2012 - here it is! Another year flies by. Another year of ramblings, musings, analytical riding, and trying to figure out these darn horses.

Updated: August 31, 2012
July, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I went out in the evening to ride...put Tango out in the arena to free longe him and dang it! He looked a little "off". Not sure - possibly in the front end, possibly could be his knees again? Or maybe he is just really stiff. He did run and play really hard last night with Corky. I put him back in his stall, gave him a gram of bute, and will say a prayer that he comes out fine tomorrow night.

Well, since I was there and ready to ride, it because Corky's turn tonight. I started off the ride thinking how nice it was to get on a horse with some nice automatic forward motion. Of course, after the first two canters her forward motion became excessive, and I battled to ask her just to back down a notch and listen to me! Just give me a freaking inch! Where is the horse I had early this winter - when I had those awesome rides in January and was feeling so positive and optimistic. Maybe she is just done? Having a couple years off did her no favors. I just don't know...it's quite depressing and I left the barn with a heavy heart. When it rains, it pours...things do tend to fall apart all at once it seems. Of course, since I am in a downer-negative mood, it all feels pretty hopeless.

This is where I take the time to lecture myself. Patience, grasshopper! Give Tango some time, it will all be OK. Just hold the course with Corky, give her some more time to see if that 'good child' comes back out.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tango looked better today, still seemed a little stiff. Nope, i am not pushing him. At first I was very disappointed because I SO looked forward to doing his first walk-trot class on Wednesday. Then I drove home and chastised myself on the drive. Geeze, give me a break! It is no big deal! Lay off him for a few weeks, make sure he is 100% before you start working him again, and keep his health and well-being at the top of the list. We have plenty of other chances later in the summer. I was having SO much fun training him, I hate to take a break, but it is necessary for our future so I will do it.

It's Ok, because our temperatures are rising towards 100 degrees again all week, so this is a good week to give him a break. Corky, however, may not get a break! I am thinking she needs the work - but maybe a different job? I am considering breaking out the poles and setting up some crossrails to give her something new to think about. I wish I still had my trail bridge. I have no idea where it is (maybe still at my old barn?). I am going to change things up with her this week and see how her mind takes it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Can we say HOT HOT HOT? It has hit 100 degrees for the past 3 days, and more predicted tomorrow. Tango actually looked pretty good on Tuesday evening, but I was smart and still opted out of the show. It is way too hot to work a 2 year old! Corky, however, didn't get a total reprieve. I just couldn't stand it anymore today...I HAD to ride! I rode around 11am, before the worst of the heat, but it was already in the mid to high 90's. I took some advice of my own and others, and decided to do completely different stuff with Corky. That is my plan for the next few weeks...no rail work other than minimal warming up. Today I put some ground poles down - one on one side and two that were one canter stride apart on the other. I worked Corky first at a trot, then a canter over the poles, changing direction at random. I am not sure if it was because of the excessive heat or the poles, but she rode awesome. I think the heat had a lot to do with it (to be totally honest). Last time I worked her over ground poles she got really riled up and wild about it. Today it was just too hot to make the effort (which tells me she really isn't worried about the poles, just ornery!). She rode great, even when I pushed h from a long spot to canter over the poles, she came right back to the pace I was asking. Hey, for whatever the reason, I will take this enjoyable ride! Just to prove what a glutton for punishment I am, I will mention that as the temps reached 100 degrees, I was posting without stirrups as my daily ritual torture!

When I was done, but Corky and Tango got hosed off (for once both were actually eager to walk into the wash rack) and they spent the rest of their day standing in front of their stall fans. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE having an indoor wash rack?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I got up early to ride today. Ok, so 9:30am isn't really early but I rarely go ride before 11am. Of course, since getting a puppy, every morning is a 7am morning! Strangely enough even though I am NOT a morning person, I don't mind waking up to take Pretzel out. He is SO worth it :-)

I rode Corky first. I set up a single pole on the ground, and a small 'X' on the other end. She was feeling good today. The temps were finally in the 80's (at least they we in the morning!) and she was refreshed. I longed her first, trotting over the pole and the X. For once, she actually trotted over the X and didn't jump it. Under saddle, she was really good. We did a lot of trotting, she trotted easily over the X with little issue. I took it at the canter a few times. She is waaaaay calmer about it than the last time I worked her over cross rails (which was probably several years ago). It was fun! I don't tank I should do anything bigger than the low cross rails until she gets those wedge shoes off (if ever).

