Not that the vet visit was bad mind you. Just that we’re seeing the vet A LOT lol.
Doc was headed out to take a look at Whisper, and did a 2 week check up on Amber as well. I had grabbed a few things for Amber before the visit – mostly a weight measure and some Equioxx. With her being laminitic, she can’t have too much alfalfa, but I don’t know exactly how much food a day we give her, and I wanted to weigh it, tell the doc, and form a plan. So, we’re good on the amount of alfalfa she’s getting ( ~3.5 lbs 2x a day), but overall she was getting too much especially with her being out of work. So, our aim is to cut back to 16 lbs ideally, so I’ll be cutting her back slowly. Now that her metabolism has slowed and she’s finally lost all the muscle she tenaciously hung on to, she’s not voraciously eating everything in sight. She’s leaving some, which is a good sign to us. So, I’ll be cutting down her food, but everything else I’m feeding her is okay.
Even though she’s in soft rides, I’m liking how the barefoot is helping her hind feet. Her sole is getting harder, and the spot is less spongy, which I take as a good thing. He wants to see her in 8 weeks tho – I’m thinking to see if her sole has thickened a bit more or how it’s growing in those 8 weeks. I questioned him about her being barefoot in the front, but he didn’t seem to think that was a good idea. Which I’m completely fine with, I was just putting it out there for curiosity’s sake. I’m just asking tons of questions since this is all new to me, but my vet has been taking this all in stride and has been more than willing to tell me the whys and his reasons for suggesting/doing certain things. So she stays in front shoes and we have some more waiting before figuring out her hind feet. The good news is that there’s no more bad news right now, soooooo….??? Ha I’ll take it.
Unfortunately our little ride we did was a big no-no. Poor Amber can’t get out of her stall at all (I mean, aside from going to the crossties for baths or grooming) in the next 8 weeks. Poor thing is going to go crazy. I could feel how happy she was even for the 5 minutes we walked. Her ears were pricked, and she was back to her “let’s go do stuff ma!” attitude. She keeps nosing her gate, wanting to be out and pestering me when I don’t get her out. She doesn’t understand why we can’t go out, especially since she’s now feeling better with the soft rides. That’s certainly been difficult.
It does feel a bit like “injury central” here tho haha. Whisper is doing very well since her hock injections but now has soreness in her LF so we have a couple things going on that’ll help weed out whether it’s not enough support for shoeing or something else in her leg. We’re hoping that she’ll be back in contention to start the next 3-show series come September, but it’s getting a bit close. So if she can’t show then we’ll probably still trailer her there just to get her off property, see the sights and promptly go home. Choco too has been pretty limpy lately. Her left shoulder is bothering her (what is it with our animals and their left sides at the moment? lol), so we have her on some anti-inflammatories which have seemed to help a lot. We’re also looking into canine adequan. Our biggest worry is that she’s still so full of life even at 14 that if we don’t help her feel better as best we can she may not really recover from it. We’d like to keep her as happy and active as we possibly can for as long as we can. Since Amber AND Whisper have been a bit out of commission, I really haven’t ridden at all (and yes I’m dying haha). But I’ve supplemented that with finally starting PT, this time with a doctor and physical therapist that actually care about my health concerns and are really trying to help me with preventative measures instead of “come back when you’re more broken and can’t walk”. Thanks. Real helpful guys. Right now I’m working on my right leg where I got kicked, and it’s pretty hard, but I’m keeping up with it. It needs to get stronger and function as best as it can, and I want to break up that scar tissue. Hopefully soon, I’ll get back to lessons. I also just….really need to work out since I have no fitness left at all since I haven’t ridden in a while lol. I have been pretty much a lump, so there’s that haha.
I do want to start up lessons again soon, dressage and jumping if it all works out, so hopefully I can get my butt in gear and work out some more!
I didn’t realize my mom had actually gotten pictures of the x-rays, so I am able to share them with you guys. Just so everyone can see, last week I posted this video of her on Insta, which was taken on July 25, only 1 week prior to her vet visit.
You can certainly see some shortness in her RH, but there’s practically nothing to see in her LH, which is why we were all pretty shocked to see that this was what her foot actually looked like.
That is…..not minor. I am pretty sure most horses would be 3-legged at this point. Thankfully, her right hind foot (and front feet) all looked good.
Bute hasn’t seemed to help as much anymore, and I worry about her since she’s been on it for a while. She’s on an ulcerguard at the same time, but bute long term isn’t the best which is why I want to switch her to Equioxx. She hasn’t been pigging out as much as she usually has either, so my mom and I were worried for a bit. It seems like all the food on the ground was just pretty painful for her, even with the boots and how much she loves to eat. Putting her hay in a net and getting it up off the floor has helped – she’s back to eating her usual amount.
She is certainly not the biggest fan of her boots lol. Every now and then she kind of kicks out hoping to get them off but they’re staying on. I was able to grab some old socks to prevent rubbing, but the boots have certainly helped her feel better. The few times she got excited about something over the weekend and trotted I could see a sliver of how well her stifle has actually been healing. She DID love her shavings and laid down immediately. Then proceeded to try to scratch the boot off.
So I figured I’d help her out. And she loved it. Such an itchy girl haha.
It has been a whirlwind week. Over the last week or two, Whisper has been odd. I was REALLY having to remind her to get back on her hindquarters, she was a lot more unwilling to work, and she’d start biting at the air whenever my mom would saddle her or I would put my spurs on her – even if they were the small little English nubby spurs I use on Amber. This was absolutely not like her. At first I thought perhaps she’d lost fitness or was giving us a few of her very rare “no” moments. But after a bit of a tough ride, and still a not-too-productive next ride, she still wasn’t better after a week and I rode her again. That ride, to the right she felt a bit wiggly, and it felt harder than usual. To the left though, if felt as if she’d lost all of her rhythm and cadence and that’s her good side. That piqued my interest, and I started a deep tissue massage on her a few nights later after I’d gotten to thinking. I really worked over her SI and Psoas around 3 nights in a row, and she was certainly improved by the weekend. No biting the air when I’d use spurs or when she’d be saddled. She still was just NQR though, so my mom made a Monday appointment for the vet to look at her. Since the vet was coming out, we figured he could check Amber over as well since it was time for her 1 month post-first-vet-visit visit.
He did a flex test on Whisper, and noted that she flexed a bit positively on her hocks. While her SI could certainly be the culprit, Whisper IS 16. We don’t believe she had any injections when she was younger before we got her when she was 4, and she’s been in consistent 4-6 day works (although those may not have been extremely HARD rides haha) for a good 12 years. Over the past 2-3 years, we’ve really worked on rocking her back and utilizing her hind end. This year alone we’ve upped her fitness since the Feb show, and have had increasingly intense – though short – rides so we can prepare for the Sept-Nov show series. I’m honestly not too surprised that it was probably time for a hock injection. Since she’s a sensitive horse, I think the injections will last her a long while – hopefully longer than a year, but I’m not too worried. Compared to Amber at the moment, Whisper is EASY-PEASY.
After Whisper’s flex test I grabbed Amber for him, and his immediate answer was “I still really don’t like this.” Well, damn. I thought she’d been doing pretty well actually. Over the month I’d actually taken down her walk time to 15 minutes, but increased to a bit of trotting for 10 seconds 2-3 times in one ride. The second walk of the day would be outside on pavement for 20 minutes. She did pretty well with this – ahhh or so I thought. So far, it seems the stifle is actually fine and all well and good pretty much, but he’s puzzled about why she doesn’t want to bring that RH forward. She walks really well on the street and stumbles a lot more in the arena with that RH. So we decided to inject her stifle with a steroid to help in case there was some build up of arthritis or tenacious inflammation that’s hindering her from wanting to bring that leg forward.
His words were “You’re (Amber) going to drag this out all the way to the end, aren’t you?” and “You’re lucky your mom loves you so much.” Truer words have never been spoken. If that doesn’t describe the both of us to a T I don’t know what does haha.
After walking her Tuesday she looked more comfortable. The steroid helped with the inflammation I think, and she was actually quite willing to bring the leg forward and only had a few bobbles in the arena. I was ready to just go ahead and start the IRAP process if that’d help her feel a lot better. However, the farrier came out Wednesday, and after he pulled her shoes told me to come look at her LH asap.
Amber has a new diagnosis – she has laminitis in her left hind foot. And pretty progressive laminitis at that.
Looking at that foot on Wednesday, and after hearing the farrier say that it looked a lot like a laminitic foot, I knew they were right. I knew it wasn’t anything good. So I scrambled my schedule around and got her in to the clinic on Thursday. I wish I had the x-rays to show you guys (they will hopefully be emailed to me and I’ll post them) but I don’t think she really has more than 5 or so millimeters of sole between the coffin bone and outer sole. At first, after just watching her walk the vet wasn’t convinced. He seemed quite surprised and shocked after seeing the x-rays. (After finding that, all 4 feet were radiographed to make sure they were okay and to get a baseline) I don’t blame him. We both discussed how she doesn’t walk AT ALL like a laminitic horse and unfortunately, her symptoms were believed to be and clouded by the recent surgery to the RH stifle. Because honestly out of most of the symptoms, she really only noticeably did the “reluctant to walk forward” one, and we both just figured it was due to the stifle.
But she wasn’t bringing the RH forward because that would cause her to put weight on her LH toe, and that hurt. For it to be so progressed though means that it’s been building for a while – not just post-surgery. I’m thinking it’s back to when she really injured it – during the show in November. Over the past 8-9 months she’s just been consistently weight bearing on that LH. Either way, as all of you know, this isn’t a good development at all.
So Amber has been taken off of everything – no stretches, no walks, no riding. Just stall rest. She is now wearing some soft ride boots, and by evening, it actually looked like she felt better. She was walking quite a lot more than she has for a while, so I think she’s more comfortable. I sure hope so. I suppose it’s pretty obvious to say that Amber is officially retired. Nothing more for her. The only silver lining I can find at the moment is that it’s a hind foot and not a front foot. Ironically, both the vet and I mentioned how it looks a bit like Barbaro. I only hope it doesn’t develop in any other foot and that we caught it at an okay time.
I’m still going to be following everyone and commenting, but unless there’s an update I’ll probably not blog more than once a week. I still want to get my reviews out and am planning to go back to lessoning hopefully within a few weeks, but it’ll just take time for me to fully process everything and really get a solid outlook on where I want to go from here – be it buying a horse, leasing, or continuing to lesson for a while. Buying is certainly not in the cards yet, but leasing or lessoning are certainly options that I’ll fully decide in the future. Mostly though, I’m just focused on getting Amber as comfortable as we can get her, and hopefully manage this now that we know what it is.
Heat stress or exhaustion or stroke is no joke. As a sufferer of heat stroke myself, I completely understand people’s intolerance of the heat. Especially now that monsoon season came early for Las Vegas (it usually hits around late August/early September), the heat index hasn’t lessened one bit, but the humidity certainly has been on the rise. Usually when it’s 110 outside, the humidity is around 10-12%. Now, it’s 110 outside with 20% humidity and a time of day that usually brings the winds now has practically no breeze. It won’t even get below 100* until about 9 or 10 at night. Mornings are the best time to ride as is usual for most places.
This heat has really been kicking my butt the longer this heat/humidity thing goes on. I know it’s especially unbearable for all of you guys with the temperatures up and the humidity being MUCH greater than 20%. But for me, I can’t ride in the mornings. Most of my work days start at 6 am, so my only option if I want to ride is in the afternoon – when it’s basically hell lol. While it is a question of whether we should even ride when it’s that hot, for me NOT riding isn’t an option. Even though my episode of heat stroke has really affected my heat tolerance now, I know that if I ever plan to show or even manage to just hack around in Vegas, my horse and I HAVE to be able to ride in these extreme temperatures.
So what can we do to beat the intolerable heat this summer seems to have plagued everywhere? I have seen a lot of helpful tips on keeping our equine partners safe and helping them tolerate the heat. But what about YOU – the rider? In my opinion, the rider is absolutely just as important than the horse. Why? Because if I’m not taking care of myself, how can I efficiently and effectively take care of my horse? If I am tired or too hot or dead on my feet I may miss something that I otherwise wouldn’t have had I been feeling better. This may or may not help those of you, but I’d like to share the things I do to help Amber feel as good as she can and how I take care of myself through the hot months.
