Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow!

I braved the roads today and went to the barn. They really weren't that bad... but maybe that's because I have a 4x4 truck and lived in Michigan for 18 years. I managed to get stuck behind the wimpy drivers doing about 10mph, though. Goooo!!

Lilly and I didn't go for a walk for obvious reasons, but I did give her some hay, rewrapped her leg, and cleaned her stall. It was COLD. It was about 21 degrees, but because of the wind, the "feels like" temp was about 14 degrees.

Snow, snow, go away!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Else Can We Do?

Hand Walking Day: 37
Walking Time: 25 Minutes

I totally forgot to mention that yesterday was the first day we walked 25 minutes! Next Wednesday we'll be up to 30 minutes, which is where we'll stay until Lilly's ultrasound at the end of next month.

I mentioned in a previous blog that this hand walking stuff is boring. I enjoy spending time with Lilly, but after 37 days of walking her every single day, it gets boring. Even Lilly seems bored now. She drags herself along and tries to eat scraps of hay that have fallen on the road. Bor-ing... I got a couple good ideas from the comments (thanks!) and if I can ever remember to take my iPod to the barn, I'll start listening to music while we walk, or get an audio book.

Aside from that, though, I want to make it fun and interesting for Lilly too. I was playing around today and having her do different things that I didn't think were hard on her leg. She really is smart, and knows a lot already, but I wonder if there's anything else I can teach her while we're out wandering around.

I was having her step backwards when I wiggled the lead rope, step sideways, move away from pressure, and put her head down when I asked her to give at the poll or with the lead rope. We walked and stopped, walked and stopped, but she's good at that already from her showmanship training. We're limited to what we can do because of her leg, but does anyone have any ideas for other stuff I can teach her?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Younger Beau

I'm still waiting for a good day to go visit Beau again. The weather before my 2 days off this weekend shows a "wintry mix", high of 31, low of 10. Yeah... lovely. Next weekend it says "showers" and 51. So while his bucket of goodies is complete, I won't be able to use them on him for at least another week, probably 2 weeks. It seems like it's never going to dry up!

So in the meantime, I "borrowed" these pictures of Beau from when he was a youngster. :)

Look how handsome!



I'll get out there one of these days. I'm anxious to get started working with him!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

She's an Odd Duck, but So Sweet

Hand Walking Day: 35
Walking Time: 20 Minutes

Today was the first day since getting her feet trimmed that Lilly has seemed comfortable walking on the concrete road. Well, except when we're turning around at the end of the road. She's having a tough time getting used to her shoe-less feet. Something I noticed when walking her is that she almost steps too far forward with her back feet and they don't actually make contact with the ground until they start to move farther back underneath herself as she walks. Almost like she thinks her feet are bigger and she needs to take a bigger step than she actually does... I don't know if that makes any sense at all, but it's very strange to watch.

Speaking of strange, I took Lilly's wrap off to change the quilt and noticed that her leg is getting really dry. There were some scabs from the procedure and some irritation as well, and that's all healed up now, but it left her skin very dry and it's starting to chafe. (Is there such a thing as lotion for horses?) It seemed to bother her at first, so I didn't mess with it until now, but it seemed ok to gently scratch the scabs and dry skin off. I couldn't smell anything, but Lilly certainly could... she was sniffing and licking the dry skin on the quilted wrap. She sniffed for the longest time. I have no idea why, but she was very intrigued with the smell. I don't know about her sometimes.

Something happened yesterday that was so precious I can't stand it... The gentleman that feeds the horses in the evenings brought his son Ashton out to the farm. I'm not a good judge of ages, but I think he's right around a year old now. I was there walking Lilly and he brought Ashton over to see her. He was so excited and smiling and his little arms were flailing all over! Lilly really doesn't have any experiences with little kids so I didn't know how she was going to react. Craziness like that usually puts her on edge... but she was as quiet as could be. He pet her all over her face, even poked her in the muzzle, and she never flinched. She never tried to eat his little fingers even when he was touching her nose. She was so still...

It was so sweet. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ouchie

I didn't get to walk Lilly for the whole 20 minutes today because she seemed a little sore on her hind feet. I'm guessing it's from her trim yesterday so I stopped after 10 minutes. I thought she might be sore because she's been so used to wearing shoes on her hind feet and now I've switched her to no shoes. The road just seemed too hard for. She was much more comfortable on the grass, but it's just too darn wet to be walking there.