Next it was Tango's turn. he hasn't been ridden in over a week, but he looked good on the longe line so I decided to do some work under saddle. He ride great! I kept it low-key, just walked and trotted and did some circles. I think I will lay off the cantering for a while. There is no rush. I am also considering having his knees x-rayed to see if they have closed yet. I wish I had a money tree, or even just a small money decorative shrub. Things are tight (as usual), I am debating whether this would be a good reason to spend several hundred dollars. Ugh...decisions...money...ugh.

Monday, July 9, 2012

You know, the most frustrating thing about Corky is that she ends up being a different horse every time I take her out of her stall. Oh sure, she starts out the same, but the end result is always a toss up. Today, for example, I set up a little crossrail like yesterday, only on the other side of the arena. We did some railwork to warm up, she was trotting and cantering like a champion (listening to me...for once!). I trotted over the crossrails a few times, no biggie. We cantered it the first time and wow did she get riled up! We only cantered it a few times, she was really revved up over it. I find this odd, since yesterday it was totally no big deal for her. So, one of three things occurred. Either:

  1. The jump being on the other side of the arena bothered her
  2. The fact that I used green poles instead of the white ones bothered her
  3. Corky is just being Corky, and there is no rhyme nor reason to her mood swings.
I'll buy choice #3!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guess what I did today? Painted clouds on the kitchen ceiling of our new house! The house is small and definitely not fancy, but I hope to add some cool touches to the interior to make it interesting. It will be ready to move into around the year 2017 (and I am not joking, unfortunately!).

I put the poles out in the arena in a large "Z" pattern for Corky. We did some trotting patterns over the poles, changing direction constantly and keeping her on her toes (if she HAD toes, she would have been on them!!!). Tonight was a kick-butt awesome ride...reminiscent of the ones I was having in early winter (that I waxed about a few days ago). Corky is consistent in her inconsistency, for sure. It was a great ride, and I even had Pretzel running around loose in the arena to spice things up while I rode, and Corky could care less. That really surprised me.

Well, it looks like she is going to be the one who gets to show on Saturday. I decide to make an appointment for Tango to have his knees x-rayed tomorrow to see if they are closed. If they are closed, then I can probably resume normal training. If they are still open, I will back off a bit right now. It's worth the money to find out for sure so I don't do any damage to those growing joints.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Well, the x-rays showed that Tango's right knee is closing up, and his left knee is closing also but is not as far along as the right knee. You can see that the gap on the very edge is much less prominent in today's xray compared to the one taken Feb. 20th. It is very interesting, the group of lines or "seams" you see with the gap will eventually disappear once they are closed and he matures. My vet showed me an x-ray of a 3 year old's knee, and you don't even see a line anymore, just a long blurry spot. Cool! So, I will back off Tango for a couple weeks and then start back slowly. I am all for longevity!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I got up early and Corky and I headed to a show. As soon as we arrived it started to rain, so she hung out in the trailer for a while. It did eventually stop, and we headed for showmanship. We had two showmanship classes we could enter, and I got 1st and 3rd in them. Corky nailed her pattern! She was a little antsy in the line up. She is very much in heat, and that is making her a little jittery and impatient. Normally standing around is easy for her, but today she did a lot of shifting, moving her feet, and even grabbing at the lead...so unlike her! I was very happy with her pattern. The patterns were very long and complicated with several elements (including a back around a cone followed by a 270 turn).

The way the showbill was set up was very inconvenient and I would have to stay until late evening to show the HUS, so I didn't bother entering. Instead I spent a lot of the afternoon riding, walking through crowds, and just standing around absorbing the atmosphere. She got a bit tense any time we trotted, so we mostly walked and kept things calm and easy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Today is my last chance to ride for a while so I decided to get Tango out and do a little work. I got on him after a brief longeing session, and he was very good under saddle. He just felt a little weird...I think I was being paranoid but decided to be safer rather than sorry, and got off him after about 5 minutes. I will just let him hang out until I get back in a week and a half or so.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I have one day home before I am off again - heading to the Ohio State Fair to braid horses for 3 days! I put Corky and tango out in the indoor, and Tango was definitely lame. Ugh. Worried.

