2017 blog stat review

So this isn’t necessarily necessary, but I find these types of things interesting. Mine will probably not be as put together as many people’s, but it’s still interesting information! So let’s see what interests you guys the most, where all my readers come from, and all the other stuff lol.

Top 5 popular posts:

  1. Review: PS of Sweden Flying Change Bridle: this one is still my top-viewed post with 91 views. That’s a lot! I am glad though that people are finding it and hopefully it’s helping them!
  2. Review: TSF relief girth: another one for reviews!
  3. Review: KO trading company western saddle: and another review! Again I’m very glad that people are finding my reviews. That was definitely one of the reasons I started this blog, so I’m happy reviews are the top 3 on the list!
  4. Jellybean: awww!
  5. Goals for the rest of the year: this one surprised me! I was not expecting this post to make the top 5.

Okay, guys I hear you! Even down the list, reviews were 3 more placings and vet visits and my least favorite apparel/trend rounded out the top 10. So lots of reviews, a bit more about the Hankie’s Tankie, and a teensy bit about me. I’ll start scrounging around my recent purchases to start getting in more reviews!

Next to referrers. I have to give a huge, ginormous, extremely grateful THANK YOU to Emma at fraidy cat eventing, because I think most of my readers have found my blog through her. So again, a giant THANK YOU out to Emma. After Emma though, we have:

Has anyone else heard of duck duck go? I have not, and it looks like a regular search engine, but the name is still hilarious lol.

So, where are all my readers coming from? This is one of my favorite parts. It is so cool with the internet these days how people from all over the world can come together and have so many things in common (or just one – horses). I absolutely love it.

All over! That’s so awesome!

Wow look at that! That is so amazing to me. I love it! How cool! I am just floored that people from so many places wanted to read my blog – even if it was only once! And even if they accidentally hit a wrong link lol.

I also now have 25 followers (so awesome!) and I’m just so thankful for everyone that even has an interest in reading anything about Amber and I. I truly appreciate you guys that come back and read, even though I haven’t been doing this long. You guys rock!

2017 Goals….and update

Wow. So much has happened already this year. It feels like just yesterday it was the middle of March and I was dying for Rolex to come as fast as possible. This has been a really great year for me, despite Amber’s hip and her knee being injected and the other problems that have popped up.

Just this year:

  • I got my first ever English/jump saddle
  • I made the trek to Rolex (or not-Rolex)
  • The barn got built so now the ponies are at home
  • I started my very own blog!
  • We showed! (Although that really wasn’t new and Amber was less than enthused lol)

I feel like while it’s been a challenging year in terms of taking up a new discipline (or 3), it’s also been challenging for me personally and getting over several humps for myself as well. However, it’s probably been one of my best years in a while. So, let’s see how I’ve done so far.

  • Fix my Fixed Elbow and Arm Syndrome. I’m going to cross this one off even though it’s not fully a habit yet. I still tend to chicken-arm it every now and then, but it’s a lot less (at least on the flat; noooooo promises for jumping lol). Progress!
  • Head over to a friend’s barn and have some super fun on their mini jump course there by late August perhaps September. Yeah, so…..that didn’t happen lol.
  • Get my position to where I can independently go into correct 2 point without leaning on her neck with my hands. I’ve gotten much stronger now. I’m still relearning jumping, but as far as 2 pt goes, I can do that.
Jump position okay…. chicken arms not fixed lol
  • Get a dressage saddle. Haha. Ah ha ha. Ha ha. Ha. Yeah. Fail.
  • Potentially enter a local club’s h/j show. Nope. That didn’t happen, either.
  • Really work on both of our fitness. We did! We both toned up. (and have since lost that LOL)
  • School a dressage or western dressage show. Or both. We did them both! 2 & 3 times at that!
  • Get a dressage/jumping lesson and sign up for the Master Dressage webinar series. Signed up for the Master Dressage series and it’s been very helpful. Loving it so far! Although the jump lesson wasn’t on Amber, I’ve had 2 so far, and am pretty sure that’s where I want be and go back to for a while.

