Horse Life

First (& 2nd Ride), Didn’t Die

If we’re FB/IG friends, you’ve already seen these, but I’ve been on Leo twice now and am still here to talk about it!

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Wednesday was my first time getting on- we arrived home late Saturday evening and my plan had been to give him a couple days to chill, since he’d undergone a lot of travelling and a lot of changes since racing just a few weeks ago. Not to mention P decided he needed an emergency vet visit on Memorial Day and that he required surgery on Tuesday. More on that in the next post. So I spent a bit of time each day with Leo on the ground and have found him to be slightly nervous, but altogether a really good guy.

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Yes, you

The ride was completely uneventful. BO held him for me at the mounting block, but didn’t even need to, as he stood totally still while I got on and found my stirrups. We just walked for the most part. While a bit wiggly and braced on the bit, he was surprisingly easy to maneuver with just my seat/leg, and quickly learned how to halt from just my seat. I wish there was some video, but BO was riding S at the time, so boo.

 

Jessica from Benchmark had told me that for their first ride (his only ride since coming off the track), they had used a loose ring KK on him, but that her rider had said if she’d gotten the chance to ride him again, she’d put him in a rubber bit, like a nathe. I have both of those, as I used to use the KK with P before Trainer B switched him to a nathe, but the nathe is a BIT chewed up thanks to P’s chompers, so I opted to stick Leo in the KK until I could get another nathe on the way.

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And P doesn’t even care. He just racks up more bills.

And after riding him, I can totally see why the rider had made that suggestion. He’s incredibly sensitive and light in the mouth (except when, HORRORS, being asked to bend right) and spent the whole ride just gnawing the bit.

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Leo to the KK

Thursday after tending to P, I pulled Leo out but it was getting late and tacking up seemed like a lot of work. Since he didn’t really know how to steer with reins anyway and I didn’t want him to get the impression that me=arena work, I decided to experiment.

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I did get on him first in the arena since he’d already been in there, but he was so chill walking around, I hopped off and led him up to the tall mounting block next to the dressage arena on the other side of the barn. He caught sight of the cows across the street so stood completely motionless while I got on (thanks cows!), then I turned him and we wandered around those fields and into the dressage arena.

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Today we’ll put our groundwork to the test and work on self-loading into the trailer because tomorrow we head to Trainer B’s!

Horse Life

New Horse, Who Dis?

The last post wasn’t some random teaser- the big guy is mine!

See what had happened was…

Trainer B had to have looked through dozens of horses on his own, not even including the millions I was sending him, and was declining each one. Even the one I sat on and really liked immediately received a 👎 (that one may have caused me to then consume half a gallon of chocolate ice cream), but in the process I learned how to tell a lot about a horse from a picture or video.

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So when, out of sheer desperation, I sent him a video of a 3 year old OTTB and got back a 👍 I was a little shocked. But also a little hesitant to act on it because, ummm…THREE.

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Babies are cute and funny but do I really want one?

Then a fellow boarder, who knew I was debating the 3 year old, sent me an ad for a 5 year old the same seller had just gotten in. If you live under a rock and haven’t heard of Jessica Redman of Benchmark SportHorses, you need to get on that ASAP. Trainer B watched the 5 year old’s free video and immediately called to tell me we needed to vet the horse.

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Because he moves like this

But then I REALLY couldn’t decide. See, the 3 year old had been with Jessica for a little over a month. There were more videos of him, more information was available…all things my adult ammy brain craves. The 5 year old was a virtual unknown.

So we contacted her about both and she said they were riding the 5 year old that afternoon and would post the video. So I refreshed her page like a crazy person all day until the video was posted, and as soon as it was, sent it to Trainer B, who immediately said, “DO IT.”

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Because this was how his first ride looked

So after driving Husband crazy going through my exhaustive pros/cons list, I decided to vet the 5 year old. We contacted the vet last Wednesday and they said they could do the PPE Thursday late morning. By the end of the day on Thursday, we still hadn’t gotten the vet’s report and I was freaking out that I had spent another large sum of money on vetting another injured horse. Trainer B contacted her around 8 PM to see what was taking so long and she told him it’d be an hour or two before she emailed him the x-rays and report, so we figured we’d know something that night or the next morning.

giphyThen Friday was an absolute train wreck of a day. The vet couldn’t get a hold of Trainer B because he was riding like 6 horses at VAHT and she had for some reason not emailed him the x-rays or report the night before. So she called me at 8 AM and started talking about clean x-rays but structural abnormalities, specifically his navicular bones are both shaped a bit differently than normal. Trainer B called her and then me in between rides and said it shouldn’t be a big deal, but she just needs to send the x-rays so we can get a 2nd opinion. As it was, it took until after 2 PM to finally receive the x-rays, but still no report.

