Thursday, March 31, 2011

excited to see tomorrow's gastroscope results

The big day is tomorrow!


Although, she has been abnormally awesome over the past two weeks, so who knows? She could have exhibited every sign and symptom under the sun for ulcers but then be completely ulcer-free. Honestly, this would not shock me!

BUT if she did have ulcers and we happened to treat her with a full course of GastroGard and then she magically transformed into a loving, sweet mare who LOVED to be brushed and didn't fret when I put my leg on her, that would be a-ok with me.

Tomorrow we will find out if I have a dual-personality mare who loves me one moment and wants to send me into orbit the next, or if she just needs a big of pharmaceutical help to feel better. I will love her either way.

I am also getting a lyme titre pulled, which was an idea brought on by her sudden spooking issues. She never used to spook like she has been doing, and I know lyme can manifest as extreme spookiness. Lyme may also explain the periodic attitude issues.

I called the vet a couple of days ago to get directions for tonight/tomorrow so that she can be prepared for the gastroscope, and I made this sign to hang on her stall door outlining the vet's instructions:

Poor horse, she's going to be very unhappy when she doesn't get her breakfast tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

expensive taste on a non-existent budget

There are certain products that I have always drooled over but yet never been able to justify actually purchasing them. If I suddenly found myself with a large excess of funding in my bank account, here's what I would buy:

FITS Jumpline BEKA Knee Patch Breeches. Ummm, YUMMY. They just look so nice and comfortable, and I have poured over all of the great reviews for them on various horsey websites. I love the contouring of them, I love the colours they come in, and I think my butt would look fabulous in a pair of them ;) Santa, are you listening?

Charles Owen Wellington Classic Riding Helmet, in grey. This helmet just looks so classy, and I think I could totally pull it off. I love the low profile look to it, and the harness looks simple but effective. I don't like harnesses that make more of a statement than the helmet does, and Charles Owen always seems to make great helmets with perfect harnesses.

Ariat Monaco Zip Field Boots. I am an Ariat girl. I don't care what kind of smack other people have to say, I have loved every one of my Ariat products and they have lasted well over the amount of time I'd expect them to. I am still using my paddock boots that I bought ten years ago. I strayed once and bought Tredstep half chaps but after three months returned them *yay Dover's awesome return policy* and got a pair of Ariats instead. I have the original pair of Ariat Challenge zip-up tall boots that I bought before going to college in 2004, and they do not see the light of day unless it's for a show or a lesson. BUT, the Monacos look soooooo sexy. I love the high Spanish gussets on the sides of them. I bet my lower leg would look about two miles long (as opposed to the 1 mile long they actually are). I go into Dover sometimes and stand and stare at the Ariat wall and drool over the Monacos. Some day I will have a pair! (ok probably not)

Irideon Passeio Full Seat Breeches. I LOVE Irideon breeches. They look great, wash fantastically, wear really well, don't make me want to peel my pants off and find the nearest lake when I'm riding in 95 degree weather, and they fit me really nicely. Right now I have a pair of fleece lined breeches and two pairs of the Issential riding tights. I would love to add a pair of Irideon breeches that would be acceptable in the show ring (you know, if we ever get there)!

Mattes Half Pad. I think just mentioning the name "Mattes" makes most of my horsey friends quiver with delight. I have a cheapie half pad that I can't actually use with my new saddle because it's too small. I would love to replace it with a high quality Mattes half pad because I love that the design allows for air circulation and wither relief, and they come in a large size. My saddle is only stamped as 16.5" (and actually measures 16") but for whatever reason, the edge of the seat sits right on the edge of the half pad, and that does not make for a happy mare. Plus, if I had a Matte's half pad, I would be able to entertain myself for hours just sitting there and holding its softness. Ok that sounds ridiculous, but they feel so nice!

Eco Gold's Secure Hunter/Jumper Pad. I only recently became familiar with this company through Facebook and then through their blog (which you can find here) but I was able to kill an entire boring afternoon at work browsing through their awesome inventory. I love their saddle pad designs, especially that their products don't have to give up stability to remain breathable. Plus, I love how supportive of their riders they are. Really a cool company.

SmartPak's Nantucket Fancy Stitch Hunter Bridle. I am actually really impressed by SmartPak's new line of bridles that they recently unveiled. They are super quality and really lovely. I think Lucy's dishy face would look so nice in this bridle, and I feel like we should look our very best for our debut show this summer.

