Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rain, Rain, Go (the heck) Away...

It's been a month since my last update, so time for another word vomit of stuff that happened this month... whee!

Farm Updates: 

- It's still raining way too much. We get one clear day for every handful of rainy ones, and just when things were drying up, it decided to pour again. UGH. My whole property is puddles, and my hay field has at least one small lake. 

- We've put down some plans for the summer, including re-fencing the last pasture (P1). I did get to re-doing the back paddock fence, which is between the paddock and P3, which looks so nice (and I don't have to listen to my fence grounding whenever it rains) and picked up a gate off Craigslist for cheap so I can finally have a gate for P1 when we redo it.

- My awesome neighbor came and took away two years of manure, along with the sizeable mound that was left from the previous owners. I still have some majorly boggy areas, but I am hoping we can get some sort of material down to stabilize a few areas to be high and dry, along with gravel or similar for the gate area. 

Horse Updates:

- Arya has struggled off and on since my last update post with soundness due to her foot being quicked. I've been off and on treating and wrapping it, and she's been off and on sound (or sound until she runs on the lunge for 15 minutes and then she sore, some days she's hopping my-foot-is-falling-off lame...). I think I've finally got myself in to a good routine that involves getting a lot of blue kote on my hands, but it seems to really be helping. I'm hoping that I can move from diapers and foot boots that aren't lasting the day and let the cut get dirty to stuffing the cut with iodine or medication coated cotton and sealing with the wax. As an aside, that shit is so much easier to use when it's warm out, let me tell you.

- Bailey has gone back into work really well now that I changed her  back to her usual bit, and I've been pushing her to be more even in her body. My dressage saddle is back from being stretched and is almost a bit too wide (what I anticipated) so between that, and her being a bit back sore, I used an amazon gift card I had laying around to invest in a new half pad for her. I'm super excited about it and will have a review once I've used it more. She's been jumping well and went XC schooling over the memorial day weekend. I was shocked that she grabbed the bit and charged down the fences after two years away from jumping XC solid fences - but also totally pleased. I didn't have my stick, and she never even thought about stopping, which was amazing. I'm utterly pleased with her willingness and she even handled the deep wet footing with good grace. 

Goals update and next steps:

- Arya hasn't done any consistent work. She's been good when she has worked, and has been a very willing patient, which is a blessing. I'm hoping she will come sound and I can get back to work and get back on her. 

- Bailey has been quieter jumping at home in the ring, but was very strong on the XC course. I'm considering more bit for future outings, as she really exhausted me pulling my arms out. She has good days and bad days going into the bridle and being quiet in my hand; I'm tempted to play with her bits and also need to punch some holes in the micklem as she is gaping her mouth and there is nothing to stop her from doing so. 

- Barn is dry, but I haven't done a ton of work on the aisle yet. I have moved my cross tie area to where the mats are, and I am happy with that. No gravel has been placed or purchased yet. Some areas are still wet and I need to really clean up and get things organized, already. I've made some progress with my med kit, but I have a lot of stuff not in storage that could be, and I can't find things that I need easily, so I have some to-do's there. 

- Farm in general - baby trees have been taken down, soil test has been done and pastures have been fertilized. I really like the fertilizer I used last (15-15-15 which is a broadcast solid that looks a lot like banana split dip-n-dots) and will probably move to using that almost exclusively vs the spray. I want to stabilize the broadcaster a bit better, though, as the areas where it tipped not only wasted fertilizer but also burned the grass because you can't exactly get it up easily. I still need to killzall (need a stretch where it's not raining so it won't run and damage my pasture or lawn) and weedwhack. Fence redo is destined for later in the summer, but I have money budgeted away for it already. I do need to start budgeting for hay, and maybe watching for some nice stuff for my inside hay, since I have a feeling that cutting may be a problem at my house again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Two Years on the Farm

Two years ago today, I had just moved to a farm, the mares were still boarded and I had been whisked off to a conference at work, feeling totally uprooted.

