Friday 31 May 2019

Clean Breathing is Best

Here is a picture from Wednesday around noon.

A little hazy in the heat, but it was a beautiful blue sky.

Here is a picture from Thursday around noon.
It was actually far darker than this photo shows - my phone camera automatically cleans it up.

This is closer to what it actually looked like.

This was all due to smoke from the forest fires in the northern part of the province.

Last summer we had a couple of weeks of terrible air quality. This year isn't looking like it going to be great either - there are currently 9 out of control wildfires in the northern part of the province. I know that where I live we've only had like 2 days of rain since the snow melted so everything is super dry. The fires are only going to get worse through the summer unless the weather changes considerably.

The smokey skies changed through the day yesterday - by mid-afternoon it had changed from a dark haze to a light haze that strongly smelled of smoke and ash. Driving home the visibility was only a couple of hundred feet on the freeway (with my windows shut and recirculated air on in the car).

And the air quality health index was off the charts.
Anything over 10 is considered very high risk of problems with breathing. This chart was from around 9pm, and it got as high as 72 through the night. 

We're looking a lot better so far on Friday morning. The warning is still in place, and it will probably change through the weekend depending on the wind direction. 

The horses live outside full time. They don't have a way to get out of the smoke (unlike me who sat on the couch watching Netflix with all the windows shut all evening). Phantom already has known respiratory issues. This smoke is a huge concern.

Ponies will be getting little to no work while the air quaility is poor. I might tack them up and go for some walks, but that will be the max speed. 

I know much of North America has been having a very wet spring. If anyone wants to bottle any of that excess rainwater up and have it shipped to us up here I'm sure we can find a way to use it!

Thursday 30 May 2019

Breathing is Good

Earlier this year, I started Phantom on Ventipulmin when she is ridden. It has helped her significantly - she has barely coughed while under saddle, and her recovery post-ride has been great. She isn't really fit, so she gets puffy during the ride (especially during canter) but there is big difference between not fit puffiness and asthma can't breathe puffiness.
Cisco's paddock mates were all having a snooze in the sun when I put him back out.
The initial bottle of Ventipulmin is almost empty, so I finally returned the email that the vet sent me three months ago inquiring how it was working for Phantom. I asked where we should go from here - keep her on the Ventipulmin as it seems to be working, or get the bronchoalveolar lavage done? I kind of think that getting the BAL done later in the summer might be the better option, as that is when Phantom is traditionally at her worst, and I've wondered if it is more of an allergy thing.

He agreed with me. So she is staying on the medication for now.

The side effect of the drug appears to be that now that she can breathe, she's feeling pretty fresh. Ugh.(I suppose the lack of consistent exercise could also have something to do with it.)

Wednesday got really hot out. It hit 31 Celsius, which is July/August temperatures, not May.
My car actually said 34 just before I took the picture. I guess the sun felt warmer.

I was off for the day and tried to get out to the barn early so that I could have the riding done early. But I slept in a bit. By the time I grabbed Phantom it was pretty warm and I thought that she would be pretty mellow.

Nope. She wasn't as silly as she was on Sunday, but it had potential to go that way.
I didn't realize that I forgot to put on my half chaps until I got to the arena. I rode shockingly well without them - usually my leg swings everywhere. 
She was really happy to go forward, but I wanted to make sure she was listening to my half halts, so I did the accordion exercise at both trot and canter - 8 strides getting bigger with every stride, and 8 strides getting smaller. I have a terrible habit when asking for the lengthening of just gunning it which makes the horse shoot off, lose their balance, and end up on their forehand. I have to make myself slow down a bit and think about making each stride 1" bigger than the previous one and think about the quality.

Phantom actually did pretty good with it. I know her hocks are a bit uncomfortable, and since I don't have to worry about her teeth for a few more months getting her hocks injected is next on the list to spend money on. So I don't really expect her to do too much sitting or pushing behind. I'm good with short attempts as I know that if I push it she'll compensate and end up sore in her back.
Phantom's symmetry score has been steadily decreasing, even though she doesn't feel too bad. I'm interested to see how much this changes after she gets her hocks injected. 
The ride was short and sweet - although I was inside out of the sun, it still felt warm. We finished up with a quick walk outside, for which Phantom would have loved to do more than walk in the sun but behaved when I told her no.

