Monday, December 29, 2014

Entries In

Check written (ouch) and entries posted! We are (one step) closer to actually showing at Thermal again this year..

Prair continues to feel great under saddle, we even popped over a small cross rail over the weekend and I took solace in the fact that the mare's brain (and foot) stayed in tact.

The plan is to stay LOW at thermal and basically consider it part of her already expensive rehab - a post I'll write up here shortly...

If we weren't worried about rei jury, we'd be looking to show divisions from 2'6"-3' and knock some rust off.

As it is though, 2'6" will likely be the absolutely max and I'll play around 2'-2'6"ish like last year.

We have one more ultrasound in a few weeks to ensure that everything is staying happy, so holding my collective breath until then.. But in the meantime, breaking in the new boots, trying to remember how to ride like a real person and lots of mare snuggles!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 19, 2014

Love Is...

Your husband knowing that your *custom* konigs fit/look better on you than any of your other boots.

Without telling him.

Because you're wearing your boots while you sit on the couch.

And watch Jeopardy.

And even though you have other boots.

He can still tell that the exceptionally large percentage of his paycheck that went toward those beautiful, beautiful boots - is worth it.

That's love.

Or maybe enabling.

But probably love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Return of the Lessons

I'm totally screwed.  Here I've been bopping along in the horse world all year all fat and pregnant and happily judging life from the ground until I could climb back on the Big Mare and hack around which I've been doing (quite happily) for some time now.

But now Prairie can work some more, and that means I have to work some more and that means I need lessons. 

Real Bad.

If there's one thing pregnancy/rehab does for you riding it's allow every bad habit I've ever had grow and blossom and thrive like a large, rampant weed.


Today was my first rude awakening as I had a little mini lesson while I gave Prair her daily hack. 

First up - my damn hands.  Always too low, always with broken wrists, always doing something wrong.

Next? My hip angle, I've gotten comfy just scooting back on my ass and riding a bit too vertical for Hunter Land.  I'm comfy but I'm driving with my seat a lot and I've got to get up and out of the tack a tad more again.

Also? I'm bracing in my stirrup, letting my leg come too forward and using a tad too much inside rein.

So aside from feel like a floppy-slop in the saddle, I've also got to get used to riding a happier, healthier mare. 

Prair is naturally balancing herself better and more willing to maintain her shape and roundness with minimal reminding.  This means there's no excuse for me to get comfy hanging on my reins.  the mare doesn't rely on a super heavy contact anymore, so I need to not remind her how much she liked it.

The mini lesson felt great though.  Prair was super supple laterally and a very calm, rhythmic ride.

We finished canter some poles on the long side and holy MOLY it felt like a totally different horse than the one I was riding a year ago.  I'm not sure how to explain it, but her back is so much more adjustable.  It's much easier to ride her hind leg and in turn when I need to adjust for a distance it feels like her whole back rolls up and waits, or springs forward and lengthens without losing balance. 


I've never felt her so adjustable or relaxed over poles - it was really fun.  And usually I wouldn't qualify ground rails as anything overly thrilling. 

So time to buckle down and become a better rider for the better mare that seems to have shown up.
Srsly lady, get better.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ultrasound Update

Friday was the big day.  I had been simultaneously anticipating and dreading our next appointment with the vet and seeing what Prair's DDFT actually looked like. 

On days when she felt great - the ultrasound couldn't come fast enough to confirm what must be good healing. 

But on those days when she felt less than stellar I was dreading the possibility of seeing angry, disrupted tendons that weren't healing as hoped...

But irrespective of my mental mind games, Friday came, and so did the ultrasound.  First my vet looked at her under saddle - Prair was particular hot to trot which made it hard to get (and keep) a steady rhythm, but apparently she looked sound, sound, sound, so we progressed to the ultrasound.

Vets have such a good poker face when they are doing diagnostics... I literally had no idea if she was loving what she saw, or gravely concerned until she was done taking still images and stood up with an assertive "okay, here's the deal."

(heart sink)

"She looks great."


Ready to get back to business
Basically the ultrasound showed a much happier DDFT with really nice edges and minimal scarring.  Back in July the same view showed quite a bit of fiber disruption and rough edges on almost the entire medial DDFT.  Now there's just the tiniest spot of a rough edge and everything else looks beautiful.  There are a few flecks of scar tissue, but apparently given the initial strain - it's a minimal amount and not something my vet is worried about in terms of return to full work. All great news.

The disadvantage of doing the ultrasound instead of returning to WSU for a full MRI is that we really can't see what's going on with the navicular - which if you recall, is what we currently believe to be the root issue.   But since we think the soft tissue is a direct reflection of her comfort within the navicular.. we're extrapolating that it is also less inflamed and angry. 

Right now I'm comfortable making that assumption and think that it outweighs the cost, risk and energy involved with shipping back to the University for an MRI again..  I don't think we'll have to go down that road unless something unexpected happens in the coming months.

In terms of continued rehab, the visual confirmation of healing is what we were waiting for to ramp up the workload again.  The balance of the month will be spent on more flatwork and increasing the workload on that left front limb (pole work, extended canter, etc). 

Assuming all goes well, we are cleared to return to crossrails in the New Year, then we'll ultrasound one more time in early Feb to ensure that we haven't lost any ground with the increased work.

Prair will keep her reverse shoe on the LF for added support, and we'll add in some Tildren treatments this year to help support the navicular.

For those who haven't used it - Tildren basically impedes bone remodeling.  For us this means that we stop the bone's natural response of increasing it's density - which in turn causes it to become more brittle...

So, flatwork until Jan, Crossrails and increased work until Feb.  One more ultrasound so see if all is still well, then some Tildren to help support the navicular bone.

All in all about as good of a report as I could hope for. 

Now I just have to remember how to ride.....

