Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Stirrup length, the posting trot, and chair seat

Today let's talk ALL the things that drive me crazy on a daily dressage riding basis, things that confound me no matter how hard I try to get my head body parts around them. They all tie together in a neat little bundle of equitation catastrophe.

behold! the beauty of none of the body parts working in unison

My biggest problem--well, the biggest problem in in this specific subcategory of all my many problems--is with posting the trot in my dressage saddle. I work tirelessly to try to correct this enigma. I park Bobby in front of the mirror and try to manipulate my body into the position it needs to be in to post upwards and forwards with a long, straight leg and long, straight back. I'm not above grabbing mane or the front of my saddle, but the thing I fuck with the most is my stirrup length.

I don't keep my stirrups the same length for more than a few rides in a row. One day they'll be fine, and the next I'll get on and they feel like they're three holes off. Some days short feels too short, long feels too long, or the right will feel like it belongs to a different rider than the one on left. 

This applies to my jump saddle as well, so it might be something like leg/hip tension that's making me tighten my muscles and not stretch as well as the ride before. Also perhaps stirrup adjusting barn trolls that invade the tack room overnight? Let's not rule out all the possibilities. 

On the days where my stirrups feel too long, I feel like I don't have a solid base to post from. "Don't post from your stirrups!" is obviously a good answer to that, but it's more that I feel like I'm reaching just to make contact with my irons. When they're too short, I feel like I'm blasting ten feet out of the saddle. 

So the problem starts there. My leg is all hibbily bibbily having its own personal identity crisis, and the rest of my body is just like abort!!! My core collapses, my shoulders slouch, and I can barely get my ass out of the saddle without a great effort of throwing my fat roll forwards and following it in a vague interpretation of the fetal position. Enter the chair seat.

collapse all the things

My saddle has very tiny knee rolls which I generally prefer as I have obscenely long femurs and knee rolls tend to yank my leg around into not a comfortable position. But I have to wonder if having more help up there wouldn't force my leg to behave itself and stay in that ideal hip to heel alignment, and if in turn my stirrups wouldn't constantly feel like they weren't at the wrong length. 

Is any of this making sense? Honestly I'm not sure how much sense it makes to me either.


Actually, though, some days it's just fine and I have zero issues making my body behave itself.


i would settle for this as defualt

Does anyone else have this problem? Where your stirrup length never feels right? What is the right length? Any words of advice on how to keep my leg underneath me better in a dressage saddle? This isn't a jump saddle problem, by the way. It's exclusive to dressage.



possibly if i shove my ass forward ten feet it would help?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Five Thousand Miles

Close approximation to the number of miles I covered in the past three days. Combined with a heavy dose of benadryl to combat a sting on my knee that's so swollen I can't wear pants comfortably, I'm basically existing in a strange state between almost-awake and not awake even a little bit.

Fuck yeah, let's write a blog post!

My Friday started at 6 a.m. when doggies and I went to do barn chores for two hours. From there I dropped the doggos off at home while I took a ten second shower, went grocery shopping, came back home, grabbed my truck, and went back to the barn.

pretty much slayed all day. #firsttry

I hooked up my trailer, rescued my pony from his temporary turnout group where they were eating him since his bestie was showing, helped load five horses, and then drove the two hours to Syracuse. Once there I chucked the horse on my trailer into the hands of a teen, did the world's fastest trailer backing and parking maneuvers, and drove the two hours back home. Two minutes to change into nice clothes, then into the car to drive an hour and a half down to Hubby's little brother's graduation. Two hours later, back in the car to drive home again. On Sunday I added on another four hour round trip to grab ponies from Syracuse with my window off the track in the pouring rain and the feeling of a knife lodged under my kneecap.

nothing like a good lake storm when you're driving along the lake for ten million miles

But between that all I got two dressage rides in, and I forced Hubby to join me for one since he hasn't come to the barn in ages, so the weekend was basically a win.

all rides start with stretchies and me trying to figure out how to post

Saturday we were in the indoor for the entirety of the ride and Bobby was super. Really the only thing he did wrong was getting a little twisted in his neck in the left lead canter. But let's be real. Why would any horse be twisted in its neck? Maybe because its rider can't stop fidgeting with the mother fucking reins.

