Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cairo's big day

I forgot to mention in my last post that Cairo graduated from her puppy class today. How cute is that little hat? I can't believe she even tolerated it...

I've decided to continue her education and we are aiming for the Canine Good Citizen award.

white feet are the devil

Lucy tossed a shoe this morning while bombing around the outdoor before I was planning on riding.

See, I've tried the whole pull her out of turnout, toss a saddle on, and go thing and she just cannot concentrate. She has so much energy and nowhere to put it all when I do it that way. Lunging doesn't even cut it for her.

However, if I let her zoom around for a bit in the outdoor and give her a chance to get her kicks, bucks, squeals, leaping, and other fun maneuvers out of her system, she is MUCH nicer to ride. That is unless, of course, she manages to toss a shoe in the process and we don't even GET to the riding part of the day.

She was such a drama queen about it, too. One minute she was cavorting about with all four feet off the ground, and the next moment she was standing looking pathetic and holding her LF foot in the air.

I said to her "come over here and let me see it," and she walked right over to me, limping badly. I checked her out expecting to see something serious or terrible, like another chunk of her foot missing, but there seemed to be no damage.

Just for good measure I hosed her off and made sure to spend extra time on that one foot. On days like this I am so happy that my barn owner is also my farrier :D He came right over and tacked it back on for me, but I won't ride today because of how sore that foot is.

I think this horse has won herself a pair of bellboots.

So what do you think? Is the old addage about white feet true?

Friday, August 27, 2010


I took Cairo for a trail ride with Lucy and I for the first time today.

There were some colourful moments involving a bit of bronco riding down the trail, but no one was injured and it all turned out well. I can't say I'm eager to do it again :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

shoulder conformation

At the inspections this past weekend, the judge made an interesting comment. She was pointing out the strengths of one filly's conformation, and mentioned her lovely sloping shoulder. The filly's shoulder was at the ideal 45 degree slope and the judge said, "if this were a racehorse, this shoulder would be considered not ideal." She then went on to explain that a shoulder such as the one on the filly promoted lofty movement such as the type desirable in hunters and dressage, where the horse is expected to have as much "up" in their step as they do "forward", but in racing any time spent going up is wasted effort that could be put to good use as forward.

Up doesn't win the race, but forward sure does.

So then I got to wondering what the shoulders on some of the most famous and successful racehorses looked like, and the same for dressage horses.

Let's start with Lucy, who was neither a famous nor successful racehorse:

She has a fairly average shoulder, but seemingly no difficulty being light in the front end:

And then we have Secretariat, one of the greatest racehorses ever:

I would say his shoulder is fairly upright.

And lastly, we have Totilas, arguably one of the hottest young dressage stallions out there:

He really has the ideal slope in his shoulder and you can clearly see that he has no issues with "up"!

Now I know that the slope of the shoulder is only a small piece to a very large puzzle that makes up an equine athlete. What parts of the conformation of a horse do you think are most important? Do you think they vary by discipline? Is your horse conformed well for the discipline you ride?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sport Pony Inspections

I photographed the American Warmblood and American Sport Pony inspections yesterday in NH and learned so much. The judges were wonderful and when it came time to give ratings and ribbons, the head judge explained exactly how they award points. The foals were given ratings for their conformation and movement, and then there was one adult pony mare who also did free jumping and received a rating for that.

After the inspections were over, the foals were all branded. I have never seen branding done and I was surprised at how much the horses didn't care. They kicked out when the hot iron touched them but by the time they registered that it had happened, it was already over. A couple of the foals shook their heads but after that they all were kind of like, "well that sucked but now I want my mommy."

Anyway, here are a few photos!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

freshie is feeling good

Lucy is feeling just fine. Her leg is healing very quickly, but the fact that everything was very superficial is likely speeding things along. I think the thing bothering her the most is her SI joint area, probably from all the stress of hanging off the fence line with one hind leg up in the air. She doesn't seem too sore, and since she's not lame, she went back into work yesterday. Standing around wasn't doing her any favours, as she's happier when she's working and it'll keep everything limber. She gets long warm-ups and I've also been doing stretching exercises with her before I tack up.

We switched to Poulin just about two weeks ago and she's doing really well. We're not finished with the transition yet; I'm doing it over the course of a month. However, I already have started noticing a little extra padding here and there. Maybe she'll actually be where I want her to be weight-wise going into winter! That would be awesome.