Add caption

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Retired. (or fired, or whatever you want to call it)

Frustrating news, Gus is being retired from his therapeutic riding program.  He's a favorite and lots of kids already love him, but a couple of times he's gotten rather nervous in the main ring when multiple therapy sessions are going on.  Even though he's not spooked or done anything dangerous I understand that the program has to be super conservative in preventing any possible accidents, so since Gus has displayed the same anxiety on a couple of occasions, he's out of a job :(

This is sad for me on a number of levels, but really it was so wonderful having a suitable day job for him, while also being close and available to M2 for regular love and carrots.  It's a scenario that I'm not sure I've ever be able to replicate. 
love this nose.

Knowing that Gus is out of a job in the New Year prompted some serious discussions of What To Do With Gus. 

I adore this horse, and when we took him on I promised him a safe, happy, comfortable home.  I was mentally prepared to put him down if we had to, but I hoped we would be able to rehab him.  I'm thrilled with how well Gus is doing, I'm happy with his soundness, general health and demeanor.  He's worth his weight in gold and the type of horse that would take you 10 years to find if you were looking for it.

But, he's never going to be my show horse, which means he's never going to be boarded with Prairie, and since The Boy and I have yet to find that magical farm, Gus has to be kept at a second facility.  Split horses has worked for me in the past, (at one point Prairie and Pia were 4 hours apart...) but with the kiddo I have even less time than I thought I would (I know, I know... people warned me... I just didn't listen). 

My issue with Gus not having a day job anymore has less to do with the $$ (though that's a consideration), but really my concern is not having enough time to visit him on a regular basis and give him love and care.  I'm not comfortable boarding a horse who I don't see at least twice a week when they aren't in some sort of full time training/care program. 

So, I'm trying to decide what to do with Mr. Man.  Right now the right thing seems to be to look for a care lease or a new home where he will be loved and adored and hopefully continue to get some light work. 

On one hand he's an old, lame horse - and I hear those are hard to give away. 

But on the other he's safe, trustworthy, loves to work and gives you the same ride regardless of whether you're riding him six times a week or once every six months. 

Anyway, we have lots of thinking to do.  If the right home begged for him, I'd let him go in an instant.  Putting him on Dreamhorse is going to be a painful thing so I'm not sure its going to happen tomorrow, but eeesh... I'm not sure what other options are realistic.

big frowny face.

On the upside his nail hole is healing well :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's Not About the Nail

... Or maybe if you're Gus it is :)

I'm sure a lot of you have seen this little clip by now, but I think its hysterical and couldn't help but think of it when Gusford shoved a nail in his beak.

Gus is doing just fine, btw.  Everything came out cleanly and he's got a tetanus shot and some SMZ's to make sure he heals well :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Well *That's* A New One

I've owned a few horses who seemed to be built of iron and impervious to the normal self-destructo-nature that others seem born with, but I've also had my fair share of dingbats who manage to find anything and everything that can possible hurt them/make them sick/give them hives...

My first "real horse" (not a pony) was one of the latter. He could injure himself on a pinecone and was prone to colic if one stray weed made its way into his hay.

He was truly a special snowflake.

Anyway, I would hardly claim to have seen it all when it comes to horses injuring themselves (thank god). But Gus, bless him, is committed to furthering my education.

Some of you have asked how the old man is, and in general he's great. He's still in his therapeutic riding program and I get regular updates about how much everyone loves him, so that's also great.

But today, this is how he is:

That, my bloggy friends is a nail. In his nose.

But you will notice that he did not traditionally poke himself on a stray nail.

No, no. Far more impressive than that - he somehow dug the head of a nail into his face then pulled the nail out of wherever it was happily living being a nail theoretically nailing someone together.

A nail. Somehow sticking out of his face instead of in.

Points for creativity my dear man.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 24, 2014

On Track

Whatever clunkiness was cropping up in the canter is gone again (thankfully) and upon reflection Prair kinda felt like crap a few days into trotting for the first time too.  So perhaps its just a muscle issue as she remembers how to be a horse again....

In fact the last couple of rides have felt over the top amazing.  While the success of this rehab for Prair's left front remains to be seen - all of the walking, stretching and boring repetitive everything has done wonders for her back.  She feels really strong and really light, which is not what I expect when I ask an out of shape, out of practice mare to work.

I think the feeling of strength is coming from Prair being much more comfortable over her topline and her newfound willingness to sit.

Whereas I used to be able to ask her to sit back and wait (especially in the canter).  It was something that was hard for her and longer we did it (like in a flat class) the more of a struggle it was, usually ending up with a long, flat, rather quick stride.

Currently, if I sit up and half halt, I can literally feel the mare lower her hocks and settle back into her stride.

And then?  She just stays there.  Loose rein, light seat, STAYS THERE.  Floppy ears and all.  The ease of it has me being a tad lazy/lenient in our canter work since the whole concept of slow and steady is just so novel and so much fun!

So at least we're solving something.  That fact makes everything feel a tad more productive than a never ending-rehab-purgatory.  But the glimpse of strength and relaxation makes me all the more greedy to be jumping and working and enjoying that easy, soft ride. 

Here's another clip from the other day.  More trot. 

Since we've added the canter back in the mare's frame is a tad easier to elevate and energize, though she can only sustain that for a few minutes.  This clip is from the end of our trot set, so you can tell she's a bit tired and not as snappy as she is when we start.  I'm also slowly adding in more lengthen/collect work and will try to get a clip of that at some point too :)

We tack on another 5 minutes to our trot work after Thanksgiving (for which I'm thankful) and then assuming all continues well we will ultrasound again two weeks from Thursday. 

Thermal is still on the radar, though I'm scared to buy my plane tickets as I think that will totally jinx things....

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Really Do Ride My Horse

It's just sorta boring, and I rarely get picture/video proof... I hate writing boring blog posts without pictures/videos.  I mean, I'll do it, I just don't like to. 

