Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Check it off

Knock on mother fucking wood, things are right on schedule for this weekend's show.

Bobby did try to pull a fast one on Monday when I walked in his stall and saw a fresh blood trail down his pastern. At that point he still had a couple scabs left over from the sarcoidosis along his coronet band that were taking their sweet time coming off (They are officially gone as of this morning, and aside from being a little hairless still in spots, he looks like a cancer free horse!) so spots of blood along his leg weren't completely uncommon first thing in the morning. This was a nice fresh unrelated wound however. It looked like he'd stepped on his ankle with his shoe and just popped the skin open.

If you're wondering how one steps on the front of their front ankle with a front shoe, you have clearly never met my elegant ballerina of a horse.

I wiped off the blood, spritzed some BlueKote on the spot, and haven't had to worry about it since. Nice try, sir.

my mom fosters for the siamese cat rescue and recently got three kittens in.
so much cuter than bobby!

Other than that, even the weather has deigned to cooperate with how I've laid things out.

On Monday we did a dressage school before he got his feet done and ran through Novice A for the first time in two years. I opened it up on my phone to make sure I was doing the transitions in the right spots and was like, whuuut is this LOLZ?! It's so short compared to a Second level test. Of course, that also means there are less movements to make up for mistakes. I'm sure I'll find a way to screw it up somewhere, but the ride through felt like a breeze. Let's be real. It's a twenty meter circle each way at trot and canter. I can't mess it up that badly.

Probs famous last words.

i want this one because look at her little white feeties!!!

Yesterday we did our last fitness work, hauling out to Mendon and making sure we could still canter up and down terrain without dying. Bobby blasted through their water crossing without a second thought (he is part moose though, so not surprising), popped over a couple "jumps" in our path, and navigated the hills on autopilot.

I was able to school a drop with him which was nice because we don't have a bank at the barn (yet). There's a little pavilion that sits on a hill that's banked up on two sides just like a real cross country bank. He wanted no part of stepping off it last week, so I hopped off and did some in-hand work this time. There's only enough room for one stride before you land in brambles which I assume was his reason for not wanting to go as he's never had an issue with drops in his life.

He launched off the first time ending up with a face full of brush--which he immediately set to eating--and then calmly stepped down the next two times. I got back on and he stepped off with zero hesitation or fan fare and we carried on. The drop at GVH is part of a double step, and Novice is basically angled off to the side which makes it one drop but way steeper. I was glad to get that out of the way.

Overall though, his breathing and recovery were great for the amount of work we did. A barn mom reported he was tired last night, but he was covered in shavings from a good sleep and back to his perky and obnoxious self this morning for his day off. Bless the Thoroughbred, yo.

herro little stripey space alien

Tomorrow we'll do a light dressage school to make sure all the buttons still work, and then Friday will be a super short jump school to make sure my head is in the game. I'm not in the least concerned about dressage or cross country, but ye olde stadium demons are already back in full force. He hasn't given me a bad jump in weeks, but that shit doesn't die easy. My only goal for that phase is to stay present. And not get eliminated. He can pull every rail for all I care, just puh-leaze let us finish!

We basically got the world's best ride times for both days. Fingers crossed Hubby can work the camera to an acceptable level and that I'll be back next week with some awesome media to share!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What's red on right, white on left...

...and insanity in the middle?

How about Bobby's return to eventing next weekend? Surprise!

Actually there's (subjectively) nothing insane about it. This fucking show has been in the works for a solid month now. That may not seem like a particularly long time in the grand scheme of things, but seeing as my horse was diagnosed with the world's most random cancer just under two months ago and has inherently shitty feet, that was plenty of time to work with.

Fungus/Cancer Leg appears to be doing well. On the outside it's healing up great. He's off all meds for it, and I've been applying our fave KrudZapper less and less. The hair on his knee is coming in heavily interspersed with grey, and the area around his pastern is being particularly stubborn about growing back, but seeing as how his whole leg was alternately covered in slimy pus or scalded to raw flesh for the better part of May, it looks positively lovely now.

