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Updated: June 29, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cold and gloomy day for May, though why should I be surprised? April's average rainfall in Ohio is around 2-3" and we got nearly 8! No wonder everything I own is waterlogged.

The arena was freshly drug, so I could finally ride...yay! These inconsistent rides are killing me. How can I get things accomplished when I have to go days without riding - either my schedule gets bogged down or the arena is too hard for Corky's feet. Today was perfect, and so was Corky! I expected her to be bad since she had this whole week off, but she was great. She was very soft underneath, which had a lot to do with the soft footing. I didn't do anything spectacular - just w-t-c, working on keeping her inside shoulder up and maintaining a steady pace. I think I am ready to find a show somewhere to break her out for the season. This coming weekend I am hoping to haul Tango someplace to walk him around. I want to do that before I attempt to show him in longe line. He longed great today. I only worked him about 5 minutes - he did everything I asked. My friend was riding Corky around at the walk while I longed him, and he was highly distracted every time we passed them. I can see he will be very goofy when we get to a show full of strange horses. Hey, maybe he will surprise me, he usually does!

My friend worked Pepsi on the longe line. She was very good for her. She is getting a lot better at her reverse. She is so sweet to work with. I wish Tango had a little bit of her sweetness. He is rotten and ornery to the core LOL! I have never ever ever owned a horse that constantly had to have something in his mouth and constantly had to occupy himself by playing with something or chewing something. He will NEVER make a showmanship horse, mark my words!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cold and rainy today again...I sense a trend. How incredibly boring is it to talk about the bad weather day in and day out? Yeah, I get tired of hearing about it also, but I am especially tired of living it! This has been the worst spring when it comes to weather. Once again the local shows have already cancelled for this weekend, so I have no place to take Tango to walk around. He needs to get out somewhere so I can see how he acts in a strange place/show atmosphere.

I had a very good ride on Corky today. She was really heavy with dropping her inside shoulder today, especially cantering to the right. I free-longed her by herself for a bit so I could really see how she is moving. I would expect her hocks to be getting close to needing done, but today I noticed both hocks looked especially string. That's good news! After hearing about a friend of a friend's horse that got an infection from his hock injection and now will only be pasture sound, it makes me very afraid. So many people take those injections lightly as if they are no big deal. Sticking a needle into the joint is a huge deal, and I worry about introducing bacteria to the joint. Oh well, you know me - always worrying about something!

People have been wondering how Pepsi's hip looks. Can you believe you cannot even tell she had an abscess? The hair has grown back and it looks completely normal.

I never did hear back from the pharmaceutical company. They had e-mailed me back and gave me a name and phone number to call, and I did so but the person I was suppose to talk to was out of the office. I left him a message but he never returned my call...then of course I got busy and forgot. I doubt if my little problem was a big worry for them. It was for me, though...I just received the second vet bill on that whole ordeal and it cost me over $400 to treat. Oh well, it could have been worse. Compared to this time last year, that's pocket change!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I had a good, but challenging ride today. I am getting more comfortable with letting Corky canter with more forward motion. Her canter is really hard to sit when she is swinging and pushing off of that hock. I feel like with the riding I am doing my legs are getting a lot stronger (I sure am feeling it more after my rides!). I am really working on sitting back and letting my weight stay back during her motion. Before I was sitting a little more forward because it helps me stay in the saddle (it was easier when I didn't sit towards her powerful back end), Now I am using more of my leg to keep my body still instead of my position, and I am more comfortable sitting back. This has been an ongoing problem of mine since the early days. I remember Stacey constantly telling me to sit back, and the Darla doing the same thing. I am a tiny bit excited because I feel like I am really making progress on this problem, and it's the first time in 10+ years I've felt like I might actually lick this problem!

I cantered Corky in a circle and then went into a counter-canter. It was very very odd. When counter-cantering to the left (on the right lead) she was REALLY disjointed and actually did several flying lead changes to get back on the 'correct' lead. Now they weren't exactly Fleetstreet Max type of changes, but they were actually fairly correct! I had to really make her stay on the right lead, and it took quite a while before I could complete a successful circle. Yet counter-cantering to the right (on the left lead) was no biggie for her. After a few rounds I actually tried to make her do a flying lead change this direction but she did not have enough lift. This puzzles me, why was so so uncomfortable counter-cantering one direction and not the other? I have watched her like a hawk and it seems like she is still very strong in both hocks. I will try it again this weekend and see if anything is different.

I worked some showmanship when I was done riding. She is so great at it. I look back at my middling placings and I know it must be me that is the reason, not her! Ugh...it's easier to fix her!

Tango is such a bad boy. Not only has he chewed half of Pepsi's tail off, but he chewed part of my friend's broodmare's tail off. I ordered a muzzle for him from Schneider's. He was NOT happy! It was funny to watch him - he had a few temper tantrums, then he sulked for a while, then Pepsi was fascinated by his muzzle and kept coming over to investigate and this offended him. When she was done, the Corky came over and chased him all over the arena trying to get a good look at his muzzle. I really hope this works out because I would hate to put him in solitary turnout.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I had my big spring band concert last night, so I didn't make it out to clean stalls yesterday. Today they were BAD and took me hours! I am amazed that Tango can have the messiest stall of all 3 horses, even big ol' Corky! He is such a pig. Remember when I wondered about the whole "Nature vs. Nurture" thing after he was born? Taylor was a VERY neat horse in her stall. Oreo (Tango's nursemom) was a complete pig. I wondered whether Tango would develop good stall habits like his real mom Taylor, thus enforcing the "Nature" hypothesis...or if he would follow Oreo's example and become a total slob and prove the "Nurture" idea. Well, I think I have my answer. Unfortunately Nurture won out.

I turned the three horses out together, Tango with his muzzle on. He is STILL not happy about it, and I can't blame him. I don't know what else to do. He keeps banging the heavy metal mouth cage into Pepsi while trying to get at her, and this is really annoying her! At least right now everyone's tail is safe!

