Friday, October 31, 2014

I give up.

Tuesday we had a good ride.  Wednesday we had a great ride.  So pumped for Walter.

Get to the other barn to pick up the truck and trailer which the BO had said I could use.  Not there.  Call BO.  "Oh, I forgot, someone borrowed it to move last weekend and they haven't returned it yet."  Are you bleeping kidding me.  "You can use the Jeep and the little trailer."  Great.  The Jeep which can barely pull the tiny POS trailer which probably isn't even actually road legal or safe.  But it's Walter, so fine.

I spent over an hour trying to load him.  No way in hell was he getting on that trailer.  My BO tried to help when she got home, but no luck.

At one point, he ran backward into the tractor, reared, and almost flipped over.

So yeah.  No Walter for us.  And probably no trailering ever again, as I don't know if I'm ever going to get him on a trailer again after such a horrible experience.  I'm annoyed with River for not loading, but I can't totally blame him as the trailer is small and not at all inviting.  My BO commented that even her best loader probably wouldn't have gotten on that trailer, and she didn't even think he would fit in the slot.

I spent two weeks so excited about this, two weeks working hard to get River going halfway decently, and it all got ruined because someone can't keep track of their possessions or commitments.

Why do I even bother riding?  He was doing really well, then he had his bone cyst.  He was finally better from that and I wanted to ride, then he was footsore.  So excited to ride with Walter, and that got messed up.

I'm more discouraged than I was after my broken leg.  At least then I wanted to ride, even if I was afraid.  Now it's like why even waste my time?  Nothing is ever going to be accomplished.  And if, heaven forbid, I TRY to do something with my horse, disaster strikes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting ready for Walter!

Thursday we didn't ride.

Friday we rode and he was good but lazy.

Saturday I got up early to ride and found a whip.  He was being a jerk, so I longed him and he spend 20 minutes going nuts.

Sunday we didn't ride.

Yesterday we rode.  He started off so darn lazy and yucky, but he eventually warmed up and got going forward.  Early in the ride he randomly spooked, but I yelled at him and we kept going with no further incidents.

Awww, he's so cute!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm hopeless. And exciting news!

I rode River on Monday.  (I know!!  What's wrong with me??)  He felt fine, but afterward I decided to longe him quick just to see how he looked.  I was like FML, he's moving short on his right front, I hate horses.

Tuesday morning I put him on the longe again and he looked the same.  Took video and texted it to my vet with a request to please shoot River and/or me.  She called me and was like "why should I shoot you, what's wrong with him?  He's fine."  So apparently if I think River is sound, that means he's lame; if I think he's lame, he's sound.

Rode him again last night and he was fine.  Fun idea:  If you want to freak out your mother, who already worries about you riding (especially after breaking a leg in a riding accident), call her before getting on your horse saying "I'm riding, if you don't hear from me in half an hour, call to make sure I'm alive."  (Normally I'd text the barn owner with a request to look for my lifeless body after X amount of time, but she wasn't home.)  He did spook once when a horse rattled his corner feeder suddenly, but we survived.

Now you might be wondering why I'm riding him.  After all, he's only been off since February, why the hurry to get him back in work?  Well....

I'm riding with Walter again next week!!!!!  Yay!!!  Lucky for me, the clinic got changed to a Thursday (my day off) and there was an opening.  Last time I rode my Old Man, but this time I really want to take River.  I have to check about trailering, but I'm sure we can make it work.  Thankfully Walter is very kind and won't be like "you're doing walk-trot and you've had this horse for HOW long?" while trying not to laugh.  Which, let's face it, is a pretty reasonable reaction.

I attempted to take a mounted selfie last night... this was the best attempt....
Poor Riv's eye looks like it's about to pop out of his skull.

So then we did an unmounted selfie.
Either his head is too big or my arm is too short.  Oh well.  We tried.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I can see!!

I've had glasses for almost 23 years.  I first started wearing them in first grade.  A few weeks ago I went for an evaluation to for LASIK...

My prescription was -11.25 in one eye and -9.50 in the other.  "Perfect" vision is 20/20, but 20/30 or 20/40 is fine too.  I couldn't read 20/800.  The people at the eye place commented that I'd be disabled without glasses.  The funny thing is, it didn't really seem that bad to me.  I haven't been able to see normally for most of my life, so it was my normal.  I would have people with normal vision try on my glasses, and pretty often the person would immediately start to get a headache and/or get dizzy.