Trainer B was going to have a vet he knew who was at VAHT look at the x-rays, but as it happened, our vet (we use the same clinic) was coming to check on P’s eye anyway, so I made her look at all the x-rays and tell me her opinion. She noted the shape of the bones, but also said they were the same on both sides which said he was in all likelihood born like that, and he’d clearly raced successfully for awhile, so that plus the fact that flexions were all good, hoof testers were negative, etc, said she wouldn’t worry about it.

So that made that decision. Now I just had to let the seller know and figure out where my dear Husband was with my horse trailer (he was using it to haul stuff for a work event).

I called the seller, no answer.

I called my husband. No answer.

So I despaired that Husband had wrecked my trailer in a ditch somewhere and the seller had grown tired of waiting for an answer and had sold the horse (a line had already formed behind me for him).

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Me all afternoon/evening on Friday

Then, pretty much the second I stepped through my door, it all turned around. Husband called and said he’d be home shortly and 5 minutes later the seller called and I officially purchased the horse.

So how did he get home? Well, normally I would’ve taken Trainer B up on his offer to arrange a shipper but there was the little detail that I had C at the barn still. His owner was having issues getting down here to get him and I needed the stall before I could bring another one home. But that weekend was already super busy- we had a friend’s wedding Sunday and lots of plans on Memorial Day. And it was now 6 PM on Friday.

So Husband got home, we traded vehicles, I drove to the barn, loaded C and his gear , and headed to VA, where I pulled into his driveway at 3 AM. By 3:15 I was back on the road and got to Delaware at 5:40 AM, where I promptly passed out in the GN of my horse trailer in a Best Western hotel parking lot.

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How I looked emerging from my trailer that morning

8 AM I was up and drove the 20 minutes to the seller’s farm, saw the horse for the first time, signed the bill of sale, put him on my trailer and we were out of there at 9:30 AM for what Google Maps told me would be a 7 hour drive.

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Google Maps LIED

Thanks to 95, which I have never had the pleasure of driving (and never will again), we finally pulled into the barn’s parking lot at 7 PM, 24 hours after I initially set off.

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Are we there yet? The answer was always no

He was insanely good at travelling, and would’ve had every right to not have been so good. He last raced May 10th, then got on a trailer from TX to KY for a short layover, then KY to DE, where he spent a week before I shoved him onto my trailer and drove him 10 hours to NC. He ate hay, drank water, stood quietly- not much more to ask for.

 

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Home!

It took him awhile to get him off the trailer, as I’m not sure he’s ever had to back off and down a ramp. But he was quiet about it, went right into his new stall and ate all his grain, then walked all gentleman-ly like down to turnout, where P & his pasture mate decided they needed to act like absurd idiots. Thankfully the 5 year old was more sensible than they were and merely trotted/cantered a couple of laps before deciding to ignore them.

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He did quickly figure out the electric fence

Then we had the issue of the name. He didn’t come with any name other than his JC name, Dark Harbor (which will DEFINITELY remain his show name). One of the boarders threw out the suggestion of Thor, which I quite liked, and anticipated Husband approving of. I was wrong.

Husband immediately dubbed him King Leonidas, as in the movie 300, and due to the minor fact that Husband didn’t divorce me when I said I wanted a second horse, that’s his name. Well, he’s Leo to me. But to hear Husband call for him is priceless.

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Husband has already informed me he will be screaming this every time we halt/salute in dressage and cross through finish flags in SJ/XC. I don’t doubt it for a second.

Since he’s gotten here I haven’t had much of a chance to hang with him, as P & his non-healing eye have taken up all my spare time. I did some stuff with him in the round pen last night and have taken him on some walks to get him used to leading properly, and while he’s definitely still in his shell, he’s starting to show a hint of personality. He has no idea what treats are or how to eat them, and really isn’t sure about walking past the geese that hang out at the pond next to his pasture, but seems to have a well-screwed in brain. Even when he was trying to show off for P last night and P was like, “Y tho?” and L was all, “I watched YOU do this the other night,” and P went, “Nope, not me, You must have gotten me mixed up with some other bug on the farm.” And L was like, “Oh ok. I’ll have some grass then.”