For the horse:
These tips won’t be anything new than many other articles on helping your horse tolerate the heat, but these are the things I do for Amber (and Whisper too!). First, I always have a full bucket of cool water in the arena. Our bucket in the arena IS in direct sunlight, but we are lucky enough to have our water source come from a well, and the water is nice and cool from underground if we have to dump hot water and refill it. On days when Whisper is working hard, whenever we have a break in “work” I’ll take her over to the water bucket to drink. Even if she doesn’t, it’s still offered and available. Even though Amber and I are just walking, I did this for her last summer when we were in full work, and the girls have gotten very used to drinking water if they’re thirsty. At one point Amber almost dragged be to the bucket after a morning walk!
Second, sometimes I will sponge Amber off before a ride – especially if it’s nice and breezy since that will help her stay cooler. Otherwise I always hose her off afterwards and immediately have a fan on her. The water that runs to our barn is much hotter than the water that goes to the arena – we accidentally miscalculated how deep to dig the trench for the water pipes, so it’s shallower and the water is consequently much hotter. I’ll throw the hose on and let it run for as long as it’ll take me to untack, then hose Amber down. Even if the water is still hotter than I’d like, the fans help to cool off the water on her skin almost immediately (I also always put my hand against her to make sure it feels cool).
Third, both horses are usually fed their grain around noon-ish, and on those hotter than hot days I’ll throw in some electrolytes. They both love the cherry flavored crystal/powder, but some horses won’t eat it and the paste electrolytes are very easy to use as well. There are even ones you can put in their water to encourage them to drink. I personally don’t have a preference of which one works better or whatnot, but I do use the powder since it’s cheaper in the long run and my horse will eat it that way. Whisper does pretty well on the electrolytes that go in the water as well as the powder. As well as electrolytes, if the horses are working very hard I do supplement with magnesium. Amber is a HUGE sweater, and sometimes they can even sweat out magnesium if they sweat hard enough. Magnesium aids in muscle relaxation, and when the horses were in difficult work I noticed the magnesium helped them feel better. This summer, Amber has been in relatively no work, and Whisper light work, so we haven’t been using the magnesium hardly at all.
Fourth – they always have fans on. Our last barn had misters and I’d love to have some misters here AND fans but I don’t know if that’s feasible for us at the moment. Amber loved her misters, and she loves her fans. Always standing in front of at least one of them. Whisper is a funny horse and has 2 16 gallon water buckets – during the heat of the day she drinks the inside bucket and at night she drinks from the outside bucket in her run. Amber only has 1 bucket, but we fill that about 2x a day – that girl certainly drinks! Other than that the girls have been here for a while and are pretty accustomed to the oven-hell that is summer in the desert (altho thankfully it’s not AZ where it’s 123 and your tires blow just from driving over 40 on the road).
So now – on to the rider!
Unfortunately I am……way more high maintenance than Amber haha. But in order for me to stay cool and not have a heat stress headache and regular “blah” feeling, there’s a lot I have to do.
First my clothing. Cooling breeches and shirts are my go-to for summer. I will actually overheat even in a simple T-shirt so I’ve been slowly accruing more and more sunshirts haha. My 3 fav brands are Kerrits, Kastel and Ariat (although my new Noble Outfitters shirt is working its way to the top) – those shirts absolutely keep me the coolest. I wear cooling tech breeches – Ovation Aqua X are my usual go-tos with the Horze Grand Prix breeches coming in a close second. The fabric on those is very similar to the Aqua X and I love them. I even have tech undergarments – Champion c9 sport wicking undies and the Champion c9 sports bras. With my short sleeve tech shirts I wear the Kerrits sleeves and Roeckl chester summer gloves – the mesh on the back of the hand keeps them cool while still having that great Roeckl grip. I also wear the Ovation schooling helmet, which is light blue in color to help reflect the sun and has a LOT of vents to help keep my head cool.
One of the most difficult things about summer in the desert is that your sweat evaporates almost immediately. A lot of the cooling clothing uses your own sweat so that a breeze catches it and cools your skin. Because of this, I have to “make my own sweat” if you will. I will actually hose myself down – my arms, chest, upper back, neck and head. My head does sweat, but by adding the extra water and making it extra damp, it ensures that the breeze going through the vents of my helmet helps keep my brain cooler. I probably look like a wet rat but hey – I’m a lot cooler haha.
While the clothing helps, it’s what I put into my body that does the most. Dizziness is one of the first signs for me that my body is feeling the heat, so I try to keep an eye out on that. Gatorade-water or smart/electrolyte water works the best for me. I usually buy the mid-size G2s and grab a large water jug and pour it in with some ice. I’ll put one or two in there depending on the size. Once the Gatorade fills the jug half-way, I fill the rest with water. With the Gatorade this way, I am not suddenly throwing a high volume of electrolytes into my body and throwing it off. It replenishes my body slowly, and I am also getting water at the same time. It lessens the too-sweet taste as well but is still tasty enough for me to want to drink it to help myself drink. I usually do this even though I also really like the Smart/electrolyte water. The Gatorade is a bit cheaper and I can make “twice as much” when I’m mixing it.
Next is blood sugar. I get very dizzy, extremely lethargic and very cotton-mouthed when my blood sugar starts to dip down too much. This also makes me even more susceptible to heat stress, so I’m always bringing food with me. When I worked at a barn during the summer as a teenager in high school, I was pretty ignorant about the heat in terms of stress/exhaustion/stroke. However, I was out there usually from 5 in the morning to around noon-ish, and learned that packing myself food helped me a LOT. So I’d pack myself a giant jug of water, some type of fruit that was juicy but also had natural sugars (watermelon is my fav for that), an energy/protein shake and a Gatorade. The protein shake provided energy and calories, but wasn’t a heavy food in my stomach like a sandwich or even a salad. Not a lot of that has changed now haha. Watermelon is great because it’s very watery, not too sweet, but can help raise your blood sugar when you’re feeling faint. I don’t need the energy or protein shakes anymore since I am not outside for 7-ish hours – usually around 2-3 hours at the barn now. I’ve changed the shakes to a small gel pack that I’d throw in a cooler when we boarded elsewhere, and that I keep in the freezer now that we have the horses at the house. I will periodically grab the pack and place it on my head as I’m finishing up at the barn. Since my hair is still wet from water and sweat, the gel pack immediately cools it and REALLY cools off my brain to prevent the headaches and heat stress.
I’ve come to recognize the signs my body tries to tell me about how well I’m dealing with the heat. My head is a big factor for me – even just a little bit of overheating or not doing all of these steps sometimes and I get a horrible headache. Dizziness or being slightly faint clues me in that I’m not doing enough, and that if I don’t do something soon, I’ll have to go through cold showers and ice packs to get my body temperature down ASAP. Most of the time though I’ll just feel a bit out of breath because the heat is sapping my energy, but I’m usually doing what I need to so I don’t feel dizzy or faint.
All of this allows me to cope with the heat the best way I can, and to also feel as good as I can so I can take care of my horse. It’s a bit tough to keep track of it all, but I’ve gotten into a rhythm with it that it really doesn’t take me too long to prepare any of these things. Plus, if it helps me avoid the ER to get more fluids than I’m all for it haha!
I’m looking into grabbing one of these from RW too. It’ll probably dry out very quickly since the evaporation is so high here, but it might be just what I need to keep my core temperature even cooler! I’m usually pretty good for the majority of rides – it’s closer to when I’m done and finishing up that I need extra help in keeping my body temperature down. We’ll see how it goes!
What about you guys? How do you guys keep yourself cool in the dead of summer? What do you do to combat the heat stress for both you and your horse?
Happy Friday everyone! I’ve been pretty silent this week, but busy + not much to say = no posts haha. Amber and I continue to chug away at our walking and stretching and she’s looking promising again so I hope our vet appointment can coincide with her looking good instead of bad again haha. I’ve been hand walking her a lot due to the fact that I can get her to walk just that little bit faster with a lot less pressure or push than if I were riding. Plus, it gets me out and walking too and it’s a good way for me to see how she’s stepping. I’ve been having her walk over the uneven footing more, and power up and down a few more inclines every few days or so. I think it’s helping, but we’ll see.
The other day though I took her to an area near a house with the miniest ditch possible, just to step over it as something “different” to do and it may as well have been the Mariana Trench for Amber haha! It was seriously maybe 6 inches wide at most and 6 inches deep. The funny thing is she actually started out walking over it. Aaaaaand miscalculated where she put her foot so it slipped a bit. Well then the only other way was to LEAP SO DRAMATICALLY over the little thing. I probably shouldn’t have laughed, but I was about dying because she was also trying to leap on 3 legs. So we walked back and forth until she paid attention to where her feet were and walked over the thing. By the end we were walking over the smallest part possible which was still about 6 inches wide but 2 inches deep. I was just shaking my head laughing at her. The video above was taken the next day, after I’d determined that we’d walk over it again – calmly this time. She did but not without some snorts lol. I know she also desperately wants to run and play, and probably has quite a bit of energy which is why she was leaping the previous day. I can’t wait to see her happily run and play and buck once she’s really healing.
I hope everyone has a horsey-filled weekend!
Just as a HUGE note before anyone gets too far in this – this is a video on preparing to show your horse for Reining.
With that out of the way, it’s still just a super cool, fantastic video about what a trainer does to get his horse ready for the show pen. This video was a clinic put on at a show in Arizona (I believe) with reining trainer Andrea Fappani. There are a few concepts that I’ve taken and used when I was still working with reining horses, and it really is fascinating (to me at least lol) to get into the head of a trainer and hear what he expects and how he corrects the behavior he doesn’t want. Personally, I don’t think it matters whether you ride jumpers or trail ride – the information is just really cool to see some of the facets of training for reining. Re-watching it again really makes me miss reining. It IS an exciting sport!
Be prepared – the video is an hour and a half long. Not sure if anyone is wanting to tune in to the video that long, but the riding/teaching really starts more around 5:30 to 6 minutes. Even 4 years after initially watching it, I STILL go back and watch it lol. So if you’re interested, please have fun watching! Plus, that Arabian stallion is TO DIE FOR. SO PRETTY. Also, I’m totally running out of content to post haha!
So I’ve officially ridden in the new dressage saddle for a few weeks now, and I have to say – I never thought I’d see the day I’d not only have a dressage saddle on Amber, but that I’d also ever even OWN a dressage saddle. Then again, I never thought I’d really be into eventing so I suppose the never-thought-I’d-see-the-day point is moot? haha
But just a little fun backstory: it has been no secret for those people that have been around us for more than a few years that my mom and I dislike dressage. At one point it was a very intense dislike that you could really equate to hate. We swore we would never ever ever ever…..EVER ride dressage (ha ha, oops. sorry, mom). Interestingly enough, the dislike began with the popularity of Rolkur, and we hadn’t known what it was at the time and just agreed we disliked that way of going.
It has been amusing though on this journey of jumping into eventing because my poor mom is trying to be supportive but every time we talk about dressage her nose wrinkles a bit. (And then she gets really worried about me going on cross country lol) Except when I was showing her a few clips of good dressage stuff. She likes it then. But she sort of sighs every time dressage is brought up. It’s really been funny because she wants to be supportive – she really does – she is just not a fan of it. Which I totally understand and is perfectly okay, and still makes me chuckle. So that makes it even more amusing to me that she actually advised me to get this saddle since it was a killer price and everything I was looking for for Amber.
Can you believe that?! I couldn’t at first haha.
Also, I’ve come to find I actually like dressage.
I know. BLASPHEMY haha. When it comes to training horses though, I’m very cerebral, and I like to look at all moving parts and figure out what works best for which horse and why. So dressage training correctly makes a whole lot of sense to me. It’s helped me formulate a better idea of the concepts I’ve been working on with Whisper and transferring that knowledge in a way that makes sense to my mom.
But that’s something that I love doing and why I’ve loved learning so many different horse riding disciplines. After riding reiners there are some training concepts that help exponentially as I’ve been moving to dressage. Western pleasure concepts have helped create awesome, sharp slow downs on reiners. Learning the bit of dressage I have on Amber has helped me better communicate the lope to Whisper. You never know what concept from what discipline will aid you and your horse in the learning process, so I love learning all the things. As fascinating as dressage is for me, I couldn’t do it as the only discipline I rode, which is why I think eventing will be for me. You’re constantly improving at 3 completely separate disciplines, and that is even better to me because you get to learn all the things of three different things all at the same time lol.
