Happy “I Love You” Day


Okay, so I know you are looking at a picture of my horse dressed up as cupid making a face for Valentine’s Day and assuming that I am about to gush. And I am! But not in the way you think! The truth is, I am actually not that crazy about Valentine’s Day, or “I Love You” Day as I like to call it. As a single person, I used to detest February 14th (the only holiday in America that people spend more on is Christmas) and now, as a newlywed, I think my friends and family can attest to the fact that I gush about how amazing my husband is on a very regular basis (I came home last week to a fridge full of chocolate covered strawberries that he made me just because he loves me, no occasion needed. That sort of stuff happens often and reminds me how lucky I am) so I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it today.

I decided that instead of gushing about romantic love, I want to take a moment to talk about the love between a girl and her horse. Everyone reading this knows that is a special kind of love.

I talk a lot about how much I love Gen, but I don’t often talk about the ways in which my horse loves me. In fact, I often joke that Gen doesn’t love me at all, but I know that isn’t true. My pony shows many ways in which he loves me, and knowing he does makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Gen may not be always to be around easy or particular affectionate, but I am his person. I am sure some people may think I am crazy, or maybe just that I am anthropomorphizing, but I really feel like it is love.

I know Gen loves me when:

1. I hug him and he lets out a big sigh, licks and chews, closes his eyes and leans up against me. He reaches this level of contentment that lets me know that he trusts me completely and that he feels protected and loved in my arms.

2. He comes running over to me when I get to the barn. I thought he did it to everyone, but I found out that, he does come over to just about anyone who comes to see him, but the only person he gallops to the gate for is me. It doesn’t happen every day, and I know having a Thoroughbred gallop towards you at full speed may not be what everyone wants, but I love it and it makes me feel like feel like Gen has been thinking of me all day and can’t wait to see me.

3. He doesn’t feel good or is hurt and I go rushing to the barn and he hears me before he sees me and he lets out a huge nicker. I may not be able to make him feel any better, but knowing he is talking to me as soon as I get there makes me feel like I am all he wants when he doesn’t feel good.

4. When I bring someone to the barn and need to step away for moment, the second I walk out of his line of sight he gets super fussy and looks around for me. He will even whinny and cry for me (which is not something he does if he is in alone and I am there). It makes me feel like it isn’t just that he needs attention, but rather that he needs MY attention to make him happy.

5. When he lets me kiss him on the nose. Gen HATES getting kisses on the nose, but he has this sweet copper colored marking right on the softest spot. He will let most people kiss him on the forehead, but I am the only person that he will let kiss him on the nose. Letting me do something because he knows I love it even though he hates it? Now that is love.

So how do you know that your horse(s) love you? Is it something you horse does or something about the way they make you feel? What is it about a horses love that just makes everything better?  

Last Bath of the Year?

He’s so handsome!


Today was unseasonably warm, like record-breaking warm where I live. I know my car temperature gage is not always accurate, but it had it is 88° today! That is craziness for being less than two weeks away from Halloween. 

Starting to dry…


I decided that I was going to leave work on time and rush to the barn to give my handsome pony a bath. I normally can get one bath in during the fall, but this year it is even better than normal because it is still going to be relatively warm overnight! 

I love how fluffy he looks when he is dry…and how flea bitten he gets!


Typically, the last bath of the year involves a cooler and lots of hand walking to make sure that Gen doesn’t catch a chill, but with it still being so nice overnight I was able to let my pony just graze and relax while he dried.

Like my artistic capturing of the sunset 😛


When I go and see my horse every day, it is usually not for longer than an hour. Today I decided to just kick back and relax and hang out while Gen dried. It took about two hours for him to dry through with his winter coat, but it was two hours well spent. We played with the barn cats, we get scared by some deer, and we just got to enjoy each other’s company. Well, I enjoyed Gen’s company, he mostly just ate 😉

Gen listening to the gun shots of hunters off in the distance

He finally dried all the way through just as the sun was setting. As I put everything away at the now darken barn I couldn’t help but smile and think about how lucky I am to have a horse 🙂 and a clean one at that! I know it is supposed to rain tomorrow so this won’t last, but at least he was clean for today!

I don’t even know how my horse hurts himself…

*This post includes pictures. They are not super gross, but there is a little blood*

So I get to the barn yesterday after work, and all of the horses are on high alert. It was windy and the coldest it has been since May. I knew when I saw all of the horses running towards their gates in the field as I drove up, Gen would be a crazy man.

