Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Who Needs A Gym Membership Anyway

If my goal during Eeyore’s rehab is to work on myself, I’ve found the perfect spot and instructor. Friday night was lesson #2 and I was worn out within 20 minutes. I’ve never worked that hard while riding even during the 100 miler. I was exhausted by the end!

The main focus was my balance point, fitness and seat. I’m pretty good these days in the walk and trot but I tend to sit too heavily on my butt in the canter which results in my feet and legs being pretty useless. It’s the main reason I lose stirrups on occasion and the root of my issues with horse balance around corners and on the circle. 

Fenix is a really good boy. 

MB had an exercise to work on that. After a walk and trot warm up she had me back in the two point. We started in the trot and she would randomly tell me to post then two point then post. The goal was to work on my reaction time and ability to quickly adjust my position while not falling forward or back. That went pretty well beyond my abs and legs screaming at me in defeat. 

Then we moved to canter. I was to two point two strides then sit one and back up to two point for two etc....Holy crap but this was hard for me. Since I tend to sit heavily and not weight my legs/feet in the canter, the quick up and down was really difficult. I’m not sure I ever did it correctly but I did manage a full circuit around the arena doing two sitting and two in two point both directions before my body gave out. By the end I was sitting much lighter and had more weight in my heels so it was working. 

After that she stopped the torture and set up a three fence grid of bounces. It began with a cross rail and two ground poles then the center became a vertical and finally the last was raised to a vertical as well. 

The final configuration. A year ago the height of the verticals would have caused serious anxiety but this was easy and fun. 

My job was simply to remain in two point through the grid and do nothing. One of her favorite sayings appears to be “we take a lot of lessons and pay a lot of money to learn how to do nothing”. The trips went fine. Too fine apparently because she then said “time to make this exciting”

I reminded her that I’m a wimp but she countered with “I’ve yet to see that” which is a testament to Trainer AB and Eeyore over the last year. The height of these fences would have sent me into cardiac arrest last summer and now...well you’ll see. 

MB told me that by the end of summer I’m going to be going through a grid sans hands and stirrups. The reason? On course if you enter a combination and screw up the in, the best thing you can do is leg on, let the reins slip and balance. Also, it builds the core. 

We began with one arm out. It actually went just fine. I even giggled!

Then we did my dominant right hand and while it felt a bit weirder, it still went perfectly fine. So she upped the ante and I had to do it without hands. 

The first trip I did my best to throw my hands out there but then I tensed and completely forgot to actually two point so it all went a bit squirrelly. We made it through but only because Fenix is a saint and knows his job very well. 

I did it again and cheated. I moved my arms away from his neck but held on to the reins still. She called it a good starting point, had me run through with one hand only again for good measure and we called it a night. 

I was exhausted, elated and so very glad I found her. We chatted until well after 9pm again which was fine since our power had gone out at home at 230pm and wasn’t slated to return until 2 am so there wasn’t anything to do but sit in the dark anyway. We laughed and exchanged stories and folks....this is exactly what I’ve been wanting since moving here 6 years ago. Friday nights are my favorite part of the week. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Order Your Horse Today

This popped up on my FB last night and I thought it was pretty funny. It was made in 2013 I believe. I snagged this from The Idea of Order, so please go check them out.

I did both Gemmie and Eeyore on the same form: Gem is in black and Eeyore in blue. Let's see how I'd place my order to end up with these two goofs. 

Starting out, both are pretty cheap being basic colors and breeds. I didn't list Eeyore as an Appy because he only has a couple spots on one butt cheek (the rest being on his brain) but even if he was Appy in color he'd be basic.

Now they start to differentiate. Eeyore would get an up charge based on being sensitive but sane. Gemmie though...maybe she should have gotten a discount for being "rear on fire" :) Gem does catch up to Eeyore though when it comes to soundness. She never took a lame step and could go barefoot on the hardest rocky trail. Eeyore though...I had a time choosing between moderately sound and mostly lame. I mean...when he isn't injuring himself he is perfectly sound however he has been lame 50% of the time I've had him sooo....

Right now both of them have a 10% up charge. Level of training was hard for me. Gem is a beast on trail but really not trained per say so she got down graded. Eeyore though is basically moderately trained. I mean, I ran him start level last fall and didn't die.

