Friday, November 24, 2017

Book review II

For those who have been reading my blog all this time, (Thank You!) you know that I don't normally do book reviews. Since my trip back to Hell to see my girls and going to the 1/2 Price Bookstore while there, I had picked up a few books. Obviously they have made an impact or I would not feel the need to be mentioning them here.

The second book I am reading is "100 Ways to Improve Your Horse's Schooling" by Susan McBane. In the store I flipped thru the pages to get a vibe and quick feeling that this book contains a lot of useful information and tips on things to do and try.

Even though I'm not quite finished reading this one, (I'm in the 70's) there have been several moments of pause and things that have made me think. Isn't that the reason we read? To learn. And to learn, sometimes we have to think about the way we do things and why. Obviously we wish to Improve and that's why we look to books or others for input. Hello?!?!?!

In my last post I had mentioned that dressage has been drawing me in more and more and I'm finding it increasingly fascinating. While this book is geared towards basic schooling, it is certainly feeding that fascination, because after all, Dressage means Training. This book delves into how your seat, weight, legs, hands and simply looking where you want to go influences the horse. Another thing mentioned frequently is picturing in your mind how you want the horse to do things.

One of the things about this book is that each exercise is broken down into a quite simple and basic explanation of how to do things. Not only does the author explain the "how" of it, but the "why" that makes it work. For those that look for the logic behind the results- good or bad, they are explained.

This book covers a lot of things we face in training and while there are chapters on ground work, flatwork and lateral work, (for the dressage junkies) there is also chapters on work with poles, basic jumping, hacking and competition for those who aren't so focused only on dressage. The author also makes several references to a list of useful addresses and further reading included at the end of the book. Some of the addresses include websites for a quicker way to get information.

I love this photo which is at the very back of the book.

While reading this, I kept finding close similarities in how the author explains things, with how my friend Cheryl explains things. Cheryl definitely has the creds(!) and we have shared many discussions about horses on a variety of topics. I have yet to be disappointed in what she has shared with me. To find a book like this one? It is almost like having a Cheryl on the shelf in my growing library where I can consult with her at any time about any issue I'm having.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! But as the author states, it is not exactly a book for the stark beginner. Although Ms. McBane often suggests having a trainer or sensible friend on the ground to assist,  she understands that you are looking for help in trying to improve you horse's schooling on your own because these may not be available resources. What you get out of it also depends on what you're looking to impove in your horse and your riding. If you have a decent foundation to your riding, there is a plethora of information in the pages which can certainly be applied to any discipline.  Price in the UK is $20, US- $30 and Canada- $42. I scored my copy for a whopping $8. 

*If I sounded like I was rambling or disconnected in my thoughts, I blame the turkey from yesterday. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What haven't you done?

One of the guys at the barn recently got a new horse. A big, spotted, gaited horse. He kept making comments and dropping hints about having me ride the horse for him some time. The other night he came right out and said, "You'll have to throw a leg over him...."

After cleaning my stalls, trimming Kats feet and getting the feed ready for the night, I went outside and enjoyed the breeze. On my way home later, the truck was reading that it was still 78 degrees outside. Yeah that's pretty warm for November. When he spotted me,  he asked if I wanted to ride the horse. Sure why not?  It has been many, many years since I've ridden a Walker.

Which got me to thinking- What haven't I done?  I didn't get to ride until I was about 14 or 15 and then it was a on relative's horses. From there it was anything further that I could throw a leg over, saddled or not.

Over the years I have ridden just about everything from ponies to Warmbloods, grade horses and registered horses. I've ridden Saddlebreds, Arabians, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, a few warmbloods, Appaloosas,  POA's, mules, Peruvian Paso's, Rocky Mtn. Saddle horses, Missouri Foxtrotters, and a couple of Tennesee Walkers.

I spent some time penning and sorting, tried team roping- I was a lot better at heading than heeling. I have ridden jumpers, done some barrel racing. Ridden dressage as well as saddle seat, there was always a lot of trail riding in beween everything else and I have shown halter as well as a few showmanship classes. Then there was cutting and finally driving. I am just as comfortable in an English saddle, be it dressage, saddle seat or close contact, as I am riding in a western saddle, Austrailian saddle, A McClellan or even bareback.

When I was giving lessons for the ex, I have always encouraged people to try everything. Give it a shot at least once or twice and see how it goes. You never know when something is going to grab your attention and make things come alive for you. My discipline of choice these days?  I still and always will, have a strong interest and passion for driving. I think that comes from one of my distant relatives, a woman, who drove stagecoaches back in the day.  I love hunters as I prefer the form and delicate intricacies invloved with clean rounds. Dressage has also been drawing me in lately too. The tests are some of the toughest easiet, things to do.