Tango had a decent longe session. He took the wrong lead going to the left several times today. He does like to canter slow on the longe line. This is a big plus. I am hoping he turns out to be one of those horses without a motor. Pepsi is like night and day from him - while he has a long long long stride and needs a huge circle, Pepsi can jog like a pleasure champion (and that's what she seems to prefer doing). I am toying with the idea of doing some western LL with her this year. In all honestly, I really need to be a grown-up about the situation and get her sold, because the bills are mounting and mounting, and my show season will be nothing but a puff of smoke unless I can cut down the monthly horse bills. There seems to be ZERO market for yearlings right now. I wish I had my own place to keep her where it would be cheaper, but unfortunately that ain't gonna happen.

Corky got the evening off, but tomorrow morning I plan on riding.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My ride on Corky was excellent today. She was in a very good mood! Today is the first day I think that my spur slow button actually worked once or twice as intended - with a little leg pressure I got her to willingly slow her stride (without getting angry) and hold it at that pace. Yes!!! Her canter departures are so soft now. She is SO ready. All trained up and no where to show, that's my new motto!

Tango was a complete brat today. He longed very well, but on the ground he is a complete demon. He has figured out how to use his muzzle as a weapon and so now he throws his head around and clocks people and horses with the metal cage around his mouth. I took the muzzle off while working with him and I must say he was a lot less mouthy today. However, he was a bad, bad boy with the clippers. Now last time I clipped him he stood like a rock! Today he stood for a little bit, and then pulled back and showed off his temper. There was NO excuse - he wasn't afraid, he just decided to be a brat once he'd had enough. So what was going to be an easy session turned into an ear-handling battle. Yep, I won the battle, but the war is still on I am sure.

After my barnwork was done I headed over to our new property to haul tree branches to the burn pile. That took all day. Of course, my truck overheated when I got home, and when I opened up the hood something was squiring hot liquid out in a straight line. Looks like the truck gets to go back to the shop tomorrow! Always something....I am working hard to fight the overwhelming feelings of discouragement.

On the brighter side, I received an awesome article in the mail from Darla about riding your horse on the bit. It was an article from Dressage Today, but it really had a lot of good stuff that applies to HUS. I've read it a few times, and am digesting the info (you know me, the ultimate over-thinker). I will post my thoughts on it in a day or two. I love that Darla knows me so well, she knows I am a brain rider and these kind of thinking articles really help me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011 - HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all human and equine mothers!

The sun finally came out! I forgot what it looked like. It started off a very good day. The arena was freshly dragged, and Corky rode phenomenal...seriously awesome. I rode in a plain old fat snaffle, and she was soft and round and lifted her canter transitions from back to front in the prettiest manner. Wow, it was FUN to ride! I really feel my riding has improved enough that I am actually making Corky go better. How did this happen? I stumbled along with my same old bad habits for 20 years, but somehow I changed my seat a bit and now things are clicking. I NEED a lesson soon, I can't wait to see how I ride under pressure!

I groomed Pepsi really good and took a new video and some new pictures of her for her for sale ad. Here are her new pics:


Tango is getting more used to his muzzle. He lets me put it on without a fuss. That's a plus! Corky is enjoying the fact that he cannot chew on her anymore.

In honor of Mother's Day I will post pictures of a few of my other "kids".

Pasta! ("Wingmaster's Pasta And Jazz")


Monday, May 9, 2011

Corky was great again today. I worked on more circles and pattern stuff. I was thinking I had to work on her circles because every time I circled her at the canter she would speed up. Well it dawned on me today (yes, I am SLOW!) that the reason she is speeding up is that every time I go to circle, I unconsciously shift my weight forward for some odd reason. Duh! My body was actually signaling her to speed up! Now that I am finally aware of this issue, I am trying to make sure I sit back on my circles to teach her not to change speed. You see, THIS is why I need regular lessons! Something that simple took me all winter to figure out. Times like this make me very frustrated with myself and my abilities (or lack thereof).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It was a hot one today - we went from winter to summer in the span of about 3 days! I love the heat, though. This is MY kinda weather! All of the horses were sweaty in their stalls. It is in the mid-80's and very very humid and wet outside, and no one is used to the heat quite yet. I had the urge to take some Tango pics today, so here we go!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A couple of the horses at the barn that also got a severe reaction to that vaccine (like Pepsi) are still suffering from it. One older horse is very bad - the infection has traveled downward instead of upward, and even lancing it did not provide any relief. The vet came out this evening to check him. It took a 5" needle to reach the fluid in the abscess and he took out close to 100ccs of fluid via syringe. He took the fluid back for testing to see exactly what sort of infection this was and what antibiotic was needed to treat it. Then he plans on calling the pharmaceutical company and shaking things up a bit. It is obvious now that there was something seriously wrong with that 10 dose vial of vaccine.

He also thought that Tango's runny nose and cough was the result of either:

  • A mechanical failure of the esophagus
  • Parasites manifested in the lungs
  • Allergies that he will eventually grow out of

OK, so I don't believe it would be a mechanical failure. If he had something wrong with his esophagus, we would have noticed it long ago, and it wouldn't be an intermittent thing like ti is. Parasites? I highly doubt he got that bad of an infestation being an indoor horse in the winter time! Allergies? Maybe. The vet recommended I try a PowerPac dewormer on him just in case it is parasites, so I ordered one and will go ahead and try it. Of course today I see no sign of a runny nose, go figure. The vet really wanted to scope Tango, but I think that is ridiculous - why on earth would you scope him yet. That won't tell us if it is allergies. It wouldn't tell us anything other than if the lungs were clear. So we shall see what happens...

Monday, May 16, 2011

I did a short longeing session with Tango today. Other than occasionally taking the wrong lead going to the left, he did everything right on the money. I can tell that he is going to be the kind of horse that grasps something quickly, and then you have to move on to keep things interesting. I am only longeing him for 5-10 minutes maybe once or twice a week at most. I know if I do more than that, he will become bored with the whole process and probably start developing bad habits or quirks just to make life interesting. I swear I have never had a horse that was so ADD, he seriously needs to constantly be occupied with something. He even gets bored with his toys and balls after a day or two, so I am constantly rotating toys. Of course, Pepsi is his favorite toy (although I get the feeling she isn't too thrilled to be so!).

