Tag Archives: happiness

Two Lessons, Two Different Horses

I haven’t taken a proper lesson in about 4 months. A proper lesson being one where I am riding a horse that can do more than trot in a side pull. What this means is, I am out of riding shape, and have gotten used to a life of plodding around and not asking much of myself physically.

It’s been kinda nice, but I’ve missed getting my butt kicked and improving my riding. I’ve been riding school horses, and running a bunch, so I hoped that when I did take a proper lesson again, it wouldn’t be too disastrous.

And when I got the opportunity to ride a barn mates horse in a dressage lesson, then a school horse in a jump lesson, I said “YES!” Even though the lessons were on two consecutive days and I knew that would be a lot for this out of shape rider.

I was eager to get a chance to ride Max, as he’s a fancy prancer in  dressage and while he can be opinionated and quirky, I hoped Macy had prepared me for him. I hopped on him and my first thought was “Oh my God this is a lot of horse.” I felt Sarah said it best “it’s like every vertebrae can move, and can move in a different direction.” I didn’t have much time to think about it, as we got right to work. And we just kept working. And working.  Overall, the lesson went pretty well, especially the trot work. I was shocked at how behind the leg he was- I had to really work to get him forward. REALLY work. I had just figured that this nice moving horse was self-propelled, but it takes a lot of work to get him moving the way you want. But once he does, it is really, really, lovely. When I got him moving straight, and forward, he was super fun.

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I wasn’t as strong in the canter work, but we would get it for a few moments, and when I did it was really lovely. I have such trouble moving my hips, which is essential in the canter, and at this point in the lesson I was getting tired, Max was getting a bit tired of me, and it wasn’t happening as magically. But it was ok, and honestly I was proud of myself for riding a new horse and having a productive lesson. Sarah had some really positive things to say about my riding and I felt exhausted but good. I’m very grateful to his owner for letting me ride him.

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The next day was pretty much the complete opposite. I would be riding Deputy, the fun little QH I rode in the Gary Mittleider clinic. (I can find ZERO media of him, sorry!) Hopping on Deputy, my first thought was “Oh, it’s like sitting on an Easy Boy recliner.” But this wasn’t the only place Deputy differed from Max. Deputy is actually very forward. He has a go button. And with this go button comes some reactivity and opinions. I had to ride him basically the exact opposite way I rode Max.

Which was tough for me. I wanted to react back. I wanted to pull and insist. I wanted him to stop spooking at the cow roping dummy and got angry when he wouldn’t. Yeah, this ride was starting out really well.

We worked at the walk for a while, then the trot, then the canter. I felt pretty good about 30 minutes in and Sarah set up a 5 stride line.

At cross rails. Spoiler alert, we stayed at cross rails for the entire lesson. Not because Deputy did anything wrong.

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My last jump lesson…

We worked on me, my position, and getting through the corners and the line the same way. I was unable to stay consistent with my arms (mainly my elbows) and have a lovely, light, following, forearm. I was unable to keep my chest up over the jumps, instead I jumped as if it were a 3’3 oxer. I couldn’t half halt in the 5 stride line while also keeping my leg unlocked and useful.

Blerg.

Deputy was a good boy, and dealt with all of it. The lesson left me feeling the way I do after SO MANY jump lessons. A mix of “why do I do this, I hate stadium jumping” and “just let me go cross country and have fuuuunnnnn.”

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This. I miss this!

But here’s the silver lining. As I bring June along, I’m essentially bringing myself along too. it’s almost like I get to start over. As she learns,  I’ll get to restart jumping from ground poles up. And I can start to fine tune things. And ride one horse and work on my position and learn what works for us.

And sure, I want to ride other horses and continue working at becoming a better rider. Which, in my opinion, happens a lot faster when you’re riding lots of different horses and learning what works and what doesn’t. Having as many tools in your toolbox is helpful, and I want to keep collecting tools.

So, I guess I’m back at it- not just having fun with my young horse, but back to getting my butt kicked and trying to figure it all out. And despite how drenched in sweat and exhausted I was after my ride on Deputy, I immediately asked when I could have another lesson.

 

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On Being a Laid Back, Type A, Personality

I am fully aware that my title contradicts itself.

But it’s truly who I have become. Especially when it comes to “show season”

When I was riding Georgie, I would have my show season set by January. I knew what I needed to do if I wanted to qualify for the 3 day,  knew what clinics I wanted to participate in, and had a good sense of exactly how my season would go.  Planning gives me a sense of peace and relaxation.

