Friday, July 30, 2010

new feet !! shoes!!!

Nina's hind feet have been trying to fall apart this week. Might have something to do with standing in water one day and 99 degrees and dry the next. Anyway, they got so bad that I didn't ride this week, yesterday I didn't even take her out of her pen. Her feet looked like the ironworks stage of a skyscraper. I have no idea what was holding the shoes on, but I was afraid that if she pulled one off it would take some of the good hoof with it and if I took it off I might do more damage.
No worries. She got new shoes today and had grown so much foot this time that my farrier was able to cut a lot of the bad part off.
So now no clenching little feet to keep the shoes on and back to riding tomorrow. yay!

Monday, July 26, 2010

This is ridiculous

I didn't get to the barn until almost 3pm. Driving by banks with signs proclaiming that it was 100 degrees, 99, 98, 97, 107(?), 99. My car said it was 101.
It has to be hotter out in the middle of 10 acres of sand and dirt. Even Nina seemed discouraged by the heat. I trotted her around a round pen for about 5 minutes just to get some circulation going, filled her water trough with cold water and that was it. Yippee.
The official temperature was 95 at DIA, maybe I should ride at DIA.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

day off for her

Nina was quite cheerful today, of course, she had the day off and got to supervise repairs to her shed.
I went out to the cross country course with a student and she did some hill work. We all spend too much time riding in flat arenas and hills get to be intimidating when you are trying to ride them at a forward jumping pace.
I had already decided not to ride today when I agreed to go out and teach, but I was really glad I had. I think I got too much sun yesterday, I was sick yesterday evening and really really tired all day today. A good night's sleep should take care of it for tomorrow and it hopefully won't be so hot.
I really want to get Nina a little more reliable....she had a couple of stuck moments yesterday that seem to go on forever.... so I can take her out to the cross country course. Even if all we do is walk around, it is easier to teach from horseback instead of walking for miles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

95 degrees

It had to be over a hundred in the arena.
Way too hot to be riding a cranky mare. I wish she was motivated by the heat to just get on with it and get done. I know I am. 20 minutes of riding and I was exhausted.

time out for a blogger question

The Cutest Blog on the Block had supplied the background to this blog. They changed hosts and then had technical difficulties getting the new codes out to their many fans. Maybe because we all tried to access the site at once.
In the meantime I decided to play with the brand new designer tool that Google built for the blogspot sites and came up with this new design.
I like it, I am not sure I like it better than the previous one, which I can get back in a day or two.

If you have an opinion, let me know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Got a ride in today. Enough trotting to make her breathe hard. I wish I was in better shape. Just about the time she starts to finally relax and get into the trot, my back starts hurting. I have to be so quiet on her and my core strength (lol) isn't up to it yet.
But she was fine. A couple of strides of canter with her nose straight up in the air, which I decided wasn't a good idea, because her nose was straight up in the air. But wow, what nice gaits she has.
Now if we could just find a happy medium between trotting with the the head between the knees and cantering with the head up in the clouds, we might actually get somewhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I couldn't beat the weather today.
It was raining when I drove to the barn, but quit when I got there. It was still cloudy and cool and looked like a great afternoon to ride.
I got Nina out and trotted her around the round pen. It was nice to see her acting normal, trying to cut the circle instead of running around on the fence. Her knee looks good and she was sound on it. About the time I decided to tack her up the thunder started booming and the clouds got darker. So I fly sprayed her, fed her, hauled some water to top off her water tank and about that time the clouds left and the sun came out. Now it felt like walking around in an aquarium.
And the thunder started again. Time to go home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

poor tired girl

Since the sugar high wore off Nina has been acting like one tired pup. All that tearing around like a maniac takes energy.
Her knee is still slightly swollen, just down the front, hind legs look good today. All the holes are healing clean.
I am hoping her knee is just bruised, she is sound on it at walk, trot and canter. Hopefully she didn't hurt the joint.
She got the day off again today, turned out and trotted around for a while. Ride tomorrow.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

brain cells working!

Today Nina seemed to be back, the eye rolling fire breathing dragon was gone. Now, however, after several days off acting like a loon she is left with a swollen knee, stocked up rear legs and at least one hole in each leg from kicking herself.
Our ride today was necessarily short but not too bad. Then lots of cold hosing and dabbing with wound stuff.
At 100+ degrees.
Tomorrow, depending on what the knee looks like, I would like to just hop on her with no lunging and simply walk around, mostly in a straight line, for about 15 minutes. If the knee is sore I will just hand walk her a little.
100+ degrees expected again, cold hosing and saturating with fly spray gives her a little relief for a while.
BTW, I am using that combo of Skin So Soft, vinegar, eucalyptus, and Dove detergent and it works WAY better than any commercial fly spray. Piranha is about the only pesticide that seems to work and it only works for about an hour. This stuff works for a day and it isn't toxic.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

not fun in the heat

Yesterday I could tell that Nina was still feeling the effects of that wonderful drug...sugar. But not as bad as previously. When she started careening around the round pen I put a lunge line on her, something I would not have dared to do over the weekend, she would have turned it into a spider web.
Tried to do just a few minutes of sane lunging AT THE TROT. She kept zooming off. I would reel her in so that the circle was too small for zooming, when she settled into a steady trot I would reel her back out (approx 20m circle). This went on for hours, literally. To start with she was just a little high, but then she got stubborn about it. She would stare at me, make eye contact, pin her ears and ZOOOM! I could have just quit when I got tired if she was high, but this was disobedience and defiance. So we kept at it. I thought it might kill one of us. I was exhausted and she was lathered and exhausted. When she finally gave it my immediate thought was to hose her off, but then I decided that acting like a jerk should not mean that you don't get ridden. So I somehow clambered on board and walked around the arena for a (short) while. Then off to the wash rack to cool both of us off.

