Saturday, August 21, 2010

Family dynamics

I had a long talk with Boo yesterday. I needed to apologize for neglecting him this summer. I normally ride much more often then I've been, he usually gets more baths and grooming sessions, and we usually get out on a couple of trail rides. Family issues have been keeping me away from the barn a lot this summer, and we are about to have another 2-week session due to my sister arriving from Wyoming for her annual visit. I'll be spending quite a bit of time with her and my mom, and once again not so much time with Boo. This time, however, I have made arrangements for Sarah to ride and give him some time and attention. She'll work him but she will love on him too.

I also needed to apologize to him for the family dynamic that has cropped up between the animals in the family. Now, I don't take the dogs out to the barn much. Quite frankly, they live with me full time and when I'm out there I want the horses to have my attention without the distraction of the dogs...but Baythoven is out there 24/7 and sometimes he sucks up all the attention in the vicinity. You all recognize that dynamic right? The kid who is always into something whether it's trouble or illness or just a lot of time consuming activities? The one who sucks up all the energy in the house? The often times problem child that everyone obsesses over leaving the quiet, self-reliant, competent kids to fend for themselves? Well, that's what Baythoven is like, and sometimes that leaves Boo on his own while we try to deal with Baythoven's next crisis, illness, or show...

So, I needed to give Boo some undivided attention and yesterday he got it. I didn't even look at Baythoven. Boo and I had the barn to ourselves and it was all about our partnership. I must say even without my doting attention Boo is looking good. We groomed and tacked up and headed to the indoor to start our warm up. He was a little to snorty for the outdoor if no one else was going to be around. Somebody needs to remind him that he's 21.

We did our usual warm up, and I already knew that the work out was going to be about lateral movement. We started in the walk and worked up to the trot. At first he was a bit lazy so I gave him more leg...then he started to speed up. He'd give me a nice working trot down the center line and when I'd ask for the leg yield he would get FASTER and FASTER and FASTER not listening to anything I had to say on the subject.

I don't know his motivation because he can't tell me, but I suspect it could be
1. He is ticked off at me.
2. He is trying to get the leg yield over with as quickly as possible.
3. It is easier for him to do at a faster pace.

Whatever!!!! I immediately changed the focus of the lesson to one of listening to my cues. We headed down the center line at a working trot, and then I would tighten my tummy muscles and slow my seat to get the slowest trot I could get without him stopping completely. We would go a few strides and I would push him forward into a lengthening then bring him back to working and push to lengthening then bring him back to jog, etc. Once I established that he was listening I sent him down the center line and started to leg yield. I used the same cues to adjust to the tempo I wanted and he was much better.

Our canter work was short but sweet. No hesitation, just stepped into a nice smooth canter and kept the pace. I suspect he was actually happy to finish with the lateral work and do a nice easy canter ;)

All in all I spent a good 2 hours with Boo giving him my undivided attention. I talked to him the entire time, and I don't know if he feels better but I sure do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

To hot for a flysheet

I got out to the barn early this morning. After listening to the weather forecast before I went to bed last night I knew it would be ride early or not at all. Bay was in the middle of having his hocks and front hooves injected when I got there. Apparently he was not happy about being kept in this morning when all the other horses went out. When the vet finished up she put him into a stall in the big barn with a view of the pastures and all the horses. He seemed to be content with snacking on some extra flakes of hay and watching his buddies. He will go back to his regular stall tonight when everyone comes in for dinner ;)

He'll get a little time off now and then Tuesday Sarah will ride him in her lesson. That will tell a lot. He'll be on nsaids for a couple of weeks...then we'll see how he does on his own. If he's still having problems then I'll try the Adequan. In the meantime Sarah was able to ride another horse at the barn. A very nice half Arab mare who knows much more than Bay does. She's retired from showing, but could be a nice school master for Sarah. I'm also going to have her exercise Boo for me while my family is here from Wyoming. Won't be able to get out like I want to, but I don't want him to just stand in the pasture either.

Our ride this morning went well. It was windy and I started out in the sand arena. He handled that well. He does make me work harder there. After our warm up we moved to the indoor where he is much more relaxed. Today I was just asking him to listen to my cues and try to transition while still on the bit. My next ride will be more lateral work. After the ride I let him graze for a bit while I watched Sarah's lesson. He was a very happy horse when I took him back to the pasture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Although the weather has been weird this summer, it does FINALLY feel like summer to me. After we painted my mom's living room for her I got to come home, and I've been here ever since. Mom seems to be getting around well with a cane and my stepdad has his wheelchair.

I've been riding Boo regularly. We're still working on transitions while staying on the bit. I get them about 5 out of 10 tries, so there is still work to be done. He's looking really good weight-wise and staying sound (knock on wood). I am planning on going on a trail ride with him next week! I'm really excited about it. I'm a little aprehensive too. Boo can be a bit of a fraidy cat.

The hubby and I went out to Mollala Saturday night to the Ross Coleman invitational. It is a fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation. We got to see some great bull rides. Ross was there (of course) and Mike Lee, Chris Shivers, JP Mauney, Austin Meier...just to name a few. Those names probably won't mean anything to you unless your a PBR fan, but it was a fun night and there were some rank bulls there. There was a silent auction and in between the long and short rounds they had a live auction. PBR tickets in Las Vegas this coming year with VIP treatment were my favorite items. They went for about 2200 dollars. I don't know how much money was ultimately raised for Make A Wish but I think the event was a success.

Yesterday was a looonnng day and a bit overwhelming. Bay has been showing signs of unhappiness for a while now. We've had the chiropractor out because we thought he was back sore. We've had the saddle fitter out. Nothing seemed to be fixing the problem, so we had the vet do a lameness exam on him yesterday. He has some positive results in both front feet and the right and left hock. Looks like arthritic changes. Looks like hock injections are in his future. The front feet showed slight navicular changes that the vet is managing with shoeing. We are having the hocks injected on Friday. That along with some nsaid management should help the inflammation response and keep him more comfortable. It's extremely important that he gets exercise, however, not with any collection until about 5 days after the injections. Going back to normal riding will tell us a lot about how the injections are going to work...and then we will see how often they will have to be done. We talked about putting him on Adequan too. Anyone out there with experience with that? If he continues to show he may get Legend as well, but only if he shows. Same question as above...anyone have experience using Legend? All of this is overwhelming to even contemplate right now. It seems like a lot for a 13-year-old horse to endure for a few blue ribbons.

If we retire him from showing and just use him as hubby does...for a trail horse and an occasional cow sorting we might not have to do anything but give him some bute before hand to help out with pain management. It's kind of like me actually. I take ibuprofen right before I ride ;) Then again we could still end up doing the hock injections. Who knows?

He's only 13-years-old so we weren't to happy to hear this. Now we've got some decisions to make. It's devastating for Sarah because she had finally gotten to the point with Bay where she was not only comfortable showing but looking forward to it. She had to vet out of our Arabian sporthorse regionals last weekend. Something she had been working towards all season.

Ultimately what we care most about is keeping him comfortable, sound, and fit.