Friday, August 29, 2008

To Show or Not to Show

That's the freaking question!!

I had such high hopes for this show. Two months have passed since the last show and I was really excited to work with Lilly and really prepare us to do well tomorrow! I even had plans to enter some canter/lope classes. Those hopes were flushed down the toilet, though, with everything that's happened over the past two months. Between me getting sick and her being injured all the time, I've ridden my horse 2 times in the past 6 weeks. TWO!

Now with her newest injury, whatever that is, I'm not sure I should even bother to haul her all the way down there. It's about an hour one way and the show lasts all day. I'd be busy from about 9am till about 9pm.

Plus, because of not riding her, I don't want to spend $100 for classes, plus gas, to haul down there if we're just going to ride around in the classes and not place. That sounds bad, I know. I am there to have fun, but I'm also there to hopefully place!

I guess it all boils down to this evening when I check on Lilly. If she isn't better I'll have my answer, but if she seems fine, then I'll have to try and decide what to do.

I just spend so much money on Lilly (and AJ, who just hangs out 24/7) that I ultimately put a lot of pressure on myself to "justify" it all, and I do that by showing. It isn't enough to just enjoy her and ride at my leisure, because I'm spending so much money on her. I feel pressured by myself to ride every day, take lessons once per week, and go to all the shows I can. If I don't, I feel like I'm "wasting money". This year I got excited by the thought of collecting PAC points and the idea of making Lilly "worth" more with those points. That's why this is all so frustrating... Lilly keeps getting hurt and I continue to have to stand by and do virtually nothing with my expensive pets.

Ugh... so stressed out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Give Up

Last night I braved the tornado watches and rain and headed to the barn for what I hoped would be a nice ride. When I got there, Lilly had finished eating her grain but wasn't eating any of the hay. She was just standing around watching me. I walked her out of the pasture past Ricochet and he made an ugly face as we passed by...

Lilly was walking very lethargically but I figured she was being lazy. When I tied her to the post, though, I noticed she had two hoof prints on her left hip. I can't say for sure, but it looks like poor Lilly got double barreled in the hip by SOMEONE... Ricochet? Summer Berry? I think Summer Berry is the only horse out there with Lilly with hind shoes on (besides Lilly), so I tend to think she's the one that branded my poor horse.

I rode her a little bit just at the walk and trot, but she just seemed "insert adjective here"... Something wasn't right with her, and if she indeed did get blasted, I imagine she's pretty sore. So after about 15 minutes, I took her back to the barn to untack. When I was turning her around in spots (like to close the arena gate) she pivoted on her hoof and didn't seem to want to move her left hip around too much.

(Chiropractor again perhaps?)

Something happened on her left side because she's got two half circle looking marks on her. Just like with the shoe issue and the pastern cuts, I can't say for sure what happened. I can only guess. I do know, though, that she wasn't feeling like herself and seemed to be uncomfortable. Good thing I have that tube of bute... it has come in handy over the past 6 weeks.

Can the poor girl catch a break??!!

I just commented yesterday that it bugs me that she's at the bottom of the totem pole, and now this. I really urks me. She's the only show horse on the farm and she seems to be the only one that gets cut up and beat up. Monday she had two bite marks on the top of her butt that I had to medicate, so she's got two hoof prints and two patches of missing hair. Not too long ago she got blasted on the front of her left hock. That mark is finally almost healed up. She's constantly marked up and I'm afraid one of these days something terrible might happen (broken bone or something like that).

The show is on Saturday but I'm thinking I just might not go. I hate to miss it, but an all day show takes a toll on both of us. If she's not 100%, I don't want her to have to spend all day there being ridden. The stars are stacked against us it seems...

I was invited to a UNC football game with some friends and I might take that route instead.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Back and I Got to Ride!

I got back from my vacation late Sunday evening and it was good to be home! We did a lot of driving between Michigan and Pennsylvania and it was nice to get out of the car! Here's a picture of Lake Michigan from 450 feet up. It really is a beautiful state! (...but only in the summer!) You can click on the picture to get a bigger version to see just how gorgeous it is!

