I did a thing

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.

Cambox ISI 2 (Pic from Cambox website)

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.

Um. What.

Preorder discount and the pack I got. And look! You can get it in blue too. (Pic from Cambox website)

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)

Looks pretty cool to me. (Pic from Cambox website)

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.

(Pic from Cambox website)

Now off I go to sell some more things I don’t use…..lol.

Home at last

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:

OMG WHAT DID YOU DO

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.

Her makeshift stall guard until the 2 weeks are over. So far it’s holding up well!

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.

Now I just want to sleep like this one lol

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.

Right front bandaged, right stifle sore, and bandaged left hind. REALLY mare 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.

Whisper was so happy to see her, and stood in her second stall like this with Amber for a very long time ❤

We’re on a bit of a slow road to recovery, but I’m hoping she comes back better and more comfortable!

I am that person + Amber update

I discovered, when dropping Amber off at the vet Wednesday, that I have become THAT person.

Oh my goodness mom WHERE have you taken me?!

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?

Let’s go mom! – Amber before our little walkabout on Tuesday

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.

The best view is between these ears ❤

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.

This was pretty cool with Equilab for that ride

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.

We’re not very good at selfies because she thought the phone was edible lololol

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.

Yup. Never gets fed this one lol

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.

One of the little babies there! He’s so precocious too lol

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.

More cute babies! This one full on peed right in the alfalfa, then went to eat it and acted all innocent like “omg is that MY pee that’s there? Hogwash” lolol silly filly!

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!

Figuring a few things out

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 decided to get some new/fun hair for summer!

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.

Happy poneh

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.

Sleepy poneh

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.

Wild poneh

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.

Hippopatamoose’s caboose 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.

Yawning poneh

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!

Gonna miss this girl ❤

Scheduled

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.

She’s so wild when we groom and tack up lol

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.

#funwithfilters lol And my new Mango Bay belt!

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.

A few things

Look what came in the mail!

Yep, Mango Bay belts! I finally decided to try some since they’re the types of belts I’m looking for – they’re not only stylish but also are woven which woven belts tend to fit me much better than leather or any type of firmer belt. It’s all the curves lol. What also came in:

New Aqua X breeches! I finally nabbed the tan, and took a go on the hunter green. They’re gorgeous. I love them. They also seem to have a slightly different fabric feel than the original navy and aqua blue that I have, so maybe I’ll need a replacement pair soon…? lol.

Once I wear the new Aqua X breeches I’ll be sure to write a review on them. I have 4 pairs of them now soooooo…..haha. They’re definitely my fav summer pant!

A weekend in pictures

And not very many of them at that lol. But I’m having serious horse show withdrawals even though I only watched the live stream. I got to watch dressage at work, woke up to watch cross country, and rode before stadium. It was a good weekend, but not too much to say since I mostly just watched Kentucky lol. Which will still forever be Rolex to me haha.

Saturday we had a late ride, and maybe it was the winds or perhaps everyone was tired but it wasn’t the best day. I’d bought some new western spurs for Amber since the ones I’d ride in were long and with my more dressage leg position I was afraid I kept poking her. She was a good sport about those though, and they actually helped remind her at times to lift herself in the few bits we’d do, but I still wanted something smaller. And these just did not work. On really either horse so it was a bit of a weird day for us all.

She watches me while I cook lol

Sunday I was at the house early, though I really didn’t manage to hop on early lol. We hopped on horses about 10, but we had a short but good enough ride that I was still able to catch the majority of the stadium live feed. Whisper was really good, Amber was much calmer in the little english spurs I switched to, and it just solidified that those spurs were not right. Amber was really good in the little bit of trot we did and it was a really nice morning.

Seriously the only picture I got of Amber all weekend haha!

Choco was much better this weekend and a lot less worried about coming over to the apartment. Towards the end of the weekend, she seemed super excited to continue going for car rides and adventure! She also hunted some rabbits and ground squirrels which made her very happy.

Ready for adventure!

I think she likes this pillow….

She sleeps a LOT lol
Such a hot dog after helping us plant a tree in the yard!

#tbt lrk3de

It’s here everyone! The best weekend all year!

I suppose technically I could call this #TBT of Rolex because it was still Rolex when I attended last year. But man this was seriously the best event I’ve ever been to. If you’re interested in watching it this year, USEF is allowing you to sign up for a one-year fan membership at this link using the promo code “LRK3DE”. The membership is COMPLETELY FREE; I’ve already signed up for it! I’m so excited to watch it this year.

Schedule Overview:

Thursday/Friday are dressage days: 9:30 am – Noon and 1:30 pm to 3:40 pm both days. There’s a lot of horses to get through that’s for sure!

Michael Jung and Roxy! Love this mare
Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen
Phillip Dutton!

Saturday is Cross Country: if you decide to watch anything this weekend, watch the cross country! That is the highlight of eventing for sure, and it starts at 10 am – 4 pm. It’s very exciting, very adrenaline-packed, and is pretty much every eventer’s favorite part of the competition!

Phillip Dutton again!
Tim Price

Sunday is show jumping – the final phase! It begins at 1 pm and the awards ceremony starts at 3 pm. It’s set up to be an exciting competition!

Love miss Rocana
Maxime Livio

For more information on this, check out May as Well Event’s LRK3DE Preview! She’s got some great information to take with you as you begin to watch. Sounds like Emily, Michele and some bloggers will be there next year, as I’m planning to be there too, so I’m hoping for a super fun blogger meet-up! For now, here’s some more #TBT Rolex pictures!

Zara Tindall and High Kingdom

Rest and relaxation

This weekend was definitely nice to rest and relax. I actually forgot that Friday was Amber’s birthday – she officially turned 8! I can’t believe she’s 8 already. Such a grown up girl!

So, I made sure she at least got a really delicious lunch lol. She was the happiest of ponies.

We had a really nice, leisurely ride. I played around a bit, and since she’s been more comfortable in the western saddle, I’ve gone back to working her a bit more again. Now that her abscess has completely healed (yes!!) she’s been feeling really good, so I’ve been wanting to get her doing something again so poor thing isn’t so bored anymore.

It really fun to get back to a few things, even if it wasn’t like before. It’s easier for her to be in a slightly fast jog, so we worked just a little bit on pace. It felt like she was pushing well despite being a little off. It was a little bumpy at first, but after a few short half circles we got a lot better in sync. At first I’d been trying to sit her trot – when she goes that fast, I absolutely can’t sit it haha. Good thing I don’t have a horse that has any bigger movement than her lol. Then the posting didn’t work either since my stirrups are longer for western….it was definitely a bit funky in the beginning!

Once we established a better rhythm (and I wasn’t sitting like an idiot and was actually bearing down with my abs and actually riding correctly lol) it felt really nice.

Such a photogenic pony!

Saturday I formulated a more planned ride. It was going to be more of the same – figuring out our trot pace and just doing small circles and changes of direction, and perhaps a bit of loping if she seemed up to it. She was really super! We got a pretty consistent trot pace and did a bit of direction change. She got a little hyped up but it was really nice to feel that even after her tension she relaxed – at least as much as she could while her stifle is still hurting.

Can you spot the doxie amongst the doxies?!

I asked for a bit of a lope, and we only did half a circle, but it felt so good! I haven’t really felt her lope like that in a long time. She moved into the lope so easily, and she felt lifted and really collected. It was probably all of 6 strides before I asked her to walk but it was more than we’ve been able to do in a while! And I could tell she enjoyed it – or at least as much as she could. Her ears were up and she had a spring in her step at the walk.

Sunday was very similar – a few trot circles but this time a figure 8. Her trot pace was great, I also sat better, and we had a really nice ride – only 15 minutes before we headed out for a very short walk about. She was super happy about that! We kept it short and in sight of Whisper since Wednesday our walk about was….interesting to say the least lol.

And I was able to have Choco over at the apartment for the weekend! It was really nice to have her there – I’ve definitely missed her snoozy face.

I bought her a wool pillow cover from Ikea….I believe that is now her favorite.

Either way it was exactly the weekend I needed. I hope everyone had a great weekend too! What did you guys do?

Taking care

Lately, it feels like I’ve been running and running and I still can’t catch up. There’s been a lot of stress building up and I feel like I’m going nowhere from 5am to 10pm only to fall asleep and be back at it the next day. Added to all of this, not only has the weather been bad enough to where I can’t ride, when it’s nice out I’m too exhausted to ride.

So Monday, I asked for Friday off as a mental health day. I probably need more like a whole week off, but what can you do sometimes, right? lol So today, I’m going to ride. I’m going to play with my pony today, Saturday and Sunday. I’m going to enjoy my day off. I’m going to moderately catch up on what I want to and not worry about work or what I feel that I can’t get done. I’m going to rest. And I’m going to sleep. So, happy Friday/weekend to everyone! I hope it’s horsey filled.

And, to celebrate me getting Choco officially on my apartment lease, here’s a cute compilation of everyday Choco. Because doxies make everything better!

No news is good news

Well, it’s been quiet around here. Amber’s abscess is now almost completely gone. There’s maybe still a pinky nail sized spot that’s healing over, but the swelling in the surrounding tissue has dissipated and I can put her noseband back on 3 instead of 1. Her jawbone on the right side is no longer sore to the touch, and I’ve noticed she’s been pushing even more into the bridle – that is, when I freaking actually get out to ride.

Pics from left side because left side was clean lol. Also, she got a new pad!

Spring is usually nice in Vegas, and while we have a cold winter, it usually warms up in February, then cools down and the wind comes into the valley in March, and it’s generally gone by the first week of April. This winter has absolutely been the winter of sustained wind storms. We’ve had gusts up to 51 mph that completely whiteout outside to where you can barely even see the barn, and the barn is maybe 10-15 yards away. Usually, we have wind, but never for so many days in a row. It’s been pretty crazy, and it’s either not windy at all, or it’s 30+. The horses are as sick of it as we are, and since there’s really just desert around, that sand gets really harsh when it starts blowing.

