Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Break

My last day of finals is tomorrow and then I get to enjoy winter break for a whole 5 weeks! I'm staying at school this year to continue riding Emmy and Johnny and also to school horses at the college. That's a lot of riding!

I decided that this summer I want to go back to showing in the all around with Johnny and Emmy. I've been prepping Johnny for his winter break boot camp! Emmy is getting ready to come back into work also...I think I'm probably going to put her back under saddle tomorrow and see how she goes. I wanted to work her yesterday but she took a nick out of her ankle in the pasture and came in covered in bloody snow, so I cleaned her up and wrapped it. I'll be there tonight to check it out and hopefully she will be fine to ride tomorrow!

I'm working on a training schedule for both of them for the next 5 weeks...I'll post it when I get it figured out! I'm also going to take some pictures tomorrow of Johnny :)


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Some New Goals

Johnny has been really good lately! I've got one more week last of class and then finals next week and then winter break for 5 weeks!!!

Johnny is prepping this week to begin his boot camp over the winter holiday. I still have a goal set for us to go to the Standardbred National Championship Horse Show (hopefully this year!) but I also want to start showing this summer in versatility classes. My friend, M, is REALLY good at showmanship (she shows miniature horses in showmanship and halter and has a two time reserve world champion showmanship horse) and started working with Johnny yesterday. She's going to get him going really well in showmanship! Their first lesson yesterday was really good. Johnny has done a little showmanship and halter before but never really seriously. M is going to work with him and get him going good!

We are also in the market for a new western saddle that will fit Johnny better so that I can start doing him in western pleasure or trail events as well. I want him to start doing some English and Western pleasure classes as well as the hunters and the jumpers...I want a very well rounded horse!

I'm going to try to get some new photos of Johnny this week :)

Emmy on the other hand, is going to be getting some time off I think. I free lunged her yesterday in the arena and she was a little reluctant to pick up her left lead. I'm thinking that shes a little sore :(

Monday, November 22, 2010

Horse Show!

This weekend we packed up and went to a horse show with Johnny! He showed in the hopeful hunters at a local farm in a schooling show. The height of the jumps were super low for him, but our goal was to jump all the fences (without schooling over them before hand) and to get all of our leads, both of which we accomplished! There were about 25 horses in his division, so we didn't get any ribbons, but he was such a good boy that it didn't really matter. We accomplished our goals and he's finally starting to look like a "real" horse! My fabulous boyfriend came to the show too. He was so interested in all of the classes and exactly what each horse was supposed to be doing a the ring. It was so amazing to have someone there to actually support me and WANT to be a part of everything. He even went off to the food stand (without me asking!) and brought me back a breakfast sandwich and a drink when we were waiting for ribbons after my ride. He's so perfect! :)))

Here are some video stills from the show:


Monday, November 15, 2010

Life Changes

I've come to realize recently that I'm at that critical point in my life where everything suddenly starts to change and you get out of bed one day to life hitting you in the face saying "Wake up! You're not a kid anymore!"

My life wake up call came in the form of a friend of a tall, handsome man who swept me off my feet from the moment I met him. He was a friend of a girl at my barn, he'd broke up with his girlfriend right around the same time Ev and I broke up this summer. He had called her just out of loneliness saying "Do you know of any girls that wouldn't be afraid of fitting into my life?" He was born and raised in the city but had purchased land and moved out to the country 4 years ago. All of the city girls that he knew turned up their noses at the thought of getting dirty and living on a road where the speed limit wasn't posted. After some thought, my friend called him back and said "I think I may have someone." The next day, she came up to me while I was cleaning my horses stalls and simply said "I have a friend that I want you to meet."

At first I told her no. I was still bitter from the last break up and done looking for a man who wasn't afraid of MY lifestyle. I had convinced myself that he simply didn't exist. My dear friend A, didn't take no for an answer though. Every day I thank her for not listening to me.

I don't know how many of you believe in love at first sight. I don't know yet if I really do, but this was pretty darn close. We met at the barn and my first thought was that he was absolutely gorgeous and one of the nicest persons I had ever met, my second thought was "wow...he's just going to sit here and hang out with us while we take care of our horses? He MUST be nice"

That meeting turned into a date, date one turned into date two, date two turned into date three...and three turned into history. At the expense of sounding cheesy, I'm going to say it anyway, I've found my soul mate and I couldn't be happier.

This is the part where life hits you in the face though. When you realize that everything you had planned for your life suddenly has no precedent anymore. That all of those well laid plans are bound to go astray, not in a bad way, just in general because suddenly all of the plans you once had for yourself now include another person.