Yesterday I went to see Lilly and was hoping to ride. When I got there, she was just getting ready to eat, so I stood with her in the pasture looking her over. Her pastern looks GREAT! The barn owner said she washed it for me a couple of times while I was gone, so I told her how much I appreciated that. I'm sure it made a huge difference! Right now, there's just pink skin with no hair in the spots where she got cut. No scabs and no scars so far. Hopefully some hair will grow back over those old cuts, but we'll see. Even as it stands right now, things look great. I was very relieved.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but Lilly is number 4 on the totem pole in her pasture. There are 4 horses total in her field and she's at the very bottom. She used to be number 1, but then a new mare was introduced and the herd dynamics changed a lot. There are 3 mares and 1 gelding, and the gelding (Ricochet, the horse I rode a while back) is the boy toy of boss mare number 1. The other mare is Lilly's friend and they hang out together, but when things get tough, mare number 3 will also boss Lilly around. This makes me sad... I used to feel bad when Lilly was top dog and beat up on the other horses, but now I wish she'd muster up the courage and kick some ass! The number 3 mare, Marva, usually leaves Lilly alone at feeding time, but boss mare and Ricochet usually help themselves to Lilly's dinner if she doesn't eat fast enough. She's not skinny by any means, so I'm not concerned about that, it just aggravates me that she gets chased away from her grain. Anyway, boss mare (a 16.3 hand TB/Percheron cross) was out being ridden last night at dinner time, which made Ricochet boss. Well, I was standing there with Lilly waiting for her to finish and along came Ricochet. He walked very quickly towards Lilly with his ears pinned and making a very ugly face! I started swinging my lead rope and halter and told him to get away, which he did not. I think he would have walked right on top of me! So I grabbed his head and pushed him away, but he still stood his ground. So I smacked him with the lead rope and he ran around Lilly in a circle to the other side. Long story short, I wouldn't let him chase Lilly off and he was pissed... eventually he went off and ate some hay but it took a lot of work on my part! The whole point of this story, though, is that Lilly kept looking up at him as he was being chased off as if to say, "I've got my own boss mare, loser!!" She never flinched when he was coming at her and she never moved away from her food. She was 100% confident that I would protect her and let her eat her dinner in peace. It made me feel good to know she has that trust in me.

AJ's pasture mate, Cameron, is for sale and in about 2 weeks he's leaving to go live at another barn on a half lease trial. I asked the barn owner who AJ's new buddy would be when Cameron left, and she said she was thinking about putting Ricochet in there. She said she hoped AJ would teach him a lesson or two because he's just gotten too full of himself. OH SO TRUE! Here's hoping AJ puts him in his place and knocks him down a couple notches. Pick on my girl, will you??!!

And now on to the good part... I actually got to ride!! And man am I sore!! I can tell it's been 5 weeks since I've ridden, that's for sure. Lilly was pretty good, considering. I loped her a couple times and she picked up her leads with no trouble at all. Obviously no conclusions can be drawn this early, but I'm hopeful the chiropractic work has helped. We did some trotting too and she's back to being very fast, and she's not being really responsive when I half halt (she just keeps motoring around the arena) but it'll take some time to get her back where she was when I had to stop riding. Another problem I noticed is that when we're going counter clockwise around the ring, she's bent to the outside. It's like I'm riding the letter 'C'. It isn't as bad the other way, and I remember my trainer telling me Lilly had a habit of doing that, but it wasn't as noticeable as it was last night. She was literally loping with her nose rubbing on the arena fence. It was a challenge to bring that nose around, and I ended up having her bend a bit to the inside just to make a point.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just give up on this showing stuff and go back to enjoying the trail rides instead! I think Lilly would be thrilled to hear that!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chiropractor Part II

Dr Means came out for Lilly's followup last night, and I had to tell her that I have no idea if we've resolved the lead problem or not... Since I haven't been able to ride, I haven't been able to canter her, thus I have no clue! She was disappointed, but said that Lilly's pelvis was where she left it, so that was good at least. She had to adjust one vertebrae and her TMJ, but otherwise she was good to go. I'm not sure why her TMJ was out...

Since I had a vet there, and my bill was going to be $140 anyway, I figured I'd get her opinion on Lilly's pastern. She said it looked ok to her, but that she was pretty sure it was going to scar. So that's a bummer... She also told me to stop with the Herbal Solutions and just use the SWAT to keep the bugs off and make sure it doesn't get infected from the gnats flying around. Too bad I'm leaving today for 9 days... any volunteers to visit my girl, wash her pastern, and apply SWAT once per day?

*crickets chirping
*tumbleweed blows by

I just hope and pray that she's sound when I get home!

Hope you all have a great week and I'll be back Monday the 25th!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tick Tock, Stupid Pastern!

