Pro Rides

Great news- June had her teeth floated, veterinarian found a couple of sharp points, filed them down, and in the two rides she has had since, the head tossing and rearing have ceased.

I hopped on her Sunday, not knowing what to expect, as she hadn’t been ridden since having her teeth done. I haven’t ridden her since Sarah started putting some training rides on her except for my lesson last Tuesday- where she was not feeling her best. Therefore, I hadn’t really been able to feel the work Sarah has put into her.

I went into this ride with a plan. I wanted to continue what we had started in my lesson last week and ride her as if there was no issue. If the head tossing started again, I would call it a day. But until that time, I’d be riding her as a training ride, not a plod around and see what happens ride.

From the moment I got on her back I was asking things of her. Go forward, bend, no running through your outside shoulder. I tried to remember everything Sarah has been working on. We had a really lovely ride. She tried a few antics to evade work but they were very short lived. She was so light in the bridle, so responsive to my aids and she had come so far in her connection and ability to do what was being asked. She honestly felt like she had been ridden by a pro for a month, not 4 times.

Totally unrelated we had a “free jump” day and June may have sailed over this 3’7oxer.

When I started the journey with June, I was hung up on me starting her. I wanted the journey to be about me and June, even if that meant we went slow and spent longer working through things. I didn’t want to put her into training with a pro, and felt like, with regular instruction, I could get June going how I wanted.

And then we had the Gary Mittleider clinic. And I felt frustrated and like I was in way over my head.

Pretending to enjoy ourselves

And in retrospect, maybe that clinic was a blessing. Because it made me realize that I can still have this journey with June be ours, even if a pro does put some rides on her. Helping me through issues doesn’t make June any less “a horse I started.” And, quite honestly, for a horse like June, having someone show her exactly what is expected is really good for her. My confusion led to her confusion. My inability to get her to do what I was asking led to her thinking it was ok to be heavy in the bridle or take over during rides.

So much fun but requires me not letting her take over

After just a few times of having Sarah ride her, I’m in a spot where we can move forward instead of work on the same issues. June is less confused, I have more confidence, and I now have a horse who I know is capable of what is being asked.

So, all in all, I’m happy I have an incredible friend and talented trainer to help me in this process. Someone who can hop on my horse and work through some of the kinks. I’m thankful that I’m not letting pride get in the way of doing what Is best for both June and I. I’m hopeful I can continue to enjoy this process no matter who is in the saddle.

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Getting to Know You

The best part of starting a baby horse has to be how well you get to know them. That bond that develops between horse and rider. Sure, this can happen with non baby horses, but for me, there is something about being the first to figure things out with a horse. All their quirks and opinions.

June is the first horse I have had who is excited to see me. She’ll whinny to me the moment she sees me and has a bit of a fit when I leave her in the indoor arena. Upon my return I am greeted by a very happy horse. It’s cute. I’m glad she likes me and that seeing me elicits a happy reaction, instead of an “ugh. you.”

I feel like they both like me. Most of the time at least.

I’m slowly figuring out what June likes and dislikes. She’s pretty easygoing, but definitely has opinions.

I was reminded this week about how well I am getting to know her. She’s always been a hard worker. A “yes ma’am” type. Strong work ethic even if she’ll try to evade some things if they are difficult for her. So, when Sarah mentioned she was having some connection issues with her in her ride, I thought maybe something was off.

Omg I miss warmer weather and I think June does too

Since I was riding her in a lesson the following day I figured we would see how she did. Again, she was resistant to keep any connection, something that hasn’t been a problem. She was really tossing her head and being quite dramatic.

And then, I asked her to come up centerline and track left. She trotted a few steps, slammed on the brakes and gave her best Hi Ho Silver impersonation. Good thing she’s so compact as it didn’t really scare me and we continued on with the lesson. But this was her first time rearing.

We moved on to practicing Intro Test B for the upcoming dressage test of choice show this weekend. June got progressively worse. Head tossing became unsolvable. Then, we came up centerline for the last time. I had her trot/walk/halt at X. I kept the connection and was happy until she fell left in the halt. I put my left leg on and asked her to step over. Instead, she just reared. So, we did it again. Another rear. Third times a charm apparently because she halted and stayed straight. She got lots of praise.