Thankfully I finally got my act together and booked a fun day with Supermom, who not only played with the little Nugget while I rode, but also managed to take some cute videos of me and the mare. (That kind of multitasking is something I could benefit from doing myself a little more often...)
they are seriously too cute

It was a good day complete with Egg Nog Lattes (my first of the season) and a yummy lunch once barn fun was done. 

Prair continues to feel pretty good.  Yesterday she felt a little stiff in her left lead canter, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.  N said she felt great on Wednesday, so I'll see if that stickiness is still there today, or if maybe it was some muscle soreness as her work load ticks up a notch...

Here's a quick clip of the canter.  Somehow through the unintentional magic of iphones, it's in slow mo, which is sorta cool.  I love it for looking at Prair, I could do without the extra time to stare at my left wrist, baby weight or other Eq issues that plague me....

I'm fighting with YouTube a bit, but as soon as I figure it out, I'll get a few more clips posted.  I'm loving how much Prair is really trying to carry herself and how often I can literally loop my inside rein.  She's respecting my outside aids really nicely and overall just being a pleasure to ride. 

It's so nice to be back to WTC on this girl.  I apologize if I sound like a broken record but if I do then it's an accurate portrayal of my brain when I ride - "fun fun fun eeek was that a weird step? fun fun fun WHEEEEEE fun fun hmmm stiff? fun fun fun fun"

Super sophisticated, I know.

Friday, November 14, 2014

And We Canter

Praise the lord we are CANTERING.  It's only for 5 minutes, but still, we canter. 

Prair got a quick check in with the vet yesterday where we were cleared to add five minutes of cantering to our thirty minutes of walking and 10 minutes of trot... Assuming things go well we'll stick to that plan for two weeks, then bump the trot to 15 minutes for another 2 weeks, then ultrasound and (hopefully) return to a less structured work schedule for the remainder of December with an eye toward small jumps in the New Year.

Prair's still feeling great, there is some stiffness in her left shoulder when we start our trot work, but it disappears after a minute and since it shows when I ask her to bend right, Vet is not concerned that its a result of "impact" soreness, but rather a side effect of being in a stall since JULY and holding tension in her front end. 

I'd be much more worried if she was stiff when that Left Front was on the inside as I think that would raise my suspicious about her still being sore.

The only bad news is that the mare still isn't cleared for turnout, but I think better safe than sorry in terms of controlling her movement at this point.... but still, it pains me a bit to keep her cooped up and I remain totally impressed that she's still sweet and calm in her stall. 

In terms of the canter - it feels really different. Much loftier up front which threw me for a loop yesterday.  In my head I'd like to think it's because the mare feels better, but really I think it might be because we haven't cantered since July and she's a bit of a rocket ship right now. 

so fingers crossed that the added canter doesn't set us back.  There's a very loud voice in the back of my brain that keeps shouting that rehab isn't supposed to be this easy....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pet Peeve: Shadbelly-Belly

Since the whole walk-walk-walk-walk-walk, trot-trot routine is not all that thrilling to document, I figured I'd move onto one of my pet peeves that has reared its (totally unattractive) head while I've been busy streaming the big indoor shows back east.

Shadbelly Belly. 

Oh the horror. 

I think my sensitivity might be due to my equestrian upbringing in the land of eventing and dressage, where Shads are worn only at the upper levels and are a reflection of the formality and impeccable turnout that goes hand in hand with competing at that level. But regardless, my preference for Shadbelly style and fit is strongly influenced by that background.

How I think Shads should look
mmm, belt free and streamlined.
Now, I am the first to admit that there will never (ever) be a reason for me to wear a Shadbelly in either of those disciplines.  I am simply not a good enough rider to earn the right to wear one for dressage, and I don't have the balls to get there on the Three Day stage...

So trust me when I say that I am THRILLED there is a (reasonable) chance that at some point I might be able to justify the purchase of (and wearing) a Shadbelly for some sort of Hunter Derby type thing. 

I acknowledge a relatively limited understanding of Hunter Land and all of its traditions and nuances, but it seems that while the Shadbelly still carries an air of extra formality - a much, much higher percentage of competitive Hunter riders will have an opportunity to (appropriately) bust out the tails at some point in their career.

Which brings me to my pet peeve -  Shadbellies worn with low rides breeches that result in an unsightly peek at not only one's belt, but also one's shirt between the two.

what the crap.
I have a personal dislike for all things low rise (especially breeches) but that is mostly due to my total lack of a waist and general abundance of love handles which render low-waist-anything sort of horrific.  However, I find Shadbelly Belly unsightly and sloppy looking even on those riders with waify, equitation-perfect figures, so being skinny doesn't really solve the aesthetic issue for me..

My first, not so generous, assumption upon noticing the horror of herds of Junior riders scampering around with crop-top shads that prominently displayed half of their shirts along with some blingy belt - was that this unsightly gap between shad and breeches could be blamed on an irreverence for good turnout and a general misunderstanding of formal attire. 

I turned  to google to find appropriate examples of this trend and was horrified to learn  that even the catalog pictures for "hunter" shads show them worn with low rise breeches. 


So am I to understand that is this a deliberate style???

If so my grandmother is for sure rolling over in her grave and I suddenly feel very old and sort of want to shake my fist at those darn kids and their fancy horse riding coats....

But seriously, these are catalog photos... Which, dare I say are less extreme examples of Shadbelly Belly than what I see scampering around at the shows - but still, this is how Shads are marketed to the Hunter crowd?  I'm so confused.

put your g-- d--- belt away

Any seasoned Hunters out there have an explanation?  I have noticed that several of the pros tend to wear their Shadbellies with high rise breeches, and sometimes even with a real vest (gasp, I love that).  But most of the juniors and ammys run around sporting the exposed belt/belly look.

I have a feeling that even is the shirt-gap-belt-showing thing is "correct" its one of those looks that I'll never, ever quite get used to. 