This was supposed to be the worst of the heat for the next little while - the temperature starts dropping again tomorrow. I'm really hoping that this heat brings in a storm overnight as we really need the rain so that hay prices don't rocket at the end of the summer.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

New Toes, New Teeth

I spent most of the day out at the barn on Tuesday. It wasn't my plan, it just how it worked out.

I had to go out in the morning for the farrier. My guys were done by about 12:30.

My friend had a vet coming for 2 pm. She was getting teeth and vaccinations done. I had called the clinic the day before to get him to bring another bottle of Ventipulmin out for Phantom, and I was hoping to get him to check the teeth of my guys to see how badly they need to be done. Cisco is at just over 2 years, and Phantom is just under.

Well, you know how afternoon vet appointments are never on time? Yeah, he was about an hour late. And it was really hot out - the first bonafide summer day of the year. I should have done something useful in my downtime, but totally didn't want to.

So I just sat around and chatted, and helped my friend put her saddle that she had the farrier widen the gullet plate for back together.

When the vet arrived, he said that Phantom could wait another 6 months (yay!) but Cisco needed to be done. Did I want him done today?
Waiting impatiently to see the dentist. Those blankets did not start out on the floor.
At first, I said no. But he roped me in by saying that his visit today was only getting charged a half call out fee since they were also going to somewhere else nearby, so if I got Cisco done it would only cost me a quarter call out fee. So I said yes.

I told the vet that Cisco is not a cheap date - when he was gelded at (I think) 13 months old it took enough sedative for an 800lb horse to knock him down. So Cisco was sedated a little bit on the heavier side for his dental appointment.

Thankfully it was enough - he was a very good boy. This is the second time that I was told his teeth are really good with no issues and just needed a simple floating, so hopefully that continues in the future.

The floating was quickly done. And then the wait for the sedated horse to wake up.
Good thing there was a wall there to hold Cisco up.
I couldn't really think of anything I needed to torture my horse with while he was having his nap. He didn't need his sheath cleaned, or his mane pulled, or any clipping done. The only thing I did to him was to rub some zinc oxide onto the sides of his mouth. He had some crusty crud that popped up over the last couple of days - not sure if he got into something or if it was flies. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't appreciate me putting the zinc on if he had the option.
Pretty sure I had the same amount of zinc oxide on my by the time I left.
An hour after getting his teeth done, during which Cisco had the longest pee I think I've ever seen a horse have, he was finally ready to have his dinner. Unfortunately, he missed his dinner in his paddock, and I had to feed him in the stall and wait for another hour so I could turn him out.

I finally got to head home a little after 6pm. It was a long day, spent mostly on my feet, and I achieved nothing.  Tomorrow's going to be even hotter so I've got to get out to the barn early to get Phantom ridden and so that I can be home in air conditioning by the afternoon.

Monday 27 May 2019

Feelin' Good

It poured rain at the barn on Saturday. You know how I could tell?

Sure, the mini-lakes everywhere gave it away too. But I was mainly judging by the cleanliness of my gray horses.

Phantom was at least covered in dry mud. So it was relatively easy to knock off. She also must have seen the forecast for the next week and realized that she is way too overdressed for the upcoming warm weather because I scraped off a whole bunch of hair. I'm back and forth about being paranoid that she has Cushings since she hasn't shed out completely and her coat looks a bit crappy, and realizing that a bunch of other horses on the property look the same so it's no big deal. I've started adding some flax seed to her dinner in the hopes that it helps.
Thankfully I had decided to ride Phantom instead of Cisco. He was lying down when I went out to get Phantom. 
She was a wee bit up for our ride. Which is not necessarily a good thing, as a wee bit up at the beginning of the ride usually ends up in a lot up by the end of the ride. Phantom has never figured out how to deal well with excess energy under saddle and just gets hotter and hotter through the ride, especially at the canter. Her version of being hot means shortening her neck and tightening her back, which means I don't sit as softly on her, which makes her tighten her back even more, and so the cycle goes.

