Sunday, June 30, 2024

look whose ears!

Happy Sunday, folks! Hope everyone is staying cool... It's been a bit warm around these parts!

honestly only a couple days have been properly miserable, tho the folks at Charlie's barn do a nice job of keeping the horses in a little later when it's really nasty, so they can stay chilled under their fans vs baking under the sun.
Charlie's doing well, too! he's coping with having bare soles better than expected, and the thrush seems to be drying up more or less apace. we're still treating regularly, tho.
but i dunno, guys, i kinda got a wild hair the other day... 

i just.... ya know.... was really hankering for a good old fashioned sit on my good friend Charles <3 so we saddled up and did exactly that!!!
just went for a nice little plod around this farm's cute outdoor arena.

guys. this place might be small and modest, but these folks take pride in their management. check out the fresh drag lines! and those freshly placed fence posts at the end, to eventually enclose the ring completely. it's kinda weird, my horses have each been moved for less than a month, and yet BOTH of their farms have dragged their rings more often in that time period than this entire year at the last place LOL
enough about that tho, bc this is about Charlie <3 <3 he's obviously ya know. not very sound. tho not as unsound as i expected. like we actually did a little bit of trotting -- a circle or two in each direction. 

it's hard to know if he's only stiff and creaky, sore from the thrush, or just generally janky. or maybe all the above? but it would be nice to maybe do a little more 'active sitting' on him to feel him out, see if maybe some trails might be in our future. 
and i swear, i only really rode him around for about 10min total. just enough to push a couple buttons and see how he is. homeboy still sweated up a storm tho -- look at that foam thru the billet strap!
we had fun tho <3 i swear this horse loves being the center of attention. so long as like, it doesn't require work lol, and also involves plenty of treats!

he's already cultivated an entirely new crop of worshippers among boarders and friends of the farm, and loves holding court in the center of the aisle, demanding smooches and pets from anybody who tries to get past lol. what a horse <3
i honestly really enjoy the time i spend with him at his barn, so maybe it's one of those blessing in disguise situations to have the two horses at different locations?
regardless, it was good to sit on him again. i still don't know exactly what his future holds, but that's ok too. this is good enough, and Charlie obvi owes me nothing!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

sweet sweet release

Happy hump day, y'all. Things are chilling out a little bit now that the most intense phase of the heat wave is behind us.... we even got a few sprockles of rain the other day! Big stuff, y'all. 

But even bigger news, Doozy finally graduated to the next intermediate step in her introduction to the new farm: post quarantine paddock turn out with a friend!! Much Rejoicing!!

Getting her out of the tiny dry quarantine pen and back onto grass is a BIG DEAL, especially as it massively reduces my burden guilt related to managing her day to day life --- like alllllll that hand grazing, dear lord. 

So let's keep it light and happy with a quick pictorial run through of what we've been up to lately!

pictured: hand grazing, forever, everywhere. literally about an hour a day of just this, and even that felt painfully stingy... but it was also perfect for getting familiar with all the various views --- seriously, how picturesque is this place?? we are standing right behind the blue indoor here, so these are the same views you get while riding!
pictured: hot and sweaty at the absolute peak intensity of last week's heat wave, right around the longest day of the year... and so eager for grass that she's barely made it out of the quarantine pen (behind her) before diving down for some mouthfuls.

our typical habit was for me to arrive after turnout and give her a nice good hosing + hand graze... maybe sneak in a ride, with more hosing and hand grazing as needed lol.... aiming for late enough in the evening to start to see temps fall and the sun angle lower behind the hills by the time she had to go back into the pen.
for our rides, we've mostly stuck to the outdoor, since the sun exposure is counterbalanced by pleasant breezes... plus there are often fun little exercises and jompies set up --- like these two lines of trot poles, one straight and one bending! 

ooh and a little foreshadowing: peep that luscious green paddock in the far background!
poorly framed shot but another nice footwork exercise that was just begging for a little action!
we also jumped the cute little flower box. bc why not, right? we've been keeping the rides light and fluffy until everything feels more settled, but doozy has honestly been great
ooooh we ended up in the blue indoor the other night too!! look how bright it is, with windows and nice open doors --- i'll need to get better pictures out the doorways too bc the views are great. and obvi lots of fun footwork exercises set up in here too
hacking the path back down to the barn like she's lived here her whole life, good girl <3
also visible in this pic: that tiny little brown square quarantine pen in the distance directly above doozy's left ear, and then her new paddock in the farthest back beyond that!
guys. i love spending oodles of time with my horses. really truly. but sometimes it's nice to just go ride, then hose 'em off and chuck 'em out and go home lol. graze yo'self, dooz! #handsfree
new friendship is blossoming quite nicely too!! bebe morgan mare had a little run + cry when we first left her, and doozy answered a call or two... but honestly, it was way less drama than i expected.

this paddock is actually easily visible from the indoor bc of this farm's crazy hills, so i could see that the bebe was hanging out at the fenceline with the neighbors and not running. perfect! and she didn't even scream at us when we returned. no joke, this pic is about two seconds after i put doozy back out, and they're both just doing their own mare things. soooo much easier than massive attachment!
obvi i'll still be sensitive about stressing the ladies while it's just the two of them, but things feel promising. and having doozy on grass and with company is just such a relief!

