Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ten Questions for November...

...because I am bored and riding time is short right now!  I even added links back to old posts and as many photos as I could to make it more fun!

L at Viva Carlos posted these questions and several other blogs have joined in, so I might as well.

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden? 
That would be the young Standardbred mare I started named Reva.  She came to me in 2009 sight-unseen (besides photos) from New Jersey as a three year old.  I showed her a bit through 2010-2012 and I ended up giving her away to a lovely local family (because no one wants to pay money for a well trained Standardbred *sigh*).  Reva was a sweet mare, she just wasn't thrilled to be a show horse.
Reva at her first show!
How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? 
The oldest horse I have ever ridden was my first horse, Sparky, the winter before I had to put her down at age 32.  It was a Christmas tradition to ride bareback and I am glad I never missed a year with her.  We briefly walked and trotted around the snowy field on Christmas 2013 when she was 31, and she tried to canter and buck.  It was funny then and a wonderful memory now.
Sparky the night before she had to be put down, though I did not know it at the time of the photoshoot.
Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? 
Not that I remember at all.  I don't think I would have been so incredibly horse crazy all those years ago had I been scared LOL!  Fun blog post about my horsey past here!


And so it began, at age six!
Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? 
I would say I am a confident rider.  My goal is to always stay calm in order to give my horse confidence.  I don't think I would have had as much success with my horses over the years if I was nervous. 

Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses? 
I don't really get too worked up about non-horse people around horses.  I know horses are not for everyone and I don't really remember anything that has made me upset.  I would say that being asked "can I ride your horse?" is sort of awkward to me.

A time you’ve been scared for your life? (horse related) I don't ever really remember being scared for my life, though I will say that I had a bad tumble off Dreamy a few years back at a fox hunt.  I was not as much scared for me, but when she took off at a dead gallop as I was there on the ground, I was pretty scared for HER life.  Of course, it was called the "Die Hard Hunt" of the year, and I just had to take a spectacular fall.  


Photographic evidence of our fall during the fox hunt!

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened?Yup, but so far only once!  LOL!  Took a tumble off Dreamy at a show in 2010.  The full story is here, but basically she tripped in the last class of the day (Command class) on one of the HUGE rocks in the ring while cantering.  She stumbled and I went off over her shoulder.  We still somehow pulled a fourth place ribbon hahaha!!!

What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? 

I would say a Connemara, mostly because I want to own one as well!!

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? 

Hmmmm...my horses are mostly well behaved and I have been lucky to otherwise have ridden pretty decent school horses when in college.  Probably the worst behaved horse would be Tiffany, a Morgan mare I leased before I owed my first horse Sparky.  I was 11 and Tiffany was coming off a lengthy maternity leave.  She wasn't terribly behaved, but she pulled every stunt she could think of and made me cry a lot LOL!


Learning dressage with Tiffany about 26 years ago!
The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had?
OHHHHHHH there are too many to count!  Retraining a harness racehorse to become a dressage/event horse is one of the most frustrating yet rewarding experiences EVER.  Half of this blog is made up of frustrating ride reports, as I started my blog about Dreamy in order to have something to look back on and remember how far she had come.  There is this post, this one, and this.....and many more!  :-)


Still the best mare no matter what!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Anyone have any experience with shoe boil boots???

Snap Dancer is probably the only horse I have owned who has the strangest little problems.  My old Morgan, Sparky, liked to randomly colic and freak me out and Dreamy has COPD which I have managed in a wide variety of ways over the years.  While both of those issues are scary and potentially serious, I was always lucky to be able to easily treat them over the years.  

Snappy has had ulcers, aural plaques, weight gain problems, and now dry elbows (which if I don't treat could eventually turn into shoe boils and/or capped elbows).  They have always been slightly flaky when she wears shoes for half the year, presumably from the heel end of her shoes hitting her elbows when she lies down in her stall. Over the past several months it has gotten progressively worse.  Her elbows are not inflamed or swollen, just dry and cracked with flaky skin.  I have tried bacitracin, Bannix, a product called Dublin Dip, and Vit E capsules and bell boots at night.  Nothing made it any better.  Even though the bell boots protected the elbow from the shoe, there was still pressure.  Today my vet came out to float teeth, so of course I asked his opinions.  He prescribed a triamcinolone (corticosteroid) ointment and recommended the shoe boil boots instead of bell boots.

Now, call me crazy, but these things look super uncomfortable.  Anyone in blog land ever use them?  Are they as hard as they look?  It makes me worried she won't want to lie down with these hard plastic things on her hooves.  Maybe it will help, since it appears the boot will create a large space for her elbow (unless she just pushes the boot against her elbow...!).  I am wondering if there are any other ideas or experiences out there anyone can share!  :-)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Protect Your Horse During Hunting Season

Here in Maine, we are in the beginning of deer season, which means at any given time (besides Sundays and especially on Saturdays) there will be the distant and not-so-distant sound of gunfire.  I have nothing against hunting, in fact I have my hunting license and have gone deer hunting, but it definitely makes me a bit nervous with the horses.

You might think being a dark bay and black horse would mean there would never be any confusion with a brown while tailed deer, but you'd be surprised.  While most hunters are responsible and vigilant, there are certainly plenty of yahoos in the woods right now who should not be carrying a gun.  And despite the fact the horses are fairly close to our house, I still protect them with blaze orange.

Because it does not naturally occur in nature, blaze orange is the standard safety color.  I know folks who use orange halters or blankets, but I do not turn my horses out in halters (and if I did, I would use their leather halters) and they do not need blankets.  Instead, I have been using a super cool product for over fifteen years now called Protectavest.  I first bought this product when I moved my horses home in 2001, and the woman who makes them is (fairly) local to me, just an hour away.  I picked up the vests in person, but it looks as though she does ship.  While the store owner offers a variety of blaze orange products for all manner of livestock and animals, I personally prefer the vests.  

The vests are made of a tough mesh that has withstood fifteen years of use from a variety of horses.  This is the sixteenth year and they look great, if not a slight bit faded.  I tend to only brush them off (or hose them) if they get muddy during hunting season and have only washed them once a year before I store them away for a year.

I don't remember paying $50 each (but realistically I have no idea HOW much I paid back in 2001, so there's that...), but even at that price, it is a great deal.  The peace of mind I having knowing my horses are covered in blaze orange is priceless.  Could someone still be a complete idiot and shoot my horse?  Yes, of course, but at least this way I would have a much easier time suing their ass off if I had proof that my horses were clearly identified as NOT A DEER.


Super flattering photo of Snappy with her vest this afternoon