Life Stopped

I lost Ava. She died.

Saturday morning she was bright and cheery, demanding her breakfast. By that afternoon she was in serious trouble.  She was euthanized when the sun rose Sunday morning.

I don’t know what happened. I fed at 6:30 am, and when I went out at 1:30pm I found her down in the stall, coated in sweat, and in obvious distress.  I knew she’d been that way for a while when I saw her.

What killed me is when she saw me in the afternoon, as she was laying in the stall coated in sweat and in obvious pain… she nickered at me… an almost “Thank God you’re here” type nicker.

I feel guilty, and gutted, and depressed, and just… heart broken.

I miss her terribly.

I had the vet come the moment I saw her. We tried everything, but nothing about the situation was normal.

The vet said later that the symptoms and situation were so troubling to him that he spent several hours pouring over her past vet records and researching what he saw with Ava. At the end, the vet suggested a hypothesis of cancer.

I don’t know how much of this blog you’ve read, or if you follow it that closely, but if you do then you’d remember Ava had a grandmal seizure this past January. We never did find what caused that.  Blood work and everything came back completely normal.

At the same time, she developed some minor ataxia in the hind end. You’d wouldn’t have even notice if you didn’t know the horse, or specifically test her on it.

Lately, I had noticed the ataxia was getting worse.  Not scary worse, but the kind of degradation where you second guess yourself…. But I knew it had gotten worse.

What I also didn’t write about is that she would stock up terribly lately. Before this year she’d occasionally stock up if stalled for long periods (locked in a stall 24/7 for more than a day). Lately she was stocking up badly even with the freedom of the paddock attached to her stall. It seemed like her hind legs only ever went down to normal right after I rode her or she had been wandering the pasture for several hours.

I’d also noticed that where her jaw and her neck met, that area seemed to stick out more than it used to. My poking and prodding didn’t cause any pain reaction, so I set it aside as something to keep an eye on… but it was so slight that it was easy to fool myself into thinking it always been that size.

She started having difficulties breathing during work. I chalked it up to unfit and hot weather and slowed down our work, walked more, made it easier on her.

I’d also noticed my air fern started losing weight the past two months. I chalked it up to my awesome feed management program with the new supplements and vitamins she was getting. I was so pleased with myself that I was finally getting control over of her weight.

She started to have more frequent bouts of colic. This last colic was the third colic this year. The first one was a definite impaction at the beginning of the year, and we navigated through it without too many issues. The second was mid-summer, and it resolved itself before the vet had even called me back (why do these always strike on weekends). Then this third and final one last weekend. For a horse whose entire history included one very minor gas colic five years ago, this was way off course of normal.

She didn’t want to move as freely or as much. I’d let her and Joy into the pasture, and Joy would kick up her heels and take off, while Ava would mosey out. I chalked it up to being a more mature horse.  Occasionally she’d still give the slow trot out there, and every once in a while she’d buck and fart and gallop out.

Everything, by itself, didn’t scream “You have a big issue!”. It wasn’t until the vet brought up the C word that I started wondering about all those little things together.

It really doesn’t matter what caused it… she’s gone.  I’m happy she’s not in pain now, but God damn it fucking hurts.

You’ll think I’m crazy, but Ava used to tell me when she was thirsty. I couldn’t point to a specific thing she did, and maybe I just anticipated really well, but I’d just know and I’d go grab her a bucket of water. She’d drink it down. Which, if you know horses, if they aren’t thirsty, you can get bent with the water. This was usually when I was tacking her up, or times she wasn’t free to just go to the trough and drink.

She’d look for me every time she heard the back door open.

When I called her name when she was in the pasture, she’d nicker and come galloping to me. And she’d always stop at the last second to let me know “I could run you over, but I love you, so I won’t”. haha

She had this frustrating habit of aiming both hind feet at me when she was feeling fresh and full of sass. But she’d always leave 3-4 feet between us. Even if it meant she had to move forward a couple feet to leave that safety gap.. you could almost see her plan it out and measure distances. Used to drive me crazy that she’d kick out at me at all, but I knew she wouldn’t hit me on purpose ever. I guess that’s partly why I loved her so much… she had a wicked sense of humor.

We’d spent so much time together that she knew what I meant, in general, when I talked to her or pointed at something. I could tell her “Go to the gate” and she’d dutifully go to the gate and stand there while I finished in the barn. Then I’d wander out and open her gate to let her into the pasture. If she was nervous about something, I’d tell her what was going on, and she’d settle.

