Monthly Archives: January 2009

You have to love it

That was my thought in the barn tonight. Either you love it or you have no business running your own horse business πŸ™‚ Horses are great fun 99% of the time but let me just tell you how exhausting/frustrating/annoying it is soaking an abscess every single day if not twice a day in freezing cold weather. Yep, Dixie has the mother of all abscesses on both heel bulbs in his left front. He had cut his heel and I suppose despite putting him on Smz’s it decided to brew. One day he was fine and then next I come home to find him unable to walk. The leg is triple the size..okay I know I he walked out sound to the pasture this morning so you feel relieved it has to be an abscess.

For the past week and a half I have been soaking it and wrapping with animalintex poultice which I consider one of the greatest inventions ever! The heels have been draining steadily but he got worse as he went instead of better. Okay, try not to panic. I thought mmm..this can not be good and put him on some smz’s but no improvement so I called Allie (director of CANTER MA). Allie is my backup when I need to confirm I am on the right track. She suggested bumping him up to penicillin shots so I added that to the course of treatment. Wow, my favorite thing to do in freezing cold weather is inject something that feels like sludge into my horse. Poor Dixie is hurting but is such a wonderful patient. Just stick him on the x-ties with his foot soaking bag and finish my barn chores. Stick him with a needle and then give him a treat to say I am sorry.

Today his leg actually looked normal size and there was a lot of drainage coming out of the leftΒ  heel bulb. If you are sensitive to smell this would be an awful job because the smell coming from that foot is rank. I can not even describe the awfulness of it but I would like to stick that stinky wrap under the pillow of my worse enemies. I think that would be a fun revenge. Enough of that πŸ™‚

I am hoping we are getting close to being done with this abscess. Looks like I will be putting four shoes back on my personal horse to hunt while Dixie heals.

Indy was dropped off to his new owners on Sunday. I met up with them on the eastern shore where we went rabbit hunting with their pack of basset hounds. I think they were called the Foxboro foot hounds and it was so much fun to watch the Bassets hunt. I hope to get out with them when it is not so windy so the scent holds a bit better. I have to brag on Indy as he loaded up in a new trailer with a pack of 12+ hounds over top of his head (they were in the gooseneck). He is such a smart horse so I hope he works well for them. They have a few days to try him out but I think it would be awful hard to find as nice of a horse as him for such a reasonable price (my opinion anyway πŸ™‚ )

I really do love my horses and in this cold weather I am glad the barn chores keep me motivated and working up a sweat. I may dread getting out there but I love to walk into the barn full of horses on a cold morning and hear them holler for their grain and be so happy to see me coming.

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To cold to ride!

No hunting today due to the wind chill. I had taken off work to go hunting and also to meet the chiropractor and saddle fitter. I am glad we aren’t hunting in this cold weather. Yes, I know there are many places where it is much colder but I hate the cold! The picture above is my friend Tara on Dixie after one of our recent trail rides.

Why turnout matters!

Indy has for all intents and purposes been sold but he does not leave until this weekend so I have kept riding him to keep him going. A week or so ago my friend was riding Indy and I was riding Dixie and Indy was a bit wound up on the trail ride. Nothing bad but I sorta blamed it on her (sorry tara :)) She isn’t really used to riding in the open and tends to get a bit nervous so I thought maybe she was just fighting with Indy a bit.

We decided we were tired of being cooped up and needed to get back out on the trails. You can barely do any trotting/cantering because it is so muddy. It seems like every week we get another inch or so of rain and the ground is just saturated. I asked her to ride Dixie as he is Mr. steady and I would ride Indy and see what was going on with him. He motored his way out and was just ready to go. Meanwhile Dixie is just hanging back meandering along.

We find a place to trot and I pick up the trot and oh baby it was like a firecracker got lit under Indy’s butt. I went up and down and sideways and up and down again. He was so excited he just couldn’t go forward but just went up and down instead. Tara told me everytime Indy started up with a stunt Dixie literally moved 20 feet over and away from me.

45 min of this trail ride Indy was just full of himself. He wasn’t being nasty or trying to get me off but it was like he had so much energy he just couldn’t contain himself. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what in the world was going on. He never acted like this but I had noticed he was more on edge lately and even when the potential buyers came to see him he hopped up and down a few times which was really unlike him.

Mmm…wait a minute. We moved from 30+ acres with huge fields and he was turned out with a group of goons which are basically my young horses that run and play and otherwise keep each other moving throughout the day. He had been turned out with Dixie, Mick and Boppus before and they really played hard. Now he was turned out with my older horse and due to the weather they hadn’t been running around much and my older horse does not move around much.

When we got back I immediately moved the fields around. Indy went out with Charlie, Mick and Boppus all young Tb’s. They ran and played and acted silly. Guess what..old Indy returned. We did two more trail rides over the weekend and I was on the buckle and Dixie cantered past me and Indy could have cared less. He was relaxed and happy.

