Monday, October 23, 2017

The Snoot: Part I

On the off chance anyone missed what I was up to this weekend, I bought a horse!

this horse, to be exact.

I thought for sure I'd need a long break after I put Bobby down, but there's nothing quite like still having to go to the barn every day to take care of other people's horses to make you get antsy in a hurry to have something of your very own again. I wanted something, but I also would randomly wake up in the middle of the night with this nauseous clenched feeling in my gut like I had a horse and something was very, very wrong with it. So that wasn't great.

But I kept casually clicking through the Finger Lakes Finest listings since I live thirty minutes from the track and Instant Gratification is my middle name.

There were a couple that I really liked the weekend before last, but they sold on the spot to people walking around with the volunteers. I figured if I wanted first pick of something nice--and I didn't have to call people on the phone to set up a time to come out (win!)--that would be the best way for me to go, too.

I messaged them to let them know I wanted to walk around with them when they went back out this past Saturday, told the volunteer my budget, and met up with them and another girl who was also shopping first thing that morning. I figured even if there was nothing I liked this time around, there were worse ways to spend a morning!

So what was I looking for? My specifics were basically no mares; no greys; no small, piggy eyes; no bulging psycho eyes; something that had raced more than once or twice; something still in training, not something that got thrown on the walker for half an hour while still being fed a steady diet of rocket fuel and that was his life; and he had to be sound. Age didn't bother me. My main goal above all those other things though was he had to have a brain.

The volunteers showed us a war horse first who was well put together without a blemish on him who seemed like a really sweet guy. He didn't excite me though, so we moved on to two more--a cute chestnut that was at the end of rehabbing a suspensory (pass), and a really pretty big bay who hadn't been in training all year (pass) and had shit feet (pass) and a big knee (pass).

We wandered over to another barn to see if the trainer still had a horse they thought I might like available. He was gone, but the trainer said she had a cute grey they could list and a couple mares. I was like, pass. Again.

And then they led The Snoot out.

"hullo, frenz. you has candies?"

The other girl who I was shopping with also didn't want a grey, but the second he came out we all let out a collective, "Awwwwwww." They told us his name was Opie, he had a great brain, that he was five years old, had just raced two weeks ago, and did they mention his great brain?

I quickly snapped a couple pics to send to Riding Bestie who was shopping with me via text, then remembered to get pictures of his feet to send to Farrier for her approval. Opie stood quietly in the road, snuggling his groom and accepting peppermints from all of us while I went over every inch of him.

We headed across to the trainer's other barn to look at the mares, one of whom the other shopper instantly fell in love with. Meanwhile Farrier had given her stamp of approval so it was basically on me to decide if he was the one. Both me and the other shopper were both trying to play it cool, so we followed the volunteers to the next barn. We lasted about two minutes while the first horse got his listing information taken before we split and went back to the previous trainer's barn to make things official with our picks.

home!

I ran home to grab my truck, ran to the barn to grab my trailer, got distracted showing pictures of his cuteness to barnmates, and then ran back over to the track to pick him up. He'd never been in a two horse before, but he put both front feet on the ramp before stopping to assess. Deb's husband was leading him, and Deb came out of the barn behind us and said, "Oh, you've never seen one of those before. Oh, well. Opie, get on there!" and he scrambled right in.

He rode over quietly and let out one neigh when I stopped the truck in the parking lot. He was a little anxious about being in the trailer, and he backed out one step, got his hind feet on the ramp, and jumped backwards to get out. Once he was out he stood still on a slack lead, but he's going to need some trailering practice to get used to his new chariot.

he's super excited too, i promise.

I let him graze while he got ogled by my barn mates, and then got to creeping. Probably should have made more of a point to do that before I bought him (for next to nothing I should say. Like, tack on a zero and he'd probably bring that with six months of retraining), but we couldn't figure out how to spell his JC name.

He's actually four, not five, though he has an early January birthday. He's a NY-bred by Maybry's Boy (which was obvious once I saw that as they look exactly alike) out of an Eltish mare. He raced 31 times, 12 times this year alone, and was actually entered to race today. He only won twice, and the groom told us, "He won for us once last year. He looked like they were chasing him, and he's never run that fast again."

He's on the smaller side, maybe 15.3hh, but he's a little but his yet since I think he might grow a touch more. Spoiler alert: he doesn't feel that small when I'm on him.

He's been here since Saturday afternoon and has already settled right in. He was the only horse in the barn when he got here so he had to hang out by himself while we drove the gator up and down the aisle shoveling gravel into stalls and throwing mats around. He didn't make a peep, just kept an eye on us and accepting peppermints whenever they were offered.

they gave me his nice leather track halter, but i wanted him to have a t/o halter
to abuse. the only breakaway left in his size was blue, but i think it suits him.

