Monday, August 31, 2015

A Soothing Video for Monday Morning

This could be one of those things only a horse person finds soothing, but I watched it for no kidding 15 minutes straight last week.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Blog Post Roundup

Gemmie Update: Turned Out from What Could Possibly Go Wrong
Really interesting injury update photos, with positive news.

Turnout Cards from Equestrian at Hart
Interesting conversation on an eternally tricky and changing topic.

The Dangers of Rocket Fuel Feeding from Guinness on Tap
I've always had or taken care of easy keepers, so this balance is fascinating to me.

OF Starter Trials - Dressage & Stadium from Fraidy Cat Eventing
I do love a solidly written, well-illustrated show recap, and this one is great.

6 Great Things One Traffic Cone Can Do For Your Riding from Trafalgar Square Books
GREAT list of exercises, lots of inventive and common sense things here.

The Tail Tutorial from The $900 Facebook Pony
Lots of good tips here!

Improvements and Advancements from In Omnia Paratus
Thoughtful and good training philosophy.

Work Harder, Get Better from Poor Woman Showing
Yup. In a nutshell.

Catching Up with Che Mr Wiseguy's Clones from Eventing Nation
I don't know why I find the idea of equine clones endlessly fascinating but wow, this is just engrossing.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Waiting Game

First, the tl;dr: no news is no news. No clear answers yet.

Yesterday, I said that I had found a lump on Tristan's tail and the vet wanted to see it ASAP.

First, my apologies if this is a little bit...scattered? I'm going to try to write it out in a straightforward way but my brain as of late has been slipping gears and/or foggy.

I left work a little late, and then was delayed picking up my car from the mechanic, so pulled into the barn right as the vet did. I'd been hoping for an hour or two of decompression and maybe a ride around the field.

sunlight in the valley to break up text

I changed, and brought Tris to the front of the barn for the vet to examine. I adore my vet; she is smart, fierce, kind, and always has an aura of competence and calm, though she's only a few years older than I am.

First examination: lots of frowning face from the vet. Definitely an abnormal lump: hard, rather large, and not sensitive, as I had already observed. I admitted, deeply ashamed, that I didn't know how long it had been there. We pieced together between us that it had to have formed and grown this summer, since she took his temperature in late spring for the abscess, and I remembered treating his tail for a rub around that time as well.

We talked a lot, and tried to navigate our way through a couple of best options.

No matter what, we had to biopsy. That led to the first decision. A biopsy in this case meant a 2mm punch of skin from the tumor itself, which was likely to be quite painful.

two nights ago

The vet felt that just the initial visual examination of tissue from the lump would tell us a lot. If it was a melanoma, game over. Gray horses can grow melanomas with no ill effects, but bay horses should not. If it was a melanoma, it was aggressive and nasty and would have to be removed with clear margins for Tris to have a chance.

There was a chance it could also be a very oddly-presenting abscess or another kind of tumor entirely. We talked through the different treatment possibilities for all of the options, and eventually arrived at a plan of treatment. The vet would do two biopsy punches, and after each one she would insert a bead of bioabsobable Cisplastin, two for the size of the lump. If it turned out to be some kind of cancerous tumor, Cisplastin would have been our first treatment anyway. If it turned out to be something else entirely, the dosage was small enough and the location precise enough that it would not necessarily cause problems. She also felt quite strongly that it was a cancerous lump of some kind and that this would both save additional visits and be the swiftest and most effective treatment.

sorry, very blurry picture, but the beads are about the size of Nerds

Vet explained that she often does an epidural to treat tails. Pros: the tail would be completely numb and relaxed and we could work without any worry. Cons: many horses did not tolerate the epidural shot well at all, and there was a good chance that he would become temporarily ataxic in his back legs as well, so we would have to keep a very close eye on him for a few hours.