Rhino Wug HW Turnout. I know, I know! The cold weather is finally retreating, so why am I putting this blanket on my wishlist? Well, it's New England and it will inevitably get cold again :) I love this blanket, I think it is just so cute, especially the pattern, and I love the way the chest straps criss-cross because it means the blanket is easy to take on and off and I don't have to fiddle with buckles! I also love the high-neck design.

Alright, enough virtual shopping for me :) What would you buy?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

lunging in the field, and a wonderful lesson

The field across the street from the barn slowly became the Very Scary Horse Gobbling Field of Death and now Lucy seems to think she WILL meet her demise if she walks by the trees. I took her out there yesterday to lunge her and she was bonkers right from the start. I took this photo of her with my phone after she had cantered around wild-eyed for a good while and she was finally realising that she was not going to die. Silly mare.

Today we had the most wonderful lesson! I feel like we accomplished a LOT, and we made big improvements from last week. I don't have any photos or video but it really was a great lesson! The best part is that I have found a way that we can have a lesson every week! This is mostly thanks to the generosity of my instructor, and his willingness to work with me. I am very excited to see where our continued lessons take us, and I am THRILLED that we can continue lessons :D

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cairo at the dog park

Cairo and I spent part of the afternoon at the dog park today. It was closed for about a month to let some of the mud dry up, but it has opened again and I think Cairo really enjoyed herself there today.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

fun ride today!

There were very strong winds outside, so while I warmed her up on the lunge and rode her on the flat out there, I chose to jump inside.

another one for the blooper reel :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

fantastic lesson

Yesterday was the last lesson in the group of lessons that I purchased with my birthday money back in February. The major themes in the lessons so far had been rhythm, relaxation, softness, inside leg to outside hand, and introducing a bend. I had struggled to put it all together but finally got it right at the tail end of my lesson last week, but I was really hoping to solidify our work in yesterday's lesson. I am so pleased with Lucy because we had a few "mare moments" but we got some lovely canter work. We focused a lot on transitions and we had a few nice trot walk transitions off of my seat, which is HUGE for her.

Here are two videos:

And some stills:

(hey, it just wouldn't be a ride on Lucy unless we had some sass)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

now that is a fun trick!

Alright, I'm getting a bit tired of all the excitement. Let's have a nice quiet week where no one faceplants, nothing gets broken, no horse is running loose around the barn, people learn what a leash is, and I don't want to bang my head on the wall every time I go to the barn.

I had basically decided not to ride today before I even got to the barn. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny and warm in the sun, but I am exhausted from this week. I did all the barn chores, put grain together for the upcoming week, and then brought Lucy in. I noticed she was moving a bit slowly, and when I got her in the barn and looked her over closely, I discovered abrasions on the front of both hocks. Looks like Miss Sassypants has been kicking through the fence again. Lucy, you bad horse. Stop trying to kill all the geldings! Upon further inspection, it became clear that she was in heat, too. GREAT.

I got to work and gave her a thorough grooming. I was finishing up with some coat conditioner when out of the blue, she freaked out on the crossties and flew backward. For once, she wasn't wearing her easy-break halter that has the little piece of leather on the side of it that is about $1 to replace if it breaks, and instead she had on the really nice 1" wide leather halter that I won in a photo contest a couple years ago. She flailed around until she broke the crownpiece and then trotted around the barn a bit. That was a blast, let me tell you! I had to grab a random halter off of a hook and catch her. I have no idea what spooked her, but then the conversation around the barn turned to the Super Moon that we had last night, and how all the horses have been off their rockers today.

Lucy's broken halter hanging in the crossties after she busted out of it. I'm not sure what I'm more annoyed about: the fact that the halter broke (though I know that was really a good thing), or the fact that the crossties didn't break.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to de-worm her and then take her around the outdoor, where another boarder had set up a course of jumps, and show her each fence to explain that none of them ate ponies for breakfast.

Inspecting the jumps.

Then I took her down to her paddock for some photos:

Still looking butt-high, but I am pleased with her condition overall.

Dapples coming through

almost comical

After my fall last weekend, I knew I had to get back out to the trail asap, before I psyched myself out too much. My best trail riding buddy, Claire, hacked out with me yesterday and we headed to the same trail where I got dumped.

Claire walking ahead of me, heading to the trail.

I hand-walked Lucy all the way to the trail head. She was great on the road but spooky at the trail entrance. She spooked at the exact same spot gave us issues last week. I have no idea what she's seeing, but when she spooked, I made her stand there and take in the sites a bit. Once she started looking bored, we continued onto the trail head, where I got on without incident.

Making her stop and look at the gate that spooked her last week.