Two years on the farm has taught me a lot of lessons. I get up at 5:20 now, and mostly, I get up without snoozing my alarm. I love my routine, and I hate it. There are days when I don't want to go do chores, but I never come back inside that way, at least this year - it really helps if you don't worry about losing toes or fingers to weather because you finally have good clothes. So I guess the farm has taught me to dress for the weather, and to improvise when you can't do something the way you normally would.

I'm a lot more disciplined. I am a lot harder working. I wish I had a better way to prepare for hay season, but maybe I can do some weight work before the hay starts coming in to save my arms. I've learned a lot of grit, and a determination I didn't have before. I would throw my hands up a lot, and would defer the problem I couldn't solve confidently to someone else, just to escape the pressure of having to figure something out.

Now I'm determined to not ask for help if I don't have to; I rehung a 10' barn door in the pouring rain, by myself, using leverage and probably some really dangerous schenanigans on a ladder. I get in trouble for hoarding my husband's power tools and not returning them. Instead of waiting for someone else to do it for me, I do it myself. No one is obligated to do it for me. And that makes me mighty, in my own small way.

The farm is heavily emotional; I've sobbed trying to put stall doors back together so I can keep horses inside of said door. I've felt an overpowering zen peace smelling cut grass, taking in the beauty of our property from the back of the tractor. I've laughed with joy sitting on Arya's perfect canter. I've boiled with rage while a horse does something naughty (like Arya bolting across the newly planted hay field after noping the F out of the arena). Despite being hugely emotional, the farm has taught me a lot of emotional resilience. 

The farm has taught me to be accountable and to not forget shit, for the most part. I have to keep track of my kimchee, and while no one will yell at me, no one has my back. No one feeds my horses when I'm not there for a few days, and my feed doesn't magically arrive; I have to remember to get it, and I have to plan ahead if it's going to blizzard, or if I have plans. I can enjoy being in control, in a way that I've never been able to be at a boarding farm, but I also am accountable for the mountain of poop that needs to be scraped out of the shelter after winter, or keeping the waterer happy and working when it's negative a-bajillion.

We've made a lot of changes in two years, I'd like to think:

- We placed and have now covered (save about 6 feet, but let's not split hairs) 1200+ feet of drain tile to help the riding arena and paddock drain. 
- We redid the barn, adding 5 stalls and a grain/storage area
- We doubled the hay storage on the side of the barn, and have mostly leveled the ground inside to prevent flooding. We can now easily store 1,000 - 1200 small bales.
- We've removed fencing (t posts, polyrope fence, gates) from the front pasture, the "link" fencing between what is now my P1 and the front pasture, the back pond pasture, and the back hill pasture. We have tamed the areas of pre-existing grass, and are now able to keep them mowed and semi-civilized looking (though the frost has really fucked the ground this year). 
- We plowed, planted and fenced two new pastures (about 1.75 acres)
- We plowed, planted and harvested off of 12 acres of hay field

We have some plans for this summer, too:
- Gutters for the barn and house
- Level the barn aisle and re-work mats for wear spots developed this year
- Gravel problem mud areas or other mud solution
- Redo the remaining polyrope fencing in P1 and the paddock and add a real gate to P1 vs the rope stretch gate that currently doesn't really hold the horses out
- Hopefully get two cuttings off the hay field
- Fertilize and better maintain the pasture this year
- Redo the falling down riding arena fencing (unfortunately while it's wood, but badly maintained so I'll likely have to scrap it for cheaper replacement materials)
- Build some new jumps or a coop

It's a lot of work, but boy has it been an adventure!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Quick Catch Up + Goals

Catching ya'll up (for those of you who don't follow my insta or the farm insta, that's a better place for updates lately - these written at work with no pictures updates make me feel so dreary):

- The barn flooded in March. The horses went on 24 hour turn out and it stayed flooded (because it froze) for a few weeks before it drained. Thankfully, hay has stayed dry (any standing water didn't come up under the pallets enough to impact it) but the stalls were flooded, and the aisle has been struggling with moisture a lot this year. Rubber mats and gravel command a lot of my thoughts at the moment.