She knew “Stay”. That was her favorite trick. If you told her stay and held your hand up, she’d stand there and wait while you did whatever. This only worked if new people didn’t show up though, because new people must be mugged for any treats, as if they were pez dispensers. haha

She’d kick, and bite, and threaten, and growl… but if you stuck a little kid in front of her she wouldn’t move a hoof, and would daintily take a treat from their tiny little hands with precision.

She loved walks through the woods. You could drop the reins and just stare at the trees as they passed by and Ava would stride out down the path without fear.  I used to steer her by touching her wither on whichever side i wanted her to move away from. Granted, you couldn’t stop her that way, but we’d just wander the woods until we eventually found our way home again.

I once watched her sniff the cat that had walked in front of her, and I thought it was going to be one of those touching moments of interspecies affection… when suddenly Ava got a glint in her eye and I could see her think “I can squish you!”… and then she tried.

I remember one time at the rated show, we were in the warmup arena and this lady kept riding straight at us even though she had plenty of room to pass left shoulder to left shoulder. I had moved Ava off the path several times, but I’d gotten sick of being forced to yank Ava out of the way for the billionth time, so I gave Ava her head instead. The lady came at us… and then I swear to God, her HORSE stepped off the rail with this wild eyed look at Ava like “Don’t kill me!”. I about died laughing. All it took from Ava was one look and that gelding wouldn’t even come close to us again.

I know she despised having horses near her rear. It was a sure fire way to get kicked. But if I asked her not to, then she wouldn’t. You could park your horse right on her butt, and if I asked Ava to tolerate, she would. Saved a lot of idjits from having their horses kicked over the years. Not sure why every one assumes all horses won’t kick.

I took Ava to a clinic one time and we were both really not feeling up to par that day. Cold, wet, early. We’d been warming up in a lack-luster fashion when suddenly the gate keeper yelled that it was our turn. I lead her up to the gate to enter, and I turn to Ava and said “It’s showtime” and I swear I could see her puff herself up and put on this… this persona of “I own this”. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen. That transformation. And of course, she did rock it. She always did.

I decided one day, a few years back, that I was going to try riding Ava bareback. I hadn’t done it before, and I wanted to get better at it. So I hop on her in the arena. Everything was going great, until suddenly she was crow hopping and ducking her head and popping up in front like a pogo stick. By that point I’m starting to slide off the side of her…. when Ava suddenly comes to a complete stop and stands and waits for me to right myself. She toned it down after I righted myself.

I took her out to the back field one day after I hadn’t ridden her in a while. She was fresh, the weather was cool, and I was on her bareback. She saw a herd of deer and she decided we were going to gallop down a steep hill to get away from them. There we were, careening down a hill, and I can feel myself sliding up her neck with each stride. Scared the daylights outta me. I’m clutching mane for dear life, reins flapping. Halfway down the hill, and by that point I’m somehow up on top of Ava’s neck, not even on her back anymore, and I’m thinking all it would take is one hop or for her to duck her head and I’m off. Instead, Ava comes to a dead stop with her head held as HIGH and upright as she could get it until I could slide my way back to a secure spot on her back again. As soon as I right myself, she lowered her head and off we walked, like nothing had happened.

Seemed like every time I was just about to be toast, Ava saved my butt.

I used to go into her stall and scratch all the itchy spots. She’d “present” them to me. If it was a shoulder, then her shoulder was shoved into me. If it were her belly, then a giant rib cage was shoved at me. I’d scratch, she’d make funny faces, and then she’d sigh and go back to eating.

She had this crazy way of nickering when she thought you had a treat. treats She’d raise her head real high, tilt her ears toward you, and let out this soft and low wuffeling noise (really deep nicker). It was the cutest noise ever.

She used to love it if I stroked her nose. I could almost put her in a trance doing it. She’d lean her head into me when I did this and wouldn’t move a muscle.

She used to get so jealous if I touched another horse in the pasture. Didn’t matter if the horse was alpha or not. Ava would come barreling over and try to knock the other horse out of the way. Almost like she was saying “My owner! Go away!”.

Whenever we went somewhere new, or were in a situation that wasn’t the normal routine, she always tackled it like it was a challenge to over come, even if she was nervous about it. But when she finally let herself relax, she’d let out this blast of air… As if she’d been holding a big breath for a long time and finally released it all in one big, full body expulsion of air.