So, back on topic of the dressage saddle I never thought I’d have. I was wanting a brown saddle, but I am not even upset. I thought I would be, but I’m sure it’s because I really like everything about this saddle so far. I maaaayyyyybbbee could use a half size bigger since it’s only a 17″ (but supposed to also cover to 17.5″) but I think the true 18″ would be too big. I love the way my western saddle hugs me in the seat, and I wanted to find a dressage saddle with that exact feel since I can sit Amber well in my western saddle. I also feel so much better in this saddle. When Amber was giving me little trots here and there on our way back to the barn during our walks for a bit, it was ridiculous how easy it helped me just sit there and be in the perfect spot. The trot that was SO HARD to sit in the jump saddle was so much easier in this saddle. It really lets my leg hang down, and I’d find that no matter how hard I tried to sit up and let my legs drop, my jump saddle would push me back a little and let my thighs come up. Which, well, it’s supposed to because it’s an eventing saddle. It’s perfect for that, but I feel like I can actually sit WITH Amber in this, like I could go back to riding with the Master Dressage videos I followed and be able to do all of this. I have noticed that I have a tendency to tip forward though, and I know that’s from compensating for my jump saddle and then just my natural tendency from riding hunters as a kid. So I’ve been working hard on sitting straight and making that a habit as Amber and I walk. The thigh blocks aren’t too big either which I’ve worried about that since it’s always been hard for me to sit like you need to in a dressage saddle (working on my hip flexors has helped immensely tho).
Once I sit correctly, the saddle feels like this wonderful glove that just holds me there, and I really like the way I sit in it. The best thing? It’s already broken in. It feels wonderful and is starting to feel like home to me. The good thing is that it fits Amber pretty damn perfectly. I found it interesting that the day I was trying on the Lund breastplate she ground her teeth when I put the jump saddle on. Dressage saddle got no such reaction. Pretty sure she likes it. The only sad thing is that I’ve been keeping my black stirrup leathers I bought originally for my jump saddle – holding out JUST in case the dressage saddle I bought was black. Sure enough it is, it’s just that….well….I underestimated that dressage wants a REALLY LONG leg haha. I have those leathers on holes 3 and 2 1/2 and here I was thinking I had short legs and the 53″ would work lol. Turns out I have very normal legs when it comes to nylon lined stirrups – I’m used to the unlined ones so they’ve always really stretched out. Which means I’ll HAVE to get new stirrup leathers sometime in the future and Lund has some great ones so….twist my arm for that, right? Haha!
It’s been difficult to keep a healthy mentality through Amber’s surgery and recovery. As positive as I am in a lot of my posts, it’s been very tough not to get down by the whole thing, especially since the vet and I agreed that she wasn’t where we were hoping. I worry a lot about her and how well she’ll recover.
I’ve been super lucky with the people around me, supporting me in hoping for the best possible outcome, but also being realistic with me that it may come down to where she can’t do much anymore. At this point though, I don’t know what else to do to help her. I guess slogging through for a month doing stretches and continuing to walk until her next check up is what we have to do, but…..it’s been difficult to be positive. And I know I don’t have to be on here, and that we all understand that negativity that seeps into your gut like acid and you start second guessing everything.
But I dislike being negative in my posts. I feel this blog is one of my only avenues where I don’t feel I have to focus on negative things because I don’t really want to. As much as I am usually a positive person, it’s also because I can be very cynical and negative. I have a huge tendency to be way too hard on myself and focus on what went wrong instead of what went right and giving myself a break for being human. I don’t want to be that person who always says it’s sunshine and rainbows when it’s not, because it’s never always sunshine and rainbows. Most of the time, it’s not Amber or Whisper that made the ride bad but me. Not necessarily what I could/couldn’t do or did/didn’t do through the ride but my mentality. My own speed bumps that I have to get over. Sometimes, it’s absolutely not me and I can recognize that. So if it’s my fault, I won’t say much about it because my brain is already trying to spiral it down. But I also feel such joy whenever I’m around horses that I also can’t not be happy for just riding. I know if Amber and I can kick this thing and be able to do a bit of eventing, we’re going to have speed bumps. Those certainly won’t be sugarcoated, but I’m still going to try my hardest to recognize and focus on the positives because we’re all human – we make mistakes and we learn and progress through those mistakes. I want to try to acknowledge those and be determined to fix them, but at the same time I want to move on from them and focus on what was good.
These past 7 weeks after surgery have been trying on me mentally, wondering and not knowing and taking it day by day. I am sad and disappointed and most days at a loss, but I’m also grateful to be able to ride her, grateful that nothing that could’ve gone wrong happened to her. It’s a weird place to be in mentally but day by day, hour by hour right? The blogger community has been great in its support for me and Amber, and I love you guys for that. It’s been wonderful to be able to live vicariously through everyone, even if I do feel a pang of envy every now and then because I want to be out there with you guys sharing the experiences. I am truly happy for everyone, and your posts help keep me going and connected, and so many of you have come so far in even just the short time I’ve been following everyone that I love it. I love so much that the eventer community is focused on building people up and being supportive. It’s one of the biggest reasons I was drawn to eventing besides the promise of galloping (okay Amber and I would be cantering VERY FAST lol) cross country.
I don’t know how college me did this with Amber’s initial knee surgery. I knew I was a mess and I did what I could every day, but as far as the emotional struggle of watching Amber recover I just don’t remember that as much. But I have a feeling it’s worse this time not only because it’s a stifle, but also because at that point, she’d only been officially mine for 3 months and I’d only worked with her just short of a year. She’s now been mine for 6 years, and we’ve been through training struggles, tears and frustration, saddle issues and bit issues and sooooo much stubbornness from the both of us learning together and me dragging the poor thing wherever I went and lots of personal growth that she forced me through. I certainly love this lazy pocket rocket a lot more now than I did then. She is my heart and soul.
So I try to be positive on the blog. And I suppose it’s not a “sunshine and rainbows” positive, but really much more of a tenaciously positive drive. Amber did it once, and completely blew away the vets. So we can do it again. And it was so helpful to get encouragement not only from all of you bloggers (also big thanks to you Olivia for your comment about Eugene and his stifle!) but also from a good friend of mine who works in my tack shop. She’s so knowledgeable about horses, and was so caring and understanding even though I chatted with her past the time the store was supposed to be closing. Her horse somehow got a leg over the divider in a trailer and damaged his stifle very badly so she had such a long haul rehabbing him, but they were able to get back to their jumper competitions. It was really just the long back and forth chat I really needed to get myself to buck up and get my tenacity back. Care that Amber is hurting – yes. Even when she wrinkles her nose at me and gives me a spectacular glare and teeth grind. Because what hurts me the most is she never tells me no. She just lets me know it hurts, but this mare pretty much does anything I ask her. It’d be easier if she lashed out. But she doesn’t. So I stuff her face with treats. She gets stretched 4 times a day, and that will soon increase as each stretch will earn a treat instead of each part of the stretch. She REALLY looks forward to that now thank goodness. I can feel the leg getting better too, so that helps my hopeful tenacity to keep going, even if Amber gimps and gimps and I throw my hands up in frustration. Sometimes tho, I honestly think she exaggerates or does it on purpose to get my sympathy. It’s her face that gives her away. I read it pretty well now. HORSE YOU CANNOT LIE TO ME. Okay so she totally still outsmarts me – like she started offering a bit of trot and I thought “wow! she’s feeling better!” and goodness no she just wanted to get back to the freaking barn. womp womp lol
I know once I get over this hump it’ll be fine and I’ll probably look back and think “what was I worried about?” but it is certainly not any easier. It’s just going to be a long process. There are a few things I have in mind that I’ll try for the next week and see how it goes. I know I’ve said this a lot recently, but I just want to reiterate it and say thanks. Thanks everyone for listening. Thank you everyone for understanding. Thank you for supporting me from afar. I really love our blogger community.
It feels like I got a heap of stuff around the same time. Which is pretty true and absolutely awesome. My tack ho heart is happy. It’s like Christmas in the middle of July…….or end of June, but close enough lol. Most of it is coincidence that it all arrived at the same time, and one was an actual buy recently. Tack ho win, right?! So, shall we get on with it? Because things!
As you guys know, I received my Cambox Isi3 last week. So far, it’s been a lot of fun to mess around with. New gadgets are always fun for me to play with and figure out new things, but after working on the helmet cam for about 30 or so minutes (this included interruptions at work since I took it to work with me lol) it was…..really simple. I was done figuring it out. It was really quite easy. Then of course, it just took a while to REMEMBER what every button activated and how long I had to hold the button down for to activate those different things. Still, pretty simple. (The video is sped up so hopefully it’s not too boring with us just walking lol)
I’m loving being able to test things out on my phone and download the videos straight to my phone. It’s not really a needed feature for me personally, so perhaps the 2 would’ve been fine for me. What I really love is the 720p at 60 fps. Higher than the 2 and better video quality. Which I prefer. So there we go. I DEFINITELY have to get a bigger SD card tho if I want more/longer videos. I got three 3 minute videos, and that took up about all of the space on the 16gb SD card it came with. But, since I’m not doing anything really NEEDING video footage at the moment, it can wait.
The only thing that is a little disappointing about it for now is that my Ovation helmet’s brim is too small to fit the whole Velcro sticky thing on it. It hangs off a little bit, but not in any danger of the camera coming off. It still works, but since my brim also sort of points down, the camera doesn’t quite get any horizon for right now. Which is all fixable. I’ve been going back and forth between the new EQ3 MIPS helmet and the IRH navy helmet I tried a while ago that fit my head perfectly. But omg no more things for right now. That’ll either be a Black Friday purchase or a helmet awareness purchase. Now I at least also know to compare the brims to make sure my Cambox will fit haha.
Second, if you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that I received my Lund Saddlery pledge items.
I had only pledged reins for the Kickstarter in December 2017, but due to orders being late they threw in a freebie which was absolutely amazing of them to do (one of the reasons they’re one of my fav companies now – their customer service is top notch!). One of the options was a 5pt breastplate, and I chose that one since I’ve been wanting to try that out and see not only how it would fit Amber, but also how it would work with all of our stuff – especially now since her jump saddle is a little big for her and needs help staying forward. I am absolutely in love with it so far. I am super stoked about this deal haha. Also just realized I don’t have a close-up of the reins, but I will do a review of the tack for sure once I’ve had it/used it for a longer period of time.
But the tack pieces made it to me on Monday! I was very excited to see how it fit and how it looked on the horses. I think I had way too much fun trying that 5 point on Amber. I even put it on Whisper and she was not pleased with me haha. But just with all of Lund’s other products, it’s beautifully made and the leather is top-notch Sedgewick. Plus, it looks good on both girls. If I can pad up my jump saddle enough the breastplate will be perfect to help it stay forward but also just to have it for funsies as Amber and I start riding on our outside walks. Ohhh maybe I can try it on Liam whenever I next have a lesson….
And third, there was a bigger reason I cleaned up the tack room other than it needed it: I did a thing (yes another one)(and tack ho’ed hard)(and this is why I can’t buy another helmet).
Yup, that’s what you think it is. It’s a dressage saddle. I was not going to buy a saddle for a while – like months a while. I had no plans as of yet to make the purchase. I’ve been going back and forth with what I want for Amber, even considering other brands and getting a full custom saddle because I worry a lot about how comfortable she is even though those are out of my budget. But I kept coming back to Prestige. I know the size and shape of their trees that fit Amber so I wouldn’t have so much guesswork as I would with another brand. Plus, Prestige trees are adjustable, and I need that as Amber recovers and starts developing more muscle. So I kept an “update me when things are posted with this tag” on Facebook so I could see what people were selling and get a good idea of price ranges and the saddles that were out there. And this one came up. This saddle was a killer deal, too. I’ve realized that most killer deals I find are when I’m not looking, and sure enough, this one popped up.
