Cavalia Comes To Nashville

A couple weeks ago I found out that Cavalia – Odysseo was coming to town. I have never been to a Cavalia show. I have heard really good things though and this seems like the perfect opportunity since it’s right in my “backyard”.

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If you aren’t familiar with Cavalia here is an excerpt from the website and a few clips from shows.

Cavalia presents its new production Odysseo. Double the size of the company’s eponymous show Cavalia, Odysseo is a true revolution in live entertainment and an immersive theatrical experience. Odysseo – the largest touring production on earth – features 65 magnificent horses and 48 talented riders, acrobats, dancers, and musicians under a White Big Top the size of an NFL football field! Odysseo takes the audience on an epic journey to some of nature’s greatest wonders. This awe-inspiring ode to horse and man is an absolute feast for the eyes that succeeds in delivering soulful and stunning performances. Prepare to be wowed!
Read more here.

A few bloggers have been in the past in various parts of the country. If you have been what did you think?

Anyone in the Nashville area that is interested in going to see Odysseo should use the promo code GALLOP for 15% off all evening shows!

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Trading Plus One

When I got my first trailer a few years ago it was a 2H bumper pull. I was desperate for the freedom a trailer would give me. As we only had a half ton truck my options were a bit limited though. Fast forward to January last year when I upgraded to F250 and a 2H ST 4Star GN. The logic being that I had limited experience hauling anything larger than a 2H. A 2+1 model adds roughly 7′ to your standard 2H straight load in most brands. I didn’t (and still don’t) care for slant loads and at the time only had one horse. HAHAHA.
Joke was on me… Last spring Houston came back into the picture briefly. In the fall Luna joined the zoo and of course this spring Houston rejoined the mix. Now we are a nice odd numbered 3 horse family. Generally speaking I will rarely ever need to haul all 3 of my horses at one time. But what if I did? Cue obsessively stalking the internet to find a 2+1.

Initially I found a good deal on a Sundowner 2+1 (PSA the price on this one just dropped quite a bit) very similar to what fellow blogger The Jumping Percheron recently upgraded to. The trailer had a lot of add-ons that I would likely end up adding myself down the road like an electric jack, awning, and hay rack. Stacey is awesome and talked through the specs with me – bloggers FTW.

Ultimately I decided to keep looking for other options before making the trade. Most of this was dependent on finding a dealer that wouldn’t take advantage of the fact that my trailer while only 2 years old has been used. After a few weeks I had narrowed down my options to include a couple of brands and configurations.

To start I was pretty sure I was going to have to trade my trailer on something quite a bit older to get what I wanted. As luck would have it Peony tagged me on a FB listing from The Hitch and Tow for the 2+1 version of my current trailer. Never doubt an equestrians internet sleuthing abilities! After a bit of messaging back and forth last weekend I made a quick trip down to SC. The drive wasn’t too bad and I was even able to invite myself for a layover in GA with Lauren and her husband. I also got to take a spin on Gus. He might argue that that wasn’t necessarily a good thing but it was fun nonetheless.

Often as equestrians what we need and want changes over time. I’ve found this to be true with tack, apparel, and now even trailers :O . If you are contemplating getting a trailer I would suggest thinking long and hard about what your needs and wants are. Between new and used with a reasonable budget and some patience you can usually find what you are looking for!

Any fellow bloggers know what it costs to add an AC unit, awning, or fans? Or better yet has any one DIY’d those projects???

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Project Kill The Fatty

Things aren’t exactly riveting over here. When staying on is goal number 1 you go into survival mode. It has gotten me to thinking about the things that I need to work on and improve myself as well though. I got the clear to start lunging in the Fauxssoa rig though and that should help!

As riders we spend countless hours contemplating and obsessing over the care and programs of these incredible animals. I notice if any of my guys weight fluctuates in a small window. When it comes to myself though it has taken some time for me to fully comprehend just how much my choices were impacting my body. I find myself getting winded more quickly, ending up sore after what should be irrelevant, and worst of all frustrated with the body control I have in the saddle… and you know the fact that my breeches don’t fit that well.mgpdf

I am finally committing to change my lifestyle hopefully for the better. Kyle and I have started cooking some and we even invested in a stationary bike at home. I am determined to do more meal planning as well to improve what I consume during the work day.

Unfortunately work has been insane which has limited if I can do both the bike and go to the barn. Fingers crossed when things settle down I will be able to ride the bike 3 days a week and resume riding 5+ days a week. I want to hold myself accountable and a good step towards that is to put my goals in writing.

