Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big Week for the SFF

The SFF was a lucky girl this week.  If by lucky, you mean thoroughly vaccinated.

She had yesterday off and then tonight, I went out with a friend to ride her again.  This is ride number six.

However, after arriving at the barn, I realized that tonight was driving night for the mini horse.  So that meant that either we went outside in the very muddy, very sloppy round pen or we hung out inside with the driving horse.  Which for a horse that isn't even green broke can be entertaining. 

The SFM wouldn't be caught dead near a driving horse.  I think she'd rather die to be honest than to watch a cart go by.  But then again, she is a little dramatic.

But we decided to go ahead and my friend got up on the little filly.  I had a lead rope on her in case of unexplained hijinks and away we went.  

The driving mini also had an obstacle course set up complete with weaving road cones, a tarp, and a tarp bride (high jump sides with a tarp all down the center).

Cool.  Lots of things for the SFF to look at.  Plus the mini.  And the whole cart thing.

So let's recap the scenario.

Ride six on a three year old Arabian filly involving various obstacles, a mini in harness, and a busy barn outside.  

I feel like this could have been the making of a very bad horror film.

But the SFF was excellent.  Maybe it was her upbringing or her fear that if she misbehaved, the vet was going to come back for more injections.  ;)

She bravely walked over the tarp and the tarp bridge.  The only situation where she was a bit goosed was when she was walking next to the tarp and the mini trotted over the tarp, rustling it pretty loudly.

We had the chance for plenty of mini + tarp later and she seemed quite bored by the event later.

Way to go SFF.  What a rock star.

Ideas for more obstacles please?  :) 

PS the SFM also went over the tarps, but only after her daughter showed her how.  Go figure.  :) 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lesson Time

Holy smokies.

Got up early and did barn chores like normal.  Often the DH comes out and helps do different things so I get done quicker, but there was a car swap and well...I do the horse thing and cars/motorcycles are his.  So, I went ahead and did what I needed to do.

I was running a little behind schedule aka had a dirty horse when the lesson was supposed to start.  Oops.

Also, the horses were extra stupid because of the sold horse, introducing the love of the SFM back into the pasture (only for a few hours at a time), and everyone being in raging heat.  The SFM was living up to her name.  The owner of the gelding was kind enough to put him in his stall which is by the arena, so the SFM could be convinced she could see him and not die while being ridden.

Because you know, the world would end without this gelding.

I will be happy when she is out of heat and this settles down a little.  Horsey soap opera I tell you.

But overall, the lesson was productive.  We continue to struggle with our left side in general.  The SFM often gets stuck on moving off of my left leg, I tend to leave my left rein too long and end up pulling down/back towards my knee instead of just shortening it, and just in general that side needs work.

But I am glad to be made aware of it.  We did some exercises overbending her a bit on the left circle and pushing her hard off my left leg until she moved off and letting her have a more regular bend as a reward.  A little weird to explain, but seemed to be helpful.  

We introduced some basic canter work again.  The SFM has a very nice comfortable canter.  I sometimes forget because I have been so fixated on trying to fix other things that I often just don't canter.  In addition to having a broken horse for a long while, which rather hindered the cantering thing.

But I look forward to doing some more canter work.  She seemed to enjoy it, but certainly needs to be in better shape to hold the canter better and more efficiently.

Things to work on, but always good to have feedback.

How about you guys?  Any good lesson feedback lately?

Friday, April 25, 2014

So Much Cute

How could you not look at this and not squee a little?

Little colt that was born last week at my barn.

Back to regular programming.  Sorry, not as entertaining as the specials, I know.

The SFF had another ride Wednesday night and did well.  It was a different rider, who hopefully will be able to keep a semi consistent schedule and help expose her to a few things.  

When I went out this afternoon, I went ahead and just lunged the SFF for a bit in the round pen and then decided to work on bridling.  I know, bad owner.  My horse is undersaddle and isn't very patient about being bridled.  I sometimes take things for granted because I am very tall and my horses usually are not, so even if they pull a giraffe maneuver, I can easily just reach up and still bridle them.

However, I realize that in order to make the SFF into more of a civilized equine, she should be more apt at being bridled.

She seemed to do quite a bit better after just a few times bridling and unbridling, so major plus there.

The SFM was well..a little semi feral.  ;)  She has been quite good, however, it was an upsetting day for her.  Change in her world isn't cool.  Her beau of a pasturemate was sold so she is just stuck with the SFF as a companion, which while better than no companion in her world, doesn't rank highly on her list.

So she decided that while riding and out of eyeshot of the SFF (who did call once or twice), she was going to being a dork and see if she could find her missing friend. 

Not likely horse.  Not likely.