For the first year making goals for myself, I’m glad I did more than half of them. It’s been nice to cross off goals and feel accomplished at the end of the year. We’ve ended 2017 differently than I was hoping or expecting, but that’s horses. Things happen. They aren’t machines and neither are we. It’ll be different coming up with goals for next year since things are a bit up in the air, but I’ll come up with something!

Meanwhile, Amber’s mouth seems to be doing fine. She ended her SMZs on Saturday, but is eating and being a regular chubs on the daily. She still has swelling, but she’s let me push on it a few times and it doesn’t seem to hurt her. Unlike before she doesn’t pull away, and I’m putting a fair amount of pressure on it. So yay! Her recovery seems to be going well so far.

I haven’t been blogging much since there’s just not really much for me to talk about, unfortunately. My plans to assess Amber and tack her up and feel like we’re riding even though we’re not haven’t happened. I’ve turned her out a lot and then hopped on without tack to just mosey – she’s unfortunately not up for much else. I did try one day, and not only was her trot atrocious, when she walked she was no doubt bobbing her head and neck to help pull that leg forward. She still wants to play, and I can tell she wants to ride, but the other day she gave me the first negative reaction I’ve ever gotten from her when I put on her saddle. She seemed a little irritated even after that, so I’ve been wondering if perhaps she was expecting the bridle after the saddle since she seemed a little confused when I just left her rope halter on. We’ll try again soon and see how that turns out.

Confused, but happy to be out
Best Christmas Day ride – putzing around bareback and bridleless ❤

So poor girl wants to be out and ride, she just is hurting. It’s difficult to wait, because I want her to feel better! But I want to make sure she’s nearly recovered from her tooth before she has to go back to the vet. The last thing we want is an infection! Right now though she sort of enjoys her turnout time, but only if there’s food down lol. Otherwise she’s an idiot and stands at the gate haha! I do wish we had grass pastures, but unfortunately not. So she gets grass hay scattered around the arena lol.

Stopping by the hay pile LOL

Otherwise Christmas was great! We went to my sister and her boyfriend’s house for Christmas lunch/dinner, and got to exchange more gifts which was fun. I got almost my whole family Hamer & Clay gifts for Christmas this year. I got my mom one of her and Whisper, and my sisters one of their dogs. They were a hit! Definitely using Kelsey again – especially for a few of my own! I got luggage, bakeware and a dachshund sweater – all things that were needed lol.

My mom’s ornament. SO GOOD!!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas!

Dashing through the not-snow to Christmas

So today officially starts my vacation! I’m off work until the 2nd, so I have plenty of time now to catch up on all the things I haven’t done yet. Like cleaning. And riding a little more. Or at least bareback rides. I wanted to ride Wednesday but the winds were gusting up to 50mph. It’s the time of year for Vegas to be windy, but at least it’s not frigid here, too. It did actually get pretty low last night – 30 degrees! Amber still has very little winter coat, so she got her heavier blanket last night.

Her check up for her tooth is in about 5-6 weeks. She looks good – she’s eating well, still slurping up her grain with 15 SMZs in it which makes me infinitely happy. She’s been head shy though, and a bit stand off-ish. I completely understand why, especially if they were spending the better part of an hour getting her tooth out and she wasn’t completely anesthetized. But she’s definitely more like herself now; I think she’s just still mad at me for not only leaving her at the vet to get that done but also for not being able to spend much time with her recently. She still demands her scratches and blanket treats, though, so she’s not really hurting for attention. She’ll eventually not be mad at me lol.
But she has been dashing, a bit literally, around. My friend visiting made an interesting point – her OTTB had ended up needing a year to just be a horse. A 7 yr old turning 3. Which, after racing for so long, I agreed with her that “turning 3” wasn’t bad – in certain ways he still had a baby brain. But what really struck me was that she said she tried riding him, but he would keep injuring himself. And I wonder about Amber. She’s moved a lot in her life, following me from Colorado to Vegas for a year then to Texas for a year before having to move back to Vegas and subsequently 3 different barns. Not counting the year and a half that she was injured and I didn’t ride her, she’s been in work since she was about a year and a half. She hated the last barn (and I think she hated everything about it) and I almost never turned her out because the ground was so hard and slick and she’d slip constantly. I was so afraid she’d injure something. Now, after one last move for a long while, she’s super comfortable at our place, and loves the arena. I’ve asked my mom to turn her out a few times, and when she has, Amber has finally done what I’ve wanted to see her do for a while – run and jump and buck and play and have a blast. Dashing through the sand and enjoying being a horse that is so excited about the cooler weather.

