Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally...Some Color Around Here

First the spring craving for green sets in...then the craving for some color sets in. I couldn't hold out anymore. I made a pit-stop at Lowes the other day and found me more 'salvage' plants. The Lowes store here decided to sell their damaged, puny plants at a discounted price vs. throwing them in the garbage. That is what most stores do. Just toss them.

Combined with some of the other plants I saved over the winter and a couple of healthy geraniums that I could not resist, I ended up with some decent looking pots...

I have a few left-overs, as well as the seeds I started myself (some of them are actually sprouting...Yay me)....

I had saved all of my geraniums and asparagus ferns from last year, but made the mistake of leaving the garage door open too long one night when I was doing chores and froze all of them. I left them in the pots, thinking they might come back. Two did. The rest were ka-put. I thought the asparagus ferns were done for too, but they all ended up coming back.

Almost all of the salvage plants I bought last year survived in the garden. Surprising for me. I don't have the greenest thumb. I forget what these were, but they took off a blooming...

Planting everything in the garden last year was convenient, but kind of messed up being able to till it this spring. I'm stuck hand-weeding it, til I can get the flowers moved into other beds. I dunno...some days I think I bit off more than I can chew with this place.

Well, that's my 'break'...time to get back to doing something. Grass needs mowed..again. Still have plenty of weeding. And horses that still need rode. Fun, fun, fun!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back At It

I really should have rode on Easter....It wasn't like we did anything special...or anything at all, for that matter...but the weather wasn't incredibly helpful. Every time I thought it had finally cleared up (Yes, we finally got a bit of rain. It's been pretty dry here.), it would start sprinkling just hard enough that I didn't really want to ride in it.

Moon got a few more days off than I wanted him to have, but I did kick everyone out to pasture for a couple of days so they could roam around. I always figure that is better for them than standing in a darned pen, if I cannot get them rode.

At least til the grass starts strengthening up and then I won't be able to do that. I'll have fat horses again.

Now that everyone is in pretty decent condition, it's been time to move on to more intricate work. Sprints, Spirals and Stop and Go's have been added to the mix and I have been kicking up the barrel patterning exercises a notch.

Now that Moon has a couple of runs under his belt, I can feel him wanting to start cheating the pattern again in practice. Well this year...that is NOT going to happen. I have been asking him to stretch out at the trot as well as canter up to the barrels and I can feel him anticipating the turn. He's pretty specific about what he does where. At least he is consistent that way. LOL...Rotten horse. ;-)

Going to first, he likes to stiffen his neck (right side), wants to drop that inside shoulder and flip his hindquarter out.

That one is easy to fix though. I just haul his butt to a stop, make him run backward and roll him into a reverse arc, ride back up to the pocket and set him down., reverse arc again and make his stand there a minute. Think about that big boy!

He's getting a bit lazy with his feet coming out of 1st...wants to float away from the barrel.

That one I miss the timing on about half the time. He's not as bad about it if I remember to look to the next barrel, but I can still feel that little bow in his ribcage. We just keep right on turning that barrel until he gets those feet moving and comes around like he is supposed to. Just to reinforce the idea, I stop him after he has cleared the barrel. Pet him. Reverse arc around and go around one more time. He'll get the picture. >:-/...He better!

I've been pushing him farther into his rate spot at both 2nd and 3rd. I think part of the problem last year (and his stall-outs on the backside of 3rd this year) is he is rating too soon and loses too much momentum to get all the way around the barrels. He's anticipating the turns a little much, so I have really been driving him into the rate spot and making him stop straight and back up into his inside (left) hip.

I watched some of the video clips of Ed Wright clinics on YouTube and noticed how high and forward he had people riding with their hands. It feels ridiculous to me to ride like that...Buuuuuttttt...I have been trying to do that and lo and works.

Okay...ridiculous feeling or not....there is a reason for it and Yes, I am out there working on getting the feel for that, both on the barrel pattern and when I am doing other exercises.

I know one of the reasons Moon is not completing his last stride on 3rd is because I am letting him go too soon and he thinks...Oh, okay...ruuunnnn home. I HAVE to make myself reach down on that rein and hold him up all the way through the turn. Trying the Ed Wright method of holding the reins seems to be driving that point home with me.

As for the off pattern exercises...Moon is a good sprint horse. He can go from zero to mach 1 in 2 strides. Stopping is his big problem. Turk is about like Moon...all whoa!

I mean...I can stop them of course...they are just not naturally big stoppers. So for those two, the sprint work is more about working on their stops from the sprint than it is about the run part. Both Moon and Turk need to learn how to control their speed and rate correctly, which is straight bodied and using the hindquarter. They actually get more Stop and Go work than flat out sprints.

Spooks and Frosty are my big stoppers. Frosty has a big motor, but sticking his hinny in the dirt is is easy and natural for him. He's learning how to run a little. About as fast as I care for him to go right now :O...and I haven't even tapped into the higher gears yet. Spooks...well....Spooks hunts the stops. Each stride I ask him to stretch out and run...he is pretty sure that the very next stride I am going to be asking for the Whoa. He is really funny. He tries to run for me, but his mind is so focused on anticipating the Whoa, that he is really jerky. I don't do a lot of big Whoas with him. I swear he can go from his herky-jerky run to a WP lope in one stride.

Everyone has been getting more smaller circle work. Inside bends, focusing on pushing off of the inside leg and moving the front feet in line. Counter arcs, focusing on getting the shoulders moving. Turn-arounds-shoulders and front feet and roll-backs-planting the inside hind leg and moving those shoulders and backing. Not just backing up and dragging their feet backwards, but picking up each diagonal and moving it backward.

