Saturday, March 29, 2014

Variety is the Spice of Life

Or so they say.

I am not so certain I always want variety.  I do prefer certain things to be the same, such as having a parking spot in the same place each time I look for it.

But the past few days were good for the girls, I think.

The filly had ride #3.  Since starting her ulcer treatment, she seems much more forward.  She does still have a tendency to get "sticky" in the corners where the exit points are. 

I decided to go ahead and put down a ground pole in one corner and she seemed much happier to go and walk/trot over it instead of stopping, so perhaps, having more for her to look at/do is the key to keeping her engaged.

Can't say I blame her.  The arena can be a bit of a dull place without different things to do, but with a young horse, it's always back to basics.  It seems difficult at times to keep a young horse's mind busy wanting to learn and do more when there is only so many skills they already have.  I don't want to introduce too many things at once in terms either. 

As for the mare, she was a good sport.  Friday, we had an excellent ride.  She seemed happy to work and was very easy to bend and ride, even with additional traffic in the arena.

Today, I met up with a friend again and we decided to go outside once more. 

And she was very good indeed.  I went ahead and decided that the mare can multi-task even outside.  Poor girl.  How can she possibly keep track of her feet, be soft in the bridle, and trot at the same time?

Her only real spooky point today was an old, forgotten hay bale left on the field.  For whatever reason, that got the oogly eyes.  Good grief horse.  It was previously known as food.

Then again, when I was back inside, I went ahead and trimmed the obnoxious mohawk and cleaned up part of her hairy heels.  The SFM is perfect for clipping.  However, when I set the clippers back down on top of the box, then she puffed up and was snorting and blowing at it while tied.

Oh dear horse.

So apparently while some variety is right up the semi feral's alley, familiar objects should never be in unfamiliar settings. -Semi Feral Truth number #10470.

So I tried the boots back on her.  She is still not very impressed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Princess Gets New Shoes

The other night, I decided that the poor SFM needed more excitement in her life.  In preparation of her potential new trail riding career, I decided to see if the hoof boots I had fit her.

See, I like finding good deals.  The other year, I managed to buy some hoof boots from a hardware store that was clearing out horse equipment.  I also managed to purchase a pair of Oster A5 clippers for under a dollar as well.  But that's a different story.

In this case, I bought four or five pairs of Cavallo and Old Mac hoof boots for about $20 a piece.  I resold them on Ebay.  Win for the people purchasing them for a cheaper cost and a win for me, as I had money to put towards the horse items I decided to keep.

Like the obnoxious red Cavallos.  Why the red ones? 

They happened to be the only reasonably Arab sized ones in the pile.

So, the other night I decided to see how the SFM would fair in her own ruby pair of slippers.  I measured her feet first with a pair of calipers and they seemed close enough (just slightly too large, but she was trimmed the following morning).

I put her in the indoor, wrestled with the velcro and put them on. 

I personally prefer to put boots (whether hock boots, hoof boots, whatever) on a horse in an open area for the first time.  Sometimes the reactions are a bit...well dramatic.  

The SFM's reaction was not so dramatic.  She waddled around like a fat, drunk horse, weaving for a couple of minutes until she realized her newly crimson toes weren't going anywhere.  

Dear SFM:  Just one more step towards being domesticated you know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Filly Ride #2

The filly once again, had to prove that she isn't just a feed and lead horse.  Poor girl.

She was very quiet and easy going.  No worries about being the only horse and no real issues looking at any scary objects in the arena.

I put down a ground pole earlier and she happily walked and then trotted over it.  Wow.  The SFM has to examine each and every colored ground pole every time before riding over them.

Because you know:

Ground poles eat horses.

Filly backed a few steps as well.  A little more work on being a bit softer and not stargazing and bending a little to the inside.  Very quick learner.

She also decided to think about quitting whenever she reached the end of the arena near where I tie her up at.  OK horse, I guess you aren't quitting on that end today.

She has a few symptoms that are making me examine ulcers.  Increased wood chewing, slowly at eating her feed, and some other behavioral changes, so I went ahead and started her on omeprazole today.  Hopefully that will do the trick.

