I went out to give Prize a bath today. That is the highest form of Prize torture. She hates a bath but she is scuzzy after the winter. Her mane looks like birds have been nesting in it. I don’t even look at her tail. She is in need of an intervention.
I’m a good little blogger so I decided to get photos to document her extreme makeover. She wasn’t volunteering to come in from the paddock so I went out and threw a halter on her and started to lead her back.
She was dead lame.
I got her in the barn and picked her feet in hopes that she had a stone in her foot but I knew it wasn’t that. She had a hard time picking her front feet up and when I left her alone in the aisle (untied) she didn’t wander off and cause any trouble. So I got her sneakers out of the tack room and gave her a dose of banamine. Then I put her in her stall to relax while I went and talked to the farm owners. Fifteen minutes later when we came back to check on her she was angry that she was in the barn alone. She was running around her stall. Banamine and sneakers are a wonderful combination!
I have no idea what set off her laminitis this time. She is in a dry lot and doesn’t get grain. She is still fat but I can’t work her when she is lame. I think she just wanted out of her bath. I should have done it while she was too sore to move! But she was so sad looking and was resting her head on my chest and I thought it would just have been too mean when she didn’t feel well. I didn’t realize that she was going to be raring to go in 15 minutes.
Here are the rescued orphan babies at the farm hanging out with one of their “uncles.” All the big horses have taken an interest in making sure the babies have manners and are protected at all times even though they are not in the same pasture with them. Prize and her buddies are to the left in this photo and then there is another group in the pasture behind the babies.
The one on the left is 1 month and 1 day old. The one on the right is 6 weeks old.
Prize has been dieting. I know you can’t tell from this picture with a full winter coat but there is less of her. This has been accomplished by very strict dietary guidelines imposed on her and her two buddies in the “Plump Pony Paddock.” I decided that I would go over there today and slip her a Christmas peppermint. Bad, I know. I had to make sure I was stealthy so as not to get caught by the barn owners. But she loves peppermint and it is near a holiday and if she didn’t eat these mini candy canes I would and that wasn’t good either.
All was well at first. I was stealthy. I got up to her and then, I couldn’t get the cane out of the wrapper. She was about to eat my hand off. I finally was able to slip it to her when one of her buddies noticed the activity. Game on. He’s on a diet too and he was not going to miss out on whatever treat I was giving. Right as he came over with ears pinned at Prize the barn owner snuck up behind me and said, “Hi.” The horses started bucking at each other like crazy beasts. The barn owner was reassuring me that they normally got along wonderfully while I was standing there deciding whether to ‘fess up or not. I decided not. I managed to slip Prize another piece too. Two mini candy canes isn’t going to kill her. Her pasturemate might kill her because of preferential treatment though.
When I walked away they settled down. I’m a bad influence.
Then I had a two hour conversation with the barn owner about everything wrong with kids and men. We swapped divorce stories. (Hers is better than mine.) We agreed that people with 6 kids under the age of 10 should not announce another pregnancy by writing in their Christmas card “God continues to surprise us with His blessings.” If you are still surprised at this point you need a remedial sex-ed class. We discussed ways we’ve disciplined kids that would probably get us in big trouble if we told the wrong people but that we think are funny (and were effective!) It was a nice afternoon.
Guess who’s sound without her sneakers? Prize! Last week I tried to take her sneakers off and she wanted nothing to do with that. She kept pushing me away from the velcro so I left them on her. Then earlier this week one fell off in the pasture and she was sound so the barn owners took the other one off.
Yesterday I took Z for a bareback pony ride on her. She was pretty good but was a bit overwhelmed. Prize has a big stride so it takes some getting used to. Prize started to walk and Z clutched onto her. We worked on getting her to relax and sit up while I worked on Prize taking smaller steps. When she does that though she collects and tenses up her muscles so she looks like she is about to blow. There is definitely going to be a learning curve for everyone to learn to give pony rides.
I let Z ride for a bit and then let Prize run around the arena (Sound!!) to blow off some steam and then we did rides again. At one point Z made sort of a clucking noise so Prize obediently tried to trot. We got that stopped in a few steps so no harm done. I can see myself trying to explain to Prize, “Remember how you have been drilled all your life to listen to everything your rider says? Forget that with the short person. Do what she means instead of what she says.”
Speaking of communicating with animals, I’m signed up to take my level one Reiki course with an emphasis on animal Reiki this next weekend. I’m not sure what I’m going to learn. I’d like to be able to use it diagnostically. “Oh, you have a hole in your aura over your liver. Let’s look at that.” The person who did the introductory lecture I went to says that she can feel differences in auras in animals with cancer than in healthy animals and even feel differences in diffferent types of cancer. I’m not sure how to word that in mainstream practice. People will flip if I tell them that I think we need to do a workup on the animal they brought in for vaccines because their aura isn’t right! Why yes, I am a quack, why do you ask?
