Monday, September 29, 2014


One of those weekends.

Friday, I had a busy day scheduled.  I have an upcoming clinical internship for the program I'm currently in, so I am taking vacation time from my real job to go on the unpaid internship.  However, there are a lot of hoops to jump through to verify vaccination status, have a varicella (chicken pox) titer drawn, and so forth.  I also needed to be certified in a specific type of CPR as well.

So Friday, I had CPR training.  No worries, I am now prepared to hang out and help direct people in times of a crisis.  ;)

After CPR class, I had to stop by the hospital clinic to get another tuberculosis skin test done.  

Post skin test, it was time to go to a work related event.  OK, it was a baseball game, but the thing is that I really don't understand it.  I know it's a popular sport, but it ended up being a mandatory type evening of taking with clients that didn't really want to be talking to me either, I think.  But at least with the talking, there wasn't so much baseball watching expected.

Saturday was class for most of the day.  It was the start of another class, so that was fine.  We practiced drawing blood off of our classmates again and I was thankful I can still find a vein.

My poor classmate managed to miss mine though, but at least the hematomas aren't too bad.  ;) 

After class, I went home to weigh and bag up horse grain for the coming week when I got a call that the Semi Feral Mare wasn't looking well.

Good grief.

So my weekend stretched even longer.  The vet came out and she was colicing.  Banamine reduced her pain, but she had a lot of gas in her cecum.  Instead of poor gut sounds (like her last colic episode), she had hypermotility.  There is medication that can be administered to slow down hypermotility, however, with excessive gas, there are some risks. 

So I ended up waiting it out during the night with her to see how she responded as the banamine wore off and if she would drink and help move some of the gas along and to watch if she had additional issues if she displaced.

A little before one, I finally went home after she was looking more comfortable. 

My barn owner was kind enough to go and check on her a few hours later and so did the barn manager when she got in.  My husband even went and sent me a photo while I was up and at work early Sunday morning.

Sunday morning was painful with the lack of sleep.  Horses.  They drive us crazy with or without them.

SFM looked chipper tonight.  There was a sudden weather swing, which I think lead to the filly being a little off.  Good grief.  I think I am going to give her a bit of time off until the vet comes out for the fall dentals/vaccinations as she needs her teeth floated and there is no purpose besides my own ego in pushing a young horse and developing habits I can't undo.

But, I ended up lunging the filly for a few minutes after some banamine to see if she perked up.  Fortunately, after a period of time she did, completing her lunging routine with some gazelle leaps.  Leaping isn't really encouraged in my world, but I was glad to see her perking up again.

I ended up riding the mare instead.  There were a lot more horses riding in the indoor arena and it's hard to lunge with other people around, so I wanted to go out for a slow waddle.  Mare was full of P&V so we ended up having a short work out with a bunch of trot circles and even some nice walk-canter transitions.  I really didn't mean to ask her for much, but she held herself together and worked well for a few minutes, so I called it quits.

Demon eyed filly tonight

It can be hard in the fall with the changes in the weather (it dropped almost forty degrees in less than an hour), the grass sugar changes, and hay changes.  It kind of has lead to a bit of sleepless paranoia at times.  How on Earth do horses manage to not kill themselves everywhere else on planet? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Life in the Fast Lane

Still hanging in there!  Getting some help and some meds here, so let's see how this goes.

Last weekend, I went up to camp.  I was hoping to trail ride and evaluate the herd.  I did take a look at the herd, but the heavy rain made the trails pretty slippery, so instead I spent a few hours chopping burdock and doing lead line pony rides.

I did, however, take a few videos of horses for some people I know that were possibly interested in leasing horses.  The camp has winter facilities for their horses, but does lease them out in the off season to good homes, which is usually a win for the horse and a win for the camp.  

As I stood, I went back up to camp today with a person to look at one of the horses for lease.   I think it will work out, so very exciting for horse and human!

Besides that, life keeps running.  It is hard to keep going sometimes, but not too much choice.  I had a final exam Thursday, so I was hoping my job would be semi-humane and be out by 9 or so (my end time is 6), so I could have a few minutes to look at my notes. Unfortunately, I ended up getting out after 10 pm and had to go in early Thursday morning, so not so much time to study before work.

So time to jump in the deep end and wing it!