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Also peaceful and relaxed

But then Georgie injured herself, and ever since I have not had a single plan work out.

The plan to compete Macy at a recognized event fell through at least twice.

And more recently, my FEH plans with June have gone askew.

But I think one of the most important things Macy taught me, in preparing for a baby horse, is to throw all plans out the window. And somehow, this lesson from Macy (like many others) is absolutely invaluable.

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Thanks Macy!

I am so incredibly laid back about all my June plans it’s like I am a different person. (But still the same person, because I love MAKING plans. I’m just okay with said plans not being what actually happens)

This laid back attitude reaches from my daily training of baby horse to future of baby horse and everything in between. When I found out that the Spokane event wouldn’t be holding a FEH 4 yr old class this May, (where I planned to go watch so I knew what I was getting into for Rebecca), I re-routed myself to NY to see family and deliver Peekaboo to her new home. When I found out Rebecca Farm wasn’t holding any YEH or FEH classes this year, I felt relief, as I could now speak at a conference and not have to figure out how I would fly there from Montana and get June home without me. And, even when I found out that the FEH class that I was hoping to attend this fall was happening AFTER championships (therefore making qualifying for championships obsolete as it’s not like I can go next year), I kinda shrugged and while bummed, knew there is a good chance I won’t qualify for champs, so no big deal.

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She’d probably have a better chance of qualifying for champs without me…

But, in case you’re worried about who I have become, and worry that I have turned into some apathetic, non caring human, fear not. Sarah noticed there was an event being held in August we’d never been to. It was holding both YEH and FEH classes. After emailing them to confirm they would hold a FEH 4 yr old class, I decided this was the new plan! Sarah and I would go, me with my 4 yr old, her with her 2yr old. Not only do I get to take June to a show, Sarah is coming and we can make it a quick “vacation” of sorts! So, not having plans, may actually work out for the best!

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Still so adorable

And if these plans fall through, that’s ok too. I can re route once again. All plans are up in the air, and changeable. And weirdly, at this point in my life, that’s totally ok.

 

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Habits

Since I’m not doing much riding with June just yet I’ve taken the opportunity to ride a couple of the lesson horses at our barn. Mostly I just hop on them when Sarah is out of town and they’re not being used for lessons, but could use some exercise. No matter which horse I ride, my habits are right there with me. It’s nice because I can work on them. Work on my position and try, desperately, to break my bad habits.

There’s one habit that follows me on whatever horse I ride and quite honestly, I am not willing to break it. It’s a habit I actually think has served me very well over the years.

You see, I talk to horses.

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What’s that you say? I have hay in my forelock?

When I’m on their back, I’m a talker. Like, not all the time, but a fair amount. It served me really, really, well with Georgie. For one thing, when we started going Training, and neither of us had jumped cross country at that height, I could have been up on her back, just not breathing. Instead, I made sure I was breathing by talking to her as we cruised around. There were lots of “good girl” and “woah” and sometimes me blithering on about what was next. It kept me breathing but it also kept her engaged with me. I’d see her ear flick back. As time went on, it was totally routine. When we were out on course together, I was always communicating with her. I actually think she really enjoyed it. It seemed to be what she expected and it relaxed her a bit.

Ingrid Klimke actually spoke in an interview about how she is constantly talking to her horse while she is out on cross country. And while I can’t find the interview, I remember she made fun of herself a bit, referencing the fact that she is not a quiet rider. Instead people are surprised to hear her talking as her horses fly over jumps. Her reasoning is much the same as mine.  Think about it, we’re ALWAYS talking to our horses. We’re asking them to move over, get out of the way. We cluck at them, ask them to whoa, and tell them how amazing they are. They’re used to our voices.

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One of our ridiculous barn cats

With June, so much of our relationship is based on verbal communication. She is so used to my voice. And, now that I am riding her a bit, I’m teaching her what “woah”means as well as what a “cluck” means. I assume my habit of talking to her while I am on her back isn’t going to stop as we progress in our training.

With the school horses I ride, if they offer a good behavior, they’re sure to get a “good boy.” If they spook at seemingly nothing, they get a “Seriously?” But they also get lots of verbal reinforcement as we go about the ride.

