Squeamish

I am horrible with blood and yuck. My standard response is to immediately vomit and pass out. Sometimes simultaneously.

I don’t want to brag or nothin’, but I have passed out in hospitals (visiting), multiple horse barns, friends houses, and at a construction site.

It’s kind of embarrassing actually.

Anyway, Jessie’s wound was infected. She has a pocket of infection next to the lining of her tendon in her lower hind leg. We’ve got her on large amounts of antibiotics; she’s getting intramuscular, oral, and topical antibiotics.

Part of the care for the wound is flushing out the pocket. It’s about a half dollar sized hole in her leg (ha.. kids will have no idea what a half dollar is). I stick a giant plunger full of saline and antibiotics in the hole, and flush! Puss and blood shoots out all over.

It is thoroughly disgusting.

I am disgusted.

I had to stop several times to go dry heave.

It looks small in the picture, but it seemed like gallons when it was coming out (most of that liquid is saline solution).

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On the plus side, Jessie is a food hound. I could cut a leg off as long as she’s got a bucket of grain in front of her.

I also gave my very first shot in over 2 decades! I asked my neighbor to come down and help me the first time. There are all these little things you don’t know you don’t know… like how to get the stupid liquid from the jar to fill the needle thingy.  Or actually sticking the needle in. Or where to stick the needle in.

Jessie was a good horse to practice on. She stood steady as a rock regardless of the number of fumbles I made with the needle.  My first attempt did not go well though.  I gauged where I would stick the needle in, I rubbed the spot, I thumped the spot, I double checked I had the right spot… and then I squinted my eyes and poked… except, I only got about a quarter of the needle in. Second attempt… measure the spot, rub the neck, thump the neck (still trying to screw up the courage), measure, thump, measure… POKE.

Second attempt went better. But I was given instructions to give two shots of 15cc each for two days. So I still had to inject her with another 15cc.

I don’t like giving shots. I’ve never liked watching someone give me a shot, and it’s no better giving a shot to a horse.

But I am proud of myself for getting it accomplished with only a little help for the first shot.  I don’t feel very confident in my needle sticking abilities, but at least if push came to shove I could get the job done (on a quiet horse… that didn’t move.. and was totally fine with getting poked several times in a row… hahaha).

Along with the antibiotic shots, I also have to give Jessie a large handful of pills twice a day. It started out okay. I crushed the pills up and tossed them in her grain, and Jessie cleaned her plate. Then she started refusing to eat the grain with the antibiotics in it, so I mixed in some applesauce. That worked once… she utterly refused the second time. So I crushed up treats with the antibiotics and mixed it in her grain. That worked surprisingly well for about four feedings. And then she utterly refused to touch her food.

After that, nothing worked. I still had to give her the pills twice a day for another 15 days. As soon as Jessie identified that there was anything other than plain grain in her feed bin, she’d face the back of the stall and refuse all grain, treats, or other bribes. I even tried maple syrup (having it on good authority that it worked).

I resorted to crushing the pills and mixing it with water to fill a syringe (sans needle), then shooting it in her mouth. The first few times we had a serious talk about manners, but she’s been a doll since then. Amazingly cooperative considering that stuff must taste bitter as all get-out.

Anyway, that is the story of how I nearly puked on Jessie.

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This and That and a few Cavelletti’s

I have no ability to focus today, so you get a rambling post. Good Luck. 😉

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I made Joy lunge over poles on the ground today. She wasn’t all that excited by the idea, but she did a fine job of humoring me.

She looked so fancy going over the poles. Her little legs delicately lifted high, her neck arched.

I had her go both ways a few times. I also set the poles in both curved and straight lines. And for a final time through I set one pole beneath one side of two poles (so they were a little higher on one side) and had her trot back through in both directions.

My conclusion… I have learned the ultimate secret to being the laziest rider ever!
Cavelletti lunging!!

After only a few minutes, Joy was huffing and puffing.

Actually, it was helpful because I had her in the yard doing this, which is a scary area for her. The poles made her focus on where she was going instead of looking at the bench, the logs, the cats playing, the cars going by, etc.

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Joy is getting chubby…

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Zeus is disappointed. He likes to drive, but he can’t reach the break.

