Friday, July 29, 2022

king of the dings + his antihistamines

Horse ownership really is wild, I swear. My company had our first in-person retreat since the before times this week, meaning I was away from Charlie for 3 whole days.

let's start a gross post with an absolutely adorable photo tho <3 <3 
In an ideal world, I avoid missing more than 2 days in a row.... For a few reasons if we're being honest. Mostly bc I adore my horse and his company, obviously. 

But also... Charlie's farm operates a bit like a co-op masquerading as full-care, with a large decentralized staff composed of both boarders (with varying degrees of experience) working off their board; and an aging weekday staff who have been there forever but don't actually have any personal horses on the farm. 

and more cute --- manager mikey keepin an eye on us! 
Obviously everyone who works there does it bc they love horses. But ya know, sometimes stuff gets missed. Unfortunately, Charlie drew the short straw this week. 

I got home from the work trip around 2am, then woke up early to sneak out to the barn asap the next morning and see my poor neglected creature, who would surely feel abandoned and forlorn! 

and #short video of charlie keepin an eye on michael too

And predictably.... Yea. Homeboy was crusted in days-old sweat and grime, depressed looking, and itchy as all hell. Which, ahem, was probably directly related to his mangled and raw RH leg, that had very clearly gone a few rounds with high tensile wire fencing.... :(

seriously tho, guys, last chance for cute before it gets... not cute
And ya know. Stuff like this bothers me. I hate seeing my horse in pain... He also obviously did not do this in his stall. And yet, there he was, in his stall, having already been brought in for breakfast that morning from his overnight turn out. 

ta da! welcome home, emma!
Did somebody see it but not think it merited attention? Maybe! Or maybe they didn't see it? I dunno. Some of the folks at this farm are pretty old school, they've seen literally everything. So maybe they figured this was a bit like a skinned knee -- ouchy and ugly, but ultimately inconsequential?

ugh poor charlie, fully lacerated the tissue over his cannon :( also peep that persistent non healing wound on his other limb bleh
Which... Idk. I tend to err on the side of overcommunication about the various dings and dents our horses collect -- serious or otherwise. Plus, for better or worse I often medicate liberally. Like, in this scenario with swelling and open wounds around a joint, it'd take heavy convincing for me to NOT start antibiotics. So, in my "ideal world," wounds like this should be observed and communicated. YMMV.

mmm lovely. vet evaluated by testing if the skin would pull apart or flap, which it did not, whew!
It was moot anyway, tho, since I showed up when I did. Plus none of the lacerations looked particularly nasty except the one on the cannon. Tho it also didn't necessarily look fresh enough for stitches? I pulled the horse out to cold hose and investigate, and shot off a photo to my (extremely practical) vet in case she wanted a looksie.

vet was most concerned about the depth of lacerations over the hock joint 
She agreed that it didn't look too serious, just ugly, but she did want to take a closer look specifically at the wound depth around Charlie's hock. Considering, ya know.... Joint infections can be life-altering injuries, why risk it? Plus she was already in the neighborhood anyway, nbd.

poor charlie, you're not supposed to have "fat rolls" on your hock :(
So I got to fuss and fawn over Charlie, chiseling him out of his grimy crust and stuffing him full of cookies etc, while we waited for the vet. Then it was a pleasantly brief visit -- he basked in his sedation while she scrubbed everything up and evaluated. And luckily the vet quickly confirmed that everything is superficial except for that cannon wound.

cleaned it out and wrapped it up to help control the expected swelling
Tho she expects that to heal up just fine, too, since the skin didn't seem particularly flappy or like it wanted to pull apart or separate. 

I personally am paranoid about it, having seen other folks in blogland really really struggle with healing big cannon lacerations.... So we'll wrap while he's stalled during the day, unwrap for normal overnight turnout, and see how it goes.

i swear this horse takes FOREVER to wake up from sedation
We'll see. The vet also shot him up with some systemic antibiotics -- Gent and Excede -- to be continued for a few days. It's probably overkill given I already had a full bottle of SMZs lol... 