We had started our canter with a trot pole exercise, where you canter towards the trot poles, come back to trot just before the poles, trot them, and then pick up canter again. Really good exercise - the trot poles make the horse rock back quickly after the downward transition and find their rhythm again.
He woke up when he saw me and decided he needed a roll before standing up.
I knew I was in trouble when Phantom took over and picked up the canter transition after the poles by herself going to the left, and on a circle to the right I felt her start to tighten her back and curl her neck. Once that starts, it tends to not get much better.

I gave her a chance though. I picked up a canter in 2 point, came around the corner, and aimed her at a 2 stride jump line of very slightly raised poles. She wasn't too bad until she saw the poles, at which point she gunned it, took off super long to the first one, thought about taking off super long to the second one and changed her mind for an awkward step instead, I tried to get her to halt at the wall at the end, she said "what wall?", then "oh, that wall", bounced to a halt while turning her shoulders, and almost popped me off the other direction.

That was enough of that nonsense.
One side was clean.
We went back to something she hates doing - the almost walk trot. It's a very slow trot, with some energy, ridden off my seat so that she can ideally lengthen her neck. To Phantom, when she is in a silly mood, this slow trot is torturous. She just wants to go!

We did a few minutes of this trot with some lateral work and transitions added in. The trick is to try to get her to stretch forward instead of just shortening and tightening her neck. She gave me moments of it, then I tried to get her to stretch at a posting trot, which just shot her forward again, so I gave up.
The other side, not so much. And it was wettish.

This usually doesn't last for more than one ride, so I've learned to just try to ride it out for a bit, shut down the worst of it, and get off and try again next day. She's the same when loose as under saddle - when I free lunge her in the arena, once she has cantered, she only canters. No trot. I've had many occasions of thinking I'd let her quit when she trotted down the long side instead of canter, and it's never worked.

Of course, I won't get to ride her again for a few days. I hope I don't have to start all over again!

Friday 24 May 2019

Quick Rides

I usually have Wednesday's off so I try toget both horses ridden. This week, I had to go to work for a couple of hours for a meeting in the morning, then had a family commitment in the evening. So I did yard work instead of horses. I got to go in late on Thursday (my evening shift) to compensate for the hours the day before, so I had time to get both horses ridden in the morning.

If I rushed.

The arena was being watered when I took Cisco in. That didn't really bother him at all, and he walked around nicely on a longish rein. Unfortunately, when we picked up a trot we started like we did on our previous ride - trotting really fast and wanting to break to the canter.
The barn kittens got their permanent birth control last week. So they've been lying around and extra adorable this week. 
This time I let him. Well, not break to the canter - he didn't get to decide when. We just didn't do much trot before I asked him to canter.

Being made to canter isn't as fun as deciding to canter on your own. It still took him a bit to settle at the trot, but he wasn't as anxious to pick up the canter after we got one out of the way.

It was another day of distractions - a horse came into the arena who is being tack walked and tends to have random explosive moments, and there was a loose horse running around outside that Cisco scooted away from when it ran past the open door. Not to mention the giant snake hose that was stretched down the arena for the person watering.
Green-noser. (I forgot which horse I was feeding and added Phantom's spirulina to Cisco's dish)

It took most of my 40 minute ride but he started to give me some attempts at dropping his head. Hard to do when you are being a badass trying to break to canter.

I rushed after the ride to swap him out for Phantom. I only had about 25 minutes of ride time for her, so it was a quick trot and canter and a bit of a walk in the yard to end. She felt better than she did my last ride - last time she warmed up a bit uneven, but I didn't feel it this time.

I wasn't sure if I would have a relaxed ride on her either. Phantom, who is generally not at all spooky, spotted something in a corner of the arena that made her grow an extra hand high as we approached. I had no idea what it was, and we worked our way around that end of the arena, gradually getting closer to the scary corner. Finally, I figured out that it was an urn of fake flowers that was always there - but they had been washed off by the person watering the arena. Apparently, since they were clean and bright they were worrisome.