But tomorrow is a lesson, so let's see if we survive that one.  Poor SFM.  So much trauma in one week.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blog Hop: Appreciating What You Have

Another from Viva Carlos

Let's take a moment to appreciate the Pros of our current ponies, whether you own them or just ride them in lessons. 

The Semi Feral mare is really a good girl overall.  She forces me to be a better rider and to look at different ways of approaching a situation.  Some horses you can force into a bridle or jam up to the bit and she makes it so that isn't the case. 

She is a pretty mover and I always enjoy watching her trot through a field.  Plus the bug eyes are pretty adorable, although I'm sure some people find them creepy.

The Semi Feral Filly is just so adorable, she makes me want to squish her.  Most people fall in love with foals and I did too, but I think I love her even more now.  She has just been a good girl to work with and is just getting started under saddle.  Such a trooper.  I really look forward to seeing what our future will be like together.

She's like a midget sized, slightly less worried/squirrely version of the SFM.  I'd call that a win.  ;)

My version of TBT.  The filly practicing her derpy look a few years ago.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Semi Feral Equestrian makes an Appearance

I am pretty self conscious.  I don't like looking at mirrors as I am not a fan of my reflection.

So truth is, I don't really like or have many pictures of me with my horses.  It's also hard to do the whole take pictures while actually riding thing. 

But you lucky readers, you, get to have two photos with both the mare and the filly today.  How's that for a prize? (Or possibly not ;) )

The mare did well today.  Just worked around in the indoor for a few minutes and then went outside to the grass outdoor.  There are some pretty deep ruts and divots though and she is a little uncoordinated, so it was more tripping than serious work.  However, we were outside to give a friend moral support, so that we could do.  :)

So here is my mare selfie.  OK, not so much of a picture and quite the not complimentary angle.  ;)  

The filly had ride number four today outside in the round pen and she was well behaved.  She is in raging heat, so good to know she isn't an unpleasant mare while in season, even if all she can do is flirt non-stop while turned out.  

The friend riding her just worked mostly on walk/trot transitions, stopping, basic turns on the forehand, and a soft back.  She just seems very cooperative and her counterclockwise work is very nice.  Clockwise..well..she has room for improvement, but baby steps for sure.

Then I decided to go ahead and sit on the filly and see how she felt.  Because of my back problems, I have been slow to get on and do a lot of the initial backing of her.  One good jump and I would completely tweak everything again, but the filly was being so cooperative that I just had to try.  

I had hoped that the filly would have a smooth, easy trot.  Or not.  Too much suspension.  Oy vey.  But I still have hopes there.  ;)  

But there you go.  The Semi Feral Equestrian and the little midget filly.  

Hope everyone else is having a great Friday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Insight: Laminitis in Ancient Horses


Often a word that invokes fear for the average horse owner.  Or at least it does in my area, where there is ample lush grass in the spring and summer.

But is it always improper management that leads to laminitis?  What about self managing horses?  Or better yet, ancient equids.

Lane Wallett, a DVM from Florida state wanted to know if laminitis was an issue in ancient horses.  An earlier study had shown that feral horses certainly suffer from laminitis, so it seems to make sense to see if this is a historical or a relatively recent event.

Amazingly enough 75.25% demonstrated some aspect of laminitis and 6.08% appeared to have chronic laminitis.

I find this incredible.  Obviously as horses evolved from browsers eating mostly leaves and rough material to more nutrient dense material, there would be consequences, as well as the evolution of the multi toed hoof into a single digit, but still pretty amazing I think.
 I look forward to most laminitis related research in both feral, truly wild, and ancient populations.  Hopefully examining this data may help yield more insight into why some horses are more prone than others for developing laminitis.

Interested in Dr Wallet's full article?  Click here to read it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Back

It was almost spring for a week or so.  It was spring long enough that it rained and the front lawn began to green.

Then it snowed yesterday.  Oops. 

I went to the barn anyway.  I got on the mare and realized that there may be an issue.  She was quite tense and a little anxious.  Then I realized that there was snow sliding off the roof.  The plus side is that I wasn't tensing up while hearing the snow, so perhaps the mare's reaction was less, but still there was a reaction. 

So I got off and lunged her for a few minutes and put her brain back into check.  She did reasonably well after this, so I decided to end on a good note before more snow decided to make it's appearance.

I also went ahead and ordered a few older show photos of the filly.

So here she is in all her old weird baby glory.

Monday, April 14, 2014

All was Fair at the Fair

Friday and Saturday I went to the horse expo.

If you've never been, picture a ton of booths, vendors, horses, clinics, and competitions.  It's filled with tons of things to do and see.  