- The mud is out of control because weather just won't quit showing up right before the ground dries up enough to be tolerable. The riding ring is a peat bog and needs a lot of work this summer, let me tell you. I'm managing, but it sucks and I need it to be sunny and warm!

- Bailey has come back into more work, and mildly lost her mind and her ability to canter or do a downward transition without trying to break my face. We've regressed back to her previous bit, added a martingale and she saw the vet for her teeth and seems to be coming back together. Our last ride (yesterday) was the quietest and steering a forward horse around puddles reminded me to stay out of her face, so she quickly progressed from needing a few circles to come down from a canter after her tiny jump to being utterly unimpressed with the tiny jump and coming back quietly and quickly. 

- Arya has been ground working, with and without "clothes" and has been doing some lunging in a bridle and long lining. I've also been sitting on her and riding at the walk in a sidepull rope halter and bareback pad. I'm not dead yet! This is likely because of the management changes below >

- Beyond turning up the turn out, Arya has also been getting Purina Outlast 2x a day, with an extra snack whenever I pull her out to work/out of the pasture abnormally (i.e. for vet or farrier) and Smart Mare Harmony. She seems less sensitive to touch (and less likely to offer to kick me for grooming she doesn't approve of) and her tummy seems happier in general. If this is the miracle we needed, I won't argue. 

- The mares saw the vet and got their shots and coggins, and their teeth done. Neither had anything horribly bad, but I can now move forward confident they are comfortable in their mouths (ahem, BAILEY). They also saw the farrier, who accidentally quicked Arya and she bled all over. I'm wrapping and trying to keep the foot clean, but its a total lost cause with all the mud. Hopefully I can keep it clean enough until the Keratex Putty I ordered for it arrives on Thursday. 

My goals, for the next little bit (because the footing means that I may not be able to work as consistently as I'd like) are:

Arya (when she's sound): long lining ~2x a week, with a 3rd day of groundwork and walking with me up. Send over a pole at least one session a week. Until she's sound, we may go for walks around the property, groom and maybe do some walking ground work to keep her from getting bored.

Bailey: keep working on rushing away from the fences and being soft and forward into the bridle. Walk/Trot lateral work, transitions and maybe trot poles, looking for her to be quiet in my hands. 

Barn: when dry, begin leveling aisle and laying mats to prevent further mud and wear. Possibly purchase gravel for doorway areas to build up and prevent water flowing in.

Farm in general: Weedwhack pasture fence lines and arena fenceline, trim down baby trees on the fence lines. If appropriate, killzall under the fence. Soil test the pastures and determine plan for pasture maintenance.

Blogging: be better about keeping up with updates. Find a way to comment, because my phone and work computer both have been refusing to post comments. I am reading, and I'm sad I can't respond and engage with folks.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Billets and Snow

We're having a colossally snowy winter this year. Over in Wisconsin, at the farm where Arya and I went to ride (ok, groundwork) with Tik Maynard, their indoor's roof fell in from the fiendish combination of a day of rain on existing snow plus ten new inches added quickly on. Luckily no one was hurt (except, perhaps, the chickens, but one has been found!) and roofs at my house are looking pretty decent thanks to the 40 mph winds we enjoyed for a day and a half last week. I feel like all I do is shovel out my barn doors and the path I take to the barn, especially if it's been windy, but we are managing.

