Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday's Show!

A friend of mine kindly tagged along with me to take some pictures. Because we showed indoors, a lot of the pictures came out blurry, so there aren't a lot from our actual classes, but it's more than I'd have if I was there by myself.

We started out with a halter class because I wanted to get her in the arena before our showmanship class. We don't usually show halter because it's not often that we place, and today was no different. She looks gorgeous, though!

Pretending to be a halter horse. :)
Our next class was showmanship and I was really excited when I saw the pattern. It's a lot more challenging than a lot of the patterns we've done, so I was really looking forward to it.

Showmanship pattern.
Our back was a bit crooked, but other than that, she nailed all her pivots and I had a really good feeling about our chances to win. There were four other horses in the class, they didn't pivot, and I saw a number of other errors with their patterns. At the risk of sounding like a showmanship-zilla, I felt we were robbed when we were called for third place. I was really upset, but I have since moved on...

Being dismissed after inspection.
The warm-up ring was pretty crowded when we first got there so it was difficult to do much more than walk and jog. Normally there's a giant outdoor arena to ride in, but they're doing work on the ring and we weren't allowed to ride in there. She warmed up quite nicely, and although she was a bit forward, she was really listening. As is always the case, there were a few horses in there with us who weren't exactly under control, and she handled herself quite well. We also lapped a few loping horses, and we were walking.

Our first class was "Western Go As You Please 19 & Over" which essentially means walk/jog because I hardly ever see anyone lope. I think there were seven other horses in the class with me. Lilly was excellent... it's been quite a while since she's been in the indoor arena and she never even snorted. While she jogged nice and slow and kept her head level for most of the class, it became pretty obvious fairly quickly that she's not quite ready to be ridden with one hand. Does she look like a western pleasure superstar? The judge didn't think so because we didn't place... they were only placing through fifth.

This was our only class before lunch... I found it strange that we had one riding class before a long break. I took off Lilly's bridle and let her eat some grass while my friend found us some grub. Lilly thought she wanted hot dog buns and french fries, but after she tasted them, she decided the grass was much better.

Pretty girl waiting for her next class.
Our first class after lunch was "Western Go As You Please Open". I don't recall how many horses were in the class, but we didn't place. We were having fun, though!

Our first loping class of the day was "Appaloosa, Paint, and Palomino Pleasure Open". This class was pretty small too, even though there were english and western riders riding together. There weren't any of the congress type QHs in the class (obviously) so I thought we might have a chance to win a ribbon. Lilly was definitely forward at the lope and I couldn't let her go on a loose rein, but she picked up both leads and I couldn't have asked for more. We ended up with a fifth place ribbon, but my friend made a comment about the third and fourth place horses and thought Lilly and I easily should have placed above them. We like pink, though!

Yay! Fifth place!
Our next two classes were "Western Pleasure Open" and "Western Pleasure 19 & Over". Because of how the previous classes had gone, and because I knew there was no way I was going to be competitive with the kinds of horses in the classes, I decided to school. I mentioned earlier about passing loping horses at the walk... yeah, those horses made us look like a racehorse. When there is literally a half second pause between each lope stride, and the judge is pinning those horses at the top, I might as well ride with two hands. The AQHA and the APHA claim to be asking for a "lope with forward motion", but it was clear we're not making much progress.

Riding with two hands.
We managed to win a fourth place koozie and another fifth place, but we only won fourth because the 5th horse didn't even lope. Lilly hit her leads every single time and I was extremely proud of her.

Good girl, Lilly!
Overall it was a good day. Since I can't control what the judge likes and doesn't like (and I can't force him to get a new pair of glasses) I have to focus on how my own horse was and what we can work on to improve. We have another show on Saturday and I'm hoping it'll feel more like an open show and less like QH Congress.

Our winnings!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Loping At Mach Speed!

It was cold, overcast, and windy today but I was dying to take Lilly for a ride. I've been taking it easy with her the past couple rides because I knew she wasn't quite up to snuff and we were getting ready to do her Adequan shots. With the show being tomorrow, I wanted to get her out and take her for a real ride.

During our warm up I could tell she was going to be a little more forward than normal. She was being slightly spooky and jumped a couple times when she heard a noise or when birds flew out of the weeds (really?)... one of the spooks was pretty big and I had to hold on for dear life. Luckily when she spooks, she scoots and then stops on her own, but she nearly left me in the dirt. It left quite an impressive hole in the arena sand... LOL

Okay, so we have a lot of energy today!