It's going to be an early morning to go and see her before work, but it should all be worth it in the end.

How about you guys?  What do you like to introduce to your young horses right away undersaddle?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SFM Adventure

If you are new and joining us, there is something to know about the Semi Feral Mare (SFM).  She is well, semi feral at times.  OK, she doesn't do anything too off the wall, but she isn't brave or well versed in many things besides eating, preferably eating large quantities of treats.

Trail riding isn't really her think either.  She spends most of the time worrying and figuring out if she will die.  Given my back issues, I don't always appreciate unintentional leaping. 

So, when a friend suggested that we venture out of the indoor arena to wander around the frozen tundra fields, I was a little uncertain.

She can be looky.

OK said the other person.

Cool, let's go.

Another friend decided to join us.  Awesome for me because we can do my favorite technique with chicken little horses and wedge them between horse one and horse three, so they don't nearly have the space to be worried or stupid.

We made it outside. 

And she was perfect.  We just walked since the snow was still fairly deep in some places, but it was good.  I daresay she may have enjoyed herself after a cold, bitter winter with seeing nothing but snow, ice, and the indoor arena for months on end.  She may have just volunteered herself into becoming a true trail pony.

The verdict is out on her true feelings about this suggestion.

After all, she is the Semi Feral Mare.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Filly Gets A Job

The semi feral filly usually lives an easy life.  She may tell you differently since she is the one that is usually drug to shows to stand around and do nothing, but still, easy enough.

The poor little filly had to grow up a little today.

I had previously sat on her a couple of times, along with leading a friend/being lead by said friend in the past. 

However, she has sat around most of the winter since she needed dental work done ie having her wolf teeth removed and it was subzero and it's just not fun to deal with young horses when everything is freezing including penguins.

But today was a much nicer today and even the penguins of the world would think it was very suitable indeed.

So the little filly had her introduction to real life.  I was the one on the ground, not in the saddle.  ;)

She has had extensive groundwork and has been driven in hand.  I think it shows.  She was comfortably moving off leg laterally and this was one of the first times she was bitted as I have used a lunging cavesson for all of her driving/lunging work until this.

Pretty pleased.  The rider asked her for a bit of trot as well and said it was pretty smooth.  She was quiet and relaxed about it and came down to her walk as soon as the rider said easy.  Can't be much more pleased than that.

So once I figure out how to embed the video I will go from there...but here is one I tried to do from the phone. 

I need to learn how other bloggers do their videos.  Any insight?  :)

ETA--I may have achieved success.  How about them apples.

The Mare had to work too.  So terribly difficult too.  She was actually sweating.  Poor horse.  :(  I made up for it with a half dozen mini candy canes though.  We'll see if the mare wants to talk to me tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Blog Hop: What's In Your Bucket

From Viva Carlos

What do you feed?

I board, so some things I don't have complete control over.  My horses are pasture boarded as I like for them to be able to move around more and it's a bit easier to keep two that way.  During grazing months, they are usually on a partial day of grass, but it can vary depending on needs. 

The boarding barn is a bit different that way as each pasture has different grazing times/hours.  Some horses can be out all day and then just dry lotted in the evening, while some are just out for an hour or two due to metabolic issues or laminitis or whatever specifically.  I think it is nice to have options.

But as for grain, I feed Tribute.  I have fed others, but I feel that Tribute has more than given me the best bang for my buck.

In addition, there is a joint supplement in the ration balancer for the Semi Feral Mare.  Bonus points, since she can't sort it out, knock it over, or any other way that joint supplements can disappear. 

It is very cost effective.  I think the last time I ran the numbers, it is approximately $.70/day for her grain.

The filly is also on a ration balancer (aptly named because it is a nutrient dense feed meant to be fed in the 1-2 pound range).  It is meant to be a complement to forage fed in the diet, not the main provider of nutrients or calories.  In my case, it works out well.  The filly is also on a bit of a fat supplement from the same company to add a bit of boost.  The winter was so long and miserable that she seemed to need a bit more.

However, she is looking rounder all the time, so I am sure I will pull her off this spring.

