Monday, October 31, 2016

TNEC Halloween Hunter Pace

This is probably going to come as a massive surprise, but I've never actually dressed Bobby up for Halloween before.


In my defense, he's used to costumes thrown on him just any old day of the week, so using this candy-filled holiday as an excuse for dress up has never really been a necessity.

My barn had what might be our last hunter pace of the year yesterday. Since it fell on Halloween Eve, and I've been supremely lax in my costumes since we moved back to NY, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get into the spirit. This barn has embraced my crazy in the same way my PA barn did, and while over Christmas a few people brought out Santa hats for pictures, that's not up to my standards. To make sure I wasn't the only one flouncing around in full unicorn regalia, I offered to sponsor a little prize for best costume if everyone else dressed up.

unicorn bums

Best. Idea. Ever.

Everyone brought their A-game, and it was absolutely hysterical to see some of these poor horses jumping in their costumes while simultaneously spooking at our rocking Halloween decorations throughout the property.

bobby shows baby horse that ghosts aren't scary. 

I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do for a costume until a couple weeks before when Hubby and I walked into a store and I immediately spotted a unicorn onesie on sale for $20. Problem solved! I went online and found Bobby a banging unicorn headband, and then got to work gathering any extra glittery and sparkly things I didn't already have on hand.

You will not be surprised that I already had several cans of pink hair spray left over from past exploits, or that it was more of a problem to sort through which boas I wanted to bring instead of trying to find one at all.

first up was spray painting his bell boots gold
and then braiding pipe cleaners into his mane
which is sprayed glittery silver, but sadly didn't show up
his tail was pink, though that didn't show up well
in pictures
gemstones on his bridle and of course his wig and horn

I added big ribbon bows on each side of his breastplate and finished by winding silver garland around it as well. My onesie had a unicorn "head" as a hood, but it was pretty boring and wouldn't stay up over my helmet making me look more like the Easter Bunny, so my fellow unicorn barn mate was nice enough to strap her horse's FUCKING GIANT horn onto my helmet.

i mean, COME ON!
her pony was hysterical bopping around with this on his head, and they won best costume.

I was paired up with Rafiki (whose rider had to ditch her amazing costume so that she could actually ride) so that we could go nice and slow throughout knowing that Bobby isn't up to full Bobby capabilities yet. We started off in the front field, and Bobby and I had a brief trot around while Rafiki jumped some jumps. Since he was feeling super forward and happy and the footing was so good, I let him do the cross rail.

He was surprisingly completely sane, and after Rafiki did a few more jumps, we headed out.

Bobby and Fiki flip flopped between leading the whole time which has become a big deal for Bobby who has become kind of a rage monster about having other horses in front of him. It was kind of big deal for the baby horse too since he doesn't generally like going faster than a slug.

jump number two that he got to do

We did one lap of canter in the pond field since the footing is flat:

It lasted all of thirty seconds, but Bobby was like, "RAWR, I AM SO STRONG FAST UNICORN POWER LET ME RUN." We finished coming through the outdoor where Bobby got to do his third and final jump, a hay bale. He trotted towards it completely calmly and I was like, "Yay, this was so fun! Love my horse!"

And then he snatched the bit and flat out bolted over it. Zero. Fucking. Control. BM was like, "lolz, that's what you get for trying to take care of him and not letting him jump for two months!" And I was all, "LOLZ, U THE WORST, BOBBY. GO JUMP THAT AGAIN LIKE A FUCKING GENTLEMAN."

And he did.

beefy unicorn

The undressing took longer than the actual dressing, and I had to roam the barn to gather up all the bits and pieces of costumes I had lent out to barn mates. Once Bobby was cooled out and had been stuffed with donuts and apple cider, I packed his feet, rubbed down and wrapped both his front legs, and then shoved Bute into his face.

"don't mind if i do"

Our team was just thirty seconds off the optimum time, so we won!