Here was my first fear-based retreat of the day. I heard "ataxic" and started shaking my head. I pressed and pressed and asked about other options, and we talked through them, and eventually we arrived at a plan. I wasn't communicating terrifically well but I think she saw how afraid I was and worked with me.

The new plan: a general sedative followed by a local lidocaine shot. Vet had not suggested it as the first option because apparently tails do not necessarily numb easily or well. We would be doing a painful procedure directly behind him, which anyone in horses knows is not an optimal situation for less than perfect numbing.


But I couldn't say yes to the epidural. I knew that Tristan was generally among the top 1% of best-behaved horses in the universe for medical procedures, and I wanted to give him the chance to keep that designation. So we shot him up with a sedative, and then the vet did a sub-cutaneous injection of lidocaine in a half-circle above the lump.

My second fear-based retreat: I couldn't watch. I held his tail up and to the side. I kept a hand on his flank to comfort him, and talked to him, but I could not bring myself to watch after the first lidocaine injection. I got ill, dizzy and woozy and had tears prick in my eyes.

I am emphatically not a person who freaks out at blood. I've seen some pretty nasty injuries, in person and in photos. This was just a tiny needle. But I couldn't do it.

So I held his tail. I looked at the ground, or at his head. I listened to the vet talking to her assistant and the lesson in the ring, on canter half-steps. Tristan behaved perfectly. He splayed his feet, sleepy and drugged, and did not so much as try to twitch his tail.

The vet took two punches of skin, and we had our first answer: they were not black, and so unless it was a very odd presentation, it was not a melanoma. So that was a piece of good news. It probably, however, was not an abscess either, as it did not drain. Answers at this point started to get pushed out further, depending on the results of the biopsy.

About halfway through, I started feeling a bit better, and watched the vet put the two tiny beads in and pull the sutures together. Two holes, two beads, two tiny sutures with two stitches each. There was not a lot of blood.

finally took a picture. this is the only one of the actual procedure.

The insertion process was painstakingly careful and slow, and then it seemed to go quickly after that. The vet padded the sutures with thick gauze and then wrapped the tail very gently and carefully with Elastikon. The tail is a tough place to keep clean, and she didn't want the sutures tickling him and causing him to rub. If the sutures came out and the Cisplastin beads fell out we'd be in a lot of trouble - not just because he wouldn't be getting treatment, but also because they were, after all, radioactive.

I led him back to his stall, and he slowly woke up over the course of the afternoon, seemingly no worse for the wear.

I had planned on a couple of different things to maybe do that afternoon: give him a bath, take a ride around the field, soak his feet. All of those were now precluded by either his drugged nature or his healing tail. So I brushed him, and I hugged him, and I cried over him. I picked out his feet carefully and packed them with Magic Cushion so I could feel like I was doing something.

Aftercare is simple: keep his tail wrapped. He'll get antibiotics for 5 days, and we'll keep an eye on him. Nothing more complicated or involved than that.

And so we wait. Approximately 10 days for lab results from the biopsied lump, and then we adjust plans based on that.

I am...sadness isn't a good word for it. Numb. Tired. Automated. I sat with him for a long time, and then I went home. I turned down the very generous offer from the barn manager to take one of the ponies out for a trail ride because I didn't want to ride a horse. I wanted to ride my horse. When I got home I laid down on the couch with a book and a glass of water and fell sound asleep for two hours. I've been sort of listlessly wandering since: getting things done mechanically, efficiently, and wishing I were at the barn instead, but not with that burning joy you feel when you can't wait to ride on a beautiful day. Just because I feel cut loose and Tris has always been my anchor.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Raining, Pouring, and Worrying

On Tuesday night, I gave Tristan his first truly thorough grooming in quite a while. I've been limiting myself to a quick brush-off before jumping on for the last few weeks, but that night I really dug in, ran my hand down his legs, and so on.

Because he's prone to tail rubs in the summer, I sometimes pick up his tail and check the underside of the dock. He's had small sores there before (usually what instigates the rubbing) that have required some treatment.