Fortunately for me, my whole super-short-waisted thing means I'll never have to worry about this issue personally.  Well, that along with the fact that I would need to be showing 3' + before I even worry about this to begin with, but I digress...

What do you guys think? Who has a shad and cares to share?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swing, swing, swing

Prair's trot (all 10 min of it) is feeling over the top amazing this week.

I haven't felt any of those clunky crunchy steps at all, and she's really working well into the outside rein.

Like, better than I remember her ever working into the outside rein before.

She's always respected the outside rein - but this week there's been a whole new level of inside-leg-to-outside-rein-ness. And it's waaaay too much fun to ride.

I just sit tall, nudge with the inside calf - and she literally lifts and holds into the outside aids. Her back feels like it raises about 8" and curls around that leg and her withers get all big and melty. It's like riding a big, giant stick of butter.

For ten minutes.

Then we go back to walking in circles forever.

(Mare Butter. Although she looks oddly tiny and her legs look wonky in this pic..)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 12, 2014

8-10 Weeks

I've done it again.

I've given in to my crippling addiction.


We have so many boots - but soon (if a tack ho can consider 8-10 weeks "soon") we will have more.

Why? No great reason. Mostly because I got bored walking in circles, and watching everyone else go off and show (again). And also because I don't have anything else on my Christmas list, and apparently Christmas is 8-10 weeks away (or thereabouts).

And also because (if we ignore vet costs...) we've "saved" money not showing all summer. Technically we've saved enough for many boots, so just this one little pair is a modest expenditure (lie).


Oh, and also I told myself if I lost (most) of the baby weight I could get new boots.

So last week I called to make a fitting appointment then carted the kiddo into the tack shop and geeked out over boot options with the very friendly, entertaining and equally boot obsessed owner of the store while baby girl got covered in bulldog kisses from the stores pup.

Since I wanted a show boot, I knew I wouldn't take advantage of any of the fun color/piping/trim/anything options, but still, staring at swatches and feeling everything was a ton of fun and in my opinion - part of the purchase price.

I ended up ordering a pair of the Konig (love) K5000 (love) field boots.

In terms of options I went with swagger tabs, zippers, zipper guard at the heel and a punched toe. Oh, and the new calfskin.

I was skeptical of the calf since I like a stiffer leather and something that polishes to a massive shine... but when I looked at it on a pair of boots that had come in, I caved (and swooned).

These.  but in black.

It's soft and grippy, but much more substantial than, say the calf on the Ariat Monacos.

And holy stickiness Tackman.

Swung my leg over a calf CWD in the saddle section - and between those boots and those flaps - there is zero excuse for your lower leg ever moving, ever.

I relayed that I don't love the look of the overly thin, overly tight leather that (to me) makes boots look like weird socks (think Parlanti), but after seeing some pics and boots in person, I don't think it'll be an issue. 

Strongly Dislike

(Can we discuss this for a moment? I've never worn a pair, and I'm sure they are dreamy, I can't help but think of those Steve Madden Faux leather stretchy boots from the late 90's. I hated those then, and I really don't think high-end-anything should invoke their memory)

I mean seriously, add that Parlanti button and it's too close for comfort...

Anyway, I'm super excited.

And I won't even begin to make promises like I did before claiming how the cost is worth it cause I'm sure I'll never buy another pair of boots again... I think we all know that would be a lie. A big, bad lie.

that being said, I do think that a good (tall enough) pair of customs in a conservative, traditional style is a good decision for me - but holy smokes, if I could order 12 pairs there are SO MANY FUN things to do.

I'd probably start ordering extra Ogilvy pads too and just have a dreamy, absurd closet of beautiful boots and pads to mix and match for all of our rides.

Of course all this super stylish planning exists in a dream land where my breeches aren't covered in spit up and I'm not stashing diapers in my groom box....

But for now 8-10 weeks.

Hopefully that gives us a good amount of time to break them in before we (hopefully) head to Thermal. Which quickly brings my head space back to crossing fingers and toes for continued good rehab and more walking in circles...


Friday, October 10, 2014

You're HIRED

In my baby brain stupor I totally forgot to mention that Gus passed his job interview and is officially a working career man.  He is currently enjoying a full time job in the therapeutic riding program where he lives. 

So far the reports are glowing.  The kids and adults in the program adore him (obviously), the volunteers love working with him, and the trainers and staff think he's just the neatest horse ever. 

Clearly Gus approves of all the attention and adoration and seems to be taking it stride.  Currently he's just being used in walk/trot sessions which is probably a good, sustainable plan for him. 

He is taking his duties very seriously and seems to think that the extra energy required of him is worth all the extra hugs and kisses he's getting in return. 

More to come on the adventures of Gus as he climbs the corporate (or not so corporate, really) ladder in his new career :)

paychecks, err, treats go here.

Good God This is Boring

It's that time.  When I've totally run out of things to say about walking for 30 minutes and trotting for five....

I am furiously trying to make the most of our time and *try* to make Prair carry herself, use her back, etc... but really there's only so much to discuss.

my Queen
She continues to be a very-good-girl and is a joy to be around in her stall and even stands politely with her head out when I leave her door wide open while I collect some forgotten item of tack or more treats (Pia would most certainly be making a break for freedon if left in the same situation).  Prair doesn't seem anxious at all about her confinement - which makes this whole process much, much easier. 

Yesterday when I was "riding" I had the realization that since our barn is attached to the indoor, Prair literally doesn't see the outside world on most days - She just walks from her little room to the bigger room, walks around a bit, then goes back to her little room again.

So I'm trying to at least hand graze her for a few minutes when I have the time.  Usually she still has the tail end of her don't-hurt-yourself-you-idiot juice left in her system which keeps her eyeballs in her head and her feet on the ground while we enjoy the sunshine for a few minutes.