Just goes to show you that sometimes you have to be aware of what each horse may need. Some horses don’t need as much turnout for example Dixie just never seems to care whether he runs around or not he is always as quiet. Same goes for a few of my horses. I really think the younger tb’s need a chance to run around and just be horses.

It is partially my fault because I am trying to save my grass and having seven horses on 11 acres in the middle of mud season is depressing. I give them 24×7 turnout but in my smaller sacrifice paddocks which don’t allow them to do anything more than walk.

Indy is much happier now πŸ™‚ I will pass it along to his new owners that he needs some good romping time in the field. Very easy fix to make a horse quiet.

Dixie once again proved himself to me and earned the trust of Tara. She wants to fox hunt with me a time or two and she has now asked if she can ride Dixie πŸ™‚ Yes, he is a horse the guests can ride out and I just don’t worry. I was every which was across those fields and Dixie was never bothered, he moved out of the way and he didn’t play on Indy’s bad behavior. I typically am the only one riding him in the hunt field so I know this to be true but it was nice to see he can give the same sort of results to a less experienced rider.

I took off on Wednesday so I will be hunting with my friend and the horses will get some chiropractic work done. Then the really cold weather comes in and I will be grumpy all over again.

Walking in the woods

It was another dry summer and mother nature is taking revenge by dumping lots of rain on us for the past few months. I know it could be worse with freezing temps or ice but still depressing for those of us who need our daily rides to stay sane. It becomes obvious to me how quickly I get depressed when I can’t ride as often as I would like to.

One sacrifice about moving to our own farm was that we have no ring with footing. I have one 100×200 grass ring and another smaller grass ring but with all this rain they are so soft and squishy you can only do flatwork and sometimes it is just to slick so you just walk and trot. We have lovely state owned land behind us but with hunting season you really shouldn’t be riding out there…shouldn’t being the key word but I am not that good at following the rules and often head out for a lap or two around the big fields.

I am been in a funk as of lately. No real desire to do much besides groom the horses. It is probably just my body’s way of saying take a break as the horses, the farm and all the money that it takes to run the farm causes a lot of stress and you just need to decompress for a bit and do nothing.

On these days I just tack up a horse and meander through the woods and the fields. My hubby is away this week for business so I have all the chores to do but I left the chores and saddled up Dixie. I have perfected opening the gate from his back. I have to leg yield over the fence and unclip the latch and then we push the gate open. I headed out for about 25 min mostly at the walk because everything is so muddy but I think Dixie and I both enjoyed getting out. It is wonderful to have such a nice horse that you can just go out and relax and not worry to much. I am in my own little world and in some ways I think he is to. We mostly just walked on a loose rein and if there was a harder spot to trot on we would do a little trot.

I washed his legs down and gave him a good curry. He loves to be curried and he really gets into it. Then he looks at me with his big eyes and I know he is begging for a treat. He is not a hard core begger but it’s the look that gets me. I try not to get them to spoiled but they deserve some treats now and then.

Not sure if I mentioned that Indy will be moving on to his new home next weekend. A lovely couple are buying him as a horse to hopefully whip on and Indy loves hunting so I think it will be the perfect fit. They both love tb’s and appreciate his good nature. I am super excited to know he will have found his people.

I need to finish making a collage with Dixie’s pictures and do my ad’s on dreamhorse and equine.com. I think I will make that a weekend project. I hope to hunt on Sunday but the weather forecast looks cold and wet. If the footing is good enough I am going. Hunting is a great way of escaping your normal routine and enjoying nature.

Video from our hunt

Here is the video my friend took of us hunting

I was so excited that all my fields had dried up and I was back to riding everyday but now we have been swamped with inches of rain and everything is soft again. Hubby is traveling this week so I will have to wait to get my truck back so I can head over to the indoor.

Hunting makes the pain go away

I didn’t make it out New Year’s Day to go hunting because I had a new boarder coming in and truthfully it was just plain cold with winds that made me want to go in and drink a cup of hot chocolate not go riding for several hours.

Sunday was a joint meet with Bobby Reber and Ed Fry’s local pack based out of Chestertown, Md. My friend Alison hunts with this group and I had attended a few times as her guest so I knew most of the members. It was fun to see all of them again and the best part was watching each groups hounds interact.

I picked up my friend ,Dr. Egli, who is one of the vets with Delmarva Equine. Her horse lives right around the corner from my house so it was a short stop to get her. I think Dixie appreciated the company. She hunts her Standardbred, Artie, who is a very cool horse who apparently has a big engine.

Getting dressed when it is so cold is almost painful as you have to shed all your layers to get your hunt clothes on. Once I put on my hunt coat that was lent to me I was as warm as can be. The coat is a bit long for me but oh so warm! I was very grateful to have it on such a cold day.Β  Dixie looked happy to be hunting and was very relaxed as I took off his clothes. We mounted up and then split into two fields.