Interestingly enough, in all the videos my mom has sent me, her stifle actually hasn’t looked bad. A bit short here and there, but not like before. She’s also had “injuries” in the past few months – all very close together, and I wonder if she needs to be a horse again. If I need to turn her out every day and let her play, then just start by doing very simple rides – no frame, no expectations, just w/t/c and have fun. All with a neck rope, btw, no bit. Perhaps as excited as I am to get into eventing, she’s trying to tell me she needs a break. Which is fine with me. We’ll go back to when our days were low key, calm hacks, but we’d just ride and do something. Perhaps she needs that, and perhaps I do, too.
So that’s my plan for my time off. Spending time with my pony. Sitting out there on the mounting block as I watch her play and run and then letting her stay out there and lay flat out napping in the sun. Then go out there, tack up (or no tack) and just go w/t/c or wherever we want. I’m just so glad that in turning her out, she actually does want to run and play. She hasn’t done that in a while, and I’ve always desired her to be a horse above all else, and a competition partner next. So we’ll see how this ends up.

I’m going to ride a bit – easy things, but to assess how she does and get more information while her jaw heals before she goes in for the arthroscopy. But we’ll see how taking things easy goes. She’s doing well – fat and happy and still loving food. She unfortunately doesn’t get anything for Christmas except a pulled tooth, but shhhh don’t tell her lol.
Probably the only thing I’ll get for myself this Christmas is the helmet cam. I’m hoping the Cambox goes on a Christmas sale, but we’ll see. I unfortunately got all turned around on the Black Friday sale so I missed out, but I’d like this cam to help with my lessons. It’ll be from my perspective instead of a full visual for me to see, but I’ll still be able to catch Trainer G’s words and mine to rewatch and listen to. Also media for you guys lol.

What about you? What did you guys get your horses for Christmas? Did you get yourself anything for Christmas?
Merry Christmas everyone!

Weekend recap: jump lesson

So Friday after dropping Amber off at the vet, I headed ten minutes down the street to Trainer G’s place. I was able to ride Liam again, which was a blast but he REALLY made me work for it that day. It was because I didn’t start the ride with a whip lol. Lazy ole man who pretends not to want to work but looooves to jump lol.

Trainer G set up a lot more jumps that day (okay only 2 more but it felt like a lot lol) and was a little harder on me with more expectation which I was happy about. Get me in there and let’s dig up what really needs work! You know what didn’t come up? The left hand being weird! Yay! But you know what did come up? My right hand being weird. Ugh. Hold on, I just gotta fix all my parts individually…..

The set-up

But it was a very fun lesson while still being very challenging and really making me think – like a lot. I’m good at multi-tasking but then she added in counting strides and I was lost for a few sets until I got it back together haha. Which is funny because it’s one reason why rundowns to sliding stops were so difficult for me because I’d count strides and the horses could feel it.

We started off with leg yields, and it’s definitely different coming from western to english. The same phrase could mean two different things, and Trainer G seems to understand well that for me I know how to do what she wants me to do, but I just have to familiarize myself again with the english meanings. Liam was definitely not in the mood to do flatwork, not with the jumps there, but I was able to get some good moves.

The exercise for the rest of the lesson was bending lines and coming out of the corners. I was okay on the bending lines, but she’d have me trot that first fence and good lord I was a fail at that like the whole lesson. Every time I’d feel Liam stall in front of the jump so I’d end up leading with my shoulders to help him over the jump and then felt like I had to really get him moving to get the good canter and strides to the next fence. There was only one instance where we got a very good, forward 6 bending line that actually felt really good – other than that we hit the seven strides.