There's not much new to report today. Lilly's cuts still need scrubbing every day and it's coming down to the wire. Today and tomorrow will be the last days I can scrub them because I have to leave right after work Friday to head home, grab luggage, and head out the door Michigan bound. Maybe they'll heal up enough today and tomorrow that they'll be ok while I'm gone. The scabs that are forming are just really crusty and dirty. They're also very big, so I'm afraid they'll turn into scars. I'd prefer a nice, level scab that's even with her skin, but that's not what I've got. It would probably help if I could wrap them, that way they'd stay clean, but it's tough wrapping that area in a way that will actually work. Stalling might help too, but that seems a bit extreme for a few cuts, and the only stall that is available (the one I sometimes use the night before a show) is being used by a poor TB mare that we think has broken her splint bone. The vet isn't realy sure what she did, but she's on stall rest and meds. So she gets priority... obviously. So I guess I get what I get. My prissy show mare might just have an unsightly pastern. Cross your fingers that things look ok when I get back on the 24th! Otherwise, I'll have to chalk/baby powder the crap out of it before the showmanship and halter classes.

As far as the lameness goes, she seems to be ok. She's still a bit ouchy, but I wouldn't call her lame anymore (woohoo!!), but I'm holding off on my lesson today because there's just no reason to press my luck. She hasn't been ridden in 4 weeks anyway, so the lesson seems kind of pointless. Tomorrow Lilly sees the chiropractor again, so I won't be able to ride her tomorrow either, and then Friday I'm off to Michigan, so... yeah. Riding will have to wait until I get back. Then it's "balls to the walls" as they say, to get ready for the show on the 30th.

As far as her tail goes, I don't think she's rubbing it anymore, so maybe the baby oil is helping. I don't really see any hair growing back yet, but she isn't pulling new hairs out either, so that's progress. I'll just have to deal with it the rest of this year, and then over the winter, after the bugs are gone, work to get it longer and thicker.

The leg fungus seems to have cleared up too. There's a little bit left on the back of her right leg, but otherwise her skin looks great. Now, when her legs are washed for the shows, they'll actually look white instead of dirty! Listerine really works! And it's so much cheaper than all that specialty stuff.

Could it be possible to come home from vacation next week and find a healthy, sound horse? Maybe one without icky scars? I sure hope so...

Monday, August 11, 2008

We're Making Progress!

Friday after work I headed out to the barn to medicate my horse in 5 different places. All 4 legs got washed, as well as her tailbone. Her front pastern got a squirt of Herbal Solutions, as well as her right front cannon bone. Both hind legs got squirted with Listerine in 4 different places, and her tailbone was coated with baby oil.

I figure one of these days I'll be able to stop medicating something...

The good news is, I rode Lilly bareback a bit around the yard on Saturday to see how she felt. She looked ok, but I wanted to see if I might be able to start riding her again. Her walk and jog felt good, and I figured we were on our way to recovery... finally! When I turned her out, though, she decided she needed to run all the way to the back of the pasture to be with her friends, and she looked like hell! She was on the left lead in front, the right lead behind, and she appeared to be imitating the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I've never seen her that curled up... and she looked just like him limping along! It was ridiculous! It was obvious she was in some serious pain trying to canter. Why didn't she stop? Ugh...

By Sunday, her pastern was looking much better. It's past the stage of oozing and scabbing, and is finally starting to heal. I just hope I'm able to keep the scars at bay.

After seeing her canter on Saturday, I decided not to ride her at all this weekend. With my luck, the riding would make her sore again. Since I'm leaving on Friday, I'm not trying to push things. Wednesday is 4 weeks of her not being ridden, so what's a few more days. She already looks out of shape again (my friends tease me that she's too skinny... uh huh...) and will probably sweat like a hog at the show on the 30th.

With any luck, though, when I get back on the 25th, I'll be able to ride every day that week in preparation. She should be fungus free, cut free, and sound on her hoof by then. The show will probably be a flop, but I'm going to have fun anyway!

I'm trying to decide if I should bother with my lesson on Wednesday...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pictures of the Carnage

These pictures were taken with my camera phone (since I forgot my camera again!) so I had a hard time getting really good shots of Lilly's cuts. I took these yesterday, so this is 3-4 days after her injury. I'm trying to keep them clean, and have been spraying Herbal Solutions on them to hopefully keep the scars at bay. I really don't want her pastern all scarred up, especially with as many cuts as she has. Most of the swelling has gone down, though, so I'm hoping she's not really in any pain from these.