I also threw down a set of 4 trot-over poles. Geez! That was funny. Either they tried to hop over them or practically stumbled through the line. Oiy Vey! (shaking my head in disgust)

So that's where we are now. Will probably be working on these exercises for the next few weeks and hopefully see more improvement in everyone. This bunch has a long way to go yet.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Squirrel Wrestling 101

The squirrel was in rare form today. God, he makes us laugh...

(I took GunDiva and Juanita's advice and let Megan do the handling, since I am just coming out of my cold. Sure don't want a sick squirrel.)

Happy Easter everyone!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feed A Cold?

Of course I caught a cold.

I tried to outsmart it by taking naps, hoovering up all food in sight, hot showers and snorting Zycam...but it didn't work. I guess I just got too chilled.

I hate being sick. I almost never am, so I think that makes it worse. It makes me a very grumpy squirrel.

By yesterday afternoon, I was begging someone to just shoot me. Today, I'm thankful they didn't. But still don't feel so hot.

Now I'm not so sure I will go to the barrel race tomorrow. Meg didn't ride Moon on Monday. I rode him Tuesday and Wednesday, but didn't work on the pattern. Had to beg off riding yesterday and am not so sure I feel up to it today. He needs his feet trimmed too and I know I am not up to that.'s probably not worth it to try to run this weekend. Bummer!

Oh well, the season is rolling, so there is another run next weekend. I'd rather be prepared for that 2 day run rather than mess one up this weekend. One thing I have had driven home about Moon, there really is no 'sneaking' in any runs on him. He either has to be prepared (and it's still a bit sketchy then) or not go. He's been running too long and is too opinionated to sneak anything by him anymore.

As for that sorrel horse's knee...
There really hasn't been any change.

The difference is so subtle it's difficult to see...
There is just the tiniest bit of puffiness above his right knee around his 'knob' and on the bottom center of his knee. (It's the knee on the left in the picture)

There is no heat, no soreness, his flexion is good and he travels sound. I guess I will just keep an eye on it and see what develops. It hasn't done anything different in a week. Meg kept him up for me while we were gone to keep an eye on it, just in case it was a strain and got bigger. It didn't, so I am not overly worried about it anymore.

This might be the culprit...
See that nasty purple bruise on his frog? (top of picture) You can't really see that he has a matching purple bruise on that heel as well. One of the worst bruises I have ever seen. I suspect this may have made him walk a little funny and added some strain on that knee. Not to mention I keep having to fight thrush on this horse. He grows a lot of heel and has really deep clefts. I have finally gotten his front feet whittled down and have started working on his back feet again.

He is not good about having his feet worked on. He gets better as I keep working with him, but he is truly genetically inclined to be snorty about anything around his feet. His mother was that way, as are his 2 sisters (out of the same mare). I don't care what people say...You just cannot get around some genetic propensities. It's not all bad though. This line of horses (through the dam's side) have a lot of what calf-roper's call 'get back'. It makes them fantastic for that event, which is what Bugs was bred to be. He was supposed to be my brother's next calf horse. Bugs' dam was a great calf-horse as is one of his sisters. The other sister is scheduled to be bred this year. Now that baby...I am looking forward to!

I had initially thought that I would turn Bugs into a barrel horse. He is a 1/2 brother to Moon (same sire) and he has a fair amount of run. However, the more I am around him, the more I realize he just needs me to get him riding well and then find him a good roper to take him to his true calling. He needs someone to turn him into what he was bred to be and I can't do that.

I don't really think his age (11yrs old) is much of a determent to him, if he is riding well. A good calf horse usually lasts well into their teens and more than a few are competitive into their early 20's. Good calf-horse prospects are not a dime a dozen. No one really breeds for that specifically. So when something comes around that has what it takes, ropers usually take notice. Bugs definitely has every attribute-good burst of speed, big stopper in the hindquarter, not to big and he has that little bit of snort.

Now I just need to get well and get rolling on him. ;-)

That ain't a happenin' to day folks. I'm headed back to bed.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It Did Something

Spooks is an absolute pig when it comes to mud...

I haven't seen many horses that love to wallow in it as much as he does. Oh sure, they all like to get down and roll around in the mud...but he wallows and then just lays in it.

He had to have a bath before I could even saddle him.

Today was the first day that Spooks has ever picked up his left lead without me having to employ some sort of stop and roll-back tactic. It surprised me so much that I almost rated him down and employed the stop and roll-back before I realized he had the correct lead off of my cue.

I always start with preparing him and giving him the cue. Just checking you know. Gotta give them the opportunity to do it right to see if they are actually learning anything. LOL

Thinking it was a total accident (although, still a break-through), I let him lope a complete circle, rated him down, trotted for a few strides and asked again. He almost didn't pick it up the second time, but at the last second, he lifted off in the left lead again.


That only took almost a year to accomplish. (Sheez)

Here's the thing...Every since last summer when Megan decided she didn't care to ride Spooks and I took him over, I have been working out different issues on the horse. His teeth (which weren't as bad as we thought they probably were), his feet, I had an old scar on the inside of his hock checked to make sure that wasn't hindering his ability to lift that leg properly, his feed, and his body condition. As I have worked through each 'issue' that I thought was causing his inability to properly lift that hip to engage that lead...I have worked from the ground up. Til the only thing I could think of was the problem was something going on in his hip. It has been in my plans to get the chiro to work on him and do some accupuncture. Since I seem to keep missing her, I talked to my farrier about using his electro-magnetic gizmo-thingie-ma-bob. He uses it on all of his reining horses to alleviate soreness problems.

Last week, I looked at my bottle of DMSO and thought about trying that on Spooks' hips and shoulders. I have done a lot of reading on the uses of DMSO since I broke down and used it on Beretta's knee. I was still a little hesitant to use the stuff on anything but the legs, but finally decided that I would try massaging some of that into Spooks' hips and see. It was nice enough that day that I figured if it made him too uncomfortable, I could wash it off.

