Tuesday, March 26, 2019

In Which Gwyn jumps a Skinny: A Sequence

 Cantering, correct lead and stepping under
 She loses a bit of balance






The face of a proud pony who knows she's obvi the best at Cross Country

Monday, March 25, 2019

Vet Visits and Thoughts on clearing sand?

No issues here with teeth.
 The vet came out for spring shots and teeth floating. Gwyn's blood was pulled for her coggins, so I can get on with putting in my ride entry for Brighton. The ride manager knows I'm coming, but I'd at least like to get her that form with the coggins so it's taken care of.
Little Miss I fight the Vet through heavy sedation was good overall too
 I did ask about the cantering issues and possible SI problems. Vet palpated but didn't really find much. She suggested that since I'm not seeing associated lameness, it could be sand and took a listen to Gwyn's guts for the characteristic sand sound. Apparently having some sand just makes them feel heavy in back and protest getting up and underneath them. Sure enough, there is some sand in there, so now I'm mulling over how best to clear her. Basic research has suggested that just free choice hay is the best way to clear out sand, better than sand clear, and she gets that now. I bought psyllium husk anyway from costco to start adding just in case.  Your thoughts?

I also scheduled a chiro adjustment. We'll at least get a better sense of where she is with that when that vet comes out.

The vet was really happy with Gwyn's condition and said it's better than most horses she sees in the spring. YAY! I was pretty happy too and I'm glad to have that confirmed by someone with a better eye for such things.
 I've been letting them into the smaller pasture when I'm home since the ground isn't as torn up and the grass isn't grazed to the dirt. Saffron practically drags me to the pasture when I get out both their halters. It's super cute.
 I think they're happy. Later, Saffron laid down as well.
Hazel came out to help with feeding time Sunday evening and I asked her where the horses were. She looked across and exclaimed, "I SEE SAFFRON!" Then she just took off across the property to go say hi. I love the light in this photo.

Then, since we are riding more and actually working up a sweat, I clipped Gwyn. It's no more than what you see, and I'll reevaluate after our next ride to see if she needs more. With the weather forecast as it is, doing something this minimal means I don't feel terrible about still not blanketing and can toss a sheet on if absolutely necessary.

So, what have you  found works well for clearing out sand? I obviously haven't had a huge enough issue to cause a colic, nor do I want to reach that point. If clearing out sand from her gut is what it takes to help her figure out the canter better, then that's absolutely a step I'm taking. It's WAY cheaper than doing a joint injection.

Trail again!

Alicia and I have been riding together more frequently again! She recently had surgery and is in 'recovery' which, as horse people, we understand as taking things easy but riding anyway.

 We met up again at the Polly Ann Trail on the 15th and went the same way I'd gone prior when I was alone. This time the snow was gone from the trail and we had more gravel from the former train line to contend with. We also went much further!

Alicia brought Amanda, and I've decided that we are the Triple A team. They have been dating since shortly after meeting for the first time at Oak Leaf in October (seriously, met online with a dating app and Amanda drove out to meet Alicia for the first time to camp all the way across the state).  They're great with each other and I love it.

Gwyn once again was great for loading and I'm really feeling the enthusiasm she has for getting out and about lately.

Then on Saturday (23rd) we met up again, this time in Dryden. The weather was warmer and fully sunny! I had to run into work to check sample results and did that as quickly as possible, and pre-dressed in my breeches. I basically came home and hooked up the trailer and left. Best Husband stayed with the kids. Bless him.
And color coordinated to boot with Sara's side nail business :D  
 Gwyn once again hopped right on with no hesitations. I don't think I'll ever stop mentioning it because it's still amazing to me and I still expect what she was when it comes to trailer loading.
Blue skies and a water slide in the background

Happy Mare is Happy
 I finally have a new case for my new phone so I felt secure holding it to take a photo while also trying to control a mare who JUST WANTS TO GET TO THE TRAIL DAMMIT.

 We wanted to try and get to the point where it crosses under the highway I-69. We almost got there. Maybe about a mile more but I couldn't tell because my estimation was based on us riding perpendicular to the mile roads and I knew we had reached a point where the trail took off at an angle. Plus it was getting late and we still had to turn around. I didn't want Eric to be alone with the kids for too long.
 I did use my hoof boots this ride, the Equine Fusions. Gwyn's hoof has changed SO MUCH from the time I bought them that she was slipping in them and walking more on the back soft part rather than in the cup of the boot themselves. They are now too big. Which is a great issue to have, imo! If I had been able to get an application of hoof armor on her after her last trim I would have gone without, but it was just too cold at the time. Her hoof shape is far improved. More on thoughts about that in another post.

