Entered!

I woke up early today so I could do the entry forms for the first show of the year. I really did put this one off, but I have two stamped envelopes in my hand (well, since I am typing they are just next to me on the desk) with entry forms enclosed.

Two you ask? Well, Our first show of the year is in less than two weeks, and our second one is only the week after that. Might as well get both entries in if I am doing it right? Still worried about the EVH1 stuff, but Luck was vaccinated and I am going to be extra cautious. Both shows are close enough that I can tack her at home and just bridle her and get on at the show so there shouldn’t be much contact time.

Lucky and I are signed up for Training 2 and 3. No more starter horse divisions for us. We are going out with the big boys this year.

Now I need to figure out how to make sure I have plenty of ride time in the next two weeks. I made it work this weekend, but getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night is not going to cut it for the long haul.

Off to ride…and stop by the post office to mail my entries in. Woot!

You really love your horse huh?

So I love Gennyral. LOVE HIM. He is my horse of a lifetime. Words cannot express how much I adore my horse.

A new co-worker saw my Gen calendar hanging behind my desk and asked if I liked horses. I immediately started to gush about my perfect Gennyral. When I gush like that to horse people they just smiled. Turns out when you gush about your horse to a normal person…well, they just don’t get it. Her response was  “you really love your horse huh?”

 

I laughed, and answered honestly that she had no idea.

 

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Gen. He is the worlds most perfect pony in my book, ridable or not. Horse people often remark at how impressed they are that I keep Gen, but I honestly would not want it any other way.

 

Sure, he is a VERY expensive lawn ornament…and he isn’t even decorating my lawn, but he is the best.

 

I am not sure if it is funny or sad that a relative stranger could pick up on my love of my giant grey pony, but I do know that Gen is special.

What determines an outbreak?

So a pretty big reason why I am worried about showing this year is because I am worried. I take the health, safety and well being of my horses very seriously. Like very seriously. I think one of the reasons that I have been so lucky with finding horses to lease is because I am so attentive to the care and well being of every horse that I ride. I would much rather be known as a good horse person than a good rider (good thing too right :P). So what has me so worried??

 

There have been 3 reported cases of EVH1 in my state already this year. It is really, really early for any cases to be reported, but to have 3…that is just not a good sign. The rumor mill is also going full tilt and word on the street is that one of those horses was actually at a show. So now my area is in a full blown panic, which makes me want to panic as well. EVH1 is no joke. Horses can die from it. Even horses who are vaccinated can still get sick.

 

Many shows are now putting bio-security measures in place. One of the top hunter shows by me is requiring clearance by a vet 3 days or less prior to the show. I know a lot of the dressage shows are requiring health certificates as well as documentation that your horse got the EVH1 vaccine 7days-6 weeks prior to the show. The local show grounds is requiring a signed form stating that your has no signs of illness and that you took their temperature the day of the show before you left and it was normal.

 

This makes me not want to show, or even leave the property this year. I know that is not exactly a realistic way to avoid it this year though. You see, the girl who boards at Lucky’s loves to show and will be showing 2-3 weekends a month this year, so even if Lucky and I do nothing, it is not a guarantee we will not be exposed. I am trying not to live in fear, but it is not easy.

 

There were a lot of concerns last year (or was it 2 years ago already) but never before have I seen such wide spread panic. Being the paranoid person that I am I already take a lot of precautions when I go out to a show. Lucky has never been allowed to graze when we are out and about, and I not only bring my own buckets, but I also bring water from the barn so that I don’t have to worry about that being a point of contamination. I also don’t let Lucky meet other horses, nor do I ever go over and pet other horses myself.  Even with all that, there are still plenty of ways to get it. What if I pick up a pen at the secretary’s stand after a person whose horse sneezed on them touched it? Or if a ring steward or friend touches Lucky after touching a sick horse?

 

My biggest fear is going to a show, which we can all admit is not a necessity of life, having Lucky get sick and then passing it on to Gennyral. That is truly a terrifying thought.
Terrifying enough that I haven’t actually sent my entry in yet. The closing date is approaching, I need to do it soon. I am still planning on showing, but that little voice in the back of my head has me hesitating. I have already decided that if it really does go to a full outbreak status I will take a break from showing. I also plan on doing twice weekly temperature checks on Lucky from now on just to be safe. Gen is such a drama King that I would know it if he didn’t feel well. Lucky on the other hand is a very stoic horse.  I really hope that the rumors someone brought an obviously sick horse to a show are not true. We horse people need to stick together and do the right thing so as not to put other horses in danger.

Showing??

So you will notice I have been awfully quiet about showing. Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time can tell you that I love to show. I really do. I think it is a lot of fun to get all dressed up and go somewhere to have an objective person look at your hard work and let you know what they think. Plus there is the fun of seeing old friends (or making new ones) and of course, RIBBONS! I am still planning on showing this year, but not as much as I did last year. There are several reasons for that. One of which gets a post on its own, the rest of which I will share with you today.

