Monday, February 28, 2011

One thing after another.


I went was windy as all get out. Dust storms. Obviously, I wasn't going to work Amber in that wind and dust, so I took her in and started to clip those highlights. Not warm enough to bathe her, so she will be a dust bunny. Oh well. She was very good about the clippers. She gave them a curious look and then behaved very well. They tickled her nose a little and she had to shake her head a couple of times though.

I rebanded her mane, clipped her bridle path, and decided to just leave the mane as is until the messed up part grows. It is what it is. I knew better than to try to get around pulling.

Now, all my stuff is packed, included my relatively untouched supplements - big sigh there.

Then, Andrea refused to give me back the copies of her coggins AND registration. She apparently has to keep them for 5 years. This is news to me, but I know nothing of boarding barn laws and policies with insurance or whatever. The registration copy was a little weird, I see no reason for her to need THAT. But it's not worth fighting over.

The problem comes in where Andrea claims I never gave her the shots record. I know we had something, because I showed it to her! But I don't have it in my files either. Easy fix right, just call the vet who did her coggins and have her e-mail me a copy. Vet says she has no shot record of Amber. ?????

Yeah. I'm at a loss for what to do. I *know* I had a shot record, and I don't know why he would have had her coggins and shots done by two different vets. I can only assume the guy did them himself - in which case, what can I do? I don't know if Halcyon will take us without proof of her shots, and I cannot afford such a short notice vet call to do her shots. Not with her needing chiro work and shoes that is coming out of my emergency pinch fund already. I could give her a 5 way myself, but I obviously can't do a rabies myself. Obviously I have a few people who can pretty much confirm she's still UTD on shots, but will that be enough?

Up early to try to work this out. Lots of phone calls to make before heading out to meet Bob. And I have to find a copier somewhere to copy her registration papers for proof of ownership and her 2010 coggins.

I'm hoping he will understand when I explain the situation, but sometimes understanding is not enough. But I want her away from Andreas. My only option is to possibly call my friend down the road and see if we can room with her horses for a few days until I can get a vet to get her done. That's my back up plan. I cannot afford to drive all the way to Andreas any longer with gas prices as they are, and I am so stressed out by being there it does no one any good.

I think I know why Andrea gets bossed around by Amber, finally. Amber's bad habit of making nasty faces when you are not fast enough with her hay/food. Andreas response is to stand there, not enter the stall, and just wait for her to prick her ears, and if she does not do it within a few seconds she just puts the hay down somewhere else and walks away. That doesn't do anything for a horse like Amber with naturally dominate tendencies but make them think that they scared you away. They don't associate not getting food with nasty faces, they just think they might not can reach the food, but you did run away.

My response is, go in her stall and make her back off. Kick out at her, stomp wave my arms and make her think I might just kill her (of course, not really) for making threats at me. Don't let her even think about taking a bite before she calms down. Then, I give her the food and leave. Worked like a charm. Sometimes ignore is not the answer.

Everyone, keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow...we'll need it with all these curves thrown at us.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just shoot us both, please.

Bah. I think she is still tip toeing. She feels weak from behind. Off. And the tip of her toe is being worn off.

At this point, I'm chalking it up to her hips being out of alignment. Hip problems = no lift in the hind legs. She can't lift them up without pain in her hip, meaning she drags them to avoid pulling them up. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that the hip issue may be the root of all evil here. Especially since she clearly drags one side more than the other.

I'm having a chiropractor work on her. I'm going to see if I can get a recommendation from my local horse forum right now. I know the one who worked on Gulliver was AMAZING, but he is too far away I believe.

Hopefully, the chiro can get Amber working again. It makes *so* much sense! She's NOT lazy. Screw what everyone says. She is NOT lazy. She has plenty of "go" in her, and it's not hard to keep her going (although if she thinks you're asking for a down transition or a halt, she WILL do it on a dime!). She doesn't know how to apply herself and carry herself, because she hasn't been trained to do so yet. But "lazy" to me is a horse that is difficult at best to put into working gaits, is hard to keep in those gaits. She is neither.

It seems stupid to me that everyone says my horse drags her feet because she's lazy, when they have never ridden her! How would they know? No, I'm done with the "let's play doctor" BS, and trying to have people tell me what's wrong with my horse who have nothing to back up what they say. I always get into trouble when I listen to other people (non professional) concerning horses. I'm going with my gut and calling a professional equine chiropractor to feel her out. Obviously, this is not a true lameness, this is something not lining up right and between farrier and chiro, I can get her back into work (or at least rehab work) in no time. No more "Well, maybe if we try this..."!

