Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday (kinda)

Take care of your body. It's the onlt place you have to live.  -Jim Rohn
Kinda hits home, doesn't it?
I'm doing my best to take care of my body in such a manner that I can ride for as many years as possible! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Ray of Sunshine!

Recall Cricket.  This chestnut mare came to play with me for a few months.  She learned some things and got stronger and braver.  Then, she began to improve asymmetrically…  Most notably, in the trot, the push from behind stagnated on one side while it continued to improve on the other side.  She began to drag her toes just a little bit.  She continued to struggle to hold her canter leads on her own.  But she continued to be enthusiastic about jumping!
I talked with her owners, and we agreed the vet should do a lameness evaluation. 
The week after we took her through her first horse trial (where she took 3rd place in Starter!), the initial diagnosis came back most likely neurological, and blood was drawn to test for EPM.
The test for SAG 2,3,4 came back positive, and treatment for EPM was recommended.  As we delved into our research, however, we found that the test for SAG 1,5,6 may turn up more accurate results.  So, the vet humored us and drew blood to be sent off for the second test.  Those results indicated low counts and suggested that maybe we weren’t dealing with EPM, and there was a push for the spinal draw.
Before pulling spinal fluid, the owner decided to try a course of Levamisole.  As it was explained to me, the drug is designed to boost the immune system…  At the end of the 10 days, we didn’t really see any difference.  However, about a week after that, we had one happy, forward-thinking horse!
Then, in the very next ride, as we were all trotting around in 2-point, Cricket tripped and appeared to barely save herself from literally falling on her face!! 
At wits end, the owner finally dropped her off at the vet’s office and said, “Keep her until you know what is wrong with her.”
 They started all over from the top.  They determined that she couldn’t hold her canter and swapped behind in both directions.  She bunny-hops in the canter.  She steps short behind, and sometimes drags her toes.  Recommendation was a full lameness exam with nerve blocks.  So, they went blocking the nerves, and suddenly, after blocking the stifle, she was much better!

After all of the diagnostics, Cricket received a stifle injection and sent home to recuperate for a day then begin returning to work over the rest of the week.
We are so cautiously optimistic right now!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Babies are so much fun! Meet DAX

Oh, how I get involved in the doing and miss out on the sharing...

DAX came to me last month after moving around a bit.  He was thin.  OK, he's still thin, but we're working on that!

Day 1
He is a 3 year old Arabian with the mind of Eyore...

I was in no hurry to ride him.  I knew he had been started, so I just focused on getting his weight up and developing his focus in the round pen.

Day 10?

Since I had such little information on his past experiences, I just started him as if he had never been ridden.  We worked in the round pen.  We worked on the lunge.  We worked in hand.  We worked in the saddle.

The first time I rode him was perfectly uneventful.  We walked around the round pen and his ears flopped.

Then, I rode him in the arena.  We started incorporating trot work into our saddle time.  And poles on the ground!

Meeting his soon-to-be herd mates...

Elevated poles are still a bit of a challenge...  He clears is with the first foot, then kind of just drags it over with the second foot.  He just stands there and watches it fall down underneath of us, then calmly walks over the carnage.

Derpy pony...
I did my last 2-point timing on him because I thought the work would be great for teaching him to maintain his gait unless I explicitely tell him to do something else.  So what does he do?
He offers 2 strides of canter...
Then realizes his mistake and goes right back to the trot without me having to do anything!!
Cantering after 2-point practice.
Great brain.  Really!

His brain is so good, in fact, that one of my less-experienced girlfriends was dying to ride him.  She walked him around until she just couldn't sit in the saddle any longer! 

Green horse, green rider, intense supervision!
He is finally strong enough to hold our combined balance in the trot, and we have started canter work.  It's not pretty yet, but what a sweeping stride!!

I can't wait to show him the ropes and see what he has to offer in the future.  What a blast babies are!
Pocket Pony

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


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