Sunday, January 26, 2014

All about the feet.

So I've decided that in order to be successful with my mare, mitigating her lameness issues will only come through being pro-active. The age old saying goes "No hoof, no horse" and it's high time I started learning. Admittedly, I am not necessarily competent enough to look at a horse's hoof and say "Yikes! That looks like it could use some work!" I see the glaring faults, but don't know the terminology or the extent of the problem other than "the toes look long" or "the heels look low". I need to understand what CAUSES this.

And through my trials and tribulations to find a farrier in my area (the one who was working on her when I first got her is now out of commission for an undetermined amount of time, so I will need to experiment with a new farrier, which I am a bit bashful about!).

I took some photos of Suzie's hooves yesterday to compare with a trim/shoeing the new farrier will do - hopefully soon! My mare is quite overdue for a trim and between trying to find a farrier and having the phone ring and ring, its been an ordeal!

Right now I am seeing a lot of cracks and chips in her hooves - not too many, but enough for me. I am also seeing flares, especially on the hind hooves and the flares are consistent in that they are only on the outside of the hoof, not the inside. Because of these flares, I am assuming this is where the cracking/chips are coming from, due to the pressure. Her heels look good (to me!) and I don't see any evidence of a crushed heel.

All in all, after all the reading I've done, she could use just a good trim. Her toes are too long and her hooves are flared out. Hopefully the farrier will answer my calls so I can finally book him and get my horse some relief.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What a good dog's worth.

I don't think I have ever mentioned, or even written, about my canine counterpart. I grew up with virtually no animals; I often had to feed my animal-obsession through my extended family and friends. However, everything changed in September of 2005. My parents finally agreed to let me get a dog, but not after extensive research.

The plan was to get:
      • A purebred
      • A female 
      • Preferably a small, or medium sized dog
      • Short-haired and low-shedding

 Ironically enough, it didn't pan out that way. Instead, on December 16, my Mom and Dad brought a little, fat-bellied pup home. Ty wasn't exactly what we were expecting or even what we had planned on, but I can't imagine life any other way. We had our ups and downs, understandably - he enjoyed chewing through leashes, nipping at my mom's heels and at the same time, he craved to learn new things and excelled in obedience.

As of today, Ty and I have been together for over nine years and I wouldn't change a thing. He follows me along on nearly every ride I go on and is my shadow. He's been with me in the tough times of my life and he's also been there to share in my accomplishments. I truly grew up with this dog and love him more than anything in the world.

He is more than just a dog to me; he is a representation of my growth, my journey into adulthood. He stood proudly at my side as a gawky, shy teenager and has seen me go through many career choices, schooling and financial woes without so much as a negative look. He is my confidante and my "baby". I know that things have changed, especially over the last three years, but Ty and I still have an amazing relationship and I still love him like I did the day he walked through the door on December 16th. I know there will never be another dog like him, and I wouldn't want there to be. He is quirky, fun, loyal and above all, a teacher.

And as his muzzle grays over the years, I can't help but think of the limited time we have left, but I smile and know that we still have many more years together. We still have many more memories to make. We still have many more walks to go on. We still have eachother, and in the end, that is all that matters.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Short days and long nights.

She looks pretty damn good for not doing much the last three months, hey? I'm actually quite pleased with how she looks, overall. She lost a lot of muscle tone and is kind of flabby and saggy, but with the craptastic weather we've been having, I'm happy with where she currently sits.

Mostly, she's just been eating. I've been working non-stop and by the time I get off of work, it's already dark and there is literally no time for anything. The one day I did have off, I took the photo above, and as you can tell, it was pouring rain. I don't think she minds just hanging out in the paddock, though, as she seems content to mull around and putter through her days. But, I will be happy when the days start to get longer and I can actually start working with my mare.

My plans are simple: start off slow. Lots of hand-walking and undersaddle walking - a bit of trail riding, really. Most of our issues are going to stem from the fact that our winter has been kind of bogus - there is literally no snow on the ground anymore and we nearly had a green Christmas. It's been soggy and wet, so Suz's hooves are mushy and damp 24/7. I've been putting Venice Turpentine on them to help them harden up, but I think it's kind of a catch 22 with the water just making it all evaporate away.

I hope the next time I blog I have something more interesting to say!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Review

The year of 2013 had it's ups and downs - as with anything in life.

Perhaps the most profound thing that impacted my riding career was finally owning my first horse. My horse. It is still an odd, and almost peculiar concept to me, as my equestrian-needs were often filled by horses who were not being used, naughty for their owners, or they were just in need of someone to love them. And all of these horses - from the creamy palomino gelding to the fiery red-headed Thoroughbred - filled a void. They gave me escape from a very ordinary world, and as I moved from horse to horse (not by choice), I grew. I overcame the deaths of friends, partners and therapists. I learned about dedication, commitment and pure harmony. And all of it led up to one moment; the signing of papers and loading a red mare into a slant-loaded trailer.


 Suzie has been more of a blessing in my life than anything. She is the most honest horse I have ever met - she tells it like it is and if you don't like it, too bad for you. She has a way of teaching, a way of giving me lessons to learn that no other horse has ever done before. And because of this, it took a long time for me to gain any kind of common ground with her. We started out on a level-playing field, and grew to immense dislike, and then we shifted. Something shifted inside of us.

We stopped fighting eachother and we both started listening. Instead of saying "What else do you want?!" we started to use more manners... We were kinder. I saw her eyes change. They softened. She seemed to relax, knowing that I had no intentions of letting her go anywhere. She had been bounced from home to home and I had lost so many horses along the years that we were both very faulty in our relationships. We both had broken hearts. We both needed to heal. And in time, it seemed like we had expanded into more of a respectable, and wonderful dream. I trusted her. She trusted me. And it was a perfectly beautiful thing.

I am excited for the year of 2014. Suzie and I are more connected than we have ever been, and bringing her back into riding once the snow melts and the grass dries will be an exciting time. I have no doubt  that we will have some hiccups along the way, but so long as we have eachother, we will make it. So long as we have determination, will and fight in us, we will succeed.