So there ya have it folks. I have ridden a lot of horses from an array of different backgrounds. What's your story? How many different types of horses have you ridden? Which different disciplines have you ridden? Breeds?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Book review

I haven't ever done a book review on my blog. Not once. There are a few books in my arsenal library and occasionally if I hit a block wall with a horse or come up against some issue in training, I typically know which book to look in and sometimes even what chapter.

So on a quick trip back to Hell I popped into the Half Price Bookstore. This is typically stocked from what people bring in to clear their shelf and space at home or sometimes overstock or other similar suppliers.

I found 3 books actually but I will only review the one for now since although I have cracked open the other two for a brief peek before purchase, I haven't gotten far enough into or thru them to form any opinion on the book yet.

Secrets of the Top Equestrian Trainers, by Tina Sederholm.

She interviewed 10 different trainers from 10 different backgrounds. While a few of them have been to the Olympics, one of them is considered "A Coaches Coach", one trained racehorses in England, one is a Natural Horsemanship trainer and while there is a strong dressage, jumping and eventing influence, reading their words you just get the feeling that they are super easy to get along with.  As we all know- there is some amount of information to be take away from each.

Taken from the chapter on Ann Kursinkski- "I have taken this maxim of Don Millman's. "Compete like you train and train like you compete." This means you are as focused and sharp when you are training as you are when you compete, and yet as relaxed in the ring as you are in training."  Now I know what you're all thinking, because I'm with you on that-> HA! Easier Said Than Done! But it absolutely can be done, of course this means a bit of disrespect and probably thinking some obscenities.  

The book is an easy read. The author's notes, questions or opinion are in Italics and lead into the next point to be made with an easy way of flowing from one to the next. It made my 2 1/2 hour flight from Hell to home go by really quickly even though I was having a tough time seeing the words. Yeah because of age and apparently I must need reading glasses now....

I found my copy for $8 and the price on the back is $29 US. I haven't gotten all of the way thru it, but so far I am not disappointed in it at all. Each trainer interview is roughly about 3-4 pages of reading, so it is an easy book to pick up for a few minutes and set down to come back to later. 

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Even if you aren't interested in competing, there's plenty of good information about how you might manage your own horses or barn. All of them seem to agree that it takes work, guts, grit, determination and dedication to get to the top or be successful. They each put in the time to get where they are and still do to stay there. Much respect, they've earned it. 

Cons- the only thing I can think of and this really isn't even any kind of a negative thing- it leaves me wanting more. I would like to see another similar book, a more updated version with more trainers. Maybe a Western version with cutters, reiners, working cowhorse, barrel racers, endurance riders and that type of thing. There could also be one focusing on driving for that matter. Each discipline has plenty of good trainers to choose from. We may not all agree on what or how other people do things, but maybe hearing their words as they explain the method of their madness, we would have an understanding of them and how or why they do things we don't understand.  

Here is the back cover with a few of the names included in the pages.

Richard Davison
Yogi Breisner
Mark Rashid
David O'Connor
Peter Charles
Rodrigo Pessoa
Lyra Kyrklund
Robert Dover
Henrietta Knight
Anne Kursinkski

Monday, October 23, 2017


A couple weeks ago, I was riding a horse for a friend of mine. My two were tuned out in the pasture where I was riding and Katman was having a "Beyond Asshole" kind of day. He thought it was a good idea to charge the horse I was on, just about every time we came near him. Of course I scolded him and even used the horse I was on, to charge back at him with me waving my arms at him and yelling at him to "Knock IT OFF (insert random obscenities here...)!!"

When I brought them in Saturday afternoon, I looked down at my mares leg and noticed her knee was swollen. I brushed it off, thinking it was her 'bad' knee. I looked again and seen that BOTH knees were big. The right one because it just is and the left one was all puffy and swollen. Ahhh Crap!!!!

Of course as we all do, my mind raced to the worst case scenario. "OMG and Son of a B!TCH! Her good knee is f'ed up now too and I'm going to have to put her down. "  Because if her good knee is f'ed up like her bad knee, No I will not hang onto her and put her thru hell for my own selfishness. Sunday both knees were swollen, the right one more than usual. Double Crap!

