Friday, June 28, 2013

Too Much Green?

Back at the end of April, I posted about possibly moving Lilly to a new barn. Again. I overheard someone at my barn mention that the BO and his wife might be putting their place up for sale. After thinking about it for a couple days, I decided just to email them and ask what their plan was. I didn't want to be nosy and intrude, but I felt like I had a right to know because it could impact my horse's life. They said they weren't sure if they were going to sell and they'd be making their decision in a few weeks. She'd let me know what they decided.

Here we are at the end of June and I still haven't heard anything from them. I feel like it isn't really any of my business so I haven't brought it up with them again, but I really want to know so I can plan for the future.

Lately I've noticed things disappearing from the barn. You know, like their horses. All three are now gone. The only horses that are left are the three that belong to the boarders. I've noticed improvements being made as well, and today I saw the tack room has been cleaned out like crazy. Our table is gone and a lot of the BO's tack is gone. I can read between the lines!

I've secretly been barn hunting since I found out about the possible sale. I checked out quite a few barns but none of them fit the bill for one reason or another. Since I didn't have to hurry up and leave, I decided just to keep my eyes open in case something else came along. It just so happens that something else did come along. I went to check out the place yesterday before work and I really liked it. It's everything I'm looking for and a little bit more. It costs more than I've ever spent on board, but I think it would be worth the cost. There's an indoor and outdoor arena, nice stalls, and a very private, no-drama type atmosphere. There's a problem, though. And it's a biggie.

They have the best pastures I have ever seen in North Carolina.

No, really! That's a bad thing! While pastures everywhere else are burned out, eaten down, and full of weeds, this place has green pastures full of clover, fescue, and grass galore. There's not a weed in sight, and they keep no more than two horses on each pasture. Lilly would probably have her very own.

All I kept thinking was how FAT my pig-horse would get turned out on pastures like those. And god only knows what would happen to her hooves. The barn manager offered to very slowly introduce her to the pasture, but I'm more worried about the long term. She would absolutely have to wear a muzzle, which is an idea I hate. I asked if they had something a little less lush, but they do not.

While I know even the crappy pasture Lilly lives on changes, and thus the sugar levels also change, it's minimal because there really isn't anything out there for her to eat. I've never had to worry about having a barefoot horse on such a lush pasture. Lilly already has high maintenance hooves and we really are still transitioning, so I don't want to move her somewhere that will cause me extra grief.

So I'm asking all my barefoot peeps and hoof nerds out there if this is something that is totally manageable and I'm freaking out for nothing, or if this could really end up being an issue for me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Miserable Pony

Good news! Lilly's tummy is 100% better. Yay!

I texted the pictures to my vet on Monday and she told me to keep an eye on Lilly's temp and report back if it was still puffy at the end of the week. She said it could take up to 10 days for it to start looking better, but it was almost gone on Tuesday when I visited, and today it was completely back to normal. I'm still not sure what the deal was, but I'm glad it wasn't anything serious. With the onslaught of bugs lately, it could have been a bug bite, she could have kicked herself, or it could have been any other myriad of things. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. It was nice not to see any of you type the words "OMG! CALL YOUR VET NOW!" It always puts my mind at ease a bit.

But as is the case sometimes, we go from one thing to another. Lilly has an allergy(s) to something this time of year. We deal with it every year from June-ish until September-ish, and her eyes will get puffy, teary, and fill up with gook. I've toyed with the idea of having her tear ducts flushed, but my vet doesn't think it will help, because if it's allergies, she'll just continue to have issues. It is MUCH better when she wears a fly mask, which is why there's a problem now.

I've been having trouble keeping a fly mask on my girl. I have suspicions that the neighbor horse keeps pulling it off. During the day they're the only two horses outside and I think they might hang out over the fence and play. I found her mask outside her pasture many times, and Tuesday it was completely shredded. Lilly doesn't shred things, so I think Mack got ahold of it. Luckily I have a spare, but I'm hoping that one doesn't meet certain death anytime soon.