I will say that the limited sun exposure has her winter coat coming in blacker than black.  I suppose there are always the superficial upsides to total confinement!!

and now, you may enjoy a few more extremely limited, extremely boring, extremely repetitive photos of a horse in a rehab program - at least this time we're outside!!

squinty selfie in Seattle sunshine

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Two Days In

Prair's been trotting for two days now.  Yesterday you couldn't wipe the grin off my face during our 5 min set.  She felt a little stiff, but totally even so I let myself breathe a small sigh of relief.

ready... OKAY

Today when we worked up into our five minutes of trot time she felt a little... clunky.  I was just starting to totally freak myself out when our Vet magically appeared like an angel from on high (cue trumpets).  Technically she was supposed to be watching someone else, but I totally interrupted with a panicked "IS SHE OFF!??!????!???!!!"

to which she calmly replied "No."

oh.  okay.  phew.

I was reassured that she will probably feel a little.... clunky... for a bit while she gets moving again.  Makes sense to me, the mare hasn't moved past a walk since JULY.  That's a really, really long time.

So, we'll get some bodywork done next week to try and help her loosen up and get back into the swing of things. 

To the mare's credit she is shockingly light in the bridle and extremely responsive, so even if it's not our biggest, swingiest, loftiest trot - it's still a really, really, really fun five minutes :)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Maybe the best word I've heard in months (well, you know - aside from "here's your healthy baby! but that's lots of words and TROT is only one).

Prair got a once over while the Vet was looking at another horse and she (apparently) is sound.  SOUND.  sound.  Time for the sound-horse-emoji-praise-jesus-hands!
Prair's life doesn't get much more exciting, but we are cleared for five whole minutes of trot work. 
In theory we'll do that for two weeks then hopefully go to 10 min of trot work after that.  I know rehab is slow, but this is feeling slow-er than what I was expecting.  Although it's not like we have anything on the calendar so there's no reason to rush anything. 
In the meantime, in an attempt to be riding-ready (and also to not go totally crazy) I've been streaming every 10 minute Pure Barre/Beach Barre/Booty Barre/Barre3/why-isn't-there-any-wine-at-this-"bar"-barre class that I can find. 
My butt and legs are rigid with lactic acid, so hopefully it's doing something productive.
I'll be at the barn tomorrow for Prair's inaugural trot session, so let's hope she doesn't rocket me to the moon! YAY TROT!

Friday, September 26, 2014

All Quiet

Man. So little to say.

Gus is good.

Prair is walking in circles....

That about sums it up. I keep meaning to play with Hyper Lapse and get some super awesome video of us walking around... And around.... And around. But as it turns out even with a cocktail and some earplugs the mare still requires two attentive hands on the reins lest she decide the door is (once again) a monster or that other horses require shying away from.

I suppose if they are still a touch reactive you know you aren't sedating your horse too much :-/

On the Gus front everything is going well. The program loves him and he's behaving like a gentleman. Just waiting for the results of a vet check to make use he's sound enough. Not actually sure how that will go since we know he's not 100% sound, but we shall see.

At least all the creatures are still happy and cute!!

Gus and his Barn Baby

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Slight disappointments

Uggggh, posting from my phone because the last time I saw my laptop was when I put it on top of my car.

..... And then drove off...


So that's a little frustrating.

Hopefully it self destructed as it fell off on the freeway. But I can't shake the feeling that it softly bounced off on a side street and someone is just loving all my horse photos and geeky spreadsheets.

Anyway. Phone post. Yay.

Prair's checkup yesterday was good I guess. I missed it because of a doctor appointment that ran about an hour late- but really being there is more about my own curiosity- since the vet and trainer pretty much have it covered..

Anyway. Prair got lunged (during which she was a total lunatic which I suppose was to be expected).

She's 100% sound to the right, but still a 1/5 on her LF when traveling left....

So, the prescription is 30 days of tack walking for 30 min (instead of her euro sizer walks).

The idea is that the vet wants us asking for more reach with that LF, without any impact from trotting yet...

Not quite the full green light I was hoping for, but progress is progress so I'll take it!

Today was the first day of tack walking so I pulled on my preggo breeches (so ready for this weight to be GONE) and zoomed to the barn.... Without my helmet (dammit!)

I'm pro helmet anyways, but on a mare who's been stall bound for two months??? Um, YES PLEASE. So i hunted around until I found one to borrow then got to tacking up.

Tack!! For the mare!! (And a helmet for me)

Upon entering the ring, mare's face basically hit the rafters, so I promptly turned around, gave her some don't-hurt-yourself-you-idiot juice and tried again.

Second attempt was much better and we had a lovely 30 min walk. Didn't play too much but varied between a loose free walk and marching forward walk.

So aside from the laptop and continued slow rehab, we are all good.

I got to ride Prair for the first time since March.

And I FINALLY got to sit in that damn new saddle! Whee!

Only one way to get a picture between the ears!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weight Gain - Gus' Turn

Prairie isn't the only one packing on the lbs, I'm happy to report that Gus is also finally padding his ribs a bit.

The Boy and I went to visit Gus on Sunday in order to give him a few treats and see how he looks now that he's most of his way through his 30 day trial period.

Baby was along for the ride and got her share of horse slobber as well, so really - fun for the whole family.
Magical disappearing ribs
Gus fans will be happy to know that he looks awesome.  Glossy, perky, and finally gaining some of that lost weight back.

They seriously must be bathing him every day, because that horse is CLEAN and anyone who's ever spent any amount of time around Gus know that he is a dirty, dirty gelding.

More importantly though he looks great on the lunge.  He's not miraculously cured, and you can see the stiffness more when he's traveling to the left and that RF has to swing wide, but for Gus, he looks great.  No head bob, lots of energy - all in all what I call a happy boy.  So that's encouraging.

Fingers crossed for Prair's vet visit tomorrow!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stall Rest... Day who-even-knows-anymore

Prair's pushing close to 60 days of stall rest.  I'd keep count, but without a regular work schedule I hardly know what day of the week it is, let alone anything else of use...