But in a bigger win, when I pulled Bobby out this morning and put him on the longe, once he was done leaping about in exuberance, he was totally sound. Thank the baby Jesus!

"worth it to get to do those three jumps."

He'll get the next few days off, and then we'll go back to our regularly scheduled walking. Happy Halloween! Time for puppies and kitties to get tortured now!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Bobby, NO.

I can no longer deny it. My horse has turned into a hell demon.

I guess in the grand scheme of hell demons, he could be worse, but for Bobby he has straight up lost his shit.

so perfect and rideable!

We ended up with four and a half inches of rain over the weekend, which is like, "Wow, such rain! Much flooding!" Except really the only thing that flooded was our bathroom. The ground was so dry that you'd be hard pressed to find a puddle anywhere this morning let alone standing water.

Since it was still raining Saturday morning, most of the ponies had been left in to try to preserve their paddocks, Bobby included. He was, however, turned out in the outdoor with a buddy when I got there. I went to the gate and he immediately came rodeoing over like a fucking lunatic, racing circles around poor confused Luka as I muttered obscenities to him and waited for him to stop POTENTIALLY MAIMING HIMSELF IN MY PRESENCE.

bobby, NO.

I finally managed to snag him, but the second we cleared the gate he started porpoising on the line. I yelled at him for that and he stopped right away....until about ten feet later when he just could not and had to porpoise again. He got a solid smack in the chest and yelled at again, and he was able to contain himself for the rest of the short walk into the barn.

For all his theatrics on the ground, which is really more annoying exuberance than anything as he would never dare to encroach into your personal space so help me god, he's been pretty sensible under saddle. Beat them young and beat them well, my friends. It makes for such a pleasant adult horse in the end.

We were stuck in the indoor for our ride so I did all of five minutes of walking on the packed down rail only before doing a lap each way of trot as per usual. He felt sound and I quickly stuffed him back into his sheet and threw him outdoors with his friends before quickly driving away so I didn't have to see him expend his pent up energy.

"hai, can we go do real things now?"

Sunday I met a girl for a walk only trail ride. It was cold and crazy windy, but damn it, we wanted out of the ring. The footing on the trails was basically to die for, and I felt confident wandering all around that I wasn't going to wreck my horse. I mean, I might have had moments where I wanted to rap him between the ears for occasionally just randomly leaping forward when he thought Oz was within five miles of closing on his lead, but GOOD FOOTING!

Then we wandered into one of the fields and I pointed Bobby at a six inch jump. A ground pole would have been larger and more intimidating than this thing. I figured I'd let him stroll over it because I'm a nice person, but when he picked up the trot a couple strides out I let it slide since it was so insanely tiny that there was no way he'd actually jump it.


He trotted up to it, and then launched over it knees to nose, landing in a perfectly balanced although somewhat wild canter that I halted right that fucking second, you little fucker.

bobby, NO.

Bobby just wants to jump jumps, OKAY?!

Obviously he didn't get to approach any more rises in the ground after that stunt, and I took him back to the outdoor when we were done to try to walk some of the sillies off. As if that's an actual thing. He was really quite lovely though, and he still felt sound for his two laps of trot.

love fall trail rides!

This morning I was anxious to see if his antics from the day before had exploded all of the internal structures in his foot/leg, and ended up back on the trails since the outdoor needed dragging after the rain was finished with it.

Bobby started off lovely and forward and relaxed with a big, swinging stride that showed no shortness. All was going well until we reached the paddock of the neighboring barn where the world's most obnoxious friendliest horse was waiting for us.

(also their electric clearly does not work even a little bit.)

Bobby is probably second in line for World's Friendliest Horse so he always tries to beeline over to her to say hello, but Bobby, NO. About two seconds after I snapped that picture, she took off running and bucking to the other side of the field which set off everyone else around her which made Bobby say, "BEST IDEA EVAR, BITCHES!!!!"