Personal Health Goals:

  • Cook at home 4x week – trying to find easy dinners to make after the barn if anyone has ideas
  • Meal prep to bring healthy breakfast and lunches to work
  • Ride 5-6 days a week between Houston and Annie
  • Cycle 3x week – maybe I wont want to die for the RK5K next year!

lovefoodIf anyone has tips or tricks that help you stay motivated please share. I’ll get going and then I slip once and it’s downhill from there. I’ve been un happy with my weight for the better part of a year and a half and I’m done. Here’s to at least making steps in the right direction.

 

 

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Riding A Kite

img_7398-1.jpgAfter a much needed getaway I am back at it. On Monday I rushed out to the barn after work for my first ride on the ginger since her injections/stall rest/time off. Previously I asked my vet if he wanted me to lunge her – specifically with the fauxssoa rig to encourage her to use her back and he advised no lunging… I know that there is a time and place but I was happy that wasn’t a requirement. Until I remembered that Annie would probably be a kite.

img_0186.jpgI climbed on my fire breathing dragon after 3 weeks off with no prep and my fingers crossed. I have to say that for the most part she kept it together. There were only a few moments where I thought I might get launched. Not too bad for a baby(ish) TB.

Unfortunately the next couple weeks will be lightly building her back up and I am supposed to avoid contact… Not so awesome when you feel like you are riding a runaway train. Tuesdays ride was not really an improvement but we hacked out for 20 min and got in a few stretches of trotting. Slowly but surely we will get back to the norm. I know that quite a few of  you have brought horses back from injuries of some kind or another. Do you have any tips or specific exercises you like to do when you are a bit more limited in the scope of work you can ask for?

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Weekend Wrap Up: Freedom

This weekend was pretty low key. After last weeks roller coaster I mostly wanted to crawl into a hole and stay there indefinitely. I was asked to do some farm sitting for a friend that was going on a horse shopping excursion though which ended up working out. It kept me busy and honestly it was so hot I didn’t want to ride anyways so nothing to miss.

Adventures in farm sitting included taking care of some chickens, hogs, pups, and friends horses. I didn’t even ride Huey due to the heat. It was one of those weekends where you don’t want to leave the house at all for fear of melting. Sunday was equally as brutal but in the afternoon it rained. I took care of my charges in the morning and then Kyle and I braved the heat to run some errands. After we got home I was able to take a nap… Boy oh boy did I need it. I would say that it was actually more like a hibernation. I finished up the weekend with some pizza and wine with my barn buds. Best of all is that Annie was finally able to get turned out again. She was very excited to be reunited with Huelet. Thankfully she wasn’t too rambunctious. One more week off and then we will start testing the waters.

Until then I am headed to Cali for a long weekend with my parents. I haven’t gotten to see them since Christmas so I am really excited for a short escape from reality. When I get back Nanners will be ready for some light work under saddle and Houston should have some shoes so that I can get back into the swing of things.

What did you guys get into this weekend?

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Home Safe

The past 4 days have been trying. To say it has been an emotional rollercoaster might be an understatement. I cried at the clinic on Monday. From there I was in a bit of a numb haze waiting on further testing. By the time I went to get Annie from the clinic I was just happy she was coming home.

For those of you wondering how Annie is seriously already facing injections etc… Don’t think I haven’t blamed myself. What if I pushed her too hard too fast? Could this have been prevented? Is it my fault? But the thing is that ever since I tried to introduce the concept of not going around like a giraffe this has been a problem. It isn’t a problem that just developed now after a little over a year of being in more consistent work. Before we ruled out kissing spine surgery with the scintigraphy my vet lamented that he sees issues in the back and neck in OTTB’s frequently given when they are started.

There is no way to know if this was something she was born with that would have been an issue regardless but it is likely something that was agitated by having a rider on her back at a young age before I got her like most horses off the track. Anything you might be thinking – I am already beating myself up for so go ahead.

I know that there are probably a lot of people that don’t understand my obsession with this horse. She was $1,200… Surely it would be easier to “cut my loses” and start over. For me that isn’t an option. She is a really special horse. Sometimes I want to strangle her or myself but I seriously have never had more fun on a horse. She is usually game for any of my crazy requests. She is one of the sweetest creatures I have ever handled on the ground (even after getting oral Banamine for a week – sry Nanners!). I may end up seriously beside myself with frustration at times but only because I know what she could be capable of and I wish I could be a better rider for her.img_0017

On paper people see a dragon mare that is an aggressive cribber, has questionable feet, and can be a sass master under saddle… If I did that same analysis of myself I am not sure anyone would fight for me either. Annie and I are more similar than I realize. We both get incredibly frustrated when things don’t go as we anticipate. We can both have short fuses. She is admittedly the talented athlete of the two of us though. I have spent the better part of this past week trying to come up with a plan for her should this course of treatment not work. I didn’t relish the idea of having to retire a 5 year old for various reasons…

Then on our way home from the clinic last night Annie started acting colicky. At first I thought she was just agitated about the trailer ride in the heat… But then she started violently throwing herself against the butt/breast bars and divider. From there she started kicking at her belly and pawing.  She acted multiple times like she was going to go down in the trailer.

