Monthly Archives: June 2010

New Horses

To keep all my readers informed Parker went very peacefully yesterday and had a nice morning of yummy grass and a nice breakfast. I gave him some special treats and told him that I loved him. I only cried a little because I had come to peace with the decision and knew it was for the best. The barn seems a lot quieter without him.

Thankfully…??? I now have lots of extra horses at the moment. I will be moving some from my farm to a local farm we use for layups but at the moment I have 10 horses and 8 stalls πŸ™‚

New horses:

Shine my Shoes – 4 yr 15.3 h cutie. He is by the same sire as Klondike Kid and has a very similiar face and body type. He has a bow that is fairly recent so will need some rest. So far he is proving to be a hilarious horse. He loves to try to escape he stall and it seems as though they accomplished that last night..more on that in a minute. He also loves to be sprayed with the hose and then dig some nice holes and get his roll on. Very big personality on this one!

Next up we have King Remda. He is a 5 yr and probably around 15.3 as well. He has a very minor bow on his right front which should present no issues and he is already turned out and sound. This picture does him no justice. He has a very cute face and is a real lover. He has already figured out how to open the doors with his butt πŸ™‚ I predict this one is going to be super quiet. He settled in like he lived here forever and was more interested in food than anything else.

Finally, we have Diamond H. He was the result of Jess having a new 3 horse trailer because he was not on the list. He is a massive 16.3 maybe bigger 5 yr with an equally large bowed tendon. He has some sort of weird lump which my vet told me is his annular ligament that is cutting off the blood supply so he now has to have a very minor surgery. I already told Allie she was going to kill me for bringing him home and now he has to have a surgery. She said we have funds so don’t worry but he is going to get a free stay on me because I know we shouldn’t have taken him…..I’m normally better at saying NO.

Lady Wheaton is off of stall rest and into a small paddock. She likes hanging out near Ring Dancer.

I spent some time looking for some ice boots. Anybody have some they want to donate to CANTER πŸ™‚ It seems like I am doing a lot of layups now and need to get something quicker/easier to apply. It’s tough to get everyone iced when I have to be at work early in the morning but if I had something easy to apply for 20 min while doing stalls to each horse then I would be good.

I got to go riding with Alison and Top Punch (former CANTER horse) over the weekend. It would have been fun if my horse hadn’t twisted a shoe and stepped on a clip but looks like he is okay. He has the shoe back on and seems sound.

Now I need to figure out who I am moving to the farm and who is staying. I think the layups have to stay for at least a few more months in small paddock turnout but I will get that worked out later.

This is the first time in a long while that I have not had any CANTER horses here in retraining. I am sure it won’t last long but I think I will wait till the hubby returns to take on any more work πŸ™‚

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He is all heart and then some

This is going to be a bit hard to write but I think I need to write it tonight instead of tomorrow because when people ask I won’t be ready to talk about it. I wrote about how Parker really acted strangely at our last x-c schooling. He did everything I asked of him but all of a sudden felt like he was having a panic attack which is very unlike him. I thought he was overheating because Parker really doesn’t have any types of behavioral issues. He got relaxed again after walking into the woods and in the shade but I didn’t jump anymore and walked for the next 20 min before he went back to the trailer and got hosed and scraped down. It took him over an hour to recover as far as his breathing and I was sure the breathing had something to do with the panic attack.

This week has been very hot and on Wednesday I get home and find Parker really struggling to breathe. Nostrils flaring and chest heaving while standing in front of multiple fans. I get him out and hose him down but he does not recover at all until several hours later. I emailed my vet who told me to take his temp the next day and give him dex if no temp and banamine if he had a temp and observe. He had no temp but again was breathing really hard. We had already developed a routine where I would come and stand in his paddock with a hose and just hose him for 5 min and he loved that! He would stand there and just turn around ever so slightly so he got wet all over.

We decided to scope him as something serious was going on and without looking we wouldn’t know. Allie and I had always had a gut feeling and our guts are not often wrong. Our gut said there is an issue that leads to the choke and resistance to contact but nothing ever came up.Β  One thing I have always believed about Parker is that he was a seriously kind and incredible horse. People would say he had behavioral issues but he never had a behavioral issue here. Even when he must have had the horrible ulcers he was very kind about his protest to work. It could be that I listened to him but I listened because I know he would never be bad intentionally. This horse is more like a dog than a horse.