I feel like I could just keep writing for hours gushing over him, but I'll save that for part two--his first trail walk, his first ride, and his first turnout with his new friends.

Is it obvious I'm super excited to own a horse again? To own this horse? Because I feel like maybe I'm being too subtle about it...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Saturday at Fair Hill

My current coping mechanism for having to put my horse down is complete emotional detachment through eating--which works great until I'm like, "Imma bring this extra apple to Bobby tomorrow cuz he's gonna love it!" and then I break down into hysterics because I can't feed my horse.

Literally the most surefire thing to make me cry is give me a snack I can't feed my own horse. THINGS ARE GOING GREAT, THANKS.

But I don't want to talk about that. Like, ever. Let's move on to far more exciting things!

way to jump that giant thing, 2* rider!

About a week and a half earlier, I decided on a whim that this was going to be the year I finally went down for cross country day at Fair Hill. Nevermind we used to only live three hours away, it made much more sense now that we're easily seven hours north. I texted Riding Bestie to see if she was available to come too (yep!), told Hubby my plans and had him sign on quickly as well.

We got down to PA Friday night, met up with Sarah early Saturday morning, and began driving the most ass-backwards way known to man. I have no idea which way we used to trailer down to Plantation and Carousel Park to show, but holy fuck I'm glad it wasn't that way. What a giant cluster fuck.

sally cousins in the 2*

Approximately five trillion years later we finally made it to parking and jumped onto the shuttle bus just after ten.

i have no idea how mags's fluffy ass fit on that seat
with hubby

meanwhile pig had adopted herself out to a new
family and had zero regrets about it

We had no idea where to start, so we picked a path and started wandering. We watched a little bit of one of the waters, and then plopped down at the coffin complex where Austen soon found us.

lyra has no time for your shenanigans. 

Austen was stuck with us for most of the day and quickly won over the favor of Hubby by giving him her extra beer tent wristband, and by Sarah for her copious use of the word "fuck" which is honestly the easiest way to win any of us over.

We missed quite a bit of the 2* riders while strolling through the trade fair where we lost Austen in the Eponia booth for awhile. I don't know how you Rolex bloggers had such a problem with her shopping habits--the next time we saw her she had a large bag slung over her shoulder...

it was hard to miss buck. he was on practically every other horse.

i would like this jump at my house. #adorbs

We grabbed some vastly overpriced but delish lunch, and then headed over to the tailgate area to meet Niamh. I've met Niamh a couple times before--she was actually the very first blogger I ever met in-person!--and she was just as fun as ever. We were soon joined by Emma and had to get together for an epic dog party blogger pic!

i see your white snow bunny and raise you one black bear.

this poor pooch was like, "let's be friends, guys!
JK I'VE MADE A TERRIBLE DECISION!"

Everyone split into opposite directions from there and Hubby, Sarah, and I headed off in the direction of the start to see more of the course as the 3* kicked off.

jessie phoenix

i can't be the only one that has a huge crush on this mare

We watched the first few riders come through where we could see two big galloping fences at once before deciding we'd move on to a combination to see some action. After all, these upper levels horses weren't going to have any issues cruising over these "easy" jumps. About two minutes later we were maybe six feet away as Jenny Caras's horse came in on a half stride and hung a leg on the picnic table, high-impact splattering them both into the ground. They were both instantly up and seemed no worse for wear fortunately.

We quickly hoofed it over to the corner combination where the first pair we saw was Heather Morris getting eliminated on refusals.

#nope

y u so pretty tho, charlie tango?

That was plenty of drama for us, and we didn't see anything else besides really nice trips from there out.

super bummed colleen wasn't able to hold on for the win

Right as the 3* was finishing up, I think on the very last rider, Britt and I finally managed to run into each other for a quick meet up before we both left.

why can't i look so nice and polished after
six hours of walking around in 90% humidity?

I also met Megan K quickly as Hubby ducked into the beer tent one more time, but my head was pounding so bad at that point I completely forgot to get a picture. Blogger fail. She and her girlfriend were both great though!

here's freebee instead

It was a great event overall, made all the more fun by getting to meet so many bloggers in one place. The massive amounts of doggos wandering around waiting to be pet helped cheer me up, too.

wild puppy

wild black bear

I'd definitely like to attend again, if only it weren't so fucking far away. I hear the Geneseo Hunt Races are a great party day, guys! And only forty five minutes away from me...so probably about sixteen hours for everyone else on the planet.

and for everyone concerned, don't worry.
hubby got his crabs in a bag.

Friday, October 6, 2017

One last celebration

Riding Bestie wrote this poem for me the other night:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I fucking hate horses
I wish you drank vodka, too

sarah is #judgingyou for your treat whoreness, bobby.

