Monday, December 28, 2020

How Hamilton Joined Our Herd


By special request here is the story of how Hamilton came to take a 17 hour long trailer ride to join our family. It’s a bit long winded and starts long before I got him. 

Eeyore came out of rehab over the summer in the best spot I’d ever had him. All the long boring walk and trot work had mellowed him out and I was super excited to ride this newer, less anxious version of him. Then we added the canter back in and he returned to his anticipatory “all I want to do is canter!” self though to a lesser extent for sure. 


Back in action and back to his difficult self 


Mix in my own issues dealing with complete loss of motivation, vacillating wildly between tears and anger, and a back that felt like my pelvis was breaking any time I tried to sit and I wasn’t riding very often or very well. Things came to a head when I took a lesson I barely dragged myself to and then promptly got lawn darted into the dirt. I laid there and cried, not something I’m prone to do and not something I’d ever done in the dozens of unplanned dismounts with Gemmie, and then got back to half heartedly finish the last lesson I took in 2020.

I knew on a logical level it wasn’t Eeyore’s fault. But I also knew that Eeyore was a much different horse when ridden frequently which was something I wasn’t capable of at the time and that in my current state I needed something inherently calmer, less opinionated and more smelling the roses in nature. 
Does better in consistent work. This was taken at the trailer before the lesson he threw me



Thus the seed was planted. 

About a month later a local friend texted me in excitement that she saw a lifelong dream of hers come true: she had gotten two OTTB mares - one for her 9 year old daughter and one for herself. I invited them over to use my arena and we all rode together. Her mare had been off the track for a few years with some re training but had sat in the seller’s pasture for a long time. The daughter’s mare was 4 and fresh off the track. 

Take a wild guess who’s horse was the absolutely worst behaved of the three?

Did you guess Eeyore? You’d be right. 

I worked him through it but it was no fun whatsoever and I spent the majority eyeing their well behaved mares with an envious eye. Were they foot perfect and highly trained? No. But they also weren’t throwing temper tantrums, flinging their head around or trying to bolt off to Neverland. A good brain and a solid work ethic goes a long long way and I was sitting on the losing horse that day. 

Still love him


Thus the seed was watered. 

Then another month went by and an acquaintance of mine asked if she could shadow me at my office. She is an amazing rider with advanced dreams and we spent the time between patients chatting. Turned out she was horse shopping. I was a bit surprised since her current horse was a seeming rock star and I knew had cost over 35k. How could a horse that well bred and that expensive not be perfect? 

Turns out that while he was bred with two Grand Prix jumpers as parents, he hated jumping. He’d do it and rocked at the lower levels but had no interest. He loved dressage so he was off to a dressage home. As we spoke she told me about her first horse who she had on trial for a month and was a saint. He lived with her and all was well. She then paid for him and a few months later he started rearing and was retired a few months later. 

I go into this detail because at the time I was very die hard “I bought the horse he must be perfect and work out”. Even when he wasn’t. Now here was someone much younger than me who I looked up to riding wise and she had two horses that failed to be what she needed/wanted. One lived with her for a month before purchase and the other cost more than my car and was purpose bred to the hilt. Turns out horses can just plain suck no matter what. 

Thus the seed was fertilized. 

A few weeks later I was suffering from severe anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to sleep. I went a week with no more than a couple hours a night and my skin was crawling. I stayed up late scrolling Facebook and saw an ad for a lovely, skinny chestnut OTTB who needed a home ASAP or off to the kill pen he’d go. 

Looking a lot better than when he showed up at dawn. I took this about 4-6 weeks after he landed with us. 

Now typically I’m no sucker for these ads and scroll right on by but something about his super kind eye caught my attention. He was described as a horse in no hurry to go anywhere, unflappable and kind. I messaged the seller, got his jockey name and more info and next thing I knew he was paid for and shipping arranged. 

He showed up way skinnier than I thought. Think emaciated and go even skinnier. But his eye was kind and nothing fazed him: not the dogs, the wild kiddo, the quad etc....

Hamilton has continued to remain that same guy too. He may be running a bit wild in the pasture but the moment you approach he stands still and walks calmly alongside you. He has been led everywhere all over the farm with never a hoof put wrong. He is the opposite of Eeyore who even in hand throws tantrums and will pop up if he doesn’t want to do something. 

He looks sharp in hunter green and fits in Eeyore’s bridle 

Hamilton is the exact thing I wanted. Needed I suppose. A clam horse with a willing attitude that goes along with the plan no matter what else is going down. We’ve played with him over poles in hand and Dusty has ridden him in the arena. He is an all around easy going guy who while not particularly enthusiastic about much beyond naps, is so much fun to be around because it is never work. It’s simple and easy and fun. 

All the things Eeyore is not and things that I need to continue in this insane hobby. 

