Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Near Miss

The last few days has seemed to just fly by... I mean, after she show, I took a day off from horses. I raked the front yard, and spread leaves around the fence line. Exciting, i know... But after 40 bags, I was about done with that.
Then on to Monday...
I rode. Great. RC got some really adorable changes, and London was even willing to put effort into it. It was a good and productive morning. I came home, dropped off the dogs, ate lunch, then headed back out with the trailer to get Opie and RC for the Katy Cowgirls practice... Practice went well, yadda yadda yadda. The evening ended early and I though that we would be done in record time, before 10p, but it was not to be. Nearly as soon as we served dinner to everyone, London started acting weird. He was making a coughing/retching sound and hunching his back so that every line of his body radiated discomfort. His breathing was making a very wet sound, like liquid was rushing through tubes... Never good. But he wasn't kicking at his belly... yet. It was not normal at all, so I walked him around for a minute before I had Waller Equine on the phone, and London in the trailer for an emergency visit. We made it to the vet in 20 minutes, so we actually beat the vet there. I unloaded London, then put him in the stocks in the exam room. The tech took his temperature, cap refill time, breathing rate, heart rate, etc as we waited for the vet. As the tech was taking readings, London started retching violently and shuddering. Until then, i hadn't been concerned for the worst, but as his stance got more and more painful my mind as suddenly racing to What if's and worst case scenarios. Was it colic? Did he twist something when rolling after a dip in the pond? Would it be worth the risk to surgery to save him? Would the cost be justifiable to operate on a 17 year old horse? Was I going to cry in front of witnesses?
As my mind was racing, London started couching out mucus and dissolved Sr chow. There was probably a quart of discharge, which fortunately didn't come out of his nose (nose leads to lungs and water in lungs=bad). After that massive discharge i could see him relax, and his eyes became less glazed. He started looking around and was standing more normally... In the end, he resolved the choke himself before the vet even arrived. We still flushed his esophagus and pumped his stomach, just in case and now he's on a course of banamine and antibiotics to keep the inflammation down and suppress any secondary infections such as pneumonia.

And today he was happy as a clam, eating his mush (no solid food for a week) and pouting about his lack of hay. All's well that ends well, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another Year, Another Show

So yesterday (that's Saturday), I took Opie and RC to the CAQHA Buckle show (no, we didn't win a buckle). It was Sam's first show, so we gave her the honor of riding RC, who has an extensive show history, if I might say so myself, even if that history isn't necessarily quarter horse stuff. I rode Opie, just for fun. Good thing too, because if I had taken it too seriously, I would have been a tad upset when she decimated the poles in the trail class. She was getting pissy, not to mention that she was in a flaming heat...
RC did his english classes like a champ (won english equitation, again), but had some issues going low and slow in the western classes... You live and you learn. Fortunately he placed in every pattern class, and I now have another pattern class convert. (Yes!)

Opie did trail and walk/trot (western). She placed in green horse walk trot, decimated the trail class and would have won green horse horsemanship, had I not messed it up for her. We did the pattern wonderfully (for her), but then I went stupid and touched the reins with my other hand (darn it). For just pulling her out of the pasture she did quite well. I wasn't disappointed in her in the least. And it was really fun to hear her name over the loud speaker...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

As we all know, the best laid plans can and will go so very very wrong. Today was one of such days. I went out to pattison with Sam with the hopes of riding a few horses, cleaning the barn, maybe taking some more measurements for my little project (it's a surprise!). But no... I rode Sonnet while Sam worked RC for a little while. Since Sonnet only works for about half an hour, she was done way before RC even broke a sweat. I took her back to the barn, then went over to check on what dad was doing (since he lit a huge fire). And lo and behold, the Wimp Truck is stuck.
I can't believe he drove across the field! It still has standing water! And what does he do? Before I can even voice my objections Larry is driven across the bridge as a tow vehicle. All I can see is the slow motion replay of Larry sinking in the El Paso sand..... So I managed to talk Dad out of driving Larry down by the Wimp Truck to try to tow it out in favor of using bricks under the tires (just in case Larry gets stuck too). I figured that at least this way we still had one vehicle that was usable... After an hour of crawling in the mud, rocking the Wimp Truck back and forth and back and forth over the bricks, the tires just got too slick to catch on anything. Go figure. The wimp truck has little city tires with no tread to speak of so even with the bricks, the tires were so slick they were just spinning. At that point, we gave up. Let it sit and dry for a day or so, maybe it will be better then.