Vices was pretty amusing. Gem has none. She is a saint. Add 10% Eeyore though? HAHAHAA! Also, Gem does technically have a pretty good endurance record, so 10% more for her. I don't count the one schooling show as a record for him.

Gem fits the "apathetic to your existence" perfectly. Eeyore? Hubby hates him for how dog like and pushy he can be, but I find it endearing. Mostly. Neither were expensive enough to need to hide the cost from Hubby and I could care less about bragging. No unicorns here. 

Its funny - according to this order form Gemmie would cost way more than Eeyore but in reality he was 3x as expensive as my all business little bay mare. I wouldn't trade either of them or the experiences they have given me for anything. 

What would your horse's order form look like?

Monday, May 18, 2020

So Many Words

First, thank you everyone for your comments on my prior posts. I know everyone came from a place of concern and help and I appreciate it. 

Second, holy crap but I could write a novel about my first lesson at the new barn, FEC. I’m having a hard time sorting through it all! It was AMAZING in so many ways and the greatest part is that with the package pricing I can afford to lesson weekly for the first time in my life. I’m soooooo excited!!!  Also, an old friend of mine randomly showed up to ride that night and we both stared at each other like “wait...what are you doing here!?” and then laughed and talked and had a great time. 

The view from the barn on a gorgeous evening

Seriously, I don’t even know where to begin here. I got to ride a sweet OTTB named Fenix and we worked on the very basics of walk, trot and canter then finished with a single gate jump then a two stride line of verticals. The grin spread across my face within the first few minutes and never left. It was a feeling I’ve been missing lately. 

Trainer MD is a talker. She never stops explaining the whys and the hows and the history and OMG I loved it. I learned a lot in a short period and it kept coming. She is also hilarious and there really wasn’t a moment I could get tense or scared because I was laughing so much. 

I’ll be real here for a minute. I take lessons 50% for the riding/exercise/knowledge and 50% for human interaction where I’m not in charge. I’m not the doctor making treatment plans or the boss making business decisions or the mother or the wife. I take it seriously in that I listen, do my best and try hard but I also giggle a lot and get off subject talking. I’m sure it drives more serious people insane. MB didn't seem to care and interjected enough stories and anecdotes herself to satiate my need. The hour flew by.

I do have a type when it comes to horses. Chestnut with chrome is my favorite color

There were a lot of “huh” and “aha” and “ok....thats different” moments crammed into the hour ride. She is really into rider fitness as a base for safety and I spent a long time in two point at the trot and canter. She said that all her students need to be able to two point for the entire length of a xc course before they do a full course at a show. For starter level, that’s 6 minutes. Time for me to build up some muscles! 

We worked on my issues and my confidence. I learned to canter from a two point in the trot and from sitting in the walk. I’ve never done either of those before. She discussed striding (something I’ve always been fuzzy about) and your eye while riding. We talked about being left behind being a lot safer than jumping ahead and that a long spot feels bad but is safer than a chip. 

I could go on for forever with all the tidbits, history lessons and advice she gave. One eye opening moment was when we went to jump. Everyone I’ve ever ridden with has always started me with trot fences but MD apparently is against that. In her opinion, spending a lot of time trotting fences teaches the rider to have an eye that is much closer to the base. When you change to cantering the fences, the rider is then unprepared for the sweet spot 6’ take off and gets left behind or becomes scared. We trotted a single time for me to get used to Fenix and then cantered every fence thereafter. 

And a pony like face to top it off. I knew Fenix and I would get along just fine

I could keep going. Believe me when I say there was a lot of information shared. I loved it all. And then the even better part? After I untacked and got ready to go MD, my old friend and the assistant trainer all came over and we ended up talking and laughing until almost 10 pm. It is the closest I’ve ever come to finding that elusive barn family I’ve been looking for for years. 

Who knows what the future brings with lessons and once Eeyore comes back under saddle but for right now I really feel like I’m exactly where I need to be. I’m going to learn more than I thought I could learn and have a great group around me. My old friend is even going to start lessoning with me. I’m still smiling two days later as I write this. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

A Tale of Two Lessons, Part 2

Sorry for breaking this into two parts, but I have A LOT to say here and the last post got long enough. After the bucking spree of my second lesson on the mare I was torn. Part of me wanted to run scared and the other part wanted redemption. Mostly, I wanted to ride my own horse. Sigh.