Thus the seed has sprouted. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Blog Hop: 2020

 I’m still kicking and to be honest I feel better than I’ve felt, both mentally and physically, in close to a decade. I’m writing this on my phone which by now everyone in blogland knows sucks so hang with me as I try to type this out. This blog hop is amazing and the perfect way to sum up 2020 so I’m hopping on board. Thanks Alberta Equest for this  

What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

Personally: 

My hysterectomy hands down. I’m not sure why it got so bad over the summer after I recovered from COVID but by the start of fall I couldn’t stand upright fully due to the pain. My period never stopped even on hormones. I stopped riding early fall when all I could stand was two point and Eeyore bucked me into the dirt clearly declaring that my ineptitude wasn’t going to be tolerated.

Starting drum lessons, a life long dream, has been pretty awesome too


I had surgery middle of November and I couldn’t be happier. I have no pain. My emotional state has returned to normal and all my hormone induced depression is gone. I haven’t been cleared to ride yet but for the first time in a long time I’m itching to get back in the saddle. And...tmi....but for the first time in 8 years sex doesn’t hurt. I think I’m tiring the hubby out. 

Horsey: 

This one is harder because I accomplished exactly nothing horse related all year. I think maybe the best part is everyone is currently sound, healthy and happy. Eeyore is back to moving as good as his body probably can move, Pete is 32 and acting like a 5 year old, Gem is fat and happy and Hamilton has gained a lot weight and looks really good for not being in any work. 

What's the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?

Personally: 

My health took a complete nose dive this year. It started with getting COVID in June and ended with my hysterectomy. All summer and fall I had terrible depression, my marriage was falling apart because of it and I was really really low. Thankfully I found the cause and fixed it but damn it was scary as hell going through. 

Horsey: 

Eeyore had just as bad of a 2020 as I did health wise. His started after a mild colic episode that led to the discovery of his grade 3 heart murmur. It was horrid timing as I had just had the best XC schooling of my life at Windridge and was prepping to run starter there shortly after. Trainer was even talking moving up to BN by fall. After we had the echo and were cleared or full exercise he got cellulitis from a spider bite front left and a week later tore his front right annular ligament putting him out until October. 

Keeping this Goober sound is a full time job


What was your biggest purchase in 2020?

Personally: 

Hmm.....I mean the scope to diagnose the problem and then the hysterectomy to solve it cost me over 3k so I guess that. Business wise I purchased a digital X-ray machine that I’ve been needing for 7 years. Fun stuff wise nothing at all.

Horsey: 

It’s a toss up between the new to me 3 horse trailer (which we haven’t gotten to use yet) and Hamilton. Hamilton cost considerably less upfront but we all know the horse is the cheapest part. 



What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?

Personally:

Surviving. Also I lost a bunch of weight and am down to my high school weight which makes me happy  

Feeling good in your own skin is a great feeling. 


Horsey:

Maybe getting Eeyore through his rehab without incident. If missing a month of work due to COVID had a silver lining it was that I was home and had plenty of time to fit those 5 rides in every week. I’ve never been more than a 2-3 rides a week person so I’m not sure I’d have been able to do it had I been working.

What do you feel covid robbed you of in 2020?

Personally:

My sanity. Between the stress of watching my business go negative week after week and still needing to keep my employees paid, dealing with Wyatt’s change to virtual school and my own health issues it was really hard.

Horsey:

Nothing really. Injury robbed us of the progress we had made and the potential move up to BN but COVID had nothing to do with it.

He came out of rehab looking Schmexy. Hoping to get him back here by spring


Were you subject to any covid impulse buys in 2020?

Personally:

No. I’m frugal at heart and a saver. I love having a nest egg. 

Horsey:

I did buy a new horse and a larger horse trailer for family outings but neither had anything to do with COVID.

Unexpected silver linings in 2020?

Personally:

Even with all the crap I’m sorta glad I went through it. There were so many symptoms I had for years that I just thought were normal. Like did you know you aren’t supposed to have uterine contractions every time you pee? Or gaining two whole pants sizes right before to period isn’t normal? I’m really looking forward to feeling good again.

On a business note, I couldn’t take the time off after the hysterectomy they wanted me to. Not after having missed so much for COVID. So instead I took half days and folks....wow. I felt like a human again even while recovering from major surgery. It turns out that being doc, boss, mom and teacher was slowly killing me. Effective March I’m only working until 2pm so I can get Wyatt from school and go home. I’ll be able to run, ride, do his homework and cook a real dinner. I can’t freaking wait.

Horsey:

Hamilton. I really wasn’t in the market for another horse but holy crap folks is Hamilton perfection. Dusty hopped on and rode him after not riding in 8 years and Hamilton not being ridden since his last race in July and he was amazing. He is going to be a really fun horse once he gets into work. I can’t wait to see where life takes this baby racehorse and I’m thrilled I took the chance and got him.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Watch Out!!! Wild, Crazy, Baby Race Horse Coming Through!!!

Hamilton's feet have adjusted to the barefoot lifestyle enough that easy work on soft ground is now acceptable to him. When he first came to us he was tip toeing around in the pasture and if he saw a rocky spot (mostly by the pasture gates) he would get the most forlorn look on his face before creeping ever so slowly through it. Nowadays he canters up to the gate at meal time and while he still tenderly walks across the gravel areas, he is growing in confidence. He is even walking normally on the cement aisleway.