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I had to look up videos of other ponies doing dressage. I have this weird need to try to compare Joy to other ponies in an attempt to envision what she may look like with more training.. First video I find is this amazing Germany riding pony doing FEI level work. Drool!!!

Yeah… Joy doesn’t look like that.

I bet that FEI pony cost 20k.

I’m not going to look up pony dressage videos anymore.

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Jessie hurt her leg. Again. Bad enough I’m concerned. I’ve been her caretaker for 4 months, and she’s had something wrong with her every single one of those months. Just when I think we’re in the clear, something else goes wrong.

I’m 99% sure Ava causes most of the injuries to Jessie and Joy. She’s a “Lead with brute force” type of alpha mare. No subtlety to her leadership.

I have pillow wraps, polo’s, and standing wraps that I’ve owned for several years, but have never used. I bought them for Ava, but it hurts my back too much to hunch over to wrap polo’s for every day riding. They’ve sat in my tack box, in pristine condition since I bought them.

Until I started taking care of Jessie. Now every single wrap I own is stained with manure and gross wound junk.

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I found yet another board with a nail in it, in the pasture. That’s number 12 so far. I’m not really counting… but there were a ton in there. I’ve swept that entire pasture several times, but somehow more turn up. Small ones now… they’re getting cunning.

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My husband is currently pitching opening lines of books to me:

“There’s just some things that make a man mad.”

He swears that’s New York Times best seller material right there…

I don’t know where he was going with that.

The door handle to our truck fell off. Which is where that convo came from.

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We have 8 new kittens. Some of them really look like mom and dad were brother and sister.

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I’m not sure how many of you watch Evention Tv on YouTube, but I love their videos. The one on how to build your own cavelletti’s had me laughing.

Evention Tv Season 3: Episode 1 “Build your own Cavaletti”: https://youtu.be/LIJ1UQ2xU6k

Aches and Pains

Getting old sucks!

I used my BB pad on Ava for a 30 minute trail ride. All went well, but I could barely walk the rest of the day.

I also rode Joy with the BB pad. I hadn’t ridden her in… well, it’d been a few weeks.  She’s such a sweetheart that she never once put a foot wrong.  (I should add that I didn’t ask much of her either.)

I did notice though that with the BB pad it feels like there’s nothing below my knees. I have to be very concious about how far in to bring my calf in order to put it on her. On the plus side, it allows me to be very clear about a release of pressure from leg aids because my lower leg comes completely off her. It actually helped some. Her responsiveness to moving off the leg became sharper.

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This past week I’ve been riding her nearly every day using the bareback pad.

We had a few snafu’s. At one point I rode her toward the end of the pasture.  I could feel her getting tense, then Ava hollered loudly and Joy lost it. She bolted for home.

I thought I was a gonner.

I seriously contemplated bailing.

But.. Joy came back to her senses in less than two strides, and although still tense, she was listening again.

After that, things went fine. She was still a ball of tension, but she relaxed after about 5 minutes of weaving through mini pine trees at a walk.

She’s a thinker, that one. If I don’t keep her mind engaged then she’ll find all kinds of things to look at.

I’ve been mostly focusing on getting her to bend left at the walk. I’m trying to stretch out the right side, get her a bit straighter, a bit more reactive to moving away from the left leg, and also teach her the concept of outside aids. I can’t do much to fix her straightness issues until she figures those things out.

However, I was playing around a bit yesterday and actually got her to do two strides of sort-of-shoulder-in each way, and two strides of sort-of-haunches-in. Not great, mind you… but she tried and it (in a broad sense of the word) resembled the movement to a degree.

I was beyond thrilled because it means she’s starting to figure out the idea of moving away from pressure, and letting me catch the energy on the outside. Only briefly… but the idea is there.

I probably won’t be able to duplicate that again. Hahaha

Mind you.. it’s all at the walk. We do some trotting, but I’m not strong enough to trot for very long bareback. I get tired.

We wrapped up the session by hand walking her to the neighbors and then out behind our house through the field.

I’m still too chicken to try riding her on the trails. Soon though… we’re getting close.