It ended up being OK.  I don't have the lab grade back, but I ended up with an 88% or so on the written final, so not too bad, I think.  I'd rather perfection, but sometimes, have to go with what I got.  ;)

I had a few good rides on The Mare this week.  She had been a little stiff after the show, so I let her have some time off, but she seemed happy to be back in work. 

I rode the filly once too.  I think she does need a bit of an adjustment, as her posture and her ability to go on her left lead is a lot more sticky right now.  It's on the "to do" list.  Good question is whether to do massage or chiro first?  Any input?

Another class done in my program.  Keep on swimming.  Only nine more months or so to go.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I do try to be fairly positive and optimistic on this blog. 

However, I have been doing a lot of thinking and thought about putting forth something honest (not that my other posts aren't honest, but they don't disclose the full picture).

Ever notice how many people involved in horses are either involved for the ribbons (self satisfaction) or to fulfill a missing need?

I ended up being drawn towards horses I think because of my fragmented childhood.  To put it briefly, there was a good deal of abuse in various formats.  I also (as previously mentioned) have a hearing loss, so I endured (and still do occasionally) deal with that discrimination and lack of understanding from other people I am around.

Horses have always given me the equality I have craved.  On a horse, she doesn't particularly care if I am a broken child or have issues with social stigmas.

But sometimes the past keeps intercepting us.  I have had issues in the past with depression and anxiety, stemming from childhood issues.  Horses (and my past hobbies) have always been good therapy with progressing and keeping things at bay.  Occasionally, things rear up their ugly head.

The past short while, I have realized that some issues are resurfacing again, so I have a Dr appointment to see if I can get things back on track again. 

Given time to sit and reflect, I'd like to thank the people that are willing to be supportive in these times.  The people that are patient at the barn when I am a little more withdrawn or flighty.  My husband who really doesn't understand, but has told me to go out and ride.  My friends that come and push me to go ride anyway.

For you see, it's hard to get over that hurdle to get out there and do something.  Once I am in the barn, I can feel the anxiety reduce, but to get over that hurdle is something hard to describe to people.  So to those that push others along in similar circumstances, thank you.

And be kind to those barn friends, horse friends, or what not that may be in similar circumstances.  That erratic behavior isn't easy for them either and the kind patience needed is often more important than one can know. 

Sorry if this isn't the typical sunshine and roses post that I like to share, but since depression and mental disorders are a very real issue that are often closeted, I'd like to provide support and friendship to anyone else in a similar circumstance.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alternate Reality: Swimming

This was inspired by a post that She Moved To Texas made quite some time ago.

If you hadn't been involved in horses, what was your "alternate reality"?

Mine was swimming.

I am not sure for how many years, but it was quite a few through elementary school, middle school, high school, and part of college that I swam competitively.

I have lots of stories of course.  

For instance, in high school, I had pretty much been pegged as swimming freestyle as I am not especially great at swimming butterfly and we had a couple of great backstrokers.  I liked swimming breaststroke, but hadn't competed in it for some years.  One meet, the top two breaststrokers were going to be gone due to a church retreat, so my coach wanted to do time trials to determine who would hold the breaststroke leg of the medley relay (in which there is one person apiece doing each of the 4 strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle). 

The coach had rounded up a few people for these time trials and I suggested I wanted to go ahead and try.  He looked at me pretty sceptically, but I wanted to give it a whirl anyway.  Surprise, surprise, that I almost caught up with champion breaststroker on the team. 

My coach, the of course, gave me the spot and wanted to know why I had never told him I could swim breaststroke.  The relay went well at that meet.  We came home with a second in stiff competition and was an incredible moment.

But of course, this is a horse blog, not a swimming blog.  But swimming did consume a large portion of my life for so many years.  It had major benefits towards riding of course.  I was extremely fit and had a much better seat/body balance as my core was incredibly tight. 

I am a tall, willowy built equestrian and a downside now that I struggle with is my lack of time between work, school, commuting, horses, back pain, and emotional struggles towards dedicating to finding that physical fitness that I need to be a better rider again.  Couple the hyperflexibility (gumby syndrome I call it!) and it seems to be an uphill fight.

But when I have a more stablized schedule, it is on my plan to join the Master's Swimming again.  Part of me is hesitant about doing this, because of course, I'm not going to be 17 and cranking out good times again.  But, it's about redefining my current realities and realizing that I really just miss the feeling of being part of a team in a solitary sport. 

