Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Grown Up Filly!

Happy 6th birthday Reva!  It is hard to believe that my filly is growing up!!  I have owned Reva for almost three years now!  WOW!  She came into my life as a three year old back in July 2009.  She has grown from the Super Filly to the Fancy Show Horse.  Ha ha ha ha!  What a good mare!

Reva was obviously impressed by her pretty pink party hat today!  LOL!!!  ;-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Very cool freestyle

I have many updates, but no time to write!  Ahhh!  :-p

In the meantime, here is a great video of Heather Blitz and Paragon's recent winning freestyle.  I got to ride with Heather twice back in 2010 and had a great time.  

I love the choreography and the final halt!  Very neat!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Shot reactions :-(

This is the first year in a while that my horses have had reactions to their spring shots.  My thirty year old mare, Sparky, was just fine, but that is because we front load her with IM Banamine before the shots, and then I give her a half dose (500 lb.) that evening and then another half dose in the morning.  At her age, I don't even want her to look at me funny after getting her shots!  I don't mess around with a geriatric mare who is prone to colic anyway.  So my is in totally agreement to my desire to give her the Banamine regardless.  

Thankfully, Reva and Dreamy's reactions were pretty mild.  Reactions to vaccinations are common and usually resolve on their own fairly quickly.  The morning following their shots (Tuesday), Reva acted as though she felt "yucky" and had a fever of 102.2.  Reva is probably the least stoic of all three mares and it is very obvious when she does not feel good.  I swear she does the horse equivalent of a sick kiddo who wants mom to snuggle them on the couch.  She practically begs to have her head hugged and will lean down onto my chest and stay there.  It would be quite cute if she was not sick.  Reva had a dose of the Banamine that morning and then Bute that night.  She did not have a fever the next day (Wednesday) and was a bit subdued but definitely felt better.  By Thursday she was totally fine.

Dreamy was stocked up in all four legs on Tuesday morning.  I gave her Bute and turned her out for the day, knowing that moving around is much better than standing in a stall all day.  She was totally sound and her legs had no heat, they just looked like stovepipes.  That evening they hadn't gone down that much, so I gave her more Bute and wrapped her in Back on Track standing wraps for four hours and then regular quilts and standing wraps overnight.  On Wednesday morning her legs were just a tad puffy, so I discontinued the Bute and just turned her out and did the regular standing wraps overnight again.  By Thursday morning her legs were tight and normal.

None of them had any neck swelling, which has usually been the common reaction around here.  This was the first time I had a horse stock up after vaccines in my almost twenty years of horse ownership.

Obviously it could have been worse, so I am thankful their reactions were typical and resolved without too much trouble.  How about your horse(s)?  Do your horses have spring shot reactions?  Do you do anything special (space out the shots, pretreat with an NSAID, etc.)?  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring shots

My veterinarian came out today for spring shots and Coggins.  I had to take a day off from work, which is a pain, but it all works out.  He was supposed to be here by 9AM, but I received a call that it would be closer to 10.  No big deal.  Then he called again to say he would be running closer to 11 because he had to stop and put a prolapsed vagina back into a sheep!  LOL!  Well, OK, then!  I have heard it all now!  I never have a problem if my vet or farrier is running late because of an emergency (especially when they call to let me know!  :-) because I would want the same level of prompt attention if I had the emergency here!

I had planned to ride the mares after their shots.  It is good to get them out and moving after a series of shots and a 20 minute walk is pretty laid back.  But because my vet was running late, I opted to ride first.  Not ideal, but if I wanted to fit everything in before I had to pick up my son at school by 2, then I had to ride first.

I took Dreamy out onto the road to ride today.  It was a bit more exciting than endless walking circles throw the snowy field, and she bores easily.  We just walked up the road and back a few times, since we are only worried about long slow distances right now.  She was totally fine and it was a gorgeous sunny morning here.  All was well until I spotted three very large black labs running down the road towards us, barking and growling.  Dreamy is a very level headed mare,  and generally can ignore a barking dog, but seeing three in a "pack" like that made a nervous for a moment.  I took a deep breath and asked her to trot straight at them, as I growled back and yelled "Go!  Get away!  I have found that the best way to deter a dog who is chasing my horse is to make the horse go after the dog.  It worked and immediately the three of them tucked their tails and ran up the road.  I am hoping they were OK and got home safely.  I assume they somehow got lose and the owners are at work (at least I hope so, as letting dogs loose even in my quiet neighborhood is a bad idea).

Reva had a quick 15 minute ride, as my vet showed up while I was still on her!  But both mares were very, very good and seem happy to be back into work.  

