A new horse, that is. Baby OTTB #1 got vetted Wednesday and I couldn’t run away fast enough.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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:
So I called the vet clinic and added P. Damnit P. You couldn’t just leave my wallet alone for ONE vet visit?
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.
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.
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:
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.
Practicing his jump position, for when he takes P Prelim.
Leading him out of the arena. P will follow this kid off the edge of a cliff.
And my absolute favorite is when the T.D. shows he’s not a complete sociopath and says thank you to P.
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.
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!
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.
So naturally, this morning I got this text from BO:
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).
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.
So after I got the text from BO about P, I was all, “At least I have C & S to ride.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Awhile ago I wrote a post detailing how exactly my horse is so great. And it’s a loooong list…with literally onenegative. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You see, I’ve been hopping on FB a bit more than usual lately and I pretty much just have 2 profile pages that I go straight to. Both are well-respected OTTB re-sellers, including the one I got P from, and both have a fairly steady stream of drool-worthy horses in their barns.
There’s one for sale right now that is the absolute spitting image of P when I got him nearly 5 years ago and I literally CAN’T. EVEN. I think I’ve watched his video perhaps 10,000 times. Some people see babies and want a baby. Not me…but give me baby TBs any day.
So anyway, last night I mention to Husband that I talked to the seller of Pilgrim 2.0 to get some additional info, and Husband was all, “Cool, see what Trainer B thinks.”
Which I totally didn’t expect. Then Husband started talking about PPEs and the like, and I was all, “Woah, slow your roll. Nothing’s happening just yet.”
See…I’m not a very spontaneous person. I struggle with making decisions because I need ALL THE INFO. Then I need to dissect, analyze and interpret the info. Then I need a drink (or ten) to close down the dozens of internet-like tabs that are open in my head. It’s a problem.
So all night I was just thinking about the possible consequences of adding a second horse. And some alternative routes I might take, depending on what happens with P.
And I have no answers.
The Bad: I work full-time and have 2 kids, with a Husband who is frequently out of town, so time is something I don’t have a lot of. On days that Husband is gone, one ride is the max I’m getting.
Even on days where I don’t have to leave the barn early to get kids, it would still be hard to fit in two. Horse #1 from 5-5:45, then Horse #2 from 6:15-7, then home by 8? Not always possible, considering I do like to do things like eat dinner and sometimes see my family.
So if I were to settle on one horse per day during the week, that’d be Horse #1 getting 3 rides and Horse #2 getting 2 rides, then possibly getting both done on weekends?
Reasonable? Sure. Doable? Hmmmmm.
The Good: Uhhh…having two horses to ride is better than not having ANY horses to ride. Duh.
If you’ve ever read my year-end blog posts where I insanely add up my annual expenditures, you know I spend a small fortune on the one horse I have now- the biggest expenses being board, lessons and showing. Obviously board would just double, but what do y’all multi-horse owners do about lessons and shows? Alternate or take both?
Another bad: Husband literally JUST built me living quarters in my 2 horse trailer, which means I use the 2nd stall in the trailer for equipment. Would I need a new trailer?
I can already feely myself start to spiral, just typing this out.
The Good: Still having two horses to ride. I feel like I’m repeating myself here.
Those are just a couple of the thoughts swirling around in my brain. I’m sure I’m leaving out a whole host of things, good and bad, about dual horse ownership.
So- do you have, or have had, multiple horse? What are the pros/cons? If you don’t have multiple horses, would you ever? Why or why not?
After a couple glasses of wine (ok, maybe a bottle), I texted the following to Husband:
I don’t know what I actually expected in response, but it quickly turned dark. I’d blame the wine, but I’m totes sober right now and still feel the same way.
See…besides being an idiot in the pasture and injuring his suspensory in August, thus forcing me to rehab him for 6 months, and then subsequently being an idiot in the cross ties in February and tearing a HOLE IN HIS FOOT, requiring multiple vet/farrier visits and special shoes, not to mention more time off, literally the ONLY THING I needed P to do was LEAVE THE SHOE ALONE.
He ripped it off last Saturday, but AGF was coming out to do P and some of the other horses on Monday anyway, so I Magic Cushioned/vet wrapped/duct taped him, and put him back out. But not before snapping some pictures. And…? The FOOT HOLE looks BETTER than the rest of his hoof now.