On the bright side, I rode Corky and had a GREAT ride - a ride similar to what I had early this past winter...easy, smooth, relaxed, FUN! There still may be hope for us yet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Finally back from braiding, of course I put Tango and Corky out in the indoor and of course tango was even MORE lame than before...decidedly head-bobbing at the trot (although he ran and bucked and reared and wanted to play!). It has to be the epyphesitis coming back, but I can't figure out why since he is on plain grass hay and Safe Choice. I am having the barn owner cut down his grain consumption and up his hay. He is starting to look thin already, I am sure he will lose more weight with his grain being cut down, but I guess it's better thin than lame. I will have to look into some ration balancers or something. I am getting such conflicting advice on his feed that I don't know what to do, and I don't want to spend a fortune buying all these different bags of grain in an experiment. I wish someone could just flat out tell me exactly what he needs to keep him healthy and growing. *sigh*...sure throws all my plans for him down the drain. Now it's just a waiting game. Looks like Corky will have to step her game up and show for me. She's gonna hate that LOL!

On a fun note, next Friday I will be taking Pretzel to our very first dog show - a big puppy match in Canfield. I am really nervous about this because I know absolutely nothing. I don't even have anything to wear! I am looking forward to it, because new experiences are always fun...at least the new GOOD experiences are!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Corky has been riding rather well for me lately! When I ask for control of her tempo, she is actually giving it to me. OK, so she isn't thrilled to give up control, but she is at least doing it. I am considering one last AQHA show in 2 weeks...one more shot...kind of fitting since it was the last show we did together 2 years ago. A lot depends on my schedule, how she rides the next 2 weeks, and of course the ever important money. *sigh*

Corky is being a good sport about her little grey shadow (Pretzel!) who follows her the entire time we ride. It's fun, he races next to Corky as she trots and canters on the rail, and even goes over the crossrails with us. Corky doesn't seem to have a problem with having a little shadow, which is interesting since she has been really timid around small animals ever since her nasty possum attack a couple years ago. I know Pretzel sure enjoys it!

I haven't checked Tango, refused to look at how he is moving right now. Each day I turn him out in the side pasture while I ride. He runs around for a bit, then grazes. Tomorrow I will actually ask him to trot in the arena and watch how he moves. Hopefully I will see a sound horse.

Monday, July 30, 2012

OK, I did check tango today, he is worse! Definite limp in the front at the trot, and it looks more on the right front. Looks like I will have to schedule an appointment next week to have it investigated. He should not be getting worse with just turnout and no work. I am worried.

Corky rode really well today. I rode her right at feeding time, which normally would result in a very cranky ride, but she was pretty good! Zero issues with her listening to me, gotta love that. Things are looking better towards hitting a qh show next weekend.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I turned Tango out in the side pasture, and decided to put Corky out in the back pasture. She was more interested in trotting and cantering rather than eating. She didn't really run like a maniac, she just did a controlled gait round and round the pasture while I sat in the shade and watched. Great exercise for her!

Notice the similarities in stride and topline? :-]

August, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I haven't posted in a week. I got distracted a bit last week with Pretzel's first dog show (see pictures HERE). Of course, my purple truck decided to make a grinding/scraping noise whenever I turned or braked. Took it to the shop yesterday, and $550 later I got new brakes, rotors, and wheel bearings. Yay.

This weekend, Tango looked decidedly worse. He is definitely definitely LAME. Rest has not helped. I made an appointment Friday afternoon with the great leg vets outside of Columbus. NOT looking forward to a 2 1/2 hour drive in an un-air conditioned truck, but it's gotta be done. I really need to find out what is going on with him.

Due to my truck and my horse breaking down, I cancelled my plans to go to the AQHA show in Rochester, Indiana next weekend. Financially I just cannot afford it.

Sooooo...yesterday and today I rode Corky in the evening. She is riding pretty good. Today I tossed down 3 poles in an open "T" formation and trotted and cantered over them. She did really well on the lopeovers (I feel weird calling it a "lopeover" when she is definitely cantering, not loping!). I rode around tonight with no real purpose. Purpose-less riding....I hate it. Riding around without any guidance, no goal to work towards, nothing in my future to even aim at. It's weird, especially for me because I always tend to be really really goal-oriented, and I feel a bit lost without one. It was better earlier this year when I had Tango to work with. There was a big goal - getting him broke! Since I have had to stay off him for over a month now, I lost that bit of perspective. It's weird when I start focusing on my dog, his training and dog shows, in order to get my "goal fix".

So what does one do when they have a horse they LOVE riding, but no money to show, no time, and nothing to work towards? I don't want to just spin my wheels...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Well, Tango went to the vet today just south of Columbus. A lovely 2 1/2 hour drive...yep!The vet did some flex tests on Tango. He flexed only slightly sore in his right knee, but VERY sore in his left coffin (and somewhat sore in his right coffin). So to the office we went for a series of x-rays.

