Tuesday, March 30, 2021

DIY Equiband Pad

 If there's one thing my wife sullenly likes about my craft habit, it's that if I can make it myself rather than buy a brand product, I will try to do that. 

With that said... here's my DIY equiband.

I really liked the idea of the equiband for its resistance work and general proprioception cues it could give and definitely thought that Gwyn would benefit from having one.

The price tag? For some large clips, elastic, resistance bands and a saddle pad though? Yikes.

I know I have some saddle pads that I can play around with and I didn't need to go out and invent the wheel and make a pad from scratch. Equiband doesn't sell 'replacement parts' to someone who isn't already confirmed as a customer of the original product, probably precisely because of people like me.

Gray and Lavender smartpak saddle pad that I looked at and was concerned for my sewing machine. 

However, a UK seller on ebay has this glorious item. It's called a BungeeBand, and it's of the "Just add saddle pad" variety! And for a much easier to stomach cost. I would have totally DIY'd it but finding extra long resistance bands were difficult and I didn't want to spend THAT much time sourcing things and coordinating the clips and elastic.

It also wasn't clean so I laid it on a towel on my bed while positioning the pieces.

Ford loves things that smell like the barn. And he loves cuddling.
Sir, you are not helping right now.
However, my sewing machine is not heavy duty, and adding the extras onto the saddle pad I chose plus accessories were making me nervous with the thickness and my needle life. But I know I have other pads.
BNWT Letitia baby pad that's MUCH thinner. Ahhhh, now I'm not as concerned for my sewing machine.
I pinned everything in place as identically as I could. Sewing things onto pads is best done with a square/rectangle with a cross for extra strength and security.

I had some leftover nylon webbing that I didn't use for a halloween costume for Kaylee. Make sure you flame the ends with a lighter to seal the nylon so it doesn't fray.
This is how I attached it because it's meant to just be used with a surcingle or maybe on top of another pad if I use it with a saddle.
If I were making a saddle pad for longevity, I'd fold the webbing over and sew through both layers as demonstrated above.

Ta-Da, completed!

I tried it out on Gwyn on Sunday. The weather was WILD. Like cold front coming in violently with hail, rain, snow, freezing rain and WIND. Gwyn was a kite. I was going to ride... but didn't feel really pulled to ride. So we played with lunging.  Gwyn was really good. She offered me some really nice, balanced canter on her good side and I made sure to praise a correct canter transition and lead on her bad side. 

I took the elastics off and also had her do some trot poles and jumps. I really enjoyed myself, especially with not needing to worry about my safety with a horse who was definitely feeling good in the chilly, windy weather.

It worked really well! I'll work her up to adding more resistance with the bands and I like that even on my giant booty of a mare, I had adjustability. I probably would have preferred to make this with a larger saddle pad and maybe the belly band could be angled forward a smidge. But that's what seam rippers are for. 

More subdued after getting to run wild in the arena prior to grooming

"Mom... y u do dis?"

WTF is this weather!?

She worked hard so now she tries to elicit sympathy and cookies

I did stick her rain sheet on as a condolence prize before sending her back to her lunch hay.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

DIY Thrush Balm Take 1

 A while ago I had joined Pete Ramey's (now altered) facebook group when I was trying to figure out what was going on with Gwyn's feet. He had his Pete's Goo recipe for thrush that I tried at the time (desitin and lotrimin) that really worked. He'd also come up with a few other recipes for different thrushbusters that I was interested in trying. 

Really, I want to try and make something similar to artimud that can be packed into the hoof and stick well. To that end, I bought some supplies and began to think of how I wanted to start formulating stuff. And in good scientist fashion, I documented for both repeatability and for adjusting things appropriately.

My initial thought was to create almost a bag balm product so I looked up DIY lip balm type recipes and proceeded from there.

Some jojoba oil and tea tree essential oil from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Beeswax pastilles also from MRH for the matrix
Zinc oxide for thrush and bacteria killing properties
Copper sulfate powder also for bacterial and fungicidal properties

Shea butter, also from MRH.  
I chose Mountain Rose Herbs because I trust them as a supplier for cosmetics. So if it's safe for a human face, it'll be safe for a hoof, imo.
Dedicated metal bowl and utensil so I'm not messing my food ones up.
And set up as a double boiler on the stove.
1 oz of beeswax pellets

1 oz of shea butter in the recommended 1:1 ratio of beeswax to shea butter

1 teaspoon/5ml/0.25 oz of copper sulfate (this was a guess)
1 teaspoon/5ml/.35oz of zinc oxide

I melted the beeswax and shea butter in the double boiler and added the copper sulfate and zinc oxide along with about 20 drops of tea tree oil and I think a tablespoon of jojoba oil.  The copper sulfate did not want to dissolve into this mixture but the zinc oxide homogenized fairly well. As a result, I don't feel like the copper is even distributed in what was poured and solidified.

I poured it into a small glass pyrex container with locking lid that I also bought specifically to hold this. 

When I tried it out at the barn, it was a cold day and I had to dig out the balm with a hoof pick and it didn't really mold into the hoof the way I wanted it to. I need it to be more malleable in colder temperatures, which means, I think that I need to change the ratio of shea butter to beeswax or add more jojoba oil. 