It’s a habit I can’t see myself changing, and one I’m actually quite happy I’ve got. What about you? Are you verbal with your horses when riding? Or do you tend to be the silent type?

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It’s All Good

So, before I wax on and on about June, let me say this. She isn’t actually perfect. She can be pushy and impatient and sometimes tries my patience. She has serious opinions and I know I am not getting a quiet, easy, horse.

But, that said, she’s pretty amazing.

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I mean, the cutest!

The best part (in my opinion) about baby horses, is that everything is new. There is no having to retrain them, so when they pick up on something, you’re like “OMG YOU’RE THE SMARTEST HORSE EVER!!” Because, they are learning much more quickly than you’d expect. Or, at least, than I would expect.

Last week I had my first lesson on June. It was the first time I rode her in a saddle and it was the first time she was ridden outside of the round pen. She was good, in that she would woah 80% of the time and go about 80% of the time when asked. She would get a little confused, and we’d let her work it out, but she definitely needed some direction and guidance.

Three days later I rode her again, this time in the round pen, since I was alone and she wouldn’t have someone guiding her. She remembered most of what we had done and was so much more responsive. Her woah was much more solid as was her go. She even turned! I was blown away!

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Getting her to accept ANYTHING on her hind legs has been a work in progress and probably our biggest struggle. But now she lets me put on boots without any fuss. One day we’ll try for shipping boots. One day.

And then today we did some groundpole work on the lunge line. Did she do everything perfectly every time? Nope. But she was willing and learned and figured out so much on her own. I didn’t always give her the best line to the poles and it was ok, she would trot through them and get it done. And at the end, when I gave her the option of hopping over an 18″ jump, she happily showed me that this was all a piece of cake.

I feel as though once we get a solid partnership, one where we both trust and understand each other, the sky is going to be the limit. I leave today for a cross-country adventure with Peekaboo, and I know I will miss this baby horse so much. It’s so fun to be excited to go the barn every day. Even if all our homework is just to lead from the right side, or get her comfortable with walking by the ditch on the property. Baby horses are the BEST. Or, at least that’s how I am feeling this week 🙂

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Fraggle Friday: She Walks!

We are ALMOST 4 weeks post surgery, and Stella is improving week by week. Her veterinarian had told me we should start to see some positive improvements beginning at 2 weeks, but she may not be able to walk on her own for 4 full weeks.

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She still looks pretty rough but sutures are out and hair has begun to regrow

Well, Stella is proving just how tough she is, and began walking on her own at 2 weeks, and now at 3 weeks is looking stronger and stronger.

She still needs help with stairs, and she is still a bit wobbly. Her biggest problem is that she doesn’t want to limit herself. I have to keep her on a leash or she will jog down the road with no concern about the fact that her back end can’t really keep up. I don’t use the sling at all anymore, just help her up and down stairs.

My house, which is completely hardwood, now has a maze of carpets and rugs so she doesn’t slip when she walks to her water bowl or to the front door.

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Siri and Peekaboo think all the new carpet is GREAT!

I’m so happy to see her progress, and hope it continues as she gets stronger and stronger. I had to check myself the other day, and remind myself that she is 14. She’s never going to walk perfectly, she didn’t before surgery, as she still has one torn ACL. She’s also still mostly deaf, mostly blind and 100% opinionated. It’s been nice to see those opinions again though. She is off all of her meds, and is back to being the dog I know and love.

In the meantime, poor Siri has been playing second fiddle. But, quite honestly, she seems fine with it. I tried to make a big deal about her made up 2nd birthday (her “gotcha” date is more of a big deal around here) and took her on a hike and gave her some special treats. She seems to know Stella needs extra attention now and plenty of attention will come her way again soon.

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Could Siri be any sweeter? That’s her head under Stella’s….

I took a video of Stella at 2 weeks post sx and 3 weeks and posted them below. The difference is subtle but she is definitely headed in the right direction.

2 weeks post sx: https://youtu.be/zrAe1CJxFzA

3 weeks post sx: https://youtu.be/O81IaPVMxaM

Yay for Stella! Thanks for all your positive vibes, they certainly helped!

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June’s Big Adventure

One of my big plans for June when she came back to me was to take her to a localish schooling show and let her see the sights and get used to the life she’ll soon be leading. One where she’ll spend nights away from home and may have to travel long distances. She needs to be comfortable going new places and not making a big deal about it.