I think I have a show for Corky in mind - I think I might aim for the QH show in Findlay on May 28. I have graduation on the 29th, but the HUS is on the 28th and I might just haul in for the day and show. I would really like to get her out somewhere beforehand to ride before jumping in to an indoor show our first one of the season...she doesn't usually show very well indoors. Oh what the heck, might as well go and get my butt kicked, right?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I spent the last 3 days at the All-American Youth Show in Columbus braiding horses. I braided for almost 21 hours straight, with a 2-hour nap stuck in there. I started braiding around 5pm on Friday, braided until 4am, napped, then got up at 6am, got cleaned up and continued braiding until around 2pm. My hands were raw (my fingerprints were actually worn off!), my feet were so swollen from standing that I couldn't get my boots on...BUT I managed to earn enough money to be able to get to some decent shows this next month! Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Being a braider is very interesting. You meet people from all ends of the spectrum. I had some from both ends - the trainers and clients who treated you like a servant and ignored you other than to had you your cash at the end of the job, and the fun ones who actually held their horse for you and chatted with you to pass the time while you braided. Those were the people that were the most appreciative. I had horses from both ends of the spectrum also - the ones who stood and slept (I even had one that laid down for the first 10 braids!) and the ones that tried to eat me alive.

I had a youth girl that was around 13 years old hire me for braiding. She had an Arab mare that was entered in the jumping events on Sunday. The mare had a typical long Arab mane, and her trainer was standing there telling her she needed to cut it and that if she was going to be serious about the hunter events it HAD to be cut. The little girl was upset, she absolutely did NOT want to cut her mare's mane (and I don't blame her, it was a pretty mane). I actually came up with a nifty way to braid it that allowed her the best of both worlds. I braided the mane down about a third of the way and tied it off so the braided part was the same length as a typical hunter's mane braid, then I pulled it up and tied it like normal. There was long hair that hung out from the bottom, and I bent it to the left and incorporated it into the next braid I did. The braids were all connected on the underside, but you couldn't tell from the top...they looked like normal braids! The girl was thrilled, and I was also. I will file this away in my bag o' tricks for future use!

Today I beat myself awake and went out to the barn with a long list of tasks to accomplish. First on the agenda was riding Corky. If I am going to aim for the AQHA show on Saturday, I need to get both of our butts in gear and in full work mode. Our ride was pretty good. She was totally cranky, I think she is in heat. I HOPE she is in heat...I don't want her in heat this coming weekend at the show! It's time to put her on ReguMate so I can get some showing done. I was very pleased with her spur slow - I only had to use calf pressure and she did listen (and she is much more pleasant if I lay off the spur). I could tell she felt icky and crampy - when I worked her canter she wanted to pop a few bucks in the corners. I don't blame her, I feel that way sometimes myself!

Kind of funny - while I was at the show all weekend, I helped my friend's daughter prepare for her classes. I reminded her several times to quiet her hands and not pick on her horse as a habit, let him make a mistake before correcting. I noticed that this was something I had to keep in mind again for myself - I need to be a lot quieter with my hands on Corky. I tend to correct her really fast, especially when she raises her head out of frame. I made myself wait a bit, and noticed that a lot of the times she elevated it was just for balance purposes and she went right back down before I even corrected her. This is important for me to keep in mind so I don't become one of those nit-picky riders that jerk without purpose. I hate those riders!

Next I took Corky's tail down, fingered through it, and then gave her a much-needed bath. She was REALLY dirty. After she was done, then I decided to take each yearling outside and introduce them to the hose. I did Tango first...getting the worst one out of the way. Yep, he was definitely the worst! I could not even dribble water on his pastern without him rearing and flying on top of me. The slow and easy method was NOT going to work for him. I gave that up and just turned the hose on his body and let him run circles around me. Eventually I was able to control him enough to make him stand still for the hosing. Once I got him to stand quietly (eyes rolling the entire time!), then I quit. Pepsi wasn't nearly as bad - she danced around a bit, but with her I stuck to the slow and easy method and gradually worked a soft spray up her legs to her body. She jumped around at first, but eventually settled. It was exhausting, and I was completely soaked. I think this might need to become a daily ritual for Tango until he gets used to it.

After all this was done, then came the usual stall cleaning. Ugh. Someday I hope to be able to afford to pay someone else to do this tedious and back-breaking chore. Until then, I will continue to fling poop every single day!

Forgot to mention that Tango got his first dose of the PowerPac today. I bought the Safeguard brand of PowerPac. It is supposed to be apple flavored. I tasted a little bit. Once you get beyond the bitter taste, you do notice a faint hint of apple. But then the aftertaste kicks in and it's disgusting. Poor thing, no wonder they all hate this stuff so much. Before you ask, YES, I tasted a little bit of it. Hasn't everyone tried something like this at least once in their life?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Farrier day! Corky grew enough heel this time so she was able to be put in a 2-degree wedge instead of the big 3-degree wedge shoes. This is great! When I turned her out after her appointment, she did look like she was moving funny - kind of stiff and short-strided. I am not sure, but I am hoping this was just because she needed to get used to the new shoes.

The yearlings acted a lot better for this appointment. It's frustrating when I can pick their feet up all day long and they are as good as gold, but act like they've never been handled when the farrier goes to work on them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Corky felt pretty good today! I rode for about 15 minutes...I just didn't want to chance hurting her feet with new shoes and the arena so hard. She was sound and flowing, so I was happy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tonight I decided to haul Corky to a new place that opened up in Belle Center, Ohio. It used to be the home of Clinton Anderson (before his nasty divorce!), and the new owners have opened up their massive (250 x 120) indoor arena for open riding on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Check out this arena!

click on the picture to visit their website!

I had the place virtually to myself for the most part. At one time there were two others riding, but that was it. This was a GREAT learning experience for us. I was very curious as t how Corky would behave and listen to her new "buttons" when faced with an enormous arena with room to move. She started off her typical way - longed kind og crazy, then started off riding really easy and quiet, then got a bit would up after about 10-15 minutes of riding. WHY does she always follow this pattern? Why can't she start off quiet and willing and just STAY that way? Anyways, I had hauled an hour so I stayed and rode through it and worked through the issues. You know, she slowly started listening to me more and more, so by the end I felt really good and had a good handle on her canter tempo. I rode for a little over an hour. we were both kind of whipped afterwards. I did a lot of big long trots down the rail, lots of big circles and serpentines, and some two-tracking and the usual exercises I do at home every day. I really didn't change up my routine very much, other than do everything for longer periods of time.