I also want to see if just finding some bentonite clay and making it with that will get me the consistency I'm looking for. But also, I'm trying to hold off judgement for the summer to see how ambient warmth changes how it's able to be applied. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021


 We've had an FDA audit at work for the past 9 days so my time has been pretty much spent at work and then sleeping. It's been exhausting. 11 days ago, Gwyn got more injections, this time in her hocks after the vet checked her again and agreed that the stifles were not a lone actor in her discomfort.

We did have a flat-ish lesson the day before where we worked on stifle strength and Gwyn was GREAT for it. That was the last time I had ridden my horse until today. 
Best Goober.
The vet was out for teeth and I wanted her to flex Gwyn again.

Getting flexed by the vet
She was mostly sound except for after the left hock was pushed. It wasn't a hard decision to opt into injections. As much as I don't want to admit it, Gwyn is not a spring chicken any more. So maintenance it is. 
Adorable sheep vet wrap to keep her tail out of the clean area
She gets a recheck on Monday to see how she's going after injections and I'm pretty sure it's going to show some improvement. This is the first year I've done injections into the joint, she's gotten adequan before. Gwyn responds REALLY well to them according to the vet. She's an ideal candidate.
Loopy from the meds
I went out to ride on Saturday as a bounce back after all the work I've been doing. My mental health definitely suffered but I honestly didn't have time. I was so exhausted after work each day and I put in some ridiculous hours to support the audit. 

When I walked out to grab Gwyn, I didn't hear anything, but her nostrils fluttered as soon as she saw me.  And it felt like all my stress just lifted. 

Like curly hair on the back of her leg
And then the little details just made me happy.
And the hidden white spot under her mane

And how dang shiny she is despite being unblanketed and in the middle of spring shedding

Or looking ridiculous after I brush out the forelock braid that's been in for WEEKS
I had stopped at the co-op to grab more timothy pellets and saw a brilliant purple halter that was draft size. You better believe that immediately left with me, along with some coat defense powder.

Wisely, I tossed her into the covered arena before tacking up. As soon as I released her she took off and was just prancing around. And then immediately she was cantering around on her bad lead, but the correct lead and placing that left hind under her body. 

Considering she has little to no musculature to properly support good cantering, I'm taking the screenshot below as a win. 

There was sun for a little bit that coincided with rain showers as I started my ride.  But as I continued, the sun disappeared and the rain showers lasted longer and longer until I gave up riding outside and went to the covered arena. 
Happy plaaaaace
There was a cavaletti and a neat jumping exercise (the spider) set up. We walked over the cavaletti to work that hind end and tried the jumping exercise once. Otherwise, she was willingly offering me canter in both directions under saddle and I just tried to sit quietly and stay out of her way. I mostly practiced thinking toes up instead of heels down and I felt SO much more stable when applying leg aid. And it didn't feel like I was being popped out of the saddle at the canter so I don't know if that's from her not being so choppy due to the injections or the slight change I made in positioning. Either way, it's a good change. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what the vet thinks on Monday. She'll get her teeth and vaccines done then.  
Does not care about rain if there's lunch

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Ralph Dreitzler #2: Black Magic

 Trainer ED was hosting a clinic at her own farm with Ralph (back in November)

Balance is key, Gwyn will tell on me if I'm unbalanced.  If she tries to throw me to the outside, weight the opposite, make her balance herself.

Practice on an exercise ball, sit, lift legs RELAX balance

That damn butt muscle, relax it

Relax your shoulders

Tuck hips EVER so slightly without collapsing shoulders

Steer from hips/pelvic tilt, less is more, shoulders DO NOT follow

Sit back sit back SIT BACK!

Weight in the stirrups + pelvic direction = amazing turns and eventually pirouettes :O  

Breathe, lol

Use the armpit muscle to steer, like holy shit, what... this works?!

Gwyn can do it, Gwyn WANTS to do it. Gwyn is happy when you ride WELL. Happy ears when you get it right/are balanced

Boobs are terrible counterweights, lol

Ralph and I are similar weights :0

She's almost there to being on the bit. It will come as she starts to carry herself. Focus on getting her to carry herself.

I had one or two more lessons with Ralph. One attempt was waylaid by Gwyn still not being sound. It was so frustrating and part of the reason why I just stopped making posts. It was too depressing to open the 'create post' and only think, "Horse is still lame, I lunged her hoping there was a change and there wasn't so I didn't do anything but walk for 10 minutes"

Awful awful.

December Clinic with Ralph

Where I sat in her stall while it was freezing rain and cried because I was breaking my horse (early Jan)

We had our recheck with the vet and got the all clear, however there were moments where things just didn't pan out. Like when I had a lesson the same day as a massage and we just didn't realize because I'm so caught up in craziness at work I didn't realize they were double booked for the same day. 


Gwyn sees the vet again tomorrow. She still does hinky things with her hip, several different people have commented on it but noted that it's not lameness but just her dropping her left hip. I suspect it's muscle memory from her compensating for the stifle for so long, but now I'm fucking paranoid. 

We've been doing little except a dressage lesson here and there and lots of trail walking to try and build up her butt strength. 

And buying lots of the ombre line weatherbeeta pads to fill emotional voids

Clearly she's still feeling sassy

Anyway, that's slowly catching me up with you all. I'll get fully back to it at some point.