Friday, 19 February 2021

Return to Work

 Since my area was the first to get the polar vortex a couple of weeks ago, it looks like we might be the first to get out of it. Daytime highs are back up around the freezing mark - which means it's time to get back in the saddle!

Cisco's new job description is pack mule as I made him carry in Phantom's blanket. She got to get nekkid for a couple of hours in the sun.

For the first time in ages I hopped on both horses yesterday. I couldn't ride two in the same day for most of last year due to my adductor injury (which hasn't totally disappeared yet). After three weeks of mostly sitting on the couch I'm sure I'll be paying for it tomorrow!

A couple of weeks ago I had snagged a couple of BR soundproof ear bonnets for $12 each in a sample sale. I've been wanting to try one for Cisco for ages but I haven't been able to find one locally for cheap and if I had to order it online it was too expensive for something that would maybe work. At $12 and free shipping - totally worth trying it.


They are full size but seem to be a small fit. On Cisco, who is generally more of a cob size, it's a bit of a squeeze to get his ears in without them getting folded up. I was also worried that the bonnet would pop off during our ride (although I got it over his ears it didn't want to rest atop his head), but happily it seemed to stay put under the bridle. 

Even more happily - I think it made a positive difference!

This was Cisco's first ride in about three weeks. He's been lunged a couple of times in the last few days so he's had a chance to expel some energy, but that hasn't made a difference in the past. This is usually when his spookiness is at its highest level. 

On this night we had only three moments where he thought about spooking, but got no further than planting a foot differently. Even when the end door opened up and horses appeared through it - usually this results in a giraffe neck, but he just quietly looked over at them while on a loose rein.

I definitely think the ear bonnet helped. It's going to be a regular part of our kit!

This was also Cisco's first ride after his bodywork on Monday. I think his trot felt a bit more up in his shoulders and he seemed better bending right (when he wasn't pushing into my right leg). Especially considering that when I tacked him up I was so focused on getting the ear bonnet on securely that I failed to notice that I had grabbed Phantom's bridle to put on him. I had a moment just before getting on that I glanced at his bridle and thought something looked wrong about the browband, but it was in the right position so obviously it's fine. Then it took me half a lap of the arena before I realized that I had the wrong reins on, and how the hell did Phantom's reins get of Cisco's bridle. Facepalm. Idiot moment.

The browband is a U-shape on Phantom but Cisco's wider noggin stretched it straight.

He didn't feel great at the canter, which I wonder if it was because of the wrong bit in his mouth, orif  he was still a bit body sore. He was really sticky to pick up the canter on both leads. This can be a problem when he hasn't been ridden for a bit, but our last ride had some lovely transitions with a pole exercise. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and just did a couple of short canters on each direction and basically called it a night. He was getting tired and I didn't want to lose the benefits from his adjustments that I had been feeling. 

Post-ride SureFoot pads sessions. Cisco isn't a horse to normally drop his head and neck like this so this was a good session!

I wasn't planning on doing much with Phantom. I figured she'd be pretty stiff after all the cold. I was planning to mostly walk and then kind of see how the trot felt.

Apparently the Previcox I'd given her the day before had done its magic because she felt pretty good! The fact that she hadn't had a chance to get the sillies out as I usually would do with her probably helped give her some extra forward momentum.

I pretty much confirmed that she is now deaf. Whereas when I had tested her using voice commands under saddle back in October and I felt she heard them, last night she didn't. I don't think I saw a single response to any of my clucking, kissing, hand-clapping, caw-cawing, walk, or whoa sounds. Not a single ear flick. 

Which means I have to find a way to slow her down when she wants to take off at a canter! Pulling on the reins doesn't slow her down - it just makes her get bouncier!

I'm trying to think of some options that I can use under saddle to replace my voice. I'm going to try a neck rope, and maybe see if I can install something like my hand squeezing her crest means stop. I also want to work on some hand signals on the ground. A quick google search didn't bring up too many solid tips on dealing with a deaf horse, so I'll have to be a little bit creative. But I love this kind of challenge! Thankfully, Phantom does too - especially if cookies are involved!


Thursday, 18 February 2021

Sorry, I Couldn't Hear You

 I am pretty sure that Phantom is deaf.

