Horse Life

OH MER GER

So I’m not dead, and I have been following along with y’all’s blogs, but typing one-handed sucks so much, commenting has been non-existent. I’ve been that silent stalker that brings your page views up, but clicks off without a trace.

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Things are healing and I ditched the sling pretty quickly.

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It’s literally covered in chocolate from this box of chocolate covered strawberries. Worth it.

And the bandages were taken off last Thursday, where my dr said we’d talk about riding in FOUR MORE WEEKS. I fired him. Sort of. Ok, I didn’t.  Then yesterday a kid I tutor told me my arm looks like a “zombie arm,” so that was helpful.

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I started occupational therapy last Friday and the OT read me the notes my doctor put in. He legit warned her via my medical chart that I’d try to persuade her to sign off on me riding. Har har, Doc. Har har.

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Me: P, aren’t you dying for me to ride you? P: No, let’s just cuddle

Leo has been bopping along in Florida, doing event horse things, such as HIS FIRST CORNER last week. Of course, no media exists of said event. Wish professionals were as media-obsessed as amateurs. Srsly.

And I haven’t really even been out to the barn (gasp), as much, choosing instead to spend evenings at Crossfit so that I can retain some semblance of fitness when I’m authorized to clambor back aboard.

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Can you tell which kid is actually comfy with horses and which one would prefer to be 50 feet away?

AND we’re considering moving to the other side of town to be closer to all the things we do (such as the barn), so readying our house that we’ve lived in for 5 years + has endured 2 growing boys has been no minor feat.

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A rare Husband sighting on a day off from work and/or home improvement things

I swore when we bought this house, I’d never move again. But that was before I was boarding where I am now, which is paradise-on-earth. The area we’re looking at has my barn commute time between 5-8 minutes, so bring on the home repairs! For Husband, that is. Obvi.

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I will do my best to start commenting more on everyone’s adventures- keep ’em coming so I can live vicariously through you all for the next, um, FOREVER #Desperation

Horse Life

2019 in Pictures

This is going to be text-lite b/c I’m one handed. Thank goodness for touch screen computers.

2019 was, uh, interesting!

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January saw P being turned out for the first time since injuring his suspensory in August. Serious day drinking occurred that day.
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And in February he went right back in the stall, thanks to his creation of the Foot Hole
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In March I was so desperate for real riding, I took a horse I’d ridden a grand total of 90 minutes to a horse show (where I *finally* met Emma!), then took him home. C really helped restore my confidence in jumping, even taking me over some Training jumps, and ultimately planted the seed to get a 2nd horse.
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In April we celebrated P’s 9th birthday and our 5 year anniversary

 

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In May we added Leo to the fam

 

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In June, despite battling the Eye Ulcer From Hell, P won our millionth contest
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July saw Leo becoming more and more dreamy with each ride
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August was Leo’s first XC school and he was perfect
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September, the Tiniest Dictator & I rode our trusty steeds together
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In October, Trainer B took Leo to his first ever horse trial
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And in November, I stole the ride back at the last second and Leo & I kicked some booty in Leo’s 2nd HT at Virginia International
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And closing out December on NYE (shhh, no one tell my surgeon) with a short stroll on the one creature who’s the reason I both drink AND smile as much as I do

Happy New Year!

Horse Life

Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

So this was my first year participating (because I never had my life together enough to get in on time) and it sure didn’t disappoint! I was lucky enough to have my Secret Santa be Sarah from Three Chestnuts and she sent some amazing goodies!

Turquoise, whitening shampoo, P’s fave treats AND a floofy wash thing-a-majigger? ER MER GERD

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Someone knows the stuff I like 🙂

P’s demolished half the treats, he actually APPROVED of the floof for his bath today (with the whitening shampoo), and I wore the belt to my lesson today (but didn’t get media because #FAIL). Thanks so much, Sarah!

And thanks to Tracy from Printable Pony for hosting this!

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Merry Christmas from P & I!
Horse Life

The 2010s Picture Challenge

Praise be Emily, for some blog content! This was a fun one, as 2010 was the year I got my very first horse, and rode for the first time since I was a teenager.

I bought Jester as a pretty much unbroke 9 year old for $700 with delivery included, and the day he arrived was one of my favorites EVER.

