Thursday, August 28, 2014

Liam's weak

Warning: I little bit of a whiney rant.

Liam has only been ridden about 3-4 times a week since I put him back to work in the beginning of August.  It is crazy how weak Liam's hind end got with 1 month off and 1 month of light work with mostly field riding. He was very fit and strong going into the Princeton Horse Shows mid-summer.  When asking him to step under now I am finding he is slipping a little.  Like his hind end, espcially stifles, are weak. 

***Now for my rant, I worked so hard to get Liam fit and using himself correctly this spring and early summer, it isn't fair that a little time off made such and impact on his fitness.  yes, I'll take some cheese with my whine.  I love cheese anyway, really, who can say they hate cheese...  Yes I know, life isn't fair, yada yada yada... Lol.  Done with rant...***

Now my plan going forward.  Since I can't stand riding in the ring right now, even though I tortured myself on Tuesday to ride in the ring for 20 minutes, I am going to do excersizes out in the hay field to strenghten him up.   The hay field doesn't have big hills, but it does have rolling hills that are really great.  I am also thinking about doing transitions out there. Not just trotting around the field.  Like trot/walk transitions.  Any other suggests to stenghten my now weak horse?

"Mom, I don't really care that my hind end is weak right now and I am fatter then I have ever been (pic doesn't do his fatness justice, I'll try to get a better one), I am still cute anyways and you shouldn't ride me, just bring me carrots and apples please."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nothing Interesting to Report....

I was able to make arrangements this past weekend to get off the property, but ended up having to cancel in the end.  Work was crazy last week and I was only able to make it out to the barn on Tuesday during the week.  Headed up to the barn Saturday morning.  Liam was very wide eyed.  I decided to put him on the lunge before I hopped on and I am very glad I did.  He was wild. 

I let him slid on this though, he was only ridden twice during the week (once by me on Tuesday and once by my friend on Wednesday) and the weather dropped about 20 degrees.  As soon as I got on I felt rain drops.  By the time I walked around the ring once the skys opened up.  Our ride ended very quickly.

Liam has a bit of rain rot, darn sensitive skinned chestnut...  I was going to give him a bath to treat it, but in the end I decided not to.  I was actually really cold at the barn Saturday morning and we only have cold water.  I treated it the best I could with vetericyn.  Who knows if this stuff actually works, but I was given a bottle, so I decided I should use it. 

I can't believe this is the last week of summer.  I consider after labor day fall.  I am not looking forward to the picture below anytime soon...

Friday, August 22, 2014

June Family Photo Shoot

I never actully posted these photos from the professional photo shoot that I did with my "family" in June this year. I put family in quotes because my family consists of 4 legged kids.  I couldn't be anymore thrilled about how these photos came out.  Here is the photo dump of my favorites.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hay Field Rides

Liam and I enjoyed another fun ride in the hay field last night.  He only had 2 episodes of leaps and hops.  I never even came close to being unseated with his sillyness.  We started out by walking the entire field around, then trotting each direction 1 time around with a short canter at the end.  I called it quits after that because on Tuesdays I do not have a ton of time if I want to try to make it to the gym after a ride.  I rode for approximately 40 minutes.

Here is a picture of the field I ride around:

It is a little over 1 mile each time around.  I want to get Liam off the property this weekend, but timing is just not working out for me.  I thought I would have a short day on Friday at work, but that just isn't the case anymore.  My friend that can go with me is off from work on Fridays, but since she works at the barn in the morning she doesn't know if she wants to wait around all day to head over to the park late afternoon.  Which I totally get...  I am not sure if I feel confident enough to trailer over to the park by myself... Hopefully I can figure something out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Incident (semi graphic pictures – beware)

Liam sure does like to keep my life interesting.  The Sunday before last (8/10) my friend and I had a lovely ride at Christy Hoffman’s park.  Somehow on our way home Liam cut himself in the trailer.  We arrived back at the barn and I noticed one of the cables that hold the hay net up came undone.  I thought, oh darn, I guess I will need to replace that cable.  My friend undid the butt bar and I started backing Liam out of the trailer when he sniffed my arm. When be pulled his head away my arm was covered in blood. What the heck???

I backed him out of the trailer quickly and looked under his chin and saw a bloody mess.  It must have just happened because there wasn’t even a drip in the trailer.  Quickly got him over to the wash area.  Ran back to the trailer to help my friend unload her pony and ran back to the wash area to see what was going on with his chin.  Liam is not always the best patient and I was worried that he wouldn’t let me touch the cut area.  I got the hose and started to spray, on a light setting, his chin and this is what I discovered…

