made me slap him through the phone, but I know he was just trying to be reassuring..).

Anyway.  It sounds like she's out of the woods (thank god). and all ready for pickup this afternoon.  The poor girl.  She deserves lots of sugar cubes for this.... and definitely a new treat ball...

I parked the trailer in the back at work so that we don't have to drive allll the way back to the barn before going to get her...  and I must say that it looks a little out of place parked next to salesmen trucks and between stacks of pipe (did I mention we sell pipe? cause we do...)

(one of these things is not like the other...)

I'm letting Pia stay under their watchful eyes for a few more hours before I go rescue her and return her to the end of PONY CAMP and her familiar stall.  Poor mare, I feel so bad for her.. I just hope she's not too uncomfortable or bruised... 

Happy 4th to everyone -
If you've got a pony, go for a nice ride and give them extra treats.  They deserve it.  
If you don't have a pony, find someone you like and give them treats.  They probably deserve it too...  Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fingers Crossed (again)

 (Pia, locked behind bars.. ready for her closeup...)

We got Pia delivered all safe and sound for her second myelogram yesterday afternoon.  Having grown up with trailer-traumatized horses, I am thankful every single time I load Miss P and she acts like a doll.  What a star.

Yesterday was particularly impressive for me, since the barn is currently overrun by a "pony camp.I think I mentioned that Pia was not particularly fond of the camp and the little humans skittering all around (oh right, the fence destruction..) but it was funny seeing them around her...

I pulled her out of her stall to give her one last grooming and get her all wrapped.  Kids were freaking everywhere.  literally darting around in and out of doorways, fighting over ponies, losing their helmets, eating carrots, you name it.  More than one of them came up and asked "WHAT HORSE IS THIS" in a loud unmodulated kid voice... 

(remember, I was NEVER the neighborhood babysitter.  I horse sat, I house sat, but I never baby sat.  I like kids, but I have a hard knowing how smart they are, and what the get/don't get..)

So I say all sweet "this is Pia!"


I laughed, and reassured them that she's not in fact mean, and encouraged them to pat her and give her a treat (Princess P was of course all pricked ears and licky tongue which made me doubt their claims that she's "mean").

I failed to explain to the kids that its quite possible that their small size and loud voices mean that its significantly more likely that Pia thinks they are some sort of small goat who really just want to steal her grain, or try to share her treatball (neither of which she is interested in)....    Oh well, at least Pia gets to escape to the vet while they continue to paint horses and sprinkle glitter on everything within reach....

At our barn we load horses in the arena, since its the flattest surface around, and if a horse freaks out... they're still... in the arena, so it's not as scary.  But, as expected, pony camp was running over time, and there were still kids meandering around the ring finishing their "courses" for the day.  I was totally comfortable loading P away from the confines of the ring, but the BM was apprehensive about the fence-destroying, child-eating mare even walking through the ring to get to her trailer(/salvation).  I shot her a look of "really, are you really making me wait for 15 eight year olds to finish walking over poles and making bad circles to walk my wrapped, broken mare to her trailer so that she can go get her spinal fluid removed (again) and put under full anesthesia!?".  

Needless to say she let us walk through the ring, and I'm proud to say that P didn't bat an eye at the loud goat-children or at the trailer and walked right in, stood nicely and waited for us to deliver her back to the vet clinic.

The ride was uneventful, P seemed to recognize the place when we unloaded (not a good sign when your horse actually knows the vet clinic that well) and she got quickly settled into her hospital stall.  It only took her about 10 minutes to remember that she hates  new stalls and to start pacing and whinnying like an idiot.  I felt a little guilty leaving (as I always do), but I figure eventually she'll calm down and notice the adorable mini across the aisle (Elvis) and make a new friend.  

Currently I'm waiting for the "all good" call from the vet to let me know that she's up and alert... fingers are crossed that it goes as smoothly as last time.  (how ridiculous is it that I'm even saying "as smoothly as last time"...) Oh well.  She's pretty, she's sweet, and I love her.

 (the nose out window, panicked whinny is a little heartbreaking...)

Fingers are also crossed for Miss Denali!  Here's to hoping that her vets find an easy answer to what's been bugging her...

Related Posts with Thumbnails