Saturday, January 19, 2013

A first and second

Crows looming in the blue

With the lovely looking skies this week, I thought a second ride would be nice. But, there was an inversion with the weather from city to country. There usually is. If it's nice in town, it very well could be cruddy in the country. But the "NICE" look to the day from my window, got me going.
 It is FREEZING still and reported to be one of the coldest January's in history, for Oregon. Oh yea.
I went for it anyway, though ice was falling off the trees as if it were hailing. I wanted to try the new/old Tristan saddle I got from ebay.

I opened the full run to the mare the day before and found her and her Theo buddy taking a nap out in the trees.

 The day I opened it up, she was so happy to have the room to move, she did a -ring around the rosey- (tree) about three times!

Again, the mare was not pensive tacking up at all...sweet.  I did add another hole to the leathers on near side, first billet. With the sheepskin girthcover, it's a stretch to reach the normal first holes and that makes her cranky when I pull it tight- right off the bat. So adding the extra hole adds a nice loose choice for when we begin saddling and after I dismount, at the end of the ride.

I knew I only had time for a couple more "up and back" just around the perimeter of the stables so I used my all weather halter bridle...she got very strong around the stables our first ride, and I didn't want any bolts. ANGEL MARE...was perfectly happy to walk back and forth...and when we stopped, only 15 minutes after we started, she looked around for her treat I promised, with white lipstick!

I LOVE***the way this "new to me" saddle feels! It was a great saddle find my sister made, and I followed through with. Nice to have stirrups again. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Starting out

Last week, as the mare and me hand walked into new terrains, we heard a clip clopping canter of someone coming up a trail nearby. I saw them before they saw us, so I hollared to em'. Maddy mare, above, is Wa's best friend at the stable, residing in the stall and run next to her. 
We had not ventured into this uneven footing till last week, trying to keep soft tissue from being re injured.  Nice to see someone for a change. I had not seen a soul for weeks, it seemed.
As I hand walked my mare, I made sure to make the mare walk slowly up and down any hills. She minded not, as the slower we went, the easier it was for her to choose which bites of grasses she wanted.

Two weeks ago, (week 10) was the first week the mare would allow me to pick up her injured hind leg to pick her hoof. I was able to trim it early on, by pulling it forward and resting it on my Hoof Jack stand to rasp it. But, since week 2, no-go on picking it up...she'd over react and flex it till it hurt, and then she'd hop and almost fall on over. It was terrible to watch. I actually gave up on it for a week, one week. Then armed with a new plan, I filled my pocket with treats and went from leg to leg. I would stand at the leg, touch it as I said aloud, "foot". The fronts would come up, her holding them up till I took my hand off her leg. Treats for that! Onto the corresponding hind leg. The bad one, she'd lean into me and quickly pressure her rump towards me, till she was totally sideways. I had to remain calm and cool- or it was over. I pointed at her side and asked, "Step over". She'd do it, then I would go to the next leg..till I came back around and she finally decided to "cock the hoof" of the injured side off the ground. I Praised her and treated her quickly, and moved onto the next. I thought the small effort was best, since she probably couldn't really pick it up, due to the soft tissue damage.
We did that for a few weeks till she was calm enough for me to grab the hoof as she cocked it, and draw it out behind her..she didn't seem to mind that..but I had to get it, before she raised it to the hurting point. It was like building trust all over again with her.
So, I was finally able to ask my barefoot trimmer out, to take off quickly the overgrown hooves and bars. It would take me too long now. My trimmer gal handled that for me, and also was successful at the injured hind as well. We were ready now..for our starting back to work!

TODAY was the DAY - starting walks under saddle . I new it would be freezing out, but at least the sunshine was peeking a little and the snow melted. I  groomed and massaged the mare. Sprayed Sore no more on her legs and back. Put her leg boots on and decided to use the faithful soft saddle, instead of  the new saddle.

I was very proud of the mare, she didn't fidget or fuss. She kept her eye on me and seemed ready for this change of routine.
We entered the arena firstly. We walked about some, I adjusted the girth, walked over some polls then I moved the mounting block to the middle of the ring. Mounting from this 2 step is much harder than my 3 step block outside, near the trail head. But she allowed me to fling myself up and wiggle into place, without moving but one step!
She was forward and seemed willing. We did patterns and circles, straight lines and leg yields till I could tell, she was done. me too....lets get to the outdoors WA!

 I mounted much easier from the 3 step block, and we were off for a short walk- up and back- on the straight trail, beyond our stable.
Her ears are so cute, totally fluffy/fuzzy!

I tested the brakes some...and she has her eye and ear on me for the next move!