But this was strange. June isn’t a horse who is naughty just to be naughty.

Sarah asked me when she had her teeth floated last. I couldn’t remember for sure, but knew it had been a while. We discussed that she may need her teeth done and that’s why she has become so resistant to contact.

She may have recently gotten a new blanket in which she looks adorable

So, the following day I called the vet and they confirmed it has been almost a year since her last teeth floating. For a baby horse, that’s probably too long.

We shall see.

My hope is getting her teeth done will solve this problem. My hope is I know this horse well enough to know something is going on to elicit this reaction.

We cancelled our dressage show entry as clearly her well being is my primary concern. Her vet appt is tomorrow so I am hopeful that my next June post confirms my suspicions and we have a happy and healthy pony again!

 

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Right Bend

Sarah has been working her butt off with June this past week and they’ve made some really great progress. At first, it seemed like June was going to be complication free, but that changed a couple of rides in, when June showed Sarah just how good she was at evading  the right lead. They worked through it, and despite the tough ride for both of them, I received this text from Sarah:

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Yes, Sarah reads my blog and yes we joke about June being a phenom

 

I only rode June once all week, which was in my lesson. During that lesson I could feel the work Sarah had put into June as she was clear and responsive to my aids. During the lesson Sarah had to keep reminding me to ask for right bend with her. Ugh. Everything about going right on this horse is a struggle. I tried to remember to ask consistently but the struggle is real.

In the meantime, while Sarah puts some training rides on June, I’ve been hopping on Georgie and schooling her a little bit. Some rides we work on flexing, some rides on going forward, and some rides I try to get her to get off of her forehand. ( I lack the ability to work on all of these things at once. Duh) Georgie has become very comfortable going along on her forehand, not bending and just loping around haunches in. And, for her current rider, this isn’t the end of the world. They’re probably both thrilled with the situation and have tons of fun together. But when I hop on her, I can’t help myself and I expect more from her. I ride her for about 35 minutes and am usually drenched in sweat.

The other day I got this text from Sarah after asking if the spurs I gave Georgie’s rider helped:

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So, that evening, when I rode Georgie we worked on going forward while maintaining right bend.

And then, afterwards, when I recapped the ride to Sarah, I joked that it was fun working through the issue, especially since I had probably caused it.

And then, it was like a lightbulb started flickering on and off in my mind.

Georgie has a right bend issue.

And now June has a right bend issue.

Clearly I have a right bend issue.

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Sarah had an incredibly hard time getting me to consistently ask for right bend with Georgie. But, I kinda think this was the wake up call I needed. Right bend issues have now become my number one priority!

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When Your Child is a Phenom

You’ve undoubtedly met the parent who thinks their child is a phenom. The parent can be seen speaking in a muted voice,asking lots of questions about the upcoming show schedule, taking up a lot of the trainer’s time, and always thinking one step ahead. (Forgetting that horses are fragile creatures, and that thinking one step ahead leads to heart break.) We have had a few of these parents in our barn and I just roll my eyes at them.

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But then, I got June, and I BECAME them.

Except, my “child” is a horse. Which may be better? Or worse? Heck if I know.

I worry that June has too much talent. Especially for little amateur me. But then I get ecstatic about how easy the work we’re asking of her is. I laugh at how little energy she puts into jumping a 2’6 jump. I watch her trot and  swoon. Instead of listening to what Sarah is saying as she trots her across the arena, I think “man she is going to have a nice extended trot one day.” I’m insufferable when it comes to my phenom.

But then, fortunately, reality sets in. I get on my horse and she’s inconsistent in the bridle. I can’t pick up the right lead. Hell, I can’t even get her to trot over poles without falling on her forehand. My horse may be a phenom, but we’re not bound for the Olympics with me on her back. This team is as average as they come.

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Much talent. Much Phenom.

