Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What’s Wrong With Eeyore? Nobody Knows!

Wednesday marked the 5th vet visit for Eeyore in 2020. To put this in a little perspective, Gem and Pete have seen the vet two times total in the past 10 years. If Eeyore wasn’t slowly killing himself, I’d do it.

Remember back to his second spider bite? The right front on the 18th? His fetlock grew two sizes too big and he was lame for a few days but then things improved. I rode and he looked fine. I had a lesson last Friday and while Trainer was a bit agog at the massive fetlock joint she agreed that he was sound and moving nicely.
It’s not supposed to be this size. Cold and non painful but enlarged. 

But it never went down. No amount of ice or cold hosing, exercise or rest helped. The darn thing just stayed big. It got worrisome and began to nag at me, so I made him his 5th vet appointment of the year and trailered down to the lameness specialist yesterday.

We both agreed that Xrays and then an ultrasound were in order. I pretty much figured this was a suspensory issue and mentally prepared myself for the next year of hand walks, tack walks and short trot sets. Maybe spring of 2021 would be our year.
Taken Monday. Maybe a little smaller but still not right.  

The vet came out shaking her head. Radiographs were clean. Ultrasound showed a ton of swelling around the joint but all the soft tissue structures were fine. The annular ligament was twice as thick as it should be but she said that is generally reactionary to edema nearby. And he has a ton of that. She said she wanted to call it a suspensory strain but it looked fine. No holes, no roughening, the bone interface was normal. All the tendon sheaths were full of fluid but the tendons were fine.

So like....WTF?

I agreed to a shockwave session to try to break up the stagnant fluid and then she put him in a sweat wrap. He is going on Equioxx for a bit and I am to remove the bandage in two days. He is permitted in the Fat Pasture as she believes movement will be good for him but no riding until the swelling is gone.

But like...WTF?

I’m going to haul him back next Friday for a recheck. Hopefully the swelling is starting to subside by then. I asked her about laser since both Dusty and I have one at our respective offices but she said all studies show in horses laser only penetrates about 5mm deep and this is useless for his needs.

At this point I’m just shaking my head and giving 2020 the middle finger. I guess it’s good that there are no shows because I wouldn’t be able to go to any right now anyway. I wasn’t planning on spending all my horse funds on vet visits though so these could stop. Thankfully Trainer has horses I can hop on for a lesson while Eeyore does his thing. I miss riding my orange Doofus though and I want him back to normal.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Folks, I have two very pissed off horses right now. Well, 1 3/4 if you take into account that Eeyore remains off on his puffy right front.

This weekend the poor Hubby did the one thing he has sworn to be finished doing: he put up more fence line. It wouldn't have been so bad since three sides were already sturdy three board wood except Eeyore chews wood so he had to run a line of electric tape along those too. Plus there is an old manure spreader out in the barnyard that I think lays over the old manure pile because that area is prone to some nasty sink holes that are just perfect to break a chestnut colored leg which meant he had to sink t posts and rope off that section too.
It is really nice to look out the back door and see the horses right there. 

But...even with that the barn yard was the absolute best choice for a dry lot. I hemmed and hawed about the arena and what finally killed it off was the lack of any shelter from the hot afternoon sun or pop up storms. In the barn yard we have a lean to off the back of the barn to house the tractor and parts. He blocked off the two back stalls giving Gem and Eeyore access to the front bay which is plenty large enough for them to share.

With shelter, some grass to avoid standing in pure mud and easy access to water it really made the best choice. We aren't turning it into an official dry lot with perfect screenings and such because the plan is to rotate them back into the pastures once the growing season is over. It works for what we need it for.
Oh hello Gemmie! Give me a second and I will bring you in for dinner too. 

The horses are not so pleased though. Gem is the least fun horse on the planet and Eeyore is absolutely a pest which makes the pairing interesting. Eeyore and Pete tried to play bitey face over the fence, but Eeyore got shocked so there went that game. Gem spends most of her time in the shelter switching between glaring at me when I'm in view and sulking in the corner. Eeyore is spending his days between trying to escape and trying to get Gem to play with him. Neither are working.

It is for the best though. Gem no longer needs to wear her muzzle and Eeyore can stop trying to kill himself by ripping his off. There is enough grass currently to keep them occupied but not nearly enough to gain weight on.They can still move around some so it is better than being stalled 12 hours a day. Currently we are putting them back out in the big pasture at night and will monitor weight loss/gain with this set up through spring and early summer.
Eeyore has lost his Shoo Fly Legging privileges until I figure this spider nonsense out. 