And then we went shooting sideways at a high rate of speed with much flailing, and I was all, "THIS IS HOW WE'RE SPENDING OUR LAST RIDE TOGETHER, BOBBY."

But Bobby was like, "WORTH IT!!!!"


And he did, and was a lovely dressage horse for the rest of the ride.

foamy proof of loveliness.
or just proof of the rabies.

Pending the results of the past two rides here once I can get him back in the ring to really assess how he feels, I think I might accelerate the schedule a bit. Obviously that doesn't mean right back to full work, but probably double the walking and a few more trot laps straight away. I know he's being a lunatic during turnout, so if he's staying sound for that than more walking isn't going to kill him. Honestly still on the table as a possible diagnosis (on our long, long list of possibilities) is nothing more exciting than bad bruising. We shall see what he can hold up to.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Staying Busy

Regardless of what the actual, specific problem inside Bobby's delicate little footy is, one thing that has remained imperative in his treatment plan is that he absolutely cannot just sit.

I mean, I guess if his navicular bone just one day explodes and he can't ever walk again it would be moot. HAHAHA NO THAT HASN'T PLAYED OUT IN MY CRAZY FUCKING HEAD WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

Yeah, but anyway.

oh bobby. y u so awkward?

Because of Bobby's lifelong issues with his stifles, keeping his hind end as strong as I can get it has always been the highest priority in his training. I've learned through trial and error that while he can have a light week--and sometimes even two weeks if he's super fit--he can't cope with any extended time off. His hind end falls apart at the drop of a hat, and he ends up very weak and very crippled.

Fortunately, while Vet A was dropping diagnoses at the drop of a hat, she did also clear him for walking. Since Vet A doesn't really hold a lot of sway at this point (ughhhhhh), I won't say that counts for much, but Farrier also said go forth and conquer. Just do it on hard ground.

"can't i just be retired already?"
That might seem counterproductive since more than likely the reason his foot went AWOL in the first place was from the fucking cement our ground was all summer, but our indoor footing is very deep and soft. If we're dealing with soft tissue, deep footing isn't conducive to good rehab. Also apparently it's not good for navicular either, but I don't remember Farrier's explanation for that. It involved hand motions and science, and really I think at that point I was still deep in the "What in the actual shit is wrong with my horse, you assholes?" phase.

That all means we've been relegated to the outdoor which is far more exciting anyway because there are always elaborate jump courses set up out there. Not that we can jump them, but hot damn we can walk ground poles for days!

sorry your horse isn't as good at posing as mine is.

So Bobby is staying busy. We do fifteen to twenty minutes of walk every day, providing the footing isn't under water because after four months without a drop of rain, fall is making up for it in a serious way. (Like, we're supposed to get three inches today alone.) 

This is my second time rehabbing Bobby, and my third rehab overall. While occasionally I miss doing serious work, I know how to make walk work absolutely riveting. At least for me. I don't know that Bobby really feels me on that one. 

The good news is that Bobby continues to feel strong, comfortable, and sound after getting his magic shoes on. I do a lap of trot in each direction for a soundness check, and he steps right off into a great big forward trot without any discomfort. Yesterday was his last day on Bute, but he'll be getting today and tomorrow off because of the weather so I'll have to wait until the weekend to see if he still feels sound. 

In the meantime, he's clearly feeling well enough to terrorize the afternoon barn workers. He's a big, fit horse that's used to being in consistent, heavy work, and our short walks aren't exactly taking the edge off. Apparently he's come in on hind legs and has been seen working on reining maneuvers in the paddock.

Bobby. You are the absolute worst. Just STAHP.

his bath lasted an entire day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Well that escalated quickly

This latest round of #lamehorsechronicles has turned into a complete cluster fuck, my friends. I'd probably be more concerned about the well being of my horse if I wasn't too busy pulling my hair out and sobbing in frustration as everyone tells me something different but no one will actually tell me anything that helps.

Dear medical professionals,

Please talk to me like I'm a five year old and explain how to make my horse's boo-boo better.


that cow collar really completes your look, bessie.