So now...the million dollar question. Should I haul to Findlay on Saturday morning and attempt to show at the AQHA show indoors? I have been mulling and debating over this for the entire week,. Should I or shouldn't I? Maybe I need to make a list as to why I should, and why I shouldn't. Lists are always good.

Reasons I should go show
  1. It's fairly close - it is the closest AQHA show to me all year.
  2. It won't take up my entire weekend - I can just go Saturday morning, show in the afternoon, and head home.
  3. I won't be doing showmanship, so I can focus on only my riding.
  4. Corky DID finally work well in the big arena tonight.
  5. It would be good for me to determine how well my training has worked and whether it holds up in a show situation.
  6. I need to stop being lazy!

Reasons I should not show
  1. Do I really need to spend the money?
  2. The first show of the year is always a disaster, and it will be especially so since it is indoors and she hates showing indoors.
  3. Not having a stall makes the logistics of getting dressed and tacked up rather difficult.
  4. I just KNOW she's gonna be bad.
  5. I really want to sleep in on Saturday!
  6. I have a TON of preparation to do tomorrow since my trailer is a wreck inside and all my show stuff is all over the place, left from last year.
  7. She will probably be in full-blown heat by Saturday.

OK, reading this list helps. My reasons to go show are pretty valid, and my reasons NOT to show are just plain stupid. Really? I'd skip a show because I want to sleep in? Really? I am just giving up...surrendering because I KNOW she will be bad? Geeze. When did I become so lazy and so weak-willed? I am ashamed of myself. Where is the fighting, goal-setting, hard-working attitude? Dammit, I am GOING to go show. That's all there is to it!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Well, I took the time to wash Corky and braid her last night, so today I was off to the show in Findlay. My classes would be later in the day, so I arrived in the middle morning and got Corky out. She was terrified of the llamas kept in the field behind the indoor show arena. She leaped in the air and never kept more than 2 feet on the ground the whole way past them. Inside the arena, there were a lot of horses and the usual crowds. I longed her first...she was very energized. When she settled, I started to ride. I rode, and rode, and rode. She started off decent, but started surging and trying to take over. My spur slow button was working, but it only worked for maybe a stride or two and then she would blow through it. The more I applied it, the madder she got. Eventually she started spooking at the rude people who decided to toss their dogs up in the metal bleachers. I borrowed some ear plugs from Darla, and the spooking issue went away. However, the speed and surging did not.

I rode for two solid hours. She should have been exhausted! My legs were raw. She was never really BAD, but she would NOT settle, would not listen to me, and things were spiraling out of control. Darla suggested I put her back in the trailer and let her relax for a while, since we had hours before I had to show.

After about 45 minutes of relaxing and eating in the trailer, I got her back out, saddled up, and headed back to the arena. At first she started off quiet, but then started surging again. I was feeling a little hitch in her stride, and was really worried. Last night after I free longed her, one of her tendons got puffy. It was down near the bottom close to her ankle. It was still puffy this morning, but after I free longed her at home a bit, the puffiness went down. She had not taken a lame step either time. I asked Darla to watch me, and she felt what I was feeling was not a lameness, but Corky being rigid with her head and neck. I think she was probably right. Earlier this morning I rode with a snaffle bit and had regular reins and draw reins attached (I rode with the regular reins and only used the draws when needed). This time I was riding in her show bridle, which has a fat D-ring twist attached. She was definitely NOT giving to the bit for some reason. Things once again spiraled downward, and I made the decision NOT to show. The show was huge, and I just didn't feel it was in our best interest to try and show in that crowd when I knew Corky was not going to act right.

I was frustrated and upset to say the least. As I walked Corky back to the trailer, I mentally wrote my training diary entry where I announced to the world that I had officially given up and was quitting. I really honestly felt that way - it seems so pointless for me to work so hard all winter on my own and have nothing to show for it - the same old problems are still around and I can't seem to get my training past them. Now that I've driven home, cleaned stalls, and ate my huge plate of spaghetti for supper, I have a little better mental outlook. I have to remember that Corky has not been to a show in NINE MONTHS. She has not even left home other than 2 lessons with Darla and one ride this week in that big arena. She has not been in a crowd since August. I have to remember that before I throw in the towel.

So, what do I do next? I am at a loss. I feel like am swimming aimlessly here. She rides SO great at home, rode SO great in that other arena this week, and even today we had flashes of greatness amongst the craziness. I know she can do it, we've already proven ourselves. At times she even seems to like doing it, when things are going well I can feel both of our joy in the ride. So how do I get to that place?

I know one thing - I need a break! I think next weekend I will haul Tango somewhere to walk around, and aim for a longe line class at an open show the following weekend. I need to focus on something other than Corky for a little bit. I need to find something positive to latch onto.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCT!!!! I came out to the barn today and Corky is terribly lame - can barely walk, let alone trot. I KNEW she felt off yesterday. I should have trusted my instinct. I am worried that it might be her tendon? I didn't notice a lot of swelling today, but she is definitely sore. Now I don't know whether it is a tendon issue (like it was back in 2008) or if somehow her feet are at the wrong angle since her shoeing (where I changed her to a 2 degree wedge) on Monday. I wish I knew. These injuries are SO hard to diagnose. I am very worried...I may not have a show season to agonize over after all.

I longed both yearlings today, all went well. I just can't get excited, especially now that I am facing some new problem with Corky. Now what???

Monday, May 30 - HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

Well, Corky's left front tendon is hugely swollen today and she can barely walk. I took her outside and cold hosed it, then put some cooling ice gel on both front tendons. She is on stall rest until I can get her to a vet to have the tendon ultrasounded. I traded stalls with Tango and gave her the extra big stall with the window since she will be cooped up for a while.