I started calling aound for a vet to do X-rays. One vet clinic sees horses, but they don't have the equipment to do radiographs. Another clinic- their vet had heart surgery not too long ago and he is "In and Out" so call back to see when he might be 'IN'.  The next one was Gawd Awful expensive and then another one was waaayyy across town. Finally I got in touch with a clinic not far from the barn and was able to schedule an appointment.

The good news...

1) For one, my mare stood quietly and was a Rock Star the whole time and didn't need to be sedated or even twitched. This can be unlike her in new places and it saved me a few $$$ on the bill. Whew!

2) The rads? No fractures. My grey Arabian mare Mi Moneta, years before I got her had been kicked in the pasture and had 'spider web fractures' all over the bone in her right front leg. I feared this for my mare. Thankfully there was nothing of the sort. Double WHEW!

3) There are some changes in her knee, it looks like she has the starting of arthritis in the left knee. Not much but some and it is a relatively small area, so fairly minute.

4) The right knee, even with all of the calcification going on in the joint, the vet said that it wasn't as bad as he had likely expected. Overall, considering everything, he said her joints look really, really good for an 18 year old horse.

That was REALLY good to hear, but also not all that surprising either. She is not worked often and when she is, it isn't exactly strenuous.... Plus she gets plenty of turnout in pasture.

So there we have it. I was going to put her on a joint supplement anyways. Now I just have a more informed reason to do it. And it's not at all as bad as I was expecting. I won't be putting her down any time soon because of this. Hopefully there will be no more surprises like this for a while. A loooooooong while....


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sweet release

Last Monday I lost a dear friend. She had been battling cancer for the past few years. While I'm sad about the loss, I have also been relieved to know she is no longer suffering.

Rather than focusing on the fact that she's gone, I have been remembering the good things she's done and things she enjoyed in life. She loved her dogs and there were several she owned with personalities much larger than they were. 

I imagine her riding her big red horse Rebel. Mounted on him she was fearless. Rebel was a great horse in the fact he was a total badass, yet a babysitter at the same time. They both had their quirks but that's what made them a good match. 

She loved her truck and the Saab she owned long ago. Hated living in Hellizona (that makes two of us!), was very outspoken at times and she was very smart at some things like the rest of us. She was also married to a wonderful man who had also beaten cancer a few times himself. 

Although I will miss being able to call her or text, I know she will be watching over several of us and haunting us when we screw up. She had a twisted sense of humor and if she had her way, at the end of the funeral service, closed casket of course, would have had the organist repeatedly playing Pop Goes the Weasel just to screw with everyone's head.

She will be missed but I'm sure she is happy to be with her parents and family who has passed before her. 

RIP Auntie M. Love ya much and I'll see ya on the flip side!

PS- please skip the part about sorry about the loss. Instead let's use the comment section to celebrate things we have loved about those we have lost

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Just Rotten

From what I've seen online in all my digging to figure this out, Rain Rot they lose hair. River Rot they lose skin. I've also seen Mud Rot and just about every other rot imaginable. So which is it?  Maybe a little bit of all of them.

So far the mare is still swollen and her skin looks like it's all burnt. I wrapped her legs twice and the first time, as I took her big puffy pillow wraps off, they were stuck to her skin in places and the smell of rotted skin was bad. The second time I wrapped her legs, I wrapped them in paper towels first, then the pillow wraps, then the standing wraps.

One of the girls watching me asked if I was seriously using paper towels? Yes. Yes I am. The paper towels would absorb any moisture but when it comes time to take the wraps off, if needed I could rinse the paper towels away. I have another roll in the tackroom and they worked well actually.  

Kat is starting to lose skin and hair and is only swollen behind. He is losing skin almost all the way up the inside, but only from the hocks down on the outside of his hind legs, which doesn't make sense at all.

The filly in their pasture fares the best and although she has a Lot of pink skin, she is already almost thru the process and it doesn't look like it will turn into scratches so that's a good thing. Scratches are a total pain in the ass to deal with!

The gelding in their pasture? I feel so bad for him. They are hardly ever out there and I never see anyone treating him. Poor guy is always there at the gate wanting to have someone dote over him, treat his legs and give him some meds to ease the pain. (Yes there has been inquiries to buy him, but the bottom line price is in the "Crazy money" amount.  Besides that, they are seriously confused or misled about his age. By about 10 years under kind of off.)

Mine have been on low doses of Bute daily and I have been hosing the mud off their legs and spraying them with antiseptic. I have also been soaking the horses in fly spray. I know the mosquitoes are going to be bad from all of this. I also ordered up a dose of wormers since they have been eating outside a lot and who knows what washed thru the field in the high waters.

