Friday, February 28, 2014

Good news!

My vet sent two CDs to Cornell. The vet there was able to open one, and one CD wouldn't work. Guess which one was River's.. My vet attempted to email it yesterday. I haven't heard from her, so she was probably successful, lol.

Farrier came out yesterday. I explained what had been going on, and before he even took a look at Riv, he said he didn't think it was an abscess. Looked at him, absolutely no indication of an abscess. If my farrier says no abscess, then there's no abscess. He palpated the leg and said he thought it's an interosseous muscle injury. I got my vet on the phone and he talked to her for a bit, and they're in agreement that the problem is the interosseous muscle. Farrier said he's seen quite a few horses with this injury in the past few months.

Unless Cornell has another idea or he worsens, we're treating for an interosseous muscle injury. It's not an absolute 100% definitive diagnosis--that would require a trip to Cornell, which would just aggravate the injury. The diagnosis makes sense and my vet and farrier are both in agreement, so I feel confident that we've got a good answer.

He'll be on stall rest for 3-6 months, and when it's healed he'll be back to normal with no lasting issues.

Even if he does need the the full 6 months of stall rest, I can deal with that. It's not like we're missing out on any big shows or anything... The important thing is that it will get better and he'll be fine.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Still lame

Thanks for the good vibes, everyone!

River seemed a little better this morning.  He's more willing to move and is a little brighter.  He let me pick up his left front, which is quite an accomplishment!

His xrays went off to Cornell yesterday, so they'll have them today or tomorrow.. whether they find anything is another matter, but maybe...

Prayers and jingles still need, but at least he hasn't gotten worse!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Prayers and jingles for River, please!

I'd posted about Riv's swollen leg and lameness and that the vet didn't find anything..

Well, on Saturday he went from "lame, but not horribly lame, and still very willing to move" to "gimpy, I don't wanna move" lame.  Sunday he was even a bit worse, a solid 4/5 lame.

Vet came out and spent about 2 hours working him up.. blocked his foot (hoping for an abscess), nothing.  Xrayed his leg where the swelling is (top of lateral splint bone), nothing.  Ultrasounded his leg, nothing.

We have no clue what is wrong with him.  He's on stall rest, wrapping with DMSO, and bute for now.  If nothing changes, the next step would be taking him to Cornell.

Vet is sending his xrays to Cornell today, so maybe someone there will see something that we didn't.  But for now, we're just guessing..  Super-Awesome Farrier is coming on Thursday, maybe if it is an abscess he can find it..

Stress is going to kill me if the vet bills don't..

Please send healing thoughts to River!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Who knows?

Vet looked at Riv yesterday.  Yeah, it's swollen.  Yeah, he's a bit off.  But there's nothing apparently wrong with him... maybe he just whacked his leg on something?  So I'm wrapping him when he's stalled for a few days to see if that takes care of the swelling.  If it does, then the wraps stay off to see if the swelling comes back.  If the swelling comes back, then I call my vet and cry and curse River for being a jerk.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sign up for this. Also, River is a pain in the butt.

I've posted about this before, but... If you ever buy anything online, you need to sign up for Ebates.  (And pretty please sign up through that link, I get paid for every person I refer!)  It's the easiest thing in the world.  Here's how it works:

1.  You sign up.
2.  When you want to shop online, you find the store listed on on Ebates and click the orange "Shop Now" button.
3.  A new window opens with the store's website.  Browse and buy whatever.
4.  A day or two later, Ebates puts money in your account (whatever the stated percentage of your purchase is).
5.  You take the check they send you quarterly to the bank.

It literally takes maybe an extra 30 seconds to buy through Ebates, and you're getting cash back on stuff you were already going to buy.  Plus if there are coupons or sales, they let you know.  There's no downside.

Here's the check I got yesterday:
Yup.  $57.56.

So pretty please, someone sign up through that link and make a $25 purchase by 3/31/14, and I get $15!

And River.  Grrrrrrr.

Monday I decided to longe him, now that the weather is getting better and I might actually want to ride at some point.  He looked maybe a little funny, but he was also being a doofus, so it's hard to tell.  I felt his legs afterward and his right front was a little swollen on the outside of his leg, from just below his knee to maybe 1/3 of the way down the cannon.  Not warm, not very swollen, just enough that I noticed and went hmmmm.

