Monday, October 31, 2016

October 10 Questions

Aside from some things brewing up in the next few days (hint: it has to do with a trailer ride to the vet, I have nothing exciting to report. The days are getting shorter and with that, the pony's are growing thick Winter coats (Spud especially).

Most of my pony-time is spent grooming, hand-walking, and sometimes even a quick bareback jaunt around the street. I have been an awful horsey-mom - I haven't even taken Spud out for a drive since our successful show-outing in August!

Blurry between the ears shot of my favorite red-head.
Things have been busy - work, winterizing, home projects, lack of daylight... and add the fact I have enrolled into school and everything is a bit crazy.

Without further ado, to show my diligent readers that I haven't died, here is a very late 10 Questions for October.

What do you consider "jumping high" for yourself?
I haven't really jumped much in the last three years other than entering Suzie into some 18" Hunter classes for shits and giggles (where we came out with some satin). Due to not jumping consistently the last few years, 2' jumps are absolutely terrifying to me. Back when I was jumping more, I was chipping away at jumping 2'6" comfortably and confidently.

What are your short term goals for riding? Do you think you'll reach them?
Right now, my goals are surrounding Spud (driving) since Suzie has been retired. My goal for next year is to qualify for the 2018 BC Heritage Finals.

In addition to the driving aspect, I plan on adding a new horse to my herd come Summer/Fall 2017.

Yes, I believe I will reach them... quite easily, in fact.

His hair is so thick it pokes over the halter.
Long term goals for riding? Do you think you'll reach them?
For the actual riding aspect, I'd like to raise a weanling and morph it into an all-around show horse (a large feat in itself).
For driving, to take Spud to the Heritage Finals and chip away at working towards competing at Preliminary at driving trials.

I believe I will reach them - there is nothing serious stopping me aside from funding and time.

How many barns have you been at in your riding career?
Three, but I haven't ever been to a "real" barn. Most barns I have been to have been privately owned and operated - not a "true" boarding barn.

How many different trainers have you been with in your riding career?
Oh god, quite a few. I enjoy training with an abundance of people (clinics), but have mostly been in a stringent training program with only two trainers.

23 years old and still looks pretty fab
despite such an awkward angle. sry suzie
Ever worked at a barn? What did you do?
Nope. We do not have any boarding barns where I live - all are private facilities.

Scariest thing that has happened at your barn?
Nothing too scary, aside from my own antics (read: leading a horse back to the paddock, slipping on ice, and falling underneath him).

Have you ever given a lesson? What level was the rider?
I've given friends a few pointers and such, but not really a true, structured lesson. Oh, I also did kids pony camps one year with a friend. All the riders were beginners.

A rainy day hand-walk. And why yes, that
IS Spud's dirty fucking back on the
right hand side.
What is your opinion on the accuracy of critiquing riders online?
Photos can be very misleading - videos are generally much better for critiques.
I try to avoid critiquing, simply because I don't like to offend people and if it doesn't affect me or my horses, I don't really care.

What is the ideal height of a horse for you?
People will laugh, but I prefer the 14.3 - 15.2 range. I'm a short rider, so smaller horses are much easier for me to ride.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Kinesiology Taping: A Cross-Post featuring SpottedDressage

In my previous post, quite a few blog-readers contacted me or commented that they were interested in the whole mystical world that is kinesiology taping. Skeptics and critics alike were flooding my comment section and inbox, perplexed and certainly interested in how it all works.

In response to the comments and messages, I had thought about drafting up a little blurb, but decided this topic would be better left to a professional. So, I contacted my good friend, SpottedDressage (the one who has taped Suzie) and forced convinced her to write about the taping and feature a few questions I had been asked.

With that being said, I recommend viewing SpottedDressage's in depth article, which covers the how and whys of this alternative therapy click here.

And in addition to the more scientific aspect of the tape, I wanted to speak about my own experiences as an owner and how it has affected Suzie, because I too, was a skeptic at one point.

Since my friend had undergone the associated schooling and such to practice this therapy, I jumped at the chance to test it on Suzie's problematic knee. I didn't hold much hope initially, but was pleasantly surprised when the tape fell off 5 days later that her knee was much less abrasive and ballooned. I still kick myself that I had never taken any before photos.

