Monday 20 May 2024

Weeks 2 & 3

Weeks 2 and 3 with Stitch have been a continuation of finding out what he knows, what he likes, and what he has to learn to put up with.

My challenge has been to keep our schooling sessions, such as they are at the moment, varied and not drilled. Stitch has been a very good boy and has been trying hard to figure things out and we don't need perfection in the groundwork exercises that we do.

We're been primarily working on two systems of groundwork. The TRT Method groundwork has been interesting in showing how he wants to use his body. When doing the exercise on his right side where I bend his head towards me and ask him to stay bent right and move around me he has a hard time not falling onto his right shoulder. His front right wants to step out towards me instead of under himself and away from me. Under saddle this will mean a horse who will overload the right shoulder and be hollow left. It's slowly getting better - last night he gave me three good steps before he lost it and the front right came towards me again.

I couldn't deal with the long mane so shortened it up somewhat. He is now also sporting a bridle path, though it was done with scissors instead of clippers.

The other thing I am slowly working on with him is a series of in-hand exercises from a Facebook group called NoBackNoHorse. The exercises are based on straightness training and focus on encouraging a horse to carry themselves in a manner that strengthens their core and back. We're still very much in the beginning stages, which is mostly getting him to walk with his head lowered into a horizontal balance, but we'll continue through the summer with the hopes that it sets him up nicely when we start under saddle.

Despite the rain we had last week, we are still at a high risk of wildfires in this area.  We woke up on Saturday to hazardous air quality due to smoke from the next province over - this sadly seems to be our new normal for the spring and summer months.

He wore the nebulizer and made the obligatory Darth Vader sounds. Not regretting this purchase with our smoky summers.

I needed to make sure that Stitch wasn't going to have any issues getting onto his German car, which is a straight load with a ramp. Getting on was no problem - getting off was! The poor guy's legs were shaking as he slowly took teeny backwards steps down the ramp, but he kept trying and wasn't dramatic about it. He was much better the second time so I left it there for the day.

Stitch has continued to get better about his ears being handled- he doesn't get his cookie when I put him out until he's dropped his head while I grab at his ears. Next, I need to switch to a halter that I pull over his ears instead of flipping the strap behind his ears to prepare him for being bridled.

Phantom met her new little brother. She told him to stay away from her and they'd get along just fine. He took her advice.

He's also gotten much better about being caught. Sometimes I stop a few feet away from him and let him make the decision to come to me and he's been responding nicely. I don't know if he'd let anyone else easily catch him yet, I'll have to find opportunities to enlist barnmates to help me work on it.

So far, the only thing that he's been oh hell no about has been when I asked him to leap across the water filled canyon. By which, I mean the puddle that formed across the outside of the overhead door leaving the barn. Stitch is not going to be a water hippo. It took some convincing, and he tried really hard to find a way that was not going to get his toes wet, but in the end he bravely stepped into the inch of water and safely made it to the other side (a whole 18" across). 

I guess there's some drama llama in there after all.


Thursday 9 May 2024

Tailored Attire

I know there was a reason that I felt the need to inimediately ensure that I had at least a basic wardrobe to fit Stitch when I brought him home.

We had a full day of slushy rain last week and about 30 hours straight of rain this week. The good news is that this should significantly lessen the wildfire risk in the area for atleast a little while. I saw some scorched earth along the highway to the barn this weekend so concerns have been mounting.

Soaked at the 24 hour mark.

Stitch is still in the gangly young horse stage of having more leg than body. He's narrow with no boobs or ass - Kim Kardashian, he is not.

I don't want to spend a bunch of money on blankets that will only fit for a year (actually, I want to spend the money, but for once in my life have decided to be financially responsible). I suspect that in a couple of years he will fill out and will fit into my very extensive collection of 75" attire that I've acquired for three consecutive horses. I just need the basics until then.

The smallest thing I own is a 76" Century rainsheet. Cisco only wore it a couple of times - it was a bit snug on him so it became a backup that I never needed.