She wore the duct tape off during our ride. Or at least a hole in the TIP of the toe. On the front of the toe, minimal wear. Hence, I feel she is dragging on a whole new part now that the front hurts. Yeaahh. Obviously, it's an "I can't", not an "I'm too lazy". We tried to trot and canter bareback, but I just suck. I was doing nothing but pulling on her poor head so I let her walk. She was very stretchy in the walk. My hip got bounced around too much, and it hurts, so I think I'll go back to saddles for a while. I plan on putting 23498294234 layers of duct tape on on Monday and lunging for a few minutes, then riding lightly for 20-30 minutes. It will be 82, so she will get a bath and have her mane (what is long enough) pulled and get her whiskers and feathers trimmed.

I'm kicking myself for listening to Andrea try to diagnose her feet issue though. I honestly feel like the crappiest horse owner in the world. I should not have put up with the BS, I should have got the damn farrier out there and called the chiro on the double. Live and learn? Maybe. I hope Amber can forgive me for my shortcomings, at least.

Considering calling a psychologist too. I know, equine psychologists are rather controversial...but...I think it would be nice to learn about some of her quirks, and I have heard good things about many of them being very accurate.

For now, priority remains shoes and chiro. We will get through this.

Obviously, she has potential. We just need to get her hind end functional. This picture, I went back and looked, shows obvious stiffness and lack of ability to push under herself. You can see she's round, but it's like she just can't get there and falls on the forehand. The side reins were set loose enough that she had free range of movement to pop her head up if she wanted to, she put herself on the bit, bent herself and everything.

I conditioned her heels and sole today. She's getting a little dried out and definitely needed it.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm so happy. Oh so happy. Bursting with happiness.

This move is going to benefit us in so many ways. I wish I had known about this barn sooner.

Amber will be:

*In more competent hands
*Have more of a routine
*Smaller turn out groups
*In during the day in the summer, in at night in the winter
*Working in an actual dressage arena

I also don't believe Andrea has been giving her the supplements. I checked the box and there should have been more used over 2 weeks with 6 oz a day. I dated when the tub was opened. *Le sigh*

So far, my checklist is going like this:


-Wash her bell boots.
-Wash her brushes.
-Wash her girth sock.
-Clean anything else that looks dirty in my tack box.
-Clean halter fleece.


-Buy her a fresh salt lick for her stall.
-Clean her loose ring bit and order the eggbutt I want to try.
-Clean HER, bathe if weather permits.
-Clip the "highlights" (muzzle, feathers, legs, bridle path).
-Fix the mane.

It has occurred to me that a lot of the barns in Wayne county have too much drama and chaos. I'm just ready to escape it. Allegedly, Avalon didn't have it but clearly they did. And it's not like I'm trying to start any with my leave - obviously all of my problems were things that I have the right to be concerned about. Yes, I've ranted on my blog, but nobody I know in person reads it, so it's not like it makes a hill of beans. Things I've said in real life were nothing but fact, and I'm just trying to move along quietly without drama. This so-and-so said this and so-and-so said that mess is getting old! All of this getting butt hurt over stupid stuff is getting old as well. I hear Halcyon has already asked someone to leave for starting crap, which I know this person, and it wouldn't be a surprise. So that gives me confidence they really uphold that rule instead of, like many barns, picking favorites and making excuses for all the butt hurt boarders and students whining and bitching about unimportant stuff.

I found a nice used blanket with one well done patch on ebay for $2. Amber's size, so I'm getting it for her. Nice deal as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

...but wait, there's more!

It gets even worse.

I went out today. I find Amber tucked neatly away in a corner of the big pasture in a newly fenced off area. Not a water bucket in sight. And Andrea had left the barn to go run errands. WTF! WTF! WTF!

Everyone knows by now that my mare drinks water like a giant sponge. Putting her out without water is just something that is not done.

When she got inside she was well on her way to drinking an entire bucket before I cut her off for a while, lest she make herself sick. I was pissed. I still am pissed.

You do. not. leave. horses. without. water. for. any. amount. of. time. Ten minutes, thirty minutes, maybe. An hour or more, no. They should always have fresh water available. Had I not come and discovered the issue? She may have gone all day without water. I appreciate her effort to confine Amber, but I would rather her just be out with the group and have access to water if you're going to forget to give her a bucket. Jesus.

I rode bareback today. My trot seat was better and Amber was really relaxed and stretchy and in a good mood. Definitely doing my seat and balanced good.

I have a temporary solution for the toes - duck tape. It's not a permanent thing, but it will stop the toe rubbing if changed once or twice a day until I can get the farrier to shoe her. Unfortunately, David is out of town this week.

I heard more about Amber charging out of her stall (she doesn't do it to me), and Victoria agreed with me that it's likely linked to the horses all rushing in at once at feeding time, and then being let out the same way. Being a dominate mare, it's a stressful competition to get to her stall before someone else steals her food. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is ultimately why she is having some sourness issues.