But, eh, the dosage is simpler and shorter, and I can do it all myself vs relying on barn staff to correctly administer a 2wk course of SMZs twice daily... Plus, my vet is out of town the next couple of days, and figured it'd be safer to treat proactively vs risk having Charlie blow up when she's not around.

unrelated random wound on other leg that's done a shockingly poor job of healing --- vet advised that i begin treating as if it's a 'summer sore'
She also noticed another little wound on his other hind .... A funny little superficial wound that should have healed just fine, but instead swelled wildly then exploded a week later (pics above). Obvi I've been gone a few days so I wasn't surprised to see it looking... still kinda iffy. 

predictable that this hothouse flower couldn't endure 3 days of my absence without literally crawling out of his skin and imploding....
She said the wound's circular shape could suggest it's becoming a summer sore. In other words, it might be contaminated by fly or parasite eggs, which can cause persistent non-healing lesions that are susceptible to infection and drive their hosts mad. 

we need to teach mikey how to be a better groom lol
She recommended treating with Quest, even tho Charlie's up to date on his dewormer. One tube as a standard oral dose, and a second to be used topically on the wound itself. So yea... If you're wondering whether my locker looks like a pharmacy rn, the answer is yes lol.

in the meantime, new study material arrived omg!!! i know the text here is small but lmk if you are intensely curious about any of the specific rider exercises listed!
Oooh the vet left one last little goodie, too -- a tub of hydroxyzine powder. You might remember reading about Charlie being an itchy SOB before... And we always suspected that his apocalyptical bat-cave of a puncture wound back in 2019 was caused by sticking his leg through a fence while itching his you-know-what. 
one more of mikey as an apology for all the raw nasties before
So we're at TWO close call injuries from itching on fences... And I'm over it! Generic Zyrtec (cetirizine) pills have been my go to since the puncture, but results are mixed. 

My vet reminded me that allergy meds work better as prevention vs cure, so we'll switch a daily dose of hydroxyzine to see if that works better. Bc damn... it's way cheaper than these vet bills! 

back out with some of his buddies, relegated to a paddock bc, ahem, he wrecked the friggin pasture fence....
Wish me luck, lol. Anybody else out there ever have to deal with gruesome wire tangle injuries or cannon lacerations? Or summer sores? Or.... a miserably itchy horse bound and determined to literally rip the flesh from his own bones to free him from the madness...???

Monday, July 25, 2022

Jumpers @ Elkridge Harford

Our local training association is trying to diversify competition and schooling opportunities for members this year, and this weekend hosted their first ever little jumper show! 

god i love shows where you're pretty much guaranteed some satin even if you do like, the absolute bare minimum LOL
Naturally every year I promise not to torture myself with horse shows in July... But c'monnnn, how could we say no to this? I had free entry bucks from volunteering, the venue (Elkridge Harford Hunt Club!!) is just down the road from us, my favorite local photographer would be there (shoutout Amy!), AND --- new trainer Kelly designed the course!

bc good lord it has been a tad bit toasty around like.... everywhere lately lol
So obviously we would go. Not that, ahem, I didn't still indulge in a little bitching when the weather was abysmally oppressive and scheduling details were predictably murky for jumperlandia.... Plus I got myself all worked up about it being a 3' class vs the "Novice" (aka, 2'11) I've been entering at all these other outings. Stupid, I know. But the brain will be what it will be sometimes. 

ooooh we got pretty photos tho from Amy Flemming Waters! here is charlie finally clicking into gear by like jump 6 lol
Once we arrived tho, everything looked pretty much perfect. They were wrapping the 2'6 class but still with enough time for us to say hi, check in, and watch a couple rounds. Which was useful bc the course started on a right lead diagonal, from which you turned left up the judge's line -- a triple combination of a jump 4/5 strides to the in-and-out right next to the tent. 