Honestly, I had zero expectations for this trip, other than I wanted her to load into the trailer and be ok about hauling, Beyond that, we’d see what would happen.

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I’m calling this the poor woman’s side pull. I can;t afford new anything, so reins got attached to a halter…

What was supposed to be a simple haul to show, spend the night, walk the grounds in the AM and head home in the PM turned into SO much more and baby mare handled it incredibly well.

So, from the beginning: She loaded like a champ. She was the first horse on the trailer and we had no issues. We drove to Stella’s vet appt, about 3 hours away. From there, she sat in the trailer for about 10 minutes while I checked Stella in, then we went to the equine hospital  down the road where she unloaded and sat in a stall for an hour while a horse had a lameness exam. She hung out in the stall, drank some water, and was totally calm. Then, back on the trailer, and off to pick up Stella where she stood in the trailer calmly for about 30 minutes, and then to Sarah’s trainers barn where Sarah was having two lessons and we would be spending the night. There was quite a bit of traffic, so we arrived far later than we had anticipated, so we unloaded horses, I threw June into a stall in a dark barn and helped Sarah tack up. June paused for about 3 seconds before entering the dark barn, but that was it. When I went to get her she was munching some leftover hay and happily came outside with me.

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If there’s hay she’s happy

I walked her all over the facility including out on the cross country course. She was a bit leery of the coffin (smart horse) but would happily nibble grass all around it. She was calm and happy and settled in and ate her hay that evening as if she had always been there.

I fed her early that morning and she was bright eyed but didn’t end up eating a whole lot as there was lots going on and we loaded back up about an hour later. She was a bit less eager to get into the trailer. I ended up getting my “ground work wand” as I call it, and she loaded right up. Once we got to the facility we decided to leave her and one other horse in the trailer since it was cool and we didn’t have day stalls. I was worried about doing this, but shouldn’t have been. She definitely pawed, but she was in there a good hour, and about 20 minutes in she gave up on pawing and just ate her hay.

After I read Sarah her dressage tests, I went back to the trailer, got June out and we walked all over. We watched some dressage, jumping warm up and stood at the rail to film Sarah’s first jump round. She was unfazed by all of it. The only thing she gave the hairy eyeball was the Gator four wheeler thing. What’s interesting is we have one of these at our barn. So it’s not novel in any way. Apparently she’s leary of Gators..

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Is there a Gator out there?

But then we had the only truly stressful part of the trip. For humans more so than horses.  After loading up one more time to head home, I told Sarah I needed to stop at Petsmart as I had no dog food at home. Sarah said it was fine, we could, but I hadn’t really thought the entire thing through. Petsmart is in a busy strip mall. It was Saturday at 1pm. Sarah has a 46′ trailer. It would be almost like a semi driver trying to navigate a strip mall. With turns.

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Trailer is no joke..

So, I would say it was a disaster, but it wasn’t realllyyy. I mean sure, Sarah just stopped and parked on what she thought was a not busy side street (it was very busy) and turned on her flashers, after navigating about 5 strip mall turns with her huge ass trailer. And sure, I paid for my dog food and then RAN down the street with the shopping cart like I had just stolen it so I could get to the trailer and keep Sarah from being honked at by more angry drivers. And maybe our poor ponies got swung side to side and back and forth as she navigated that maze, but in the end, I got dog food, horses behaved and so I call it a win. However, now, when Sarah needs something from me and I grumble about it, she just looks and says “Petsmart” and I know I’m indebted to her for a long time…

June got home, into her stall, and started to eat dinner.

Isn’t fazed by anything but Gators.

I’d call this weekend a huge win. Not only for June’s big adventure, but it was really fun to get out of town with Sarah and do horse stuff again. And, Stella’s recheck/PT appt went great. They were very impressed with the progress she’s made! She handled the weekend well and it wasn’t nearly as stressful for her as I had worried it would be. It’s good to have my best traveling buddy with me. If this weekend is any indication, we should be having a very fun spring and summer!

 

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June’s First Week Back

I really can’t express how impressed I am with this mare since she has been back.

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So pretty!

