36 Bottles of Beer on the wall

Jessie, the 32 year old mare, suddenly stopped eating Friday. Completely unlike her. I was a bit perplexed by the behavior,  because otherwise she seemed completely fine.  I monitored her Friday for any signs of distress,  but other than not eating her hay pellets and grain,  she seemed absolutely normal.

Saturday,  still not eating.

Sunday, stttiiiiillll not eating…

Monday, I had the vet-dentist out.  One of her teeth had broken,  half was flopping around,  and the other half well embedded.  Vet pulled it. I nearly barfed.

I’m such a pansy.

Vet had Jessie all doped up.  Nicely sedated,  lidocaine to numb the area,  a shot of banimine when she was done.

I could’ve used some sedation when I got the bill! Ack!!

It’s now Wednesday,  and Jessie still won’t touch her regular grain.  I had to switch it out with the grain I feed my two.  She devoured that.  No idea why her grain,  that she used to love,  is no longer an option.

I’m also forced to shove antibiotics down her gullet twice a day like dewormer since she is being so picky about her food.  The paste is now coating the barn floor,  my saddles,  in my hair,  all over my coat,  and even on my glasses.  I am not doing so well getting it to stay in her mouth.

Any wisdom on food stuffs the old gal might eat?  It seems like the mushier it is,  the less she likes it.  So far she’s only interested in the hard stuff.  Add water and she immediately turns her nose up at it.  Which perplexes me.  I would’ve thought mushier would be better.  She hates any type of syrups. She’s not all that fond of applesauce or apples.

At least she’s eating the other horses grain and trying to eat hay…

I keep putting out different food options for her to try.

She can’t really eat hay, she just cuds most of it up and spits it out, but she gave it a go anyway.

Yeah, ok, sometimes I let her wander the barn… Not the safest thing to do, but she’s so level headed… and sllooooowwww….

She wanted in the feed room. Wasn’t gonna happen. 😂

I hope she gets back to her old,  with gusto,  eating habits soon.  I hope it was just that tooth,  and no other issues crop up.  She’s such a sweet mare.

Other than the tooth issue,  the vet gave Jessie a glowing report on her health.  Great lungs,  great heart, remaining teeth look great.

Google says that the average mare has 36 teeth. We’re down to 33 now.

She’s lost 3 in one year! Ouch!

 

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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.

Yay!

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.

tenor

 

 

Horse people are freaking NUTS! 

 

 

 

Once in a Lifetime

I do occasional volunteer work for the USDF Region 2 Director (few hours a month, not much).  It makes me feel like I’m still a part of the dressage community. Makes me feel like I’m contributing in some small way.

Anyway, a month or so ago the organizer for the Charlotte Dujardin clinic approached the Region 2 Director about advertising for the clinic at the end of September.  I happened to see that the organizer was offering free tickets in exchange, so I may have pressured the Director to follow up on that.

Totally altruistic! 😉

No really, I had good intentions. The plan was to give them away to the people who volunteered to help out at the Region 2 Championship show. Unfortunately we didn’t get the tickets in time.

Then we tried to give them away to people who would volunteer to work the Annual Convention.

No takers.

So there we were… sitting on four free tickets, for an event in just a few days.

.

.

.

The Region 2 Director asked if I wanted two of the tickets.

ME?!

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

YES!!!!!

But I’m broke. Capital B – Broke.

I don’t think I can afford the gas down there. It’s a 5 hour drive. The clinic doesn’t end until after 9pm. It’s a 5 hour drive back. I can’t afford lodging. I can’t afford gas… I can’t afford this. I shouldn’t go! 

I decided instead that I would ask one of the up-and-coming, local, dressage trainers that I really admire if she’d like the tickets. I emailed her and waited.

As SOON as I hit send.. my heart sank. I immediately regretted it. I was depressed. The whole world sucked. My life sucked. I hated everyone.  [insert extreme self-pity here]

Ha! I didn’t realize how badly I had wanted to go until I realized I couldn’t go…

And of course, the lady responded in less than an hour. Yes, she’d love to go. She’s thrilled. Great opportunity, etc…

Of course she wanted them.

I couldn’t go…

[extreme sad face]

.

.

BUT, she only needed one ticket. Not two….

WHAT?!?

No way!!!!

Now the whole world is a magical place! I’m ecstatic! There are rainbows and unicorns dotting the fields. I’m on cloud nine!!

Yeah… I guess it meant more to me then I thought it did.

So, I’m going. It’s still a 10 hour round trip drive for basically a 4 hour clinic. It still means I’ll have to sleep in my car or drive home through the night. It still means we probably won’t be able to eat for a month (I could stand to lose weight anyway). But….

I GET TO GO TO THE Charlotte Dujardin clinic on Friday!!

Something like this is once in a lifetime for me.

[Eminem’s Lose Yourself theme music  playing in the background]

Free tickets, a location I can drive to within a day, AND I already had the day off from work.  It’s fate! Haha

So, Yay! Woo Hoo!

