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Updated: February 27, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It is the wee hours of the morning...after 1am (Central time...I am in Texas on a quick 4-day getaway woo-hoo!). Happy New Years!!!

I am debating over my 2011 goals. It will be a GREAT year because 2011 is the official Chinese Year of the Hare! This is MY year, baby. Ok, goal time!

2011 GOALS
Short Term Goals 2011
  • Win a showmanship class with Corky and earn at least a half point
  • Show one of my yearlings in longe line to a great placing
  • Show Corky in equitation at least once
  • Show somewhere brand new I've never been before
  • Show longe line at Congress
Long Term Goals
  • Win a circuit championship on Corky
  • Earn another Congress top 10
  • Earn a Congress top 5
  • Show Taylor's baby in longe line

So, to start off the year, I got a phone call a couple days ago while I was in Texas...seems that Corky was lame in the front and it was iffy as to which front foot it was. The vet came out yesterday while I was in Texas and pulled her shoes, she was extremely sore to the hoof testers on both front soles. The odds of both front feet having abscesses are pretty low. There was a whisper of the word founder, though it was decided to put her on bute for the weekend and then see how she is by mid-week. I, of course, had a few panic moments. It makes me sick to my stomach just to think about it. I arrived home tonight from Texas, and will head out there first thing in the morning to see what she looks like. Yay, start the year off with worry...:-[

On a more positive note, I received a phone call from the shipper, and barring any more bad northern weather Pepsi will be picked up tomorrow night and should arrive here either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning! I am very excited!!! Kerry sent me a video showing what a good girl she is about loading all by herself:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ohio slapped me back to reality with 20 degree temperatures this morning. I put on the layers of underarmour and headed out to the barn to clean stalls and check on things. Corky had her Easyboots on since the vet pulled her shoes on Friday to check her feet. I pulled them off and briefly longed her at the trot. She looked OK, but since she is on bute I cannot really judge her. We will gradually pull her off of bute starting tomorrow and see where we are at by the weekend. Fingers crossed...I hope it was just nothing!

Tango was full of himself today. He becomes a wild man quickly when he isn't handled much for days. I put his halter on and off several times, tied him in his stall while I cleaned, and just made him behave like a proper gentleman while I was working with him. I think he fancied himself as a wild stallion, but I squelched that notion quickly! He needs a playmate!!! It looks like Pepsi will be picked up from Kerry's tomorrow morning and then be on her way! I am guessing she will arrive Wednesday? I am not sure

Today my friend hauled her big gelding over for me to work over fences again. He hadn't been ridden since the last time I rode him over crossrails, which was about 6 weeks ago. He is so dang quiet!!! We tried him over several heights of fences and crossrails, and he was awesome. He definitely has talent over fences if someone would buy him and seriously train him. He is a push kind of horse (as you can see from the video below...I am pumping like mad to keep him going!). It was fun...you have to push every stride to keep him going, but once you point him at the jump he just flows right to it with little interference.

I can see that I am really pushing and pumping. I always am so critical of my riding, and I cringed when I watched this one. I just need to sit more still in the saddle even if he is a push-push horse...my pushing needs to be more invisible. Oh well, something to work on next time!

Sunday, January 2, 2011...later....

I got some photos from Kerry tonight of Pepsi's last night in North Dakota. I can't believe in just a few days she will be here! It's exciting!

No, that's not dirt, that's snow on her back! She is going to be so spoiled coming here, she will get turned out in the indoor during snowy days!

Kerry braided her mane to train it to lay to the right like a proper hunter-to-be!

Monday, January 3, 2010

Well, the weather was bad in North Dakota today, so Pepsi's journey was delayed until tomorrow. I am ok with that...better safe than sorry, right? I sure don't envy those haulers having to haul in that drifting snow out there.

Corky looked 100% sound today. She is still wearing the Easyboots. I'll feel more positive once she is completely off the bute and is still sound. Tango was full of himself today. I took some time to do some leading with him. He is starting back in his habit of grabbing the rope or my sleeve while I am leading. I held a hoofpick with the edge pointed outward while I led him today. He got it a couple times in the mouth and then left me alone for a while. I hope I can train this annoying habit out of him. Boys are so darn mouthy!

ON a more exciting note, Kevin and I just put earnest money down on a new house! It's out in the country on 3 1/2 acres, a couple miles from the barn! I am very excited...nervous, but excited. It's a total fixer-upper so the next year will be spent in making it livable. It's time we left the ghetto and got into a property we can see ourselves living in for years to come.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pepsi is on her way to Ohio!!! I got this in an e-mail from Kerry:

"Baby "Pepsi" got on the road around 1:30. I met the hauler in Bowman. She was a very, very brave young lady. There were cattle trucks full of cows from the auction market that were making quite a racket, semi's pulling heavy equipment, jake brakes going off, and she stepped off my trailer onto theirs. She was so good and gets a Gold Star for the day. :)"
I am so excited. I hope and pray everything goes smoothly and I REALLY hope she arrives Wednesday night so I can be there to welcome her and see her for the first time. Here is a montage of photos Kerry sent me of Pepsi's last morning in North Dakota:

Kind of interesting, Kerry posted a spooky photo on her Facebook wall of Pepsi - with what appears to be a ghost or some sort of spirit caught on film. I am convinced it is her guardian angel preparing her for the trip...maybe it's Taylor, or Lazlo! Taylor would be the kind of horse to show up and take care of the youngster.

Today I had a quick hour to get my stalls cleaned after work before having to head back for a basketball game. I decided to take the boots off of Corky and see how she is. She looked 100% - did the most amazing floating trot across the arena...yay! Maybe this weird footsore lameness was just a fluke thing? I shouldn't get my hopes up quite yet...not until all of the bute is out of her system and she is feeling everything. I spent most of my free hour getting Pepsi's stall all bedded and fluffy and ready for her. I sat there getting things ready, and started watching tango as he raced around the indoor just full of energy! He is looking a lot more leggy these days. I wonder if he is experiencing another growth spurt.