What a good girl she was for this starting day. It felt so W*O*N*D*E*R*F*U*L!!!

I allowed her a 15 minute graze while I put away the tack, and cleaned my messes. Her Turnout buddy Theo, was wondering why she was not out with him!

Soon Theo, she will be able to go and play with you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting ready

D'apple being trotted by vet assistant
"D'apple" the rescue mare went into the vet yesterday for her post purchase assessment.  It almost got cancelled due to the weather...snow and some ice. But, the vet's office told us that, " all had gotten there fine and no one reported problems".
 As I left my mare's stable's driveway in the snow, I questioned that.  Yet, driving down into the valley, it did clear and D'ap was in the cross ties, being readied by my sister, as I pulled up to the barn. She had come to the gate for my sister singing the little D"apple song, 
" D'apple loves apples!"

This mare is such a polar opposite to our mares! Washashe -reactive and strong willed and Pantz - Lead mare that takes care of everything, whether you want her to or not! This mare is a sweetie, that looks to you for direction and trusts...maybe she's an introvert ....but so far, she's never blown up.

My sister walked her out to the open trailer. All the paddock turnout horses were standing as close as they could to the fence lines...making it seem either that D'ap was going somewhere special, and they envied her. OR..."Oh no, where are they taking you? "  D'ap snorted a little , but got directly onto the trailer! I love this mare!

We gave the paperwork to our vet and he studied the dental work section, with interest.Since he is 1 of 3 certified dental experts in Oregon, he does make it a purpose to educate us and clarify any needs a horse may have. He knew the Examining vet that D'ap had last July, before my sister adopted her. He had done quite alot of work on her mouth...and I could tell he was being diplomatic about what he thought about it too. So we got her into the poll stall to check it out for ourselves. He pointed out several factors that made it difficult for D'ap to eat and also, accept a bit.

Our vet did a nice job with correcting her angles and making sure a bit would not pinch her gums against her teeth. D'ap did well with him working in her mouth. And soon it was all done.

Sleepy D'ap
When a county rescues animals they rely upon volunteer work sometimes, or vets that will take a small  $ portion for the work. You just don't know who you are going to get and what capacity they have for the animals needs. This was the case for D'ap's reduced price vetting...she got a half job and it was showing up now for my sister, as she tried to work with her. 
Now, we know she will be balanced and painfree...we also found out something else- D'apple got younger! Yup...she now is only 13 years old!

D'apple being trotted for Vet 

A very good day it was. Since D'ap had work done recently, our vet did not charge my sister for the float. That was very nice!
The other questions my sissy had were about her hip scar and same leg bone protrusion. She had gotten injured in her previous life and had a big divot from her hip area and her splint bone looked odd. Though, she is not lame. 
That is what we decided to go with, instead of X rays. Wait for the problem to show itself and leave the marks to being blemishes for now.
She again, got right into the trailer...though it was a larger step this time and she tripped-but recovered herself. 
I hope she continues to come to her song, "D'apple loves apples". I will find out today how it went the first time after her vet trip.
THIS WEEKEND>>> D'ap and sister are enrolled in a dressage lesson. I am so excited to see my sister ride with someone. Being a trainer herself, my sister studied and listened to this other trainer gal(Cathi) give lessons, while  she did her stable work over the past several months at the barn. Don't know if I ever mentioned; my sister gets a $ relief for the 2 horses being "on call" and doing her own horses stalls everyday= plus =the entire stable on Sundays.

I also hope to start riding again on my mare soon. I have been weaning her off the DEX drug for 2 weeks now. I talked to my vet yesterday, as we were there in the office. He says" light  saddle/walk work" in the arena, for a week or two, then regular turnout can begin again!

It is coming together if the weather will stop freezing!

"Lilly", the fawn of Painted Forest Stables. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Looking to the future

Hello there everyone! 
I have sure appreciated all your lovely comments and emails regarding my disappearance, and inquiring in on the mare. It truly has been a super busy- past 12 weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities, sprinkled with daily rehab for the mare. My rehab will come soon I pray, with maybe a  ride with her. 

I think she is almost back...though I wonder if some injuries of anyone-human or horse-  ever really come back fully to normal? With that in mind, I have tempered my eye, as I look upon Washashe's movement and general appearance of her left limb and hock. So many people have asked about what happened. I truly believe she got cast, maybe even struggled with her portable grazer inside the stall. 

We've gone to the Vet twice, had multiple X rays that proved there were no bone breaks or chips ( which is very good). The real information regarding Washashes's injury came from my Equine therapist, that is a Vet certified Thermography expert. She was on the scene a little while after the injury, and then again several weeks after. She told me with her experience on these matters, it was not a kick but a trauma that included her bone surfaces all around the hock capsule and the long tendons and ligaments that run from her hips through to the hock. The heat/cold  images are truly telling. It is invaluable to know "how" to treat an injury because one knows "WHERE" the injury is. The swelling told us the hock was involved, but the heat readout indicated it was above, in the soft tissues.

