Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Ask

Hey friends,

I am feeling the need to pick up some books to help guide me and hopefully light the training fire in me again. In particular, I need a good book on ground work - I do want to take Arya to work with a trainer when I can, but for now, I don't really want her to just hang out and become more and more feral.

So, do you have any favorite training related books?

Also, if you've been eyeballing anything on my sales list, please make me an offer! I'm motivated to de-clutter my life - and to build up my funds so I can find myself some boots or half chaps that don't make me hate my life :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Aimless Updates

Hey guys,

I'm being a terrible blogger again. There's not much to say, at this point, because I haven't ridden in a week (this needs to change) and honestly... once again the fire has gone out. I don't have any competitions on my radar and we got more snow earlier this week so I haven't been hugely motivated to ride. Here are some updates, though, to prove that I'm still alive:


Arya started the Nexium "experiment" last Friday and while she's not in work currently, I have noticed some positive changes. The most noticeable change has been her stall; she's much tidier of late because she seems to be stall walking less. She is, weirdly enough, leaving more hay behind in her net, but I have also moved to feeding higher quality hay outside (and moving to sell some of my lower quality "outside" hay) so she may just be eating more outside. She is finishing her dinner better and has been walking up to me outside a lot more when she was previously giving me the cold shoulder. I haven't gone out to catch her this week due to an outrageous work schedule, but I plan to start bringing her out and get back to work soon. I did get blankets off everyone and groomed them, and while she wasn't perfectly well behaved, she seemed less anxious about me messing with her. Some of her "negative" behavior is OTTB baby - she's just not used to being groomed loose in her stall, and she's still got some ground manners to learn - but I feel like the Nexium has helped take an anxious edge off of her and I'm looking forward to starting to work with her again.


Bailey has been slowly coming back to work. Her last ride was *super* exciting because some idiot kid came skijoring past my house behind a car going about 40 miles an hour, SCREAMING at the driver to stop. She worked herself up into a good sweat being excited and spooky, but did good hard work for her rather flabby out of shape self, and went back to work well after losing her mind a bit over the exciting interruption.


A while ago now, I popped up a post and then quickly took it down, intending to put videos in it that actually worked. However, because my life is a dumpster fire, I never got it put back up.

The big, annoying, anxiety causing gist of the post was that Bizzy seemed to be refusing to sleep. I have many videos of her snoozing, appearing to fall in to a deeper sleep and her head and body slumping, and then her front legs buckle and she nearly goes down. This can happen several times in the span of a nap, too.

I've been solutioning the issue, trying to not change too many things at once. I deeply bedded her stall, and tried a week of bute. I did get her to lay down that week, but was worried about extended time on bute and her front left fetlock picked up it's trademark "owie" which she seems to acquire tripping or doing her nearly falling routine. It's hard to know how she gets it when she spends a large portion of her day out of my sight, either in the areas of the paddock I can't see, or I'm not home at all and am unable to keep an eye on her. The next thing I tried was upping her MSM from 10,000 mg to 30,000 mg. There's a study that talks about MSM at that level, and so far, the higher dose of MSM plus putting a Back On Track sheet seems to really be helping.

It doesn't look like she lays down every night, but warmer weather and the BoT sheet seem to really encourage her to lay down. She happily lays down and rolls outside, so I'm not sure why she hesitates to lay down and sleep. It's definitely getting better so fingers crossed I'm on the right track! I can tell her body has taken a beating at some point - she had a pretty lengthy career as a race horse, made some babies, and has been juggled around a fair amount. I am pretty sure she hasn't had decent nutrition - her hooves are a mess, and she's got a very dandruffy coat - and I am pretty sure she wasn't handled nicely at some point, because she's very spooky about having her head petted (though she doesn't flee). She does seem to really benefit from the Back on Track sheet so I am going to try to keep using it as much as I can to help her.


Kahlua is also not benefiting from my lack of motivation - she is broke to lead (minus donkey moments of refusing to move) and only tried to kick the farrier a little bit - but my plans ot get her loading haven't yet come to fruition. I'd like to utilize a low cost vaccinations clinic coming up in about a month and a half, so loading lessons need to start back up again for all of the beasts, including her.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Week's Recap

Sorry this has taken some time to write; I keep waiting for the chiropractor's notes and I still haven't gotten them.