I'm not totally sure how deep the snow can get before I shouldn't ride in it, but the horses still choose to bomb around the pasture, so I've been fitting in short rides with Bailey and continue to groundwork Arya. We've had a lot of positive progress; I've had a few really magical nights when I go out to catch Arya and Bailey for turn in and Arya will approach, stop about 12-15 feet away (which is the length of the rope I've been using for ground work, give or take) and I can use the same cue with my body that I use on the line to invite her into my space, and she walks up to be caught. It's a pretty tingly experience! 

We do still have bad days or nights; usually if there is a lot of snowmobile traffic, and still have a few minutes of discussion during daylight hours, but that's all it is. We discuss, for 10 minutes or less, depending on how fresh she is. If she's fresh, she and Bailey do some galloping away and back from me kicking and being dorks, but I don't walk after them at this point, because Arya comes right back towards me. In her groundwork we're focusing on softening to light pressure on her face, moving the front and back feet and crossing over/disengaging the hind while still retaining a respectful space around me. She's a good learner and seems to really enjoy being in my space when she's allowed (it probably helps that I massage her tight poll and behind her ears). 

Bailey has been lovely and stretchy during our rides, and seems to like the myler loose ring I finally got onto her bridle. I'm hoping Arya likes it, too, once we start working with tack again. I also finally replaced my dressage girth; I'd been using Arya's for Bailey, which was fine, but I really prefer to have her in shoulder relief girths just based on how she's shaped. We had a 28" that I sold when we got a different saddle that it didn't work with, and bought a 26". When I sold the 26" I wasn't going to get another TSF; the 26" gapped pretty badly, putting pressure on only a small part of her belly. I could fit my whole hand in the gap without making it wider. I broke down and got another TSF, but a 28" again, and in the synthetic. It fits really well and I am always a fan of less leather to clean, so I am very happy with the purchase (plus it was a steal!). 

I still intend to send my dressage saddle to have it's tree stretched, but I will be able to get the billets re-done locally; due to my partnership with a local fitter, I can get billets redone in trade for work I've already done for her. This is super exciting to me, and I'm all ready to get the dressage saddle to her. I want to redo the Courbette Galant's billets as well (and she is going to do both eventually) but I can't decide how to redo them.

So I ask, blogger friends, would you put long billets on a "normal" jump saddle? 

I've had problems with both of my jump saddles and buckles digging into my leg so I am very tempted, and both horses have a good wither and I don't have problems with lateral slippage. Is there a reason not to put long billets on a double flap saddle? I'd love your opinions!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Walking Her Down

I had a moment of serendipity last week, when right before I went out to do chores, I was reading one of my Richard Maxwell books that just had arrived and I ran into the "what to do if your horse does x" list. And one of those items is "What to do if your horse is hard to catch".

Arya has been off and on hard to catch for most of her time with me. It has gotten worse, especially lately, and tends to coincide with her being difficult or impossible to ride. The respect is totally gone when she's like this, and translates to both on the ground and under saddle work. So instead of opening the gate and letting the girls run in and out like I have been, I've been walking them in and out, and requiring Arya to be caught every night. This weekend was a long holiday weekend for me, so I not only got to do more horsing than usual, I also had three solid days (make that four, with today) of being able to catch Arya multiple times.

Angry, sweaty, steaming horse

It seems like her moods come in waves: the first night, she hooted and hollered around bucking, kicking and leaping for probably forty-five minutes before she abruptly stood and let me walk up to her. She then didn't want to lead, and got groundworked heavily all the way into the barn because we don't refuse to walk nor do we run over the human. NOT OKAY.

The next night involved less running (thankfully, as she had sweated up both her liner and blanket and had to stand with a cooler on for half an hour the previous night) and more of her power walking away from me looking stressed before she relented. The rest of the week, she seemed to have figured it out. It took 10, 15 minutes, tops, to catch her for dinner, instead of the protracted 45 minute affair. And then on Saturday, she decided to revert (also, catching her during daylight is TOTALLY DIFFERENT, in her mind) and ran around a whole bunch. She played and galloped and bucked a ton, and actually spooked Bailey through the fence with her kicking antics. Bailey. luckily is totally fine, as her blanket took the rope burn, and lucky for me, that blanket is a Smartpak Ultimate, so it's replaceable now that it has a hole.