It's one of those things that I'm noticing more and more these days, and when I think back I wonder if she's been like this for a while. She's always been kind of bombproof - she's never been one to react to loud/sudden sounds. (Lights in a weird place, however...)

She's actually got the markings and breeding to be predisposed to congenital deafness. She's a paint, with a mostly white head and two blue eyes. There is a much higher chance of a horse with these markings being born deaf.

Phantom's baby picture, where you can see her white face. 

In the past it wasn't something I was concerned about - she definitely seemed to hear when I used the clicker and a treat would be forthcoming. There was the odd time when she would be snoozing when I went out to catch her and I would talk to her as I approached and realize that she had no clue that I was there, so I would touch her shoulder and she would startle and give me a "where the fuck did you come from?" look, but I chalked that up to her just having a good sleep.

So, what's changed?

For about the last year, whenever I go out to get Phantom she is super happy to see me. She comes up to me, talking the whole way. Since she moved in with Cisco it's become a competition between the two of them to try to get to me first, and the horse that gets to me second usually puts themself between me and the other horse, hoping that I'll bring them in.

This is pretty consistent behavior for Phantom. Like 19 out of 20 times. 

Unless she doesn't see me. 

If she is standing in the shelter, or behind the round bale, and she can't see the gate, I get no response from her. I'll call her, and talk out loud the whole way out to her, and she doesn't make any attempt to look around the obstacle that's blocking my approach. As soon as I am in her path of vision, she nickers at me and is excited to see me. 

It's happened a few times over the last few months. 

It was back in October that I first started wondering if she had lost her hearing. I tried to make some noises behind her to see if she reacted, but she tends to be very attentive towards me (doesn't want to miss the possibility of a cookie suddenly appearing) so it's hard for me to test her. I had someone help me one day by standing behind her while I was standing in front, and it was inconclusive. 


I thought I would try a ride using voice commands and see if she responded to them. She did - "and walk" definitely gave me a downward transition. I tried really hard to not change anything in my body when I asked her to walk, but I can't be 100% sure that I didn't. She's quite sensitive to changes in my position so it doesn't take much to have her slow down, but I did think it was due to the voice command. 

So I'm not sure if she's newly deaf, always been deaf, going deaf, hard of hearing, or just has selective hearing. I'm leaning towards the newly deaf/going deaf/hard of hearing options.

Last week she didn't notice me until I appeared around the round bale she had her head buried into, despite me calling to her. On Sunday I unintentionally dropped a bucket on the floor behind her and didn't see a reaction, so I walked further down the barn, waited until she was looking the other direction and both ears were perked forward, then banged the bucket against a wall out of her line of sight. No ear flick back towards me.

Yesterday I tried another test. The barn was quite busy and her attention wasn't so much on me as it usually is. I grabbed a small bucket from the tack room and threw some crunchy treats in it and kept it behind my back. She was looking the other direction as I approached, shaking the bucket. Her ears did swivel back towards me, but she didn't get excited about the potential treat sound. 

I ducked into a stall behind her so she couldn't see the bucket and continued to shake the bucket. She didn't move - her butt was towards me. She looked at me momentarily but not with much interest. 

After a couple of minutes of hanging out in the stall, Phantom had her head turned slightly left looking at something. I put the bucket in front of me, came out of the stall, and walked along her right side, starting at her butt, shaking the bucket. She didn't react to me until I got almost to her shoulder, which would have been in her line of sight. 

As the person who was watching me stated, it seemed pretty conclusive that she didn't hear me, especially considering how food-oriented she is. 

What does this mean going forward?

First, there appears to be no treatment for it. No such thing as horse hearing aids. It is what it is.

I'm pretty sure Phantom will be totally fine with it. She's not a horse who startles easily, so someone suddenly popping up in her field of vision isn't likely to freak her out or cause her to be dangerous. 

I mean, if this happened I would totally expect her to spook. But that's probably about the only thing that would do it!

I'll talk to the vet about it when she gets her vaccinations done in a couple of months. It could be just age or the congenital paint horse issue, but it could also be a tumor. I don't think that they will be able to run the electronic test that would give me a definitive answer, but the tumor thing has me a bit concerned (you know, since she's a gray horse).