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, so we'll get even wetter!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Trims

Hand Walking Day: 31
Walking Time: 20 Minutes

Lilly got her shoes reset today and AJ got a trim. It was uneventful except for the part where I let AJ's pasture buddy out of the pasture while trying to get him out. :) Stupid gate... Luckily, she didn't take off down the road and I had cookies in my pocket.

We went for our 20 minute walk and because it was so COLD again (WHY?!) she was full of it. *snort* *snort* After the first couple minutes, though, she was back to lollygagging along.

In other news, I got tired of buying shavings for Lilly's stall. It seems like all I do is take perfectly good shavings out on the manure fork with the rest of the mess. It seemed so wasteful. So the other day when I was at TSC shopping for Beau, I picked up some bags of that pelleted bedding. I used to use it a long time ago when I had my own place with a barn and stalls, but I had forgotten how wonderful it is! Her stall is much nicer now, and it smells so good in there. Lilly likes it too... I think it's softer and she's been laying down more.

The first "show" of the season is tomorrow. It's a winter warm-up show with just a few classes and it doesn't count for any points, but Lilly and I won't be there. :(

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Milestone

Hand Walking Day: 29
Walking Time: 20 Minutes

Today was our first 20 minute walk! Luckily it was a really nice day... we're supposed to get quite a bit of rain over the next week which will make walking my horse a whole lot of fun.

It will also make spending time with Beau next to impossible. When I was visiting him on Monday it was too wet to work him at all and I was hoping it would dry up soon so we could get started. With the forecast, though, I'm not sure when I'll be able to work him in the round pen or hop on. As it is, I probably will only be able to get out there once a week on one of my days off because of needing to care for Lilly each morning. I don't need rain making it even harder!

I've been looking around APHA to get signed up for everything related to showing Beau this year and rules say that I can't show him in any novice or amateur classes at the APHA shows. The horse being shown must be owned by the exhibitor (or the immediate family). We will be able to do open classes, but it limits the number of classes we can enter quite a bit. He and I will be able to accumulate PAC points, though they won't help him get closer to his superior in halter. So complicated!

I must admit that I went shopping for Beau on Tuesday... I got a few things for him and have some more items on my list to get. Beau's mommy is super sweet and she has offered to let me use whatever she has available at her barn, but I'm always worried I'll damage or lose someone else's stuff. Now Beau will have his own bucket of stuff. :) (Can you tell I'm excited?!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Incredibly Beau


Today I went to visit Beau. I first met him a couple years ago when Lilly and I went to one of our very first shows. It was before I started her blog and we were there just to hang out. Beau caught my eye as I thought he was very striking, both because of his color and also because of his size. He looked like a tank... a very handsome boy. His owner and I started talking. I think Beau was 2 years old at that time and she was showing him in halter. Then I saw her again at another show and we have since struck up a friendship. She is a big fan of Lilly and comes to cheer us on whenever she can. When she found out about Lilly's injury, she offered up Beau for me to show. It was so thoughtful of her, and I really appreciate it! I hope Beau and I can have a lot of fun this year while Lilly gets better.

Here's a little more about Beau:

Breed: Paint
Name: Incredibly Beau
Year Foaled: 2005
APHA Points & Show Info: 2 ROMs, and 27 total halter points. Beau is also a multiple futurity winner in excess of $5K as a weanling and a yearling.

Beau is by Grafix, (APHA) who has a Register of Merit and a Superior in halter. He has a total of 56 halter points. His 4 generation pedigree includes Impressive and Mr Norfleet.

Beau is out of a mare named Beaus and Chocolate. I originally thought she hadn't been shown because she doesn't have any APHA points, but I think she is double registered APHA/AQHA and was shown at Quarter Horse shows. I don't have the ability to see her points, but her owner said she placed very well. Her 4 generation pedigree includes Skipa Star, Mr Impressive, and Obvious Conclusion.

Until this past fall, Beau has been a halter horse only. He was sent off late last year for 60 days of training and he did really well at his first riding show last year. He's fairly green and I'm going to ride him on occasion but will plan to concentrate mostly on halter and showmanship for now. We'll see how he does with the riding.

