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.