They matched today. Amber was not happy about Whisper looking at her LOL

Saturday was really the only day I could ride, and it was another super successful ride on Whisper. Especially now that she’s much fitter due to lunging, she gives me a super canter from the start. It’s even a little “fast” for her, but it makes me so pleased that now “forward” is her new thought. She’s understanding that I want cadence and collection, and getting a lot more confidence in our “training” as well. She feels happy, ready to go, eager to please, and I’m just really pleased and honored she’s let me work with her. She’s a tough one, has continued to teach me patience, but the reward is huge. When you see me close my legs and lift my hand to take a bit of contact with her and she slows and sits back on her butt even just that tiny bit, it’s taken about 2 years to develop that response. She’s confident now that even if I correct her or have to correct her a little harder than usual, I always give her a wither scratch or a pat or a vocal praise once she does it. It’s so cool to kinda feel her calm down or try just that little bit harder once she’s praised. Her right lead still needs work – she tends to get stiff and to curl around your outside leg instead of your inside one, so we only do short spurts of really correct work to the right whereas we do almost the full arena twice to the left because she’s naturally better that direction. But she’s a rockstar, and while February was our only show for the spring season (no shows May to August because HOT) we’re not upset. It was a great introductory show, she was phenomenal, and we have more to work on that will help her succeed for next time.

I had volunteered as ring steward on Sunday – not knowing the show was last weekend. Oh well. It was the blast. The judge was so sassy and hysterical – I loved being her steward and scribe. But let me tell you – being a scribe and counting half scores for ranch riding and reining without coffee first thing in the morning was brutal. I shamelessly admit to using my phone half of the time lol. But she was very kind to the riders and gave them pointers. It wasn’t too windy yet to ride Sunday when I was done midday, but once I got home I fell into bed and slept. I was pretty exhausted. Plus I had some other things that really needed to get done (AHEM Mandy – way to procrastinate on taxes), and was still exhausted by the time I went to bed for work on Monday. So it’s basically been no riding and waiting out the wind.

How much hair can one doxie lose?!

On the plus side, Amber got new fly stuff. She looks bubble wrapped which, let’s face it this horse needs haha. So far, I’m really liking the product. I do think Amber gets sweet itch tho, so I’m hoping her new fly mechanism will help along with more of TTT’s tea tree shampoo and perhaps some meds from the vet. Her rubbing and itching can get really bad. So, we’ll see how all of this goes.

Is she protected enough? Maybe not…..

Review: under the radar

Well, this was weird. Apparently something didn’t sync between my wordpress app and the online site so I lost my blog post that was scheduled for today. Which is weird. I have no idea why it did that, so here’s the gist of what my Review Wednesday was SUPPOSED to be.

Go check out Amanda’s post about underwear, summer, and trot sets. The comments are gold.

Since this blog post is about what goes under our amazing clothes that battle dead-heat-sweating-to-death summers, I found the Champion seamless performance body shorts mentioned in the comments and decided to try them. I absolutely love them. They definitely do the job of wicking away sweat (and I sweat  A LOT) and help keep you cool. They do run small (which I DID forget to mention before so I guess that’s good?) so size up 1-2 sizes. They do make breeches fit a little tighter, and are a bit expensive even for a 3 pack, but personally I think it’s worth it.

Those undies definitely helped in the heat of summer

My next one featured was the Danskin sports bra (this one is slightly different – mine have mesh backs). Most sports bras have a thick, tight strap that forms a racer back. These, however have always tightened and compressed my shoulder muscles to where I will get really horrible headaches. So I had to find a sports bra that helped keep the bounce to a minimum and then didn’t kill my shoulders. I love that the Danskin straps are a lot more like bra straps than regular sports bra straps. They’re narrower, and are adjustable as well. Plus, these are about $10, so you can’t really beat that.

Well, this is the less amusing or funny version, but hopefully still applicable to everyone. Happy Hump day!

Best Bday weekend ever

I usually don’t do much for my birthday, but my birthday was on Friday and I was ready to complete my 10 hr shift, but was actually able to leave early at 12:30! Yes! So I headed straight to the house to have a small ride on Amber. I actually switched out Amber’s saddles – her back has seemed a little sore recently so the way a western saddle helps disperse pressure and weight seems to have helped her feel better. For only the bit that we do, any way to help her feel better, right? But it was a good walk finished by a short little walk about around property. She was really super, and was actually pretty consistent on our walk.

So cute ❤

But, we actually have an actual abscess update! And yes, her abscess has STILL been draining. Why, might you ask, after nearly 4 months has her abscess still been around? Well, this is piece number one, a piece I pulled out of her abscess Friday night.

The large piece is the first piece the vet removed sometime in January and the little piece I pulled out – the squish sound was….ick

I was so shocked I basically threw it on the ground nearly screaming ‘what is that?!’ because I was absolutely not expecting to pull out this bone fragment. I had thought it was just a tough scab. Turns out – nope! This is why her abscess has persisted for so long. There was still a bone fragment that her body was trying to push out. When I went to clean her abscess Saturday night, I scraped up this:

Piece #2. I just….can’t really believe it. Wow

Bone fragment #2. I’ve been shaking my head all weekend. So, now I know exactly why poor Amber has had to go on 3 rounds of antibiotics and has had this abscess for so long. Poor girl. So many of the small things I’ve noticed about her attitude the past week or so can absolutely be tied to the fact that these bone fragments have been very close to coming out.

Look at that little smile. She feels so much better ❤

The mystery has been solved! I’m so relieved. Since finding the bone fragments Friday and Saturday, her abscess has shriveled up and started to close exponentially. It looks so much better than it has in a very long time. I should now be able to set her debridement up soon!

Sooooo can one person have too many pads? I don’t think so…

Saturday, while not a horsey day, was absolutely the best day. My birthday, my sister’s birthday and our mutual friend’s birthday are all within a few weeks of each other, so we all decided to have a spa day. It was seriously the best day ever. We got our deep tissue massages first, spent a lot of time in the wet sauna, and grabbed food at the pool bar. It was pretty awesome because we all just walked out to the pool in our robes and spa slippers. We got so many looks but it was worth it! We got free shots out of it lol. Then it was time for our facials, hung out at the sauna some more before heading to a barbecue place for some amazing food.

There was so much food. We ate it ALL lol

Then dessert as well, and we got 2 free pieces of birthday cake. The waitress was really great. Best day ever. So relaxing.

Banana pudding and chocolate cake. Yum

Sunday we had a great but simple ride. Amber and I just walked around, but I hopped on Whisper for a bit and cantered her. She was absolutely fantastic. The lunging has absolutely helped Whisper’s stamina and fitness which is perfect to help keeping rides short but very effective. I was super pleased with how well she’s coming along! Amber was happy to be out for sure!

A friend came over around noon and we watched the 2nd Lord of the Rings movie as part of our movie marathon. It was only the second movie, but it was the extended version and we talked a lot about theory and concepts so it took a bit longer lol. But we had a great time. Seriously, the best weekend ever. As I said I usually don’t really do anything for my birthday, but this time I really wanted to do some special things because happy birthday to me, right? haha. I also bought Amber some good fly stuff so….does that count as a birthday present to myself? I think so haha.

How did your weekend go? What did you do? I hope it ended up being a good weekend!

Friday rambles (actually just pictures)

Well, I was going to have a different post ready for today, in which I forgot. Because it’s been that kind of week haha. So, have fun with a bunch of random pictures from this week haha. Happy Friday all!

So clean after (FINALLY) getting a bath!

Leaping doxie!

LOL her ears
I have never had this much trouble worming this horse ever. I was able to save it by getting what dropped out of her mouth on cookies and she ate the cookies. #istillwon
Look at her face. She’s not even remorseful.

Her color is just so rich ❤

Review: SleekEZ grooming tool

For today’s Review Wednesday, we’ll be covering the SleekEZ grooming tool – and just in time for shedding season! I’m sure they are easily found on many websites, but I got mine off of Amazon and it’s the 5-inch model. I love Prime shipping, and since it came with Prime shipping, I decided to go for it. I bought this particular product last year in the beginning of April (is it a little embarrassing that I had to go ALL THE WAY back in my Amazon orders to even remember when I bought it?) just in time for the horses to start shedding since the barn where we boarded didn’t have lights to help hurry on the shedding process.

I didn’t get the 10 inch version because I have small hands, and a smaller one would allow me to get into the smaller spots on the horse. I usually use the SleekEZ on every part of the horse except knee/hock down and their faces. I save that for curry combs. This is basically my go-to tool for shedding. In terms of ingenuity it’s not “cutting edge” if you will – a block of wood encases a small, ridged blade.

What I love best about it though is that the blade not only grabs hair on and underneath the surface, but also picks up dust and dander from the horse’s hair. You can see this in one part of the video I am including here. Amber had just recently rolled in the arena, and the blade is actually releasing puffs of dust into the air as it grabs the dander as well. The SleekEZ also pulls the loose hair from the top as well as any loosening hair underneath. In both of the shedding seasons that I’ve used it, the horses have shed out much faster using this tool than just using a curry comb. Amber usually has very coarse winter fur, especially on her hindquarters, and this tool really makes getting that coarse fur off so easy. Plus, since Amber is a scratch monster, she LOVES this thing.

She does NOT however, love selfies lol

Whisper is more thin-skinned due to her TB influence, and she’s not the biggest fan of grooming. She also has baby fine fur that doesn’t respond to the usual rubber curries – the fine hair just slips off of the curry comb. And yet even Whisper likes the SleekEZ. She’s falling asleep by the time my mom finishes, and the fine toothed blade even picks up her hair. She was actually fully shed out by the middle of April last year instead of the end of May as usual.

It’s also safe on Dachshunds! We got the mini one, the 2.5 inch SleekEz to use for Choco. She’s hairier than my sister’s dachshund, and she’s usually shedding almost all the time. This little SleekEZ pulls up Choco’s shedding undercoat like crazy, and leaves her feeling much sleeker. Most of the time she’s okay with it, but sometimes she’s not so fond of it (as she was the day I was attempting to video lol). It’s even worked wonders on my sister’s pitbull Max.

