Sunday, May 30, 2010

A video from today.

Lucy has settled right back into work just fine. Today I asked Kenny if he'd come video me riding in the field. The problem was that I didn't specify which field I meant, so he drove to one field that's about a mile away from the barn, and I rode to another field in the opposite direction from the first, about 1/3 mile from the barn.

Like an idiot I didn't bring my cell phone, so I got all the way to the field and he wasn't there, and I realized what had happened. Instead of just calling him from where I was, I had to ride all the way back to the barn, get my cell phone (which was almost dead!), call him, and then ride back to the field to meet him.

Luckily it worked out and he eventually made it to the correct field, but Lucy wasn't pleased about the back-and-forth business, so she looks quite riled up in the video he took.

And here is a photo of Cairo, who is growing like a weed! She is now almost 11 weeks old, and has learned all the basic commands and a few tricks, too! She's very smart.

Friday, May 28, 2010

back in business!

After five days off, it was time to get back in the saddle. Lucy was wound up like a rubber band ball yesterday. I tossed her in the ring while I did her stall, but she did not want to run around at all. I put on my Tipperary vest and prayed for a good ride, and promptly got motorcycled around the ring for twenty minutes, at which time I got fed up of her crap. I got off, got the lunge line, and we had a lunging refresher, which was ugly but effective because she learned that fighting takes way more energy than just trotting in a circle.

Once she calmed down, I got back on and we had a surprisingly lovely ride. Sure, there were battles here and there and I had to work my ass off to get her going nicely, but the canters we had at the end made it all worthwhile.

The good thing for me is that she demands to be ridden correctly. I can't just sit there and be a passenger and la la la around the ring, especially at the canter. She is so ridiculously athletic and balanced that with even just a shift of my pelvis around a circle, she pops a little flying change and is on the "wrong" lead. I really have to ask her to bend around my inside leg and sit straight in the saddle or else we're doing flying changes left and right when all I want to do is canter in a circle.

I could tell when she started to get tired because she started trying to rush and toss her head and other fun things of that nature, so we ended on a good note and went for a hack down the road to my favourite field. To get to this field we have to go down a very steep dirt road. Of course there were three deer waiting for us at the bottom and if you remember correctly, last time we had a deer encounter, we both almost died. This time she did a little hop, and then just stood and stared like she was trying to blast them with laser beam eyes. I was very proud of her for not bolting, though. She watched the deer boing across the field to the woods, and then we had a nice walk around the field as the deer continued to frolic through the woods right next to the field (but she kept her cool!) and then I let her gallop up the hill back to the road, which we both LOVE :).

I can't decide if I'd want to see her event or do dressage more. I think teaching this horse tempi changes would be a breeze but when she gallops up that big hill and easily comes back to a walk at the top of it and arches her neck proudly, I can totally see her kicking butt at cross country.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

miracle medicine :)

Here is what greeted me today at the barn! After only 24 hours of treatment, Lucy is feeling MUCH better. She is bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and her legs look 95% back to normal. There is still some slight puffiness in her hind legs but I am so happy with the improvement from yesterday! She gobbled her dinner up and then I took her out to graze. I could tell how much better she felt.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I got a phone call from my barn owner this morning at 8am, which is never a good thing. Lucy has been stocked up in her hind legs the past couple days, but another boarder said they had heard her kicking the stall wall because a new mare is next to her, and so I chalked it up to being related to the kicking. I rode her yesterday and as you can see in this video, she was very quiet. Like, so quiet that I wondered if she was feeling ok. She ate her dinner fine and was totally sound during our ride, but this morning all four legs were very swollen and warm, and her feet were warm also. She looked like crap, and my barn owner said that although she ate her breakfast, she was so lethargic that she didn't even want to leave her stall to go out to the paddock, which is totally unlike her! Usually she's excited to go out every morning.

I got over to the barn asap and we took Lucy's temp, which was 102.5 degrees F. Soo of course this warranted an emergency call to the vet on a Saturday. I explained all the symptoms to the vet on the phone and she immediately thought it was Ehrliciosis, a tick-borne bacterial infection that attacks the white blood cells. That's what my barn manager had thought it was, too. She recommended coming out to look at Lucy, because she would most likely need to go on antibiotics. In the mean time, she told me to give L two grams of bute.

