Friday, April 20, 2012

Update :)

Life is crazy. I haven't blogged since late 2009. I would say I am somewhat disappointed in myself but I should give myself some credit. I started community college in January 2010 when my son was 6 months old. I somehow managed to juggle being a mom, a wife, and *sort of* kept up with my horse hobby. In August 2011 I finally found a job and then finished all of my classes in November while working 32 hours a week. It was a little rough at times but I managed to maintain a 4.0 gpa and should be receiving all 3 of my certificates this summer.
As life has slowed down a tiny bit, I have been trying to make more time for my horse. Sometimes I am successful and get out to the barn to ride 4 times a week. Most often though I make it to the barn twice a week and ride one or two of those times depending on how full my schedule is. Luckily, Summer has a pretty cushy existence at her current barn. She has about an acre and a half or so pasture attached to a 12x24 stall. A small creek runs through her pasture with some big beautiful oak trees towards the back. It's so nice I kind of wish I could move in with her. She almost lives the life of a semi-retired horse and I can tell she loves every minute of it.
Our working relationship has been getting better, and I really feel like we "get" each other. I have been trying to do a lot of new things with her and we are still trying to figure out what our one thing is. She has definitely let me know Western Pleasure is not something she enjoys and that she much prefers something that keeps her brain active and is constantly challenging her. She loves cow work, and trail riding is definitely something we love to do. Briefly we explored getting into mounted shooting and I found that she had no problem with a gun being shot off of her but that the hobby itself would be much too expensive than we could afford at this point. In the last few months we have discovered reining. While she may not ever be perfect at it, it does seem to keep her mind constantly working. Back in February we attended our first clinic ever with Shane Steffen for beginning reining and cow work. We actually did really well and left feeling like it was something we could both do. So in the weeks since, I have been working on her stop, back, haunch turns, and forehand turns. I have even managed to get a halfway decent spin out of her. Tonight is our first lesson with Shane since the clinic and I am super excited to show off what we have been working on and see how we can improve from here.
Hopefully, I can start blogging more. I would love to be able to write about how I am feeling about where we are going and what some of my goals are. Maybe I will even get some feedback on occasion......

Summer enjoying some brief sunshine in February

Monday, September 14, 2009

Liniment and Polo Wraps

My birthday is this week. Friday actually. I had planned a trail ride for Saturday with some friends and have been really really really looking forward to it. Really. My husband even offered to watch Xavier all day so I could have a nice relaxing time. This last Friday evening I received a call from Susan. She had gone out to ride Summer, pulled her out of the field and noticed something was off. She checked her over and saw that Summer's right front shoe was missing. She had a slight limp and was swollen just above her coronet band to just below her fetlock. The back of her pastern had some small cuts on it as well. I was worried but stuck at home with the baby so instructed her to cold hose her leg for 10 to 15 minutes, spray some Schreiner's Herbal Solution on the cuts and put liniment on the swollen area.
I went out the next morning (Saturday) and pulled Summer out of the pasture. She only had a slight limp and the swelling didn't look bad at all. I did the same thing that Susan had the night before but left out the liniment. She was in a good mood and enjoyed the attention, except for the Schreiner's because it stings a bit and she hates spray bottles of any kind. I put her back out to pasture and sent Susan a text updating her on the situation and asked her to repeat the process again that night. Before I left I even walked the fenceline of her pasture thinking that maybe she got caught up in some wire or something but couldn't find anything to confirm my suspicion.
Susan made it out yesterday (Sunday) morning to check her over again and sent me a text saying she seemed to be worse and the swelling had increased. Her limp was more pronounced so we decided stall rest for the time being would be best. I went out last night and managed to catch our barn owner Kristy and ask her advice. She suggested we do what we had been but thought too much stall rest might make her stock up and not help the injury circulate. She let me borrow some polo wraps and I wrapped her legs for the night. Not well since I'd never done it before but it was better than nothing. Poor Summer had a really hard time walking and seemed like every step was agonizing. I felt so bad for her. Gave her some hay and tucked her in for the night. This morning I made it back out and when I walked into the barn Summer's head popped up in her stall and she whinnied excitedly at me. Its been a long time since she's done that so it made me feel better about the situation. Leading her out of the stall was a little slow but I was pleased to see the wraps had stayed on. They looked like crap but at least hadn't fallen off and been trampled in the shavings. I unwrapped her legs and felt the injured one for heat. It didn't feel any hotter than the day before but the heat went farther up her leg than previously. She was still limping but it didn't seem to be as agonizing as last night although she was a little more hesitant to take that first step.
Here are a few pics of her legs first thing this morning. The scratches aren't too bad but they do seem to be slightly painful.