For example, this perfect and amazing boyfriend of mine owns 25 acres complete with a barn (which just has to be fitted for horse stalls...I guess there used to be pigs there haha) He's already decided to put stalls and paddocks up for me. We looked at fencing last night online. Emmy and Johnny are scheduled to move into their permanent home this summer.

Did I mention that he likes to ride with me also? We've gone riding together twice just in the past week. I've never had a boyfriend take so much interest in my horses. Johnny and him get along great, which means that there is no need to sell Johnny anymore. Not only will he have a home, but another person to ride him.

And all of my worries about E graduating this year and not being here to lease Emmy next fall? Not an issue anymore because the horses won't be boarded out.

See what I mean about this whole life changes thing? But I'm loving every minute of it :)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some Video Updates

Good news! Johnny is being awesome and Emmy was sound yesterday! She only took one lame step the whole time I rode her! Woo hoooo!! I think I will continue to pack her foot and wrap seems to be helping!

Tuesday night my friend M and I took some video of Johnny. He's coming along! Here are some of the stills, I'll post the video below:

And here is the video link:

Yay for Johnny! I've got some more good pictures that we took (sale photos) of him and then a couple of Emmy. I will add them later though!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Still Working

I rode both of the horses yesterday and Emmy is still sadly lame :( My old trainer and I talked on the phone last night and she said that hopefully it's maybe just a really deep bruise on Emmy's foot, which I suppose is possible. I'm worried that she either tore something in her foot or has got some deep ring bone or side bone. I was thinking about it today and I remember Emmy being lame like this once the same front leg too.  Maybe its an old injury she re-injured? I remember last time she was lame it was the summer before freshman year of college...she went lame after a rainy ride in the mud and I basically gave her the whole summer off. I remember getting back on her one day and she just amazingly wasn't lame anymore...maybe this is the same thing again? A re-agitation of an old injury? There was a little heat in her foot last night, but no digital pulse. I packed it last night and wrapped it up, so we'll see how it is today. I might go get her some magnetic bell boots at the tack store too.

The crappy part about all of this is that Emmy and Johnny can't both stay at school without one of them being leased. Since Emmy's been sick/lame, E stopped her lease on Emmy until she's better and I can't afford to pay full board on both horses. Both of them are stuck here for the month of November because I would have to give the barn 30 days notice before leaving, but Johnny may have to go home for a while in December if Emmy is still off :( Good thing we've got one more month to figure it out.

Also, if anyone knows of anyone looking, Johnny is also for sale and/or for lease!!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Been a Long Time!

So I've officially been aware for WAY to long. This has been a terrible last month...first with Johnny's choke and then with Emmy becoming mysteriously ill. The vet had no idea what was wrong with her...first we thought a stroke and then maybe a possible bought with West Nile. She's been sick for about 3 weeks and is finally on the mend. She's been back under saddle three times so far and starts out lame on the right front every time but then works out of it. She's been getting progressively sounder but is still lame :(

It's been quite the disaster...but now that (hopefully) everyone is getting better, I will have much more time to get back into my blogging. I'm sorry for being away for so long!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Johnny Goes Cross Country!

My friend and I took our horses cross country schooling Saturday. It was Johnny's first time ever really going cross country (he did a hunter pace once) and he was absolutely amazing! He never looked at a single thing!

Here are some photos from the day:

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Need Your Help!

Hi guys! Sorry I've spent so much time away from my blog this summer. What a roller coaster past couple of month! The horses and I are back at school and all moved in, although Johnny has been a little bit of a disaster since coming here.

Last Friday he choked while eating his lunch grain (which, mind you, is only about a cup of food). After about 20 minutes of having a hose in and out of his mouth I called the vet when his legs started to buckle and he began trying to go down and roll. The vet came out and tubed him twice...what a mess and a disaster. The interesting part was that I got to play vet assistant a little bit and help hold and work the tube while the vet pumped water down it. Poor Johnny was ready to kill us. It was quite the learning experience, I just wish it could have happened under different circumstances (aka: not my horse). I came away with a massive vet bill and a very angry and sore animal.

Since then, I've been managing his diet (Tuesday was the first time he was allowed to eat a small amount wetted grain) closely and hitting him with antibiotics twice a day to prevent an aspiration lung infection. Tomorrow should be his last day of antibiotics.

