Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Rest of the Zoo

So, I should totally have included Teddy in the riding horses post. He's ridden, after all, but my mom rides him most of the time. I did hop on him the other day when my mom was trying a couple saddles (threw one on Red, one on Teddy, and swapped horses/saddles--that was a very fun ride, and productive, as Mom has a nice saddle now). Anyway, I'll lead with him.

Teddy's been on the "let's be a veterinary pain in the ass" tip lately. He actually fell down one day, right to his knees, when my mom was on him. She was just walking him on a long rein in the ring, too. Nothing to fall ON. He didn't trip, he just kinda collapsed. Thus began a very VERY long and even more expensive journey to figure out why he did that and what's making him off. The short version is, we never did really figure it out, but through some "diagnosis through treatment" efforts, he does seem to be sounder. He isn't sound enough that I'd show him, but for some light hacking out, he's just fine. And he's still incredibly adorable.

My darling love Ink is 34 now, and celebrated his advanced age by scaring us TO DEATH the other day. This was the day Mom and I took Teddy and Red to our friend's ring. When we came home, he was lying down, with his butt uphill from his head, in a rocky ditch (our ring is at the top of the short hill--it's all designed this way to drain, and the ring doesn't have a fence around it, just a small panel to keep the footing in). He must have been stepping down the hill from the ring and tripped. He can't really see out of his left eye because he has glaucoma, which we're having trouble managing. So anyway, he's lying in the ditch groaning and kicking at his belly. His gums were purple and sticky. I called my vet and was like GET HERE NOW WITH THE PINK JUICE HURRY, because he was groaning like you would not believe and we just wanted to put him out of his misery ASAP. So Mom and I were sitting in the mud with him and crying when the vet arrived, hopped over the fence, stuck a syringe of banamine in his neck and hurried through an exam. She was like, "Let's get this sheet off, it's kinda tight on him." He was wearing a turnout sheet, and when he slid down the hill, his shoulders really jammed up in the front of it.  We struggled a bit to do so, but when we got the blanket off, he... stood up. Like it was nothing.

So we walked him slowly back to the barn, and he was nudging us and nickering and generally acting fine. After about ten minutes, when he didn't try to lie down again, we let him go in his stall. Where he stood, all pricked ears and nickering, until we gave him a handful of his dinner. He gobbled that up and was super insistent about eating, so we gave him his whole meal. He was fine. Totally fine.

He was just blanket bound. We almost put down a horse for having tightened his blanket on himself.

Not all is perfect with the old man, though. That glaucoma is bothering him (despite rigorous treatment on our part) to the point that he rubbed his eye and gave himself a corneal ulcer you can see with the naked eye. It's a really horrifying injury. Now he gets five drops in that eye twice a day (and three of those drops every 2 hours) in an effort to save his eye. I don't know if it will work. A couple more days and we'll make the call. The encouraging sign is that his eye is vascularizing, so his body is trying to heal it. I do think it looks a bit better today, but maybe I'm being optimistic for no reason.

Rocket... is a coming-two draft cross filly, you know? She's beautiful, and sweet, and totally smart. She's also got an ATTITUDE, and is a handful to handle. Nothing out of the ordinary for her age and type, but Mom and I are realizing that we're not really set up to work with her and handle her safely (especially if I do manage to land a faculty job and move away). So... at this point, the plan is to send her to the cowboy we love. He'll pasture board her over the winter, and then in the spring/summer he'll start her VERY lightly (the mare is probably 16hh now and solid as a rock--please do not post anything slamming me or him or whoever for choosing to lightly start an enormous 2yo). Then she'll likely find a new home. Mom and I want to make sure she ends up in good hands. I think she'll be a very nice horse for someone, because she's a gorgeous mover and quite clever. But for us, right now, it isn't realistic. If you're interested in her, shoot me an e-mail and we can chat.

Good ol' Grayson is just Grayson-ing around. We thought we'd have to take him in to get a tumor removed, but then it just kinda... went away? So he got to skip surgery. In the meantime, he's still acting like an idiot racehorse when we bring him in about half the time. He's 23. He's totally sound, I could be riding him, but he's a lunatic. So he can just hang out in the pasture and harass Red and that'll be that.

Overall, all is well around here. I just wish it would STOP SNOWING and GET WARM. I have important canter transitions to work on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gone Fishin'?