By Thursday night (2 days ago) Prize’s left foot felt better but she wasn’t able to use her right foot well at all. She was almost three legged. It was very sad. She was angry about being inside but couldn’t move very well at all. I called a farrier friend of mine to see what the latest and greatest founder treatments were since I don’t do horses most of the time.
She recommended a special kind of boot to pad her feet. I ordered them yesterday and got them today. Of course when I got to the barn she was feeling better than ever. I accused her of feeling better as soon as the boot supplier swiped my credit card! But the barn owner said that she had been pretty sore this morning before her banamine.
She was a very good sport about putting on her boots. I expected her to have a fit so I had in her the arena. They are padded enough that she is about an inch taller.
She walked off sound immediately. The barn owner and I watched her for a while. Then he noted that the boots were going to fall off. I said that I hadn’t velcroed them on very tightly. It took us a bit to realize what we were seeing. She was trotting. Two days ago she couldn’t walk and now she was sound at the trot. Pretty cool. Of course, we’ll need to she how she does when she isn’t high on pain meds.
They aren’t very pretty. Everyone keeps commenting on that. I threatened to get pink glitter pen and decorate them in a pretty princess style.
I got up bright and early to go check on Prize before work. I was worried that I was going to wake everybody up but when I drove in I saw a light on in the barn. Unfortunately, it turns out that they must just leave that light on since there were no other humans around. That means I walked into a barn of hungry horses wanting breakfast.
If you haven’t had the experience, remember the seagulls from Finding Nemo who all say, “Food? Food? Food? Food?” and you’ll get the idea.
Prize was standing up in her stall. She was in her favorite position – pressed up against the bars between her stall and the big bay Thoroughbred gelding next door. My little hussy does love the boys. When I opened the door I was all but strip searched for treats. So her attitude is back to normal. No more Woe Is Me Pathetic Pony. She was standing normally. Last night she was rocking back on her hind legs to take pressure off the front ones. She still doesn’t want to walk so her feet must still be sore but they are cool to the touch with no pulses felt. That means little to no active inflammation in the feet.
She’ll be staying in today and getting more pain drugs. She’ll have company. Another horse foundered this summer and he’s been staying in. He’s her friend from this spring when she was refusing to leave the boys when she was in heat. She’s borrowing from his stash of medicine now.
I’m not sure what set this off. She’s in the same pasture that she’s been in all summer. It has rained all week so maybe there was a grass growth spurt that upset her stomach.
Then I had to get out of the barn past all the hungry horses who were incredulous that I wasn’t feeding them. “Are you leaving? We didn’t eat. We know you aren’t the normal breakfast giver but you know where the hay is, right? Prize, tell your human-slave to feed us!” I walked down the aisle saying, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, gotta go.”
I got a call tonight that Prize wasn’t walking well.
Me: “I’m heading to the barn. Prize is sick.”
The SO: “Did they call a vet?”
Me: “Yeah, me.”
Him: “Oh, yeah, I, uh, meant one that wasn’t emotionally involved.”
Good save, I guess.
I got there and she was flat out in her stall. She’d been out all day and was reluctant to walk when they went to bring the horses inside. Her pulse was up and she was breathing hard. She seemed to have a little gas colic. Eventually she stood up and she isn’t putting much weight on her front feet so I’m assuming she’s trying to founder too. Her feet aren’t very warm and she doesn’t have noticeable pulses in her legs. She never gets sick so I’m hoping that everything is on the mild side and she’s just being a drama queen because she isn’t used to pain. After all, she didn’t let any of this stop her from eating all her hay! For tonight she’s drugged up with anti – inflammatories. I’ll recheck her in the morning to see if we need to get more aggressive with her or if it passed.
The SO is seriously not waffling. I can’t believe that he is using my plan to prevent impulsive dog getting to actually prevent me from impulsively getting a dog. The nerve of some people! LOL
We went to look at the outside of our ideal house yesterday. It is super nice. But we were both almost run down twice while we were there by people driving crazily on the street. It is a death trap for kids and pets. I think we are going to focus on getting our house sellable and then see what happens.
I haven’t mentioned it before but I’m making an effort to ride Prize. I’ve been riding briefly twice in the past two weeks. Yesterday I rode her and you’d have thought she was being suited up to go on a death march. She just kept sighing as I saddled her. Walking around the arena for ten minutes was obviously going to be the death of her. She also has a new friend who had a fit when her Prize was taken away. She ended up having to held by the arena so she could see. Prize didn’t care that she was away from her but the other horse was nuts. That kept the riding short too.