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P looks like a short, fat QH here next to L
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L: I IZ MAJESTIC       P: Fake news
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L: Nevermind then

As long as Husband comes home from his work trip today in time to get kids, I do plan on sitting on him tonight, then I’m taking him to Trainer B’s on Saturday. Providing he gets in the trailer, of course.

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Good luck not pinching that adorable schnoz

 

 

Horse Life

Horsey Days

The highlight of the weekend was most definitely heading to Tryon for a hunter pace with Bette and Sara! Since it’s just under 2 hours from me and there weren’t going to be any jumps to jump, I borrowed a horse from Bette and made Sara promise to let me just sit on Eeyore. Muahaha.

For the first part of the ride, I was given Bette’s little horse Finn, who I’ve always referred to as “Angel Pony” ever since he led P over terrifying Windridge starter jumps back in 2017. Bette told me the nickname always made her laugh because he’s spooky an spins in circles, but it turned out Bette CLEARLY doesn’t even know her own horse because Finn the Angel Pony (the name will stay forever) didn’t put a single foot wrong.

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FINNY! Angel Pony fo’ sho’

But when we got to the halfway point, got some water for us an the horses and prepared to get back on, I made Sara stop midway through mounting her horse because, uhhh, HALLO, it’s MY TURN.

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Unsure as to why E is not matching my enthusiasm level

And OMG I LUFF HIM.

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His expression is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G

In Pilgrim news, we’re at 2x/week vet vists (yaaaayyyyyy) with the vet having to scrape off unhealthy corneal tissue that’s trying to grow over the ulcer.

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P with his posse

He needs 4 meds squirted into his eye FOUR TIMES A DAY at 6 hour intervals, which means I’m there at 8 AM, 6 PM and midnight. Oh and after each med, you need to wait 5 minutes before administering the next one. He owes me big time.

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I say this tentatively, but as of this AM, he’s back in front shoes (though I figure by the time I get back out there after work, he’ll have removed them), and AGF says the Foot Hole has grown back beautifully and you can’t even tell it was there. In fact, he says the Foot Hole foot looks better than the other front foot. Go figure.

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Savior in the form of AGF
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Proof that, for at least a moment in time, he had front shoes back on

AGF recommended *not* riding him for the next couple days, but sorry AGF, this horse needs to do something so he’ll stop running around like an idiot an injuring himself. When the farm’s neighbor, whose house overlooks P’s pasture, comments that P’s more entertaining than TV, you know you’ve got a problem.

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Trying to be immune to P’s cuteness

Though I did pull P out on Saturday for, what else, a contest. And despite not being ridden since February, he was the calmest horse on the farm when I flung my T-Rex’d-suited-self across his bareback pad. Which was good because I didn’t want to bother with his bridle over the bug mask, so I oh-so-effectively clipped reins to, ya know, his halter.

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I think the bug mask is a nice touch

In Cooper news, he’s leaving to go home on the 27th so that New Horse can have a home, when/if New Horse will be found. I’ve really enjoyed riding him and hope New Horse has as much XC gusto as he does.

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Thanks for the memories, C

And in New Horse news, Trainer B & I continue to weed out horses via video. I was able to sit on a really nice horse yesterday that belongs to a friend of Bette’s, and am waiting for Trainer B to declare his opinion.

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Me right about now

 

Horse Life

Out There Somewhere…

A new horse, that is. Baby OTTB #1 got vetted Wednesday and I couldn’t run away fast enough.

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Me after hearing the vet report

Tip to anyone selling a horse: If your horse is slightly off on one hind and you tell the buyer that it’s only because he was tried multiple times in a short period of time (which is totally plausible), BUT then after x-rays are performed and look totally clear, refuse to let there be further diagnostics so buyer can be sure it’s NOT a suspensory similar to the one she just spent 7+ months rehabbing….that’s shady as hell.

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When I hear anything about a possible soft tissue injury

Yeah. Hard pass.

So the search continues. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here in NC, squirting multiple ointments in P’s eye at 7 AM, 6 PM and midnight until further notice.

