Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Hope everyone is having fabulous weeks! The mare is happy and exploring the trails, while I am sequestered in Montana in 'work.'

Apparently fishing the Madison River with a few colleagues is an acceptable reason to ditch the office for a week, so I'm trying my hand at fly fishing.

So far, no major injuries, but never fear, the fish are safe from me :)
IWork rolling landscape after rolling landscape, I might need to move The Boy and the mare out this way...

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Review - a mystery solved??

OK.  With birthdays done and work taking a breather, I finally have a moment to sit down and review the glory of last Sunday with Miss P.

there's a man on my horse! ON. my. horse!
 Before we actually got there, I received an update that Cowboy Man had tacked P up and hopped on her in the arena just to see where she was at.  Apparently she was a bit of a witch about being saddled and was twitching her skin like she used to..( anyone remember her fit during our saddle fitting, or how stumped I was at her constant "itchy twitch" ??) and really grumpy about her girth going on.. (remember when we thought she was full of ulcers??)  Apparently though, once the tack was on she was soft and lovely and perfectly polite for Cowboy Man when he mounted up.  He said there was no sign of stopping or stalling (yahoo!) and although he only had her work for about 10 minutes, there was no indication of a marewolf lurking under the surface (yay!).

I guess the point of the (quick) arena ride was to make sure she was safe (or mostly safe) before he started riding her out in the fields and off property.  Just enough time in the ring to get a sense of what he would be working with out of the ring...

Following the ride (again, this is all before we showed up on the 21st), P had some bodywork, whereby it became obvious that her ribs are all out of sorts, specifically on her left side.  Her intercostal tissue between her ribs is spastic and taught, which is essentially "pulling" her ribs in, so that they are almost flattened, instead of floating happily and  making a nice round barrel shape.  Dr. Finn worked some of this loose, but thinks that it'll take a few more weeks to really get it to relax.  P showed the most sensitivity to pressure on her sternum, though her ribs getting closer to her shoulder were also pretty pissed off.

Fast forward to last Sunday, when after a quick stop to acquire more reclaimed wood for his furniture The Boy and I showed up to see the mare.  We planned to saddle up P for Cowboy Man and throw me back on Wendy while we made P's first undersaddle foray off the property.  While we were tacking up, I chatted more with CM and Dr. Finn about what could have caused P's cranky rib situation.  The more we chatted, the more I started thinking back to our last year and putting some pieces of the puzzle together.

The most likely cause of knocking everyone "out" would have been a big slip or fall where P could have had a pretty big trauma to her side.  Apparently this fall didn't need to be recent, it could have been when she was a baby, or a young horse.   As I stood there poking and prodding at Pia, eliciting grumpy faces and pinned ears when I curried her girth (such a familiar reaction), I realized that I first noticed her girthiness when we moved to our new barn last July.  This was after our two mylelograms and right after we canceled our Spinal Fusion surgery.  P had been out of work for a couple months and couped up in a stall so much that ulcers seemed like a really good explanation, and she seemed to respond really well to treating it as such.

Of course, now I'm wondering if it was ulcers at all (I didn't pay to have her scoped), because the uncomfortableness around her girth also showed up after our second myelogram, in which P seized during her recovery from the anesthesia and fell while being led back to her stall.  This is the fall that resulted in seriously skinning her poor knees, and lacerating her left hind pastern.  Yup, full collapsing fall, landing on her left side.


I hadn't put the two together, since about a month passed between her second myelogram/seizure/fall and moving to the new barn where we started working again.  Oh, and that fit she had while being fit for her new saddle?  That was my first time back on her again.. its no wonder that if her ribs were killing her she proceeded to have a conniption fit that stopped immediately when we pulled the tack off...

lightbulbs, lughtbulbs everywhere...

The more we talked, the more intrigued I became.  The ribs, the twitching itch... the uncomfortableness with leg pressure... the exceptional stiffness to the right (uh yeah.. locked solid ribs on the left..)... finally P started to compensate with her body.. holding herself in weird positions to alleviate pain, even doing her weird crossed front legs to stretch out that painful left side.

Finally, P's little brain had to explode resulting in her refusal to move, and finally the bucking/rearing fits that ultimately instigated our move to Summer Camp.