I figured in her first week we would take it a bit easy, and on Day 2 I brought her in for grooming and she was great.  I then put her in the round pen to see what, if anything, she remembered. Mare was 100% game and not only did she remember things, she had an attitude of “ok, now what would you like?” I’d had an issue with her not wanting to be caught  from her field last summer and so Trainer Dana had me work on teaching her to come towards me when I opened my arms, with lunge whips in each hand. If she went sideways I’d keep her from going anywhere with the whip. If she squared to me, I’d slink a little, avoid eye contact and invite her to come towards me. One step forward and pressure was released, I backed up as she came forward. It worked amazingly well, despite my  not believing it would and June never had an issue with being caught again.

On this day, I thought I’d see if she remembered any of that. I only had one whip, but I opened my arms, took a step back and June walked right up to me.

I think the best decision I made was to send her to Trainer Dana prior to letting her rest all winter. Clearly she has retained that info and is ready to move forward.

Day 3 she got off because Stella had surgery and I was in Boise. I took advantage of being unable to work her and had her get her spring vaccinations.

Day 4 we did a little round pen work, a little grooming, and then I took her to the obstacle course. As always with her, if she understands the question, she is game to do her darndest. In a few instances I got in front of her shoulder, which she thinks means whoa and we had some difficulty walking over the bridge or teeter totter. But she did everything I asked, when I asked correctly, and  her favorite is still climbing on the tires.

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What’s the big deal, mom?

Day 5 it was lunging in the indoor arena. I decided to throw some trot poles down as well as the liverpool. I walked her up to the liverpool and we walked over it with zero hesitation. This was a physically demanding day for an unfit pony. Lots of trotting, walking and trotting over the liverpool on the lunge line, and figuring out where her feet are through the trot poles. I could tell she was getting tired when she stopped and looked at me. I urged her forward and she literally threw her head and squealed! Then totally trotted forward. I appreciate the sass almost as much as how quickly she acquiesced.

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I like to watch her trot…

Day 6 she got her teeth floated. And I took advantage of the drugs and trimmed her bridle path, fetlock feathers and butchered her tail a bit. Whoops!

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She’s kinda a lightweight

Day 7 I brought her into the indoor and we worked on standing politely while being groomed, she wore front shipping boots and hind xc boots and we walked around. She was not happy about the rear boots so I left them on while I saddled her and walked her around the barn with her saddle on and stirrups swinging around. She didn’t protest about any of it.

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More tires, please?

I’m pleasantly surprised by how much she grew up this winter and how great her attitude is. We’ll begin taking lessons in May, so in the meantime I plan on just de-sensitizing her to as much as possible and getting her fit enough to begin work under saddle. It’s been great having her back, she brings much needed happiness to each day.  I’m thinking this will be a fun summer together!

 

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Decisions

Ten days ago, walking with the dogs, Stella lost control of her back end. She was swaying back and forth, as well as stumbling and falling down. I took my coat off, used it as a sling, took a video, and once home, with her resting comfortably sent the video to a veterinarian friend.

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Screenshot of her drunken sailor walk

She immediately called me and thought Stella may have had a “spinal seizure” or embolism. She recommended Prednisone and to see if she improved any.

She didn’t improve much, and so Stella and I took a 2.5 hour trip to see our favorite orthopedic specialist. He suspected a herniated disc, and because of her age, wanted to see if meds and acupuncture might get the inflammation down and the disc to stop being so angry.

That was a week ago and what a roller coaster it has been. Stella would get a bit better for a day, then regress. Then better to where she could take a few steps, and then fall. Then it got to where she really needed my help walking all the time, and I realized I needed to make a decision asap before she became more neurologic.

During my first trip to see the ortho vet, I was speaking to a friend and said “I need you to be the voice of reason and make sure I don’t agree to doing surgery.” When she didn’t respond I realized the connection had been cut off and she hadn’t heard me. But at the time, I was adamant that my 14 year old dog would not be having back surgery.

But, then I had a week with her. A week where she was the same, opinionated, dog I loved so much. Not being able to get up on her own was frustrating for her, but she had me trained pretty quickly. A mumble and grumble that lasted more than the time it took for her to get comfy on her bed meant she was thirsty and needed me to bring her water bowl to her. When she was feeling good, she’d try to trot and go smell things, despite the fact that I was attached to her via a sling around her back end and was asking her to go the other way. The steroids made her hungry, but she would still look at me like “this is the best you’ve got?” before voraciously eating her kibble. She patiently waited for me to get the crazy dogs out before getting her up, and she always let me know if she wanted to go out the back door or front door (front door if she had to poop because then she’d get a longer walk).