I washed a few things today. Going to wash some of my white items in bleach tomorrow morning. Definitely ready to move. Its like time is just DRAGGING!

As I was riding bareback, I thought about something. If it turns out that this toe issue puts us out of serious work for months, I don't even care. I have time. She is young. I will go out and walk around on her bareback and just have fun. I'm always elated when I am doing serious training and working hard towards something, but just being with my horse makes me happy as anything. I hope we get back on our feet (no pun intended) soon, but if not, I will be content to have patience.

Also, Victoria's TB rescue is there. He's got issue to work through, including a weaving problem, but he will be a lovely specimen when she finishes him. It's too bad he's mainly a resale project for her. She thinks she will get $8,000, but unfortunately, unless she can get him doing higher levels at A shows, I don't think she will make that much...not with this horse economy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy mare is back!

Ah yes. It's turning out to be exactly as I had suspected all along.

A big group is simply not good for her. Too much stress, too much irritation.

I found her in the dry lot with Jade (one of the mares she actually likes) and Charlie Brown, a sweet old gelding who she is neutral about. Despite the fact that it is connected to the outside run around the pastures that has SCARY fencing...I am happy with her there. She was more like herself than I've seen her in a while today.

It was super windy, but she never cares about the wind so I rode her bareback and we had a fun little ride. Just some walking, working on bending and softening. I tried to trot but I'm so out of shape I was jabbing her mouth and flopping around so I gave up and thanked her for putting up with the horrible experience. LOL.

My friend and her boyfriend came out, and they both took turns having a bareback ride (lead around of course). Amber LOVES to give pony rides. She would be an excellent lead line candidate. And she is always so good.

As usual, her ground manners were impeccable. Again, still not understanding what problem Andrea has because she's incredibly easy to handle.

I also spoke to the daughter of an old old trainer of mine, who is boarding some horses there for her therapeutic lessons. She's a little younger than me and her mother moved to Minnesota, and she is continuing the work here. She said Andrea had also complained to her about the ground manners of one of her horses. She said she doesn't understand what Andrea is talking about, because she worked with him per Andrea's request and said he was fine, just as he always is.

Further supporting my theory that Andrea just doesn't know how to handle some horses. It's not just Amber that this is going on with - says a hell of a lot!

Either way, we are out of there soon enough.

I love my mare so much. She is so good natured and so forgiving.

Don't know if I mentioned this, but jumping over 18"-2' is out for us. Farrier noted her hocks are too straight. And I do think he's right. I do think dressage will be something she is good at when she gets in shape. Watching her in side reins she really has the form for it. Suspension will come a little more with fitness.

Whatever we do, even if we decide to quit it all and just go hack around and have fun...she's the love of my life. I trust her more than I've trusted any horse in a very, very long time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Agh. Shoes it is then.

Farrier saw her. The trim was excellent, and he recommended using shoes with toe clips as a temporary solution while I work to train her out of it. Since, obviously, it's severe enough that it's going to lame her up. He also recommended I stretch out her hind legs and her hips. He said they were out of alignment. This has likely happened due to the recent lameness - her tip-toeing.

So we're just going to do that. I hate it. I just hate it. Not because of the money, but because of the negative effects shoes can have. But, anything to make my baby sound. I love that mare more than anything. So she will get them next week sometime.

She was her usual mellow self today. Definitely seemed happy over the trim too.

Andrea claims she charged her when she tried to open her stall and turn her out and charged her in the pasture also. I don't understand why all this bad behavior is being displayed to others. I never see this side of her.

I feel some of the grouchiness is attributed to pain as of recent, but I mean, even so, she has not been like this with me. I believe Andrea's stall rushing issue she mentioned is due to the fact that usually, she just opens the door and lets her out. Amber probably thought that that's what she wanted her to do. She never tries to run in or out before me. She always waits for me to enter. I mean, I am 99% happy with her ground manners. She has some moments in the pasture currently, but otherwise, she's always really well behaved for me.

At least she was good for the farrier I heard. I was hoping she'd be a good girl. I would have been embarrassed if she'd been a pain for him.

Due to the wear on her toes, the farrier is going to have to hand beat out her shoes (or whatever you would call it, I know nothing of shoes), but he has offered not to charge me and just charge me the $80 for the job, and I thought that was very kind of him. I may keep using him even after I move her, because I really like the trim he did and now that he's seen her previous condition and now knows about her issues first hand, I think it would be good to keep him working with her during the recovery.

