from the horse's mouth

general meanderings on horses, life (well thats the same as horses really), work (so I can afford to do the horses thing)

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Location: Scotland, United Kingdom

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Best and worst

The best things about horses are the firsts.

And I don't mean rosettes/places.

I mean all those other firsts...

The first exhilarating canter. The first time they recognise you and come to call. The first whinny of hello. The first lesson, the first competition. The first time it starts to gel. The first time they trust you to do something scary or new. Even the first fall !

But the worst thing about horses is the lasts.

The ones you know....

The last time you fill a haynet, or prepare a feed. The last time you say goodnight.

And the ones you only realise after....

The last ride, the last farrier visit. That at the time you didn't even realise were a "last" anything.

This has been a week of lasts, and tonight I didn't need to fill any haynets as after tomorrow Rosie  won't be there to eat them.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Rosie-pony and help her across the Rainbow Bridge. She can't walk there by herself anymore. But once there, she will be pain free and able to run again.

I will cherish all those firsts, but so wish the lasts could have waited a few years more.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

2016....from the rear view window

So my last post in May talked about wimping out of the 2016 Eriskay Trek. Turns out I made the right call as Rosie ended up off for May, June and July with what presented as a very mild case of lamimitis.

She seemed to be coming back into full health and was starting to do some light work towards the end of the summer when.... yep, here we go again, back on the laminitis roller-coaster. She's been off again since September. Both pedal bones have dropped (again) and updated x-rays in December show they are not back where they should be yet. She's still quite sore on off-fore, especially when the shoe is off :(  Her farrier is keeping an eye on the x-rays and adjusting the shoeing appropriately.

She has been tested a few years ago for Cushings and was fine but, given her age, I asked for a test to be done. And yes, she now has Cushings and is on Prascend. She isn't that keen on the tablet but puts up with it with just the occasional protest.

On top of all of that, the vet confirmed that a small lump on her hindquarters was indeed a sarcoid and we've got that treated too (in November). It had started as one small lump that was not a problem, but then a second larger lump developed alongside and she kept itching it :(

You can see  both the smaller lump (at about 11 o'clock) and the central "problematic" lump. The wider circle shows the margin that has been treated - the scab should eventually come off of its own accord. It is already starting to lift slightly as the fur grows under it. It was treated with 3 doses of Liverpool cream at 3 day intervals. After the first treatment, she rubbed it and it looked like Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I came down to give her breakfast .... luckily she only did it the once.

Anyway, I'm hoping 2017 will be a better year for her ....

Duds and Fi have been doing their thing. We have had a relatively mild winter so far and they've only had a couple of (separate) weeks where they have had rugs on..... even wimpy Fi has coped :)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Not quite up to it

So I've wimped out. Rosie and I were supposed to jaunt off for a weekend of Eriskay trekking next week only we're not.

I had a goal for the winter of keeping Rosie "hour fit". Which meant we needed to be able to cope with an hour lesson or an hour hack. And we can. At least a shared lesson and a hack at Rosie-pace. I think I thought that having lessons through the winter, and rugging her more, would mean she was fitter and less furry. And she probably is, but not quite fit enough.

Back in early April, we even did a taster endurance ride within the required speed/time (!!)

And maybe if we'd been able to get a few longer rides in between then and now, it would be a different story. But fates (weather, headaches etc) have conspired.

We did a local rural access group ride a few weeks back and there are a few steep sections in there. Rosie was getting tired and it brought back a few memories of the previous trek where she just ground to a halt. She tries her heart out for me and I don't want to put her in that situation again.

Last weekend we did a 1.5 hr hack locally, which I tracked on the phone. The proposed route for the trek is between 15-18 miles. When I thought about what that meant, extrapolating from what the phone told me about speed, I realised Rosie really isn't fit enough to carry me for a whole day - and I'm not going to make drastic changes to her or me in 2 weeks. So I made the decision and pulled the plug.

This weekend we managed another longer ride - just under 2 hours. And the morning's drizzle had turned into blue skies and *sun*. Rosie did her usual trying-to-walk-with-her-legs-crossed act before remembering that she could wee while out on a ride. But she was a hot sweaty beastie by the time we got home.

I think that needs to be the goal for next year, if we want to go on the trek - to be "two hour fit". I'll keep working on fitness this year and do a few more organised rides through the year.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Getting better....

Yesterday was sub-zero so, while it looked like a perfect riding day, the fields turned out to either be rock hard or still flooded from last week's downpours.... or both :(

Today was a thoroughly horsie day, to the detriment of my house - which is still a complete tip ! After horse's breakfast, I got dinner prepped (stew) as I knew it needed to be ready to bung in the oven before I got home.