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Horse Shows

War Horse Event + A Surprise Twist

Man, it’s been awhile. Feels like even longer than just a week since I last posted. C & I have had 2 lessons with Trainer B, both pretty interesting. C is such a different ride than P and even S, so it’s been extremely educational for me. He’s super hard to steer, especially to the left, and he’s the opposite of careful when it comes to jumping SJ jumps, but damn if he isn’t going to get to the other side of the fence. He may get to the other side by dismantling the jump, but hey, he doesn’t refuse.

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Here’s a helmet cam video of Lesson #2 that I made for his owner:

So we decided to enter the BN at Carolina Horse Park this past weekend, which is always a fun event because they let you (for a cost, of course) school on Saturday before you show on Sunday.

So Friday I arrived at the horse park, then after getting C settled in his stall, I headed to a farm a few minutes away to sit on the first 4 year old OTTB I’ve sat on in 5 years.

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4 year old Pilgrim ears

More on that later.

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Saturday was the schooling day, so C & I headed out to do a quick SJ warmup, do a round of SJ, then head XC. Except C didn’t think the warmup needed to be so short. He was very into the idea that he could just grab the bit and take off, occasionally bulldozing fences along the way. We tried adjusting his bit/bridle, changing the ride to/after fences, but it was all for naught. So I went in to see if maybe he’d settle during the course.

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Nope. After running at fences 1-3, then crashing through jump 4 and running away with me after the 2 stride, I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t turn him left, he was completely oblivious to anything I was doing up there, and it was getting embarrassing. There was a line of riders still waiting to go, so I called it and we went XC.

Note: None of this was news to me and these issues had been disclosed to me by his owner. He’s 19 and not going to change, so there really was just zero point in fighting about it.

So, on XC warmup, after making C calm the F down to trot a log in a circle for 5 minutes, we graduated to trotting the BN coop, then the N log pile, then he was allowed to canter the N log pile a few times before we went to the course.

Where we were promptly told to do the BN Jump #1 to Training Jump #2 to Novice Jump #3. And I thought for sure I’d heard wrong because, uhhh, haaalllloooo, we were there to jump the BN.

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But I didn’t hear wrong, so we did, even though I’d stood next to Training #2 that very morning and literally shuddered at how wide it was. At that point it hadn’t even occurred to me that I’d be told to jump it. Let’s all remember I’ve now jumped this horse a grand total of 5 times, and hadn’t jumped a single XC fence over BN in a year.

But everything I pointed him at, he tackled with no hesitation. We jumped a few BN and a few Training, and jumped pretty much all of Novice. I wasn’t able to get it all on helmet cam because it died, but here’s a little bit of what we did:

And one ground person was nice enough to get us going through the Training water.

So I ended the day seriously thrilled. No, C is not the most athletic. But he doesn’t say no and that allows me to finally, FINALLY work on other things besides just pleading with the horse to take off. And sure, SJ schooling completely sucked, but you know what? I can’t even be mad or upset. I’m just grateful I was out there on a horse, learning things and not, oh ya know, shoving ointment into my horse’s eye all weekend.

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After schooling, Trainer B and I were supposed to go for a second look at the horse I’d tried the day before, but the heavens opened up and storms came roaring through the area, so that was definitely a no-go. And it looked like it wasn’t meant to be because the horse’s trainer was coaching students at CHP on Sunday and between my ride times, Trainer B’s ride times and her students’ ride times, we could not find a mutually agreeable time.

So Trainer B and I discussed options:

Option A: Make an offer on the horse without riding a second time.

Option B: Walk away.

Option C: Go over there late in the afternoon. I really didn’t want to wait around all day after showing.

Option D: Scratch the show and go there at 8 AM.

I chose Option D for a few reasons:

  1. I had no clue where the BN fences were on XC because we’d only jumped a couple the day before and our course walk time got rained out #lazy
  2. We had jumped N/T things, so who really cares about jumping BN
  3. I wouldn’t hate life if I didn’t take him SJ
  4. He’s not my horse and this is an unrecognized show

So 8 AM saw me not in the dressage arena (my dressage time was 8:12), but back on top of the wiggly 4 year old. Who, despite being crammed on a 20m circle due to ring conditions, really tried his little heart out to bend and not break gait. And when I took him out to their jump field and Trainer B set some fences, was just absolutely super.