Corky is her own worst enemy. She gets such adrenaline rushes at times when she gets wound up (especially in a crowded show situation) and it takes all day for her to come down off of her rush. Unfortunately, while she is in that adrenaline high, she pays no attention to what she is doing to herself. No doubt she was really doing damage to that tendon all throughout our morning ride on Saturday, but she didn't show any signs of feeling it and probably didn't even notice it until the next day when she was calmed down and suddenly felt the pain. By then it's too late. That, by far, is her biggest problem. I think if I could control her 'rush' I could alleviate 90% of our problems under saddle.

So, I will call the vet in the morning and hopefully get an appointment scheduled for Wednesday. I pray the tendon is not bowed. Praying hard...again...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I can't believe how swollen Corky's leg still is. That's not good. I cold-hosed it again, hand-walked her a bit, and then put her back in her stall. I have a vet appointment tomorrow at 3pm to see what is going on. Say a prayer for us!

I loaded both yearlings in the trailer (separately...I may try loading them together on Thursday). I love how they both just walk in the trailer without issue. I closed the divider and let them eat while standing tied. If my double loading goes well on Thursday, I think I will haul both of them to a show to walk around on Sunday. I am not crazy - I do have someone to come along and help me!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Corky's swelling was down a lot today. I hauled her to the vet (and actually got right in without waiting...a FIRST!). He spent a lot of time ultrasounding her leg - a full 30 minutes. He even shaved the other leg and ultrasounded it for comparison. The verdict? Her tendons, suspensory, ligaments, and all other rubber bands look 100%! He put the hoof testers on her, and she reacted to pressure on her outside heel bulb on her left foot. It was very squishy, almost as if you could put your finger into it. The vet thinks she probably has an abscess brewing, which caused the soreness and swelling/inflammation. Either that or she possibly clipped herself at the show and hurt that heel (though it would be hard for her to do since she has been living in bell boots). Either way, this is GOOD news for us! Time for some daily Epsom salt soaks and hope the sucker blows out soon.

I had time to kill so I longed Tango for a little bit. Whenever he got to the open side of the circle (I longed him at the end of the arena), he would toss his head and try to play. I ended up having to stop and put the chain on his nose. That ended the playing. It was kind of cool - I think he is finally grasping the concept of his leads. One time he took a wrong lead going to the left and he did a flying lead change to switch! Granted, it was a front-to-back lead change but still...pretty cool.

I was going to haul him to a local open show on Sunday but I heard the show has been cancelled...now I am searching for someplace else to go.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Darn horses! I tried to soak Corky's foot but she was having NONE of it! She kicked the bucket (literally) several times, then ran around the arena like a crazy woman. Yep, she sure looked sound today! So I guess I will fore go the soaking and just try the Icthammol and hope it draws out the abscess (if there is one).

I longed Tango for a bit, he is taking the wrong lead again going to the left. It takes about 3 tries before I can get him corrected. Hmmm...

Friday, June 3, 2011 HAPPY LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Corky looked good again today. I just watched her trot a little bit when I turned her out in the arena. Today I spent some time working tango on the longe line. That darn left lead is killing us! He gets all goofy after a million corrections and takes the wrong lead going the OTHER way. He is so darn lazy on the longe line I have to constantly work the whip and kiss to keep him going. I hope this is a prediction of things to come. I would LOVE to have a horse I had to constantly push under saddle! I can't imagine what that would be like LOL!

I think I will try to ride Corky tomorrow and see how she is under saddle. I feel pretty safe doing so since her tendons checked out 100%. Here's my grand plan for this week...let's see if I can stick to my schedule:

  • SATURDAY: Ride Corky for about 15-20 minutes and longe Tango
  • SUNDAY: Same as Saturday
  • MONDAY: Ride and longe, plus clean out my trailer and make Tango (and pepsi) tolerate the hose
  • TUESDAY: Going to Cleveland to visit my parents
  • WEDNESDAY: Picking up Courtney from college in Cincinnati, the coming home and doing a quick ride on Corky and longe Tango for about 5 minutes
  • THURSDAY: Haul both Tango and Corky to that big arena in Belle Center. Ride Corky, and walk Tango around for experience (I wonder if they will let me put him in one of their million round pens while I ride?)
  • FRIDAY: Longe, bathe, clip, and band Tango, introduce him to the joys of wearing a hood and sheet!
  • SATURDAY: Haul Tango to an open show to show his very first longe line class.

OK, this list is written specifically to test me. You know, the "best laid plans" and all that? We shall see how true I can stick to my schedule!

Friday, June 3, 2011 - about 5 minutes later!

Haha, I am nothing if not inconsistent! I wasted all that time typing out a detailed schedule and then 5 minutes after posting it I totally changed my mind! I found an open show on Saturday where I can get a cheap stall Friday night. I think it would do Tango much better to be able to settle in a stall overnight before trying to show for his first time. SO...I might just scratch the whole Thursday hauling plan, wash and go on Friday. Sounds like a plan to me!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My vet was spot on with his diagnosis of Corky! Today I found a spot on the back of her heel that looks like a small abscess blew out - it was an open flap that was very mushy. Corky looked 100% sound today, as generally they do once an abscess blows out. Whew! Tango after his bath

It was very very hot today, and all 3 of my horses had run around, gotten sweaty, and rolled. All three were covered in dirt, so all 3 got a bath. This was the yearlings' first bath with soap and a scrubber. I was prepared to battle with Tango again, but he stood great! He even let me wash his face (shock!). It was kind of a poignant moment - when I put the hose lightly near his face he opened his mouth and tried drinking from it, just like Taylor used to do during her baths. I was very pleased with both Tango and Pepsi at how well they stood for their baths. I think the cold water felt good to them.