I have done the other supplements and at this point and time, don't see so much need.  I know vitamin and mineral wise, that my horses have everything.  They have enough calories.  And for once, it is easy to maintain a topline, even in a career broodmare that has produced six foals.

On old feeding program.  Pretty girl, but lack of topline.  

And this past summer.  Both shots taken in summer coats.  Same amount of grooming in both.  Just different feed.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Memory Monday: Lola

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

When I first started my university education, I joined a horse related club on campus.  While, I didn't show, I enjoyed the meetings.  I had the chance to "foal watch" pregnant mares on campus and fell in love with some of the beautiful broodmares.

There I met Lola.

She was one of the foals born.  Very friendly, sweet, and lazy.  She was a reining bred foal.  

After I left campus, she was gone.  I was told she went back to the person who had her dam.  Sweet little Lola.  I hoped she would grow up and make us all proud.

Then a couple years later, I was in another equine class, learning to draw blood on a very sweet, young two year old filly.  She stood stock still and was patient, quiet, and sweet as I fumbled with a needle, trying to find her jugular under a mountain of hair. 

It was little Lola.

She was growing up.  My understanding is that she had suffered some type of injury, precluding her from athletic endeavors, so she was donated back to the university. 

I graduated, but always wondered what happened to sweet Lola.  I still had great friends that would give me updates on her.

The greatest coincidence happened.  One of my friends was assigned Lola in her reproduction class and foaled her out.

She named Lola's daughter Mandy, after another Barry Manilow song.

But like many good things, they can come to an end all too soon  I think a piece of my heart broke.  She was never mine, of course.  I was just there for her little baby steps and as she grew up. 

I had always hoped I would be able to see more of her foals do well.  Quite unrealistic, but I had always hoped to go find one to breed a nice half Arabian reiner. 

"Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl..."

Sweet dreams Lola.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Trottin' Weekend

This week was brutal at work.  Unfortunately, when I get out and have about eight hours before returning to work, it doesn't preclude to much ponytime.

But I did have a good time and went out Thursday evening after I was done with work.  The Mare was feeling quiet and lazy.  I went ahead and brushed her and the Filly.  It was getting (very) late, but I still wanted to ride, so I just hopped on bareback. 

I have ridden bareback quite a bit, but the SFM isn't the easiest horse to ride bareback.  I've found that some wide, barrel shaped horses have a layer of fat or something right below their skin that makes them a little more "rolly" than other shapes of horses.

But regardless, it was enjoyable.

We just worked on more bend and counterbend and relaxing and swinging through the walk. 

I left the Filly loose while riding.  She decided to try and provide distractions while I was riding.  I don't mind this.  I feel like I have to maintain control and attention of my horse, despite The World Is Ending Syndrome.  Filly decided to go and try and pick up random objects in the arena. 

Maybe I desensitized the filly too much.

I also went to a clinic/open house this weekend.  It was an Arabian English Pleasure type barn.  Lots of beautiful national champion horses.  It was a chance to get together with like minded people after a winter of major cabin fever.

Hunter pleasure, driving, and english horses were presented.  There were a couple judges there that were offering their insights about what they were looking for as judges.  It was set up as an open forum, so as people had questions, they could ask.

Two names were drawn from a jar to win a hunt or saddleseat lesson, right there.  Talk about being under pressure.  I didn't win though.  ;)  

Always good, even when I am not in the saddle to get more information and to see other perspectives, especially from nationally ranked judges. 

It seemed to emphasize the need for hunters and "trotting" horses to have lateral control and be able to move off of leg.  Seems obvious from my perspective, but from an industry that sometimes focuses more on "locking" a horse into frame, it bears repeating. 

They discussed the difference between a Country English Pleasure horse and English Pleasure horse.  In the Arabian world, CEP horses shouldn't have as extreme motion, pleasurable, easily walk off a loose rein (which was defined), and so forth.  English pleasure horses are more animated.

A demonstration on where a horse is bridled and how it affects movement was given.  Very interesting about how to let the horse pick where they want their head.  Too often, we try and shove horses into the place we expect them to be, not where it is comfortable.