The hubby told me to go ride for Mother's Day since we weren't doing anything else. Trainer invited me to join a group lesson Sunday afternoon and I figured why not?

My text exchange with Trainer Saturday afternoon

Honestly, I was hoping to see her pull a different horse out of the pasture but there really isn't a different horse available. She has three but one is very strong and tends to run off on even the best riders and the other is currently being leased, so the Appy mare it was. 

I could feel my old familiar friend, fear, welling up inside me as she handed her off to me. I gave myself a pep talk and mounted while chatting with my two riding mates for the lesson. I knew the one from a xc outing last summer and really enjoyed riding with her before. The other lady turned out to be awesome as well. 

Trainer had mowed an oval trail up in a far field with distance markers and her plan was to work on pacing. My stomach immediately knotted up and I wished fervently that I was on Eeyore instead. He would have been brave and a lot of fun to do that with. I'm not brave and I'm not inherently trusting, so the idea of galloping this mare I knew bucks and rears around an outdoor oval had me sweating. We trotted around it and all three spooked hard at some pheasants hidden behind a fence on the back side. While I never wish fear on anyone, I was really really relieved when the other two voiced concerns about riding their lesson horses (one was on the runaway and the other leases the third horse who is a saintly mustang) along this path at a gallop as well. The plan was scratched and instead we worked on a circle at the w/t/c before heading to some log jumps in the center of the field. 

Again, no media, but here is my happiest kiddo catching a large blue gill from our pond Sunday

The logs were tiny. I knew they were tiny. The height was no concern, but I could not jump them for the life of me. I was petrified of this mare under me and her bucking spree of the week before. We did a single log going down hill fine then turned and did a log two strides log combo going up hill and I could not relax. I had a death grip throughout my entire body which resulted in the horse not being able to move forward. Trainer came the closest she ever has to yelling at me about it and I felt like crap as I debated calling it quits right then and there and walking back to the barn. After another pass through  I finally started to relax on her a little which was the exact moment she threw in a small little happy dance buck. 

We finished the field work by stringing the three logs together going downhill starting with the two stride combo then getting seven strides to the out over the last log. The first time through she threw in a buck between # 2 and #3 and I just about called it quits for like the third time in half an hour. Trainer lectured me on not locking up out of fear and I took a deep breath and did the line again, this time doing it fine and being able to quit the exercise there. 

We then traveled back down to the arena to do a small course and all I could think was "please don't buck, please don't buck" I wasn't enjoying this and I felt like I was ruining it for the other two as well. 

The course was shorter with only 4 jumps.

I went last after watching the other two have near flawless runs. Being a bit nicer to myself here, the other two are light years ahead of me in terms of experience and level of riding so they really should have ridden it better, but sitting there wanting to throw up and wishing I could just not, well it didn't really matter to me. Fence 1 was two metal barrels side by side, then a sharp left turn to circle back around to a gate at 2, seven strides to a vertical at 3, then a right circle around 4 to go over it so it was a sideways "S".

I was so darn concerned about those barrels, having never gone over them before, that when we made it over no issue I completely forgot the sharp turn to 2. I felt like a fool and restarted again. We made it over every fence with the correct striding and leads, but Trainer was unhappy with how tight I was and picked apart my seat, my hands, my legs, everything it felt like. I felt like the dunce of the class. 

We all ran through it again and this time I stayed up in 2 point instead of sitting because she hated how I sat and it went a lot better. But it never felt good. It felt stiff and the mare was behind my leg the entire time.

The boys are trying hard to get the cat fish out of the pond. Dusty set juglines but all he caught was this very angry snapping turtle

After that we were all done and sent off to do a short hack through the woods. As we left the arena the one lady turned to me and said "I didn't want to say anything before, but I got bucked off that mare hard last week while jumping. You did a good job with her"

And maybe I should have felt proud of myself or elated but instead all I wanted was to get back to the barn so I could get off her and put her safely back in her pasture. I drove back home in near tears over the last few lessons and how awful I kept feeling. 