Just to prove again how unpredictable Tango is, our longeing practice went quite the opposite today than it did yesterday. Today he took the correct lead every single time going to the left, but picked up the wrong lead twice going to the right. Weird! I practiced with a friend timing me to get my gaits in within the 90 second time limit. Tango just isn't quick to pick up the canter, so we will lose points because I have to strongly encourage him with the whip. Oh well, I'll take that over one that is running off like a maniac. Heck, who knows what he will be like at a show, he might end up being a maniac LOL!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tango's longe session as a good one today! I started him off by going to the right first, and I think that might be how I show him. Kinda funny...since that's how I showed his momma also when I did longe line with her. He is a second generation longe-liner! I tried on my leather yearling halter...the one that Taylor wore and Corky wore. It barely first him...it's on the second to last hole already. Man he has a big head! I ordered a new one from Quillan's last week, but I thought I should try on my old one in case it doesn't arrive in time.

I free-longed Corky, and she was very sluggish and didn't want to canter. I soon figured out why - she has sprung her right front shoe. Ugh...serves me right for taking her out of bell boots. MY fault!

I spent the rest of the evening cleaning out my horse trailer. I found 2 half-boxes of Lucky Charms from last summer...ick.

At home tonight, I took apart an old tail I bought from Darla and broke out my brand new hot glue gun to try and make a multi-piece tail for tango. Since he has NO tail, he doesn't have enough hair to cover a regular extension. Normally I don't even like extensions on yearlings, but he just looks so terrible with zero tail. I think tomorrow I will attempt to put it on him and see how it looks. I hope to blends well. Here is the nifty multi-piece tail:

Monday, June 6, 2011

I attached my new tail to Tango today! It was surprisingly easy! I think I need to trim the bottoms so they taper a bit more and look natural. Here is a before and after shot:


Tango's new halter:

I longed Tango, he didn't even notice the tail. I got some great video of him free-longeing with his tail. I am VERY pleased with how natural it looks as he swishes it while moving. No silly clump of fake tail like so many other people have that looks so fake. I am pumped, something I did myself actually worked out for once! I also got his new show halter from uillan Leather. It fits great, I am glad I sprung for the new halter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today was the hottest day of the year so far - mid 90's and I LOVE it! I did a brief longeing session with tango, and he nailed his leads...YES! I also clipped him, he stood great although he doesn't like his white sock clipped and it was tough clipping a moving target. I'll take that for now, I am happy he stands so well for his ears.

I had grain delivered...3,000 pounds! One ton for the yearlings, and 1,000 pounds for Corky. Nuts. They are eating my out of house and home...literally!

Well, I think Tango and I are ready to tackle our first show this weekend. I am glad I will be able to go tomorrow evening so he can get settled. They are calling for rain Friday and Saturday...everyone cross their fingers so the weather is GOOD!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I actually made some money braiding a couple local horses this afternoon. There is an open/4H show tomorrow here in town, so I get a couple jobs...yay! Once I was done, I headed to the barn to give Tango a bath and head to the show. The weather forecast was one of those that was iffy, but could go either way. There was a 40% chance of rain this evening, 30% chance overnight, and 50% chance tomorrow. Those seem like good odds, right? Of course my little voice kept bugging me all the way to the barn wondering if I should bother going because of the forecast. I never quite know if that little voice is my "sixth sense" or just my lazy self not wanting to do anything. Either way, I decided to ignore it and we headed to the show, which was about 70 miles away.

Tango loaded easily, and we were on our way. This was Tango's first time actually travelling in the trailer since he came home from the hospital at 5 days old. I went very slowly and took my corners extremely s l o w so that he wouldn't lose his balance and get frightened on his first ride. It really made drivers behind me angry, but oh well. I don't ever have to see those random people again, but I have to live with whatever happens with Tango! After one wrong turn and one looooong detour later, we arrived RIGHT when a huge torrential downpour hit. I ended up sitting in my truck for 20-30 minutes waiting for it to let up. Eventually it did stop, and I unloaded. It was funny seeing the expression on Tango's face when he got off the trailer. Every other time when I unloaded him, we were in the same place we loaded. He was amazed that the world suddenly changed when he came out of the trailer.

Tango settled in his stall pretty easily (only a couple random whinnies). I walked him around the grounds and let him see things. The arena was way too wet to attempt to longe, but since it is all sand I was hoping by tomorrow it would be OK for our class. When we were done walking, I fed him, and then started braiding him. The stall was pretty dark, and let's just say Tango was not the easiest of horses to braid! He was a bit wound up by all the commotion (lots of horses being unloaded and walked by) and it was like trying to braid a moving target. I had to take a picture of the very first braid - his first braid of a million more in his lifetime! I got the braiding done...it wasn't pretty but it was good enough for his first experience.

Today was a day of many firsts - Tango's first solo trip, his first time at a show, his first braiding, and his first experience wearing a slinky hood! I have a size small that Corky wore as a yearling, and it was actually a little tight on him. He does have a monstrously big head LOL! My idea behind braiding was to not only give him the full show experience, but to also see how he handled wearing his braids overnight. It will be good to know going into futurity season whether he is a horse that needs to be braided the morning of the show or if he can be trusted with the braids overnight. I suspect he is the former rather than the latter, but we shall see!

You know that little voice of mine? Well, let's just say it i>was my sixth sense! I went to bed in the trailer around midnight and got maybe an hour of sleep before a MASSIVE thunderstorm came in. It stormed and stormed and stormed, lightning, thunder, and rain rain rain. ALL night long! It finally quit around 6:30am. I went to step outside of my trailer and realized I was in an island...the entire show grounds was flooded. Ugh. Shoulda listened to that voice of mine! There's no way I could show him today. It wouldn't be fair to make him do his very first longe line class in bad, wet footing. So, Tango got his breakfast, I loaded up, and we headed home. I remembered that 4H show going on in Lima, so on my way home I stopped there to get Tango out again and also visit with some friends. The show hadn't started yet, so I took Tango to the big covered area and longed him. At first he did his tail=flagging Arab imitation, but he settled down quickly and longed great! I was over-the-top pleased with him. The excitement of being in the show atmosphere gave him just enough edge that he really drove and floated at the trot...none of that pulling-around-on-the-forehand-laziness I get from him at home. I saw real glimpses of the horse he has the potential to be, and man was I excited! Adding to the fact that although he was bug-eyed and amazed at his surroundings, at no point did he ever get wild or completely frightened. There's hope for us yet!