Well, stay tuned tomorrow. Hopefully I will have photos and videos and lots of details on my new filly when she arrives!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pepsi Arrived tonight!!!. She arrived around 7:00pm. The shippers ended up parking o the side of the road down a ways by the house. Amazingly, Pepsi unloaded quietly (with some encouragement...she really didn't want to get off the trailer!) and I walked her across the yard in the pitch darkness to the barn. She led so easily and quietly! She immediately settled in to her new stall (with the old retired broodmare next to her to keep her company). She saw the alfalfa hay in the corner and dove into it, after taking a nice long drink of water.

I sat in her stall with her about an hour until I was frozen to the core. She needs a lot of time with me to get comfortable with me. I am so looking forward to getting her out tomorrow and letting her run and play and watching her move! Stay tuned for video (of course LOL!).

Tango and Corky were wound up and wild today! Corky ran like a madwoman for about 15 minutes straight. Yes, she is 100% sound...and off bute. Fingers crossed......

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I just realized I put "2010" on half of the entries of this diary! Sheesh, get with the program, Rabbit!

I zoomed to the barn after work for my little 2 hours of free time before having to head to jazz rehearsal in Dayton. As soon as I walked into the arena, Pepsi whinnied to me from her stall. It probably meant nothing, but I will take that as a sign that she recognized me enough to greet me :-]. I went in her stall and rubbed on her back and her neck. She is a little leery to my touch, and definitely does not like her legs or belly touched. I worked on just getting her to accept my hand on the upper part of her legs. When she finally stood quietly, I led her out of her stall into the arena and turned her loose. I had my video camera all ready thinking she would cut loose...nope! She walked sedately to the corner where the one gelding's stall is and touched noses with him for a while. I really didn't want to chase her around yet because I want her to first feel comfortable in coming to me. Since she was so quiet, I decided to turn Tango out with her and let the two of them meet. It was the weirdest thing. The walked up to each other and touched noses...usually when horses touch noses one of them becomes dominant and bites at the other and thus an order is established. Not so with these two! They touched noses for a bit, then by mutual consent they both turned around and walked away to opposite corners of the arena and proceeded to ignore each other. Strange!

I thought I'd try turning Corky out into the mix, but all Corky wanted to do was chase one and then the other (she was so baffled she didn't know who to chase first!) so I put her back in her stall, the two yearlings went back to their corners, and that's where they stood while I cleaned stalls.

Eventually Pepsi wandered over to see what I was doing in her stall, Tango eyed her and walked the other way (he is such a wimp about other horses!). Hopefully the two of them will get more comfortable with each other so they can play. No doubt Pepsi was still exhausted after her long trip.

When I was done cleaning stalls, I took Pepsi for a walk around the arena, working on 'whoa'. She is so much better to lead than Tango because she doesn't chew constantly on me and the rope like Tango does (darn boys!). I worked on getting her to accept my touch on her legs a bit more, and I played with her ears (funny, she was better with her ears than her legs!). We will take lots of time over the next few weeks and work on gaining her trust and getting her comfortable around me. That's the fun part!

Now for pictures...of course I have pictures!!!

I think she was baffled by me - that weird human who always has some small contraption in front of her face clicking and clicking LOL!

Yep, I love her...can you tell?

She's so elegant! Tango is all boy, and she is much more feminine

Pepsi meets Corky through the stall door.

One of many self-portraits. Pepsi had better get used to this, because I take a lot of these LOL!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I spent a long time today thoroughly cleaning stalls. Pepsi has such a neat stall! Tango is a complete slob in his stall, Corky just has a TON of output in hers, but Pepsi's was really neat and easy to clean..good girl! Corky and Tango were wound up and ran and played a ton. I spent a bunch of time in Pepsi's stall just letting her get used to me. She is slowly warming up to me! I turned her out with tango and tried to get a little more video today. She is a pretty low-energy horse (which could end up being a great thing!). Here is the video - taken yesterday and today:

Saturday, January 8, 2010

Well, this is distressing. Corky has been 100% all week - feeling good and moving great. Today she was extremely stiff coming out of her stall and definitely was not feeling good in the front end. I free-longed her at the trot and she really didn't want to move. She wasn't necessarily off in one leg or the other, but something in her front end was bothering her. I felt her feet and pasterns, and her right was definitely warmer than the left and it had a pulse behind the pastern. I am so confused as to what this could be! I picked her feet out and pushed all over her soles with the hoofpick and she had no reaction.

Today was baby education day! Tango got tied to the wall and his feet picked out. He's been getting a bit strong-willed at picking up his back feet so we did that several times. At one point he tested his halter and lead rope limits by trying to pull back, but they held...a valuable lesson for him that he cannot get loose! He got better and better the more I worked with him. I really need to do this a lot. He is very opinionated about things. I left him tied to the wall for a little while and I got Pepsi out. We walked all over the indoor, and I really like how she follows my body language so I never have to put much pressure on the lead rope to direct her. I tried a mini-longe lesson to see how she would be - put her on the end of the lead rope and had her walk circles around me both directions. Easy-peasy! She puts no pressure on the lead rope. Then we went into Tango's stall. I wanted to see how she would tie. I tied her, and then picked her feet up. She was nervous about her back feet, but did excellent! I picked them all up several times and gave her lots of praise. She is even letting me touch her belly now without much protest. Again today I spent a lot o time in her stall running my hands all over her. I think she is starting to enjoy my company.