Then it was time to (re)clip Rosie. She had an initial "bib" (keyhole) clip about a month ago but was still getting fairly warm, and even woolier. She had regrown a good couple of centimetres on the clip ! I managed to forget my boiler suit so had the biggest case of post-clip itch you can imagine.

Then it was time to empty the muck trailer - a weekly chore. Got that done and just had time to neck a bowl of soup and a slice of bread before loading Rosie up and heading off for our lesson.

Rosie had now had (I think) 4 lessons, the most recent today. We're not doing "fancy" things in the lessons, but we are clearly doing what is required as she gets better and more consistent every time.

The last two lessons have been shared with an other Eriskay pony, which has been lovely. We continued the work we started on last time, using transitions to encourage the ponies to be forward thinking. Rosie has had a couple of weekends of limited work due to the delightful weather (rain, wind, hail, snow,.....) so I was pleased that she seemed to be doing more fast work (longer trots) but still having gas in the tank at the end, for some "big" trots and some canter :)

This may not sound like a big deal, but Rosie's canter to start with was, to be honest, dreadful. She tended to hop into canter and all the effort was going up and down not forward. She was also very braced. She really just needed to work out how to use herself, but hasn't really been fit enough for any seriously long canters out on the stubble. However it seems that it has been doing more good than I realised.

The instructor asked me to ask her for a bigger trot....and she offered canter, so we took it. And then got our "big" trot on the other side of the canter :) I knew she had a big trot in there somewhere - we've found it on occasion when out and about with bigger ponies (Highlands). But she needs to be fit enough to offer it.

But even nicer to reflect on was that the canter itself is better. I know this is a bit of a a truism - her trot is so much better, her fitness better, that of course the canter would be better. Even so, it was
a tangible sign that we're getting there :)

Fi and Duds stayed at home and were allowed out on the main field. Their normal paddocks are short on grass and rather wet, so they appreciate the treat. They don't get to do this every day, but it's lovely to see them out there at the weekend.

Back from the lesson and just time to let Rosie have a quick graze before (their) dinner. Got them fed, rugs back on, and field cleared. And then a quick dash home to clean up before returning to have Sunday dinner with my father.

Last hay for Rosie. Duds came mooching down  so I put him some hay out but I think his stomach was still full of grass as he wasn't that bothered.

None of the ponies are in at night yet. This was initially because the stable partition between Fi and Duds was still the one she had mangled her leg on. Plus the weather up to the last two weeks had been very mild. Now we have both more typical weather *and* a new partition in place. So in theory they could start to come in. However so far they are showing a distinct preference to stay out so, unless I see some clear sign that it is not good for them, I will respect that choice. They are all, including Rosie, in rugs most of the time. Well the weather has been rubbish most of the last two weeks ! The farrier is due this week so we will see if I need to start to bring them in at night just to let their feet dry out.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How did it get that late ?

I honestly thought I had posted more recent photos of Fi's leg. These two are from consecutive weeks in June. 

Since then the last bits have healed up.... and then she has caught them on something again. But basically it is looking a lot better :)

And we finally have a proposal on how to replace the partition door to reduce the likelihood of her doing it at the same time. (Though it's not done yet - but hey even having a proposal is a step forward).

Rosie is getting slowly fitter and we've had a couple of lessons with a local (excellent) instructor. I wasn't sure she was fit enough, but the instructor knew us from before Rosie was off work and paced the lessons perfectly.

Duds is pootling along looking really quite good for his age.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Out and about

They have been out for a few weeks now,although in a smaller area at night as their digestion gets accustomed to grass again. (They get haynets over night - we're in an area that has had Grass Sickness)

Fi gets her leg washed and Vulketan gelled once a day. The three photos below are 3 consecutive weeks. I *think* it is getting smaller.... but it is slow progress. Even the small scab above the main wound is taking time to heal, so it isn't just the effect of the gel :(

1) 10th May

2) 16th May

3) 23rd May

Monday, April 27, 2015

Is it getting any better ?

We seem to be in a cycle where a scab forms, then lifts and flakes off. I think the wound is slightly smaller each time but it's hard to tell......

and not helped by a case of mild colic middle of last week :(

I had started trying to give them a few hours of turn out at the weekend so their systems would get used to grass. Fi was fairly stiff and tired from the extra activity,so then they had two days in the yard. But I had an offer to turn them out mid week - they went out about midday and came in when I got home about half six. 

When I went down later to do last stables, Fi wouldn't eat her carrots - which is unheard of ! It quickly became clear she had a touch of colic and I didn't fancy it turning into something worse. One vet visit and two injections later, and she was starting to feel a bit better.

They went out again for 4-5 hours each day at the weekend and were fine. Vet visit is the middle of this week. Fingers crossed !