The biggest change will be in how I work with her. I've never really relied on voice commands with her of any sort because she has always been so tuned in to my body language; they've been used in conjunction with each other. It will be under saddle that will be the hardest to remember that she doesn't hear my cluck or whoa, or figuring out something to use instead of a clicker if I want to continue with some of her "tricks" that she enjoys. 

Maybe we take up mounted shooting?

We'll see. I'll hop on her in the next few days and see how she reacts to voice. 

I've dealt with a blind horse before, and now it looks like a deaf one. I hope Cisco doesn't turn out to be dumb!




Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Wordless Wednesday - Living In the North Problems Edition

 I'm pretty sure that the poopsicle tail cord problem is not a concern to most horse owners in the world.



Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Cisco Got Adjusted

 Cisco had his first bodywork session yesterday. 

I've been wanting to get it done for a while, but I don't have anyone that I use on a regular basis. There's a vet that does chiro who used to come out to us and I had Phantom done a couple of times, but she won't come this far anymore. She's about an hour and a half away, and since Cisco isn't the best trailer-er I don't know if the trip would be worth it. I worry that he'd be so tense in the trailer that it would undo any work that was done on him before we even made it home. 

One of the instructors at the barn started using a lady who does chiro and acupressure last summer and has been really happy with the results. She lives a couple of hours away but does horses at the Belgian breeding place just down the road so she's in the area every month or so. I was going to get Cisco done in the fall, but she was coming out just as I finished riding before my two-month stint on nights so I decided to wait. Then she was scheduled to come out last week, but the polar vortex hit and the day she was supposed to come was going to be -30 so we rescheduled it to this week when it was a much warmer -18 (said with sarcasm).

Dentist is planned for the spring...

Cisco hasn't had any injuries that I had to inform her of, so I gave her my biggest concerns as to his way of going. Basically, his mouthiness with the bit which I wonder is a TMJ issue (I heard his jaw clicking recently when he was eating) and his preference to push into his right shoulder/rib cage and not step under himself with his left hind as much as his right. 

What did she find? 

Poor Cisco was out everywhere. Nothing significant, just a little bit in a lot of places. Withers, all parts of his spine, his right hip was lower, he stepped shorter on his left hind, tight in his shoulders, out in his poll, carried his tail to one side, he may have slipped and done the splayed hind leg thing at one point - yeah, everywhere. Cue guilty horse mom moment. 

Okay, so I'm not the worst mom out there.

She worked some magic and Cisco slowly released his breath and started to give some releases. Seeing him yawning and dropping his nose to the ground is a big deal as he doesn't show these releases very often. 

She had me trot him up when she was done and he slowly realized that he was able to lift and lighten his shoulders much better. By the third trot up he had it figured out and seemed much freer in front. She said he was still a bit short in his left hind, but better than it was in the beginning. 

I'm always highly suspicious of how effective some of these bodyworkers are. Especially since there is a local "school" so we have a dearth of people at various stages of their training hanging up their shingle in this area.

The horse will be the best judge of the effectiveness of the treatment. I'm not supposed to ride Cisco for two days, which was my plan anyway as the next couple of nights are still supposed to be pretty chilly by the time I get out to the barn in the evening after work. 

But I might have seen the first indication of positive results. 

Cisco ate his dinner right after his appointment. He quite often picks his rubber dish up and flips it around after he's licked it out. This time was a little bit different. Instead of flipping it up and down, he twirled it. One of the things she had adjusted was something was hindering him from turning his head to the right, so I wonder if he was enjoying the new freedom in his poll when he was twirling the dish. He did it a few times for quite a few seconds each time and was in no rush to stop playing with the dish.


Fingers crossed that I notice a difference on our next ride (hopefully on Thursday) and that this 20-minute session fixes all our problems and he turns into a fancy prancing pony. That's how it works, right?

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Horse Poor

 I think I've only been on three proper vacations in my adult life. 

Costco is the main source of my clothing.

I colour my own hair from a box, and I try to make sure I buy it on sale.

All because I'm horse poor.