When we scoped him we got the worse news imaginable and when you thinking about all the things he has been doing for us it’s hard to imagine how much heart this horse has. Basically when he breathes his airway collapses on itself especially in the pharynx area. He has a very small airway to breathe out of and the area has a lot of nerve damage. She said he was basically choking himself just standing there trying to breathe. Horses need to pant just like dogs to cool themselves and he wasn’t able to get enough air in. His resting respiration was 48..supposed to be around 12.

This is something he has probably had for a long time although nobody can say how long. I’m sure he has learned to adapt but the hot weather really caused a change in him and of course with the really hot weather I immediately noticed something was not right. Of course this is why he chokes and why he has resistance under saddle. I’m feeling guilty for not having looked sooner but really until this past month there was no reason to. I thought a horse with a breathing issue would make a noise or sound raspy but she said he doesn’t even get enough air to make a noise! I mean..god how could this horse be doing all I asked of him and not been able to get air in. Poor Parker.

We have decided to euthanize him because although he could possibly live in a colder climate finding someone to take him would be a challenge and we would always worry that someone would try to do more with him than they should. He really is that good of a mover and jumper. The vet was watching me lunge him and was just going WOW! It always frustrated me as a rider to be making such slow progress despite trying everything I knew but now I understand. Everyone who has been to my farm knows that the CANTER horses may be owned by CANTER but every single one is treated like one of my own. Parker is a horse that instantly grabs a piece of your heart. You can not help but to fall in love. He is a horse who has always lived for his food and his very vocal until he gets his special slop. He comes running when he sees his bucket just a hollering at you. He loved grooming and all the special attention he got here and the nice trail rides. Hell, he just was so damn cool and although he frustrated me to no end because I just couldn’t figure it out that was part of what made me love him.

I have had to put down several CANTER horses that have had injuries we couldn’t rehabilitate but I hadn’t gotten attached to them because I hadn’t ridden or really worked with them. Parker is part of the family. It will be a sad day for me but I will and always have been a supporter of giving a horse a kind death before something bad can happen. He has gotten lots of very special treatment this weekend including some good old triple crown senior sweet feed to spice up his regular ration balancer. I brought him out tonight and gave him a bath and a special grooming. I’m sorry he was so misunderstood but I can honestly say I listened to him the to the best of my ability and always gave him the benefit of the doubt. Makes you wonder how he ran 30+ races and made over $60k with these issues.

This week has been very hard for me with a lot of things going wrong on the farm and getting the news on Parker. I picked up three new horses on Saturday. I will write about that tomorrow when I need a bit of a pick me up.

Just trying to stay cool

We are still here πŸ™‚ I’m so busy with the hubby being gone that I don’t know which end is up. Thankfully, the horses help me keep my sense of humor. Last night, I was filling up the water trough and Parker was standing there looking hot. He dunked his whole head in πŸ™‚ Then I stood there hosing him down and he was loving it. I must have hosed him for 5 min and he just stood there like an elephant. He has so much personality and really I think he is a dog inside a horse body πŸ™‚

While I was waiting on my lesson student to show up I decided to give the two girls baths. Lady Wheaton has started her small paddock turnout and is doing great. Anyone looking for a super fancy hunter she is it. Lovely flat knee movement with an uphill build. She was sweaty and stinky from her stall rest so I brought her out and put her on cross ties. I am sure she hadn’t been cross tied before but she was very good. I pulled her mane a bit but when the trailer pulled in I decided I should get on to the bath. She seemed to really enjoy a good scrubbing and sure smelled a lot better.

Tara gave Ring Dancer a bath and somehow managed to get bonked in the eye with Ring Dancers knee. I saw a funny picture of a black eye this morning πŸ™‚ Ring Dancer will need a bit more stall rest and she is very upset that her buddy can go out and she can’t. I have opened the top of her dutch door so she can see her buddy and doesn’t get upset. She is a very good mare which makes the stall rest easy. Just wish she wasn’t such a pig in her stall πŸ™‚

I will be working hard on finding homes for Rocket and Parker. I’m also working on getting a few horses from Delaware Park on donation. Looks like I will be headed up there over the weekend to pick up at least one horse.