Apologies for my horrid Powerpoint skillz haha

I did a number of bending lines – the crossrail to the peach, then to the blue. The crossrail to blue and then peach. Then all together (crossrail to vertical, to vertical to crossrail). I was meh at this. My bending lines were actually okay, but I didn’t feel as attacking or fluid to the jumps as I’d felt the first lesson. Which I know happens all the time! But one thing I do to get Liam going is dig in my seat – really rely on that and let my heels creep up as I squeeze him viciously. Which is…not good lol. Which is so funny to me because Amber needs none of that haha! So it’s good for me to be doing this on Liam.

A couple times I felt the exercise was good and I did well. Then we switched it up and she had me jump the crossrail to the coop and then a nice arcing turn to the peach (or turning right to do the blue). While the first attempt felt messy, I definitely think it was a moment of progress for me. I was only 13 when I quit jumping, so I don’t remember actively pushing horses to jumps or really making the decisions on a course. I just steered. But Liam smacked his hind feet good on the landing after the coop and lost his footing a bit, but I kept him going, circled to the left, and just as we reach center he hit a weird patch of dirt and his hind legs slipped again. I wasn’t able to completely judge the distance, but after pushing him through the rough patch I could see that to continue pushing would be way too long. So I sort of muddled a slow-down, which I think I just sat up a bit and quieted my seat but I can’t be completely sure. Either way I did something and we ended up at the base and hopped over it well.

Loop-de-loop

I’m used to just letting horses jump. It’s what I’ve known and done. Air Myles would always just take me to the jumps, and I think Liam is so good for me because while he’ll jump anything, I have to be proactive, I have to tell him we are doing this. I still don’t completely make decisions and just kind of let him jump, but it is my second lesson lol. Baby steps! So for my brain to be able to take that info and so so quickly make a decision – even if I muddled through it – I think is definitely my favorite moment of the day. It’s a start, and that’s what’s important.

Because then Trainer G said the dreaded words – next lesson is no stirrups. Oi. I will die. But when she said that and I immediately said “okay, yeah, sure” she laughed. Yes, I will die lol. But I know I need it. She said it’ll help me get everything sorted a little better so I didn’t have the crutch of stirrups. While I my poor legs are not happy, I know that she’s totally right. It’ll really help my position and I do look forward to it.

So, I’m hoping for another lesson after Christmas – I have that whole week off so I’m planning on nice long walks with Amber and hopefully another lesson!

Here, have a pic of sassy Amber because I’m grievously low on photos for this post LOL

Weekend Recap: the vet visit

So, I’m sorry, guys. I totally left you hanging for the weekend. Truth is since Thursday morning I’ve been going nonstop and there really has been no time for blogging, so I’m going to try to catch up with next week. As I mentioned before I had friends come to town, so they wanted the Vegas experience, and seeing as I’ve never actually done that, these were the friends that I’d count on to party with no matter what.

But first – Amber’s vet visit! My lesson was cancelled for Thursday morning since the infernal wind decided to come back, but luckily we were able to reschedule for Friday. Amber’s vet visit went well, and it also didn’t. Luckily, the weird bump on her chin was pretty easy to figure out – she had an abscess in the root of her tooth. It looked like there was some root degeneration that seemed to be the cause, and while there were other things we could do, it wouldn’t help the abscess stay away. So I concurred with the vet to have the tooth pulled.

Since the lesson was cancelled, we had a nice bareback and halter hack before the dreaded vet

He blocked her stifle to ensure that indeed it was the stifle giving her the problem, and it was definitely her stifle that was still bothering her. He gave me a few options, one being arthroscopy to actually go in live and see the joint and see if there’s anything else going on in there since she didn’t respond well to the initial injection. There could be fraying in the joint which is causing discomfort and they can clean that up in arthroscopy (which I’m secretly hoping is all that’s seriously wrong with it), and she and I have had success with arthroscopy, so I wanted to go with that option. That will be in January though.