I lunged her today. Still tender behind, but moving a lot better. She's way stiffer to the left, which I'm sure is due to the fact that the inside left toe is way more worn on the toe, since that's usually her good direction. She was stretchy and nice to the right. We even got a few strides of nice, calm canter. I let her be done on that note. She was much more responsive today and I was proud. She needs to learn that I'm not trying to chase her around, silly mare.

I am still baffled by all this ugly behavior I hear about. Either it's misunderstood, or she just has no respect for them. I'm thinking the latter. All the ways she views Andrea basically give Amber reason to believe she is lower on the totem pole than she is. She brings food. Occasionally tries to get after her for something, but from what I hear has backed down more than once and has let Amber get away with things...making Amber think she can control Andrea. And Andrea seems to make a big deal out of it when a horse does something rude. That only confuses Amber and irritates her. My whole correction process is based on my golden rule: Never make a big deal out of ANYTHING. Fix it, and move on. Andrea...well, loses her temper. Not abusive, but she definitely lets her frustration level go over.

I'm hoping the staff at Halcyon will be a little deal with any testing Amber may throw at them. I suppose I will need inform the barn manager of the things Amber has allegedly done with Andrea, and let him know the biting is no longer an issue...but tell them to still be attentive to her, but take it with a grain of salt. Because I'm no miracle super-expert horse handler and she is very easy to handle for me. I did tell them she is a mild biter when I filled out the paperwork, but that has gone away since I disciplined my own self and stopped feeding treats. Now she "charges". *Sigh*

I've come to the conclusion that the big thing dragging her manners down is being let in and let out like she is. She thinks she can run in and run out when she sees a human without being lead. Andrea also seems to avoid issues with her rather than confront them (something I never do - if I encounter a problem, I correct it immediately).


Front sole.

Hind. Agh, look at that poor toe.

Hind sole - you can see the white line is just gone on the front.

I almost feel responsible. I know that it was not my fault in any way - she was starting to pick up her feet better when we left off, and then rain kept me away for a week, and when I came back, there it was - lame mare. And I had been trying for *3 weeks* to get a freaking farrier out. But in hindsight, I wish I had just found my own farrier from the get go. At least it's fixable. She can go right back into moderate work when she gets the shoes, and over the course of a few months, she will regrow her toe and white line and hopefully I will have her lifting her feet by then.

On a CUTENESS note, hasn't Allie gotten HUGE? Took her and Matilda to the dog park, and they played with a shy but sweet golden retriever that a man and his little girl had brought out. Matilda surprised me by taking an instant liking to the girl - usually, she is very shy around new people. They had us all in stitches running around and playing silly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Foamy mare!

So, there is good news and bad news.

First the bad. She's tip-toeing again with a *very* slight limp and I have no idea why. No more under saddle work even light. She may not be lame, but she will get there soon enough at the rate we are going.

So this morning she decided she didn't want to be caught. After about 5 minutes of me calmly walking after her, not giving up, she stopped and decided she was not going to win the battle.

I have no idea what her problem was. Well, now I might. After she charged yesterday Andrea chased her off. "Chased her off" could mean she yelled at her, popped a lunge whip and corrected the behavior, or it could mean she literally chased her around. Either way, I have a feeling it's probably connected to her not wanting to be caught - perhaps she thought I was another human back to chase her around? I mean, she is NEVER hard to catch, and she was not in a bad mood at all today, so I can only assume that's the reason.

Also, I found out Victoria WAS leading a horse - Zeus. I think he's a little lower on the totem pole out there. I highly doubt she was targeting Victoria now. After all, the vast, vast majority of horses are not going to randomly charge a human being unprovoked. Still not okay, but like I said - makes much more sense than her randomly charging a person.

Anyway. Once she was caught and inside she was totally mellow and happy. Stood still while I groomed and tacked her. Then I took her out and lunged her. In sidereins. Well, she was inverted and ugly on the line. I think the movement of the chain (which I wish was NOT on my lunge, I do not use that chain whatsoever, it just acts like dead weight to swing and bother the horse) was bothering her. I was a little uneasy about free lunging with tack and side reins. But I told the red mare I would take a leap of faith since we were not getting anywhere on the line.

Now, usually, round pen or not, I like a lunge line because it keeps them on a proper circle and allows the human more power over their carriage. Apparently, this is not so with Amber. I was expecting her to want to turn in and be all over the place without the direction of the line, and expecting her to have no concept of self-carriage whatsoever...but...alas...

She stuck to the rail like glue, got nice and round, she stretched down, and she put herself on the correct bend - you could see the outside rein steady and the inside had a little slack. On the forehand, but given her back feet, I was impressed. We only worked about 10 minutes - I wanted her to get the work, but not over do it with the limp. It was barely noticeable, but definitely there. I don't think she has had much lunging experience, but she did great.

