Thursday, 31 March 2016

Equinpilot Foal Pool

Because I really love babies and it's fun to imagine what's coming. So here are my guesses for Equinpilot's Foal Pool.

So much chrome! (Photo borrowed from Equinpilot's blog)

Foal #1 (Castleberrys ReFflection x Castleberrys Dyma Hi)
Birthdate: April 13
Gender: Colt
Chrome: 2 high socks, 2 cornet, narrow blaze

Foal #2 (Castleberrys ReFflection x Castleberrys Rosalee)
Birthdate: May 12
Gender: Filly
Chrome: 4 stockings, wide blaze

Foal #3 (Castleberrys ReFflection x Hawkshill-Castleberrys Rosina)
Birthdate:  May 5
Gender: Colt
Chrome: 3 socks, 1 cornet, narrow blaze, belly spot
Colour: Bay

Foal #4 (Castleberrys ReFflection x Nebo Ffion)
Birthdate: May 22
Gender: Colt
Chrome: 4 stockings, wide blaze, belly spot

Foal #5 (Castleberrys ReFflection x Rhosyr Ebony)
Birthdate: May 30
Gender: Filly
Chrome: Star, snip, 2 socks
Colour: Black

I'm not sure if it's my love of chrome that wants 4 out of the 5 to come out with all white feet and white faces. But hey, it's all a bit of a crap-shoot, especially with a first foal crop.

Ritchie also has 2 babies hitting the ground this year. I can't wait to see what he produces this year. So far, each year has been an improvement.

Still my favourite Ritchie baby (even if he's currently a homely #littleasshole)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Dressage Queens For a Day

For the first time I actually rode in an actual dressage show! And had a ton of fun.

Dee and I have spent almost all winter focusing on dressage. This winter will forever be known as Dressage Bootcamp. Since Shimmer-E was taking Ritchie to a silver dressage show, I figured Dee and I should join her, especially since they also offered non-rated classes. Even better, we managed to convince the third musketeer that she needed to bring her pony and join us. For the first time in a long friendship all 3 of us showed at the same show.

We hauled down Saturday afternoon so we could school and bathe the ponies. As per usual, I warmed Ritchie up for Shimmer-E. The unusual part was he bucked me off. I was just walking him around the small ring and the first time we got to the judges table he spooked, reared and spun on his back legs and took of doing his version of bucking (no flying back legs but a giant amount of air time while humping his back). I came off right around X. I had two thoughts as this all went down. "Don't land on your bad foot" and "Shit, now there's going to be a loose stud in a busy arena". Thankfully I managed to land on the knee and shin of my bad leg, rather than the ankle and Ritchie headed right to Shimmer-E.

Double-duty Quick Wraps (I wore it all weekend)
After a solid lunge I got back on and schooled him in both rings before Shimmer-E mounted up and had a tense but successful ride. Since my leg was very sore I elected to just putter around on Dee. She remains Best Pony as she didn't put a foot out of place, no matter what happened (spooking horses and flapping pigeons didn't even rate a look).

I was super pumped to give her a bath. Her last bath was in September. As irritating as it is to have to use copious amounts of purple shampoo, it is rather satisfying to witness the transformation.

I had completely reasonable ride times that allowed me enough time to braid Ritchie, get on him for 5 minutes, watch her first test, braid Dee and then get on for my test.

I stuck with the minimal warm-up that served us so well last year. I was on for no more than 10 minutes before I went in. I mostly walked, did a few walk-trot transitions and did not canter.

We proceeded down centerline for T-1(and remembered the first halt!) and had our most relaxed test to date! I had a solid flat-footed walk. On the video (which my mother keeps forgetting to send me) you can see a mile wide grin on my face while we are walking. I didn't care what my score was, I was super happy with our ride.

The next test, T-2, was about an hour later so I put Dee in her stall to chill. The second tense felt more rushed and tense to me but was still light years ahead of anything from last year. (Except the stretchy trot circle, that was a hot mess).

I texted this to my dressage coach and my very reserved and proper Russian instructor sent me 3 exclamation points!
I was super pumped to find out we had scored 60.4% in T-1 and a 62.5% on T-2, earning us a second. The judge is traditionally a tough but fair critic so I was really pleased with our scores. And it didn't say 'tense' anywhere on our test, for the first time ever.