On Stitch, it was fine lengthwise when snugged up in front. But his lack of cleavage meant that the buckles sat a bit low. Also, the stomach straps were miles too long. They were knotted to shorten them from Cisco wearing it, not a chance that it would fit Stitch.

So, I did some repairs. Not sure if I mentioned this on the blog previously, but last fall I convinced my mom that we should get a heavy-duty industrial sewing machine. This thing powers through 6 layers of webbing like it's butter. I've been doing repairs for myself and some barn-mates all winter. I love it. 

The beast weighs something like 70 lbs by itself - it's staying at my mom's house.

Originally,  I planned to do the strap/d-ring thing like Schneider's blankets have along the neck to be able to make it smaller. A Google search suggested a different idea of just pinching the webbing at the neckline and stitching there. This creates a dart, doesn't stitch through any fabric other than the webbing, and would be easy to remove once the horse fills out.

Just a little dart did the trick.

The stomach straps - well, they were really long. It took me three attempts to get them the right length. Should have used a measuring tape in the beginning, I guess. First, I cut 6" off them. They were still way too long. Next I folded up about 10" and stitched that above the slider. Still long. The final version involved folding the previously folded part up against the blanket, and stitching through the 5 layers of webbing. That was finally the right length, and when he chunks up I will be able to pull the stitches out and expand the straps. 

That's 5 layers of webbing on two straps, and 6 layers on the back strap where the leg-strap d-ring is attached. Your home sewing machine won't manage that!

Since the plan is to hop on Stitch a few times in the fall and then let him grow until spring, he's not going to be working over the winter, which means he won't need to be clipped, and won't need to be blanketed except in extreme weather, which, realistically, will be more for me than for him. Thus, his basic wardrobe will consist of his rainsheet for the crappy summer days, his new Champion 100g blanket for the cool and wet days, and I'll add a layer to that with a vintage 1990's BMB stable blanket that fits him well enough when we get the -40's that we get every year. 

This was originally Farly's, who wore it for many winters but was super easy on his blankets so it's still in great shape.

He's set, right? Lots of horses live perfectly happy all year round without blankets. I can have a naked horse in the winter for the first time in 30 years and that won't make me a terrible horse mom, right? Right?





Wednesday 8 May 2024

The First Week

I had the last week off from work  which worked out great to be able to spend time getting to know Stitch.

And, I've got to say, he is a pleasure to work with.

His previous owner did a fantastic job of making him into a young man who is light and respectful to be around. He leads beautifully - I've barely had to give any tugs on the lead rope all week. He ties, stands to be groomed, is fine in the arena by himself, and has been adored by the other horses in his field.

He lives in a group of mostly bay geldings. It can be tricky figuring out at a glance which one is my bay gelding! (It's the dead looking one on the left.)

He's not perfect - there are a few things that need to be worked on. 

He's not great about having his ears touched, especially his left one. We've started clicker training to be able to get this sorted out. I am too short to deal with giraffes.

He's a bit sticky about picking his feet up. I think that this is mostly a difference in how I ask for it (squeezing the tendon) and how I suspect he was taught (pulling up on his fetlock hair).  The first few days he stiff-legged it and I had to kind of make him bend at the knee, but there has already been significant improvement.

He can be a bit tricky to catch.

I was warned that he sometimes didn't like to be caught, so went at it cautiously. The biggest problem hasn't been Stitch running away from me, but the other horses getting too close as I'm trying to put his halter on. They don't mean any harm, they're all just overly social, but their presence worries Stitch and then he leaves. It's been getting better as he gets more comfortable with me and I don't think it will be a problem for long.

And really, those have been the only problems to pop up so far.

Not that we did much this week. I had dug a hole I had to crawl out of on the first day when I zapped him not once, but twice on the end of the nose with a static shock. He was horrified, and I had to put a lot deposits into his trust bank to get back to a positive balance. Thankfully, he loves food and can be easily bribed for forgiveness. That meant that we spent most of week just trying to be friends.

He got to wear his new blanket because it was cold and wet for a couple of days. The blanket survived intact - here's hoping he's not a blanket destroyer!