And, what I’m learning, just as those parents will have to, is that being a phenom doesn’t just happen. It is a hell of a lot of work, and more than just natural talent. It doesn’t matter if my horse came out of the womb doing pirouettes. If I can’t harness that, and work my ass off on all the other miniscule things that are important, we’ll never get around to actually performing pirouettes.

June is the fanciest horse I’ve ever had. And by fancy, I mean, she was bred to do the job I’m asking of her.  Even though the work isn’t as hard for her as it may be for other horses, it doesn’t mean she naturally engages her abs, rocks back and is light on her forehand. It doesn’t mean I can trot down centerline, and just sit there, hoping the judge will be dazzled by my horse’s incredible movement. Nope. Sure doesn’t. I have to continue to ride every friggin step. And lets not forget, June may be fancy by my standards, but there will always be a fancier horse and better rider out there. Always.

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Weird. I ride like shit, she goes like shit

 

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I ride well, she goes well

And this may sound obvious. And I guess it is. But up until recently, I’ve been half heartedly starting my horse. Dedicated to getting her ridden, but not asking for much. If she wants to pull through my hands I let her. She wants to be inconsistent in the bridle, that’s fine. In my mind, I shouldn’t have to work as hard  because she is a nice mover and talented. Image result for ridiculous gif

I’m not a naturally talented rider. I work hard and have good horse sense, which is my saving grace. But even if I was, I’d still have to work hard. Especially with a green bean. I watched Sarah ride her the other day, and she was working, working, working. Thinking, working,thinking, working. June looked great, but it definitely wasn’t easy. Even for a pro who is literally doing everything correctly at the exact right moment. So, ya know, like, the opposite of me. I kinda check out during rides instead of staying engaged mentally and physically the entire time. And that’s gotta change.

So, moving forward, every time we enter the arena, or have a lesson, we’re working hard. We’re only as good as the work we’ve put in. If June has phenom potential, well I better not look like I’m a waste of space on her back. My dream is to one day go Prelim with her. But for now, I need to concentrate on being able to do a 20m circle in a walk/trot dressage test. Cause hell, that’s going to take a lot of work.

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First Plan of 2019: Meh

In my Plans for 2019 post, I mentioned that our first big plan was a clinic/lesson with Gary Mittleider. This was our first lesson with an instructor other than Sarah. Going into the lesson I was feeling pretty good about things? I mean, I know June is a green baby but I figured we’d be ok with what was asked of us.

But then the lesson I had prior to this clinic put me in a horrible head space. June and I have struggled with the canter going right. In this particular lesson I COULD NOT GET THE RIGHT LEAD. Like, it wasn’t happening. Left- lovely. Right-unattainable. We worked and worked and nothing. To the point where Sarah said “I don’t know how you feel but do you want” and I yelled “YES” knowing that she was kindly asking if maybe she should hop on June and try. Not surprisingly she got the correct lead immediately.

This was tough for me. Not because I was surprised, I mean Sarah is a pro with lots of experience on baby horses. But because this was the first thing I was absolutely unable to do. And it was clearly completely my issue. I MAY have broken down a little post lesson and may have said “Why am I even starting this horse? I’m ruining her!” Dramatic? Yes. But I was feeling like shit and, well, maybe head space when starting a baby horse should be a blog post of its own.

So, I knew, going into the clinic with Gary, that the right lead canter was perhaps going to be an issue. But I decided to not worry about it. So many other things to work on! Right lead canter may not even come up. Cause, you know, there are so many times in clinics when you only go left. Uh huh.

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This was the fakest smile I have ever produced

For me, the toughest part about riding in clinics is that you are part of a group. Therefore, if something isn’t going well, or needs work, you can’t just stop the planned exercise and work on that one thing. There are other people in the group who can’t not progress with the exercise because of one horse. So, lesson number 1? We’re probably not ready for a group lesson. This exercise was advanced for where June and I are currently, and therefore, we really struggled. And instead of just working on what we were struggling with (which was a multitude of things) we would kind of just move on and make it work, and IMO that’s not really beneficial.