I'm sure many of you reading this can relate. 

And I'm sure your spouses will relate to this song.



It's performed by an Alberta artist, Corb Lund. 

I happen to know the lady who apparently was the inspiration for the song. When I did my coaching certification a few years ago there was a lady from the southern part of the province who was seeking certification for the same level as me and we both had no idea what we were doing. Long story short, she found me on Facebook afterwards and messaged me to find out how I had done, and we ended up Facebook friends. 

I figured out that she was married to the drummer for Corb Lund. I first heard this song a few years ago and wondered if she had anything to do with it. The song has just been released on a new album with the video above, and she posted on her Facebook page that she was indeed the inspiration - it was written based on things her husband talked about. 

She's hoping she might get some royalties out of it - which I am sure she would spend on more horses. 

Friday, 12 February 2021

Holding Steady

 Well, nothing has changed here in the land of cold and snow. It's still cold. There's still snow.



Am I a terrible human for taking pleasure in the fact that the polar vortex seems to be affecting almost all of North America and everyone is complaining about the colder than normal temperatures? I mean, misery loves company!

I hadn't been out to see the ponies for a week. It's just been too damn cold in the evenings after work to head out for what would be a very quick visit. I know they are looked at daily and are happily parked in front of a round bale (eating helps keep them warm) so I'm not too worried about them. 

Happily eating in the wind, although Cisco isn't sure why I'm talking to him from my car on the road.

On Thursday I had the day off so I was able to go out during the warmth of the afternoon. It was a balmy -24 celsius at 2 pm . Unfortunately, the wind was brutal, and that made it feel like -36. I actually thought it felt colder, at least when I was walking into the wind, which I had to do when I went out to grab the horses. I had put sunglasses on to keep my eyes from tearing up because of the wind, and I truly thought they were freezing onto my nose at one point. 

Cisco volunteered to come in first. He was much more chill and into using the Surefoot pads than he was last week. He also very much enjoyed getting some scritches and currying on his neck after wearing his blanket and hood for the last week. 

Cisco seems to feel the need to touch me while he is on the pads. He had a hind foot on a pad throughout this.

When I brought Phantom into the barn I thought she sounded stiff. I have a co-worker who has a horse in her 20's and she's been telling me how cranky the mare has become since the cold hit and that she has been giving her some bute. I was worried about Phantom being a bit uncomfortable because I'm pretty sure she hasn't been moving around very much.

Since it's far too cold to even bother going into the arena (unheated) Phantom and I did some laps of the barn aisle. Walking and trotting. Her hoof sounds on the concrete didn't sound bad at all, but she was giving me a pretty annoyed mare glare about the whole thing. 

She also got to spend some time with the Surefoot pads before getting bundled back up in her big snowsuit and going back out. 

In typical Alberta fashion, the temperatures are supposed to swing pretty quickly early next week. I'm planning to get the horses into the arena on Sunday (-16 high) to get a chance to get the sillies out, then I might do an easy ride on Monday (-12 high) depending on Cisco's bodywork appointment, and then should be able to get going again on Wednesday (-4!). Hopefully, this is the last of the crazy winter cold for the season! (But probably not!)

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Too Cold. Not Leaving the House.

 I'm writing this at about 10pm on Monday night. I haven't been outside since about 8pm on Saturday. I was hoping that I would miss the worst of the cold but no, when I go to work on Tuesday morning it's going to be somewhere in the -30 range. The polar vortex has settled in, and it's not going to disappear this week.

Can't decide if I would prefer these temperatures of the thigh deep snow the east coast got this weekend.

Every time I look at the forecast the cold seems to be lasting longer. I was hoping to be able to ride this coming weekend, now it looks like it will be the middle of next week before it warms up enough. 

I baked this weekend. Blueberry Crumble Cookies. 

Cisco's bodywork appointment was wisely moved until next Monday. I think the lady comes from over an hour away, and I know I wouldn't want to be driving too far in these temperatures. I'm okay with that as hopefully I'll be able to ride just a couple of days later and see if I feel any positive effects from the appointment.

A batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. I make dough balls and freeze them so that I can pull them out of the freezer and just bake a couple at a time and eat them fresh out of the oven whenever I want to.