She always demanded that you be strong, emotionally. She never tolerated weakness from those she felt would attempt to control her. She’d test you, if you were a new person. First a snarky look to gauge your response. Did you flinch? Then the ear pin. Flinch yet? If you were oblivious to either of these signs, then she’d go in for a nip to see if you’d flinch and run then.  Your choices then were to admonish her, which she would accept as her due, or you could ignore it, or you could move away from her. If you chose to ignore it, then she’d turn around (as if she wasn’t doing anything but looking the other way) and then she’d lift a hoof and cock it in your direction. Not resting it. It was locked and loaded for firing.  You could at that point smack her, and she’d graciously take it as her due and deescalate. If you did nothing, she’d kick at you (purposely miss at this point). If you still ignored it, then it was game on and you were probably going to get kicked, bitten, and thrashed about some.  But if you admonished her, smacked her, got after her in anyway at any point during any of these “tests”, she would accept it as her due and then all “tests” were abandoned and you were okay to be around.

However, if you hit her, admonished her, or were aggressive toward her and Ava didn’t feel she did anything wrong… then it was game on. You would get the full brunt of Ava’s wrath for as long as she felt necessary to get you to leave.

Not that you couldn’t make a mistake around her. If you mistook a leg lift for a threat to kick and whacked her, she’d let it go if you apologized (apologies in the form of cookies were welcome, but you could simply change your body language back to being soft and give her a pat and she’d accept that too).

She had different whinny’s for different things. The low, deep in her throat was “I’m happy to see you”. The higher the pitch went, the more it became a “Get over here and give me food!”. The full body, ear blasting scream was reserved for the occasions when she was thrilled to see you and desperately wanted something (usually to get out of the rain).

She hated the rain. Hated it.

I used to take her to the field behind the house, and gallop her along the wood line. Her mane would whip back and encompass me. The rhythmic cadence of the canter would change into power as she lengthened her body and lowered her head. Tears from the wind streaming down my cheeks.  She loved it. Being able to let go and run. And yet, if I gave a soft ‘whoa’ and sat up, she’d slow and come back until we were walking again.

Whenever we were working on something really hard for dressage training and Ava was not quite as passionate about getting it done as I was… I’d tell her “Give me one last big try and we can quit”, then we’d start the exercise again. Over the years, Ava figured out what  that phrase meant, and eventually when I’d say it, she would… she’d give it her all after I said that. Even if she didn’t do it right, or it wasn’t perfect, we’d quit for the day and go have cookies. But it was so neat to see/feel that change. To see the depth of her grit and “try” that she had in her, was awe inspiring.

She literally stared down a falling tree when I asked her to. That’s how much this horse believed and trusted in me.

It was raining when I walked her to the pasture for the last time, to the spot where she would be put down. I wanted to cover her head, but didn’t have anything to shield her. I tried to sing to her, to let her know everything was going to be okay, but I was crying so hard I could barely force the air out of my lungs.

I failed her in so many ways….

I thought we’d be tottering around the fields in our old age, being grumpy old women together.

I miss this mare so deeply.

Don’t ask me how far it is

I saw an exercise online that I wanted to try with Ava and Joy. Basically a 3 loop serpentine over ground poles.

Trot the first set of ground poles, canter the second, trot the third. Then you’re set up to go the opposite way and do it all again.

I liked that it not only incorporated ground poles, but also worked on bendy lines to increase suppleness AND transitions between gaits to work on collection. Really neat exercise.

So I tried it with Ava first. She whacked every pole with her feet. Knocked them all over the first go round. It didn’t go well. I didn’t have the spacing right. Oh well. Instead, we worked on rhythm and straightness, combined with relaxation and suppleness. She did well.

I reset all the poles for Joy and tried it with her. Little dynamo perfectly picked her way through the poles at the trot. When I asked her to canter, she stepped right into it in balance. I was really happy with how it went. I didn’t have the canter pole distance right though, so we ended up trotting through those too and did transitions before and after each set.

She did really well.

I really need to get better at distances though.

This was also my first run of having the puppy tied out near the arena while I rode. He’s only 5 months, and not ready to make his own decisions yet, so he had to be contained for his safety (and mine). But, I wanted to get him used to the idea of me being on top of a horse. He did really well. Altogether it was an hour and a half of him basically being left to his own devices and he happily sat and watched, played with the kitties, and dug holes (he loves digging holes!). About the hour and a half mark and he started up with the most woeful howl you’ve ever heard.