To start the lesson, Gary had us trot a ground pole on the right side of the arena, turn left, pick up the canter, and canter over a ground pole on the other side. Lovely, simple, and straightforward. But, June was SO distracted by the ghost at the north end of the arena that when we trotted the ground pole, she then spooked right and as Gary was yelling “Straight Line!” we were trotting like drunken sailors. I picked up the canter, got her to stop looking out, and instead look to the upcoming ground pole and we cantered to it. And then June decided she needed to show off a wee bit.

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Yeah yeah June, you’re super impressive

But what was worse was that she landed, and instead of coming back to the trot, just grabbed the bit and kept cantering. So, we got reprimanded for that. And did the exercise again. Again, unable to go straight after the ground pole, but this time we did just canter over the other one, and we did come back to the trot, even though it didn’t look pretty.

After the other rider went, he asked us to do the same exercise, but going right. We were ok over the ground pole at the trot and then picked up the wrong lead; Gary hollered just to keep going. And she did this AGAIN.

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If she would just listen to me, we could actually get to jumping things meant to be jumped

So, June was distracted and a bit eager for most of the lesson which was not helping. We did that line well enough (although always on the wrong lead) that Gary did set a couple of tiny jumps. And, well, things didn’t get better.

June ran at the jumps, and I wasn’t getting her to adjust at all. She was spooky and distracted which was making everything I was asking that much harder. At one point, things really just started to unravel. We  would start by going left, and then change rein through the middle of the arena. We were asked to pick up the right lead canter, make a sharp right turn and jump a tiny jump.

It was all fine until we would change rein and get ready to canter. There were horses tied up on the inside of the arena and I knew that if I got too close to them June would probably kick them. So now, I’m trying to pick up the correct lead, which I hadn’t done once in 45 minutes, turn, AND jump.

It got worse and worse. We never got the correct lead, and trying to turn your unbalanced green horse on the wrong lead, to a jump on about a 15 meter circle? Not gonna happen. At least with this team.

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This picture gives me anxiety

And it ended up looking like this

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Do you see me kicking like a Pony Club D1??

 

June was done. She would stop about two strides out and NOT GO FORWARD. So, we took another break. And I would love to tell you that it was all unicorns and perfection after that, but it wasn’t. Gary was great- he probably was as frustrated with the lesson as I was, but he chatted with me for a while afterwards and kept reminding me that the most important thing to have when you’re riding a baby horse- is a sense of humor. Mine was lost about 15 minutes into the lesson unfortunately.

We agreed that having Sarah ride June and get the right lead canter solid was a good idea. Lucky for me, Sarah likes June. Even better, she was willing to let me take her to dinner and construct a plan for June’s immediate future. I was pretty much ready just to give June to Sarah, but instead, we agreed on a training plan, and I think it’ll work out really well. We’ll both be riding her, but I’ll be working on refining what June already knows and she’ll help the progression to new things and getting June to really understand what is being asked of her.  I’m really lucky to have such an incredible trainer and friend.

So, 2019 plans didn’t start off with a bang. But that’s ok- baby horses will never make things a linear path. Actually, horses never make things a linear path. I still love this mare so incredibly much, and I’m hopeful we’ll be less frustrated with each other after a little reprieve.

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Weather has been so nice she got to enjoy a blanket free romp in the snow!

 

 

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Fraggle Friday: Hearing the Words

About two weeks ago my family came to visit me from New York. I love when they come to visit. Being thousands of miles away from each other, the time we do get to spend together is really special.

Plus, my Dad is an animal lover like me. He taught me about horses and horse care, and in return I have taught him about the love of a bearded dog. He now has three of them. All rescues I “procured” for him, lol.

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Sassy- the first of his bearded dogs

My Dad and I have always been on the same page about our pets. They’re family and we love them even if they aren’t perfect. So, when Stella herniated a disc in her back, he was who I called. I remember sitting in the emergency vet’s office, crying, and talking to him on the phone. Explaining how scared I was for her to have surgery. How expensive it would be, and what if it was all for nothing? What if she couldn’t walk again?
And, instead of supporting me, and telling me it would be ok, my Dad asked “Do you think it’s time to let her go?”