So My dad and I got in Larry (he was driving). We turn the truck around and dooooown Larry goes. Stuck. Are you kidding me? This is what I was worried about. It was also a classic "I told you so" moment (but common sense prevailed so I refrained). So we carefully walked Larry out of the field using 12' boards lined up under the tires.... all the way to the gate. What a day...

Which leads us to day 2 (today). After a longer then anticipated trip to the vet for shots and coggins. Today it was me and mom who tackled the truck. It took up probably an hour to get the truck out of yesterdays hole with the clever addition of a jack and boards. I was pushing while mom drive... and as soon as the tires caught she sped off leaving me sputtering in the mud and watching as she sunk it 20 ft later. Oh goody. Another hour passes as we attempt to rock the truck onto something solid, this time using the aluminium ramps we have to get the lawnmower into the truck bed as solid stabilizers. It seemed to work, until the right rear tire was too bald to climb onto the tiny incline the ramp presented. So we changed the tire (while threatening to do a drive by of the original Wimp Truck's owner and fling the bald tire into his yard). with the hopes that the spare would have more tread. It didn't. After a grand total of five hours of crawling in the mud and one sprained wrist later, the Wimp Truck is free!

Dad owes me a milk shake.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A-Clinic-ing We Shall Go.....

So, over the weekendMD held a clinic here in the Houston area. Again, I realize that I have a long, long way to go.
On saturday, I rode RC. As it turns out, just lengthening his neck to get a nicer canter is not enough to get a nice dresage canter. But sitting him down for a few strides to engage his stifle and fetlock and every joint in between worked wonders. He sat down far enough so that he actually stood on his own tail bag (never fear, no tail hairs were harmed!) and pulled it out. His trot work was amazing, right from the start. MD and I got it slowed down and more engaged then did some shoulder-in, ten meter circles and half-passeswhich earned us the ellusive "Perfect!". Yay! My little dressage quarter horse is going to conquer all this year! Or, maybe more realisticly, second level.

London was the first to go of the Crew. He showed the most improvement since the last clinc (I know, thats not enitrely fair since RC had a whole summer's work with Martha). MD actually LIKED him this time. Evidently it's not all me (some of it is me) that causes him to think that collection=short. So after a breif wrestling match which resulted in sore calfs and arms, I was able to convince him to work with his shoulders UP. And when he decided that was OK, his work felt AMAZING. Day two was even better. On the second day I worked on collecting the canter and getting more jump in the working canter (use that huge butt). Again, with the shoulders. Now I know of his ability I suppose that means I need to school harder... darn.

And finally, Deli. Deli had a thirty minute lesson with martha. We worked on not running/falling through her right shoulder. One sided? Maybe. Even though she had a little temper tantrum near the end, she was really very very good for this being her first time out. She was quite look-y on the lunge and very nervous when taken out of the trailer, but she tied next to the trailer with no problem, and once lunged (working lunged, not running around like a moron lunged) she settled own to work... She was so adorable!!!! (Even if she had a little temper tantrum)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Work Out

This title is not in fact referring to the sure-to-be-painful lessons that I am taking this afternoon from MD, but to the process of getting in to and out of my new(ish) Dehner boots. I am, in fact, at this very minute, defying physics. Because I KNOW that my legs are bigger then these boots are allowing for. It is an unpleasant sensation, one that you are balances by your knees while your lower legs are wrapped in little sausage casings. (In case you hadn't guessed, I am trying to stretch them out enough to wear to a clinic, TODAY, but I don't think that's going to happen). Ow...