Pepsi hasn't been eating my grain, I don't think she likes it. I am borrowing a friend's grain to try and see if she prefers that brand. So, on the agenda this coming week - get an equine massage therapist to look at Corky (we are thinking it is in her shoulders since she reacts when you push on her shoulders???), find a grain that Pepsi likes to eat, and work with both Tango and Pepsi on picking up their feet.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Well, Corky looked very off again today. I walked her around in a circle in the indoor and she was really short-stepping both directions. I turned her loose with tango and went to clean stalls. About 15 minutes later I see her trotting big as can be across the arena chasing Tango. She looked fine! However, when she was done galloping and trotting, her walk still looked a bit short and pained. I tried the hooftesters on her and she did not react to any pressure anywhere on her soles, frogs, or heels...nothing. So does this rule out possible laminitis? I am so clueless. I've never really had to deal with founder before. Is that what this is? Also what is weird is that there was slight heat in her right front foot and leg (all the way up the leg through the forearm), and also some heat in her left hind leg..the diagonal pair! What on earth does that mean? There wasn't a ton of heat, but you could definitely tell the difference in temperature. I am hoping to get an appointment Thursday afternoon with a good leg vet that is 2 hours from me. We have a big snowstorm coming in on Tuesday, but hopefully the snow will be all clear by then.

Today was yearling training day! Tango was first - spent some time tied to the wall, then I picked his feet out (and he was as good as gold). Then we led around the arena and did some trotting on the lead. All in all a very good lesson. Of course, I am leaving out the part about how when I went to put his haler on in his stall he decided to grab my arm and I walloped his butt! He walked right back up to me and never offered to bite again the rest of the day. I think it is tough love time for good old Tango!

Then it was Pepsi's turn - tied to the wall for a bit then we went on a leading lesson where I worked on teaching her the word 'whoa'. We went into her stall and I tied her and picked all of her feet up and picked them out. She was excellent! So all in all it was a good yearling training session for both youngsters!

Oh, and I measured Pepsi with the good stick and level tonight. She is about a quarter inch under 13'3", and a smidge over 14 hands at the hip. Tango is right at 13'3" at the withers and he is close to 14'2" at the hip. So they are both similar in size, although Tango is 2 months older and has a ton more body and bone. He's all boy! is leg measures to about 17 hands, hers to around 16'2"-16'3". We'll see how accurate that is...stay tune for the next 4 to 5 years ;-]

Monday, January 10, 2011

PepsiTangoIt's funny, you'd think with only having two yearlings and a riding horse that's sore, I would be in and out of the barn in no time. Zip zip zip, clean stalls and outta there. Yeah, not so! I find myself spending a lot of time on the yearlings. Everything I do with one, I feel the need to duplicate with the other. It's kind of fun, because the two of them are so different - all boy and all girl. Both are doing really well with leading and tying and picking feet up, etc. You know, looking at them I thought both were fairly good-sized, but then reading on the Pleasure Horse Forum people are all claiming their HUS babies are 15+ hands right now! Can that really be true? Even Corky (who is a full 17 hands now as a 'grown up') was only 14'2" in January of her yearling year. OK, so is everyone really exaggerating or do they all really have these big honkin' babies that will be dwarfing mine in their classes? I wonder...really wonder.

I was determined to get some decent video footage of Pepsi today since the sun was shining into the indoor and lighting it up. of course, do I have my video camera with me today? Noooo, of course not. I attempted to get some video on my phone, but as you can see the quality in dim lighting really stinks. Oh well, since I went to the trouble of taking the video I will force it on you now:

I have an appointment for Corky with Dr. Lukenbill in Xenia. He's a good vet for those mystery lamenesses. Too bad it's nearly a 2 hour drive for me. Oh well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I will spare nothing in trying to get Corky feeling better. I just pray that the roads get cleared by then, because we have some significant snow coming on Tuesday and Wednesday. I just love that phrase "significant snow accumulation"...NOT!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 (1-11-11)

I am sitting here trapped in my house with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am trapped because we are in the midst of a sizable snowstorm with no signs of stopping any time soon. I got a call from my friend/barn owner and Corky is doing very bad tonight - is extremely sore on all 4 feet. It's fairly clear that it is looking more and more like laminitis. I can't figure it out - she has not changed her feed (other than we pulled her completely off grain this weekend and started giving her just grass hay), nothing in her exercise or turnout routine has changed, nothing. I am stuck here, and I just know that the ONE vet who owns a portable x-ray machine in my area will probably NOT come out tomorrow since he rarely does farm calls (and would never come out when I called him even if it was an emergency). That leaves me having to wait until Thursday for my appointment (IF I can even get out with all this snow), which I am afraid will be too late. Yes, I am panicking. I won't deny sitting here in tears either. I am trying really hard not to think negative thoughts but I am afraid this could be the end of her riding career, and if that's the case the end of mine also.

Per the advice of many people online, I had my friend give her bute and 2ccs of Ace to act as a vasodialator to help with circulation. Now I sit here and stew, and worry, and panic...I am NOT going to assume it's the end of the road for us...NOT going to face that tonight. NOT until I know something positive from the vet. In the meantime, please keep praying. I have my doubts about the supposed power of prayer anymore, or maybe I just don't go about it correctly. Not sure, but I'll keep trying...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 (early morning)

Just got off the phone with my vet (actually the equine receptionist-assistant-whatever). I had to actually fight to get them to agree to see Corky. Her response was that if she was indeed having a bout of laminitis, to 'let her finish rotating' before they take x-rays so they will know how to instruct the farrier. OK, obviously I wasn't going to go for that, and after major convincing, they are coming out today at 1:00 to take x-rays and see what the prognosis is. My friend Randy was great, he was ready to take the day off and haul me to a vet if needed today. Darla also texted me last night and offered her help. I love these people! So now I am off to work and then out to the appointment and hopefully I will have good news later...prayers are appreciated...I am thinking and feeling positive and know in my heart it will work out because I am dedicated to doing whatever it takes to get her healed and sound. I have big plans this year for us! Plus I just plain love this horse to death, and I hate seeing her in pain. It's like watching your child hurt (I know, Kevin, horses are not children, but they are MY children!).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 (late evening)

The power of prayer WORKS!. The vet came today to check Corky. First thing she did was check her feet - no heat, NO reaction on any of the 4 to the hooftesters. She did a full body check, and Corky did react severely when she pressed on her hips and the surrounding muscles. This clued the vet in that it might have been several episodes of tying up rather than laminitis! She took x-rays of her front feet just to be sure - NO rotation!