It was time for some deep introspection and a plan moving forward because my motto with horses is that is has to be fun. Hard work, frustrating, humbling..sure. But at its core it has to be fun and I wasn't having fun anymore. 

For starters, I won't be getting back on that mare. I can feel my confidence shot and it took me way too long to get to where I’m at to let this horse ruin it all. I brought Eeyore home 2 years ago today and I refuse to return to the rider I was back then. 

With no other rideable options for me at Trainer’s facility, I’ve made a list of places more local to me (she is an hour away) to try out over the summer. One I am really excited about and is super close plus with the package rates I could afford to lesson weekly versus once or twice a month. We will see how it goes and if barns open or not. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Tale of Two Lessons

With Eeyore out of the picture lesson wise for a while, Trainer encouraged me to hop on her Appy mare and I was happy to do so. She is a tall, leggy bay mare without a single spot on her and I have failed every single time to snap even one picture. Ooops. I will admit to being a little nervous the first time as I had been introduced to the mare once before during my last xc outing. A young lady was riding her and the mare reared at one point, hitting the rider in the mouth and breaking her tooth. I was assured that was out of character and I already wrote about my first time riding her here. It went fine.

I headed up to her facility on May 1st for a second lesson on the mare and...it did not go fine at all.

The flat work went well. In fact it was better than the previous lesson. The mare is certainly a kick ride with the help of a crop as well and is the complete opposite on the flat from Eeyore (and Gem too for that matter) where I spend most of the time controlling his exuberance. The first time I rode her it was a bit of a kerfuffle to get her moving forward but this time she was floating around nicely. I really liked the fact that once you get her where you want her she will stay there until you ask her to do something else. Again, much different than Eeyore who is a ride every stride because each one is different than the last type of guy.

No related media so you get puppy pictures

By the time we moved on to jumping, I was feeling really excited about her. Since she knew her job so well, I could focus on all my own faults and flaws. Or so I thought.

We did a simple cross rail as a warm up and the mare just jumps differently than I am used to. She gets super close to the base and then goes more vertical over the jump, but she is honest, brave and will jump anything in front of her. The warm up went fine and we moved on to the course work.

The course mostly accurate or at least the best I can do

The first time through went pretty decent actually. Trainer had us come in off a right lead canter to the oxer at 1, then we had to get the left lead to make the sharp bend to 2. Thank goodness the mare has a lead change on her because I certainly do not know what I am doing with all that. We put 8 strides in the line 2-3 then got the lead change to the line at 4 and surprisingly got the 4 strides correctly to 5. Then it was another lead change to make the bend around 2 to go over the gate at 6. It was a lot of lead changes and turns especially since I really have zero clue what I'm doing.

I was pretty happy to be finished with that, but Trainer wanted us to go again and get the correct striding between 2 and 3, so off we went and so did the wheels. 

We did the oxer at 1 and the mare landed bucking. HARD. She then tripped, went to her knees, got up and bucked again. By the time I got her to stop moving her feet my eyes were the size of dinner plates and I could tell I had no color in my face. I eeked out a "what did I do wrong?" To which I got the reply "nothing, you rode that great. She was celebrating".

That's not my style of party. 

Fluffzilla doesn’t enjoy swimming but he lives for a good roll in the grass

We came back around again, a fact I'm super proud of since I really wanted to get off and call it a day instead, and of course I was backed off and rode under powered to the oxer and we biffed it bad. Came around again and cleared it. We made it over 2, got the 7 strides and then she decided to party on the back side of 3 with another massive bucking spree. Don't ask me how I stayed on her. Trainer was grinning and said "anyone else who rides with me would have fallen off. Good job staying on".

Uh huh. Great job.

I was done. She asked me to trot into 2 alone and canter to 3 and we could be done, so I did but I was scared the entire time while silently begging the mare to behave so I could end this lesson. 

On the drive home I was still shaken. I'm not brave and I don't like feeling that way. I know everyone falls off sooner or later and I've met the ground more times than I can count with Gem. Even once with Eeyore when he turned me into a lawn dart about a month or so after I got him. But this one really shook me to my core even though I stayed on and when I was given the option for another lesson, I considered saying no because of it. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

It’s Just The Rehab Talking

It feels like I’m stuck in a horrible cycle. Like I’m back in May 2018 staring down a summer and fall of rehabbing the right front leg of the horse I’m dying to ride. After this stint of rehab ends, Eeyore will have been lame and/or in rehab for half the time I’ve had him. That’s one year out of the two.