All three of my mares had their spring shots and Dreamy and Reva had their Coggins pulled. There were no problems and it was a good visit.  We gave Sparky IV banamine beforehand just in case, as she can sometimes have weird colicky shot reactions.  She is turning 30 this year and I do NOT want to deal with colic if we can prevent it.  Tonight I gave her a half dose (500 lbs) of banamine paste and then I will give her another half dose tomorrow.  She looks great and should be just fine. 

The best part?  It was FREE and my vet owed me money!  Just kidding, it wasn't "free".  LOL!  I send my vet a check every two weeks when I get paid, so that I prepay as much of my spring shots as possible.  All told, it comes out around $900 usually and that is the amount I had prepaid as of today.  Prepayment is the only way I can afford my horses and instead of putting it onto a savings account, and then being tempted to dip into it, I just send it directly to him.  He doesn't mind the money up front (of course) and it works out well for both spring shots and fall teeth floating (which is about the same amount of money lately, since Reva has had to have major dental work).  I expected to have to write a small check for the difference; last year I think I owed $14 or thereabouts.  But instead, I still have a $96 and change credit on my account!  WHOOOO!  So it felt as though the spring shots were "free".  When I told my vet this he laughed at me.  LOL!  I will just leave the credit there, since I will need a health certificate in August if I decided to go to Standardbred Nationals and of course fall teeth floating.  And who knows what else...obviously I will use the money and I know he is a decent, honest man so the credit won't magically "disappear".

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The start of spring conditioning

Because I keep my horses at home and do not have access to an indoor arena, they essentially have the winter off.  I think it was about 10 weeks this year.  I try to ride as much as I can in the snow, but the cold temperatures and ice do me in (and we had a lot of both this winter!!)  While we still have about 14" of snow on the ground, I figured it was time to start spring conditioning today!  The sun came out and it was gorgeous. 

It is funny, but I always assume that anyone like me who has to give their horses extended time off know how to bring them properly back into work.  Apparently, this is not true.  And I am not just speculating this either.  Just this past week, as my farrier worked on my mares, he made a comment that left me shaking my head.  He remarked that I was his only client (who has a job outside of horses) that actually understands how to condition a horse.  He made mention of the fact that he dislikes seeing "weekend warriors" and that "the foxhunters are the worst!"  LOL!  It made me chuckle, as I thought he was exaggerating, but apparently he was not.  Yikes!!

I wrote about spring conditioning last year and just now rereading it myself, it sounds about the same!  LOL!  I took Reva out first, since she happened to be closest to the gate this afternoon.  She was SO HAPPY to be fussed over.  I trimmed her bridle path, which was a serious mohawk!  LOL!  She was so pleasant in the barn I figured she would be a wild pony beast when I got on.  I was happy to be wrong!  I mounted her in the driveway from my truck tailgate (super safe!) and we had to bulldoze through a 2 foot (fluffy) snow bank to get out into the field.  She hesitated and wanted to find a different route, but little did she know the spot I chose was the lowest spot.  

We spent a fine 20 minutes breaking a path all around the field.  Reva was happy in the bridle, stretching down softly into contact, and it made me giddy!  I always worry that nearly three months off is going to make my horse forget all of her training.  Of course, this is is silly but I still worry.  We worked on halt/walk transitions and she was much more obedient to the upwards than the downwards transitions.  This is pretty typical for her, so I spent some time doing exaggerated half halts in the walk and trying to use my exhales and core muscles more when we finally did a halt.  She improved significantly.  We spent some time at the end just "standing around" which she was fine about.  

Such a gorgeous day...finally!

Dreamy was up next and my son decided he wanted to ride.  He rode Dreamy at a walk for about 15 minutes and then I got on for about 10 more.  She was pleased to march along in the paths Reva had made but was crabby about having to blaze her own paths.  The snow is not too deep, but after pushing her through a few turns into new snow, I just allowed her to walk in the already formed ruts.  We did a few halt/walk transitions and some stretching in the free walk before calling it a day.

It became overcast....oh well!

So cute!

My plan is to tack walk them for 20 minutes and work up to 30.  Then I add in trot and work up to 45-60 minute rides.  Finally I will add the canter!  Hopefully within the next 6-7 weeks we will be ready for spring!  I also will add in hill work, beach riding, and trail riding as the footing/weather permits, and mix up our dressage work with cavaletti.  Hopefully we can resume riding lessons by the end of April!!

My vet is coming out on Monday for spring shots!  The first opening date is at the end of March!  Yay!!!!