What a relief. The vet pulled some blood to check Corky's levels. Her electrolytes were normal, her liver and kidney function were normal, the only thing she could see was that Corky had been dehydrated recently. This made her believe that we were definitely dealing with some typing up episodes. I must admit I am not 100% convinced, but we will follow her treatment plan and see how she does. She is on bute, got a shot of a muscle relaxer, and will be on isoproxine for 4 weeks. If she isn't a lot better by the weekend then I will call the vet I was originally planning to haul to and make another appointment for next week...hoping that the snow will be cleared by then for that 2 hour haul. I am thinking and feeling positive though...no rotation was the best news I could possibly ask for. 2011 is looking a bit brighter than it did last night!

Corky stayed in her stall and I turned Tango and Pepsi out together. I am sure they were glad to not have the big 17 hand beast chasing them around. Pepsi was making sure Tango understood she held the upper hand. You go girl! Tango has some pretty horrible diarrhea today (of course, he doesn't show it until after the vet leaves). He is acting and feeling good, so I will keep an eye on him. I guess he felt left out and wanted some medical attention LOL!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I am not convinced that the diagnosis on Corky was correct. She was very off today. There is definite heat in her right front and this time her right hind foot as well. She can run and chase the yearlings, but if you put her on the longe line and trot her, she is definitely stiff, and head-bobbing in the right front. The hooftesters show nothing in that foot. It seems to me the heat is more in the leg than the hoof. She has heat from her coronet band all the way up to right below her knee. I am really upset. She is on 1g of bute 2x a day and is very sore even with the bute in her system. I guess I definitely will have to haul her to a good vet that can figure out the problem.

This bad news really colored my whole day. I had been looking forward to spending the day working with the yearlings. I did get a chance to do this, but I was so focused on what was going wrong, everything escalated. Tango actually was pretty good - both he and Pepsi stood tied and I picked up their feet and worked with them and that went great. Tango walked, stopped, and reversed both directions on the longe line very calmly and quietly. Pepsi was almost angry that I was bothering her, so this became an issue when she flat out decided she didn't WANT to walk and she tried rearing and fighting. I was practicing with both yearlings leading on the off side (this is a good practice to get them used to having you in their right eye in longe line). Even Tango took some convincing that this was OK, but Pepsi flat out wanted NOTHING to do with being led from the right side! It was a tricky battle, and I eventually won and was able to lead her quietly from the right but it was exhausting, and of course disheartening because it seemed my fun day at the barn started crumbling to pieces from the moment I walked in the door. I keep reminding myself that these little setbacks in training are normal. It made me sad because even though we ended on a good note, Pepsi wanted NOTHING to do with me after that. I shouldn't take these things so personally LOL! In time things will come around. I think I am suffering from a lack of riding...not having a horse to ride has been really hard on me.

Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe things will be better?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh what a difference a day makes! Today dawned a new day, I had a new reserve of patience! I cleaned stalls, and instead of depressing myself by checking Corky I left her in her stall and turned the yearlings out by themselves to play for a while (video below!). Then I tied both of them up and began another yearling training session! Pepsi was a bit leery of me, so I spent a lot of extra time with her brushing her and just being quiet around her. Both she and Tango were excellent again with letting me pick their feet up. My farrier (who is coming tomorrow) will be very happy! Pepsi is still pretty ticklish when I brush her belly. Funny, but she also is a bit over-reactive when I brush or touch her right front leg. The others are OK. It's funny how horses have their little 'things' that bug them...makes no sense to me but I am sure in their minds it makes perfect sense!

Pepsi was first on the agenda today. I spent some time leading her around the arena and teaching her to stop whenever I said the word 'whoa'. She caught on to that quickly, and soon was stopping on 'whoa' without any pressure on the lead rope. I then led from the off side, and amazingly she led right along like it was no big deal. I guess our big 'issue' in training yesterday must have sunk in. Maybe she realized that I am not asking for the moon here, just for her to walk quietly following my shoulder. She was great today!

For the first time, Pepsi walked quietly and calmly on the longe line. She walked, and when I said "whoa" and used some body language (stepping slightly in front of her) she stopped, and was easy to reverse with a little pressure on the line. We walked circles and reversed several times...it was a banner moment! Yesterday she was such a brat about just walking, and today it seems she was really thinking about what I wanted and trying to do it right. I hated fighting with her yesterday (it really bothered me all night) but I know deep down inside sometimes battles have to be fought when training...and today is proof that I must have done the right thing. Whew! I am always second-guessing myself about my training abilities and methods.

Next it was Tango's turn! He is such an old pro at the leading lessons. Today he must have taken a page out of Pepsi's book, because he did not try to bite me even once! Wow, a red-letter day! He led from both sides, and he is already an old pro at the 'whoa' command and stops on a dime (thanks to Corky's training!). I put him on the longe line and we walked, stopped, and reversed several times. Today we decided to try a little bit of trotting. Tango was awesome! Trotted right off and stayed calm and quiet, went around in the circle without pulling, and then stopped on command. We did a few circles at the trot and then called it a day. I gave both of my yearlings a ton of praise...good kids!