But check out the insane healing.
So AGF came out to see what he could do, but there was zero anything to nail a shoe into. Given P’s proneness to removing shoes, he didn’t want to glue anything and risk more damage, so I had to order a boot for him. No clue how long this is going to last, but it was $90 so if he damages it, he’s just out of luck. I’ll gladly amputate his leg myself.
The one upside is that because there’s no shoe to worry about, he can be in a pasture vs the round pen.
But he’s still as happy as ever to see me, despite his freedom, and gallops to the gate whenever he sees me. Which sorta makes me feel guilty for so readily suggesting he’ll make tasty lion food. But only sorta.
On the C front, things have been a no-go. He was a little foot sore when he arrived, which may be due to the fact that his feet are mush from living outside in a wet field. He has extremely flat front feet, so I opted to wait to ride until AGF could check him out and possibly put him in pads. I say “opted,” but really I was swamped getting ready for my work’s fundraiser followed by an entire weekend filled with Spartan races, so even if I’d wanted to ride, I wouldn’t have been able to.
Anyways, AGF checked C out, put him in shoes 2 sizes bigger (C’s owner warned me the farrier she used back home was not the best…clearly), and did pads/EquiPak. C was starting to move better, even trotting to the gate, then suddenly went dead lame. Sounds like an abscess is brewing, so he’s on Bute and small turnout for now. If he’s not any better at the end of the month, his owner will be coming to get him.
So basically nothing is going as it should. Story of horses, I guess.
I’m having a serious horse hangover today. Somehow I went from 0 horses to ride to 3. Well, 2.5.
Friday I was getting stuff out of my car, which was parked next to the round pen. I heard hooves and look up to see P just casually trotting around the round pen, trying to get my attention. Sound as can be.
This was the first time I’d gotten on my horse since February 23rd. Lined him up with the mounting block and prepared myself to get run away with. But…nothing. He waited until I got settled and asked him to walk, then we ambled around the arena.
Now…am I supposed to be riding? No. The vet had said he could go back undersaddle when his foot has grown out. But mentally, P needs something to do other than sit in the round pen by himself for 18 hours/day. He can’t go back in the pasture because of the mud, and that shoe absolutely has to stay on. And if P can trot and canter around the round pen, he can cart me around the sand arena at a walk for 6 minutes (which is how long I stayed on).
Then after those 6 minutes of non-excitement, I hopped on S for a bareback hack around the farm.
I’ve been back riding S for the last 2 weeks and he’s been super. After fighting (or playing…with S, who knows?) with a copper head and needing lots of time off to heal, he lost a lot of weight and muscle, but he’s packing it back on and feeling great.
He’s for sale, if you know anyone looking for a solid, safe horse! I’m pretty sure he wants to event.
And then Saturday….oh Saturday.
I hopped on P for a few minutes. Then did a dressage ride with S.
And then…C arrived!
Came off the trailer after a 6 hour ride, blinked a few times and walked to his new pasture like he’d lived there forever.
Later I brought him into his new stall, and he immediately chowed right down.
He’s got some scratches on his hind legs, as his home was hit hard by all the rain and is quite muddy, but some Coat Defense will clear those right up.
Then after 8 hours at the barn, Husband and I went out to hang with some friends. I’ve been sorely lacking the in the social life department lately. Because…horses. Duh.
And among 6 of us, ordered 60 tacos. I wasn’t sure what the rest of my friends would eat…
So the next morning, having gained about 15 lbs, I went out and rode S and then C. C and I just did a 20 minute light w/t/c ride, and finished with a hack around the farm so he could get to know his new digs.
And ended our ride with a trip past P, who by now is used to seeing me on S but had no idea what to think of his bay replacement.
Then after that, I went home and Husband had added C to my Wall of Winning in our library.
C will spend the foreseeable future gaining a little bit of weight and building some muscle, then will hopefully be good to go for a spring debut!
In the excitement of actually doing a thing on a horse again, P has sort of been pushed to the back burner. Well, not sort of- he definitely has. There’s not much I can do with him other than bandage his stupid Foot Hole, then put him back in the round pen.