Nothing earth shattering or awesome. Just a fun time.

This and That

“If you build it, they will come”

I’m working on a website to list horse related events. I know.. there’s a million already. But mine will actually have good search functionality! ‘Cause it drives me nuts that I can’t friggin’ do a search for dressage clinics within 50 miles of my zip code, and then filter it by date.

Except, I’m trying to write it in Angular 6 and PHP, but my php is rusty, and my angular skillz are non-existent. Ha!

I’m struggling to learn the new language.

Which is kind of like learning dressage. New vocab, concepts are either new or applied in new ways, and simplistic definitions with immensely deep meanings.


I’ve (knock on wood) finally gotten both Ava and Joy back in work again. All kinds of mystery lamenesses (seriously, knock on some wood. This shit seems to crop up everytime I think I’m past it). Not sure what was going on with them, but they’re doing better now.

Joy saw a turkey and little turkey babies crossing the pasture today, and Joy thought she’d go say “Hi” and give them the neighborhood welcome. The turkey wasn’t having any of it. She booked it across the pasture with Joy trailing behind in this happy-go-lucky jog trot pursuit. It was quite comical.

Ava’s trying to kick down the stalls, constantly. We had to reinforce hers AGAIN. Gesh. You’d swear we were housing a tyranasaurous rex in there.

The big “Wow” for me was last week. I was on Ava, in the arena, and along the side of the arena in the woods, a giant tree fell. I thought for sure Ava would bolt when it started to fall. Heck, it scared me! But she held her ground. Stood like a live wire, tense and ready, but she stood. And afterward, she calmly walked around again. I was incredibly impressed with her. And thankful she didn’t take me for a hair raising ride away from the noise, since I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to stay on.



Stall damage

Stall damage

Ava Update

I got the results from the vet today!

Nothing’s wrong.



Healthy as a…

wait for it…



It does mean it’s not liver failure. That’s good. No other signs of infections or oddities.

I did ask him if he could also test iron levels, since he has the blood, and it’s already at the lab. Not that it’s related, but I keep reading that high iron levels can really wreck havoc in some horses. We have high levels of iron in my state, and we’re well water here.

It’ll make me feel better if I know they’re normal levels.


Anyway, vet said Ava’s cleared to ride again.

With the caveat of “jump off fast” if she seems like she’s going to have another seizure.




Bent solid metal

I don’t know how to express how utterly horrifying this was for me…

Last Friday I went out to feed breakfast.  I was talking to myself,  as usual,  on the way down to the barn and heard Ava and Joy nicker back at me when they heard me approaching.

I open the door to the barn,  step in,  and glance over to see Ava and Joy standing by their doors waiting on breakfast. Before I can even turn to start getting hay,  I see Ava slowly start sinking backward over her haunches.  Almost as if she’s stretching her front legs.  Except,  she keeps sinking backward.  To the point where I’m pretty sure she’s going to roll over backwards if she doesn’t stop soon.

I was frozen,  staring at her as she slowly started toppling backwards.  A growing sense of dread was filling me.

And then pandemonium broke loose.

Ava panicked,  scrambled to get her feet back under her,  but couldn’t.  She fell into the middle divider, which cracked and groaned,  then started falling the other direction. She spun around,  and slammed her rear end into the front wall so hard I saw the whole wall bow out toward me. Parts popped off the door and shot across the barn. I was so sure that the entire wall would come crashing down on top of me that I dove out the barn door. 

When it held,  I ran back in and saw Ava desperately trying to keep her feet, but slamming herself into everything, until finally she fell hard, wedged up into a corner.  Her legs furiously kicking.

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t help her.

I could barely pull out my phone,  my hands were shaking so hard. Finally got the vets voice mail and left them a hysterical voice message. 

By the time I finished leaving a message,  Ava had somehow gotten to her feet again.  She was facing away from me,  her head hung low, not moving. 

I was scared to death to enter the stall.

I felt like a coward.

Within a few minutes,  Ava turned back towards me.  We stared at each other a moment while i tried to make “everything’ll be fine noises” at her, but I’m pretty sure came out more as “holy crap we’re fucked!” noises.

I waited for the next crash.

I waited for something.

But nothing happened…

It was like absolutely fucking NOTHING had happened to her!

