First let me say that if you don’t like blood or are squeamish you probably don’t want to scroll all the way down on this post. Today I want to talk about the horses we love and the various ways they manage to maim themselves. Up until Houston I never dealt with that many injuries – my horses to that point had possessed the skill of self preservation. Houston did not posses even an ounce of such a skill and in the 5 years that I have owned him has cost me more money in vet visits than I care to tally up. Note to self: do NOT use a calculator when reading this post.
Houston Injuries: (to name a few larger incidents)
- Assorted cuts and scrapes that would inevitably lead to elephant legs
- Cut Fetlock (farrier accident) – many stitches and 2+ months of stall rest
- Cut Pastern (pasture)- few stitches and more stall rest
- Cut Face (pasture) – couple stitches
- Puncture/Cut Shoulder (pasture)- stitches, LOTS of antibiotics and flushing
Annie has seemed relatively aware of her surroundings and aside from being a mastermind at pulling shoes and the odd scrape here and there really hasn’t caused that much damage to herself. Until the past few weeks anyways. In the course of 5 days she has managed to scrape or cut all but one of her legs (I realize that by saying this I will now be tempting fate for her right front…). It started with cutting the inside of her LF – a small and relatively superficial wound. Then she must have kicked at the fence because her right hind has a gash. Last but not least I was met with the gem below upon arriving to the barn last night:
Yes. That is her hind leg. How she managed to give herself a deep gash on the FRONT of her hind foot I have literally no idea. Thankfully it is not severe enough to need veterinary intervention and at worst I may have to put her on some Uniprim to ward off any infection.
What are some of the weird
unbelievable things that your horses have done to themselves? Does anyone else want to invest in bubble wrap?
Last week the interwebs/blogland blew up over an article about a rider in Great Britain making a call for Bitless dressage. I didn’t spend a lot of time investigating but my general feelings are that just because something is different does not mean that it is wrong.
I do not personally think that a Dr. Cooks bridle or a hackamore with leverage would be appropriate for dressage – and honestly wouldn’t put a Dr. Cooks on one of my horses regardless of discipline. That said I do not understand what the violent opposition to a side pull or even a Micklem bridle is (though admittedly I find the Micklem to be hideous on 99% of horses).
This conversation was perfectly timed with the arrival of my Reins For Rescues neck rope. There is nothing quite like trying to ride without touching the reins to really call you out on bad habits. If you think you are totally independent of your hand and ride “primarily off your seat and leg” I urge you to prove it by attempting to ride without touching the reins. Annie and I were cruising around at the walk and trot (making figure 8’s, small circles, turn on forehand, controlled halts…) but holy hell did the wheels start to fall off the bus when I tried to come off the rail at the canter. I do have to say though that the few jumps we tackled riding with just the neck rope were so relaxed. This shouldn’t be surprising to me given how opposed Annie is to contact of pretty much any sort right now. Baby steps!
I am going to continue to ride with the neck rope as often as I can. Even if I am pretty sure it is just a safety blanket to make be feel slightly less insane for dropping my reins on the little dragon. Riding with a neck rope is a totally different ball game but something I would encourage others to try because it will point out your weaknesses under saddle in a jiffy.
Where do you all fall on the bitless dressage front? If you are opposed personally why do you take such offense to the rights of others to make that decision for their horses? Do you not care one way or another? I am curious about the logic behind these thoughts because I really had no idea so many people felt so strongly about the topic until last week.
After showing all over Area 3, parts of Area 8 and even a show in Area 5 last year I knew that I wanted to stay more “local” this year. By local I mean that I really don’t want to drive more than 6 hours to show. I know some of you might think that is just a quick jaunt up the road depending on where you are based but given where I am located I have a decent number of venues that fit the bill. Once I set that goal I went perusing the USEA omnibus and wrote down literally every show that I would consider attending in Area 3 or Area 8. Some are more than 6 hours away and others are much closer. There are tons of options though. I also wanted to know from the options which ones had the most affordable entry fees (ranges from 295 to 400) and I also calculated what my anticipated gas would be and camping fees if any that would apply. Camping for the win because holy batman would the numbers in the columns that you can’t see (that included the total anticipated cost) have WAY bigger numbers if factoring in hotels.After that I narrowed it down to what shows I would want to attend if I was to show each month (not super realistic but you know a girl can dream). Those shows in an ideal world would be:
It is important to note that showing in TN and GA in June/July is not for the faint of heart and if I am aiming to actually have fun I should probably avoid these shows like the plague… But still they made the list because I am not driving to Michigan or some other far away land.
What shows I attend will vary largely on finances and then if we are aiming for AEC’s. I was really disappointed by how AEC’s went last year so I am not 100% committed to signing myself up for that little disaster. BUT it would be really sweet to qualify…
Another option that I have been throwing around is giving the ride to a local pro and campaigning Annie for the Young Jumper Championships…. But money yo. Lots of grand ideas – we will see what comes to fruition. Have you all started to plan your seasons out? If so what’s up next on the schedule?