this was kinda the big milestone still ahead of us before getting back to work in any serious sort of fashion. it's timely, tho, bc guys --- there might be some exciting new developments in the coaching landscape! stay tuned ;) 

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

shoeing changes for charlie

Charlie had his first shoeing appointment since moving yesterday, very exciting! His new farm is still inside our normal farrier's service area, thankfully, so he's staying on basically the same hoof care plan.

friendly kitty at doozy's barn!
Tho, as mentioned a few posts ago, he sprang a nasty case of thrush about two weeks ago -- so I was eager to get the farrier's input on how to handle. 

skittish kitty at doozy's barn!
I'd been treating with Tomorrow paste, basically a mastitis treatment for cows. And the new barn manager had been kind enough to keep up the daily treatments while I was out of town in Chicago for a few days last week. 

and charles, at his luxury resort lol <3
Charlie had originally been very sore on the foot -- quite prominently lame at the walk, and pointing that toe. Such a drama queen...

trying to get a grip on this thrush tho.... 06/14 treated with Tomorrow
But after all the regular attention he's gotten wayyy more comfortable, whew! Tho I was still curious what the situation would look like underneath the leather pad on his shoe. Like, how deep did this thing really go?

this stuff --- apparently the Today stuff is also good. the narrow tip in particular is great for getting down into the crevices
Fortunately, once the shoe was off things actually looked decent enough! To the point where the farrier didn't think Charlie really needed soaking or anything like that. Just keep going with the Tomorrow, she suggested every other day. She also shared that Thrush Buster seemed to work well enough for low grade cases, but generally finds the applicator tip on the Tomorrow to be more useful.

about a week later, 6/23, not visibly very different but a lot less sore
update since this pic: we nixed charlie's pads yesterday to open the whole thing up, doesn't look terrible tho
We opted to not replace the leather pads on Charlie's new shoes anyway, tho. I'd already been toying with the idea --- normally I pull them off over the winter to let the horse's sole get a bit more air and exposure... But with Charlie's precarious soundness last year, we didn't dare make such a big change.

And who knows, if he seems to have trouble staying comfortable, nbd, we'll just add them back on again. I'm optimistic, tho. 

and half-heartedly stuffed with a thrush-buster soaked piece of gauze lol. pro tip: maybe use less gauze than you think if you try a similar approach hahaha...
This new farm is set up so nicely relating to footing and ground conditions, not to mention how much closer everything is (no more walking a quarter mile down the gravel driveway to his turnout!), it honestly seems like he could have a very good chance at being sound with less intense shoeing!

farrier thinks he's gained weight since moving <3 <3
Actually, I might not have specifically shared, but we pulled Charlie's hind shoes at his last appointment - before he even moved. Longtime readers will remember how last summer Charlie went through a relentless cycle of stepping on his own self behind and constantly twisting off his hind shoes --- naturally stepping on the clips in the process, half the time. 

bonus treatment for charlie's other little ding, lol --- moxidectin for his summer sore
For some reason, he didn't twist a single shoe all winter, but I think his hooves get a little harder during the more dormant season. As soon as they start growing again in the spring, it's like they get more shell-like and tend to crumble. And once he twisted off that first hind shoe of the season, I figured it was worth a shot. 

area was already kinda schmootzy since i'd started treating with swat first. 06/14
Not gonna lie, Charlie was intensely sad for the first 2.5 weeks. And I wondered if it was really wise to pull his hinds esp on the same day he got trimmed up front, knowing that he often walks away from a trim feeling sore anyway. It felt like a mean one-two punch, ya know?

summer sores are characterized by almost perfectly circular ulcers that crust and weep but never heal. 06/16
But then he honestly kinda rallied, and has been basically fine ever since. Well, aside from the whole thrush thing. Which, imho is mostly an environmental thing relating to the crazy dry / wet cycles we've been having anyway. 

can't tell if we either killed off the first one so it sprang a second, or if the whole infection or whatever is just spreading... 06/22
Charlie has worn some variation of complicated expensive shoes basically the entire time I've owned him. He's been shod all the way around since his first appointment with me, and spent the majority of every year in either full or rim leather pads. Not to mention staying drilled and tapped for competition seasons... 

it can never just be easy, charlie!
Go figure, tho. Things change! Charlie is officially now sporting the same pedicure as Doozy: plain shoes up front, and just a clean little trim behind. I might actually be spending less money to shoe both horses right now than Charlie has typically cost the whole time I've owned him lol....

enjoy another shot of the stalker cat as reward for the gross wound pics ;) 
Tho being real, farriery is not an area I'd consider trying to be more thrifty or whatever. My horses get the shoeing they need for their jobs / wellbeing / quality of life. Like I fully expect that Doozy will eventually be shod all the way around, esp if the jumps ever start going up. 