Boy, it sure enough did heat up over his hips and he kept looking back there, like 'What the heck is going on?', but he didn't seem terribly uncomfortable. I left him tied up there while I saddled another horse, still no other reaction besides looking at his butt. So I turned him in the pasture. He took off trotting, jumped and kicked out to the side (being a brat) and promptly dropped and rolled. I watched him for a while longer, but after he rolled, he just went to grazing, so I rode the rest of the horses. By the time I got him up for the evening, there was no longer any heat where I had applied the DMSO and he seemed to be walking quite free.

Soooo...I don't know if the magic of DMSO finally helped break up the tightness across Spooks' hips or if everything else I have been doing finally kicked in? A combination? I don't really know...but I rubbed his hips with it again after riding him today and will have to see if he continues to gain ground. I don't think it's something I want to do everyday....maybe once or twice a week? But maybe I won't have to spend another $150 on getting him worked on by someone else.

It's kind of amazing really if this ends up helping that much. I've read all kinds of testimonials about how DMSO has helped people and animals with inflammation, arthritic problems, bursitis, splints, bone chip pain, etc, etc. The heat alone is intense and deep penetrating. One of the claims is that it increases circulation. Since it is a 'carrier', it seems to scavenge and carry the bad stuff out of affected joints as well. Maybe it really did take something as strong as the DMSO to start breaking up the tightness in Spooks' muscles. I know the Vetrolin massages I was giving him sure didn't seem to help much. I'd noticed a mild improvement in his shoulders, but nothing across his hips.

I don't seem to be affected by the 'garlic' taste many people seem to get. All I get is a slight metallic taste. I know one thing...I used it on my aching wrists one time and bam...the pain was gone and has stayed gone. I still use gloves to apply it to the horses though. Interesting that all of these years, I have avoided the stuff because of it's intensity and the warnings about it and now I am finding it to be so beneficial. I guess those 'old guys' knew what the heck they were doing after all. ;-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Home Never Felt So Good

Sixteen hundred miles on the motorcycle these last few days. butt is sooorrrreeeee!

It may not have been the most fun bike experience ever, but I sure loved getting away with My Honey for a bit. But it makes me appreciate being home...A LOT!

It was mostly a cold ride. Thursday, it was brutal cold, but we made it 500 miles to Elko, NV. My Honey, rough, tuff biker that he is will never admit it was cold. Me? Being the delicate, sensitive flower that I am (snort)...was frozen rigid. Fifty pounds of leather and layers and layers of clothes was not enough. Friday riding into Sparks, NV was nice and Sunday riding back to Wendover, NV/UT was nice. Monday morning it was raining and we rode right into a rain storm going into Salt Lake. After 150 miles of riding in increasingly heavy rain, My Honey pulled off and we got a room for the rest of the day. It was too dangerous to ride. This morning we rode over the last pass coming through the mountains (Soldier Pass) and got to enjoy being snowed on a bit. Thankfully, once we dropped down into the desert again, it was bearable and we roared through the last 150 miles home in moderate conditions.


Not a one, my friends!

I was bundled up like an Eskimo most of the time and counting mile markers to the next stop. Let me tell you....getting on and off the bike when you are bundled up like that is no easy feat. LOL So much for being the ultra-cool biker chick. ;-)

The highlight of the trip (besides getting to spend several days with MH) was getting to meet Funder. She braved coming to the convention center after her brutal 50 mile ride the day before and had breakfast with me. The time went way too fast. I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed visiting with her for the entire day if we hadn't had to head out. I'm sure she was glad to get to head home and hold down the couch though. I could tell she was definitely sore.

All of the animals survived in our absence, as did Meg. I had arranged everyone so that Meg was not overwhelmed with chores while we were gone, so the ponies were pretty happy to get back on their regular schedule tonight. We only had to wrangle one cat out of a tree and I think my Red Dog gained 10 lbs while I was gone. Meg rode Moon for me in my absence, but the dogs won't go with her. That really pisses her off-LMAO.

As much as I didn't really feel like getting off the bike and jumping on a horse, Moon has to be rode daily to keep his condition level up, so I took a bit of a nap and went straight to riding this evening.

Yup...I'm home and it feels gooooodddddd!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Doesn't Look Good-Beretta's X-Ray

I'll be gone til next week and although I do hate to leave on a bad note...

I thought you all would like to see Beretta's X-ray...

(double click on it to enlarge)

As much as I hate to say it...I don't think I am going to pursue options any farther.

It was suggested to me by my farrier that if I really wanted to know the condition of the tendons, I should take her to LIttleton Large on the other side of the mountains and have her ultrasounded. However, there appears to be no actual damage to the tendons-no swelling, thickening or bumps or obvious damage. So, the only possible damage may have been is where it attaches in the hoof.

Does that really matter at this point?

Beretta is currently sound and plumb happy to be back on turn-out. She isn't going to be started under saddle until this fall, although I will probably start doing some groundwork, saddling and driving throughout the summer. I would think that any possible damage done to the tendon would have healed by now. The vet agreed with me and thought it would probably be a waste of money and effort at this time to worry about ultrasounds, etc. He said to simply treat her as a normal horse, keep her feet trimmed regularly and keep her weight in check. Regular exercise (turn-out) is good, but she also needs to be able to get rest. Her current living arrangement is ideal.

So that's that!

Once again, I have lost my intended use for a prized filly.


Raising babies SUCKS!

No. Not really. I don't think I could ever give up raising my kiddos. It's just that when you raise each one to be special...

Lisa asked if I thought Beretta might be able to be a show horse. I guess we'll find out next year. I like showing my youngsters anyway. Anything else to decide is a few years down the road. Not gonna rush into worrying about that.

As if that wasn't a big enough blow this last week, today, I got the sorrel horse, Bugs up and was giving him a thorough grooming and working on his feet. And then I got to looking...