Yesterday Karen posted about a style/wardrobe wish list. I have pretty much all of the things that I “need” when it comes to the horses. All 3 have brushes, blankets, boots, etc. I have a plethora of tack, breeches, and riding boots. That doesn’t mean that a girl can’t have grabby hands though!
First up is a Miss Shield. It might not be practical and probably is a bit diva ish for eventing land but that does not change anything for me. Given the price tag I don’t see myself splurging on one of these bad boys anytime soon. I will continue to lust after it though.
I got to see the Ovation Aqua X Lightweight breeches that Amanda reviewed in person (Lauren speaks highly of them too!) this past weekend. I am even more intrigued by them than I already was. I definitely don’t need another pair of breeches but at their reasonable price I might have to take the plunge. Another not so pricey wardrobe addition that I would like to make is some YoungKWPN-NA garb. I recently joined the group and even before that having bought Luna I thought it would be fun to get my hands on some KWPN garb. I still haven’t made the order but one of these days I will get a hat and shirt.
Practical me would like to try the ThinLine Gatorbootz and see if they work for the red dragon. She pulls boots like she a fiend. I HATE pulling off boots before dressage and it is even worse when the special ginger has to wear two on each foot. These seem really durable and easy to take off. They are super expensive for bell boots though. Anyone have first hand experience with these bell boots?Not so practical me knows that I don’t need another half pad but I really want to try the Invictus half pad. I have to admit that what I have read is intriguing and a fellow blogger swears by hers. There is nothing wrong with my current set up but I am curious to see how the feel differs. Last up is something that I actually get to buy thanks to a Christmas present of a GC to BoyOBoy Bridleworks from the ever awesome $900 Facebook Pony. I am working with the owner now to design a navy and grey belt and cannot wait to see how it turns out.
What are some things that you all have been getting grabby hands over? Tack? Apparel? Any cool items you can share to make my list even longer?
For the first time in the 9 months that I have been eventing Annie I actually left the ring this weekend on her thinking that while it had it’s hiccups this would be the test that got us out of the vicious last place cycle and scores over 40. When I signed up for MayDaze I totally underestimated how green Annie was. While she was generally rideable we lacked any finesse – which you are probably thinking “duh” because she was so green. Slowly but surely we have been making progress but as with most things it has been a 1 step forward 2 steps back. Below you can see the progression of our dressage tests the past 9 or so months…
Always room for improvement but I am still very pleased with where we are starting 2017.
May Daze May 2016 – 47.8
River Glen June 2016 – 47.50
Between every show it would seem that I had improved on one aspect or another only to lose something in another and then we would go into the ring and the wheels would fall off. We would have small moments of greatness and then large moments of just BLAH. This resulted in consistent scores in the 40’s. I would shed a couple points and then next HT gain them back in different areas. Like for example when Annie refused to pick up the right lead and I rode her like a motorcycle through every canter circle…
Chatt Hills July 2016 – 42.30
River Glen August 2016 – 45.00
Feather Creek October 2016- 47.3 – I unfortunately do not have any pictures but it was pretty much more of the above with some extra points due to me having an error in my test. This year I really want to reduce the stupid points due to geometry and errors!
Poplar Place February 2017 (schooling) – 38.25 While this weekend was after all just a schooling show the scores that I received for various elements of my test reflected how I felt the test rode. We had far less bracing and hollowness and even when I got nervous it didn’t totally destroy or dictate our test. By riding Annie more effectively with my seat and leg I was able to I know that if I really buckle down we will be able to get more competitive.
This weekend our sweet Bear turned 1 year old! In addition to that I got to jump my friends young Berlin stallion. OMG so fun! He has a rocking horse canter and is a total blast to ride. Getting to ride him reminded me why I need to ride a variety of horses. Annie has a very very different way of going and if I want to continue to improve as a rider I need to get out of my comfort zone. You might be thinking that I own a variety of horses but since one isn’t under saddle and the other doesn’t jump I am not getting much experience on other horses over fences.
How often do you guys get to ride different horses? Try to do it as often as you can or stick to what you know?
I was going to tell you guys about my exciting weekend today but first I wanted to share a couple of awesome ginger horses that are for sale. One petite mare and a very solid gelding! If you know anyone if the market please let me know and I can pass it on to the owners.
First up is Annie’s full sister! She is 6 this year, stands 15.2hh, and retired from racing in Sept 2016. She has been restarted lightly and is being used in some novice lessons. She is RRP eligible and if she is half the star that my sweet nanners is you won’t want to miss out! Asking price $2,500.Next up is the 14yo Wunderstern. This big loveable gelding lives at the barn that I board at. I can personally attest to just how much of a gentle giant this horse is. He is a true steady eddy and is the same horse on and off farm, with and without regular work. He is schooling first level dressage and has show experience in dressage, hunters, and jumpers. At 17.2hh he could be suitable for a taller than average rider but I have easily piloted him around and he even gives pony rides! Check out his ad here for more information. Asking price $9,500.If you or someone you know might be interested please let me know. Happy Monday!