Of course though, he had to try and kill himself again, doing god-knows-what in his stall. Monday night I tack walked him for 15 minutes and then put him away to help E jump Emmy around a little course. Tuesday afternoon when I went to the barn, I pulled Johnny out of his stall and his left front leg was a BALLOON. I assumed that maybe he had banged it (he had been pawing at his door the past couple days because he wasn't getting fed and he was MAD) so I didn't freak out and get overly concerned right away. I turned him out as usual and he trotted off into the pasture for maybe 10 steps before stopping to graze. He was sound, so I went about my business, cleaning his stall and such, and then brought him in and poulticed and wrapped both front legs just as a precaution. I also gave him a gram of bute.

Wednesday I pulled him out and took the wraps off.. The leg was still swollen. As I was grooming him, I noticed that his left hind leg was also a balloon. What the heck? I jogged him and he seemed fine. Turned him out again as usual, brought him back in and iced the front leg then hose and scrubbed both legs with medicated shampoo just in case (it never hurts to cover your bases lol) dried them thoroughly, applied some sports rub (I've got this SUPER cool sport liniment stuff for works amazingly!) to both legs.

Wednesday night I went back ans pulled the wraps again. The swelling in the LF had gone down enough for me to see that the problem area was really just below the back of his knee on either side (but mainly the outside) of the tendon. Uh-oh...
I palpated the tendon and don't really feel a whole lot of thickness to the actual tendon, but everything around it is swollen and I'm starting to get a little concerned. As I went over the rest of his legs I noticed that now the inside of the right hind was starting to swell. What the heck? This time I clipped all of his legs, washed them with bedadine, iced the LF again and applied the sports rub again to all 4 legs. I ended up wrapping the front but not the hind.

Yesterday morning he was looking about the same. I saddled him up and took him into the arena to jump on and see if he was sound. He was...totally sound and fine, but with three swollen legs. I was hoping that maybe he was just stocking up from standing around, but 15 minutes of walk, trot and just a teensy canter each direction didn't seem to make a difference at all. Afterwards, I turned him out and then iced the LF again. It looked a little better after the turnout and the ice. I sports rubbed them all again and wrapped the front.

Last night I went back up late to give him his second daily dose of antibiotics and pulled the wraps again. The LF looked almost normal aside from the swelling up by the knee, but the RH and LH still looked the same. This time, I sports rubbed and wrapped all 4 legs. What on earth could be going on with him? There doesn't seem to be any major heat in any leg (its been 93 degrees here, so everything is a teensy bit warm, but no major concentration of heat.) but I've never known him to really stock up before either...and why would the RF be the only leg that ISN'T swollen? The RH is mainly just the inside, the LH is the whole leg and the LF is now mainly just up below the back of the knee. What are the possibilities that he maybe cast himself and banged around during the night Monday? That's really the only thing I can think of because he a) hasn't been ridden and b) hasn't gone out without me being its not like he ran around like a crazy horse in the pasture...I've been watching him like a hawk for 7 days now. I would think that it was maybe normal stocking up but it doesn't seem to go down with movement and why would he only stock up in 3 legs? Also, the concentration of swelling below the front leg has me concerned...that's not normal stocking up. He's not lame and none of it really seems to bother him. He's not sore to palpate at all. I know that a horse can injure a tendon just by taking a bad walk step, but he was fine Monday night after I walked him...and wouldn't a tendon injury be accompanied by lots of heat and at least some kind of lameness?

What are your thoughts because I'm stumped!!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cowgirl Up!

Johnny and I embraced our wild side last weekend at the SCSHA Contest Show. Johnny got decent times for never having even run the patterns before, let alone train for them! He seemed to have a blast as well!

Moving back to school on Friday, the horses will follow Saturday!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Checking In

Summer is finally winding down for me and I have to admit that I am SO EXCITED to get back to school, especially to move the horses back to Maplebrook :) I've been so busy with work and taking care of the kids (aka Emmy and Johnny) at home that I've barely had time to blog anything.

Last weekend was the Brecksville Kiwanis Horse Show. Emmy and Johnny both showed and my friend Heather showed Emmy. Neither of the horses had a particularly spectacular day...I think Emmy got a 5th in Equitation and other than that we all ended up ribbon-less. Johnny was a very good boy in both his 2ft schooling hunter class and his two flat classes...we almost held our right lead the entire time! He only broke once in the far corner and I fixed it before anyone noticed. I also showed him in Hunter In Hand for the first time ever. Neither him nor I has ever done it before, so what a learning experience that was! We made some minor mistakes (such as turning the wrong way to trot for the judge) but over all he stood there like a rock and set up when I asked! When the judge came over to inspect him he asked me if Johnny was a Trakehner!! I had to try really hard not to laugh when I told him no, he's a Standardbred. I bet that judge didn't feel very smart after that...LOL.