I wasn't really expecting to be able to get LASIK, but I figured I'd do the evaluation so I'd know.  Well, as it turned out, I could get LASIK.  Surprise!

The surgery was yesterday.  I drove myself to my followup appointment this morning.  My right eye was almost 20/20 and my left was 20/30 or 20/40.  It'll be a few days at least before my eyes heal and my vision settles, so hopefully I'll end up 20/20 in both eyes

If you've been blessed with good eyes, you can't even begin to imagine what it's like being able to see.

I'm going to have to be really careful in the barn for a while, what with all the dust and stuff in the air... I got some very stylish safety goggles, lol.

If you've considered LASIK, go for it! 

For me, the procedure sucked big time.  If I had 3 eyes, I would not have made it through.  By the end of the second eye, I was holding on to consciousness for dear life.  It doesn't hurt at all, but when they make the flap, it's about 20 seconds of intense pressure on the eye.  The actual laser part is fine, although it smells rather like dehorning goats (note:  the smell is NOT from the laser on the eye, it's from the gasses used in the laser.. or something like that).

When it was done, I stayed flat on the table for a couple minutes, then a couple of people helped me back to my little room so I could lay on the couch.  After maybe 10 minutes and some cold compresses and water, I was all better.

Vision was blurry (but better than pre-surgery) for most of the day, and my eyes tended to feel gritty and/or burning... not unbearably so, just unpleasant.

As much as I hated having it done, I would do it again without hesitation.  And FWIW, eyes creep me out.  They always have.  So if you aren't weird about your eyes, you probably won't be bothered by the surgery as much as I was.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

We're alive.

But nothing more interesting to report...  I've been busy and stressed, so Riv hasn't gotten much (read:  any) attention.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cute pics from last week...

Last week a couple of the barn girls wanted to groom River.  Sure, why not?

He rather enjoyed it, I think.

He's rockin' a pretty new halter!

Yeah, I was turning him out and couldn't be bothered to get a lead rope..  But pretty pink and polka dots!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to keep your horse from being stolen

The Mare is 100% theft-proof for a number of reasons.  Some of those reasons, such as her witchy personality, chestnut Thoroughbred mare attitude, and ridiculously crooked front legs are things the horse either has or doesn't.

But never fear!  If you are unfortunate enough to have a sweet tempered, willing, beautifully conformed horse, there are still things you can do to reduce the likelihood of theft.

Here are a few of the acquired theft deterrents The Mare possesses.

1.  Dented skull

Nothing too obvious, but it's definitely there, and you can't hide or simulate a dented skull!

2.  Corneal scar

Scar from apparent flap of skin on side of face optional.

3.  Skin tag/extra nipple

So there you are, 3 easy ways to keep your horse from being stolen!

(I'm not entirely sure how any of these injuries happened.  The Mare's previous owner told me, but as previous owner is a pathological liar, I don't really trust anything I was told.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Great clinic with Walter Zettl!

Yesterday the Old Man and I rode with Walter Zettl and it was amazing.  We mostly worked on straightness and rhythm and tempo.

My favorite parts were when Walter said that my pony is a "spectacular mover" and called the farm owner over to point out to her that he's a spectacular mover.  He's 27 years old, and he's still a spectacular mover!  Walter said over and over what a sweetheart my horse is, which he really is.

I feel so re-energized now..  I'm like, "WANT TO RIDE ALL THE HORSES!"  Which will probably last about 5 minutes, when I realize how much I suck without Walter in my ear telling me what to do, haha. 

Unfortunately there aren't any pictures from the clinic...  *sad face*  But here are a couple of him back home after the clinic:

And here's one of us from a couple months ago. 

 Yup, he's perfect all right!  <3

Monday, August 25, 2014

*squeal* Super exciting news!!!!!

River is getting temporarily neglected.  My wonderful vet called me on Thursday to ask if I want to ride with Walter (Zettl)!!  Holy crap yes!!!!  Lucky for me, both she and another person who ride with Walter whenever he's in town have lame horses, so there was an open slot.  Yay!!!!!