Riding Bestie came up to say goodbye to Bobby and help me torture him with one last photo shoot. It only involved one ugly crying moment for which I am very proud of us.

bobby says, "torture? i got to hang out and have fun while we tortured these puppers!"

I want to thank everyone who contributed to the care package for Bobby and I, as Bobby ate the entire bag of German Horse Cookies in the space of about fifteen minutes and was very upset when they were gone.

"but i don't want those stupid apple nuggets, i want the fancy cookies!"

And, of course, just a giant thank you to everyone who has commented or simply read along over the past several years. Most of you guys never got to know my original heart horse, Red. Bobby has been the star of the blog for so long and has expanded my horse community horizons so much that it feels like I'm losing part of my identity.

so many memories, and probably just as many shows where we fucked things
up and didn't come home with anything. 

Despite Bobby's unwavering joie de vivre, there's no doubt in my mind it's his time no matter how unfair it is. His coronary band is getting worse by the day--it's practically crumbling apart at this point--and I can tell he's starting to get bored living in his stall even with the never-ending treat supply. He's going to go out while he's happy, and his pain is being managed, and never knowing how truly awful his situation is.

who knew barking dogs locked in cars were the key to his posing all along?

There will be another horse, and the blog will continue. However, I don't want to make the same mistake and rush into another horse and end up resenting them for the first year like I did with Bobby when Red died. Horses actually cost real money, a concept I am most unfamiliar with having gotten all of my horses over the years with a combined purchase price of less than $1,500. Once these final two vet bills are paid off I'll start saving and see what shows up on my radar....you know, for around $0.

the only bad part about all these ribbons is having to hang them back up in chronological
order because that's how i roll. 

In the meantime, Bobby will be spending his weekend getting every single food item he can possibly want stuffed down his throat, and on Sunday I'll turn him out in the indoor over night with his bestie so he can have one last rumpus epic rollies fest. He's given me the gift of being the kindest, most patient horse throughout this whole process. I want to repay him by letting him do whatever the fuck he wants with a side order of ten thousand pounds of carrots.

and check with the local tack store to see if they carry fancy cookies

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

And that was that

As scheduled, the vet was out yesterday afternoon to get another set of eyes on Bobby and take some new images of the cursed RF.

if you just, you know, removed the upper half
it looks pretty okay on the outside.

Bobby seemed to be holding up well with his new diet and restricted turnout to the indoor. Everyone kept telling me how he was prancing around the ring looking happy and cheerful. In his stall his attitude has been bright and perky, and he hasn't made any fuss about his new schedule.

"HAI I NEED EXTRA COOKIES PLZ."

Bobby's usual vet is out of town all week, but I liked our substitute vet a lot. She was perfunctory and didn't get caught up oohing and ahhing over his leg when clearly his foot was the disaster area. She got the facts, gave me the facts, and that was that. She had me take him to the indoor to walk him out and trot him back, both of which he did with zero hesitation despite being severely crippled.

I told her he'd never had to be tranqed to get rads before and she put the syringe away without argument. He was a little difficult to get pictures of because he was so uncomfortable standing on the blocks, but we made it work and got what we needed. Really, after the first shot, there wasn't much of a need to take anything else.

I know absolutely nothing about reading x-rays or what the inside of a horse is supposed to look like, but even I could see as soon as the image popped up we were fucked. Positively, no returns fucked. Where we were hoping for maybe an abscess track or mild rotation, instead his coffin bone had dropped and was about 2mm from blowing through the bottom of his sole.

You can't un-drop a coffin bone. Best case scenario was he grew a massive amount of sole in a short amount of time and we could figure out shoeing to keep him pasture sound. But realistically Bobby has always had bad feet, and he obviously wasn't about to grow a new one out of thin air.

The vet's best guess was that it wasn't diet related at all, but that it all came back full circle to the fucking sarcoidosis. She felt that whatever hot mess mystery was going on in the coronary band had damaged the connective tissue to the coffin bone causing the rapid sinking.

You can't cure sarcoidosis. You can't regrow the inside of a broken foot. As vet handed over a bottle of Bute and gave Bobby's giant lug head a hug, she told me I had maybe two weeks before the coffin bone was probably going to come through. "I've never had a horse where I wanted to do a leg transplant so badly."

"does leg transplant mean moar cookies?"

The RF was burning up this morning and we're on high alert for signs the LF wants to go, too. After a sleepless night, the appointment is set for late Monday morning. I hope that's not pushing it too far out, but so far the Bute, ice, and his pad have kept him pretty stable.

Bobby outwardly seems no worse for wear. He's so happy and in your face that it's made this decision hard, but at the same time I'm glad I get to let him go while he still thinks life is great and nothing matters more than where his next snuggle and snack comes from.