Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Baby horse things

Goggles had a "jump" lesson Monday. We'd previously tackled the dead grass patch left by the liverpool, so Monday we took on the long grass patches left between standards when all the fillers and poles had been put up for the impending storm. He snorted and leaped over the first one, but after he was doing that one calmly, he showed a great ability to generalize and did all the others calmly. He's pretty funny, once we got him started thinking about ground poles and such, things that used to be ignored have new meaning. Fallen Spanish moss and branches are suddenly suspicious "Do I have to interact with that in some way?" We've changed the world he's in a bit. 

JT had us doing little courses of grass patches and cavaletti. Eventually she introduced a baby bounce of cavaletti on the middle setting. The first time through I barely managed to get him over the second part. The second go through he managed to exit, so we slowed it down to the walk for two laps and then picked the trot back up. He definitely seems to struggle the most when he has to think about his front legs again while his hind legs are still doing something different. But slowing it down really helped him and he understood much better when we trotted again. 

He was pretty pleased with himself. The first one where the video cuts out early, we actually hopped the tiny log hiding in the grass and had a nice canter around until he came to some weeds he thought maybe he should jump and then came to a rather abrupt halt. 

We ended with a few hops over the single cavaletti on the highest setting. He's such a good egg and is trying his absolute hardest to figure out how this whole thing works. 

How freaking cute is this?!?!?

Weeeeee!! I has hind legs! 

JT rode him for the first time on Saturday and was really pleased with him. She said his canter was more balanced than she'd expected, and I needed to be careful not to shove him with my seat in it and mess that up. I had noticed that 20m circles at the canter are much easier than I had expected on a giant four year old. He struggles a lot bending his neck and shoulders, but is somehow pretty darn balanced through his body? 

Ben was finally sound enough to go for a 15 minute trot which really helped his swelling. He felt a bit funky, he still doesn't want to completely flex his fetlock and pastern where the swelling has stuck around the most. Hopefully soon he'll be back at it too. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

"Hold my beer" -Ben

Ben detected things were getting a bit too serious after our fun return to Majestic. Friday morning I pulled him out of the stall to go down for a lesson and he was lame on his right hind. It was swollen on the lateral aspect of the leg. He didn't have a fever, so I cold hosed and gave a gram of bute and put him back in the stall to go take a lesson on Goggles. 

When I came back that afternoon, he was looking the most pathetic. Temp was now 102.5. I know he is not stoic, but he would've sworn he was an inch from the grave at that point. Ooookay, guess we're doing antibiotics. We started SMZs and gentamicin. He also got 10cc of banamine. I had gone to work by the time I tracked down the gentamicin, so my wonderful husband left work, drove 1.5 hours round trip to my work to pick up the meds, then went and gave them. 

He's identified Rex as Ben's alter ego and sent me that gif after seeing the poor dude. 

The next morning he felt a million times better and seemed like he might not be quite at the brink of death anymore. He had blown up the entire leg though. We were doing twice daily cold hosing (Ms. GY is amazing) and he was out most of the timeso we were leaving it unwrapped. He did get significantly more lame on Sunday though, barely toe touching on the leg. 

Tuesday the skin split open under his pastern and it almost seemed like an abscess rupturing because he became much more sound. 

The larger gross thing is his very old (yearling) scar, just stretched out, but you can see the skin split above it

So then I had to keep it covered lest bugs make it much, much worse. 

Today's check in photo

SSD on the scar and skin split

Sterile gauze

Roll cotton and then kling

Finish with vet wrap and elastikon

He's actually been going out with this wrap on, and knock on wood the elastikon seems to be doing the job of keeping sand out. 

Cold hosing is now only once a day because it's wrapped, but I did add in cold laser this morning. He trotted almost sound on the lunge this morning, so I think tomorrow we'll walk hack while the wrap is off. 

We did figure out how he started all this. He chose to roll in the sand pit by the gate and stuck that leg under the gate (smooth, round metal) and bent the bottom rung up. He was missing a tiny bit of fur but didn't have any wounds to speak of. It was August two years ago that Yoshi got cellulitis. Seems like August is a bad time for growing bacteria. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Ben is back!

Ms.GY and I made it out to the super casual jumper show at Majestic Oaks yesterday. The weather was incredibly lovely with overcast skies most of the time, so we didn't bake. JT came and warmed us up. He felt great so we went in after 5 jumps. He skipped merrily around the 2'9" with just a glance at the liverpool and one box that spooked quite a few other horses. We earned a pretty red ribbon for that in a fairly large class in spite of taking an outside turn. He felt just delighted to be back out there, so we went ahead and did the 3' as well. I focused on the feeling we've been working on of him alllmooost running away with me. He has to really feel like he is taking me to the jump WITH his withers up and not barreling down into my hand. The few times he got a bit down I used the hand floating up and down a bit to correct. JT is right, it doesn't look goofy like it feels and I can barely see it in the video. Again he skipped merrily around. We knocked one rail when I made the decision to lean at the oxer when I didn't see a distance to it. He protested my screw up a bit after. Fair enough, completely my fault. Overall though we all were just delighted. It felt easy and smooth. Good boy, Ben! 