And one photo of Cairo with Kenny. Cairo is a whopping 50 lbs but she's still all leg! She's a great dog and has firmly established her role in our little family.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Lucy got herself in quite a pickle today. She was flirting with one of the geldings in the next paddock over from hers, and then decided she'd had enough. She kicked out at him through the fence and ended up getting her left hind leg stuck over the middle board of the fence. It's that plastic flexible PVC fencing and it will NOT break, no matter what. She could barely stand on her RH so she was more or less hanging from her LH, which was hooked over the fence.

Luckily I was down at the paddocks filling water buckets so I was witness to this entire situation and was able to intervene immediately. She started thrashing around, trying to get unhooked from the fence, so I ran over to her and yelled for help. She calmed right down as soon as I was by her side, and stood absolutely still. One of the other boarders came down to help me but the gelding was really being a huge pain through all of this, and went right up to Lucy with her leg still up over the fence and tried to sniff her rear end. Of course this upset her again and she gave two humongous bucks and got herself free. I jumped out of the way as soon as she started bucking again because the last thing I needed was a hoof to any part of my body!

It was traumatic to watch and I burst into tears as soon as she was free. What a stupid horse. This is the second time she's done this. She has been very lucky not to injure herself badly; everything is mostly superficial as it was the first time, and she'll probably be sore but she was not lame after it happened.

She got a gram of bute with dinner and I put standing wraps on her hind legs for the night. I hope she feels ok tomorrow. I was really looking forward to some nice weekend rides. She's been going great lately and I would be disappointed not to ride for a few days.

Mmmm, FuraZone!

Eating her dinner.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lucy looking fancy yesterday, and a new menu

(Excuse the poor quality; these are video stills.)

I am in the process of switching Lucy's grain to Poulin from Triple Crown. I don't dislike TC (she's on the Complete, a 10% fat/11% protein grain) but I have to feed an awful lot of it, just about ten pounds a day. She goes through a bag of it in about five days. At $18/bag, that's a lot of cash each month on grain! Plus, on top of that, she gets all the add-ons: hay stretcher in the AM, soaked alfalfa cubes in the PM, 1 cup of canola oil a day, 15 grams of ProBiotics, 1 scoop of Weight Builder, two scoops of electrolytes, and 1 cup of sunflower seeds. It's ridiculous! I spend more time preparing her dinner than mine (just kidding, but sometimes it sure feels that way!).

The new Poulin grain is a 12% fat/12% protein pelleted feed and it's a few dollars a bag cheaper than the TC. I am hoping that the higher fat content will allow me to feed less of it than I have to of the TC. There are two bonuses to feeding less: obviously, it will be less stress on my wallet, which is always nice, but also it's not GOOD for her to be stuffed with so much grain. Her stomach can only hold about 5lbs of grain, which is a new fun fact that I learned from the Poulin rep when I called him this week. He said with the amount I'm feeding her, she most likely isn't even getting some of it because it's more than her stomach can hold, which means a portion of the grain is being pushed down her digestive tract before her stomach can break it down. He had a lot of good information for me, including the recommendation to feed the soaked alfalfa cubes separately from the PM grain before I ride her in the afternoons, because there are a few new studies that show having a bit of alfalfa in the stomach prevents any stomach acid from splashing at the top of the stomach, which can exacerbate any ulcers she may have.

Speaking of ulcers, the reality is she probably has them, as most OTTB's do. I've really procrastinated getting her scoped, but this week I decided I needed to just get it over with before her insurance runs out, because I'm not sure if I'll be able to afford to re-insure her again next year. The insurance company will reimburse me for the $1500 vet bill that I'll get to have her tubed and put on a months regiment of GastroGard (ulcer medication, $30/DAY) but I have to pay the vet up front. With my wedding less than a month away, we simply do not have $1500 laying around to pay that bill with, so it will have to wait until after we get married.

Anyway, back to the switching of the grains: I am doing it very slowly but luckily she gobbles up the new stuff. It helps to have a highly food motivated horse, I suppose. I have wanted to switch her feed for a long time but it was a matter of waiting til she was in good enough condition that dropping a few pounds (should the switch not be the right thing to do) wouldn't make her look like a rescue case again, and also I had to find the right feed to go to. I think the additional 2% fat in the new feed will really help. We'll see!