Naturally, I'm riding the Old Man with Walter.. of course, he hasn't been in regular work in a few years, so now we're in boot camp.  Pretty much as soon as I got off the phone with my vet, I went to the barn to ride... 

Thursday he was okay.  He was very excited about the canter.  So our canter work consisted of walk, pick up the canter, after about 2 strides back to a walk, repeat... more than a few strides of canter and he'd try to explode.  Silly boy!

Friday I remembered my dressage whip.. which I promptly had to drop because he would not settle at the walk.  The canter was a little better...  We could hold a canter without running away for more than a few strides, as long as it was on about an 8m circle.

Saturday we did lots of shoulder in, haunches in, and haunches out at the walk, and leg yielding and shoulder in at the trot.  Most impressively, we were able to canter a 20 meter circle!!!  My abs are still sore from the effort of holding him together and keeping him up, but that's okay...

Did I mention he's an OLD MAN?  He's 27 years old!!!  And I'm still trying to work him down to being able to walk-trot-canter like a reasonably broke horse.

He had yesterday off, so today it's back to work!

Do you think his everyday bridle is suitable for our lesson with Walter?

Totally appropriate, right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I can't stand cribbing.

I hate cribbing.  It's my biggest pet peeve.  The Old Man's barn allows horses to crib completely unrestricted, so I keep a few stirrup leathers in my trunk and as soon as I get to the barn, I put them on the cribbers to prevent them cribbing while I'm there.

As far as I'm concerned, the only things cribbers are good for are target practice and dog food.  A controlled cribber, fine, I can deal with that, but uncontrolled?  No way.  Absolute deal breaker.

And this is what happens when you allow a horse to crib...

Horse 1:

This horse cribs on the metal between the bars on the front of his stall.  You can feel and see the indents in the metal from his teeth.

Horse 2

This is a ~20+ year old horse who is a nonstop cribber.

Horse 3:

This is a ~27 year old pony.

Repulsive, isn't it?  Also worth noting is that all 3 are underweight.  I kept a cribbing collar on #2 all winter and her weight was the best it's ever been.  Now that she's back to cribbing nonstop, she's lost weight again.

Cribbing is so incredibly bad for horses (and barns!).  Don't let your horse crib.  Keep a collar on 24/7. 

Monday, August 11, 2014


Princess is on a course of dexamethasone to deal with his hives.  He started on 10cc/day for 3 days, then 9cc/day for 3 days (because I couldn't remember if I was supposed to go down 1 or 2 cc at a time.. it's 2cc), tomorrow he'll get 7cc for 3 days, then 5, then 3, then 1, then 1 every other day for a little bit.  All this assuming, of course, that the hives don't come back after lowering the dose.

He's driving me nuts!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

We're #1!!

Google "how to make a saddle pad".  Or just "make a saddle pad".

Go on, do it.  I'll wait.


Did you happen to notice what the #1 result is?

 In case it wasn't clear....

Yeah, that's right, me and River's blog are the top result on Google!  How freaking cool is that??  We're practically famous!  Now where does the "rich" part come in.....?

(I know, the screenshots are probably too big and run off into the sidebar... sorry!  The next size smaller is too small to read easily.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

FML... The Return of the Princess

Friends came to ride River. This is what we found:

Seriously?!?!??  Gave him dex, hoping it helps..

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tip from our trip to Cornell

Yeah, so I'm a few months late... whatever.

As you may remember, Riv turned up lame in February.  After a month of treating what appeared to be the problem only to have something else turn up. I bit the bullet and took him to Cornell.  But there was a whole month of stuff that happened before we went.

Since there was a lot that happened leading up to Cornell and it was confusing, I knew I'd be flustered when we got there and didn't want to forget things.  So the day before we went to Cornell, I typed up a timeline.  I used Facebook, the blog, and texts to my vet to put everything together so I knew I had it right.

This is what I ended up with:


17 Monday – Longed him, thought he might look a little off

18 Tuesday – Longed, sent video to Dr. My Vet, she saw unsoundness

20 Thursday – Dr. My Vet examined, pain and swelling at top of lateral splint bone on right foreleg. Off at the trot, but very willing to move. Started standing wraps
Last day of turnout

22 Saturday – Extremely lame

23 Sunday – Extremely lame and unhappy, reluctant to move. Dr. My Vet examined. Hoof block, xrays, and ultrasound showed nothing. Only finding was continued pain and swelling at top of lateral splint bone.
Start bute 1g BID, add DMSO under wrap on right foreleg.