Yesterday morning it was the same

Yesterday evening it was more swollen, and the swelling went from below his knee to about 2/3 of the way down his cannon.  At which point I have to get a little concerned, because it got significantly more swollen in less than 12 hours.  I longed him briefly and sent video and a description to my vet, who promptly called me.  We discussed it, she told me to check a couple things, and she can come out Thursday morning to take a look at him.  The weird thing is he looks off on the outside leg in both directions, but only one leg is swollen.

This morning, Riv's leg is swollen the entire length of the cannon, but still all on the outside of his leg, and a little warm.

Grrrrrrrrr.  Big jerk.  I want to get him in work, so he figures it's a good time to randomly be a bit off and have a swollen leg for no apparent reason.

How on earth did this horse stand up to 90 races????

Monday, February 17, 2014

More questions.

Stolen from Simply Horse Crazy

1. What is your favorite breed/s of horse, and if you could purchase a new horse what breed would it be?
Thoroughbred!  Love love love Thoroughbreds.  I don't think we even need most of the breeds out there, Thoroughbreds can do it all and do it better.  (This is equal parts sincere and joking.  I do think Thoroughbreds are the best, but I know they can't really do everything.)

2. What is your favorite personal tack item?
My saddle.  Love it.

 3. Horse products you swear by?
Tomorrow Dry Cow for thrush, Venice turpentine for toughening up soles, DEET for keeping bugs away, Rambo blankets

 4. Rider products or items you swear by?
My Charles Owen JR8 is the most comfortable helmet in the world.  Unfortunately I'm poor, so that's saved for shows, and my every day helmet is a Tipperary Sportage, but if I could afford to throw away a CO after a few rides if I fell, I'd ride in them exclusively.  I also love my Bow Balance stirrups, especially now that I'm not too sound.

 5. Favorite tack catalogs to shop from?
I don't really shop much lately due to a combination of having everything and having no money.  Lately I've been asking the feed store if they can order things for me.  Otherwise, SmartPak or Victory Canter, although I haven't ordered much in a while.

 6. Is your home decorated "horsey", as in western or equestrian-themed?
Nope.  I think a lot of horsey decorations are pretty cheesy.  I do have framed pictures in my room, and eventually I'm going to finish up a shadowbox for my Dearly Departed Gelding and hang that up.

 7. Do you wear horse, Western, or equestrian-themed jewelry?
No... I have nothing against it, I just don't wear much jewelry at all.  If I do wear jewelry, it's something I made myself.

8. A style of riding you'd like to try sometime?
I don't know....  I love my regular old English hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing wannabe riding.  I'd like to at least attempt sidesaddle, even if for 10 minutes, just to try to figure out how on earth it's possible!

 9. Biggest lesson you've learned about horses?
They'll grab your heart and never let go.

  10. Is your significant other a rider too?
No significant other, so not applicable. 

 11. What horse issues bother you the most?
Anything that involves abusing the horse to perform better in shows (soring in TWH, rollkur in dressage, etc)

12. Favorite horse magazines to read, or do you just read blogs/online sites?
The only magazine I read is Practical Horseman, although I usually just read the jumping clinic...  I'm also on COTH.

 13. String along some thoughts that summarize your involvement of horses......
Obsessed, in my heart, in my blood, no money, fun, cuddly, everything to me, passion, jack of all trades except riding

 14. Do you ever look on Craigslist or Dreamhorse or for horses or tack? For fun or real?   
No.  Before I actually got into horses, I did, but not in a long time.  I've never actually shopped for a horse, and the thought of having money set aside to go buy a horse is pretty crazy to me.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Questions because I'm bored.

I don't have anything to say about my horses because I've been a lazy, negligent owner and haven't done anything worth talking about in... um... a while.

So, five questions stolen from I Trot On

1. Who has had the biggest impact on your riding and why?
Ummmm...  This is really hard to answer.  I can't give one answer.  There are three. 