The above  photo is a" Micro Current self adhesive patch" by "MATRIX" and "Sore No More's"  Arnica cooling clay poultice. I have done these  2-3 times a week now for 2 months, along with 10 min. cold hosing twice a visit and a twice a day 15 min. stints of hand walking . She also gets a massage once a week too. Busy, busy rehab!

While Wa mare was certainly happy to see me every day (sometimes trotting to the door while nickering)  and very happy to get to the outdoors, or walk up and down a solid surface via roadway, aisle way and more recently, softer arena ...she grew tired of the routine of doing JUST that, like her momma was!

She did enjoy all the bites of winter grasses...but what a long haul of minimum movement, while soft tissue healed!

 IN HOPES OF RIDING AGAIN.... just 2 weeks ago, to keep my spirits up, I gave the mare a mini-clip. You can barely see it in the above shot. Just a partial neck, chest and girth area. Oh and, one day before that clip, another boarder came in with a Western saddle...yea, we tried it on for size...the mare not too keen on it though!

On other fronts of life,
my man and me have spend lots more time together, as I mentioned ere now, with me being home alot sooner nights. We'd sit with the kitties and stay has been ultra cold and grey in these parts.

And...I did hint some, last post that I was RIDING.
Not mine of course, but my sister's rescue horse, D'Apple. She is Anglo/Connemara. She was the last of 17 horses that got seized, 2 years ago, to be adopted. 
My sisters had her in a nearby town, pastured for free..they drove 50 mi round trip to medicate her badly broken down self. She has EXTREME allergies and was raw/bloody from bug bites. It took nearly a year to rehabilitate her body and mind from the abuse and neglect she had been living in before.
My horsey sister talked my other sister into keeping her. And my newly horsed sis told my horsey sis to come get her...that 50 mi drive was too much! So, she resides at Pantz's barn now.

 She is of unknown age...somewhere between 12 and 20. Two vets said that. She still had Wolf Teeth last year. Too bad but, we know that she had been ridden that way, so unfortunate! She seems to have no formal training, so my sissy started with groundwork and lunging. It was rough, but she really seems to want to please. 
She is SWEET!

She has  "Blood Shoulder" markings, which are red roan in color on her. But she also has many, many black looking dapples..those are her scars. Both sides of her face, belly, shoulders,withers, legs,hips and rump.

So, I helped my sissy to start her. She had gotten on once, asked for go and the mare wouldn't move. She asked till she got a few steps and then got off. I helped with the second mounting, a few days later.
I lunged her my first time with her, then got on and waited to see if she'd walk, or what she'd do....YES...we went a walking! I used verbal commands that she responded to on the ground, for pace and stopping. She is severely reactive to the bit... ( I would have used biteless- but sister wanted to use the bit ) so all communication would be with body language...what a teacher she is!!! Only would my sister allow me to squeeze my fists for anything( no demonstrative lead rein or anything of the like)...all was me turning my body or simply breathing out, while stopping my motion for half halt or halt. Fantastic! Steering was terrible if you tried to do it, with your hands...but if you did it with your seat and legs, she'd go anywhere.(imagine that!) She really made tons of improvement each ride. I leaned so much about how I will be riding my mare soon... subtly!

I've lost momentum now, riding D'ap..with the darker- colder- wetter eves.It is a super duper busy barn, so eves are the best time to ride a green horse. But I hope to get to ride MY OWN mare soon! I do better in the day for riding winter.

So, back to my horse front..... the last saddle I tried fall of 2011 was a  used "Stubben Tristan". It turned out to be my sister's very first Dressage saddle! It fit the mare well and I needed stirrups for the coast  horse trip that I bought it at $300. I had to pad the cantle, as it sloped back to much. It went well for a time but, my BUM was being squished...the seat was too small for me.

I recently sold it to my sister, and though I HATED to see it go, because saddle fit is hard for us.... it fits D'apple wonderfully. So armed with $300 and some other Christma$ dough, sister sent me an ebay add last week. ANOTHER Tristan!
But this time, it was my size in the seat! I got it for $250! And the gal selling it tossed in a saddle pad, leathers, and the NICEST saddle cover I have ever seen. It arrived this week.

It actually fits her shoulder better than the first Tristan.

So today, I put a girth on the mare, for the first time since October 17th, 2012. 

 And something else it snowed!
A Bright beginning!
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