I have a feeling that I could easily flood this horse by throwing a bunch of things at him and he would take it, but he would shrink away from me and it would erode any trust that has been created. So we're adding little bits slowly.

Today was the tarp on the ground. He walked up to it pretty confidently, but then scared himself by kicking dirt onto the tarp. His reaction was to take a step back, snort, and give the tarp the hairy eyeball. I asked him to walk forward, he took a couple of tiny steps with a release in pressure with each one, and within a minute he walked quietly across.

That seems to be how he deals with things so far. Stop, have a good look, take a few slow steps, then walk past giving it a cautious look, and all is forgiven. Little drama.

So far, I'm liking my new little man!


Tuesday 23 April 2024

Bay Flannel Horse

After losing Cisco last month, I was planning on waiting for a while before looking for my next partner. I was hoping that Phantom would be able to step up and do some light rides on a regular basis with me, but it quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to happen. 

I started casually looking at ads online. I've heard many times that horse prices are high these days, and yeah, they are. Lots of "Untouched 9 year old - if you can catch him, you can have him for $9,000." Yikes!

I was hoping to find another Andalusian (full or cross) or a Welsh Section D. Ideally between 2 and 6 years old, unstarted was fine. There weren't too many options. Nothing Welsh that I could find at all. But there were a couple of Azteca's that I liked (Andalusian/QH cross), and in my price range.

One was a 5 year old mare who had been lightly started. She'd be ready to get going right away. But she was a day's drive away, and the owner didn't get back to me with any video. (Looks like she has since sold, so maybe that's why.)

The other horse was a 2 year old gelding (3 this summer) located a little over an hour from me. I didn't dislike what I saw on video, especially considering the video was from February and it was frozen and a bit slippery underneath. I had a couple of concerns about his feet from the posted pictures, but I talked to my farrier and she was happy to review pics before I made a final decision.

So off we went to have a look at him. 

The owner, who was his breeder, showed me some of what she's worked on with him, and he gave me the impression that he had a solid temperament.  He didn't do things perfectly for her, but he quietly tried to figure it out and didn't overreact. I liked his floaty trot,and especially considering how bum high he was, his canter was balanced and uphill enough for my liking.

I sent some better pics of his feet to my farrier and she didn't see anything she'd be concerned about, so I said I guess I'm buying a horse!

We picked him up the following weekend. I enlisted a friend to haul him for me as I haven't really driven my trailer for the last couple of years and just wasn't confident about it. The new guy hopped right on and traveled great - far better than I did! I got hit with some car sickness - not normal for me at all, but it hit me hard. Like, puked multiple times hard. It was a horrible drive home.

So, meet the new kid - Stitch!


His registered name is WZ Stich. The show name I'm giving him (not that we'll ever use it) is Snitches Get Stitches.

He has lots of growing up to do so we'll be taking our time. He's a about 14.3 in front and probably close to 2" taller behind. He's got some pretty good bone in his legs so I think he'll fill out quite a bit over the next couple of years. I hope he does - there's no junk in his trunk at the moment.


Stitch calmly hopped off the trailer when we arrived home, calmly walked out to his new field, and calmly met his new roommates. He was immediately adopted by one of the TB geldings and they've been side-by-side ever since.


And thus, the journey begins again.


Wednesday 13 March 2024

And Then There Was One

 On Tuesday night I arrived at the barn just before 7pm and went out to catch Cisco for a ride. He was lying down, which immediately put me on alert as I've never seen him lie down at that time of day. He got up and walked to me as he normally would, but stood with his nose on the ground for a moment before walking away from me to go and lie down again.

I ran to the barn for the banamine.

It seemed to do it's job and about 40 minutes later Cisco was his normal, obnoxious, wanting to put his nose on everything self.

Within the next hour, he started pawing. That is one of his tells that he isn't feeling very well.

I took him back to the arena in the hopes that he would poop, and he did oblige with a very small poop of normal consistency. He kept pawing though.

We went back to the barn and I tied him up to scrape some hair from him.

He didn't grab the rope after I tied him as he always does.