Nice gash under his chin right on his jaw…
I quickly sent my vet the above picture and the following message:
Liam cut himself in the trailer today on our way home.  Good gash, not sure if it is stitch-able because of the location on his jaw.
While waiting for her response I got the betadine out and diluted it with some water and cleaned the cut out.  I was shocked that Liam let me do this.  Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a happy camper about it, but tolerated it.  The bleeding finally stopped (took forever) and I was really able to inspect the gash.
Yup, pretty good one Liam…
I didn’t hear back from my vet yet, which was odd, she usually responds very quickly…  So I decided to give her a call and her voice mail said she was away until the next day and for emergencies to call the local horse hospital.  At this point I didn’t know what to do.  Liam is really bad with the vet and I didn’t want to call the horse hospital and have a young on call vet out that has never met me or my horse.  Liam again, is very BAD with the vet and I was afraid that a young vet wouldn’t understand this.  I decided to send the cleaned up picture to my normal vet and hopefully maybe she would respond with instructions to either call the vet hospital immediately danger danger or that he will live and put him on some antibiotics and bute…
After hemming and hawing for what felt like forever I decided to give Liam antibiotics, bute, and cover cut with triple antibiotic.  I figured it would be worse if I have a vet out that doesn’t know Liam and he flips himself over again and gets more hurt then this cut.  I am not worried about scaring, the cut was underneath his chin, and at this point I wasn’t even sure if the cut was even stitch-able because it is located right on his jaw, at a very movable spot…
In the meantime, Liam happened to open the cut up again and it was bleeding heavy… Ugh… I got some clean gauze pads out and Liam let me hold the pads on the cut to stop the bleeding.  Well, at least I know the cut is well flushed I thought.  Got the bleeding to stop again and smeared on some triple antibiotic to hopefully deter anymore bleeding. 
Gave Liam his meds and stuck him back outside.  Sent my vet a follow up text with exactly what I did.
As I was pulling out of the driveway my vet texted me back:
All sounds good, you did exactly what I would of advised you to do, I will call you tomorrow AM.
Big relief…  I made the right decision…  Did I tell you I love my vet, she responded even though she was away on vacation with her family.  Yup, I was that person bothering her on vacation.  I felt really confident in my decicion the next day when the cut looked like this.

Amazing how it healed up so fast… The plan was 3-4 days of bute, 4-5 days of antibiotics, and cover with triple antibiotics. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last Two Months

It has really been crazy the last two months and I just haven’t found the time or my voice to post.  A lot of things are changing for me regarding Liam and I just don’t have a current direction (well sort of).
To recap:
The second week of the Princeton Horse Show (July 4th week) went really well for Liam and I.  We got ribbons in all our classes.  He was much more relaxed in the barn area then week 1 and I couldn’t be more proud of him.  My plan after the 2 week horse show was to give Liam 1 week off, then 1 week of light hacks, then back to regular work.  To say the least, that just didn’t happen, is an understatement.
One thing led to another and before I knew it Liam had a month off between twisting a shoe, a camping vacation, my husband’s birthday, and weather.  I started riding Liam consistently again the first week in August.

First ride back after having a month off. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be in the saddle again and Liam was quiet and happy to be ridden.

After having a month off from riding I really started to have a different opinion.  It is really hard to put into words and this is probably why I have waited this long to post.  To put it simple, I enjoyed not riding.  (what?)  It was a really weird feeling.  I had more time to do the little things that I never get to do.  Like time to see friends, clean my house, get a pedicure, see family, etc…  Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I went a month without seeing Liam.  I saw him about 2-3 times a week compared to 5-6 times when he is in full work.    I love Liam and he will never be for sale, but I don’t think I want to continue down the path I was going with him, at least for now.  Liam is a ton of work to get ready for the show ring and right now thinking about taking a lesson makes me want to vomit.  Then I started to realize it wasn't the not riding part I enjoyed (I actually missed riding), but it was the no pressure part I enjoyed of not riding.  No pressure to get to a lesson, no pressure to do my homework from my lesson, no pressure to practice, just no pressure... 
So what did I find to enjoy over the last several weeks regarding riding?  It is trail riding and activities outside of the ring.   I do not want any part of riding in the ring right now.  I have been going down to the hay field and riding the perimeter of the field.  I was able to trailer over to Christy Hoffman’s park once with my friend and her pony.  I have been having a blast doing these sort of activites.  Liam is getting better about trail riding, but still not super good.  He is a bit nervous, but I figure if we keep going, he will get better and better.  Also, I have only been riding 4 days a week.  I think this is a good compromise.  A friend has been helping me out and riding Liam 1 day a week for me (my late night at work), so Liam is getting ridden 5 days a week still.    

My plan for now is to continue to do more and more trail riding.  Get down to the hay field and trailer out somewhere at least once a week (hopefully).  I wish my barn had more access to trails.  I only really have the hay field to ride in, but it is a nice big field and if I go around it 3 times it is 4 miles (tracked by my runtastic app on my phone).  I have plans to go to Christie Hoffman’s again, a wildlife preserve, trail access from a friends barn, and round valley park over the next several weeks.   Let’s see how many we can get to before the weather gets bad.  I also have plans to do as many hunter paces as I can make over the fall months.  Thank goodness my friend with her pony is on board and I am hoping this can be a new adventure for Liam and I…  I won't say I will never go back to lessons and horse showing because I am sure the itch will come back, but for right now I am enjoying the relaxed pace we are on now...