Personally, I love it, and would get one in a heartbeat if I needed it. The only con about this product is that you need to wipe the blade off occasionally because the dander will build up on it. I either tap it on my boot or run my fingers down the blade and it cleans it right up to keep going.

Also, it may not look like the SleekEZ is getting a lot of hair off the horses and doxie in the video, but all videos were filmed when they were not having “let’s lose a lot of hair” days haha. But every day it continues to get enough hair off to shorten the shedding process, and I know Amber and Whisper enjoy losing their hair faster – especially since it gets so hot here!

Easter Weekend

Was a blast. I was able to hang out with family and friends and it was an all around good time.

SO ENTHUSIASTIC. Not lol

I had actually wanted to post Friday, but our internet crapped out on Wednesday, and we were unable to get a technician over until Saturday afternoon. Such is life tho I suppose right? It doesn’t help I drove around town and replaced our DSL cable and that didn’t fix it. But Amber and I had a good ride. She was a little worse in the sense that she was a little more agitated, but she was actually listening really well, and trying really hard, so it was only a ten minute ride on Wednesday. Yay!

Thursday I decided to hop on very quickly since I didn’t have much time and only walk/jog around a small, flat area by our barn to do a very short, sweet, successful ride. Amber was really super, and when she got a little upset, relaxed very quickly and I hopped off. It was about 5 minutes total probably. But it was very light, Whisper was within seeing distance and she got many praises and scratches. Our future neighbors (they bought the property behind us a while ago; the county just keeps delaying their stuff) came over and the kids just loved Amber. We met them a while back and the older brother just adores Amber, and I absolutely love that she loves kids.

SO FREAKING CUTE
Yup, that’s the spot!

Even Whisper was super excited to hang out with the kids for a bit, even though she’s generally not the most egregious horse when it comes to showing affection. She loved that little girl. I was so glad I was able to whip my phone out and snap as much as I could. It was adorable.

SO MUCH CUTENESS

Friday Amber had off, and Saturday was a very light hack around the arena to stretch her legs and watch my mom ride Whisper. The both of them are coming along really well (especially since neither of us has been able to ride Whisper much), and her canter is really coming along. Lunging has really really helped in Whisper’s fitness I think. It’s hard to work Whisper for long periods of time because she thinks she’s in trouble and gets agitated. So it’s a little hard to do rides as fitness, but I think we’re starting on the right track.

This is the ground squirrel we named Scamper lol

Sunday I popped over to the parents’ house – a little early to give me time to ride Amber a bit. So we saddled up (and WOW it was like 80 already; I was wearing my summer pants), and rode in the arena for a bit. She was happy walking and I asked for a teensy bit of trot, and she was a good girl and was slow but okay. She didn’t seem as happy to do more than walking as she has been, so I kept it at a walk and she was pretty content at that. We kept it easy and relaxing for the both of us – just spending some quality time together. She got many loves, apple pieces as an easter treat, and many scratches. It seems like while her abscess is STILL dripping, it’s hopefully (keep your fingers crossed) really starting to close and I can take her up for her debridement very soon.

My sister and her boyfriend came over shortly after as did my friend, and we all had a great time chatting and hanging out and eating. My sister and I were goofy as always. Have fun with these.

Totally sisters. Happy Easter everyone, and I hope yours was awesome!

Busy busy

I actually was going to do another review, then realized I hadn’t written anything besides a paragraph or two on it. Which, I could keep writing, but I have video for it that I want to compile. It’s definitely been a learning curve getting used to popping over to the house to see Amber before going back to the apartment. It’s one of the reasons why being home was so convenient – I didn’t have to go anywhere besides a quick jaunt outside to feed or I could still get other things done in between barn time.

However, it’s been really nice to be able to sit down in our new place for convos with my best friend, and my sister came over for a while the night before and we got to chat and have a good time. I’m not regretting moving, but on days like today, when I get off at noon, I’ll try a different tactic than yesterday and see how I like it. It’ll be nice though cause after working the weekend, I have 3 really short work days this week (6 hrs) and get a 3 day weekend before finishing the week with 4 long days. It’s actually hasn’t been as bad of a learning curve as I was expecting tho – not like when we first got the horses there and it took me a while to figure out the timing of chores and fitting everything into my day.

Just like today, yesterday I got off at noon. I was super excited to do something different, and managed to actually make it out in time to see my shoer finishing up with Amber. So her feet look good! And then coming to find out my farrier will be moving in a few months. WHY?! We then proceeded to joke about how he usually never swears, and not only did Amber make him swear, but I also made swear with my question. Like owner like horse? lol I usually miss seeing/chatting with him since I’m working, so it was nice to be able to talk with him a bit.

Pretty feet!

Amber has also been a fat ball of itch and was proceeding to tear out her mane itching on every poky surface she can find, so I gave half of her mane a wash. She actually put up with it – usually she abhors baths so I was surprised she stood stock still for it. I then decided to ride. She’s usually lit after a bath, and while I only did part of her mane, she likes to pretend she’s a Very Fancy Horse and prance and arch her neck and be excitable after any water on her body. Plus, the wind was still present and she hadn’t been ridden in at least 4 days. So it was a bit of a “is that REALLY that wise” question when I decided “let’s do something different and play around outside of the arena even though you haven’t been in weeks. And I laughed at myself and thought “why the hell not.” Haha oops.

#sass. although….not actually that much sass lol

Actually she was fine. I wasn’t surprised and yet I was. Usually she’s either jigging or consistently stopping, and she’d stop cause she was looking at everything, but she wasn’t jigging, and she wasn’t her occasional giraffe self when she’s like “OMG I SEE EVERYTHING.” So that was great. We meandered only a short walk away from the barn to this area behind a neighboring house that was a moderate circle. It was out of sight of our place, and the guy has horses, so I’m sure he uses that to ride as well because the ground is worked up and softer and not very rocky. I’ve been wanting to just do a teensy bit of work there just for funsies – nothing too serious tho since it’s not the best ground.

The face of a pony happiest eating grain

I started with pushing her into the bridle and while she was really looking and not wanting to push into my outside rein, I let that slide and rewarded her when she would actually start to push into the bridle despite wanting to continue looking around. She was pretty excited, so I asked for a bit of trot, and while she was certainly more lit, I was surprised that she very willingly started pushing and giving me this really floaty trot that was really easy to post to. She was actually meeting my contact, and it felt really really nice. Asked to walk, she really responded to my vocal cue and I didn’t really push collection. Going the other direction she was the same – really good, getting a bit floaty and it felt great. A couple times horses whinnied and she got very distracted, but she was really overall very good.

So tired lol

So we walked, and started walking back to the barn very nicely when Whisper really really called to her. We both heard it. And Amber proceeded to lose her brain lol. No very serious shenanigans. Most horsey people would probably say “that’s IT? That’s ALL you have to deal with?” which is pretty true. On the shenanigans scale of 1-10 she’s pretty much a 2 when she decides to pull them. But I could tell even in the beginning she may be getting a bit barn sour. I wanted to push her into the contact at a walk, but she thought that was an amazing opportunity to do her baby jog so that she could still get to Whisper. So I trotted her up into the bridle some more, did some leg yields which I was very surprised at how nice they were given we’ve a) never ever worked on them faster than a teensy jog and b) we’ve never really ever even schooled them for more than 2-3 strides. But wow was it sooooo much easier than getting Liam to do it haha. She was very responsive, but as soon as I turned for home she’d start to jig. So I tried lowering my voice and backing up a bit, which is usually all she needs. But that didn’t work.

So plan b, push her into a tighter circle. And that didn’t really work either. Her hip swung to the outside until I put my leg on and got after her and that worked a bit but she was definitely not getting any less agitated. So when I pushed her into the contact at a walk again, back to jigging. So I kicked her into a forward trot and trotted her away from the barn and back to that little circle and trotted a bit more. And WOW that horse can trot. She was in the contact the whole time and it felt really cool despite her being wired. She was a bit more responsive to my voice after about 2 circles, and as we were walking, me attempting to push her in a sort-of-ish fluid walk, she stumbled a bit (she hadn’t up to that point). So I hopped off to make sure all her feet were okay, and they were so I hopped back on and just asked her to stand and breathe a moment. It seemed the combination of trotting back to the circle and dismounting helped reset things. I let her walk back to the barn, and she’d occasionally start to jog before an ear flicked back and she’d walk. I’d praise her, and asked her to push into the bridle, and while it was nowhere near good, she stayed walking so I praised her some more and she got wither scratches.

I love when she does this. We may not be doing reining any more, but damn is it lovely.

Whisper was turned out into the arena and cantered very enthusiastically towards us when she saw us coming. They nickered at each other a lot. I let them sniff noses, then walked Amber along the front of the arena before walking down the driveway. I did the tiniest bit of trotting near the arena on a flat portion of our land because I wanted home to be work too, and that was a very barely-there trot haha. She was tired. So we did 1 figure 8 loop, sniffed the scary trailer, and dismounted. Poor girl. What was going to be a 10 minute ride turned into at least a 30 minute ride. She then got her grain and her hay out in the arena to chill.

OMG HAI I LOFF YOU AND I MISSED YOU

I was really happy to know that her agitation had nothing to do with being outside the arena or it being windy or just having a mini bath. I’m sure those things contributed, but we were basically done and headed back until she heard Whisper call. So, while I’m not the happiest she and Whisper are getting very attached, I totally get they’re the only 2 horses around. It’s very natural they’d get attached. Both horses have been fine at shows, fine elsewhere, fine with basically everything else so I’m really not worried about it. She was still a very good girl, despite our little moment. Towards feeding time I brought her in, loved on her some more and she was nudging me with her nose and begging for scratches.

Today, I’m going to do the same thing. After yesterday, I have a feeling she’ll be really good today, but I want to keep it light and easy. Go to the circle again, 2 circles at the trot and walk back. Hopefully that will go well haha. But I’m optimistic. As I said, her shenanigans are few and far between, and her “good girl” days are usually 9 out of 10. It was a plus at the end of the ride she was listening well to my voice, and I think we both got a good glimpse of real contact out there so I’m pretty excited to get out there again. She may not be haha but we’ll see how it goes today.

