Thursday, July 31, 2014


Prair finally has a date with the anesthesiologist.  Monday morning she'll trek East with D at the wheel (GOD BLESS HER).  he gets checked in and an initial lameness eval Monday afternoon before the big sleepy drugs and MRI on Tuesday morning.

The Boy, baby and I will show up early Tues to be there for the main event, then assuming all goes well, we'll drive home first thing Wednesday and beat most of the heat.

Somewhat anxious about the anesthesia (ugh), and somehow pumping/feeding baby while I pace around the vet hospital all day, but I'm looking forward to the overnight away from home and getting some info on the Big Black Mare and her sad left paw....
Love Her.  Fingers Crossed.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to the Tack

Last week M2 offered to watch the little munchkin while I got some pony time in.  physically, I've been feeling oddly normal? (I mean, aside from the obvious zombie like sleep deprivation state..) so I've been eager to get back in the saddle and get horse grime stuck under my (oddly clean) fingernails.

But this is when I'm really thankful I was able to avoid a C section (which secretly I thought sounded way more pleasant than going into labor at an unknown time and then, you know... being IN LABOR).   A friend of mine had a C about a week before our peanut was born and she's still in massive recovery mode while I (although floppy and out of shape) felt totally ok with putting my leg over Gus 2.5 weeks post baby.
Gus was way less excited than I was

I've been walking about 3 miles a day, but walking is not riding and I was curious how okay I would feel in the saddle....turns out, I felt great!  I mean,  I felt floppy and my core was crap and my legs were squishy, but that can be overcome.

Even more exciting? Gus felt awesome.  As good as he felt when we took him to that B show last year - which I think is as good as it gets for Gus  But its nice to see that all the ground work with M2 is helping keep the big guy comfy!

I was planning on mostly walking with a little trot, but Gus got a full ride in.  Shoulder in, lots of trot, lots of transitions, quite a bit of canter... it was fun! I even got a bit wild and asked for a few flying changes... Gus was, as always, an obliging gentleman.  Very fun first ride back :)

The only thing that's  not so great is that Gussie is definitely dropping weight again... which is sub-optimal.  Going to bump his hay again and see what that gets us.  Currently he's getting 5 flakes of Orchard over three feedings with rice bran and alfalfa pellets (and platinum) with his breakfast and lunch.  I'm going to throw him a flake of alfalfa with all three meals and see if that helps at all.

Excited to try and get a coulpe rides in per week.  Especially if Gus stays as sound as he is right now! Lord knows we could both use the exercise...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prair's Next "Photo Shoot"

Wow, blogging between diaper changes and breast pump sessions is not quite as easy I assumed (what?? A new parent that didn't fully understand the time/energy needed??? shocking...).

Last week I got a call from N that Prair was a bit off again.

That pesky left front, but she was only off *sometimes.*  about 30 min into a lesson with HLL, she said Prair felt a bit off, but nothing was visible.  10 minutes later, it was visible, so N hopped on to see what she felt.  With N on, Prair was sound.  When HLL hopped back on, the mare went lame again... so we think it is slight enough that when the mare is going correctly... she hides it.

Still not good, and the intermittent coming and going of this lameness has my brain thinking that we are in fact dealing with soft tissue... Which incites some panic, but so far I'm controlling it.

Fortunately, the vet was coming out a few days later, so we furthered our previous diagnostics with an ultrasound.

Nothing horrific showed up (thankfully), but there were some irregularities in a few structures that warrant further exploration.  My brain dead baby brain doesn't totally remember which tendons/ligaments were mentioned, but I'm pretty sure DDFT was on the list.  Maybe not though.... I can't be certain.

To be clear, vet didn't see any massive holes or strains, but she did some some changes in the tissue that looked different than her right front.

So, what's that mean?

We're scheduling a trip to WSU for an MRI.  I inquired about going to Portland for the Standing MRI they have.... but vet said something about magnets and 1.5 instead of .3 and that we need the machine at WSU.

An MRI will also complete our trifecta of images of Prair's paw.  X-Ray, Ultrasound and MRI.  Good thing we weren't planning on showing this month... sheesh.

I'm leery about anesthesia after Pia's trauma, but after thinking about it with The Boy, we decided that going under at a fabulous teaching hospital with some of the best vets in the country is a different proposition than at a small private clinic.  Also we decided that Prair is too nice and too young to screw around with an ambiguous diagnosis.

So that brings us to the logistics.  Somehow, we have to get the mare across the state (250 miles) for three days (check in Day 1, MRI Day 2, discharged on Day 3...).  The crazy horse lady in me said "OMG I HAVE TO BE THERE."  Because a) I want to be there and b) I've never been to the WSU facility and I think it would be neat to see.