That night, I found this.

It's about the size of a gumball, hard, and not sensitive. I have no idea how long it's been there. Maybe all summer.

I fretted for a moment, and then used the wonder of technology to email my vet and include an image of the lump.

I fussed over him for another 30 minutes or so, rode, and then worked on his feet. By the time I got home, I had an email back from the vet: she wanted to come biopsy it ASAP.


So, while you're reading this post, I'll be at the barn meeting the vet, to biopsy the lump.

It's either an abscess (from afore-mentioned tail-rubbing) or a melanoma. The latter is more likely. The biopsy will tell us what kind it is.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On Loving an Older Horse

Tristan turned 20 years old this spring.

He spent the first 4 years of his life wild, and the next year in a government holding pen. The four years after that were in his first adopter's home, from which he was seized twice for abuse and neglect after several other horses on the property died. The second time was permanent.

He then spent a year and a half at a rescue, and then he became mine. I've had him for almost ten years now, almost as long as he had on his own.

I give you that background to say that he has had a relatively tumultuous and varied life, and also that only half of it was spent with positive human interaction.

It feels like in the last year or two, his physical problems are starting to cascade. Nothing bad, but for the first five years I owned him I think I had two emergency vet calls.

In the last few years, it seems like I'm always dealing with something. He's a little off because he tweaked an ankle. A week and a half ago, he scalped his foot. He's getting more and more prone to White Line Disease. Last night, I opened his stall door to find this.

not helpful.

None of these are really new problems, or dire problems.

(Insert standard eye warning: I have been dealing with swollen/goopy eyes on Tristan for nearly the entire 10 years I have owned him, and have well over a dozen consultations with vets under my belt in relation to his specific challenges. If your horse is not prone to eye problems, and he looks like this, CALL THE VET. NOW. Do not play waiting games with eyes.)

So I picked out and treated his feet. I checked the scab on his heel. I flushed his eye with saline and treated it with his opthalmic antibiotics. Every day, it's something.

Some of this is his Cushings, making his overall immune system more susceptible to all these little things.

A lot of it is age.

I was wondering, last night, as I drove home: is this the emotional burden of older horses that no one talks about? I know that there are young horses who do stupid things to themselves on the regular, but it always feels different to me. Is this the slow unraveling, the wearing down of your heart, the thousand tiny pricks so that you grow used to the idea of physical challenges involving your horse?

I should clarify: none of his problems are bad, and they are all a long way from his heart. He is overall a really healthy horse. But last night, finding that eye, it just felt like the slow drips of water wearing down our more carefree days.

I still can't imagine a life without Tristan, but I am beginning to feel, maybe a little bit, how the preparation of many smaller problems wears you down, helps you deal in tiny small ways with sadness, so that when the ultimate moment comes, it might hurt a little less.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

House Post: Master Bedroom, Final

Whew. Previously in the master bedroom, removing the damn wallpaper took forever.

It took us nearly 3 months, but I am happy to say that the master bedroom is done.

Once we got the wallpaper down, removing the wallpaper paste was agonizingly slow. It was two steps forward and 1.99999 steps back. Over and over, as we tried different things. Finally? Sanding it. Not my first choice, given the age of the house and who-knew-what underneath the wallpaper, but we used respirators, cleaned religiously, and pushed forward.

Then we did a coat of Kilz oil-based primer to make absolutely sure, then tested out our chosen color: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt.

Then we painted, a whole lot. Two coats, during which I learned a LOT about painting. I have painted before but never this much. It was definitely not a professional paint job, but we learned a lot and we had fun and I love the color, end of story.

puppy helped!

Once the paint job was done, the carpet came up. We knew that in at least one corner of the room the hardwood floor was in impeccable shape. The carpet itself was vile - filthy, ancient, and the pad underneath crunched when you walked, it was so worn out and dry.