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2010

We spent awhile getting to know each other, then headed to our first show, where we dominated the Adult W/T class. Hey, that was what local J-ville shows had to offer.

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2011

And when I finally became mobile with my own truck and trailer, headed out on our own to do real shows. He was a hunter extraordinaire.

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2012

Then I sent him off for training with an eventer while we waited for the T.D. to arrive in the world, and Jester had a pasture accident that he wouldn’t have recovered from. So he gave me my best day and my worst day.

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2013

2014 saw a new adventure…

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2014

And in 2015 we headed off to attempt eventing.

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2015

2016 brought a LOT of challenges, and was probably the roughest horse-y year for me yet. Trainer issues, barn issues, I wasn’t having fun anymore.

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2016

In 2017, after a failed attempt at selling P, we met Trainer B and things just turned around. We were pushed to new heights (literally), but I was having fun again, for a change.

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2017

And we had a major break through in 2018, where we finally, FINALLY competed Novice.

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2018

Then, naturally, P injured himself- repeatedly (tendon, Foot Hole, eye), and I rode other horses until I finally decided that jumping P was not what I wanted to do anymore, and brought home a new family member. And 5 months after coming off the track, had the absolute most fun on XC that I’ve ever had before.

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2019

What an amazing (and expensive) decade it’s been since having horses back in my life. Here’s to 70 more just like it!

Horse Life

Update City

With surgery scheduled for exactly a week from now (unless another spider decides to bite me), I’ve been riding as much as I can. I’ve even been taking some actual dressage LESSONS with an honest-to-God dressage TRAINER in a real-life dressage SADDLE.

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We even HACK in said dressage saddle.

But it’s been really good for me. I’ve always gotten by in dressage, but I’ve never been what I consider to be a really good dressage rider. I’m way too busy with my aids, I have hunchy shoulders, turned out toes, straight arms, and am forever fighting the fetal position instinct.

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2014-Fetal fo’ Lyfe
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But my BO has decided she’s all in on the USDF stuff and has been working with a local dressage trainer who, bless, COMES TO THE FARM. As much as I love working with Trainer B, it’s an hour trailer ride one way, and while totes worth it, being able to arrive 1/2 hr before a lesson and walk 2 minutes to the arena? IN LOVE. P’s less enthused that Home Base has been infiltrated and eyes the arena suspiciously every time we walk down there.

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The look that used to be reserved for trailer rides comes out every time we go in the arena now

But it’s working and P is more forward than before, starting to carry himself in small bursts, and even the canter is coming along. And as for me, I’m getting more comfortable being in the correct position. I tend to have fairly straight arms, especially in transitions, thinking I’m “giving,” when really, I’m throwing contact away and then yanking it back. And keeping my toes turned in and my ankles out is keeping my leg more correct.

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This is still a major work in progress, though 

All good stuff. We have another lesson this afternoon, which, depending on her schedule, might be my last for awhile since my surgery is next Friday.

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Legit the best meme ever. Trying to cut out the bad food for now since both riding and CrossFit will take a temporary backseat

In Leo news, he arrived in Florida safe and sound, but had some trouble settling in at first. I know horses aren’t like people, but I DO feel a bit guilty. He’d only been with me for 6 months and every time we went to Trainer B’s, he, ya know, came home with me. Until the time he didn’t and instead got on a much different trailer and drove 8 hours to a new farm with strangers (minus Trainer B). But he’s been settling down and both working students have even gotten on him to hack him (at the walk only). He’s tentatively going to be hitting a show in February, and I’m so hoping to be able to make the trip down to see him at least once.

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They sent me this picture- still adorable as ever

I did ask Trainer B to try to ride him like crap at least once a week so he’s not too shell shocked when he comes home and I climb back aboard. We’ll see if he complies with my request.

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Less of this good riding stuff…
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…More of what Leo will be coming home to

And speaking of being a total ammy, the other night I rode P and he was sooooo good, that when it hit 20 minutes, I felt like it was enough and hopped off. Went to loosen the girth and…

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Oh Em Gerrrr….Sorry P

 

 

 

 

P & his buddy S got the farrier a thoughtful mug for Christmas (least he could do after stomping him in his quest to insert The Foot Hole). While S has never stomped the farrier, nor chopped off half of his own foot, he IS prone to ripping off shoes within 24 hours of getting them on.