This week the horses have had off. The vet came Monday to draw coggins for school and to re-check Emmy's leg. The diagnosis now is a deep DEEP tissue bruise that she keeps agitating. The vet said to keep it bandaged in the stall and maybe turn her out with boots on so that she stops hitting it. I've been trying to keep it wrapped as much as I can when she's just standing around, but with the heat and humidity lately she's starting to get some scratches/mud fever gunk on her legs. The past two days she has gone wrap-less to let her leg's breath since I've been treating the fungus and we haven't had any massive blow ups in her legs, so that's a good thing!

Both of Emmy and Johnny's feet look like crap right now. I'm waiting for the farrier to come next week and give them a good overhaul. I think that the combination of hot, humid and yet hard ground is not doing them any favors. This is going to be an expensive month!

In OTHER news, Johnny is now officially for sale. I put him up yesterday and have already gotten a call from someone who is interested! Everyone freaked out when I told people he was for sale, but in all reality, this was always the plan for him! Get him ride-able and going well and then send him on to do his job for someone and make them happy. As much as I absolutely adore him, he's far too old (17) and not quite athletic enough for me to keep as a serious competition horse, but he's PERFECT for a novice child or adult rider looking to jump 2'-2'3". He's capable of going much higher, but I feel that once he gets over 2'6" it might be hard to keep him sound just because of his age. He is for sale for $800 obo. Spread the word!!

Here are some photos from the Breckville Show:

In hand...the judge asking if Johnny was a Trakehner (while pointing to his brand)


Next weekend is the last SCSHA show! Year end awards! Keep your fingers crossed for w/t hightpoint!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Horses Prayer

My brother sent this to me on a post card that he found in France. It was so beautiful and true that I thought I would share it! Of coarse, the original is in French, but this is what the translation reads:

The Horse's Prayer

You conquered me; may you know how to keep me:
I will serve you if you are fair and respectful, attentive to my mood;
if you know how to talk to me,
measuring my pain and caring for me like a brother,
never forgetting that the horse is more than half of the horseman.

Let us never forget this!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Best of Friends

So I didn't take pictures of Johnny's legs as promised, but I do have something even better. I think it's the cutest picture of my two horses ever!!

Johnny is sporting his barrel racing gear (did I mention we're running barrels at a show in August? lol this horse is sooo multi-talented!) and Emmy is ready for Heather to ride her!

Can you believe that Johnny is a 17 year old Standardbred and Emmy is a 23 year old Thoroughbred? These two are the BEST of friends!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Working Hard

Once again, I've fallen behind in updates...I swear this won't happen once I go back to school and actually have time to sit down with the computer at night!

Johnny and Emmy have been doing well. Em's leg flared up again, but she's not lame on it and so I've been following the vets advice and continuing to work her. I have to admit, I am worried that something may really be wrong, but it doesn't seem to bother her AT ALL so I just have no idea what to do about it. Since the horses are now going out at night, I've been going to the barn early in the morning before work and wrapping it so that she's got standing bandages on while she's standing in her stall during the day. It seems to be helping slightly. I think tomorrow I am going to try a leg sweat.

John's been a very good boy lately! I gave him some time off after the show and then started riding him lightly in draw reins (just for 15 or 20 minutes) to improve his top line and get him to come up through his back at the trot. I can finally sit his trot now! He's starting to move his back correcting! Also with that, I've thrown in a little work western as well....crazy I know, but I REALLY want to run Johnny in barrels at the next SCSHA show (August 14.) He's for sale now (the goal has always been to either sell or donate him before he gets too old) and I think he would make a fantastic 4-H horse for someone, so I'm trying to get him out and let him play in the all-around. His canter definitely needs some more work to be competitive in the open hunt seat divisions, but it will get there...he's currently a walk/trot champion!

My biggest fear for trying to sell Johnny is that he isn't going to vet clean. His front legs aren't very nice looking...since I never actually purchased him, I never had him vetted. He is sound, but I have no idea what all the lumps and bumps on his legs are and if an experienced horseman walks him on pavement, you can hear that the steps are a little uneven because his strides just a hair shorter in the right front.

I'll try to take some photos tomorrow and let you guys tell me what you think!