It speaks for itself.
I have found nothing but positives from the taping when applied to my sweet mare, but the application has only been for her knee and shoulder area. I have heard that other areas are more difficult for the tape to stick to or stay in position - but that hasn't been the case.

For those who are considering taping their equines, I urge you to find a professional and try it for yourself! You may be pleasantly surprised as to what changes you see.

Monday, October 17, 2016

When You Suck at Blogging

There hasn't been much going on that warrants a special blog post, so I'm going to do my best to cram a bunch of pictures and random subjects into one. #sorrynotsorry

My sister made me join her on a painting lesson/night thing.
As you maybe can tell, I was out of my element and
was pretty frustrated for the most part.
For those who expressed concern re: Suzie-mare from my last post, be assured that she isn't going anywhere just yet. The post was generated simply because it is a subject that has been on my mind for the last few months - truthfully, it had been floating around in my brain after the navicular diagnosis in March.

You see, I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis and things like death and the finality it involves do not bode well with me. I prefer to have a very calculated life, with structure and expectations clearly outlined. But sometimes, life isn't a straight shot into a basketball hoop.

To not prepare for something as final and gut-wrenching as death is ignorant at best, especially when there are many factors stacked against Suzie in this particular case (age, disease). But, in weighing out my options and how she is feeling each and every day, I can begin to plan and craft pieces together to make her life easier and comfortable.

Mare says, "Don't worry, I'm good."
Perhaps I did not outline my previous post very well - I do not intend to have her suffer even for a day. Yes, she is old and sore. I am not hiding that fact or ignoring it, but damnit, she is happy. And that is enough for me, and most important, that is enough for her. When that happiness or glint in her eye shows the slightest change, it will be time to listen to what she is trying to say.

Now that I have successfully upset not only myself, but a handful of friends who regularly visit and comment on this blog, I apologize on behalf of my awkward-potato-self.

Onto some happier, and much nicer subject matter!

Some of the photos from the wedding have finally surfaced (you may have noticed the one of me and Suzie in the previous post). Spud was hamming it up with the flower girl, who fell head over heels in love with him (who wouldn't?).

As the weather changes, both horses have been outfitted with some blankets. I found this particular photo hilarious, because they are seriously #twinning, right down to the cocked leg. Also yes, Spud wears a grazing muzzle like 24/7 because ponies literally get fat off of air. HOW.

Suzie, on a particularly good day, taking my nephew for a hand walk and ponying Spud. Being a responsible momma horse is hard work. My nephew had the right idea in carrying a box of Timbits with him. Snacking and riding - he's got it figured out.

A friend of mine let me know that a photo of Spud and I is featured in this month's "Saddle Up" magazine! The picture was snapped during one of our rounds at the BVX horse show. If that's not fame, I don't know what is. 

Suzie looking sleepy after a particularly thorough and relaxing massage and kinsio taping session. 

And for those who are interested; Suzie's knee before and after her taping session. Pretty amazing, huh?

I do have a few more exciting things, but that will be kept under wraps until I can get my greedy paws on them!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Ethical Dilemma

As a forewarning, this is going to be a somewhat scatter-brained post, given the nature of the content.

I haven't been posting for a multitude of reasons - namely due to the fact that I have been ridiculously busy fitting into my role at work, helping the BF winterize the house and finish up left-over summer chores, and balancing back into somewhat of a semi-normal life. The horses haven't taken a back-seat - I've been visiting them and interacting with them almost daily.

It's been pretty boring though - things like hand-walking and grooming aren't really things I feel compelled to blog about, so I revert back into some semblance of radio silence.

I have, however, immersed myself into thinking about Ms. Red Mare lately.

There have been quite a few changes in the land of All Things Suzie.

Her arthritic knee has gotten worse over the last few months. It has become difficult for her to bend her joint - she can lift it about 6 inches from the ground before it locks up and she pulls away. As one can imagine, it makes things like shoeing, lying down, and cantering a difficult task.

She seems pretty good at knowing which way to bend it when she goes down for a good roll or to laze about in the sun. I had first noticed the extra effort she had to take whilst laying down back in August when I had brought her home. It hasn't seemed to stop her from getting down and getting a good back scratch in the dirt, though.