That sentiment was quickly stifled by a shrieking 1 week old baby and I realized that maybe a 7 hour haul across the state in 100 degree temps with a brand new baby was a bad idea... so I caved and decided that I can't really help anything by being with Prair during her MRI and hauling both horse and baby might be a little much.

I started calling haulers.  I called like 8.  I called them repeatedly.  Some called back - most didn't, but NO ONE was able to haul for the 3 day trip.  WTF.

Then I got tired of trying, and a bit more sleep deprived, so I stopped worrying about Prair (she's fine... just not being worked, summer vacay anyone?) and just focused on baby and home for a few days.

Now that I've slept more, I'm anxious to sort out the MRI issue and leaning toward just hauling myself again.  If temps drop a bit (currently in the 100's along the route), I'll definitely just haul. I have reservations about stopping in that heat to nurse/pump and cooking the mare.   But we shall see.

I'm anxious to get back in the saddle, and while Gus will satisfy that need for a bit, it sure would be nice to get Prair sorted out and on the mend sooner rather than later!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Baby! (and Barn visits)

Well she's here! Miss Cayla James - and in her two weeks in this world we've naturally already been to the barn multiple times.  In fact, at her two day check up when asked if we "had any questions" I got slight eye roll from The Boy when I inquired as to when it was appropriate for babies to visit barns....

Fresh out of the oven!

Thankfully our pediatrician (who's kid rides the Junior Hunters...) said that we were ok to take the little peanut to the barn whenever we wanted.  

So we did.  

Prair got the first visit last week, and we've since been to see Gus as well.  I'm not sure Baby has actually been awake when we've been visiting the ponies, but I'm sure her happy snoozing is a good sign too.  Prair was very intrigued by the baby seat and snuffled softly at Cayla, happy  to keep her muzzle resting nicely on the seat.... whereas Gus thought the stroller was perhaps some sort of dangerous monster, or at the very least competition for treats, so he remained a bit more suspicious of the whole bundle.  

Sweet Mare
So far we're having way too much fun with her, and she's been making it easy for us.  She's giving us 4-5 hour sleeps at night and really only fusses if she' starving or needs clean pants (takes after her mother...).  Her delivery was also much more pleasant than I was expecting, and I'm thinking I will be ready to throw a leg over Mr Gus later this week  Even if we don't accomplish much, I'm ready to get back on a horse already!

But otherwise, we are enjoying our time at home, lots of walks in the park and a good excuse to keep The Boy away from long hours at work.

So fun!

More on Gus and Prair shortly, they both have updates of their own to share, but for now a couple more Baby Pics for the Baby-Curious

New Family!

Nap Time with Dad

Thursday, July 3, 2014

VCBH: Interested Parties

I know I keep missing a few Blog Hops from VC here and there, but I'm trying to keep up!

Her question of "what made you interested in your first horse that led you to buying them in the first place?" is a good one.  It's also relevant as I spend time watching my horses from the ground and in planning for baby there's a lot of thought around "why do I choose to do this, and what are my objectives?"

Separate question - but let's start with the real Blog Hop.


Prairie wasn't a total impulse buy, but she was the front runner from start to finish in my totally-rational-totally-justifiable search for a second horse.  Mostly I was getting frustrated that Pia was still at Summer Camp, and I really (really, really) wanted something I could ride regularly again and enjoy. As casual perusing turned into obsessive shopping, Prairie continued to be a top contender, and in all honestly - it was her trot that had me glued in.
I guess her canter was ok too (Pic from original ad)

I couldn't find anything else that moved like Prair without jumping to a whole new price range (possible red flag), but I ascribed most of that price gap to her total lack of experience relative to her peers.

I have always been oddly okay with taking on horses that have zero experience, (in fact, aside from the original pony, all my horses have been total green beans).  So I kept looking, I even dabbled in reaching out to some of the high end "factory farms" that pump out insanely expensive, insanely nice horses, but I kept coming back to that huge black mare with the big, floaty trot.

So we went to see her, I really liked her and after sitting on only two other horses, I decided to make an offer.

Then I got married two weeks later, found a new trailer that would fit her and the rest is history.

So the easy answer to why did I buy her?  Her Trot.  Turns out I like her personality a ton and there are plenty of other positive qualities, but really, her trot is what sold me.


If Prairie was "sort of" an impulse buy, Gus was that pack of gum you grab at the checkout stand cause you haven't tried "tooti-fruity-space-mint" before.

Gus was not in the plans, the budget (he might still not be in the budget) or frankly on my list of "horses to own in a lifetime."  But he was in a tough spot, lame and seemed to be deteriorating daily.