I realized that I’ve never aimlessly ridden. When I’ve done arena work I’ve always been training for something. Now I’m not going to be showing since I don’t have a truck and getting up early to dress up in black clothes and paying to stand in the hot sun (or rain) for hours has somehow lost its appeal. So I don’t have a focus and I get bored. There are trails I could ride but I’m not ready for that yet.
I ordered a book on arena exercises to give me some ideas of things to do while I work on my confidence so she doesn’t get bored and decide to make things ‘interesting’ as she’s been known to do. ————-
The cats have taken the abscence of Snowball hard. Riley is missing his sparring partner so he picks on Powder more but she doesn’t fight back as much. That’s not as much fun and smacking a snarling dog on the head apparently.
Powder used to protect Snowball when she ate. Snowball got all kinds of human and raw pet foods during her last few months. Powder would sit beside her and watch until Snowball had her fill. Then Powder would ever so graciously clean up whatever she didn’t eat. Now Powder only has her own dry cat food to eat. Poor baby!
I went to the barn today and parked next to the girl’s pasture. I looked around and everyone was present and accounted for except for Prize. I started looking around and finally found her in the boy’s area in a paddock with a Haflinger gelding. That’s odd but they were having a grand time. I figured that she was in there since it didn’t have a lot of grass and he’s fat too. Call it the Plump Pony Paddock for grass restriction.
But that’s not it. My dear horsey is in heat. My nice mare who never ever shows signs of heat unless she is with a stallion has gone plumb off her rocker. This morning she flat out refused to go out to the mare’s pasture. Nope, not leaving the boys. Planted all four feet and put herself in park. So instead of getting in a fight with her they turned her out with the boys (who are all geldings). She’s with the Haflinger and is sharing a fence line with several other fine males. She is flirting with all of them in turn. My nice sweet girl has turned into a total hussy!
Prize had her first bath of the year today. I’m sure you all heard the screaming.
Remember the “I’m melting! I’m melting!” scene from the Wizard of Oz?
She called for help over and over and no one came. Then she called for help in a more angry tone since she was being ignored. Eventually some people came over and petted her and told her she was looking very pretty. That wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted them to rescue her from the hose-wielding lunatic woman who was washing her protective layer of dirt off of her. Then she went in her stall to get her mane brushed out. The calling for help continued with enough histrionics that she finally smacked her head hard enough to knock some sense into her. I also threatened to also comb out her tail if she didn’t straighten up and she knows that it can take an hour or so to do that right.
Then I took her back outside to her (good-for-nothing-‘cuz-they-didn’t-come-to-my-rescue) friends. She rolled immediately then got up and chased one horse and then rolled again so when I last saw her she had a new protective dirt layer and had added strategically placed wisps of old hay sticking off of her.
1. How old were you when you first started riding?
My grandparents lived next door and had ponies. They sold them when I was five but I rode them from birth up to that point.
2. First horse ridden:
Too young to remember
3. First horse trotted on:
Still too young
4. First horse cantered on:
Maybe my friend Heather’s horses Foxy or Cloudy but I don’t remember
5. First Horse fallen off of:
Belle – My uncle was ordered by my grandma to take three of us for a ride. He put all of us on this pony and walked us around. The person in the back fell off and pulled us all down. He wasn’t paying attention and walked all the way back to the barn before he noticed.
6. Most recent horse fallen off of
Prize – May 10, 2006
7. Most terrifying fall:
I hate them all. But probably off Prize on the day she pitched a fit and bolted into a fence. I reverted to my jumping background and went into two-point. Her reiner breeding came out and she did a sliding stop. I cleared the fence without her. I was convinced that I was dead for a while.
8. First horse jumped with:
9. First horse who ran away with you:
Spirit – he was a pro at that
10. First horse that scared the crap out of you:
AngelBaby – He was a 5 year old stallion that had never heard the word no and I was supposed to examine his hind leg. I’ve never had a horse look at me with that much malice.
11. First horse shown
12. First horse to win a class with
13. Do you/have you taken lessons
I’ve taken lots.
14. First horse you ever rode bareback
My grandpa was too cheap to buy a saddle so I learned to ride bareback. I wish I still had those skills.
15. First horse trail ridden with
I went on a trail ride with some family friends when I was around 4th grade.