He got progressively more restless, pawing and moving around. I put him in a stall so that I could call the vet at about 9:50pm.

And I messaged a friend that I was worried.

The vet was finishing another colic call about 20 minutes away. Cisco was very restless in the stall so we walked the aisle, with him choosing a marching speed.

About 2 minutes before the vet arrived at 10:25, Cisco pooped. Yay! It was an OK size and consistency. I got my hopes up that he would just need to be tubed and all would be good.

After checking vitals and listening to gut sounds (that were present) the vet did a rectal. And quite quickly said that he was worried for my critter.

Ultrasound showed a 6 cm thickening of one part of intestine, with a 7 cm distortion (distention? My brain is fried) of another part in front of it. He said I'm going to ask you a question that you'll have to think seriously about, I said surgery is not an option. He said intestinal surgery, if everything went well, could easily run 15 thousand.

He said we could hospitalize him and treat medically, but suspected that we would still be making a decision by morning. I asked how realistic Cisco's chance would be with this option and he said he's only seen 2 or 3 pull through.

By 11:30, it was done.

Cisco, C-Man, C-Dawg, Turdle, Buddy.

We were just getting to the good stuff.






Wednesday 21 February 2024

Steal of a Deal - New Boots!

 About a month ago, I was scrolling through social media and came across an ad for a sample boot sale of Celeris boots from a store in Germany - reiten-leder.com. I'll often check these kind of sales out, but never expect to find something short enough and wide enough for my legs. Or cheap enough for my very low budget. I already have a pair of Celeris boots, I really don't need another.

Well, to my shock and amazement, there were plenty of short sizes on this site. That meant going through all of them, trying to figure out if there were any that had the right measurements for my rather odd size. I have a short height- about 15", my calf is about 14.5", and for my height of 5' nothing a largish shoe size of 7.5-8 - usually a 38 in European sizing, but I have some 39's.

I found one pair that I could make work. The right calf size. One cm shorter than my custom Bia's. But a bigger foot size at size 40. 

I decided to take a chance on them and order them despite the too big foot. I figured I could add an insole, wear a short, thick sock over my regular socks, or even put a wodge of tissue in the toe to take up the difference, because the price was a steal of a deal.

They cost $322 CDN. Including shipping and customs.


They arrived yesterday after a month literally on a slow boat. And they fit!

First time, wearing my previous days steal of a deal 100% merino wool base layer legging that I got for $34.

The left is a little snugger to zip up than the right, but both zipped shut on my first wearing. I wore them for a couple of hours at the barn last night - no blisters! The front of the ankle got a little uncomfortable during my ride, but not unbearably so. Not that I did much during my ride - I spent most of it listening to someone's terrible experience as a paying working student that she just returned from.



On my way out to the barn I picked up some insoles, which did snug up the foot size quite a bit. My wide toes appreciate the extra space they have in the toe box, though I might still put something into the toe end. I didn't feel like I was swimming in them by any means.

Cisco was very happy about the lack of effort that this ride required.

Only a few models were going for this low of a price - these were €150, down from the original price of €590. The majority of the boots in the sale were still in the €500 range. These are called the Ana, which appears to be an older model, so that is probably why the lower price.

I wasn't sure what to expect from sample boots, but the soles are brand new and have never been outside. 

I'm super happy with them, and can't believe how lucky I was to get them for that price. 

Of course, like buying a saddle, there's always extra costs - I need another boot bag, boot trees, black boot polish and brushes to go with them!

The sale is still on - check it out and maybe you'll find a great deal too!  

https://reiten-leder.com/pk/reitstiefel/stiefel-lagerware/

Sunday 24 December 2023

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone gets to spend time with their loved ones of both the 2-legged and 4-legged variety. Eat well, rest up, and enjoy the moments.




 

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Fall (Cisco)

Cisco got going again under saddle in early September. We took our time getting going, as he was quite unfit and had lost all his strength from the previous year. 

Over the last year, he really hadn't been ridden very much. We didn't have an arena through November and December, got in a handful of rides at the neighbor's track in January, got a few more rides in our new arena in February, had a break due to a cold snap, then the summer of unfortunate events started at the end of March with a hoof abscess.