He was concerned first with the fuzziness of the bottom of the coffin bone on the x-rays, and said that looks to be a sign of deterioration, which is extremely rare in such a young horse. He also didn't like the way his coffin bone is parallel to the ground, he felt that the heel should be slightly raised. Another concern is the thrush Tango has (I have been battling that consistently all summer but didn't think it was too horrendous). His sole is rotted away in some places, making it very close to the bottom of the coffin bone and causing soreness. Here are pics of his two front feet: (click to magnify)

In comparison, I brought up Taylor's feet x-rays from 2006. Her coffin bone is normal, despite having a tiny bone spur at the very tip (you can see it at the tip of the bone). I wanted to compare the two angles, and the definition of the bottom edge of the bone in the x-rays. I do see a difference, however slight:

The vet recommended I put 2-degree wedge shoes on Tango (Ugh, not ANOTHER horse with wedge shoes!!!) and get his thrush cleared up to see if this helps. It sounded good, but you know me, I went home and did gobs of research. Everything I read cautions about raising up the heel too much and putting pressure on the front of the coffin bone, this could cause founder. I worry that 2 degree wedges may be too much? Who do I trust?

Oh, and he did take an x-ray of Tango's right knee just to compare it to the x-rays taken 6 weeks ago. The one side appears to be closing, but the other side is wide open. he said Tango has a LOT of growing left to do (yippee!!!) and this looked and acted normal. Whew!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I am still stewing about this appointment and foggy diagnosis. I e-mailed another vet I like (the one that diagnoses and fixed Corky's feet problems back in 2011) and asked if he would be willing to look at the x-rays. He e-mailed me right back and said he would, so I forwarded them on to him. Now I will wait and hear his opinion.

Saturday, August 11, 2012 - update

My other vet took a glance at the x-rays on his phone and said from what he could see, it looked like a case of pedal osteitis. He said he would look at the x-rays closer when he was at his office on Monday, but recommended that I bring Tango in for another x-ray. Ugh. Here is a good article about pedal osteitis that I found: Pedal Osteitis

Saturday, August 11, 2012 - update - even later

I had a great conversation with equine podiatrist Rob Spencer. He took a look at Tango's x-rays, and did agree with my vet that said he needed those 2 degree wedge shoes. Rob had GREAT advice (spoken in plain English so I could actually understand!) about how to shoe him. I talked to my farrier and we are going to get 2 degree wedge leather rim pads with flat aluminum shoes and try that out first. Might need to add a rocker toe eventually if needed, but that will come later. The biggest puzzle seems to be why this degeneration of the coffin bone occurred. It could have been some sort of laminitic episode - maybe from a reaction to vaccines or something else? We will never know. Now it is just a matter of fixing it and preventing more problems.

I went to the barn this afternoon and rode Corky. I set up an "L" of ground poles and trotted and cantered her over them. She got really jazzed up at the canter because the poles forced her to rock back in her stride, and you know that anything that makes her control her pace seems to make her MAD! We ended on a good note, I rode her through it and she eventually relaxed and did it OK. After my ride, I went to pick up the poles and saw Pretzel having fun jumping my stool. I grabbed my camera and shot a video!

What a total ham he is! I can't wait to try agility with him next year!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012 - update - even later

Today was an easy-peasy ride on Corky. She was in one of her "good work mode" days, and it was a ride I could have done all day (but I didn't!). I turned Tango out in the back pasture while I started riding, but he got very wound up being all by himself so I brought him back up and put him in the side paddock where he could still see everyone. I am still waiting on a call from my farrier, hopefully I can get him scheduled as soon as possible. I am desperate to find out if the wedge pads will work wonders or not. I am fully expecting a miracle, will accept nothing less LOL!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My farrier came out today to put the wedge shoes and rim pads on Tango. I was so worried about his soundness I completely forgot that these are Tango's very first shoes being nailed on! Both my farrier and I were amazed that he stood like a rock for the nailing. Tango is wearing rim pads with 2 degree wedge aluminum shoes...and the ever-present bell boots! I am not going to get crazy with optimism, but I did turn him out and trotted him about 10 steps...and although he moved like a bad sewing machine, he moved soundly and evenly on both front feet. That is a GOOD sign, though the next few weeks will tell the real story. Now I get to go through the same thing I went through when Corky first got her wedge shoes on...reminding myself that this ugly knee action movement will go away as he learns how to move again. First priority is soundness!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I started off the day in a touch of panic...got a call that tango was down cast in his stall, possibly colicking? By the time I got there they had gotten him up and were walking him in the arena. he was no worse for wear, and didn't seem to have any problems. Thank goodness no colic...just his usual lazy self. He hasn't gotten stuck in his stall since last year, but when he used to get cast he would always just lay there like a dead horse until someone rescued him. This is probably why he never got hurt!