So I hemmed and I hawed even though the deal was spectacular. I really wasn’t planning on buying a dressage saddle yet. For a long time, I was still thinking I’d grab new because the price for Prestige was pretty reasonable and I’d get all the specs Amber and I needed and wanted. This saddle was the absolute opposite – an older model, used but definitely well-loved. I liked everything about it. It really looked perfect. I contacted my friend who knows a lot about the saddles as she owns Prestige jump and dressage saddles too, and asked her what she thought. She couldn’t find anything wrong with it either.
It’s going to sound super weird, but I dunno I just felt like this saddle called to me. The lady was really nice and I could really tell she loved the saddle and was disappointed to be selling it. She took absolutely immaculate care of it. (I contacted her after putting it on Amber and sitting in it and telling her I also loved it. She seemed very relieved) Also, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that maybe this would be a good purchase. Amber is showing A LOT of improvement despite being a bit ouchie only the past few days. Her jump saddle doesn’t fit her anymore, and I haven’t wanted to get it adjusted smaller yet – I’m holding out on her being sound and fitter before starting jumping and it might fit again after that time. I’m okay with riding in my western saddle, but I still want to do English. I’ve been really missing it. And when Amber does start progressing further, I want to start with dressage. I want to start with that strength training. Even though I’m dedicated to rehabbing Amber slowly and methodically, she’s been healing consistently well, and I have had to start going outside the box to help her continue to improve.
Also, she knows the difference between her western and English tack, that smart girl. I want her to know that English is forward, and I want to help her stay forward to continue using that hind leg. So, I pulled the trigger. It is black, and I was hoping for brown, but I’m not upset by it. My PS of Sweden bridle is such a dark brown that it really all looks the same from farther away (although that Lund Bridle is AWFULLY tempting. Maybe Christmas present to me? lol). I’ll hopefully have a fitter out soon to have it looked at and make sure it fits her as well as I think it does. I mean, I shoved my hand down the channel and it seemed to flow along her back in every spot – no half pad even needed.
So far, I’ve only had a few rides in it, and it didn’t move on her back at ALL and the girth wasn’t even as tight as it could be. I’m mildly freaking out about adjusting things for this unexpected expense, but I’m also excited too. I mean who wouldn’t be – it’s a new saddle right? haha. But I think it’ll be good for the both of us and thankfully, my jump pads work well for now. Also, this may be a dressage saddle, but holy crap I haven’t realized how deep of a heartgirth this mare has. I don’t think she’ll ever be below a size 28″ in girths no matter how much weight she loses lol.
What do you guys think? How do you like it on Amber? Does she look like a proper dressage horse now? Probably not LOL. How about a proper event horse? Or maybe jumper since all I have are the open front boots? lol
Since I got off work early yesterday, it completely worked out since the vet showed up around 1 pm. Unfortunately, it’s not the verdict we were hoping for. Not the end of the world, but certainly not where she could be. As sad as I was that she still seemed to retain her soreness from the previous late afternoon, I thought it was good because Dr W could see her on a bad day. Personally, my mom and I think she tweaked something getting up from a nap or maybe something startled her (it is 4th of July and people do set off fireworks before that but she’s usually fine with them so….? Basically we have no idea LOL)
But it seems that there was more soft tissue damage than we originally thought. Which is not the end of the world by any means, but we were all hoping she’d look better at almost 8 weeks post surgery. It was heartening to know that other horses looked as bad as she did at this time, but progressed very well by 6-9 months. So that’s our new recovery time.
Thankfully, he also likes that I’ve been riding her outside, going up and down small inclines and increasing her time to 25 minutes. But, we’re going to keep it at 25 minutes and perhaps ease up just a tiny bit. In this she may be a slow healer, or just needs more time initially than others. We have options to inject her stifle to get some more fluid in there, consider IRAP some more, but as of right now we’re sticking to what we’ve been doing and another check up will be in a month to see where we are with that.
Not the answers we were hoping for, but I’m not too disheartened. She’d been doing so well previously that we do think she strained something somehow, so I only walked her once yesterday. She was pretty sore after the vet visited and showed me some more stretches for her, so I decided to take it easy. She was certainly not herself and meandered VERY slowly outside with a few bobbles. But she still had her ears up and was happy to be out.
So, another month and we’ll see. Thank you so much everyone for all the good thoughts you’ve sent our way! We appreciate them!
Happy 4th everyone!
It’s no question – Amber walks so much better outside of the arena than she does inside. Mostly I think that has to do with the fact that in the arena she has to actually lift her leg higher than she wants to or thinks she can at this point in time. It’s just so much easier outside walking on the pavement – she’ll walk herself and she really just enjoys it out there. I really have to push her so much in the arena, and I’m honestly afraid that if I have to do that too much she’ll start grinding her teeth and feeling like a sack of potatoes and not wanting to walk forward again. I REALLY don’t like doing that. Occasionally I’ve had to push her forward, and most of the time she’ll go, but if she doesn’t think she can it’s like she’s stubbing her toe constantly until I REALLY make her go and then she picks it up for a few strides. When I praise her, she collapses back to a “I can’t do this” walk.
Yesterday evening’s ride was not good. Not in the sense that she was bad in any way, but her stifle was either hurting her a lot or just super stiff. She was extremely short and off in the little time we spent in the arena, and then even still just not really herself when we were out on the pavement. I am very disheartened that she suddenly seemed to go back yesterday. She was also really sore on it – not wanting to put a lot of weight on it. I’m hoping it was just a bad day type thing.
So, short of stretching her leg myself and walking outside, I’m at a bit of a loss of how else to help her. Thankfully, Dr. W will be coming by this afternoon to give her her post-surgery eval. Hopefully we can come up with some other things to do and where we need to go.
But I’ve started riding her again. We’ve gone outside on the pavement all of those days, and I was a little worried we’d revert back to her worried attitude before. She was very uncomfortable the first day I rode her outside, really listening to Whisper calling, but when we made it to the end of one street I hopped off and had her stretch for treats. That seemed to be just what she needed to help her reset and understand that things were okay and treats were to be had away from Whisper. I found a hump to get back on but it was certainly awkward managing that.
We proceeded to walk back to the property and she breathed deeply and walked nicely. I gave her many pats and I breathed a sigh of relief. The second time outside was definitely better, but she was still a bit unsure. We stopped a bit, let her breathe, and then continued. We still stuck to just the street and a little bit past it just like I did in the beginning so it becomes routine for her. The next time I rode was Sunday night after my trip, and this was by far our most challenging outside ride but also most rewarding. She was a little unsure but willing to go just a bit farther again on the end streets. When we turned down the scary corridor (goats, big oleanders) the wind picked up a lot. It was causing something in our neighbor’s yard to make noise, and Amber REALLY didn’t like that she couldn’t see what was making the noise. Plus, another neighbor was walking their dog (it’s blind, and mostly deaf) and I didn’t want Amber to get near the dog and the dog to start barking wondering what Amber was, not to mention Whisper was calling frantically and it just looked like it could turn into something much worse. So I turned Amber as quietly as I could and honestly it felt a bit dicey for a few seconds. I already dislike walking a horse with shoes on pavement because of slipping. Amber was ready to bolt, and even hunkered down for a second. Even though I was nervous and she was too, she was a superstar. She walked out, being very careful until we were out of the corridor and back on the main street. I praised her a lot, and she was quickly back to her old self. We went again to the end of the street, a little farther onto the connecting street, and then still had 5 minutes. So, I figured we’d try the scary street again.
She was still very uncertain, but willing. Yet a quick stop/chat with the owners of said neighbor house really helped her settle. The other neighbor and her dog were gone, and so Amber carefully made her way over to the goats. We stopped and sniffed them (she really seems to love them) then calmly turned around and walked back out without issue. I was super pleased with how she handled it – especially that there was no accident on the pavement and that she kept her head and that no treats were needed during the ride! She got LOTS of face loves though. I’m still going to take it slow, but it looks like we’re well on our way to doing just as well riding outside as we were hand-walking. She doesn’t seem to see these rides separated from Whisper as being very bad anymore, so we’re going to keep plugging away at them. I’m just really hoping that yesterday evening’s ride won’t be normal. The only good thing was that when I was stretching that leg after the ride, her lip was going in her usual “this feels so amazing” camel lip. So uh….?
Hopefully, the vet has good things to say about her recovery and we’re on our way to keep going. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
It is needed. We are all so tired and sore haha. But it was so worth it!
We went out on the Colorado River and had a great time with the jet skis, the river was perfectly cold for the crazy hot day; and while we were there we ate twice our weight in food and drank just as much lol. Overall, it was a fabulous weekend.
But really, as fun as the trip was it still doesn’t compare to being home and seeing the world through this pair of ears ❤ . Even though I didn’t have much time for anything else other than what we were doing, I still missed her. Also, if you listen hard enough, you can hear how even her steps are sounding!
Amber has them. I love that about her. It makes training her much easier than a few other horses I’ve worked with. Plus, she wants to do things for you, so that makes it even better. But there’s no doubt this girl is smart. And unfortunately, TOO SMART at times.
Like being lame just because she doesn’t want to actually walk. And freaking us out in the process.
Because she has been walking phenomenally this whole week with morning and evening walks being outside.
We stop to smell the roses (or goats in this instance).
And half of the time I have to still make her walk because she’s also smart enough to try to put in only THIS MUCH EFFORT if more isn’t needed.
She’s overdue for her post-surgery check-up, but my poor vet was injured in something horse-related, so he’s been out for a little bit and can hopefully see her within the next week or so.
As unfortunate as surgery was the first time she was injured, it’s helped me a lot with this one. With the heat, the majority of her time is spent standing, which allows the leg to get very stiff. The past few days she’s been on 1 gram of bute a day so that she feels okay when walking (she was pinning her ears back and just generally looking really uncomfortable and has since been a lot more willing to walk once we did this).
So Tuesday night I started raising her walk time. She now walks 25 minutes in the evening but keeps the 20 in the morning. Part of that is just that there’s only so early I can go out and walk around outside when I need to be at work at 6 am. Mostly though, when she started walking, I’d up one time, leave that for 4 days to a week, then up the next one. With her walk improving and my vet not being able to assess her yet, I figured more walking certainly couldn’t hurt. The stifle improves with more walking anyway, so now I have her out in an area where she’ll actually walk and walk for a fair amount. So her evening walks will probably be 25 minutes until the weekend or so and then her morning walk time will increase as well. Hopefully by the weekend or the start of next week I can take her down to 1 gram of bute every other day.
She also is smart enough to know when 20 minutes is over. So yeah let’s start making that longer lol.
She got her feet done yesterday and did really well! I was relieved that she was actually able to put a fair amount of weight on that right hind! I was also super pleased that the new farrier was very understanding and careful with Amber due to her recent surgery. Plus, I think her feet look great. So far, I’m liking the new farrier!
Today I’ll be heading down to Laughlin for a mini-staycation with my sis, so my mom has kindly agreed to walk Amber for me for the 2 days I’m gone. It’s a break well-needed but I am disappointed to leave Amber for a bit since she’s been walking so well. I’m really enjoying the morning and evening walks – just peaceful time spent with the pony. I think she enjoys it too, though she really wonders why we couldn’t just be eating.
Happy Weekend everyone!
Usually, I am not into bribery. I dislike always giving horses cookies for things. I would like a horse to go into the trailer, stand still tied, do the work they were asked, or mostly anything else because I asked them to do so. I think those expectations make for a solid equine citizen. But lately, that has certainly been changing. Since moving the horses to the barn at the house, I’ve been using treats for a lot of things – stretches, Whisper getting nervous and the treats helping her, giving them to Amber in her grain because she was a good girl or lately – giving them to Amber when she is a good, calm girl.
Which, yes she is a good, calm girl 99% of the time. But the other day as we were walking outside, the horses (a neighbor close by has 3-4 horses) started calling and calling and people were unpacking their car and the oleander bushes were waving in the breeze and looked like a solid wall and Amber just COULD NOT. She was snorting, jigging, letting her butt off the ground but thankfully not kicking, and would not settle. All of this stuff individually usually doesn’t bother her. But together, on that night, it just wasn’t happening. So I walked her a few circles, and once we were past that street she was fine.