I love that he's a Paint because I can still work on getting PAC points and maybe even take him to one of the Paint shows I was hoping to take Lilly to in South Carolina. And besides, I love Paints. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

What If?

Hand Walking Day: 24
Walking Time: 15 Minutes

Today was gorgeous! My truck told me it was 61 degrees outside... and it was sunny. It's the kind of day where you want to lay on the grass and watch the clouds drift by. If only I didn't have to work.

Don't tell my vet, but I jogged Lilly a couple steps today. :) I'm sure it's fine, considering what we did with her on the longe line last month. It was only for about 4 strides, and I won't do it again... promise! I was curious to see if she jogged sound because of how "funny" she seemed walking lately. She looked sound at the jog, but the strides were really short and choppy. No limp, though.

I don't know what I'm going to do if she doesn't come back 100%. :( I try not to think about it because I want to stay positive, but what if she's never really quite right again? She's tender going down hills and when she has to put her weight on her left side, like if we're circling, so even after more than 2 months of rest and rehab, she's still off. What if she's "sound-ish" but can't be shown or ridden hard any longer? I say "what will I do if..." but I guess the answer is I'll just have 2 horses that can't be ridden. There's no way I could get rid of her, and I certainly can't afford 3 horses.

I want to stay positive but I can't help but wonder... that little worry wart voice in the back of my head keeps tapping on my shoulder each time she takes an off step.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sticky Hip

Hand Walking Day: 23
Walking Time: 15 Minutes

Today was beautiful! It was sunny, warm, and not windy! I didn't have to wear my gloves and my legs weren't numb when I got in the truck to leave. Hopefully our cold snap is over!

I took Lilly's blanket off today and plan to leave it off from here on out. Yay!

I have mentioned before that Lilly has a "hitch" in her step sometimes. It was one of the main reasons I decided to have the chiropractor come out to see her. She does it sometimes when I'm riding and sometimes when I'm walking her around, but I've never been able to see it with my own eyes to know exactly what happens.

Today I saw it...

We were at the end of the road and I was turning her around. She was being lazy so I was out in front of her and had turned around to make sure she wasn't going to clip the back of my heel. Right when I turned around, I saw her left hind leg get stuck. It's hard to explain, but when she tried to take that step, her leg didn't go forward and she drug her foot a little bit. Her head shot up and she stopped for a minute, then tried to take the step again, and was able to walk forward. It seemed like it was something in her hip that caused her to get stuck.

When the chiropractor was out, she said Lilly's pelvis was out of whack, and she set it back in place, but I still had issues with her getting stuck. The adjustment wasn't so much because of her getting stuck, I just wanted to know if everything was in line, so she checked everything. Now that I've seen it with my eyes, I can try to describe it better. The vet treating Lilly's tendon is also the chiropractor, so it works out. I can ask her about it when she comes to do Lilly's next ultrasound.

Poor Lilly...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

15 Minutes!

Hand Walking Day: 22
Walking Time: 15 Minutes

Today we hit the 15 minute milestone! YAY!

It's going to get boring when I'm walking her for 30 minutes, and then longer. I'll have to find somewhere else to walk her, or take her further down the road and hope no cars fly by with idiot drivers. This back and forth stuff from one end of the drive to the other is getting old, and it's only day 1 of the 15 minute walk. :)

Right now I have plans for Monday to visit Beau, my potential new show horse for this year. I'm taking my camera so I'll post some pictures and a bunch of information about him. He's a handsome boy... I'm really hoping things work out and I can show him this year!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Exercise For Both of Us

Hand Walking Day: 21
Walking Time: 10 Minutes

Lilly seemed really lazy yesterday and today when we were walking. Usually she tries to drag me along at record speeds until I ask her to slow down, but she was just lolly-gagging along, all on her own. I don't think she's sore, but I've fought my urge to jog her a couple strides on the pavement.

When we turn around, I have to turn her to the right or she gimps, and when we walk down the hill to the stall I have to take her diagonal or she has a difficult time with the hill. These things are nothing new, as it's been a problem from the start, but it really lets me know just how injured she still is. :(

In other news, Lilly and I have been walking for 3 weeks now. It started out at 5 minutes per day, and we did that for 2 weeks. Last Wednesday it went up to 10 minutes and tomorrow it will go up to 15 minutes.