This will DEFINITELY be incorporated into our future training once we get back 100%. I didn't know how she'd react to side reins, but it couldn't have been better, and I think it will be a huge aid to getting her to accept contact, and will also help her build up the right muscles so she can HOLD that contact.

I tossed her a flake of hay and sat in the tack room (which her stall is right across from) and watched her eat while I waited for it to be work time. I heard some noise from the dry lot beside the barn, but just thought it was the mare in there being...well, a mare. When I walked out into the aisle, all 3 horses had escaped and were loose. The flimsy chain on the gate had simply been popped open. *sigh*

I just do NOT like how often horses get loose out there. It's like at least once or twice a week horses break out. Every barn gets a break out every now and then - it happens, and that's just part of having horses. But as many times as it happens out there is unacceptable, doubly so for a boarding facility. I do not even care if they don't go anywhere but in the barn, there is still so much that can happen! Even things in the barn. And God forbid they venture into the road.

*Headdesk* Two more weeks. I want to leave on good terms but it's getting harder and harder. Already our hopes of showing is probably pushed to summer. I want her feet to be 100% clear before I put her in heavy work again, and it will take 2-3 months to get her fit and responsive as I need her to be with this time off.

Frustration, confusion.


I got called into work early to help out due to two call-outs. I stayed 2 hours and then took 3 hours to go to the barn before going back in for my regular shift.

When I opened the back of the barn, Amber saw me and came running. She anxiously waited for me to open the gate. I had to fend off several horses with the lunge whip to get her in.

The problem with just opening the gate and letting horses run in at feeding time lies in the fact that then, when a person opens that gate, all the horses think it's okay for them to come and bolt through. For a private owner with just a couple of horses, this might be okay, but not at a boarding facility. Because when an owner tries to get their horse, they don't need 15 galloping past - that is incredibly dangerous.

I got her in and she was in a good mood. Mellow. Our under saddle work was less than spectacular in comparison to our previous level of work, but under the circumstances, I was impressed with it. She was not happy on the right lead, so I didn't push it. NICE left lead canter. She was stretching out in the trot, which is great. Even if she isn't on the bit, I like her getting down there exploring lower spaces for her head to be and realizing I won't jerk her in the face when she does so. I'm thinking her previous owner was the sort who thought head down=the horse is thinking about bucking so they snatched her up, without also feeling for even bigger signs of an impending tantrum.

Anyway, it was a good ride for us being off for two weeks and considering her hoof issue.

Farrier didn't come out Monday. He called her at 7am, wanted to come at 8am, and obviously there was no way I could bring the money within that time frame. Supposedly David, her other farrier, was coming yesterday afternoon. That fell through. I am so frustrated. I keep thinking she's gotten ahold of someone, so I don't call the numbers I have, and then things fall through again.

I'm boiling at this point. I'm still trying to be nice, but this is getting out of hand. And if it ends up that I get her feet done at the new barn, I will be livid. However, if that farrier is not out by the end of this week, I'm going to call one of these numbers I have and just get someone to do it at any cost. I need a farrier not only to trim and rebalance, but to give me a professional opinion on those back feet. This is incredibly important for our show career this year. I can't put her in any real heavy training again until I get the prognosis for the hind feet, and we should be working harder than ever now that we've got just weeks before spring.

I had a text from Victoria after work. "Your wonderful mare just charged me."

I am baffled at all this behavior Andrea and now Victoria are claiming to get from Amber. She never does this with me. Ever. I'm not saying she's a perfect super quiet horse. She does test you, but she is young and still needs training. But she does not have an aggressive nature towards people at all, and she doesn't need much correction at all for things. By the way, our nipping issue is fixed, too! She is easy to lead, has never offered to kick me. She has turned her butt to me once, but I don't believe it was a kick threat based on her body language. I think she was just being rude in not paying attention to where her body was at. So I don't get it.

I just can't see Amber charging a human. The other horses, maybe. If Victoria was leading another horse, she may have done that. And that's not okay by any means, but it's MUCH different than directing the attack on the human. It's also possible she just wanted to come in, and wasn't necessarily trying to charge Victoria, but just wanted her to let her in. She came running to me but she was not trying to run me over.

I feel like Amber's disposition is being negatively affected by all the stress she is under. The atmosphere is disorder and chaos out there and she can sense that. She wants routine and calm again, and I do too.

I'm going to lunge her in side reins today. I don't know if I will ride or not. I might just let the little lunge lesson be it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Okay, maybe lame mare is NOT lame?

Amber, you never cease to amaze me.

So we threw some bell boots on her hind feet. I didn't try her without them, stupidly, but she was remarkably sound with them. It's apparently not an issue of sensitive tissue, but just the fact that she's so close to it. She DID have a heel bruise, that was the limping the other day. Now she's just got tender toes.