Again, I had to rush her outside and get stuff cleaned up and put away. I'm not very good with that - I like to take my time before and after my ride getting my horse ready. But, I got the rides in, and as long as I give out a few cookies, I'm pretty sure that they are happy to be back outside with their buddies. As much as I like to think they like to spend time with me, I'd imagine that the other horses are better to hang with.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Such a Badass

Since it wasn't Cisco's birthday on Tuesday, he got tacked up for a ride

When I had arrived at the barn in the evening, it looked like a 3-ring circus had arrived. I think that the local Pony Club had moved in, so there 15-20 trailers, with a dressage lesson going on in the outdoor dressage ring, and two separate jump lessons were sharing the indoor arena. By the time the ponies had finished their treats and I was ready to ride the majority of the trailers had left but there was still a jump lesson going on inside, so I decided to ride Cisco in the field outside.

The field is where the horse trailers were parked. I've ridden him out there before when there were visiting horses, and he's pretty good about it. Distracted, because there might be a new best friend that he hasn't met yet tied to a trailer, but he's not overly silly and it generally doesn't take him too long to settle.

It took him a little longer to settle this night when riding next to the remaining trailers. The jump lesson ended just after I got on, and horses were being untacked and happily led into the horse murder boxes. Cisco was concerned.

So he went kinda nuts.

What Cisco thought he was doing. (Listen with the sound up)

He kept breaking from a fast trot into a slow canter. Whoa there, Cisco. Get a hold of yourself.

How can I be expected to ride such a crazy horse? He trotted fast, mostly steered, broke to the slowest canter we've had yet, and didn't flip his head all around. Oh no, what will I do with him?

I'm pretty sure he thinks he's being badass. He so is not. I'm sure the day will come when he does figure it out, but he hasn't yet.

I knew he started to settle when he finally noticed the flappy tarp. I was waiting for it. One of those tarp covered metal frame car port things recently popped up by where the boarders park our trailers, which is on one side of the field I was riding in. There was a slight breeze so the end piece was gently flapping. For the first 25 minutes or so he was so distracted by the horses at the trailers that he didn't notice it. He finally did, and scooted and spun away from it. I turned him back, he gave it the evil eye, and that was about the end of it.

He also kept calling to the horses, probably warning them not to go in the murder boxes. It was the most ridiculous, adorable little whinnies - a quiet "eeeeeeeeeeeee" squeal that just made me burst out laughing. One day I have to get a recording of it. Again, I'm pretty sure he thinks it super badass, but it's just so damn cute.
Such a cute slightly floppy lip!
He didn't relax as much as I was hoping when all the trailers drove away, but he was listening to my slowing half-halts off my seat, so I decided to call that a win and ended my ride. It was getting late, and the mosquitos are out with a vengeance.

Oh - and a week into the smegma transplant, we still have no tail rubbing!

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Sweet Sixteen

Tuesday was Phantom's sweet 16!

I wanted to buy her a silly hat to wear and a sash or something sparkly to go with it - you know, embarrass my kid. But I left it too late, and the dollar store I checked didn't have anything suitable. So no decorations. Just cake.

And by cake, I mean pony popsicles.

It's become a birthday tradition. Chop up some carrots and apples (sometimes bananas), pour some unsweetened apple juice over them, and place the rubber dish in the freezer overnight.

This time I remembered that I own a good camera and wanted to use it, so Pony Grandma and I took the ponies over to a grassy area to eat their popsicles so that I would have a nicer background to work with. Unfortunately, the popsicles were harder to eat than the grass was so we had to drag them back into the barn so that they would finish eating them without any distractions.

When I made the popsicles I used a full liter of juice in each dish - it was too much. Neither horse finished their serving. Maybe brain freeze kicked in.

The kids definitely enjoyed their treat. Afterwards, Phantom got the night off, but Cisco had to work - it wasn't his birthday!

Happy birthday Princess! I hope to make you many more popsicles in the future!

Monday 20 May 2019

The Smegma Transplant Experiment

My old gelding, Farly, used to have a rather gunky sheath. I cleaned it regularly using just water, but I could always smell Eau de Smegma when I walked past him. He would rub the sides of his hips on the walls of his stall so the hair always looked roughed up. And he would sometimes have gray gunk on the inside of his gaskins.

One day I asked my vet about it. He suggested that I try a smegma transplant - basically, take some smegma from another gelding's sheath, mix it up with a bit of Vaseline, and stuff it up into Farly's sheath. The idea is that Farly had something like a yeast infection, and the smegma from the other horse would change the ph balance in there and hopefully get some good flora happening.
Farly, of the stinky sheath.