Here's a video of the yearlings playing, and a little clip at the end of Pepsi's first walk on the longe line:

After they were done, I put Pepsi back in her stall and turned Corky out. I felt her feet, and neither had any warmth to them...a good sign. She went out into the arena and I waved her into a trot. She was only off the slightest bit, but much better than yesterday! My farrier is coming out tomorrow at 9am. I plan on calling the vet's office at 8am and BEGGING for an afternoon appointment. I wont rest easy until I know exactly what is going on with Corky.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Busy day today. I had a farrier appointment at 9am. First thing I did this morning was call the vet's office (Dr. Luckenbill) at 8am to beg for an appointment for Corky. They were able to get me in at 3:30. Whew! Thus the long day began.

Corky got her feet done, everything was good. No abscesses, no issues. She looked sound in the arena, but then she was just trotting straight. When she was done, it was yearling time! I was so proud of both my "kids". They both stood like champs (my farrier was impressed!). My farrier did a little work on pepsi since her one front foot was trimmed really high on the inside, causing her right front foot to turn way out. that got corrected, along with evening up her hind feet. Tango had grown a TON of foot, so he required a lot of trimming. I was glad to see all my hard work of picking up their feet and working with them every single day had worked out!

I hooked up the trailer, loaded Corky, swung by to pick up my good friend (who was crazy enough to agree to accompany me on this trip so I wouldn't have to drive alone) and we hit the road (with one stop for lunch at Fazolis, of course!). I ended up spending over 2 hours at the vet clinic. Dr. Luckenbill was extremely thorough. He did a lot of longeing and observing Corky trot (she was sound going straight, slightly off when circling to the left, and very off when circling to the right), and did a block on her right front to rule out some issues. Oh yes, plus a TON of x-rays...and I do mean a ton! Good news: Laminitis and Navicular Disease were completely ruled out. Yay! What was sore were the ligaments attached to the navicular bone. There was no way for him to tell if they are strained or torn. the onyl way to determine if they are torn would be to haul to Rood and Riddle for an MRI (at a whopping $3,000). His solutaion was to put her in 3 degree wedge shes with leather pads (since the bone had shifted due to her angles and was now closer to the sole, also causing soreness) and then turn her out/free longe her for a week, and then start riding her again. Within 2-3 weeks she should be sound. If so, then we are on the right track and we will keep her in wedge shoes and gradually bring her down a bit as her bones get back in alignment. If she does not get sound after 2-3 weeks of shoeing, then we know that these ligaments are torn, thus requiring 6 months stall rest. 6 months!!!. This would be devastating!

So, I am not sure what to think. My show season and my year are now put on hold for the next month. I am desperately trying to get a hold of my farrier to beg him to come back out and put these wedge shoes on so we can start the process in determining if she will indeed be sound. I will be praying hard, believe me.

What is interesting is that right before I left, he showed me a spot right at the coronet band in the front of her foot that was kind of puffy and mushy. I had actually noticed this a couple weeks ago when I was searching her coronet looking for any signs of a possible abscess. I wondered at the time if this was possibly an abscess. It is actually a pocket of fluid that has pooled in this spot due to the mis-alignment of her foot. He said once things are aligned correctly, this will go away. Interesting...something to keep in mind and look for in the future.

So, there you have it, in a big nutshell. I know I am leaving a lot of details out, but my brain is still trying to process all this mumbo-jumbo and medical jargon. Say a prayer, please!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Surprise! Day off from school due to an ice storm! I slid out to the barn in the afternoon to meet my farrier, who was kind enough to make a special trip out to the barn in this weather to put Corky's new shoes on. She is now sporting some big 3-degree wedge shoes, and a gel pad on the right foot. She looks funny in these shoes, and he did warn me (along with everyone else) that her movement would change drastically with these shoes on. Heck, that's the least of my worries! Right after he was done, I had to take her out in the indoor and trot her in a circle to the right. Of course she is still lame. Miracles don't happen overnight! I have vowed NOT to check her for soundness in the next week - just turn her out each day and let her be. She looks great in a straight line. I will wait a full week and then check and see how she is doing. I will drive myself crazy if I am out there checking her every day with a microscope.

I spent some time just working with Pepsi - petting her, leading her, and just standing around with her trying to get her comfortable with me. She is so incredibly tense when I handle her. I can actually hear her breathing get faster when I sttart handling her. She was not cooperative in getting her halter on, she's been getting that way lately. She may have to wear the halter with the shorty rope for a few days. She is just so different than Tango - she is so frightened of everything, and I have to be so quiet with her. By the end of our session today she actually walked up to me and seeked me out, which was a good sign. I think Tango is half in love with her now, he is glued to her side when they are out together.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It was a whopping high of 8 degrees today. Of course I was crazy enough to head out to the barn th clean stalls and work with the "kids". Yes, I am mad. I know I swore I wouldn't do a thing with Corky until she had those shoes on for a full week, but I couldn't resist...I just had to see if anythng changed. So after turning her out for a while and watching her play, I put her on the longe line and trotted her in a circle to the right. Dang, she looks funky with those big wedge shoes on. Everyone warned me, but it was still a shock to see how awful she moved...NO stride at all! So it was kind of hard to tell exactly how sound she was, because she just didn't look normal to me. However, I had to strain to maybe see a sign of anything..she looked pretty even on both feet. OK, so that's a good sign, right? I am NOT gettng my hopes up until I start actually riding her again and see what happens. Hopefully next weekend this will happen.