Which, when put in black and white just plain sucks since both incidents were bum luck pasture injuries. May 2018 he ripped off half his hoof along with his shoe the day before the farrier was scheduled to come and now in May 2020 it’s the same leg again only this time due to some idiotic blunt force trauma. 

As I went out to change his standing wrap Sunday morning, I was thinking that I should rehab him and then sell him. Maybe it’s just bad luck, maybe he is accident prone. Or maybe his being doesn’t jive with my horse management style. Maybe he’d be better off in a lesson program where he’d be ridden more, out less and watched more closely. Maybe then he wouldn’t be hurt so often. 

And I could get another horse. One that can live outside 24/7 like my other three do and not hurt themselves constantly. I wouldn’t feel so darn stuck. Every time we make solid headway and things begin to click, he goes back into rehab and I’m screwed for months on end. I’m already dreading his return to full work and you better believe Trainer will be heavily involved when he does. 

I could send him to Trainer on consignment and have her find me a new horse. One that comes pre bubble wrapped. The thought was tempting. I even mentioned it to the hubby. 

After 48 hours stall rest, standing wrap and one laser treatment his leg is finally nearly normal in size. Having the right vet make the right plan makes all the difference. 

But then I saw his big Doofusy head staring out over the stall door with his usual Doofusy expression. And then I mixed in this new fancy schamncy all natural equine anti anxiety med Hubby brought home from work for him and he took a bite, turned up his nose, took a bite and repeated until the whole thing was gone and I laughed and laughed. 

I put him in the cross ties to change his standing wrap and he did some impressive yoga moves to stretch and I laughed some more. 


And the nail in the selling him idea coffin?

I had a lesson planned at Trainer’s that afternoon and I found myself dreading it in a way. I was scared. The last time I rode her mare I nearly got bucked off twice. I stuck it and got kiddos from Trainer for my Velcro butt, but it wasn’t fun and it scared me. As I got ready to head out for the lesson (not knowing which horse I’d ride though suspecting it’d be the same one) it hit me: I haven’t felt fear while preparing to or while actively riding since getting Eeyore. Sometimes I’m unsure of the task at hand, sometimes I feel over faced when pointed at a BN line or a huge (to me anyway) oxer, but never fear. 

Eeyore took all my riding fear away. And I had a lot of fear to get rid of. 

He always crosses his front legs when he stretches. 

So yeah he is a royal Orange PITA. He has no common sense or sense of self preservation and he is insanely accident prone. But by gosh I love that horse and I really don’t want to sit astride another long term. I want him. 

Now which one of us is the real Doofus here?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Blunt Force Trauma

When the vet asked me “can you trust him not to be an idiot in turnout?” I nearly laughed in his face. I can’t trust Eeyore not to be an idiot in his stall, in turn out, under saddle, heck he will even be an idiot across the Rainbow Bridge. It’s who he is.

Case in point. He was fully intact at 7 am when put into the Fat Pasture after breakfast. At 735 am I saw this when I went to load him in the trailer. He can’t even behave for 20 minutes!

But I need to back up, don’t I?

Eeyore had his 6th non routine vet visit of 2020 today. I didn’t sleep well last night. I was really worried about what the results would be and that it would be career ending before we really even got a chance to start. 

Not knowing how much face to face time I was going to get with the Vet, I wrote down a time line starting exactly 1 month ago on April 8th with the left front leg spider bite and detailing all the treatments up to Friday including the xrays and US a week prior. He probably thought I was psycho but I really needed him to get the full picture and I didn’t trust that the entire lengthy tale would get translated well from the tech. 

He came out after a quick exam to talk to me before putting Eeyore on the lunge in the arena. I must say that my experience at this vet during COVID was far superior to my previous one where they whisked him off out of sight and yelled at me across the driveway. I never saw the studies or got to watch him trot. 

Eeyore got a Cush stall with a view and had his head happily hanging out until he saw me sitting on the picnic bench beside it. Then he sulked while glaring at me like this was all my fault. 