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We’re not exactly sure P would actually jump a fence for AGF, but I s’pose anything is possible

If I don’t get a chance to write again before, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Horse Life

Gone…All Gone

HOW in the world is it December?

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Me lately. Winter is NOT my favorite season

So since I last posted, uh, 2 weeks ago (oops), not much of interest has happened. Leo was on break and took full advantage:

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So tired from all the winning he’s done since coming off the track in May

P and I went to Trainer B’s for some dressage lessons:

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P’s face when he got on the trailer was PRICELESS

P’s been ridden more in the last month than he has in the past 18 months, and is finally in some semblance of shape:

Though he’s sure to keep me on my toes at least 100x every ride:

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This was taken 2 seconds after the end of the above video

 

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My only goal for this winter is to learn to keep my shoulders back
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Getting the stretch back

4 days before I was supposed to have surgery on my nerve, I got bit by a spider AND got poison ivy on the arm that was supposed to be operated on. So now surgery is scheduled for the 27th, which means 3 less weeks of healing time before the end of winter.

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Naturally the incision is supposed to end where the bite is.

But on the plus side, more time to ride P. Oh yay.

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I IZ MAJESTIC

Family came from Chicago for Thanksgiving and I tried to show off P:

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P: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

But really, I have no leg to stand on because, as my mom pointed out, this is what I did when everyone thought it’d be great fun to decorate for Christmas:

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Me: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

And finally, Leo left for Florida this AM with Trainer B. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a bit (and that I’m not TOTALLY JEALOUS). I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some time to go visit down there, and if all goes well with the arm, be ready to go once he comes back.

Until then, I’ll be here in cold, dark (by 5:30 waaaahhh), wet North Carolina, dreaming of this:

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Happy holidays, amirite?

Horse Life

Poetic Justice

Last week I had a fitter out to try new saddles on P. Due to Husband’s nonstop traveling mid-September through mid-October, P has been severely on the back burner- having a measly 4 rides in that 30 day period. But I’d already rescheduled with the fitter twice, so if I wanted to try new saddles, it was then or….not then.

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P says, “I’m free the 12th of Never-uary”

And in saddle #1 (which P clearly liked), we made it through trotting both ways and the left lead canter with no issue, but the right lead canter had him bunny hopping a few steps.

And I…well, sorta freaked.

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Because while that certainly could mean something as simple as weakness, it ALSO could mean suspensory. So naturally I went with the theory that HIS SUSPENSORY HAS DEGENERATED AND LOOKS LIKE SWISS CHEESE.

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If you read my post The Meltdown, this won’t have surprised you at all. For newer readers, I have this weird love-hate relationship with P where I routinely wish him death and misery, then when he blinks funny I rack up emergency vet calls.

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P and I…til the end

So

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I had the vet out. Who watched him race around the pasture, fancy as could be, then watched closer as he w/t/c on the lunge and then gave me his official prescription—

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TO RIDE.

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Yes, that’s right. After a solid year of injury after injury, where I had to do everything from hand walking to bandaging feet to putting in eye meds (not to mention chauffeuring him around the state to get ultrasounds, shockwave and eye surgery), a vet is telling me I need to ride my horse more.

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The look on P’s face was priceless:

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So I’m trying my best to fit more time in on him- right now he’s learning how to steer and stop off just the neck rope (and bareback because saddle fit woeZ), in anticipation of my December 2nd surgery. And then when we do “real work,” it looks an awful lot like the rehab protocol we followed last year.

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P loves me, I swear.

And in a little over a month he’ll be my sole focus, because Leo is heading to Florida for the winter with Trainer B since I’ll be out of the saddle for awhile.

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I will miss Leo…but I will not miss CLEANING Leo

It goes without saying that P is obvi back on suicide watch. We’ll see how this pans out.

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If I do stuff like this, he’ll never suspect anything is up, muahaha

 

 

Horse Life

Next Steps & Decisions

When the decision was made to enter Leo into the Windridge HT, my biggest dilemma was deciding who would ride him. Trainer B opined that I could do it just fine, but if I wanted him to do it, he would. I hate making decisions like that. I’m no good at it. For being as decisive as I am at home and in my job, when it comes to these horses, man, I can’t make a decision to save my life.