Sunday I started off in the outdoor purely to get better pictures. My camera does fine in the indoor, but outside is just so much better. Bobby felt alright at the walk and cruising around on a long rein at the trot.

my complete inability to post in a dressage saddle is its own separate post.
in summary though: NOPE.

Once I started trying to pick him up and put him together though, he felt awful. His stride felt short and tight, and there was no softness to be found anywhere. I tried to tough it out for awhile with the thinking that I can't just quit when I'm at a show and he's not feeling perfect right away. But all the tricks I threw at him did nothing to improve the situation.

giving up on getting anything at this point. mehhh, sad body, sad face, we suck.

I decided to go into the indoor to make use of the mirror. Maybe he wasn't actually looking as bad as he felt? Maybe I was doing something truly awful with my body to make him feel like shit?

The second we picked up the trot inside he felt a hundred percent better.

you see what i mean with the underneck coming out of his chest tho?! ughhhhhh.
work in progress in this lower frame. so boring. so tedious. making myself work at
it every day regardless. 

The outdoor is under full sun from the second daylight hits until it's completely dark out. The base isn't as deep as the indoor, and the footing tends to bake to cement pretty quickly. I think our problem was that it was too hard for Bobby to get comfortable on. No big deal, I'll just be more careful of that in the future. There are two big grass fields we can ride in that don't get hard so easily if we're really that sick of flatting in the indoor.

We did some really quick trot work (because I wasn't going to make Hubby sit through ten hours of trot as Bobby stretched down and then came back, stretched down, and up, and down, and up, and....yada yada until he actually unlocked his cramped withers and shoulders) before we moved on to some canter.

most days the right lead is worse. this weekend he felt like the left lead should
get a turn to suck a little bit. 

the right lead felt easy peasy though. 

We finished with gallivanting around the front field bareback right quick because I've got social media to run here, Hubby. Suck it up.

we had a lesson out here thursday where bm basically yelled at me the whole time
to not let bobby fall to the inside going left, bobby kept popping flying changes and
locking onto jumps while ignoring me, and i bemoaned how out of shape i am. all of
that is going on in this picture as well with bm in my head.

i am going to be so pissed if hubby can't figure out how to take focused jumping pictures.
it was the only reason i bought this fucking camera!!!!

Nothing but a lot of dressage is in our immediate future...provided I can suffer putting breeches on over my knee. I want to get this horse's neck looking like a sexy swan. That is my only goal for this summer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Y U No Crazy?

In this edition of Carly Is Out Of Shape, we meet our heroes in the front cross country field. It's just rained nearly two additional inches to the approximately five thousand we got over the weekend, but it's been so ungodly hot that the ground is the perfect mix of soft but solid. The allergen level in the air is certified toxic, but the humidity has blown out and it's only 70*. There's not going to be a better time to get some outside jumping in.

sometimes leaving the wash stall is more than
bobby can handle in his life, and he stands there
for ages until he works himself up to the effort.

After yesterday's marathon trot session in the indoor, I wanted to reward Bobby by letting him do something fun. Also yesterday I was lauding myself for sitting the trot for basically eternity without once feeling taxed by the effort. "I am so in shape!" I thought. And maybe I sitting trot shape with a strong-ish core. You know what that doesn't translate to? Being in half seat with short, short stirrups because hot damn I am going to get my strength back so I'm not an embarrassment to myself even if it borders on sadism.

I was expecting Bobby to be lit when we started popping over the jumps out front, but we've fallen into the trap of too much dressage work. We ran into this problem a lot last year when we were jumping regularly. He warms up great in all three gaits, but once the jumps came up he isn't even remotely in the mindset that that's what we're doing and he keeps getting caught by surprise.

He was curling his head instead of looking up and out, and he was so goddamned slow.

I finally got him into the groove where he was like, "Oh, right. We're jumping. Where's the next one?" but he reverted back to old Bobby several times where he could have jumped out of an open stride but instead just had to squeeze that extra step in.

We moved from there to the indoor where I'd already set a few jumps up. I tried to chase him into a strong canter right off the bat, and it wasn't a bad canter, it just need more. After he refused to take the spot I goosed him to coming into the diagonal and instead added a completely unnecessary and absolutely awful step, I got off and grabbed a crop. Two spanks behind my leg and he suddenly came alive.