If it weren’t for the shattered hanging buckets, the cracked stall boards,  and the metal feeder being bent at new angles,  you’d never guess anything had occurred.  All that pandemonium,  all that crazy,  and Ava’s just standing there like nothing happened…

I was still not trusting the calm,  but I cracked the stall door a touch and tossed in a bit of hay… then quickly shut and locked it again.  Ava ate as I stood at the stall door.  After a minute she stepped closer to the door and pushed her neck up against it for me to rub.  She seemed to want contact, so i scratched her through the bars…   feeling like an asshole for being to chicken to open the door,  but not trusting that whatever happened wouldn’t happen again at any second.

It wasn’t too much longer after that,  and the vet’s office called back.

By the time the vet got here,  Ava had cleaned up all her hay,  plus more hay,  and was acting “normal”.  She was even feeling snarky enough to glare at Joy and try to kick Jessie through the fence.

Vet thinks she had a grand mal seizure.  He took blood, checked her heart and lungs (healthy).  We’re still waiting on blood work results.  The vet said it could be liver,  it could be brain,  it could be anything and undetectable. It may never happen again,  it may be cyclical,  it may get worse.

I even asked him to check out my feed,  as a desperate gamble to find anything that may have cause it,  and he said what I was feeding and how much was good.

Ava seems fine now.  She’s eating well,  drinking well.  She’s enjoying roaming the pasture and harassing Jessie and Joy.

But… What do i do now?!


The entire week I’ve been stuck.  Ava had a seizure.  Not a little,  “wow, that’s weird”, seizure,  but a big,  destroy solid walls and bend metal, seizure.  And all week,  everyone acts like nothing happened.   

But I’m stuck at that single point in time.  

What the hell do i do now?! 

What would you do? 

The Road Trip (of a life time)

To read the notes I took during the clinic, go to “Notes from the Charlotte Dujardin clinic“.

Post about how I got the tickets for the clinic: Once in a Lifetime

Although I only had one ticket for the clinic, my wonderful husband ended up going with me. Lucky for me he did!

Hubby was driving, and we had just pulled onto the off ramp when he casually says “We have no brakes”. Totally calm about it. I, of course, have 20 seconds of “What’d he just say?” followed immediately by extreme panic!

Hubby got us safely off the highway and coasted into a gas station. That man can seriously drive!  And then he was able to patch the brakes up enough to allow us to carry on with the road trip.


The awesome handy man!

Brake fluid trail

Plugging the leak

He was coated in brake fluid afterward. Poor guy. Head to toe covered. And he broke his favorite tool. Not a good trip for the poor hubby, but boy was I glad he came!

The entire drive there and back took much longer than we anticipated. We left the house before 10am Friday. Google maps said it was less than a five hour drive to the clinic. That should’ve put us there about 3pm. Clinic rides started at 4:00.

Plenty of time…

Well, even though the brake issue took up an unexpected 30 minutes of our time, it still took us 6 hours and 42 minutes to get there. That included one short bathroom break and the brake line fix.

It was such a loooonnnnggg drive!

Since my hubby is a night owl,  we headed home right after the clinic.  He can’t sleep at night anyway.  Plus,  I was antsy to get home.

The ride home wasn’t much shorter. We ended up getting home about 4am. Left the clinic around 9:30pm.

The other funny thing that came out of that trip… I had asked the next door neighbor (who also owns horses)  if she could feed mine Friday evening while I was gone.  I set all the food next to their doors so that all she had to do was dump each bucket in to the feeders (access from outside of the stall) and kick the hay in.  Quick and easy.

However,  I knew my neighbor’s boarder was also coming. Nice guy, but he loves to get in Ava’s stall and pet her.

If I’m there,  I can usually nip Ava’s evil side in the bud before she escalates. When I’m not there, Ava can be downright evil.  I didn’t want to come home and hear about how Ava kicked him,  or bit him,  or trampled him…  (all things she’s done with other people before). So I left instructions for the neighbors not to go in Ava’s stall, at all.

The other two horses? Knock yourself out. Hang on them, lay under them… do what ever you want. Those two are saints.

Ava? Nope. Kick the hay in, slam the door. Do not go in.

So… Of course they went in anyway.

I didn’t find any dead bodies when I got home  — as if i wouldn’t have immediately implemented the “Shovel and Shut Up”  protocol if I had!

Ironically, I only knew that they’d gone in to Ava’s stall because they made sure to specifically let me know they’d gone in Ava’s stall.