Its not really noticable in this picture but the inside of her right leg is definitely more swollen than her left.
Kristy suggested scraping the scabs off of her scratches so I spent a good 20 or 30 minutes doing this. I clipped the hair around her wounds and then cold hosed her for a while longer. She was SUCH a good girl. It definitely hurt but she was very patient the whole time. I did find a small thorn in her frog while I was doing this that I pulled out as well. Hopefully that was part of the issue and is now relieved.

You can see quite a bit of swelling in the pic on the inside of her pastern as well as the bulb of her heel.

Not thrilled at all with having her legs wrapped but at least Kristy showed me the correct way to do it. Looks MUCH better this time!

At this point I'm still trying to get ahold of my farrier and either have him replace the shoe or pull the one on her left so that she can at least stand evenly. I've left 3 messages since Friday and haven't heard back. She was just shod a few weeks ago in anticipation of my trail ride and he guarantees shoes for 6 weeks. This is driving me crazy. He's always really good about calling me back.
So basically my birthday plans may be on hold. It sucks but I feel even worse that she's hurt. Is it my fault for putting shoes on her? Would she have gotten hurt with or without them? I can't help but feel guilty but at he same time I know its kind of a freak accident. She'll probably be fine in a week or two and maybe the weather will still be nice. I'm sure it'll work out.....

UPDATE: My farrier called back and will be out tomorrow at 1ish to fix Summer's shoe! He is so awesome. Cross your fingers that it'll help her feel better.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Summer is currently on a full care lease until October 1st. I'm really excited to be able to have more time with her starting then but at the same time a little scared about our financial situation. My biggest fear is having to sell her, or not being able to cover all the minimum care she requires over the next few months. I was laid off from my full time job back in April, which was a small blessing since Xavier came so early, but at the same time a burden since we lost a couple hundred dollars a month of income. We are also coming into winter which is not a good time for my hubby's work and they've already warned him that it could be a tough season. Last year he spent almost 2 months getting laid off every other week. It was fine when it was just the two of us but now we have this little baby that requires diapers and formula and plenty of other things as he gets bigger. I know Susan will still want to partial lease Summer which will help quite a bit and I'm hoping I can find a part time job to bring in a little extra income. If not maybe I will try to see if I can work out at the barn and trade for board to help lighten the financial load. Summer is due to have her teeth floated before the end of the year too so I'm going to try and put a little bit away here and there to try and pay for it. Hopefully things will work out and Summer can stay right where she's at.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Its been a loooooong time since I've posted. Not that anyone has really noticed since I only have a few readers, but I still feel a little guilty. Life has been a little busy in the last few months. Just 3 short weeks after my last post I went into labor and delivered our little boy via C-section 7 weeks early. He was born on 6/8/09 at 4:53 am weighing in at 5 lbs 4 oz. No real reason for his early arrival other than I have an odd, heart shaped uterus and he seemingly ran out of room. He is very healthy and now at nearly 13 weeks old weighs in at over 12 lbs. Motherhood is trying and tiresome but I love our little boy and wouldn't change it for anything. Although I do miss seeing my pony....

In the last few weeks I've been able to find a little time here and there to sneak away and have actually been able to visit Miss Summer. She's been happily spending this summer turned out to pasture and on a full care lease to the wonderful Susan. I was a little worried at first that if I wasn't working with her she would forget everything we've accomplished over those last few months. The first ride on her though since having the baby pretty much cleared those worries right up. She was still moving off my leg, neck reining right where I left her and even seemed to be a little softer in the mouth. A little on the lazy side but still pretty much the same horse. Susan has been doing a great job working with her. Two weeks ago we even ventured outside the arena and rode around the property. We did of course start schooling in the arena as a warm up and just to make sure her head was in the game. Just to make it interesting I opened the gate on the south end of the arena before hopping on. She found this VERY distracting, especially since she could see two other horses just beyond the pasture where this gate opens up into. I started off working her on the opposite end of the arena and got some good circles, stops and backing from her. Once I felt confident she was listening there we went to work in the entire arena and I did my best to ignore the open gate but to make sure I didn't let her slow down or pay too much attention to what was outside. Occasionaly on a pass she would drop her shoulder towards the gate and almost try to dive out. A few times of this and I decided to work her right next to the gate in small circles, first going one way at a trot until she relaxed and started paying attention to me and then reversing and going the other way. It didn't take long and eventually she was completely ignoring the open gate. As soon as she was bending into the circle and collecting up nicely I slowed her to a walk and we headed for the gate. We stepped outside on a loose rein and wandered around the small pasture. I asked her for a few stops and backs, got them quickly and willingly and then moved on to a few small circles. She was light and responsive and happy to be out in the sunshine, so was I. We ducked back into the barn aisleway and rode out into the gravel parking lot and across the little road to the big hay field. Still on a loose rein but a little faster than before, we explored the big field. Summer loved it and never once stopped to eat or tried to take off in her old famous speed walk. I loved just being able to meander around and not have a death grip on the reins, checking out each and every little cluster of trees and shadows. It was a great day.