We watched two horses in a row make that turn, lay eyes on the tent and that jumble of jumps, and skid to a surprised stop. You can't see the tent in the video bc our intrepid videographer was standing right next to it.... But it definitely looked spooky, so we took note and made sure to do our entry into the ring up the rail past the tent before starting our own courses!

i swear to god these jumps are 3' folks, tho obvi not the spread we saw at plantation
I'm getting ahead of myself, tho. Bc obvi first we had to warm up. Remember at Plantation we warmed up for kinda forever since the show was behind. This was basically the polar opposite -- there were only 3 of us jumping the 3', and the course was open and ready as soon as we were. 

was a nice little course too! 
I honestly didn't know what to expect, either. For all my bragging about how sharp and on point Charlie has been lately... Our most recent lesson (a tale for another time) found me working a LOT harder than I should have to just to get around. The kinda slugging feeling where the spots evaporate the closer you get to the fences, and you kinda just crawl over... Bleh.

same jump as before, just a different moment <3 <3 
Charlie surprised me tho and was basically pretty much on point in warm up. Not like... perfect. Not pulling me to the fences in his own special sort of way that I love so much... But going even if we got there a little long. Good 'nuff, we strung like 4 consistent efforts together with the help of new trainer Kelly setting fences etc, then hit the ring for our course. 

literally all the jumps were either red or white haha
And I admit to only entering one class. Idk why I have this stumbling block about doing a full division or multiple classes, but for some reason I only ever want to do one or two. Maybe bc I think it's like this bargain I have with Charlie that if he's perfect the first time we'll be done? 

Which is nice when he's good... But sometimes I *DO* want to go again, and he's gotta be good again, even if he thinks our deal was to be done after one. That was kinda the problem we'd had in our lesson too -- everything was great for warm up etc but he got increasingly checked out as the ride went on -- even tho I swear it was still hyper short in the heat. Idk. Regardless. I opted to just do one single class, and to try and make it count. 

easy out over the final jump!
You'll see what I mean tho about that evaporating spot and pukey weak jump for our first effort on course. Like, I swear I was pushing haha, and tried all the normal tricks to get him going. But like. Damn, bro. Sometimes he just doesn't

We made it over 1, tho, and had a better effort at 2 even tho we took that rail (boo). Next up was the judge's line that was measured for 4-to-1, but Royal did comfortably in 5-to-1 and I figured Charlie would do the same. Which he did, good boy. After that, tho, he really clicked on and carried me through the rest of the course, cleanly down another bending line, up over a single diagonal off a short turn, then down the proper 72' five-stride to finish. Good boy!

It's so funny bc I get so preoccupied with the "bad" fences, get so frustrated and annoyed about the same mistakes or whatever. Which I guess everybody does to a certain degree. But it actually took me a hot minute to realize that, sure, Jump 1 was definitely our weakest jump on course.... But it wasn't anything like the "one majorly bogus fence" trend we've had on all our courses lately. It was just sorta a normal bleh spot, but nbd. 

woot woot group photos lol
And actually, first-jump-itis excused... Overall it was honestly a pretty decently consistent round. I don't love how much pushing I'm doing vs feeling "pulled" to the fences... But it's also potentially arguable that Charlie would have stayed clicked into that better gear had we opted to do a second or even third round (or, god forbid, a "warm up" trip first lol). 

So ya know, that's food for thought for future outings (when it's less hellishly hot lol). 

lol it's so nice to have a riding buddy that does all the same classes as me, but damn they beat us every time <3 <3 <3 charles pick them feet up, buddy!
We're glad we went, and that's what counts, right? I like this venue a lot, and really like their little grass ring too. And obvi Charlie always loves getting to wear his studs, obvi, even if sometimes it feels like a ridiculous amount of effort to get them in and out for one single jumper round LOL. 

