Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Year in Review

2013 was one of the busiest and most stressful years in all of the years I've owned Tristan. It was also very nearly the polar opposite of 2012, which began with an intensive training plan, eventing goals, clear progression, and ended in a muddle of frustration.

So, in summary...

I spent a lot of January in a very bad place mentally; Tristan was still lame on the RF and we still couldn't figure out exactly why. It was very, very cold in Vermont, and we had three straight days where it did not go above zero, and was as low as -18 overnight. Tristan wore a lined blanket for warmth for the very first time.

Apologies for the awful picture, but this is his
first day with his blanket.
In February, things started off much the same: still lame, still frustrating, and we finally did another round of x-rays (his third since the start of everything). The vet, who will forever remain one of my favorite people because of this, recommended sending the x-rays out to a specialty radiology, because her gut was telling her they weren't quite right but she couldn't pinpoint anything. The radiologist came back within 48 hours with a clear diagnosis: infected sequestrum of the coffin bone in the RF. 24 hours later, Tristan was scheduled for surgery.

Getting ready to leave for surgery.
So in the beginning of March, Tristan had surgery. I was a wreck. Hannah came up to keep me sane. Tristan did brilliantly through the whole endeavor, and the surgeon gave us a good prognosis for going forward. Our days were filled with bandage changes, flushing the wound, addressing a small new infection, worrying, and slowly but surely, healing. By the end of the month, he was going outside and being handwalked in very short increments. Not coincidentally, this was also the month I started really blogging in earnest, because so much was going on!

At the vet hospital, muzzled so he would stop
eating the shavings in his stall pre-surgery.
April continued the rehab trend, and I worried and worried some more, as the surgery hole continued to grow and hoof continued to grow with it. Tristan got his spring checkup, and had his teeth done. I got out and about a bit more, and learned how to do pulse and respiration at a competitive trail ride with Hannah. The end of the month marked 8 weeks since surgery, and the checkup went well - Tristan was cleared for normal shoes and to begin rehab under saddle!

Vet checks post-ride at GMHA.
May was a bit frustrating; even though we were cleared to begin under saddle there were delays in getting the actual fancy glue on shoes that he needed to support the right front. In the meantime, I volunteered at King Oak over my 30th birthday weekend. Finally, both front shoes went on, and I began riding at the walk!

Fancy (expensive) glue-on shoes!
We kept rehabbing since June, on what I believe was the slowest rehab ever. But we kept plugging away, and added in some road hacks to the mix. I did the math on Tristan's foot-related vet bills. I went up for Canadian Adventure to the Bromont CCI3* and had a lovely time, and scribed at a barn show. I also started working at the barn in exchange for lesson time.

Bromont is awfully pretty.
July got hot and saw more slow steps toward normalcy: I took my first lesson with our new trainer. Tristan got a spa day, and then was the world's worst little shit for the farrier. He made up for that giving a short pony ride to a toddler without batting an eye.

Cutest pony after his bath.
August saw more lessons, and the beginnings of some back feet weirdness that wasn't resolved for a while. I fell out of my rhythm a bit, though, as I was working a lot of overtime and went close to 15 days without any time off at all.

Thankfully, his feet look way better than this now.
Thankfully, September was better. It started out worryingly, with a swollen left front leg, but it turned out that he'd only banged it up a bit, and a few days of cold hosing and wrapping set it right. I scribed some more, and we did some White Lightning soaks of his hind feet to clear up the ickiness. In fact, White Lightning was my first product review.

Scribing. The view does not suck.
October saw some lesson-cramming and lots of hacking out. Tristan went back in steel shoes, and the awfulness of the abscess hole/surgery site was starting to become a distant memory.

Onward to November, as it started to get cold. We did the blog hop, and I started adding more horse blogs to read at an exponential rate. We started with some longeing exercises to address his topline, and I learned that JB Andrew, dressage mustang extraordinaire, had passed away. We started having some saddle fit issues, and I decided to start experimenting with horse cookies. Tris stepped up as the world's best babysitter.

In December we started taking lessons with the barn manager, who is the winter trainer. I stepped up our longeing game with a redneck Pessoa device. I started accounting for my work and for Tristan's to try to up our game, fitness-wise. I started testing out cookies and got an awesome gift for the horse blogger gift exchange. Tris shredded his winter blanket, and we had some good hacking in the snow. Last but not least, my awesome Christmas present was that he was beautifully behaved for the farrier - and his abscess hole is practically gone!

Bring it on, 2014!


  1. I'm newer to your blog. It sounds like you had quite a few obstacles to clear in 2013. Hopefully 2014 will be a year of progress and clear trails!

    1. It has been kind of a mind-blowingly busy year in many ways. I'm really grateful to be out the other side of it with good things to show for it. Progress and clear trails in 2014 sounds ideal. :)

  2. Damn, lots of obstacles! Here's to you two being OVER the hurdle. Cheers to 2014, I hope its a better year for you two!


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