Look at how white those legs are!
The best part of the weekend was this picture though. Does it get any better than showing with your besties and everyone coming away super successful?
Favourite part of the weekend. Smiles, pretty ears and satin

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Old Man is Going to Discover the Joys of Alcohol

So my old man has been getting progressively lamer. Some days he's almost completely sound. But some days he's so lame he's basically crippled.

When he came home this fall I was told that he had an intermittent minor lameness and their vet figured it was arthritis in his shoulder. My vet took two seconds to laugh at that diagnosis. Chase very obviously has ringbone in the front left (his crooked leg). The game plan was Previcox to keep him comfortable and Bute when we wanted to ride him (mostly walking trail rides).

That plan was no longer working so I scheduled an appointment with my mom's vet, who focuses on sports medicine and soundness evaluations. I made sure the Boy stuffed Chase full of cookies and apples before we left because I wasn't sure if I would be bringing a horse home. I am not prepared to dump thousands of dollars into an 18 year old pasture pet if the problem is only going to get worse and he would continue to be uncomfortable.

Dr. Chad went straight into X-Raying the front leg. I'm not super educated about what a normal X-Ray of the lower limb should look like but I could tell right away that it sure didn't look good.

The whole lower limb shows a fair amount of arthritis. He's got narrowing of the joint space between P1 & P2.

Dr. Chad figures this is why some days he's crippled. Basically if he takes a funny step, trips or is too exuberant he can squish the nerve between the two bones and it causes extreme pain.

There is also evidence of degredation of the tendon's where they connect to the bone (I can't remember which ones, the superficial digital flexor for sure though).

The good news is that Dr. Chad thinks the joint is well on it's way to fusing. If we can get it to fuse then Chase should be pasture sound for sure, and very likely riding sound. Since surgery is not an option for me (too expensive and too risky) we are going to give injections a go.

For comparison's sake, this is Ritchie's 4yo X-Rays from his Stallion licensing.
(The vet said they were some of the cleanest X-Ray's she'd ever seen)
We went ahead and did a cortisone injection. We need to see if we can get the pain and inflammation under control before moving onto the next step. In 45-60 days we will do the first of a series of ethyl injections. We will then likely do a series of 3-5 injections, each 45 days apart. At that point we will do more X-Rays to see if it is fusing. Dr. Chad sent me the research that has been done and it appears that ethyl injections (it's basically Everclear) have been quite successful at fusing joints.
Stabby Stabby
It's been almost 2 weeks since the cortisone injection and Chase still has good and bad days but the bad days aren't nearly as bad and there are fewer of them.

I'm really glad I got to bring the old man home and that we have a game plan to make him comfortable. Even if we never ride him again, just seeing his face every day makes me immeasurably happy.
Who wouldn't want to be mugged for cookies by this face?

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

All the Back on Track!

There are plenty of things I do for my horses that I do because they make me happy, not because the animals actually require it. Supplements, blanketing regimes, tail bags, and BoT (all the BoT!).

I liked the concept of Back on Track and purchased a mesh sheet for Merlin while I was competing him. I noticed that my stiff  old man took much less time to warm up after wearing it (which was a blessing because he really wasn't as fit as he should have been). I picked up a couple saddle pads but never really contemplated getting much more.

Fast forward to February 2013. I had just gotten the half cast off of my trashed ankle and my surgeon allowed me to have a walking boot, on the condition that I put absolutely no weight on it. The boot allowed me to shower and wear socks, to combat the stench and the frigid Alberta winter. I figured that BoT socks couldn't do any harm to my healing ankle so I didn't really have anything to lose.

For the first few weeks (I was non-weight bearing for 16 weeks!) I didn't really notice a difference but as my ankle started to heal I did notice a small reduction in swelling after wearing the socks. I continued to wear them for the entire healing process.
No weight bearing required to ride (getting on was a nightmare though)

I became a huge believer after I was back to walking. Any surface that is not flat and level caused me a huge amount of grief since I had almost no mobility in the joint. I started wearing my BoT socks again and found a huge difference in how my ankle held up. To this day, I need to wear them while walking a XC course and then to sleep at night as well. It cuts down on my limping. It's not a cure-all but I do find that it helps a ton.

Based on this, I may have gone slightly crazy with the amount of BoT products I own.