Let's recap before we get into the down and dirty.

Bobby's vet--let's call her Vet A--that's done all his diagnostic work since we moved up here, including the injury to the RF last year, reviewed the x-rays and pronounced Bobby a navicular horse with "significant changes". Put a three degree wedge on him and we'll go from there.

Farrier--if we were getting picky, which we're not, we'd call her something like Baby Jesus--also reviewed the x-rays and said, "No, those are not significant changes to the navicular bone. Certainly there is some degeneration there, but I feel confident that with shoeing we can get him feeling pretty much normal." She also said she'd be curious to see what Vet B had to say.

still incredibly large and incredibly awkward

Vet B is technically retired but still holds his license. He's BM's old vet and is still close friends with her, so we sent the x-rays off to him for a second (third?) opinion. All the sudden we go from navicular horse, to not so much of a problem navicular horse, to "This horse is never going to be completely sound for anything. He's going to be a money pit and you'd be doing yourself a favor to not pursue treatment."

Um, whut.

The x-rays were shoddily done, the horse has a bone chip in his foot, probably his coffin joint is ready to fall apart, and there's most definitely bursitis. I could inject this, that, and the other thing, but nothing would last. He might be sound for a short time, but nothing would ever be fixed.

"but will there be cookies?"

Obviously with that being about as far apart from what Vet A had told me as you could get, and being a REALLY SHITTY diagnosis and prognosis, I wasn't satisfied with that. I contacted JenJ who had told me she had a vet that could take a look at the images. She put me in contact with her vet, Vet C, who I sent all the reports and pictures over to, as well as what Vet A, B, and Farrier had told me. My plea was to just give me a clear picture of what the actual fuck I was looking at, and, without seeing the horse, how she'd recommend proceeding.

Vet C agreed that the navicular changes are currently a nonevent. Of all the things that could be going on, navicular is not at the top of the list for the guilty party. She was concerned with the angle of the coffin bone, and felt that a three degree wedge would angle the bone too severely and cause him more discomfort than he was already in. This also aligns with what Farrier discussed. She'd already planned on putting him in a two degree because of the angle instead, so that was good.

She saw no bone chip, instead saying there might be a cyst, but it was probably just bad x-rays. (So I glad I dropped $350 on shit x-rays. SO GLAD.)

too lame for walking last wednesday, so instead
we grazed out back.

Her line of thought was more possible soft tissue injury somewhere in the foot. She gave me lots of treatment options mostly revolving around injections, but her main message was that the best diagnostic tool for this case would be an MRI. Sadly I don't have $1k sitting around waiting to be shelled out for my horse's foot, nor am I currently interested in chasing down maybes with a needle that may or may not do my horse any good, and probably won't do any lasting help in the long run anyway.

So on Friday I took all this information to Farrier, and we agreed that the most likely scenario we're facing here is an acute injury inside the foot. Navicular doesn't just pop up overnight and make your horse 3/5 lame at the walk. Bobby competed barefoot heavily for three years on every footing known to man without ever having an issue in his feet. Too much jumping on too hard ground last month with changing angles in his feet probably did him in, but it's not necessarily the end of the world for him (that last bit varies dramatically depending on how morose I'm feeling at any given moment).

he takes getting new feet very seriously

We went ahead and put on aluminum shoes with a two degree wedge and a rocker toe to lift his foot up and alleviate heel pain. Initially she wanted to do a leather pad as well packed with Magic Cushion, but I've been packing them myself with Hawthorne's Sole Pack, and once she had his old shoe off, she felt his sole was feeling so much improved from the last time that she did without. He was also significantly less tender when she put the nails in this time around. Small wins!

those toes need to come back

fancy feets complete with sole pack

He's currently on bute to help him adjust, but he's slowly getting weaned off this week so we'll see how he feels without the aid of drugs. In the meantime though? When I walked him yesterday, he immediately felt looser and more comfortable all through his body. After our fifteen minutes were up (scintillating stuff I tell you), I cautiously asked him for a trot to check how he felt.

