Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picture time! Sinatra's feet pre and post trim

So here are pictures of Sinatra!
Hey all!  Haven't seen you in a while
Don't mind my face, Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls are messy but FUN!
Actually this is over Sinatra's feet.  I have been using a barefoot trimmer for over a year now, while I don't love him like I loved my farrier in Ohio (who was not barefoot but a very well educated BWFA farrier) he does a pretty good job.  I do nit pick, micro manage and have him fix things.  The before shots are at 7 weeks, to the day, from his last trim.  I am hoping to get feedback from people who are more knowledgeable on barefoot care.  Any feedback appreciated!!!

Before pics, right front
Before, right front, front view
Before, right front, heel view
Before, right front, side view
Before, right front, sole view
After pics, right front
After, front feet, front view
After, right front, heel
After, right front, side
After, right front, sole
Before pics, left front
Before, left front, front
Before, left front, heel
Before, left front, side
Before, left front, sole
After pics, left front
After, left front, front
After, left front, heel
After, left front, side
After, left front, sole
Before pics, right hind
Before, right hind, heel
Before, right hind, sole
After pics, right hind
After, right hind, front
After, right hind, heel
After, right hind, side
After, right hind, sole
Before pics, left hind
Before, left hind, heel
Before, left hind, side
Before, left hind, sole
After pics, left hind
After, left hind, front
After, left hind, heel
After, left hind, side
After, left hind, sole
Hopefully all of the pictures weren't too boring, I am just hoping for some feedback.  I am still pretty new to the the barefoot road, or rather the CORRECT barefoot road, and want to see if how I am directing the feet to be trimmed is correct.  Thanks in advance!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

First real snow and random updates

So this past weekend we actually had our first "real" snow of the season, enough that we broke out the plow for the first time this winter.  It is only a few inches but it is snow.  And it was 10 degrees this morning but it is supposed to be 40 tomorrow.  What a crazy winter so far.

Last Thursday I had my lesson on the App and it went....okay.  Overall I was disappointed that we didn't work on anything new and I didn't get much feedback.  On the flip side it was obvious that the App was a little off, not enough to not ride, and not enough you could really see it (without staring hard anyway), but enough I could feel it.  She was most likely taking it easy on him as a result.  We will try again in a couple of weeks and see how the next lesson goes.

So it turns out the TWH is lame due to a bruise or abscess in his outside heel bulb on his right front.  I am leaning towards a bruise as he is getting better and was almost sound this am.  He has been on bute since Wednesday afternoon and I will pull him off of it tonight.  The App is lame though I am not sure the root cause.  I have been reading Nic over in the UK, he does barefoot rehabbing and he has shown video stressing the importance of a heel first landing.  So I took a slo-mo video of the App and what is happening?  He is landing toe first on his left front. AH-HA!

I had the farrier out on Saturday for their normal trim and had him review everyone's feet pretty extensively.  I am continually disappointed in how everyone's feet appear after the 6th week and this time was no exception.  The App's left front was flared out on the outside and I didn't like how the bottom looked.  His hind feet also were getting underrun heels.  Again.  I micro-managed the job and made him back the App's toes up and fix some things.  He had me w/t/c the App on a lunge to see how he moved and he made some additional adjustments.  Last night the App was still lame though he looked better this AM.  On the plus side I got really good pics of the TWH's feet, both before and after, for comparision.  This will hopefully be posted later today or tomorrow.  The downside is I didn't get the same pics of the App's feet due to time.  By the time I found the camera (it has been lost since summer) and thought of taking before pics, I ran out of time and only got the TWH's done.  I have only 2 before pics of the App, both of his soles.  I will take after pics, hopefully tonight, and post them as well.  Hopefully someone can give some insight into how his feet look??

