"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Snaps

...None of which were taken today!

It was a take-it-easy kind of week for Lily and me. The footing on the trails was horrid (Willa slipped in the mud and fell to her knees during at trail ride with another group) and I didn't feel like venturing out into the mud alone, nor did I feel like putting in any kind of strenuous workout on treacherous footing; Kathy was getting her back injected (she was due; she gets an injection every 6 months), so she was out of commission for a couple of days; and I just wanted to do some arena work and focus on other things.

The slight hollows behind her shoulders have officially filled in after her saddle adjustment!

Eating her forage + grain + beet pulp mash.
At the FL barn, beet pulp was the main component of Lily's feed, second only to hay. At the old MD barn, the BM didn't like beet pulp and so, to avoid any conflicts, I had stopped feeding it. The BO at the current barn feeds it to a couple of the senior mares to keep weight on them...And this week while at the feed store, I went ahead and got a bag. Lily slurped up her food and literally licked the bowl!!
On Thursday, we had another dressage school where we worked more on transitions and bending on the ice-free 20 meter circle. Once we had accomplished what I wanted, I had Lily do some lateral work at the walk...one-handed. I was grinning from ear to ear when I realized I could get her to shoulder-in in both directions with one hand on the reins. We then practiced some neck reining, which I've been wanting to reinforce for work on the trail. Sometimes I like to ride one-handed. She neck reins great to the left, but needs more fine-tuning to the right.

Afterwards I got to work treating Lily's legs while waiting for a good friend of mine from work who was coming out to see the horses. The most she had been exposed to horses was some ornery burros at Girl Scout camp when she was a kid. She has been a tech for many years now but is taking classes so she can get her tech credentials. One of her classes is Large Animal, which includes horses. She is fascinated by them simply because they are so different.

It was a real treat to show her the barn. I don't remember the last time I saw an adult be so excited about these awesome animals; Amy is only a couple of years younger than me. She reverted to a little kid as she fed some of the senior mares carrots and petted their foreheads. I gave her a quick course on equine anatomy, showed her what the undersides of their hooves and teeth look like, what splints are on a horse (she noticed Lily has some popped splints on her legs), showed her the difference between adult and baby teeth on horses (we have a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old on the property), and offered her the opportunity of grooming Lily. Amy literally bounced up and down in excitement, and Lily just enjoyed her extra spa time! I don't know why I didn't think to get photos at the time.

I then let her lead Lily back down to the field, where she got to meet the field board horses. I showed her the different varieties of grain available, the differences, and the general purposes of each one (pellets vs sweet feed, for example), and Amy fed the girls the rest of the carrots she had brought.

One of the photos Amy took, of Grema the Icelandic eating a carrot!
On Friday, I puttered around the barn for awhile before actually riding. The scratches on Lily's hinds has continued to improve and heal, so I took some more hair off of her fetlocks and pasterns (it hurt too much where the scabs were to take all of the hair off initially, so I'm removing the rest of it in phases as the fungal infection clears up.) I also clipped her face: she now has a sort of fade; her cheeks and jowls are clipped, while the hair on her forehead and ears is still fuzzy.

Fuzzy ears
I went for a short trail ride with Kathy and Phoebe to do the back woods loop. Kathy was feeling much better after the injection, if a little stiff. Phoebe turned Deja around right before we reached the tree line - she's just coming back from her own back issues and didn't want to push it. Kathy and I were out for maybe 45 minutes and only did the loop once at a walk.

Once back at the barn, I did some more arena work with Lily; only about 15 minutes and again only focusing on bend. She was finally feeling significantly more balanced and supple.

Queenie making adorable faces when she saw I was bringing Lily's food.
Dr. L the barn vet was there checking on a couple of different horses. I asked about pulling blood to run a Lyme snap test on Lily. I wanted to be 100% sure that all of this calm of hers really is due to the changes in turnout and exercise and not because she is feeling shitty.

The snap test came back 100% NEGATIVE!!! YEAH!!! If it had been positive, we would have sent the more expensive Lyme PCR to Cornell to differentiate between antibodies and antigen exposure. We discussed the possibility of anemia, so I did have Dr. L run a full CBC on the Lily's blood sample...and it came back completely NORMAL!!!

So I can rest assured that we have confirmed that this is truly the Return of the Sane Mare. At least until she goes into heat because of the warmth we've been having these past 2 days...66 degrees at 7:00 pm tonight while driving to the barn, after temps in the 20's and 30's last week...WTF??? Not complaining on this little break in the cold! But Charles and I were laughing tonight because it was literally the same temp as in South FL!


  1. Lily looks so good in those two photos. I see her ears all the time, but the confo pics look great. Her shoulder does look really awesome.

    Ashke hates Beet pulp, so I am mixing his supps with Timothy hay pellets that are being soaked. (I was feeding them dry, but my trainer feeds all of the horses in her care every night and since they all get Equipride, we've added Ashke to the rotation.)

    I'm really happy that Lily is negative for Lime. And her CBC came back normal. You do know that at some point in the future we will ride our horses together. We need them both to be happy and healthy!

    1. Thank you! I'm really glad too! Her spark has been back ever since that week when she seemed NQR, but I still wanted to make sure. Plus having the Lyme snap test done serves as a baseline for later since it's so prevalent in this area. Lots of deer. I'm still wondering if maybe she needed to rest more that week, and have decided that after speed rides she will just get the next day off. If she ever seems dull like that again, she will get the day off regardless. I still feel bad that I rode her when she seemed to not be quite right, even if we only walked, even if she seemed a million times better once out on the trail.

      I love soaking the feed, especially at this time of year, because it's a way of getting more water into them. The Equipride sounds amazing! I enjoyed your review on the supplement and if I end up switching Lily's supplements again, I'll be trying it out. Sadly no feed stores within a reasonable distance sell it so I'd have to order it. I'm glad Ashke has done so well on it!

      I look forward to the day we can ride our horses together! :)

    2. Sometimes it's hard knowing when to rest them. Especially since we are working on stamina and increasing our ride times. I really think our subzero cold snap the week after Ashke's adjustment was fortuitous, since I would not have allowed him that much rest. But in watching him move, in watching the ease and action of his trot (OMG! His Trot!) and feeling how much easier it is for him to move into a frame, the ten days was exactly what he needed.

      Doesn't make it easy though.

    3. Yeah, sometimes rest is even more important than working them. I know it in my head but it's not always easy to apply. An ideal equine conditioning schedule is very different from a human conditioning schedule; they can do wonders with a lot more rest than we could ever use while still maintain a reasonable fitness level. I can understand why a lot of endurance riders have multiple horses!