Gratuitous picture of Ava:
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Ava Antics

The last few weeks I’ve been getting more and more excited by the possibility that Ava may be returning to soundness. Our brief trot stints felt awesome, and in the pasture she’s a bucking, cantering, fool.

But, alas… after I took her on a slightly longer than normal trot session (maybe 1 or 2 minutes of trotting), she’s favoring the leg again.

Her mind says she can; her body says she can’t.

At least she’s not anywhere near as lame as she was back in November/December. Now it’s just a shorter stride on that leg. It’s not the toe dragging full body limp she had before.

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This morning I went out to feed the horses and about had a heart attack. I walk in the barn and there’s no Ava. Joy and Jessie are in their stalls, but no Ava.

I start to panic….

I walk up to Ava’s stall and look in. There’s Ava, flat out on the stall floor.

Now, I’ve seen Ava lie down occasionally, but I think in the past four months I’ve seen it maybe a handful of times. And she always pops up the second she hears me.

I open her stall door, and I see one of Ava’s eyes crack open to look at me.

I call her name…

Nothing…

I call her again, a bit more frantically.

A few seconds pass, and finally she lifts her head like “Just five more minutes, mom”.

I wait…

Finally, she rolls to her knee’s, pauses a moment, and then heaves herself to her feet.

After regaining her feet, she shoves her forehead into my stomach as if to say Hi, and then sniffs noses with Joy.

All was well.

The whole situation was weird though. I have never once gotten close to Ava laying down because she immediately pops to her feet. So her utter lack of caring that I was near her seemed off character for her. But, she dug into her grain with gusto, and was happily eating hay by the time I left for work.

Maybe she’s starting to feel more comfortable here?

Bareback Saddle Pad

I am now the proud owner of a bareback saddle pad!! My Hubby bought it for me after my last post. Woo Hoo!!

This is what my new BB pad looks like, but in navy blue. There’s a water bottle holder on the other side.

I tried it out on Ava first. Let me preface this by saying I haven’t ridden bareback in well over a year, and that was back when I was in tip-top shape and had actual balance. Now, I’m way out of shape and have a definite lack of balance (I’m all over the dang place even in a saddle).

I was trepidatious about riding bareback even with a bareback pad. Ava has been rather naughty lately. Nothing too horrible, but she seems to think there are only two gears: speed-walking, or gallop. Anything else is met by a small tantrum. And Ava has decided that only Ava will decide when we do either of those gears. My struggles to retain control are met with drama and histrionics.

The first day, I only rode Ava in the yard for a minute. It’s an extremely comfortable BB pad. There’s enough cushion that I’m not sitting directly on her back bone or withers. The material is super grippy too. If this thing had stirrups I’d probably feel just as safe in it as I do my saddle. Sans the stirrups I feel a bit wobbly. However, the grippy aspect makes it so that if I wobble, I won’t slide right off the side (unless I totally lose it, but even a saddle can only do so much. Ha).

We trotted for a few steps the first day to determine if I could stay on Ava with her massively bouncy trot. I stayed on. Woo Hoo!

The second day, I rode over to my neighbors house and then out back to the field before returning home. We trotted a bit, but I wasn’t brave enough to canter. Ava was being a bit of a jerk, and a bit too full of herself.

I also tried the BB pad on Joy and it seems to fit okay. It’s a tad longer than I’d like, but the girth fit (surprisingly). I only sat on Joy for two seconds with the BB pad because all I had on her was a halter and a lead rope. She doesn’t steer so well with only a halter. 😉

The nice thing about this BB pad is that it’s grippy on the underside also. I was worried that with as barrel shaped as Joy is that the pad would slide to the side. Nope. In fact, it’s so grippy, that if I pull on the little handle as hard as I can, I can nearly topple Joy over and the BB pad never moves an inch (I know, I’m not a nice pony owner).

Anyway, it’s a nice BB pad. I’m looking forward to using it as much as possible this summer. Hopefully if I use it all the time then it’ll make me a better rider, and still be comfortable for my horses. Plus, until we sell our old house, we don’t have the funds necessary for a real saddle to fit Joy, and this BB pad will give me some extra security so that I can still ride Joy without a saddle.