(Sorry, no pics at this time, I was once again trying to do too many things at once in preparation to leave for the weekend.)

I'll be damned if he doesn't have one knee that is getting big. As looks like calcium deposits...not injury. I thought I was just seeing things. I only really noticed it because I happened to look at him straight on while I was working on his feet. There is no mark, no puffyness, no just looks bigger. Another mystery to explore when I get home.

Holy Hell...whatever is in the air that is kicking all of our butts and our horse's butts....Needs to blow on through, cause I don't know how much more we can all take!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suck It Up Already

My buckskin plateaued. His belly has not moved in a couple of weeks now...
(Okay, not the best picture of his belly because his gigantic butt is in the way...but trust me...the horse still has a significant belly-LOL)

I have been loping and long trotting him a lot and he's actually in pretty decent shape, wind-wise. But that belly is not moving.

I think it is time to PowerPak deworm him. He is slick everywhere but his belly and hip area and that hair is just curled and nasty feeling...

Hopefully that does the trick and gets him moving along again. It's just incredibly hard for him to do a lot with that darned belly hanging down. His back is getting stronger though, he doesn't require daily massages with liniment to prevent soreness anymore. So there has to be another reason why his belly is not coming up and parasites seems the most likely culprit.

I'll probably end up doing the same with Spooks. His hair looks pretty rough and he is not shedding out like the others have either, even though he does not have a hanging belly like Frosty.

If it seems to help quite a bit, I might do the others as well, but Moon (who usually looks like hell in the Spring), Turk and Bugs all seem to be doing fine for now. I know...the only way to really tell is with a fecal count...but for now, I'm going with how they look and feel. :-/ I might have a fecal done on Moon because he always seemed to be the one who needed additional deworming, but I gotta slow my roll on this spending. I have dumped a ridiculous amount into horses over the last few months and it never seems to end.

Turk's belly has sucked up in the last couple of weeks...

I haven't been getting him rode as much as I should be though. Unfortunately, he was kind of low on the priority list.

Moon HAS to be worked.

Frosty HAS to be worked.

Spooks gets worked.

Turk...I was just kind of getting to whenever. Megan rides him now and again, but nothing regular enough to improve his condition.

I'll give the horse credit though. I sure didn't think he would be much of a 'pleaser'. He's rather arrogant and it's difficult to keep his attention focused on what's going on in his immediate vicinity. He's been really surprising me with his desire to attempt to do what I am asking him to do. A lot of it is kind of hard for him physically yet. For as much muscle as he is made in the hindquarter...

He doesn't have much strength in his stifles or his back. I've started working on that and now it will just take time for his condition level to come up. That means I have to start putting the time in on him so that can happen. He's really unsure of what to do with his feet too. He kind of plops them down however and wherever. Spooks was that way when I first started riding him as well. It just takes constantly reminding them to keep driving from behind and to pick the front ones up and set them down cleanly. Pretty soon, they start traveling lighter and are quicker with their feet and then you can move on to working on suppleness.

It's hard to supple a horse whose shoulder and ribcage move, but their feet don't. LOL...Lots of stumbling and fumbling around. Turk's lope is getting more controlled and he only occasionally falls out of his hind leads now. But he is still at least a month (with regular riding) away from being ready to lope the barrel pattern.

I have been debating whether to send my sorrel horse to the trainer or not. I just don't seem to be finding the time to get rolling on him, but I think I will hold off for now. I've got Moon on a good track, Spooks is coming along, Turk will too with more regular riding, Frosty should (hopefully) after being PowerPaked. I'll be able to start making the time for the sorrel horse. I'd like to have him going fairly well before the bay horse comes back.

Of course, by then I will have Shooter and Sandy out here. Shooter is not going to be a problem to get started and we will just have to see what Sandy looks like. My mom said she is trying to keep him from getting too fat...but I know my mom...Sandy is already fat and she is just hoping to keep him from porking out before I get there. ;-)

Can we say...Full House this summer?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Short...But Fun!

I decided to pop over to a little local playday today. It was a blustery morning and an impending storm made them call the last 2 events, but me and the boys had some fun.

I got a barrel run in on Moon...
I kept him a little wide around the barrels and did not push. Right now, I am really focusing on keeping him running smooth and easy and concentrating on looking where I need to look. He floated out of 1st just a hair, but as soon as I looked up, he straightened out. 2nd was good again. Left the barrel standing at 3rd. After watching the video ACC put up, I could see that Moon jot a little hung on the backside of 3rd. We worked on that this week. He got a little stuck back there again today, but I was able to push him far enough into the turn that he came out clean.

I guess you could say that my real goal is to keep Moon about a half to one second off of the top times. We seem to run comfortably at that speed. Moon did place 2nd at this playday (an 18.7), but I would say that the large pattern we ran is probably a high 17/low 18 run. Anything under a 17.8 is probably smoking. So I am comfortable with the time we had. If Moon can be a consistent 2D horse this year...PERFECT!

Spooks got his first real outing...
He loped a 25 second pattern. Now I know why Megan giggled like a loon through her barrel runs on Rip (the big blue roan). Rip and Spooks are 3/4ths brothers and O.M.G!!! they run identical to each other. Spooks went straight to his first barrel (which happens to be the left one first because he has a hard time with his left lead) and then snorted his way around it. Same with 2nd and 3rd. JUST like Rip did with Megan all that time. These horses really want to work the barrel, not run around it. It's freaking hilarious!

But he was a good boy. He got 3rd in the Flag Race (never practices that before) and 2nd in the Keyhole (Nope, never did that before either) and then they called the event. We was home by noon.

Spooks ended up being the Reserve High Point Adult horse of the day. LOL...Not bad for the first time he has ever done anything like that.