Wrong week to stop sniffing glue

I have been saying that quote the whole weekend. And about 5 times since I came into work this morning. It never fails to amuse. Which is the point because I feel like I’ve been smelling new carpet/carpet glue for MONTHS now. Part of the old, disgusting office carpet got changed last December, and it took a solid 2-3 months before the glue smell really died down. So that’s about….February. Our apartment got new carpet. Enter new carpet and glue smell that lingers in mouth and is….gross. Then this weekend, I sat in the office and got to smell some more new carpet and industrial strength glue. WOW that is potent. I feel my nose may be permanently damaged….

I worked my usual 10hr shift on Friday, had a good grooming sesh with Amber, then took Choco for a walk. Even though Choco is 14 this year and I’ve never attempted anything of the sort, I’ve been trying to work with her on off-leash obedience. It’s been a bit tricky since she’s a bit blind and deaf so I’ve had to get inventive, but it’s been fun and I think it’s keeping her young, and her brain engaged and happy as she sniffs for bunnies and ground squirrels. She’s been doing really well – better than I thought actually, unless it’s because I often use treats. That’s probably it haha. She’s been very excited though because the bunnies decide that wind + closed up barn + easy access alfalfa = the perfect place to hang, so when I take her out with me when I feed dinner, it’s the cutest thing to see her so focused and bounding to catch the bunnies. She’s flushed them out of the hay room, too and has a grand old time trying to find them. Yet it’s also very funny/sad about what she can/can’t see anymore because a bunny can be less than 3 feet away from her and she will not see it or smell it. Poor doxie, but she’s still loving life.

This was certainly a long weekend, and yet oddly….not. Saturday and Sunday I was at the office at 730 am to open the doors for the carpet guys. It was very easy – both days I basically read a book, played around on my computer and phone, and started another book. So thankfully, it honestly didn’t feel like I was working on the weekend because while I would’ve ridden Amber, I would’ve done all of that anyway. By the time I was able to leave though (330pm day one and 445pm day two), the wind had kicked up again, I had only a little bit of time to sort through more stuff before chores and then hurry back to the apartment to cook dinner. Thankfully, while I work 10 hrs today, I only work until noon for the next 2 days. I’ll at least be able to ride, get more of a dent in purging, and still get back to the apartment with a good amount of time to relax. It’s all those itty bitty things that you’re like ‘what the hell do I do with this?’ that stump you because they don’t fit all that well in a box if you do want to keep them. But it’s coming along!

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Sixteen is a good number

Guess who turned a whopping 16 yesterday?!

Yup, this girl!

She got many carrots, a good grooming and lots of face rubs and pets and some more alfalfa. I think she’s looking great. She’s sound, she’s alert, her weight is wonderful, her topline is strong and she’s getting muscled, and she’s still enjoying work. She’s now been with the family for 12 years, and I think we’ll have many more years with her (honestly I think she’ll get close to 30 lol). But we didn’t really do anything special for Whisper’s birthday lol.

Other than that it’s been very non-horsey this week. I’ve only gotten to ride Tuesday because Wednesday it was windy and I wanted to pack/go through some more of my things, Thursday I didn’t get to ride because it was windy AND rainy, today I won’t get to ride because it’s windy and I work late, and then I’m working the weekend to grab some extra cash (and weekend will be freaking windy, too). The carpet is getting replaced, so all I need to do is grab a few books, and sit there and read while the carpet gets replaced. Not a bad way at all to earn a bit extra. But since I can’t ride I’ve been grooming, and Amber is losing tons of hair. Yay shedding season.

This picture will never not make me laugh lol

So now I’m left with continuing to chip away at all the things that can be boxed or thrown away. It’s a process, but it’s coming along! Happy Friday all, and I hope everyone has a fun-filled, horsey weekend!

Supplements: magnesium – yay or neigh?

While this post is going up as a “review Wednesday” post and will appear on my reviews list, as with every other product I’ve tried, this piece is merely my opinion based on my experiences. Supplements are extremely difficult because what works for one horse doesn’t necessarily work for another horse, and many times you won’t have the same results as someone else. But this is my experience with magnesium, and I hope it gives you guys additional information.

Please have fun with all the random pictures of Amber that have nothing to do with the subject content lol

I will freely admit that I’m not the best researcher, and I don’t necessarily like researching things – except most things pertaining to horses. That I WILL try my best to research until I can’t research any more. I’ve gotten better about researching companies and products and finding reviews, and actually taking the time to wait for feedback on potentially polarizing subjects. But maybe I wasn’t Googling correctly or something, but I couldn’t find any veterinary published pieces that were recent (2016 – present). Most were blogging posts, and perhaps the closest I found was Kentucky Equine research and this article by Fox Den Nutrition that really went into how magnesium affects the body (although that was published in 2010 so….perhaps a bit dated on how it affects horses?). Of course please do your own research and speak with your trusted equine pros and don’t just take my word for it!

I feel that magnesium is sort of an understated necessity. In my nutrition classes and other equine college courses, I remember the calcium:phosphorus ratio being very important. Which don’t get me wrong it is very important, but I don’t remember going over magnesium a lot. It’s a little puzzling to me that we didn’t, considering all the things magnesium does. I liked these three articles explaining magnesium, though this one actually said what it did – “Calcium is in charge of contracting the muscle and magnesium looks after the relaxation or release of the muscle….. When a muscle cell is triggered, the cell membrane opens, letting calcium in and raising the calcium level in the cell setting off a reaction and the muscle contracts. When the contraction is done, the magnesium inside the cell helps to push the calcium back out of the cell releasing the contraction. When there is not enough magnesium in the cell, calcium can leak back in causing a stimulatory effect and the muscle cannot completely relax. This can put the body into a continually stressed state. Low magnesium makes nerve endings hypersensitive thus exacerbating pain and noise. Magnesium is required for proper nerve and muscle function.” Which….that’s pretty important.

(She was sooooooo itchy and happy a bunch of her hair was coming off!)

Leading up to buying magnesium, both Amber and Whisper were showing increased stress at our previous barn. Both were a lot more reactive than normal, so we began asking around – vets and other horsey folk in the community, and magnesium was a topic brought up a lot. At that point both Amber and Whisper were on an electrolyte (electrodex – they LOVE the cherry) since it was a million degrees and we didn’t have the lightest rides. Since we only wanted to supplement with magnesium, we found the regular Smartpak magnesium pellets since Amber will eat anything pellet but not always powder.

Within a week we noticed that they were much better. Amber was back to her usual self, and while Whisper was still a bit agitated at times, she too was much closer to her old self. Amber was less nervous, and whenever I’d put my leg on her she was also less reactive. For about 2 or so months, that worked really well for the both of them. They were much better on the magnesium. At the end of those 2 months we moved them to our backyard, and the rest of Amber’s nervousness dissipated. Amber liked the open spaces as did Whisper, and the barn was calmer. Whisper would still get agitated at things, but not like before.

I’m attempting to be artistic lol

Since then, they’ve stayed on the magnesium until the beginning of February this year. This winter though has been bad for Whisper. She paces a lot, and is a lot more nervous than we remember her being for the first 10 or so years that we had her. We personally think some of it has to do with our previous barn – we’d get bad winds and storms and most of the time she had no good protection from the wind. Wind storms are tough for her, but her pacing has worsened over the winter. (We think it has more to do with insecurity and sleep deprivation, as this article here seems to describe her to a T). I do think it is important to note that when Whisper seemed especially worried/nervous/agitated, we would actually give her more magnesium. So my mom had my vet, Dr. W, pop out for a visit and assess her. It’s really nice to actually have so many people interconnected. My vet and farrier went to school together, and my trainer is my vet’s assistant, so I feel I have a good network of good, knowledgeable equine pros.

After asking a lot of questions and Dr. W listening to my mom talk about Whisper’s differences, he suggested to take her off of the daily dose of SP magnesium as well as her joint supplement. He began explaining that there’s been a conversation recently amongst vets that too much magnesium may be negatively affecting horses. Unfortunately there isn’t an article I can reference, but I thought this was a very interesting concept. So that magnesium said to help calm horses, can actually end up potentially making their nervousness or anxiety worse? A lot of the articles I perused would say that what the horses didn’t need, they would pee out. But what if instead of “peeing it out,” it was affecting horses?

Well, the only way to know was to wait. I kept Amber on her supplements, but within about a week, Whisper was noticeably different. She wasn’t anxiously pacing. She was still pacing, but it was more a leisurely walk instead of the trot/canter/speed walk/trot that she had been doing. She was actually beginning to stop herself and stand still to sunbathe like she used to. We also noticed that she was a lot more herself during rides: she wasn’t as quick-moving and was willing to go slower, and she was also much less reactive when I’d put my leg on her. She actually felt lazy! Which is actually normal for her – I think we’d just gotten used to her being keyed up (for her anyway) that until she was “lazy” again we hadn’t realized something was different. While we don’t think the magnesium was the sole cause of everything, I can absolutely see that taking her off it has really benefited her. Storms still upset her, and while we will be trying different things in the future, it was really crazy to see how taking her off of the magnesium helped.

Huh. So interesting, right?! This stuff really fascinates me, and after Whisper did so well off of it, I took Amber off. She’s been off a month or so now, but I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in Amber. I think she is a bit better, but hardly noticeable for her. Not like the improvement with her going on the magnesium. She’s also in light to no work, so I don’t think the magnesium is really as needed as it was during the summer. Plus, not having her on that saves me some money, and any of her “problems” (kicking and whatnot) I think was due to her missing work rides and not the magnesium (since we’ve been “riding” more she doesn’t kick as much). As I’ve mentioned before, Whisper has more TB influence than Amber, but she also has a tendency to be more nervous and insecure than Amber just because that’s her personality, so maybe that has something to do with it as well. Personally, I do think personality has a bit to do with the pros/cons considering the different reactions we’ve noticed in the two girls. However, if Amber does go into slightly heavier work come summer, I’ll probably put her back on the magnesium, except at a lower dose every few days. I think it really helped her last summer, so I want to continue with that.