When we started working on the jog she seemed to settle into the work and if she works like that for me tomorrow, I think we'll do really well. I've ridden her in the dreaded mullen mouth bit the last few times and she seems to be doing really well with it, so that's what I'm going to use tomorrow.

When I moved on to the lope, we ran into some problems... I started her off to the right (her bad way) and her transition was lovely and I was able to get her collecting fairly well. I ride her a bit differently in this direction because she needs more help picking up her lead and holding it all together, but I was quite happy with how she was doing. Excited by her performance, I turned her to lope in the other direction. The transition was nice, but when I let the reins loose, she started to ZOOM! On her left lead, I can usually let her lope on her own without having to mess with her too much... occasionally I'll have to ask her to slow down but I'm always impressed with how well she's been loping to the left. This whole zooming thing is new! So I checked her back to an acceptable speed, and then let the reins loose... she started to ZOOM! Checked her again, reins loose, ZOOM!

After playing the game for a while, I channelled my inner Alex. She always says "forward is okay as long as she's being obedient." She was listening to everything I asked her to do, she just wanted to do it really quickly! So I decided to use her energy and make her work. We loped and loped and loped some more... did circle after circle... lead change after lead change... lope, stop, back exercises over and over again, (her stops were to die for by the way... with all that energy she really tucks that hind end!) and there was no sign of her slowing down. The interesting thing about it, was that even at mach speeds, she felt really good! She was collected and round, and she even ran around with her head down. We might have been able to pass as reiners!

After my abs started to burn, I decided to call it a day. I rode her to the left like I ride her to the right (shorter rein and a constant request to slow and collect) so we could practice an appropriate lope, and then we spent some time cooling off and doing some pole work.

So my question is, is this what Adequan does to ponies??!! Or maybe it's just the weather? Either way, I'm glad she was feeling fantastic, but I need her to tone it down just a bit for tomorrow! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adequan Shot Numero Uno!

My vet was out today to give Lilly the last of her vaccines, flu/rhino, and to start her on Adequan. Lilly was very good for both of her shots, which I am grateful for. She used to be quite opposed to being stuck with needles, but she's come a long way.

I discussed the Adequan with her some more (she's probably tired of all my questions!) and we developed a bit of a "game plan". Since Adequan works to heal damaged cartilage, a process which takes time, potentially up to eight weeks, I'm going to give it plenty of time to work. That's first and foremost...

However, because I obsess over the future and need a plan just in case... I pressed her for more details.

She said there are some anti-inflammatory effects that occur right away from the Adequan injection, but it is minor and not reliable for soundness. Even though there are healing properties to it, she thinks of Adequan as more of a preventative than anything else. So if the Adequan seems to help her during our daily workouts but Lilly still shows a bit of discomfort at the shows, that's where the Legend injections would come in. Legend acts as a lubricant and mild anti-inflammatory but the duration of this effect is only two to seven days, so she recommends giving the injection on the Thursday before a big show.

Adequan is our long term plan to make sure Lilly's joints are the best they can be, and the Legend injections would be our band aid until which time they aren't needed. Hopefully with proper Adequan usage, if we did need to supplement with a Legend injection here and there, it would be a short term deal as the Adequan does its job.

My vet thinks the Adequan alone is going to work really well for Lilly, but said she is most likely going to recommend giving another series of Adequan every spring before my show season gets going.

So work your magic ye olde Adequan shot!!

I was hoping to ride after all the poking was over but a nasty storm blew through and made sure that wasn't the case. I did take her out to the round pen and work her a bit to get the blood flowing, so to speak. I also wanted to see how she moves so I can compare as we progress with the Adequan.

Afterwards, I made her stand and look pretty for pictures. You can't see them in the picture, but when I was working her in the round pen, I could see dapples on the white parts of her body!

I can't get over how gorgeous she is. :)
She might not enjoy all the crazy things I do to her, but she tolerates them well, and I love her for it. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adequan To The Rescue?

The weather this weekend was crap... I wasn't sure if it was December or April! Sunday it never got out of the 40's and we received just enough rain to keep me from being able to ride. I even had to bring Lilly inside and thought very hard about getting out the sheet I just put away for the summer. Hopefully now we can officially kick off spring!

Today was still fairly cool, but at least the sun was out. Lilly looked extra gorgeous because she's finally all shed out, minus a few random goat hairs holding on for dear life. I really need to take some good pictures before the sun steals all her color.

