Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Off to Turkmenistan!

This morning I will board a plane that will (eventually) get me to Turkmenistan.  I'm heading there along with several other N. Americans for the annual Celebration of the Horse.  I am so excited!

No idea if I'll be able to post while I'm over there, but if not, I will have plenty of photos and stories when I get back.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Broken Saddle!

As I reported in the last blog post, I broke my saddle last week.  I wasn't doing anything exciting, we just hopped over a log (we being Galen and me).  I heard a crack and realized what had happened back at the trailer.

Yesterday, I took everything off my saddle - stirrups, seat savers, shims, etc (boy, it's light without all that stuff!) to box it up and ship back to the manufacturer.  They are being great - the tree is guaranteed, so all I need to pay is shipping and labor.  Way cheaper than a new saddle.  Anyway, after I took everything off, I realized the tree was broken in 3 places, not just one!

The underside of my saddle - you can see the dimples in the leather in the middle of the pommel.  Also, if you look below the stirrup leathers on both sides, you can see breaks at the narrowest point of the tree.

Close up of one of the breaks below the stirrup leather.

Close up of the pommel break. 
So, they will replace the tree and send it back asap, as of course, ride season has started!  It will be interesting to see what is different with the new tree.  I was told that this break (pommel, at least) has been known to happen on these models.  No idea about the other breaks.
I guess I would rather have my saddle break than my horse!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fools Ride

Yesterday, it was gorgeous.  So gorgeous that I couldn't stay home and do the usual (clean sheds and stalls, work with the young horses).  I loaded up Galen and off we went.  As I had a limited amount of time, we went to Lord Hill Park, which is only about a 20 minute drive away.  Lord Hill can give a really good workout in a short time, because, as the name says, it's all hills.  Even walking can leg up your horse pretty quickly.  My yardstick of his fitness is how far up a hill he will trot before he drops back to a walk.  When we trot all the way to the top, we're ready to do an LD.

When I got to the parking lot, there were two other ladies in the parking lot, both on QHs, with one extra being ponied.  Nice ladies, we all exchanged good mornings and off Galen and I went. 

The light was very beautiful and it made me think of cathedrals of trees.  I'm sure there is a poem somewhere with that, but as I'm not much of a poetry buff, none came to mind.

We continued along, greeting the occasional dog walker.  This time, none of the dogs had ever seen a horse and you could almost read their minds:  "That is the BIGGEST dog I've ever seen".  Galen ignored them.

We went down the Quarry trail to the river and were trotting through the trees down by the river when a dog rushed up behind us, either nipped Galen's legs or just crashed into him and then took off at a dead run.  We were both a bit startled, although I think I was more than Galen.  As I had no idea where the dog was, I headed back to the road.  I met the person who had the dog - now, Lord Hill is pet friendly, but all dogs are supposed to be on leash.  Not everyone does this, although most people catch their dogs and at least hold them when they see a horse.  I told him (I did say please) to keep his dog contained and what the dog had just done.  He didn't believe me, saying "THIS dog did that?".  Like, the dog is gone for 5 minutes and he couldn't imagine it was doing anything remotely naughty.  I told him "Yes, YOUR dog did that".  Then, I continued on.  We went up the first loop of the Competitive Trail ride we did back in January - no idea what the trail is called.  It has some very steep climbs, some rather iffy trail (sides are falling away), but it's sure challenging.  There was a log down across the trail, no biggie.  Galen went to step over it, saw that it was much too wide and so hopped it.  I heard a crack, but figured it was him hitting the log with a hoof.  We continued on, meeting some more well behaved dogs and their excellent owners, until we got back to the parking lot, where there was...a flock of sheep.  Galen was looking at them, indicating to me that this was NOT where sheep belonged.  I agreed, but couldn't do anything about it.  I untacked him and put him in the trailer and then went to see if I could find the break in the fence to shoo them back.  Didn't find the break and I'm obviously not a sheep whisperer, as they all headed away from me.  I also looked at my saddle as I was taking it off Galen - the pommel was cracked in two!  That crack I heard on the trail was my saddle tree breaking!  Now we'll see how to fix THAT!  I gave up on the sheep and headed home.