We’re not very good at selfies lol and Amber is soooooo enthused lol

And while Whisper isn’t my horse, I do think that when she starts working harder and sweating in summer she should go back on magnesium a day or two a week. Especially with how hot it is here and how sweaty horses can get, I think the magnesium certainly helped last summer, but in the end it’s up to my mom what she’d like to do for Whisper. I just wanted to also say that while Whisper is so much better off of it, I would personally use it again for her in the dead of summer.

I hope this gave everyone some food for thought. This has been a very interesting subject to get some more information on, and I am eager to keep learning about it, too. I wish there were an article about the vets’ conversation, but when I asked Dr. W, that’s what he told me – no articles, just conversation. I’ll have to pick Dr. W’s brain next time I see him about the vet conversation and hopefully be able to repeat it and share it on here. It’s especially cool to me to compare and contrast our two horses – even though they’re the same breed, their bloodlines, personalities, and ways they were raised are different and create two very different horses.

What about you guys? Have you used magnesium with your horse, and if so how has it gone? Have you noticed negative affects on your horse or have they remained the same? Have they initially improved and then gotten worse or stayed improved? I’d love to know your thoughts!

The weekend from hell

This title of course has nothing to do with Amber. Unless it’s me selling a kidney due to vet bills but thankfully, nothing horse-related went wrong this weekend. No, this was a specifically non-horsey weekend. The news I was going to tell you guys last week?

I got a new apartment!

We’re not very good at selfies, lol. We rarely take them anyway haha

That is, my best friend and I decided to room together. This has been a pretty gradual process, starting from when she moved up here from Phoenix and we actually planned to make this step December of this year. As things started to work out – or actually, they DIDN’T work out – we realized that rooming together earlier would be beneficial to us both. Those hectic weeks of little blogging and little riding were due to apartment/house hunting, until we randomly decided to pop into one place on a whim and it was seamless. So, we put down a deposit, and planned. Our walkthrough was just last Thursday, and it was gorgeous. We both loved it. It’s on the second story, but it has vaulted ceilings, a gas fireplace, a cute little patio, and bedrooms with attached bathrooms and walk in closets.

We’d planned to drive down to Phoenix to get my roommate’s things from storage, and had everything planned. And about 2 hours down the road we realized that I’d forgotten my overnight bag. Everything basically went to shit from there. The rest of the drive was great – my truck was her usual badass self (I mean, only using a half tank in 6 hours? I just love her). But we get to the U-Haul, and suddenly realize that though their website said they had trailers with ramps, something somehow got mixed up and the size we were looking at didn’t have a ramp. She has a super cute upright piano that we were going to move – no way in hell were we going to be able to move that thing into a trailer without a ramp. So about an hour and a half later, we manage to find a Penske which had a truck with a ramp available – for half the prices U-Haul was quoting us. Great – we head over. Only, they don’t have furniture dollies. Back to the uhaul to rent utility and furniture dollies.

We’d made the drive in good time, getting there around 2:30 as was our plan, but getting everything worked out meant we didn’t even get to the storage unit until about 6:30 in the evening. By this point both of us stressing because the hotel we’d reserved was all the way back in Kingman – about a 4 hour drive from Phoenix. The piano itself was the first thing, and it took us a solid 45 minutes to load that thing. But let me tell you – us two girls loaded it. A 400+ lb piano and we were able to get it up that tall-ass ramp and into the truck. We were basically prone on the floor but hey lol. From there, everything else was easy and took us about 2 hours. I made a Walmart run to grab us some energy drinks and water, and considering I didn’t have anything for overnight bought a few items and a shirt that defined the whole trip to that point (it said Nope across the front).

We finished packing the whole thing by 9:00 pm. Then the lock we’d brought didn’t match the key, so back to walmart we went to get a lock. While there, we were updating the hotel again and letting them know that we’d be there pretty late – probably 1 in the morning. The lady then proceeded to cuss out my roommate on the phone even though we weren’t obligated to let the hotel know when we would be checking in. We wanted to make sure someone would be there to let us check in around that time, and she wasn’t giving us straight answers, kept cussing us whenever we’d try to mention getting in very late. And we even had a credit card on file and she basically refused to let us come in so late, so we cancelled the reservation.

We then spent the next hour finding a different hotel room. We must’ve hit the one weekend or something but EVERY hotel was booked. It was ridiculous. We guessed it was partially because it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but are thinking it was more spring season/practice (something to do with baseball and it’s apparently very big). We FINALLY found a room – one with a king bed that we’d share. And the bathroom tub was atrocious. Like, dirt, hair and whatever else backed up from the pipes. There was trash still in the room. I mean, wow. I have never had a hotel room that was that bad. By the time someone came to clean it and we were actually going to sleep, it was 1 am.

Random insert of adorable Amber from Thursday!

Thankfully, the drive back was uneventful. We made good time, got back to the place by 4:30, and had a few extra hands helping us unload and carrying stuff up the steps. We could finally relax that evening. It took a bit Sunday morning for me to pack some of my stuff into my truck before heading over there and putting together my Ikea bed. Of course I had to use my new Dachshund stuff! It’s adorable and I love it even more off of the hanger.

I’m surprised I’m not sorer from the trip. I am certainly not in good shape, but I really didn’t have hardly any aches or pains – much to my roommate’s annoyance haha. But I’m glad that none of my stuff is really packed at all right now. I’m doing a whole “purge” type thing – going through a lot of my stuff and deciding whether I need to keep it or toss it. Of course most of my horsey things are freshly bought, so those clothes/tack items aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it feels good to get rid of clothes I don’t wear, random papers I don’t know why I’ve kept, old mementoes that I’ve kept that I really don’t want to keep (my 7th grade yearbook? Yeah no I don’t want to keep that lol). I’ve boxed books that I won’t be reading anytime soon but will still be kept whenever I DO decide to read them, and I still have a desk to go through, painting supplies to sort, craft items and a lot of things to go through but so far, my clothes purge has been the most rewarding. Even though Friday was certainly not the day we were expecting, I can tell I was ready for this change. Everything else has been easy, uneventful, and not stressful, so I’m pleased with the move. True, no more free rent, but it felt really nice to sip wine in our own space and watch a bit of Spirited Away before calling it a night.

I got absolutely no horsey time this weekend, which I’m sad about, but I’ll try to ride tonight and I have a few days I’ll have plenty of time in the afternoons to dote on her. She actually looked very pleased to see me Saturday evening, and I scratched her withers which made her happy. I’ll be able to ride soon, though, and now comes readjusting my days/times. I’ll still be going over every evening at least to do chores – hopefully ride depending on my work day, but I’m excited for the change. I’ll miss not being able to see her when I look out my window, but I’m only 8 minutes away so it’s going to be pretty easy, I think. I hope everyone else’s weekend went well!

Review: Smartpak collection of mini reviews

Alternate title: Collection of reviews for Smartpack products that I don’t really have a whole ton to say about so they don’t really need their own review.

Also, because I don’t have a ton to say about them, these are all in the same category – stuff that wasn’t up to snuff. Because I do have many Smartpak things that I love, there are also Smartpak things that I don’t. This is a 4-item review of things of theirs I’ve tried but haven’t worked for me or that I didn’t like.

SP Harwich padded fancy-stitch bridle w/ long reins – full size

Before going any further on this one, I will say that this bridle is discontinued, which is why I didn’t give it it’s own review. But I still wanted to review it, so here it is. The long reins and fancy stitching were my draw in purchasing this for my hunter show classes. The raised part of the reins softened nicely, but the laces remained stiff. The length wasn’t as long as my Ovation reins, but worked for Amber. However, I didn’t like the very dull, brushed brown look of the bridle. I love how rich the colors in my PS of Sweden and Lund bridles are, and this one was just…flat. Not even matte. Just flat. And it never really darkened nicely, either. This fit more like a true full size bridle than my Ovation, but after a few months the throatlatch strap started to crack. Also, because the noseband was so heavily padded and Amber’s jawline is short and curved, the bottom of the noseband continuously wanted to slip towards her chin which made the top of the noseband tilt back towards her eyes. And it was just bulky on her at times. The reins bothered me, and overall, though I liked it better than my Ovation bridle, I still didn’t like it enough to keep it or think it was quality enough to be worth $150. I think there are better bridles out there for that price.

When I first bought it, and it does look cute
But here you can see the noseband tilt, and it looks a bit bulky on her

SP medium diamond deluxe AP pad – navy/emerald

The only thing I really like about this pad is that it’s navy/emerald, and matches my navy/emerald breeches from SP. Other than that, the pad is made of a slick, non-breathable material that Amber always gets overly sweaty from. The pad isn’t really contoured, and I’ve found that while Amber’s withers are not substantial by any means, her roundness requires pads to have that extra fabric a contoured pad provides. Her back and ribcage are so broad that the extra contour keeps the billet holders from actually pushing the saddle back. This pad is always a bit lopsided on her, so I only use it for light hacks. Mostly though, it now just stays on my rack and gets little use.

You can see in the picture the crinkles in the pad – the breastplate is keeping the saddle in its place because the pad wants to move the saddle back
Matches the navy/emerald to provide ultimate matchi-ness

SP bug-off fly spray

At least, that’s what it was when I bought it, but it looks like the new title for it is the same stuff. This stuff…. There’s not much product wise that I will say I dislike intensely, but this is one of them. This particular fly spray didn’t seem to work at all for Amber. It smelled like peppermint (which don’t get me wrong I love peppermint) but the smell just seemed to attract the flies in greater number. It was also a sort of peppermint smell that would get stuck in your nostrils and throat and was pretty ick for the whole day. Plus, it stuck to your horse’s fur in a way that attracted ALL the dirt. I mean, Pyranha does that, but Pyranha also works lol. So this product is a huge resounding no for me.