Given this, I figured it was time to play with him a little bit. Dusty in particular wanted to introduce him to some ground poles and low jumps to see where his brain is at. We both are figuring that it would be nice to introduce some of these things on the ground first rather than from on his back plus I am having my hysterectomy next Monday so will be out of the saddle until 2021 so playing on the ground is where it will be at for a while. 

We started with some ground poles and trotted him through. Or well tried to..... Hamilton isn't in much of a rush to get anywhere.


After a few times through that, we added a small vertical



Eventually we worked up to a vertical to a cross rail



And then the poles to the jumps


As you can see he really wasn't very excited about the whole thing. As far as I know he has never seen nor gone over any poles in his life yet he just nonchalantly went over everything we asked without a fuss. 

What I adored seeing was that after he went over something new he would lick and chew and you could see him thinking about what he just did. It didn't always translate to a better effort the next time but he was thinking about it and I really, really liked that. 

I also really liked the fact that he never got flustered, never rushed and never spooked or got nervous. That may change once I am on his back but so far he has given me no signals that he will be anything but awesome to ride. 


Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Rare Product Review: Sport Horse Essentials Hoof Oil

When you never buy things it is hard to write any reviews of products on the blog. Plus, I don't know about you but I get real tired of reading all these fake positive reviews people post just so they can get more free samples. This product was something I bought myself, the company has no idea I even exist and I am getting nothing for writing this. Take that for what it is worth. 

Eeyore has crap feet. Which is ironic since back in 2018 I was all "I'm not going to look at OTTBs because their feet suck" Ha..hahahahaha....Hamilton has amazing feet. Ahem...moving on. Eeyore has crap feet. They flake, they crack, they lose shoes, he over reaches and pulls shoes if we don't trim him a very specific way, the shoes have to pinch in at the heel or else he pulls them, he has thin soles and ouchy feet without front pads and well....he has crap feet. He gets a reset of his custom made steel shoes and leather pads every 5 weeks and still his feet are crap.

Back during the start of his rehab I thought maybe throwing more money at him may make a difference. I saw an ad on either FB or Instagram (can't remember which) for Sport Horse Essentials Hoof Oil and thought "why not?" I had already tried numerous other concoctions over the years including keratex, wonderhoof and other assortments with absolutely no difference, but this wasn't super expensive so again...why not?

The blue bottle behind it is their fungus spray which I can't recommend because it has done nothing for my guys


Of course then his entire life style changed to stall rest in a dry fluffy stall, a hay based (instead of grass based) diet, he went back into leather pads up front and no hard impact exercise. I applied the hoof oil daily for the first month and then dropped down to the days I rode which was a 2 on 2 off schedule throughout the summer. The first time the farrier came after I started use, he remarked that Eeyore's feet looked the best they ever had and he may actually grow a decent hoof through this ordeal.

But you know...too many variables had changed for me to know which one made the biggest difference for him.

Eventually Eeyore was released back outside and we re introduced the canter and then small jumps again. I continued to use the oil 3-4 times a week and the farrier kept remarking how great his feet were doing. 

Then I stopped using it. My personal and professional belief is that you can't give an honest, unbiased assessment of a new supplement while using it. You want it to work, so you convince yourself it is. When patients ask me about xyz supplement I instruct them to take it for at least 60 days and then stop for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days take stock of how they feel. It is easier to know when off it if you feel worse than when on it, in my opinion. So...I stopped using the hoof oil for an entire 5 week cycle. 

He still had pads, he was outside 24/7, he was being ridden fully including small jumps. The only thing that changed was the discontinuation of the hoof oil. 

Farrier was out yesterday and texted me that Eeyore's feet are beginning to flake and crack again and the hoof wall isn't as strong. He asked what changed in the last 5 weeks. 

I am now back to using it 3-4 times a week and have started using it on Hamilton too as we transition him to a hopeful barefoot life (farrier thinks we have a good shot at barefoot for Hamilton). 

The hoof oil is super easy to use, takes no time at all to dry and well...my horse seems to do well with it. Since he has pads I only apply it to the outside hoof wall on his fronts, but I do apply it to the sole of his hinds. If you are in the market for a topical hoof supplement, I encourage you to check this one out. It has been the only thing that has made a visible difference in all the lotions, potions and feed throughs I have tried over the last 2 years and has earned a permanent spot in my grooming cabinet of curiosities. 


 

Monday, October 26, 2020

2020 Virtual Tevis COMPLETED!!!!!

Folks, I’m so stinking proud of my kiddo. The original event was 100 miles in 100 days though they have now extended it into January I believe. Still, I wanted to stick to the original event hoping to do it before the end of October.

Our finish line photo taken yesterday after a very misty/rainy 4.8 miles

We had gotten some good early miles in during August when the weather was behaving and school wasn't in session yet. Things got a bit trickier once school started, but we managed when we could and kept at it. 

Just over the 100 mile mark in 86 days. 

Wyatt was a trooper and logged every single mile with us. He biked about half of it and walked/hiked the other half. 