Now on to present day.....We have several new boarders at the barn and I'm really excited to get to know them. One girl has a 2 year old QH filly (if I remember correctly) named Rip'In and she seems to get along with Summer really well. I met her the other day when I was out there with the farrier having Summer shod and she seemed very nice. The newest boarders are a little like having celebrities in the barn since I've been reading her blog for at least 6 months to a year. They do alot of eventing and dressage and I'm really excited to be able to ride with them. I was leaving Monday just when they were getting their horses out so I didn't get to talk to them much but tonight when I went out to the barn I was able to meet their horses, McKinna and Pandora. They just happened to be turned out with Summer and when I pulled her out of the pasture they tried following us up to the gate. Pandora, the larger of the two, got really brave and walked so close behind Summer she could have laid her head on her rump. Summer seemed a little irritated but didn't even try to kick her. I gently shooed Pandora and McKinna away so they wouldn't slip out of the gate. They were both very polite and stood quietly to the side while I opened the gate and brought Summer out with me. It was really nice to not be crowded and not once did either of them show any aggression.

Tonight Summer and I hit another milestone. I loped her for the first time since I got pregnant and after one lap on half the arena I asked her for a jog and she actually did it! Before, loping would get her so excited and hot that if I asked her for anything slower than a lope she would go straight into her high headed, bone jarring death trot. It was awful. But not this time! And I don't even think Susan has been able to lope her in some time, other than on the lunge line. I loped her both directions in small circles and each time she would come back to me just as calm as before I asked her to lope. I was beaming! The worst part about the ride was my butt slapping the saddle several times which I'm not sure if its due to me being out of shape or the fact I was riding in Susan's saddle. Her saddle, a Crates, has a slick seat and my cheapy one has a felt type seat that seems to keep my hiney in place a little better. Next time I ride I'm going to use my saddle and see if that makes a difference. Another good part of the ride was that I actually had a looser rein while loping. Seems like both Summer and I are coming along pretty well. Hopefully soon I can get out and ride more than once a week.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Yea, thats right! Those two pictures above taken with my cell phone before 7 pm this evening are proof I did not have to chase my horse tonight! She was in the furthest corner of the pasture, which she did make me walk most of the way to her, but she still closed the gap between us ON HER OWN. I didn't even have any treats with me. I am so ecstatic. I almost peed my pants a little. Ok maybe not, but I'm pregnant, so that can happen over anything.

She did get her very last spring vaccine today which was actually very entertaining. We did the intra-nasal strangles which many horses do not appreciate. I did get to watch a performance from one particular horse tonight at my barn that definitely does not enjoy having her nose violated by a long, skinny tube that shoves fluid up towards her brain. Poor Sunny (aka Squealer or Squeaky Pants as I call her) is a previously abused, high spirited Pintabian. She trusts as little as possible and did not like the idea of being held by one person and approached by another weilding the nostril invading syringe. She put up a pretty good fight and managed to drag Kristy (Barn Owner) and Rebecca (Sunny's Owner) around half of the arena, head butting them a few times as well. Meanwhile, Summer was tied on the other side casually napping, unknowingly awaiting her turn. I don't think I ever saw her flick even an ear in their direction.

Once Sunny was finished and put away we untied Summer and led her towards the middle of the arena. We rubbed her nose for a few seconds to desensitize her and I slid my hand just above her nose to help keep her still and Rebecca moved in for the I mean injection. Summer struggled a bit and at the end it looked like the tube part had come off the syringe making the whole mission a fail. Rebecca and I both stepped back and noticed that all of the vaccine was gone from the syringe. At the same time Summer stretched her neck out and lifted her lips away from her teeth and made the most hilarious face I've ever seen. She then managed to sneeze all over poor Rebecca who was still standing in front of her. We were both laughing hysterically at this point. Poor Summer.

All in all it was a good night. I rode Summer for about 45 minutes. We worked some more on having her move off my leg, neck reining, and backing. She's starting to get much better at the first 2 but the 3rd is an ongoing issue. She is still a bit hardmouthed and doesn't give to the bit as well as she should so her backing is pretty resistent. Instead of freeing up her shoulders and tucking her head when asked to back she will lean into the bit and slowly drag backwards. Tonight I saved the backing for last so that when she backed twice while giving to the bit and freeing up her shoulders I could jump off and loosen her cinch as her reward. Summer always seems to remember training sessions beter if I'm quick to reward her with a job well done. It helps us end on a high note as well. She definitely made me work tonight too. Her body control wasn't very good so I spent alot of time holding her together with my legs tonight so I'm a bit sore since I haven't actually ridden like this in a few weeks to a month. I realized though that I've been getting lazy lately when I ride and its my fault for not using my legs as much that she's having a hard time keeping it together. It'll also help my impending labor a little easier if I work with my legs more and get the muscles in better shape so that will be my new personal goal when I ride.