This time the vet included me as much as possible including during trot outs and even showed me the US images. Anyway.... Eeyore was 2/5 lame on the right front on the circle and this increased to a 3/5 on the gravel straight line. 

This made the vet go “hmmm..this just got interesting”

My professional mantra that I tell patients daily is that you never want to be interesting in medicine. Text book all the way. 

He had put hoof testers on him during the exam in the barn and said he wasn’t reactive but the worsening on gravel shouldn’t be from the fetlock. He then proceeded to block just the heel and try again. An interesting fact: horses will offload the painful area much like humans which for Eeyore would be loading the outside hoof more to avoid the painful inside. Once blocked they can’t do this so if it was the fetlock alone he should get worse with the heel block. 

He was 90% improved. “Huh”.

His fetlock was still swollen focally to the posterior medial aspect so an US was in order regardless, but the recommendation here was to go back to front pads to help his heel pain. That should get him mostly sound again. But onto the US....

The annular ligament in cross section. Inferior edge of the ligament is at the top of the image just below the black line. If you look to the right of the mouse pointer you see healthy, intact annular ligament in white. The mouse is pointing T the black central hole on the ligament. It’s supposed to be white all the way from right to left. 

I got to see the images and go through them all with the vet this time which was enlightening. The good news first: all suspensory branches, bone interfaces and the main body are fine. There is evidence that he had a tear of the medial branch at some point (because of course he did) but it’s fully healed and no issue now. The tendons are all normal. No signs of abscess. 

The bad news: he tore the superior medial aspect of the annular ligament. 

Another view though in a different plane. The pointer is on the tendon that lives behind the ligament. Just above that is a black ellipse (sorta looks like a closed eye with long lashes to me). This is the suspected point of impact of whatever he hit himself with. 

My first question was “what did I do to cause this?” To which he responded “nothing. It’s caused by blunt force trauma to the back of the leg”

Because of course it is. Only my idiot horse would somehow have blunt force trauma to the back of his leg outside in a 15 acre open field. Of course. 

Of note, the vet’s personal horse did something similar only to a more severe extent by sticking his leg through a gate and pulling back. So he had personal experience along with his medical knowledge on this one. 

All bandaged up and ready to face the next 30 days

There is some good news still mixed in with some bad. The annular ligament takes a long time to heal but is easier than a suspensory plus he has only a partial tear of one small area so it isn’t at risk to blow apart. The main risk at the moment is two fold: 1) reinjury caused by another blow to the area which can turn it into a full rupture and 2) compartment syndrome if we don’t get the swelling down as the tendons lay right behind the annular ligament and swelling can constrict them resulting in the need for surgery. 

The plan is stall rest not because he isn’t allowed to move, on the contrary he is allowed a lot more movement than I had anticiapted though I will get to that shortly, but to prevent any re injury to the site while it heals. Hence the question of trusting him not to be an idiot in turn out. If he was like Gem, he could be in the Fat Pasture but no. I most certainly do not trust him. 

He can have hand walks and hand grazing to my hearts content. I can also tack walk him all I want even on a trail if it is flat and even. The motion won’t harm it, but any more trauma to the area such as a hind hoof kicking it, will set us back to square one or even worse. With that in mind he needs to remain in a standing wrap at rest and in either polos or a protective boot when in work. 

Even better news? This allowed for a guilt free trip to the tack store to get supplies. I had stopped by Trainers barn on my way home to discuss things with her. I asked what her favorite leg boot is and this is it mostly. She likes the older Woof Boots with four narrow straps versus two wide ones but I couldn’t find those. 

He is against NSAIDs as they slow healing down but did recommend a class IV laser which will penetrate to the annular ligament due to it being more superficial than the suspensory. Both the Hubby and I have a class IV laser at our respective offices (recall the other vet said it wouldn’t be useful when thinking this could be a suspensory) so he will be bringing his home for me to use three times a week since his has animal settings and mine human. 

We will recheck with another US in 4 weeks. If things look good, we can start short trot sets then and work our way up from there. Vet is hopeful we can begin cantering again in 4 months and jumping in 6. Stall rest anywhere from 3-5 months though if it is going well I can make a small paddock for him in 30 days. 