So before Lucky got hurt I was more excited about showing. I had even wanted to do a show in March! When she got hurt I got really bummed out. I feel like I have bad Mojo when it comes to training level. I have been wanting my stupid GMO Bronze Medals forever, but it just never seems to work out for me. A normal person gets their bronze medal in a year, I can’t seem to get mine in a decade! It has just been really frustrating and I am trying not to be all negative and feel like it will never happen, but … well it has just been hard to get excited about this year since a part of me (albeit a small part) thinks it isn’t going to happen.

The other thing that is keeping me from showing is that there just aren’t a lot of shows in my immediate area this year. There is a brand new show grounds this year, but they are not a year round place, they stop hosting shows in early June. In exchange for that one of the other local shows decided to stop doing shows this year. I still have my local show grounds, but that kind of feels like it for the close shows right now. I know that very few of you would consider an show an hour away far, but I have been spoiled with having several shows 15 minutes away (or less).

I also need to show less for financial reasons. I spent too much money on showing last year. I honestly want to try and cut my showing budget in half. I actually felt a little burned out with all the showing I was doing last year, and my wallet was feeling the pain. Instead of entering for so many and potentially scratching I am planning on not doing many shows in July and August when it is humid and icky.

I also know that this year I am playing with the big boys. Well, not really the big boys, but their clients. Lucky and I will be showing in Training Level this year. This is always the largest class at a show and is filled with people who have a lot more resources than I do. Do I sound jealous? Because I am! This is total jealousy talking so please be aware!

Lucky and I are in an area with TON of top dressage trainings. In fact, at the nations cup  last weekend the highest placing Americans at both levels are both really close by (like under half an hour). These trainers have lots of clients and these clients can afford to get nice horses. Lucky and I will be showing against these trainers on their young horses if they just break up the classes in to Juniors vs. Seniors.

We will also be going up against a lot of Adult Amateurs who spent 10, 20 or even 30 thousand dollars on a horse and who are in full or partial training. I would LOVE to get 3-5 lessons a week, but I just can’t afford it. I know that Lucky and I would be a lot farther along if we had such consistent training, but that just wasn’t in the cards. My borrowed rescued horse is wonderful, but she is not exactly a horse destined for dressage greatness. So basically I just know that I while Lucky and I are going to be fine this year, we are not exactly going to be kicking ass and taking names if you know what I mean. I wish that Lucky and I were going to be going out and scoring 75% at training level this year, but I just don’t think that is going to happen.

Since I am not going to even bother to go for year end awards, well I don’t mean it like that. I mean, Lucky and I will be doing enough shows to qualify. I just am not going to be points chasing this year. I am going to save my money this year and really just enjoying my fantastic horse. I honestly think we should be able to get scores in 60%s and to me, that is plenty good enough for right now.

A big part of my lack of enthusiasm for showing is going to be another post…

Lucky now…

So between my lack of time and daylight in the start of winter and the 5 weeks off due to injury, I was not feeling very confident about where Lucky I were going to be at when we started back. I put together a very carefully thought out plan to get us back to work and started off day one with just a little bit of walk work. Much to my surprise and delight, while she was very stiff, she remembered everything! I was worried I was going to have to start over from square one, but instead I just had a less flexible, less fit version of what I had in the fall. I was sooooooo happy!

 

I will admit that Lucky was the one and only horse that I really didn’t want to put a good foundation on. At 20 (when I started with her) I really wasn’t too worried about doing things correctly. Luckily my good sense kicked in after talking with my friends and even after a rough start, I spent much of last year trying to do things the right way, even with Lucky fighting me every step of the way.

 

Rehabbing her back though I was so glad I had taken the time to do things the right way. She was a total joy to ride, and having a well trained horse made even 20 minutes at the walk seem like fun. I could move her shoulders and play around with lateral work, control the speed of her gaits, and really just mess around. Lucky and I still struggle with keeping consistent and steady contact all the way through, but we totally have butt to wither together no problem. If only I could get the energy all the way up! Things to work on right…

 

Even her canter is getting there. Lucky has a lot of canter issues (as many OTTBs do) but in the past when she was weak she could hardly even do it. Now, even our first canter back during rehab time, we can do a little work within the canter before she physically starts to fall apart.

 

Can you tell I am pleased with Lucky? I have been loving every single minute of riding her these days. She feels like a horse with training now! Do we still have our issues? Of course! But we have come a long way and I am loving the horse I get to ride right now!

Even my ride tonight was so much fun! It was hard, but it was just FUN. This is what riding is supposed to be like!

No Feet, No Horse

So that minor set back I referenced yesterday wasn’t actually on her leg. While we were rehabbing from the cut and extensor tendon injury Lucky got a bad bacterial infection in her hoof.

The worst part? I didn’t even realize it!

Lucky was getting her feet trimmed with my trimmer made his puzzled face which told me something was wrong. He had me come back and showed me what was going on. The bacteria had eaten up the inside of her frog. The outside was soft, but it wasn’t something super obvious. It was bad though because it had eaten away enough of the frog that my trimmer was concerned about the dorsal frog development being okay. He gave me some meds to put inside the area and of course he showed me how to care for it.