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He’s as cute as a baby deer…with similarly sized gangly legs at the moment 🙂

When we got back to the showgrounds, Trainer B and I discussed the horse and decided to make the trainer an offer. I’ve never bought a horse with a trainer before (hello $700 unbroke 9 year old back in 2010 and then P, who I bought off of FB videos in 2014), and this is definitely the life. 10/10 recommend. Trainer B did everything from negotiations to setting up the vetting which is…drumroll, please…TOMORROW MORNING.

So we’ll see what happens! If this horse doesn’t pan out, there are a couple more on the list to check out. But fingers are crossed that all checks out!

 

 

 

 

Horse Life

Comes in Threes…Right?

Last week, BO told all the boarders that the vet was coming out Monday and to call the clinic if they needed their horse seen for anything. I ever-so-proudly announced that finally, after nearly a year, P did NOT need to see the vet. And I was proud.
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Then on Sunday, walking up from turning C out, I stopped at P’s pasture to give a quick pat and say hi. P came trotting up and I thought, “Hmmm, you look like you’re squinting in one eye,” then pulled a peppermint out of my pocket and his eye popped wide open. So, ok, you’re fine. Good night. Except…

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It kept bothering me. All night and the next morning, until finally I texted BO and asked her to just look at P’s eyes and see if she saw anything weird. And she sent me this:

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So I called the vet clinic and added P. Damnit P. You couldn’t just leave my wallet alone for ONE vet visit?

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The vet is the same one who monitored P’s Foot Hole and is from the mobile unit of Tryon, where Dr. H is (Dr. H treated P’s suspensory), so she’s quite familiar with his recent string of idiocy bad luck. As I was pulling his fly mask off, I was explaining that it might be nothing but I’d just had a bad feeling about it, and she said, “I mean it IS Pilgrim.” So great that my horse has a reputation now (when I called the clinic, the receptionist asked about his Foot Hole). So great.

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She noted that it was still a little squinty, so she put some dye in and lo and behold…puncture. Not just a scratch, but an actual puncture. You’ve got to hand it to the horse, when P does something, he does it thoroughly.

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So P’s on a million different meds (fine, just 3, but one has to be given 4x/day) with a recheck next week. And in a fly mask 24/7, with this over it as extra protection:

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#BugLyfe

So one might think, “This is where she finally snaps and kills him,” and normally I’d be all, “Yep, he’s a goner,” but fortunately for P (and perhaps unfortunately for me), the Tiniest Dictator just started riding lessons and wants to practice in between. And despite P’s suicidal tendencies, he is 100% the most careful and trustworthy horse around this kid.

Husband joined us on Friday and got these shots:

When the T.D. sets a stool next to P, P won’t move an inch, despite hating being groomed.

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Practicing his jump position, for when he takes P Prelim.

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Leading him out of the arena. P will follow this kid off the edge of a cliff.

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And my absolute favorite is when the T.D. shows he’s not a complete sociopath and says thank you to P.

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So despite the fact that my horse is intent on financing my vet’s entire life, he’s sort of irreplaceable. Let’s just hope that this eye thing heals quickly and smoothly.

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Horse Life

Happy Birthday to My Idiot

Despite my threatening demeanor as of late (to amputate, to feed him to lions, to kick his Foot Hole, to use him for target practice…you get the idea), I put that aside yesterday to take some birthday/anniversary pictures with the pony. Because I hate him…but I love him. What can ya do?

So anyway, happy 9th birthday and 5 year anniversary to P!

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This could’ve gone horribly wrong, considering he hasn’t been ridden in 2 months. But as per usual, the crazier the idea, the better he behaves #PilgrimLogic

And the family got into the action as well.

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Getting that tiara to stay on was no joke

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And I had to fight the Tiniest Dictator to the mounting block

Here’s to many more shenanigans with Pony P!

Horse Life

Lame…Someone Is Always Lame

Yesterday the vet came out and cleared P to go back to work. She said he’d need a shoe on before he can really do anything, as one front shoe and one boot makes for unevenness. But I hopped on him last night anyway and we did a little 10 minute walk/trot, for which he was PERFECT.

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The Foot Hole on April 24th. All gone!

So naturally, this morning I got this text from BO:

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BO has been practicing with her bow to go hunting and I’m fine with her using P for target practice.

I mean…COME.ON.

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But you know what? Whatever. I’ve pretty much made my peace that P will not be my main competition mount any longer, so there’s really no pressure to get him back doing anything. Maybe I’ll text the farrier…maybe not (who are we kidding, we all know I will).