I had often looked at these horses at show that were a little strung out and thought it was just conformational issues, but it was indeed interesting to see how some legitimately awesome moving horses could be "forced" into tightening their backs and leaving their hocks in the next county.

Note to self:
If horse is not doing something right, it is probably rider error.

Wait, I already know that.  Usually the case with me.  :)

How was your weekend? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Blog Hop: What's In A Name?

Another fun blog home from L of Viva Carlos

What is the story behind your blogname/url?

I will admit it.  I can be be an odd duck.  I didn't have formal riding lessons or a structured equestrian education as a child.  I grew up riding camp horses and just riding whatever I could find, which was good for being foolhardy and brave.  I galloped horses, did dumb things, and rode more hours than I could count.  

Accordingly so, I watched whatever clinics I could, read a lot, and generally tried out new techniques on the often interesting horses donated into the riding program.  Some horses were just sour, others very green, and so forth.  When my family purchased Star, it was a stepping stone in my education as I found myself the proud owner of a very intelligent, sensitive Arabian mare. 

So I went ahead and continued doing things my way.  I am also a rather independent, quirky person.  I think it was in college when a roommate said I was semi feral.  Not really antisocial, just not always conforming to people's preconceptions of what I should be doing.

Then cue the Semi Feral mare.  I acquired her while I was an undergraduate in college and she is also a quirky gal.  Very sensitive and responsive, but yet, I never know which horse I will get.  Too much time off and she can look a bit like a wild tundra horse of the north.

But I love her anyway.

So together, we are the semi feral pair.  Doing things in the way I can and slowly finding my path along the way.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

One Trick Pony

Still working on feeling better.  Did barn chores today and it was uneventful.  Compared to the last time I did barn chores, I will definitely take uneventful.

I didn't have enough energy to ride the Semi Feral Mare, so I went ahead and grabbed the mini me version instead.  Her eyes have been weeping, so some medication for her.  Lucky pony.  She was thrilled.

I went ahead and let her loose in the arena.  She seemed more interested in following me around again, so I decided to drag some "obstacles" out for her to look at.  Hey, if I can't ride the horse yet, I might as well introduce some more crazy things for her.  Who knows, maybe this one will be the least feral horse I ever own.

I put down a few ground poles, which are a non-event.  But to increase the level of difficulty, I wanted her to voluntarily go over the ground poles herself.  This is where the SFM would fail.  She would rather hide in the corner than go over the poles.  The filly on the other hand, seemed happy to trot over the poles.  

I drug out the tarp and put that between the poles.  OK, now I had the "what are you thinking" look.  She knows tarps and has been on them since she was quite young, but it doesn't rank in her top five favorite objects.

However, I stood on the tarp in-between the trot poles and I soon had my own personal stalker hanging out with me. 

Personally I think she just wanted to see me trot those poles over that tarp and laugh first.

When she was younger, I introduced the barrel to her and on a line, she would push and sniff at the barrel a bit.  I wanted to see if she would remember doing any of that and volunteer to do it loose.

I think she passed that one.

One of our most routine ones is for me to stand on the mounting block and to have her line up.  I tried to get video.  Not sure if anyone else can see anything.  Let me know.  Now I just have to convince her to line up the other direction.

So folks.  More insight.  What else should I teach this trick pony? 

Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm Melting...

OK, so maybe I'm not melting.

But some of the snow did today which was absolutely wonderful.  It was approximately 40 degrees.  I thought it was an incredible heat wave.  

So despite the flu + bronchitis scenario, I had to trek out to the barn.  Regardless, the flu has subsided, so it's mostly a lack of breathing thing going on with the residual bronchitis.  OK then.

I went and grabbed the semi feral mare who had been enjoying a vacation of her own as well between cold weather, my vacation, and then my illness.  She seemed unimpressed when I saddled her.

You want me to do what?
But I was glad to see she was moving well and not stiff.  With so much cold weather and deep snow, I always worry about the older horses getting enough movement to not be stiff and sore.  I had put her Back On Track hock boots on before we went out and I think it made a difference.

She spent the first portion of our ride being her little semi feral self calling out.  She is in heat and is a bit of an insecure flirt and it didn't help that now there are multiple geldings dying for her affections.  At least she is an easy mare to breed, right?