Meg was going to go with me, but she did not sleep well the night before and since it's her Jr. Prom...I told her to stay home and get rested up (we had no idea how long the playday would run). There are going to be a ton of playdays we can go to...only ONE prom...
The little orange, grecian goddess...
This is pre-hair and makeup-LOL.

All is right in my world again!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm On A Roll Of...(Buzzer Sound) Wrong Answer!

I talked to the trainer yesterday...wanted to know how the big bay is doing...

He's always been a pretty easy horse to handle, likes people, didn't seem to freak out to easy, but....

I had never really pushed the horse to see how he handled pressure and I did know that every.single.time I gave him a bath last year he had to act like it was the first time. Which is actually why he got so many baths...

I kind of figured the big horse would be boogery to start with and get over it. He seems so sweet!

Well, all of that running blood of his...Mr. Race Runner, Dr. Kirk(by Easy Jet), Muscle Machine, Tonto Bars Gill, VooDoo Rocket(by Rocket Bar), Mr. Pierre Bar, Shawne Bug(by Lady Bug's Moon)....get the picture?

The horse is run, run, run and more run bred. I mean really, it would be almost impossible to get any more big name race horses packed into his pedigree.

That's his mentality too. OMG...That's scary...I'm going to run away!

Needless to say...Jet is struggling to find his inner self. Levi said it is a little frustrating because one day, he does pretty good, the next...Not so much. His mind seems to blank out and his instinct to run kicks in.

Yea well...I told Levi to just keep at it...if it takes 90 days to get him there instead of 60 takes 90 days. I sure as heck don't want him coming home a runaway freight train. I'm too old for that crap!

If Levi wasn't the kind of trainer he is, I"m sure he could have forced the horse farther along by now, but he's not that way. He'll just keep plugging away until Jet finally learns how to think his way through things and stops being a drama queen. I think that will happen when the days start to get hot. It's amazing how much the heat takes the goofy out of horses.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Verdict

Although I have not gotten to the vet clinic to view Beretta's x-rays for myself...

The vet called and sometime in Beretta's young life she fractured her inside sesmoid bone on her right hind leg. In this pic it is the black leg...
You can see the bit of thickening to the outside of the fetlock joint. Some of that is the scar tissue from that damn poke last fall. However, the change in her leg runs the entire length of the outside of her cannon bone. The vet believes that is the bone compensating for the additional pressure to the outside of her leg. It is something that we can feel moreso than see.

The problem is, the fracture happened so long ago (probably within the first 3-4 months of her life), that the tendon has migrated over to the inside of the fetlock. According to this vet, there is nothing that can be done as the sesmoid bone has already fused.

Here you can see that bit of thickening on the top of her pastern...

According to this vet, the chance of Beretta ever becoming the barrel horse I had hoped she would be is gone. If carefully maintained over the next few years (and probably the rest of her life), she will be sound for riding, but he said he would be very worried about trying to compete on her. If that tendon ever blows...It would most likely mean euthanasia.

At this point, the vet said the only thing I can do is keep her trimmed and keep her weight in check.

You know...I need to see those x-rays for myself (and hopefully get copies of them), but I don't know if I am going to accept that as the final say for Beretta's future. Now that I know exactly what is going on and the fact that Beretta is so young and still growing...there is still the chance that this can be corrected to some extent. That tendon is firmly attached and was not damaged, it just moved. I may not be able to get it to move back over, but over time and aggressively working on keeping Beretta's heels balanced...I think there is still a chance she will grow up and be fine.

If I can get copies of the x-rays, I will probably take them to another vet that I heard was an equine guru and see what he has to say.

Long story short - There is no sure way to determine how well Beretta will or won't do in the next couple of years. The only thing I won't be able to do with her is take her home and turn her out at the ranch. She needs vigilant care to optimize her chances. Good thing for her that I like her. ;-) Hopefully now that she is back on turnout, she comes out of that snarly attitude she developed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Things I Do To Take My Mind Off Bad Things

The cleaning continues around here...but at least I am to the point where work on a specific area...the result is a clean spot. Like this one...
All that is left to do is get rid of that gray thing on the right and the remaining lone barrel of used oil.

This is what it looked like when we bought the place last year...
The snow has about 1/2 of the junk that was there covered. It was awful. All of the barrels and garbage were removed last summer, but I never did get it completely done.

This is all of the remaining junk that I pulled out of there...
Last summer I started piling all of the scrap iron along that fenceline and I finally got it all loaded and hauled out of here. I might add...Scrap Iron prices are UP! Bonus $$...Yeaaa!!

Next on the agenda is this pile...
It's the remnants of the wood pile the previous owners had for the fireplace. I had just kept moving all of the wood pieces to this area and I did have them sort of piled in individual piles. Unfortunately My Honey did not know that and he 'helped' one day by scraping everything into one big pile to burn.

Ugghhh...and I simply MUST get that poor shed reshingled. The wind over the last 2 springs has just destroyed it. No sense trying to 'fix' it by sliding in new shingles. It all just needs to be replaced. I want a different color anyway. Isn't that a good enough reason to reshingle something? ;-)

Sadly, now I must work at sorting out this pile again, because there is some wood that can be cut into firewood and there is also some railroad ties in there that I wanted to use for landscaping.

Oh well, MH didn't know and if I get my chainsaw fired up, it won't take me long to render this pile the way I want it.

Thankfully, MH did get the weed sprayer hooked up for me and filled it with chemical. He started spraying, I just need to keep after it so the weeds don't take over this place again this year.

See...I don't dwell on bad things...I just find tasks that involve physical labor so I don't have time to think about stuff I don't want to think about.

The Saga Of Beretta Continues...

The vet came...his x-ray machine power pack was he will be back tomorrow morning to try it again. **The vet is's breeding season and he seems to be the go-to guy for all of the A.I. stuff around here.