 

Wilmington-Rider-List

 

Broken Ponys

I have no idea what happened,  but both Ava and Joy went lame within days of each other.

The real reason is because I had an event I wanted to take one of them to this coming Saturday. I was really excited about it too. Like, extremely.

Since I didn’t care which mare to take, they obviously both had to go lame. Spoiling the owners fun would’t work unless they successfully went lame in tandem.

Farrier suspects abscess in Joy,  but couldn’t find any pockets.  He wasn’t sure with Ava.

Actually, my big fear was laminitis again.  I don’t think it is though.  Both mares are lacking the heat,  pulses,  etc. Appears to be only one foot in both.  And they had no issues holding either hoof up for farrier on hard concrete.  So,  I think, knock on wood,  that it’s not the dreaded L word.

Ava however is feeling frisky enough to set up a barrage of kicking at the wall. She’s obviously mortally wounded and at deaths door.

Farrier packed Joy’s hoof with drawing salve last Friday. I didn’t see any difference in the hoof/dressing a couple days later, but she’s moving around better. Not totally sound, but not three legged lame either.

Edit to Add: I let both mares out in the pasture last night.  Ava drops,  rolls,  gets up and pushes off into a gallop,  farts,  aims a big buck right at me,  and immediately crashes flat on her side. 😂 She jumps back up,  shakes the dust off,  and casually strolls out toward the field like she meant that.  I might have been more empathetic toward the fall if she hadn’t been aiming her hind feet at me when she lost her balance.  Little snot.  Apparently no harm done.  A minor ding to her massive ego.  😁

Did I link my last video of Joy (for those of you not subscribed on youtube)? If not, here it is:

I have bending issues to the left on both my horses. I’m 99% sure it’s me, but STILL not sure how to fix it.  Example: the walk pirouette left.. had a really hard time wrapping her around my left leg (didn’t really accomplish it).

The Death Wish

I’ve had this wild thought in the back of my head for several years now of trying eventing.  

It’s insane.  I’m petrified of jumping.  

It took me 2 years to get comfortable with ground poles.  I spent the first 3 months of of trotting over one ground pole with my eyes clamped shut every time we got close to it and praying until we were over it.  I still can’t canter over one.  

I’m a chicken. 🐔

But,  a mere 2 years later,  and I can now ride 3 or 4 trot poles in a row with my eye’s OPEN,  at least 60% of the time.   😂 

Anyway,  a few weeks ago I went to a local 3 day event to watch.  My real reason was to assess the jumps,  the riders, etc.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,  but fear and other priorities have always held me back.  

When I scoped out the event,  the course looked awesome.  They had this great beginner level course set up that was literally small logs on the ground.  The riders were so freakin’ nice.  I stopped a few people to ask where to go,  or where not to stand,  and everyone happily helped. Just super nice people.

But,  what I really liked…  All the horses were Normal.  A bunch of unknown origin ponies,  a lot of TBs,  several drafty looking crosses.  The riders ranged from the super athletic looking ladies to the large bottomed,  flabbier,  older adult looking riders (they looked like ME!!).  

So,  I thought,  why not?  I can try it once.

Better than always wishing I had and regretting it when it’s too late. 

So I signed up for jumping lessons.  

Then utterly freaked because I don’t have the money.  So i texted everyone I knew asking if they needed work done in exchange for $40. 

I’m pathetic.  

Now I need to find an extra $40 every two weeks over the winter.  Aarrggh! 

I don’t think my friends and family are going to employee me enough to support my riding issues.  

If only I could get overtime pay for overtime work (thank you salary rules 😡 grrr). 

I’ll have to figure something out.  I’d really like to try just one event. At least to know I conquered my fear and made a dream a reality.  I’m never going to be an upper level dressage rider.  Nor do I have the money to afford rated dressage shows.  But competing in one beginner level,  local,  3 day event is something I could cross off the bucket list. 

I may need to start selling blood to make this happen though.  😯

There’s got to be someway I can earn an extra $80/month…

Hunter Clinic

As a poor sap who really doesn’t understand “Hunter land”,  i was a bit lost on the intricacies of the clinic.  However,  man,  was I impressed when the clinician made them all do basic dressage work to start off.  It was nice to see that good fundamentals are fundamentals for everything.  

You know what really shocked me…  Each group lesson was 2 hours long.  

My horse would’ve died.  

I would’ve died.  😂 

Makes me recommitted to doing more endurance work with my horses.  Not that I’ll probably ever do “Hunters”, but mine are exhausted after 20 minutes.  Kind of pathetic after watching these machines go for 2 hours straight. 

Anyway,  first group I watched was rather disheartening.  Didn’t seem able to steer,  stop,  or go.  It was like watching kamikaze fighters dive bombing fences. Scary,  yet mesmorizing. 