But I also like being able to do less to their feet vs more, if you know what I mean. And who knows, maybe this will be just the ticket for Charlie? He's being such a pest these days lol, I think he's generally feeling quite well and FULL of himself... Who knows, if we can get this thrush knocked out, maybe we can start sneaking in some saddle time???

Cross your fingers for us!

Monday, June 17, 2024

look who's trotting now

Not gonna lie, the last few weeks have been just a touch intense around here. Between a few important projects at work, setting up the competition xc courses at Shawan Downs (and then actually competing there for Doozy's 2nd proper 3-phase HT, omg), plus hosting a friend in town for that same weekend... And then, obvi, moving the horses to entirely new barns... 

quarantine life is what it is, but the promise of so much grass to come is very real!!!
It's been a lot. At times, even a little bit overwhelming, truth be told.

lot of redundant photos today bc our first few days followed similar patterns: LOTS of hand grazing!
But it's also been very very good. My courses at Shawan rode fine, and I learned a lot along the way -- with really useful feedback from people who, uh, actually know things

new patterns, too, tho! doozy moved on tuesday, and by thursday was under saddle again!
And the horse moves have been legitimately GREAT! It's so hard to know what to expect, to transition into entirely new environments after years in one place. 

"selfie" lol
Tho, one thing is for sure --- I've ridden at a LOT of different barns, and drawn paychecks from quite a few too, and it is a proven fact that there are many good ways to keep horses. Everybody does it a little differently, everybody has their preferences. But... Ya know, mostly it all works out!

i feel SO GUILTY about her dry little quarantine paddock surrounded by grass, so we graze a LOT
Safe shelter / turnouts, clean water, good food and forage... Not to mention maybe a few nice amenities for the intrepid rider (whether that be nice arenas or extensive trails!)... And ya know. You've got yourself a good horsey life!

the neighbors are nice and visit often
We've been extra lucky too in feeling extremely welcomed. Doozy, for her part, settled in basically immediately. She kinda just looked around and was like, "Yep ok, I live here now!" lol...

we graze all over the farm, tho! note -- that topmost background field to the left, if you look closely it's dotted with little logs and xc jumps!! our future awaits us!
For real, it's so funny... Charlie is my best boy. Always and forever. But.... welllll... He can be more than a little neurotic at times, LOL. 

for now, tho, hand walkies and grazies!
At first I was grateful that he moved first, bc it took him a little time to settle in. And I felt it was a good reminder for me to be prepared for anything with Doozy. But Doozy was just like, "Meh, nbd!" and has since literally gotten right back to work again haha. 

second ride on the farm was another success!
Nothing against Charlie, obvi, he's the best. But he just always needs a little hand holding, he feels everything at an 11 (out of 10)... Sometimes the vapors get to him, ya know? Poor soul!

she's getting used to the grooming bays!
Doozy has been great, tho. And it's been good to get back into a normal routine. We both benefit from that, I think.

please note: there are kitties <3
So we've kinda eased back into a daily riding routine. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, given that Doozy's last ride was running xc at Jenny Camp, lol, but go figure, she was a professional.

another day, another few grassy mouthfuls before being consigned to the Q paddock
We kept it to just walk-trot the first ride anyway, tho. Rome wasn't built in a day, and all that. Or something haha. I just figured we could familiarize without a ton of pressure.

ooooooh but there are also friends!!!
But by the second ride, she was clicking on all cylinders and we did a proper school. And then for the third ride, we actually got to enjoy some company, when friend Sandra stuck around after a ride to hang out with us and get to know Doozy!

shoutout to Sandra, who snagged some footage from our third ride!!
Doozy apparently appreciated the audience bc she was legit foot perfect for this ride! Like, who knew, but this mare **can** actually trot, omg!

can't wait for more lessons with someone who will remind me to sit up, chin up!
She just went through all her paces in an orderly polite fashion, including some nice canters and even a couple little jompies omg!

ok sometimes i remember to sit up myself. the neck staring tho, oof LOL
And obvi I was tickled to get some footage too --- Doozy's always been so interesting bc she doesn't always look how she feels. And it's anybody's guess what I might be doing with my position in any given moment haha...

ok for real, tho, doozy was legit low key strutting in this ride, so so good, i think she was showing off for Sandra!
It's all good, tho. Maybe even better than good -- considering we might finally be getting the opportunity for more consistent coaching and oversight. 

So it's all good around here. Business as usual. Well. Almost haha. 

oooh and in big news: a new neighbor in quarantine! cute little 3yo Morgan mare, and they'll likely buddy up for eventual herd introductions <3 
The next big milestone will be getting Doozy integrated into her new herd, hopefully in about another  week or so. I've already met some of the other mares, tho, and they're lovely

so much happier with her new neighbor! onward!!
It won't be a day too soon, tho, either haha --- Doozy's one and only complaint is having to cope with the little dry lot paddock they use for quarantine. She is, in fact, coping tho. Just a few more days, princess, and you'll get there!

In the meantime, we're looking toward a bit of a heat wave this week so it'll probably be pretty quiet, all things considered. Hope you all had a nice weekend too, and are staying cool!