Monday, May 2, 2011

wind, infrared scans, dust and jumps

Hot, dry and windy today. We're still having problems with Coco being lame, very lame today. The barn owner said she thinks the issue might be up higher in his leg, rather than in his foot, so tomorrow morning we're going to do an infrared scan on him. Later, hopefully Wednesday after the infrared vet interp comes back, we'll have our vet out to look at him. He's still really shiny, I guess.

Haven't been working Seven in any kind of structured manner recently, but instead we've been giving her "encouraged turnout". That's where we turn her out and let her roll and trot around on her own for about 5 minutes, then chase her ass around with the whip making her move out for another 10 or so. Today we even set up a small jump along one of the long sides of the arena to work on picking her feet up and doing small jumps like you'd find on the trail. She willingly jumped it several times with "encouragement", but preferred to dart around it when left to her own devices.

I'm not too worried about it. She works herself pretty hard in turnout and I think that with the extra running we've been making her do she's getting a good workout. I threw the bitless bridle on her and rode her bareback around the farm before we went home for the day. My ass can attest to a strengthening topline, at least. The near future holds a lesson in not walking off when being mounted, though. Seriously, the little shitfit she threw when Mike legged me up today was un-fucking-called-for.

Gotta be up extra early tomorrow so we can get Coco's scan done. The weather's been really hot and the scans do much better when it's not so hot. In order for that to happen we have to beat the desert sun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I miss my horses! Yeah, it's only been one day since I was out at the barn, but now that I'm accustomed to going out there nearly every day I feel like I'm slacking when I do take a day off.

Also, going to the barn is easy exercise. Going off-topic for a bit, I've been on a diet/exercise routine for about 3 months. Ok, so I've been on a semi-diet for 3 months, a serious diet since April 5 and have been trying to exercise for about a month.

The barn is like a giant, dusty, poopy gym, but it's way more expensive. However, unlike a gym there are repercussions for not doing what you went there to do. If you don't work out at a gym, you just look like a tool...if you don't do your barn chores when you're at the barn, ponies literally go hungry. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want that on my conscious.

Another great thing about the barn is how it doesn't really feel like you're exercising. Riding my mare doesn't seem like work, it's fun! Grooming two horses for 15-30 minutes? That's not exercise, that's preventative maintenance. Lunging or round-penning? Isn't that more like exercise for the horses? Packing supplements, hefting bags of feed, hauling shavings, shoveling poop? Well, it all has to be done, right? Actually, all those things are amazing workouts!

I was thinking about it the other day and I pack supplements and feed for both horses every Tuesday. Just looking at what I pack for the mare, each scoop of feed that goes in her bag weighs between 1 and 3 lbs. Let's just say 2 lbs each. She gets 5 scoops in each bag, 7 bags a week. That's 35 reps, dude! And that's just for one horse. I know lifting 2 pounds isn't mind blowing or anything, but compared to doing say...NOTHING? Yeah, it helps.

It's the little things, you know? I actively exercise 3-4 days a week outside of going to the barn, but on days where I do go and I work hard, I feel like it counts as a workout. That way I can act all sanctimonious and be all "Yeah, I work out." :smug:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

So, I'm being a turd about keeping this updated, I know...

It was new boot day old ones were going on 3 years and while they're not trashed completely, they were getting broken down enough that they were causing me some discomfort during long barn days. My solution? Get new boots so I can endure about a week of excruciating pain and hopefully 3 more years of comfort. I can only hope since they're really cute boots.

Coco is doing better today...we were going for a nice light workout, at a walk, and he insisted on cantering a ton. He was still pretty off at the trot, but I'm going to chalk up the cantering to him being a reasonably active horse who's been cooped up for over a week with no outlet. Mike tried to keep him as calm as possible so he wouldn't hurt himself. Guess we'll figure out tomorrow if he overdid it. He also got the crap groomed out of him and his coat is coming in amazingly well. It's deep, rich, shiny and I think I saw a hint of dapples.

Seven got a light workout cantering over the poles. She wasn't even winded when we were done, but we've decided that we're going to alternate tough workouts with lighter ones and riding with groundwork so we keep it interesting for everyone involved. I actually hopped on her bareback/bridle-less the other day in the round pen. We don't have much in the way of steering, but she will move around your leg pretty well.

Tomorrow either Mike or I will take Seven out on the trails for her workout. She loves it out there and she's proven so far to be almost completely unflappable. The biggest issue we've had so far is her not wanting to stay on the path. Seriously, if she had her way she'd go blasting through the highest brush she could find. It should be a fun day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coco's still sucks. I know it's going to take a few days for him to feel better, but he's not the same horse when he's hurting. He got lots of lovin' on today, though, and an extra special feed treat (to disguise his bute).

We both rode Seven again today. Mike had her doing halt to canter transitions with just a kiss. It was really epic to see. I cooled her out by riding around the farm for about 20 minutes and wasn't thinking and kissed to her as we started up a hill. She blasted up it full speed. Good girl. She was just doing what I told her to <3!

We have to make a trip to the feed store tomorrow so I can pack more supplements. They're not open on Wednesday and they're the only feed store within 45 minutes so I just packed what I could. I'm going to bump her rice bran up to two scoops for a week or two and see if I can't get those ribs covered up. We're working her so much more consistently now that it's kinda tough to get her to gain like I want. Don't get me wrong, the muscle gain is much better than fat, but I don't like ribby horses.