I cannot tell you how bad I felt as I watched him put the syringe to the small outside opening and just keep pressing down. You could have fit a good Tbs of liquid up in there! Yikes. That was not going to help her soundness or comfort level at all. The meds he gave me were strong and even by the next day it was already looking better. It was a good reminder though that not all injuries or ailments are obvious.

I shouldn’t just be picking around the sides of the frog, I need to try and sweep away the debris from the back of the heel and center of the frog as well. And I need to touch everything. I am admittedly a germaphobe so touching a horses frog is not on my list of favorite things, but even if I just touch it with the hoof pick you can tell if it feels right or not. I totally missed this and odds are the bacteria started to eat away at the frog weeks before the trimmer caught it. She hasn’t been trimmed again yet (she is actually due soon) but I hoping that it was caught early enough to not mess with her hoof growth in too negative a way.

I also have decided that if I win the lottery I am so buying stone dust for her pen. That will help keep the bottoms of her feet much cleaner since she is living on just plain old earth in her pen at the moment. Since she is all better and going out not it isn’t as big of deal (she pretty much only is in her pen to eat or when other people ride) but now I know to be extra vigilant with her feet if she has to stay locked up every again. Lucky was really not having a very good February or March…

“So…what’s up with Lucky?”

It was just pointed out to me that minus a picture and a mention in the horsanilty post, I have not talked about Lucky. Yikes, I have a lot to talk about with her! Instead of doing one crazy long post I am going to try and be good and actually post a few times this week and get everyone up to speed on how my little Goddess is doing.

Let’s start from the last sort of real post I did on her…February 15th…this picture below was from that day.

Lucky had hurt herself and I was worried it was a tendon injury. I did manage to wait out the weekend before having the vet come out, but I did call him for reassurance several times to make sure I was not putting money (i.e. emergency weekend vet call) over horse care. I cold hosed, scrubbed the cut with antibacterial soap and wrapped it.

When my vet came on Monday morning he got out of the car, knelt down to take a look at Lucky’s giant puffy left hind and confirmed that she did indeed have a tendon injury. He smiled though and told me not to worry. It wasn’t serious. Seeing that I was clearly not convinced he told me the injury was an extensor tendon injury and that he would even let me google it to prove it wasn’t the end of the world. Since he has told me many times I am not allowed to google things (I am pretty sure he was ready to cut my ethernet cable himself when Gen was hurt) I let out a big sigh.

Extensor tendons are apparently not critical and usually pretty quick to heal. Yay. The 8 inch cut in the shape of a J, now that was more of an issue. Lucky clearly had a cellulitis and it was going to be hard to keep such a large cut clean and dry (yeah…it was a lose lose situation, cold hosing for one part of the injury was not great for the cut). My vet cleaned out the cut and then put a soft cast on to help with the swelling. Lucky was to be kept on stall rest for a few more days (have I mentioned how she hates to be in a stall period…like even having to come in to eat annoys her) and she got started on a round of antibiotics right away.

Things I learned from that week…

1) Lucky hates being on stall rest.

2) Trying to do two hand walks a day with her while she is on stall rest was the equivalent of walking a 2 year old racehorse from saddling area out to the track.

3) Soft casts meant to draw away heat from an injury are very, very messy

and

4) Lucky can really hold a grudge and throw some dirty looks. I was actually feeling bad for trying to help her get better by day number 2!

Overall it was not a very fun time at all. Getting to Lucky’s every day was tough, and when I had to do twice a days it was no fun at all.

The good news was that after a few days on stall rest and many more confined to her little paddock along with lots of TLC and plenty of antibiotics Lucky finally got better. It took a good 5 weeks from the time of injury to come back 100%, with a minor set back, but she has made a full recovery!

Horse Personality?

After seeing so many people do the personality typer on their horses, I had to get in to the game as well. I think that every horse has a unique personality so I was interested to see how a quick 24 question assessment online would come back.

I must say that it was spot on because my dear Gen came back as the Rock Star.

Confident and Charismatic, yup, that pretty much sums up my Gen. I know that I am anthropomorphizing, but I always know what he is thinking. He is hands down the most expressive horse that I have ever met. He is also one of the smartest and most stubborn. It was fun to remember back to how he was as a riding horse and answer those questions. I would say that in 24 quick questions it came back very accurate, so of course I had to try doing Lucky.

Lucky came back as a Goddess.

Loved by all other horses and people? I must admit that is a pretty accurate description of my sweet girl. I literally cannot take her anywhere without getting comments about how great she is (she really is awesome). Even with being old and newly trained people always say they want her. She is of course a barn favorite as well. In the description of the goddess they mention that this type of horse can be scattered and hard to focus…I totally agree!!! She is also happy to get as much attention as people will give her. Gen expects a lot of attention (because he deserves it of course) where as Lucky is just happy to soak it all in.

Want to see what your horse comes back as? Take the test yourself!