So it was a day well spent despite the heat ;) Tho uh.... I may or may not still be recovering, and swearing yet again to myself to stop showing in July omgwtf lolol..... Stay cool, y'all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

in this week's episode

It was a pretty schweet weekend around these parts, so let's try to do a quick 'n dirty photographic catch-up, yes? 

For starters, longtime blog friend, custom browband designer, and eventer extraordinaire Amelia reached out a few weeks ago to let me know she'd be making her semi-annual pilgrimage to the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy. 

Matt is inspirational on a few different levels. also.... this incredible horse is #forsale
So. Obviously I'd plan on being there too!! It worked out almost perfectly (almost), since I was able to sign up as the volunteer dressage steward during the FEI classes that Friday, then could come down to spectate on Saturday for the FEI cross country. 

Only bummer is not being able to make it on Sunday for Amelia's turn in the tack, tho word on the street is that they slayed. Who knows --- maybe we can convince her to do another guest post for us???  

Anyways, I don't need to tell y'all how much I love horse shows. Whether as a volunteer, spectator, or cheerleader, whatever. 

And honestly I kinda don't write as much about it here on ye olde blogge any more bc it doesn't always seem to be the kind of content that moves many of you. Which is fine, obvi, but ya know... At the end of the day, I write about the things I care about, so, in other words, my blog = my rules!
I hope you'll watch the videos anyway, tho. Esp those prelim show jumping rounds. Who remembers back in 2018 when Matt Brown wrote a series of incredibly candid and moving essays on his experiences dealing with pressure and disappointment? His writing reshaped my approach to setting goals and expectations for myself, which... honestly... is kind of like a gift. 

Maybe that sounds crazy, but that's how it feels. So it's awesome watching Matt out there slaying with all his various horses (see my FEI playlist for clips of him and his big horses Big Berry {10:00}, whose run in the 3* this weekend I sadly missed, and Super Socks BCF!!)

i spy with my little eye..... Amelia!!!!
Anyway, tho, all fangirling aside --- it's always so cool hangin out at horse shows when I personally have nothing on the line lol. I kinda love poking around the whole spread necessary for stabling at away shows, too, considering my group of friends and I only ever really show out of our trailers. It really is a whole different ballgame.

creepin on Amelia's barn family doin epic things in the rain
Which.... Ahem. Considering we got poured on at Plantation last week, and I neglected to clean my abused and long suffering leather goods up until like... yesterday.... Well. Maybe I can see an advantage to stabling after all, LOL!

speaking of rain, remember when i told y'all to remind me to condition my poor saddle?!? finally got around to that about 5 days later, whoops
Seriously, tho, please pray for my saddle.... And, uh, cross your fingers that my bridle gets the attention it deserves sometime in the next century too???? :(

ya know what ain't suffering these days with the rain, tho? chuck's tootsies --- seen here at 5wks in july
Anywho, tho, shifting gears again. Bc it can't be all epic horse shows and big jumps all day erry day (tho, we wish, right?) --- there's been a fair amount of more mundane goings on lately too.

literally the worst of the chip out, which... is unreal compared to past years
Or actually, maybe more accurately, not a lot of goings on. Charlie is doing... well. I looked at him the other day and was like, "Ya know what? You look good, son!" Sure, he still rocks the Dad Bod, obvi. But... I'm actually pretty pleased with his exact condition during this exact week lol. Bc we all know with TBs it really can change that fast haha... hahaha. 

the actual card i sent my farrier for #FarrierAppreciationWeek (while also #KnockingOnWood)
His feet are also doing incredibly well this year, too. There were a couple big observations from last year that served us very well -- namely, getting the horse into pads early (think: March instead of May); and aligning our jump schools with ground conditions. Recent rain? Prime time for jompies! Hard AF out there? Keep it light, yo.