Swimming was such a good part of my life.  I never set any records and was certainly never going to go beyond the local divisions, but even the small victories were sweet.

Sixth in this conference in 50 yard freestyle.  Pretty fun.
So if you weren't an equestrian, what's your "alternate reality"?  What sport or lifestyle did you live or what would you want to live?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Show Photos

 I went ahead and bought two pictures from the show photographer.  I was a little disappointed that the show photographer got so few photos considering the number of classes, but that's life I suppose!  There were quite a few horses in each class, so maybe that was part of the issue.

So, here you go.  I don't often have people out at the barn with me to take pictures, so I guess there isn't much proof online that I can ride a horse.  ;)

There is a story on the boots too.  I bought a nice pair of Ariat dress boots, but the calf ended up being a little too tight.  I thought I could have them stretched, but the cobbler I took them too said I couldn't.  I ended up running out of time to decide what to do with them, so out of desperation, I ordered a cheap pair of dress boots from Horze.  They sent the wrong side.  The boots were so tiny that I think they may have fit me when I was approximately 8 years old.

So, my choices were either to wear my suede half chaps and paddock boots or to wear my winter tall boots.  I ended up going with the winter boots.  So if you are wonder, "What the heck?" that is that part. 

And it was an open show, so I wasn't as concerned about having everything put together after all of the chaos that was going on.  I know, pretty lazy on my part, but there's probably a reason I don't make a good equestrian princess.  ;) 

Chili with her rider.  Not me.  ;) 

 This is me below.  Oh dear.  ;)  But on the plus side, the SFM was very domesticated looking!  Lots to work on, but there you go.  Not bad for pretty much having boots issues, borrowing a close contact saddle, and everything else and pretending to be a hunter pleasure horse. 

SFM wants to just be a babysitter instead.

This job is much easier and much preferred, K thanks. 
Update on the injured rider.  Sounds like she is stable, but will be hospitalized for an extended period of time.  Much improved situation, I think.  :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Horse Show: Part Three

This two year old stallion I showed, kept doing this.  What a dweeb.

I'm sure there's maybe one or two people out there wondering, what gives?  Why do I keep dragging this out?

Well, OK...let's progress to Sunday.

Sunday morning brought about a couple of halter placings for the filly.  The Sunday judge was much more efficient and was done judging halter in a very reasonable hour with even enough time for people to take lunch.  Amazing.

My friends and I tacked up the Filly and the Mare.  The filly's typical rider was around and was able to ride her in a couple of classes and I entered the Mare in a couple walk/trot classes.  Nothing very exciting, but her canter needs work on any given day, plus the fact that cantering is harder on her since doing the splits on the ice and injuring herself a few years ago...

The first walk/trot class seemed fairly uneventful. 

Outside of the ring, there was an older lady mounting on her daughter's horse.  I am still not sure of a lot of the details, but while she was reaching down for her reins, the horse started going back towards the barn.  I don't know how it all happened, but she ended up going over the horse's shoulder.  She was just wearing one of those hunt style caps without a chin strap, so she ended up injuring herself on the hard packed gravel outside of the ring.

There happened to be an ER doctor in the ring with us at the time, who flew out of the ring to assist the fallen rider.  The loose horse was caught.  Time seemed to stand still for a period of time.

The show was halted as EMS was called.  Horses had to be moved inside as they called for a helicopter to move her. 

We tried to stay busy.  I helped look for her purse and cell phone in her tack stall.  Others began to take down their stall drapes and pack up the items as it was clear this was not an easy fall.  Together, the horse show family at the show came together.

Drivers volunteered to help take the horses home.  Family was called.  The helicopter landed and she was moved safely.

And all we can do is hope.

She survived the night and had bad contusions on the brain.  I believe she also had bleeds on the brain as well.  I am hoping for a favorable update.  When our equestrian family hurts, we all hurt.

So in amidst this chaos and confusion, the show continued.

The SFM ended up with a few ribbons in the large walk/trot classes.  I can occasionally pretend to even ride a horse.  Who knew?

A good surprise was that the Filly ended up with a 2nd place ribbon out of 10 horses in one of her classes!  She also had a few 3rds in her canter classes, but is still working out her transitions.  But her behavior was excellent.  Good beginnings to her undersaddle career.