So we rode. No limping. A little attitude though. But she's been off 2 weeks and it was windy yesterday. And they were working with this little 4 year old who has some issues who was bucking and carrying on right by the arena in the round pen. Yeah.

Steering was gone, and she was not stretching down like she had been. Then she wanted to race through my contact. She trotted SO fast, it was honestly faster than a canter. So I'm like, know what? I can post this fast. Hell, I can SIT this even if I have to, so you go right ahead and let me know when you get tired of being stupid. I just posted with the crazy trot and talked to her in a soft voice. She eventually calmed down, but she did want to race by certain areas of the arena. We had a few little canters. One very good bit, and some very crappy bit where she was a little..."up" in the back end. ;)

At the end, I figured out I have to do what I had to do with Jack to her: Get WAY too much pressure in my hands and put that inside leg into her hard. And then she was like "FINE, I'll collect". She stretched into my hands, head went down, and I let her be done on that good note.

I'm just going to walk trot today. I really do think dressage and combined training is going to be our niche. She just doesn't do well with other horses in an arena. And I don't either...we are loners, what can I say? Perhaps it's really something we both need to work harder to accept and get through well, but it's hard when both horse AND rider don't like to ride with other horses and riders.

I went to Tractor Supply to see if they had anything I was going to buy from State Line on sale, and sure enough, they did.

I got a gallon of fly spray for the same price, which will save me on the weight of shipping. I got some navy polo wraps that were on sale for $7. I also got some bell boots for Amber, since it appears they may come in handy during the healing process of her toes. $6 for those, they were 50% off. I got some brown bands for her mane. A couple of rolls of vetrap. Always good to have in case of an injury, and I will need to wrap her dock to flatten the hair before shows. I mean, it's shipping I don't have to pay for on this stuff I would have gotten any way, and all of it was cheaper or the same price.

And then I got her some hoof supplements. 6oz day, so I'm prescribing that she get 3oz am/pm so she gets a good balanced dose in her system like that over 24 hours. It was $20, not sure how long it will last. It's hard to gauge and it's been a while since I've had to give supplements. I am hoping it will spark her hoof growth (which is slow) and make harder hooves too. Mostly looking for hoof growth, because we need to fix these back toes. But harder hooves would take longer to wear down, and I am expecting some rubbing still while we are trying to correct the problem.

There are a number of things that could be causing the dragging. Maybe it was too much toe to begin with, and now it's a bad habit she's gotten into? Maybe it's just the unbalanced feet are hard to move around with and she's getting even lazier because of it? Maybe she's just plain lazy and needs some muscles in her hind end.

Whatever it is, we will figure it out. I know I sound like a broken record, but I am avoiding shoes at all costs. If I have to duct tape her toes, I will!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wait. Ailing mare has not healed.


She was walking fine. Stepping flat, seemed content and mellow. She was just as sound as she could be at a walk...hopping around at a trot.

Andrea looked at her and figured out she's actually sore on the OTHER foot. Which I had seen and was wondering about, but I didn't think it was the case because she was limping on the other leg? Or so it appeared.

It's the toes. She's in the sensitive tissue. It's pretty bad and I was wondering how she could possibly not be into it yet, and I was right, she IS into it. It's more so on the left, and that's why she's landing funny on the other side. It's hard to explain. But it makes sense to me now.

So I'm just going to wrap it to prevent further damage. She's going on stall rest and turnout during the day in the round pen. I'm hoping time off and a good trim will help. Andrea is putting in an effort to help me get a farrier...I don't know why we can't get a hold of one, but I see no reason for Andrea to lie about trying to call a farrier so I believe she's honestly having a hard time. This is a nasty setback, and could have been prevented if I had been able to get the farrier to access her three weeks ago. Her feet are just so wrong I don't even know where to begin. Even to my unprofessional eye, SO much is wrong. Even if she wasn't in sensitive tissue I would NOT be riding on them as they are, being so unbalanced.

She was sweet today. She enjoyed a good grooming, and then proceeded to roll. Then, she came and stood next to me and went to sleep. Poor mare.

The good news though is that it's not her legs and it's not an abscess. It's a problem that is more easily fixed, and can be prevented from reoccurring one way or the other. I have researched enough since I discovered she has this issue (which was not as apparent when she was ridden in sand arenas) to know I have many options to try to get her lifting her feet without resorting to shoes, and it's a huge possibility a balanced trim will make worlds of difference. So for now...lame mare is lame. But lame mare will not be lame for too much longer I hope.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The ailing mare has healed!