Oh, and they were offended that I’d asked them not to.




Horse people are freaking NUTS! 




Horses at home

My little princess, Ava, doesn’t enjoy summer. She is happiest squirreled into her stall with a hay net and fan.

I threw Ava outside after her dinner so she’d go be a horse for a few hours. 

She kept an ear cocked,  listening for me to come out and “save”  her. Obviously her human had made some kind of mistake and would rectify it immediately. 

I forgot my phone on the back deck.  I had to crawl across the deck on my hands and knee’s to retrieve the phone, because if Ava see’s me she runs to her paddock gate,  refuses to leave it,  and will whinny until I let her in.

Ava heard me open the back door.  She ran to her paddock gate, whinnied,  then stood there seeming confused when she couldn’t see me.

I crawled back inside…

At 9pm I snuck out to the pasture without being seen. I hollered out ‘Ava!! You can come back in now!”

Ava whips her head up, and lets out a continual bellowing whinny as she galloped up to the paddock gate. 

Today, the little monster (Ava still) decided she needed more hay, and began her systematic kicking of the stall wall to voice her displeasure.





“It’s second lunchies,  bitch” BAM!! 


I snuck out to the barn hoping to catch her in the act, but right before I get to the barn Joy lets out a big “Hey, what’cha doing?!” whinny.

D’oh. Caught.

I hid behind the wall of the barn hoping they’d both think they were mistaken and go back to what they were doing.

 They both pressed their heads hard against the bars, trying to eye ball me as I snuck looks around the corner.  

Ava’s new trick is to shove whatever itches in my face.  Shoulder itches?  Shove it into the human.  Belly?  Yup,  human can access it better from the ground.  

The cat’s have become complacent around Ava lately.  They should know better, but they are arrogant cats.  Yesterday I let Ava out and one of the cats decided to make friends with Ava.  It should’ve been one of those cutsey moments..  Instead,  Ava’s ears go back and demon monster horse lunges with teeth and hooves flying toward the cat.  The hoof missed by skant inches. Cat goes fleeing for her life.  Ava promptly turns toward me with a “Hehehe..  Did you see that cat run!”  look.  Like she expected me to get a good laugh out of it.  

Ok,  I admit,  once I knew the cat was fine,  it was kind of funny. 


The old lady

Intermittent Riding

Had a fun ride on Ava the other day. It’s always an eye opener to ride your own horse after riding someone else’s.  I think I become more aware of the things I’ve let slide,  the defects,  the little things I’d grown accustomed to that shouldn’t be there. 

I’ve been having issues convincing Ava to go forward in the tiny arena. She has plenty of forward if I take her to the field behind the house. However, I want to work on bending and suppling exercises and everything in the field is straight lines (path is straight). I can work bending and suppling in the arena, but she sucks back and becomes ornery in the arena. She only wants to offer the slowest of jog trots.

So I got after her right off the bat about forward, and after an initial “I don’t wanna”,  we finally got some forward! Yay!

Even had a few moments of decent engagement this ride.

Ava Canter LeftAva Canter RightAva Trot

Now if only the rain would stay away.  Seems like 6 out of the 7 days of every week have been rain.  We are water logged. 

Ironically,  I would rather ride in snow.  Ava HATES rain. Hates it!  If one drop touches her nose,  she pulls her chin to her chest and will refuse to budge. Doesn’t matter if in the field,  being ridden,  or being led.  She is not kidding around about her intense dislike of rain. 

Joy doesn’t care though.  Best pony ever. 

We were supposed to do our first test haul tonight (around the block) with Joy.  It’s postponed until the rain lets up.  The end of the drive is too soggy at the moment.  

However,  I’m feeling more optimistic about how it’ll go.  I can load Joy in the trailer and jump up and down to rock it,  and Joy doesn’t care.  I bang things,  no response.  Today there was a flappy tarp right behind the trailer (and behind Joy),  and after a 5 second “What the heck is that?!?”  scare,  Joy was fine with it.  Stood in the trailer eating hay while the tarp flapped right behind her. 

(not sure if the vid will work) 

So,  if the hauling goes well, then i want to test taking her somewhere and then getting her back in the trailer to go home again.   I think I’m going to ask my neighbor if I can do a trial run at her house. 

If all goes well,  lessons are in my immediate future! Yay!! 