Johnny this morning in the field
Emmy and my friend Heather riding yesterday


P.S. Also, selling my hunt saddle if anyone is's a 17.5 Pinnacle Dorset in a regular tree. EXCELLENT condition! Stirrup leathers included. $550 neg.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

CVPHA Horse Show

We did it!!! Johnny and I had a wonderful time at the horse show! Friday I hauled him down to spend the night with the barn I work for because they had an extra stall (I was originally planning on just hauling in Saturday morning) Friday night I schooled him in the show ring and he was a PSYCHO...his trot was great but the second I asked him for canter it was like the Kentucky Derby had let loose! He was running around like an idiot, careening around turns and over jumping everything so much that he was literally jumping me off his back (which, let me tell you, doesn't happen very often with how flat he jumps) I took him back to the barn feeling were we going to show if he was like this? I planned on an early lunge and a hack the next morning.

Saturday morning D and I got to the show around 6:30 a.m. and Johnny was on the lunge line by 6:45. He was still snorting and looking all around him...complete A.D.D. He couldn't focus to save his life! I tried to get him to canter on the lunge and maybe get some bucks out, but instead his head just went straight up in the air and he went into his crazy running STB trot which I hate so much. I think the entire time he cantered maybe 5 strides total both directions. "This is going to be a disaster" I told D.

A little later in the afternoon when the schooling ring was a little quiet I tacked him up and D set some fences for me. He started off crazy AGAIN...his canter was quick and unbalanced and he was trying to just grab the bit and go. I had D set a cross rail, a vertical and an oxer across the ring. Starting off over the cross rail, he was dragging me and jumping long, dragging me then chipping, dragging me, dragging me, dragging me. I suddenly remembered last year how, at this show, he had stopped at every single jump in the show ring and never even made it around the course. I remembered K's words when we schooled him again after our disastrous rounds: "Stop getting in his're pissing him off and making him nervous. He's not like Emmy, he doesn't want you there with him, holding on to his mouth, micro-managing his every step. He wants you to just sit still and steer with your legs."

I thought of that as he dragged me towards a tiny cross-rail in the schooling area and literally jumped three feet over it. At the top of the ring, I stopped and thought about what K would have told me, to just sit back and let go. The next time around, I did just that. He ran again at the cross rail, but I didn't correct him. On the other side he landed with better balance and a rounder back. We trotted like that a few more times before I we finally jumped, landed and I felt him take a deep breath on the back side as if to say "Thank you! I can do it if you'll just let me." After that it all started to fall into place. I forgot about all of the AA circuit trainers and clients from work who were sitting along the rail watching me ride him, I forgot about the show ring which had been making butterflies churn in my stomach all morning, I forgot about the other horses in the ring that were worth 5 and 6 figures, who did perfect flying changes and jumped like little freaks. For a little while it was just me and my horse and a fence. I sat in the saddle, felt the rhythm and rode it. He was jumping beautifully now, quiet and round and balanced. We schooled the vertical and the oxer off both leads and the distances where suddenly all there. We went back to the barn being a team again.

When it was time to show, D and I talked strategy. After our schooling session earlier, we decided that he only needed a few jumps to be ready for the ring. We jumped a vertical and an oxer off both leads and then went to the ring.

As soon as we walked into the show ring I knew the first trip was going to be a schooling round for him. Trotting down the quarter line, he shied away from a 4 stride with yellow flowers and then spooked again at a jump with red ones. we got our canter at the top of the ring and cantered maybe 5 strides before he spooked at the slanted roll top on the diagonal line and then weaved like a drunken sailor to the single on the quarter line coming home. If he could talk, he would have been saying "I can't do this! I can't do this!" and for a second I thought he wasn't going to. I remembered last year again, and how I had left my stick at the in gate with D, thinking that carrying it would just light him up. "If he refuses," I thought suddenly "I'll have no way to punish him." At the last second I closed my leg hard and clucked. He sailed over the jump and we were off! Our first trip was a lot of repeats of that same scenario, but he jumped every jump! When we came out of the ring, D suggested that I try to canter the entire second trip. "He seems less spooky out of the canter" she observed. I thanked her for her opinion and told her that I would try.

Our second trip was SO GOOD! (Alright, well, good is a relative reality it was terrible but for Johnny it was AMAZING so that's all that matters! He cantered almost the entire thing, made the numbers in the lines and even landed his leads! I couldn't have been happier! Of course, we still broke gait a few times and therefore there was no way we would be in the ribbons at a show like this, but it didn't matter! My $80 entry fees were totally worth it!

Here are some video stills and professional pictures from the show. All rights for the professional photos belong to Anne Gittins and I claim no right to them. They are her rightful property. No copyright infringement is intended.

He spooked at the shadow on this jump and over jumped it by like 2 feet!

Good boy!

Video link coming soon!