What he did observe was a little disheartening. He believes that Beretta has a migrated tendon on her right hind leg. Radiographs are definitely in order.

Without trying to be a doomsday theorist...Because we really need the radiographs to see exactly what is going on...The vet was surprised that she had not already blown that tendon. (gasp)...I knew things didn't look right...but geez!...THAT bad? What the heck?

One of the first things I asked the vet was if this was a genetic thing?

He said no, most likely caused by an event.

What 'event' I cannot tell you. This is something I started noticing before Beretta was attacked and I had already planned on getting her x-rayed. I had pretty much already decided to keep her here this summer because mom is struggling to find anyone to come trim horses regularly and Beretta has to be balanced every couple of weeks. It only takes a couple of strokes with the rasp to keep that the heels on that foot even...but it has to be done or her inside heel gets long and continues to push the fetlock to the outside.

The vet was trying to be nice, but he immediately noticed the same thing I realized about Miss Beretta quite a while ago...she is waaayyyyy to fine-boned for her body. Essentially, she is a block supported by toothpicks. I let Beretta get to fat over the winter and she popped matching splints in her front legs. Big ones! Where that to fine of bone came from...I don't know that either. Genetically, no one on her mother's side of the family has ever had any leg/bone issues. Her sire has substantial bone and both of her 1/2 brothers (by the same sire) have sufficient bone for their size. I will say, Shooter and Gunner have grown differently than Beretta though. Both of the colts have stayed lean bodied and 'coltish' looking as they have grown UP. Beretta...well she has done more growing out than UP.

Keeping Beretta leaner, without compromising her nutritional needs is a must. It goes against everything I have ever done with my babies...but then I have never had a youngster who was so prone to gaining weight as Beretta has been. Exercise is also a must...however NO longing. The vet does not want the additional torque of going in circles on that leg. Handwalking, ponying or turn-out only. The vet okayed turn-out time...I guess that is one bright note...there is nothing wrong with Beretta's knee. It does not need to be x-rayed. Almost all of the swelling is down. There is one small lump left, but that seems to be around a small spot where it looks like she wanted to blow out (like abscesses do). She never actually broke there, so the vet said to just keep DMSOing that area every other day and wrapping it. That will help get the circulation going in there again and break up that pocket of 'whatever'.

Depending on what we find on the radiographs...will determine my next course of action. If, for whatever reason, Beretta popped that tendon out of it's normal path, surgery may be an option.

A small scraping may be in order anyway. Late last fall, Beretta poked that fetlock on something in the pasture. I doctored it and didn't think too much more about it. Of course winter rolled around, she turned into a hairy yak and I didn't notice anything but a small scab that wouldn't seem to heal there. I kept scraping the scab off and slapping some wound powder on it. Now that she is shedding off, it's pretty apparent there is some scar tissue there. The vet said that the scar tissue is probably rubbing on a nerve. He said removing that is no big deal. We can just lay her down here at home, he can scrape that out, bandage it and start the healing process over again. The vet said it's pretty common for the scar tissue thing to happen on injuries that happen when it's cold out. They don't get doctored as well as you normally would when it's warmer and the cold hinders the healing process. Had I thought it was anything more than just a little scrape...I would have doctored it more diligently...but was just a tiny little poke. Gaahhh!!!

As for the tendon, if it is still in it's correct position, only time will tell if it will hold. A ton will depend on keeping Beretta's foot balanced and a corrective shoe may be in order.

Geez! Who would have thunk all this???

Unfortunately...My mind is racing with what-if's...I already went through 11 years with another mare (totally and completely unrelated genetically to Beretta) that had a hind leg joint issue and I just don't think I would ever do that again. It sucked for me and wasn't really fair to that mare. I'm trying not to think too much in advance...until we actually get those x-rays...but...???

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Little Slice Of Conditioning Heaven

Well I think so, even if the horses are not as impressed.

Spooks says...Really? Ya know, I was pretty good with that whole pasture ornament thing I had going on all those years...

Right across the street from me is an open 20 acre field...
Supposedly, this is going to be one of the parking lots for Bobby's Birthday Bash. If that comes to be. The Bash itself would be on the other side of that white house in the back. Since they haven't gotten a darned thing done with that yet...I really don't see how they are going to make it I quit worrying about it (shrugs). Once I realized that Country Jam's attorney was just using those of us that live next to where this is supposedly going to happen...I decided I was not going to be part of those two's personal problems with each other (Bobby Willis and Country Jam). Country Jam's attorney is a complete jackass and I want no part of the trouble he is trying to cause.

I have a pretty good 'track' going around the perimeter...
(That's the corner of my pasture on the top, right side of the picture and my old cowboy neighbor's corrals straight ahead. I love that neighbor. He is da bomb!)

It's not as deep in the track now as when I started riding here. But...If I need to really make one of the boys work, all I have to do is step off the beaten path and it's deep and soft.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Well That Was Frustrating

I stood around waiting for the veterinarian to show up for TWO hours this evening...and he never showed up. I hope no one's horse died...but he better have a damn good reason for missing that appointment and not having anyone call me!!


Well, hopefully I will be able to post something about what's going on with Beretta within the next couple of days.

I am pissed off and may have to start using a different veterinarian. I don't tolerate that crap very well at all!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It Makes It All Worth It

All in all...the horse show went great.

Meg and Turk placed 6th (of 8) in her Showmanship class...

Frosty and I placed 6th (of 10) in the Adult Showmanship class...

Neither Meg or I did any riding classes. Considering the level of competition (these are some serious show people) I didn't think it was worth it to take the chance we would mess up someone else's ride. Both Turk and Frosty are unused to working with so many horses around and highly intimidated by horses passing them or coming at them. It was a little hairy in the warm-up pen at first, but by the end of the day, both Turk and Frosty had pretty much figured out how to ignore all the activity and settled into working like good boys.