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In the end, I decided it would be in Leo’s best interest to have a pro ride for his first competitive outing. Leo’s a bit of a ball of nerves and I didn’t want my ammy nerves expounding his- I want him to find outings to be as positive as they can be. That tends not to be the case when you have someone who’s competed once in the last year to be sitting on you while vibrating with adrenaline.

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We didn’t BOTH need to be like this

Ad I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still suffer a bit from haunting memories of horse trials past.

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Either we went clear (and in some cases, WON), or…
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…we got ELIMINATED (note the placing before P decided he simply COULDN’T EVEN)

And the final reason was because of my hand. I’ve mentioned this issue sparingly in some posts, but I finally have a diagnosis (after nearly 2 years of MRIs, nerve tests, injections, therapies, etc) for why my right hand/wrist/fingers are failing to cooperate with me. And that’s because my radial nerve has decided it no longer has a reason to live and is choking itself on some scar tissue and, ya know, dying. In other words, I have a suicidal nerve.  I’m now past the point where there’s hope for anything other than surgery to stop the degeneration, and while I can will still ride until then, the uselessness of my right hand doesn’t make for the most stellar rider.

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Spooking horses typically result in a loss of the right rein.
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Which I guess teaches you to sit back while you fumble around for it

But the plan HAD been for Trainer B to pilot Leo around HT #1, then for me to take the reins (literally) for #2. So to prepare, I brought Leo along on my excursion to Carolina Horse Park the week after Windridge. I was already going to support and help some friends who were competing, and got Leo a stall so we could participate in the schooling day on Saturday. Our instructions were to trot all the Green as Grass (18″) and Maiden (2’3″) jumps and work on downward transitions after each fence.

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Pre-XC Schooling. Husband came with the fam and Leo’s side eye is spot on

And he was, in a word, AMAZING.

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If a bit exuberant after the first fence

He was just so game for everything, yet so rideable, that I never wanted to get off him. Even fences that backed off other horses with much more experience than he had (this was his 4th time seeing XC fences) he took without so much as blinking.

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This little jump caused a lot of grief for all those around us…but not for Leo

AND we jumped his first (flagged) BN fence AND cantered into water for the first time. It was so hard to call it a day, let me tell you.

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Leo: Get off. Me: No

So two days later, when I was staring at the Rider blank on the entry form for the upcoming HT, I couldn’t understand why I found myself in the same dilemma as before. Leo’s already done a HT, we JUST had an incredibly successful XC schooling, he’s never stopped at A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G….there seems to be no reason why in the world I was still hesitant.

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Because this was FUN

But I am. And it’s ridiculous. I’ve done 99% of the riding on the horse, and 99% of THOSE rides are outside of lessons (aka, unsupervised). I clearly haven’t messed the horse up yet, and doubt one weekend would do that, even if I were to ride like a total monkey.

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Especially if I could ride like this monkey. Great balance, sir

And it also makes no sense that I would be more nervous to show than to school. Schooling at CHP, which I’ve done twice now with Leo, is not exactly a chill environment. It’s actually fairly insane, with hundreds of horses/riders of all levels congregating at one facility and schooling the same 50 or so jumps during a single 6 hour period. That schooling day has made even PILGRIM melt down. If Leo & I can handle that atmosphere, we should be able to handle anything.

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The horse can fall asleep anywhere, it seems

So in a nutshell, I KNOW I’m blowing this way out of proportion, but I seemingly can’t do a thing to stop myself.

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Bless both Husband and Trainer B lately

And after talking with Trainer B about it, I decided he’d ride Leo again. Then I hung up the phone and immediately felt sad. I almost called him right back to go, “NEEEEEEVERMIIIIND!” but figured I’d sit on it for awhile longer. And after getting home and staring some more at the entry form, I finally submitted it under Trainer B.

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Then I went upstairs and tried on my show clothes.

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Let me tell you, it’s SUPER fun being Husband right now.

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He loves when I take him out for his birthday at my favorite restaurant to talk about horse shows. You can see it in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

Horse Life

Things

I’ve been on the blog struggle bus for some time now- reading and writing. Husband, who told me when he took this job that, “it’ll be a night or two traveling some weeks,” has spent approximately 2 days at home in the last 3 weeks. That means I have 1.5 hrs at the barn after work (a TRAVESTY) before I have to get kids, get home, microwave them dinner, do reading with the kindergartner, attempt math/science nonsense with the 6th grader, etc. The upside is my house remains sparkling clean because we aren’t home enough to mess it up.