Yesterday I went out and she was still ouchy but better. She was really enjoying being in the roundpen, honestly. She was totally calm and quiet. Napping in the sun, nipping at some hay and DRAINING water buckets like a camel.

I went to see Victoria's new horse - I will talk about that little adventure in a minute though. After we returned I got out my grooming tools - and I have a story about that too, but that will also come in a minute. Amber was so happy to have the attention. She stood there totally untied, no halter or anything, and just stood perfectly still while I pampered her. Then she followed me around the round pen like a puppy. She is such a sweetheart. I really think her bad attitude is simply needing to be alone and not have to deal with the other horses constantly. She is a JEALOUS little girl though. I was helping Victoria work with an abused paint mare Andrea has and she was not happy about it! She was calling to us and pacing.

This paint mare, Katie, really needs work. She was badly beaten. They believe she was trained western pleasure and possibly halter by her breeder, and then got in bad hands when she was sold. Now she is so scared of doing something wrong she doesn't want to do anything at all to interact with people. What she needs is someone to just take her out and walk her around, slip her treats and love on her until she learns to trust again.

Now, the story of my grooming tools. Remember my grooming caddy that had Jack's name on it? The one I was going to keep because the name wouldn't wash off even though all the other marker did? Yeah. The horses got in my box and drug all my stuff down the aisle...TWELVE horses. My nice leather halter was dirty, and the lead ring was bent. Not too much damage, but the fleece is dirty and my white lead is now brown. My bottles were all okay, but dirty. My helmet was dirty and scratched (thank god it's just a troxel). Grooming caddy was shattered. Buckets were okay, I put my grooming tools back in there. One of the screws for Amber's halter nameplate is missing. They also ate five pounds of treats and destroyed the container they were in. All in all, no super-serious damage, but I was understandably irritated. I understand it's convenient for her to let all the horses out into the barn at feeding time, rather than try to lead everyone, but I just can't understand how twelve of them were unsupervised long enough to do as much as they did. *Facepalm*

Everything got cleaned up okay. I'm just going to let it go since it didn't really incur big costs to me, and Andrea is providing me with a 1-2 week supply of the all purpose feed Amber is getting no charge, so I call it fair. She did put my box in the tack room after the incident to prevent future raids.

So Victoria's new horse. He is at this paint farm that's 1-2 miles from ***. It's a breeding farm, no doubt. There is not a breeding quality horse on that property, and many are thin with unkept feet. A couple are super fat. Most of the pregnant mares still have unweaned babies. The foals are skinny. Why some are skinny and some fat is due to the fact that this guy just pushes pans of feed under the fence, and let's the horses battle it out. Low on the totem pole horses get nothing. The round bales are moldy. The whole place just looks trashy.

And in the midst of all the paints and QHs, we see this tall, SKINNY (body score of between 1-2) bay TB. No muscle on him, no fat on him, just shriveled and sad.

In full health, you can tell this horse would really be something. I can see what Victoria sees in him. He has a very sweet personality, but he just looks like he's given up. He also has an abscess in his right front. He is tattooed, so Victoria is going to try to get his info from the JC. The man wants $500 for him that he is NOT worth in his condition. He needs his teeth floated, needs a serious deworming program, and is definitely going to need a weight building supplement. He's been beaten we can tell, and he will probably need some mental work getting over that. She talked the man down to $440. She's getting him next Tuesday and has put $50 down already.

I won't go into full detail, but it's crap that this that just makes me want to punch people like that in the face. Honestly. This backwoods, redneck asshole thinks he is the horse guru, and from talking to him I can tell he's hiding a whole lot. After she gets that horse out of there, I'm calling the humane society. And I'm going to keep calling them until something is done. The horses may have feed and water, but many of them do NOT get to see any of that feed, and the hay is worthless. They are all in pretty yucky health, many look lame. It just makes me so angry.

I am so thankful to own my own horse. To know that I can call the shots on her health and welfare. To know that I can insure she has good hay, feed and water, and that she is happy, sound and healthy.

Andrea said she was doing better today and went back out with the group...but she's pacing the fence. *Sigh*

If she goes through a fence, I'm going to get on her and ride her to Halcyon. Funny thought, but I'm almost serious, haha.

But at least she's sound now and it was only a bruise.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Agh. Lame mare is lame.

First, the good news. I went to Halcyon and met the trainer and manager - they are WONDERFUL people and so nice. Papers were signed, now we wait until moving day on the first. I got a more detailed tour and it was even more beautiful than the pictures. I got to see the trainer working two horses and she is a great rider and very patient - even with a grumpy pony who wanted to buck. I really think it's going to be a good move this time.

Now, the bad news. Which isn't that bad, but it's still shitty, excuse the french.