Archie Boy has found a home and that makes me so happy. He was such a cool horse with a huge personality. I know Kelly fell in love with him as much as I did. He was always so easy going and eager to please. I think the best part of working with CANTER is placing the horses in their new homes. Then we get lots of good updates and it makes all the other frustrations seem worthwhile. I’m sure she will post about his new home sometime soon.

I need to go pick up some industrial sized fans today to make sure the horses stay cool in this hot weather. Each of them have a box fan for their stalls but 96 today and 98 tomorrow is going to be awful. I will be sure to give Parker a special hosing. Man, he just cracks me up. We need to take video of his silly self.

Calling it quits

I’m pretty bummed right now about Parker but we have made the decision to call it quits with him as far as a riding/competition horse. Maybe he can be a trail horse or a pasture pal so I will cross my fingers for that option.

It’s not just one thing that has made us come to the decision but I do believe he might have other issues that we don’t have the money to investigate and even if we did investigate we might not find the answers or be able to fix. I took him x-c schooling this weekend and he warmed up really good but then had a mini-panic attack. I knew something was not right so I just let him walk and we went into the woods to cool down. I think he is having issues with his breathing. I noticed at my last lesson he was really struggling to regain his breathing for aΒ long time after we had cooled him down. On Sunday, it took him over an hour to regain his breathing. He was huffing and puffing and I had not even done anything with him besides trot and canter a few fences and walk around in between. He just felt off so I knew better to push it and I am sure I made the right decision. Allie and I chatted and we think he could be displacing. You can’t hear any noises or anything but he simply can’t regain his breathing and that is probably really scary for him.

He also has the history of chokes and the vets think he probably has a stricture. I haven’t had an issue with him choking anymore but he eats soup out of a bucket on the ground πŸ™‚

I admit I am very frustrated and sad. I have put so my time into trying to get him to be a solid citizen but all along the way I kept saying this horse is so sweet and lovely there has to be reasons why he can’t do the work I am asking. He tried so hard but as horseman you have to know when to say okay we tried everything but the horse isn’t comfortable doing what is being asked and give them another career. Parker is the sweetest horse who is like a dog. He comes running up to you in the field, loves his food, will stretch out and curl his lip for grooming and just has the biggest and best personality. He looks so fantastic with gorgeous weight and muscling. We just put hind shoes on him..go figure.

I really thought everything was improving and it was but if he can’t breathe this hot and humid weather is going to make it all that much more apparent and it has. The plan is that he is going to go back to the funny farm in Md and just hang out until we can find him an appropriate home. Allie said I get my pick of horses and I want the bay with white who is by Meadow Monster. I have a horse in training named Meadow Mobster by Meadow Monster and he is awesome. I’ll take another one of those please πŸ™‚

I did actually enjoy the x-c schooling because my mom was riding Meadow Mobster who has turned out to be everything I hoped. I get nervous buying horses off the track for clients because you just never know but this guy had a great trainer and had been so nice each time I saw him. My mom is not the most confident rider and she instantly felt comfortable on him and was jumping everything on him. He just goes around on a relaxed rein as happy as can be and seems to love life. I have really enjoyed bringing him along and have entered him in the fairhill starter event. He is the PERFECT adult ammy horse and I am excited to see what he becomes. My mom sold her horse that wasn’t suitable and she really should buy him but she’s cheap and thinks she can find something else. Hey, I picked out Flint who is the most awesome horse for her so she should listen to me but she doesn’t.

I’m really busy on the farm with Kurt in Texas for 6wks. I have all the barn work , mowing, dragging and more. It is a bit overwhelming but I am getting used to it. I think the time will fly by as I am keeping busy.

That felt good!

Parker is really coming along and the canter is getting better each day. I admit I still am trying new bits searching for that wonder bit but of course it doesn’t exist and I know that. However, I do believe I can find something more comfortable so last night I tried a happy mouth loose ring single joint and he liked that.

I have been working transitions, transitions and more transitions. Really thinking about keeping him uphill and coming underneath in the transitons not pulling on the forehand. Of course that means I have to sit tall, close my elbows and keep my hands up and legs actively bumping him up to keep him from diving down. Well it’s working! We had some really lovely work and the horse who couldn’t canter when he arrived to me is now cantering 15 m circles. Not pretty yet but it is getting there! I really do think he is starting to fuss less and less but of course a lot of that is because he is fitter and he feels better.