I may have two cranky horses, but at least I will have two less fat cranky horses who are healthier overall. Just wait until the seniors get moved to the farthest pasture for the month of May and out of sight of these two. They may sneak out and murder me in my sleep.

Monday, April 20, 2020

This Has Got To Stop

”You put your left front in. You take your left front out. You put your right front in and you cause a mini stroke. You do the lame dance and you turn your mom inside out. That’s what it’s all about.”

Back tracking a little bit here. On the 8th Eeyore came in three legged lame on the left front with what turned out to be a nasty spider bite.  He remained on stall rest through the 13th when he saw the vet (that was 1 week ago today) and was cleared sound and rideable. Fat Camp began the 14th and promptly ended on the 18th. Womp.
Folks, not so humble brag here. It has taken me 3 years and hundreds of man hours to get the arena this nice. I am in love. Never, ever, ever let your arena go to pot. 

He got ridden Tuesday and Wednesday then had Thursday off. I don’t want to push him too hard too fast though honestly we do a lot of walk breaks and most of the ride is in trot on nice footing inside the flat arena. But still. No use going too hard too soon. I was also hypercritical of the left front, checking before and after each ride for any sign of returning edema. The leg remained cold and tight.

Friday morning I worked the arena and then rode in the afternoon. Or tried to at least. When I removed his Shoo Fly legging from the front right (opposite leg mind you) my jaw hit the ground to see his fetlock the size of a freaking soft ball. He wasn’t lame though poking and prodding created a small reaction. It was hard and cold, so I decided to hop on and see how it went.
That isn't supposed to look like that. I inspected it all over for a wound, puncture hole or anything to explain this. I found nothing. 

I rode for 30 minutes walk, trot and a tiny bit of canter making sure to keep any turns, circles or figures large and loose to not over stress his leg. He felt fine the entire ride. I figured maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.

Well, Saturday I went to ride again and he was lame. Fine at the walk, but definitely head bobbing both directions and on a straight line at the trot. I didn’t even ask to canter and slid off him mostly sad but a little bit frustrated too. I mean come on! What on earth could he have done this time?!
Got to use the new ice suspender so I guess there is that. Jury is still out if I like this or will sell and get an ice boot. I like the idea behind this, but man did it take a ton of ice to fill. So much so that I ran out. I'm not sure how convenient it will be if i need a 10 lb bag of ice to use it. We will see how it goes. 

He was fine for both rides Tues/Wed, came in for breakfast and dinner fine Thursday and was fine Friday morning. So something happened Friday afternoon and worsened overnight.
You know though...there I was sitting on the barn aisle floor waiting for his leg to percolate in the ice and it hit me just how darn much I love this guy. I mean, he had never worn an ice boot before. The thing could cause some serious issue for a spooky horse with the ice chunking around inside with every movement he made. No way Gem would tolerate it and Pete may be found three counties over, if at all. But Eeyore? He just stood there, cocked his back leg and dropped his smushy lip. For all the grief he gives me, he really is a cool dude. 

Then Sunday night I found it. Another freaking spider bite tucked up in the right armpit. It was swollen and very sore around that area. I squeezed pus out, lathered on the ointment I got from the vet and was grateful it wasn’t anything worse. But ummm... WTF?! Where is this spider coming from? Why are the other three horses that share the same barn and pasture unaffected? Why is this an issue this year but hasn’t been before? What do I do now to prevent more of this nonsense?
There it is! I was curious as to why his leg never felt hot and he wasn't reactive where the edema was. Well, he was very reactive and hot up here. The vet told me that spider bites tend to take 3-5 days to come to a head and then get very itchy for a week or so after. This was day 3 after I noticed the edema so pretty spot on. 

I really need to figure this out. Thankfully they only have another week in this pasture before being rotated out front and we finished the barnyard conversion to a dry lot  over the weekend so if it is in this pasture it may solve the issue but ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. No more bites please! I need my guy back.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Um...I think I Taught Eeyore Something Bad

With the all clear by the vet on Monday, it was time to begin Fat Camp. Both of us have gotten terribly out of shape and with his tendency towards portly combined with his somewhat wonky conformation, I really need to make sure he stays fit. Which you’d think would be easy with him at home, an arena to ride in and even lights for evening rides in the dark.’s not. Not for me with my work schedule and wanting to actually spend time with the kiddo. However, I’m not doing either of us any favors with my current haphazard and loose schedule.