I spoke with my vet yesterday and we set up a time for her to come out on Thursday and give Lilly her flu/rhino vaccine. I hope to show her on Sunday, so I didn't want to do it too close to the weekend in case she's sore or feels a little dumpy. We discussed the Adequan a bit more and I decided to go ahead and do it. Because of the original diagnosis back in January, not to mention the little things I've been noticing lately when I ride, she needs something. She's not eating the Cosequin, so even if it was going to make a difference, it can't even get into her system. The Adequan seems like my best best, so she'll get shot number one on Thursday.

The last couple times I've ridden her and actually had her do some work more serious than our fun bareback rides, she has felt a bit off when I loped her on her right lead. I had a difficult time getting her to collect, and during our transitions she really wanted to pop her head. I wasn't really feeling a true three beat lope and it was worse the more I ask her to collect. She wasn't stiff or lame, but it was a struggle for her to do it right. Contrast that to her left lead lope and transitions, which are beautiful.

This is the first year we've really done some serious work. I think I've loped her more in the past couple months than I have her entire life, so hopefully the Adequan will be just what she needs to feel better.

I rode today and she felt way better than she did the last time I rode her. She had a few days off because of the weather, so I'm not sure if that helped or if she was just having a good day. It's possible that the footing in the arena makes a difference too, so I'm trying to be mindful of that. Today it was fairly squishy because of all the rain, where prior to our ride today it was more compact and dry.

She was able to give me a fairly decent lope on her right lead, but her transition was still a bit rough. If I really get on her about staying soft, she'll do it, but I know she would do it on her own if she could. Because I know her and I know her personality, I have to imagine that it bothers her or she would have right lead transitions that match her left lead transitions.

Now that I've finally decided to do the Adequan, I'm excited to see if it makes a difference for her.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time For Injections

My vet came out this morning to give Lilly her EE/WE and West Nile vaccines. Lilly was a good girl and I'm hoping we don't see any adverse reactions like we did with the Rabies. We'll do the Flu/Rhino shot sometime early next week and then we'll finally be done with vaccinations until the fall. I took Lilly out for an easy bareback ride after the vet left and will give her the day off tomorrow. Because of the weather, there won't be a show for me this weekend, which is probably just as well. Giving vaccines on the Friday before a show would be a bad idea anyway. So now we look ahead to the show on the 29th!

While my vet was there, I asked her again about injections for Lilly's apparent joint issues. I've given up completely on the Cosequin and even physically cut it out of my current SmartPaks. The new Paks came in today and they are void of Cosequin, but I still have 9 left and I can't take it anymore. Lilly didn't touch her breakfast this morning and it's driving me crazy. So no more joint supplements... I'm turning things up a notch.

I'm ignorant when it comes to joint injections. Whether those injections are given IM (intramuscular), IV (intravenous), or IA (intra-articular), I'm clueless. AJ is the only horse of mine who has ever received injections for joint related issues and I can't remember what exactly we did for him. I think I was about 12 or 13 at the time, so the memories are a bit fuzzy. Whatever we did wasn't effective for him because we still ended up retiring him at 6, but I'm sure Adequan has come a long way since 1993.

I know a lot of people who use Adequan and have great success with it. They give the 1/4/7 dosage (one shot, every four days, until the 7 vials are gone) and then typically give their horses maintenance shots every month after that forever and ever. In my mind, that's what I'd probably do with Lilly. I know people who have skipped the loading dose or only used one shot every week for four weeks (or some variation thereof, probably recommended by their vet), but Adequan has been proven to be most effective with the 1/4/7 schedule.

When I was speaking to my vet today, however, she said anything other than 1/4/7 is considered "off label" and she wouldn't recommend it. She suggested we do the 1/4/7 for Lilly and then supplement it with Legend if she needs some kind of "booster" or if we had a month coming up with heavy work/showing. No accompanying joint supplements were recommended either.

So I was stumped because nearly everyone I know has started with the 1/4/7 and then gives another shot every month. They say it works miracles and they can tell when their horse needs his/her monthly shot... and here is my vet telling me that she doesn't recommend it simply because it's off label. I mentioned those things to her and she repeated that it really is off label and she wouldn't recommend it.


So I told her I would discuss it with her some more when she comes out again to give the Flu/Rhino and go from there. I wanted some time to research before I commit to the $300 I'm ultimately going to spend on these injections.

I spoke with my friend about what the vet said and she said I should get a new vet. She gives her horse Adequan shots every month and thinks it's crazy that the vet would say the monthly maintenance shot is off label because that's what everyone does. So I started doing some research and as it turns out, my vet is correct.

