Monday, March 18, 2019

A Weekend of Horse-adventures: Saturday

Despite the blog title, I have been able to ride Annie a handful of times this month. We had brief "second winter" a week and a half ago, which made it too slippery to ride out on the roadways. And then we had varying degrees of rain.... so. much. rain.

So, land-locked we remained.

It's pretty typical though, so I'm just trying to go through the motions until we can start actually riding with more frequency and purpose. Life has remained insanely busy though, so the missed saddle time is not necessarily "noticed" just yet. As daylight hours increase, I am starting to shuffle things around to re-welcome regular riding into my life once again.

I was able to ride this past Wednesday, as work got out early and my online class wasn't scheduled until later on in the evening. The ride itself was really great - Annie was cool, calm, and responsive. We did a shorter loop - roughly 3.5k and did a fair amount of trot sets. I was really pleased with how quiet she was, save for one very unfortunate situation which was more or less a series of unlucky circumstances, haha.

We were just coming down the road, alongside a large property that had a few geese wandering around inside their fenced yard. One goose was happily sitting in a children's pool and as we passed it, someone from the other side of the street let off an air horn. The goose flapped its way out of the pool and scared the ever-living daylights out of Annie, who shied hard into the middle of the road... just as a truck was attempting to pass us.

No one was injured and we thankfully didn't come super close to the truck, but it startled Annie, who wasn't quite sure what direction she should spook in next, haha. The driver of the vehicle was going quite slow, so wouldn't have had a hugely negative impact on us but it's still a good reminder as any that horses are unpredictable. It was surprising in a way tho, because Annie has never spooked that hard before.

Of course we had broke out the highlighter quarter sheet
for the very occasion.
After that ride, it rained and rained and rained some more.

I got a call Friday night from a lady who was organizing a "vet day" in our area - someone had cancelled their appointment for tomorrow afternoon and I was next on the wait list. She had called to ask if I would like to take this person's spot. I replied with a resounding, "Yes!"

Unfortunately for me, Saturday was already pretty busy, but I didn't want to risk the chance of missing out on having my horses see the vet (as readers will know vet presence is non-existant here). I had already scheduled myself in to pick up a round bale for the horses as well as attend puppy class with Cedar - both of which were in the next town. The Vet would be at Barn C, which is also in the next town, but with the scattered timings of things, it would be an awkward day attempting to haul the horses out at 9am, only to wait until 4pm for our appointment. So I decided the best course of action would be to drive out twice - unfortunate for my truck and patience, but provided better structure since I wouldn't need to sit at Barn C for several hours waiting.

Post-puppy class haha.
Puppy class went well - Cedar is a bit defensive with other dogs, especially bigger dogs, so we signed him up to get him more socialized and comfortable with bigger animals with the guidance of a professional. He slept pretty hard on the way home - poor guy was pretty mentally exhausted by the time we left, haha.

The drive home was frustrating - I had put a tarp over the roundbale, as it was raining, and the darn thing kept coming undone and at one point, ripped apart and attempted to blow down the highway. I think on the fourth attempt of trying to strap it down, I gave up and threw the tattered mess into the truck, haha. By that time my jacket had been soaked through and I was covered in hay and mud - not a very pleasant time!

Once the bale was unloaded from the back of the truck, I zipped off to a friends house to let her dog out and then went home where I changed into warmer clothes, shoveled food into my mouth, and sat under 45 blankets trying to warm up for the 2 hours I had before I had to go get the horses.

By the time I got to Barn C, I was 30min ahead of time and unfortunately, the horse ahead of me needed some extra work so we didn't start until a bit later. Which, was fine - I understand these things happen. It was my first time meeting this particular vet - she moved from Alberta over to BC and is currently scouting out potential places to situate her practice (we are reallly hoping she chooses us!). And as part of that, she is offering a few scheduled visits to get a feel for the area and the needs of clients here.

Unflattering photos of the ponies who stood quietly in the barn aisle
while they waited their turn!
She did Annie first, and I immediately liked how she handled my horse and spoke to me. We talked over Annie's history, and one of the first things the Vet said was that based off of Annie's structure and limbs, she appears to be verrrry slow growing. She said that Annie will probably grow more within the next two years and to be considerate of how hard I push her - that there will be some things that her body just cannot do and I should be respectful of that (not avoid difficult things, but to be fair and kind). We talked about the cross firing issue we had last year, and how I was so sure it's kissing spine and my mare is gonna be retired this year, and the Vet kind of laughed and shook her head and said that if Annie looks this awkward right now, she can only imagine how awkward and gangly she looked last year. She said trying to get body parts to work together is hard, and Annie strikes her as the kind of horse that, for whatever reason, is slower maturing than the rest.

Which is interesting to me, because I have now had a sports chiro, clinician, and vet tell me that age is just a number and in Annie's case, she is firmly on the "younger" side of that spectrum.