It was a really fun family activity and got us all out being more active when some days we probably would have opted for the couch instead. In fact, I'm a little bummed that the challenge is now over. There are a ton of virtual challenges out there right now though, so I am already researching others to join. Who knows - maybe one day Wyatt will have a whole collection of completion medals to look back fondly on.






Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Hamilton Settling In

It has been two weeks since Hamilton stepped off the trailer and walked right into all of our hearts.


He has continued to be the most easy going, sweetest horse I have ever had the pleasure of being around which was exactly what I was hoping for after two years of dealing with the Big Orange Butthead. 

A hiding Baby Moose

He is adjusting well to the semi feral life style though he isn't always the happiest about it. He is a bit of a weather wimp. During the hurricane that blew through the first weekend he was here, the other three were out in the middle of the cold rain grazing. I watched as Hamilton pinned his ears and grumbled his way over to the trees. He was not a happy camper. 


He completed his Powerpak dewormer and is half way through his GastroGuard. Dusty says he has gained close to 75 lbs already, maybe more like 100, and he is looking so much better. Nearly all his skin funk is gone with only a few remnants remaining on his hi bones and his back legs. The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend so I am hoping to sneak in a bath and get ride of the rest of the funk. I'm not thrilled with his dull coat (shiny coats are a personal pride of mine and even Eeyore shines these days) but I know it probably won't improve too much until his spring shed.


My farrier swung by and saw him last week and trimmed him up. He is better on soft ground, though lacks confidence, but is still super ouchy on any hard ground or rocks. Pathetically so, but I'm learning that he is just a big huge pathetic baby when things aren't perfect. Breaks my heart which I'm sure he knows full well and uses to his advantage. 


He has learned the routine and meets us at the gate for breakfast and dinner every day. He lowers his head to allow Wyatt to slip his halter on/off and leads like an angel for him. He is always up for social time in the pasture though he isn't as snuggly as Eeyore. He is a good middle ground between the aloof Gem and Pete duo and the obnoxious in your face Eeyore. 

My only issue with Hamilton is that he cribs, a bad habit I knew he was coming with but since Eeyore is 90% beaver I didn't really mind adding another. He cribs less violently than Eeyore but more frequently. Eeyore only cribs after meals - like a cigarette after sex. Hamilton will crib in the pasture so we tried a cribbing collar on him outside. Eeyore only wears his when left in the barn for an extended period. Well, Hamilton has very sensitive skin and quickly got a sore from it. I'm going to have to get him a fleece lined one though he is cribbing less and less outside and eating more as he has grown more comfortable in the herd. 

I have found myself staring at him longingly wanting to feel what he is like under saddle. His weight is improving but his topline is awful - something that riding long slow miles will remedy easily. Hopefully by the time I am recovered from my next surgery I will have found a saddle to fit him and can start a slow process of getting to know him under saddle.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Finding a Butt to Put in My Saddle

I'm in need of some suggestions and this is going to be highly annoying because I sorta already know the answer but I can't afford to do what I want to do so I am stuck in my own head in a very adult like mental pout. 

Mature, I know.

I need to find a temporary rider for Eeyore - probably 6 weeks and most likely around Christmas time when people's availability is low. Great timing, but not my choice. Well, sorta my choice but financially it has to happen before the end of the year. You see, I underwent a diagnostic laproscopy on Tuesday and they found a large mass in my uterus which has granted me a hysterectomy. My deductible is huge and this surgery met it, so I have to get the second one in before 2021. Plus, I want this thing out of me and I want to no longer fight the pain I've been in from it. 

Unrelated to break up text


I won't be able to ride for 6 weeks and I plan to stick to doctor's orders on that as I want everything healed and good to go once I'm cleared. I've been hurting for so long now that I don't want to do anything to prolong it at all even a single day. 

But...Eeyore will self destruct with that much time off and I'll be damned if I spent all summer rehabbing him just to have him rip his leg off in boredom and have to spend the spring rehabbing him next year. Not. Going. To. Happen. Do you hear that Universe??????

Which leads me to needing to find a butt to put in my saddle to ride him a few times a week while I recover. This is tricky because a) I am now broke and b) he lives at home so it isn't so easy as finding a barn rat to do it.

Can't be rusted for 6 weeks in the pasture



I'd love to send him to Trainer AB to put training ride son him while I am out, but that is $$$$ and I don't have $$$$ at this time. COVID killed my practice and while I'm functioning it isn't pretty and I don't have my typical cushion. I went back to work the day after the laproscopy so to avoid more time missed but I know I'll need to take 2 weeks off the next. This year has been awful. 

I plan to ask her if she might possibly be interested in having him there for lessons for those 6 weeks and that way his fat butt can work off his stay, but she doesn't really have a lesson program so I am not sure what the outcome of this will be. Fingers crossed this could work. 

If that doesn't work out...then what? I can't afford to pay someone to come out 3x/wk and ride him and I don't even know where to begin to find someone I would trust to ride him who is hungry enough for saddle time to ride him for free. 

So....hive mind...help me out. Any suggestions on what to do here? Currently surgery is scheduled for December 30, 2020 but I am hoping that can get moved up a few weeks. 