So, I finally asked her to do something besides be a drama queen and we just worked on simple bends and counterbends.  Once she calmed down a bit (since it is apparently more difficult to call and figure out where to put your feet in a bend/counterbend), we moved into a working trot for a bit.

We didn't too too much of a trot, maybe five or six minutes since I realized that I was feeling a little light headed.  Hmm.  Probably should be off the horse.

Cleaned off the mare and put her back out.  Bonus points: she is shedding.

Grabbed the little red filly.  She is not shedding.  Very sad.  Let her frolic in the arena for a few minutes.  I wanted to take video of her moving out since she is fun to watch but instead I got photos like this:  

I did manage to hide from her up in the sawdust and get this one though.

But then she climbed up in the sawdust pile with me.  

End of the decent pictures.  

I also had the chance to ride my friend's eventing Appaloosa gelding.  He is very different than the SFM of course, but in a good way.  He can be heavier on the forehand and likes to root and pull, unlike the typical Arabian response which is to dive behind the vertical, although the SFM does occasionally get heavy when tired.

Lots of leg to keep him going and is certainly a horse that if you don't ride leg to hand, pops his nose out in a defiant way.  But always a good reminder though.  It gets easy to continue my negative habits on my horse and occasionally riding another horse makes it apparent how it manifests in different ways.

But it's all good.  I didn't last a long time on the gelding either.  Too much trot work and my poor out of shape thighs were jelly as there were no stirrups on the saddle (long story) and my lack of breath. 

But all in all, a great evening. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snap Crackle & Pop: Clostridial myonecrosis

Graphic warning:  If you don't like graphic images, please don't watch the video.

Like many horsemen, I have banamine on hand.  I have both paste and the liquid form.  As a young adult, I watched more than one person give the liquid form intramuscularly, often in the neck.

I have been fortunate to have not seen clostridial myonecrosis in person.  But what is it?

Does the term Clostridial seem familiar?  When people talk about C. diff, C. perf, tetanus, these are all members of the Clostridial genus.  C. perfringens can cause foodborne illness in people.  C. difficile is often a secondary infection for people in the hospital after receiving antibiotics.  Tetanus of course, has been known by many names such as lockjaw where it causes spasms and contractions of the muscles, hence "locking" the jaw.

Back to Clostridial myonecrosis.  Clostridial is the genus name of the bacteria that causes the condition.  Myo refers to muscle and necrosis refers to cellular death and destruction.  So in short, a bacteria from the Clostridial genus causes massive muscle death and destruction.

When talking about tetanus, people often think about rusty nails.  Which in a sense, is a bit misleading as Clostridial organsisms can live in the soil, gut, or even deep in muscle tissue in spore forms.  Think of spores simplistically as a method of survival for these tricky bacteria.  They can resist heat, dryness, and even boiling.  Under the right conditions, the bacteria emerge and proliferate.

And what does the Clostridial bacteria want?

It wants an anaerobic environment, devoid of oxygen. 

So if stepping on the nail drove it deep into a foot, then a spore on the nail could germinate and live in the new warm, anaerobic environment of a foot.

But what does this have to do with horses?

Well, of course, people generally vaccinate horses for tetanus and after injury, it is common to give an antitoxin to try and reduce any potential damage for germinating Clostridial organisms.

But I wanted to talk about Banamine today.  

When those individuals in my past gave banamine in the neck muscles and not IV (or even orally), they were taking a risk. 

But why don't vaccines and other injections cause myonecrosis?  They can, but it is more rare.  Some of it is the volume of the agent being delivered.  Vaccines aren't usually being pushed in 10mL or higher doses.  Part of it is the fact that banamine is irritating to the muscle tissue and causes tissue destruction.  Upon destruction of local capillaries and blood vessels, there is less oxygen in the reason, causing the anaerobic bacteria to survive and proliferate.

But in short, why take the risk?  If you have a strong stomach, watch the video.  Survival of Clostridial myonecrosis isn't guaranteed.  It takes months and sometimes years to recover from the cellular and skin damage. 