I had to force myself to ride yesterday.  I’m always glad I rode when I’m done,  but getting geared up to go is sometimes a massive battle of willpower.  It’s difficult to want to ride when you can’t feel your fingers.

We were almost out of daylight by the time I got to Joy, so only a really short ride for her.

They were not the most productive rides.  A few trot circles in the “arena”  and done.  I would not call this “dressage training”.  This is what I call “survival” riding.

I have to say, I was very impressed with Joy. I haven’t actually ridden her in a month. I’ve lunged her some, and we’ve done some desensitization training, but no riding. I really expected a spazzed out, flighty pony on my hands. Instead, it was actually quite relaxing and pleasant. I was super impressed.

It snowed and snowed and snowed yesterday…

Ava was waiting on her treat.

I’m having a hard time riding consistently.  Between my lack of energy and the the bad weather/footing, I haven’t been able to do more then one or two rides a week (and those were short rides).

I can’t express how badly I envy people with indoor arenas right now.

. . .

My farrier was out last week to trim the mares.  Ava is a badly behaved,  evil beast when anyone unfamiliar is in the barn.  This time she was charging the stall door when the farrier was near it,  and then turning and double barrel kicking at him.  It’s not specific to him.  She does it to the vet,  the dentist,  pretty much anyone except my husband and I. She’s an indiscriminate a-hole.

Anyway… Farrier went after her (with my blessing). I gave him my whip and when she charged the door he burst into the stall and scared the bejesus out of her (he didn’t touch her,  just scared her).  I need to pay him more.  Poor guy.  Has to discipline my horses for me.  *sigh*

She used to do the same to me when I was handling Joy or Jessie, but after several “come to Jesus”  moments,  she no longer even thinks about it.  I think the issue now is that she knows I won’t get after her when strangers are around.  It’s hard to hold a horse for the vet and charge into a stall to put the fear of God into a horse.

She sure makes Joy seem like the happiest,  best behaved pony in the world.  🙂

2016 Year in Review

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write as the”year in review” type of post that I normally do. I don’t feel like we made any progress toward anything. Not riding, not trailering, not showing, not toward lessons…

I was so gung-ho this spring. I had it all planned out. I was going to take lessons, start hauling Joy to new venues, hit a couple of shows…  but then it came to a grinding halt when she mysteriously came up lame in May. It took nearly three months to resolve that. After that, it was like starting over. I had a butter ball pony that had regressed back to a scaredy cat anywhere off the immediate property (even on the next-door neighbors property).

I spent the remainder of the year in a “Screw it” mentality. No expectations, no pressure, no goals that would drive me insane when I didn’t hit them. I focused on increasing Joy’s suppleness, attempted to get that hind end directly behind her instead of off to the left, and help her find a better balance.

I spent more time with Ava. Ava’s feet were finally grown out enough from the bout of laminitis that I could start working her again. I put my time into increasing Ava’s fitness to see if I could get her back into some semblance of “dressage” shape. And even if dressage wasn’t possible, we were still having fun crashing through trails and galloping around the fields.

Things were going swimmingly with Ava. She was getting more and more fit. She went from barely able to trot more than 100 yards in early spring, to galloping the entire length of the field by end of fall.

December hit and Ava went lame again. I thought it was laminitis, again… that weird stance.. but by day two it seemed to oddly be affecting only one leg.



So, overall, a rather unproductive year with lots of annoying problems. And I have the dubious honor of experiencing my first abscess. So there’s that.

Here’s hoping 2017 is a bit more productive!!

Joy’s Year in Review Video Recap (6:33 mins long):


Goals for 2017

  1. Lessons
    1. I have a line on a local instructor who has agreed to (try to) help me this spring.
    2. I’m going to go watch a friend take a few lessons this winter (better than nothing until I can haul the pony there).
  2. Fitness
    1. I’m going to work on increasing my overall fitness and decrease my weight.
    2. I need at least 30 minutes of cardio 5x a week.
    3. I need to increase my flexibility and symmetry (greatly) so that I stop falling to the right.
  3. Get Out and About
    1. Get Joy hauling safely.
    2. Start hauling Joy off property
    3. Start taking Joy to lessons.
    4. Take Joy to at least one small show
    5. Take Ava to one of the state parks for a group trail ride with friends.
  4. Tack Room
    1. Figure out how to prevent all my tack from molding!!!
  5. Arena
    1. Increase length of arena
    2. Continue work on making it somewhat level