Anyway, baby and I went to see Prair today, and I'm happy to report that both of them were well behaved.  Baby slept in her front pack the whole time and politely saved all her poop for once we got home, and the mare was sweet and snugly and very eager to perform carrot stretches in exchange for.. well, carrots.

I groomed Prair just enough to get hr shine back, which coincidentally is also what it takes to completely cover me (and baby) in dirty-pee-soaked-shaving-horse-dust. Bleck.

But the mare looks well.  She's gained enough weight to warrant a reduction in her pellets (CHUB), but otherwise is just plugging along.  Her demeanor and disposition are significantly more pleasant than mine would be under the same circumstances, which earned her a few extra treats.

Shiny and Round
I tried to backup to get ALL of her in the shot

Backed into corner, butt still too large to fit
Are you guys sick of photos of my horse in her stall yet? Cause I am.

So far all her BoT stuff is wearing well.  I'm pleased with the Quick Wraps.  They are cleaner and in better condition than I would expect for daily use and her legs are shockingly cool under them given their thickness and the 80 degree weather.

But Prair's days of leisure are hopefully about to end.  Vet is back on Tuesday to take a peek at her under saddle and hopefully we get the green light to start back to work. Which means that I might get to ride the mare for the first time since MARCH.  Let's not count how long it's been since that has happened, since we've already established that counting is not my current strong suit.

Happy Weekends!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mutton Bustin 2.0 (or put a god damn helmet on those kids)

The blog radio silence may be best explained by having one horse on stall rest and another in a 30 day trial of sorts, but since I can usually babble endlessly about random horse stuff - the real reason was that the fam and I spent the better part of the week mostly unplugged over in Idaho.

The highlights of our holiday weekends spent in the Mountain Time Zone always include a trip to the local rodeo.  
(that's a kid.  and a pony.)

I love rodeos.

Like, really, really love rodeos.  

I've never participated in them, or really learned much about any of the intricacies surrounding the sport, but hot diggity, I love stomping my feet, drinking beer I wouldn't have even touched in college and watching good cowboys and quarter horses do their thing.

I especially like the fun "pre show festivities" that usually kick off the evening.  In fact, if we miss the mutton bustin (putting a toddler on a sheep and seeing how long they can hang on, for those who haven't witnessed it) - I sorta feel like we miss the main event.

Most people stick around for the Bull Riding as the main event - but I love the toddlers (and their varied enthusiasm for the whole process) and the totally freaked out, rather adorable, woolly sheep.

This time, I noticed a new section in our "program" that simply said "mini broncs."

No explanation, no photos, just "mini broncs" - right in between tie down roping and breakaway.

About halfway through the tie down ropers I noticed some action down in the chutes and assumed they were loading the horses for the saddle bronc riders, but when I took a look, I saw PONIES loaded in the chutes not big rough stock horses.



My brain immediately solved the "mini bronc" mystery and I was extremely excited to say the least  Kids, on rodeo ponies instead of sheep.  


But as soon as the first kid came out of the chute, my stomach curdled a bit.  

See, with mutton bustin the sheep are relatively harmless.  They typically just run like mad to the other end of the arena and the kids sorta bop along holding on for dear life until they (slowly) slide off and plop the (short) distance to the ground.  Also, Sheep are relatively small and their hooves don't do as much damage should one accidentally hit one of the kids.

Mini Broncs were a totally different story.

For one thing, the ponies are in full saddle bronc tack - meaning, in addition to the bare bones saddle and stirrups, they were also wearing a bucking strap, which I'm assuming these ponies are not used to wearing, resulting in insanely pissed off ponies.

Prior to witnessing this event, I sorta expected Mini Bronc riding to look like this:

Small kids, on small ponies (or even minis) jiggling around while a pony runs aimlessly around the ring.

But instead, most of the Mini Bronc rides looked like this:

12 and 13 year olds who (clearly) don't ride getting their shit tossed by really, really mad ponies.  A few wore helmets, most didn't.

Just as I was started to get seriously concerned for the well being of these kids, the last pony and cow... kid? (do we call them cow kids?) loaded up and got ready.  That little dude RODE THAT PONY.  both his parents were competing that night which made me think this guy might have some actual bull riding experience, but no matter - I was impressed

I was also impressed that he was wearing a protective vest, but horrified that there was no helmet!??

What the crap people? who puts their child on an intentionally agitated pony without a helmet for their brains.  Ponies do enough damage without trying to piss them off and kids get enough injuries even with safety gear.  

I mean, wow.

Has anyone else ever seen this?  It was a new experience for me....

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bubble. Wrapped.

One of my profound abilities as a horse owner is to *always* find something to spend dollars on.  Always.

It is my inalienable truth.  Money.  Spend it.

Overlay this with my (totally inaccurate) notion that a horse on stall rest is somehow "saving" me money.

For obvious reasons, this is not the case.  Just because we're not showing doesn't mean we aren't still eating (lots), and racking up vet bills (see previous post) faster than I could ever spend my funds at a show.

Anyway, a compulsion to shop, plus *feeling* like I'm somehow not horrifically over budget means Prairie gets a care package.

Mostly I can blame this one on Supermom, since when having lunch with her last week and listening to me ramble on endlessly about Prair's foot, and omg what about her back, and did you know MRIs are so subjective??? I didn't, but that's horses, does navicular make sense to you? I guess it does to me, but I just don't want to deal with a horrible soft tissue injury.... blah blah blah"

So amid that, somehow she interrupted me and asked if I wast getting my Back on Track wraps on the mare.

And somehow I stopped talking (and eating) long enough to say "huh?  No."

But she had a good idea.  With both the soft tissue strains, and the navicular fragmentation, our challenge is increasing circulation to the area in order to promote healing.

Which.... is just what BoT claims their products help do.  (face smack).