That was a huge accomplishment in itself, particularly for Frosty, whose tendency has been to freak out and blow up at a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. that is coming at him head-on. The horse show was the perfect venue to work on that with him because the WP horses move so slow, he had lots of time to think about and process how to handle another horse loping toward him. LOL

It sure pays to get out there and see what's what though. I know both of these horses have come a long way, but comparing them to the fit and shiny show horses...we have a long way to go yet. I don't find that discouraging in the least. I know what I started with and know what I am working toward.

To say that it was a beautiful day for the show would be an understatement. The weather was stunningly beautiful and topped out a a whopping 82 degrees. Megan and I had a fabulous day together as well...that in itself would have made my entire day worth it. It's been a loooonnnngggg time since me and the kiddo have gotten to get out and enjoy the horses together.

Moving on to the barrel that was a cluster....well, you know what I mean....

From 82 and sunny one a darned near white out blizzard, complete with lightening and thunder the next. Of course, that didn't start until I was already AT the barrel race, or I might have skipped it.

A CountryCowgirl and her hubby came over and hung out with me for the day.

The weather made warming up horses near impossible and because everyone insisted on crowding into the little space inside the door, there was some good old fashioned wrecks. Moon started the day off in style...

Poor horse was pretty much plumb asleep tied to the fence and ACC's hubby was standing right next to him the whole time, but another gal had tied her horses beside Moon and disappeared. One of her horses kept turning his butt into the other horse, which pushed that horse into Moon and although all 3 of us were right there watching...we have no idea what happened, but Moon woke up and flipped out. He pulled back, freaked out, flopped over on his side, flopped around like a fish out of water and finally found his feet and got up. Poor horse looked so confused. I don't think even he knows why he did that. But it sure as heck cleared out the area around us. LOL

All was fine. Moon wasn't injured, no other horses spooked and the fence held. All's well that ends well.

I exhibitioned Spooks, which didn't amount to anything because it was such a mess of riders all trying to do their own thing. But Spooks is looking at the barrels and seems to know his pattern. It's time to start taking him to an arena that is down the road a bit and start working on the next phase...teaching him how to lope the pattern. Spooks is going to be a lot like Rip (Megan's blue roan horse) was to start. These horses want to kind of compact their bodies around the turn. It takes a lot of just loping spirals around the barrels to teach them how to stretch out and reach as they are turning the barrel. But I think Spooks is going to be fun to run.

Considering the mess that was going on, I opted not to exhibition Moon. It wasn't worth it to fight the crowd. We just took the horses back to the trailer, threw them in loose and gave them some hay to munch on while I waited for my turn.

When it was time, I just pulled Moon out, fixed his gear, covered us with a blanket and walked and jogged around for a few minutes before our set. To compensate for the weather, they let the next set (5) of barrel racers come in and lope circles by the gate during the rake. Moon went in a little tight, but settled immediately and loped some nice circles.

Since it has been so long since we have run and for lack of a proper warm-up, I figured I was just going to let Moon go in there and coast around the barrels. Right now, I am wayyy more concerned about good runs vs. fast runs.

Boy did Moon feel good in my hand when we left for 1st barrel. He was soft, shaped and looking. He made his usual good first barrel, closed that off really! nicely and got straight to 2nd. He made that turn in good shape and headed straight for 3rd. Gosh...he just felt so nice under me. His body was right, he was running free (if not hard) and boy oh boy does he feel strong. We got to 3rd in really good shape and then I dropped the ball. Just as we were coming out of 3rd, I looked straight down at the barrel...damn red dots!...and dropped my shoulder. Moon leaned into the turn and I just barely clipped the barrel. It fell over. Thinking about it later...I think 3rd was setting kind of 'light' today (perched on the dirt)...a lot of girls tipped it and we were barely bumping it. It really shouldn't have gone over...but that's the breaks.

I was still totally pleased with Moon's run. He did his job just fine. I just lost my concentration. Indoor arenas use these laser lights from the ceiling to set the barrel pattern up. Unfortunately, my OLS (Oh Look, Shiny) kicked in and as we came around the barrel, I just looked down at the light. LOL

I was sure I heard that my time would have been a 15.8 (with a 15.2 winning it), but ACC's hubby thought it might have been a 16.8. ACC has a video, so hopefully she will post it sometime in the next day or so. Knowing Moon's stride, a 15.8 sounds about right to me. Moon can really cover the ground when he is running free and easy. He doesn't look like he is putting any effort into it and he has remarkably fast times. It's when he starts getting a little frantic and trying too hard that his times slow down. A couple of years ago, I had Moon blow by 1st was a big...Oh shit, I missed the barrel moment...and he still placed. People actually thought the timer had malfunctioned because there was really no way he should have still had that fast of a time. That's how freaking long-strided and fast this horse is. I just really, really want to get it coming together for us because I know he is more than capable.

But anyway...we got the firsties out of the way now and can get down to moving along to the next phases. I don't really think I need to do anything different with Moon. Just need to keep his conditioning up and spending time on the slow pattern work. (I am most anxious for the Ed Wright clinic to roll around...It probably not that Moon needs so much help, as *I* need help learning how to ride a truly competitive horse.)

Just have to keep doing the same with the other horses and keep getting them out there so I have something to compare their progress to.

Friday, April 1, 2011

...And 'Den...And 'Den

Have you ever started doing one thing...that led to you having to do another... and then another...and 'den...and 'den....

Holy Crap!

So 'the season' is officially upon me. A horse show tomorrow and a barrel race on Sunday.

The horse show wasn't really just popped into my peripheral view and I thought....'Hey, why not take Frosty?'

He's been doing good. Really good. So it's definitely time to get him out there and start getting him used to life in the real world. It's going to take time and lots of doing to build his confidence level up. That's really what he is lacking...confidence and experience.