It was simple. And it worked - well, for about 6-8 months at a time. When it started to stink and he'd start rubbing again I'd start asking my fellow boarders for some smegma and do the transplant again.

Fast forward to current days, twenty years later. I have another gelding who has a stinky sheath and seems to rub his tail and sides almost daily. Time to try the Smegma Transplant again.

I've been meaning to do it for a while, but I keep forgetting to bring out the KY Jelly (that I bought specifically for this task!). I've lined up geldings whose owners have volunteered them to be donors, but they're generally outside and I'd have to haul one of them in. So it just hasn't happened.

Last week, I got my ducks in a row. Cisco was tied up in the aisle, and I gloved up.

My first donor was a big senior gelding in a stall. I put a halter on him, said hi, and stuck my hand up his manbits. And found nothing. No smegma. Nada. The cleanest sheath I've ever felt up.

So onto donor #2, who is on stall rest. And I hit the motherlode. I don't know when his sheath was last cleaned, but it was to my benefit that it's been a while.

I added a bit of lube to the smegma to make a lovely, smelly, smegma paste. And shoved it up Cisco's hoo hoo.
Smegma paste. Ewwww.
Well, tried to shove it up. Because of the lube it kept falling out onto the floor. I shoved it as far back as I could and hoped that it stayed in.

The big question - has it worked?

It's been 4 days since the procedure. Cisco had only a little roughing up at the top of his tail - don't know if it is fresh rubbing, old rubbing, or someone chewing on his tail. Big improvement from the usual rat's nest that his tail is in.

He still has some rub marks behind his stifles. I don't know if they are fresh or not. Next time I'm out I might try to lay the hair down with a brush and water and see if that makes it look better.

Tentative conclusion - the transplant has been a success! He was rubbing his tail daily before the transplant, so to see only a possible rub is an improvement. Time will tell if it is a total cure (or at least a 6 month cure).

Thursday 16 May 2019

First, the Good

Yet again, the ponies had most of a week off between rides. I felt crappy all weekend and was living on Advil. I managed to get out to the barn on Sunday but it turned out to be just a quick groom and feed kind of visit.

I was off work about an hour and a half earlier than normal on Tuesday, so I managed to make dinner and eat it for once before heading out to the barn that night.

Cisco was a wee bit perky when I hopped on, and since the other riders were finishing up and untacking down in the scary end (which also had the big overhead door open) he was dragging me in that direction for a change. We had one good slo-mo spook as a butterfly flew past us and farted, but other than that, he was very happy to stay at that end of the arena.

I needed some time with my therapists on Wednesday.
He felt a bit better with right bend through the ride - or at least not dumping onto his right shoulder. It still has a long way to go though but it felt like a bit of progress.

The canter felt pretty good - right felt really good (his stronger side, well, mine too), the left was a really good try at a big circle and almost breaking back to trot a few times but he kept going.

Even better, he passed my test - we were able to do our first simple changes! The left to right had a much longer trot than I anticipated as we had to steer around a beginner, but he easily picked up the lead. The right to left I wasn't overly confident that we would get the lead, but he totally did! We didn't get our steering as he fell to the inside as he picked up the canter, but hey, baby steps!

Cisco is a high-efficiency mowing machine. Who doesn't have time to chew.

I was a bit worried about Phantom's breathing as last week she wasn't good, despite having a dose of Ventipulmin. So I made sure she had her medicine before riding - and she was great.

She got the easy ride as I got on at about 9:30pm and didn't have a ton of energy. We mostly worked on transitions, asking her to lower her ears before the transition (and usually afterwards too). She got a bit silly in the canter, but nothing crazy, and we were able to regroup and start over and get a better attempt.

Then I went home and shit got real.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Wordless Wednesday

I wasn't ready for you to go.

I hope you have endless potato chips to eat. 

I'll miss you Shmoopsie Bear. 

Thursday 9 May 2019


Yesterday morning I wrote up yesterday's post about how much fun I have been having riding Cisco and how much braver he's been. As I was typing I thought "hope I don't jinx myself!".

So then I rode yesterday afternoon. And this happened.
My first fall off Cisco! Couldn't have made it much more graceful!