Not the best news, but not the worst either. Honestly I’m just super relieved I didn’t cause this while riding and he did it to his own darn self. I’m also glad that I can tack walk him as much as I want. While walking under saddle isn’t as thrilling as jumping, there is still a lot you can work on at the walk and he didn’t limit me to hacking only. I’m free to work on collection and figures and the like at the walk. I could even take a walk only lesson if I felt like spending the money to do so. 

I don’t though. I’ll be riding Trainer’s horses and working on me for the next several months while walking with Eeyore at home so he gets movement. It may end up working out pretty well by the end of all this and it’s not like we had any grand show plans even if there were still shows. So again, not the worst news ever. I still have my Big Orange Doofus ears time look through even if at a more sedate pace. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Eeyore’s leg is getting bigger. Don’t ask me how or why because I have no freaking idea. I’ve been keeping a close eye on it and at first I thought it was a trick of the eye. His leg is shaved so maybe it just looked bigger. 

But nope. By last night it had grown double in size since the vet visit one week ago today. 


I’ve been thinking it’s a suspensory that was not seen on US but now I’m concerned maybe it’s an infection. The left leg had the spider bite that caused severe edema and ended in both the spider bite rupturing and then a few days later a huge abscess blowing out the heel bulb. He felt instantly better. 

So maybe this is the same but the infection is trapped higher? There is no heat and while he isn’t hobbling I can tell he is uncomfortable. He is usually easy to pick up feet yet is now refusing to give the front left which would put all weight on the front right. His temp is normal and he is eating well and in good spirits. 


I’d think a suspensory would be stable or maybe improving with the treatment rendered thus far but this is getting worse. I stress texted Emma and Trainer last night and poor Hubby’s ears are bleeding from all my worry. Friday can’t get here fast enough. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

A Week Off

For the first five years of my practice being open I took two personal days a year: Wyatt's and my birthday. It led to some epic burnout and so in 2019 I made sure to take two weeks off book ending the summer break from school. It was really nice and something we planned to make a tradition.

Then COVID-19 hit and Wyatt was no longer in school and we both knew that once life opened back up again during the summer our practices would get too busy to allow time off. It looked like the last week of April was our best shot at a family vacation even if it had to be a "staycation". Which, is sorta funny that we were aching for a week at home when so many are aching for a chance to get back out. It shows you how while we are all going through this storm, we are all in very different boats.

So what did we do with all this time off?

Sunday - Dusty worked Saturday, so I count Sunday as our first actual day of vacation. The warm, wet winter had allowed the pastures to continue to grow nearly the entire season and spring has been wet enough that the pastures are never dry enough to allow them mowed when I can mow them. This had led to the pastures looking more akin to hay fields than grazing areas. My #1 priority for the week, which was mercifully dry for most of it, was to mow. I was able to get the far side of the property done Sunday while Dusty was able to do the more tedious personal lawn care on the riding mower.

Fluffzilla loves to play in the tall grass. He is pouncing on Einstein which you can only see as a small dark spot right in front of him. 

Monday - More mowing. The morning dew dried up around 10 am and I sat my butt on the tractor to do the main pasture which took me until 6 pm. Once maintained, it can take as few as 6 hours, but it is a solid 8 hours when it gets that thick/high. It was a long day on the tractor. I can't recall what the boys got up to all day, but I know some of it included handing me iced tea and refilling the diesel.

Nicely mowed. It was good to see the horses using all the pasture once cut versus eating down certain areas and avoiding others. 

Tuesday - The farrier was slated to come in the afternoon, but texted early saying they were a few hours ahead of schedule. I got everyone ready while Dusty took a turn on the mower and did the final pasture. It was really nice to be able to be present while the farrier was around so I could discuss Eeyore and his terrible feet. By the end of this day we had burned through 20 gallons of diesel. 

While the pups enjoyed being home with us, they were pretty tired and it was only Tuesday. A tired dog is a good dog though.

Wednesday - This was kind of a waste of a day. Eeyore's vet appointment was at 10 am but on my way there they called and said a few emergencies came in and I'd have to reschedule to 12pm. I was stuck in construction on a back country road 20 minutes from the clinic and 25 from home. I told them I'd come and wait if they could let Eeyore use an outdoor paddock. It made no sense to turn around as I would then have to nearly immediately hit the road back again. So I arrived and waited two hours in the parking lot. By the time I got home with no real diagnosis and a still not right horse, I wasn't in the best of moods. So...we went and bought Wyatt a new quad.