Since coming home from my month-long workstint, I've poulticed away a lot of residual swelling in the knee (she mostly just puttered and stood around during my absence), re-introduced BOT therapy, the previcox (boyfriend was not comfortable giving meds) and even had a friend tape her up with kinesiology tape.

The farrier came out at the beginning of the week and was pretty understanding of her limitations and worked quickly on her difficult leg. She was definitely a bit more sore coming out of the appointment, which was to be expected, but it made my heart hurt a little.

Aside from consulting with her vet (who I believe will want to initiate Osphos into her pain management regime since I don't think the Previcox is touching it anymore), I've had to really buckle down and consider a lot of things and quality of life has become a forefront topic.

To discuss things as personal as euthanasia and death, I think it really turns a lot of people off. It is such a sensitive and inconsiderate thing to talk about in a lot of people's minds, especially if that animal is still... y'anno... alive. I don't intend to drag out my thought process, but I feel that I need to write it down and discuss it. If not just for the therapeutic feeling it gives me, but to also share my own journey and story for someone who may be going through similar circumstances.

There is a lot to be considered and at face value, it really seems overwhelming and bleak when you put it all out on paper.

But, I do have to be realistic and fair to Suzie.

As she ages and her body changes, I have to be aware of those changes and focus on her morale. She is an accurate depiction of how she truly feels, and I need to respect that.

Currently, she is sassy (perhaps a bit too sassy), healthy, and happy. She hurts, yes. She creaks, yes. But she also nickers every time she hears my voice or her grain being dished up. She also sneaks past me through the barn doors and gleefully trots away, headbobbing and limping along to the green grass on the front lawn. She has even refused to be caught several times and at one point, bucked out at me because I was trying to put her back in the paddock.

A friend who was visiting during the kinesiology taping session mentioned that although her lameness has worsened, her spirit certainly has not changed. She is still the same fiery soul with that glint of mischief in her eyes.

Angry mare because she had to go back to the pasture.
 And when I witness the good moments, and I hear the affirmation that she is happy, I am filled with my own contentment. You see, she doesn't owe me a damn thing. She is 23 years old and has logged more miles than any horse I have ever ridden.

But when I see the difficulties, I worry. I worry about how fast things will progress, how much longer I have left, if she knows how much I care for her and love her...

And when it all comes down to it, my only true worry in all of this, is that she will not tell me in a clear and concise way that she is ready.

My arms bubble into goosebumps just thinking about it.

I have had some wonderful friends who have told me several times that horses are pretty damn good at communicating things. And what gives me this weird sense of hope is reading about it first-hand from someone who was so wonderfully explicit and documented every single aspect of her loss. I truly appreciate the entire documentation of both Gogo and old Darby mare.

I suppose the weird thing is that I keep saying that I need to make that decision and that I need to be prepared to make that call, but in reality the final decision isn't really mine to make - it's Suzie's.

And whenever she is ready, I will be there.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A to Z: October Thoughts

Taking this from the mastermind behind Project Gingersnap.

Taking long walks with these two seem to help my sanity.
(The grey on Suzie's leg is Sore No More
from the night before).
Alleviating: pressure off of myself (well, trying to).
Buying: a rainsheet and stable sheet for Spud, a poo fork, wormer, driving reins, and a few other things...
Craving: cheesecake
Dreaming: of my future barn
Eating: banana and strawberry smoothies

Go away ugly knee.
Fearing: Suzie's old age and her fucking arthritis-ridden knee
Guessing: I'll need to blanket the horses soon
Helping: friend's paint their new place
Improving: my eating habits
Juggling: life responsibilities (aren't we all?)
Kissing: the SO and all my pets; missed them to the moon and back!
Learning: about my new job - roles and responsibilities.
Making: homemade spaghetti sauce
Needing: a billion dollars

Also celebrating this guys 12th birthday.

Ordering: Jamie's Christmas gift
Planning: for school upgrades
Questioning: my own sanity at times
Reading: hazard analysis' and management practices
Splitting/Stacking: an endless pile of wood.
Taking: time each day to complete a 30 day squat challenge. Help me pls.
Understanding: that things will eventually come together - it all takes time.

She looks fabulous for 23.
 Visiting: family and friends
Wishing: Suzie wasn't broken :/
Xeroxing: information regarding school
Yearning: for some motivation
Zipping: up my jacket because it's damn cold here!!