Monday, June 21, 2010

the real reason not to bleach your saddle pads

"Do not use bleach." That's what the tag on my white Dover saddle pad says, but it was disgusting and a regular wash cycle even with a scoop of OxiClean just was not cutting it.

So I added a capful of bleach. I thought, "it's just a white saddle pad, what could it hurt?" I rinsed the pad thoroughly in hot water and put it through two wash cycles, just to be safe.

Yup, I bleached my horse.

On a side note, check out Jessi Makes Jewelry to enter in her giveaway contest. Anyone would be lucky to wear her jewelry, it's beautiful!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The name of the game lately with Lucy has been consistency. This week she's discovered that soft, light and round is way more fun than doing a tense giraffe impression at warp 3. She has gotten really consistent at the trot and we are working on the canter. At the walk, I tend to let her go on a loose rein because I don't think we've reached the point where she can walk with a lot of contact for an extended amount of time without sucking back and tightening up through her spine. I'd rather her walk around long and low than uptight and above the contact. With the trot, she typically goes lightly in the bridle for 5-10 strides, then will pop up above the contact a little bit and try to speed up, but a gentle half-halt and a bit of inside leg will bring her back down and round again. It's very satisfying.

I would have loved to get some video of last night's ride but alas, I did not bring the video camera. Today I will remember it and hopefully coerce someone into taping tonight's ride for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A photo of Cairo at 14 weeks

Those ears double as wings, fyi.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lucy the Highschool Cheerleader

If Lucy were human, she'd be a highschool cheerleader. She'd have long, straight, dark hair and big brown eyes. She'd also have all the football players in the palm of her hand.

There are almost equal geldings to mares at my barn, but for some odd reason, the geldings REALLY like Lucy. When she's turned out in her paddock, she's between two fantastically handsome hunters: Jake and Gabe. Jake is a talk dark and handsome warmblood who is rather laid back as if he knows the world is already his, and Gabe is a sensitive redhead OTTB whose good looks seem to have all the ladies (human and equine) looking his way. Lucy hangs out in the paddock between the two geldings and I have observed her first hand going to Gabe to flirt and share some hay with him, as Jake looks forlorn and lonely (and a tad jealous, but he's not the type to get up in arms about it) in his paddock. Then once she's had her fun with Gabe, she saunters across the paddock to Jake, and as Gabe's irritation increases she lips at Jake with her little doe eyes big and innocent.

It's a SHAM! But I can't say I don't stand there and laugh my butt off at the whole exchange.

Even better is when she comes in during the afternoon from turnout for dinner (or pony torture, depending on my energy level). By the time she comes in, most of her boyfriends are already in their stalls. Jake and Gabe are on the other side of the barn, but that's ok because she has love interests all over the place. First on the left by the barn entrance is a handsome and distinguished older grey named Spanky and despite being the object of attention for her back feet when she got them stuck in the fence trying to knock his lights out, he is STILL head over heels for her. When we're approaching the barn, he nickers at her expectantly, like "oh maybe today she'll say hi!". As we walk past, he gets a little more desperate sounding. Then once he realizes it's just another day of rejection, he gets downright pissed off. Poor dude. I just keep asking him, Spanky, don't you remember when she tried to kill you?!

Further down on the left, next to her stall, is a new drop dead gorgeous QH named Gunner. This guy is a looker. Fresh off the truck from Ohio, he looks like he just walked out of an old time western movie set. He has the swagger that only a beautiful silver grullo QH can have, and he has a nice butt. Lucy and I have similar preferences so of course we both like him; she just *really* likes him. He has decided she's the one for him, and he nickers constantly for her. When her stall door is open and she can stick her head out, she spends the entire time kissing his nose through the feeding hole in his stall. He nickers for her the entire time she's out working in the ring, and pricks his little ears when she comes back in again and gets all excited. Too cute, my friends, too cute.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

back to normal

I've been working on getting Lucy back into solid work, and she really impressed me tonight. On Sunday I got on and walked her around in my Western saddle (and got a lot of strange looks...I was like, what, she's a versatile horse!). Yesterday (Monday), I didn't let her run around before riding and still tried to have a productive ride and really it was very frustrating. Today I learned from experience and let her have some fun in the ring before I tacked her up and we had just the BEST ride. Oh she was such a pleasure to ride, I felt like I was riding a cloud at times. She even jumped around a bit and we worked on a figure 8 pattern around the ring, with one diagonal being a little three stride crossrail line, and the other diagonal being a single vertical line. She just cruised around and got her changes every time, and we ended it at that because she was being so awesome.

Here is one more photo of her, standing in the aisle after I pulled her mane:

"Ok, now that I put up with all that nonsense, where's my cookie?!?!?!"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Recovering well

Lucy is feeling like her old self, as she demonstrated yesterday by taking off bucking when I turned her out in the ring. I haven't ridden her yet because I wanted her to be back up to normal grain rations before adding a workout into the mix. The day after the colic she got 1/4 of her normal breakfast and one flake of hay in the AM, and then the same for dinner. I then increased the rations each day bit by bit, and as of yesterday she was back on normal rations. I also have been making her normal PM mash really soupy, which doesn't seem to phase her. I've also been soaking her hay.

I also started her on electrolytes, which I should have started back in March, but just didn't think about it. The electrolytes replenish what she loses in salt and minerals via sweating, and also encourages her to drink a bit more.