And I think I stopped breathing for a moment. There were people who didn’t agree with having Stella go through surgery. But I never expected one of them to be my Dad. He went on the tell me that, essentially, he thought I was not thinking clearly, and that I should not do surgery. He wasn’t mean or cruel about it, he just felt 14 years was a good long life. And now it was time to say goodbye.

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I’ll never be ready to say goodbye to this face, but really wasn’t ready to last April

I obviously disagreed. And went forward with surgery. But, a little part of me worried he was right. That if Stella couldn’t walk again, I had made a horrible mistake and should have listened to my Dad. I’m a Daddy’s girl, and it felt like this was the first time I was defying him. It was an uncomfortable and unfamiliar feeling.

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I still get slightly nauseous thinking about the days post surgery where she couldn’t walk yet and the future was so uncertain

As Stella recovered I would send updates, but we didn’t speak about her much. When I cancelled a trip home so I could be with her, he was completely understanding. But I couldn’t help think he was rolling his eyes when he sent an email saying “Of course- I understand.”

So, when my family arrived at the local airport earlier this month, Stella and I walked into Arrivals to greet them. She was a hit as people waited for their bags. Many asking how old she was, but most just commenting on how cute she looked in her coat. We walked out and to my car, Stella hung out in the backseat while we had lunch, and then we all went for a short walk before I headed back to work and they went to the hotel.

The next day, we went to the barn and Stella bombed around so excited to show us the way to June’s pen. She sniffed around while we put June’s blanket on and then we all headed back to the car. As we were walking together, Stella in front of us, my Dad said, “I was wrong. You made the right decision. She definitely wasn’t ready to go.”

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Not ready. Much trot hopping yet to do

For maybe the second time in my life, I was speechless. Hearing those words meant more to me than I could have imagined. Hearing him say them, not because I asked, or because I was talking about how well Stella was doing, but because he honestly believed them, meant so much to me.

And so, my family got to see Stella for perhaps the last time. But the fact that they did, and that they saw how happy she is, is something I will never forget and am so incredibly thankful for.

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Ulcer Update and a Porta Grazer Review

I’m a bit behind on both these things, but better late than never, right? Kristen recently did a Porta Grazer review and hers was similar to what I’ll have to say, except for one big difference. She keeps her horses at home. I board June, and therefore have a bit of a different perspective.

I don’t have great media, but essentially the Porta Grazer is a slow hay feeder and can also be used as a hay soaker. It’s a cylindrical hard plastic tub that has a removable top. The top looks like a large feed dish, but has holes within it. The holes come in various sizes, and allow your horse to pull the hay through the holes. The motion replicates what horses do when they graze. Here are some pictures from the website to give you an idea of what things look like:

There are three different sizes, and I went with the XL, which runs $299 (although there is an easy to google $25 off coupon out there). Shipping was about $35 I believe and it was FAST. But then again, the product is made in my state of Idaho.

The Porta Grazer was recommended to me by my veterinarian after we confirmed June had ulcers. And I can see why. It’s so much easier and neater than hay nets, and it really seems like the most natural way for horses to eat. There are some tricks to loading it, but the one I purchased can hold three flakes of hay. Much like Kristen’s horses, June had absolutely no issue with using it right away. I introduced it slowly, but she preferred it to the hay nets within the first day.

There are definitely more pros than cons to the product, IMO. Here are some things I have been happy with:

  1. No mess. I mean, there is so little wasted hay with this. It’s great!
  2. June’s meals last longer. At first, I was overly concerned that June wasn’t eating all the time. I would show up and she would be hanging out, even though the Porta Grazer wasn’t empty. It took a bit of convincing from Sarah, but I finally agreed that it’s fine that she is taking a break from eating. This is what horses do. They graze, hang out, walk around, graze some more. The fact that she isn’t hoovering her food down shows that she feels control over her food situation and can actually relax about it. The Porta Grazer is virtually empty at feeding time, which means she does eat it all, but she doesn’t sit there and hoover it all down like she was when she had free choice hay.
  3. Less anger at feeding time. June is housed next to Georgie. In the past they would kick, buck, rear, bite and put on a real show at feeding time. Some may call this being hangry, but what I’m realizing, is that it was not helping her ulcers. Getting that worked up at feeding time is not a good sign. Especially when you eat and then run over to the mare next to you and try to kick them through the fence. (I won’t say which one was doing this..) With the Porta Grazer, there’s some whinnying, but the anger has pretty much ceased (at least with June). I think knowing she will have food for hours, makes feeding time way less of an event for her.
  4. Hay stays dry and is out of the dirt. Right now the ground is wet, which means hay on the ground gets wet and gross. June’s hay stays clean and dry, so she can enjoy all of it and she doesn’t avoid eating it because it has turned into a soggy mess.
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Happily munching away

The things I don’t love with the Porta Grazer mainly have to do with living at a boarding stable and not being able to obsessively make sure everything is perfect, and I do think that if I had this product a home I would have ZERO complaints with it. But, in case you are thinking of getting one, and board your horse, some things to think about:

  1. I feed mix hay 2x a day and throw June a flake of alfalfa once a day. The Porta Grazer is really made for fine, loose hay. Our hay, while incredibly nutritious, is packed pretty tightly. Therefore, when it’s put in the Porta Grazer, sometimes it can bunch up and not come loose. Then it gets packed down at the bottom and really difficult for horses to access, as they can’t loosen it and get it through the holes. This is easily resolved by taking the lid off, and just shaking the flakes loose, and putting the lid back on. But, since I’m not there to do that, sometimes June’s hay just stays packed until I show up later. Sometimes she’ll work at it and actually put some effort into eating, and it works itself out. But I would love it if her hay got fluffed more. I mean, doesn’t everyone want that for their horse? And I throw the alfalfa flake on the ground as it can really be too coarse for the feeder.
  2. I don’t know how much June is actually eating. If the feeder isn’t empty at feeding time, is she still getting 2-3 flakes put in it? Or just one? By the time I show up, the weekday feeders have left so I have no way to tell. I fluff the hay and can usually tell what’s in there, but I have no idea what, if anything, was left from the morning feeding.
  3. The different sizes are confusing. I got the XL but now wish I had gotten the corner feeder. But the name “corner feeder” made me think I needed to have a corner for it to go into, and I don’t. It’s basically just a bigger version, with more holes in the lid.
  4. Not great Customer Service. The shipping and ordering were fantastic and easy. But I called to ask some questions, and their office hours are pretty limited and no one called me back. So, boo on that.
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Such a princess

I think this is a great product and I really think it has helped reduce (or eliminate!) June’s ulcers. Along with the Porta Grazer, I’ve also made some other changes that I think have really helped. As I mentioned before, I give June a flake of straight alfalfa everyday. Alfalfa has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of ulcers, and she already gets alfalfa/grass hay, I think this little bit extra can only help.

I researched supplements and I’m so on the fence about them. I’ve used Smartpak supplements in the past, but June isn’t eligible for ColicCare currently as she had a bout of mild colic this fall which I ended up calling the vet out for.

After we scoped her, my veterinarian ended up recommending I put June on Purina Outlast. Never having heard of it, I assumed it was a feed, but it turns out, it’s really more of a feed topper, or supplement. You give your horse a measured amount depending on body weight prior to exercise or any stressful event (such as trailering). It’s advertised as a Gastric Support Supplement and you can purchase it as is, or purchase a Purina feed that has it added to it. Since June doesn’t really need grain right now, I just purchased the supplement and I feed her 1 cup before I ride or trailer her. While the ingredients don’t make me think “YES! This will definitely work!” there is research behind it and it is getting good reviews. It’s incredibly inexpensive, June loves it, and so far, I’ve been really happy with it.

Lastly, I plan on giving June Ulcergard prior and during travel, even if it’s just a couple of hours down the road. I think trailering is hard on her, even if getting somewhere new doesn’t seem to bother her at all. And in the summer I hope to get her out on pasture more, as I think that can really help.