SP bug-off regular pellet

This particular pellet contained apple cider vinegar, which I’d love to pour in Amber’s feed I just…..have no idea if she’ll actually eat it. My mom’s Arab/TB mare loved it when we’d mix her grain with oil and ACV, and I know apple cider vinegar helps to keep the flies at bay. So I grabbed the pellets because Amber will eat any type of pellet, and tried that. I think it worked a teensy bit? I’m not sure. I really didn’t feel like I noticed a difference. It’s a great theory, but probably straight ACV works a lot better than if it’s molded into a pellet. It just didn’t seem to work for Amber or Whisper, so my mom and I stopped ordering the product. Most of the time I try to be on board with these types of products, but if it doesn’t work for your animal then there’s no point in buying it. There are a lot who like it, but again I didn’t notice that it helped at all, so it’s not something I’ll be buying in the future.

All that extra light

It’s only been 2 days, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this much in love with spring forward as I have this year. I got home and I didn’t have to rush to do chores because it didn’t even get fully dark until 7 pm. That makes me so happy. I can actually start to ride again on my long days. It’s not just this huge 10 hr chunk out of my day anymore.

Granted, the extra light must’ve keyed up my body because I don’t think I went to sleep until midnight or later, and had to wake up at 5. Coffee is my friend right now. But I’m still happy about DST for once. I always get more productive and feel better when the days are longer. Here’s to longer days, but we all totally enjoy them because that means more horsey time, right?!

I have no new Amber pictures so have a picture of a spoiled doxie. This is what I want to be doing right now.

It actually rained

Can you believe it? It actually rained in the desert. And it was a really lovely weekend.

Hai ma! Just chillin here

Because of my long work days Thursday and Friday I couldn’t ride, I made sure to ride Saturday and Sunday. Amber was looking a bit upset again Saturday and had some good glares in store for me (thank god not as many as Wednesday) but that went away once her SleekEZ was engaged and scratches were had. Once I started tacking her up, she was ready to go. It had been drizzling intermittently for the morning, and I’d determined to just go out there and grab towels if needed (because yes I love my saddle and don’t want it to get wet which….if I’m eventing I’ll go through water. I know; I make no sense lol). Thankfully, it didn’t drizzle almost at all while we rode.

Amber was definitely happy to be out again. Her walk was a little fast but after a little bit of pushing she had her nice swinging walk. It’s a balance between having her understand that when I put my leg on she lifts her back but maintains the general speed or pace of the walk – she’s just now pushing with a more rhythmic swing instead of hollow and short, speedy steps. Because I’ve trained her western, putting my leg on to have her lift and be soft in her mouth usually also meant rocking back on her haunches to slow the pace. She’s really trying to understand though that I want her still on her haunches but to push more. It’s almost nice just getting to walk/trot. Things that may have been overlooked before because she generally “knew” are now front and center because that’s all we can do.

Look at that side-eye lol. Not really good but still there lol

Either way I spent a lot of time walking, and walking to the left. I really tried to keep my inside rein loose and really just focus on the outside rein and having her push into it. It was super hard for me – I had to keep my eyes on my left hand while trying to feel and pay attention to everything Amber was doing because my left hand just has a mind of its own. It liked to tighten and move and fix things and it was definitely a battle to just not move it. But Amber was definitely venturing into the “mother I’m really confused and I don’t understand why this inverted bend isn’t what you want” so I realized I had to come up with something different. I settled on a western training tactic I’d been taught that I’d used with her – the problem would be for me not to get defensive in my position because it unfortunately encouraged the curling up AND no moving hand aspect I’ve been fighting with.

So I’d put my leg on, and when Amber wouldn’t move her shoulders to meet the outside rein, I’d rock my spur on her side and then bump up softly with the inside rein. She’d push her shoulder out and I’d wait for a moment of contact and release and praise. Then rinse repeat. After only 5 or so times, I’d put my calf on, and she’d move her shoulder out and her nose inside without me needing my inside rein and moved into outside contact herself. I’d ask her to hold that for a stride or two, then release and praise. It added a whole other sense of difficulty to also keep her forward, too. She wants to sit back and slow, which is great because that’s what I taught her, but she’s slowly and surely beginning to understand the push better. Then the lightbulb went off for her, and we were able to get a good 4-5 strides of actual push before I’d release and praise.

Um, mom, WHY so many pictures?! I just stand here

We were both feeling pretty good by this point, so I decided to trot. Still lame pushing off, but I asked for contact and she was really really trying to repeat her lightbulb moment at the trot but I could tell it was hard. She kept on trying, though, and was evenly trotting. I’d give her a scratch with my left hand while trying to maintain my outside, and she was really being super. Then it felt like she completely just lost her footing or her leg for that matter, and she pulled up pretty quickly and just kept her RH cocked. I felt pretty bad, and she didn’t respond her usual way when I tried to scratch her. But she licked her lips (which I now realize is where the “grind” sound I heard came from – so she’s not actually grinding her teeth which is a huge relief) as we stood there.

Sunday was such a pretty day! Such a gorgeous, happy girl. For some reason she also looks less fat from the left side than she does right LOL

I called it quits for the trot but kept on walking. She got better at pushing into the outside rein and her ears went up happily, so I got off for the day. I rubbed her down with her sore-no-more and put a bit of bute in her grain just in case. Shortly after the rain started in earnest, but it still wasn’t a downpour which is good. It slowly soaked the ground so there was no flooding. (The adorable little ground squirrels know when it’s grain time. They always come by and grab the pieces Amber drops! The one with striping is the one that always comes; we’ve named him/her Scamper)

Sunday I was a bit apprehensive to do more, but figured she’s been doing better so I just needed to monitor how she was feeling and keep going. Since my parents got back the night before, my mom hopped on Whisper and had a nice walk around as I rode Amber. It was even warm enough to wear short sleeves! She was really on top of things on Sunday, and really trying hard to do what I was asking. She had a bit more trouble with the RH Sunday, but I think it was because we were in the bad footing sections of the arena. Once I moved her towards the middle it was easier for her. We did some trotting to the left, and she felt really really good. She was pushing very well – though not she does when going to the right but she was really starting to understand. I changed direction and she lost that RH again, but not as badly so I kept trotting and within a couple steps she was okay again.

That was sort of hard…. I’m tired now. NOT lol

To the right she was quick and expecting to canter, so I had to remind her and just try to relax to tell her that we were only trotting. She finally relaxed and we got some great, minimal work to the right. I had a lightbulb moment – she was starting to lift that outside shoulder up but then letting her inside shoulder drop. And she’d lost the really cool-feeling push. It was now a moderate push. Ah ha! Confusion figured out. She thought that she only had to push into my left rein. Now she thinks it’s just pushing into the right rein. She’s nothing if not an overachiever and sometimes tries too hard. But it’s one of the things I love about her. Now we have something else to work on at a mostly-walk-with-a-teensy-bit-of-trot ride. Me especially because my right side is my weak side and it tried to fix that lean like “fuck how do you do this, left side?!”

It’s great to go back to basics, and I think if she can understand (and that I can actually present it to her in a way to understand as well) that each direction we have an outside push, that will make coming back into real work (hopefully) after her stifle and knee are checked (please god let that be soon) that much easier. So while we’re stuck at a walk for a bit again, and a little bit of trot to keep her metabolism up and her muscles loose, we have a PLAN, and something that is actually challenging for little Miss Thang and her ever-active mind. It gives me more ride time to keep my riding position up to par as well and strengthen that right side so it doesn’t fall apart again. I think I still sit a bit forward but hopefully I can remedy that with all this walking lol.

Seriously these bunnies. Only one isn’t too afraid of me, but she always brings her friends lol

Because of the rain, it got the arena nice and wet – perfect riding conditions and perfect dragging conditions. Because it was also such a nice day, we hooked up my truck to our new drag, and proceeded to test out all it’s parts. It really lifted up the sand nicely and it felt very nice and fluffy when I was done. Just need to keep it dragged more often!

The arena looks so so so good! I can’t wait to ride in it ❤

I’m not sure when I’ll have another lesson. This week is going to be pretty busy but I’m definitely going to keep my goal going of at least a lesson a month! I hope everyone else had a good weekend!

Can horses feel that?

Since Amber’s abscess has been dragging, I haven’t been blogging much “real” content lately. There’s only so often you can talk about it, and I don’t necessarily like discussing it all that much because there’s really nothing to say, I’d be really repeating myself, and I just want it to HEAL! lol But things have also been busy. It was a bit hectic for a while, and has since calmed down, and hopefully I’ll be able to share it with everyone by next week!

As the weeks have gone by, I’ve tried to assess a sense of weirdness I’ve felt during the weeks. It’s been strange, and I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve just felt really….off. As I thought about it and I would look at Amber, I’d see her get upset, too. I could see a sense of unrest and unhappiness in her eyes, even if I did get her out. She’s been kicking for no reason so much more now (seriously, look at the freaking dents in the door). She’s been binge-eating just about everything, and has just been upset. She just doesn’t seem herself.

Her nose is attempting to tell us those dings aren’t her fault

The last weekend in February I’d hopped on Amber to see if it was my mom’s way of asking Amber to do something or if Amber was just half-assing things. It’s what helped me decide to have my mom and I switch ponies, but the previous day I’d played around in a bit and she remembered contact. That day, as I started to move my hand up to the notches that were Amber’s “perfect” contact for now, Amber just lifted and pushed into the bridle. It was absolutely like coming home. It felt wonderful. It almost felt as if we’d never been out of work since November.

Sequence of pics: holy crap check out that glare lol

I sat there the other day thinking of that one moment, that little moment where everything felt amazing, and finally realized – I’ve been depressed. Whisper is a great horse to ride and I still love her, but I miss riding Amber. And not just toodling (which granted I love to do and she’s down for, too) but really riding and working on things. Amber actually likes to be in work and shows up every day. Some days we’re not successful because things didn’t click, but the both of us want to be out there working on things and improving our relationship. We love the toodle days because we’ve also been working. But with her knee and stifle, I know too much more than a walk is very difficult for her. And I’ve missed doing more than a walk on her.

Mom WHERE are the rest of my scratches?! (I FINALLY got a pic of her weirdness!)

So as I went over that, I started thinking about the way she’s been kicking, very moody, and pushy, and honestly, I think she’s depressed, too.