25 Tuesday – Lameness slightly improved, picked up left front foot willingly

26 Wednesday – Attitude better, slightly more lame, reluctant to pick up left front and had trouble holding it up
Stop DMSO, reduce bute to 1g QD (PM)

27 Thursday – Farrier came, did not trim feet, checked right front for abscess, found nothing


7 Friday – Much more comfortable, still lame, not as bad

10 Monday – Doing okay, still lame, but bright and perky

14 Friday – Still lame, sent video of him walking to Dr. My Vet

15 Saturday – Dr. My Vet examined him, no longer painful over splint bone, seems to have problem with his shoulder. Viewed from front, right shoulder is noticably different/bigger than left shoulder. Dr. My Vet concerned there is more going on than we had thought, discussed Cornell, decided to pursue

17 Monday – Appointment made with Cornell
Last dose of bute
When we got to Cornell and had him settled in a stall, the vet student came by to get a history.  She started asking questions with her pen poised to take notes.  I was like, oh, hang on, I've got it all right here!  And pulled out the printed timeline for her.  She looks at it, ready to ask me questions, and then kind of does a double-take.  "Oh.  Oh, this is perfect!"

Later, when the vets are examining him, one vet is asking the other for some history, and the other vet find my timeline and hands it over.  First vet is like "wow, this is great!"

Judging by the surprise it received, I imagine most people don't prepare a history or timeline in advance.  Which is too bad... it's easier for everyone if you put together all the important information ahead of time when you're not stressed or worried or rushed.  That way you don't forget anything and you can put the information in a clear, easy-to-read way.

I can guarantee that, had I not prepared ahead of time, the history taking would have consisted of "uhhh... um, I think it was the 18th.  No, wait, maybe it was the 20th... it was a Tuesday.  Hang on, let me check to see if I texted my vet... oh, no, it was Sunday the 23rd.  No, no, he never got any bute at all.  Crap!  Wait, yes, he did get bute!  I think he got it for like a week or two?"  And then I would have started crying from the stress.

So if you ever take your horse to a clinic/hospital or even have a new vet out for a problem that's been going on for a while, take some time and write down dates and important information.  It'll make it easier on everyone, and the less time spent trying to figure out the history, the more time can be spent figuring out what's wrong with your horse.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Amazing clinic auditing experience!

Yesterday I finally got the chance to audit a Walter Zettl clinic... they're almost never on Thursdays (my day off--can't really take off work to audit a clinic), but yesterday was my lucky day.  I watched two rides, had to leave to run some errands, and came back to watch the second half of one ride and all of the last ride of the day.

Oh my gosh.  Walter is just amazing.  There was a canopy set up with chairs, so I was sitting within a few feet of him, which made it easy to hear him.  (He uses the microphone and headset things so he doesn't have to shout.)

I'm trying to remember the wonderful instructions he gave that apply to everyone..
1.  Use less aids.  When you use too much, the horse gets confused.  Use minimal aids.
2.  When you give an aid, give the horse a chance to respond.  Give the aid, release, and give the horse moment to respond to it.
3.  You have to ride every second, and you have to adjust your ride constantly because everything changes every step.  Ride each moment as it happens, and ride it the way it needs to be ridden at that moment.
4.  Get the hind end working.  Keep contact with the horse's mouth, ask for flexion and bend, but don't worry about where the head is.  When the horse is pushing from behind and working over his back, the head will go where it's supposed to be.  Focus on the hindquarters.
5.  Trust is good, but control is better.  Be soft, but not so soft the horse is out of control.

One thing he did with everyone was have them trot, ask them to walk, and the moment the horse drops to the walk, trot again, and repeat.  The goal was to get the horse listening and get the rider experimenting with how little they really need to be doing.

Every single horse made dramatic improvement during the ride.  It was absolutely incredible.

Walter is probably the kindest, most patient person I have ever met.  He was unfailingly soft and encouraging and just wonderful.

He won't be doing any more clinics here until September, but hopefully I can get a spot to ride with him.  I've been hearing about Walter as long as I've been riding and I've always kind of thought it would be cool to ride with him, but now "clinic with Walter" has moved to #1 on my list of things I really really really want to do.