Not much else is new, I haven't ridden since Thurs due to 2 lame horses.  I did get a lot done this past weekend as SO was out of town, I had the house fairly clean, the poo box dumped, water trough filled, wheel barrow wheel fixed, poo box fixed, hay filled and arena cleaned so Sunday was a truly relaxing day.  I really don't get that much anymore, not without neglecting something else anyway.  So...pics to come!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New riding buddy and then lame

So I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and suck it up and try again to find a riding buddy.  Have I really succeeded?  I am not sure and the answer is probably no but I am at least trying.  I have 2 people that are coming out right now, one coming from about 45 mins away (RB4) and the other about 25 mins away (RB5).  RB4 is a couple of years younger than I am and has a decent seat.  She is an intermediate rider who seems to have only ridden her own horse(s).  She rides western but has ridden saddleseat and lightly dabbled in english when she was in college.  She rode only her own horse, however, and thus doesn't know some of the cues I expected her to know.  For example she didn't know how to ask for a canter any way other than keep kicking.  She really wants me to show her all of my training tricks, she was impressed the horses knew so much.  She said she wants to know how to train her horses to do some of the things that mine do.  I have no problem showing people how to train but her approach was a bit too direct for my preference.  It was almost like she is more interested in what I can teach her than the riding.  The only other downside of RB3 is she appears to be hearing impaired, she has aids in both ears and speaks with a heavy slur.  That part doesn't bother me, it is that she doesn't appear to hear me unless I am riding directly next to her so it makes it hard to carry on a conversation or give her instructions on how to do something.  She is not sure how often she will be able to ride due to her personal life.  We will see.

I also have RB5 coming out on Saturday for the first time, she sounds a bit more stable so we will see.  She lives much closer too which I think helps.  She is older and says she has had horses for about 30 years and is looking to for a riding buddy because she doesn't have an indoor arena so her winter riding has come to a halt.  She said she does some NH training and is interested in learning more about showing.  I will certainly let you know how it goes with her!

I rode the TWH on Monday with RB4 and am getting increasingly frustrated at his disregard for my insistence of a certain gait.  He is flipping his gaits fairly regularly, when trotting he will flip into a pace or step pace when I make a smaller circle or try to slow his trot down.  He is also pacing for longer periods of time when coming out of a canter then he was.  I am pretty certain it is a fitness and balance issue and it will go away as I get them back to fit but it is very frustrating.  I didn't get to work on this too much Monday because of RB4's hearing issue, we spent a good half of the ride walking while talking with her.  That is a good thing, as it is building a rapport and at least the horses are getting exercise, but it isn't want I wanted to work on when I have a lesson coming up on Thursday.

But as it turns out there aren't TWH lesson worries this week.  I thought the TWH looked odd when I did night check last night but didn't think anything of it  This morning though he is definitely lame in his right front.  I don't feel any heat in the hoof and he seems most tender right above his knee.  There is a very, very slight increase in heat and he picks his leg up when I palpate it thought it could just be him picking it up due to his personality.  He looked really off while I was leading him over the uneven, mud-frozen ground but looked really good once he was in the indoor arena.  I gave him some bute and turned him out, I will check on him at lunch and give him a good hard look.   I guess I am glad I have a "spare" horse so I don't have to cancel my lesson though I am not really ready for it on the App.  Gotta ride tonight for sure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lesson taking fail

So I failed at riding the TWH enough to get him ready for a lesson the first week of January.  Or the second week.  I am now aiming for the fourth week.  I really, truly hate that I have become one of "those" people, who has horses at home and doesn't ride them.  I never thought I would become what I am and it makes it worse that I have an indoor arena to ride whenever I would like.  I can't even blame the weather (mostly).  I do place most of the blame on my working from home and the fact I don't like being by myself when there are people I could be around.  If SO worked outside while I rode I don't think I would have this issue but he doesn't so I don't end up riding so I can be around a person at night.  Ugh.