The 1/4/7 isn't a loading dose, it IS the dose. Anything beyond the 1/4/7 is considered off label because they have not tested the effectiveness of the monthly "maintenance" doses everyone gives their horses after the "loading" dose. They actually recommend repeating the 1/4/7 every 6 months as needed. So there are a lot of people out there using this product off label...

Polyglycan was suggested to me by a friend and I've heard my vet mention it as well, but using Polyglycan for joint supplements would be WAY off label since it's actually a surgical lavage drug. So if we're trying to stay on label here, Polyglycan is out.

So I guess unless my vet and I determine otherwise next week, my plan will be to give the seven Adequan shots and go from there. Hopefully it'll be just what she needs and she'll be good to go for a whole year... I don't mind giving the Adequan every year if that's what works best for her. If we're not seeing any results from the Adequan, though, I'll have to regroup.

Also, just want to make sure everyone knows I'm not doing the actual joint injections, just the Adequan IM. Joint injections are definitely not even on my radar.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Vaccines

I've always been a huge proponent of my veterinarian giving my horses vaccines. No matter how many times I hear about all the money I can save by doing it myself, I always opt to have my vet come out and administer all vaccines. I just don't want to take the risk that something will happen and the vet isn't there.

Last fall, however, the BO gave Lilly her vaccines and I was terribly nervous that something might go wrong. Thankfully, nothing happened and all was well. She received E/W encephalomyelitis, Rhino, Flu, and tetanus.

This year there seemed to be some confusion at the barn regarding the vaccines. Since the BO had given the vaccines in the fall, I assumed she would be giving the vaccines again this spring. When time kept passing, I emailed her to find out what she was planning. Even if the BO wasn't going to give the vaccines herself, I figured we would have the vet do all the horses at once to save on the farm call. That's when I found out that the vet had already come out and had given rabies to all her horses, but she didn't ask the vet to give Lilly her rabies vaccine. When I asked her about it, she said she thought I had told her not to... I know the rabies has to be given by the vet, so I'm not sure why she would skip Lilly, but no big deal. That's why I had the vet out last weekend to give Lilly her rabies and strangles.

I still hadn't heard anything from her regarding the rest of the vaccines so I asked again. The Bo said her hubby was going to get the 5-way shots for all the horses this past weekend and give them shortly. Since Lilly just had tetanus, I didn't want her getting another one, so I asked if they could get Lilly a 4-way, plus west nile. (For some reason, they aren't big on giving west nile, and I'm not sure why...) They weren't able to find anything without tetanus and everyone was out of west nile, so they didn't get any vaccines for Lilly.

I knew my vet was coming back out to the barn on Friday to do some work on the BO's horse, so I gave her a call to inquire about getting the rest of Lilly's vaccines. We talked for a while about each one and I mentioned that I was interested in splitting them up as much as we could because of the reaction Lilly had to the rabies vaccine last Saturday. She was mortified that I didn't call her to let her know how awful Lilly was feeling. She said that kind of a reaction isn't normal and she would have come out right away to give Lilly some Banamine. I feel horrible that I didn't call to let her know. She's going to report the reaction to her office so they can let the manufacturer know. She said they see more reaction to rabies than any other vaccine and that they also see a lot of reactions with the Flu/Rhino vaccine. So the plan is to give the EE/WE and west nile on Friday when she's out (since we're getting late into the season), and then come back and give the Flu/Rhino a few days later.

So for spring vaccines, she'll get E/W encephalomyelitis, rhino, flu, west nile, rabies, and strangles. Normally I do tetanus in the spring, but since she had it in the fall, I don't want her to get it again. I think I'll just start giving it in the fall since she already gets so many spring vaccines.

She mentioned how it's always better to have a veterinarian give the vaccines just in case the horse has a reaction and I completely agree. I told her last fall was the first time I had someone other than a vet give my vaccines and I'll never do it again. My understanding with vaccines purchased in store and online is that you're not afforded any protection should something happen to your horse. My vet mentioned that if your horse abscesses at the injection site, for example, and needs to be taken to the clinic, the manufacturer will pay a large portion of that vet bill as long as the vaccine was administered by a licensed veterinarian. She mentioned Pfizer specifically... Otherwise, you're on your own if something happens.