That ride a while back where we were doing okay and then Whisper called and it all went downhill has still been firmly in my mind. While Amber used to be marvelous on the trail, Whisper hasn’t ever called before either. It was one of my biggest reasons for starting her walks outside. I can have a controlled outing, make it a lot more routine and hopefully have these outings be fun again for Amber instead of her worrying where Whisper is and not focusing on me at all. I didn’t want another day like that, so I let go of the jigging and Amber being upset, and wracked my brain for something when I came up with treats. When Amber can’t see Whisper is also when she gets very upset, so that’s why for the first few days I kept her walking with Whisper in sight. Then she seemed to get bored fast, so we went down that new street and she was not happy. So I packed a baggy full of apple slices, and first thing we walked down that street until it met the next one. OF COURSE she was fine, but at the end, I still gave her a piece of apple. I made her stretch for it, and then at the scariest part of the street near our neighbor’s goats she got another treat to stretch for. When she tried to really push up the slight incline of the street, I gave her another treat.
OMG MAGIC. This, by the way, for timeline’s sake, was Saturday evening.
So then my mom and I noticed that Amber continuously shortened her stride, and almost refused to go forward when I’d walk her in the morning around the arena or when we’d turn her out. She was pretty much limping, and just felt very apathetic. Then in the evening, she walked happily outside. I was on the verge of calling the vet before I thought to maybe walk her outside of the arena morning AND evening. So Sunday morning, I immediately took her out of her stall and straight to the street. She really labored at first like we were going to the arena, and I had to get after her a bit because really, horse can walk on her own 4 feet and I know she’s not dead lame right now because she walks fine when on the pavement.
And what do you know? She walked just fine in the morning. I took her to the arena for the last few minutes and we walked over poles and she was great at that. She then walked better in turnout as we give her hay in piles strewn about the arena to make her walk to each of them since we don’t have grass. Then she walked well in the evening too and I tried some more treat magic. She was WAY more focused on me – she could smell her apple treats and kept her nose near my pockets and consistently touched and breathed on my hand in her way of saying TREATS NOW MA. A quick poke to the nose and she walked politely next to me after that. (Not that she wasn’t initially polite but I really do not want a nippy horse so it’s preventive).
Monday morning before work, I got her out again with a few treats in a baggy. I wasn’t planning on walking farther, but we managed to visit another area that had been scary and was only a little bit further than before, and she got a treat for remaining calm and keeping it together – which there really was nothing to keep together. She just walked, was super chill, and looked very happy to be out and have her brain stimulated. I almost gave her another cookie in the “scary” part of the street with the trees and goats because horses started calling, but her only response was her head lifted a fraction and she breathed deeper. So I gave her many pets but we kept going. By that time our 20 minutes was almost up, so we walked back to the barn. She walked better over the bit of rocks, and really tried to push up the small incline going up to her stall. So she got a cookie for trying hard up the hill, and then the last cookie I’d brought once she was in her stall. Last night, we even managed to go all the way around in one of our previous walk routes and she was foot perfect.
So. Cookies. Magic. Especially for a horse that is food-motivated the cookies were perfect. I just didn’t want her to have a bad experience like that last time. Plus, if cookies can help give us really positive experiences when scratches and pets aren’t enough – that standing still and stretching in a “scary spot” or “away from Whisper” is wanted behavior instead of us potentially having a fight we shouldn’t have – then I am all for it. Slowly, I’m hoping to wean her back off of the treats, but I’m not in any hurry. If I have to continue them when we finally manage to ride outside, then that’s okay. I know she won’t always need treats because the walk yesterday was great and she only got 1 treat on the actual walk portion. It does help that we’re making things routine. When I go off routine and introduce something new (which it really isn’t, she’s seen it all before but time away makes it new, right? lol) she tends to get very unsure, especially if Whisper is calling, so being armed with treats should really help.
I also find it funny because she’s realizing when she tries hard up inclines or over poles (I’ll start the over poles rewards soon) she gets a cookie. Because hey, if mare won’t do it for herself and I’m not about to force her to do it so she hates it, and treats make it a lot better then I’m going to be buying treats and stuffing her face with them to give her more incentive to work harder haha.
What about you guys? Do you use treats to help you start something or do you prefer not to treat at all?
Amber and Whisper are pretty broke. Whisper is a bit la-la-la on trail and saunters and moseys along, and Amber is more like “OMG this is SOOOOO exciting” and kind of powerwalks and looks at everything. She’s such a curious soul, but it’s one of the things I love most about her because it makes her brave. (Plus if she looks too scared, I’ll back her away from it and then she’s like “I do not back away from things; now I MUST see what this is!”) She also knows that if something confuses her, I will let her look for as long she wants to figure it out but sanity must be retained.
This happened the other day. The neighbors had a little road racer (no freaking idea if that’s what it was – some cart-racing-box-looking-thingy that looks like the Mario Kart carts lol) at the same time that Amber spotted something different across the way.
She’s fine with carts, but I started to get cautious. Girl hasn’t done more than a walk in weeks, been on alfalfa (granted only a flake a day but still), and I’m on her with only a bareback pad strap and mane to hold should she decide to be silly. She was just staring at the doors and tires across the street, and I could just feel that happy reserve start to head to the top. This is another thing I love about Amber. She’s not spooky, has hardly ever spooked badly when I’m on, and when she does spook it’s the whole body jolt and all four legs plant type of spook. Also, if she isn’t startle-spooked you know when the spook is coming. You can feel it. She stares and blows and you know if something else comes up that just maybe we have a spook on our hands. Which is like, head shake, grunts and a teensy leap. Very tame lol.
Most of the time, if I’m bareback I just don’t want to slip off. This time I wasn’t worried about me coming off, and felt quite stable when the cart gunned up and Amber did a WEE and I was like please dear god no do NOT ruin your surgery! And it was over in 2 seconds. She had a hump, a sassy head shake, and I said whoa and then she kept walking at her saunter. I just chuckled after. She gave it the hairy eyeball for a few passes, so we stayed away from it and she didn’t even notice the doors or tires the next time I walked her. Wild and crazy this one lol.
I just love how broke these 2 horses are, but it’s been difficult to know what to do. I know she’s dead bored in the arena. There’s only so much you can do to stimulate a brain when you’re walking for 20 minutes trying to help a stifle. She’s always happy outside the arena, and really walks. She’s been definitely shortening that leg more the past few days, and I’ve been at a bit of a loss of what to do. It seems eerily similar to how she suddenly seemed to go downhill before she was good for access to her run a few days early. So we’ve started her on her mid-day turnout with hay piles scattered to help her walk so she doesn’t just stand in her stall all day. I also haven’t wanted to push her when we’re walking. I want rehab to be fun.
Also, it’d be better if SHE was the one making herself really walk, not me. So with that in mind, I put on her boots and her rope halter (she’s more respectful of that lol) and we proceeded to walk down the driveway. My plan was to just walk up and down our street in full view of Whisper and the barn the whole time. Since the last few times Amber has shown she greatly dislikes not being able to see Whisper, I figured this would help start the process of doing lovely trail rides again. Plus, the more she gets out the better she is outside. She got a little upset the first time we got to the end of the street and Whisper was calling for her (and running and bucking in the arena my goodness lol. Wish I had that on video lol). Once we made our second pass though she was much better about it (not that her protest was even on a bad scale in the first place. She’d just stop, be a little nervous and walk faster).
And boy was she walking. She was definitely excited to be out, and certainly ready to GO. She wanted to buck once, but gave the teensiest hop. It was the other reason I wanted to start doing this in rehab – she knows she’s hurting, and she’s been very careful with herself this whole time. And that same intelligence worked to my advantage while walking. She got happy, jigged a few steps, but mostly it was a very forward walk. We’d pause to sniff at the tires, or pause quickly for something else. We only walked 15 minutes before our neighbors popped over for a chat, but we all figured that was for the best. She had a good outing, then outside the arena got LOTS of attention to help the experience stay positive. (which is her fav).
She was sorer after the chat, so I mixed up a bit of extra grain with some bute in it. As sore as she did look, she was moving her leg better than she has in a few days. I think just like before, she was getting increasingly stiff, and we just have to get it moving and working. And I am really encouraged because she was moving SO NICELY. She only had 1 misstep with that right hind leg, when currently in the arena it’d be about 5 or so times. So that’ll be the plan for the next while – all of our evening walks will be outside. I want to hand walk her most of those times, get her more comfortable and have it be “routine” to get out there and be away from Whisper. It’ll stimulate her brain, and hopefully soon I can grab her some easy boots and we can start walking all around instead of just the street. It’s a process, but we’re getting through it!
How To Be a Bad Horse Owner
What You Shouldn’t Do – And Yet We Do It Anyway
Or At Least – How Equestrians Can Achieve A Shorts Tan
It’s Really All About How To Get A Leg Tan
#1. Have an injured horse. This is most helpful since you can’t do anything with the horse anyway; if you are unlucky enough to have a healthy, sound and uninjured horse, then that is okay.
#2. After a long day at work, it’s okay to be lazy. Were you wearing a dress with your shorts underneath? Wonderful. Just put on a new top that can get horsey (or if you’re a guy just go put on some shorts). Throw on your non-riding sneakers sans socks – if you’re one of those people that needs socks don’t worry.
#3. Despite all of those Young Rider and Pony Club magazines and horror stories you’ve read, still go out to the barn in your flip flops or non-horsey sneakers. No trust me, this comes in handy later.
#4. If your horse is injured and they’re in their 15-20 minute walking phase, this is perfect. Go walk them when it’s 106 outside and hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
#5. Once in the arena and on the mounting block, take off your sans-socks shoes. If you were in flip flops, you’re one step ahead. Now, commence the 15-20 minute walking in the blazing sun. Within a few weeks, you’ll start getting those tanned, summer legs back! Now, you may not look like a weirdly-portioned alien when you put on a swim suit! Which, you hardly ever put on or go to the pool because let’s be honest, 106 is too hot to be outside for any length of time.
#6. Always wear your helmet. You may scrape up your legs and lose a few toes if you get thrown, but at least your head is safe!
#7. Proceed to have fun as you walk your horse and get a tan at the same time.
#8. As always, be safe as you get that non-white-as-snow tan!
Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’re all getting in some good horsey hours!
Amber has been doing well – or at least, I think she’s doing well haha. I’m not expecting miracles about how quickly she’s progressing, but as with all progress she swings up and down. I started her at 10 minutes hand walking on the 26th that first week just to ease her into it, then went up to 15 minutes for the next 2 weeks. After the first week she was alarming us that she wasn’t really getting better and would not put much weight on the leg, so we upped the walking to twice a day and she’s been doing much better with the 2x a day regimen. This past Saturday was her best walk day yet, and she felt very rhythmic and cadenced. I’m not expecting that leg to be completely normal and exactly like the left one for a while – these things take time and I am really just looking for her walk to improve and be smooth, cadenced and easy and rhythmic. Her right knee initially took about 3 months of stall rest and hand walking before she was relatively okay to start a little bit trotting before a check up at 4 months, so I’m fully prepared for this to take just as long (I’m also being really careful haha).
All of the detail is mostly for me so that I can look back on this in case something like this ever comes up later, but she has her good days and bad days. They mostly seem every other day or every 2 days, so on those mornings where she’s been stiffer I’ve given her a gram of bute at lunch so she feels a bit better by the evening walk. The last thing I want is for her to start resenting her rehab and the walks, and I can tell it’s hard for her. She has been more vocal with me – she’ll start grinding her teeth a bit and looking back at me when she doesn’t like something – while it’s not a habit I really want her doing, I am happy she’s actually trying to communicate her dislike with me instead of being all:
She’s pretty sore on her back – I’ve been riding with pads and foam half pads to hopefully help her a bit, but there’s only so much I can do. Sometimes they may not want to walk because it hurts but it hurts because they haven’t been doing anything…..It’s a vicious circle. But even her favorite stiff-bristle brushes hurt after a curry on her sore muscles, so I’ve gone to my super soft goat hair brush and she hasn’t ground her teeth or looked back at me with her nose wrinkled like “HELLO MOTHER I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING.” So I am learning too but it’s hard because she does that same thing when Whisper is getting more attention and if my mom and I are tacking up at the same time, so is it me causing it or Whisper? Slowly but surely I am trying to learn and be aware of the VERY SMALL things she does to showcase her dislike (I mean, give me a break horse; I can’t read your mind).