It was bitter cold, but I had to spend some time with the yearlings. I walked and trotted Tango on the longe line for a few circles and he was great. He is so easy to train. He looks like a big sack trotting around in a circle though, he is so uneven and potbellied...he looks awful. He is starting to get a nice long stride. I need to figure out a way to get that darn belly off of him!!! I led Pepsi around for a while and worked on our whoa, and then asked her to walk on the longe line. She did pretty good going to the left, but she just panicked going to the right for some reason. It took a long time (and a hundred gallons of patience!) to get her to stop jigging and trotting when going to the right. I am telling you I spent a LOT of time with her today. She would panic and pull back, and I would walk with her and try and pet her and calm her. I am slowly figuring her out. She is so quiet and easy on the things she knows well and understands (like leading from the left side, tying, etc.) but when presented with something new (like leading from the right side) she over-reacts and panics. So, I have to think this through. Do I want to really baby her and keep her as quiet as possible by doing a lot of repetitions of things she already knows and gradually introduce the new stuff s l o w l y or do I just try to quietly introduce all sorts of new things to her often so she gets used to new ideas every day? Hmmm...something to ponder as I fight my insomnia tonight. I want to make the training process as pleasant and easy for her as possible, but I do want her to learn...and most of all I want her to enjoy it when I work with her.

I am quickly going mad without a horse to ride. Someone kick me in the head for owning two yearlings instead of having at least one 2yo or youngster to train under saddle! I feel my riding skills slipping away from inactivity. All those months of posting without stirrups and working to make my seat and legs stronger all fall has gone down the tubes. It's so frustrating! OK, I am done whining! Thank goodness I do have the two yearlings - they give me something enjoyable to do at the barn every day (other than cleaning stalls, which of course is MOST enjoyable!).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another frigid day at the barn! Corky looked pretty good today (though I really wasn't looking...really, I wasn't!). I put Tango and Pepsi out together for a while. It was funny watching them, Tango was so desperate to play and Pepsi really didn't want to play with him. I threw the pink ball out for them to play with, and it was funny watching Tango try to get Pepsi to play with the ball.


Monday, January 24, 2011

I turned all 3 (Corky, Tango, and Pepsi) out to play in the arena while I cleaned. Corky, I believe, might be coming into heat. She stood in the corner by the gelding's stall and squealed the whole time. The two yearlings ran and ran and ran and played hard! That was good to see.

When I was done cleaning stalls, I put Corky away and went to work on the yearlings. Tango was first - we did some leading, whoa-ing, and then worked a bit on the longe line. We did several circles at the walk and practiced stopping and reversing. He really has that skill down pat! He reverses so smoothly when I ask, I love it. I let him out on the line a bit more at the trot to encourage him to move out. We only did a few circles at the trot, then practiced walking and reversing some more.

Pepsi's turn was next. I worked on just leading and whoa-ing for a long time. She was a lot more relaxed today, though every time I moved the lead rope she jumped back in a panic. I think I need to tie some ropes from the ceiling in her stall and let her get used to them moving and touching her. Eventually we went to the longe line and I asked her to walk. Today was a great day for Pepsi - she calmly walked, stopped and reversed both directions on the longe line without trotting, jigging, or trying to pull away! I walked her long enough to make her bored with the whole process. Then I praised her like she just won the Congress LOL! I picked her feet up and worked them and she was an angel about it. Today for some reason she felt a lot more comfortable around me, which is good! A few times when I was out playing with Corky or Tango, she actually approached me as if she didn't want to be left out of the fun. Hopefully the more she sees how relaxed and eager Tango and Corky are for my attention, she will do the same.

I am still guardedly optimistic. Corky (for the few steps she actually trotted) looked pretty good. Just like Dr. Luckenbill said, that soft mushy spot at the top of her coronet band in the front of her feet was gone! I don't know if I mentioned that, but I had noticed before I left for Texas last month that she had a soft spot in the front of her foot and I thought it might have been an abcess ready to blow. Dr. Luckenbill said it was actually inflammation pooling in the front of the foot from the ligament strain, and he did say that after a few days with the wedge shoes, that spot would begone...and it was! Cool, that's a good sign, right?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I am feeling more optimistic about Corky. She looked great on he longe line today. Tomorrow is the big day - I will get in the saddle and see if she is sound. My vet said this will truly determine of the ligaments are torn or not. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!

It was a good yearling training day. Pepsi walked very quietly on the longe line. I even decided to ask for a little trot! This got her a bit nervous, but she did pretty good. She is figuring out the "whoa" command. Tango walked and trotted, he has the "whoa" down pat. Hey, if nothing else, my yearlings will be very broke to handling and well-trained for their age. That's a big plus to anyone looking at youngsters.

Have I mentioned that I am dying to ride??? Even if Corky is sound (God willing!), I will have to take it easy with her for a while. I need anoter riding horse! I did things backwards having two yearlings and one horse under saddle. I think my yearlings are getting sick of me because I am spending so much time with them...they probably are eager for me to leave the alone already!

I am trying to keep a good outlook for 2011, but it's tough. We had finally found a property out in the country near the barn that was affordable and would end up being perfect for us...everything was set and the bank accepted out offer (it;s a short sale property)...until we found out that there had been a second mortgage taken out at another bank, and now both banks are negotiating to see if they will even honor our purchase contract. It's looking rather bleak...looks like we will not be able to get this property after all. It's a crushing disappointment since properties in this area that actually fit into our budget are almost non-existent. So I will work on keeping a positive outlook for Corky, because my 2011 seems to be hanging on her.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

She's SOUND!!! I free-longed Corky for about 5 minutes just to check her, then saddled up and rode! I had a friend video my ride so I could watch it and really look for any sign of lameness. She looked great! I was shocked at how good she rode after having well over a month off. I got right on and she trotted off quietly and did everything I asked. I only rode about 10 or 15 minutes, I don't want to push it the first day (though it was so great, I could have ridden for hours!). I went home and scrutinized the video, I saw nothing. Her trot actually looks really good. the wedge shoes make her canter a little funky...I wasn't sure if it is just because she is so out of shape or the wedge shoes. It just wan't as flat and collected as it usually is. Oh well, it was sound and that's all that matters!