From now on I'm going to schedule my own appointments with my veterinarian and not wait around for anyone else. I'm curious how many of you do your own vaccines, though, and if you've ever had an issue.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's That Time

Instead of riding, Lilly and I spent some quality time together. I busted out the clippers and worked on her clip job since she was starting to get a mohawk. I haven't touched her with the clippers since last month when I thought we were going to a show, so she was getting a bit shaggy.

She's still getting a little bit sunburned and the flies are horrible, so it was time to get out the fly sheet. I was hoping it made it through the winter okay and that I didn't miss a giant hole when I packed it up in the storage bin. It's definitely going to work but I think this might be its last year. Lilly is super easy on blankets and sheets, so it's had a pretty easy life, but I've had it for about 3 fly seasons and this season will be number 4. I really want to get her one with a belly band for next year and I'm hoping I can get a really good deal when all the fly stuff goes on clearance.

It still looks pretty good!
After I turned her back out, she followed me around until I scratched her belly. She'll get super close to me, sometimes bumping into me, in an attempt to get me to scratch her belly. It's horrible manners, I know, but I find it amusing, endearing, and just the cutest thing ever. Sometimes it's her back, and sometimes it's her butt cheeks, but mostly it's her belly. She'd stand there all day if I'd keep scratching.

Getting her belly scratched makes her sleepy...
I'm watching this weekend's weather closely... the show that was cancelled last month was rescheduled for this coming Saturday. Well, it wasn't really rescheduled because this Saturday's show was already on the schedule, but it's a double points show to make up for last month. I really want to go, but I work Saturdays this month so I need everyone to do a rain dance for Saturday so they have to reschedule it for Sunday. Dance everyone, dance!!

Assuming that show goes on as planned Saturday, our next show will be on the 29th. It's a weekend show so I'll be able to head up there on Sunday and show. It's being held up at the fairgrounds, which is always a nice place to show. They have an indoor arena, so it runs rain or shine. The class list is pretty strange, though, because they run the western and english classes at the same time. For example, class 43 will be western pleasure and class 44 will be english pleasure, so there's no showing both english and western at these shows. I haven't decided what seat I want to show yet... probably western because I'm dying to take her in some western classes. I can't wait for our first big show!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Donkey Bonnet?

It was quite warm today and I was feeling a bit tired... I didn't want to neglect my pony, though, so I decided to hop on and ride her around bareback. I managed to find the fly bonnet I had stuffed away in my horse trailer and wanted to try it on to see if she liked it better for rides than her fly mask. Long story short... no.

She looked a bit silly and begged me not to take her picture but I couldn't help myself. The space provided for her ears was ginormous! Do they make these things in one-size-fits-all just in case you have a donkey, or did I just get a cheap one that I should replace?

Made for donkeys?
She was a really good girl and made me look good in front of a bunch of people. (Thanks, Lilly!) They all said what an amazing rider I am... not just anyone can lope a horse bareback, you know! Forget the fact that our transitions are like butter these days and she has been doing an excellent job loping around nice and slow. No, they're right... I'm an amazing rider! :)

She shook her head way too much during our ride and I think her goal was to shake the goofy hat right off her head. She was quite happy when I took it off, so she'll just have to get used to the other mask when we ride. It's the only way to keep the gnats out of her eyes. It drives me crazy to see all those bugs around her face and that's half the reason we lope so much... to get away from all the bugs!

Friday, April 13, 2012

How Rude!

Is it possible for a horse to give you the "middle hoof"?

That's what it feels like Lilly is doing in regards to her food. She is officially boycotting her grain (aka supplements, handful of Ultium, and capful of oil) and no matter how much I beg her to eat it, she refuses. Even if I try to hand feed her, she takes the grain and then spits it out all over the ground. The oil thing was working for a while, but no more. It didn't even last a month!

The BO has some applesauce on hand that she's going to try with Lilly's breakfast tomorrow morning, but I'm afraid as long as the Cosequin is part of her supplement, it's a lost cause. I dropped it from her upcoming SmartPak because she's not eating it and I haven't seen an improvement since putting her on it a few months ago. I'm considering going with the Adequan shots instead. I have a few reservations, but I'm still doing some research.

I thought the Fastrack probiotics were working really well because I haven't seen a single drip of poo between her cheeks or on her legs since I started the supplement. She isn't eating her food, though, so I'm not sure that it's the supplement that's doing the trick. We have spring grass now, so she has something to snack on for most of the day, which seems to be the only real correlation I can find with the times she has the really bad diarrhea and when she doesn't. It comes on strong in the fall (as the grass dies), lasts all winter, and then slowly goes away as spring arrives (as the grass comes back). So the supplement could simply be a fluke. The Fastrack was in a crumbly form and I saw a good majority of those in her uneaten breakfast this morning, so I dropped them from the SmartPak as well. After giving it some thought, though, I wish I hadn't... at least not yet.