I don't know what the deal was. Was it just that we haven't jumped with purpose in so, so long that he wasn't in the mindset? Too much dressage? Is he so trained now that he he actually listens too well and doesn't think hauling ass to the jumps is the right answer? I mean, it's not, but usually he takes me to them a little stronger. Was he just not into it this morning? Is he as out of shape for the thing as I am? Do I suck that much as a rider? Is he about to die after all?

The mysteries of Bobby. Feet were packed, we'll see how he's feeling tomorrow.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This, That, and The Other Thing

I feel like I've done a lot with Bobby in the past week, but it's been so hot all the details have melted in my brain. So instead of a couple of bulk posts, I'm going to squish everything into one. I don't think I can force myself or others through multiple disjointed ramblings of lessons, trail walks, and vet visits blowing money at an exorbitant rate.

sometimes you just need a whole lotta pink
in your life. and a great big moose who falls for
the empty wrapper trick every time. 

Money, money, moneyyyy

The vet came out Thursday to do a recheck on Bobby's leg. I was able to split this call with two other people so it was actually almost reasonable which was good because if I had to pay $150+ for her to roll in the driveway and take vitals on my horse I might not have paid that bill. Ever.

Overall her impression was really favorable--unsurprisingly as his leg is looking fantastic right now. She made fun of my KrudZapper again because the name is so ridiculous, but then she also wrote it down in her notes to recommend to other people. Cancer "curing" miracle cream, lemme tell ya. She spent a long time listening to his breathing and doing a rebreathing test where a bag is held over the horse's nose, something that would probably be more effective on a horse that wasn't intent on getting to the bottom of the bag because he was positive there were treats in there somewhere.

Lungs sounded good though, and I assured her I was watching his breathing and recovery closely during every ride to make sure there were no problems. (The concern being that if the cancer leaves its cozy spot in his leg it's going to be to spread to his lungs and/or kidneys, and that's the end of that.) Since he's in such good shape otherwise--no temp, no weight loss, no problems with his breathing--we were able to skip the ultrasound this time around. He'll go on two more weeks of the meds for the vasculitis, and then we wait and see what the leg decides to do. If the scabbing and sores come back, we'll ultrasound then and probably have to move on to steroids. Since nobody knows anything about this cancer, it's all a super fun wait and see what the fuck it's going to do game. So fun!

so majestic while waiting for the vet

Stick with the program

At the end of our lesson last Thursday, Bobby struck off into the right lead canter and did his stabby "My heel hurts" step. He'd just gotten done three weeks ago, but the amount of foot he'd grown was insane. I texted Farrier and she was able to squeeze him on Saturday.

We were aiming for six weeks, but LOL no. Now we'll aim for four and fingers crossed he can wait that long. Farrier said that if we didn't know what the inside of his feet looked like she'd just pull his shoes altogether because they look fantastic right now. The trouble with the wedges are they want to crush the heel, but Farrier said so far so good on that front. If it looks like they're starting to go that way, we'll try a flat shoe for a couple cycles.

She also said that the RF has essentially stabilized. If you'll recall, because of how long that leg was swollen, it was putting so much pressure on the foot and stemming the circulation that Farrier was deeply concerned about either founder or losing the fucking foot. It took about a week for the meds to kick in, but once they did it curbed the massive fill his leg was getting every night. He's also on a supplement to increase circulation so hopefully between the two we're past all that. She said that the new hoof coming in is going to be an entirely different foot--the angle it's growing out at is different than where he was at before, so that might also be why he came up a little sore.

bobby says 8am is too early for pedicures

Wait, what

Speaking of my lesson, we're two for two (or infinity for infinity) on weeks where I had to stop and have BM break things down to toddler speak for me. At least there were no tears this time? She had me doing SI across the diagonal each way, and for some reason when I started I could not get my brain to coordinate my body. Like, what even fucking direction should my horse be pointed in? I DON'T KNOW I KNOW NOTHING.

Fortunately BM is good in her range of teaching. She starts by talking to me like I'm on her knowledge level, which in some things I can generally at least keep up with, but we usually devolve to Hooked on Phonics by the end.