Overall Lucy was pretty good on the trail. She spooked at something in the first five minutes but it wasn't a bad spook. Still, I didn't trust her enough to give her any extra rein, which proved to be a good decision later in the ride, when she spooked again and I lost my balance. It wasn't even a bad spook, but she jumped to the right and I came off over her left shoulder. Here's the cool part, though: I landed on my feet, AND she did not attempt to run! I was back in the saddle within a minute, and we continued on with the ride. I don't know why all of a sudden I can't seem to sit anything, but I am sure it will pass. I am just glad today's episode was not nearly as dramatic as last week's! I am very proud of her for not bolting, and I am considering a new career as a gymnast (just kidding, I'd make a terrible gymnast!).

Another shot of Claire and her horse Boe, this time almost at the end of the trail.

The funniest part of the whole ride happened on the walk back to the barn. A couple was walking their dog on the other side, and they kept staring at me and Lucy as we approached each other. I called out a hello as we passed and the man said to me, "that horse looks an awful lot like the one that was galloping down the road last week!" I laughed and said, "yes, this is the one!" The man proceeded to tell me that he was in his kitchen and heard hoofbeats approaching, and he looked out the window as Lucy "shot past" his house at "top speed", and also how it was "the talk of the neighbourhood". Anyway, I thought that was hilarious. Lucy sure knows how to make an impression!

Friday, March 18, 2011

great ride!!!

It was 70 degrees here today(!!!!) and I really wanted to ride Lucy in the outdoor for the first time this season. In the fall, she was pretty stupid out in that ring, spooking at imaginary things and getting silly. To prevent any mishaps, I lunged her out there first and then once she was going around nicely and without theatrics, I got on.

Things were very hectic at the barn today. The barn owner had an electrician there fixing a few issues with the wiring in the barn. A couple of boarders were getting ready to go out on a trail ride, and they were riding their ponies in all the spooky scary areas of the farm where the horse eating monsters hide. Dogs were running around loose (yeah...). In addition to that, people were constantly coming and going from the barn so we had cars and trucks driving down the driveway, AND there were strong wind gusts that were blowing leaves across the ring and making tarps in the woods flutter.

Lucy took it all in stride. She looked at a few things but only spooked once, and there was no turn-n-burn action, it was just a little jump in place, and she got over it immediately when I urged her forward. At one point one of the dogs even ran across the ring. Have I mentioned that I HATE dogs running around when I'm trying to ride?? She was giving the dog a bit of the hairy eyeball and I was not eager to turn the ride sour, so I simply halted her. The dogs owner got him out of the ring after I asked her to and she happily went right back to work. I was peeved that the dog was in the ring in the first place, but I didn't let it wreck my kickass ride.

Here are some photos!

gastroscope and barn drama

I have scheduled a gastroscope for Lucy on April 1st. I had to wait til my tax return came in, since this vet bill is going to be between $400 and $2000, and I will need to pay it out of pocket and then the insurance company will reimburse me.

Speaking of insurance companies, I have got to give Great American some kudos. This is my first experience making a claim with them. I called them yesterday to get the ball rolling on the paperwork. I spoke to a claims rep who happily explained the whole process for me. They asked me a few questions about Lucy, and explained that she needed to fax a questionnaire to my vet to fill out. Once he returned the questionnaire and they receive a copy of the bill, they will cut me a cheque. It's really that easy! Later in the afternoon, the inurance adjuster who was assigned to my claim called me to go over more specifics. She was very nice, and explained that if Lucy ends up having ulcers, they will pay for 60, yes, SIXTY days of GastroGard. They will also pay to re-scope her if the vet recommends it. If he re-scopes her and finds that the ulcers haven't healed, they will cover continued treatment.

The scope by itself costs $400, and 30 days of GastroGard runs around $1000. The second 30 days are partial doses (i.e. not a full tube) so I'm expecting those to cost around $500.

Long story short: YAY FOR INSURANCE.

I'm not sure if the long winter finally went to peoples' heads, or if true colours are simply showing themselves, but the drama level lately has been ridiculous. Lots of cattiness, nasty remarks behind backs, and unnecessary digs. I am hoping that since the outdoor finally opened this week and we have had a few nice days, people can cheer up and stop attacking each other and instead, enjoy their horses.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I love my girl

She's just so cute that even with all of the craziness, how could I not love that face?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

alive and well!

Thanks so much for the well-wishes! I had a few very ouchy days where I resembled a 90 year old lady more than my 25 year old self, BUT, I am feeling much better now. My road rash is almost healed, and I had a wonderful, productive, confidence-building lesson yesterday. It was the first time I had gotten on since my fall, and I felt good that I was riding under the watchful eye of my instructor. It was comforting to have him there with me.