She has been drinking and eating well, and her stall has been quite disgusting so I think everything is back in working order.

One disheartening thing is that it took me ages to put weight on this horse and she was finally looking good, and because of the decreased grain this week, she dropped quite a bit of weight. That's disappointing for me to say the least.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The short version:

It's colic season and yesterday was apparently Lucy's turn, poor girl. Two other horses have colicked this week but they were both gas colics and Lucy's turned out to be an impaction. We caught it just in time and treated it aggressively and she seems to be much better this morning.

Here's the long version:

I stayed home sick from work yesterday and around 1pm, Kenny and I went to the barn to do the stall and give the pony some snuggles. We got there and something was clearly not right. She was trying to roll in her stall, she was covered in sweat, and she looked terrible. I put her in the ring to observe her and make sure I wasn't just imagining things, but she rolled three times and was not interested in the grass. I gave her a dose of Banamine and called the vet and they said they'd be there in an hour. This was my first colic experience but I was pretty sure I had all the symptoms correct...she was rolling, laying down/getting up repeatedly, not eating (I had made her a mash of alfalfa cubes, sugar cubes, and molasses for lunch and she didn't even lip at it), and when she laid down she kind of stared at her sides. Judging from her behaviour (obviously uncomfortable but no violent thrashing around), I guessed that we had caught it just in time before it got bad.

When it is super hot outside, the horses go out in the mornings and come in at 12:30, so I called the lady who had brought her in and she said Lucy seemed totally normal and wanted to eat when she came in. She must have started colicking between 12:30 when she came in, and 1:30 when I got there, which is not too bad seeing as if I had gone to work like normal, I would not have gone to the barn until 4:30 at the earliest.

I hand-walked her for almost two hours while waiting for the vet (who when I called him, was at another colic, and after he was done treating Lucy had to go to yet another one) and she didn't pass any manure or gas during that time, which was concerning. Normally she is a poop machine (and I apologize for my non-horsey friends having to read about my horses pooping habits, because no one wants to hear about their friends animals pooping and peeing, and I know it's not pleasant but such is life and horses) so I knew this was not right.

Anyway, the vet finally got to the barn two hours after I initially called, and the Banamine had worked its magic. She was much perkier and didn't go right down to roll when we weren't walking. He checked her vitals and everything seemed about right, which I think was helped by the Banamine a bit because when I first got there, she was breathing at twice the normal rate. He did an exam and found a big blockage that wasn't rock hard, but he suspected it was holding things up. He also tubed her, which she did not like at all even though she was sedated, and pumped a few gallons of oil, electrolytes and water into her.

That was about it, and he waited around for about fifteen minutes to see how she was doing, but she just stood there looking dazed. He had another colic to go to after Lucy, so he couldn't wait much longer but said to call back if I needed him again, and he left. I waited about another hour and just sat by her stall talking to her and petting her nose, but she didn't seem to perk back up, and she didn't poop at all. I left the barn to go home and eat something and went back around 9pm to check on her again. She still looked dazed and exhausted but she had pooped twice and didn't seem to be in any pain. I updated my barn owner with the latest news and left it at that.

This morning I was there at 7:15 and she was perky and demanding her grain. It's funny that after the Ehrlichia ordeal, I joked that if she ever refused to eat, I should be really worried. She hadn't pooped any more through the night, but I felt better just seeing her with her ears pricked and nickering. She got a handful of grain and a tiny bit of hay. She had drank about a gallon of water, which is not a lot, but the vet had told me not to worry if she didn't drink a whole lot, because he had filled her up with so many fluids last night that she probably wouldn't "feel" thirsty. She will get turned out today and I am hoping that walking around in her paddock will continue to encourage things to move along, and hopefully she will be ready for dinner this afternoon when I get out of work. I wish I had cleaned her paddock out so that I knew if she pooped at all, but I didn't think to do so until I was already at work.

I have got to say that I just love my barn. I know I have mentioned before how awesome it is there but having experienced a colic, I appreciated everyones help so much. It's not a ritzy barn by any means but the facilities are more than I had hoped for when barn shopping. I'd take a low-key non-ritzy barn with great people over the fanciest barn in town with not so great people any day! The barn owner is a great horseman and the other boarders were so nice and supportive yesterday. I had Cairo with me at the barn through the whole ordeal and they took her for me and played with her while the vet did his thing so that she wasn't in the way, and then they were genuinely concerned about Lucy and all of them told me that if I needed anything at all, I could call them at any time even in the middle of the night. They made what was a very stressful situation much easier by just being there and asking if they could help, and taking the puppy for me. Of course I thought we were just going to the barn to muck the stall and set up grain, which would be maybe half an hour, and I ended up being there for almost six hours!

All in all, it could have been a LOT worse. I felt like I was maybe jumping the gun by giving banamine and calling the vet right away but in the end I know I did the right thing. An impaction wouldn't have worked itself out easily and she could have gone downhill quickly if I had waited. I am also glad I was prepared with the Banamine. When I bought her in November I asked the vet if I could purchase a tube of Banamine, Ace, and some bute just to have on hand. I think that the Banamine and bute are crucial to have at all times, since if you discover you need it and you don't have it, any delay in treatment can really make or break the chances of a quick recovery. Seeing her face this morning and hearing her nicker at me made the whole ordeal worth it, but I kindly asked her to keep the emergency vet calls to a minimum from now on, and to DRINK WATER ;).