Two days prior to the herniated disc, my old dog went on a trot about with me and Georgie. She had a blast. One day before she hurt her back she was gleefully trotting around the barn eating as much poop as possible before I put her back in the car.

And while she certainly can act much younger than the number assigned to her, she is still an old dog. She tore her second ACL (for which we decided not to do surgery as she was getting along ok and had the other repaired one to lean on) and gets stiff and sore with lots of exercise. She is like an old lady that hates being out of her routine. She wants to be at home, on a walk, or in my car. She can’t see or hear very well anymore and chaos or change really stresses her out. Getting her to eat, some days, is nearly impossible. She literally won’t eat the same thing two days in a row. So yeah, she’s old. And some days are harder for her than others.

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Siri tried to comfort her as much as possible

So in the past week, I have gone back and forth about surgery. For one thing, the cost was incredibly prohibitive. I hadn’t been saving for some elective procedure, this was a surprise that I was not prepared for. But even more than that, how would an old dog do under anesthesia? Is she strong enough to bounce back from spinal surgery? Should I put my elderly dog through this complicated a procedure?

My veterinarian felt she was a good candidate for surgery. Her blood work and chest x-rays were all within normal limits. The procedure has a 90% success rate and she would be under anesthesia for far shorter a time than I had anticipated. She should feel immediate relief even if it takes her a little longer to gain full use of her legs.

So, after 10 days of my dog not doing well, and not improving, I felt I had to say yes to surgery. I had had ten days of the Stella I know and love. The Stella that rules my household and likes it that way. Ten days with the easiest patient, who trusted I would take her out to potty every four hours and make sure she always had fresh water. She was no different from the dog she had been 11 days ago except that she couldn’t use her back legs very well.

Euthanasia was not an option for me. For my dog Squirrel, who had cancer and one night was in so much pain trying to breathe, euthanasia was the kindest option. She wasn’t going to get better. Her condition was not treatable. But Stella’s condition was treatable. She wasn’t getting better with meds and acupuncture, so, for me, the decision was clear. I had to do surgery on my 14 year old dog.

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My dogs laying together does not get old for me

I was surprised by the reaction I got from some about this decision. The grimace they would make when I told them I was going to do surgery. The judgement I felt about a decision that was so incredibly personal. A decision that none of them had to be in, and I hoped never would have to be. And to be honest, if they made a different decision when presented with the situation, that’s completely fine by me. The toughest part of caring for an animal is that we have to make decisions for them. We try to make the best one we possibly can. It’s not easy, and for me, I have cried and cried and cried over it. But I believe I made the right decision.

Stella is in surgery as I write this. I am anxiously awaiting a call from the doctor in the next 10-15 minutes telling me she’s in recovery. Please let her be in recovery.

I have no idea how hard it will be for her post op. But I’ll be with her literally every step of the way. I know she’ll be in less pain and I am hoping my stubborn, tough, dog will make a full recovery and have some quality time left with me. If she doesn’t, I know I’ve done everything I could for her. I know I’ve given her every chance to keep going, and even if she can’t anymore, I did what I could.

So for any and all of you who are struggling with decisions, I’m sorry. I now understand how deeply personal they are, and how sometimes, there isn’t “the right” decision. There’s just the decision you make that you think is best. And I believe that’s all we can do for the animals in our lives.

*** I just heard from the surgeon and Stella is out of surgery and recovering in ICU well!

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She’s Home!

This was a week where I could use something to make me happy. And leave it to my baby horse to help me with the task.

For those of you who kindly commented on my Fraggle Friday post, Stella is doing ok, but this week will be one of decisions, I’ll keep you posted on her for sure. We’re not out of the woods by any means

But this is a horse blog, so for now, lets talk about the baby horse!

Sarah and I went and picked up Desi and June Saturday and the trip was completely uneventful. Which is exactly what you want when you are hauling young horses! They both loaded up into the trailer with no issues. Then ate all their hay for the 5 hour journey.

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So curious at the stop for fuel!

When we got home the wind was at hurricane level, but both horses unloaded calmly and June went right into her stall and began to munch even more hay. When I left her she was like “see ya mom, I got hay to eat.”

Exactly the kind of reaction I would want for a horse that just had the most stressful day she’s had in 5 months. ❤

Media is not good, and I apologize. But baby horse had been experiencing mud season and looked it. So, I let her run around prior to grooming and was hoping I could take shots from far enough away that her filth wouldn’t be as obvious.