This is the only cut she got on her left leg. I assume it happened with the other cuts and is related to that somehow. This is also the leg from which her shoe was ripped off. Her cannon bone, pretty much all the way up to her knee, is swollen. I don't know if the swelling is from the shoe deal, or if it's from this itty bitty cut (that's actually a bit bigger than it looks). I had a hard time getting a picture of this leg because it's so white and just kept causing a glare when I took pictures.

She's still getting the Bute, but is also still very lame. Last night after scrubbing her legs, I was leading her back to the pasture and she was even a little gimpy at the walk.

Anyone have an idea of how long a hoof should stay ouchy after a trim? My farrier said she'd probably be sore for a couple days because of how short her hoof was from ripping all that hoof off, but I'm pretty sure she ripped the shoe off last Wednesday, so yesterday was a week since it happened. The farrier was out early Saturday morning, so this morning is 5 days since she was trimmed up and reshod.

It just seems like it's taking her a while to regain her soundness. Could she have pulled a muscle or something as she stepped on that shoe?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My New Routine

My barn routine for the past couple of days has gone like so:
  • Get Lilly from the pasture.
  • Tie Lilly to the wash rack.
  • Remove Lilly's fly sheet.
  • Fill my water bucket full of water and Joy soap.
  • Scrub Lilly's right front pastern where her cuts are.
  • Scrub Lilly's left front cannon bone where she has a cut that I am assuming came from the wire incident.
  • Scrub Lilly's left hind leg on the front and back where she has her fungus.
  • Scrub Lilly's right hind leg on the front and back where she has her fungus.
  • Spray Lilly's tailbone with baby oil and Listerine.
  • Spray Lilly's right front pastern with Herbal Solutions.
  • Spray Lilly's left front cannon bone with Herbal Solutions.
  • Spray Lilly's left hind leg with Listerine on the front and back where she has her fungus.
  • Spray Lilly's right hind leg with Listerine on the front and back where she has her fungus.
  • Administer some Bute paste for the swelling on both front legs from the wire cuts and also for any pain she might have from ripping her shoe off.
  • Feed 2 or 3 cookies to help get rid of the icky Bute paste taste.
  • Fly spray her entire body.
  • Replace her fly sheet.
  • Let her munch some grass.
  • Return her to the pasture.
At this point, she has something wrong with all 4 of her legs.

Today is the 3 week mark for me not being able to ride.

I jogged her around a bit on the lead yesterday and she is still noticeably sore on her left front. I wonder how much longer till my poor horse is healthy again...

I'm guessing this will be my routine for at least 3 more days.

Good times!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Did I Get to Ride?

Hell no! I'm getting so frustrated... The show is getting closer and closer and I'm nearing 3 weeks of not being able to ride! Actually, tomorrow IS the 3 week mark, and I'm supposed to have a lesson.

On the 16th I leave for a trip to Michigan and then Pennsylvania for over a week, and the weekend after I get back is the show. Guess I won't be entering any canter classes...

To make a long story short, last night I found Lilly with a swollen right front pastern. She had wire cuts all over the back of her pastern and was quite lame. Was she still lame from the shoe, or was she lame from the wire cuts? It was probably both, but there was no riding her last night. The little brat saw me coming and did her usual 180 degree turn and trotted off... boy, was she lame! I have no clue what she did that on. Maybe she got her hoof stuck in the bottom strand of wire in the fence?

I caught her and brought her up to the wash rack where I cleaned up and medicated her pastern, treated her tail, said a prayer to the tail gods, and then treated her hind legs (which have some kind of fungus growing on them... I love white legs!). So she's got a bum hoof, a torn up pastern, fungus-y legs, and a thinning tail.

We're on a roll...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lame, Lamer, and Lamest

So after telling my BO about Lilly and AJ, she kindly offered up her Quarter Horse, Ricochet, for me to ride. He is a pasture mate of Lilly's and is really sweet. He was for sale a while ago and if I had unlimited funds and unlimited space, he would have been mine. Alas, I have limited funds and don't have any space...

This afternoon I went over with the intention of riding Ricochet. I even dragged my boyfriend along and asked if he would take some pictures. After giving Ricochet some much needed grooming, I saddled up and headed to the ring. He seemed ok at the walk, but when I asked him for the trot, I could feel him favoring his right front. Hmmm... is he lame too? Sure enough! I got off and checked his shoe, which was about to fall off. So I took him back to the barn. He got a nice bath and a few cookies and then got turned out.

Ricochet: Lame
AJ: Lamer
Lilly: Lamest

It just wasn't my weekend to ride, I guess. Hope all of you got some riding in!