whatever it takes to keep this dedicated good samaritan going!
That attitude and approach served me really well last year, and it feels like we've been rewarded this year by more frequent rain showers. Sure, it's still far too dry and we're technically behind in rain fall.... But there's enough precipitation often enough that we've been able to jump pretty consistently on soft ground. I like it! 

seen here doing his #CivicDuty clearing out all those overgrown vines at the gate lol
And I've been actually ok at jumping 2x (more or less) a week, too! Usually one of those days is like... cruise up to the jump ring and bop around literally whatever the fresh fuck is set up. Which is... generally x-rails lol. But I'm getting better at riding it purposefully anyway, like treating the bumps like cavaletti exercises or whatever. 

Usually there's at least one or two gymnastic-y things set up too, like that 2-to-2 that's been a feature for the last few weeks. Even at x-rail height, it's still a valuable exercise IMO. And last night, there was another quite proper grid set up too -- an x-rail bounce to a vertical, one stride to another vertical, one stride to an oxer. Aka, bounce-one-one, with the final oxer set somewhere mildly south of 2'6.

all in a day's work!
I hadn't planned on jumping Charlie, but we'd already been out for a nice warm up hack and had trotted and cantered our little conditioning sets. And the ground was soft. And the horse was in front of my leg... So we popped a couple x-rails then nosed into that grid kinda cold. And wouldn't ya know it, this big ol' star of mine nailed it like the seasoned veteran he actually is <3

Sure sure, next time we jump will have to be course work at height (maybe lol). But it feels good, like we've got something going right right now, that my notoriously sluggish and occasionally obstinate gelding is basically pretty fucking sharp at the moment. 

Anybody else feeling reservedly optimistic going into high summer? Or are you mostly laying low to beat the heat?

Friday, July 8, 2022

friday fotos: show pictures!

Happy Friday, everybody! For today's adventure, let's zone out and enjoy reliving our 2min of glory from this week's schooling jumper show at Plantation, by way of literally 28 beautiful HQ photos taken by my YR barn mate's father!!!

obvi i'm a dyed in the wool obsessed media junkie... but it helps to have such a handsome subject!!

no joke, tho, i whittled down this gallery from no fewer than 400 original photos... literally half of which are us walking and jogging around the warm up ring since the show was behind schedule

"just happy to be here!" -- emma

first warm up interval was literally just dinkin' around

eventually we got to work tho <3

d'aww charles and his twinkle toes

apparently one must not look directly at the boyd lol

am i the only one kinda obsessed with this landscape?

again tho, not lying, half the pictures are basically this. and i am HERE for it lol

practicing our patience waitin our turn

ooooh eventually it was time to do things tho!

omg yes actually jumping a jump at the jumper show after like 30min of just wandering around lol

and a slightly bigger jump! i think we did the X twice, then once each for the small oxer, this vertical, and the other larger oxer

go go gadget racehorse! also, this is your daily reminder that while pros like courtney (background) might import and produce some of the nicest young horses on the market.... many many horses are fully capable of doing this stuff and pedigree is not a prerequisite. what really matters is that you like your horse and enjoy riding it.

i mean, we look like we fit in, right??? lol

oooooh finally tho, it's go time! look at his face tho omg i love it haha

jump 1 was no joke but charlie is a beast, y'all

the verticals in this course all looked so unimpressive compared to the oxer spreads

pro tip: if you're going to spectacularly beef it to a jump, make sure to do it while *everybody including the olympian* is watching

good recovery, tho, chuck! i swear he makes these jumps look microscopic tho

brave boy jumping into the spooky corner past the judge's gazebo!

so nice i liked it twice!! love these shots of airborne charles <3

this line seemed to ride mostly in 6 for BN, tho a lot of N riders were doing it in 7

was pretty sure the 6 would be just fiiiine for chuck tho lol

look at these cute phone booth standards going into the 2 stride!

rounding the corner toward home!


thanks, sir, for being the way you are <3

Hope you all have a great weekend!