First is my Old Man.  He did dressage for years back in his early teens, so he got pretty well trained.  The BO at his barn rode him and took lots of lessons with Walter Zettl (if you're not familiar with Walter, he's amaaaaaazing... he works with the Pepperonis, but don't count that against him).  So he knows his stuff.  Then the BO got a young horse and Striker turned into a lesson horse.  He'd been a lesson horse for a few years at least when I started riding him, so he wasn't really tuned up.... which was fine, because I was still learning my diagonals.  But as I progressed, he was with me almost every step of the way (except learning to canter and my first few jumping lessons, because he's absolutely 100% NOT safe or suitable for those things).  One dressage instructor I rode with described him as "tolerant, but not generous", which is perfect.  He put up with all my fumbling and ineptitude cheerfully, but he didn't give me anything until I asked for it correctly.  He has the training and ability for stuff, which meant I just needed to learn how to ask for it (and then ask for it enough that he got into shape).  There are so many things I learned on him.  I would be a much worse rider than I am if it weren't for him.  (And let's face it, the idea of me being even worse than I actually am is pretty horrifying!)

Second is The Mare.  She is totally unlike Striker and way too much like me.  She's pretty much me in horse form.  She's the kind of horse that I would say I could not and should not ride because we're just too much alike.  But I had to make it work, because if I didn't ride her, someone else would, and that someone else's way of riding her consisted of see-sawing on her face, whipping her to get her off leg, and then ripping on her face to make her slow down... they ended up whipping her so hard that the crop broke, left welts on her, and made her rear.  So in order to keep her away from that, I had to ride her.  She taught me how important it is ride each horse as an individual.  You can get away with riding lots of horses the same, but when you're on a hot hot hot chestnut Thoroughbred mare, you need to ride the way SHE needs to be ridden.  Quiet, asking rather than demanding (but still setting boundaries), and taking things slow.

Third is Jeffrey Lord.  I've ridden with him 5 times, the last 3 being on River.  It never fails--I'll be riding and having trouble with something, then I'll remember "oh yeah, Jeff said to do this", and as soon as I do it it's 100% better.  I absolutely love him.

2. What is the one piece of riding equipment you can’t live without?
My saddle.  I loooooove my saddle.  It's a Collegiate Diploma close contact.  It's so comfy for me, it has wool panels and an adjustable gullet for the horse, and I feel so secure in it.  I've had it since fall of 2007.  IMO the newer ones don't have quite as nice of leather, so if you're in the market for one, I'd look for an older used one.  If I had the money, I'd buy a second one to have as a spare in case anything ever happens to mine.  It cost around $1,000, so it's a mid-range saddle, but even if I was rich, I wouldn't get a different saddle.  I'd probably pay saddle fitter to come adjust the flocking for a custom fit to my horse, but that's it.

3. If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be?
The way people mistreat and abuse horses in the name of winning.  People should be in horses because they love the animals.  If the desire to win and make money leads people to be cruel to their horses, they need to get a new sport.

4. If horses could talk, what would yours say about you?
Striker:  "Yeah yeah, love you too, now hold still so I can scratch my head on your back.  Hey, where's my Twinkie?  Yeah, you're the bestest human ever, love you too, whatever...  Are you SURE you don't have any more treats?"

The Mare:  "I want my food and my boyfriend."

River:  "I like it when you scratch my face and cuddle with me and it's kinda fun when we go for a ride, but I wish you didn't make me do so much.  And why aren't I allowed to rear when people lead me??"

5. How do you prepare mentally for a big class?
First off, for me ANY class is a big class.  Going to a show is a big deal.  My mental preparation usually involves me wondering what the heck I was thinking to sign up for this, wondering if I'm going to throw up, praying I don't fall off, praying that my horse is at least sort of well behaved, wishing I could just go home and never go to another show again, and hoping I don't pass out while I'm in the ring.

And then when I'm done, I think how fun it was and I can't wait for the next time!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A few weeks ago...

I rode a Belgian!

Here's a picture of him meeting my favorite wee pony/mini (I'm not sure which), Zippers:


The Belgian is massive.  I'm 5'7" and his withers are a good 6" above my head. 