16. Current Barn name
17. Do you ride English or western?
Done it all but I’m an English girl at heart
18. First Horse to place at a show with
19. Ever been to horse camp?
Nope. Hated the idea of camp
20. Ever been to a riding clinic
Yes, a sidesaddle one. Which answers the next question…
21. Ridden sidesaddle
22. First horse leased/23. Last Horse Leased
24. Highest ribbon in a show
25. Ever been to an ‘A’ rated show
With Prize – lots of wins too!!!! The picture is at the Purebred Morab Horse Association Nationals in 2005. (They have classes for Morgans and Arabs too.)
26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races
27. Ever fallen off at a show
Got knocked out while jumping Spirit. My mom has a picture.
28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers
Mostly hunter on the flat
29. Have you ever barrel raced
Spirit was fast on the straight but didn’t see the point of turning. We did it though.
30. Ever done pole bending
Spirit liked to show off his flying lead changes
31. Favorite gait
32. Ever cantered bareback
33. Have you ever done dressage
Tried but it hasn’t been pretty
34. Have you ever evented
Not crazy enough
35. Have you ever mucked a stall
Thousands of times
36. Ever been bucked off
37. Ever been on a horse that reared
Yup. I handle that better than bucking
38. Horses or ponies
Ponies!!!! I just want to hug them.
39. Do you wear a helmet
Always. I’m still paying on my brain.
40. What’s the highest you’ve jumped
3 feet – I was riding a pony hunter
41. Have you ever ridden at night
No. My mom wouldn’t let me!
42. Do you watch horsey television shows
43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall
Broken wrist and pelvis, numerous concussions
44. Most falls in one lesson
1 in a jumping lesson
45. Do you ride in an arena/ring
46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse
Yes, I fell over Spirit’s shoulder once and he stepped on my hip.
47. Have you ever been bitten
48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse
49: Favorite riding moment
Riding a cow horse in Costa Rica
50. Most fun horse you’ve ridden
They are all so different it is hard to say.
At Prize’s barn there is a gelding who is an escape artist. He figured out how to reach out the opening in the grill in the front of his stall, grab the latch of the stall on his right and open that door. Than he’d go to the back of his stall and open his dutch doors to the paddock. He’d go outside, open the next stall’s dutch doors and let out the Haflinger who lived there. He’d go in the stall and open up the interior door that he’d already unlatched and then he’d be free in the barn to get into trouble. To stop this his dutch door was tied shut.
When some boarders moved the owners took the opportunity to shuffle stall assignments. This gelding was moved to a stall with no dutch door and no stall on his right so he couldn’t open anything from inside his stall. Problem solved, right? One little hitch – guess who’s in the stall to his left? Yep, Prize – quite a little criminal mastermind herself.
It took about two months for them to recognize each other as kindred spirits and hatch a plan. (How do horses communicate complex ideas to each other?) Now Prize reaches out her feed door and unlatches his door. He opens the unlocked door and then returns the favor by letting her out. Voila! Twice the havoc ensues in half the time.
So he’s got his stall door locked again. I’m sure Prize is actively trying to figure out how to pick locks! I’m going to start calling them Bonnie and Clyde.
I tried to ride my horse yesterday. I haven’t been on her in two and a half years. I haven’t had any desire to ride her at all. But lately I’ve started to get a bit of an urge. I didn’t do anyhing about it. I just let it grow gently for fear of chasing it away.
Yesterday I had the SO go to the barn with me. The plan was to sit on her bareback. The SO could hold her when I got on. There is a three step mounting block in the arena so I would be able to get on.
The problem? She is taller and wider than I remember. When I was standing on the top step it still required a jump to get up to her. Then, well, I’m older and less coordinated than the last time I tried to crawl on a horse bareback. She was a good sport. The SO said I was being a wimp. I got down and held her while he decided to show me how it was done.
He climbed up on the block and surveyed the situation. He looked at me sheepishly. “Let me guess. She’s a lot taller than she looks from the ground?” I asked sweetly. He nodded and got down. We decided to come back next week with the saddle.
Z rode a horse for the first time yesterday. She has never shown an interest before. We took her to see the horses at the barn and decided that if she wasn’t scared she could ride Prize. I would lead and the SO would hold her so it would be safe. I was on my way out to get Prize out of the pasture when she decided to ride a horse who was already saddled up. They led her around and she liked it. Now I have to get her a helmet so she can ride more if she is going to be interested.
The barn owners said that they had groomed Prize some. They seemed to think that I hadn’t brushed her. I explained that I had been there and brushed her but that she is a pig. They didn’t seemed convinced. Then I brought her in. She looked like she hadn’t been groomed in a month. They were shocked! They kept saying, “We brushed her yesterday…” in wonder. Then they noted that it is under freezing and there shouldn’t be any mud to wallow in. But the fact is that the horse was covered in mud – possible or not.