In fact, the entire carpet pad basically disintegrated into a 1" deep pile of yellow dust. I filled two shopvacs with it. Ugh.

I should mention at this point that Hannah was an extraordinary help during the last of the painting and the pulling up of the carpet. We then cut the carpet up into pieces using a utility knife and shoved it out the window, and gathered up what pieces of the pad were still intact into garbage bags. It was hot, dusty, gross work, but...

The floors were in perfect shape!

Next step: taking up the carpet tacks and staples. The staples were easy! I got a little staple puller thing and whoosh they were all out in 15 minutes. (I mean, I kept finding more as I kept cleaning, but they were quick and easy to take care of.)

The carpet tacks? They were not easy. I had polled my family as to the best way to do it, and my father thought I could just pry them up and pull, since they weren't usually nailed too deep.

Famous last words.

I ended up having to pry out every.single.nail. all the way around. Goooood grief. It took about 5 hours of really hard work, during which I smashed my fingers more than once because I was working in such close quarters to avoid damaging either the floor or the trim.

But, the good news? The floor was in perfect shape except for one 6" square where something had spilled who knows how long ago, soaking through the rug. No sanding and re-finishing necessary!

Next step: taking the blue tape off. You know how HGTV makes this look like a breeze, like your last cathartic step? Yeah. Fuck those guys. It took almost two hours of painstaking work, making sure I didn't leave any tape behind under built-up paint. Maybe we could've been more careful in painting to get less on the tape, is short.

some puppy was not amused that I used her as a tape receptacle

Then there was floor mopping, of which there are no pictures. I ended up using a slightly damp mop and squirting Old English onto it, to do a combination gentle clean/revitalization. I left it for a few hours to dry/soak in. Then I skated around the floor with my feet on shop towels to clean up the last of the oil.

Finally, I had my floor. And wow. Just gorgeous.

SERIOUSLY, who covers that up?!

Final decorating steps: new outlet covers all around, satin nickel Art Deco inspired metal covers that were expensive at $5 each but I just loved.

And the final touch: new curtains that I had bought a few weeks prior, just simple sheers with an embroidered vine design.

For reference, just so you can see how far we went, here's the original room.

And here's the same view now.

Then we moved our furniture in.

And huzzah!

The last remaining thing to be done is to haul the radiator away to get sandblasted and then re-painted. Right now, it is pink, and filthy, and chipping badly. I intend to repaint it a metallic silver color, roughly what it would have been originally, which will match any color scheme we decide on in the future. The radiator has been disconnected, and I have the place lined up to sandblast it, we just have to find the time and the energy to haul the thing out.

So, so, SO glad this is done, though, and it gives me hope for other future rooms!

Friday, August 21, 2015

So Long, Farewell

This morning, I delivered my trailer to its new home.

one last adventure.

I have really mixed feelings, but overall: it was the right decision at the right time.

I finally got through to the fiance last night by comparing it to selling his favorite hockey stick. He looked completely horrified: "I'd feel naked!" Yep.

We did have one last adventure together, the trailer and I: I got mildly lost after failing to follow the very good directions provided - and realized that I had no cell phone service and thus no Google Maps to bail me out. I three-pointed over railroad tracks to turn around, made it under a low bridge by inches, and then got up the right hill to deliver it to the right farm.

best copilot.

I also would like to state for the record that I am really fucking good at hauling that thing. I got it hitched up in less than 2 minutes flat, after my first backup put the ball 2 inches too far to the left.

Second try:

Arya and I stopped for McDonald's on the way home to celebrate, and now she is napping and I am blogging. I have to clean every inch of my house today, and then I am declaring a hiatus on renovations until after the wedding, so hope to get back to actually blogging about my actual horse soon.

co-piloting is hard work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Puttering Around - Heel Scalping, House Renovating, and Life Changes

Last night, my trailer sold. I put a relative minimum of effort into advertising, listed it at a really good price, and answered 2-3 emails a day for the last 3 weeks. Last night, a young woman about my age came over, and saw all its virtues and its vices clearly. She was nice and cheerful and has a young Thoroughbred mare that she's starting to event. It will be her first trailer.