Other then my painful lower legs, everything has been just peachy. First of all, I have started riding Deli again. We're up to a trot around the arena, across diagonals and whatnot; no cantering yet. She still tries those mini balks, but nothing worse then a pause. She still tries as hard as I remember (and she's gotten bigger.... and still growing) so she's fun to work with.
Unfortunately, everyone has had two or three days off due to the rain, so now they have been inside for 48 hours with no work, so this clinic should be interesting. One can only hope that London use his energy for good, not evil...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lost in the New Year

So it's a new year, and a painfully long time since my last post. I'll try to be better about it, but no promises. It's not my new years resolution or anything...
Anyway, as I am sure everyone already knows, I graduated in December (yay) without a job, or offer (not so yay) so I'm back in Katy doing my thing, whatever that is, as the search continues. So far I have made more progress with the ponies then I have with the job hunt, but I'm still optimistic.
Anyway, after a 24 hour drive from MO to Katy, there are now 6 horses at the modest family farm. The introduction has been complicated, so say the least. Day 1, for instance resulted in a broken fence and my boys losing pasture privileges. What happened was that we unloaded two bright and happy boys, fed and watered them, then turned them out in the small paddock (there is only one on our property). They rolled and everything was peachy. Then we turned out the young horses, to see how they would take the new comers. Both Deli and Sonnet (not the Sonnet on which I logged frequent flyer miles) trotted over, touched noses then decided that it was not interesting. This lack of a reaction lulled everyone present (all of whom were operating on not enough sleep) into a false sense of security. So AT and Opie were turned out. Then everything went wrong. I'm not quite sure what happened, but there were swirling horses on the fence line which resulted in London rearing, slipping and falling with one leg over the fence. I only witnessed the last of it. London's front right leg was stuck over the fence, tangled in a (thankfully) non-charged electric fence wire. He was sort of sitting on his butt, trying to keep the pressure off his leg over the fence. between me and my parents, we all ran out to the paddock to shoo away the offending horses (*cough*AT*cough*) and try to rescue London before he hurt himself more. Thankfully, London just stood like an angel while we were monkeying with his leg, trying to figure out a way to get it back on the correct side of the fence, while causing minimum damage to the horse and fence. In the end, as we were about the saw through the fence, London reared again, freeing himself. Surprisingly, he was sound as could be the next day, and hasn't taken a lame step since. Silly horses....

Other incidents have been less extreme, usually resulting in RC getting kicked by Deli or Sonnet. Now we keep London and RC away from AT. it has worked out well if AT and Opie are in the paddock while London, RC and the fillies are out in the big field. Live and learn, right?

What else has happened... Well, I went to the my first Katy Cowgirls practice in 5 years. I wasn't going to ride in it, but I trailered Opie and RC to the Katy Arena for Sam and H (even though H's mom stopped by the barn as I was loading horses to say that her daughter didn't need to borrow Opie any more. Nice timing. Thanks). I brought Opie anyway, just in case. Turns out I filled a spot for some absent girl and Sam had a great time on RC. When he was out there, he looked MASSIVE compared to all the little quarter horses and barrel horses. I don't consider him to be a big horse, but I suppose he is. And Opie only bucked once, with no kicks or bites (Told you it could be done!). I love that little horse...

See the pict? Living proof that Opie has probably the most flag experience of any horse I've ever known. That picture is circa 2000, after at least two years of experience with her.
Anyway, it's supposed to be nearly 60 degrees tomorrow and sunny before a few days of rain, so it's my last chance to get ready for a few lessons from MD here in Katy! I wish I had a little more time to prepare... But what can you do, right?
Keep posted! I'm going to try to keep updating, and post pictures and all that jazz.