Saturday, October 10, 2020

History Earned

 I'd like to formally introduce you all to the newest member of our herd.....

The cutest GOOD BOY face I have ever seen

History Earned...AKA Hamilon...had 15 starts with 1 first, 2 seconds and 1 third finish and a total of $23,000 in earnings before his lack of speed earned him a retirement from the track. 

My personal favorite was "H.E. was devoid of speed"

Hamilton has been a pleasure to have at the farm since his early, pre dawn arrival Monday morning the 5th. He stepped off the trailer after an arduous 17 hour ride and led into the barn without hesitation or concern. He was exhausted, dehydrated and needed time to relax and come out of his shell. 



He has an old man soul that speaks directly to my heart and the kindest big brown eyes I have ever seen. He needs a lot of groceries and his skin is funky but in the 5 days he has been here he is already showing a difference. It won't take long before we have another fatty on our hands. 


I adore his kind heart above all else. The third morning he was here Wyatt wanted to bring him in from the pasture. Hamilton is MASSIVE. I've been calling him Baby Bullwinkle which shows my age if you understand the reference. Anyway...Wyatt can't reach his head. Not even close. So there Wyatt is flapping around and jumping inches from Hamilton's face in the morning dark trying to get the halter over his head. My other three would have disappeared faster than you can blink, but not Hamilton. He stood there patiently staring at Wyatt and not moving an inch until Wyatt managed to get the halter on and then led quietly into the barn for breakfast. 


Slowly but surely his personality is beginning to show through as he settles in and comes to terms with his new life. He remains calm, unflappable and easy going. We have been dosing him with a dewormer in the morning and Gastrogard in the evening and let me tell you Baby Bullwinkle HATES IT. HE HATES IT. When we first got Gemmie 11 years ago (holy crap where did that time go?!?!) we ran her through a power pack and it took three of us rodeoing with her to get it in her. Little mare could rear. Hamilton could easily be even more difficult since he has a neck the size of a giraffe and god help me if he ever rears. Know how Hamilton shows his displeasure? He lowers his head so I can dose him, then gives me a look of heart wrenching betrayal that pierces my soul and hides his head in the corner of his stall. All of 30 seconds later he peaks over his shoulder and upon seeing me still there his ears perk up and he comes over for a hug. 

Learning where all the good spots are to get out of the rain

Hamilton is currently barefoot but he is sore footed. My farrier is coming out next week to look at him and make recommendations. I'd love to try to keep him bare and see if we can't get him more comfortable as his hooves adapt but I also know that no matter how and what we tried for Eeyore that guy just can not go without front pads and shoes all around so I am open to water he needs. I'm hoping to make it to the local tack store before they close today and see if they have moose sized boots. He doesn't come close to fitting in Eeyore's pair and regardless of barefoot or shod I want a pair on hand just in case. They have saved Eeyore's feet numerous times over the last 2 years. 


I need to go saddle shopping at some point for him though I have no plans to get on his back until he has gained some significant weight and his feet are comfortable. No rush.  I have no experience in saddle fitting high withered, slender horses since all mine over the years have been wide backed with no withers. It will be a learning curve but there are a few nice consignment shops I can utilize when the time comes. He is only 4 so I have no interest in investing any real money into a saddle until he is fully grown and filled out. I only need something to get us by for a while. 


My bigger need is a larger trailer. Our hopeful plan is to get Hamilton trail ready. Not sure if it would be me or the Hubby riding him versus Eeyore but the the idea is to shove Wyatt on Gem between the two chestnut geldings and have fun on the trails. We need a trailer big enough for all 3 horses to do that. No real rush on this. I want to do a lot of ground work while he builds weight and then expand to the trail making sure he won't panic or bolt while we are out there. Nothing about his current demeanor has me worried but you never know what 500lbs will do to a horse. If we can start family trail rides in the spring I will be happy. If I eventually decide to start eventing him, that would be even more amazing but baby horse has no real role here other than being kind. We will see what the future holds for him and at 4 he has all the time in the world to grow up before I ask much of him. 

I mean - he can't be any worse than this weirdo


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

An Open Letter To Those Who Wish Me Ill

I’d be naive to think that everyone who follows my life on this blog or on other social media platforms wish me nothing but the best. I’m well aware that many read solely to watch me crash and burn. Being aware of it and having it shoved in your face are two different things though. 

Earlier today I received a wrong number text from someone I know. While I could screen shot it and blast it here, I’m not that type of person and will keep the involved parties anonymous. They know who they are. Anyway... person A saw a post I put on FB of a new arrival at the farm and took the time out of their day to screenshot it and send it to person B. Person B then took the time to find a text I had sent them about this new addition, highlight a comment I wrote and text it with a snarky comment. Unfortunately for them, they sent it to me instead of to person A. I called them out on it and it stopped there on my end. Who knows what fun they had once the message was re sent to the intended recipient. I’m sure it was a barrel of laughs. 