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Before I rode P last night, I rode C, who has now been sound for 4 days in a row. Last night I had to force myself to get off- he felt energetic and strong, which was quite different from when he arrived. He’s older so after talking with our vet and his regular vet, we’re putting him on Previcox just to make him extra comfy. But it appears the initial lameness he experienced was due to a stone bruise that is hopefully a thing of the past. If he can’t hold up to work, he’ll go back to his owner and I’ll be on the lookout for a permanent replacement.

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Best hill to build the booty

So after I got the text from BO about P, I was all, “At least I have C & S to ride.”

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Then I went to CrossFit…just like I do nearly every day. And we did lots of tall box jumps…of which I have done thousands over the past few years with nary a scrape. But today…today was the day my right leg was all, “JUMP!” and my left was like, “Nah, you go ahead.”

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There are multiple lumps and the whole area around the cuts are already bruising like a mofo. Just when it’s starting to get hot here!

So not only is my horse hobbling around like a cripple, but now I am also. And I had told myself that I would ride C every day this week to make sure he could stay sound and I had told BO that I would stay later at the barn tonight to ride S as well.

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So as not to scare small children (the Tiniest Dictator asked me if my leg was going to fall off), I’m wearing super loose fitting pants to work and every time fabric so much as brushes against the gash, I want to die. So how I’m going to put on breeches and half chaps on is beyond me.

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Pray for me.

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Thinking I’ll just get the Tiniest Dictator to sub in for me.

 

 

 

 

Horse Life

A Future With P…or Should We Join the Circus?

I really loved reading everyone’s comments on the last post! I got quite a few texts/emails from some of ya and I seriously can’t tell you how much I appreciated being able to bounce ideas off of y’all.

I had originally included this post’s content in the Discussion Board post, but really…it needed it’s own post. It’s still messy and a bit all over the place because that’s where I am right now with this whole line of thought. Which drives me crazy. Sigh.

P is set for a re-check this Wednesday. At the vet’s request, I emailed her pictures of his foot last Friday and she made the comment that it looks great and he should be able to get back to work soon. Which should’ve been good to hear, right? But…it wasn’t. If anything, the closer he gets to being cleared, the more I’m finding I’m dreading it.

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Of course the ideal plan is for him to go to Trainer B’s for awhile. Or at the very least, trailering him to Trainer B’s for rides, especially those initial jumping ones. But eventually I’ll have to take back over and, well, I sort of don’t want to. One guess why.

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Awhile ago I wrote a post detailing how exactly my horse is so great. And it’s a loooong list…with literally one negative. The negative being that sometimes he stops at some jumps. And while I kept telling myself to just be grateful that my horse is so awesome in so many ways, the stopping really is a biggie. I love eventing and it’s what I want to do, but 2/3 of eventing is jumping. It’s hard to enjoy it on P because you literally have zero clue if you’re going to take off or not. He’ll pop over a Training level trakehner and then 5 minutes later, stop at a cross-rail. Every jump is a surprise with him.

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All parties involved were shocked P went over this on the first try
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ONE WEEK LATER

Now, I can’t pretend this is just P’s issue and I’ve had nothing to do with it. I’ve had P for just about 5 years now and this horse is so in tune with me it’s a little creepy. Looking back, he’s always been that way with me and while it’s so great in so many ways, I’ve made a ton of mistakes that I don’t know we can ever truly get 100% past.

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Husband jokes that we share the same brain. He may not be wrong.

Conversation to every jump:

Me: Are you going to jump this?

P: Do you think I should? I’m feeling some hesitation on your part.

Me: That’s because I don’t know if you’re going to go. So are you?

P: I dunno. You don’t seem too sure.

Me: No, YOU don’t seem too sure.

P: No, YOU don’t seem too sure.

And on and on it goes.

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And then we end up here.

See, re-starting a young OTTB wasn’t exactly new to me and I did a pretty good job putting a solid foundation on him. He was reliably w/t/c, cruising around small courses and had had lots of field trips to become a solid citizen off-property. But about a year and a half in, we reached a point where I had zero clue where to go next. Kudos to me, I know my limits and reached out for help. Bad on me, the people I paired us up with were not only not good for us, but pretty detrimental. The result was a devastating loss of confidence all around- I had no confidence in myself or in P, and P had no confidence in me.