So far, I’m really pleased with how June is doing post 30 days of Gastrogard. I did not have her re scoped because I’m pretty much broke, but she seems like a different horse. She’s eating well, she’s happy to go to work, and her general demeanor just seems back to its curious, happy, self. She hasn’t bucked under saddle and I have been increasing her work and asking more of her. Overall, I would say she’s doing great! My hope is, that with continued thoughtful management, we can keep her healthy and happy!

 

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Blinged Bridle & a Long Overdue Thank You

Back in like August, I posted about needing a new bridle for June, as Georgie’s didn’t fit her very well. Turns out June has a horse head needing a cob browband.  I ultimately purchased a Passier Blue bridle which I love, and you can read about it in my post June’s New Bridle. But as I hemmed and hawed about what to get, Amanda from The $900 FB Pony reached out and offered to give me her used, but in great condition, Lund Saddlery Eventer Series Flash Bridle . The bridle arrived and I immediately started using it. The only problem was, it didn’t have a browband, so I attached one of my old browbands to it and went ahead and ordered two new browbands from Dark Jewel Designs.

New browbands arrived, I attached it to the bridle and womp womp, it was way too big. I hemmed and hawed AGAIN about what to do. But, it looked just funny enough, that I asked Amelia if I could send them back and have them redone to a Cob browband.

In the meantime I had purchased my Passier bridle, but wanted to save that as my ‘show” bridle, at least for SJ, and so I put my mismatched browband on the Lund bridle and just called it good until new browbands arrived. Once they did, I figured I’d write a post thanking Amanda AND showing off the new browbands.

Well, the time has finally arrived.

So, let’s start here. THANK YOU Amanda for graciously giving me your bridle. For those of you not in possession of a Lund bridle, or unfamiliar with the brand, I really recommend them! This bridle was used, but kept in good condition and when I clean it up, it looks basically new. It has great ergonomic features and is at a really good price point. While I use this bridle for everyday use, I’m also thinking it will become my xc show bridle.

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And then there are the browbands. I am so incredibly in love with them. They’re purple, but I would put them more in the purple-ish category, which is exactly what I wanted. Plus, because the order was done over the incredibly busy holiday season, and because maybe I pretended to be patient, and waited longer than the average customer would ever have to, Amelia made me a BEAUTIFUL stock pin in addition to the browbands.

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She even put a 4 leaf clover on the stock pin to match the browband!

The attention to detail, and quality of product in Amelia’s designs, can’t be beat. She lets me try to be creative, and design my own, but really, you can look through all the one’s she’s already designed, and in the past I have picked one of those and they were equally as fun and gorgeous. The browbands are interchangeable and you can even purchase a snap on browband which can make switching them from one bridle to the next even easier!

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The two I designed. I chose the brown curved browband. I added a 4 leaf clover to one, as I need all the luck I can get

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So pretty close up!

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So, I now have a  bridle I am super excited about, and can’t wait to be the envy of my barn!img_0623

 

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Fraggle Friday: CBD Oil

I’ll be honest. If one more person asks me “have you tried CBD oil” for any issue Stella has, I may lose my mind. Last time I checked, according to the inter web and fans of CBD oil, it can fix anything from seizures to anxiety. Arthritis to lack of appetite. The last time there was something this miraculous, we were all running out to buy Coconut Oil.

Can it fix my cat judging me??!

So, not long ago, if you can’t tell, I was very anti CBD oil. But then Stella had another seizure, and I happened to be in our local pet shop when I overheard the sales person discussing the benefits of using CBD oil to treat seizures.

And they caught me in a moment of weakness. How could I not try something that MIGHT help Stella’s seizures. And, according to the sales person, seizures are the one ailment that there are actually some studies done on in dogs. So I bought a bottle. Hung my head and admitted defeat.

But I knew I’d be able to give a report post use, and that helped me convince myself I had purchased it for the betterment of all animals.

Mainly the betterment of this monkey

So here’s my report on CBD oil, being 1 1/2 months in.