I have gone for several years and always enjoy myself, but then again, I am not hard to please.  Friday I went with my husband which was nice to spend time with him, but the downside is it is hard to go shopping when he is doing the what-the-heck-are-you-spending-money-on look.  

So, we went and wandered the booths, attended a seminar on trailering safety, watched some presentations, caught up with friends, and then attended the rodeo.

Speaking of rodeos..

This roping horse wasn't impressed.

It appeared he had some other rope caught on his leg that he was not thrilled about.

I watched a few stallion presentations and liberty runs.  

Not a fan of this stallion.  But people seemed to like his hair.  I know people like that too.

Then on Saturday, I had a chance to go shopping.  I bought a Kensington rain sheet for the semi feral filly and a new Kensington fly mask.  We'll see how they work out for the poor delicate soul.

I also bought another pair of little ear clippers to see if having a smaller pair of battery operated clippers will make my wrangling simpler.  

Pepi for that show ring shine...

And that's pretty much it.  So many things to look at and buy, but so little monies.  It's not a fair with lots of high end equipment for some crowds, but there are deals if you look around and I just mostly enjoy meeting and chatting with all my horse friends.

Cool Percherons pulling an antique hearse

A little beyond my skill
How about you guys?  Anyone enjoy going to expos or horse fairs?  Favorite things to do, buy, and see?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Feliz Cumpleanos

Yesterday, the semi feral mare turned 19.

I thought about getting birthday hats and subjecting her to some form of a humiliating photo.  But I didn't.  Maybe the big 2-0 will warrant a hat and cake.

A hat??

Instead, I went out late after work.  She got to work a bit on her birthday, but enjoyed a few candy canes and a small handful of grain as a reward.

After some harrowing adventures last year (colon displacement, tendon injury), I am grateful that she is still here.

So happy birthday to the pretty girl.  I hope we have many more to share together.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blog Hop: Commerical Moment

From L at Viva Carlos

Realistic things I am purchasing this year.  Perhaps a timely thread, since Midwest Horse Fair Expo begins in just a few days and I will be on the prowl.

*I am looking for a pony sized dressage bridle to show my midget sized filly in-hand, since she can no longer show in a halter for sport horse classes.

*Fly spray concentrate is usually pretty reasonable at the expo.

*White dressage breeches.  Probably won't find some in my size at the expo, but I can wander and hope.

Not sure what else I am on the hunt for this year.  I recently bought an old Passier saddle for the filly, since the rest of my tack is supermegahugewide and the filly is well...not so much.

I will have to share what I find at the expo instead!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crooked Business

A few months ago, I came across an interesting article about using the shoulder-fore to help straighten the natural asymmetries in the horse.

I know a lot about being crooked.  I am a crooked person (in posture, not ethics!).  Multiple sports injuries have left me extremely strong on my right side and prone to slouching and losing control over my left.

My horse is also crooked.  The poor SFM has had several traumatic injuries just to her left side, so basically, our left circles often look more like ovals or eggs or basically any shape, but round.

Tonight, the SFM was being good and on the spot as usual (and walked up to me in the pasture, leaving her dinner.  What??) so I decided to go back and try introducing a bit of the shoulder fore.

Basically the premise of this exercise is to have the circle bent on the circle and then go straight, but using the circle to form the shoulder fore and continuing that on the rail. 

I never thought about it, but the article talks about the horse's natural predisposition to sag and be crooked on the rail, having their head closer to the rail (and subsequently, the rest of the body will be crooked as well).  By exercising and asking a horse to do the opposite, the goal will to have a horse that can be straight on the rail.

I will tell you that tonight, it is far more difficult than it first appears for the SFM.  I had to keep myself correct and block her from trying to travel to the center of the arena.  But I feel that she took a lot away from the exercise as well.  We even confidently traveled to the "scary" end of the arena near where the hay loft is and the random attack cats lurk.  I think that it kept her mind so busy that she wasn't able to find other things to focus on.  ;)

So what do you think?  Check out the article and share your thoughts!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Literary Bonanza

Parts of my family are horsey too.  Not sure if I mentioned this or not.

My grandparents bred and had Arabian horses (among other animals) for decades. 

Perhaps it was simply genetic when I decided at a young age, I too, preferred the Arabian horse.  

The other week, I came home and my husband asked me what I ordered from Ebay.  I, of course, said I had no clue since I didn't remember buying anything online recently unless I had taken up sleep shopping.

I opened the box to find many wonderful old Arabian horse books.  There are several Arabian yearbooks, old farm catalogs, a book on Kellogg Arabians, and more.

