Saturday, April 30, 2011
This week has been totally crazy - there's an international joust in town that my hubby is riding in, and we've had practices all week. If you're in central Texas and want to come see something really cool, my hubby will be riding today (Saturday) at 1 and 3:30, and again tomorrow (Sunday) at 1 and 3:30. This is jousting for points with soft, frangible balsa lances - nobody is trying to unhorse anyone. Reddums is quite a star at this sort of thing, even if he is out competing against some big drafties. He's a midget meanie, so he usually manages to cow them.
The joust is being held at Lysts on the Lake, right near 360 and 2222. The property is beautiful, the jousting is really fun to watch, and if you come find me I'll help you get dressed in some actual jousting armor.
Come join us!
Monday, April 25, 2011
After breakfast, we opened the east front pasture and the track, and let all the boys out to mingle.
It went really well for a while - although Red at one point pinned Cash against the fence like a cutting horse pins a cow (seriously! Maybe he thinks Cash is a cow?) nobody was hurt and Red backed off when I yelled at him. The boys calmly grazed while we working on building more permanent, bale-sized slow feeders (as filling haynets 4x day becomes a PITA) and finished up the stall mats in the barn aisle.
The hubby went off to work on his jousting armor, and Fuzzypony, MC, and I had a snack and a glass of water before heading out to ride. We were sitting in the family room watching Taran buck and run on the track, just generally having a good time, when disaster struck.
None of the other horses were anywhere near him, but somehow in the middle of a buck, he got his hind feet OVER the back perimeter fence. A brief scramble ensued, and before we knew it, Taran was on the outside of the fence in the green space behind our house. It was one of those complete OH SHIT moments - it could not have taken more than a second or two, but there he was. We all grabbed our shoes and sprinted in different directions - me to head him off in case he got around to the street, MC to grab a halter, and Fuzzypony to grab a bucket of treats.
We are so, SO lucky that we not only saw it happen but that there were three of us there to handle it. Taran was caught quickly, thanks to the bucket of treats, and didn't make it to the street. Unfortunately, he managed to cut his right hind pretty badly on the predator fencing, and had several other scrapes and lacerations. We hosed him off and called the vet once we'd gotten a closer look - we figured the cut on his hind at least would need stitching.
The vet (BLESS emergency vet calls!) arrived within 30 minutes. Taran had started off rather shocky - he was blowing and sweating, so we hosed him and his cuts while we waited. He calmed down quickly but then didn't want to put weight on the right hind, which is never a good sign. The vet, Dr. Wilson (who, for all that she looked like she just got out of high school, was competent, quick, and had a great manner with both Taran and Fuzzypony) gave Taran Banamine and Rompum, shaved the cuts, numbed the area, and put in 5 very neat stitches. The cut itself wasn't deep and thank goodness it wasn't up any closer to the hock, but it was just a skin wound.
Considering how bad that could have been, Taran was very, very lucky. He's on 2 days of stall rest followed by up to 12 days of quiet turnout in standing wraps, until the stitches come out. By nighttime he was fine - walked normal, eating well, drinking well. Cash is in the barn with him, keeping him company (they are now pretty much inseparable), and they will go out together later in the week.
Red continues to try to savage Cash over the fence. Red is not playing - this is serious stuff. I'm not sure what's going on - maybe he thinks Cash is a threat to his buddy-buddy with Saga? Saga and Cash are getting along great - we fed them together this morning and last night, and they politely shared alfalfa. Taran is sharing his haynet with Cash too, over the stall door. Now if we can just get Red to agree to the new world order, all will be well.
Cash is also very concerned about the buckskin that lives two doors down. He keeps standing in the corner of the barn turnout and calling. And calling. And calling some more. Maybe he thinks that it's his buddy Bandit from Paint Creek? I don't know. I've told him that it's ok, but I don't think he believes me. Maybe I should take him over to meet the little guy so he knows it's not his friend, but still... he spent so much time standing there last night that he didn't drink much, and still had most of his hay this morning. Sigh.