After my first catch Saturday, I worked the naughty horse on the ground, and put her back out. And caught her again much more easily that evening. Sunday, I caught her at least twice, if not three times. And yesterday, another two. And today, by accident, she got another two good catches.

Today's catches were easy; the first one involved less than a minute walking away from me, and absolutely no shenanigans once being led, and the second (shockingly, because she'd been turned out less than 30 minutes before because my farrier was late) was effortless.

I'm trying to think up what I want to tackle next with her, as the catching item seems to be becoming more consistent; her groundwork has continued to be wholly obedient and respectful. I have, in the sessions I do quickly once catching her (mostly because I feel like I have to do something with her when I catch her, or she could fall back on her old trick of allowing herself to be caught and then acting shocked and being a pill when you try to lead her anywhere) started to focus on yielding her poll and to the sides, and on stepping under and disengaging the hind end. This has been improving, as, slowly, have her manners in her stall. She still isn't trustworthy loose when I'm in her stall, but she is starting to figure it out.

On other fronts, I don't think I am going to continue with the SmartTranqulity supplement. Despite my great hopes, it really seems to be the work, and not the supplement, that is making a difference. I do still wonder if I should try Smart Mare Harmony, just because a friend with a similarly smart-but-anxious mare had great results with it, but haven't made up my mind. I had some hope it would help, but she doesn't seem any less reactive to the sounds and situations that tend to set her off, and she definitely isn't lacking in energy to run around and/or scare her sister through the damn fence (it wasn't electrified but now it is. Hopefully that deters any attempts at freedom). I didn't expect it to knock her on her ass like sedation, but I was hoping for a more relaxed demeanor than I am seeing. If she gets worse once the paks run out, I might change my mind, but for now, I'm going to skip the extra cost and try to keep feeding relatively simple without a lot of extras.

On the Bailey front, we've been riding, and she gets very confused and stands behind me while Arya runs in circles around us on her bad catch days. She's a good girl, but she also gets hard to catch if her sister is being a shit, so hopefully the time I'm putting into walking Arya down (and the energy - walking through super deep snow is exhausting!) will benefit both horses.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Still Bad at Blogging

I keep writing this post and failing to post it. Fail. This one will make it, self. Write the damn blog, and get the words out of your head to make room for other things.

In the last month, things have been pretty ho-hum.

- Arya still has ulcers. Well, maybe not anymore but it's currently too cold to check by putting a leg over her. I felt like the Nexium wasn't working after we had a very up "ride" where she spent most of her time zooming around (politely) on the line. When I was on her, we did some walk and trot, but a combo, I think, of anxiety and being 5 and not getting enough exercise bit me in the butt and I came off. I haven't put a leg on her since (ride was 1/5) as we've worked mostly on line, went on a field trip, swapped to feeding Ulcergard instead of Nexium and froze our asses off thanks to lots of weird weather completely icing my property down.

- Bailey has done some weekly toodles, and hasn't been bad. In fact, she's wonderful, if a bit fat and out of shape. She is still kind of like "what r half halt" but she remembers pretty quickly and in retrospect, she's no longer a total dangerous hellion in the winter, so... win.

- We went to free jump at my friend Nina's indoor which was super fun! Arya was unsure and had to be walked into the chute for her first several runs, but kind of figured it out by the end and let us direct her down the chute and over the tiny cross rail and vertical without being led. Bailey had a grand time showing off in the indoor until she realized there were jumps, and then started putting herself through the chute. She was super happy and enjoyed herself a lot, and jumped a pretty big jump with ease.