Pepsi actually seeked my company today when she was turned out. She walked right up to me when I was petting Tango and let me rub on her face and neck. We are making progress.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Batten down the hatches, here comes another significant winter storm! I got one last ride in today before the ice and snow hits (looks to shut down my entire week after tomorrow!). I rode Corky for about 15 minutes. She was a bit more squirrelly today, but was still pretty good (and SOUND!). I will never take soundness for granted again! O)f course, with the luck I've had in the past 3 years, I never really have taken soundness for granted.

I worked both yearlings on walking and whoa-ing. Both did a few rounds at the trot on the longe line and were very good! I forgot to mention I measured them a few days ago, Tango is 14' at the withers and 14'2" at the hip, Pepsi is about 13'2 1/2" at the withers and 14' at the hip.

I am re-thinking my goals this year. Am I allowed to re-do them? It's still January for one more day, so I should get a pass and be able to edit them for 2011. I will give it time, but I am thinking a few of my goals need to be tossed out, and maybe a few new ones put in their place. You know me, I am a realist...a critical realist. I don't dream huge unless it is actually a possibility...and I am at least savvy enough to look at what i have and know what is and isn't a possibility...I think. Yeah, I've been wrong before but rarely when it comes to this. We shall see! I'd love to be able to peek into the future and see what happens.

No riding for me tomorrow - we are out of bedding so I have to make an emergency run to the feed mill to pick up (ugh!) bagged shavings to get me through the bad weather week. I am sure the most precious commodity in the world is SHAVINGS.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today was my second day out of work, and another one tomorrow due to the weather. Of course all I can do is sit here and worry about my horses since I haven't been able to drive the 20 miles to the barn to clean their stalls. First thing tomorrow I am heading out there, regardless of the road conditions! That is...IF I can get my truck unfrozen!

It's a good day to stay indoors today and look at old horse videos, and think about this upcoming show season. I had wanted to go to the Indy Circuit this year, but that runs the first week of June and now with all these missed days we will have our school make-up days that week. Time to figure out Plan B. I know I desperately need some riding time with Darla, but it looks like it will be eons before things are thawed enough for me to haul to a lesson. I am eager to 'get back in the saddle' so to speak, and get me and Corky ready for this year!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It was a rough day cleaning stalls - the barns doors are all frozen save the very front ones. This meant I had to push the wheelbarrow loads across the arena, around the corner and through the other barn, out the door, across the yard, around the turnout fence, and to the far back pasture. It took me longer to push the 3 large wheelbarrow loads than it did to actually clean the stalls! I had a full sweat going, and it was only 18 degrees.

Today the horses were subdued (I heard they played very hard yesterday!). Pepsi actually was seeking me out for attention! I love that, I feel like I am finally making progress. While I was cleaning, I tossed out an empty shavings bag, and of course Tango decided it would make a cool new toy! Plastic bags are Corky's biggest fear, so it took her a while to approach it. Tango and Pepsi had no fear of it at all.

You can see in the video how dirty Pepsi is. I spent some time grooming her afterward, but she just LOVES to roll in the dirtiest part of the arena she can find. It's so weird - she has started to shed already! She was shedding gobs of hair today. I guess her North Dakota blood feels like our cold Ohio temps are springlike! If this keeps up I will have to dig out my old yearling blanket for her.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I tried to head out to the barn yesterday afternoon, but a sudden (and unpredicted) blizzard hit us and it was a complete white0out! I think we gained between 6-7 inches of snow on top of the snow and ice we already had. I got about halfway down out block, realized how foolish it was, and backed back up into my driveway. Better safe (and alive) than not, right?

Today i headed out there first thing in the morning. The stalls were horrible...I hauled out 5 heavy wheelbarrow loads. The fresh snow made it almost impossible to push the barrow through. My back hurts, my arms hurt, and I am wondering at what point in my ever-aging life am I going to realize that I just cannot do these intensely physical tasks anymore? I mean, right now I am OK, but what will happen in my future? I pondered this as I wheeled and shoveled.

When I was finished, I forced myself to ride. Well, in reality it wasn't much forcing. I really wanted to ride! It was actually in the low 30's today - a heat wave! Corky rode very good - a little heavy in the bridle but that is to be expected after so much time off. I haven't been riding in spurs since her injury, and I experimented with her 'spur slow' at the canter. Amazingly, it was much better without spurs! She actually slowed down willingly and I didn't have to 'ride the brake' in order to keep her pace - she held it there for many strides. This is something to think about. Could she maybe be better under saddle without spurs at all? I've ridden her in spurs since she was 3, and she definitely needed them then, but maybe now she doesn't need them and would be happier without them? Hmmm....

I worked both yearlings today. Pepsi is much calmer and seems to enjoy the attention. Tango is doing great on the longe line, he has a great stop and reverse. I have been letting out the line a little and allowing him to use a bigger circle. We are still mostly walking, with only a little bit of trotting here or there. We will do this for the next few months...no rush!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not much to report...same old same old! O have been trying to squeeze in a few quick rides on Corky - only about 15 minutes at a time. I rode her today even though she was nasty in heat. I bought a portable bendable tripod for my little video camera and was able to attach it to the arena fence, and I videoed my entire ride (or at least the portion of it that was in the area of the arena in the camera's view). I haven't watched it yet, I hope to sit down at lunch time and watch the video and see exactly what Corky is looking like. Her canter feels very funky. I know those wedge shoes must really affect her canter. When she is loose, she trots and trots huge but hardly ever canters any more, and under saddle I have to really push her and force her to drive at the canter. She wants to go kind of strung out, which is very unusual for her. Yesterday I had to use so much leg every stride at the canter that she actually got mad about it...good thing I wasn't wearing spurs! Of course being in heat made her overly sensitive to every bit of leg pressure. As a woman, I can understand that :-]