He took a look at the swelling on her knee, and thankfully the actual tendon looked absolutely fine. It was only the sheath that filled with swelling. He suggested it seemed like some trauma had befallen it, but wasn’t too sure, but to just let it take care of itself. We made a plan to bring Amber back on Friday for her tooth extraction which coincided perfectly with my lesson. So poor thing got dragged up to the vet again. She wasn’t too happy with me. More so for the fact that mother left me there; how dare she lol. But they were able to get the tooth out successfully without too much trouble.

So, what caused the abscessing? Yeah, not normal tooth degeneration. Nope. No, she FRACTURED the root of her tooth. Enough so that the nerve was most likely exposed and causing her a lot of pain. I am legit amazed that she never once refused the bit or contact when I rode her and that lump was bigger. All she did was a slight ouchie when I put on her halter.

Ma, I REALLY don’t want to go on that trailer….

Coincidentally, my mom noticed that Amber no longer threw a fit when Whisper would leave her to go out on trail. Not so coincidentally (I know, I’m sorry; I keep saying that word lol) that happened on Monday when my mom heard the giant bang but hadn’t seen what happened, and then Tuesday is when I noticed the lump on her leg. The tooth bump popped up around the exact same time. Pretty sure that supports my theory of she did something traumatic to herself SOMEHOW. I never know how she manages to do this to herself. But for her to swell up and be hot it has to be something very ouchie.

Good to figure that out, but damn. Thank you mare. She was extremely upset at me when I came to get her. She even turned her head away from me! I’m so sorry, sweetie. But really, you’ll feel better. And I think she does. She’s on some meds for a good week, but this also gives her time to recover from this before I drag her back to the vet to go under anesthesia for her arthroscopy. She’s been sleeping A LOT and laying down which I am so happy about – I bet while she’s still sore, she’s absolutely not in as much pain as that exposed nerve, and she’s catching up on all the sleep she missed, which is probably why she was getting grumpy by the time her vet visit rolled around. She’s eating well, and thankfully lapping up all her grain – even with a gram of bute and 15 tabs of SMZs. Good girl!

But this obviously sets us back. First with about 5 weeks of tooth recovery, then about 4 weeks of recovery from the arthroscopy, and during those 4 weeks figuring out what to do depending on the prognosis. And Amber may not be up to the challenge of eventing when all is said and done. But I don’t want to give up yet. We’re looking at 2-3 months at least of time off, and then we don’t generally see joint change until 6-9 months away, so I plan to nab some pentosan and start doing that while she’s “off” – I’ll still be riding, we’ll just be walking again. Which we all know she just adores lol. Hopefully, while that may not improve her joint, it’ll stop the degeneration when we go to take a look again in a few months. So, good news and bad news, but as I said I’m still hopeful. I am hoping that a debridement of her joint will be all we’ll need.

VERY upset mare Saturday morning. You can see she’s a bit swollen on her right cheek. Poor baby!

I won’t stop taking lessons. Which I see this as a good chance for me to really get back in the swing of jumping and at least be more confident before going at it with her. But geez what a vet visit lol. Up next – the lesson!

Not-so-informative update

I definitely miss time spent with my pony. I’m worried about her, and I want to get her out a bit and walk around on her bareback and continue assessing but I’ve been working long days so it’s definitely difficult. I am taking a few days off since I have an eventer friend visiting Vegas and I wanted to spend time with her so I have a promising 4 day weekend haha. Thankfully, that means I was able to get Amber an appointment on Thursday.

Hopefully all will go well but with the NFR here now the vets are definitely taxed with the influx of horses so I was grateful I could schedule a visit so soon! I was also able to schedule a lesson for Thursday, so hopefully I can drag Amber along to that and then we’ll just be extremely early to the vet appointment haha. But that way I only make 1 trip up north since a trip to the vet or G is 40+ minutes and then hauling a trailer makes that longer. But, the lesson also may need to be cancelled because winds are supposed to be 40+ mph and nobody wants to ride in that so the winds may deter my lesson again. But hopefully I’ll still be able to have one this weekend.

Can’t wait to do this again!