 Arya went to the chiropractor on Monday - weighing in at an impressive 1200 lbs and change when she got to the University clinic - and got her lower back and poll, in particular, worked on heavily. She was a nervous and anxious girl (though some of the adjustments definitely felt good enough to stop her from wanting to walk or look or be #anxietymare) and the doctor told me she'd bet money Arya has ulcers. She also showed me some interesting items from an angle I don't normally get to see; from on top of her adjusting blocks, the doctor took some photos with her iPad and showed me how uneven Arya's haunches (her butt cheeks, really) are from the top. I've always thought her tail placement was... odd.. and that she had a weird shaped back end, but generally don't complain because clearly there is a lot of power there. However, from the muscle differences (which are huge) the Chiropractor is guessing that no one really rehabbed her after her surgery (I am, frankly, not totally surprised about this) and building up her muscles and evening her out is going to be an important next step in going forward. She also, very delicately, pointed out that Arya doesn't yet trust me and that a trusting relationship would go a long way to help me keep her calmer and more controllable, and move past the hurdles of our escalating issues because we'd be working on a basis of trust.

Weird butt.

And while I have always been trying to take it slow and be patient with Arya, the last couple months haven't left me with a lot of spare time for long, chill grooming sessions, nor has the weather really encouraged anything other than hurrying to do chores and get back inside before my face freezes off. Nature hasn't been kind to Arya and I's relationship, and that is an uncomfortable truth that I have to deal with. So starting on Monday when I got home, all plans have been put on hold, indefinitely. I plan to bring Arya back to "work" this weekend with some lunging and have been trying, all week, to slowly start putting credits in the trust bank. With Arya's feral nature right now, this means I've been working on approaching her and doing something brief and positive, like rubbing her ouchy/itchy spots, petting her, telling her she's a good girl, a quick treat... and then I leave her alone. I haven't been catching her, and we haven't gone back to work yet.

Both Arya and Bailey, because Bailey is a total follower, have gotten it into their heads that running away from me is a super fun game, so I need to nip this issue in the bud. I need to be able to walk up and catch them, whether or not they think they're going to be worked or not.

Besides spending lots of time out there, do any of you have any methods that have worked well for the hard to catch horse? I know I need to not chase... it's my weakness but I hate it when they run from me, because they think it's quite fun and it irritates me.

On the ulcers front, I am running with this post from Cob Jockey and am starting Arya on Nexium tonight. I am going with the dirt cheap route, using Costco's generic, which cost me 14$ for 21 days worth of pills. I also am heavily looking at changing Arya's feed (and probably everyone, because why not) from regular "blue bag" Ultium to the "purple bag" Ultium Gastric Care. I haven't used it before, and I'm not 100% sure I believe the mumbo-jumbo but it's a 0$ change (the bags cost the same, or slightly less than my blue bag), and that's the kind of money I have to spend right now.

Other than that, I did get a ride in on Bailey - over the weekend, and Wednesday. Talking with S, who owns Bailey's mom, the whole "being a bear to get back to work" runs in the family, so I tried to not be so gloomy about it, and shocker, being less gloomy made riding more pleasant. We're just doing basic W/T/C right now, but I am thinking I may drag out some jumps because even I am getting bored with that.

So yeah, we're existing over here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Horse Blogger Yard Sale

Hi Friends!

Arya saw the chiropractor today and I am excited to share and document all of that, but it's going to wait until tomorrow so I can get this post out. I am a terrible person and haven't photographed anything yet, so ask for pictures if I haven't updated with them (I'm planning to start tonight). To make it up to you all, prices are shipped. And I won't be an asshole and charge you shipping if you didn't read this like I do on facebook. Heh. 

Please feel free to email me at my paypal email, foxrivereventing (at) gmail (dot) com for pics and details, as well as posting here.