Here's the list of reasons I haven't been blogging. You can skip this part if you just want to get to equine updates:
1. All of a sudden I got VERY BUSY, mostly because the academic job search season began. It's still ongoing, so my blog posting might remain sporadic for awhile. We'll just have to see.
2. Related, I really need(ed) to get back into the groove of academic writing and publishing. Between having two jobs, my own horses to take care of, and 2+ horses to ride, it's been a struggle to find time. See #1.
3. I got and remain furious over the events over the summer relating to Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and the other rash of police murders of black people in the US. So writing about horses just wasn't on my priority list, even though my actual horses remain central to my life. I won't write about it here, except to say that #blacklivesmatter.
4. Winter means a lot more effort into barn work (not that it isn't already a lot of work) and the holidays are what they are.

Okay, so! How are all the critters? That's what you really want to know. I'll catch you up on the riding horses, Mo and Red, today. The rest of the zoo can wait, in the interest of actually getting something on the site.

You guys. You guys. Mo is the greatest. 

Looks sleepy, was actually a bit of a wild man.

His first grid--not the one described. He rocked it.
Okay, so we have a couple of days every couple of weeks wherein he's like "I AM A GREEN THOROUGHBRED!!!" and he bucks and acts like kiiiiiind of a jerk. But M and I just laugh at him and put him to work. If M is in the ring, she'll set up a grid or something. Even if he wants to buck all the way down the long side, he gets into the grid and is a BOSS. Earlier this month, for instance, it was a bounce to a bounce to a two stride to a two stride to a bounce to a bounce. The jumps were low (the middle jump was probably a 2'3" vertical and that was the biggest), but that is a HARD grid. He read it perfectly, every single time. This horse has to be the most natural jumper I've ever sat on. He gets there, he reads the question, and he answers the question. The shape he takes in the air is phenomenal.

After his three-week break.
His flat work is coming along pretty well, too. He's got a butter-soft mouth. Sometimes, of course, he has little temper fits or his body gets sore or his brain is overworked and he doesn't want to give to the bit. But most of the time (even Saturday, when he'd had probably 3 weeks off) he is a treasure. We're still struggling mightily with the canter, and getting that sorted out is my #1 training priority. We need to work on canter departs on both leads (no more starting-gate racehorse stuff, pls), getting the right lead (seriously, horse, you are the soundest animal alive, and one of the most athletic--YOU CAN DO THIS), and then finding a rhythm (fair enough for where he is).

Of course, now it's winter, and we're not riding much, but at least he's still cute to look at. Of course, the weather took a real nosedive shortly after I trace clipped him (terribly--this is a skill I must practice). M and I might haul over to a friend's indoor a few times a week, but that can only happen on days when the roads are perfect. Also, because I work in the afternoons, I have to ride in the morning. Often the footing in M's ring will be frozen in the mornings but thawed by the afternoon, so she can ride but I can't. It's true that I could drive my mom's rig 30 minutes to M's, then another 30ish minutes to the indoor, then back to M's, and then home. But I can't afford the gas to do all that driving, and that's two hours of driving alone. So this might just be a low-riding winter. That's okay--he can have extra time for naps.
When the naps are this cute, you can take all you like.

I've actually gotten to ride Red a little more often than Mo. For one thing, the footing doesn't have to be totally perfect to hack him out.

It was about 30 degrees this day. We had a wonderful ride.
Not from the day of our field trip, but how cute is he???

 I know he isn't going to pull any silly baby antics, because he is not a silly baby. I don't have to lunge him at all, and although some walks would be better if I could boot him out in front of my leg to trot a bit, if we can't, it's fine. Mom and I did haul him and Teddy over to our friend's gorgeous ring a little over a week ago, and that was a lot of fun. Red was convinced he was there for a jump school and was on his tippy toes for a solid 30 minutes. He never did one single bad thing, but he was WOUND UP. It was hilarious.

Because Red runs hot, he also got a trace clip. I think I did a better job on his than on Mo's, but whatever. Hair grows back.

This was how I spent my Christmas Eve night because I'm totally normal.

This is the face I'd get when I had to give him meds. Nice, huh?

Red gave me two scares. The first, and more serious, was a bout of colitis. It's impossible to know what caused it. It was a challenging time, because I was worried about how sick he was and because I had to give him so much medicine. Red, I learned, is impossible to dose. I seriously cried a couple times. And he would barely touch feed at all, certainly not when it had evil poison medicine in it.

We got through that, though, and after maybe a week, he cut his inner right forearm and his leg BLEW. UP. Fortunately, by then, his appetite had returned enough that I could sneak the doxycycline in his food. Some doxy, some banamine, and some cold hosing, and he turned around. I've seen a couple tendon sheath infections and I don't need to see any more, but I think his swelling was mostly edema. So now we're back to having fun riding whenever I can.

I redeemed myself with lots and lots of peppermints.

So that's it! I'll be catching up on all of your blogs, too. Sorry you haven't been hearing from me. It's not because I don't care, I promise!