Here’s the thing. I honestly don’t give a rats ass what anyone outside of my husband and my trainer think when it comes to anything horse related. Certainly not some strangers I met through a blog and whose only knowledge of me is what I choose to share on various social media platforms. And especially not those who wish me ill, want to watch me crash and burn and who have nothing productive to offer. Nobody outside of Dusty knows me entirely and nobody knows what I’ve been going through these past few months which led to a decision that apparently raised some eyebrows. A decision that effects precisely nobody outside of my immediate household. And perhaps my trainer. 

I invite everyone to follow the parts of my life I choose to be public about.  The small group who are my cheerleaders. The slightly larger group who are my vocal haters. The silent majority who follow solely to see me fail hoping my next post will prove them right and show how much of an idiot I am. Please follow along. I’m sure I’ll give each group something to hang their hat on. Understand this though: I live my life for myself, not to please you or get your approval.

Everyone gets one ride here. One moment to shine and maybe I have a different perspective since I work with the elderly all day, but damn folks. Time is short. It goes by so damn fast. Spend less of it being mean to others and more of it being kind. You’ll enjoy life way more that way. 

I’m done with this topic now and moving on. I’ve dedicated all the energy I care to on this. I’m going to return to my love/hate relationship with Eeyore, who by the way is back to jumping finally, and start my new adoration of Hamilton, the 4 year old emaciated OTTB who arrived at my farm at 6 am Monday morning after an arduous 17 hours in a trailer and has been the kindest, most gentlemanly creature I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. Even the Hubby, who typically only puts up with the horses, has fallen head over heels for the ginormous moose of a baby TB.

More to come in a happier introductory post for the big sweetheart. Until then...please be kind to each other. You honestly don’t know what others are going through and how a single mean or kind word could effect them. 













Thursday, September 3, 2020

No Better Drug Exists

Feeling down?



Not sleeping well?



Brain moving too fast to keep up with?


Go ride your horse.....Better yet, take a lesson with your favorite trainer. Even better yet get to add ground poles back into your life. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Virtual Tevis Week 4: Robinson Flat And Beyond

 Life is not slowing down at all around here and I'm worn out. 

Last week's Tevis attempt didn't go as planned. We managed two walks in the neighborhood at night but the second one was cut way short when our neighbors ambushed us and held us hostage for over an hour. I've managed to not meet any neighbors except those at the top of our property for nearly 3 years now and have lived in blissful solitude this entire time. Yeah, I know I'm real nice like that but folks, I'm naturally introverted and spend all my day small talking with strangers and it wears me out mentally. At night all I really want to do is throw my ear buds in and lose myself in the effort of walking and trying not to embarrass myself by singing out loud to my favorite tunes. 

No hiking pictures this week. Instead here is Fluffzilla after his grooming appointment Friday. He always comes back looking like a different dog


Anyway...walking the same route at nearly the same time must have caught the attention of the neighbors in the neighborhood nearby and one night last week as we went down the hill out came a neighbor lady nearly running to stop us. At first I though something was wrong but nope....she wanted to be nosy and started asking all sorts of not really her business questions like what animals do we have, what do we do on the farm, what upgrades are we planning, oh you own a medical practice...are you hiring...here is a laundry list of my qualifications...sure you aren't hiring...etc...Just as I thought we were going to extricate ourselves from this encounter another neighbor showed up with his wife and everything started over again. 

Meanwhile, my extroverted and much more friendly husband was having the time of his life chatting it up with the men who weren't using it to gather data or try to get a job. Sigh. By the time we finished it was dark and past Wyatt's bed time so the walk was cut way short.

We managed to catch back up on Saturday though with a relaxing 5 mile urban hike in downtown. We hadn't been to the city since before COVID started back in March. Wyatt rode his bike along the urban trail between downtown city center and the zoo. The weather was gorgeous if a bit hot still.

Stopping for sushi while on a hike is never a bad thing


By the end of the week were were sitting at 42 miles and had made it past the first vet check hold at Robinson Flat. I had hoped to make it to the half way point, but this is proving more challenging than I thought since Wyatt has returned to school. Still we are 11 miles up on the bare minimum so I am pleased with that. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Teaching "Lameness"

Saturday morning I tacked Eeyore up figuring we could at least walk around for a bit and stretch ourselves out. For completeness sake I will say here that I have been dealing with some pretty significant depression all summer which has zapped all my motivation to do much beyond be irrationally angry or cry all the time. My head hasn't been a great place to be in for several months now. I have an answer to it and a treatment plan which I'm glad to finally have after several doctors had written me off and refused to take the time to listen. Hoping that relief comes soon.

Anyway...

Eeyore felt really great going right, his bad direction, but when we switched and went left at the trot he felt near head bobbing lame on his good left front leg. On the verge of yet more tears, I went right again and let him canter because if he was broken why the hell not? He cantered just fine and when we went back to the left he felt normal so we cantered left too. Now confused about what was going on, I texted Trainer AB to see if she had time Sunday to hop on him and figure out if it was a me or Eeyore issue.

Fluffzilla joined us to play in the puddles on Saturday. I told Eeyore "Fluff is having more fun than you"

Trainer AB hopped on him Saturday and put him through his paces a bit then looked at me and said he was fine...maybe it was a me issue? She had me hop on (I had thankfully planned on this being an option so I had dressed in riding clothes and brought my helmet) and uh..yeah it was me. 