I like to ride Dixie with first flight as he is plenty fit and can go all day if you want him to. I figured he might be a bit up as I had not ridden him much before the hunt but he was very relaxed as we walked out. He is not a horse who jigs or prances which I find interesting as almost all of my other tb’s are. I suppose he must know there is no hurry??

My hubby and my friend Tara had come along to get some pictures and video of Dixie that IΒ  could use for my sales ads. I am a believer in showing the horse to their full potential and buyers need to see the horse in action to see how nice he really is. He totally made up for dropping me on my head πŸ™‚

The hounds struck very quickly and we found ourselves running circles around one patch of woods which sounds boring but was exciting if you ask me. In one section of this woods was a hill you had to go straight down and then immediately straight up another hill. That kept things interesting as everyone had to move over to give those behind us room to make it up the hill. Must horses always canter up hills? It seems like they always canter up the hills which is cool unless there is no room at the top of the hill for you to fit in. The hilltoppers saw several fox and some were running in pairs. Kurt got some pictures of the fox and told me he would see them come out and then we would come about 5 min later on the same path the fox took. At first there were 4 fox, then three, then two and then one.

For the first hour Dixie was ready to go. The thing I love about Dixie is that he may be full of run but he is always sensible. No bucking, rearing, spooking or otherwise silly behavior. He is very rateable in his snaffle I just have to do a bit more to tell him to keep a lid on it. An hour into the hunt he was on a loose rein and standing quietly and the checks. He has to walk a tiny bit in the beginning of the hunt at the checks. He had gotten better but I think the time off has something to do with the lack of patience.

The hounds were pulled up and we moved to a new section which was along the water. They ran the fox up into the marsh (well it looked marshy). We went onto this path that was only made for huntsman and it was a bit hairy. Not to mention very painful for someone with a sore neck to be ducking branches! The fox must have run up to the point and then circled back because all of a sudden we were heading the other way fast!

I love when you get to open up and really gallop. We galloped hard around the fields and down the dirt path. We stopped back in front of the dam and when I looked at my watch we had been out for 3hrs. My friend and her daughter asked to go in and I decided to join them. Dixie had 2wks off and I figured it smart not to run him much more. I didn’t know how much longer they would be out. He calmly walked in on a loose rein right after that long gallop. That was impressive to me.

I can not tell you how much I love this horse and how fun it is to be out in the hunt field and not worry a bit. He just takes care of everything for me and as we galloped over ditches and bad footing he carefully picks his way through. When we go through the small trails he watches where he is going and I don’t even have to steer. 3hrs of hunting and I really wasn’t sore at all which is great. He doesn’t pull on me or take a lot of work to ride which is why I picked him to go. I don’t think my neck could have handled to much.

It was such a wonderful day and I got to see my friend and her daughter. They had a super time. My vet had a wonderful time on her horse and another vet from the practice was there riding a 4yr for her first time hunting and they did well.

Some pics:

Stay away from computer when on pain killers

My goal this week was to get some pictures of Dixie so I can finally finish making up his sales ads. Sales ads are so much more complicated then one thinks. Do you know how many times you have to jump each jump to get the “perfect” picture. Horse has to be just right and the rider needs to look like they aren’t a monkey. Make sure the background is not cluttered and the color is right. Very complicated if you ask me and I am not even the one taking the pictures. Lucky for me the hubby is very supportive and understand the need to have perfect pictures and video to illustrate the horse is exactly as my ad describes.

Anyway…the photo session was going really well. Dixie had time off to deal with that abscess he got when he stepped on the clip of his shoe. I was super excited to have him back in action. Jumped a few jumps in the ring and then moved out to the coop to show he jumps the natural stuff to. Had a super idea to jump the post and rail that I put up around my ring. We jumped in and out just fine. Don’t assume the horse will always go because when they don’t you will end up taking a header. The 3rd attempt (in the name of perfect pictures) didn’t go as planned and I took a lovely header off my horse giving myself a bloody lip, nose and a cut underneath the eye which was producing mass quantities of blood scaring my poor husband.

If you want to know how shallow I am all I was worried about was my pair of new reins which Dixie broke when running back to the barn. Oh and on the way to the barn he ran past my friend Tara who was riding Indy. Apparently, Indy wanted to join but was quick to settle down when Tara suggested he not join up with Dixie.

I got back on and jumped a few more fences. Saturday I went and got my CT scan of my face and neck but I was given the all clear sign and some muscle relaxers and pain killers. Since I couldn’t turn my head I took one of each and sat down at the computer to edit some pictures.Β  Somewhere along the way I managed to delete my whole photo album on webshots that I had of Dixie so all my pictures that were on the blog disappeared.

We got a few good pictures of Dixie so it was worthwhile and he made up to me with a glorious day of hunting but that is another blog entry.

x-rails are so boring