Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Unflappable Mo

YOU GUYS. Somehow I wound up with the best stripey-faced gelding on the east coast. How'd that happen?

Things that Mo is good at:

1. Having a kissable nose.


2. Being friends with Scout Wonderful.

Mo looks like SUCH a baby.
3. Hanging out with baby deer.

Today, just before I got on. He thought she was so cute.

4. Walking over the horse-eating astroturf that Seneca will not go near.

Like a trail horse.

5. Walking over the horse-eating liverpool that Seneca would have a heart attack if we approached.

Like a boss.

6. Falling asleep while I coo over him to take pics the one time I've had him in the ring alone and thus couldn't annoy M.

He'll fall asleep when I stop to chat with M while riding, as well.

7. Being cute on the cross-ties.

Give that freaking baby a hug.

That's one for each day I've had him since I brought him up on trial. Thus far, the only things he's bad at are a forward walk (improving) and letting us mess with his ears (since M touches his ears every time she gets near him, and since I feed him carrots while I rub his ears, this is improving as well).

Pretty excited over here!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Go Down, Moses

Confession time! I've been holding out on y'all a bit. Amidst my adventures with Red, Seneca, and Spike, I've been casually horse shopping. Some of you wonderful people have been keeping an eye out for me (thanks especially to Jodi of Racing to Ride and Tracy of Fly On Over).

The casual horse shopping was also quick. I looked at a lot of ads and called a lot of strangers (which I hate doing) in a brief period of bored project-horse-free time. And then I found the right one, which I knew as soon as I saw him. 

Uphill, short-coupled, nice legs, cute face? Sold.

I talked to his owner on the phone for awhile. She told me that Moses (JC name Go Big--how's that for an over-fences prospect?) is five, trained to race as a 2yo but wasn't into it, and then got turned out for three years. She picked him up to be a resale project about a month ago but ended up moving and couldn't keep him. So now he was for sale, and in my budget. 


Mom and I drove to see him. His wonderful owner lunged him for us and then I climbed aboard. The horse hadn't been sat on in three years, and he was quiet. She led me around and he was very relaxed. Mom and I just nodded at each other. This one has the right mind, that's for sure.

Always wants to come say hi at the gate.
I'll go into more detail later, but his owner let me bring him to M's to vet and try. We loved him more each day, and he sailed through the quite extensive pre-purchase. And not only did he pass the physical exam and radiographs with flying colors, his brain got a good workout, too. My vet does his PPEs in-clinic, so he got to trailer to a new place, do a whole lot of weird shit, and get drugged. He was a delight for the whole process.

Scout Wonderful approves. They eat the same blades of grass.

So now, he's all mine! More soon, I promise!

Transformation, uh, Wednesday

Blogger app strikes again! Alas. 

In the spirit of Life of Riley's informal blog hop, here's a quick before and after of Red. He's been here almost a month!

These pictures make him look better than he did. His skin was inflamed and awful, especially his mane and tail. The skin on his body was flaking. He was missing hair on his face. 

He's far from all better, and I really do owe y'all nicer photos, but this one does at least show the improvement in his body condition. 

It isn't complicated, really. Beet pulp, orchard grass hay, senior feed, corn oil, Virginia grass. Curry comb. Light riding. 

He's developed a bit of a defensive posture about his stall. I don't really blame him, but he does have to get over it. Still, it's kind of adorable when he's a grumpus. 

Mom and I trailered him and her horse Teddy over for a lesson at Mary's. It's been YEARS, well over a decade, since mom and I had a lesson together. It was so much fun. We were just working on cantering polls, something Teddy (who is gaited) struggles with because he doesn't know where his feet are. But he did awesome, and Mom had a blast. 

Redmond was also fantastic. He was showing off his lovely trot. Mary helped us with connection, as I thought she would. I can tell that Redmond was a show jumper because he got lit up. But we just laughed at him, worked on getting five strides in a 60' line (instead of 3.5), and gave him pats. I'm so glad he felt well enough to do that! I hope to get him back there in a couple weeks, and maybe the ground poles can be cross rails. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Horses

Note: I tried posting this DAYS ago, thought Blogger app ate it, and just found it again. Not that this matters to you I'm sure. 