In the meantime, I'm going to try not to eat all the baked goods that I've made and make myself get on the treadmill and do some yoga stretches every day. The ass mark on my couch has gotten a little deeper over the last week!

Friday, 5 February 2021

The Polar Vortex Arrives

 Real winter just hit. 

Not so much in how much snow we've got, but in that it's going to be freezing cold this weekend.  This is probably going to be the coldest weekend of the year - nighttime temperatures will be close to -40 (which is the same in F and C) before windchills.

I made sure to get out to the barn on Thursday evening to check on blankets and put on their new Bucas heavy hoods that I picked up on sale around Christmas. 

These hoods will be known as their "turtlenecks" going forward.

The medium hoods were out of stock so I grabbed large ones and figured I could get them shortened. Once I compared the length to their current hoods though I decided not to - there's only an inch or two difference in the length. So they are just a wee bit long at the moment, but once they break in I think they'll be fine. They will only get worn on these super cold days which is only a few weeks a year.

I spent some time with each horse and the Sure Foot pads. 

Cisco was a total twit. There were far too many blankets to pull of the walls, noses of stalled horses to sniff, or kitties to chase down the aisle to be able to stand still for more than 2.5 seconds. I kept trying but it was kind of futile.


Phantom was a bit off - just not herself. She left a few bites of food left in her dish - she does this sometimes, so it's not unheard of from her, but not normal. She also didn't walk up to me or talk to me when I went out to get her which she's been doing consistently lately. I might have just caught her at a bad moment - she and her buds were at the far end of their paddock where I seldom see them in winter and her BFF Pete was lying down with her standing next to him. Maybe it was just bedtime? I offered her some warm water just in case she wasn't drinking and she took a mouthful but that was it. 

Anyhoo, she was quite happy to stand on the pads.

Ignore the poopy leg.

Well, sort of on the pads. She seems to like the slanted pads in front, and gave herself a bit of a slant on the hind. Lots of snoozy moments were had.


And then she peed a lake worth of pee in the aisle. And splashed a bunch on her blanket that was parked on the floor behind her. Thankfully, it wasn't the blanket that I was putting back on her, but I'll have to bring it home to wash. Even more thankfully, I had picked up my winter coat literally two minutes earlier from that same pile, or I would have had a coat covered in pee. Yuck. Also phew.

I'm taking this weekend off from pony stuff and am planning to do some baking while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the umpteenth time and binging something new on Netflix. I'll have to brave the cold on Monday as Cisco is going to get his first bodywork session!

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Wordless Wednesday

 


Fancy boots have been ordered!

I was hoping that they would arrive for my birthday in early April, but it looks more like they'll arrive for my brother's birthday at the end of May.

I'm not going to tell you what colour they're going to be except that it's not black!

Only 102 more sleeps!

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

The Jog

 I haven't been heading out to the barn too much of late. It's been cold. Mostly not cold enough that I couldn't put on 14 layers and somehow scramble into the saddle, but cold enough that the heated blanket on the couch sounds like a much better option. 

I got out on Friday evening and let the horses loose together for a few minutes in the arena. Phantom wasn't looking great - as is typical when it gets cold out she seems to feel it in her joints. Thus I didn't encourage them to do a whole lot.

They didn't really need much encouragement to not do a whole lot.

On Monday the weather warmed up to almost minus single digits, but I didn't really want to ride. It's going to get really cold again in two days and stay that way for a couple of weeks. I could ride for the first time in a week, but it would be a crappy ride on an overly fresh horse who would then be getting at least two weeks off.  So I just did some other things with them. 

I'll be at home binging Netflix for the next two weeks if you're looking for me.

Phantom and I went for a hand walk outside and a bit down the road. She seemed happy to head out. 

I have decided that since I won't be riding for a bit and my job has changed and I'm not nearly as active at work that I really need to start using my treadmill again. Since I was walking out with Phantom, if we went for a jog then I wouldn't have to jump on the treadmill when I got home. 

Of course, I hadn't dressed for it. Jogging in my winter muck boots, jeans and a parka sounds like a good idea, right? At least I had put on a sports bra for the visit to the barn. 