Dee and Ritchie both have mesh sheets. I wish the fit on these was better but any performance horse of mine will have one.
Mesh sheet, no-bows and bell boots

Dee and Ritchie both have a full set of no-bows. I find that these take a while to break in. When you first start using them they are stiff and more difficult to wrap. As they break in they become just lovely. I find that I always have tight and cool legs in the morning.
Actually, out whole show contingent has a mesh sheet and no-bows. Matching for the win!

Dee has a full set of Quick-Wraps. I just got these in November and haven't used them much. I won't be using them as a substitute for my no-bows (I refuse to leave anything that goes past the fetlock on overnight).
Only photo I have of the Quick Wraps

Dee has a saddle pad (that I hardly ever use since she really needs a non-slip pad). I loved this for Merlin with his stiff old man back.
The Red Mare modelling the BoT saddle pad

Dee has a rain sheet. The fit on this is better than the mesh sheet. Dee's has held up well. I've had it as long as I've had her and it needs zero repairs (but she is easy on her blankets, being the undisputed top mare).

Dee has bell boots (that she wore for 8 months straight after her collateral ligament injury). I have no idea if these helped her injury but they made me feel better. I had planned to leave them on her until they fell off, but they are surprisingly sturdy. She lived in them 24/7 until I pulled her shoes in the fall and after a quick wash are still in excellent condition.

Dee has front polos. I love these as polos. I find they have the perfect amount of stretch and I really like how the inside is not fleece.

I have at least 8 pairs of socks. These stretch out quite a bit but I will continue to buy them.

I have 2 ankle braces (since I inevitably misplace one right before a show). I wear this anytime I have to traverse less than ideal ground conditions. And always on XC. It's slim enough not to really affect the fit of my boots.

I have a scarf. I've had this for years and wear it all the time. I don't really notice any difference but it does keep me warm and it's sturdy.

I have a sweater. Mine is about two sizes to big so it makes a great layering piece. I do find it exceptionally warm.

I have a polo shirt. I don't wear it that often since it is white and the piping isn't super flattering on me.

I have riding gloves. This is one of the few BoT products that I truly dislike. I should really sell them because I never use them. They are lined, but the lining moves around. I find that they are just too think to get a good feel and I find them clumsy.
So much dislike

I also used to have a set of the exercise boots. I hated these. I found they were poorly constructed and never fit well. They turned and slipped no matter how tight or what horse they were on.

I had considered buying the open front jumping boots but one of the girls at the barn has them and they seem super cheap. The BoT lining is nice but the rest seems like a $20 boot that you pay $150 for. Do better Back on Track.

It's a little overwhelming when I list it like that. I don't even want to know how much money I've spent on BoT. But I've got happy ponies and it makes me feel better, so really, I have no regrets.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Welcome Drifter!

Since we moved to our lovely little acreage I've been harassing The Boy for another dog. Jill is very much his dog. She loves me, thinks I'm great and all, but will always chose him if he's around. I basically just harassed him until he finally decided that I was going to do it anyways, so he might as well get on board. (Because obviously being financially and emotionally responsible for 4 horses and 1 dog isn't enough in my world)
Jill likes me just fine, but she adores The Buy
I'm a huge fan of adoption but I have been burned in the past. A dog we got from a local rescue ended up costing us thousands of dollars in vet bills (the rescue had her for a year, there is no way they didn't know about the issues) for a systemic issue that was already prevalent when we got her.

When The Boy adopted Jill it was from a rescue that had brought her up from California. My friend Anne had been fostering her for a couple months so we felt comfortable that any known issues had been disclosed. Jill has been a fabulous fit for our family. She's happy to sleep on the couch all day. She's just as happy to spend the entire weekend on the go, at a horse show with me.

So when Anne went to Mexico on vacation and came home with a foster dog, I was super interested in meeting her. She's a 3(ish) year old WeimaranerxLab (best guess).

I just couldn't resist her. She's so sweet. We brought her home on a 2 week trial (her and Jill had a bit of a rough start).
Being a barn dog is exhausting

The first week involved some scrapping and some accidents but was overall a success. Needless to say, we are keeping her.
They both have the sad and pathetic look down pat.

Best of all? She picked me. She's my shadow. If I can't find her outside, it's likely because she is directly behind me.

Welcome home Drifter.