I hate not noticing things like this, but I guess I'm happy P finally got mad enough to get me to change something...

So, with slightly happier ribs, we tacked up and headed off site.  P was a gem.  She only got nervous about leaving her precious herd once or twice, but when she was on the trail she was great.  Not spooky, or slow.  Preferring to lead, but happy to follow and brave with water/mud/llamas and goats.

After about 90 minutes she did finally stop and refuse to move forward.  we chatted quickly and since we can't rule out pain as a contributing factor (she's not 100% on those ribs..) Cowboy Man opted to get off and lead P by hand for the rest of our trip.

Lots of information.  Lots to digest.  But it's so exciting (and horrifying) to be currently thinking that my issues with P were 80% pain and 20% attitude..

That gives us lots of room to improve...

Finally, some pics:
Road Trip Food

The Boy's new slabs of wood
Maisy: not quite a work dog...
Heading out... YAY P! (and Wendy's ears)
coming home on foot.. not a bad compromise for the day
kisses go here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Lady...

Well, its that day.  P gets to be even more of a princess than she usually is, but this time I don't get to personally ensure the onslaught of carrots and kisses.  Such is life.

I guess we'll consider P's insane rent/bodywork/training bills to be her gift this year (cha-ching!).  Hopefully next year it'll be some amazing piece of tack that we'll actually be using.  But, for the moment I'm happy to have a healthy horse, with happy feet and a god attitude.  Plus, she's still just about the most adorable thing ever.

Smooches P! You're 8 now!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If the shoe fits... Or does it?

Work is keeping me from actually sitting down and discussing P's big day, but I can't wait much longer to share this little gem of a pic depicting P's recent shoes

P's feet have been changing DRAMATICALLY since she went off to her summer camp and this past visit made it even more obvious how fast her hooves are adapting.

P is still bare behind and shod up front but all four feet are showing crazy changes.

It's most noticeable up front where her toe is looking more normal and her heels are widening signifactly with her new, bigger natural balance shoes.

The same is happening in her hinds, but the combo of running around all day on varied surfaces + barefoot is making this mare grow some Serious. hoof. I love it.

Take a look at this (bad) pic of P's front toes before camp (Sorry for the awful shot from Jan it's the only old hoof shot on my phone to compare to, and her feet looked worse after six months of shoes):

And a pic of them now:

I know the angles are different and she's standing on weird sloped ground... but the toe looks So much better, her angles are happier and her foot is damn near ROUND

Oh and check this out- the picture I can't stop staring at- P's shoes since she arrived at camp. Newest shoe on the left, oldest on the right (the pad was added for her first week since she was so ouchy)

Already she's gone from a size 0 to a 2! I could've cried when I realized how tight and compressed her feet had gotten without me realizing it...

I think the progression of shoes says it all... And I like the path we are on...

More later!

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Guess Who...

Guess who went on a trail ride today????

This girl!

Super fun Sunday, great trail ride no injuries and P seemed to enjoy herself.

Full story later after a very long drive home and very long nap :)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On the Trail

Finally, some pics from our adventure last week! Maisy was a wonderful co-pilot and aside from sleeping almost the entire way (bad passenger), she help to assure a safe trip.

This was my first "weekday" trip out to the farm, so it was interesting to see it on a slightly busier, more bustling day.  I met a couple other owners out visiting their ponies and a very polite farm hand, who had a very wicked bruise on his shoulder where P attempted to bite a chunk of flesh out.  (bad mare, no treats)

Cowboy Man's arrival was announced by two very happy labs, who Maisy fell in full on love with after approximately three minutes.  P was second in line for the day, so after lots of hugs and pats and kisses, I watched her get turned out with the herd and for the first time she immediately followed the group down into the back pasture where she is totally out of sight from her stall/safety place.  Cowboy Man was very  pleased, although he did seem to question P's taste in men, since her new found bravery has come from an intense passion for a one-eyed, neurologic, ratty old gelding.... sigh.

kisses go here
After P ran off with the herd, I turned my attention to Sunny, an adorable little QH who's owner is frustrated with Sunny's apparent fear of  nearly everything, including her own shadow (and tail).  Sunny warmed up with some liberty work, then started into her desensitization exercises which included a lot of tarps, treats and random blankets, bumpers and bags.