I called my vet to let her know Lilly's tummy was better and inquired about what we can do for her eyes. Last year I dealt with it by keeping ointment in her eyes and flushing them with eye drops. Lilly loved that. Her left eye was really icky on Monday (she was sans fly mask when I found her) so my vet dropped off a thing of TriHist to try. Perhaps I won't need to treat her eyes this year if we can keep the allergies at bay. I read some of the reviews for it at SmartPak and everyone said they couldn't get their horses to eat it. Fantastic, because my girl is a picky eater, and it's kind of a granule/powder which is even worse. Good news, though, because today she licked it right out of my hand. You think you know your horse and then BAM! They make a liar out of you.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, with all the wet weather we've been having, she's developed a fungus on her hind legs over her canon bone, and she has some irritation above the backs of her hooves on her front legs. I'm thinking it's a minor case of scratches, so I bought a bottle of Banixx and practically hosed her down. AND, her entire chest was covered with bumps today and she wanted me to never stop scratching them for her. Not ever. She stood there with her lip stuck out even when I stopped.

Poor, poor pony. She's falling apart right before my eyes!! So she's banished to her stall during the daytime now. I've asked the BO to turn her out only at night. Hopefully it'll help with the fungus, the scratches, the allergies, and the bug bites. She can stand there and enjoy the fan.

"It's super nice in here, lady!"
Today was hoof trim day, too. Lilly's trimmer has been SLACKING and she was in desperate need of a trim. I'm so embarrassed with myself. Because her front hooves are still pretty delicate (like her), I try not to let her go so long between trims so I don't have to do all four hooves at one time. Today it was mandatory. She was a pretty good girl, but gave me a really hard time with her left front. I don't know if the hoof itself was uncomfortable, or if she was uncomfortable putting all her weight on the right front. She's good to go, now, though, and her hooves look like a million bucks. Her crater is growing out nicely and I'm pretty happy with them.

After the torture...
Hopefully next week we'll be able to get back into some sort of riding routine. The house projects will be finished up this weekend and then it's game on! Can't wait to get back out in the arena and ride!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, AJ!

AJ isn't registered with the AQHA, so we're not sure exactly when his birthday is for sure. When we bought him, though, AJ's old owner said he was pretty sure his birthday was in June, so in honor of Flag Day, we decided AJ's birthday would be June 14th. He was born in 1986, so he's 27 today!

We've had a lot of fun through the years and he is truly a part of our family. It's incredible to think that he's been our AJ for over 23 years. I wish he could be here in North Carolina with me, but I know he has a happy home in Michigan with my dad's horse, Justus.

Circa 1990
Fair portraits!
Trying him out english.
Taken in 2008.
Love it when he sucks his tongue!
Handsome boy, even as an old man!
Riding in Michigan - 2012
So much personality!

He holds a very special place in my heart. Happy Birthday, AJ! Hugs and kisses from afar!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What Do You Suppose This Is?

I had a really rough weekend. I woke up early Saturday morning with horrible, awful tooth and jaw pain. Why do these things always happen on the weekend anyway? Why couldn't it have happened on Friday morning so I could call the dentist? Instead, I had to spend the weekend in pain, but I called the dentist Monday morning and they got me in right away. After the x-rays were taken, they kindly informed me I was in need of a root canal because I had an infection in my tooth. It was 'complicated' and they didn't feel comfortable doing it in their office, so they referred me to a root canal specialist. Did you know there was such a thing? Me either.

I was lucky and got in to see the specialist on Tuesday because they had a cancellation. They took their own x-rays and told me I had a pretty nasty abscess, and it was a good thing I came in to see them. No wonder my jaw hurt so bad! So she got busy on my poor tooth and I suffered for almost 2 hours. Don't let anyone try to tell you that root canals don't hurt, because they do. Well, at least mine did. When they got up in there where my abscess was, I cried. HURT LIKE HELL.

I'm still not 100%, but I'm getting there. I ended up staying home from work on Tuesday and I think that helped. Being able to rest was nice. But enough about me... I need to solicit opinions about Lilly!