A happy boy
He has been driving a plastic Power Wheels one since he was 3 years old and that thing was near its death bed. It was pretty pathetic watching him drive with his knees against his chin and the plastic wheels spinning in the grass. We had two batteries for it since one only lasted about 20 minutes and even with that he had under an hour. It was time for a gas powered upgrade.

Thursday - Basically a relaxing day. Having gotten all the hard work around the property completed, Dusty dug in on the tack locker in the tack room and I sat and read a book outside while Wyatt enjoyed his quad. The afternoon brought nasty storms with heavy rain which drove us inside to watch movies.

This was a BIG issue. Fluff is in Waggy's spot which hadn't been an problem before this day since he couldn't get on the couch. Wags was not happy when she came in and saw him snuggled there. 

Friday - So...I admit I was in a foul mood this day. That morning I unwrapped Eeyore's leg with bated breath only to feel tears sting my eyes when it looked no different. Maybe a little worse now that it was shaved. The shockwave, Equioxx and wrap did nothing. I sat around moping most of the morning until Trainer AB called me asking if I would happen to want a lesson on one of her horses. They had all originally been spoken for but multiple people had canceled. I jumped on that opportunity and quickly changed to head her way.

The pond is gorgeous this time of year. This was taken before mowing this part, so it is still wild and unruly in this picture. Now it clean and even.

I was in much better spirits when I returned home. I had just enough time to change before heading off to the drive in movie theater. We watched Trolls World Tour wondering exactly how much acid they did while writing that script and listening to Wyatt laugh. Honestly, I really could care less what movie is playing while at the drive in theater. A nice evening outside watching a massive screen is never a bad evening.

Saturday - Moping turned to pure frustration at yet another gorgeous day spent out of the saddle with four horses in my yard. But nothing to do for it, so I read a book in the sunshine, went swimming with Wyatt in the pond, came up with various obstacle courses for him to drive his quad through and weeded the vegetable garden. Dusty and Wyatt spent the evening jug fishing for cat fish while I read another book and relaxed. By the end of the day I had read 5 books during the week, some better than others but all highly enjoyable. I miss reading. 

I miss reading a lot. I used to always have a book at hand, but now I'm too tired by bed time and too busy during the day. 

Sunday - Last day of vacation blues. I woke up with a sharp stabbing pain in my right ear plus a nasty sun burn from the day before. I’m very good at using sunscreen when at the pool or beach but never remember at home. The ear got worse so I went to the minute clinic down the road and was diagnosed with an ear infection. How? No clue. It got worse throughout the day so I took a nap, went out for ice cream and then chilled back at home the rest of the day. 

Dusty wasn’t staying down though. He spent the day on the tractor working on a trail around the property for me once my horse is functional again. He is 3/4 of the way done. When finished it will be about 1 mile long. 

The tractor got a work out this week. The nice thing about his trail vision is that it won't require opening or closing any gates. The only obstacle will be crossing an inlet to the pond, but the footing is good there so even when the pond is up it won'tb e an issue. 

The entire week was nearly perfect and a much needed break from the stress of normal life with COVID-19 piled on top of it. Back in early March I was noticing all the signs of burn out having not had any time off beyond federal holidays since August (7 months). I could feel the need for a break coming and was hoping to make it to early June. Thankfully we were able to make this week happen and I am glad for the staycation.

As an aside - Eeyore is still massively swollen though sound. I made an appointment for this Friday with the owner of Tryon Equine for a second opinion. I swear there is a suspensory tear in there along the medial branch that was hidden by all the fluid. Otherwise I can't see why he'd be so focally swollen and intermittently lame. I don't want that to be the answer as it means a year off which sucks in so many regards, but I can't see how it isn't. So we will see what they say Friday.

I've already decided that if it is indeed a suspensory tear that will require a careful year of rehab, Gem is coming out of retirement and Trainer will get to see the circus that that entails. Gem needs to exercise and I need a horse, so sucks to be her. She can take her complaints to the Big Orange Doofus because we can't get a 5th horse and I can't go a year with only riding twice a month.