Thus, the goal was to work on him getting some strength and fitness back, focusing of straightness and encouraging him to lengthen his neck.

For the most part, he's been a very good boy. The first half of our rides might have a bit of a llama-esque look to them, but the second half of the ride has been mwuah (chef's kiss). 

I've been asking more of him in regards to straightness, and doing lots of shoulder-fore on a left lead canter to try to get his errant right shoulder back underneath him.  We've also been working on a bit of a bigger trot. It feels good, but I need to set up the video camera and actually see what's happening - PRE's are really good at faking it.



Cisco hasn't been perfect for every ride - there was the night that he just couldn't go anywhere near the scary corner, which appeared to have been because the only light that wasn't on in the arena was in that corner and once it was turned on the monsters all went away. There was also the night that he lost his brain for an unknown reason and we could not go through the short end of the arena without spooking, despite the fact that the hay bales that are stacked there had been there for weeks and that there were four other horses in the arena, which usually means that he doesn't look at anything. 

There was also the ride that I hopped on bareback and he decided to be silly about the spooky end so I had to use my left leg in a much more encouraging way than normal. My knee wasn't happy the next morning and I limped around for a few days. It all seemed good for a couple of weeks but has been bothering me after sitting or crouching. It's the same leg that I pulled an adductor on a couple of years ago, and I wouldn't say that ever fully healed, so maybe they're linked. I really need to get a strengthening program going.

There's been nothing exciting to report, we've just been quietly doing the thing. Which is just the way I like it.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Summer

Our summer wasn't fantastic. 

Cisco's conjunctivitis of my last post in July cleared up nicely with only three and a half  days of twice a day eyedrops required. He tried really hard to be a good boy while I tried to grab his eyelid to put the medication into it, and by the end I figured out that if I had someone hold his head and stuff treats into his mouth I could get it done quite quickly.

Two weeks later, Cisco once again tried to get the vet to come for a visit and had a bit of gas colic. 

I had brought him in to eat his dinner (soaked beet pulp and ration balancer) which he ate with his usual enthusiasm. He pawed a bit after eating, which is not normal for him. He's not one to paw very often. I put him back out, and he laid down, didn't roll, got up, short walk, and laid down in the same spot again. He did this about 4 times in 10 or so minutes, so I called the vet. She suggested I give him some banamine and see if it got any better.

I knew Cisco wasn't feeling very good because he wasn't being his normal, obnoxious self as we walked up and down the barn aisle. If he isn't dragging me over to the poop bucket to smell it or trying to knock the blankets off the stall fronts as we walk past he is not normal.

Luckily, after about 30 minutes he started farting and his obnoxious behavior returned. He stayed in for the night so I could monitor poop production but everything seemed good the next morning, though he wasn't happy to be on half rations for the day.

The next week brought our first appointment with our new farrier. I had to change farriers as my previous farrier had to suddenly retire due to health reasons, and we went with the person that she recommended. 

Despite me telling her that Cisco has very thin soles, apparently she took off a bit too much because he was quite footsore for the next three weeks. We tried a couple of rides in the arena, but didn't really manage anything faster than a walk. (At the second appointment I told her that he had been been sore and she changed how she did his soles and it's been all good.)

After his first two attempts to see the emergency vet failed, Cisco got his wish when he colicked again, three weeks after the first time. I got a call while I was at work (and couldn't leave) that he was found lying in his shelter after he didn't come for his hay, and that he was shivering - it was rainy and cold.  He was brought in to dry off and warm up, and she said he seemed off and was pawing in the stall. Apparently,  pawing is his tell. 

I called the vet again, but this time only had bute to give him as I had used the last of the banamine with the previous colic. It didn't work as well, so I had to get her out. She tubed him, said there was a bit of displacement due to gas (he had started farting just before she arrived), and took some blood to check since this was the second episode in a short period.