Philippe Fontaine Deauville –
Marketed as an AP saddle, this saddle could be used as such, or would actually be a fantastic dressage saddle for the right pair of legs; someone who likes to ride with a touch more bend in their knee will like this saddle. 18” seat, fits MW and wider with flexible tree points; has been comfortably used on a stout OTTB and barrel shaped QH. Memoryflex foam panels have some give when felt, but provide a nice close contact ride. Short billets, but could easily be replaced with long and no one would guess it was an AP saddle. Saddle has a front banana block and removable rear thigh block. Classy black calfskin with white stitching and pretty fleur de lis buttons. Has been lightly used, but I wouldn’t consider it broken in yet; I rode in another model of this brand for a handful of years and found that it just got softer and more flexible with time and cleanings; the underside of the flaps could use oil to soften them. Will come with a fleece and nylon cover (not branded, unless I can find that one too). Can negotiate for leathers and irons. I have been asking $700 but am open making a deal, especially with a blogger!

Thinline Contour Pad – older style, but still flexible and in good condition. A few “finger nail” sized marks on one edge, but otherwise no rips, tears or other damage. Has ventilation holes along the back. Asking 50$ shipped.

75” Weatherbeeta Original Detach-a-neck Medium Weight – this blanket did 3 years of winter service on BB, and has some rips that have been patched or glued. It is dirty as I never washed it after last year, but as of the last time I used it, appears to still be waterproof. Open to any offer; I can’t stand to throw it away as it’s still functional.
Jammies Shoulder guard – size M. Green, hardly used. $35
36” Amigo foal blanket. Expands 6”. Grey with pink and yellow trim, belly band. Really nice quality foal blanket. Butt strap has been cut off but can be re-sewn or included. $50
Weatherbeeta Cooler – Brown with blue trim. Nearly new, used once but doesn’t fit the horse I want to use it on. Will wash before shipping! $50
Stateline Tack Medium blanket – 220g of insulation. Good quality blanket, has one large-ish repair on a 3-corner tear on the shoulder. European cut. Blanket is older, but in good condition otherwise. Has been in storage as a spare, but I haven’t used it so no use in letting it sit. $70
Tack and Strap

*NEW* Black Professionals Choice boot bag for holding your horses boots. $30 obo
Black Laced Reins – brand new without tags, Courbette laced reins. Really beautiful and the brand is known to be long and hard wearing; I prefer rubber and will not use these. Asking $50 shipped.
Horze Prince Bridle – black horse size dressage bridle with white padding. Schooling condition. $35 shipped
Amigo Event Bridle by Horsewear – black cob size flash bridle. Reinforced flash tab, very nice, sturdy bridle for the price point. Has a few holes punched to help it fit a horse between horse and cob size. $40 shipped
Black Rope Gag Cheeks – made by Treadstone. Lightly used with no signs of wear other than the rope is a bit dirty. $30 shipped
Black Cob Size figure 8 noseband – brought home from England, but my mares ended up taking the horse size. Padded disc, no sheepskin. Has a bit of imperfect leather (odd texture) about where it would sit on the mouth, but is 100%, just not totally beautiful. $35 shipped
5” eggbutt bit, single link. $15
5” Cheltenham gag (eggbutt gag) with black rubber mouth, single link. 25$. With gag cheeks, $45
Black Side Reins with Donut – Horze brand, horse size. Has clips at the bit and nice roller buckles. $35 shipped
Lunging Surcingle by Horze – black, with original girth (unused) - $35 shipped.
Deal – looking for a lunging rig? $55 shipped OBO
Smartpak Knit Piper Full Seats – Size 26L.
Black – have a repair below the front zipper that isn’t very prettily done, but functional and could be repaired by a more skilled person and look great. $40
Brown #1 – a few stitching flaws around the waist but are otherwise in great shape, pretty chocolate brown color. $35
Brown #2 – More substantial stitching flaws around the waistband, but have been rudimentarily reinforced (I suck at sewing). Otherwise are in good condition. $35
Ariat Breeze Half Chaps – Used pair with stretched out elastic. Was size medium, but would fit larger calves. $35 shipped
Bette and Court Sun Shirt – Size small, pink, with small embroidery on the shoulder. Worn only a few times; I really need a medium or large. $35 shipped.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Arya Analysis - Wake Up Call

Things have been humming along here on the farm; not a lot of riding has been happening, but such is life when the weather is being bipolar. My farrier, who cancelled a early January appointment and then didn't get around to rescheduling it until... like... last weekend (urgh) will be here today to trim the mares. Luckily none of them have been growing astronomical amounts of foot so I am not as annoyed with him as I could be.