To say that I panicked is an understatement.  I called the vet who said to continue to the farm as that was closer and another hour in the trailer wasn’t going to improve the situation. I practically held my breath the rest of the way home. When I got to the farm and took her off the trailer she was breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. I gave her an injection of banamine – spent the next 5 minutes praying there wasn’t air in the syringe (that I checked about 5 times), hosed her off to help her cool down, and then we hand walked. Within 20 minutes she was looking much better and I could finally breathe. I ended up staying at the farm for a couple of hours to make sure she was alright and then my awesome BO’s checked her in the middle of the night.

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love this mare with all I’ve got

 

We got lucky. It was all rather dramatic but ended up totally fine. That isn’t always the case though. As horse owners we have to be prepared to make those hard decisions quickly. I am grateful that I didn’t have to. There isn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to this post except to say hug your horses. There have been all sorts of sadness in blog land lately with our equine friends. Hug them while you can. Hopefully I can remember how devastated I felt thinking about a life without Annie the next time we are struggling with a concept or I am upset by a vet bill.

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Bone Scan

First off – thank you to all of you that commented or messaged me yesterday. I really really appreciated it.

Late yesterday afternoon my vet gave me a call to discuss the findings of Annie’s bone scan. On the bright side it doesn’t look like we will be scheduling surgery. In fact the bone scan didn’t even highlight the areas that showed kissing spine. There were some other areas of concern though.

Annie tested positive (or lit up during the scan) in 3 areas. The two areas of primary concern were her neck (C5-7) and then her left hock – probably an associated reaction. Her left front also lit up a bit but the vet was not especially concerned by that. Armed with this knowledge we discussed a game plan for the red dragon.

Given that Annie’s back did not light up during the scan my vet wants to focus first on her neck and hocks. We will be injecting her both sides of her neck and her hocks (Steroid & HA). In addition she will be given a dose of Osphos. I am a little be hesitant about the Osphos injection but I trust my vet and want to give Annie the best chance at being comfortable. On top of all of that we will further set my wallet on fire with a loading dose and maintenance support with Adequan.  

The spending of literally all of my money should be complete by the afternoon at which time I can pick up my trailer and drive the dragon home. She will be on stall rest for 3 days and not back under saddle for 10 days. At that point it will be only light work to keep her sane and to slowly get her back into the swing of things for about a month. Hopefully as we bring her back into work she will be comfortable and sound. If she isn’t it is back to the drawing board.

At this point I am still going to be doing research on kissing spine and will probably consult a few different DVM’s that have treated kissing spines extensively to get their read on her scans/rads. I want to be prepared if we have to go forward with other treatments if we have to. Arming myself with all of the information I can find seems like a good place to start!

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Diagnosis: Kissing Spine

I am not really sure where to start with this post. It isn’t a secret that recently I have been having issues with Annie undersaddle. I have ridden with various trainers and I have consulted with multiple vets… We decided to move forward with thinking that it was a training and strength issue. I am not writing that off as at least a part of the issue but I couldn’t dismiss the nagging feeling that that wasn’t exclusively the problem. I kept it in the back of my head that maybe something was bothering her physically.

Watching her go though she really looked sound. She never showed any local signs of lasting back soreness. I had chiropractic work done on her – at the clinic with a lameness eval. We had her teeth checked. She has gotten regular massages. All of these things seemed to keep her happy as long as I never broached even the idea of collection. When she started getting a bit sour over fences though I got more concerned. If this horse truly loves anything it is jumping.

I reached my breaking point this past week. A horse that is as sweet as Annie can be just doesn’t keep waffling between great and horrible. Or that is what I kept internally debating. Last week when the vet was out to check Annie’s cough I mentioned my lingering concerns. We agreed that it would be good to do a full eval at the clinic and so yesterday I brought her in for back x-rays.

We started with watching her go on the lunge line, then did flexions/ palpations. Naturally you bring a horse in for one thing and they will now all the sudden look off from something else. A couple testers and needle pricks later and we determined that she needs some changes in her shoeing and moved on to x-rays of her feet, back, and neck. Literally x-raying alllll of the things.

