Saturday, July 1, 2017

Moving to a New Blog Address

From now on, please look for us at this new blog address.  The old blog, and its pages and sidebars, will still remain here at this address for reference.  Please do not leave comments here, as I will not be checking them.

Hope to see you over there, as A Year With Horses continues!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy Mares in Retirement

Melissa at Paradigm just sent me some video - nothing exciting, but just happy, grazing mares.

Maisie is the dark bay with white socks who's up first, Dawn is the red bay who's up next, and Lily is the large grey mare in the center of the next shots.  (Norman the pony was off elsewhere at the time.)

It warms my heart to see them so contented, and looking so well, thanks to the excellent care they get from Melissa and Jason - Lily is in her late 20s, Maisie is in her mid-20s and Dawn is in her late teens.  Lily and Maisie (and Norman as well) have Cushings/PPID, and look extra good because they'd just been body clipped.

Great video to chill out by . . .




Sunday, June 25, 2017

Perfect Riding Times

I've managed to ride all three horses three days in a row.  I used to do this fairly often - sometimes I even rode four when Dawn was still here in Illinois - but I'd fallen out of the habit.  I've started working back towards that again, and it's a very satisfying afternoon when I have the time to do it.

We were somewhat warm and humid on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were both beautiful - temperatures in the 70s with low humidity and a nice strong breeze to keep the bugs at bay.  And Saturday and Sunday we rode in the beautiful, large outdoor arena.

My routine is to get to the barn about 2 p.m., bring Missy in from her turnout - she usually meets me at the gate - she starts walking there as soon as she spots me walking down the hill - groom her and ride.  Missy's not currently sound at the trot so we do a 15-20 minute walk ride.  We'll do another lunge recheck of her soundness on Monday, July 3, and if she's not better we'll do another 5-day course of Equicoxx to see if that helps her out.  But she's good to walk and very happy to do so.

Then I bring Red and Pie and in, and groom them in their stalls while waiting for the bring-in traffic to clear out of the barn aisles.  Once the aisle's clear, I saddle them both - it's nice that they wear different saddles (Missy shares Pie's - she needs no shims and he does due to his narrower shoulders).

If the feed cart is about to come around, I wait to ride - I try to be considerate of my horses.  I usually ride Red next - he worries less about Pie being ridden if he's already been ridden himself.  I don't ride either Red or Pie for a very long time - we usually ride about 30 minutes.  My horses are all trained well at this point and do pretty much exactly what I ask them to do, with softness and deep connection - even if it's something new, or something we haven't done for a long time, they very quickly understand what I want - so we just enjoy our time together and work on building our (already very close) connections and our mutual softness.

Joy and delight - that's what I experience when I'm with my (marvelous) horses.

May all your horse days be as good.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Updates All Around

Updates on all of us for the past year:

1.  Dawn - as you may remember, Dawn retired to Paradigm Farms in Tennessee a little over a year ago.  She has settled in very well - she has lots of friends, is eating well and seems very happy.  Her teeth are holding up OK for now - she gets twice-yearly dental checkups - and she's on a special feeding program over the winter to help her hold her weight.

2.  Norman, Lily and Maisie - my three older retirees at Paradigm are also doing fine.  Norman and Lily are approaching 30, and Maisie is in her mid-20s.  All three have Cushings/PPID and are on a regular program of medication and body-clipping, which keeps them comfortable and healthy.

3.  Pie - has just turned 11 and just keeps getting better.  He looks great and our rides are a pleasure.  We had a bit of a scare about a month ago - he came down with a high fever (up to 104) that just wouldn't come down, and he stopped eating and drinking.  He had no other symptoms - no cough or nasal discharge or anything else.  Poor fellow was miserable and dejected, and to see the normally big-eating and drinking Pie not touching his food or water was very alarming. Over a period of four days, we had two vet visits, then he spent two days and nights at the vet hospital, and was rehydrated twice with IV fluids.  Then his fever disappeared as mysteriously as it had come on.  He was tested for all sorts of things - EHV-1 and 4, flu, Lyme and Potomac, but all the tests came back negative.  It's likely he had one of the other rhinos or some other virus but we'll never know for sure.  It's also unclear how he caught it, since no other horse in the barn was ill and he hadn't travelled anywhere.  He lost a lot of weight and needed time to recover, so he's had two weeks off from work.  He's been eating up a storm and had a lot of energy when we started back to work.

4.  Red - is now 16, and is his same opinionated, vocal, fiery self.  A while after recovering from his (second) case of EPM last fall, he managed to somehow injure his right front foot in turnout.  He came in from turnout one day barely able to walk - our first thought was abscess as there was no heat or swelling in the leg.  The inner back area of his hoof wall was hot.  But we thought maybe it wasn't an abscess, either - he was happy to weight bear on the foot - he'd stand on it just fine - but he couldn't walk on it.  Although his paddock is frequently dragged to level it and break up the manure (another sign of how good my barn management is), we think he twisted it on a day when there'd been mud that got chopped up and then froze.  After a week with little improvement, the vet came out to rule out a coffin bone fracture - there was none but the digital x-rays showed signs of hematoma in the foot, likely due to a soft tissue injury inside the foot.  We didn't bother to do any more tests, since the treatment would be the same - put him on a short course of Equoxx, keep him out of work until he was sound at the trot and then bring him back slowly.  This being Red, stall rest was not an option.  It took about two months before we started riding again, but after a detour for ulcer treatment - he showed this by being snappish, sore during grooming and very spooky under saddle - he's now sound, happy and working really, really well.

5.  Missy - is who knows what age - I'm guessing mid to late teens.  She's been on again off again unsound due to her ongoing hock fusion.  But she's the sweetest thing ever, and we've been doing a fair number of easy walk rides - she's been gaining weight on the very good hay our barn provides and we have to keep an eye on that.  Every couple of weeks or so, we test out the trot to see how things are coming.

6.  Me - I'm definitely starting to feel my age - I'm approaching my mid-60s and things - muscles and joints mainly - that didn't use to bother me now sometimes are stiff and sore.  But I've found that taking care of my horses almost daily and riding frequently - I ride almost every day and sometimes more than once a day - helps things feel better.  I plan to keep riding until I can't anymore, and even then I expect I'll always be able to find an old horse - one of mine or someone else's - to groom and spend time with.

I'm glad to see that some of you are still blogging, and I'm trying to catch up . . .

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Remember Us?

Don't know if you remember these fine folks:





I think we'll be blogging again . . . we've missed all of you (or at least I have!).  We're all doing fine, and maybe we'll have some more things to share . . .