The good thing is, most of our sessions she actually is eager to get out. She wants to get out and walk, thankfully. She’s just meh when she’s not feeling well, which I absolutely don’t blame her for. We have had the poles out for Whisper’s rides, so occasionally I’ll walk her over a few, just to keep the walk from being exceptionally boring. She’s doing well – I think they’ve been helping her a bit, and she mostly hits them when she doesn’t need to bring that leg forward over the pole, but when she does she’s actually been quite brave in bringing it over. She doesn’t when it’s hurting a little more, but every time we go over I’m telling her how smart and brave she is and patting her. Her ears stay up as we meander along.
Saturday I thought we could up her to 20 minutes, and she walked really well with hardly any loss of rhythm. But the winds kicked up and she was pretty sedentary just standing there in her stall, and was pretty stiff Saturday evening for a 20 minute walk. Sunday morning she was still a bit stiffer than how she usually has been, so I walked her 20 minutes and took the walk time back down to 15 for the evening. That seemed to do the trick as she was a bit playful Monday morning from what I’m told – trotting a bit in her stall with her I’m-so-wild head shaking haha. Part of me is oh-dear-god-don’t-trot-yet and the other part of me is I’m-so-relieved-she’s-feeling-better lol. I think the surgery has absolutely helped her for the better, and while I miss riding her how I used to, I’ve been able to get into more complicated/finessed/finishing work with Whisper. She and my mom have been progressing really nicely and I’ve been finding a better balance between working Whisper and walking Amber. The only bad thing is that Amber has figured out that when the timer chimes its little tune on my phone that it’s stopping time and she halted on a dime the other night haha. Can’t say she isn’t smart lol.
I certainly missed her while I was gone, but now that I’m back we’re still chipping away at recovery! It also helps when your mother is a saint and volunteers to walk your horse in the morning for you when you have to work at the crack of dawn lol. It’s super helpful that she loves Amber too (except when she’s mean to Whisper which is…ah…all the time haha) but it’s really great having someone on your side that cares about your horse as much as you do.
I finally got back from the conference yesterday morning! As nice as it was to get away and have fun in this crazy fancy hotel (that somehow still had crazy problems because they gave me and someone else rooms that were already taken so they upgraded me and then charged us randomly for things that we weren’t supposed to be charged for and checked one of us out early randomly….) I am very happy to be back home with Amber and Choco.
I’ve missed walking her, and Choco was very happy to see me – of course I was very happy to see her too! Amber was a little mad at me for not seeing her for so long haha! Such a silly pony. Now time for a good, animal filled weekend.
We’ve got a lot of wind in store for the next few days, and it’s not for the best since Amber won’t walk as much if at all so her stifle will be pretty stiff. But that’s what our 2x a day walk is for! Poor girl isn’t happy to be cooped up, but what can you do? I’ll miss her when I head off to Dallas on Monday, but I’ll be back early to play around with her.
Happy Friday everyone!
I have a lot of it from the long weekend. Most people took Friday to Monday off, but I’m usually the sole worker on Fridays so I decided to take Tuesday off instead for a good 4 day weekend.
Injured pony was finally able to have her run on Saturday. First she did this:
Then she did this:
And that was pretty much everything. She slept and slept and slept if it wasn’t too hot. All that bedding from her stalled time went outside, so she had a good 4-inch pad to lay on. She liked it I think lol.
Amber also started her walking Saturday. She’s good at times and ouchy at others – which is to be expected. She has remained a little stiff tho so yesterday I decided to twice a day of walking (as the vet recommended if she needed) and it ended up being just what we needed. After Saturday to Tuesday morning hand walking, she seemed ready (and let’s be honest bored lol) for me to just hop on bareback and walk around the arena for 15 minutes. I have missed being on my horse, even if at a walk. It very clearly showed me how my position has been falling to the wayside, but I digress haha. With me sitting atop, I let her pick her pace, and thankfully, she’s been careful with herself. She didn’t walk too fast or continuously too slow (as would happen hand walking) and seemed a lot happier. Still ouchy of course, but by the end of 15 minutes she was really starting to feel much better. Time and patience but we’re chugging away!
And it worked out because my DJD order arrived and I had time to put it on my Lund bridle and try it on Amber. It looks lovely, and while I haven’t put on the light blue/navy one, I know it’ll look good on Amber. One thing I was surprised (and really happy) about was that the snap fits the Lund bridle really well! It looks fantastic, and I am certainly in love.
Most days were chilling with Choco and Amber and resting, and spending time hanging out with my sister at her pool with her dogs. All in all, a good weekend before a short 3 day work week and then I’m off to Dallas for a work conference for a week. I’ve only been on one trip before, and this trip will help me with training and tools for work so that’ll be a good change of pace as well. I’ll miss my dog and pony, but that’s still a little bit away! Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone, and enjoy the excess media lol.
Amber gave us a good scare Wednesday night and all of yesterday. She was starting to look a little down on Wednesday, but I thought it was probably the nature of how after surgery progresses or whatnot. She’d gone off bute Monday morning, so perhaps she was really starting to feel the surgery now. And then she wasn’t wanting to put much weight on her right hind leg at all. Her leg remained cocked and as I continued to study her, her nostrils were a bit distended and she was drawn up in her belly. I quickly made up her grain with bute and stuck it right in her face. NOTHING. She even turned her head away.
That horse is like me – she never turns down food. Especially something as delicious as her grain. She didn’t feel hot or anything, but then she laid down to roll in her stall and lightbulb. When Whisper is really hot and sweaty and upset she rolls. So although Amber didn’t feel extra hot, I was sure she was. So I quickly got her in the crossties, and she didn’t move a muscle when I went to hose her down. Usually she protests her baths, and this time, she relaxed and stood still as I left her wet with both fans on her. She was immediately breathing easier, and interested in her grain again so phew. Bullet dodged.
She continued to be very ouchy on her right hind for the rest of the afternoon and her left leg was starting to swell more due to most of her weight being on that leg, so I texted my vet and asked if I could ask him a few questions since I was starting to get
really a bit worried. When he called me (bless him lol) I asked if any of this was normal, and he was like “yeah, no it’s not.”
He continued and said it could be an infection if there was a small bit of the suture that didn’t come out and was still in there but because there wasn’t any sign of drainage or puss (the skin has really been knitting nicely and the bumps have gone down even) we didn’t think that was it (THANK YOU because if it had been my fault with the sutures….). Other than that he wasn’t completely sure and asked that I take a video of her being hand walked in the morning and send it to him so he could see how she was walking. I gave her a lot of bedding so she could hopefully sleep easy, and then proceeded to hunt through RW and SP for anything to maybe help. I quickly nabbed some rehab pellets from SP that Amber had been on for her previous surgery (because hell it can’t hurt, right? lol). So that’s on it’s way soon.
This morning I hurried over early, and what do you know she looked much better, and walked much better. Really, this horse.
I sent it to the vet, and THANKFULLY he said she just looked a little stiff from being stalled. So she can start her time outside in her run a few days early, and she can start being hand walked early as well. So that’s really good news that she’s still healing quickly. I swear this horse is giving me gray hair and heart attacks lol.
I would’ve said chugging along but we’re not even doing anything so is it really chugging? lol Also, I’d like to thank everyone so much for sending us good thoughts and get wells! I really appreciate it!
Amber is doing well. I was able to take her sutures out pretty well and easily. Only one on her knee was a little tough and it bled a bit so I bandaged it up for 2 days just to be sure. It looks really good now and unless anything changes I’m leaving the bandage off but just with lots of silver spray since that seems to help keep flies at bay. Her stifle ones were pretty easy to get out – the inside one is still puckered – it doesn’t appear swollen or sensitive to the touch. I think it was just the way the sutures were that caused the skin to pucker a bit but that too has a lot of silver spray on it.
She scared us a little bit one morning around 4 am – we’re thinking she tried laying down on her right side and just had trouble getting up. Pretty similar to how I think she hurt her left leg in the first place but she didn’t seem any worse for the wear. Coincidentally, the next night/morning we could tell she was back to sleeping on her left side because of all the shavings on her. Girl really loves her soft bedding and I can’t blame her lol.
Her left hind is still just a little swollen around her fetlock mostly. It really doesn’t feel hot, and I think it’s also because she’s stalled and so the leg is stocking up. Since the swelling seemed a little bigger Tuesday night than the others, I bandaged it again with the combi wrap and a relatively tight polo to see if that helps. While the rope makeshift-stall guard has loosened with her being eager to scratch on something, she remains okay with being stalled. She hasn’t become destructive so I’m glad of that. But I know both she and I will be happier once she can access her run come Sunday, and I think once she has that area the swelling will go down again. She’ll have a bigger place to sleep, a softer place to lay down and snooze, and some space to wander a bit.
Whisper has been doing well. We’ve had some good rides with lots of good progress. She just needs confidence in the fact that she can turn away from the rail on the right lead, and that it’s much easier when one is utilizing the butt lol. She really doesn’t WANT to use her butt but what is new right? We all work to get those hind legs engaged! Either way she has been really good, and we’ve been testing her fitness by having her canter a lot. Most of the work that we need to finesse now is at the canter, so now that she’s gotten fitter I can now actually ask her to do things longer and carefully go just that little extra. She always gets lots of breaks and pats, and she’s not sure this loping thing is really needed, but I’m super pleased with how her brain has been coming along through this. She’s getting a lot more confident in me again too that while I’ll push her out of her comfort zone a lot more than I have been, I’ll always be there to try to help her out and give her praise, and I’ll never ask for something I haven’t previously built upon. Little steps, and a lot more state of mind than physical, but I’m just so pleased that she’s not even getting anticipatory about things. She’s waiting for me to ask her for a gait or gait change, and I’m just glad she’s responding so well.
Other than really starting to get further with Whisper for our fall/winter show series, it’s been quiet (as usual) and pretty boring (as usual) as Amber heals and I’m busy with non-horsey things (as usual) so it’s been interesting juggling all of this. You’d think once your horse is down for the count for a while you would have more free time – not in my case lol. But dachshund snuggles are always the best, so here’s some pics of Choco to end this post lol.
Alright. Now that I’ve had a bit of a breather with Amber being home from surgery, it’s time to move forward. She’s doing just fine; I take her out of her stall to groom her and love on her, and unfortunately that’s all we can do for right now. She’s pretty bored but what can we do, right? lol I’m at least trying to give her plenty of attention. Plus, the Lick It that I put in her stall for her to start playing with has some score marks in it so I’m hugely crossing my fingers that now she’s actually starting to play with it because she’s bored. She’s not really a stall-toy or always-keep-my-brain-busy horse, but I also don’t want her to get destructive. So if this helps, we do it lol.
As for moving forward, we obvi have to wait for everything to heal, but I have a few options. To recap on her knee, the bone chip wasn’t able to be removed because it was enclosed in the joint capsule, and Doc would’ve had to go through her old scar tissue as well as through the synovial fluid to reach it, and it would’ve caused a lot more damage than if he’d just left it. And from what he could see, where it is isn’t bothering her movement any, so he thought it best to leave it. I’m in agreement with him – her knee definitely isn’t the healthiest joint, but as of right now I’d prefer a horse that’s 80% sound versus 40% sound if he’d had to tear up all that soft tissue. So he backed out of the knee. Interestingly enough though, the swelling around her knee has actually gone down (that spot in the tendon just above her knee) and even the usual puffiness around her knee has gone down, too. So whatever he did I think her knee is feeling better as well which I’m of course pleased with.
Her stifle is more positive, but also a little more muddled. She had some bad cartilage in the joint and some rough points of bone, so he cleaned that up. Her cartilage was a little soft for a horse that had so much time off not doing a lot, but I’m wondering if that’s because she’s had the issue for 6 months (so inflammation could have been more damaging) instead of 2 since we weren’t able to schedule surgery until her abscess was completely healed. He feels that it’s got a pretty good chance of good recovery, but what exactly caused it…? We’re not really sure. There’s just some general degeneration of the joint, so while it’s positive, it’s also a bit of a toss-up. Still, not bad news lol.
But I do have a few options. I’ve heard some pretty good things about the laser therapy, and liked it when I’d had the other vet come by and do acupuncture as well as laser therapy for Amber. At that time the problem was chronic, so I don’t think it helped as much as it could have. But I can do laser treatments on her stifle and knee and see if that helps any more. I still want to inject her knee; she responded really well to that the first time we did so, so I think that’s another good step for helping her knee feel better. We could also do IRAP, which is what the Doc recommended.