Off we went to try again with BM telling me where to put every single inch of my body. If I exaggerated my seat aids a lot, it was easier for me to mentally ride and therefor easier for poor Bobby to figure out what the fuck I was asking him. As in, yes that's a fabulous trot half pass, but BM is yelling at us now. Dammit.

We got some good work in the left lead canter where BM banished us from using the rail ever again so I could tell right away when Bobby was getting even remotely crooked. That was a great exercise and one that worked really well for us this morning, too.


Trust the training

I kind of had an existential horse crisis this morning during my ride. Bobby still has a slight dip in front of his withers from not carrying himself correctly all the way through. It's not as bad as it's been in the past, but it's still there. BM assured me that he's using his hind end great, he's always been good about engaging his abs, but he just wants to jam his shoulders and get stuck there. Fortunately he's really embracing the stretching game lately, but as soon as I pick up my reins and try to get him shorter he tenses up right at the base of his neck. Ain't nothing going to fill out if we keep playing that game, bro.

Towards the end of the ride I was getting him pretty through at the walk, but as soon as we moved to the trot he was like, ABORT BRACE YOURSELF FOR IMPACT TIGHTEN ALL THE THINGS.

I was so frustrated thinking this horse is never, ever going to have that long, beautiful uphill neck and front end, and he's just going to have this giant disgusting underneck muscle bulging out of his chest for all eternity. But I sat it out. We lapped the arena in trot with me occasionally making minor adjustments and trying to live by BM's mantra to just let him make the mistakes instead of jumping all over him.

He started to lose his shoulders coming into the corner so I put my outside leg on to push them back over while touching him with the spur on my inside leg to keep the bend and all the sudden it was like the heavens opened up. I felt him lighten way up so I softened my hands a little to give him somewhere to go and he shifted back and eased himself into an entirely different gear. A couple laps later and that long, beautiful neck was in full affect with a relaxed, happy horse moving out in a big easy trot.

The basics are the hardest, yo.

and here are puppies getting stinky in the erie canal because i'm out of horse pics.

Show me the money

I'm hauling a horse to and from Syracuse this weekend for a multi-day show the barn is attending. I'm hoping that will put just enough money in my pocket to pay for an entry fee for a show next month. It's a lot of money with no refund whatsoever for vet scratches, so it's going to be a bit of a gamble, but I think we're at a point now where we've got a good program in place for both Bobby's feet and leg. The hunter pace showed he can take a bit of abuse with the right management. I'm so broke from paying for all that management that even though I could do a couple small shows with this little bit of extra money, it would mean way more to be able to get to do this one big show.

Fingers crossed things continue on a good trajectory!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Genesee Valley Hunter Pace

I don't know if it's just me or what, but hunter paces are about the most boring thing to try to squeeze content out of. Unless you're a genie and have someone at every jump scattered across miles of territory (or you're Emma and you live for helmet cam screen caps, but it was too hot and I was too lazy to attach my helmet cam and deal with turning it on and off every time there was a jump), then there's not a whole lot to say.

My barn took six horses down to Avon for the pony club and/or hunt club's hunter pace. BM's trailer had to stop at a gas station so I continued on by myself with Bobby. I had a general idea where I was going. That particular area is like its own confined Area II where all the things eventing and hunting go on, so I knew if I got to the general area of where the horse trials are held, I'd be good to go.

snacking on roadside weeds instead of
grass while waiting for the rest of the barn

Once I was parked and had Bobby unloaded, I finally saw the other two trailers coming in from the complete opposite direction. Again, if you get to the general area, you will run into a horse event before too long. I got Bobby tacked up and headed way down the road to meet up with them.

trailers and horses everywhere!