We're still dealing with that leg stocking up overnight. It's not as bad as it has been in the past, but certainly a noticeable difference since we stopped the pentoxifylline. The fill goes away completely as soon as he gets out--whether in turnout or being ridden--so I'm not too concerned about it. I'm trying to budget in a set of Back on Track quick wraps for him to marinate in overnight, and Riding Bestie suggested a chemo cream that I'm waiting to hear back from the vet on.

Soundness-wise though, the leg hasn't given me any issues.

His feet have also been behaving themselves. I think Farrier and I have finally figured out a good plan for him through trial and error these past six-ish months. We know he gets sore if he gets long, and we know that he gets sore the day he gets done. A gram of Bute day-of fixes the latter problem, and sticking to a three to four week schedule (mostly three because ALL THE MONEY) keeps the former from cropping up.

We scheduled his latest shoeing as soon as I sent in my entry. He'd be at four weeks the weekend of the show so obviously that was a no go. I didn't want him to get done afterwards on the chance he'd be ouchy because he was too long, but I didn't want him done the day before because he needs the Bute and I don't show on drugs, so he'll be done on Monday.

It's been a case of detail oriented management to get and keep this horse feeling sound and comfortable. On paper we keep getting handed things that could very well put him into permanent retirement. This is a horse that wants to work though. He tells us when we're not getting it right, and rewards us by doing his job without complaint when we figure things out.

I think it's easy to be faced with a problem like navicular or, you know, cancer and call it quits. It's easy to get a diagnosis and not aim for anything beyond happy pasture pet. In a lot of cases, that's all the future holds. I don't want to quit though. I don't think Bobby is ready to quit. I think he's got a lot more to offer if we do right by him and give him the best care we can. He's not going to be a full time event horse, and he's going to need to be catered to with footing in any atmosphere, but right now he's firing on all cylinders. He feels like he's ready to do this.

I picked an event to go to instead of a big dressage show because it grates on me the way we left eventing. Two years ago we moved up here to WNY. We got one event in, entered a second which was rained out and cancelled after the dressage, and then Bobby hurt his DDFT. We rallied and finished the year with a jumper derby at Novice and Training, but that winter I got my brutal concussion and spent the entire year working my lady balls off to very slowly rebuild my confidence over stadium fences. Right when I hit my stride and was feeling good again, Bobby was diagnosed with navicular and I thought for sure that was the end of any real jumping.

I've been slowly testing the waters on what his feet can handle. We've been jumping in the front field with some regularity, had a couple jump lessons in the indoor, and have done our conditioning work over lots of terrain with spurts of road hacking thrown in. I pack his feet after a hard workout (much to Farrier's amusement--I'm definitely obsessed with hoof packing), but that's all the extra attention they get. So far he hasn't shown any sign of discomfort. The short shoeing cycle and his aluminum wedges are exactly what he needs right now.

Living up to this blog's name, it was a struggle to pay for this one show. I don't have a credit card, and while the vet is great about payments, I don't like owing people money in general. All of Bobby's extensive vet visits and medication came out of pocket and were paid upfront. Coupled with a brand new car payment, there was zero extra money left over for show fees. I paid for the hunter show (and two weeks of meds) with birthday money and that was that. Hauling horses to Syracuse put a big dent in the entry fee, but I still had to rejoin USEA and make sure I'd set aside enough for gas. I had to cancel lessons for this month, but it got done. While I won't be able to afford anything else in the foreseeable future, that's okay.

It's hard to feel like you're missing out on a show season when you're handed a diagnosis you're not sure your horse is going to live through. Every now and then I'll get a twinge like I'm missing out, but I've been busy enjoying my horse, getting my learn on, and filling in some gaps in our training. I'm learning not to look so far ahead and get so caught up in goals and grand visions.

There are plenty of things I still want to do. I want to officially move up to Training. I want to clean up my scores for a Bronze. I want to hunter pace until my legs fall off. I want to do all of those things with this horse, but they're no longer the priority. Right now being able to throw my horse on the trailer and take him for a three hour trail ride by ourselves without a care in the world feels like the biggest win of my life.

Now if only they would hand out satin for that...