One of my issues (of many really) isn't so much how many days a week I ride, though that is pretty piddly too, but more so the duration of the rides I do have. You see I get bored. Fast. Or Eeyore will be behaving so well that we do everything I wanted and I don't want to drill so I stop. Sometimes I look at my watch and it’s been all of 12 minutes. Which...isn’t very good for conditioning.
His coggins picture during the vet visit Monday. If that doesn't scream "this is some serious bullshit" I don't know what does. Now I get to look at this all year when I hand in a copy. Hahahahaha!

So I made a plan. I’d ride 5 days a week mixing it up between dressage, jumping and eventually hacking. My goal time is 45 minutes which is how long our private lessons are and I’d like him to be fit enough to perform well without fatigue. I’m not going to ride the full 45 minutes every ride, at least not to start, because I don’t want to overdo it, but eventually I'd like to make it that long 5 days a week.

With this in mind, on Tuesday I set my phone alarm for 20 minutes for flatwork and worked on w/t/c at large and on a circle. I’ll admit to checking it 3 times in those 20 minutes to see how much longer I had.
I get very nervous setting courses or grids because I don't fully understand distances. This was super easy because the 12' poles created the perfect bounce exercise. Folks, this exercise was so so so fun! 

When the alarm went off, I halted him and fiddled to reset it for another 25 minutes before working on the jump exercise for the day. It was AMAZING! I could tell he enjoyed it and the set up flowed really well. At first I entered at a trot over the ground pole ---> vertical ---> turn right---> cross rail----> vertical---> turn left. He didn't take it that seriously to start and trotted over the ground pole and basically just stepped over the vertical thereby ruining the whole "bounce" part of the exercise. The next time I cantered the entire thing with a simple change of lead through the trot when needed.

He was doing so well with it that I ended up stopping with 10 minutes left but instead of getting off as I normally do I refocused to work on transitions. We trotted the long sides and walked the short really focusing on each transition. One of our problems with a down transition is that he likes to just plop to a halt and I sorta flop on him and let him. During this part of the ride I concentrated on sitting up and keeping my leg on in the down to get him walking those short sides and then picking up a trot again quickly. With 4 minutes to spare we began a nice cool down walking tour.

Once the alarm went off again, we halted and called it a night.
Found an Eastern box turtle on my fence inspection the day after the nasty storm blew through. I left him alone to carry about his business. 

Wednesday I only worked a half day so I tacked him back up but this time planned only a 25 minute flat session to stretch his legs. I figured he might be sore or tired from the day before. We worked on a circle with an emphasis on sitting trot work for me and proper bend for him. He was so supple and compliant it really was a lovely ride. If only he was like that every ride. Maybe he will be with all this riding.

In fact he was being so good that I didn’t even check the time once!
The only damage we suffered was losing a big branch off a cedar tree that lined the drive way. Thankfully it landed on the drive and not the fence. 

But here is the thing.

There we were working on a large figure 8 at the trot with proper bend in the half circles and straightness along the diagonal when my phone alarm went off marking the end of the 25 minutes ride. Before I even had a chance to react to it at all Eeyore slammed to a halt, sighed and looked back at me like “Hey, the quarter ran out. Get off. Times up!”

Umm....oops. I’ve apparently taught him that my alarm means he can stop work. I hope he never hears an alarm when out on a course or we may just screech to a happy little halt.  LOL!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Stall Upgrades

Well, I am another year older and oh so very close to 40 now. My friend started to tell people she is
"30 plus shipping and handling" at this point and nobody has a clue as to her real age now. I may start doing this. Anyway.

The older I get the harder time have asking for a gift. There just isn't much I need. The few things I do need here and there, I pick up myself. The hubby had free rein on this one and he hit it out of the park.

Last fall I had been flipping through a tack catalogue and stopped to look at the Stall Grazers. I pointed them out to him as a potential option in the future when we got to the stalls. You see, the issue I have is hay wastage. I feed on the ground because a) while hay is always offered in the stall my horses rarely eat it and don't need slowing down and b) I like that they can eat off the ground as nature intended it.
Pile of hay in the corner. We don’t start with any shavings near it but it always gets kicked around. Don’t mind the poop. They were in overnight due to the nasty storm and I snapped this before I cleaned it. 

Of course this isn't without its issues. Pete loves to poop in his hay pile, thus ruining all of it and Eeyore is a hay dunker and his ends up all over the stall. Only Gem left hers in a nice, neat edible pile though even not putting any shaving under it the shavings still got kicked into the pile and I always worried about ingestion. When we clean stalls I always cry a little inside at all the perfectly good hay we are throwing out. Such a waste of money.