Next up is a training CT with JT at a schooling show and then a few outings at novice. Given the calendar, there is no good training (re) move up until November. So we'll enjoy novice for a while this fall. I may try to get to a few more schooling jumper shows in the meantime though. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

July Wrap Up

Halfway through August seems a fitting time for this post. It's kind of the way the summer is going... the extreme heat and having two horses in two different places means I'm feeling pretty behind and disorganized in multiple areas of my life. 





Training rides




4 – 3 dressage, 1 jump





Ground work, lunge, long line


6 – 3 with me, 3 with JT

Flat rides






XC school






Ben: Ben did a lot of aquatredding during July. It really helped bring him back into shape pretty quickly without being too taxing in the extreme heat. He also had his first jump lesson back and was only mildly shocked and surprised to learn that he is in fact still an event horse. I learned his warm up routine and got to ride my first baby half-pass ever on him. I also discovered the strategy to deal with his spooking... lots of slow, tiny, circles. He has to stay soft through his body and swinging through his back while he does 8m circles by whatever he is spooking at. This takes the wind out of his sails pretty quickly. At the end of the month he also briefly considered angling for pasture pet life again, but then blew an abscess out of a hind foot and has been sound since then.

What's next? Getting back more into the swing of things with jumping, maybe heading out for his first cross country school since April. 

Goggles: Goggles moved to JT's the last week of July as I headed out of town. He had multiple long lining sessions with her barn manager while she watched. He came around to bending and lifting his withers pretty quickly with only one mild temper tantrum about it. He also ended my hopes of having both him and Ben at the GY's by getting along swimmingly with Ben in turnout for about 5 days before kicking him multiple times in one night. Why you gotta be like that? So he got himself solo turnout, but in a field in the middle of all the other fields so he is content and doesn't pace. He also switched to Hallway Protenza and didn't drop as much weight as he could have with the move. 

What's next? More focused riding and long lining in which he continues to build strength to properly carry himself. Also planning on going on a few low-key outings and maybe officially introducing jumps. 

I have no related horse pictures, so enjoy this sequence which cracks me up every time I look at it. 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Twenty meter circles and more

Ben and Goggles had back to back lessons on Monday and then again on Friday. 

Ben: Back to JOMPIES! I am not sure if he is delighted, but I am. Monday we worked through S turns with a grid JT built just for him in the middle of it. The grid was three x-rail bounces. He did fully put a single stride into a 9 foot space the first time through. He had sucked back and was staring at what was to come, and my reflexes weren't quick enough to tell him GO! But he still did it. The only jump he opted out of was the liverpool. To be fair to him, it was on the last part of our S turn and I hadn't put my eye on it or gotten his eye on it soon enough. He lurched to a halt and then thought about doing a silly launch/flail to be a GOOD BOY, but I stopped him and then JT broke it down and he walked over it, like he has done a million times before. The big take away from this lesson was the thing I'm always relearning - he needs to feel like he is GOING more so than I really want to feel, and I need to push my hands towards the jump, not pull back. He was a bit... much sometimes, so JT had me bouncing my hands up and down a little bit as we approached rather than pulling back. It felt super silly, but she assured me I didn't look that ridiculous. It kept him nicely uphill and didn't give him a solid hand to drag down.

Friday was amazing, he is really getting it back together fairly quickly. The course was changed and the grid had evolved into 3 one strides. There was also a three stride to a one stride line. The first time through that line he thought about exiting at the one stride and put two strides into it, but I had a dressage whip and tapped him behind the leg and he went. Then he tried to screw around afterwards, so we had to halt coming out of that line a couple of times. That really kind of reset his brain to take personal responsibility though. We did the grid to the liverpool, to a funny kind of U-turn near a panel that he detests and LOVES to spook at. I kept my focus on the next jump pretty well, but still kind of botched the turn and got him to a funny spot to the first jump, a skinny. It was a five to a six (or a six to a five, I forget). He took the longer spot coming in rather than doing his fave chippy chip and then got us down to the next one in handy fashion. I actually had to woah him before the last in order to not leave out. It was the unicorns, which he also LOVES to spook at. He did acknowledge them in his body, but didn't tense and drop a rail or anything and he WENT. We quit on that because it was roughly five million degrees out there. 