We decided to take him on a "trial" of sorts in Feb of 2013 to give us time to suss out his medical issues and see if he would prove to be as bomb proof as I was hoping.  He did, and we made enough progress on his sad feet and nutrition that The Boy talked me into moving forward with him.

What attracted me to Gus initially was his personality.  He is a total clown and is very fun to interact with.  He's playful and inquisitive, but also inherently extremely lazy which makes him a fun lesson horse you can trust with beginners or say... your husband.

It didn't hurt that Gus has literally every button installed and was perfectly happy to oblige irrational requests for leg yields, half passes, tempis, etc.  He is just way too much fun to ride and very, very willing.

(crappy, but cute video of Gus from March 2013 about 6 weeks into working with him.)

We've struggled over the last year and a half to keep him consistently sound, and like many elder statesmen - there's a fine line between enough work to increase his mobility and fitness and too much work that overloads his old injuries...  For the last 6 months he hasn't been getting quite as much exercise as I would like, but hopefully I'll be back into the saddle again shortly and we can pack some muscle back on the old man.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Please Standby

We are off having a baby. (!!!)

Don't worry though, the horses have enough treats to last them at least a week ;)

Regular blog activities will resume shortly - perhaps enhanced by sleep deprived delirium, perhaps not...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

NQR, then R Again

The Boy abandoned me for the weekend to squeeze in one last guy's trip before baby arrives so I was left to my own devices.  Per usual, that meant I filled up my time with barn trips, random errands and eating my body weight in cherries (I love cherry season).

After Prair's lovely week o' relaxation, I was eager to see her hack out on Saturday so I arranged a time with HLL to meet at the barn and watch the big mare take a low key spin.

Woke up, ate some cherries, drove to the barn, groomed the mare up to a shine and discovered a big, patch of fungus on her belly in her girth area.  Grrrrrr-osssss.  Not horrid, and she didn't seem bothered by it, but flaky and dry and most definitely a new feature.  So I picked at it obsessively for a bit before the mare finished getting tacked up and headed to the ring.
Even with 5 days fully off, Prair was relaxed, chill and happy.  Her neck was loose and she was happily looking around at the world beyond the arena doors without straining her eyeballs or seeming spooky or annoyed AT ALL.
Cute Relaxo Mare
Of course then she moved up to the trot and I thought "hmmm"

After a lap or two I asked HLL how she felt and she replied with a tentative "um, not great??"

I don't know what I was hoping she would say, because from my spot (on a chair, spinning around watching them go) I thought exactly the same thing.

She wasn't lame per se, but she sorta looked like crap.  Happy, relaxed, chill crap. But crap nonetheless.

Her trot was... dull.  Heavier to the ground than normal, a bit short and seemingly stiffer through the shoulder than I'm used to.  No flicky-flicky toe action and zero loft.  but not lame!

I frowned and asked her to do some lengthenings down the long side to see if we could shake her loose, but alas, the lengthenings looked like running-ings, not lofty, fluid extensions... argh.

No change in going from left to right... and no obvious soreness in a particular limb.  If anything I was on red alert for some soreness in her right stifle at the injection site.. but no. Nothing.

Usually when Prair's a tad uncomfortable or off, she gets tight in her neck - which she also wasn't.  If anything, she was lighter in the bridle and more relaxed in the neck than normal.

Nothing was getting better or worse with work, so after about 15 minutes of trot/canter we called it a day and figured we'd wait to see how she looked on Sunday before totally freaking out.

Sunday, she ended up not getting worked, but Monday I got a text from the assistant saying she felt heavier on her forehand than normal, but nothing else of note, and certainly not lame.

That was still enough of a red flag to get my very pregnant, cherry-eating-butt down to the barn this morning in order to watch N put a ride on her.

The fungus (thankfully) was already clearing up, and the mare was looking particularly fat, and happy and... well, fat.

I filled N in on the weirdness over the weekend and was rambling on, and on and on about all the possible considerations when she interrupted me and just said "I think she feels great, how does she look?"

um.... great? 

So that's that.  The mare looks great.  She worked WONDERFULLY on the flat, beautiful shape, lots of loft, self carriage and relaxation.  More collection than I'm used to seeing at the canter, and all in all - exactly what I would hope to see after some rest and injections.

Also very nice to hear N say that Prair's RH felt better.  Nothing overly dramatic, but just a bit quicker, and like she didn't have to work quite so hard to keep it gathered up under the mare.

Once again, lots of stress for nothing - Thanks mare!!!

I suppose it was a good excuse to sneak in a random morning trip to the barn.  I got to untack, groom, and snuggle with the lady and even got some tack cleaning in.  Can't be too certain when Miss Baby will decide to show up, so might as well log the barn visits now!

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