Which, I do want to try IRAP but it’s also….expensive. And it’s a recommended treatment every other week for 4-5 weeks so my eyes already feel overrun with dollar bill signs lol. The IRAP could also potentially really help her knee as well so I just have to figure out what I want to do and how it’ll all come out. But I have a few weeks to decide whether or not to pursue the 2 options. I want to see how she’s doing after a week or so of hand walking which will be in about 3 to 4 weeks. So it’ll take some time, but poor thing has been stuck with needles so much recently lol.
She’s been laying down and sleeping even though she has mats in her stall, so I’ve hurried to really bed down the stall nicely so she has a soft spot to be. As much as I worry that laying down might hurt her, I’m glad she’s comfortable enough to lay down and sleep! I’m sure that bit of sleep helps her heal even better. I took her left hind leg wrap off Tuesday, and thankfully the swelling had gone down a lot. It was still slightly puffy in places, and the spot on her hock I think she hit the worst was still a little swollen, but at least the lower leg looks better. She was super itchy on that leg, so after some good scratches and medicine, I bandaged it up again – this time with the combi wrap and a polo and not with too much pressure. I didn’t want the leg to balloon again, but I also didn’t think she needed it very tight anymore. Thankfully when I checked her Wednesday the hock swelling was down even more, and I felt comfortable putting that left hock boot on for sleeping. I still wrapped her hind leg (though lightly) with a polo since that leg is so cut up that I don’t want her to reopen those cuts or cut it more because of the mats.
Since her sutures are relatively easy to get to (at least they look like it; let’s hope so lol), I’m going to try taking them out. I wasn’t able to get an appointment soon enough with the Doc to take them out until next week, and she’s a really fast healer. Unfortunately, because she heals really quickly, she also scars very easily. While having a few more scars won’t be bad, I know from past experience with her and sutures (her knee, the back of her elbow, and above her right eye) she starts getting annoyed at them and trying to scratch them or pick at them herself so I’m going to take them out either today or over the weekend.
As much as she’s being a funny girl and pushing her door open to get out of the stall, she seems content to rest. The surgery was stressful, and she’s definitely been calmer here than at the clinic. While she finally seems content to rest, I think she is starting to feel better. Not only has she been less destructive, but she’s just seemed a little happier as well. I’ve noticed that she’s still careful bringing forward that right hind leg after standing for a while, but I’ve been really trying to be observant of her facial expressions and I think that stifle is feeling better. It’s difficult to explain, but her expressions when she’s doing just the little bit of walking around her stall look happier. She’s even started to “reach” a little more! (as in she doesn’t short that leg walking over the bar out of her stall which granted she’s only done once lol small victories right?) I’ve added some U-Guard pellets to her grain as well, thinking why not because my mom had them, and I think that’s been making a big difference in her feeling better as well. Thanks everyone for crossing their crossables and keeping us in your thoughts! She’s been much happier I think, and I’m hopeful that we’ll come back well from this.
I finally got to put another ride on Whisper, and she was her usual stellar self lol. I was excited to use the Equilab for this ride since it was going to be crazy, but was a wee bit disappointed.
We actually probably cantered for at least 7 of those 11 minutes spent walking. Perhaps Whisper’s canter is just too slow? lol Either way, she was a good girl and really started to get the hang of what I was doing (which was a cloverleaf pattern around 4 poles lol).
But I’d like your guys’ input as well on this! I’d like to see what I can do to make her strict stall-rest time happy, so I’d love to know what you guys have done for your injured ponies. I’m also new to IRAP so if anyone has any experience I’d love to hear it! Have you had any experience with Laser therapy as well for things like this? How has your horse responded to it? Or have you gone the route of traditional injections? How has that worked for you? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Time for another Review Wednesday! This particular product is one that I’ve been wanting to review for a while, but I’ve wanted to have it for a few months before giving it my 2 cents so I could, with relative accuracy, give everyone a thorough review. So today on the docket is the Lund Saddlery Eventer Series Snaffle Bridle and their Eventer Series Lace Grip Reins.
To give you a bit of background first, Lund Saddlery is a relatively new company. If I’m remembering correctly, they debuted on Facebook September 2016-ish. They make extremely affordable strap goods from quality Sedgwick leather – and you can’t beat the price! All of their pieces are within pretty much everyone’s budget, and I absolutely believe you’re getting really good quality for those prices. Two things about this company that so far I have very much appreciated and loved are 1) whenever you contact Lund on Facebook, you’re talking directly to the owner of the company and 2) Lund has monthly draws on facebook where you can win whichever tack piece is on the docket for that month. That means FREE tack! You can’t beat free tack, and I generally enter every month. Also, many other bloggers have tried out this brand’s strap goods, and Lund has all of those reviews on their page for you to check out, too.
On to the bridle! I was itching to get my hands on this leather considering I’d read so many bloggers’ posts about how lovely the products were. There was going to be a kickstarter in December, and originally I had planned to get my bridle and reins combo through the kickstarter; however, Lund was selling the eventer series snaffle bridle and lace grip reins they had used on their horse model for a discounted price on facebook. Me being generally impatient, I decided to snap it up. And then couldn’t wait until this came in the mail lol.
I’m not really an Austrailian nut fan – at least not on Amber. She’s already orange, and the orange-ish padding with the reddish leather I was just not the biggest fan of how it looked on her. I actually liked the natural look of it on Whisper better. She’s a liver chestnut, so the contrast of color looked good on her. But, after reading Karen’s post about darkening the bridle, I knew it would be no issue to get it a lovely Havana that I think looks very snazzy on Amber.
I’ll talk more on darkening the leather later and go to the quality of the leather. I’ve never really had really good Sedgwick leather, but now that I have, I am definitely hooked. Out of the box the bridle was a little stiff, but as most Sedgwick lovers know and as I came to find out, it’s usually a bit stiff at first and takes a while to break in – however the leather lasts FOREVER. And I can absolutely see why. While the leather was a bit stiff, it wasn’t a cheapo-stiff-leather feeling if that makes any sense. It merely felt new, and you could seriously see and feel the quality straight out of the box. The padding on the monocrown, browband and noseband is Italian leather, and absolutely luxurious feeling. I of course hurried out the next day after work to try it on Amber and make sure it fit. It was a full size, which Amber definitely needed – browbands can tend to be tight on her since she ranges from full to oversize for that forehead and those ears of hers. While the circumference of her nose requires a full-size noseband, she’s a cob in the length of her head. Even still, the Lund bridle fit her very well.
I immediately took it inside and applied a coat of Neatsfoot oil. Neatsfoot will be your friend in darkening the leather. Karen suggests Belvoir as well, which unfortunately I didn’t have. I tried the Passier lederbalsam on it but don’t like it as much as plain Neatsfoot. The Sedgwick absorbed the Neatsfoot like no other leather strap goods I own, and it was brand new! The Italian leather padding darkened immediately with the Neatsfoot. I applied one coat, and it looked very dark at first. Once it all soaked in, it lightened and required more coats of oil.
For the next few weeks, I did just as Karen suggested – I’d ride and coat in oil, ride and oil, ride and oil, etc but not clean it with glycerin soap. It darkened very nicely, soaked up the oil like crazy, and after a few times I stopped with the Passier lederbalsam since it seemed to make the leather a little tacky and would attract the Vegas dust like flies. The Neatsfoot left it feeling soft and smooth. It stopped darkening after the first month of plain Neatsfoot, but I also haven’t cleaned it in a while. Haha oops. On the plus side, it absolutely looks no worse for the wear. I’ve left it in the un-sealed tack room and it has gotten wind, dust (like literally there was a 1/2 inch of dust because the winds were so bad), humidity from the rain and still looks new. I know most east coast weather is absolutely worse than mine, but Vegas is also extremely dry, and that can very quickly damage leather. So far, it’s taken the weather like a champ. As I’ve used it over the past 6 months, it’s only gotten softer, but still remains very hardy.
The reins are the exact same quality as the bridle. The front portion of the reins, just like the noseband and browband, are plain raised. Yet after a lot of Neatsfoot, it’s just as soft as the bridle. The laced part of the reins is still a little stiff and a little hard on my fingers, but that does help provide extra grip -especially if you’re wearing gloves (alas I was not lol). Even though the stitching is the same color as the bridle and reins, it’s all flawlessly done and really speaks to the quality of these strap goods. Because I was even more impressed with the quality than I had been before, I funded their tack trunk kickstarter and decided I’d try the rubber reins. I have heard so many stories of rubber reins melting, and I never liked how sticky they are, but they’re on my list of things to try.
Even though I only have 2 items of theirs, I’m already wanting more. Part of me wants to get a black dressage saddle now just to have an excuse to buy their dressage bridle haha. But I plan to also try their calfskin leathers, the rubber reins, their 4 point breastplate….things that I probably don’t need but the leather is just so nice! Rob, the owner of the company, is very honest and forward with all of his information, and it’s such a relief to be able to actually talk to the owner of the company and get good answers in a timely manner. I’ll definitely be buying more of their products in the future.
While I got my bridle discounted, the Eventer Snaffle Bridle is $175 USD and the reins are $95 USD; however, those prices INCLUDE shipping. It’s a very affordable bridle, and definitely much more worth the purchase price than other bridles I’ve had. Five stars from me!
I wanted to get this out before it was potentially too late for anyone else to miss the deal, but I did a thing.
I’ve been following Michele’s post about wants and saw KC’s comment about getting the newer Cambox 3 that’s coming out. So after Amber’s surgery and me finally getting her home, Sunday afternoon I figured “oh what the hell.” So I browsed on by Cambox’s US site (I made that mistake before by not being able to grab it Thanksgiving because I was on the Europe site). Bad idea, guys. I shouldn’t have done this.
And what do you know – the Cambox 3 is a pretty good deal if you preorder. There are different “packs” you can get – pack 1 is the basics, and instead of $458 it is on a preorder sale of $372. Then there’s the pack 2, which gives you the basics, an extra cap and 2 Velcro fasteners for $379 instead of $484. Oh my. The older Cambox 2 is $295 and while that’s still not cheap, I didn’t feel as if they were all that separate in price with the preorder deal. Hmm. Since I REALLY don’t need a helmet camera right now (and really for a while) I figured I’d speak to the online chat guy whose little chat window popped up on my screen. I asked him when the expected ship date was, and he said the end of May. Sooner than I’d ever be needing it (at this point I felt I wouldn’t need it till like November knowing this mare lol) but I was like “oh okay cool thanks.” I will just sign off before I decide to do something I shouldn’t. And then he proceeds to tell me they have a Mother’s Day discount.
It was 10% off. Not a whole lot, but enough for me to perk up. It brought the whole thing down to $349 (that included shipping). And as I pondered and pondered, I just decided to go for it. Why not? It has wifi, I can control it with my phone (though I’m not technologically challenged it’s still a nice feature), it has 720p 60fps instead of 720p 30fps that the Cambox 2 has, the memory capacity can go up to 64 Gb, and – while it’s only 10 minutes – it has 85 minutes of record time vs 75 minutes. Cambox 2 has plenty of fun colors and bling, but for a helmet cam I prefer something a little more muted. (Hint: I got the black and not the blue)
So. I did NOT need a helmet camera, and while I probably could’ve gotten an equally good or better deal for Black Friday or July 4th or Labor Day or lots of other holidays, this was my “congrats your horse made it home after surgery” gift to myself haha haha ha ha ha…. Now that’ll be coming to me at the end of May, and once I get it I will be sure to document everything for everyone lol. But reading Amanda’s post this morning with RW’s new addition of the UHWK Sports Action HD Helmet Videocam, I remembered my
poor great decision of buying the Cambox and figured there may be a Memorial Day/preorder deal that someone can hop on.
Now off I go to sell some more things I don’t use…..lol.
It was certainly stressful having Amber away and at the vet’s, but once I saw her Thursday I was relieved and happy that she was doing well. I couldn’t get up there to see her on Friday since I worked all of their visiting hours, but I knew she would fine and did evening chores for Whisper. I went to visit Amber Saturday morning (no Whisper ride because long story lol) and she was definitely a lot perkier than when I’d seen her Thursday. She was begging me for scratches and occasionally nibbled on her grass.