The great thing about Gen is that he really is lazy at heart, so while he was carrying on when I first walked in to the barn, I could hear him just standing there being annoyed when I was in the tack room. The moment I came back in to view I was treated with a Mexican Jumping Bean instead of my Mexican General. He was leaping, bucking, and jumping around in a circle right by the gate. I thought about going back to the car to get my phone to video his antics, but I decided against it, afraid he would hurt himself putting on the show. I grabbed his lead and he stopped by the gate long enough for me to get him and then proceeded to snort and crab walk all the way to the barn.

Turns out my fears were justified because as I went to pick his feet, I saw this…

Sigh. Clearly he must have clipped himself on something. I have no idea if it was a rock, his hoof or a tree branch, but whatever it was at least it wasn’t worse. The good news is that the cut wasn’t deep and wasn’t bleeding much so it didn’t need stitches. The bad news is that is wasn’t bleeding much making it much more susceptible to infection, especially given the location.


So naturally I cursed myself for not having a coat, thankful at least the barn has hot water and set about cleaning the cut. Gen was annoyed and not repentant at all for hurting himself pretending to be a yearling. I’m sure it stung as I was scrubbing so he kept trying to grab his foot back, which would make me yell at him, which made him more annoyed.

Eventually the cut was clean and I let it dry after putting some antiseptic on it. After staring at Gen for a while debating on if I should bring him in for the night early, I decided to put some sterile gauze on the cut, cover it with vet wrap and turn him out. I want the cut to close up, and I didn’t want Gen to be inside alone if it was going to stress him out. 

I think he looks smashing with his red foot. He seems to think he looks good too. We will see what it looks like tomorrow. 

I went for a walk around his field and found a few things that could have caused the cut, but nothing that made it clear what the real culprit was. Oh Gen, never a dull moment!

A Gen Update

No joke, I didn’t think Gen would be alive at 24 (nearly 25!). I never considered what it would be like to own an older horse, because…well…I just didn’t think Gen would ever be an older horse. I feel very lucky he has defied the odds and is in mostly good health.
I do know that Gen is a very, very happy pony. He is spoiled rotten, not only by myself and my husband, but the Barn Owners’, the other Boarders, and pretty much anyone else who sets foot in the barn. He learned long ago that if he stands there staring at you, posing with his ear forward, humans cannot help but tell him how handsome he is and sometimes even give him a treat. He is super neat in his stall, only has one supplement and isn’t normally blanketed, making him the easiest horse in the barn to care for. With his least favorite time of the year (summer) coming to an end, he really doesn’t have anything to complain about anymore.
Gen spends his days in his field where he often has the company of a local herd of deer and his favorite barn cat Gretel. At night he comes in to his nice big stall where he can stick his head out the giant window and look around outside. He gets three meals a day and as much hay as he will eat along with plenty of water. He gets groomed and scratched when I come see him and he seems to be the most mellow I have ever known him. I do want to work more with him to get his manners back to where they should be and keep his mind engaged, but overall, Gen is doing amazing at 24.
Because it is me…I can’t just be content to tell you how amazing Gen is doing. I have to tell you about what is wrong with him as well. I feel like I am just being honest and realistic about how my pony is doing, but if you don’t want to hear bad things feel free to ignore the list below. Gen really is very healthy considering, he just isn’t in perfect health like I want him to be.
Gen’s list of current ailments:
1) Left Front Leg– This is first because this is the scariest to me. I know Gen got hurt back in 2007 and I should just get over it, but it still bothers him. He is medically cleared to be walked under tack, but I have not done that to him for fear he will be crazy and hurt himself more. When he runs or stomps or is just not nice to that leg it still swells up. I know that he is getting micro-tears in the bad tendon when he is rough on it, and I will always be afraid that those will somehow turn in to a big tear. Rationally, Gen’s leg is actually doing really well. In years past, the swelling after a bad day might take a few days to go down, it is now usually down within 48 hours.
2) Melanomas – So Gen has had 3 Melanoma tumors in his tail forever. They have gotten bigger over the years, and now there are a few more back there so he has 5 growths coming off the dock of his tail to date. I would hate to see him loose his tail, especially because he hates bugs so much, but thus far the hairs around the tumors are still growing. What is new as of this year is that he now has a visible Melanoma tumor under his throat. I know that is pretty common in older grays but Gen has such a pretty face that it broke my heart when I saw it coming in. Thus far it doesn’t seem to be bothering him so I will live with the cosmetics of it as long as medically he is okay!
3) Hypercementosis – This was a new thing I found out about this year. I think I will do a whole post about what it is at some point for those of you who do not know, but it is typically found in older horses. Gen has a great Dentist who was happy to show me what a bad case of this looks like, and how Gen really doesn’t have it that bad. My big fear is that he may end up losing his teeth. Considering he is the pickiest horse I know, my crazy self has panic moments where I see him wasting away and not eating with no teeth.
4) Random Hole In His Gums – So this was a fun one which will get its own post. It wasn’t an abscess. His gum turned a scary color and then bam…giant hole at the tooth root for two of his teeth. This was something that the vet actually didn’t think would get better, but it has! Still not 100% healed though.
5) Scar tissue around his epiglottis – This is an issue from his race track days when my little Gen literally ran his heart out to win. It doesn’t bother him all the time, but when he rushes to eat or doesn’t chew well his food can go down the wrong pipe. Unlike with choke or something more serious, Gen can cough and it all comes out. I am knocking on wood as I write this, but this problem seems to be the most manageable and is the one he has had for the longest.
6) His Weight – I know that is not exactly a real ailment, but it is a bit of a health concern. I get that it is harder to keep weight on an older horse, especially one with issues in his mouth, but he is just a touch too thin for my taste. I know he doesn’t look too bad in the pictures above and below which were taken yesterday (he was sweating in his fall coat with the summer like temps), but I just like to see him a little heavier this time of year.