It's going to take time and it doesn't just happen overnight. The road to recovery is sometimes a long, painful and tedious one.  The filly is almost thru, with very little scabbing left on her legs to shed. My little ponyman is still shedding skin and hair very slowly. Their stalls were dried up enough they could be stripped, left a few days to dry out, packed with sand and bedded with 2 bags of shavings each.

My mare is still out in the pasture as her stall was bedded pretty deep and in need of stripping before the flooding. Now it's super wet, super heavy and digging it out as well as leveling it, will be quite the chore. It was still drying when the horse in the stall behind her, broke the waterer off the first night back in and flooded the 5 stalls their owner occupies. The gelding's owner is part of their "clan" so he remains out in the pasture too although his stall wasn't flooded by the water tub incident.

Because my mare is out, she has dropped weight again. I'm trying to get her back inside so she will again have a healthy amount of feed to snack on at will. She has the pasture and a round bale to share with the gelding, but she sweats a lot being outside. A few people have asked me what she gets and why she's so thin?  For one thing, she doesn't handle change well. When horses moved into or out of the barn and the 'energy' changed, she lost her mind, began pacing and dropped weight in nothing flat. We all know it;s easier to take weight off a horse than it is to put it back on them. Wish we could say the same, right?

She's definitly not an easy keeper! Besides a slow feed hay net stuffed full of coastal grass, she gets a half scoop of 12-8, two scoops of senior feed and about 4 scoops of alfalfa pellets. The 12-8 is 12% protien and 8% fats. It's a pelleted feed like the rest of everything else she's getting. The alfalfa pellets, it seems like a lot to put in front of her all at once, but she has gotten to the point of nibbling on it and picking at it to where I can dump it all in once a day and she still has some the following day when it comes time to add more. She has only coliced once or maybe twice in the 13 years I've had her and the last time was about 9-10 years ago.    

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Something new

I finally got out to the barn on Saturday, a full week since I had been out there. One of the updates I had gotten was that my TB mare and one of the other horses in her pasture had suffered some effects of having stood in the water. Her hind legs were stocked up, or stoved up as some people call it and she was walking funny. Every step is like a hose wearing wraps on their hind legs for the first time.  She picks them up really high like she's trying to either step over something or shake something off. She does this if she has been standing for a few minutes or longer. Once she starts moving though and thing loosen up, she's bck to normal.

I have plenty of Bute on hand and told the girl at the barn to give her 1 gram, see how she does and there's paste and tablets, so whatever she's more comfortable giving her, she can have up to 4 grams a day. I was also thinking to have her hose her legs off, slop on the Mineral Ice and put wraps on. When she said she wasn't comfortable putting wraps on and I realized my wraps are here at the house, I had to come up with something else. Splint boots! Her boots were at the barn and would work in  pinch.  Something is always better than nothing, right?

What I found when I got out there was different than anything I've dealt with before. My mare had mud on her legs again and was still walking funny and Kat was also stocked up in the hind legs. The skin on their legs also seems almost like they've been blistered or something. WTH??? The other horses in the pasture had similar issues, the gelding being swollen in all 4 legs and the filly having the same blistered skin look.

Their stalls are a total wreck and it's probably going to be a week or more until they can come in.  One of the water tubs had mosquitos breeding in it, so I figured I would bring them up to the front of the barn to eat while I brushed them off, assessed the damages and soaked them with fly spray.  They each got some Bute with their food and my mare was okay with me hosing her legs. Most of the mud came off and there was no hair or skin loss. 

When I hosed off Kat's legs though, it seemed to hurt like hell and he was obviously in pain. He would lift that leg as high as he could, leaning as far away from me and the water until he was about to fall over. I felt bad and was apologizing profusely to the little guy. If ever a horse or pony could scream, I believe he would have. I readjusted the nozzle to where it was a gentle spray and that wrked much better for him.

The other two horses also got their legs hosed and were given some Bute and a few of us put our heads together to try and figure out the best course of action. We each felt that Mineral Ice and pressure wraps to keep the swelling down would be good, but then since the skin already seemed irritated and somewhat damaged, the extra moisture from the MI and wrapping them, didn't make sense. 

If wet is what created this, more wet and trapping it in, might just make it worse. Adding chemicals (MI) seems like it would just compound that even more.  I've had chemical burns before from laundry soap and let me tell you, they are NOT fun or anything to screw around with. Anything touching your skin hurts like a mo-fo and even putting lotion on to soothe it- Doesn't!   We all decided to let them air dry and leave them as is for the night while we go home, get online and see what we can find something to explain this and figure out how to treat it.