I would like a return to peace and domestic tranquility, please.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
It was a long day - lots of driving to pick up two horses, and then lots of shuffling for introductions and figuring how everything was going to work out - but we did it and everyone is safe and sound. Many thanks to Fuzzypony and the hubby for all their help and hard work!
Once we arrived, we showed the boys around. Fuzzypony made sure Taran knew where the water was...
Checking out the new digs.
Cash makes himself right at home with a snack.
He was definitely not certain about them. I am pretty sure he thinks they are small space aliens... just wait till he hears them bray!
Introductions were done carefully...
Saga and Cash seemed to get along well.
Cash and Taran were pretty much BFF after their trailer ride together.
Saga did his best to soak up all the attention and sit in my lap.
He's boss over Cash, but just sort of walks around with him.
Unfortunately, Red's beating up on Cash - he kicked him twice and ran him through a hot tape gate (fortunately the power was off). Red's incarcerated in the stall tonight to consider his transgressions, while the rest of the boys enjoy night turnout. Bad Reddums! (The hubby would like to point out that as of April 19, Red is 18 and so can be tried as an adult.)
I've really missed him - it's so wonderful to have him home!
Friday, April 22, 2011
And also - this is gonna sound strange - I'm not taking as many pictures because I'm not wearing a jacket anymore. You see, I usually keep my iPhone in my jacket pocket so I have it handy to snap a pic whenever, but now that it's warmer (today it was like 96!) I'm not wearing a jacket and my barn/work around the house pants don't have pockets. So, no iPhone in my pocket = not as many pictures. Oh well, descriptions will have to do.
Once the contractor finished the roof and skin of the barn, it was our turn to move in and get started. We had to build out the stall, the hay storage, and of course, put up the storage room and the tack room.
Our neighbor, who teaches construction classes at the local community college, came over to help us frame out walls. We'd done it twice before, but it was really great to have someone who'd done it a million times and knew ALL the tricks.
Here's what the wall looked like mostly done.
You double-check that everything is centered and as level as possible (and BTW... NOTHING is ever square. Ever.)
And... volia! We (the hubby, myself, Fuzzypony, and our neighbor) managed to frame four walls in about three hours - not bad for a bunch of amateurs under the supervision of one professional!
Then we continued on our own and put up the interior wall between the tack room (where I'm standing to take this picture) and the storage room. The hubby and I did this in an evening - we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves!
We hung the ceiling, with Fuzzypony's help. The ceiling in both the tack room and storage room are just plywood, but the tack room ceiling will be painted white.
We also put up the walls (plain plywood in the storage room, and beadboard in the tack room - it's gonna be gorgeous!)
In the horse area, we put up the stalls - one of which is actually a stall, the other of which is hay storage. They are divided by heavy wire mesh.
We put up 2x10 kickwalls all around, and installed the gate.
We also put a gate across the hay storage, with mesh to keep the chickens out. It was pretty exciting to put pallets down and stack hay in there!
Here's what the horsey area looks like from the gate (boys are nomming on a haynet).
And we laid down mats in the grooming/tacking area (well, still gotta put down the last two, as you can see in the lower right).
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
One of our hens occasionally lays a mini-egg.
No, she's not a banty, so I have no idea why they occasionally come out this tiny. And I also have no idea which of the 16 hens is laying these, except that it's not the Americauna, who lays green eggs.
* Ok, so it's not really a proto-critter either - we don't have a rooster so our eggs aren't even fertilized. Work with me here.
Monday, April 18, 2011
You see, last week my back started to bother me - a sharp stabbing pain under my right shoulder blade. It hurt worse when I was laying down, so getting a good night's sleep became a challenge. Sneezing and coughing hurt too, so I figured if it was a rib out. My hubby convinced me to go to the chiropractor, which in hindsight may not have been the best idea.
The chiro took a few x-rays (wow, my back is crooked!) and asked me if I'd had any trauma recently. We'd spent the weekend working on the barn, but I didn't fall, jar anything, or feel anything go "pop!" as we were working, so I said no. I also rode a couple of times last week, but I didn't do anything unusual, so again I said no. He started to ask me about riding and what I did, so I told him about jumping and foxhunting and jousting and such. He listened for a bit, and then he said, "So do you want to change your answer about not having any trauma?"