 She got sweaty on this ride! We did a lot more trotting and I've decided I'm giving her a tiny trace clip to help. I'll likely clip more before Brighton as extended forecasts show GOOD weather *knock on wood* but pretty warm for a still very fuzzy creature to be making a lot of effort in.
And then, like a good Michigan resident, she had a Paczki, long after Fat Tuesday

I think it would be about 12miles total to get to the highway, and maybe 16 if we tried to go all the way to the Imlay City parking lot. That's a good goal for conditioning! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Taking advantage of the light

I decided to lunge before feeding last night as the arena had dried some more and the footing seemed decent in one half of it. Gwyn totally took down those standards when she decided to take the poles. Clotheslined them with the lunge line and just kept going. Sometimes she has no fear. Sometimes.

Both she and Saffron just tore around in glee. I think they were delighted to have footing that wasn't super muddy or slippery. I did get some nice work in the end in the side reins on the loosest setting. Gwyn was wearing her side pull as well.

I do need to get the chiropractor out again for an adjustment. She's still bunny hopping with the hind legs in the canter or just totally on the wrong lead behind. But she has no problems reaching under in that giant trot of hers.  At the very least I'm going to make sure we do cavaletti and hill climbs to try and get her using her back appropriately since I think that's what will help in her canter.

Anyone have other suggestions? I'd love exercises both in hand and under saddle to use.

 This has been a constant and several trainers now who have seen it seem to think she's lame but her lameness eval and xrays from last year say otherwise. I think it's a muscle weakness issue.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Prep for riding at home!

Our snow is nearly gone, except where the piles were largest or on the north sides of buildings and hills where the sun has yet to reach.

Sunday was finally decent enough weather that I spent hours outside tidying up, doing barn maintenance and prepping for better spring riding.

One thing I'm really proud of is my manure management this past winter. It's extremely hard for me to add in a new item to an already existing routine even if I know it would be beneficial or not take a long time. The curse of ADHD, honestly. But I committed this winter to doing at least some outside manure cleaning every night when I did the feeding. And boy has that paid off.

In the past the manure would slowly pile up outside the stalls (because my horses only pee in their stalls if given the choice) and freeze into giant poo piles that break muck forks. I'd have to wait until the weather significantly warmed before being able to remove it all and then it was a monumental, all day effort with many many people. I found that if I was starting with a clean slate of the runs, that the semi-frozen poo piles could still be lifted, and bonus, our restarting of the original manure pile near the runs meant that I could literally just fling it over the fence to be composted. This meant less dragging wheelbarrows through knee deep snow so less feeling like it was a monumental effort.  (Figuring out how to overcome effort barriers is key with my brain)

There was still a slight buildup of frozen poo, but overall the runs looked SO much better. And I made sure to get as much poo each night that I could, even if it meant scraping the tops off to expose the ice layer below so more would thaw. This has also meant that I will have an easier time of prepping this space to resurface, hopefully, this summer. It was pea gravel but between poor manure management on my part and Saffron needing a dust bath as she's apparently part chinchilla, it needs to be regraded and have rock put back down. Eric and I are looking into footing systems and we really like stuff like this for the dry lots or this for around the outside of the barn and our driveway.

This is my donkey escape spot from last year. We had redneck run a fourth line of electrobraid in the giant gap at the bottom and it's been okay but this time we actually legit connected the fourth line with the copper bolts and got it officially onto the t-posts the way it out to be. The only thing left to is nail in an insulator on the one wooden post in the middle of the line and it'll be official!

 And then, since my arena is now super soupy which is better than concrete, I rearranged my poles and standards to allow for some better dressage schooling. I have a corner set of poles to trot plus the center thing. This gives me some more room to lunge and practice 20m circles while also allowing full use of the outer track for canter work, which we need to do desperately. Before, my step stool I use for mounting was frozen into the sand. That's now movable. Yaaaaay spring!

My new commitment for this year is to drag this thing at least monthly. I'm looking forward to riding in it, hopefully this week. The light is already better in the evening and I think I could start adding in quick rides after dinner and before kid bedtime.

Gwyn's Stall - still using the heated buckets for now.
 Since I was deep cleaning, I brought the animals to the front pasture for some not nibbled to the ground grass and Saffron was beside herself in joy. I did have to fix feet divots that they made when the neighbor's 20 year old daughter sped down their driveway and spooked everyone. *grumble* The ground is both super soft in places and still frozen. It's a fun dichotomy /s.

I'm constantly estimating and trying to predict how long my hay will last me. I bought a lot more than last year but I also think this winter was worse than last year and I tore through a lot of it with that deep freeze we had.  This should easily get me to May when I can start relying primarily on pasture while still leaving a few bales for camping trips.

Saffron's stall