I rode last weekend, and yesterday I tried to write about my Sunday afternoon rides, but failed. And I tried again, and I failed. I felt very defensive about my ride on Arya, and despite the fact that I love the blogger community... I couldn't bring myself to share more negativity. And it was because I know I haven't been doing anything to really fix or change the issues we've had during our rides.

Arya's history with me is kind of a tale already:

She arrived home in a whirlwind, and I let her sit for a week to get used to live here in the great north. She was super friendly, super personable and very  sweet. We worked on ground work, and I was gone a lot because of monthly work trips taking a chunk of every month away from me.

And then in August she went up and nearly flipped over on me, and then was very naughty when I got back on. We backed off and continued to work on lunging and ground work, and I finally grew some lady balls and got back on her.

By the end of September she was back to doing well under saddle. We worked on turning, and on her dislike of poles. And reading my own blog (because that's part of why I blog, so I can remember things that I'll never remember) I had the tool kit in my head to deal with the poles.

November showed up and we were still taking smiley selfies and working on the basics. Arya continued to do well. Walk/Trot/Canter every ride, and the canter work was improving. She was working through her tension, and working on bending. She had a moment of the issues we're having lately, but she only had a few minutes of "I'm going to have a tantrum by refusing to bend or steer". Nothing hugely traumatic, at any rate.

Her thanksgiving ride was sassy and bucky. And our rides have slowly spiraled down from there, to the relative shitshow that was last Sunday.

So I need to call a chiropractor, stat, because I'm finally going to get my head out of my ass and listen to her.

So, friends... vet chiro or non-vet chiro? Who should I call?

(though "whoever has the first opening" is also an option).

Friday, February 2, 2018

End of January Blahs

First off, many thanks for your pelleted bedding experiences; I think I will buy a bag to try next time I'm on that end of town, and see how it works for Bizzy, in particular. I paid 6$ a bale of shavings at my feed store the other day, so I'm already looking forward to the "save for shavings but don't use them" period, also known as warmer weather. I can't wait to dump the idiots outside for good!

Depressing reality: it's still cold as balls.

The majority of this week has been eaten up in work stress and because we're hosting the Super Bowl blocks from my usual downtown workplace, I've failed to leave the house the entire week other than to run to the feed store. We're tragically low on human food supplies around the house, though, so I guess I have to venture out today, now that it's -5 and I can't find other things to do.

Before the temps dropped delightfully over night, I managed to get a quick ride in with Arya Wednesday afternoon. She permitted me to walk up and halter her for a couple of cookies and hardly any need to bribe her with jealousy (though the others got cookies anyways because I'm a pushover) and stood nicely in the cross ties to be groomed and tacked, despite the fact that the "warmer" weather was a quite windy, cloudy afternoon in the low twenties. I've been thinking a lot about saddle fit and Arya's conformation as of late, and decided to try her out in the Deauville, the flex tree, foam panel AP saddle I've been low key trying to get rid of for like... three years now. 

It's not bad looking, it's just also not black and brown.

It's not a bad saddle, but it never felt right on Bailey, who has been my primary ride for most of that time. It worked well on Foxie, and I have a feeling it will fit Bizzy, but it's just such a dressage-y AP saddle that I don't have a ton of love for it. Well, the straight but not straight flaps are only part of my issue with it; my main annoyance is the fact that it has the shortest billets, possibly EVER. The billets are the reason Arya only got lunged last weekend; they're so short they are tough to adjust and it's always a chore to find a girth that works. 