It makes sense to me. She went from being in a lot of work to suddenly no work. And I suppose the thought is – can horses feel depression? I don’t see why not. I mean, not like a person of course, but I can see where a lot of it is coming from. She isn’t getting ridden with real purpose, we aren’t having as much bonding time as before, and I think she’s confused and upset. I do also think she’s been giving me the cold shoulder because I’ve been riding Whisper too LOL.

FINE then. I’ll just stick my tongue out at you

Part of my thoughts of this came due to the 3 word blog hop, and I got to thinking what 3 words I’d use to describe Amber. And I realized that those 3 words suited her still, but in other senses she was different. And I think the lack of work is why. Perhaps then depression wouldn’t be the right word to use to describe Amber, but I think the word encompasses all that I’ve witnessed from her for the past month or so. It’s difficult because I want to ride, too, but with her in pain I don’t feel comfortable riding her. But, she also wants to work, so I figured I’d try something.

Posing nicely but….

Since I had short days Tuesday and Wednesday, I made the plan to get out there and do….things. Not just a walk. But not cantering, either, which is hard for her. Just a bit of trot here and a bit of trot there. She looked upset as I tacked her up and had a lot of side-eye going. This was after we had a big grooming session with her SleekEZ to get a lot of her hair starting to come out. Shedding season is officially in, and she was absolutely ecstatic about all of the scratches.

I’m off on an ADVENTURE!!

We walked for a bit and I set about reintroducing/reminding her about contact and pushing into the bridle. It took her a little to remember, but not for want of trying or because of her mouth. I could feel her trying to get the right amount of push I was asking for. When she came into the contact and I could feel her stride even out, I found it interesting that she seemed to have less trouble with her knee and stifle.

So I asked for a trot. Pushing into it she took quite a few very lame steps, and instead of letting the reins go, I picked up contact. And amazing little mare that she is she just put her head right into it and stepped up. And it felt amazing. I mean, honestly it really didn’t feel that amazing in terms of what we’d been doing, and she was still off, but definitely not as much. She was pushing into my outside rein, I could feel her moving through her back a little, and so I asked her to walk. Even her walk transition she tried to push into the bridle.

Kavalkade girth is still doing well. BTW this pic is taken as I’m kneeling. That’s how wide she is

We trotted a little more. To the left she was very quick and uncertain, and I had to remind myself and apologize to her that I was getting defensive again and forced my left side to stretch out and she was better. Not like before because I think that push is hard for her right now. She was also expecting to canter, and I think expecting it to be uncomfortable, but she settled once she realized I just wanted something light. After that we walked for a while and once we stopped I swear she felt happier.

Her mane and tail got washed afterwards, and as I left the barn, she looked to have her usual sparkle in her eye. She was affectionate before dinner and not just food-food-food centric.

Such a pretty sweetheart ❤

Wednesday was cloudy, and she was ready to go. She still was giving me some major side eye, but she didn’t look upset when I started tacking her up. She just about grabbed the bit when I put it in front of her mouth, and seemed quite happy to get out there and start going. I’d noticed Tuesday that I had a lot of trouble getting my left leg to lengthen and I just couldn’t seem to sit straight. I figured it wouldn’t hurt anything to try lowering the stirrup again, so I lowered my left stirrup one hole. It….actually wasn’t bad. I felt more able to sit even, but I knew the kicker would be the trot. When I tried it once before it was a disaster, but that was probably when I was unaware of my unevenness.

The bunnies love her stall

Her walk was much better starting off, and she didn’t have much of an issue with her stifle. And just felt a lot more steady. Happier if you will. No rushing. Just nice, even steps. I asked her to track right first since that’s her easier side, and as she started off I heard her grind her teeth. She’s never done this so I was a bit worried, but kept trotting for about half a circle. Her trot was good – still off but not as bad as she would have been without contact. In the walk transition again she tried to push forward. I asked her to trot again shortly after – if she ground her teeth again then I was just going to call it quits and get off. But no grinding, and she actually hopped into it pretty enthusiastically. She was initially quick again, but a lot of encouraging words and tone and she relaxed pretty well. I got some good work and let her walk. Then we kept walking for 5-10 minutes, and I worked on having her push into my outside rein. To the right she’ll give me really steady contact. To the left she feels the contact but after only a second she’ll come off of it, then touch it and then come off of it again. Which I completely understand – that’s how I wanted her and trained her to be for western. So for dressage I just have to work on getting her to understand that.

Oh let me pose…..

Which makes me feel a lot better actually. We have “something” to work on – it won’t just be mindless walking. But since she was so good and we had a few good moments of contact, we practiced going out of the gate (which she aced – I was so surprised there was no rushing no nothing – like we did it every day) and went on the teensiest walkabout ever. Which was up our street to the intersection (not that far) and back to the house and down the driveway. She very much enjoyed it. She was a bit lit and quick-stepped but I practiced a moderate pushing into the bridle for those long, reaching steps. She got it pretty well by the time we quit.

And she just looked….happy.

So happy after the little walk

It isn’t that I haven’t been getting her out. It’s just we don’t do anything but walk a bit (and that’s really nothing to blog about, either). But I think she was happy to have that purpose again. To really do something.

After my lesson Trainer G and I had a long discussion. It’s really nice that she’s also my vet’s vet tech, so nothing has to be repeated twice. She was actually more apprehensive about Amber’s knee than her stifle in terms of jumping. Her knee did take a lot of damage, and something has been bothering it recently. I’m hoping it’s just in need of an injection like last time, but of course my brain jumps to “there’s still a bone chip in there so maybe it’s moving now – she’s special remember?” But as sad as I am that realistically Amber may not have even a short eventing career, I’d be okay if we only did dressage or western dressage.

This whole thing has really caused me to look at everything going on and really assess what it is I want to do if certain things happen. I want to do English. I love reining and will go back to riding it again one day, but for now I want to do English. I really want to event, but if realistically that can’t happen, I’d enjoy continuing with dressage for her or western dressage. It’d be a better carriage for her since she likes to be downhill and on the forehand anyway, and while we may not go very far in dressage, we may have potential in western dressage. Which kind of defeats the English and “dressage” aspect if I’m doing western dressage, but I’d simply be doing dressage in a western saddle.

It’s a lot of potential planning even if we haven’t assessed her stifle or knee yet, but I like to have an idea or plan of where to go. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst, right? Amber’s always been a good healer, and I’m really hoping for the best with her. There’s just a lot we need to check and a lot of options. Either way, we’ll see how it goes, but man, waiting is HARD lol.

Review: Cashel rawhide one-ear headstall

A western product made it out here on Review Wednesday! Since last week I wrote about the Ovation bridle this week I will write about a western bridle I’ve had for about a year or so. Today we’ll go over the Cashel Rawhide One-ear Headstall.

Cashel headstall in action

There were a lot of things I liked about the bridle: the rawhide, the intricate buckles, how easy it is to change bits, and the fact that when I saw it in the store it was $40. Now it is about $45+ depending on where you find it. This was a bit of an impulse purchase when I bought it – I wanted a western bridle that didn’t require too much maintenance, but would end up being a training bridle before I’d switch out the bits to my show headstall. And as many pictures I posted can attest – the bridle actually ended up becoming my show bridle.

The fit is what I usually expect for a western bridle. It’s a little big on her, but I didn’t need to punch any holes and it’s not on the tightest holes, either. Her head is cob-sized, so I’d say this would fit most western horses from maybe 14.3 up to 16.2-ish hands.

See? Never gonna not share it lol

There isn’t too much to say except for $40 it’s a nice bridle that does it’s job. English bridle works have spoiled me to really quality leather, so I won’t say that the leather is really good because I’ve felt much better. The leather is a bit scratchy and not the most supple. I’ve tried softening it with neatsfoot and Passier lederbalsam, but it’s only softened a little. The rawhide is nicely done, and despite rawhide being pretty much impossible to clean it really hasn’t gotten dirty despite Amber’s propensity to sweat buckets. The leather has lasted this long without a problem, but then again while I rode in it nearly every day for a few months, I was also not switching bits which could potentially wear out the thinner leather where the bit is attached faster than other parts of the bridle.

I actually started to show in the bridle due to the rules of the Ranch Riding and Western Dressage classes that were part of the requirements to win a buckle. In those classes it is against the rules to have any type of sparkle on your gear. This was an open and local show, and considering that horses were competing in numerous other classes (pleasure, horsemanship, trial) back to back we were allowed to wear bling shirts (though I did dress down for WD) and have bling on our tack if that’s all we had and we didn’t have a break to change. Since my saddle doesn’t have any silver and I had a nice looking bridle that matched pretty well, the Cashel one-ear became my show bridle.

Other than that it was very easy to clean and keep clean, and held up to all of Amber’s sweat and my abuse – which is to say that I never kept it in a bag or in a very climate controlled area so it got the intense heat of Vegas summers and the chill of the winters as well. I’d throw it over things in the tack room, or it’d get tossed with all my other things in the back of my truck, so it took a lot of abuse and still looks good. I’ve also hardly even cleaned the thing – I probably cleaned it before the November show and didn’t even bother to clean it before then.

Despite the leather not being the same quality of my English bridles, again for $40 I think it was worth it. Plus, the bridle has functioned really well for me in the shows and just riding at home, and it’s proven so far to be a very hardy strap good despite the cheaper price. I definitely don’t regret buying it and think it’s a great starting or even long term bridle for those that want a good-looking headstall without (seriously AT ALL) breaking the bank.

The wind-ridden uneventful

Especially this weekend (and today really), this meme is my spirit animal right now.

My parents are gone for the week in NC visiting my grandma, so I’ve got the horses. The winds were horrible Thursday to Saturday, and Friday night was especially bad.

9:30 pm – Checking horses; they seem fine. Winds are at 12-13 which isn’t too bad, so I’ll just leave Amber’s stall open (winds are usually from the south and since Amber’s on the south side of the barn she gets closed in) because they should be that way all night till 7 Saturday morning.

11:00 pm – Go to bed.