I explained to him that I hadn't fallen off a horse since fall 2009 (foxhunting). I've never lost consciousness, had a concussion, or broken a bone. He asked me how many times I'd fallen off, and I looked at him like he was crazy: I've been riding for 25 years - I lost count a while back, thank you very much.
Clearly, this guy doesn't get out much. Or have much excitement in his life.
Anywho, he tried to adjust me, and it didn't work. As a result of his attempts, I literally couldn't get up off the table for several minutes, and then not without help. I couldn't breathe the pain was so bad. I've never been one to take painkillers, but let me tell you I would have happily taken a large dose at that point. After he tried several more times from several different angles, I finally told him I'd had enough (I was white-faced and gasping for air at this point). He agreed and did some laser therapy to get the muscles to calm down, and sent me home. I could barely drive, and naturally, the hubby was out of town. I sort of fumbled around, very slowly fed and watered the animals as best I could (there was no way I could pick up a hay bale or even stuff a hay net), and went in to get dinner and keel over on the couch with a heating pad and a lot of ibuprofen. Fortunately the hubby returned from his trip late that night and took care of everyone, but wow... I need a backup, just in case I can't do something myself.
The short version of the story is that the chiro now thinks I have a cracked rib - awesome. It's getting better day by day, so that's good, but I slept sitting up for most of last week and went through quite a lot of Advil. I did, however, ride this weekend (back was fine) and am back in business feeding and whatnot. I'm being much more careful of myself, though, which is probably a good thing, seeing as how I don't think you can actually get an extended warranty for yourself. Bummer.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I wrote our story to share with the BO of Paint Creek Farm, and I thought I'd share it here. Sorry if you've seen it before - it's posted on their web site. It's a bit long, so bear with me...
Cash and I met in 1996, when he was 8 and I was a senior in college. He had been a young girl’s APHA show mount but had just been replaced because he was hard to ride and didn’t have the look the judges wanted. He needed a job and I needed a horse to ride: neither of us were too picky.
The first year or two we worked on skills like trotting from a canter and doing more than a teeny tiny jog. He’d spent a lot of time trying to be made into a Western Pleasure horse (at which he failed miserably) and we needed to get out of that mindset if I had any hope of eventing him. He was slow to trust, wouldn’t eat treats, ran away from me in the pasture, was terrified of men, whips, and pitchforks, and wearing spurs while riding him was absolutely out of the question. And scratch trail riding – he was a nutcase on the trails, jigging sideways for miles and cantering in place. But he always tried his heart out for me, and the bond had been made. We went to a few dressage shows and one combined training show and cleaned up. He was an awesome jumper even if he couldn’t stand to have his mouth touched – that just meant that I had to learn to ride quietly from my seat instead of using my hands.
When I graduated from college, I bought him for the low, low price of $1, then had him shipped up to Maryland where my new job was. We boarded at two different barns before we finally found one that we liked, and we started seriously eventing together in the fall of 1998. He would get so worked up about just going into the arena, I used to joke that his brain would fall out of his head. I couldn’t practice the dressage tests before the show because even after just one or two run-throughs, he would memorize the whole thing and practically do it without me. After a few shows, I figured out how to keep him together for dressage, and after that we nearly always came in the top 5. He didn’t have the gaits to compete with the other horses, but our tests were always precise and clean. Cross-country was both our easiest phase and the hardest – we couldn’t be in the start box for more than an instant because he knew what it was and would bolt out of it in his eagerness to start the course. But once we were away, he was a total machine. He never looked at anything, and as we moved up the levels, would get annoyed with me when I tried to do anything more than steer him around the course. I remember coming to a double stair step up bank and trying to steady him for it, and his response was, “Mom, I SEE IT and I’VE GOT IT.” He made it up brilliantly and was looking for the next challenge.