Saddle resignation aside, I slapped some stirrups and a girth extender on that thing, and saddled up. We lunged (at a trot) and it was uneventful and short, because the ground is frozen and Arya didn't seem willing to exert herself. I swung up into the saddle and got my stirrups set, and off we went. We started out right, because that's harder, and just walked and walked and walked until she was bending and softening her body. We did the same left (though it was basically instant) and did some trotting and cantering that direction as well. Saddle wise, she didn't protest, which was refreshing. I need to shim up the front as I felt really off balance the whole ride, but the saddle itself doesn't seem too offensive. Is it the short points? The flex? The memory foam? Who knows. But I guess I'll keep trying it until the horse starts giving me some real saddle feedback. 

Can we not?

Going back right after our relatively great ride going left, she continues to just hell-or-high-water throw her inside shoulder at me down the road side of my riding ring. I don't know if she thinks she's spooking at the tall grass buried by snow that probably does contain some kind of terrifying animal, or if she's  just an asshole on that side for reasons, I've noticed it in previous rides and it really seemed to be the trigger for the rude behavior. She has a little routine of throwing the shoulder, counter bending to the outside and then either stopping and refusing to move (and then throwing herself around when I pony-club kick her) or refusing to be bent back to the inside and ends up circling, nearly falling over or slipping or otherwise being a petulant child. I toyed with her and she can go up the center line, and quarter line just fine, but ask her to get within, say, 6 feet of the rail and she's back to being bananas. 

In our lunging session last weekend, I asked her to step away from me with her shoulders, which she can do all day one direction, and turns into a stone wall the other. The same issue happens under saddle - she can kind of spiral and move away from leg pressure going left, but right I just get neck wiggles and a barrel and body that is resolutely still going left in it's shape and balance. So I obviously have a fun training project for the rest of the winter, and am still trying to decide if I want to spend money on chiro. It's difficult to know if any of the tack changes I've made actually do anything for her; her mouth seems quieter in the new bridle and bit, but it had been really improving before the change. Other than her tantrums seeming... smaller? Saddles don't really seem to change her attitude or way of going substantially; she swishes her tail a ton when being ridden, and I can never figure out if it's due to discomfort or due to her general attitude. I am riding to not inspire confrontation at this point, so it's hard to really say. It's just too slippery to get into a fight at anything faster than a walk, and so things are just easier to deal with and resolve, because we're walking.

Speaking of slippery, apparently we are in for some snow, and then a slow warming trend so I'll be running out to throw salt on the driveway, my path to the barn and the arena so maybe I can salvage my arena (and not slide backwards with my brakes on waiting for the garage door to open). Work is never done!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Question: Bedding

I've been humming away over in my corner of the world, unmotivated and unable to do much due to the bi-polar weather, which has left us very cold as of this morning, and with a lot of glaze ice. As I come up on the end of my first month of expense tracking, however, I am, once again, here to cast a question to the universe!

Has anyone used pelleted bedding, particularly in a cold climate? Please tell me your experiences... and how the heck you use it!

I was just taking a look at my local options, as my manure pile is getting rather large, especially this month, due to the sheer amount of moisture the mares have been putting off. It doesn't help that the pile is in a terrible location and the horses futz with it (it's moving this spring, because I know it should not be in my paddock! It's not a good place!). Regardless of the manure pile situation, while I'm not unhappy with my bales of shavings, I know that there is a fair amount of probably unnecessary waste.

Also the freezing pee is kind of obnoxious.

My local options are either various brands of baled shavings, baled straw or pine pellets (Tractor Supply). Shavings I feel I have fully pursued; I've found a good balance of bag size and value with the fact that finer shavings are much easier to pick when you have stall walking horses. While I would love to use EZ-Pick shavings until the end of forever, they are quite expensive for smaller bags and the smaller bags mean that I have to use more to provide, in my mind, enough padding to keep the horses from getting hock sores, as they all lay down. Straw is a nightmare due to weight, and I have a feeling that stall walkers plus straw would actually be the worst idea ever.

I've toyed with the idea of trying pellets before, but as I circle back to look at them... how does one use them when it's below freezing, if they need to be "fluffed" with water? All of the other benefits sound great, especially if they work out with my messier horses, but I can't figure out how to use them, or if they should be used by themselves, or in combination with shavings.

Anyone using pellets?