Off to bed now, need to feed in the morning for Kristy since they are off to a QH show this weekend. Hopefully all of you ( I think I have 3 or 4 readers now!) have a great weekend. I'm getting a new mattress and bed frame and paint for the baby's room!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pet/Owner Look-A-Like Contest?

My horse is starting to look like me. Round. Its kind of amusing. I went out to the barn yesterday and with all of the green grass and constant turn out she is beginning to look quite, um, pregnant. Or maybe she's just gaining weight to make me feel better. Either way, her weight gain has me motivated to actually ride her tomorrow. I'm going to see if I can get her to break a sweat. Just a tiny one though. She is not going to be very happy with me. Oh well, I need the exercise too. I've been spending entirely too much time at home.
Lately when I have gone out to the pasture to bring her in she has been so stubborn I've had to chase her around a bit until she'll actually stops and stands still. This has not amused me but I'm sure Summer finds it pretty stinkin funny. Nothin like getting chased around a huge pasture by an overweight pregnant lady waving her arms and swinging a lead rope at you to keep life interesting. Its been taking less and less time when she realizes that if she just lets me catch her then I don't continuously drive her away from her "herd" until she stands still. Usually after a few rounds in the pasture she'll stop, turn slightly to face me, and stand there licking and chewing with this smug little look in her eye. I'll huff and puff up to her, trying to catch my breath after my min-marathon, and halter her while she acts like "OMG, you just got here? I never saw you there!" Yea, funny horse that one is. She definitely has my sense of humor though. I would do the exact same thing if I were her. In the last week I've finally realized that chasing her is not a good idea so I've started to cheat. Yes, I'm using treats. I know, bribery isn't the best thing and can sometimes make them lippy and grabby but I really don't want to go into early labor from going out to catch my stinking horse. When I got out to clean her stall I put her in the indoor arena. I push the wheelbarrow through there to dump it and will keep a handful of treats in my pocket. When I have to go through, if she approaches me on her own, I'll give her a treat or two to sweeten the deal. So far she has not become aggressive from this but I am keeping a very watchful eye on her. I do not tolerate bad manners and will stop the treats immediately if she starts to act that way. Its definitely made her more friendly and when I went out to the pasture yesterday to put her fly mask on she came up to me almost immediately. Yay, progress! I'm going to start cutting back on the treats and only give them every once in a while to keep from creating any bad behavior in her though, just in case. Summer enjoys her rubs and scratches so I incorporated those yesterday in the field and she followed me all the way back to the gate. This will be the majority of her "reward" for approaching me rather than the just the treats. Hopefully things will continue to improve and my barn lady won't have to look out her window and see a huge pregnant woman chasing a horse around her pasture. If she does though, I hope she gets it on video for America's Funniest Home Videos. Or at least YouTube.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen....

Yep, thats what happens when you're unemployed. Of course, the pregnant part happened back when I had a job, but my last day of work was April 30th so now the title of this post fits me. Sort of....I've been in the kitchen some, but as little as possible. I was working as a receptionist at a temp agency which wasn't too bad. I didn't particularly like my coworkers, but who likes everybody all the time? Our customers and employees were great though and I loved working for/with them. Unfortunately, my company was bought out completely by our sister company and they decided to merge. Lucky for me and one other coworker our sister company was already fully staffed so we got screwed out of jobs. I am currently almost 29 weeks pregnant, neat huh? I've been looking for work but who really wants to hire someone that will be taking maternity leave in 2 to 3 months? The upside is I do get unemployment which means I'll have a paid maternity leave. Bad news is we are losing about $200 a month and I'll be home enough that I'll be forced to clean the house! Not acceptable, but seriously what other choice do I have? I will get a chance to spend more time with our son though rather than rushing right back to work, which is great.

So anyways, I took a ton of pictures on friday with my cell phone and I know you are all dying to see them so here you go.....

The new baby at the barn. She is sooooo cute!
Look at that face! I may steal her.....
Summer got wormed, she was SO not thrilled with it.
Giving me the evil eye after worming her
Back in her stall trying to sniff out more treats. Look at her crazy
Going for the windswept look.....she wants to be a supermodel
Mad that I didn't have anymore treats so she tried to throw her grain bucket at me

Sid sunning himself in the backyard

Took the dogs down to the park near our house

Sid following Thor trying to figure out what she's staring at

Thor loves to chase the grass (yea she's a crackhead)

Silly puppies
"Mom, look how cute I am!"

Going home