Ever since rehab began I have been dealing with a very different Eeyore. Pre rehab his response to life in general was to CANTER! GO FASTER! WEE ISN'T LIFE FUN! and so my rides were focused on slowing his roll, balancing him and getting him to relax without the constant anticipation of potential canter work. Apparently the never ending walk and trot rides did just that - too well. Now he was sucking way back behind my leg and barely moving so what I thought was a lameness issue was really a lack of forward issue and what I was feeling in his trot was a more vertical choppy motion as he sucked way back. 

Once I booted his butt forward he felt lovely. 

Took him for a short ride through the woods behind her arena after the lesson. It felt nice to be in the woods again


This was then the theme of the ride. Trainer AB said he was being extra tricky because even with her onboard his response to her aides wasn't correct. Anytime she touched the reins, he'd go "ok...I'll stop then" and dive to the forehand and let his legs go out the back of him. He would use that as an excuse to not collect up at all so she'd have to keep her hands steady and boot him forward. He is a smart cookie and picked it up quickly with her but then it was starting all over with me. 

This was particularly apparent in down transitions where he'd just plop on his face and call it quits. Keeping him moving in a trot after a canter was next to impossible. Part of this was my doing. I was so OCD about his rehab that at exactly 2 minutes, when my timer went off, we would walk again. He quickly learned the buzzer sound and would slam to a halt and since it was 2 minutes I did nothing to keep him going because I was told 2 minutes and I refused to go a single step beyond that. I should have kept him trotting for another 10 -15 seconds, but oh well. Hindsight. 

So anyway..once I got his feet in front of him and his weight shifted back a bit things felt good. We began canter work to the right which has been tricky to get lately. I have the tendency to lean into the canter which isn't correct and is worse going right. Well he picked it up just fine but then dropped to a trot before I asked and then refused to get it again. I did what I generally do which is to slow his trot back down, rebalance and ask again which can take a few circles to get. Well, AB said nope...pony club kick him if I need to but get that canter right away. Even if it is ugly. She said that he knew full well what I was asking him for, he knew it was the canter cue and was just not doing it. Like I said, he is a smart cookie and she said that he knows that he will get to slow down, trot and get out of it so make him canter NOW.

He broke his beautiful teal halter so no he gets the back up mustache one until I get to the store


It was ugly, but he gave in and we cantered around nicely. He was blowing pretty hard at that point even though it had been all of 15 minutes of work time. We took him to the hose to get cooled down before returning to the ring for the left canter. He picked the canter up nicely but was very stuck behind my leg. Trainer AB said "Good boy" and he let out a series of huge bucks. Good thing he is as wide as a couch and easy to sit. AB told me that again his legs get going backwards. He heard the GOOD BOY and celebrated but since all his weight was on the forehand and his hind legs were running out the back of him, he had every chance to playfully buck. 

The end analysis - MORE FORWARD. MORE LEG. No excuses. He is sound, he is capable and he knows what I am asking of him. Of course he is also a very large and out of shape potato and I have to be careful not to push his cardiovascular system too far or he won't be able to do it. To that end I have acquired a heart rate monitor from a fellow endurance rider and will be using it for a while on my rides to ensure that I'm asking enough but not too much of the Orange Beast. Come September I am allowed to add trails and ground poles back into my life so that should really help as well. 


Monday, August 24, 2020

Virtual Tevis Week 3: Red Star Ridge

Not a whole lot of excitement in our mileage this week. Wyatt started his new school and had a doctors appointment mid week which limited what we could accomplish. 

Still we managed to make it past Red Star and are sitting at 33 miles, 10 miles more than absolutely necessary.

Pretty much every mile was done around the house with the exception of Friday when we drove to the local track so he could ride his bike. A random rooster decided to show up and crow at us with every lap which added some excitement. 


He was a beautiful rooster. No idea where he came from as this is a sports complex with nothing really around it. He seemed well fed and happy though.


Then on our Sunday walk around the nearby neighborhood our good neighbor friend happened to drive by in his way home and stopped to say hi. He then invited us over to meet the baby deer they rescued when it’s mom was killed by a car. 



As we finished the walk I thought how amazing life truly is. You really never know what adventure is waiting for you when you leave your house. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

It Has Been Quiet For A Reason

The blog has been rather quiet lately because....well because Eeyore is lame again. And I just can't handle it at the moment.

His vet check had gone so well the end of July with the green light to put him in small turnout and to begin canter work again. I rode that same day with Trainer AB and she said he was moving the best he ever has. 

Reusing media because that’s all I have in me


I continued the short canter set work at home just as prescribed by substituting the middle trot set with canter work making sure I went both directions and limited it to 5 minutes total which honestly I didn't even do a full 5 minutes at first choosing to slowly work up to it. 

He was happy to go left from the get go but the right lead was sticky which it never has been. He's been tricky in a lot of ways but getting the lead has never been an issue. He did pick it up but it was hard to do and he quickly dropped back to a trot instead. Again, not like him. 