After P lost his special shoe on the 19th and the vet did a re-check of the Foot Hole where she declared it to be healing nicely, AGF (Almighty Genius Farrier) came out on the 21st to reattach the shoe. Then on the 23rd, while I was in VA, I got a text from BO that P’s special shoe had slid a little, along with the following picture:
I didn’t want to pull the shoe because the vet was adamant that he needed it on so he wouldn’t do any (more) damage to his foot or the structures around it, but I also didn’t want the clip to break off additional hoof wall. But AGF responded and said that as long as the shoe is tight, which it is, that the clip would be fine and the hoof wall is too broken to do anything else to. So cross your fingers the damn shoe stays on until we re-check on April 17th.
Our bandaging routine for the last 4 weeks has consisted of me soaking a gauze pad in betadine, sugar and MSM, and stuffing it in the Foot Hole, then wrapping vet wrap and duct tape around it to keep it in there. The betadine keeps it disinfected and the sugar/MSM granules dry up the soft tissue. It’s been a daily part of my routine (yay for me), but in the past few days I’ve had an increasingly harder time getting the gauze pad in there, and then yesterday it just didn’t fit at all, despite me shaving it down to almost nothingness.
I stopped using Keratex on it last week, as I wasn’t sure if the hardening of the hoof wall was contributing to the cracking of it, so now he’s just on his regular Pro-Elite Senior feed/balancer/hay, along with Double Strength Farrier’s Formula, and then gets the WunderHoof rub on it daily. I’m almost out of the tub of Wunderhoof, as I’m quite generous with the stuff, and will definitely be ordering more. I don’t know if that’s what’s doing the trick, but I’m not stopping it to experiment!
So that’s about all there is to talk about on P. He’s sound trotting and cantering around the round pen, and walks fine even over gravel and rocks. He’s definitely itching to go back to work and stares like a total creeper at me the entire time I’m riding S in the arena (which is below the round pen).
When he is cleared to go back to work, which according to the vet, may very well be sooner than originally expected, I’m planning on sending him to training straight away. After the last 6 months of doctoring the horse, I’m ready for some time apart.
We all know how long it took for me to eventually get P around a BN, right? ::cough cough:: 2 years ::cough cough::
Then I started riding S when P injured himself the FIRST time. And it was sort of a miracle that after only 4 weeks or so, I took him around his very first event at BN (and really only my third).
Last month I headed up to VA for a weekend of riding ponies with my friend, and got to take her guy out for a spin:
And after a day of flatting, took him to a little jump clinic where I jumped a few little fences for the first time since October 2018. We made tentative plans for me to come back up to VA in March to compete him at Loch Moy and then possibly bring him back with me to ride while P continues to recuperate.
But I had some serious doubts. I mean…I’d ridden the horse all of 60 minutes or so, not to mention the teensy fact that I’ve done nothing besides w/t/c rehab rides (when I could ride at all) for the last 5 months. Not exactly a professional here, y’all.
So I made the decision to get there, ride him Friday & Saturday, then decide. He was already entered under his owner and the office said we could make a last minute rider change.
Here’s a little background on C: he’s 19 (but you’d never know), and my friend has owned him for about 10 years or so- she completed her first BN/N on him, and schooled Training, but said she could never put all the Training phases together to actually compete at the level. She bought a different horse 4 years ago, and C pretty much has sat since then. He briefly came out of retirement in 2016 when a friend tried to show him at BN, but they didn’t get along well, so back into the pasture he went.
So the horse hasn’t been to a show, hasn’t schooled XC, has now jumped exactly ONCE (with me in Feb) in nearly 3 years, and I think I can just saunter around a horse trial?
Friday I hopped on, my friend set some jumps, and off we went. At this point, I was under the impression that my friend had worked him over fences at least a couple times, so afterwardswhen I found out she hadn’t jumped him at all, I was actually quite impressed with how he was.
But he does have the tendency to bulge to the right and get sort of…stuck. He did it a few times off the left lead as I was turning to jumps, and it was a little un-nerving. I’m told that’s one of his quirks, which is totally fine since all horses have their “thing,” but it didn’t exactly inspire confidence that I could steer him around a SJ course.
But I figured…YOLO, maybe? I really can’t explain why I decided to go along with competing him, but found myself paying the rider change fee the next day.
Waiting on some media…we’ll finish this story tomorrow!