“So what are you riding these days?”

So I barely write here anymore. I keep saying I am going to get better about it, sometimes I post a little, but overall I have been TERRIBLE about keeping the blog current. I have a lot to say about Gen. Well, maybe not a lot, but I do have plenty to say about Gen! I have been thinking about my reluctance to post and I realized that while I have been blaming it on the fact I am not riding, that might not be the whole truth. The thing is, I have barely posted in 2 years…and for a part of that time I was riding. The more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason I don’t post much anymore is not because I am not riding at the moment, but rather, it is the fact that I am okay with not riding at the moment.
That was a hard thing to admit.

I always thought of myself as a hard-core equestrian. When many of my friends took time off from the barn after college, I got a horse. I rode through graduate school, I rode after buying a home…I just sort of assumed that I would ride forever. Even when Gen got hurt I didn’t let it stop me, instead half-leasing or catch riding for years and years.

And now…nothing. Not only do I not lease, I don’t take lessons and I haven’t even put a foot in a stirrup in over a year.

I still see Gen regularly. I love that horse so much and he brings me such joy. Even though he is retired he is still a huge part of my life (and my budget) and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. The days I don’t go to the barn are usually because I have to work late or because I am meeting a friend for dinner so I would say I go to the barn at least 6 days a week to see him.

Visiting a retired horse is very, very different than riding regularly though. I am in and out of the barn in under an hour most days. Hard-core equestrians live at the barn, they don’t just visit.

I fought so hard for so many years to stay in the saddle, and yet here I am fine with taking a little time off. It isn’t that I can’t ride. I could afford lessons, and maybe even a cheap half lease, but…I don’t know. I haven’t found a trainer I am crazy about. I don’t want to rehab a horse right now. Nor do I want to train one, only to have someone else get to enjoy all my hard work a few months down the line.

That last line makes me sound bitter. I am not bitter at all. I feel very lucky to have the opportunities I had in the past. I have gotten to ride some great horses and work with some amazing people.

It isn’t that I don’t want to ride. I am not saying I hate it or that I want nothing to do with it. I mean, I do miss it…I just don’t miss it that much. I mean, if an opportunity landed in my lap I am sure I would take it. The chances of an opportunity coming when I am not looking for it are next to zero though, and that is something I am okay with…which makes me feel guilty.

I feel a little like admitting to not ridding is admitting defeat. Maybe that is why I have been so reluctant to post. That somehow I am saying Gen’s injury won. That I am not a real horse person now and never was. That I never cared enough, tired hard enough or wanted it bad enough. Like I was a phony or a fraud. I almost feel like I started this blog to show that nothing can keep a horse person down…and now I am saying that it was all lies and it’s just too hard to ride when your own horse is retired.

And maybe that is what I am saying.

If that is truth, why do I feel so crappy about saying it?

I don’t feel bad about not riding right now, but I do feel bad telling people I’m not riding right now. Like I am letting them down. Does that mean I am not as okay with it as I think? Or does it just mean that I never cared about riding as much as I claimed? Does being okay with not riding now mean that I was a fraud saying I couldn’t live without it before? I am not sure. I am going to try to write more though, because honestly, riding isn’t everything when it comes to horses, at least it isn’t to me. I still have a very happy, mostly healthy 24 year old OTTB who needs all the attention he can get and who deserves more than 2 posts a year.

Happy 4th of July!

I know I have been terrible about posting lately. I have a horse to tell you all about, some big life news to tell you about, and an official review of Gen’s crazy fly mask! With all that waiting to be written about it seemed sill to do a photo post. I had to though. Gen is the most American loving Mexican General I know 😉

Gen and I wish all of you a safe and happy 4th of July!

IMG_9397 

IMG_1626