If it's the grass that's an issue, I have no idea what to do for a fix when fall arrives again. I think it's safe to say that the digestive supplements and probiotics are worthless, considering I've tried about 5 different ones. Perhaps I'll keep the Fastrak in the back of my mind and try those again in the fall since they didn't really get a fair shot. She is SO picky, though, and I don't think she'll eat anything except for pellets... and the Fastrak is crumbly powder. Why can't she just eat what I put in front of her face?

Even though I don't think she has ulcers, especially after speaking with my vet and the BO, I did opt to add U-Gard to her SmartPak just in case. I'm hoping we'll be going to quite a few shows this year and I figure it can't hurt. A little too late I realized I ordered the powder form, so I pretty much flushed $28 down the toilet. Oh well! When May's SmartPak gets shipped out, she'll be getting the U-Gard pellets.

In addition to whining about the supplements, I checked her back and it seems to be normal again. I'm not sure if it was my magic finger massage that did the trick or if she just needed a little bit of extra time off. Since it was a gorgeous day and she was feeling better, we went for a ride. The last couple times I've ridden her, I put on her Crusader fly mask because of the gnats, but she seems to be spooky with it on. See, I try to help and she just doesn't cooperate! She's normally not spooky at all when we ride, so I've deduced it must be the mask. I have one of those crochet ear bonnets I might try instead. I think it's mostly her ears that she has an issue with, so the bonnet should take care of that, and hopefully she'll relax again.

She's such a high maintenance princess pony!!

Our ride went very well, though. She's not quite loping nicely on her own yet, but we have moments of pure genius. Our left lead lope is quite a bit more advanced than our right lead lope, but I know the right lead is her difficult way. She's trying, though, and I still can't believe how much progress we've made already. That's why I don't mind too much when she's a high maintenance princess pony. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

12 Years Already?

Twelve years ago on this very day, a super sweet, super adorable little filly was welcomed into the world. I met this little filly about a month later when I was shopping for a barrel horse. She followed me all over the pasture and was the sweetest, most wonderful horse I had ever met. I couldn't get enough of her and it seemed she didn't want to leave my side either.

I asked the farm owner if the little filly was for sale and he said, "Honey, everything is for sale." He wanted $900 for her and I could put a 50% deposit down if I wanted to make sure she didn't end up with someone else. I wrote a check that day and exactly three months and two days later I paid off the balance and took my baby girl home.

She was SO cute!! (And still is...)
I can't believe that all happened TWELVE years ago... where does time go? I'm blessed to have such a special horse in my life and I am thankful every day that she is mine.

Happy birthday, Lilly!!

The birthday girl!
The birthday girl's "cupcake"... Nicker Doodles and peppermints.
I decided to give Lilly the day off, so instead of riding, I worked on her back a bit. She was feeling much better after some stretches and massage techniques I got from the Equine Massage book I received for my birthday last year. Lilly gave me lots of licking and chewing in response to a few of the techniques, especially those involving her tail, so she was a happy girl when we were done.

When we were finished with the massages, I took a couple birthday conformation shots and then let her snack on grass. I think she's looking quite fit these days, especially compared to past conformation shots.

Do you see that color?! *drool
She was getting bored with me...
While she was eating grass, Jack had to come over to the fence to visit. He loves her, and every time I take her past him to the arena he follows us there, and then follows us back. When I take her back into the barn, he runs and runs along the fence.

I love you and shall give you birthday kisses!
Mmmm... you're so tasty!
Shortly after the lick, he bit her, she screamed at him, and then dragged me to another patch of grass. That's no way to treat a lady on her birthday!!

I love this face. :)
Here's to many more wonderful years!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still A Bit Sore

It makes me so happy that Lilly comes to me in the pasture... sure I bring her a treat when I go to get her, but there were many days (many years ago) where she would run to the corner of the pasture when she saw me coming. Now she prefers me over spring grass. :)

"Hi mom!"
She is officially sunburn free, and we might be in the clear as far as future burns. I'm starting to see her summer coat, and more and more of her winter coat sheds out each day. That spring coat is so DARK... I love it!