Annie's teeth were great, save for one minor sharp point and she was in and out in less than ten minutes. Hooray!

When it came to be Spud's turn, we had a bit of a interesting scenario. The vet had been set up in the corner of the indoor arena to perform exams, and Trainer K was busy doing lessons on the other side. When I brought Spud in, the one lesson horse completely lost his shit (despite the fact he literally LIVES WITH MINIS), so in everyone's best interest (and safety of the rider), we opted to wait until the lesson was over.

We went and did paperwork in the lounge and talked a bit more about Annie before returning back outside where the lesson was still going on. So, we just decided to examine Spud in the stall we shoved him in. I had to laugh, because as we passed Annie, she was still clearly very drunk and had this dazed look about her that suggested she was not quite focused on her surroundings. She gave a half-hearted headbob as I passed and scratched her forehead.

It was a downright miserable day outside!

There was some disappointing news about Spud, unfortunately. Thankfully at this time though it's something that can still be corrected without life-long impact. Although, I am just hoping that we have time to correct the problem.

Basically, the vet is quite concerned about his weight (not really a surprise given the fact he's a mini). We have implemented a regime to help him shed some pounds and get him a bit healthier. She sympathized with me that minis are so hard to regulate, and that I have horses on both end of the spectrum - Annie who is a very hard keeper, and Spud who could eat air and get fat.

I beat myself up a bit about Spud, feeling particularly bad and at fault for not correcting the issue sooner. I used to be so diligent in utilizing the grazing muzzle as well as scheduled exercise, but kind of fell off the wagon with the structure that was keeping him in such good shape.

But, no time to tuck tail and lick wounds. I set to work on the solution and have already started implementing it.

I didn't arrive home until well after 7pm, and after walking the dogs I was more than happy to crawl into bed!


  1. Wow I hope Spud is okay is it just being overweight? i am glad the day went pretty well but sorry it was so busy and so nasty out. UGH. Always happens doesn't it?

    Funny how Annie is still growing she will be a beast when she is done :)

    and your puppy is adorable.

    1. Yah, it's that he is overweight. Grossly overweight.
      Which, it's hard to manage sometimes but it was a good kick in the rear to get myself in gear to combat it.

      And ugh, Annie is going to a TANK when she's done growing. I told the vet, she isn't ALLOWED to grow upwards anymore, just outwards lol

  2. That's a pretty eventful day! Bridget had some issues a few years ago from overindulging but has made a full "recovery" with me just being careful with her intake and sugar content of feeds. It sucks, but it happens when they survive on air :)

    1. The vet is pretty optimistic that things can be "reversed", so fingers crossed Spud responds well to it all!

  3. Wow - busy day! Good to get the horses seen by the vet when you had the chance. I have a mini too - it is soooo hard to keep their weight in check if you can't work them often and limit their food!

    1. Spud gets quite a bit of exercise, but in the winter months it's hard to get either of them out. They can be land-locked for up to five months at a time, which isn't conducive to keeping the pounds off.

      It's just time to be more diligent and make some changes for his best interest.

  4. Those days are exhausting! When you're just rushing from one thing to the next to the next... Phew. But glad you got it all done!
    Nice to hear that Annie is doing great! She's going to be a big girl!
    And try not to fret too hard about Spud. It's so easy for a mini to get overweight. Once the weather clears up and he's back to work, I'm sure he'll slim right down. Especially with your new diet plan for him.

    1. It was a very busy weekend - Sunday was farrier day!
      Haha my wallet was hurting a bit but it's good to get all these maintenance things done.
      Thank you, Stacie <3 it's hard to not blame myself, but minis ARE hard.

  5. that rain looks extremely unpleasant for driving around in, let alone with a trailer! very exciting tho to have a new vet coming to the area, esp one that you got such a good feeling from! hopefully it works out and she chooses your area! good luck with the takeaways re: horse care, too. having two horses with such different needs is definitely a challenge, but at least you're getting a head start on it!

    1. it was such a miserable day. Sunday was the polar opposite - sunny and hot!!

      I hope she sticks around too.

      Ugh, it's a pain, haha. Both make me pull my hair out for very different reasons lol

  6. Keeping Minis (and small dogs too) at the correct weight is so, so, so hard. I sympathize but you definitely will get a handle on it.

    1. It can be so frustrating sometimes!
      But yes, we will work towards the end goal slowly but surely. Thanks, L <3

  7. Spooking into traffic has got to be the most terrifying thing ever. I'm so glad y'all are okay!

    And wow, the stone floor in that barn is simply beautiful!

    1. It took me by surprise, truthfully. Annie isn't a very "active" spooker, so it must've scared her good.

      Yes! It's very pretty.

  8. Don’t beat yourself up over owning a fatty! It’s harder to take weight off a horse than put it on. Maybe trot sets are in order lol

    1. I wish I had this problem with opposite horses though, haha. Would be nice if Annie was a fatty and Spud wasn't!