I shot a text to my vet to just make sure she didn't have any concerns with me covering the mare in BoT and then promptly got my ass on SmatPak.

So, Prair is now wearing her BoT Mesh Sheet at night (we already had one of these for her back), and then wearing her new Quick Wraps and Bell Boots during the day (except for when she's walking).  That would give nice BoT coverage for everything we may or may not be concerned about while she's all cooped up.

Naturally I ordered everything in every size and spent the morning down at the barn treating Prair like Cinderella until we sorted it all out.
The mare was convinced that wraps = trailer, so she promptly got all excited and circled around like a crazy lady until I produced a handful of treats.  Baby and I finished grooming the mare to a shine, did some carrot stretches for her back, and then watched some other ponies get worked before heading home.

Prair is scheduled for her second shockwave tomorrow, which I'll miss since I have some meetings, but so far stall rest is going well.  If you didn't know she was on rest, you'd never guess.  She's fat, and shiny and looks like a million bucks.  Also, her brain seems to be doing okay as well.  She's still calm and happy and social in her stall - no signs of craziness or anxiety.


Monday, August 25, 2014


One of the many things I knew nothing about when Prair and I started doing the Hunter thing was how to manage a horse's eligibility for all the various "green" divisions that you can pretty much show in forever (only a slight exaggeration).

Part of me hates how dumbed down all the divisions have gotten - and that part of me wouldn't really mind if shows went back to starting at 3' for the lowest option.  However as a floppy Adult Ammy, I also really like being able to bop around at lower heights and still chase satin so I don't really complain about the current structure.
(winning all the floppy-ammy-awards)

Of course, managing the "green" divisions doesn't affect my personal rides too much since as long as I'm with a trainer full time, it's likely that I would have my trainer take the ride for any "green" division we ever pursue.  Really the only thing it does affect is the pursuit of satin and points and year end awards.  Which, as we know, I LOVE.

For non-Hunters who get confused by all the weird names for our (weird) divisions, here's a quick, down and dirty summary of the "Green" divisions limited by show experience. There are some funky details but for most intents and purposes this is what you need to know:

Baby Green - Open to horses in their first year of showing, regardless of age.  Fences set to 2'6".
Pre-Green - Open to Horses in their first two consecutive years of showing at 3' or 3'3".  Horses can NOT have ever shown 3'6" or higher.  You can switch between the 3' and 3'3" divisions at different shows.  (USHJA National Derbies limit the high options at 3'5" so that horses don't cross the 3'6" threshold.)
First Year Green - Open to horses in their first year of showing at 3'6" or higher (fences are 3'6")
Second Year Green - Second year of showing 3'6" or higher. Fences set to 3'9"

Lots of horses (regardless of discipline) aren't capable (or safe, or maybe even sound) showing at 3'6" or 3'9" so for some, trying to make the First Year Green's is a huge reach goal.  Of course there are plenty of Open divisions at every height (even 2'6") so you can always continue to show a horse at a lower height, even once their experience prohibits them from staying in the "Green" divisions.  In fact, at some shows I think the competition is stiffer in the Greens since those tend to be the fancier, fully campaigned horses - whereas the horses who hang around 2'6" or 3' forever may not have the same quality as a horse moving on to bigger and better things...

Anyway, I knew literally nothing about any of this when Prair started showing over fences, so here's what our record looked like:

Prair's first show over fences was a schooling show in July of 2012 where we showed over cross rails with no fill.  In September, we ventured to a B show where Prair showed in the Baby Greens and I took her in the Long Stirrup.  We did awesome on the flat, but nearly died over fences.

That was the end of our 2012 how season - one schooling show, one outing at Baby Green.

In 2013, because Prairie had shown the previous year in the Baby Green's, she could no longer compete in that division.  We could still show the 2'6" open divisions (and maybe we should have), but instead we showed primarily in the 3' Pre-Greens with considerable success.
Pre-Green Champ, and Zone Finals
While the fence height was no problem, Prair lacked a lot of the exposure and experience of the other Pre-Green horses who had been campaigning at 2'6" for an entire year already.  That was the first time I realized that if I had been "planning" Prair's Hunter education, I would have saved her Baby Green year for 2013 and not blown her eligibility on one B show in the Fall.

No matter.  2014 saw the start of Prairie's second year of eligibility for the Pre Green division, and we started with three weeks down at HITS Thermal.

Well  the mare was a bit... nervous.  So we stayed low at Thermal (2'6" and 2'9") the entire time.  When we came home and started the Spring season locally, Prair showed a full week in April in the 3' Pre-Greens before the mystery lameness started.  She had one more show at 3' in May, with mixed results before we dropped her back to 2'9" in June to log some good, relaxed miles.  July saw the return of the mystery lameness so we skipped all shows in July and August and now we're staring down the barrel of more stall rest and an uncertain recovery time.

A First Year Green horse in our barn was also out for a chunk of the season and when her owner opted to take the rest of the year off she applied to "reinstate" her mare's First Year Green status for 2015.

Intrigued, I spent some time on the USEF website and looked into what was involved with reinstating Green status.  Basically, the reinstatement process exists so that if your show season is cut short (for one reason or another) and your horse had minimal experience, you can repeat that year of eligibility - like red shirting in the NCAA.  There are some intricate details, but the basic qualifications are not having shown more than 4 times at whatever height you are trying to reinstate, and not having shown that height at all after September 1.

So, for Prairie, I wouldn't have been able to reinstate her Baby Green Status since even though she only showed that height once in 2012, it happened after September 1.

But this year I can reinstate her Pre-Green status since she only showed 3' twice (before September 1) and she won't show 3' again this year.

I don't want to jinx Prair's recovery by planning for our 2015 show season, but reinstatement applications have to be processed in the year that competition occurred.  So basically I can't rely on waiting and seeing if we'll need it.  Really the only downside of applying for reinstatement is the $100 fee... Which I guess I'll just consider a donation to USEF (sigh).