I used my high-fangled camcorder to record our ride today, but because of proprietary software that isn't intuitive at all, I've got nothing to post. Once I get everything figured out and assembled, I'll post another video. I caught some interesting moments today.

I took a tape measure with me today and set up two hunter hack jumps. From what I can tell online, we'll be jumping two 18" cross rails, spaced approximately 60' apart. I set them up on a diagonal in the arena to give us as much room as possible and then we attempted to jump them. I'll tell that story when I have the video done.

The rest of the ride went ok. We make progress every day with our loping and transitions, but she seemed a little on edge today for some reason. It was really windy, but she didn't want to focus on me like I wanted her to. Actually, she was doing really well until we tried the jumps and then I kind of lost her after that. She's also been doing some counter bending to the outside and I think I'm going to have to switch her back to the loose ring snaffle for a few rides so we can do some work on bending.

Her back is still a tiny bit sore, so that might have something to do with the counter bending issues. The soreness just started about a week ago, and she shows it only when I run my fingers down each side of her spine and get to right about here:

The ouchy spot...
When I hit that one spot, she sinks her back ever so slightly... I'm not sure why she's sore, but I'll have my vet take a look at her when she comes to the barn again. Last time Lilly was sore, all we needed to do was give her a small spinal adjustment and she was good to go.

Some other possible issues I'm considering is that she's due for a trim, which I started on today and will hopefully finish up tomorrow. I was also thinking that her back might possibly be sore because of the stiffness I've been seeing in her hocks. Most back pain is either caused from some sort of limb pain or poor saddle fit, and the sore spot seems to be too far down her back to be saddle related. I think we're good to go in the saddle department, so that leaves hooves, hocks, and perhaps being goofy in the pasture and making herself sore that way. She's been on the Cosequin for two months but I haven't seen a difference in her at all. I removed it from this month's SmartPak and I'm going to ask about the Adequan shots instead. She's boycotting her feed anyway, so there's no telling if she's really getting any of the Cosequin.

She hasn't been ridden since last Wednesday, so she's had some time to rest, but perhaps tomorrow I'll give her a nice liniment bath and see if that helps.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

She's Much Better

I checked on Lilly today and she is doing much better.  She seemed happy to see me, gobbled up her Easter carrots, and then begged me to scratch her belly.  It's nice to have my pony back!

The BO said she pretty much stood by her water trough all day yesterday.  Her head was hung down and she was extremely mopey.  I think when she gets shots next week, and from here on out, I'll also give her some bute. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Not 100%

I found my sweet pony taking a nap in the sunshine today. I wasn't sure how close she was going to let me get before she decided to get up, so I was quiet and calm. I was was able to remove her fly mask and get some cute pictures, then I sat down in the grass and watched her sleep.

Proof that she does actually get dirty sometimes! :)
Sand makes a comfy pillow for your teeth...
At one point, I tried to give her a carrot piece and she just held it in her mouth. I figured she was either really sleepy or feeling a bit under the weather from her rabies and strangles vaccines. The vet was out yesterday to give them for me, but I had already gone to work. The BO said everything went well and Lilly was a good girl.

I sat there with her for a good 15 minutes, enjoying the sunshine, and I had just decided not to ride when she suddenly jumped up out of the sand pit, started snorting, and walked over to her water trough. Something must have spooked her, but she was quite stiff and acted a little out of it. At first I thought she was just a little wobbly from being startled out of a deep snooze, but she continued to act a little strange.

Since she was up, I decided to take her into the barn and give her a good grooming. When I offered her another carrot piece, she happily gobbled it up. When I was grooming her in the cross ties, she still seemed off. She was eating treats, but was very lethargic and it was as if she didn't have any personality. She was just kind of there...

I decided to throw the bridle on and take her out to the arena for a quick little ride. The BO had just dragged the arena, so I wanted to get in there and ride to see how she would act. I had to drag her everywhere we went, which is unusual, and she wasn't really moving her feet with much umph. It's kind of hard to describe, but she was really dragging her back toes and shuffling her front feet. I didn't ride long because she didn't want to jog and I had finally convinced myself that something was going on.

The zombie pony...
She isn't running a fever, her gums look good, and I saw her drinking and eating grass. She didn't eat her breakfast, but that's nothing new, so not a good gauge of anything. She's never had adverse reactions to vaccines before, but lethargy is known to be a side effect of the rabies vaccine. Occasionally she was alert, and even nickered to one of the geldings, but she just wasn't herself.