She was out at the barn within the hour, and checked Lucy's vital signs. Her temp was down to 101 deg. F, which was good news. The vet gave Lucy 200mL IV antibiotics to kick off the treatment and hopefully get her feeling better, and then she left a bottle of Doxycycline for me to give over the next five days. Lucy also has to get bute 2x a day to keep the fever down.

Here is what her legs looked like:

I left the barn after the vet was done to run some errands, and went back around 3:30 to feed Lucy dinner and check on her. I also cold-hosed her legs and that seemed to help a lot to bring the swelling down, but she was still very tired-looking. She perked up for dinner, at least:

Poor pony :(

Thursday, May 20, 2010

feeling more and more like summer

It turns out that Lucy really mellows out in the heat, which is a welcome change from the equine version of the Energizer Bunny. We've been having lovely relaxed rides and today she cantered around like a little hunter, relaxed through her back and her head down, ears flopping, with her nose pointing out in front of her just so. I got in my half seat and enjoyed it while it lasted, because that is very not like her!

Then we went for a hack around the neighbourhood and she added a nice family to her fan club. They were fawning all over her and telling her how pretty she was, and she stood there and posed and soaked it all up. What a ham.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

*knock knock*, anyone home?

After a week of my horse doing nothing more than sunbathing while Kenny and I went through house-buying-hell and sleep deprivation due to 3am puppy wake-up calls, I decided enough was enough, I was going to ride my horse. I pulled Lucy out of the paddock and tacked her up, all prepared to ride a rocket ship. I knocked on her forehead and said, "hello? baby thoroughbred? are you in there?" AND IT DID NOT ECHO. This means she has a brain and it was working today.

She hacked around the ring with her nose on the ground and then sauntered through the field down the street like she owned the place, had a nice little gallop down the long side, trotted lightly back up towards the entrance, galloped up the hill to get to the road, and walked home on a loose rein.

I cannot argue with that!

Friday, May 14, 2010

puppy meets pony, all is well.

one of my poor neglected horse for good measure


puppy + pony :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

got paws?

I know this is a horsey blog but I couldn't resist posting these photos! We picked Cairo up today from the breeder's in MA and she is just the cutest thing!

She will meet Lucy tomorrow!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

broad spectrum happiness

We have had a pretty chill week after our very productive weekend. Kenny and I are closing on our house in just over a week and we are also picking up the puppy next Wednesday, so we're making final preparations for both of those big developments. We are both very excited and absolutely terrified at the same time, which seems to be on par for most first-time home buyers :) but getting those keys will be well worth it!

As for the puppy, we have picked the name Cairo. We can't wait to bring our little girl home. It's been a long time since we've helped raise a puppy so both of us have been reading up on training, and will enroll her in a puppy class to help get the basics down.

I rode Lucy on Tuesday and kept it to just a nice light schooling and then a hack to cool out. She spent about ten minutes politely protesting the fact that we weren't having fun out on trails and instead I was actually asking her to work, but she came around quickly and we got some lovely forward, soft trot work and some very nice canter work.

One thing she has always struggled with is cantering on a circle. She can do it a few times but then gets tired, which is funny because as we all know, she's like the energizer bunny most of the time. Cantering on a circle takes a lot of balance and hind end strength and I think our recent hacks and hill work has really helped her improve both. On Tuesday she was able to canter in a balanced manner on a 20 metre circle without leaning or getting rushy. Once we did that both directions, she got a good pat and we went out exploring to cool out, because I feel like that is a pretty big milestone for her.

The barn is better than ever, especially with the lovely weather. The boarders have evolved into a sort of community and we all support one another, and in general really enjoy each others' company. It is exactly what I hoped to find in a barn and both Lucy and I feel right at home there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

one more from the ride

Yes, we were really that coordinated.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Lucy was a total superstar today.