I am really, really sad, because for a long time that was mine, my ticket to the world beyond, a thing that I loved and slaved over and angsted over and took pride in. But: it is going to exactly the right kind of home, and I realize it is ridiculous to be sentimental about "the right home" for a piece of farm machinery, but I am much happier with this than I would be if it had gone to be someone's utility trailer or left to rust out on the hill.

The money will go into Tristan's emergency fund and to start a seed fund for a new trailer, someday. I might take some of it and install a gooseneck hitch on my truck, as I have the possibility of borrowing a gooseneck rig should I want to haul out places.

Not much else exciting to report. Tristan scalped his RH sometime last week, and you'd think that a horse would only be so idiotic/athletic/talented to do such a thing once - but you'd be wrong.

He kept opening it again and again. Each time I went out it would be pouring more blood and covered in a thick layer of shavings dust, no matter what I did to cover it up: Corona, Swat, Alushield.

Hannah was up this weekend and I put her to work mercilessly both in my house and at the barn and after a lot of back and forth as we stared at his foot and marveled that he was still knocking it (seriously, HOW?), I suggested Wonder Dust. It's not my favorite, but a thorough re-read of the label did say that a) it was ok to use on open cuts and b) it would work as a styric, aka a blood-clotter.

We were both deeply ambivalent, having mostly used it as a preventative for proud flesh, but I squirted some on, covered it in AluShield, and crossed fingers. worked! The next evening I went out and wiped off a clean, non-bloody heel that was showing evidence of healing around the edges. I think we're in for the long haul, as it is both circular and large, and neither of those things suggests quick healing, but it's at least on the mend now.

I haven't yet put him back on the longe to test soundness - I've been so busy with everything, I have no time to really ride anyway - but I will probably do that tonight or tomorrow.

We've also turned the corner with his white line & thrush problems, and his hooves are firming up and growing cleanly again. We're having some communication issues with the new farrier, which I'm not thrilled about, so I've been using a rasp to back his toes off a bit and help him out so he doesn't stretch the white line further.

We had a good weekend of dog-tiring and drinking and eating delicious things and working on the house. Huge, huge progress on lots of projects in the last few days, and today is a holiday for me so I'm going to plow ahead on a few more.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Adventures in Scribing

I love to scribe. It's a complete toss-up as to whether scribing or jump judging is my favorite volunteer activity - though really, I can't think of one I really dislike. Jump judging on a clear day might have the edge; nothing like hanging out with gorgeous horses and reading poetry all day.

Sunday, I scribed for one of the biggest recognized dressage shows in the state. I did Training through Third Level tests for an S judge from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm. It was a long day.

We saw an awful lot of really nice horses, and a few really nice riders. The judge was hilarious, and had a really keen eye. I was tired and stressed and not as engaged as I usually am, and it took me a long time to get into the rhythm of the day. 

If you've scribed a few times, you know that there's an adjustment period with each new judge: you spend a little while learning when and whether they like to be reminded for scores, what comments they make frequently so you can anticipate them, whether they like to be kept on track at all, etc. I just felt like it took me longer than it should have to start clicking with the judge, but by late morning we were rolling. I was subdued enough through the day that she actually referred to me as "quiet" and "sweet" not usually how people describe me.

My favorite pairs were rarely the typical ones, with the big flashy gaits and the perfect tests. (We didn't see many, if any, perfect tests.) They were the ones where there was clearly a lot of hard work and love behind the test. There was an older woman who was smiling in a way that told me she was terrified underneath, riding a huge 17hh horse, and I was nervous when I saw them circling the ring - and then they entered and the horse just took care of her. He loved her.