I checked out her knee and stifle – they were both warm but that was to be expected. She didn’t seem sensitive to the touch and as I looked down I saw this:
Cue the heart sinking. It’s worth noting that this horse doesn’t get edema just because of a little cut. She’ll have a deep gash that’s bleeding and it still won’t swell. So for this leg to be so swollen like that – she had to have hurt it pretty badly. It was also pretty sensitive to the touch. My guess (from minimal evidence mind you) is that because she had a stain on her fly sheet around her stifle that wasn’t there when I saw her Thursday, she tried to lay down or was trying to get up from laying down, didn’t realize how much it hurt, got her leg caught in between on of the rails and pulled it out. UGH MARE. I would also think that perhaps she kicked but I surmise that’d have been more difficult to get both sides of her leg so badly. Thank you, Amber. I love all these mini heart attacks.
Dr. W came by to chat with me about her recovery, told me she could go home tomorrow, and then was surprised at Amber’s left hind leg. And proceeded to say she was trouble with a capital T. Why yes sir; yes she is. They wrapped her up and because the swelling is so bad she needs to have a bandage on it for 2-3 days. Seriously this horse needs a double-padded, bubble-wrapped stall.
She needs to be on strict stall rest for 2 weeks before I can start hand walking her, but she definitely wants to be out and moving. Thankfully, I’d asked Dr. W about stall size on Saturday because she’s essentially got a big 48×48 stall area, and it turns out she can only be in a 12×12 for those first 2 weeks. So my dad and I grabbed some old glider airplane rope and made Amber a makeshift stall guard. It’s lashed as tightly as we could get it, but whenever we leave the property or it’s night we’ll close her door to make sure she hasn’t managed to be destructive again. So far (knocking on wood that I don’t jinx myself) she seems to be happy with the setup as long as she can look outside and stare at things lol.
An unexpected but good outcome is that she has also lost weight. It seems that having her food off of the ground helps her not eat it ALL when she’s just bored lol. I’m hoping that having her grass in a net will help with that, and so far (granted it’s only been a day lol) it’s doing well.
We’re on a bit of a slow road to recovery, but I’m hoping she comes back better and more comfortable!
I discovered, when dropping Amber off at the vet Wednesday, that I have become THAT person.
Let me explain. For most of my horsey life until a few years ago, whenever the horses stayed at the vet or were having something done, we used a disposable halter and never really brought anything else. No boots, no special food, no nothing. Also, I thought it was a bit stupid. Okay, so the horse is staying at the vet’s for a few days. Big deal. Why do these horse owners have to bring EVERYTHING for their horses that will be very well cared for?
I had felt pretty good when I’d show up, hand the horse over and leave and be an “easy customer.”
Haha. Ha ha. Ha.
I say this all in good fun at myself by the way lol. But I have become that person that I thought was silly. Not only did I bring Amber for the stay, but I brought her grain – complete with her joint medicine because I hope it’ll help through the surgery – I brought her fly mask, fly boots, fly sheet and neck cover and a healthy dose of not wanting to let go lol. Of course, all the ladies at the vet were just great about everything and bearing with my overbearing-ness lol. Yes, maybe I brought too much stuff – my vet jokingly told me that I brought the kitchen sink – but they understand how much we love our animals.
I brought all of that tho because she will grind her teeth at the flies buzzing around her because they won’t leave her alone. If the sheet and boots help her to have an easier recovery, well then I wanted to help that. Necessary? Eh, probably not. Silly? Yeah probably. But as I said before, they all understand how much we love our horses, and it is totally great to be THAT person that cares about their animals and maybe brings a little bit too much rather than too little. Because we do care. These may not be 4* horses or Derby winners or futurity champions or the next WEG champions, but they’re the world to us small-time people who love our horses. So I fully embrace becoming THAT person lol.
Also, as a quick aside, where did spring go?! It went from rainy and 60 on Monday to freakin 103 on Wednesday. WTF Vegas. I’m not ready for it to be so hot yet.
As far as how Amber is doing? She’s just fine. The vet texted me (with a picture; they are awesome) that she was up and standing and doing well. Apparently she was also ridiculously hungry since she didn’t get fed in the morning lol. Even when I visited her she was all about that food. She was still a bit out of it when I came by, and sweetest of mares she walked up to me as I opened her stall door even though her legs were obviously hurting her. I just love this girl.
She wasn’t into scratches at first so she was really in some pain, but after a few minutes she finally started to get into it. She was definitely in pain tho, and leaned into me when I held her head. She then proceeded to (very slowly so it was kind of funny) try to keep me away from the other mares around her – even one with a foal lol. Apparently I’m hers lol. Because then when I left she was fine haha. She still adored the babies tho, and has gotten used to the donkey that she was next to before. She’ll have to stay until at least Sunday, and poor Whisper keeps staring off into the distance waiting for Amber to show up. She really misses her.
Unfortunately, the bone chip wasn’t removed from her knee. From what I can remember Dr W saying (and we’ll talk more on it this weekend) the chip was in the joint capsule or enclosed by the other bones of the joint or something and he would’ve torn up a lot more than if he just left it. Which, I kind of figured as much, but was still hoping it would come out. Oh well. Her stifle looked okay – some damaged cartilage in there, an old, very small meniscus tear (with no scar tissue thank goodness but I’m wondering if that’s what happened when she suddenly was lame March of last year), and just a bit of bone roughness. He cleaned it up, said other than that it looked pretty good, but still a bit concerned that the cartilage seemed soft. She seems to be a good candidate for IRAP (taking blood, spin down the plasma, insert plasma into joint and it helps inhibit inflammation), and I want to try that but we may wait a little bit before doing it.
While we don’t have solid news on future potential, I’m still relieved everything looked pretty good, we have a few steps forward now with more knowledge, and we’ll see how she responds to this surgery clean up. So glad that’s over!
This weekend was a bit of an odd one. I didn’t do much and it went by too fast, but that’s generally how it goes, right? lol. Saturday morning was a bit tense because it seemed Choco was having a few problems. She was moving her leg funny and seemed a bit out of sorts for her usual perky self, and my mom and I surmised that perhaps it had been the teensy bit of milk I gave her that morning. Which then I felt really bad, and opted to leave her at the house to make sure she was feeling better (she was by dinner time but not like her usual self so I still wanted to have her stay at her most familiar place). By the next morning she was her usual self so that was a note – no more milk for the doxie.
I had a hunch for Amber, so Saturday I decided to put Amber’s English stuff on again. I had my one ECP contoured xc pad that was shimmable, so I put all available shims in it to pad up the shoulders. I left the thickest shim in the rear panels for some cushion since while Amber’s shoulders have lost muscle, her back won’t ever get narrower. It just remains a table. I also put on her breastplate and tightened it to help keep the saddle forward and used her passage girth instead of the kavalkade. All of this seemed to do the trick – no unpleasant faces or clicking her teeth together like last time – she looked exactly as she always has. Once I hopped on I could immediately tell the difference. She was forward, ears pricked, super happy to be out walking. I felt bad for not realizing sooner, but sometimes it takes a little while.
So Saturday was a weird day with that but I hopped on Whisper and did some cantering with her as a prep for Sunday. She’s been a bit “behind” recently – not in work but in behind the leg and not wanting to work. Part of it my mom and I think is that just in the past few days she’s been working herself up again in her stall – pacing and pacing but then having no energy for when we actually go to work. It’s a new thing for Whisper to not want to work, but we think between her pacing and then wanting to stay close to Amber when we ride on weekends has been affecting a few things. She was resistant to my leg at first because “I didn’t think we worked near Amber!” but came around quickly and did a few canters and circles and hopped off.
Sunday was a good riding day too – Amber was tacked up western and again very happy to be out and walking with ears pricked. I rode Whisper first, and ended up putting English stuff on her! Since I was planning to use a lot more bit contact, I like to switch to a snaffle instead of her usual shank bit. I wanted to put English on her tho since I can feel better what her body is doing. She was absolutely unhappy about starting to work immediately lol. Silly girl! I worked a lot on her turn on the haunches both directions. She gets a little stuck and wants to move her haunches instead of her shoulders away from the pressure. It’s hard work – a turn on the inside hind requires a lot of suppleness from the body and a forward momentum. And Whisper was not forward lol. But the turns really helped her to think about getting off of my neck rein and my leg, so that when I went to work on her steering at the lope, it was quite a bit easier. It’s not that she doesn’t steer or can’t – it’s just not finessed like it is at the jog.
Especially going on the right lead, Whisper doesn’t like to turn away from the rail. I think a lot of it is her old habits from previous never-leave-the-rail training, so we’re chipping away at that. It’s just uneducation, and what she doesn’t understand is that if she’s collected turning is so much easier! lol The lightbulb has finally gone off in her brain for her right lead canter that my mom and I are so so happy about. For a few weeks now she’s had the pace and rhythm and just overall great collection on the left lead, and it’s finally clicked to the right as well! So Sunday I just worked on steering, sometimes just trying to steer gently off a neck rein and once in a (large) spiral at the canter, really getting her to collect up and realize that steering is so much easier when one is not inverted lol.
She did get upset – she’s not used to having very thinky/intense types of rides. But I was super proud of her in that as I continued to praise her with my voice and a scratch on the wither, while I could tell she was still upset she was still trying hard to do what I was asking and to remain calm. Huge leaps for her. The turns helped immensely in getting her off of my leg, and it’s only a matter of time before she really gets her turns down.
Monday, just to make sure everything was good and Whisper wasn’t too upset with me I hopped back on her western for a quick ride. Because she’d had a few harder days recently, I gave her a full body massage first. She absolutely loved it! I finally got Equilab to try so I wanted to try that for our ride – and then forgot haha. Either way, Whisper was great. Her turns were great, and her steering to the left was good. While it wasn’t as good or collected to the right, she was trying hard and maintained pace. We probably rode a grand total of 5 minutes, but it was a great 5 minutes and I was super proud of her.
Today Amber gets a bath in preparation for her going up to the vet Wednesday. It’s going to be so weird not to have her for 4-5 days, but I know she’ll be well-cared for. She was when she got her tooth done. Hopefully I’ll get to go see her Thursday after work and then find out how everything went! I’m excited to finally be getting this done but now super nervous too lol. Hopefully it’s all good news!
Guys, it’s done. It’s been scheduled. I take Amber up to the vet May 9th for her arthroscopic surgery appointment on May 10.
I am a bundle of nerves lol. I wouldn’t be as nervous if she didn’t have to go under to have the procedure. She’s already had to have surgery once, and everything was totally fine of course. We just worry about our ponies don’t we? lol I am probably more worried about the news after surgery than the actual surgery lol. I spoke with Dr W last night, and we decided to look at her stifle, check the integrity of the cartilage and the fluid and the joint with the possibility that it could also be a meniscus tear. While she’s under, he’ll also go back into her knee and remove at least one bone chip. It’s in the front of her knee and shows up on x-rays, as does another one. One of the reasons those weren’t removed in initial surgery was they were not interfering with her movement and the biggest one that shows up was potentially too deep/invasive to get out. So perhaps one of those has been affecting her knee recently, and it’ll be another relief for me once it’s gone.
So now we’re getting somewhere again! I rode her yesterday a bit, and she was a super girl. She wasn’t pushing as much as she usually does, and seemed a little backed off than usual. I think she wasn’t quite feeling herself yesterday, but she also was in the English saddle. She made a protest when I girthed her up (which she never does – and hasn’t ever done in western tack) so I was checking my saddle on her. With her loss of muscle, I’m sure it’s a little wide for her now. But instead of posting I sat her trot, and that seemed to help her loosen a bit, but she still wasn’t quite herself.
After a bit of trotting and trying to get her to push juuuuust a little more (she was oddly curling behind the bit which she usually doesn’t do either, but no biggie) I decided to just walk around outside the arena in view of the barn a bit. She was upset and jigged at first, especially when Whisper was nickering and running around in her stall, but as we kept walking and I was petting her she calmed considerable and was back to her relaxed self. I definitely think the ride yesterday was indicative of her stifle really bothering her. She wasn’t “bad” and never is – even when opinionated – but she just seemed down. I think it’s definitely time for the surgery, and I won’t ride her too much in the next week. I’m just glad we can finally get this going, considering she was supposed to have this surgery by February!
As my vet and I laughed about last night – she sure is special in more ways than one lol.