The rest of the day was a fun day at the barn. I rode Corky for a bit, played around, and then offered her to my barn owner (who is a dressage rider) to ride. It was really cool seeing someone else on Corky. She got her a slight bit more 'up' in the bridle than I ride her (but by no means in a full dressage frame). Corky really tested her, she wasn't used to so much bit contact and was a bit cranky and high-headed at the canter. I am seriously considering doing a little training level dressage for fun, maybe try showing a test some time this year. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Monday, August 20, 2012

It was a great day to ride. I was tempted to ride outside, but my time was limited and I know that is going to be a 2 hour ordeal. Maybe tomorrow? I was thinking my goal this fall could be to try and get Corky to ride OK outside. We will see how that works. Today I just worked her on bending and a lot of circles - trotting and cantering - to get her to bend better around my leg. It took forever - maybe 20-30 minutes into my ride before she was loosened up enough to really bend her body. She comes out of her stall as stiff as a board, and even more so the older she gets. She would do well to have a full time massage therapist on staff to work her muscles over ever day. However this is the real world, and she just has ME!

Tonight I braided my friend's horse for the very last time. I helped her find him when she was horse shopping, tried him out for her, and have braided him for every show for the past 6 years. It was kind of a sad moment...been braiding him for almost as long as I have been braiding Corky! He is for sale now (daughter going to college) if you know of anyone looking for a great HUS packer. OK, shameless plug is finished!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today was a gorgeous summer day. Sometimes the beauty of the day just doesn't match your mood....mine was a bit dark and ugly. I decided to get Corky out and attempt to ride outside. We tried riding outside once back in the spring and it was a miserable failure. Today I was ready to do battle...but no battle was needed! I longed her for less than 5 minutes and she was dead quiet, so I hopped on.

it is kind of funny how listening to a passing comment can change your perspective and give your training a boost. As I was tacking up, I was listening to my barn owner give a lesson to someone. She was discussing the walk, and having the student push her horse into more of a "marching" walk, and said something about how the walk needs to be ridden just like e other gaits. Pretty basic knowledge, I know, but it bears repeating! As I walked outside I started thinking about that, and decided to make sure I rode every single stride. No relaxing and letting Corky look around and decide to be bothered by something. So when I got on her, I got immediately to work. We worked circles and serpentines, changes of direction, leg yields, all sorts of things...at the walk, trot, and canter. She was awesome! Seriously, this was one of those easy dream rides that I get indoors every now and then, only it was outside in the big arena with the bugs and grasshoppers flying and other than a couple tiny spooks, she was almost perfect!

I feel like I got a lot accomplished. We worked on getting our circles more rounded and I also worked on trotting a perfectly straight line down the center. This is something Corky is not good at because she seems to always want to bend her body in one direction or the other. The entire ride was so much fun. I still feel a little purpose-less without any shows to be working towards, but the ride itself was just pure enjoyment. Gotta love that!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tango has been looking good, so I decided to do some low-impact training today. He is getting rather full of himself again, so he needs a JOB. I saddled him up and longed him briefly, he looked good! Canter to the left was a little funky, but that is his bad way anyways so the wedge shoes made it more difficult for him. I feel pretty confident that within another few weeks he will be moving just like he did before the wedges. He looks better ever day I see him!

After our short longeing session, I ground drove him. We only did it at the walk, did some circles and basic steering exercises. It was like we never quit...we picked up right where we left off. i am thinking Tango might be a horse that doesn't need daily work (unlike Corky)...he is fine with time off! I am anxious to get on his back, but am forcing myself to wait. I will ground drive him again next week, and try some trotting. the rest will have to wait...patience, grasshopper!

By the way, my dog training diary has been updated...with a ridiculous amount of pictures!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Today is my last official day of summer break...back to school and reality tomorrow. I start the school year with a crazy week of late nights, so today I spent some quality time with my horses (and Pretzel, of course).

Idid some ground-driving with Tango again, did it at the trot today and he was great. I only worked him about 10 minutes, then turned him out for a while. He is still really awkward at the canter, especially to the left. He is cantering and bracing his neck upwards. I think I need to try some loose side reins and see how he looks when he isn't bracing himself. Maybe I will do that next weekend.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I turned Tango outside and rode Corky tonight. It was an easy ride, I worked on achieving the perfectly round circle, so that took a while. Yep, crazy excitement for me on a Friday night!

Time to head to Page 5 - September and October!