He traveled perfectly quiet again on the way home. I love that - no impatient kicking when I stopped...he just waited for me to open things up and back him out. I turned him out in the indoor with Pepsi and Corky, and cleaned stalls. After about 20 minutes, I looked over and saw Tango was DONE with playing and flopped down in the freshly drug arena to take a nap. No amount of nudging from Corky and Pepsi could get him up! Poor thing, this experience was exhausting for him. By the time I left, he was back on his feet and walking around the arena again. So what could have been a washed-out wasted weekend turned out to be a great experience for him. I am READY

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time to get Corky back to work! She wasn't very happy about loosing her vacation, so our ride was a bit rocky. It's amazing how quickly she can get out of shape with only a little over 2 weeks off. Oh well, back to the grind! When I was done riding, I let my 'helper' hop on and trot her around. She did great (I think she's a natural!), and Corky got a good workout at the trot.

Pepsi and Tango got longed for a short bit (Tango got maybe a 10 minute session). Pepsi got a longer session. She is longeing well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Corky is still resisting the loss of her vacation. She reallly balked when I first got on her and rode her. It took quite a bit of bending and warming up before I got her to walk freely. I worked a bit on trot-canter-trot-canter transitions, asking for a collected sitting trot in between the canters. This was making her pay attention and not get into her 'full steam ahead' train mode.

I did a quick longe session with Tango. He was excellent. I did have to get after him, he was in a bit of a playful mood and when I asked him to canter to the left he was kicking out at me with his back legs...not really kicking but popping his but up towards me. I got after him and he quit doing it. I want to make sure he gets a good score for manners in his longe line classes! He sure has boundless energy. I first turned him out with Corky before longeing and he played and played and played and ran circles around Corky (who watched him with a bored look on her face). I wonder if he is going to be one of those horses that requires a lot of work and riding to prepare? Time will tell, he still is pretty young. I did work a bit on setting his feet for the halter portion of the LL class. This is going to be our toughest challenge.

I measured Tango and Pepsi yesterday, both were pretty much the same size - around 15' at the withers and close to 15'2" at the hip.

Tango may have his ball, but Pepsi has her cone! It's the one toy she does like to pick up and play with.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Well, tomorrow is the big day! Tango will make his show debut, rain or shine! the show is held in a big covered arena, so even though they are predicting thunderstorms, we will still be able to show. It will be a big PITA, but it's time to do it! Today I did a quick longe session (he was excellent!) and then washed him (he was bad bad bad!). I dreaded braiding because she was really wound up tonight. Once again, Tango did the opposite of what I predicted. He stood like a rock while I braided him! I was amazed! I did some fairly nice, tight braids this time...I hope he leaves them in overnight. I bought him a brand new purple slinky hood, size small...and it was waaaaaaaay too small for him! I ended up getting one of Corky's old medium hoods out of the trailer, fit him perfectly.

"No...don't WANNA go through the mud puddle!"

Saturday, June 18, 2011 - TANGO'S FIRST LONGE LINE CLASS!

My poison ivy woke me up extra early this morning (I have a TERRIBLE case of it from working on the new house!), so I was up by 4:30am, got ready and loaded up to head to the show. I decided to show at the Fallen Horsemen Memorial Show in Springfield - a good choice since it rained off and on all day. When I got to the show, I walked Tango around and longed him. He settled in SO fast, it was amazing. Because the rain came in fast and furious, I went ahead and got him a stall so he wouldn't have to stand in the trailer all day.

When I took his slinky hood off, I was dismayed to see that he had rubbed his braids badly overnight, and they were sticking up in every direction and looked terrible! Oh well, no time to fix (plus I left my braiding stuff at home), so we went as is. I put in his 9-piece tail, it looked great. Other than his misshapen braids, he looked like a million bucks.

They took a LONG break at the show (90 minutes!), we were the first class after the break. Sadly, we were the only ones in the longe line class. Oh well, it was a guaranteed first place and we were awarded a really nice leather halter with a brass nameplate. Tango was pretty good in the class. he had some mistakes - mainly because he was pretty tired and I had to really get after him to canter (especially 2nd direction) which he didn't appreciate, but I'd rather push a horse than have one take me dirt-skiing!

The only bad part about the day was that he did NOT want to load in the trailer to go home. Tango has always walked right in the trailer without issue, but I think he was tired of the long drives and just flat out refused to go in. It took a couple friends of mine quite a while to get him in. This worries me, as I generally haul and travel alone...I cannot always count on having help to load him. Looks like this coming week will include a lot of trailer loading practice.

As usual, disaster always strikes when I am away. While I was gone, it seems Pepsi managed to cut her cheek on something in the pasture, and required 7 stitches from the vet. Yep, always something! When I got home she had already been all stitched up, and didn't even seem to notice the cut on her cheek. Hopefully her phenomenal healing powers will continue with this latest mishap.

I don't know why I look so angry in this photo, the class was a BLAST! I do live showing the babies...

Tango looks awkward in this photo, but being our first "win" photo, I had to put it up here.

Tango modeling the halter he won today

What a nice prize to win! This was a nice show and I suspect it will only get bigger as people find out about it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First on the agenda today was loading Tango. I was all prepared - had a friend ready to help me, had a bucket of grain...and he walked right in...twice! That's good news!

We had a huge rain all day today, and Corky's stall flooded. I spent several hours digging it out. *sigh*...not what I had anticipated doing tonight. Afterwards, I did make myself ride. I need to get her going if I plan on showing her this weekend. She just would not sit back at the canter, kept surging forward. She felt...not really good. I had my friend get on and trot her around, and I could see that she was very stiff in the hocks. I think she is due for an injection. It's about that timer...been a little over a year since her last hock injection. Sadly, she does need them regularly. I decided not to push her and worrying about showing this weekend until I get her comfortable. I see no benefit in working a horse that doesn't feel right, it only makes her resent work even more. Looks like it's all Tango this weekend - aiming for a show on Sunday! I am tossing around the idea of maybe showing him in the longe line classes at the Kentucky State Fair. They have an open and non-pro longe line class. Last year there were 10 in the class, which is a good number. It would be a LONG drive for him, but maybe this should be my big goal for the summer (and maybe this can determine whether or not I enter him in the Congress Hunter longe line).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Corky's stall flooded again. *another big sigh* Unfortunately, Pepsi's stall also flooded, and far worse than Corky's, so she will get to spend the night in the indoor and poach off of other peoples' stalls for a few days until it dries out. I am spending a sheer fortune on bedding lately.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Spent some more time digging out Corky's stall, and this time Pepsi's stall flooded also so there was another mess to deal with. Fun! I did take the time to do a very quick longe session with tango (maybe 5 minutes?). He was great...gotta love the longe liner that needs almost no refresher training!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I thought I would ride Corky a little today. I saddled her up and put her on the longe line to loosen her up. She looked so uncomfortable in the back end, I quit immediately and called one of my good leg vets and made an appointment for her on Wednesday. I want him to check out her front feet angles also to make sure everything is going well.