- On the way home, my truck, Lessie, got a flat. Which sucks, because Lessie is rusty AF and you can't get the spare down (much less, I don't want to drive on a totally rust covered rim, thanks). It sucked more because Hubs, who had to come rescue me with his entirely-too-nice-to-pull-a-trailer truck threw out his back and was in a vile mood. We all survived having to unload, re-hitch the trailer to a new truck, load and get the mares the 3 miles home, and I didn't scream or cry despite having to go back and get the truck towed, remove the plow because AAA can't tow trucks with plows, and the plow sits too low to put the truck on a tow truck anyways,and then babysit a super heavy plow until we could get it home after the plow driver dropped off the truck. Hubs was super mad at me, despite the majority of the stupid being his doing. We still aren't mobile, as the truck has 4 functional tires, but needs the other front swapped out so the front tires match, and I didn't get it done before it got really cold this week, and... fuck that the truck can sit with mismatched wheels another week until I am not in danger of frostbiting my face. 

- I decided to sell my 17.5" Vision. Not only is it spoiled by getting me in trouble for buying it, but I have come to terms with the fact that I really, really need a larger seat. My last ride in it made my knee caps unhappy for like two days after, so it reinforced the fact that wedging oneself into a too small saddle just doesn't work well for me. If anyone is looking for a glorious black and brown dressage saddle, LMK. Instead of replacing it, I am going to send my damn 31 cm 18.5" saddle off to Connecticut soon and have Smith Worthington stretch the tree for me. I'm trying to decide if I live on the edge and just send them Arya's tracing. I traced both mares again after having done it last May, and Bailey is probably fat, because she's lost her wither definition compared to her last tracing. Funnily enough, she and Arya measure nearly identically now (they're within a few 16ths of an inch at 2, 3, 4, and 5 inches down from the wither), though Bailey gets wider at the end of her measurements due to her pear shaped barrel. Arya is basically identical to what she was last May, and now both mares share her kind of hoopy A shape with little contour. I'm curious if her tracing will change when shes in steady work, but I'm crossing my fingers she continues to fit into my saddles. If anything, at least the dressage saddle will fit Bailey, which is half the battle. 

- Speaking of, I sold Bailey's TSF dressage girth, as it was gaping badly under her belly and I felt like should be able to do better with fit than that. Of course now I am not finding anything anatamically cut that I like, or that seems to be of decent quality. I'm wondering if perhaps I didn't have it sized right, but I'm not sure which direction I should go in size to try and even out the pressure. Ugh!

- I bought the mares a Magic Curry and Arya nearly died of pleasure the first time I used it. Best 5$ I've spent in a while! 

- Arya has also gotten easier to catch - we had lots of practice, as I took to letting them out to hoot and holler (and spend most of their time staring at cows closer up, who are we kidding) in the pasture as the paddock is completely ice. Bailey got worse about being caught, and last week I actually had Arya walk up to me while Bailey was like RUN AWAY, which is usually the opposite. Mares are weird, but we'll continue to work on associating mom with treats and scritches in hopes that my horses start to like me again.

-  On the farm front, it might be easier to get hockey skates for outside chores, to be honest. I got to create a whole new budget category for ice management - we tried barn lime (waste of money), salt/mag chloride mix (good but I tried to use sparingly), Fine chicken grit (which is ok, the bigger stuff is better - but there wasn't a bag to be found at any of my local places as everyone beat me to it) and pot ash granules (which seemed to work well) along with wet shavings, despite the fact that they will make things extra gross next year when we melt out. I bought a hand spreader thingy which I think I will enjoy for grass seed more than winter use, but it's been an educational few weeks. The ice is now covered with non-packing snow, which does... absolutely nothing for us. Except that we can't see where the ice is in the pastures, where they aren't totally covered. 