I think I err on the side of caution when dealing with my own horses. Like, I'm wary of over-feeding because of founder, but I really have no idea how much food it takes to push a horse over the edge. I'm pretty sure I'm well within safe parameters considering the amount of Alfa-Mo we were recommended to feed Seven every day. A whole bucket?! Holy crap! Ok, though...she's the vet and it seems to be working.

Sometimes I find myself judging other people's horses, thinking "Man, that horse is thin with a crappy topline, they should do xxx to put some weight on them", when my own damned horses have weight issues and shitty toplines, too. I never give advice, if I can help it though, you know? Like, if someone asks me about a product I've used I'll gladly give them my opinion, but I could never tell anyone how to feed or condition a horse. Because I don't freakin' know!

Using my own horses as an example, we had a very good vet tell us that we should take Seven completely off alfalfa and put her on straight bermuda hay with only a small amount of feed (like one scoop) with her supplements. We did exactly what we were told and for a while she looked great. She dropped her excess weight and was looking pretty good. The problem was she didn't maintain on that diet and kept losing weight until she was at the point where I was embarrassed that I owned her.

I totally don't try to self-medicate though. Next time we had a (different) vet out I made sure to have a list of questions about what I needed to do get her weight back up. I'm following those directions coupled with some advice from an experienced horse person at the barn and I'm getting results. The best part of this situation is, now I have someone on the inside who can keep an eye on her (the person at the barn is also the person who feeds my horse every day) who knows what and how much food she's getting.

That got long winded! Anyway, hopefully I'll have some pics tomorrow. Yay, horses!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coco's lame, Seven's great!

So it's been a few days since I've updated but tons of things have happened with the horses. First, Coco's mysterious lameness turned out to be an abscess. Yuck, dude. Luckily, the vet was able to lance it and get it draining on Saturday so all we have to do is make sure it stays wrapped and clean. Really, we should have known...he gets them all the time. I'm pretty sure everything in the world can cause Coco to abscess. Too little care, too much care, water, food, standing, running, lunar phases, planetry alignment...

At least we know how to deal with it. Diapers, vet wrap, iodine, epsom salts, hot water and duct tape. Tools of the fucking trade.

Sev is doing fantastic though! We rode her again today in the Cashel saddle at all three gaits and she learned about listening to cues and not trotting as fast as she can all the time. Seriously, full throttle trotter. Warp speed. She cantered two full laps in the big arena in both directions with mike! It is so exciting to have her this sound!

Hopefully coco will be feeling better tomorrow and we can get him back into work. I'd hate to see that big fine butt waste away.

Exciting news about my garden, though! Even though the gardeners tried to sabotague the lettuce by jamming a fucking tomato cage into the pot which ripped up a ton of soil when we removed it, our plantlings are thriving, blooming and sprouting! I saw the first baby carrots today and the edamame is going crazy. Its very exciting for me...I've never really grown something from a seed before.

I'm posting this from the Xoom, so if its full of errors that's what's responsible. This thing is really cool, but typing with no tactile feedback is really tough. I'll also try to upload some pics later, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coco day 16, Seven day 14

Do you see that shit? That's a mare cantering willingly under saddle. She did at least 3 whole circuits total, probably 1.5 in each direction. She was a firecracker! Mike practiced polo swings off her and I cooled her out by riding around the farm for about 10 minutes. Then she got hosed off and we all stood in the sun and dried off.

Coco was buted about 30 mins before his workout, but doesn't seem to be improved at all. In fact, he actually seems off on his right hind now, also. Horses are such a fucking crap shoot. We just have to keep plugging on and working though these issues, I suppose. He worked very lightly over poles, then got groomed really well because he's still such a good boy and we love him no matter what.

Bonus Seven pics!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

coco day 15, seven day 12 (?)

No pics again today. I was too excited about getting new skates to remember my camera. They're amazing skates and I skated 1/2 a mile today after working with the horses. Poorly.

Good news though! The vet happened to be out at the farm today and said we've been doing an amazing job with both horses. She said they have both put on tons of muscle and Seven's butt looks twice as big as it did last time she saw her. Hell yes that feels good! I got clearance to ride Seven today, too. I'm so fucking going to tomorrow, too.

Unfortunately since Coco's feet were trimmed he's been very footsore, especially going to the right. We asked the vet about this and she suggested 1g of bute 30 minutes before we work him, and then only at the walk over our poles. If he doesn't improve by saturday, well...we've got a vet appointment already booked and we'll go from there. Another option we have is to see if he improves when we put his hoof boots on while we work him. He did lose a ton of sole during that trim, so we're really hoping it's nothing too serious. Bleh. Horsefeet.

Seven is doing amazing in her round pen work. She's still not the most graceful and knocks a lot of poles, but she's cantering a lot easier than she ever has. I asked the vet during our 5 min free visit (hell yes) about her new attitude toward grooming..did I mention before that she's started being a total bitch about being groomed? Like, considering biting me and shit? She doesn't dare actually go through with it because I make her think she's going to die when she even looks at me nasty, but she's biting anything she can reach and it's pissing me off. Anyway, the vet said that it could be a number of things, namely that it's breeding season and she's just bitchy about everything or that she just finally feels good enough to have an opinion about things. Either way, now that I'm pretty sure it's not a pain issue, she's gonna get her ass kicked if she tries that shit anymore. Your opinion doesn't matter, Mare. My need to have a clean shiny horse trumps your desire to have poo-fur.

It makes me hopeful that we really are on the right path with both of these horses now.