Bobby can be a complete asshole, and sometimes I really want to brain him, but he's worth his weight in gold in situations like this. He stood quietly at the trailer by himself while I got us ready, waited at my step stool while I clambered on, and then strolled down the road on the buckle without a care in the world before hanging out in the middle of a group of horses in various stages of readiness before we all headed over to the start.

waiting patiently for bm to sign us up

It was a good half mile walk to get to the timer after we'd paid, and then another half mile before the road finally ended and we set off into the first field.

my team ended up being another dark bay ottb and a dark bay morgan. we were all
very matchy matchy. photo credit: curt grant

It was a hot 85* out, but the wind was blowing so it stayed manageable. We were also in the woods for most of it, following alongside the Genesee River which was really pretty. Bobby and Wym--the other OTTB--matched strides for awhile before bouncing back and forth in the lead. Bobby doesn't really care where he is as long as the horse in front of him is moving faster than he is. That worked out well for the first half of the ride where there wasn't a lot of jumping and when the track narrowed Bobby somehow always ended up in front anyway.

photo credit: curt grant

It became an issue when another group came running right up our asses just as we came to a dried creek crossing. The horses had to step down into the creek bed and then launch straight up a big bank that led steeply uphill. Bobby led and handled it fine, Wym followed without much hesitation, and then our baby horse bringing up the rear nearly got smashed into by this group.

Baby Horse had followed us bravely over everything else so far because he didn't want to get left behind, but faced with this tricky question and a new pack of friends behind him, he decided it would be okay to stay on his side of the creek. Fortunately one of the riders gave him a lead and he figured it out. We let the whole group pass since they were clearly going for a faster time than we were, and as they took off up the hill Wym lost his shit.

I forced Bobby to walk up the hill while using him as an e-brake for Wym who was smashed into Bobby's butt. We walked a couple big circles once we hit the open field to let the group get well out of sight. At this point Wym's rider declared he needed to be in front at all times. Okay, whatever.

The only problem was that Wym didn't actually want to lead, he just wanted to be going fast. So he'd be cantering towards a jump, chicken out, and slow way down to a trot or walk. Bobby was not okay with this. Bobby didn't have a problem with Wym being out front so long as Wym wasn't going slow.

so much open land down here

I managed to make do for awhile, occasionally just giving up on letting Wym "lead" and jumping without him. I'm not sure why his rider thought he had to be out front. He wasn't being bad or flailing around. He just wanted to go.

We had one moment where Wym slammed on the brakes to a halt because there was a barrel holding a gate open. I stopped Bobby, but Wym wouldn't go forward by himself so I took the lead and cantered towards the big coop jump. Bobby was sick of the stop and go nonsense by this point and snatched the bit to steeplechase the coop. He left out a stride until the last second where he was like, "Oh, shit. Bad idea" and put a leg down which was an even worse idea as Fungus Leg got smashed on the top of the jump and we nearly landed on our faces. He had a Come to Jesus about what "Whoa, mother fucker" means, and we carried on without incident from there--and without Wym leading us over any more jumps.

photo credit: curt grant

The jumps were legit hunt country jumps, as billed. Nothing was under Novice height, and while there wasn't a lot of them, what was there was a blast to gallop over. Bobby hasn't seen a real cross country jump in over a year, but he pulled me to every single one with ears pricked looking for the next one.

I wasn't worried about how Fungus Leg would hold up. He's grown a good amount of hair back on that leg and the skin looks great so I felt comfortable putting boots on him without worrying about rubbing him raw. Of course I hadn't anticipated him crashing into a solid jump, but he came away with nothing more than a couple of small scrapes on his knee.

fungus leg this morning, no worse for wear

I was worried about how his feet would feel afterwards. It was good footing--I wouldn't have ridden him if it had been too hard--but this was definitely the first big test for what his navicular can handle backed by his fancy shoes. I packed his feet when we were done, but he didn't get any bute. I wanted a clear read on if this type of thing made him sore or not.

The verdict? He galloped around his paddock like a looney Monday, and today he felt fantastic for our ride this morning. No footiness whatsoever.

looking much cuter in jump tack than dressage tack

I think as long as I'm picky about footing and we stick with the wedges, we should be free to trail ride to our heart's content this summer.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lesson Suckage

I didn't get around to writing about my lesson last week because it was one of those rides where I got off frustrated and annoyed at myself. Like, really frustrated to the point of having to stop mid-lesson to ask BM to--once again--place my body parts where they needed to go so that I wouldn't cry.

That's not an exaggeration. Have I mentioned before how BM often has to double as my riding therapist and not just my instructor? Poor BM.