I'm considering a couple different things that could be going on, but before I completely freak myself out, I'm going to ask the BO to give her some bute tonight and check on her tomorrow. I'm hoping she just feels a little down in the dumps from the rabies vaccine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sad Pony

The weather guy said today was going to be sunny and 85, so I wanted to ride and check on my pony. She was happily snacking on grass when I found her, in the hot sunshine, even though the other two horses were inside their lean-to barns staying away from bugs and sun. The bugs are definitely out in full force and I started putting Lilly's fly mask on yesterday.

She's still peeling, and it appears she got more sun since yesterday. She didn't seem tender when I groomed her yesterday, but today she was definitely shying away from my curry comb a bit.

Poor pony's shoulders peeling...
I'm starting to think the tender areas on her back I was concerned with the other day weren't from playing in the pasture, but rather from the sun. She isn't peeling back there, but she's definitely got some reddish areas of skin and is quite tender on the white areas.

She's finally starting to let go of the colored areas of hair. She holds on to those for quite a while, and normally sheds from front to back. She doesn't have a lot of color up front (and what she has just falls out, so she's actually bald), so I have to wait impatiently for her to start shedding the other areas of her body. I absolutely LOVE her color when she first sheds out in the spring. Her winter hair is really light compared to her true color, and it's beautiful! I'm finally starting to see some of that color!

Pretty summer color coming out, and you can see her poor pink shoulders. :(
I have a fly sheet I use on her in the summer and her fly spray contains sunscreen as well, but she doesn't have a neck cover. It's just way to hot for a sheet and a neck cover, so once the sun gets really hot, I just have her left inside during the day. There are fewer bugs bothering her that way, and she has a fan to help keep her cool. I've just never had to keep her inside this early in the year before. Today after our ride, though, I left her in the stall. She wasn't a happy camper either and nickered to me every time she saw me walking around in the barn.

Doesn't she looked depressed?
I'm not sure if I'll have to leave her inside every day from now on, but she won't be happy to be inside. The BO's horse is still on stall rest, though, so he enjoys having her in the barn with him. Their stalls are next to each other so they can play kissy face through the bars.

I also keep forgetting to mention that I have switched Lilly off the ProBalance pellets (for her digestive health) and put her on Fastrack probiotics. I've been thinking that Lilly might have more of a hind gut issue rather than a tummy issue, and Fastrack was recommended as something that would help with hind gut issues. What the heck, right? Might as well try it! She just started her new Smartpak and I'm anxious to see if she has less diarrhea on this supplement.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Too Early For Sunburns!

Things have been pretty quiet on the Lilly front. I didn't ride Thursday, Friday, or Saturday because I was quite busy, but I went to visit her on Sunday with the intention of riding. As I was grooming her, though, I noticed she was a bit tender when I brushed her back. I always check to make sure she isn't sore and she was fine Wednesday after our ride, so I'm not sure why she's sore now. She is a bit of a goober in the pasture, so it's possible that she was playing and did something to make her back sore.

I also gave her off Monday, but went to visit and give her a good grooming. She's still shedding like crazy and looks a little like an orphan. She always loses ALL of her hair on her neck, shoulders, and chest (meaning she's bald), add in the long goat hairs she has mixed in, and the super thick coat on her belly and hindquarters, and you get one homely looking mare.

I went out today hoping to ride and found her much less sore. She was, however, peeling, which means at some point during the weekend she got a sunburn. She was peeling quite a bit, but the peeling was only on the areas of her body where she is bald. Both sides of her neck and shoulders were peeling and a small part on her back was also peeling. The areas of her rump that are still holding on to hair were fine. She's prone to sunburn, but because she doesn't have any of her summer coat yet, I guess her skin was more suseptible to the sun this weekend. I felt bad for her, but she didn't seem to be in any pain. It's supposed to rain the next couple days, so I think she'll be okay until this weekend. If she doesn't have some of her summer coat by the weekend, though, I might have to have the BO start bringing her in during the day so she doesn't get another burn. It's only April!

I did get in a ride today... yay! I switched her back to the tom thumb and she seemed to be quite happy. We worked on our usual items (jogging, staying soft in the lope, and transitions) and she did amazingly well. She wasn't quite as cranky about the transitions as she was in the other bit, so that's definitely a good thing. The loping exercises are working nicely as well, and she's starting to slow down the lope and keep herself up off her forehand. It was a great ride!

I have also decided that I'm not going to move to the other barn. I think it's best that we stay put where Lilly is happy.