Kurt and I took Parker and Mobster out trail riding on Wednesday partially to test out the new trailer πŸ™‚ The new trailer is huge but wonderful. Parker LOVES the trails and wore Kurt out with his big trot.

I am hoping to get to the St. Augustine Pony Club x-c school with two horses this weekend if someone will come along with me. Kurt is leaving for Texas for 6wks of training so we are crunching to get all the major stuff completed before he is gone. Paddocks mowed, manure spread, trailer registered, pick up shavings, stack hay and all the other stuff he does that I normally don’t do. He is such a huge part of making the whole farm operate so it will be a bit chaotic without him.

I just advertised on of the CANTER horses if anyone is looking. He was a donation to CANTER due to lack of time. A lovely 15.3 h 9 yr tb that is super broke and a very nice jumper with auto changes. He is very quiet and loves people.Β  He seems like he would be a great horse for a kid moving off a pony or an adult looking for a made packer type.

It is going to be a busy weekend around the farm trying to get lots of projects finished. I hope to take the new trailer out to practice driving it.

Traveling in style!

Horses have always been in my blood and even when I tried to give them up I realized I couldn’t. I remember graduating college thinking I would just start back with one horse again and do some resale to make some extra money. Ha, now look at me! I used to say there was no way I would own my own farm as it was to much work and you never could vacation. Boarding was great because you could just drive up, ride and then leave.

I tried boarding and hated it. That led to leasing which I also hated as I found it pointless to pay someone so much money when I had to do all the work. That led to buying our own farm and boy was that an adventure. It seems like we have started out small and tried to be very economical as we went along. Started with a basic truck and a really tiny trailer. Soon realized that trailer wasn’t going to work and upgraded to an older used trailer but big enough for the big Tb’s. Then upgraded to a bigger truck with 4 wheel drive.

As the business has expanded and I got more involved with CANTER I found the need for a bigger trailer. I REALLY wanted a 4 horse head to head but our truck wasn’t big enough to pull it and we had just paid off the truck so upgrading the truck wasn’t an option. Instead, I agreed to a smaller trailer but lord it is still big!
our trailer

That is my new Hawk 2+1 that should be arriving within the next two days. The horses are going to love it and I am sure I will tell when I stop being so scared of it. I know I am going to ding it..have you seen me drive πŸ™‚ It has fans, lots of windows, extra space in the tack room and so much more. I am beyond excited and this will really allow me to take more horses along as we go to shows and schoolings.

Prepare to Laugh

Parker has been working super hard and just feels so good. He got some hind shoes on which should really give him some more support behind. Yesterday, he went to Mogie’s for a jumping lesson. I told her that I had started jumping him at home and he just is fussy and the canter needs work. Of course jumping is all about your canter so if you are having trouble balancing the canter the jumps are not going to be easy. Parker can seriously jump when the balance is good so I know where the work needs to be done.

We started working in the canter and I explained that my issue was he felt on the forehand and he wanted to run and then pull when asked to balance up via the half halt. I find it hard to sit on him because he just lacks the balance and he chucks his head all around. Mogie watched and suggested we try a hackamore so we did. Parker did not care for the hackamore πŸ™‚ He makes his objection clearly known so we moved on. We then used a waterford full cheek for the rest of the lesson so he couldn’t grab on (I had been riding him in the HS duo d-ring).

We really worked on keeping the balance all the way to the jumps and having the right canter in the corner. You will see that there is so funny stuff where he leaves from a spot that I didn’t intend to leave from and when he doesn’t even see the jump because he is so worried about fighting me πŸ™‚ The good thing is that he is super honest and he tries really hard. He is a fantastic jumper and when the canter gets good we are going to be a force to reckon with.

Mogie really likes him and said he can seriously jump so just keep doing my homework. It was so hot and poor Parker was pooped out at the endΒ but it is nice to see him really trying hard. I was told that I need to keep the contact at the canter but achieve for 3lbs of pressure in the reins instead of 5lbs (5bls is when he is leaning on me). Don’t abandon him but think about my half halt as a lifting motion bumping him up with my calves as I lift the reins and then leg on.