So in my case, if I cannot give the liquid banamine IV, I know I just give it orally. Horses are quite adept at finding ways to injure themselves.  I'd prefer not to add more risk when it's not necessary.

How about you?  Do you give banamine in paste form or IV or IM? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blog Hop: 7 Deadly Sins

In honor of Fat Tuesday and because I am so incredibly ill, I couldn't go out to see the girls..


Seven great things/strengths in your riding life
  1. Sticky seat
  2. Ridden many different breeds, types, and gaits of horses
  3. Willing to give most things a go
  4. Supportive husband--despite his griping, he helps out at the barn and will be there to help with the horses
  5. Some incredibly awesome horse friends
  6. Ability to make horses materialize for people...looking for a horse, I can probably find one
  7. Spotting lameness. 


Seven things you lack or covet for you or your horse
  1. Pretty bling bling dressage browband
  2. Farm to keep the semi ferals on
  3. Money to show more regularly
  4. New truck & trailer
  5. Shorter workday to get out and do things with other horse people during normal hours
  6. More Back on Track equipment for myself and the ponies!
  7. A body that doesn't hurt all the time

This would work.  Yes, please.


Seven things that make you angry
  1. When people are obnoxious to the barn staff
  2. Hot horses being put away wet in the winter
  3. Sore/lame horses that people think are being "naughty"
  4. My ability to be a crooked rider
  5. Horse trainers taking short cuts
  6. The "look" of many Arabian halter horses
  7. People showing so many horses behind the vertical
Seven things you neglect to do or cut corners on

  1. Saying thank you more often to those that help me
  2. Organizing my tack locker.  What a war zone.
  3. Figuring out how to get videos/pictures of myself riding.  I have very few.
  4. Cleaning/oiling tack
  5. Washing saddle pads more frequently
  6. Updating my blog more frequently
  7. Taking more lessons.  But that is kind of tied to money.

See I do ride.  I may have lost my bridle or marbles however.

Seven most expensive things you own for your horse

  1. Saddles:  I have a few.  County close contact, Circle Y Equitation, Arabian Saddle Company dressage saddle
  2. Arabian show halters
  3. Winter turnout blankets.  I have many.
  4. Tall boots.  Which I now need to have stretched because my calf is a little too fat.
  5. Horse board
  6. Show fees
  7. Truck & trailer, even though they are quite a bit older
Seven guilty pleasures

  1. Buying the cool molasses horse treats
  2. Looking at saddles for sale.  Seriously.  What is it with saddles?
  3. Same with bits...I'd love to buy more bits
  4. Purple horse items.  Hoof picks, brushes, bags, saddle covers, etc.
  5. Having two horses.
  6. Having the money to keep accumulating more horse "stuffs"
  7. Winning ribbons
Two horses=so many more bills


Seven things you love about horses and riding
  1. So much to learn.  So complex.
  2. Competition aspects
  3. Bloodlines & pedigrees.  So fun to delve into genetics.
  4. Camaraderie
  5. Two wills: one team. 
  6. Sense of accomplishment
  7. Can succeed despite disabilities

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I'm Still Here...No Worries

So perhaps (or not so), I have been gone from the blog for a short while.

I was able to take a vacation to someplace far from this frozen tundra.  Amazing, right?  Some days, it was about 100 degrees warmer than home.  Seriously.

Look water, that isn't frozen

But enough of that.  I didn't do anything horse related, however, I did see a few horses while we drove through the sugar cane fields.  Unfortunately the grazing was poor and the horses were in such poor shape that I didn't have the heart to take a photo of them.

But I did get horse related news while I was gone.

I had entered a photography contest hosted by a major Arabian horse show and ended winning one category and getting ribbons in a few others.  How cool.  I don't profess to knowing anything about photography, but it's on the bucket list to improve my skills in.

Wee, the little filly won something!
Also, at the same show, the semi feral mare's gelding son also did some major winning, winning several western championships.  Very cool!  Family winning.  ;)

Rob Hess Photography
Someday, my goal is to show a horse in Scottsdale and not photography.  :)  

Hope everyone else has been well in my absence.