At first I thought it was a weakness issue but it has persisted and now he has a small amount of swelling back in the right front leg. I jogged him on the line the other day and while he is not head bobbing he is most certainly NQR. Sigh. 


And honestly? I'm about to give up. I don't even know anymore. He is now back on full stall rest with a standing wrap (had left the wrap off during the day in the pasture and wrapped him in Fat Camp overnight), the farrier is due out this week and I will ask him if he sees anything, and then I don't know. We are supposed to be on limitless flat work come September 1st but yeah...doesn't look like that is going to happen. 

I know horses suck. I know I got really lucky with Gem being completely sound for 10 years of riding and competition. I know none of his injuries have occurred while riding. They all happen from stupid ass pasture injuries. I know. It doesn't make it suck any less to have this horse in my yard that I adore and who will not stay sound. I've had him a little over 2 years and for more than half that time he has been hurt or in rehab. 

If we didn't have 3 other retired horses I'd give up on him and get another horse to ride. But even that isn't a good answer because the dude loves to be ridden, loves to explore, loves to jump. He is only 10 (maybe 9 but I think 10) and he can't be a pasture puff for the next 20 years. I'm debating selling him if I can get him sound to sell. I'd be 100% honest about him and his time with me. I really think he'd do better in a different situation. He loves being in his stall and thrives off a busy barn yard plus he does better with more frequent riding than I can give him so I think he'd do amazing at a busy lesson facility with individual turnout for short periods. Its the life style he came from and I think maybe the semi feral 24/7 outdoor large acre pasture lifestyle isn't suiting him. 

Eating my depression away like Eeyore


But ya know - who would by a highly accident prone horse with a heart murmur? I don't know. 

And it sucks because the year he spent sound and happy? It was AMAZING! He took me over jumps I never thought I'd jump. He built my confidence up and dared me to dream. And now he remains lame and I'm so done with it all. 

I have no current plan beyond back to stall rest, have the farrier look at him, back down to walk work only and re evaluate in 2 weeks. If no better we will re appoint with the vet and see what is going on. Until then I'm concentrating on getting Wyatt's school year off to a great start, realigning my business goals and hiking my blues away.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Virtual Tevis Week 2: Passing Cougar Rock and Lyon Ridge

Life sure changed quickly on me last week. Phew! 

A cloudy sky

I received a call Tuesday at 4 pm that a spot opened up at a private school and Wyatt was next on the list if we still wanted it. The catch? School started today and we had to do a parent orientation, fill out a 9 page application, have Wyatt get an academic evaluation and then meet his teacher all before school started. It was a very hectic end to the week. By the time Friday rolled around I had not made it home from work before 8pm since that Monday and I was exhausted.

Before the rain hit


It also made it really hard to get our walks in. Wyatt had his awards drive by ceremony for cub scouts Wednesday evening at a local park, so we brought the dogs and snuck in 2 miles there, but other than that we didn't make any headway all week. 


Soaking wet from the rain that made it through the tree cover

Then the weekend came and Saturday dawned rainy. I was supposed to received 84 bales of hay that morning but the guy canceled to avoid it getting wet in transport. This left us with a free morning, so we packed a lunch along with plenty of water and headed back up north to tackle Vaughn's Gap - a 7 mile out and back with 1500' elevation gain in the first 3.6 miles. 


It was the coolest hiking experience of my life. 


We started off with cloudy skies that would intermittently sprinkle on us. The tree cover was thick enough at the lower elevation to block most of it and honestly the cooler temps and light rain felt nice as we trudges ever upward. 

Straight up with no complaints except from my legs, lungs and heart


Eventually we climbed higher than the trees and got pretty soaked, but by that point we were all hot and tired from the exertion and didn't really care. 


The coolest part? We climbed above the clouds and out of the rain. By the time we reached the top of Vaughn's Gap, a ridge dividing the taller Hogback Mountain and Rocky Spur, we broke into sunshine and blue skies. We stopped for a breather and some lunch before starting the trek back down all of us thankful that the climb up was behind us. 

Almost made it to the top and this rock looked perfect for a nap


As we made our way back under the clouds we noticed rivers of rain water where there hadn't been on the way up. Our timing had been perfect. We had made it above the cloud cover right before the deluge hit and were now back under it after it had passed. Seriously the coolest thing I've done on a hike. 

Looking like a drowned rat

I was so damn proud of Wyatt for doing that hike. The last mile was nearly straight up, it was muddy from the rain and I know plenty of adults who couldn't have done it. 


Then on Sunday the hay came bright and early. We had plans to meet up with new friends and do another hike, this time 2 miles of easy mostly flat local trails mid morning and busted our butts to stack it all before we needed to leave. I was surprised Wyatt had enough energy to do it, but having a friend along made it all that much better. We ended up going out for pizza after and it was the absolute perfect way to spend a Sunday.


After that hike we were 27 miles along the Tevis trail having conquered Cougar Rock and passed the trot by vet check at Lyon Ridge. The next stop isn't that far ahead and this week we only have one scheduled appointment after school/work which should make getting smaller miles at home easier.