To make things worse, RB1 had emailed me about riding last month and we were going to ride starting in January.  She then emailed me the first week of January letting me know the back problems she has been having has put her on a permanent sideline and she is not supposed to ride.  Ever again.  She will sneak in a quick trail ride every now and again however the doctors tell her it just isn't possible anymore.  If nothing else I guess the App will be happy he doesn't have to do dressage every time he is ridden.  RB3 likes to come out but really doesn't like riding in the arena and will either not ride or will walk along the wall for 90% of the ride.  While I do take advantage and ride at that time, it doesn't help keep the other horse in shape.  I really wish I knew someone here in MI that wanted to ride regularly.

What have I been doing instead of riding?  Well, I got my last 100 bales of hay for the season, I stripped the donkey's stall and now everyone has the pelleted bedding, I have been giving riding lessons two or three times a week, having RB3 visit 2 times a week and taking care of the place by myself while SO is out of town (every weekend this month and he will be out of town all next week too).  We also got another dog and I have been working on interacting with her (she loves to play fetch or run around with a stick) and trying to keep the peace with our extremely jealous dog, killing mice because our indoor cats wont', discovering the dead animals my outside cats bring and dealing with snow and cold.

I really need to put riding as a higher priority.  Next week will be easy, as I will be here by myself at night with nothing else to do, here's to hoping I get my butt in gear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just another day

So far the new year has been pretty nice.  I finally pulled my lip stitches out this past weekend, they were highly irritating and the doctor said they should fall out in a week so I don't feel bad.  The weather has been pretty nice, albeit unseasonally warm.  This time last year we had almost a foot of snow and now we have none and it is staying in the 30-40's during the day.  However, while I love the warmer days, the mud season is not so enjoyable.  Ugh.

I am working at riding regularly again, I've ridden a few times already this year.  I rode the TWH last week and rode the App this past weekend on a trail ride.  I brought our new dog along and she loved the run.  She is a coming 6 yr old German Shepard whose goal in life is to carry a stick and fetch a ball.  She is a really good dog and did very well on our trail ride. The App and I trotted about 2 miles of the 3 mile ride and the App was surprisingly well behaved during the entire trip.  Except for the last 5 mins but we won't count that.  The App was pretty relaxed, he stayed in a trot when asked, he stayed at the speed I asked and walked when I asked.  He didn't even scream his ever-loving head off (except for the last 5 mins).  It was a very nice ride.

This morning I was up at 530a and had a mission to ride the TWH.  I want to get him in shape to take a lesson but have had such a hard time finding time to be on a horse lately.  Thus I took the opportunity of the SO needing to be at work early as an excuse to get my butt in gear and ride.  I think the horses were surprised to see me before 6a, something I haven't done in a while.  Imagine the TWH's surprise when I only gave him a handful of grain while feeding everyone else and then more surprise when I drug him out of the stall and tacked him up.  He was awfully suspicious and not too keen on the idea.

The ride went pretty well, I was working on trying to get the TWH to give a nice, forward, balanced trot where he is definitely pushing from behind.  It took a good bit of work to get it, he continues to poke his nose out and fall onto his forehand during any kind of smaller circle.  I also had a bit of an issue where he would continue to flip his gaits around and not stick in a trot when I was spiraling in/out on a circle.  That trait/habit is very frustrating and irritating and the only solution I have is to kick him forward or abruptly stop and then ask again.  Eventually he did as asked and by bracing the outside rein I was able to get the TWH to bend and push with his hind.  This is a different technique than the one used on the App, the App gets a braced inside rein, though it seemed to work much better.  We were finally able to get some decent 10m circles and changes of direction without him sticking his nose out or dropping his shoulder.  Dressage success!!