These scream athletic accomplishments, right?

Phantom mostly got the idea pretty quickly on how to stay with me. She had to keep stopping to look down the driveway of the neighbour, and got excited by something she saw at one point so then she kept trotting too much ahead of me, but mostly she figured out how to keep herself right at my shoulder. It was a mix of a slow jog and fast walk, because, trust me - my jogging is slow. 

By the time I took Cisco for his walk it already felt much colder. And by taking Cisco for a walk I mean he tried to take me for a walk and I spent most of it asking him to halt and back up every few steps. It didn't last long - I was cold and annoyed. I would have preferred to lunge him but the arena was too busy.

I just noticed the odd markings on his leg from his transformation from gray-gray horse to white-gray horse.

He got his tail reset in its wrap and bundled back up in his snowsuit and turned out.

Angry Birds duct tape for the tail covering. It's hard to find boy prints!

I'm hoping to get them into the arena for some playtime over the next couple of weeks but I have to try to be out when no one else is out. There are a few diehard people who ride in this cold (not many) but I think they mostly ride during the day so hopefully evenings are quiet. Also - I hope the cold only lasts two weeks!


Monday, 1 February 2021

Blog Hop: Clothes Horse

 There's not much happening here on the horse front - it's just too damn cold to ride. So I might as well join in on the latest blog hop!

My horses live out and I don't show. Their wardrobe mostly consists of outdoor clothing. I try to keep it pretty simple. But I've also had three horses in a row who have all worn the same size so I have some extras that I don't often use. 

Phantom is pretty easy on her clothing. Cisco is not. I refuse to buy any turnout blankets that are less than 1200D so I've got a few blankets that are older and out of the regular rotation but make good backups. 

Here is what they wear.

Winter

Phantom

She is currently sporting an Amigo Bravo 12 Plus (100g fill) and whatever liner is needed based on the weather. 

Currrent colour

Colour a year ago when it was new

I'm pretty sure this blanket is only on its second winter and it's faded horribly. It was originally a dark navy, now it's more of a blue-gray colour. It's held up fine though otherwise. Horseware blankets are the best fit for Phantom, and I refuse to pay the price that they want for a Rambo these days, so I guess she'll be wearing Amigo for a while. 

I still have her Rambo Duo that she wore for 6 or 7 years. It's still in good condition overall, but some of the stitching around the binding has been coming undone and I need to get it fixed. It's now her first backup blanket (or will be once I get the stitching fixed).

The Duo in its regular condition.

She has a full set of liners for these blankets - a 300g, two 200g's and a 100g. The heavier ones are all Horseware and I got them for about $50 each, the lighter one is Greenhawk and doesn't fit her as well. But it works!

Cisco
Cisco isn't such a snob about only wearing name brands so he gets the cheaper stuff.
This winter he is sporting a new Greenhawk Summit North Turnout Combo that I picked up a year ago for about $180. I saved it for this winter as it was time to retire his other blanket which was the previous version of Greenhawk's liner system blanket.
The new one

The old one

It fits a bit differently than the old one, in good and bad ways. It's longer both directions - he could probably go down a size and it would be okay. But the liners still fit the same, so I'm not sure how that would work. The hood is longer and has elastic on the end by the ears, which I thought I would hate but it just kind of folds itself back and is no issue. His mane is growing back this winter and hasn't been rubbed out so I like it because of that!

He also has a full set of liners, all Greenhawk branded.


His old winter blanket is his backup. It's in okay condition, but some of the interior lining has worn through and could use some patches. 

Cisco never gets turned out without a suit of armor over his blanket. Namely, a Kensington fly sheet. In the four winters that I have owned him, he has completely trashed one Kensington and has a bunch of decent sized holes (and patches) in another, but the armor has done its job and his winter blankets have been mostly uncompromised. I picked up a used Kensington that I have in reserve and I always keep an eye out for good prices. I've so far bought three of the Euro-fit Kensingtons for about $125 each.
This is the Kensington that he trashed after two years and I'm probably going to salvage for parts. 

This is first season damage. It got worse.

Other backups - I have a Pessoa Tundra that needs a leg strap sewn back on (only worn one winter) that I stopped using because it always twisted on Phantom. 