At the risk of jinxing myself, it seems all my babies are happy. (I am not happy because I currently have a million injuries including carpal tunnel, so I'm suffering typing this for you. I'm sure you're sooooo grateful. Heh.)


The gorgeous mare is loving her life. My mom went to see her with me and we fed her tons of carrots. She wouldn't let any other mares have any. I hope to go see her again next week. I loved visiting her and am getting used to the idea that she isn't mine. 


I need more Red pics for you. He is doing GREAT. Shiny, happy, fun to lightly hack around. His skin has calmed down and he's gaining weight. Stay tuned for a more detailed progress report. 


Rocket has been well behaved and is growing like a weed. She looks like a grown up horse already. It's time to get her used to tack and whatnot. 


I owe you some lesson recaps with this guy. We're getting better together all the time, except that pesky counter lead. He gets so pissed at my when I don't do it right. Mary's been out of town so we've been working on basics. Like forward. Shouldn't be hard on the hot OTTB, but it is somehow. 


Love this guy. Glad Mary lets me ride him when she's out of town. He's pretty easy for such a green bean. 

Once again, I promise I'm reading your blogs! I hope to be able to write comments again soon, as well as more detailed posts. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lex's Five-Star Life

First, thank you all so much for your wonderful kind words on my last post. I felt supported and loved, which I really need in this rough moment.

M and I dropped Lex off at her new home today--she is going to be a broodmare at the astonishingly beautiful Hickory Tree Farm in Middleburg. It's about the best place for a horse to live. The broodmares all get groomed daily and lots of personal attention. They're clearly the owner's favorites. And the fun thing is, I not only have right of first refusal on Lex, but also on her first baby who doesn't want to run (for free!).

When we walked into the barn, Lex looked around like, "Finally, you two. This is what I have always wanted." She took a deep breath and enjoyed looking out the window of her enormous stall. I didn't want to annoy anyone by taking a million pictures, but I snuck one in.

I'm happy she's there but I miss her so much. The owner gave me the gate code and said I can visit whenever I like, which I will do next week. It might be painful to see her for awhile but I think the more I detail I can keep in my mind about how good she has it, the better.

I'll have more updates on the other equines soon. Everyone is doing well. Love all these ponies, even though I hate how bad I feel right now because of that silly mare.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues

This is not a post I ever wanted to or planned on writing. Ever. I've tried and stopped for the last seven days, but it's time now. 

My wonderful Lex, who you know I've been having some trouble with lately, has to be retired from riding permanently. She is seven years old. This is killing me. 

The short version is, when I got back on her per the vet's orders--12 days out from the injection, just walk on a long rein--she was fine for a few minutes and then she lost it. Rearing and bucking and all that. I stayed on, but I was having trouble not getting emotional. As soon as I got her to walk a 10m circle, I got off. And burst into tears. M asked why, and I told her it was because I was so worried about what this meant for the horse I love so much.

(And here is where I'm going to start crying AGAIN.)

I called every trainer I know. I called my cowboy friend. I called the vet. They all said the same thing: "she is not going to get better. There are a lot of nice horses out there. Don't kill yourself or torture her."

The vet said the injection should have made her a new horse, and it didn't. He couldn't fix it if it was pain, and if it's behavioral, a horse who stands straight up on a loose rein is an even more dangerous horse than one who rears under pressure. 

M went to do a pony club rating in another state last weekend. When she talked to the other national examiners, she said they all told her that horses with nuchal bursitis should not be ridden at all because they are dangerous. They are known to flip. M had never heard of this problem before, so she didn't know that, or she'd have told me. 

So now the most horrible thing I can think of: I have to find Lex a new home as a broodmare or a companion. She is fine on the ground and requires no more maintenance than a normal healthy horse--just food and water and some friends. I can't believe she will not be mine forever. But I can't afford to keep her. Maybe someday I can take her back, but not now. 

So if any of you knows anyone who is interested in an extremely well bred mare with excellent conformation, please let me know. I just want her to have a good home. I want to make sure her life is better than it was when I found her, so no more research univerisities. Nothing has can happen to her. 

I'd better stop writing before I lose it completely and give myself another crying hangover. But one more thing: please do not ask me if I have tried whatever treatment or fix or whatever (no, chiro will not help. Neither will a padded crown piece. Yes, people have suggested these things this week). I find it quite rude and it's only going to make me feel worse. I'm crazy about this horse. If something could be done, I would do it.