Lucy actually was quite stellar. It was an exhausting ride for me, mainly because my body was still a bit sore, but also because Lucy is very physically demanding to ride correctly. She had Monday off, so by the time my lesson rolled around on Tuesday, she was full of energy. Some of the lesson was like a carousel ride gone bad lol, because she just hauled me around the entire time. She also thought she was finished each time we took a walk break, which meant that when I asked her to work again, she got very pissy and threw out repetitive cow-kicks, etc. My instructor talked me through it all and in the end I got a really lovely canter to the left, where I was able to muster up enough energy to put it all together and get her organized underneath me. WOW, guys...when this horse moves correctly, it is so nice. I am really starting to understand her buttons, and to break some of my nasty hunter rider habits.

So here are two videos with some clips from the ride:

Today after work I felt revitalized and empowered with what we had worked on in yesterday's lesson. At the same time, though, I was getting REALLY tired of the same old flatwork, so I decided to set up some crossrails and see how Lucy did. I warmed her up thoroughly on the flat first, and we practiced what we worked on in the lesson yesterday. She was surprisingly receptive to my aids and we had a few lovely moments. Then we popped over some crossrails and she was so cute. She was very honest and really surprised me when she got an incorrect lead coming out of one of the crossrails but threw a flying lead change on her own accord in the first stride out. What a smart horse :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

road rash sucks

And so does watching your horse gallop away from you, riderless, down the middle of a road.

On Saturday I had a bad fall off of Lucy. My friend and I had planned a trail ride. She is new to the area and wanted to know where all the trails were, so I was going to take her to my favourite place, which we have to walk 7/10ths of a mile on the road to get to.

I warmed Lucy up on the lunge line and then got on. She was going REALLY well under saddle, just so beautiful and forward and light. It was a nice sunny day, and I was looking forward to a nice hack. She was great on the road, not bothered by cars or anything. We got to the entrance of the trail and she perked up but I wasn't worried. Then she randomly spooked at a wrought iron gate we have passed at least twenty times before. I was so unprepared for it and when she spun to run away, I went right off over her shoulder. Like an idiot I held onto the reins and got dragged down the gravel driveway a bit. I finally let go of her, and looked up just in time to see her galloping back through the trail entrance toward the road. She turned up the road toward the barn and took off. She galloped the .7 miles back to the barn, down the middle of the road, past cars and people working in their yard. I almost had a meltdown, was so scary to see her running down a road that I know people drive too fast on. Luckily there are very few curves in the road and I just prayed that she wouldn't be hit or slip and fall on the pavement. I was petrified.

I ran out to the road and flagged a car down. I was hysterical. "Can you take me to my horse?", I sobbed. The people were so kind and made sure I was ok and then off we went after my mare. En route to the barn I noticed all of the people coming out of their yards and lining the side of the street, looking concerned. They had probably seen or heard her thundering down the road. I was just relieved that we didn't come across an accident scene.

Finally we got back to the barn and there she was, standing right by the door, her reins looped through her right front leg. She looked so upset...stupid horse! If she hadn't run, she would have been happily plodding along her favourite trail! ARGH! I wanted to smack her in frustration and hug in relief her at the same time. I unbuckled the reins so that they weren't caught on her, and I checked her over quickly. I was so relieved that she seemed to be fine. I took her into the barn and untacked her and hosed her legs off briefly. I was most worried about her tendons and feet from running on the road. I took her outside and walked her up and down the driveway to cool her out (she was very hot) and waited for my friend to get back (she was hand-walking her horse back from the trail). When she got back she put her horse away and trotted Lucy out for me. Luckily she was sound.

I decided to poultice and wrap her legs and give her some bute with her dinner. I checked on her again later that night to make sure there wasn't any heat in her feet. She seemed fine and only wanted more to eat :)

Her leaser was supposed to ride her Sunday morning, but I wanted to go to the barn and check her legs and make sure she was sound before her leaser drove all the way to the barn to ride. I dragged myself out of bed and checked her over from nose to tail and she was alright, so her leaser came down to ride. They had a good ride and I was able to take some photos and video for her.

The good news is that Lucy has a new boyfriend, Boe:

And here are some photos of Cairo from walks we went on this weekend:

Cairo will be 1 year old on Wednesday!! Aww :)

I still haven't gotten back in the saddle since my fall but I have a lesson tomorrow so that will be the end of my hiatus. I am still very sore but I think I will be able to ride alright.