There's also a Bucas Power Turnout Extra that either horse can wear. Again, it twisted on Phantom (everything except Horseware seems to on her) so I took it out of our regular rotation but it lives in my blanket box at the barn for backup.


 
And, in a pinch, I have an old Bucas Smartex Extra that my old gelding wore for many years. Its in really good condition considering how old it is because no one messed with that horse. Phantom wore it the first winter I rode her and it was a bit too big and she probably stepped on it when getting up and it tore in the shoulder area, but it's patched and is good otherwise. It doesn't have anywhere to add a hood so its definitely an "in a pinch" blanket.

Over Christmas, I picked up a Bucas Select Extra 300g hood for each horse. I didn't have any heavy hoods and these were on sale for $50 each. I had to buy large ones instead of medium so I had planned to get my mom to shorten them down but I think they will be okay as is. I'll have to use Phantom's Rambo Duo blanket if she is going to wear the big hood as it doesn't have the right attachments for the Amigo.

Phantom has the two other hoods that came with her Horseware blankets and Cisco has his two Greenhawk hoods and a Bucas Smartex hood that I picked up at the consignment store. 

Coolers
I don't need to use coolers very often (my horses don't work hard enough to get very sweaty apparently) but I have a bunch of them. Since I don't use them often I don't have a designated one for each horse, and since they're the same size I only keep one or two at the barn depending on the time of year.

At one time I had a ridiculous number of coolers - something like 8. But I've managed to get rid of a couple and I think I'm down to about 5.

My Bucas Shamrock Power Cooler lives all year round at the barn. And I usually keep a cheaper polar fleece cooler there as well for days when a horse comes in covered in mud after it's rained. 


The fleece one (good thing it's stretchy)

The Bucas cooler

I also have a couple of trophy coolers (1 wool, 1 fleece) that I had won and a wool square cooler that don't tend to see a horse very much these days but I don't want to get rid of them. Oh - and a jersey Bockmann cooler that came with my horse trailer. Forgot about that one!

Fly Sheets
Phantom has a Rambo Protector. It's a few years old and I had my mom replace the shoulder lining last year, but again, is in pretty good shape. I keep my eyes out for a good price on a replacement one but so far I haven't found it for the price I want to pay.


Cisco trashed his Weatherbeeta Duramesh fly sheet within a few weeks. I try to keep him naked in summer as much as possible but when the bugs get bad I have a Kensington that I keep for summer. There is a Kensington hood for it, which now stays on since I had to restitch the straps back on and thought it maybe needed longer straps. 


Phantom needs to wear a fly mask all summer to prevent her eyes from getting sunburn. I keep trying new (cheaper) ones but I always come back to long-nosed Cashel Crusaders, ideally without ears. I have no idea how many I have of these because I keep buying them whenever I find them on sale for sub-$30. She goes through one a year for sure, sometimes I have to start a new one in the fall before the season ends as she has poked the eyes out too much. They're the only ones that she keeps on; everything else she gets off within 24 hours. Arabian is the best size but horse will do if that's what is on sale. 
The Bucas Buzz-Off fly sheet is the only blanket that Phantom destroyed - it didn't even last two weeks. No more soft mesh for me!



Rainsheets
Both horses get dressed in their matching Weatherbeeta rain sheets when they don't need insulation. The blankets are some version in the Comfitec line. Cisco had one first - I had ordered a 75 but was shipped a 72, which I didn't notice until he had worn it. It fits him okay though. The Weatherbeeta shape suits Cisco better than Phantom but they usually wear them short term so it's not a huge issue. I got them on sale for around $80 and have one more in reserve. One of them needs a quick repair (which I should get onto).


If they need a bit of insulation and I don't want to use the shell from their winter blankets I have a Bucas Smartex 100g and a Bucas Atlantic 50g (new). They are backups as I usually just use the shells, but sometimes they need a chance to dry out overnight so the Bucas's come into use. 
Phantom is sporting the Bucas Smartex and a pissy face

Cisco is modeling the Bucas Atlantic. I was hoping the liners I have would work with it - they won't attach without some modifications.