The big thing (besides all the adventures) is that I rode for over 2 hours and had forgotten to take any pain meds.  I finished reasonably sound, although I walked in the last 1/4 mile.  Met a very concerned dog walker who asked me if I was ok, as I was walking my horse.  I assured her I was just walking in for my benefit and all was well.  Good people!  My ankle was sore, but not screaming, so maybe, just maybe, there is a possibility that I'll be able to ride longer and longer.

So I got home and posted a short version of this on Facebook and had someone ask "This is an April Fool's joke, isn't it?".  I reread it and could see why they though that, but nope, all true.  Wish the saddle tree breaking wasn't!  Galen took everything in stride, I assume he just figures that humans are weird and whatever I say, goes.  Yeah!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bridle Trails Dressage Schooling Show, March 16, 2014

Sunday dawned wet and rainy.  VERY wet and rainy.  I kept thinking that it must slow down soon!  Ha!  The horses didn't really want to go outside and I couldn't blame them.  But, Monica and Keiko were riding in the afternoon, so I kept hoping it would clear up for them.  But, it kept raining and raining and raining.

Being tough Wetsiders (and having already paid their entry fees), neither Monica nor Keiko bailed.  They had been hoping to take a nice, relaxing ride through the Bridle Trails park before their tests, but decided that wouldn't be very relaxing in the pouring rain.  I was 'crewing' for both of them, offering to read the tests and hang on to things.  I had briefly toyed with the idea of riding some tests, but seeing the weather, I'm glad I didn't.  I got there around 2:30 and their rides were scheduled at 3:30 and beyond.  Still raining.

Both Cady (Keiko's mare) and Danny had developed an instant herd on the trailer ride there, and it took a bit of coaxing and some tactful riding to get them to concentrate on their riders.  But, Keiko and Monica did a great job, keeping their horses focused.  Danny was a bit tense, but did a respectable job, with some very nice marks especially in his second test.  Cady was obviously getting tired towards the last test, but also did very nicely.  Both Monica and Keiko ended with big smiles and first and second place ribbons in Training Test 3.  Angela Davenport showed up just in time and took photos and video of the tests while I read for them. 

Keiko and her Shagya mare Cady at the show.  Angela Davenport photo

Monica and Danny (Magdan) at the show, showing some nice moves.  Angela Davenport photo.

Here are big grins (although a bit wet) from Keiko and Monica with their ribbons. 

Congratulations to both of them!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Is a very scary word!  I've been thinking a lot about biosecurity lately, as we've had several horses with fevers in the past week.

Here is what happened:  Sunday morning, my husband came in from feeding breakfast to the horses (bless him) and he said "Goshen doesn't look good".  Now, when the husband notices that a horse is ADR (ain't doing right), you have to think the worst.  My hubby is a great guy, helps out tons, humors me and shoves me out riding, but a horseperson he is not.  So, out to the barn I go, hoping it's nothing.  Ha!  As advertised, Goshen, who is a 4 year old colt, is not feeling well.  He's not eating, is standing in the corner and isn't interested in much of anything.  So, I listen for gut sounds (next to none), take his heartrate (around 80) and his temp (101.5).  Immediately, I suspect colic.  There is plenty of poop in his paddock, but the lack of gut sounds points directly that way.  So, I give him a dose of Banamine and call the vet.  Of course, it's Sunday, so emergency fees apply!