I think I'm a fairly active person. While I can't ride anymore, my horses keep me busy and I don't sit around on the couch all day (as much as I'd love to sometimes). I don't "exercise" per se, although I know I should. Between Lilly, school, and work I just don't have the time. I suppose I could make the time, but then I'd be going non-stop from the time I got up until it was time to go back to work. That would certainly push me to the edge of insanity.

Things were good when we were walking for 5 minutes, but when it got bumped up to 10 minutes, I noticed my legs were sore the next day. That's right, MY LEGS WERE SORE after walking for 10 minutes! Can you say, "out of shape?!" Holy cow... I'm done being sore today, but I wonder if it will happen when the time goes up to 15 minutes? Then 20... and all the way to 30 minutes until after the ultrasound.

I've been weighing myself and I haven't lost any weight, but eventually I'll be walking Lilly for 60 minutes and I wonder what kind of shape I'll be in when this is all over.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Going Bananas

Hand Walking Day: 19
Walking Time: 10 Minutes

I am happy to report that Lilly is no longer possessed by stall demons. Both yesterday and today she was an angel to walk. No more shenanigans. At least for now...

AJ got a banana today... that boy loves bananas, but all the other horses on the farm take a teeny taste and promptly show their disgust. He will eat almost anything, but he especially loves bananas. It's fun to watch him mush them around in his mouth. :)

Other than that, there's nothing much new to report. Same old same... day in, day out.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

JCHSS Awards

Tonight was the JCHSS awards banquet. Each year it's held at Carolina BBQ, so I get to pig out on BBQ, fried chicken, hush puppies, slaw, and taters. YUM!

Lilly and I won 2 ribbons of merit. We got a 6th place ribbon of merit in the halter division, and a 5th place ribbon of merit in the adult division. I got two beautiful ribbons, the green for the halter division and the purple for the adult division.

Lilly also won a very special award tonight. It is the first year they've done this specific award, so it was quite an honor to receive it the very first year. It's the "Equine Achievement Award" which is given out to the horse who is most improved over the course of the year. I am so PROUD that Lilly's progress was noted by the staff of the show and that she was recognized! I had to accept the award on Lilly's behalf. :)

Here is a picture of all the goodies Lilly won this year.

I think this is the cutest thing EVER!

I could not be more proud of my girl and all her success this past show season!

Friday, January 8, 2010

She Can't Be An Angel All the Time

Today was really windy, and it was cold. All the horses on the farm were running around bucking, rearing, and playing. A good time was being had by all... except for Lilly of course.

When I took her out for her walk, she did pretty well at first... even with the horses going crazy, she maintained her composure. We were almost done when the horses got really crazy, and she just couldn't take it anymore! Her tail went up and she started snorting... then she did that really loud, sharp snort. You know, where they blow really hard once out their nose! Then the prancing began. At this point, it was all I could do to get her calmed back down... the horses were running and snorting, and she was unconcerned with me. I made her relax enough to finish her walk without being too disrespectful. When we turned off the road and on to the grass heading back to her stall it happened...

She went UP, and UP! I have never seen her rear that high! And as soon as she came back down, she went right back up! Wild pony!!

Then, she put it in reverse and went backwards as fast as she could, down the hill, in an effort to escape. After one last rear, she seemed to say, "oops..." and came walking over to me as calm as can be. So we went back up the hill, turned around, and walked back to the stall like we had a brain in our little head. :)

Poor Lilly... what she wouldn't give to run around and kick up her heels. She's being SO good, though. Today was just too much for her to handle.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Freedom!

Well, as much freedom as Lilly can have.

Hand Walking Day: 16
Walking Time: 10 Minutes

It was sunny and warm-ish today, so I took Lilly's blanket off to curry her poor, stall-bound body. Her lip just goes and goes... I know she misses those good rolls in the sand! Once my arm was too tired to continue, I removed her leg wrap and took the braid out of her tail. Then we went on our walk.

She was full of it! I think she was enjoying the freedom of being nekkid for a change! :) She was swishing her tail and trying to prance around. She seems to do that sometimes when we walk up the hill, but once we're on the road she settles right down.