So, now I think of one family who in a brief moment had their life turned upside down.  Good thoughts and prayers for Sue and her family.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Horse Show: Part Two

Saturday, my friends were excited to delve into the horse show.

Unfortunately, my friend's mare was lame, so this presented a slight issue.  Another friend had been planning on entering some walk/trot classes on Love (the lame mare), so we decided that they could take the SFM for a spin instead.

SFM isn't necessarily a hard mare to ride, but it's much easier to ride her if you ride correctly.  When I ride, I have to constantly remind myself of what I am doing or the Mare will always humble me. 

The same friend also showed the SFF in several halter classes.  The filly is pretty easy to show halter, although, not really enthused about the process.

Mare ended up with a fifth in an Arabian halter class, I believe.  Filly had I am not sure...fifth maybe? in the sporthorse-in-hand class at the show, which was a little entertaining given some of the horses that entered.  But that's an open show for you.  Sometimes you never know what will happen.

This show day also had the world's slowest judge.  Seriously slow.  At four pm, he was still judging halter classes.  How is that even possible?

The gal that's been riding the filly for me had a wedding reception to attend that evening.  Theoretically, not a problem since walk/trot classes are usually held right after halter and halter is usually done in the noon to one pm range.


So the friend who had the mare that came up sore volunteered to ride the filly.  One little filly, one person who had approximately ten minutes to figure out how to ride this horse in her first undersaddle class.  That's a lot of guts right there, I think.  It went fine.  No ribbons for either mare or filly that first day undersaddle, but I was not especially impressed with that judge, but that's how it rolls sometimes...

The mare did end up with a third in "most classic head".  As previously mentioned, it's basically an Arabian vanity class.  Cooler goes on horse, so you can just see the horse's head.  Prettiest head wins.  ;)

Part of the crazy part is how long the show was taking.  Some people just packed up and left before the riding classes.  The ring announcer was getting tired and decided to be one of them, leaving my friend (the show manager) to announce.  Unfortunately, she also had horses being shown by farm clients, kids, and so forth. 

So my amazing group of friends and I jumped in.  We had our own horses to prepare and handle, but somehow, we got all the necessary horses saddled, people put onboard, horses in the ring, other horses put in the proper people's hands, and everyone basically ended up where they needed to be.

I'm still not quite sure how all of it worked out, but it did.   To those interested, classes ended at 11 pm on Saturday evening!  A long show day indeed!

Little did I know that it would be the calm before the storm on Sunday...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We Came, We Saw: Horse Show Update Part 1

The past few days have been something short of slightly insane.

Thursday, I went into work early for a meeting, had a couple more meetings throughout the day, and then desperately tried to catch up on my actual job.

I then had class at 4:30, which consisted of taking my phlebotomy final.  I did fine with the classmate I had to draw (as we practiced and drew on each other!) and off I went towards home, where I picked up a friend and went to the barn.

I figured since I had a horse show that weekend, I should probably ride my horse at least once before going to the show....

Friday was spent taking the written phlebotomy final online, packing up random horse related objects in the house & barn, bathing one horse, getting too hot to bathe & clip the other horse, putting horses in the trailer, and heading to the show grounds.

I did manage to get both horses in my very small two horse trailer, which was entertaining.  Plus, I managed to get both horses there (and back ;) ) safely.  I am slowly getting to be a little less of a chicken about driving the truck and trailer, but there is still so much worry about it!!  But for only my second time hauling, I think I did fine.

Pretty much the expression on my face, most of Friday
We arrived safely at the show grounds. 

Both the SFM and SFF were worked undersaddle and the SFM did pretty well.  It took a few minutes to convince her the back gate was not going to eat her.  Thankfully we had a super friend (and another horse) that we could use to wander back and forth past the gate until it was a non-issue.  I think it's usually easier to show the horse by example (another horse, or even someone on the ground) that it's OK to hang out in a scary place, rather than skittering back and forth a dozen times if the horse is upset and cannot focus on its job.  But we conquered the gate, put the horses away, and began to wait for my friend's horses to arrive as she was doing two trips from her farm to the show grounds.
Another friend and I ended up noticing one of their horses not looking like her bright, chipper self.  Crap.  Friend had gone back to her farm for the second load of horses and so we stepped up and ended up medicating and hand walking this pretty little mare until she seemed to get over her mild bout of colic. 

One crisis adverted.

Little did I know, chaos would be the motto of the weekend!