There was a little girl on a Welsh pony whose nose was stuck determinedly parallel to the ground the entire time but who trotted around with such determination that I couldn't help but crack up. There was a young woman on a Morgan horse who looked like an incredibly complicated and tricky ride but who handled every moment with such tact. There was a young girl with a messy ponytail, skull cap, off-kilter helmet cover, and half-chaps riding a big leggy Thoroughbred who did.not.want. but my God the fierceness of that girl as she firmly and clearly got the job done. There was another young girl who was clearly green and learning but the bare bones of her basic teaching were so good, and so evident, and the horse she was on was educated and precise and just pleasant, and there were moments in the test that were like looking ten years into the future into the blooming of a truly lovely rider.

I had agreed to scribe way back in the early spring, and I was not looking forward to it with everything else that was going on, but I was so, so glad I went.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


All my reasons for lack of house posting are alcoholic, apparently.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekly Blog Roundup

Favorite Riding Feelings from Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management
This is just perfect.

The Terror of Hauling a Horse from Hand Gallop
Yeah. Agreed 1000%, as I've written about before.

200th Post Giveaway from DIY Horsemanship
Really cool contest!

The Sparkliest Contest Ever from The $900 Facebook Pony

Friday, August 14, 2015


I am climbing back up on my horse and putting in more riding time after too long of a break for my sanity. I've had a couple of really nice rides this week, getting some good schooling things accomplished, and so forth.

Last night, I longed and worked a bit on transitions, and after some theatrics Tris gave me a lovely walk-canter transition to the left: just stepped right into it softly. Then I asked him to go right.

And he wouldn't trot. He would sort of stumble a few steps and then launch into a canter or fall back to the walk. He was discombobulated. When I finally pushed him to actually trot, he was sooooooooo short and propped.

Well, fuck. Cue despondent thoughts about basically everything I have done in my life ever. You know the drill. It's what we do with horses.

I put him away and spent a furious half an hour texting back and forth with the barn manager. I was concerned about the balance of Tristan's feet, and we agreed to consult with our old farrier on the new farrier's trim. So I took lots of photos of Tristan's feet.

And then my hand brushed his RH - what I thought was a muddy spot - and came away bloody.

Aaaaaand double fuck.

It turned out genius asshole pony had taken off a significant chunk (and I do mean chunk) of his RH heel bulb, on the inside, probably by stepping on it.

I grabbed a paper towel and scrubbed it with water to sort of re-irrigate and get down to flesh. He bled like a stuck pig everywhere, which was fun. I poked and prodded and yep: definitely sensitive. Definitely a nasty little scrape. Not quite call-the-vet worthy. I slathered it with Corona and sort of left it at that. I am a little bit regretting that I did not wrap it, just didn't seem quite that deep. And I want it to scab over, not stay moist and whatever.

Tonight, I will clean it out again and see if it has started to heal at all, then probably use alushield on it to keep it from getting worse.

In the meantime, this is going to make it much harder to soak the foot with White Lightning - I don't want to expose raw injured skin to the chemicals in it. I'll have to either wrap the foot v-e-r-y carefully or figure something else out. Of course the RH was the worst white line problem.

Also meantime, no riding for me for the foreseeable future. Good thing I have plenty to do around the house?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

VCBH: My Cubicle

Most of us work for a living (wishing I didn't have to), some of us in way swankier places than 
others (right now thinking of all my friends who work at places like Google and Salesforce.. le jealous! all dem snacks!) Anyways I am curious for a pictorial tour of your office or cubicle.

I work in a museum, doing a wide variety of education/programming/community relations type of things. I am not in a job where I spend all day, every day at my desk. I do a fair amount of travelling around the state, and even just moving between different facilities and different spaces in the facility depending on the needs and events of the day. I actually have two offices, but am much more settled into one than the other, since I typically spend only 1-2 days a week there. (Trying not to give too many details to preserve some semblance of anonymity on the internet, though if you tried you could easily find out!)