 

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And we literally had to start all over when Trainer B came into the picture

I think we can all agree that Trainer B has done wonders for the two of us, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. But having P out of commission for so long has seen me riding other horses and I have to say, those were some of the best rides ever. Take cross country. I LOVE cross country, but with P, I never knew what was going to happen fence to fence. The best parts of XC with him are the long galloping stretches between fences (because he’s AWESOME to gallop) and going through the finish flags, because then there are no more fences to stress over.

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Finish flags = relief

When I took S in his first little HT I had a great time on him during the course because he’s the kind of horse who, while you do have to ride him confidently to all the fences, is pretty honest. As long as you don’t screw it up, 9/10 he’ll go.

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S’ first time on XC and he popped right over the jump that P got us eliminated at 3 months prior

When I took C in the HT a few weeks ago, I had an absolute BLAST. For nearly two years now, Trainer B has told me that I want to feel like I’m being dragged to the fence. It wasn’t until riding C that I finally understood what he meant. He gives you that feeling that he’s not only NOT going to stop, but that he really enjoys what he’s doing. And I want more of that.

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During my course walk, I’d pegged this fence as one I’d have to kick and cajole P to. C hardly noticed it was there.

So that’s where the possibility of Horse #2 started. My budget will always be green, baby OTTB. And that means a horse who’s not show-ring ready and needs some time and work. Which gives me time with P (or time for Trainer B & P) and also takes some pressure off P. Because I put a lot of that on him and on myself.

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P’s face when you put too much pressure on him

I have a few different scenarios for how this plays out and I’m not even close to deciding which one is the most likely outcome. Some of it is out of my hands and only time will tell. But I’ll likely have to make some decision at some point and I’m dreading having to do so.

 

It’s entirely possible that P will come back and we’ll go on to do some great things. Maybe we’ll get back to where we were when the suspensory strain happened, and get back to Novice with a goal of Training. But it’s also entirely possible that we’ll have the same issues together and I don’t know if I really want to pursue competing with P if it’s going to be such a struggle and so mentally draining. It’s also a possibility that P reinjures the tendon (or a different one…horses, man) or won’t be able to physically hold up to jumping. I’ve already been sidelined for nearly a year rehabbing P and the thought of “wasting” another stretch of time only to find out that this isn’t going to work makes my skin crawl. It’s the Type A in me.

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Literally my marriage summed up in cartoon form

If I were to give P and I, say, six more months to try out competing together and then finally had to face reality that it’s not worth it, I’d be kicking myself for having waited to start all over again. That would sideline me even longer while I searched for another horse and started back over from the beginning.

A 4 year old baby P learning to go through puddles:

 

Now, let’s say Horse #2 is coming along, but surprisingly, P is as well. That would be the best possible outcome here, as riding P at a higher level would only give me more tools with which to use on another horse. And I have to say, I wouldn’t hate the idea of competing 2 horses. Multiple XC rounds? Sign me up.

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Now, I definitely have thought about how badly it would suck if I were to have 2 horses injured at the same time. Hello, that literally happened when C arrived a few weeks ago (though it appears to be resolved so we’ll see how he holds up through this week), and it was no fun. It was also no fun when I broke my ankle running inside of a gym and had to be out of the saddle for 12 weeks. Things happen. Believe me…I know that all too well, but I still go to the gym.

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When I went rogue and rode him in my air boot. Oops.

There are two main things holding me back from actually wanting to buy another horse, though.

Number 1: The possibility of having to get a new saddle. Yes, seriously. Saddle shopping? I’d rather run a mile barefoot over Legos.

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Number 2: That I won’t like a new horse as much as P. For how much I hate P’s stopping, I love everything else about the horse. You simply can’t beat his personality. If I could shrink him, I’d bring him home to live with us in the house.

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Definitely a huge part of the family

For me, the time it would take to ride/train/care for 2 horses each day was what I initially felt would be my biggest challenge. But after what Bree commented on my last post about having two, with one preferring a more easygoing lifestyle, taking the leap and getting another may actually turn out to be a good balance, with all hopes and dreams and plans not being pinned on just one unsuspecting equine.

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P would honestly most likely be at peak happiness if he and T-Rex just ran off and joined the circus

So I’m really no closer to a decision than I was a few weeks ago when I first started thinking about it seriously. There are a couple of nice horses on the market right now, but there will also always be more down the line. Right now I just need to get through this week to see what the vet says about P and how old man C holds up to some actual riding.