Most of us aren’t a stranger to the phrase “kissing spine”. I think that even if you haven’t been personally affected we all might know someone that has had a horse with it – plenty of bloggers even. As we worked our way down Annie’s back through the images there were two specific spots of concern. You can see the reduced space between the vertebrae below where circled. The question is where do we go from here. The first step is a bone scan. I actually ended up leaving Annie at the clinic yesterday. Hopefully the scan will be performed today or tomorrow. From there we will have a better idea of if she is a candidate for surgery or what other treatments we can look into. First and foremost I want to make sure that Annie is not in pain anymore. We want to treat the cause of her pain not just the pain itself.I cried yesterday. Today I am determined to find out everything I can about kissing spine and the various surgical and medical options. I feel really horrible that we didn’t discover this sooner and I am determined to find a solution. How many of you have personal experience with kissing spine? Has anyone recently had surgery done with success? Apparently there is a new procedure that is minimally invasive that has a lot of success…

 

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Thoughts On The Words Of Katie Prudent

If you have been on the internet the past couple days you probably heard or read a recent interview with Katie Prudent. People got their panties in a BIG wad about the things that were discussed. I am not saying that I disagree with the way she said things but she makes some good points. I think this is a conversation that needs to be had or at least considered.

Amateurs Like Us…

It seems like the only sentence that people read of this whole article is where Prudent said “The sport has become for the fearful, talentless amateur. That’s what the sport has been dummied down to.”

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Here’s the thing people – she isn’t lying! The culture just isn’t the same. More so in certain disciplines in others maybe but young riders simply aren’t being developed into great horsemen/women. Talent isn’t being cultivated the way it used to be. Heck pretty much every other day you see someone post about the fact that kids just don’t want to do the work that barn rats used to. They don’t want to put in the time or effort to learn all the things.

As an adult amateur I am fearful and I definitely don’t have the talent for the upper levels of really any discipline…maybe ever? I am not entirely talentless or totally consumed by fear but most of us are not the population that she was referring to. The majority of us have a full time job that we have to go to to pay the bills. Sometimes life gets in the way of the things that we would like to do. We don’t have a string of horses that (help)pack us around at upper levels.

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Please note that I am not saying that that is what happens for all that ride at top levels. It seems like the point she was trying to make is that a lot of people riding in the upper levels might not have ever had to ride an unmade horse. Have they really struggled or worked as hard as you used to have to get where they are?

Trainers These Days…

I think that there could have been a little more response in regards to what she said about the current day professionals of this industry. Everyone wants to talk about how the barn rats don’t exist or how amateurs just want to waltz into a barn with a tacked horse waiting for them. Well, for those people the trainers are facilitating that behavior in some ways. Thankfully this isn’t a very prevalent attitude in eventer land… But I won’t even try to name all of the HJ trainers that I know of or have personally worked with that won’t even let you do self care. It is super laughable to actually be charged for doing self care but thats for another day.

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Those trainers are the ones that are helping to cement this new culture. Can you blame them? They follow the money… I am by no means shaming the professionals – where would all of us be without them? They too have to make a living… That said, I respect a trainer that pushes me and expects more from me under saddle and in the barn most. Much more, in fact, than the pro that sees us (amateurs) as a meal ticket and is just looking for different ways to leach more money from the general amateur population. Unfortunately it can be hard to find those truly good trainers.

Like others have said we, the amateurs, are the foundation of the sport in so many ways. It is fine if some people want that luxury barn experience. However, I don’t think that that should be the assumed way to operate business. I guess at the end of the day I don’t fully understand why people are so vehemently offended by Katie Prudents words. The truth sometimes hurts but these difficult conversations need to be had.

 

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Wolf Teeth And Bronchodilators

For a couple weeks Annie has let out a few coughs at the beginning of our rides. Nothing terrible but enough that I made a mental note to keep track. Naturally my last ride she didn’t cough at all. Since the vet was going to be out anyways we discussed and decided he would take a look at her.

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First though, he was out at the mare pasture and I went ahead and asked when one should get their baby horses teeth looked at. DR. M suggested that you would obviously want to do it before they start working with a bit in their mouth and that he usually likes to pull any wolf teeth around 1.5-2yrs old. It was Luna’s lucky day as she is just about 1.5yrs old. After a special cocktail she got her first introduction to dental work.

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She didn’t love it. I am not convinced that she won’t remember it (despite her drunkness) and will be watching my back. Hopefully this doesn’t impact her recent found sweetness. #bewarethemare

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For Annie we initially assumed the cough was weather/ allergy related. Some nose pinching and stethoscope using later we determined that she probably has a slight infection. Sadly this means she will need a week off with 6 days of treatment. I am grateful that the coughing doesn’t appear to be anything too serious.

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At this point I figured I would ask the vet once more if there was anything else more exst(p)ensive we should do to rule out pain as a cause for her behavior under saddle. My wallet was already on fire right? We have talked until we are both blue in the face re the issues I have experienced and both feel like at this point its time to go to the clinic and throw the book at her one last time before pushing through. Part of me hopes we find something (that we can fix) so that there is some rhyme or reason to her behavior. I will have an update Monday afternoon.

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Until then I will be giving her all of the meds and clutching my wallet nice and tight… Or doing retail therapy. Can’t decide!

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