To the right? Sound as a dime.

To the left? Sound as a dime and trying to drag me over ground poles like a feisty sassy pants.

feel good, must eat pretty things to celebrate.

I'm in no rush to proclaim him magically fixed, and I'm resolutely sticking to a slow rehab schedule in the event this is a soft tissue injury, but that made me breathe a massive sigh of relief. We don't ever have to jump again if that's what this turns into, but I do need him to be sound enough to hold up to real dressage work.

Long term, he'll get the winter "off" to figure out shoeing needs and slowly seeing what sort of work we can bring him back into. If he still feels lame, or like we're still questioning what we're dealing with, in the spring I'll do the MRI and get a concrete answer.

Short term, my farrier is a magician. She should charge a surcharge for that shit. Only please don't because holy shit this horse is expensive.

"there is a fly, i cannot work in these conditions."

Monday, October 17, 2016

But first the good

I have ALL the updates on Bobby's soundness issues, from conspiracy theories to multiple independent consults and everything in between. I've fluctuated between full on meltdown mode (Sorry, JenJ) and "Everything is fine! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE." which honestly is pretty close to the same thing.

But I'll save that post for tomorrow because on Friday Riding Bestie journeyed up for a visit because she's a better visitor than I am (Also I'm not entirely confident my LF wheel on my car isn't just going to fall off because I make everything I touch lame in the LF. Also it might just need a new wheel bearing which is nbd. BUT STILL.), and that was a day filled with fun adventures.

Epic recap of good things which is mostly just pictures instead of a vet telling me to cut my losses and put my horse down? Sign me up!

sarah led with this cake purchased just for my horse!
this is why we're friends.

bobby thought the icing was delicious

and he got it everywhere

"moar plz."

We rushed over to the barn as soon as Sarah got here to meet my farrier so Bobby could get his magic shoes put on. More on that tomorrow. While Farrier was doing hard work, we butchered the poor baby horse's mane in an attempt to make her look grown up. Instead she just looks....well, like someone got a little overzealous with the scissors. Hair grows back, nobody panic!

When Bobby was all done and tossed back outside, we saddled up Ralph and Rafiki for a low key meandering trail ride. Of course we ended up with the two biggest slugs in the barn, but we were able to get a little bit of sort of productive work done at the trot in the ring afterwords.

someone has to love ralphie, the fat lard.

Taco Bell, a trip to the tack store to get some new bell boots, and then back home to grab the doggies for a trip to PetSmart for Halloween costume shopping!

pig dog is a triceratops! not an iguana like hubby said.

kitten is a shark
and mags was pumped to rock her superman costume

Ponies, puppies, and copious amounts of junk food made for an awesome day, but then Bobby had to go and spoil it. I got a text from the barn around 6:30 that evening saying that Bobby was laying down and not wanting to eat. I thought it might be because he was sore on his new feet, but then A added that he was stretched out flat, and when she got him up he was kicking at his stomach and pawing. For real, Bobby?!

A dosed him while I was on my way and started walking him. When I got there he was most definitely colicking. He was breathing heavily, his stomach was tucked up and clenched, he didn't want so much as a peppermint, and he was definitely feeling very sorry for himself. I opted to wait it out a bit and wait for the meds to kick in because it looked more like a gas colic than anything more serious. Also, fuck you, Bobby. Stop spending my money!

just needed late night grass

After about twenty minutes he started to come around, and an hour in he'd drank an entire bucket of water and was munching on some soft hay. We toured around outside trying to get some poop moving, and A and I had a little hysterical funny not funny laugh that I should longe him but I couldn't because his foot is fucked up HAHA U SO FUN BOBBY. I finally left around 10:30 satisfied that he was feeling completely back to normal.