Everything came back normal, so I changed up some management to try to prevent it from happening again. For six weeks, I went out every evening to fill three slow feed nets. He was in an individual pen for the summer to get him away from the road dust, so the people doing chores could hang a net at breakfast and dinner, and I threw a big net into his pen every night, in an attempt to slow down his eating and allow him to have food in his stomach for longer periods. This continued until he went back into the group of horses in early October. I was exhausted by the end of it.

Since mid-September, everything has been good and he's been back under saddle. Fingers crossed that this summer got in all my bad luck for a while and we only have to deal with weather for the next few months.

Phantom was doing pretty good through the summer. I used her for a student through August who has lots of riding experience but little formal training, and needs to build some confidence after a couple of bad falls. She's a fairly balanced, soft rider, and got on really well with Phantom. We talked about her doing a part-lease for the winter but she ended up buying a horse. 

That was how the summer went. Little riding, lots of time spent at the barn, and nothing exciting to write about. Oh - and air quality warnings every second week. The hottest part of the summer was at the beginning of June, the rest of the summer the constant haze of smoke blocked out much of the sun keeping the temperatures down.

(Sorry - no pictures. I didn't feel like trying to go back 5 months to find them.)


Sunday 9 July 2023

And It Continues...

In the continuing saga of why my horse has barely been ridden this year...

The most recent injury - a small cut on the back corner of the eyelid, which resulted in a very goopy eye the next day and suspected it was going to go the ulcer route, but was 80% better the next morning when I showed up with antibiotic drops I picked up from the vet, and a day later seemed almost completely normal.

How I found him on Sunday. If you zoom in you will see a bit of a cut in the back corner of the eye. (This was after I cleaned it up.)

Monday after cleaning. The goop just kept coming back and at some point seemed to cover almost half the eye.

Tuesday morning before antibiotics - just a little bit of goop left, and it never came back. I used the antibiotics anyways just to be safe.

I haven't had to do eye drops for quite a few years and forgot just how strong they squeeze their eyelids shut. It's not actually drops, it's the ointment that you have to try to get under the eyelid. So much more fun.

Cisco tried very hard to be the bestest boy while I played grabby fingers with his eyeball. He moved his head (totally understandable) but never moved a hoof. We discovered that he could totally be bribed to keep his head pretty still if the person holding him dispensed treats into his mouth. If it had happened to Phantom I would have seriously considered dropping her off at the vet clinic with a "good luck, let me know when you're done" and happily paid the fee.

He was at least considerate enough to do it on my week of vacation so that I could drive out twice a day just to see him. So thoughtful!

I was supposed to do the antibiotics for 3-5 days, so ended on day 4 (Friday) since it looked so good all week. It's looking like it was just a case of conjunctivitis but I'll still keep a close eye on it (pun intended). There was never any squinting in pain or cloudiness, so fingers crossed we are now safe from an ulcer. 

Enjoy this picture of a goat pretending that he has a moustache after looking at goopy eyes.



Wednesday 28 June 2023

Whoa's and Go's

 Cisco has been rockin' the dad bod so far this year. We just can't seem to get going consistently enough to get any sort of fitness happening.

This is how 2023 has gone so far:

January - no indoor arena. Thankfully,  due to the mildest January in recent memory, we got in a handful of rides on the neighbours covered track, which were mostly spent at a walk.

February - the arena was finally ready! Two weeks of riding before a deep freeze hit.

March - hoof abscess / not an abscess / definitely an abscess. A little over three weeks of the diaper/Vetrap/duct tape hoof boot, with a few short rides towards the end, mostly at the walk.

April - got one week of riding in before spring vaccinations.  A week off due to the big lump at the vaccination site. Then teeth floating at the end of the month.

May - the air tasted like BBQ. Two weeks of no riding due to the hazardous air quality, one week of walking, then some easy rides. Also a bunch of stupid hot days.

June - the newest thing to slow us down - Cisco's lip injury.


Cisco has moved for the summer to a different paddock that's away from the dirt road in an attempt to ward off the asthma issues we had last summer. It's going ok so far with his new roommate, but they aren't hitting it off quite as well as I thought they might.