So anyway...I figured I'd start the day by running errands. Stopped by the vet's (more on that on Monday), the feed store and the grocery store.

Came home...started 2 big pork roasts-supper tonight and lunches for everyone tomorrow. I have learned it is soooo worth it to take your own food to horse events.

Started cleaning the trailer-first the LQ, then the tack room and loaded up hay for the ponies lunches tomorrow. Now, you would think that, that is not that big of deal, but once I started cleaning the tack compartment

I decided there was some things could be taken out and put up at the shed. So I start taking items up there.

Except the shed looks like a tornado has gone through it. Damn...

(The 'after' pic)

So, I start re-organizing that (mostly so I could get to the bins that I keep extra tack and odds and ends in) and I found the little seed starter things I have been meaning to go dig out, so I can start my seeds (I'm already behind on that, but oh well...I'm going to start them anyway)...

So I haul all the things that I want out of the shed or don't belong there anyway (not sure how some of that stuff got up there ???) down to the garage...

Where I realize, I probably need to clean out this corner, so I can move the odds and ends of stuff that I need for the horses, but don't use very often to these shelves...

But moving the feed bins around reminds me that the lady from the feed store is going to be dropping off my beet pulp on her way home and she expressed an interest in my cutting saddle. I wanted to clean that up before she saw it.

So I go to the trailer to get the saddle and realize I still need to haul the rest of the stuff I didn't want in the trailer up to the shed. While I am making those trips, I figured I might as well go ahead and put my tarps away.

So I end up walking back down to the corrals to get those tarps and decide that Miss Beretta might as well come out and graze in the yard while I am poking around...

About this time Meg gets home, so I ask her if she plans on washing Turk's mane before the show tomorrow. The rest of him is clean, but his mane is kind of gunky. She catches him and proceeds to brush him for TWO hours!...

As the sun starts to go down, she asks where the shampoo and conditioner are. R U Freaking kidding me? Uhhh NO! Your window of opportunity to wash the horse when it was 75degrees out is now GONE. So she goes to put him away. Uhhhh...don't you think you should check out how he is going to handle the show halter? Most horses don't like the chain on the lead, so I always make sure they are okay with it before going into the show ring. Megan knows that. I have no idea what the heck was up with her, but she was acting like this was her first show and moving at a snail's pace to boot. Makes me want to throttle her! And of course, Turk freaked over the chain rattling under his chin and Meg got to spend another 30 minutes or so working him out of that (snort).

After what felt like 5 thousand more trips back and forth and around and around, I finally had most everything put away and left to wash the Megan specific instructions to hay the horses, put Beretta away and if the lady showed up with the feed to let her know if she wanted to take the saddle and try it she could.

Off to wash pickup. Straight back and of course the feed lady had come and gone. Meg said that she was just bringing Beretta in when she showed up. Rather than tie Beretta up or just put her away, she tries to help unload the feed bags while holding Beretta. Beretta leaves! Meg tries to explain to lady about the saddle as she is running after Beretta.

Needless to say...the saddle was still sitting there,
Pretty sure Meg didn't get the message across the way she was supposed to.

She did bring the feed tubs to the garage, which I thanked her for (as she disappeared back into the house) and I hooked up the trailer and started loading my clothes and stuff for tomorrow.

Finally, I realize it is getting dark and I have to get horses fed. So I start mixing up feed...having to stop a couple of times and charge at Moon with the buggy whip in my hand. He has just gotten plumb ridiculous about charging the horse next to him at feeding time and I have had it. I have whipped his butt a couple of times now and most of the time all I have to do is yell at him once and he stops. Apparently tonight he didn't think he needed to listen, so I get to look like a nutcase running in and out of the garage, yelling at and waving the whip at horses who for all intents and purposes appear to just be waiting patiently for their supper...

You know...I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I am p.s.y.c.h.o!! If I'm not yelling at that stupid dun horse, I seem to be yelling at Megan's stupid white cat. Moon is always picking a fight with another horse and Deuce is always picking a fight with the other cats. I told the fam tonight that I am ready to start lining animals up and commence with the firing squad. Even my idiot Red Dog was annoying the crap out of me. Every time I turned around with an armload of stuff...I was tripping over him...
I can only tell him so many times he is not helping before I'm yelling at him too. My black dog is smart...he hears me yell at something else...he leaves...Mom is crabby and I am just going to go do my own thing. Good Dog!

Of course, as I am putting feed pans out, I realize that Megan has not fed nearly enough hay, so I end up having to do that again.

But first, I brought Beretta out and let her eat her grain, while I cleaned her legs in preparation to re-sweat her knee. It came down a lot, but hasn't anymore in the last couple of days. At this point, cold therapy isn't cutting it, so I'm back to wrapping it. Of course, by now...Miss Thing has had enough of doctoring and is a real pill. She has yet to actually kick or strike AT me, but she is definitely letting me know, she thinks she should be done with all of this. She would really like to bite, but she got an elbow in the nose a couple of times and has decided that is not a real viable option.

I simply sat down to write this post, so I had an excuse to get off my feet for a few minutes. Now, if you will excuse me...I still have to iron my shirts, starch my jeans, make the bbqed pulled pork for sandwiches, take a shower and collapse into bed.

Did I mention, I didn't even have time to get my horses rode today? Thank goodness I took the time to trim Frosty up yesterday.

Gaaahhh...don't you just love getting ready for the first event of the season?

But hey, my shed is clean, the trailer is clean and packed, the pickup is clean, the garage is clean, a couple of saddles are clean and I picked up a multitude of things that were kind of strung all over the yard. Totally unintentionally multi-tasking.

Fingers crossed for us that we have a good show and a good barrel race this weekend. I have a feeling I'm going to need all the luck I can get. ;-) Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!