I'm pretty sure that the reinstatement process exists for two reasons.  1) to keep owners happy (since horses are expensive and get hurt and screw up the best laid plans).  and 2) to make USEF a little more money.

I'm fine with both, and glad that if we're able - Prair will get to play in the Pre-Greens one more year in 2015.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Barn Baby

Went to pat the mare yesterday and started my experiment of how best to tend to the child while getting horsey time in.

When we see Gus, M2 graciously logs some time with Cayla, leaving my hands (and brain) free to play with mr man - but I haven't really devised a plan for childcare while I tend to the Big Mare.

Once we're back riding regularly, I think babysitters will be involved, but until then I feel like it's totally possible for me to balance baby, mare and random barn chores.  Last time I had the baby at the barn, I left her in her car seat and just placed her somewhere near me - office, outside the stall, arena....

It worked pretty well, but I felt like I was running around always toting something be it my groom box or car seat, or whatever.  Didn't seem very efficient, so yesterday I threw the baby in her front pack and figured I would just wear her the whole time.

For the most part this worked great, she snoozes like a beast in that thing, so she was happy and quiet the entire time which takes care of my primary concern regarding having the baby in public with me.  It also kept her off the ground and away from hooves, which takes care of a major concern about having her out at the barn.

However, what it didn't take care of was keeping Cayla hidden from Prair's big, snuffly beak.  I don't know if Prair remains fascinated by the baby, or if she was just convinced that the front pack must have been some new giant treat dispenser, but the mare was adamant that her nose be shoved inside it, which resulted in a very slobbery (though undamaged) baby head.

Other than the baby slobber, the front pack was a good solution while Prair is off from work and my "barn days" consist of nothing more than grooming cleaning (already clean) tack and watching other people ride.  I did have to be a tad careful when I bent over to pick feet, but the baby didn't fall out, so no harm done.

Later in the day we went out as a family and The Boy put the baby back in her front pack, which did look a little.... grimy after the barn adventure.  Admittedly, Cayla herself smelled a tad horsey, which I assume can also be blamed on the massive dust cloud that was coming off Prair while we curried the crap out of her dirty, dirty coat.  The mare slobber probably didn't help either...

All in all, getting better at the whole barn baby thing.  I don't know how you moms do it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gus's Big Job Interview

I'm behind on posts (and laundry.. and other basic tasks) but such is life with a baby I'm told.

Gus has been doing so well at his new home that I finally felt comfortable with reviving my earlier conversations with the Therapeutic Riding Center about potentially using Gus in their program.  Typically they only use horses they own outright, but I guess they have from time to time also leased appropriate horses, usually from staff members or established volunteers.

The process of being approved for use is fairly rigorous.  There's an initial interview of sorts, followed by approval by their executive committee, followed by a 30 day trial, followed by a final vote of yay or neigh (lol) before a horse gets incorporated into use.

So last week we arranged for his first interview which would include members of the staff watching me ride and videoing, then a member of the staff riding, and finally testing Mr Gus with some program like challenges.
The Gus.
 Gus was a great boy for me (no surprise).  He felt a bit stiffer than he has, but was still steady and very happy to tootle around.  We showed them our best walk, trot and canter complete with work on the contact as well as plenty on the buckle.  True to form, Gus was steady, happy and reliable.  Finally, because it's so hard not to play with Gus' buttons, we did some lateral work, flying changes and halt/canter/halts.  (so FUN).

When their staff member got on, Gus didn't bat an eye.  He stood still at the mounting block and walked off on the buckle when asked.  After about 5 min of walking and trotting, his rider politely asked if she could borrow my spurs (oops) as Gus was slowly getting lazier and lazier.  (his signature move)

Once she got the (tiniest ever) spurs on, Gus offered some lovely canter transitions and worked like a gentleman.

The next part of the interview involved attaching a lead and asking Gus to walk and trot around with both a leader and a rider.  Gus was perfectly pleased to do this.  Then they added a third person who represented a potential "sidewalker" who would offer support to some of the riders during their sessions.  Gus thought that he had just accumulated extra friends and was perfectly willing to walk around with a crowd.

They simulated some of the "spookier" things that volunteers inadvertently do (falling behind and running to catch up, dropping the lead, waving arms... etc).  Also the rider offered some tests such as falling on his neck, leaning off one side, shaking the reins, kicking, shouting, etc).

Gus was not concerned.

Finally, it was time to test his interest in some props, so his rider got off and out came a bucket of toys. Initially Gus was convinced that said bucket would be full of treats (naturally), so he was moderately disappointed when his panel of interviewers pulled out a big plastic ball to throw around.  Gus gave it a hairy eyeball, but kept his feet on the ground and watched skeptically as the ball was tossed and rolled and passed around.  After a few minutes he was perfectly willing to let the ball roll into his feet, or get tossed into his neck.  None of the other toys (rings, stuffed toys, etc) caused him any stress, though he continued to inquire as to whether or not each item could in fact be consumed as a treat.

After a few more minutes of exploration, the interview was over and Gus was told that he would be hearing from them soon.

Well, the big man got a positive review and was approved for his initial trial period which actually starts today.  During the trial period the staff basically replicates the environment and processes that Gus would experience as a program horse.  He will join some of the group sessions (with a staff rider), walk around the property and work with some of the therapists and get poked and prodded and tacked as though he had clients working with him.

After 30 days we'll discuss whether or not they think Gus would be a good fit, and if he is, we'll talk about options.  I'm not ready to let the big guy go entirely, so I think we'll be looking at a lease, maybe a partial lease depending on his workload.  Ultimately it will also depend on how much M2 wants to be using him and for me... if Prair is back in work or looking at a longer layup.  If Prair continues to be out of work I may need Gussie for some good ol saddle time.

Those Lips
Fingers crossed for Gus!

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