Ben is back at the GY's since Goggles has gotten himself kicked out by alternating between beating up or being beat up by Ms. GY's horses. She offered solitary confinement for him, but then he paces the fenceline. I briefly thought both my horses would get to be in the same space when he and Ben seemed to be getting along quite well at JT's, meaning they could both go live together at the GY's, but then in one night Goggles kicked Ben multiple times. Nothing terrible, and fortunately he still isn't wearing hind shoes, but enough to make Ben sore. And with his history of kicking Ms. GY's horse in the same fashion, it just wasn't going to fly. 

I was a bit worried about hauling Ben in the heat. I gave him the whole box stall, since that is the least stress for him and opened up the tack room windows in the nose to give max flow of air through the front window into the horse compartment, and cranked up the Ryobi fan. He actually got off the trailer at JT's NOT sweaty when he had started sweaty coming in from the pasture at 10 AM. He was blowing a tiny bit coming off the trailer from the trip home, but overall not too bad at all. I do think closing TWO horses in there would make it pretty toasty though. I really need to get on insulating my roof. 

Goggles: Our Monday lesson was about placing his shoulders where they should be. Non-subtle type booting him with leg forward of the girth to help move the shoulders. Then laying the dressage whip along his shoulder to reinforce if the boot hadn't accomplished it. Then lots of praise. If he fusses and drags down on the rein, jiggle with the outside hand to shake him off of it, that is the kind of "half-halt" for right now. It felt really awful to the right, mostly because he felt pretty darn great to the left. He was offering to come on the bit to the left and generally bending through his body. To the right he is much more stiff and I want to PULL on that damn inside rein. Once I started watching his head and neck and looking at exactly what did and did not happen when I pulled (nothing good happens...) I managed to quit for a bit and ask for bend and then give forward with that hand. Then he felt MUCH better. 

JT's crew was setting up the dressage arena in the ring while we rode. He was so civilized about it and didn't much care.

Friday was kept short and sweet. We did CANTER in both directions and did some sitting and moving his canter around. He got the right lead on the second try both times. We also did this whole lesson INSIDE A DRESSAGE ARENA. Which is ONLY 20 meters wide (no duh)!!!! Baby horse was soooooo good. He did not feel like a giant, unsteerable monster within a 20m circle. He did once half hop the arena wall with his hind end on our right lead canter circle. That led to a swap to the left lead, but he then did a lovely clean change back to the right lead. I had zero idea what happened, it just felt like a lot of legs going places, but in a fairly balanced fashion, but JT told me it was derpy but clever. 

Hopefully they're both going to the low key schooling jumpers at Majestic on Wednesday. Ben to jump around 2'6" or 2'9" and get his shit together, and Goggles to hang out and maybe walk around the warm up arena while horses are buzzing around him. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Ulcer Update

Ben got rescoped on Monday. If you'll recall, he was diagnosed with grade 2 squamous gastric ulcers back in January. He got a full month of a full tube of Gastrogard daily. His recheck showed only one remaining ulcer, likely related to the bot that was right by it. So he got dewormed and then moved onto the KER product ReSolvin EQ. I made up my own dose for this- the published study used it successfully for treatment of ulcers. I halved the published dose to make up a "maintenance dose" and he has been receiving that half dose twice daily since then. 

Then we went about life. But life this spring got messy... Ben went through a few turnout situations then ended up at JT's where he tried a few more turnout situations and then ended up solo again. But solo at JT's is in a field that borders multiple other fields, all of which are fairly small, so he wasn't ever too far from other horses. Watching him solo, he would sometimes stand at the fence line nearest to another horse and sometimes he'd walk the fence once or twice. But generally he looked pretty settled. Since he had horribly sore feet and was living at JT's, he got on trailers a lot less, but compared to his baseline of zero, got a lot more NSAIDs. He spent a bit more time without forage; he usually spent 3-4 hours in the stall after finishing morning hay, before getting afternoon hay or getting turned out. He ate a lot more preserved forage (hay) vs more grass at the GY's. 

So how did this all shake out? Well, over the past two months I'd noted he was cranky about belly lifts again. And this month I was going to run out of the ReSolvin EQ. We scoped him again, and things were... Okay... He had "a lot of acidic foam" and a few grade 1 in the lesser curvature under the acidic foam. His vet described that as enough to give him a painful heartburn feeling.

Plan this go round is two weeks of 1/4 tube of GG to reduce acid and then changing him to Hagyard Relyne-GI. In a shuffling of horses, Ben is also moving back up to the GY's, but will be full time with Ms. GY's 25 year old guy who he absolutely adores. He'll be hauling more, if he can stay sound, but hopefully with a few more shake ups in my friend group he rarely will trailer solo.