Two weekends ago I put Cisco back out after a ride. The other horses's owner had been out while I was riding and put out some hay for her horse - just the one pile. When I released Cisco, he tried to also partake in that pile (I told him I was going to get him some hay, but did he listen to me? No.)

I didn't see what exactly happened as I was latching the gate, but I think that Cisco put his face next to the other horse's face in the hay, and the other horse lashed out and caught Cisco on the side of his mouth. There were a couple of superficial gashes on the side, which weren't of much concern. But he also managed to split the inside edge of his lower lip. I have a suspicion that he might have bit his own lip, but who knows.

It's right in front of where the bit would sit, so until it fully heals, we're going bitless. 


Cisco loves it. I hate it. My back does not like it when I ride a llama. All of our recent work on stretching forward and down into the connection has not transferred over to our rides with the hackamore.

I'm hoping another week will be enough time for his lip to heal and we can go back to the bit. As much as I don't want to promote the way Cisco uses his body in the hackamore (by which I mean he doesn't), I also want to work on getting him fitter, so doing something is better than nothing.

All of these things have been relatively minor and they've all just needed a bit of time to heal, which I'm thankful for. I'm very aware that things could be much worse.

At the very least, we've had lots of time to improve our walk work!

Tuesday 23 May 2023

The Big Two-Oh

 Phantom turned 20 years old on Sunday!

How it started:

The ponies celebrated the occasion with a couple of dishes of carrots that were next to a 4' tall unicorn balloon. Phantom, much like me, was far more interested in birthday cake (carrots) than the party decor.


 

Cisco, who will always be the life of the party, really liked the unicorn. Maybe he recognized it as one of his brethren. 

He really wanted to play with Phantom in the arena, but since she is now officially a cranky old lady, she wanted nothing to do with him. It was also still really smokey out so I also didn't want him running around.

Once the cake was eaten and many photos were taken, the ponies went back to the barn so that we could get back to our regular routine.

How it ended:

All the excitement from the party seemed to have gone to Cisco's head. I popped the Flexineb on him and took him outside for a walk while it worked its magic. 

I have no idea what set him off, but we were barely out of the barn when he started calling to someone. Which he continued to do for the next five minutes while I chatted with someone in the parking lot. He was trying real hard to be all big and bad, but it was really hard to take him seriously while he was calling with his squealy whinny that was getting muffled by the nebulizer.

He was an absolute twit to walk, including one time when he thought about scooting off with a snakey neck. I almost went back to the barn to grab a chain lead, but carried on, and he eventually (after many stop and back-ups) he got the message and chilled out.

Phantom came in and picked at her food (totally normal these days). She ate the few alfalfa cubes that I added to her regular ration balancer, and left almost all of the ration balancer. I had to add some oats to it and she ate almost all of it, but not quite. No worries, Cisco would get a second supper.

I took her on our nebulizing walk outside. We took a slightly different path than normal. There suddenly appeared a gopher hole in Phantom's path that I had to make a split decision about - move her out of the way, or, because the hole was only a couple of inches wide, let her continue on the path because she obviously wouldn't be able to stick her foot in that small hole. I chose that one. 

However, I forgot that Phantom will always put her foot into the hole I want her to avoid. 

Sure enough, she stepped onto the hole with a hind leg. The hold must have collapsed, she of course panicked, and in flailing about she stomped on my foot. Hard.

It looks worse than it feels. Still not sure if the nail will survive though.
 

She also managed to scrape about 4 inches of hair off the front of that leg.

Really, it's just a scrape. A two-day old scrape in this pic.
 

 Cue big guilt on my part.

I think she held a bit of a grudge as when I turned her back out she ran away from me and wouldn't let me catch her to put her fly mask back on. 

While this was happening, Cisco was standing at the gate waiting for me to give him the feed dish with the remainder of Phantom's food in it that was on the ground just outside the paddock. His hopes for second dinner were dashed by the goat that always slips through the fence and had eaten everything before I got Phantom's mask on. 

Let's hope Cisco's birthday in July is much less exciting.