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I trotted her around a bit and then brought her in and groomed her. Her manners were still in place, but she got bored about 20 minutes in and began pawing. Instead of making a huge fuss I just untied her, had her move her feet, re tied her and got on with it. She looks much better now and tomorrow we’ll get to some real work.

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She’s grown a little, and greyed a lot. Is that a word? You know what I mean…

I’m just over the moon to have her back, and over the moon with how sensible she was on the trailer and her first day back. I’m so excited to get started with her and see what our future holds. Be prepared for more media and lots of June spam.

I do want to take a moment and give a shout out to my good friend Haley and her horse Tommy. You may remember that I rode him last winter and learned a ton. He was such a different ride for me and I struggled, but he was such a good boy and very patient with me. Tommy had been a rock star at Prelim and Haley just moved up to Intermediate with him at Galway, last week. They rocked around like total pros. She’s an inspiration to me and I am so thrilled with how far their partnership has come. It’s fun when a friend succeeds after lots of hard work. June and I are eager to have half their accomplishments.

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Go rock stars!

Here’s to new beginnings with June and hopefully an incredibly fun season!

 

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June’s Genes

I want to start this post with a disclaimer. I really don’t know much about stallions and pedigree. I’ve always had hand me down horses or horses that I could financially afford. The pedigree of these horses never mattered to me. What mattered was their heart, their soundness, and what was going on between their ears. So, never in my life did I think I’d be writing a post highlighting my horse’s pedigree.

But June’s is special enough (for me at least) that it’s worth getting excited about and delving into her ancestry a bit.

j

Doing what she does best…

So here goes.

June’s father is Riverman. If you haven’t heard of Riverman, you’re probably more similar to me than you knew, because apparently we have been living under a rock. This stallion has been around forever. No, like FOREVER. He was born in 1990. How he is still alive is a testament to his care, because that is one old stallion. And how he is still producing semen??? Anyway. We’ll move on.

Riverman is quite the famous stallion. For one thing, his offspring excel in all sorts of disciplines. Eventing, jumping, dressage, and even competitive driving! For me, there are two aspects of Riverman that are really appealing. For one thing, he has been the USEF Lead Eventing Sire 3 times. His babies are out there doing their thing! Which leads me to what else I like about this horse.. his offspring seem to get his talent time and time again. Now, I’m sure there are some duds, but in looking at pages and pages of his offspring, these are some TALENTED babies! Whether jumping or prancing, you can tell they’re a little bit fancier than your average horse. One of my favorite Riverman babies was R-Star ridden by Kristi Nunnick. Mare was fun to watch and so athletic! Currently, one to watch is Fleeceworks Royal, ridden by Tamie Smith.

I hope June inherits his athleticism, I already think she looks a bit like him when he was a baby..

But he is only one part of the equation. Lets not forget about June’s momma!

“Mille Mocha Lynx” is a Quarter Horse who’s babies have gone on to be cutters, jumpers and pleasure/trail horses. She has the QH brain people envy and has she seems to pass this along to her offspring.

I will fully admit I know nada about QH pedigree. But from what I gather, she is related to Doc Lynx somehow and that’s a good line of horses? Lol, I’m so out of my realm on this one. Her breeder told me that her line of Quarter Horses tend to be quite hardy and athletic. When I visited her she seemed like a friendly mare without any conformation flaws. I’m hoping June inherits her brain.

Perhaps what is most exciting is I that have a front row view of every move June’s half-sister makes. Rapid just moved up to Training after crushing it at the Novice level. (She’ll be at AECs this year!) Having ridden Rapid, I can attest to what a lovely mover she is. Her canter is a dream to ride. So uphill. Fingers crossed June gets this quality! Any time Rapid does anything remotely naughty, I’m sure to blame it on her Connemara mom. Not her Holsteiner pappa. (This is the only time I EVER fault an Irish horse for anything.)

rapi

yes please

And while June’s full brother isn’t a competition horse, he is proving to be a lovely level-headed gelding. In 2013 he placed first at Rebecca Farm in the FEH 2 year old class. He has a junior rider who he’s caring for and he’s proving to be scopey and smart and with a temperament suited to an amateur. Lets hope the same qualities are found in his sister!

While only time will tell the horse June will become, I’m excited with this glimpse I have into her pedigree. I think if nothing else, we’re off to a good start!

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