Since I'm pretty well directionless (and broke) when it comes to showing at the moment, BM didn't let me focus on anything fun like fine tuning lateral work or trying to iron out the mother fucking mediums that have all but abandoned us. Instead she knocked me down a peg or thirty and we spent forty five minutes trying to get me to stop with my hands. Just stop. All of it.

how now brown cow says this lesson wouldn't have
lasted so long if i knew how to fucking ride.

I've never hidden the fact that I'm a handsy rider. I think that runs fairly rampant in ye olde amateur. When in doubt, start fiddling. BM has been laying into me about it since I started lessoning with her last year--over fences to stop pulling, and now with a dressage focus to not touch the inside rein under fear of capital punishment. I've gotten better, but it's still my favorite go-to bad habit.

BM had me lengthen my reins way out. My outside rein was allowed to be a quiet, still anchor point, but I wasn't allowed to use it to bring Bobby's head down. He was supposed to self regulate his gaits and topline. If he hollowed, send him forward. If he still wanted to invert, try sending him forward again and then I was given permission to go briefly to the reins as a quick reminder.

BM is big into preaching about letting the horse make a mistake before fixing it. No micromanaging, no jumping onto every misstep before the horse is even aware he's done something wrong. He has to be responsible for himself and carry the load with you.

does this look like a horse that wants to be responsible
for himself? no. it does not.

Bobby and I were not getting this. We were losing bend and the horse felt like his back was unyielding brick. Putting my leg on him gave me nothing, and I wasn't understanding at all the concept BM was trying to teach us. What was the fucking end goal here? I know I'm handsy, but what was I doing at that moment that was actually doing any good for myself or my horse's way of going?

So I halted Bobby in frustration and BM came over for a pow wow while I forced back angry tears.

Basically all she was trying to get us to achieve was self carriage which is not a foreign concept to me, but the way we were going about it was. She wanted him to reach down and find the connection on his own. Well, HOW am I supposed to do that if I don't have any connection to the bit myself? When my reins are a million miles long and he's putting his head in the air, I can't even feel the bit anymore. WHERE IS THE CONNECTION, WHERE IS THE BIT, WHERE IS MY HORSE, QUICK GRAB THE REINS AND FIDDLY FUCKING FIDDLE.

Bobby is a big, long horse and we both do better about being light once I've gotten him more collected and packaged together. He's easier to hold with my seat and legs when he's not so long everywhere.

But BM said, no, stop being so dramatic. You have a life line with the outside rein. You're not dropping contact, you're just not forcing it. Let him push forward and reach for the bit on his own. Don't force it on him, and he'll come up and over his entire topline all by himself.

ponies want cookies, not flat work. 

She sent us off into the canter to get Bobby's back loosened up, but first we had to suffer through more walking because we instantly lost even the tiniest bit of forward momentum we'd gained. The canter felt wild and shitty and like Bobby was going to tip over and fall at any moment. I couldn't find a happy length for my stirrups despite adjusting them twice and I vacillated between feeling like a jockey and not being able to reach my irons at any point of time. Plus I wan't allowed to fix all our problems with my reins so I basically just quit riding with all my body parts because that seemed like a good solution.

BM kicked us back into the trot fairly quickly. I felt like I had a slightly better handle on what we were trying to accomplish for the second half of the lesson, but it wasn't until BM wrapped things up and told me to keep working on it that I started to get what she was aiming for as we cooled out at the walk and Bobby was reaching and giving me a feel of the reins again without either of us getting heavy.

up to no good instead of finishing his breakfast

This was not a fun lesson for me. In fact, I'm still pretty unhappy with it several days later. But there were things I was able to draw from it, and I understand the concept of what BM is trying to do with us. Something from Kaila's post really resonated with me: "I am paying her to help me with areas I am not as strong." BM is the first quality instructor I've had in a long, long time and I have a lot of holes in my training that need to be filled. Doesn't make me feel like any less of a loser who can't ride.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How To: Medicate your cancerous, asshole horse

Since we first biopsied Fungus Leg, Bobby has been on a lot of pills. He started off on seventeen SMZs twice a day, and then once the results came back we immediately started him on an antibiotic which was an additional fourteen pills twice a day.

The SMZs dissolve easily in water so when he was only on those, it was easy enough to soak them quickly, dump them in his grain, and stir in some applesauce. He picked at it slowly, but he ate it all mostly without issue.