If you ever get a chance to ride with Walter or audit one of his clinics, TAKE IT.  It doesn't matter how good or not you are or how good or not your horse is.  He'll help you and your horse improve, and he won't make you feel like you're wasting his time--because he truly doesn't think helping a horse and rider is a waste of time, no matter what you're doing.  Walter is just wonderful.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stuart Horse Trials!

Saturday I jump judged at Stuart Horse Trials--so much fun!  The best part was definitely watching Phillip Dutton's SIX (SIX!!!!!) horses.  He had 3 in the CIC** and 3 in Open Intermediate.  (He had a fourth horse in OI but retired on xc before he got to my fence.)  It was kind of funny, my friend (and co-jump judge) and I were like what the heck, why are there 6 minutes between riders in OI?  It's normally 2 or 3 minutes.  Then the TD explained that because Phillip Dutton had so many horses, they had to space the rides out more to give him enough time to get off one horse and get the next one warmed up.  Oh.  Well okay then, lol.

I had fence 10abc, which was the coffin.  Um, scary!  Rail, one stride, ditch, one stride, ramped skinny brush. 

Yeahhhhh, I think I'll just go around, but thanks anyway.

As scary as it looks, everyone made it through just fine.  Only one or two rides were anything less than flawless, and as it's eventing, flawless isn't necessary.
I took video of 3 of Phillip Dutton's rides:

Yeah, NBD.

A couple of stills from the videos:

Just incredible to watch.

The placings for the CIC** were:
1.  Phillip Dutton
2.  Phillip Dutton
3.  Jennie Brannigan
4.  Phillip Dutton

Placings for OI:
1.  Phillip Dutton
2.  Phillip Dutton
3.  Janelle Phaneuf
4.  Phillip Dutton

How is anyone that freaking talented???

He did an autograph signing after xc, but I was jump judging all day.  Oh well... I'd feel weird getting an autograph, anyway.

The only disappointing thing for me was no Doug Payne.  *sad face*  I love watching him ride.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baby deer

Got to the Old Man's barn yesterday to find they'd just caught a baby deer with a badly broken leg. While waiting for environmental conservation to come shoot her, the vet came and was like "oh, that can probably be rehabbed, they'll just amputate the leg."  So she called a vet she knows who does that on the side, and yep, just take off the leg and she can live happily ever after with some other three legged deer. 

Couple pictures before she left to go to rehab:

Yes, I got to spend part of my day holding the world's cutest baby deer. Vet figured she's only 2-3 weeks old. Poor little princess. 

Don't worry, I won't post any pictures of her leg.. It's pretty grotesque. Like, I was genuinely concerned I might pass out and/or throw up. And I'm pretty good with blood and guts and stuff. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back in the saddle!

I rode River today for the first time since January!!  Would you be surprised to learn he was absolutely perfect?  Other than the expected stiffness and forgetting how to move off leg, of course...  but really, who cares about that stuff?

He's just like "dude, my mom is such a loser."

There are no words for how good it feels to finally ride him again!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


He was such a good boy!  Can't wait to ride him!

The Mare and her boyfriend

Just wanted to share a cute picture of The Mare and her boyfriend...  they're turned out together and are stalled next to each other (bottom half of wall is solid, top half is bars, so they can see/sniff each other all night).  I do AM chores 4 days a week.... every single morning, I get boyfriend out of his stall and stop at The Mare's stall to take her out.  Every single morning before I can get her halter on, they have to tenderly touch noses as though they haven't seen each other in months.


Her obsession with whoever her current boyfriend happens to be is kind of ridiculous and obnoxious, but also pretty cute.

Friday, June 27, 2014


BO got a kiddie pool for her dog.  It's near the barn.  When I brought Princess in last night, he was terrified of it.  Blowing, dancing around, looking extremely suspicious... really, dude?  What a wimp.

But he got over it...

He's been really good *knock on wood*.  I turned him out on grass yesterday, which means walking way down past horses on both sides to get to the pasture, and he was a perfect gentleman, even on the way back to the barn--without a chain!

I longed him for a few minutes and he was fine.. going to have someone come out next week to ride him for me.  I'm like 99.9% sure he'd be fine and I'm almost willing to get on him myself, but.....  Just in case.