1:30 am – Woken up by winds because the weather app was wrong and they’re now in the 20s. Jump out of bed, run out to close Amber. Both horses are a bit frantic. Amber calms down with food (of course). Whisper is still a bit harried. Take her to arena. She calms down, but now Amber is getting worked up. Stand in the wind for a few minutes deciding what to do. Walk Whisper back to her stall where she proceeds to pace again. Change blankets because it’s actually not that cold and Whisper will sweat in her heavier weight one. Ply Whisper with alfalfa (it doesn’t work), and finally give up and go inside to go back to sleep. It’s now 2:15.

Streeeeeeetching

4:05 am – Hear Choco spitting up. Find thankfully not a whole ton of liquid but 3 chunks of food. Clean it up and go back to sleep.

5:00 am – Hear Choco licking a lot. A LOT. Hazy sleep brain wants to go back to sleep but then aware brain thinks OH GOD NO. Jump out of bed and take Choco to the laminate flooring just in time for her to throw up. Since it’s 5, clean it up, put her out, and feed her breakfast. Take a quick look at horses. They seem okay. Push back alarm to 6:30 because it’s 5:30 and tired brain wants to sleep.

Very much before
All finished! It looks good if I do say so myself

6:30 am – Go out to feed horses. Whisper and Amber are okay but it’s still windy. Put Whisper in arena anyway and tie a bucket in the arena for her so her alfalfa mix doesn’t blow away. She looks pretty content. Let Amber into her run in hopes she’ll pee (horse holds it like a house-trained dog; I swear). She doesn’t, so close her back in and go back to sleep.

8:30 am – Wake up again. Wind is bad. Hear horse calling. Jump out of bed and Whisper is cantering in the arena. Throw horse clothes back on and bring her in. Feed them some more food because food helps everything. Whisper is calming down with her fly mask on and more food. Realizing that inside she’s out of the wind.

New painting. Learned a lot from the previous painting so I’m going about this one in a different way

After that I took the whole day to chill and paint and play my game and only pause to feed grain and muck when there was a small break in the wind. Saturday night was infinitely better – I actually got enough sleep, and Sunday was beautiful. Horses were turned out for a long time and I wanted to ride but I had a lot to do. So I proceeded to shop and do my laundry amidst my friend watching Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Prince of Egypt, Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves (whish didn’t work too well because I’d sit down and watch it too lol). And am now super tired because we didn’t realize what time it was and ended up going to bed past midnight.

I really really really want this dog’s life

Permanently exhausted pigeon is my jam right now.

RW purchase lot

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d talk about what I bought for the RW president’s day sale. It was unfortunately underwhelming. I put a bunch of stuff in the cart, but due to other monetary needs (and let’s face it – I really didn’t NEED any of that stuff) I slimmed it down to sore-no-more, a sweater that was on too good of a deal to pass up and a girth I didn’t need but wanted to try.

Let’s do tack first, shall we? I grabbed this Kavalkade girth in a 28″ because girlfriend is not at a 30″ anymore (thank god, even though she still looks substantial). I really like my Nunn Finer Passage girth, but I still have kept my eyes out for a brown girth that was good quality with a d-ring in the middle to make it easier to attach any breastplates and that won’t break the bank. It looked like a nice girth, and with RW carrying more Kavalkade items that look really nice, I figured what the hell. It was 15% off. So far, I’m really liking it. I like the width to disperse pressure and it fits the same as her other 28″. I like that there’s less leather above the buckles than what the Nunn Finer has, and it feels soft.

Less leather above the buckles

I already provided a link to it but I’m also really liking the Ariat merino wool sweater I got. Due to the closeout price and then the 15% off added to that, it was about $35, which is definitely a good deal for Ariat for me. I think it’s very flattering, it isn’t too tight on my arms, and it’s been a very warm addition to my wardrobe after the weather has turned so cold suddenly.

The last thing I bought was the Sore-No-More ultra performance gelotion. I really liked the properties of this one more than the classic. This one has arnica, ginger and a few other essential oils I can’t remember, and to me it doesn’t smell bad which is also a plus. I also loved that it was described as helping loosen tight tendons, ligaments and muscles, and I thought it would help perhaps with joint pain as well. As I mentioned in a post before, I was noticing an increased stress on her outside tendon, and am hoping that until we can get a knee injection or take a closer look at her knee, this will help. I’ve already applied it a few times, and I’ve noticed that each time I used it (on her knee and stifle) her gait was easier and she definitely felt better. I will be adding this to our regimen as well.

Unfortunately not a huge haul but it’s good when I like everything. I was thinking of joining the blogger yard sale but I still have things for sale from the last time I put stuff out there so I figured it’d be redundant. Oh, well lol. Happy Friday all, and have a good weekend!

TBT – 2016 buckle show

I don’t usually do Throwback Thursday posts, but I was hit with a wave of nostalgia while looking through pictures as I was trying to find others. I found the huge stash that I’d grabbed from my sister’s pro camera, and was set laughing and “aww”-ing at them. So have fun with a bunch of pics!

We are always just so put together
I’m not sure what we’re worried about but we’re worried about something lol
WHAT IS THAT?! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its – oh nope; wait. It’s just a horse trailer leaving
So smart with her feet!
And out with no touchies!

It looks like she’s calling but she was actually just chewing lol
Turn looking good!
I have no idea what I’m trying to do here – maybe I’m attempting to connect to her telepathically?

And last but certainly not least (but this was not taken in 2016 – it was sometime….eh before-ish lol) is a dachshund photobomb! Holding an injured pigeon that she actually managed to catch lol. She just held it in her jaws and was so proud of herself. And while she would shake it if it moved, she had the gentlest hold on it and never pierced the skin. She definitely got the bird/small foul hunting gene!

Review: Ovation Breed Specific Hunt Bridle

Yay! Finally another Review Wednesday! Today, I am going over the Ovation Plain Raised QH Hunt Bridle with reins. With this review comes a new review category: Stuff That Wasn’t Up to Snuff. If I put a product in this section, it will be based mostly on my personal opinion that it wasn’t up to my standards, or didn’t perform the way it was advertised/supposed to perform. Let’s get started!

Picture from Dover

Initially out of the box I really liked it. I also loved that it wasn’t going to break to the bank, and that it came with 64″ reins which Amber needed. I loved that it was chocolate, and I loved that it was plain and without fancy stitching. My mom has had good luck with Ovation products in the past, and as I was starting my foray into English I wanted something that was also matchy with my new bling browband. The bridle was about $109 when I bought it in Full size, and it’s now gone up to $115, which I believe is still a very manageable price. I wrote a review for this product on Dover a week after I’d had it, which approximated to about 3-4 rides. I oiled it and took care of it, but I should have known that a few of things I commented that I wasn’t a fan of initially that they would become a deal breaker. So, let’s get into those deal breakers.

Looked good with the matchy browband tho!

I was initially drawn to this bridle because it was breed specific. As stated on the website it is “designed with specific consideration for the conformation of the stock type Quarter Horse….It’s sized to allow for a wider jowl and broader forehead, but without a larger noseband. The browband, noseband and crown are padded for horse comfort.” For a QH, I think Amber actually has quite a hard-to-fit head. Either that or every single QH has a difficult head to fit and nobody knows because they’re mostly ridden western haha. But to get back to it, Amber has a very large brain space – as in she needs slightly bigger than a full for an anatomical bridle to fit her ears just right, and she can easily wear an oversize browband because a full browband isn’t long enough most times not to pinch her ears. She’s also a cob length-wise from the corner of her mouth to her ears. But she’s also got a much more curved jawline than most horses I’ve seen, so I prefer a full-size noseband to give her room.

The browband was absolutely perfect. I’d have kept it if I could have sold the bridle without it, but alas. Even though the browband was perfect, I felt that the bridle really didn’t allow for a wider jowl. I’ve seen plenty of jowls bigger than Amber’s, and hers isn’t even that big, but even a full-size throatlatch strap barely fit her. I had it on the very loosest hole and there wasn’t any room to make any other holes. So that part of the bridle didn’t fit her well. Interestingly enough, the cheek pieces fit more like a cob bridle, which fits Amber’s head well since it’s cob-length.

The noseband wasn’t changed, as stated in the product’s description, and this was the part that had me more concerned than others. Amber was transitioning from western to English, and I’d never put a noseband on her before. Perhaps this doesn’t seem as concerning to others as it did to me, but this was after I had read quite a few articles about nosebands – especially tight nosebands – causing tension and increased heart rate in horses. I didn’t think the noseband was going to be a problem though. I was thinking that full-size bridles still come with a good amount of leather, so she should be fine. But I could barely get the noseband on the second hole, and after only 5 minutes of riding I could tell that Amber was bothered by something. I loosened the noseband to the loosest hole, and she was much more comfortable after that. Because I could barely close the noseband, I found the 4 keepers on the noseband strap so cumbersome I ended up cutting one off. The strap with the 4 keepers also had padding on it, so that also cut down on noseband space I could use, though I can completely understand that the keepers were to keep a very slim look.

Padding + lots of keepers

After two months, I kept looking at the bridle, wanting to take it to a leather maker to see if I could fix the noseband and take off the padding and then maybe I could live with the cheek strap being really small. But I finally gave up. At that point it wasn’t worth it to pay the money, and I just didn’t like the bridle anymore. After 3-4 months of use, I found someone who loved it and bought it from me.

Of the whole bridle package, I still have the reins. I actually use these a lot, and I don’t think I’ll get rid of them. I’ve been using them with Whisper since they’re long enough for her long neck, and I used them in the last 3 local shows for English/hunter day. The length is just perfect for the QHs. They aren’t my favorite strap good that I have – I do wish the leather was better quality, but they work very well for what I need them to do and they still hold up well.

Perhaps the bridle is more suited to the hunter QHs. They seem to have a more TB head structure (just look at Whisper) whereas Amber looks much more like the ranchy side of the QH breed. However, I still don’t think that should make that much of a difference in the bridle. I do think there are better quality leather goods out there for only a little bit more money than this one.

Unfortunately, this bridle made it into my “not up to snuff” category, but this doesn’t mean that in and of itself it isn’t a good bridle. This could be great bridle for someone else and work perfectly; I just didn’t like the way it fit my horse and I do wish that the leather was of better quality.