The antibiotics don't melt. In fact, if you leave them in water too long they literally turn to plastic. We tried to work around this the first day or two by mixing them with the SMZs and then immediately putting it in front of Bobby stirred in with two servings of applesauce. That didn't fly, and myself and the afternoon barn feeder had to forcibly shove the lumps of medication down his throat.

So instead of melting everything, I pounded (and then, duh, took Stacie's idea and used my coffee grinder) both medications into powder, mixed with applesauce, and tried again. Nope. Add some molasses as well? Crushed candy canes from a barn mate that works at Dunkin Donuts and brought a bag? He'd eat it, but it was taking him well over an hour to do it. The afternoon feeder was having to get there early just to make sure Bobby had enough time to slowly pick through it before he got turned out overnight (Usually he goes out during the day, but his pasture had just been mowed and sprayed so they were off it for a week.).

As a morning feeder, I know exactly how much of a pain in the ass a horse with tons of supplements and medications can be. I hated having to list out instructions and text back and forth while we all brain stormed what would make Bobby eat his meds in a timely fashion.

I finally found the right solution the other day.


gather your drugs. this is $100 for two weeks. he will likely be on it till the end
of times unless we decide to switch to a steroid. or maybe just add a steroid as well?
who knows. drugs drugs drugs. 


count out dosage and add to coffee grinder. realize after you've taken the picture you
miscounted and add another pill.

Most importantly...

add proper dosage of peppermints

Least favorite step:

beat the shit out of your cheap ass grinder until it deigns
to turn on


a fine pink powder that smells delicious.


add to tri amino for the morning and its own baggie for the night.

Bobby happily inhales it. I still give him a single serving of applesauce with it because I have about forty of them at the barn and what the fuck else am I going to do with them. It also makes for quite a bit of powder so the applesauce helps dampen it down a bit.

What about you guys? Do you have a horse that's difficult to sneak meds to? Any tricks you want to share on the not-so-off chance Bobby decides he's being poisoned and won't eat this in a few days?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Eastside Hunter Classic II

This weekend was particularly annoying for me show-wise. I'd entered a two day dressage show (Friday and Saturday) over a month ago, well before Fungus Leg was on the radar as being something that was going to fuck with my plans. I scratched from it--along with two other dressage shows--right after getting Bobby's cancer diagnosis. The leg was looking better, but he was still lame as shit and not looking like he was going to get over anything any time soon.

Of course last week he pulled a Bobby and was like, "JK, what's cancer? I've never been lame a day in my life." I didn't even think to see if I could get back into the dressage show. I'd sent along an Unfit to Compete note from my vet with my scratch so it seemed a little sketch to try to reverse that. Instead we rerouted to a local hunter show with my barn.

In typical WNY fashion, the only days it stopped rained since the dawn of time were Friday and Saturday and by the time I finished my short open warm up for the show on Sunday it was 50* and pouring.

i paid for overnight shipping for rain sleeves for my camera on wednesday. have
they gotten here yet? NO. hubby tried to take shelter underneath a tree before retreating
to the indoor and eventually running home for our canopy between my divisions. hence
the "artistic" point of view for most of these. THANKS, AMAZON.

Bobby was a gem to warm up. Well, once he got to canter. He was laying on my left rein and I was like, "Pulling fight? Bring it on!" instead of just kicking him, but after the canter he was perfectly pleasant. BM squeezed us into a group lesson Friday evening so we could get one more jump school in before the show. That made a grand total of five rounds over jumps in two days to prepare after not jumping at all in...four months? Totes prepared! He acted like he hadn't missed a day though. He was super adjustable and did whatever I asked of him, even if I asked him for some Grade A ammy things.

probably would be a majestic canter if you could see all of it

We started right off with the first division of the day. Quite frankly all hunter divisions confuse the shit out of me. Like, I'm pretty sure half of them are the exact same thing just with different names. This was the hack division which is essentially four flat classes called different things. Probably they're looking for something different in each one, but I don't know how much variety you can get with w/t/c. The hack is becoming all the rage around here even at the bigger rated shows. One of my barn mates won some giant fancy engraved silver plate for being champion at their last show in the hack. Dunno, just wanted some ribbons.