Bobby's on a bute regiment this week as he adjusts to his new feet so I gave him the weekend off. Instead I did other really super exciting things.

i made salsa. it's delish.
pimped out some pumpkins
put bobby's new XL booties on to cover his
high heeled sneakers
bobby says, "but wait! you forgot to bring me in for snacks!"
and i played dress up with the kitten (who is taking her shark outfit very seriously)
while long distance watching our football team be complete fucking losers with emma.

I capped off the weekend by discovering salted caramel frosting so cupcakes are on the docket for today. Very important business, yo.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Moving On

Thank you guys all so much for your comments, sympathy, and shared experiences on my last post. I don't drink, but I assure you I've been diligently eating my feelings away. Honestly I still don't feel particularly upset about the diagnosis, but I'm not one to pass up the chance to use a sad situation as an excuse to sit down and eat an entire package of Oreos by myself.

just the starting point, i promise.

I've been doing a lot of reading about treatments (shoeing and OsPhos mainly), but from the moment the word "navicular" left the vet's mouth, I'd already moved right along to planning what I wanted to work on with my dressage this winter. I'm not one to dwell on negativity, and nothing helps feeling positive like a good plan of action. Bobby needs to be more supple and for fuck's sake does he need to work on bending more. Is it wrong to be excited to get back to serpentines?

ten minutes of walk, here we come!!

The vet gave me permission to walk away, so yesterday I threw a bridle on Bobby and jumped on bareback. He hadn't been ridden in about a month, but it never even crossed my mind that he'd be naughty. He waited patiently while I climbed up, and then with happy ears trudged around the ring slightly gimpy but light and on the bit without any fuss. I'm so glad we've progressed at least this far as I'm more concerned about what an extended riding break would do to his hind end than anything that could go on with his feet.

don't you lose a single muscle back there, bessie.

Lest you think I'm completely irresponsible and have dropped the ball on actually doing anything productive to combat his lameness....

Well, actually you're mostly right. Turns out Farrier is pretty much the shit with navicular horses and has attacked Bobby's case full force, so I've basically relinquished control of my checkbook and stand there nodding politely as she expounds upon treatment plans.

bobby literally fell asleep yesterday as she
discussed what she'd like to do.

Farrier hadn't seen the x-rays yet yesterday when she was out, but she'd talked with the vet and had already come up with a couple things she wanted to try. The initial plan was to do the three degree wedges possibly with a bar. Nailing into the RF wasn't going to be a problem, but she was concerned with how hard it was to nail his flat shoe on the LF last week. Gluing a shoe onto that foot was thrown around, but she wanted to talk to a colleague before ordering anything.

waiting for farrier to finish shoeing ralph before
measuring bobby's feeties.

This morning she surprised me by swinging in on her way by to check on Bobby. We were just finishing up our ten minutes of super exciting suppling exercises and he was already feeling a lot more comfortable at the walk. I'd also packed his foot yesterday so maybe that helped a titch.

I hopped off and took him out to the aisle so she could elevate his foot to see what degree wedge he might like, but true to Bobby form he just stood there stoically, drooling copiously and trying to play with the cat.

so. much. drool.

She showed me a couple options for shoes she'd brought along. One was an aluminum wedge that she was favoring except then she'd have to try to nail it on. We're still probably leaning towards doing a cycle of glue-ons to get him enough foot to comfortably nail on the aluminum, but we're going to send the x-rays to another vet to get a second opinion.

Why? Because Farrier looked at them last night and didn't agree with the vet.

Farrier doesn't think the LF is as bad as Vet made it out to sound at all, and while still undoubtedly navicular, she's feeling optimistic that shoeing alone is going to get him to a really good spot. However, she didn't like the look of the RF which the vet was happy with. I'm inclined to trust a farrier more in hoof health than a vet, especially a farrier with navicular experience, but I am interested to see what this other, highly recommend vet has to say.

So we shall see how this all plays out. It's going to be a dressage filled winter regardless, but who knows what next spring will hold.