Anyway: here's my office, which is actually its own proper room. While I don't have a window, my chair sits where I can see out my door and through a window onto a very pretty grassy area.

I am one of those people who really has to settle in to a place to decide how and when to decorate, so the stuff on the walls has grown up over a period of months to years. I add to it every so often.

I work from a laptop, because I am so constantly on the move. It's not the best, ergonomically speaking. I'm thinking half-seriously about buying myself some monitors and a keyboard and setting up more of a docking station. I tend to keep papers I'm working on immediately to my right, as well as my to-do list for the day. I have a few horsey things scattered about - my mousepad is Tristan's face - but not too many. I live out of that file cabinet to my left and usually have my feet propped up on a handle at any given time.

The bookshelves to the left have a bunch of different things: binders for larger projects, extras of any of the forms/sheets/postcards/envelopes that I might use, reference books, an emergency kit for collections, spare banners/posters for various annual events, and usually extras of whatever exhibit peripherals we need at the moment

It's kind of a mess, but yeah. Map of Vermont, that I refer to quite a lot actually since we're always trying to plan trips or events so they make sense as we move around the state. Dinosaur of a printer that just will not die. (You know you work in nonprofits when...) If you turned left again you'd see the white board that I use to keep track of longer-range projects, as well as a complete run of our museum's scholarly journal back into the 19th century. Partially there's nowhere else to keep them and partially they're a good reference. When I have an intern (maybe about 1/3 of the time) he or she sits at that table, which makes us quite cozy.

The setup was done for me when I moved into the office and I'm still trying to figure out how best to use the space. It's a slightly awkward size, and my furniture is limited in quantity and variety. I'm always trying to find new ideas but rarely have time to execute them.

I also tend to work at the front desk of the museum on a regular basis, and in the spaces just outside my office - there's a big calendar I have to update regularly, and I work out of the kitchen for our events, and then of course the main exhibit itself, as well as the research spaces and so on and so forth.

That's my main event room, where I do most of my programming. In the midst of our busy season a coworker and I will set this up and break it down (we have tables & chairs in storage that you can't see) multiple times a week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Silver Soaker

It's Tristan's new nickname!

So, not a whole lot going on in horse-world right now. I am mind-blowingly stressed in every other area of my life, which is leading to me behaving a lot more like a hermit crab than a well-adjusted adult, which means that I rode on Sunday at the walk around the field...and that's kind of it.

As frustrated with myself as I'm feeling about Tristan's bout with White Line Disease right now, I think we've got a pretty good handle on how to fight it.

Right now, he's getting:
- Durasole 2-3x a day at minimum, some days more
- White Lightning 2x a week
- Magic Cushion 2x a week

He's also getting extra shavings to try and keep his stall dry and soft. He pees like the proverbial racehorse, and with his previous level of shavings there was always a wet spot somewhere. Now once I take his feet out of the soak they have a dry place to hang out and stay clean.

The good news: I am seeing improvement.

The bad news: It's not instantaneous. Damn it.

Anyway. Onward and Upward.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

No House Post Today

I did not have time to prepare a house post for today, and am writing this from the show office at the dressage show where I will commence scribing momentarily.

I just thought you should all know that when I entered the office and saw the preparations, I lost all my misgivings about having signed up for a 10 hour scribing day in the midst of the insanity that is my life right now.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Weekly Blog Roundup

Huge roundup this week, I am definitely avoiding neither house renovations nor wedding planning. So there.

Crewing Tevis 2015 from Redheaded Endurance
Tevis Volunteering 2015 from Boots & Saddles
Hands-down my two favorite posts from the week. AMAZING stories about what I think might be the #1 hardest horse accomplishment in North America, if not the world.

3 Biggest Myths about Dressage from Sprinkler Bandit
I actually disagree with all of these, but I love the reasoning and that it made me think!