My friend and I were going to ride him, so I had her get on first... the highlight was definitely when he spooked (on a scale of 1-10, it was about a 3) and she fell off.  I started laughing and then yelled that she better not hit her head while wearing my Charles Owen.  Because that's the appropriate reaction when your friend falls off an 18.1hh+ horse. 

After she got back on and rode for a bit, it was my turn.  I mounted, and literally as soon as I sat down, I started giggling.  I felt like a 5 year old kid on a fat pony.  I have a lot more sympathy for little kids now!  He's so huge and you simply cannot get your leg around him.

Oh, poor Princess had a rough day yesterday.  I dewormed him before I fed breakfast.  He was pretty horrified and just picked at his breakfast.  Such a baby.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Please donate!

Back in June, my friend's sister went to the emergency room.  Helene had a cyst on her spinal cord and needed emergency surgery.  She's been in and out of the hospital and rehab facilities... Currently she's in Georgia for rehab, but unfortunately she's not going to improve.  Helene is 22 years old and a quadriplegic.

Her family is holding a fundraiser to help offset her medical expenses, as well as the cost of transporting her back to Buffalo from Georgia and remodeling their home so it is handicap accessible.

Here's the link, please donate if you can!  These are wonderful people who truly deserve all the help in the world!

(And this isn't completely unrelated to horses--I know the family because Helene's sister rode at my barn (the other barn, not Riv's barn).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unsung Tack Heroes, part 2

The Chambon

Here's something that for some crazy reason is not well known or frequently used, which is really pretty stupid, because it's simple to use and it works correctly.  The chambon is the only piece of equipment I'm aware of that encourages and rewards stretching forward and down.  Side reins, draw reins, the so-called "neck stretcher", they all work to pull the horse's head back, or at best do nothing (so why bother using them?)

First, let's look at River longeing in a chambon:

Um... okay...

How about this?

Red is a strap that connects to the girth.
Blue is a snap, which connects to
Pink, which goes through
Green, a ring on each end of
Gold, a strap that goes over the poll.
Pink continues ends in a snap which connects to
Purple, the bit.

This might sound complicated, but it's really not.  In the above picture, everything is pretty slack because he's stretching nicely.

Now, what if he picks his head up?
When his head goes up, pink and red get pulled taut.  This puts pressure on the bit and poll.

When he stretches again...
 Everything loosens, rewarding him.

There's no elastic, so there's a fixed length between the girth and the bit.  The higher the horse's head, the more tension on the chambon, and the stronger the pressure to lower the head. 

Now here's the thing.  It also encourages forward, not just down.  If the horse tries to curl back, it's going to take up more of that fixed length of pink and red, which will add pressure.  When the horse stretched forward, pressure releases and the horse learns that he did the right thing.

Very simple and very effective.  I got my chambon (which is admittedly not a very high quality one) for $8 in a clearance sale online.  They generally run $30-$40.  If your horse needs help with stretching down and out, it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Have you bought the soap yet??

Have you bought Striker's Vanilla Citrus saddle soap yet?  Because if not, you need to!  I got my order (of, um, *cough* 3 *cough* jars) about a week and a half ago, and oh my gosh it's amazing!!  It's soft and sweet and vanilla-y and citrus-y and yummy and delicious!  It smells like a creamsicle.  It's pretty much the perfect scent.  So you should totally buy it.

Also, Striker approves of it:

And, okay, he isn't exactly known for his discriminating tastes (actually, he's known for eating everything, even if he spits it out after he gets a taste.. but he came back for seconds of the soap!!), but don't you want to buy yummy saddle soap after watching video of a horse licking it?

This is Princess River's blog, but... Striker is my favorite.  I admit it.  I'd pick him over either of the horses I actually own.  I've been riding him for over 8 years.. first time was December 28, 2005, back when I'd learned to post a few lessons before and hadn't really learned diagonals yet.  I started half leasing him in June 2006.  In December 2006, I decided to do a one month full lease over winter break.... and I'm still full leasing him 7 years later at the ripe old age of 27 (don't tell him he's old, he's 100% sure he's 3 and still on the racetrack).  He's the best.  I've owned 4 horses (one euthanized, one sold, still have 2), and he's my favorite.