I didn't work with the yearlings today, but this past weekend I put both of them on the longe line for a few minutes and practiced walking, reversing, and a little trotting. Both seemed to have mastered those training concepts. It's funny how completely opposite they both look when moving. It's like watching apples and oranges. Both of them have started to shed, though pepsi has been shedding for quite a few weeks. I am afraid if she sheds out a ton this month I may have to blanket her when the March freeze comes (and you know it will!). Corky doesn't have a loose hair, and I find that strange since she is the one with the warmer stall and the two yearlings have the drafty cold stalls. I find not a whole lot makes sense with horses anymore, you know? :-]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Heat wave today - it was nearly 40 degrees! I am swamped with artwork orders so unfortunately I didn't have time to ride. I did take some time to longe both yearlings and get some video and photos. Here are a couple pics of the "kids" from this afternoon:

Here's Tango - he is sooooo leggy and gawky and uneven! I wonder if his withers will ever catch up to his butt LOL! He's doing so well on the longe line. He actually is looking better and better as he starts to mature a bit. He just needs to grow into those big ears and belly :-]

Pepsi still has a TON of long hair, as you can see. However she is losing it at a very rapid rate. I bet in another week or two she will start looking pretty slick. It's funny how the two of them look so different. Pepsi carries her weight along her back - she has such a solid, firm topline. Tango carries his in his lower belly. They are eating the same thing, so it's kind of funny how they grow so differently.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I spent yesterday selling artwork at the Findlay Tack Swap meet. It was a lot of fun, even though I didn't make a ton of sales. I made enough to make my time worthwhile, and I enjoyed myself...can't ask for much more than that!

Big personal news for me - On Thursday we closed on our new property! It's a total fixer-upper, but the best thing is that it's only 2 miles from the barn. It will be a year before the house will be ready to move in, we have a ton of work to do. Suddenly in the signing of a few hundred pieces of papers, my monthly bills have doubled. Sadly, my salary has not, so I am going to have to make some hard and serious decisions about my horses this year. Once again my focus is going to have to change. I think my focus needs to be on Corky for the most part...but I am not sure. Things are up in the air as I mull over what to do. Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled and excited about this new property. If you could see where I live now (I call it "the ghetto"), then you'd understand why this is such an important move for me and my family. Thus the sacrifices must be made for the greater good. I have accepted that...and and working towards a solution.

I headed out to the barn to clean and ride today, but we got hit with a major ice storm while I was cleaning stalls. I got the stalls cleaned, did a little training on both yearlings, and then decided it was in my best interest to get the heck outta dodge and head home...driving approximately 23 miles per hour the whole 20 miles home...on solid ice-covered roads. Corky and the yearlings were in a tear today! Every time I put shavings in a stall I thorw the plastic bag out in the arena to see what they do. Every time, Corky runs in fear of her life, Tango feeds off of her fear and runs off, and Pepsi ignores them and trots towards the bag to investigate it. Same thing happens when I go out there and shake it. I like that she doesn't feed off of the other horses' reactions. Of course, Tango runs away but then he immediately goes back to the bag and grabs it and runs around shaking it (much to Corky's terror). I need to get him a new ball since his bright pink one got flattened.

I did some investigating of the paint shows in this area (I was excited to hear there is a paint show coming right here to Lima!). Sadly, NONE of the spring or summer paint shows in Ohio or Indiana offer solid paint bred longe line. In fact, very few places offer it. I guess if I really want to do the paint thing, I am going to have to travel pretty far just for that one class. That's disappointing. I don't even know if I will bother to renew my APHA membership this year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thanks to an ice/show storm, we had another cancelled day of school today. Looks like we'll end up having school till July :-[ I zipped over to the barn to get the stalls cleaned. When I got there, Tango was laying down in his stall, so I went in and sat on him. He is so laid back, he didn't even care!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tango' measurements today: 14 1/8" in the withers, 14'3" in the hip. Yep, he is that unbalanced! Come on withers, catch up already! I didn't get to measure Pepsi, it looks like she might be just an inch shorter in the withers. She is much more balanced and even in the hip, though.

A banner week for me - I finally got Tango's APHA papers in the mail! Finally all paperwork has been taken care of and everything is done...been waiting since I sent the paperwork in at the beginning of May! Horray! Now to search for those elusive solid paint bred classes to do a little longe line this year, IF he ever evens out!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What a great day! It was in the mid-40's and felt like springtime compared to the weather last week. Both yesterday and today I rode Corky, though today I rode her quite a bit longer and gave her a good workout (and me also...did some posting without stirrups to try and get me back in shape!). Corky felt very good today. I am letting her move out a bit at the canter. I don't want her canter to become artificial, and since she is not in shape enough quite yet to hold herself up at the canter and hkeep it together at a slower pace, I decided to increase the motion a bit to keep her gait true. She felt really good. Yesterday when I rode her she tended to over-react to my leg, so we did a longeing session with the tires before riding today...worked like a charm.

I did a little work with Tango - he was really full of himself since he didn't get his turnout/play time before our session. Pepsi was great - I probably had the best session on the longe line with her that I ever had. She walked very calmly and quietly, reversed, and even did a little trotting, all the while staying quiet and relaxed. I didn't even hear her hard breathing like I do sometimes when she gets tense. She got a good thorough grooming today, she is shedding buckets! All in all it was a great day at the barn.

I had another chance at a picture with Tango laying down (for his daily 2:00 nap) so I of course had to get one!

Tomorrow is an exciting day - we take possession of our new house at 4:00! It will be close to a year before we move in because it needs some serious work. I am really looking forward to working on it and eventually moving in...finally!

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