Here's Ricochet, though... can you tell I have a thing for Palominos?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hooves and shoes and bruises, OH MY!

My farrier Greg came this morning to reset Lilly's shoes and trim AJ.  

As it turns out, AJ has a nasty stone bruise on his left front hoof, so he's quite lame.  He's got tough feet, so I know if he's limping on that foot it's hurting him pretty bad.  Because of his arthritis, he gets a squirt of bute paste to help him stay comfortable while being trimmed, but it looks like it's dual purpose this time.

Lilly has new shoes on the front and he reset the ones on the back.  He had to trim her a little short on the hoof she ripped the shoe off, so she's quite ouchy.  Greg said I probably shouldn't ride for at least 2 days...  

It's pretty pitiful that I have two horses and I can't ride either one of them... 

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm Not a Fan of This Murphy Guy...

You know that old saying... "If something can go wrong, it will". It's Murphy's Law. That's been me for the past couple of weeks. If I could find Murphy, I'd slap him across the face.

My last show was June 28th... My next show is August 30th. That's a whole two months to get prepared in hopes of doing really well and being able to do a canter class or two at the next show. Well, between the lead problems a couple weeks ago, then the Cancun fiasco, the chiropractor, and now I'm just getting over a seriously nasty cold that has been with me over a week now (thanks again, Mexico!), I haven't ridden Lilly in about two weeks. Ugh...

So last night I felt normal enough that I thought I could get a nice ride in without passing out, so despite the strong storms and rain in the area, I decided to just do it! So off to the barn I went. As I drove in past the horses, I see Lilly, who is soaked from the rain and D I R T Y. Yuck, yuck... she was gross. I figured I'd just brush her as best as I could, ride her, and then give her a quick bath just to clean her up.

I grabbed the halter and went out to the pasture to get my girl. As I walked her out of the pasture, she did one of those "ouch" steps. You know, the kind where they almost fall on their face... so as I glanced down at her hooves, I notice that she is MISSING A SHOE! That's just my freaking luck. It doesn't look like it just came off, it looks like she ripped it off, so her foot looks horrible. There's no way I was going to be able to ride her like that. She had a tough enough time making it from the pasture to the wash rack. Poor girl... Thank goodness the farrier is coming out tomorrow. That means another 2 full days of not being able to ride her.

Apparently, all the horses from her pasture managed to escape Wednesday afternoon when the person feeding forgot to close the gate. The BO said they were running around like lunatics and that's probably when she ripped her shoe off. Fantastic...

So as if that wasn't enough, as I was cleaning up my filthy horse, I noticed that her tail is getting thinner and thinner. The hair on the dock of her tail is so thin I can see the skin underneath. It's not pretty... Even the chiropractor commented on her tail being thin... she asked what happened to it. Lilly has never had gorgeous locks on her tail, but it keeps getting thinner and thinner this summer. So what I think she's doing is rubbing her butt and pulling those dock hairs out.

On either side of her tail, about in the middle of her tail bone, she has poop marks. Like she's rubbing her butt on something and it's staining her butt with crap as she wiggles from side to side. Her tail doesn't look like it's been rubbed off. I've seen some of those horses' tails. Hers looks fine except that it's getting so thin. I think when she rubs her butt, it pulls those hairs out.

She's always been a butt scratcher. She would love for you to stand with her all day and scratch her butt cheeks. She's wormed regularly and doesn't have any allergies that I know of... I think she just loves to scratch her butt. I'm certainly open to ideas, though, if someone thinks otherwise!

I've been trying SO hard this summer to get her tail to grow, because even when I put her fake tail in at the shows, she doesn't have enough to cover up the attachment part and it looks kind of silly. I've been using MTG and Cowboy Magic, but it isn't working because she keeps rubbing those tail hairs out. The only thing I can think of to do is get a tail wrap, like the kind you'd put on their tail dock in the horse trailer, and put that on her when she's out in the pasture. That way, if she rubs her butt, her tail hairs are protected. It makes me nervous doing stuff like that because I'm worried about it being too tight. I ordered one, but we'll see if it looks like it'll even stay in her tail.

If I ride her every day, though, and I take the wrap off when I'm there to give the her tail a chance to breath, and make sure it isn't too tight, she should be fine I'd think. Right?

Once winter comes and the bugs are gone, she's going to be getting a tail makeover and will be wearing a tail bag to try and get those long hairs to grow. I can't get any new growth, though, or thickness if there aren't any there!

Anyone have any ideas?