After my day at the barn (Tango and Pepsi got longed, Tango got clipped, etc.) I headed to a nearby town for a braiding job. There's my grocery money for next week...yippee! Now if only I could conjure up about 16 more braiding jobs to pay for that expected EXPENSIVE vet appointment coming up on Wednesday...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today is a sad, sad day. My beloved dog Pasta passed away in her sleep in my back yard this afternoon. She was 13 1/2. Earlier this morning I got up and mowed the lawn and she followed me all over the yard as I mowed just like she always does. I loved on her a bunch, and I am glad I took the time with her this morning. She seemed to be feeling fine, although very arthritic as she has been. My heart is fractured...she has been my constant companion at shows for 13 years, she's seen me through a divorce, changing cities, and many many horses. I got her on the same day that Taylor was born, so they literally grew up together.

Pasta as a puppy - June 1998

Pasta in 2009

Pasta with her best friend "Milkshake"

Pasta loved the snow!

Rest in Peace Wingmaster's Pasta And Jazz...a.k.a. "Pasta"

After we buried Pasta, I headed out to the barn to wash and braid Tango for our show tomorrow. Hopefully he will leave his braids alone overnight this time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It ended up being a gorgeous, warm summer day! So much for the huge chance of rain. I got up early, loaded up and headed to the show. It was a close one - only about 40 minutes away. Tango was wild when we first arrived - did his Arab impression on the longe line for about 10 minutes and then the switch flipped and he was done acting up and was good. I like that! He kept his braids a little better this time - I had to re-do 3 of them but the rest were OK (not great but OK).

They had a yearling halter class (first class!) so I figured it would be a good chance for Tango to practice standing still. There were only 2 of us in the class. I was able to set Tango's feet and he stood like a rock the whole class (which didn't take TOO long, but still!). Astonishingly enough, he won the class!

He got a great learning experience in standing tied to the trailer with a hay bag while we waited for all of the halter and showmanship classes to be done before our longe line class. I actually trusted him enough to leave the trailer to make my entries - he was completely engrossed in the hay bag. He ate the entire time! Unfortunately once again we were the only ones in the longe line class. He remains undefeated LOL! He did really well, took the correct leads both times, but he was VERY sluggish. At one point I actually had to make contact with the whip to get him moving forward. He just doesn't have a lot of stamina...and I didn't even work him before the class (other than first thing in the morning). I hope he stays this way.

He loaded in the trailer in the morning and to go home with no issue. Whew! I am seriously considering entering him in the open and non-pro longe line classes at the Kentucky State Fair in August. Entries are due this week. I think that might be a fun goal to aim for.

Tango gets to experience his first show tied to the trailer. He didn't care for anything other than stuffing his face (which is good!).

Awesome video shot by my great friend Peg...LOL! She did pretty good seeing as she couldn't see a thing in the viewfinder because of the bright sunshine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2011

I know you will think I am weird, but Tango seemed depressed today. I actually noticed it a bit yesterday - he didn't seek me out, didn't play with Corky or Pepsi, just kind of walked around and looked like he was moping. OK, I know that sounds strange and that horses don't really experience human emotions, but I do think they experience happiness, or even melancholy. Today I decided to take him out back to the big field and go for a walk in the sunshine and let him eat grass. He was pretty excited to be out there, so I let him buck and play while I walked with him on the longe line. When he was done, we wandered all over the field while he grazed and looked at things. After about a half hour, we went back inside. Sounds crazy, but the old Tango was back - he was butting his head against me, following me around, and generally making himself a pest underfoot. He does annoy me at times, but I find I do really enjoy is happy-go-lucky personality.

Tomorrow - vet appointment for Corky. I will have her front feet checked out to make sure we are on the right track, plus have her hocks looked at.

Here is a video of Pepsi! She works so much better for my barn helper than myself - I have a youth that comes out and works with her every week or so. She really loves her, and Pepsi shines under all that one-on-one attention. I find myself trying to stay detached, because I absolutely MUST sell her and soon. Finances are going crazy thanks to the new house, and I really have to do something ASAP or my show plans are going down the tube.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I hauled Corky to the vet today to have her hocks checked. My vet fluoroscoped her hocks, and amazingly found them nearly in perfect condition! There was NO sign of arthritis, no sign of degeneration, and NO sign of fusing. he thinks her hocks are so good, they will never fuse. What a surprise to me. What she does have is not exactly a spur, but her bottom bone in the hock (I believe it is the "third" tarsal bone) is slightly longer than the one above (the 'central' tarsal bone), and this resulting edge irritates the ligament that goes along that part of the joint. Basically - it's something that will never get any worse, but obviously will never get any better...just needs constant maintenance. That much I already knew LOL! I am glad there is no sign of any degeneration. Whew! So I had her injected, and he did some acupuncture along her hip and back to help relieve some of the soreness that came from trying to stay off her hock. All in all it was a good diagnosis (and I love how this vet explains in GREAT details, even draws out what he is talking about so I can understand).

When I got home, I turned Tango out in the back pasture with Pepsi, hoping to entice her to actually go out in the field and graze. No such luck..she went about 10 feet into the field and then came back to the barn. I have never seen a horse that hates the outdoors like she does! She has a stall that opens into 5 acres and she absolutely refuses to leave a 10 foot perimeter of her stall. Weird!

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