The Gaggle of Girths from The $900 Facebook Pony
I love this kind of post. Interesting to read.

10 Awesome Things About Jousting at the Ohio State Fair from Wyvern Oaks
I cannot get enough of the jousting Haflinger pictures!

Everyday Fail Blog Hop Roundup from Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management
If you need cheering up and/or a good belly laugh, look through these links.

Full Tack Ho: Lorenzini Stirrups Review from Sprinkler Bandit
I...didn't even spend that much money on Tristan's fancy bridle. They are gorgeous and amazing and this is a cool review, though!

The Shusher from Guinness on Tap
Yeah. Every clinic has one. This is a particularly amazing variety.

Product Review: SmartPak's Piper Breeches from Fly On Over
I have three pairs, and I mostly really like them and keep meaning to review them for myself. This is a good overview.

How the Best Horse Dog Ever Became a Dressage Rider from Incidents of Guidance
OMG, Awesome.

RBTR 2015: The Ride Story from In Omnia Paratus
If I had a riding photo of me on Tristan like Liz got from this ride, I would die happy. Not even joking a little bit.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Not my best week ever

I did not get out to the barn on Tuesday. I was at work until 7:30 pm tackling an emergency. The original precipitating problem was a mistake on my part, which did not help.

Then on Wednesday I drove to Boston and back (3 hours each way) for a wedding dress fitting, which basically shot my day from noon to midnight. During that time, a situation developed involving the wedding that is basically something out of the worst, most ridiculous advice column you have ever read, only it's happening in my real life.

Then last night I got a call from my new farrier:  he was really worried about Tristan's feet. He had significant amounts of thrush and white line disease in all four, but worst in the back. We've fought this before, and apparently my neglect over the last few weeks sent it into overdrive.

So instead of getting on my horse and having even a short ride through the fields, I dug through all of my medical supplies (again, some more) and commenced soaking his feet. When I got to his stall and picked them up, I actually started crying, which tells you something about how fucking awful this week has been. They don't look good. I didn't take pictures.

I did take pictures of my poor aisle safety decisions, that's got to count for something, right?

While he was hanging out, I had a chat with the new farrier. He was worried that he would have to resect some of the hoof, which would lead to significant soreness that he felt could only be alleviated by putting shoes back on him. We talked through a lot of options, and I came away from it thinking that he really respected my past knowledge and expertise in the area.

The upshot is that I will aggressively treat him for 4 weeks, and the farrier will do a recheck. So the plan is that Tris will get Durasole every day as many times a day as the barn staff can do it - I left his brush bottle out for them - and I will alternate soaking with White Lightning with other methods.

"Other methods" will include a little bit of experimentation, so stay tuned for that. Tonight I'm going to pick up some Magic Cushion as an overnight hoof packing. I'll probably also rotate in sugardine. The idea is to hit this hard. 

In terms of stress, I am actually of two minds. On the one hand, ugh. On the other hand, this actually gives me something to do that is fairly straightforward, gives me time with Tris, and has lots of quiet downtime built in. So it will sort of force me to slow down a little bit, which is the good news right now.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

ZBH Blog Hop: Everyday Fail

Oh hell yes I have had this draft saved for 2.5 weeks. I just needed power back in my home office so I could turn on my computer, because I am one of those losers who still uses a desktop at home.

Anyway! Weeks and possibly years or even decades ago (time moves fast in the blogosphere), Zen & the Art of Baby Horse Management posted this blog hop.

Brace yourselves.

Matching derpface.


Honestly not sure which of us is failing harder here. At least you can't see my face.

The tried and true dribble method. Look it up. George Morris says it's the best.


We are not only not on the same page we are in different fucking libraries.

Didn't you know that jumping FOR your horse helps him?

Also, I have been staring at Tristan's back legs for a while and can only conclude that he is morphing into a dinosaur in this picture. Go ahead, look closely, you'll see it.


no, really, wtf.



Well, that was cathartic.