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This is what I show my kids when they complain that I don’t heat the frozen chicken nuggets all the way through

P has been a pasture puff since his diagnosis of thin soles until he gets pads next Tuesday. because 1.5 hours is simply not enough to get both horses tacked/untacked/ridden, and there’s no point in risking a bruise. Let’s be real- if I were to put a saddle on him, he’d likely find the pointiest rock on the way to the arena and pierce all the way up to his coffin bone. So we trick him by using a bareback pad + the Tiniest Dictator. Works like a charm.

Leo has also been on his own set of adventures, such as jumping all the BN/N XC jumps at Trainer B’s, his first oxer, and…AND….the rolltop that haunted P’s nightmares.

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The grief this jump has brought me…
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…has definitely left lasting effects
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Like that time P had to be CHASED over it

But Leo gave it no more than a cursory glance the first time over it, and then the second time didn’t even blink. He didn’t stop at a thing or even try to, not even the big coffin ditch.

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First time over the real ditch (the one furthest in the picture) and he nailed it!

And at home when a horse at the barn refused to go over this tarp repeatedly, Leo was all, “What’s the problem?”

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But the last couple rides he’s been a little more reluctant to go forward, even on Monday after having THREE DAYS off (I totally wore sticky breeches and they totally weren’t needed). No lameness, just a little fussy about staying in the trot/canter. So the vet was out today to do shots/Coggins for everyone and I asked her just to do a general check to see what she thought. And after watching him go around the lunge line, felt he was a bit stabby with his hind legs, likely indicating sore hocks. So he’ll be getting hock injections in short order. I also had him on a 30 day trial of a joint supplement, and the not-so-stellar rides happened after he’d run out and been off the supplement for about a week. So he’s starting back on it tomorrow to see if that helps any as well.

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I tried “Round the World” on Leo the other day and he was soooo unimpressed

And he looks even better than before, thanks to a tail makeover! After attempting to dye P’s tail and it turning PURPLE, I was so nervous.

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Before
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During- before attempting this, I danced in his stall waving plastic bags for at least 5 straight minutes
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After…heart eyes

Hopping off now to go read y’all’s blogs!

 

 

Horse Life

Suicided

Much like a recent news cycle, it happened. Shortly after coming off of suicide watch (obvi way too early), and being left alone for longer than he should’ve…

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I will never not laugh at this picture

…Let me back up a bit. After P’s trip to Trainer B’s on September 2nd, the next day we went for a relaxing hack around the farm…where he, of course, twisted a hind shoe off (HOW?).

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So that got him out of work on September 4th, then he had his tootsies done September 5th and later that day I rode him in the jump arena for 45 minutes, where he was perfect. Then September 6th he had his teeth floated, which earned him another day off. Leo & I went to Trainer B’s September 7th, which got him another day off, as I had familial duties to attend to when we got back. September 8th I didn’t ride at all, so when I arrived at the barn after work on Monday, September 9th,  I was ready to tackle riding both horses that day and being productive.

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The vet came out yesterday and blocked his feet, which instantly improved everything, so she took some x-rays of his feet and declared him thin-soled and needing pads stat.

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No idea what I’m looking at here
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But the vet hasn’t steered me wrong yet
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So I’ll believe her
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Pads it is!

Then she made a comment about his hind end and asked which leg it was that had the injury. And when pressed, said the possibility of reinjury was in the back of her mind because he seemed sore. But then said of course he could be sore because of THIS:

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That’s where Leo decided to kick P this past Sunday afternoon, after spending 30+ minutes in the arena alongside each other with no issues. Why? No idea. P was literally minding his own business with Husband and Leo turned himself 180 degrees specifically to kick him. So then I had to hand Leo his ass because sorry, I don’t do kickers. P has never kicked a horse a day in his life and (for once) did nothing to deserve it.

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Especially after P toted around a sword-wielding Tiniest Dictator

So P is on Bute for a couple of days with walking under saddle, and getting pads next Monday. And then we’ll re-check the hind to make sure nothing is amiss there. So in the meantime, I’ll be mildly freaking out. NBD.

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Sword-testing P before the T.D. got on. As per usual, it was a non-issue