I’ve been giving Stella a half a dropper of 750 mg CBD oil once a day every day. And I haven’t seen any changes in her anxiety, arthritis or general demeanor. She has not had a seizure, but I still have her on her regular meds, and don’t plan on changing that. So, does CBD oil “work?” Well, I don’t think so? At least not for my dog. But, to be fair, Stella is kind of at the far end of the spectrum.

The far end of the adorable spectrum

But, despite it not being a miracle cure for Stella, here’s my general problem with CBD oil. There’s really no science around it. I like science. I like scientific studies. I really struggle with personal opinion replacing fact. So many testimonials about how amazing it is. This is not helpful to me. If one more person tells me their dog hasn’t had a seizure since starting CBD oil I will scream. For one thing, some dogs just don’t have more seizures. Secondly, can we follow up in a few years? Not two weeks?

Another issue? The dosing. Stella’s bottle doesn’t have anything indicating mls. So, I’m guessing at what “half a dropper” is. The dosing instructions range from giving a dog her weight anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 a dropper. But, if I go online, some manufacturers recommend giving a 1/2 dropper from a 350mg bottle. That’s a pretty big difference. I’d appreciate some standard dosing. It would make me feel like maybe there was some more scientific proof around this..

Does not care about science. Will ingest anything

However, to be fair, CBD is a VERY new product. It’s not too surprising that there aren’t a bunch of studies. I BELIEVE the sale of hemp has just become legal in all states? But I may be wrong about that. If it’s true, hopefully it will help support some studies about the products efficacy in pets.

So there you have it. I’m not a convert. But I’m still giving it to Stella, since it doesn’t seem to have any side effects and what if it IS doing something for her seizures? Oy vey, now I can’t stop!

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The Sensitive Baby

A few posts back I mentioned that somehow, despite my best efforts, I had ended up with a sensitive horse. And, surprising even myself, I am really enjoying the problem solving that goes along with starting a sensitive horse.

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I have little applicable media, so enjoy pics of when my Dad visited last week and met June for the first time

Now, here’s what I mean by problem solving, and sensitive:

This weekend, I hopped on June and she was feeling good. In front of the leg, and ready to work. I wanted to work on bend, especially going right, but I noticed she kept breaking to the canter instead of bending in the trot.

So, we did some trot/walk transitions. But, lo and behold, she continued to want to canter rather than bend.

In the past, I probably would have found this really annoying. But during this particular ride, I tried to figure out why she was breaking to the canter and how to “fix” it.

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I put my Dad to work adjusting her new blanket liner. It’s purple of course. Also, I need to do a review of the Porta Grazer!

At first, I attributed it to anxiousness. But, while she was forward and wanting to work, she was also fine to just walk, so “being anxious” or trying to anticipate the canter, didn’t totally seem to make sense to me.

I decided to really think about what my body was doing when I asked her to bend right.

My leg went on, and I asked for some right flexion.

Wait. My leg went on.Why wasn’t it on before?

I soon realized, I was asking for bend with my calf. Which prior to asking, was not on. I was putting my calf on, pretty forcibly, when I wanted to ask for bend.

So, I stopped doing that.

I asked for bend from my thigh and knee, and kept my calf from pushing into her.

And guess what? She gave me bend without breaking into the canter.

I’m a genius.

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I have zero idea why I was posing like this except that I must have known I would need an “I’m a genius” picture

So, my sensitive mare understands the difference between asking from my calf and asking from my thigh. Which means I need to get better at asking from different parts of my leg.

And despite the fact that this took a good part of our ride to figure out, she tolerated me confusing her. She tolerated the fact that I kept asking her to canter with my calf and then immediately asking her to trot. She was a very good sport about all of it. Which is all I can ask of her. My hope is, she’ll continue to be patient with me.

Although it does worry me that my horse is already teaching me things. Even though she is supposed to be the green baby… lol.

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Macy gave my Dad her typical super friendly greeting. I closed my eyes and prayed she wouldn’t bite him

So much learning with this youngster. Every ride I learn something new, and I can’t even describe how fun it is!

 

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