Media will probably (and unfortunately) be scarce for the lesson, but I’m excited to jump again! If I do get to drag Amber along she will probably be very upset about the fact that I’m riding a different horse that’s not her but she’ll live haha.

I’m super nervous but crossing my fingers for a good verdict! It’s been a rollercoaster past few months that’s for sure!

Rolling is this horse’s specialty

Chillin out

Which means two things – Saturday and Sunday were super chill days, and I had to chill out after Saturday lol.

Amber’s chill level – expert

I think we all get there a lot – what is wrong with my horse and why won’t they tell me what’s wrong and hopefully this is the last of it and omg something is still not right!! be it with injuries or training. And I was no different – worried about my girl after Saturday’s ride.

Looking at the camera was not a priority Saturday lol

But I’ve been giving Amber a lot of time, first with the stifle and then with that front leg and she seemed to be doing better. It was hard to tell, though, so Saturday with a plan of still taking it very easy and letting things heal up nicely because sometimes joint injections take longer to really kick in. And boy was she ready. She walking with a purpose, very ready to get the show on the road and get going. So this was a big improvement from the last week so well hey let’s do a teensy bit of trotting and see how you feel before quitting and going on a trail ride with Whisper.

She’s so wild when turned out lol

So we trotted, and wow she felt nice. Very smooth. Very into the contact. Switched directions and I tried that left hand exercise G had me doing – holding the rein away from the neck and pushing the shoulder into the outside rein. Huh. Totally opposite western, and it didn’t work the best for lazy ol’ Liam, but holy crap Amber responded perfectly when I did it with her. And the trot felt so promising! And then she took a misstep. And the rhythm was gone. No head bobbing – almost no change of frame – but something absolutely wasn’t right. I walked her immediately, checked out the shadow and sure enough she wasn’t bringing that right hind forward at all. So I walked a little, and she started to feel better after a bit, but I hopped off.

It hadn’t even been 20 minutes, and it broke my heart because she kept nosing me and following every step I took like “but wait, how are we done yet? We shouldn’t be done yet, ma.” And it was very unlike her to stand in an arena and rest the right hind leg almost immediately after stopping. We still took a very easy, short trail ride, and she was so excited and happy for that – I think her brain needed it – but I was worrying the rest of the day.

Her new markings lol. I was giggling after I’d patted her on the butt and realized those dust marks were so amusing lol

Sunday I turned her out in the arena and let her wander while I picked up leaves (sometimes neighboring oleander dead leaves blow into the arena). She mostly followed me, but when she didn’t I could just observe her. Most of the time she walked okay if a slight hitch in her step occasionally. She had a few wee! moments and gave a few bucks. She was definitely off the first time she had a few trot steps after the buck, then seemed okay walking. Her second buck she seemed okay, but something is just still not quite right.

Oh this is H. I do not like H. I shall eat this letter!

So after wracking my brain and trying to think of everything, I’ve been beginning to wonder if it wasn’t her stifle at all that was giving her the problem. After her SI injection, she was feeling marvelous. Leading up to English show day on the 11th she felt fantastic, absolutely superb. Her right lead even was feeling magical. And at that show was when she kicked out. Now we did find things in her stifle which was good to know. But I’m wondering if she pulled/tore/strained a ligament or muscle in that area when she kicked out. With rest, she gets better. A nice walk/trot ride Tuesday, a canter one Wednesday and she was still kind of flat and iffy, 2 days off and then feeling great before it goes bad again….I’m thinking it’s something like that. Also, considering how well she responded to her knee and SI injections, I find it puzzling that her stifle would still be this bad after almost 4 weeks if that were the true problem.

Mwahahaha it has been demolished!

This poor vet lol. He got saddled with me when he did such a great job on her SI and his assistant ended up being awesome and is now my instructor lol. So I’m hoping I can schedule an appointment here soon and hopefully ultrasound the area (though that might be really difficult), and then check out that crazy lump on her foreleg that’s still there. The only silver lining I can see is that I’m REALLY getting to know my vets haha!

Such a good roll!