All of these words make the last month look a lot busier than it actually was - I spent a lot of time sitting on my ass under a heated blanket snuggling with dogs and eating my feelings. I also spent a lot of time anxious, got a FeedXL membership and have wasted way too much of my life creating diets to try and fix Arya's issues with nutrition. We are actually going to try a smartpak supplement (SmartTranquility) with B1, which seems like the most likely to actually be an issue hole in her diet, but I want to wait to start it until we're looking towards some weather where I can at least haul out to ride, if not work at home. I want to be a bit more scientific in trying things with Arya, so hopefully we come out of this deep freeze quickly and can get back to work!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ulcers (again)

Well, it was 40 degrees yesterday (December 18th) so of freaking course I had to trash all of my well behaved plans and get on a horse. I had planned to get on Bailey, but found her unwilling to rise from a nap in the dark so I did chores first, and then turn in. And then, because apparently I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided, randomly, to lunge Arya in tack. Which turned into riding her. And Bailey basically got skipped because my solar lights ran out of juice as we were starting trot work.


I had planned to give Arya some (more) time off to let the Nexium do it's thing (again) but guess what, guys? It's already doing it's thing. She lunged out nicely but seemed to not trust the ground, which was kind of half melted, half frozen. There was one spot where she kept pulling me out and then ending up on the slick spot, so we had to do some gentle reminders that we don't just pop our shoulder and fly sideways on the line. I was a bit nervous about my decision to ride once I made it- she seemed to be swishing her tail a lot as we went to get the mounting block and didn't want to stand nicely without being gotten after... but no fireworks.

I had been wishing that she would learn to walk and hack like a Denny Emerson horse and I think I might be getting my wish; she marched out pretty politely, and didn't dance around or get weird like she can when she thinks she needs to canter canter canter (Foxie was much worse about this) the minute you get on. She walked out and snorted and sighed, and didn't offer the trot. We did some trotting and again, she was good, if a bit tense. I can't tell if the tension may be protecting her stomach, not wanting to move out on the ground or if she's just... tense. She was, however, very rideable in both directions. She wasn't perfect, but she like... was willing to try bending and was mostly remembering what half halts were. I have low expectations, what can I say :D 

Her canter work was very conservative - she basically wanted to drop to a trot whenever she went through one area where she had slipped previously, despite having since broken the ground down enough that I felt she had decent grip. She's a cautious one! On the other 3/4 of the circle she was steady and good, with just some mild headbanging to remind me that she is a baby OTTB who probably hasn't willingly cantered in weeks due to the ground and she had feelings about it. Which luckily, she didn't act on. Maturity, people.

For a 20 minute ride, it was a good one. She's definitely still got ulcers; I think the tail swishing, and the way she reacted to being brushed tells me that, but she's definitely feeling better. I'm disappointed that the supplement and management I've been doing hasn't been enough; I did swap her to the Smartpak Leg Up Stomach pellets a couple of weeks before she started acting up, but I'm not sure if that means her previous supplement wasn't working, or if this new one isn't working. Or if neither of them work? I need to figure out how I feel about the supplement... hopefully I didn't just buy a year supply of something that doesn't work for her

I've been doing lots of math when it comes to Calcium content of supplements, alfalfa pellets and the two feed options (regular and gastric care Ultium) but I'm lacking so much experience with ulcers. Does anyone have a winning combo they'd be willing to share? I feel like majorly lack experience in caring for an ulcery horse, and these relapses don't exactly help my lack of confidence in this type of management. 

I also am taking note here and on my calendar of her behavior; our ride last night was marked with an open mouth/chomping a lot and an extraordinary amount of rooting to stretch down. It got quite annoying, but she really seemed to want to streeeeetch all the way down, and shockingly her short little neck can make my reins feel too short, like I need OS reins. Could it be a stomach stretching maneuver? The dog stretches when he eats too fast and his stomach hurts because it's too full (he has the weirdest problems)... or perhaps a reaction to walking like she's on eggshells for the last several weeks as the footing has been rutted and rock hard with no snow to pad it, despite cold temps. I'm hoping we get some snow once we go back to non randomly-tropical winter temps.