We finished the ride by opening the gate to the arena and the TWH decided he wouldn't have any of it.  Spinning away, backing away, walking away, anything but sidepass with the gate.  And then he made a bad decision, this is now the second time in 2 years he seriously thought about taking his front feet off of the ground and I won't allow any of that.  I kicked him with both legs very hard, making him leap forward.  I then put his nose to his flank and kicked very aggressively for about 5 circles and then let him walk himself to a stop.  At least this way he can't take his front feet off of the ground in opposition to the discipline.  I think he got the point that he was being very bad because when I put him next to the gate again, he decided he would nicely sidepass with the gate as it was being opened.  These horses sometimes, I swear.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Eve unfun - non-horse related

The new year has come and gone without too much drama, welcome 2012 and I hope you bring good things this way!  There are a lot of things to do this year, both with the horses and with the property and I hope we can get some of them done.  Sometimes it seems hopeless but then you look back at what we have done in this past year and it is pretty astounding so it gives me renewed hope.

New Years Eve wouldn't even have been worth mentioning if it didn't include a trip to Urgent Care.  Except it did and this extremely needle phobic gal had to be stuck six times.  What happened?  I had RB3 and her SO over for games and company for NYE, we fed all of the animals and sat down to dinner.  We were finishing dessert when I saw one of my indoor cats had Houdini'ed himself out of the bedroom he was locked in for dinner (as everyone will eat his food since he eats slowly, he also likes to bully one of the other cats while they try to eat) and was currently staring down the grey cat that he loves to bother.  I said "Arimus, what are you doing out?", walked over and picked him up.  Obviously I startled him and he thought I was one of the dogs because he twisted around, hissed and let a claw fly and it swiped my face.  I tried pinning him to the ground to grab his scruff but he was able to run away.  I started after him, to remind him that was NOT an acceptable response, when I heard "Is that blood?!?!  You are bleeding everywhere!!"  Turns out his swipe caught my lower lip and a half inch strip was hanging off.

I tried to convince them I would be fine, as after seeing it I knew it would need stitches and I don't like needles, but everyone insisted that I HAD to go to the ER and they forced me to go by putting on their coats and refusing to sit back down.  I was able to make it a little better by at least finding an urgent care that was open at 9p at night on New Years Eve in my sparse area, I wanted to be home by midnight dang it!  It was a 30 minute drive but it was worth it.  On the way RB3 asked what was I going to do with the cat.  I figure it was obvious I startled him and he thought I was a dog.  Once he realized his error he tried desperately to get away because he knew he crossed a line.  In our brief struggle he didn't offer to scratch or bite a second time, something he could have easily done multiple times, so I am not going to do anything.  I am looking at it as an accident.  SO doesn't agree but his opinion doesn't matter.  If the cat does it again though, we may revisit the situation.

The Urgent Care was thankfully pretty empty with only one other person being seen and I was brought back very quickly.  They gave me a shot in my lower lip/gum to numb my lip though after 45 mins it was still not numb.  They then broke out the "big guns" and stuck me in the wound 4 times to make it would numb and then proceeded to give me 3 stitches.  Plus a tetanus shot.  We won't go into the hysterics that were involved as they had to convince me to accept these stickings.

As someone who has never, ever had stitches until now, I can say I was impressed.  Once they finally numbed the lip, I didn't feel them sewing at all.  I did feel the thread but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.  The doctor was in good humor and did a good job, even though I was his last patient of the night and he wanted to go home as badly as I did.  The nurse was also very nice and was in very good spirits, though she found me much more amusing than I did her.  She tried to sneak the tetanus shot on me and I came off of the table saying "This relationship is moving much, much too fast.  Let's slow down for a bit!".  She doubled over giggling, but you can't sneak that kind of stuff on a person!

The stitches should fall out in the next few days and I am ready for my lip to stop exfoliating.  Nothing is more irritating than having a large chunk of hard, dead skin peeling off of your lip where your top lip and tongue touches it all the time.  I have pulled one offending chunk off today with tweezers and am waiting for another to come loose.  I am also on 2 different antibiotics for a full week.  Hope your NYE wasn't nearly as exciting as mine.  Thankfully we got home at 11p and spent the rest of NYE playing the game Apples to Apples and it was quite uneventful.

Did I mention I just realized I have now been blogging for over a year?  Plus I have over 100 posts done and I didn't notice?  Congrats to me!