I went to see her Monday after my dentist appointment, but the weather was icky and it kept raining. I brought her into the wash rack to give her a bath and I noticed this:

These are iPhone pics, so they're not that great, but you can see how swollen it is. I had a small panic attack because I thought maybe she had a hernia, so I called my vet. It was after hours, but she was kind enough to call me back and told me the likelihood of it being a hernia was very slim. She thought perhaps it was edema from a tick bite or from some other bug, but I didn't see any marks on her skin that look like a bite. She said she could come out and look at it for me, but I told her I would just keep an eye on it and get back with her if it didn't go down.

I was able to visit her again today and it's still there. It's still the same size too. It has a lumpy feel to it, so it doesn't feel like it's just fluid in there, and the swelling is really only on the right side rather than being swollen on both sides of her tummy crease. I'm just worried because it's right over her 'belly button', although it doesn't seem to bother her at all.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm getting worried again since it hasn't gone down. It seems like if it was from a bug bite, the swelling would have gone down by now. I think I'll probably end up contacting my vet again tomorrow.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back On Track

I really need to get things back on track with Lilly. All of these projects we've had going on at our house has forced me to put Lilly, and any riding I've been hoping to get done, on the back burner. Nothing has been done right, so the contractors have had to come back out over and over and over again, and I have to stay around the house and wait on them. It's terribly frustrating!

Today was supposed to be our final appointment, but after the guy "fixed" the window glass and left, I noticed a haze on the window that won't come off. So he'll be coming out again next week, which means another day I'll have to stay home and babysit. It seems to be never ending, and has been going on since early May!

Now that we have Tropical Storm Andrea bringing inches of rain, I might not have an arena to ride in for a few days anyway. It seems there's always something going on that keeps me from being able to ride. No doubt any level of fitness we had attained is gone, so we'll be starting all over again.

I went over to check on Lilly yesterday and pull off her fly sheet since she won't be needing it for a few days. When I pulled it off, I noticed she had a couple bite marks on both sides of her neck and shoulders. They're definitely not bad, but (*knock on wood*) she hasn't had any injuries in quite some time so I was surprised. She also lives in a pasture by herself, so I assume someone is giving her love nips over the fence, but I find it strange that they were in an area protected by the fly sheet.

Hopefully I'll have some riding updates sometime soon. I really want to get down to business in the lope department and have a few ideas I want to try on how to slow her down. I think I can combine the exercises to slow her down and the exercises I'll need to build up her topline and hindquarters again at the same time. We shall soon see... I hope!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Negatory On The APHA Show

I just can't justify it, even as badly as I'd like to go (and I really want to go). It's at my favorite facility, it's only about a two hour drive, it's a breed show, and it would be so much fun to camp with my Paint horse girlfriends. I even managed to get the time off work and everything!

But I'm not going to go.

If I went, I'd want to show western because that's what I'm trying to shoot for these days, but there are a couple problems with that: 1. We don't have a lope yet, and 2. I still don't have a western show saddle.

I could show english, even though I don't really want to, but I still haven't replaced my field boots from two show seasons ago. They crumbled into pieces, and instead of spending $200 to replace them, I've been sporting my paddock boots with half chaps instead. Not gonna fly at the Paint show.

And if I really don't want to show english, why would I want to spend $500 - $600 on a weekend to show english? I'm also concerned about Lilly's hooves since showing in hoof boots is forbidden for some strange reason.

So I'm not going to go. I let my friends know yesterday and one of the two decided she's also not going that weekend. Bummer.

Fear not, though, dear readers! I have a backup plan in the works! There's a weekend open show at the fairgrounds in August and I'm going to try my hardest to make it up there. I'll be flying home from Michigan on that Friday, but I'm hoping I can book a flight that'll get us home early enough that I can run to the barn, grab my pony, and head up to the fairgrounds for a super fun weekend of camping and showing. I think my friend (the one who isn't going to the Paint show) is considering showing that weekend with me, so I'd still get to hang with fellow Paint people.

At this show, Lilly and I can show in a dilapidated western 'show' saddle, hoof boots, paddock boots and half chaps, and we can zoom around the western pleasure arena and not be laughed off the premises. We can also spend half as much doing it! Sounds pretty epic to me!

No thanks, I'm good here!
Lilly would rather just eat hay and not actually have to do any work, but we need PAC points and we need a fun 'girls' weekend together. I'll have her convinced before too long!