Once we got back to the stall her leg wrap and blanket went back on. I left her tail down for now, but I think I'll put it back up tomorrow. Maybe her tail will grow out some!

In other totally unrelated news, do you have stupid pet names for your horses? I was playing with Lilly like I usually do today and was snuck up on by one of the boarders looking for some Vet Wrap. I was in the process of doing something totally silly and it made me stop and think about how my antics must look to those on the "outside". I just know the boarder thinks I'm crazy now! One of Lilly's pet names is "Miss Piggy" and when I call her that I make pig sounds. I'll grab her nostrils and mush them together, saying "Piggy, piggy!" and then I snort like a pig... "OINK, OINK!" (I can't believe I'm even sharing this...)

I know I'm not the only one!

Right? ...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Still Cold

Hand Walking Day: 15
Walking Time: 10 Minutes

It is still REALLY cold here... today it "warmed" up to 38 degrees, though, which is better than what it has been. The wind is still whipping too. Yuck!

Lilly had her first 10 minute walk today. We went further down the road instead of going back and forth in her usual spot, so she got to look around and see some other horses. I just know she had a lot of fun.

Since the initial 2 weeks of 5 minutes is up, her time will increase by 5 minutes each week until we're up to 30 minutes. Then we stay at 30 minutes until her next ultrasound at the end of February.

I sure would appreciate some warmer weather so I'm not freezing my butt off for 30 minutes! I'm a wimp, I know, but I moved to the south for a reason. :)

Hope everyone is having a great new year so far!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

BRR!

Hand Walking Day: 11
Walking Time: 5 Minutes

Well, I did it... it's official.

I put a blanket on Lilly today. It isn't a heavy blanket, and it's only for a few days, but I hope it doesn't mess things up. We're supposed to have a couple days of really cold weather where the high barely (if even) hits freezing, and the weather guy is calling for lots of wind. I have no idea how cold it gets in her stall at night, but when I went out there today she had about a half inch of ice on her water filled muck bucket. Since she can't really walk around in there or stand in the sun to get warm, I broke down and put the blanket on. It doesn't fit so well these days... I know she's growing "around", but I didn't think she got longer. Her cheeks hang out the back a little bit... :)

She really seems to look forward to her walks these days. She used to stand at the hay bag and eat until it was time, but now she waits patiently by the door, just out of the way, while I clean the stall and get everything ready. Then I put her halter on and out we go.

Today was SO cold... and SO windy. The wind gusts would take your breath away! (I know, it's North Carolina, but SO!) I figured if she goofs off any day, today is going to be the day. When we first walked out of the stall she had that wild look in her eye as her blanket "swish swooshed" with every step... I thought she might be thinking about trying to buck it off. I got her attention, though, and we moved on to more important things; the other horses running up to see her! YAY! So she danced a jig in place trying to decide what she was going to do while I yelled, "hey, hey, HEY! Relax!" Once we got to the road, though, she calmed down and we had a nice walk.

Starting Wednesday we'll be walking for 10 minutes and I just know she's going to love it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, everyone!

Not only are we in a new year, but we are also in a new decade. Where did the last one go?! Lilly was born in 2000, which makes her 10 this year. TEN! We've been together for an entire decade. I can't believe it...

AJ will turn 24 this year. He and I have been together for 20 years. Two decades! (I'm feeling old!)

I already discussed the goals Lilly and I had for 2009 in an earlier post. She met every goal I had set for her and then some. We accomplished things that I had set aside for this year, all in one year.

This is normally where I would make a list of goals for myself and for Lilly for the 2010 show season. I only have one goal, though, and that is to get Lilly 100% sound. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. I want to stay focused on her health.

I do hope to participate in shows this year. Maybe it will be with another horse, maybe later in the fall it can be with my own. Maybe I will just have to spectate... which is ok too. There are a lot of shows I'd love to go watch. Quarter Horse shows here in North Carolina, Paint Horse shows in South Carolina... Maybe even some rated hunter/jumper shows to cheer on my fellow boarders. Even if Lilly has to stay home and rest, I hope to stay very involved in the 2010 horse show season.

Best wishes for a wonderful, memorable 2010!