Second group was much better.  You could actually see shortening and lengtheing strides,  balancing the horse,  etc.  One of the riders had the most to die for flying changes I’ve ever seen in real life.  Just amazing.  None of the late behind,  shuffle change,  weirdness I sometimes see passed off as flying changes.

Oh,  they even had a few older riders in the mix.  That was cool to see.  One older lady’s chestnut got a bug up its butt and decided to hop,  buck,  around.  That little lady stayed glued to the saddle.  Quite impressive to see.  My heart was in my throat watching it though! 

Hunter world, to me, is a crazed land of perfectionist insanity that both fascinates and appalls me.  😁 


It was interesting to watch the clinic. A lot of good stuff talked about.  Applicable to any horse rider.  I actually learned a few things,  so that was cool.  And as always,  I’ve gained a deeper respect for the difficulties my sister disciplines face.  

Best part EVER… not a single freaking auditing fee!!  *cough* dressage people *cough*  Anyone who wanted to come and learn was welcome to watch.  Even a naive fool like me was welcomed. 

So there I was,  dressage rider,  watching a hunter clinic.  😀

It was fun and educational! 

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.

Bam

Bam

Bam

Bam

“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. 

Pics!! 

The old lady

Arena Building with No Money

Well,  the expanded arena is moving slowly.  Since we can’t afford to rent proper equipment to do this,  nor hire someone,  we’re stuck rota-tiling the entire thing and then dragging it ad nauseum until relatively smooth-ish.

Definitely going to be a “Premier Arena” when finished. 😂 

For the small area I ride on now,  we were able to break up the weeds by rota-tiling and (after massive amounts of dragging)  make the area less uneven.  Still rolly,  but no ankle twisters,  or leg breakers. It worked okay. 

We’re optimistic this will work on a large scale.

yeah, right

 

The rota-tiling was going fairly well,  but the old machine is popping seals and protesting!

Burning engine 

Luckily hubby is a small engine repair God and can make just about anything work with barely any money.  

Engine repair

He got it working again! 

The alternative is a hoe and a rack,  and I’ll be 80 before the arena is done.  *sigh*

So,  this image is “the dream” :

And this is the reality:

Looks like a God damned alien landing pad. 

Communication

I would regale you with my exciting riding adventures,  but there are none.  I’ve been rather depressed,  hot,  and stressed out. Ponies have not been ridden in nearly two weeks.  I’m starting to hate summers here as much as I hate winters…

Anyway…  I decided this week that I better put more bells and whistles on Joy if I’m going to ensure she gets a great home if I sell her.  So yesterday I decided I would teach her…  *drum roll**..

Spanish Walk.

I’ve never done this before.

Don’t worry,  I watched all of the youtube videos.  😂

Thirty minutes of trying to teach it,  and all I can get is that she’ll pick the leg up that I’ve touched,  but only to about fetlock height. Doesn’t matter what I do,  where I tap,  or what I varied,  that’s all she would offer.

I got so desperate that I tried showing her what I want.

Yeah,  didn’t work. Nothing worked.  Total failure of communication.  Back to the drawing board.

Since that obviously wasn’t working,  I decided I’d try to teach Joy to bow.

I’ve never succeeded at this before.  Tried and horribly failed with Ava. BUT,  I watched all the video’s yesterday,  so I’m,  like,  an expert,  you know.

ijer7

Anyway,  first session..  grain in hand,  lead rope in other.. . I pick up her hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

Ask again.  Nothing.

Work on backing without the hoof lifted.  That works fine.

Pick up hoof and ask her to back.

Nothing.

We do this over and over and over,  until she just barely will shift her weight back a little. My back was killing me,  my legs hurt from being crouched over,  sun was beating down and I was sweating profusely..

I couldn’t coordinate lead rope,  hoof,  and grain so i take her halter off…

Joy takes a step away,  drops like a stone and starts rolling vigorously.  Then she hops up and drops to the other side.  She stops long enough in her rolling to eat a small offering of grain I held up,  and then pops back to her feet.

I pick up her hoof,  ask her to back…

Nothing…

😂

We worked on that for nearly 30 minutes.  She did start shifting her weight back, finally,  but then i accidentally dropped her leg mid back-up and she decided I was no longer trustworthy, so she left.

Today, i tried again…

Picked her leg up,  asked her to shift her weight back.

She shifted back!   She only brought her knee about halfway down,  but it was progress! Yay!

I had the lead and halter on again,  and decided to take it off.  If Joy actually DID bow,  I didn’t want her to step on the lead (which I couldn’t seem to keep out of the way).

As soon as i take off the halter –  straight down and rolling.

She pops back up and shakes vigorously for a second,  then lets me pick her leg up and ask her to back again.

We never got the knee to the ground. A decent effort on her part,  but she’s not there yet.

Then Joy decided she was done and left.

Maybe tomorrow…

….

Pics

Clean barn!

Foggy morning.

Everyone gets a cape when a new bag of shavings is opened!