Today we started out the same way, zooming, lunge line on, she settled into an obedient trot in just a few minutes of wrestling around.
Then off to ride. Started out with a nice walk, asked for a trot and got all attitude, pinned ears, refusing to move, the whole thing.
It was in the mid 90s, I was fed up. I don't know what has happened to this horse previously but for the last couple of years she has had it pretty damn good and I have never picked at or deliberately scared her.
I started telling her so, cussing at her, calling her names, yelling at her to JUST GET ON WITH IT! I chewed her out like a drill sergeant for most of a lap and got a trot for a couple of laps. Not as much contact as I would like but not with the reins thrown away which is what she wants. Not a pretty trot but in this heat she pretended and I pretended and after a couple of laps I declared victory and called it a day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Feed, feed and more feed

Nina was on an escalating path to manic for the past few days. I didn't notice at first because I was riding her each afternoon as the thunderstorms were rolling in and I just wrote her spooky, reactive behavior to the weather.
Saturday and Sunday it was still, quiet and HOT. She was a lunatic in the round pen, attempting to gallop, stretching her neck out for more and more speed. Trying to stop her just resulted in screaming stops and a quick rollback to zoom off the other direction.
When riding her a spook turned into an hour of trembling and bulging eyes and veins.
In her pen a misstep on my part resulted in her attempting to climb the fence and then staring at me with bug eyes and much snorting.
At that point it FINALLY occurred to me that she was acting like TB on crack. The classic symptoms of a TB being fed a high sugar food that they cannot tolerate.
hmmmm, I had just increased her pellets 2 days before this behavior began. The barn feeds a brand name, cheap pelleted feed made of 'various distillers grains' which could very well mean that there is corn in it.
I had hoped to be able to let the barn feed her, that is what board is for, but they don't offer any alternatives and it appeared that the feed was the culprit.
I arranged for the pellets to be discontinued on Sunday and on Monday she was already a little calmer. Today (Tuesday) she was a loon again, including sticking a leg through the fence while being lunged and ripping a shoe off and putting a hole in her other fetlock.
And there was the remnants of pellets in her feeder. I used this bucket for water the day before so she was fed the pellets last night or this morning or both.
I got the feed issue straightened out with the barn, they are going to feed a small amount of whole plain oats (that I supply) and NO pellets. I may have to break the bank and buy Nutrena XTN, which I heartily endorse for reactive horses. Very high fat, no corn or other sugar.

This is not the first horse I have owned that made an issue about certain foods. Scotty lost his mind on the tiniest amount of alfalfa. Nina eats alfalfa with no effect but obviously cannot tolerate whatever is in these pellets, which is a popular feed locally and a reputable brand.

I have to wonder how many problem horses are horses with a food problem. They cannot tolerate certain feeds and either no one thinks to change the feed or they are unable to find a feed that does not have adverse effects. And the less rideable a horse is, I think the less people are inclined to spend money on expensive feeds.

Friday, July 9, 2010

ride today

Two days of being rained out and a short ride today. Better than nothing. Nina was quite cheerful. She caught herself a couple of times starting with the hissy fit and straightened herself out with no help from me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

rain rain rain rain

rain rain rain rain.
I was beat and Nina was asleep in her shed, rain pouring down. Good day to skip a ride.
Nina did manage to wake up enough to eat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

back to work

So what should have been a couple of days off turned into a week and a day. I was expecting to be back where we started...again. Pleasantly surprised. I got a nice forward walk, with some contact and when she started creeping along and I gave her a little kick I did not get a temper tantrum or pinned ears, just a faster walk. Even rooting at the reins was very half hearted. A little bit of trot, not terribly forward but without the attitude so that was ok.
Good start.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ready to move on

I went to a Horse Trial yesterday to coach a friend. She didn't have a very good day, but stuck it out and managed to have some fun anyway. It was a very low level event, lots of green horses acting like green horses. Hot, dry, long day.

For the first time since Scotty died I found myself looking around and wishing I was on a horse. I didn't even care if I was having a bad day, I just wanted to be on a horse. I have been going to shows with friends, coaching at shows and keeping up with friends' show schedules and this is the first time in a long time that I was not happy to just watch. I wanted to be in there.

So I did a little navel gazing today while I was mowing the grass and hacking down the bind weed in the corner of the yard. And I decided that I had it in the back of my mind that Scotty was going to be the last horse that I competed on. I am not young, my knees are shot, I don't bounce well and I can be really chicken at a really bad time while riding down to a jump.

I think I had programmed myself to just give it up when I lost him. Maybe that's why I have not really been pushing Nina or myself; no goals, didn't much care. Owning her and taking care of her filled the horse gap in my life and I had just quit thinking about anything else.

Well, Nina, I have news for you. Serious training starts now!

Friday, July 2, 2010

pretty in pink

A little pink will always cheer a girl up.

I can't believe I own these, much less that I will actually put them on a horse.
This seems like a good time to confess that I also bought a pink halter for this horse when I got her. I must have been out of my mind.
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