I was the only one from my barn in this division, but all my lovely barn mates came out and stood in the pouring rain to cheer us on. Thanks, team! Bobby doped along doing his thing. He got a little strong in the canter and occasionally wanted to giraffe, but he didn't pull any sideways shenanigans like he can so I was happy with it.

good enough for me!

We came in fourth in the first class, third in the next two, and then won the last. Why those placings? Pshh, beats me. We were beaten in the first class by a horse that would only pick up its left lead from a flying change, and the horse that won the first three classes screamed its head off nonstop. I don't think we should have won either because I am literally the laziest hunter rider on the planet.

It stems from the fact that I don't know what the fuck judges are looking for so what's the point of trying to ride properly? Sometimes it's like they don't even want you to do that. So I slump and don't bother engaging my core or really trying to connect my horse to the bit. Possibly if I actually cared about being competitive I'd make BM give me a lesson in how to ride for the hunter ring, but I don't so I won't.

thanks for this random blue ribbon. i have no idea what i did to win it. 

I usually work out of my trailer at shows, but because of the rain I got Bobby a stall. We spent a few hours huddled in the aisle our barn took over wrapped in coolers and eating candy before it was finally time for our second division. The two main local show circuits (Eastside and NWNY) added a TB division to their shows this year so myself and another barn mate entered to support it. It was two 2'6" over fences classes and a flat.

all everyone at the barn can keep saying about bobby getting to do some jumping
again is, "he looks SO HAPPY!!!" dude is definitely enjoying the pimp life.

Bobby was a total super star for both rounds. Our first was the better of the two. We got a little close to the single on the long side, but BM was drilling me to "own your spot" in my lesson on Thursday so I was like, "Whatever, chip spot, equitate bitch!" I felt like I was with him for every jump and landed moving on and thinking towards the next one. I let him coast down the lines--even the blue line that was set as the longest five stride in existence and we had to Jesus Take the Wheel out of it both times, but Bobby took the big gappy distance and made it feel easy peasy.

meanwhile the red line rode a touch tight, but whatevs. 

The second round was not quite so smooth. I was too grabby and didn't let Bobby carry the same pace as the first round. Bobby did an interpretive dance move over the second jump, but was smart enough to be careful of Fungus Leg and while it looked and felt speshul, he didn't even brush the rail.

never fear, fungus leg got out of the way in time

My solution of course was just to pick before each fence even more and we added a half stride to the outside line as well.

yes on giving the horse enough of a release to get us out of this messy situation.
no to that face. mine obvi. the horse doesn't seem to care much. #usedtoit

But we finished by cruising into and out of the blue line and when Bobby wanted to gallop off in celebration upon landing all I did was give him a tiny half halt and he came immediately back to a lovely canter instead of embarrassing the shit out of me and taking off with me. Again.

good britches!

We were third in both the over fences classes and fourth in the flat to some really nice movers from the host barn. Overall though I was so, sooooo happy with this dude. First show of the year, doing the thing he hasn't gotten to do in ages after not even getting ridden in almost a month, and he just went out and did what he was told. I'm so glad I decided to embrace his health while he has it. He's such a seasoned show horse now that it's just fun to ride him, and not knowing how many more times I'll get to do this made me love it that much more.

future mules might not stand so majestically in the miserable wet and cold.

This Sunday we're hopefully heading down to Geneseo for a hunter pace with a big group from the barn. Bobby got his feet packed and a little bute this morning, and when I stopped in quick to drop off more meds he was having a wild stallion rearing party with his frat brother in their field (just look away) so I don't think he's feeling too awful. I'm not going to have to worry about the footing being too hard this weekend since we're supposed to have another six solid days of thunderstorms blowing in and out.

After that? I'm not sure. I'm having a hard time looking at shows since I can't keep making two to three hundred dollar donations when I have to scratch last minute. Obviously best case scenario he stays sound, but my checkbook can't count on that. It's too busy counting on medication for the rest of eternity and another vet visit next week with a possible lung ultrasound. So we shall see. We might be stuck in dreadful hunterland for the foreseeable future.

fungus leg doing its best to blend in. don't be fooled by this mule's docile expression.
he'd just gotten booted in the ribs for pawing.