Amber was PISSED when I came in. Andrea has been trying to give her some alone time, but she isn't happy alone either. She just likes small groups. That's just it for her. She's also in full out heat, as are all the other mares. She was just in a foul mood. I took her out into the round pen hoping to let her blow off steam before I rode. She was lame in the right hind. We looked at the leg. No heat or swelling. It was her heel that was sore. Andrea said she kicked the crap out of the stall wall this morning, I am hoping she just bruised her heel and it's not an abscess. Only time will tell. Tonight she's staying in the round pen because I feel like she's been stalled long enough, and maybe more space to walk and stretch will help. I fed her, put out her water bucket, and threw her some hay. Tossed a blanket on her that I borrowed from Andrea and then I brushed out her tail and cuddled her. Poor mare. :( She was so sweet after she'd cooled down from being in. I think she knew we were trying to make her feel better.

We need to get a hold of SOME farrier immediately. I want her feet rebalanced pronto. I don't care that she has no toe in the back now to take off, she still needs to be rebalanced and accessed by a good farrier. The front needs toe off definitely. She's two weeks overdue for a trim now.

Also, now that she's lost some fat from her topline and is building correct muscle, she needs a different gullet size in my saddle. For now, assuming she comes back sound (which she should this seems to be nothing more than a stiff, bruised foot), I'm going to use my thick half pad, because I'm not so sure that she'll even need a smaller gullet when she puts on even more muscle up there.

That's the news for today. Tomorrow I'm going with Andrea and Victoria to see Victoria's horse she's getting. She already put $50 down on him. I guess we will see!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Drive by!

So the weather did NOT allow for me to go tour Halcyon Stables, but I decided to do a drive-by. After all, a photo may be worth 1000 words, but often things look VERY different in person.

That place is even more gorgeous in real life. And I noted that all the horses had been take inside due to the weather. Big plus.

It's not junky looking with broken crap and machinery sitting around the place (something I have found difficult to obtain in a barn for quite some time - no offense to any of my previous barn owners, mind you!). It's very neat and tidy looking and well-manicured. It looks like a place you'd pay $500-$600/mo for.

They apparently have 25 acres of maintained trail too. NICE! I hope if we end up there I can meet up with a trail buddy!

Going out tomorrow to take a look around and meet the barn owner. I'm excited!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another move in store for us?

Halcyon Stables

So some issues have come up recently that have made me raise my eyebrows.

Firstly, Amber has NOT been happy in the big herd situation. Right now Andrea has a good 14-16 horses crammed into one pasture that is far too small to house that many horses. She's miserable. She's stressed. She doesn't even want to go outside now. She knocked me down the other day trying to get back inside. She does nothing but pin her ears and try to avoid the other horses.

Andrea is trying to get the grass to grow in the other pasture (yes, there is already grass growing!), and I understand that, but it's just not working out for Amber and I wish there were more options there for her turnout. But there's not. And I do not want her in the tiny drylot, or in on the little L-shaped strip around the big pasture because the fence on the outside is rusty, torn wire and it's dangerous.

Next, I notice that Amber really doesn't seem to like Andrea. I keep hearing bad things about Amber from Andrea - things that she never does with me. I just feel they don't get along.

The *big* push to get me to look into other barns was what Andrea told the new rider, Victoria, who was schooling a teenager's horse. The girl's parents said they didn't want the horse jumping 3'. Andrea basically told Victoria to do it anyway and if he got hurt, she'd just tell them he came in with a pasture injury. I was standing right there, so this is not second hand knowledge. Wow. Big no-no. What's to say she wouldn't tell the same lie to *me*?

Not to mention some very rude treatment to this new rider, basically taking advantage of her and getting her to school horses for others with the promise of showing them, then turns around and tells the owners that, and I quote, "some people get the horses in shape, and you get to go to the shows and get all the glory!"

The immature, sneaky and downright deceptive behavior is unacceptable.

Not only that, I'm driving much farther to work than I originally anticipated. It's farther from the barn to work than from my house to work!

So I think it's time to pack our bags. I'm going to go look at this dreamy barn called Halcyon Stables tomorrow, weather permitting.

$300 a month stall, turn in/turnout, small groups in turnout. And you can look at the rest of the luxuries on the website. It's only 15 minutes or so from my house. WIN!

I told them I was seriously looking to move Amber within the next 1-2 months. I've really started to see a different side to Andrea as of late. I've been through this before with a barn owner; and this time I refuse to sit back and worry about my horse's safety and happiness.

Let me know what you think of Halcyon, guys.

Also, I don't know how much jumping we will be doing in the near future. She overjumped around 2'6" over a 15" crossrail. I made a good save, but it scared the crap out of me! I think we need to take it down to some flatwork again for a while.