Okay. Deep breaths. Someday, maybe, I will get over this. Let's not cross our fingers. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Rocket gets a Makeover

Rocket fans, never fear. The spotty filly is doing just fine and is getting bigger all the time. My sister in law hadn't seen her in a month and was shocked the other day. I need to take more pictures of Her Cuteness. 

This summer has been a bit hard on Rocket in some ways. It hasn't been as hot as it can be (and I'm used to Florida) but she's big and hairy. She's super itchy and her mane has been making her neck sweaty all the time. 

I tried braiding her mane to at least help her neck get some air, but that required daily maintenance that annoyed her even more than me. 

Today she was really going nuts and I found a tick in her mane. I just couldn't take it anymore, so I texted an apology to my mom (who loves long manes) and got out the scissors. (You try pulling the insanely long and thick mane of a wiggly wild yearling. Go ahead.)



I think she looks like a totally different horse--perhaps even a horse I will ride someday. She's such a cutie pie, and hopefully a more comfortable cutie now. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Redmond's First Few Days

Okay, gonna try using my phone for posts because my lack of real internet makes posting pictures nearly impossible. And you need pictures of a big goofy red horse in your life. 

Y'all, Redmond is a real treasure. He's sweet, quiet, laid back, and kind. I am so happy to have him here, and I hope we can get him fattened right up.

He came off the trailer at my friend's fancy show barn like a pro, and went right to his hay in his stall like he'd always known that's what was waiting for him (experienced show horse, yay). There's a BNT camping out for the summer at the show barn, and all his working students were running around. Red didn't mind the chaos at all. I kind of minded the gross looks he was getting from the working students, but we weren't there long.

On Saturday, the fancy show barn's owner kindly trailered him to my house for me. Once again, on and off the trailer like a champ, and settled right into his stall with no squealing or any kind of antics. Even Rocket seemed chill about it and she--being a yearling--is not chill about much.

So now we begin the process of getting this big old handsome fellow back to his fighting weight. And I wouldn't be me if I weren't aiming for a gleaming coat.

Let's look at our handy-dandy body condition score chart:

When Red got off the trailer from Florida, he was a 2. This wasn't a total shock because I'd been warned that he was thin, and horses will often lose 100-150lbs on a trip like that, especially if they don't drink or eat hay. Now, I'd say he's a 3--he's put that weight back on but is still way too thin for my liking.

His poor croup looks especially pathetic. 

Even that picture doesn't do it justice. You can also see how poor his coat quality is. There's no shine there at all. 

Also tragic are his mane and tail. Or the lack thereof. 

He's rubbed out what was probably once a nice mane and tail. The bugs in Florida were clearly making him crazy. And it's going to take a long time to grow that hair back. 

This morning I gave him a bath because he just seemed kind of sticky and gross. My mom was out of horse shampoo so I just used cowboy magic conditioner. This was probably better anyway. He can't afford to lose any oils that shampoo might pull away. One of the nice things about mom's barn is that it has hot running water, so I was able to give him a warm shower. He loved it--licking and yawning. He didn't move the whole time, and it took me awhile to rinse all the crud off. 

This evening I decided to tack him up and take him for a short walk in the ring. I thought he might enjoy it and I wanted to see how he'd do. 

Doesn't he look handsome in his pretty bridle? He's used to dressage tack but I think his face works in the hunter bridles I love. I'll have to get SprinklerBandit to weigh in. Glad I have the Ogilvy so I wasn't putting my saddle right on his ribs. 

He was a delight under saddle. We walked for maybe ten minutes. I didn't even pick up the reins past the buckle. We'll walk for a week, eventually asking for a bit more contact but also wandering around in the pastures and stuff. He's out of shape and underweight, so the last thing I want to do is cause problems. 

Our brief walk wore him out so much that he couldn't even hold up his own lip. <3

This evening I walked out to check on him, and just happened to see a brace of foxes in his paddock! Love Virginia. 

I don't think he even noticed them. Too much yummy grass. 

I'm happy to have him here. I think he's very cool. I can't wait to get him worked up to trotting and cantering, and for the rest of the family to get back in town and meet him.