A literary bonanza!  I love looking at the old photos and seeing how things evolve and change.  Despite the modern way of approaching things, I have found some amazing nuggets of wisdom in a wonderful old horsemanship book I found in a dusty corner of a used book store.

I decided to flip open one of the Arabian Horse Yearbooks to a random page and surprisingly enough, it opened to a horse that I know.


An Arabian stallion, last owned by my family.

 I haven't seen that photo before.  I will have to see what other photos I have online of him.

Here is an older ad I had found years ago.

Anyone else love the older books or magazines and what you can find? 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Feeling A Little Crazy

Long week at work, but that of course, is nothing different.

Had a wonderful fuzzy bareback ride on the mare late Wednesday night.  I opted to ride bareback since I thought it would take less time to just crawl on her and waddle around then try and drag all my tack out of the tack locker.

I have a lot of tack.

And it seems to take quite a while to find and put everything away.

Fast forward to today.

Had another great ride on the SFM.  Didn't have anyone to go outside with, but we had some nice trot sets in the indoor, working on quietly controlling our pace on the rail.  The SFM is still in the mode of circles=friends and the rail=raceway, so it is always pleasant when she doesn't go into the 17047042 steps per hour mode.

Worked the little filly on the ground and she was good.  I put a different bridle on her and not sure how I feel about the bit.  The bit on the second bridle is happy mouth boucher, but I think it may be a little too fat for her tiny little face.  

I had hopes that the filly would be in a cob sized bridle this year, so I can show her in hand in her mother's bridle AKA not have to buy more new bridles.

But the filly is definitely pony sized.  Like not-even-on-the-last-hole pony sized. 

I suppose this means it's time to go pony dressage bridle shopping.  OK midget horse.  You are owned by someone that is almost six foot.  Grow a head won't you. 

The midget in all her glory tonight.

When I got home, I had a pleasant surprise from a friend who just decided to sketch a picture of one of my horses.

This only took her a few minutes.  Wish I had talent.  It is of the semi feral filly.  :) 

This leads me to my crazy conclusion:

The SFM seems so domestic lately.  Would it be absolulely crazy to think about taking her to a rated show?  She is going to be nineteen, but going so nicely this year.  Apparently either myself or her have figured out a way to effectively communicate in the past few months.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Disinfectants, MTG, Antisepetics

Just a day with different thoughts rolling around, so here we go.  Just to answer and offer some insights into some horse related medical treatments.

MTG...why can horses react?

It's an oil and sulfur based suspension, among other things.  Sulfur is a mild antimicrobial of sorts.  Actually sulfur is in a lot of acne topical medications.  However, like humans, some horses can have strong reactions to this sulfur compound.

Also, there is oil.  I have seen more than one person putting MTG on their horse (especially on the mane, having it drip onto the crest) and then put the horse back out in the heat of summer. Even dark furred horses can be burned quite badly.

What is a disinfectant? 

In my area, there is a new outbreak of neurologic EHV-1.  This has prompted a lot of discussion on how to clean various surfaces.

Disinfectants are meant to kill microorganisms (viruses, bacteria) on non-living things.  Compare this to an Antiseptic, which is meant to kill microorganisms on living tissue.

Common disinfectants are Lysol (a member of the "quat" family), bleach, ozone, and many more.  Even alcohol can be considered a disinfectant.

But wait...isn't alcohol used as a wipe before injections?

Well yes.  Alcohol is a antiseptic too.

What is an antiseptic?

Antiseptics are meant to reduce microbial activity on living tissue.  Cleaning a wound, treating rain rot, or thrush would be examples of how antiseptics come into play.
Alcohol, betadine (povidone-iodine), hydrogen peroxide, and chlorhexidine are common in the equine community.

Wonder why mouthwash can work as a treatment?  It has a few other agents in it, but one ingredient is often alcohol.  

Why does any of this matter?

Just thought it is interesting.  Some antiseptics work better on just bacteria or certain types of bacteria than others.  I am personally a little concerned when people use disinfectants in place of antiseptics.  While disinfectants will kill microorganisms, they kill healthy cells too. For instance, bleach is pretty harsh on all tissue.   If using it to treat thrush, it isn't going to differentiate from the native hoof tissue and the infection.

Along the same vein, hydrogen peroxide is often being re-examined as an antiseptic, as while it is effective, it can cause excessive scarring and a delay in healing time.  Who knew?  I certainly have used it in my equine past.

So, there is a lot of different ways to approach treating a typical mild wound or injury.  Funny how the tack box keeps expanding to cover each possibility, when often, we already have several antiseptics hiding in plain sight.

How about you guys?  What's your protocol of choice for those little wounds or scrapes?   Cleaning stalls or equipment before a show?  Any concerns with EHV?