Buried at the bottom of my barn blanket box is a Century 1680D rainsheet. It's a 76 and would fit better if it was a 78, but again, in a pinch, it would work. And I think I still have a navy Greenhawk rainsheet that I keep forgetting I own. 

Stock photo, I have the black one.


Other Blankets
Since my horses live outside all year round, I don't really have a use for stable sheets or stable blankets.  When I had Farly he lived in and we showed and I still have his wardrobe (not that it was all that extensive). 

Baker sheet - Phantom wore it once at the only show we overnighted at. 
Baker style blanket (Can-pro brand?)
I keep trying to sell the Baker style blanket but no luck so far.

A blue nylon stable sheet - can't remember the brand
BMB winter stable blankets (a 78" and a 80") - again, in really good condition (the 80 was barely worn) and I keep them around in case of needing to layer with a blanket that can't use the liners
The 78" BMB

When I got back into riding again with Phantom I intended to show so I bought a Rambo Newmarket striped sheet and an Eskadron rainsheet. They both live in the trailer and have only been pulled out a couple of times for pictures. Of course, I can't find those pictures now so here are stock photos.

My Eskadron is similar but there is a different logo on it. I think. It's been a while since I've seen it!


That's all I can think of without digging through containers in the garage - and it's far too cold to do that without a good reason. It doesn't seem like enough and I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple.... 
Like this Amigo Fly Rider sheet I totally forgot about until I went looking through pictures for this post!


(Blogger was not co-operating when it came to formatting so my apologies if things look wonky!)





Thursday, 28 January 2021

My Holiday Shopping

 I was pretty good about not going crazy on spending over Christmas this year. However, I did succumb to a targeted ad that came across my Instagram feed. And I'm glad that I did!

The ad was for a small company called Vencedora Eq. They are local-ish in that they are in my province, but too far away for me to be able to shop in person. Their selection is quite limited; this isn't an everything-you-need-for-your-horse kind of shop.

The ad was along the lines of "up to 75% off". I'll always check out those deals but I usually don't find anything of interest.

To my surprise I found a few things that I liked - and I really liked the prices. 

I ended up ordering a couple base layer shirts at $15 each, a quilted jacket for $42, a belt for $13 and a saddle pad for $29. That got me free shipping.

I'm not really keen on ordering clothing online due to fit issues. But I figured at those prices I could make it work.

The quick reviews:

The base layer shirts - "Eva" - simple, polyester V neck shirts. The sleeves are on the longer side (I have to roll up the ends), the fit in the body is a close-fit, the fabric clingy. The colours are great - I got the ink blue and the raspberry. Happy with them at $15 each.

Photo from vencedoraeq.com

The jacket - "Nadia" in navy - well, the description says that it runs small. It does. Sized for someone slim with no boobs - not me. I can do it up, and it looks fantastic, but I wouldn't be able to ride in it without undoing the zipper most of the way. 

Photo from vencedoraeq.com

But it's a super cute jacket. It's got a 2-way zipper, tailored fit, and a shiny look to the quilting. I really like it, and so far I'm keeping it (but I really need to lose a few pounds before I can wear it out of the house). I might try to sell it at some point and since I only paid $42 for it I think I could get that back.

The belt - a braided elastic belt in red and navy. I like the belt and have worn it quite a bit. However, I wish I had ordered a smaller size. I did my due diligence in measuring and it ended up being longer than ideal. Still wearable though. It was $13.

The highlight of the order was the saddle pad.

They only come in a jumper style and in three colours - red, burgundy and navy. I ordered it in burgundy.

It's a really nice pad. So nice, that there are now at least five of them in my barn - everyone wanted to know where I got it. 

It's got a satin finish on the outside layer and silver braiding along the edge. Like, a shiny silver braid. It looks far more expensive than the $29 that it cost me.


Silver braid next to the cording and a nice little button detail.

I liked it so much that I piggy-backed on someone else's order and also grabbed the navy one. It helps that it's a good shape for my rather oddly shaped saddle. 

The website is definitely worth a look. The sale prices are still in effect - not sure if they are closing or clearing out to make room for more inventory as the ad's state. There's not a lot of options but what they do have is priced really well.