I really enjoyed the chance to watch Cowboy Man work with another horse and pick another owner's brain a bit.  So far she was thrilled with how far Sunny had come (eating her grain off a tarp! No longer bucking her saddle off!).  It was entertaining, and I realized that I'm not sure I have the patience, or the balls to really work with a horse with Sunny's sensitivity.  It was the first time in a while that I've legitimately watch a horse get worked and thought "wooo boy, I sure am glad that one's not mine!"  Not to be holier than thou, but at least I know P isn't the craziest cat out there... :)

After our adventures with Sunny, it was time for a quick lunch, then we had to hit the trail.  I had the pleasure of riding Wendy, a ginormous dutch mare who was a Big Eq horse in her previous life. Now her only responsibilities are lazing about on trails, grazing and flopping her gigantic mule sized ears around.  (what a cutie).

We started off by scampering about the property, up and down banks, testing brakes and steering.  P was a champ and showed non of her initial skepticism about being ponied.  Instead she seemed more than game to bounce along behind Cowboy Man and his beast.  So we hit the trail.  It started out wide and open which allowed me to really check out P's movement and footfalls.  She's definitely landing more heel first now than she was (yay) and seems to be wearing her hinds (now barefoot) really well.  Her feet are definitely expanding again in response to their freedom and even her front toes (in their natural balance shoes) look like they are making progress.

The trail walked us past wolves (huskies), monsters (llamas) and several very-angry-machines (lawnmowers).  None of the horses batted an eye and I was thrilled to see P so comfortable off the property.

Eventually, we peeled off the main trunk and headed for what Cowboy Man said was a "little tighter" of a path.  Then he started rattling on about how he likes to find trails that are a bit grown over so the horses get used to brush on their bellies, sticks, twigs, logs and whatever else comes with a slightly more confined walking area.

Sounded good to me, certainly more entertaining than our basic 'road' that we had followed thus far, so I didn't even register a response, instead I just followed P's cute butt.

But then, as I watched my horse disappear into the brush, I realized that not only was this not really a trail, but a sleeveless top was a terrible decision.

Uh, seriously? that's NOT a trail.  and I am NOT a pioneer.  I distinctly lack the explorer spirit and find "trail blazing" not only uncomfortable, but downright inconvenient.  But, seeing as how I didn't know how to get back to the farm on my own, I simply hugged Wendy's neck and started dodging and weaving the collection of branches, spiders and leaves that began to assault my arms and drop down into my shirt (shuuudder).

Aside from a bit of prissiness, I really did enjoy myself.  P was a champ, and didn't balk once at logs, or puddles or streams or mud flats as we encountered them.  once we had a bit more breathing room we ventured up into some trot work, and eventually even some hand gallops (though Wendy's trot kept pace with everyone's canter just fine).

Ultimately we had a blast.  P seemed excited and happy to be out and she was much more obedient than I was expecting.   Hopefully our next trip is this Sunday, which should see the mare under saddle!!!!

Maisy, was thoroughly unimpressed and fully out of love with the labs by the time we returned.  It seems that she is less enthused with the prospect of adapting to ranch life.  What a goober.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two if by Sea..

Finally. Headed to see the mare again. It's been more than two weeks and I'm itching for some quality pony time.

Between weddings and vendor trips and life, weekends have proven harder to carve out than I was hoping, so I'm finally just sucking it up and taking a day away from the office. (yahoo)

The Boy wasn't so lucky (in fact his pre-4am wake up call probably indicates he's off to someplace far less desirable..) so Miss Maisy is sitting in the right seat as my trusty co pilot.

Even more exciting?


I spent about 20 minutes last night pawing through boxes trying to find horsey gear, since apparently I haven't ridden since we finally got into the new house. But I finally found all my crap in a giant box and spent about eight solid minutes with my head jammed in said box filling my lungs with every bit of hay, barn, leather and horse smell that I could.

I'm not riding P today, but we are heading out on the trail and I think she's getting ponied. I don't know for sure, but frankly I'm not going to be picky at this point. Just give me a horse, any horse - hell, I'd probably even throw my leg over Obama the Llama at this point....

Also, Maisy is in her her own little session with Dr. Finn since she's been favoring her left hind quite a bit up and down stairs recently

Can't wait to have an update!

(my trusty navigator)

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