We had prepared so well on the basics that we moved from Beginner Novice to Training very quickly and were looking ahead to Prelim when I realized that he felt funny in his hind end. He was never off or short, just a touch uneven sometimes. I had him x-rayed and the vet determined that he had arthritis in his left hock. He advised me to Bute him, put him on Cosequin, and keep going. Cash was 11 at the time and I decided that I wanted him to be sound and comfortable at 20, so I retired him from everything but light jumping after we finished out an incredibly successful year of eventing in 1999. At his last event, I wasn’t watching the time and we were 18 seconds TOO FAST on cross-country, so we ended with quite a lot of time penalties. If I had ridden better, we would have finished first.
We eventually moved back to Austin and ended up competing 2nd level dressage when he started not wanting to be caught in the pasture and objecting to being saddled and bridled. He had always had such a great attitude about work and tried his heart out for me that I knew something was wrong, so I took him to A&M for a complete workup. Since he had been diagnosed with arthritis, I’d tried everything: Legend, Adequan, Cosequin, MSM, hock injections, you name it – just not Bute because he was colic-prone and Bute makes it worse. Nothing had really made much of a difference, but for the most part he stayed comfortable as long as I just did dressage. However, at A&M they told me that he didn’t have arthritis in the hock, but what he DID have was a lesion on the bone where the suspensory connects, just under the hock. Apparently, this kind of lesion is common with reining horses (and I found out later that Cash had done reining as a 2 and 3 year old), and was advised to give him 6-9 months off in hopes that it would heal. I was also told that he’d probably had it for years, and that hard work would make the lesion flare up, and then when he got a rest it would heal partly and he’d be fine. So, 9 months of stall rest (with a teeny turnout paddock) was what he got.
When I brought him back from that, he felt great until we started doing extended trot. The day after we had tried it, he felt uneven behind. I realized then that Training Level dressage was the most he could do and not aggravate the lesion, so he went into semi-retirement as a dressage schoolmaster. For the next several years he taught several people the ins and outs of dressage. His laterals remained brilliant and he was always the star of the lessons. On his 19th birthday, he went to his last show and cleaned up at Training Level. Shortly before I retired him permanently, he took my husband (who doesn’t really jump) cross-country schooling. He was supposed to be stepping over the teeny little logs on the ground, but kept trying to drag my husband to the Training and Prelim fences. At one point he locked onto a Prelim table (in the middle of the water jump) and my husband described it as “feeling the hind end downshift two gears, ready to launch into overdrive.” Fortunately, they steered around it, but it was good to know that in in his old age, Cash still loved to jump.Cash will always have a special place in my heart. I can only imagine what he could have done if his body had held up better for him. I have learned so much from him and I like to think that he’s learned from me as well – he eats almost any kind of treat, thinks men are great (well, except for the vet), isn’t afraid of much of anything, and usually walks right up to you in the pasture. I'm looking forward to having him at home, and who knows? Maybe he'll even decide going for a short walk on the trail is OK!
Happy Birthday, Schpotted Pony!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
P.S. Yes, my vet is pretty sure that all the lameness issues are caused by bruising and nothing more sinister. This diagnosis is supported by the fact that he was pretty darn sound after 8 weeks of no trimming. However, if we grow his feet out again and he's not staying sound even with more carefully managed hoof care, I will definitely take him back in for more further tests and likely x-rays.
P.S.S. Saga's currently only on grass hay and a little alfalfa, in case you're wondering if he's getting loads of NSCs that would affect his feet. He's not.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
We came home tonight to find Reddums in the carport, snacking on Anie's dog food. He had apparently taken advantage of a gate that had blown open after the latch had failed (eeek!) and gone on walkabout. Of course he took Saga with him, but Saga only watched the pilfering and did not actively engage in pulling the lid off the dog food bin and availing himself of the snacks within.
Bad, bad Reddums!
I don't think he got very much at all, and he doesn't seem any worse for his late-night snack. We'll check on him hourly for the next little bit though, just in case.
The fact that he actually ate dog food is, well, kinda scary. Does that mean that Anie's dog food has a really high grain content? Or, is it just that Red is actually a carnivore? Funder's giving it even odds.