She happily walked onto the trailer and though she was a little worried when the butt bar went up, she handled it like a lady and settled down.

She trailered over to the park like a pro, and gently backed out of the trailer and waited for a cookie.

She walked around the park and met all the horses and their people and ate some grass.

She stood pretty well for me to tack up, and had no issues with the bridle even though like an idiot I cleaned it last night and put it back together wrong (sigh) so I had to fix it all when it was already on her head.

She stood quietly for me to clamber on board, and warmed up really really nicely in the ring.

Then she went through the entire trail ride, all two hours of it, cool as a cucumber and walking on the buckle!!!!!! The group of people I rode with could not believe she was a 4yo TB!

Part of the ride took us on the beach and L went into the water, overcoming her aversion to the little waves, all while kids and dogs ran around and jumped all over the place!

When the ride was done, she quietly loaded back onto the trailer and munched hay while we socialized a bit and sat through the raffle.

My framed drawing brought in $75 for the RISPCA and in total they raised over $9,000 :D

In short: an amazing day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

how to melt your baby thoroughbred's brain

1. Have a good long ride in the ring, and when you're done, don't hop off and untack, take the horse for a ride down the road!

2. When passing the barn down the road with huge gorgeous fields of grass, do not let your horse persuade you to leave here there.

3. Ride her into a field where there are approx. 15 deer.

4. Somehow manage not to fall off when she spins and bolts even though you lose both stirrups (hell yeah!!!).

5. While hanging on for dear (deer?) life, make her STOP and turn to face The Evil Horse-eating Deer.

6. Decide it's best to hop off while the going's good and then giggle at the fact that your 1000+ lb horse is trembling at the sight of some overgrown goats.

7. Once horse has gotten over herself, get back on and proceed to make her walk all the way back to the barn.

8. While en-route back to the barn, pass two cute boys weedwhacking on the side of the road. Watch little pieces of grass and dirt fly across the road and once again feel your horse tremble a bit.

9. Get past the weedwhackers without theatrics and notice a huge truck and trailer coming towards you.

10. Not just a trailer, but a black metal wire landscaping trailer. That rattles. And shakes. And it rapidly approaching.

11. By rapidly, I mean like 40mph.

12. Does the driver slow down? Of course not. Give the driver the finger as horse does the cha-cha beneath you.

13. Landscaping trailer makes a huge BOOM! noise right as it goes past you. Horses brain is basically pouring out of the side of her head at this point.

14. Get back to the barn and untack the horse. Put her in the wash stall. Give her a bath. Yes I am evil.


And that is how to fry your baby thoroughbred's brain.

How to re-solidify baby tb's brain:

1. Take horse outside.

2. Let her graze.

battle of the wills

I knew that yesterday's ride was going to be a tough one. It was hot, it was past dinner time, and the wind was still gusting enough to make the jumps lean at odd angles.

The warm up was nice enough but as soon as I asked her to trot (or really, stopped thinking "sloooooow" for one second) she decided we needed to canter.

Or gallop.

Of course then it all circles and half halts and calming her down, and the second I relaxed just a little she was off again. What a pain! I was thinking to myself, does this horse ever get tired???!

Riding in the outdoor with the wind just wasn't working for us so as my patience was about to expire I took her in the indoor and rode her in there. I didn't allow her to go straight for more than a couple strides. We did circles, zig-zags, figure 8's, loops all around the ring, halt, back up, and had more than a few get-off-my-inside-leg-you-goon reminders.

Towards the end I realized that she was getting tired because I actually had my inside and outside legs firmly on her. Giving her brain lots of things to think about meant it didn't have many spare resources to think about running around like an idiot. It worked fairly well! I am glad I persevered and kept riding. Part of me wanted to be done with it because I was so frustrated in the outdoor but I knew I couldn't leave it like that. We ended on a really nice, soft canter and of course I made a huge deal about what a good girl she was.

I also picked up the finished framed artwork to be auctioned off at the Ride this weekend:

The frame shoppe did a nice job on it. I am really happy with it and I know it's going to look lovely on the highest bidder's wall :)