The vet calls me back, gets the info and asks if I want to wait and see.  By now it's around 10ish and Larry and I have tickets for a hockey game that evening.  So no, I want to get him looked at and know what we're dealing with, so I can go enjoy my evening.  Vet comes out, does a rectal, listens, pokes and prods and decides it's not really a colic.  There's been this bug going around...turns out that there has been something (no one is really sure what it is) going through local barns.  The vets don't know exactly what it is, except horses spike a fever (often quite high) for around 48 hours and show some minor colic symptoms.  So far, the diagnosis is to treat the symptoms, so Banamine to bring down the fever and get them eating and drinking.  So, good news is that it's not colic, bad news is that this has proven to be VERY contagious.  Great.  Into a quarantine stall he goes and I head to Pilchuck Vet Hospital to pick up more Banamine, gowns, gloves and booties.  I worked at Pilchuck for about a year, so I know how an Iso (Isolation) stall is set up.  They also gave me a nice laminated poster that I put on the tack room door.
I'm taking Goshen's temp twice a day and giving Banamine twice a day.  He's eating and drinking reasonably well - not great, but enough.  Then, Reggie starts looking unhappy.  Ack!  I take his temp and even though he looks fairly bright and alert and is eating and drinking, it's 105.5.  I don't believe it, so I take it again.  106!  I call the vet, who says this is what they've been seeing (Goshen only got to 103.5 that I know of).  Banamine and out to retake that temp 2 hours later.  At that point, it's down to 102.5, so that is a huge relief.  So, now I have 2 in quarantine.  Both have been doing well and their temps are normal after 48 hours, but this morning (Thursday), Ari is looking off.  104.5.  Now there are 3 in quarantine.  Ari seems to think it's kind of a vacation.  Free choice hay, lots of bedding, some alfalfa, small grain meals every few hours, what's not to like?  So far, no one else has been droopy and fingers crossed, we isolated them early enough.  The big question is the pregnant mares and my stallion.  High fevers can cause abortion and kill sperm.  So, I'm not going near the girls or Salam, just in case.  We don't know how it spreads, but I'm trying to take zero chances.  We had planned on going out on the trails this week, but until everyone is clear I don't want to potentially infect anyone else's horses.  We're pretty much on lockdown.  And, to make matters just a little more fun, I ended up with a fever this week too!  I KNOW where that one came from though (thanks kids).  The worst part of the whole thing (besides the expense) is that the weather has been fantastic! 
I suspect by tomorrow both Goshen and Reggie are going to be wondering why they're in a stall 24 hours a day.  Neither are used to this, as everyone gets lots of turnout.  But, better that they're on the road to recovery.  Fingers crossed that Ari is the last one and no one else comes down with it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The 'Magic Number'

That old song, "One" by Three Dog Night, was going through my head yesterday.  I was riding Galen at Lord Hill by myself, so I needed something to keep myself amused.  I've been trying all sorts of different strategies to stay in the saddle longer (my ankle is still not where I think it should be).  I'm trying various riding strategies; doing more sitting trot (less ankle motion, but a slower overall speed), more leg contact during posting so there is less ankle flexion (thin thighs in 30 days!), more walking (slow speed again) and probably once I start doing over 2 hours, I'll have to get off and walk several times to give my ankle a break (have to get back on though, lol).

So, these are all helping some, but I'm still quite lame when I get back to the trailer.  It does work out reasonably soon, so I'm hopeful.

So, I decided that strategies aren't enough.  I've started experimenting with different drug regimes.  (cue the sinister music).  I've tried preloading my usual 3 Advil.  Not enough.  So, I tried 4.  I've never taken that many Advil at once, but I decided to try.  Not bad.  Hence the song.

Of course, I changed the lyrics a bit:

The original:
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It's the loneliest number since the number one

No is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes, it's the saddest experience you'll ever know
`Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number, worse than two

I couldn't remember more than a line or two, so I made up a much happier song.

Four is the magical number that lets me ride.
Four is the magical number that keeps my smile wide.
Four is the magical number, Could Five be a magical number?

And on and on.  Galen provided the drumbeat with his hooves and seemed to enjoy my singing.  Good thing he's not very critical.

Of course, being a person that tends to think that if 4 is good, wouldn't 5 be better, I am going to have to be careful.  Then, I think, wait a minute, don't I still have some oxycodone left over from the surgery?  Ack.  Slippery slope.  I guess I'll keep trying different strategies and try to restrain myself from over medication.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm Going to Turkmenistan!

Yes, that is correct, Turkmenistan!  I bought my tickets yesterday with my friend Jas. 

This is for the 'IV International Akhalteke horses Association meeting and celebrations devoted to the Holiday of the Turkmen racer which we will host in Ashgabat 24-27 April, 2014'

This has been something I've wanted to go to from the start, but it looks like this year I'll finally get there.

Jas and I will meet Amrita Ibold and Jenny Rice in Frankfurt and continue on to Ashgabat with them.

I've read the reports from other people that have gone, but this year I will finally be able to write my own report.  Woo hoo!

Now, back to work...