The Stall Grazer seemed like a really good option for us. It still allows the hay to be "on the ground" inside the middle compartment so they still eat relatively naturally, but because it is contained inside the bin Pete can't poop on it, shavings don't get mixed in, and Eeyore...well he is still a pig. Nothing will fix that. It also gives us a compartment for grain and one for a personal mineral block or supplements or treats or whatever I guess you want to use it for.
The Stall Grazer. Pete has taken to filling up the right compartment with hay from the center. We use the left for grain

We screwed them into the wall to prevent tipping and I am debating adding drainage holes to the bottom of Eeyores so that water can't build up and mold the hay. So far he has been taking mouthfuls out, dunking in the water bucket and eating over the empty floor so it isn't getting any water inside, but I am keeping a close eye on that.

These really are quite perfect for us and what we wanted it for. I will say that the feed compartments look pretty small, but hold a surprisingly large amount of grain. I was worried at first that the bottom was too narrow for the horse to get to the grain, but that was proven wrong when all three licked the bottom clean the first night.
Looking inside. Hay in the middle, grain to the left and the right is currently open until we buy personal mineral blocks for each horse
We didn't put one in Imam's stall and I am debating on ordering a 4th or not. The issue is that he gets soaked alfalfa pellets twice a day due to his lack of teeth and hard time with dry, long stem hay. Every few days we take his bucket out and scrub it to prevent mold. Since the compartments are molded into the unit and the unit it screwed into the wall, taking it out to scrub it would be a royal PITA. We will see if I break down and make all the stalls match or not.
Pete was scared of his at first which surprised me. It’s just a big feed bin. It took me holding treats over it and then breaking them in while he watches to get him to use it. 

It was the perfect present, something I definitely would not have splurged on myself. The stalls are last on my renovation list and I was really surprised he remembered me mentioning them months ago. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tack Room Renovation Part 2 (maybe, I've lost track)

Past readers may remember that I have been trying to move my tack back into the original tack room and out of the small barn office space. I originally used the office because the tack room had holes in  the floor, no ceiling and no door. Not really optimal in keep tack clean for more than 30 seconds. The office is ok, but I can't do the organization I want to in there due to a built in ladder on one wall, the electric panel on another, and a built in workbench on the third wall.

The in laws came down to visit and build me a ceiling right after Christmas and Dusty also fixed the floor then too. We added new lights and then progress stopped for a long time. I was worried it wasn't going to move forward at all.
A ceiling with a probably not meant for a tack room Ikea expanding globe light
Then this past weekend Dusty got the bug up his butt to build me a door which is the final absolutely necessary part before I can move my stuff in regardless of all the organization ideas floating in my brain.

The door was a bit tricky to start. The opening is just shy of 7', so not your typical door width. A single swinging door would be very cumbersome and would swing out to take up most of the aisle. We looked at building a center pole for two doors, but I didn't like the idea of having to dodge that every time I entered and exited. Dusty thought about framing the door in to a smaller, more manageable size which might have worked except the exterior tack room wall is fancy slated wood that would be next to impossible for him to match.

The only solution that seemed to make sense was a sliding barn door. He even found a railing system that looks like horseshoes and it fits in perfectly.
The new door! I ADORE it. He did such a good job. 

It took him most of the day Sunday to building the door from scratch and hang it. I think it turned out pretty darn perfectly. The only items to add are a bottom railing to keep it snugger to the wall and a handle. I'm going to ask my farrier when he comes out next if he can take an old Eeyore shoe and bend it is half 90 degrees to make me a handle. How cool would that be?!?! The inside will get a plain handle.

So now I have a solid floor, a ceiling and a door. My next big project is the organization inside. I really want tack lockers across the back wall. We went to Ikea to try to find either an entertainment center or a wardrobe we could convert but none were deep enough to accommodate a saddle, so no dice. I have plans and Dusty is trying to see if what I pictured in my head is something he can build.

Hoping the tack room is completed by middle to end of summer. We shall see!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Oh, Eeyore. Only You

Hey All!! Thanks for following me over here from the original blog Roaming Rider. If you are brand spanking new here, you may want to head back there and catch up a little. The basic gist is that I am learning how to event on my Appy gelding, Eeyore, who came into my life May 2018. Prior to that I grew up a trail rat and endurance rider. I moved the blog here because I ran out of media room over there and have no motivation to redo all the videos to YouTube and reload. Not going to happen. Instead I moved here. Welcome!