The first jump was the same size and colour that we had successfully jumped the night before. For whatever reason, Cisco hesitated at the last second (possibly because he had a monkey jumping up his neck?) and I kept going.

This was the first time that Cisco has lost his rider. I knew that this would shatter his confidence. I asked Pony Grandma to knock the poles down so that they were just resting on the base of the standards and we could walk over it if we needed to.

We needed to.

He was very concerned the first time. Many sideways stutter steps before he stepped over the poles, totally holding his breath. So we walked over it a few more times before approaching again at trot.

After that pole got slightly better, I thought I would try one of the same jumps from last night.

At that point I had Pony Grandma knock them all down to the ground. And Cisco leapt over all of them. With far more energy than they required.

Such is training horses. One step forward, ten steps back.

I'll keep them low for the next little bit until they get boring. And then move them up a hole or two and do those until they get boring. And then repeat. Trying to teach a horse who is not at all brave to jump is going to be a slow process, but it's not like I have to have him ready for a specific date.

Hopefully, I'll figure out how to keep my shoulders back though - I don't know if I'm lucky enough to land on my feet a second time!

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Riding is Fun?

I realized something over the last couple of days.

I'm having fun riding Cisco.

It's not that I ever disliked riding him (well, maybe once or twice). I think it's that we've developed some trust in each other under saddle, and that I know I can do different things with him and we're going to make it through to the other side.

Now that it's spring and we can do things outside, Cisco has been starting to show some bravery and sensibility about life. I mean, if we come across a bear, I'm pretty sure he's out of there, but for everyday things that we come across (flappy flags, quietly staring dogs, silently judging kitties, mini donkeys) he's been really good about continuing forward.
Or a moose. Glad I wasn't out for a hack when I spotted this one on the weekend just around the corner from the barn that was originally on the road in front of me.
He's also never really done anything overly stupid so I'm starting to trust that the worst he'll likely do is stop and spin, and it will probably just be a scoot. I can usually stay on for that. He hasn't offered any airs above the ground as of yet - let's just hope it stays that way.

I've been wanting to seriously start him over some small jumps. I won't jump without someone else in the ring so it hasn't happened yet. But on Tuesday evening I rushed through tacking up so that I could ride during the last lesson of the night and hopefully piggyback popping over a couple of jumps while the group was cooling out.

Despite having not been ridden for two weeks, Cisco was quite relaxed during our warm up. The scary end wasn't scary because the overhead door was open - so now the scary end was the gawk out the giant window end.

I rushed through the warm up and had someone set a couple of jumps to itty bitty cross poles.

We did the one on the quarter line a few times. The first couple of times he was a little unsure. I was also a little unsure and grabbed a big chunk of mane and felt like I was all over the place. We only did it about 5 times, and he got better and better each time.

So we moved onto the cross pole on the short end, next to the open window.

My biggest concern was that he was going to stare out the window and forget that he had feet to worry about. Also that he would see the open gate in the corner that the kids had failed to close.

But he was super! We did it 3 or 4 times, and when he started to trot forward to it I was able to get my timing and rode it mostly correctly. If correct jumping means jumping ahead of your horse that is. Yeah, I have some work to do on myself.

The last time he trotted nicely forward, I looked to the right over the jump, he landed on the correct lead, and we cantered around the corner and down the long side in a nice relaxed pace. Done!!

This was yet another ride that I was super happy with. We've got a whole heck of a lot to work on, but if I'm having fun doing it, who cares?

Monday 6 May 2019

App Review - The Equestrian

I recently came across an ad somewhere online for a new tracking app that I hadn't heard of yet. I've tried a bunch of them, but they all have something that I don't like about them. This new one, called The Equestrian, so far is my favourite.

It's set up so that it can be used by a barn so that multiple people can see or add information about the horses. If you are an individual, it has many features that are easy to use and has a familiar layout. It is web-based so you can view it on a mobile device or on a computer and it syncs.

Once you set up your horse, which includes what they get for feed, their pedigree, and special notes, you can start to add to your journal.

Your journal can include expenses (which can be added to a specific horse or can be non-specific), veterinary information, farrier, training, photos, grooming, and many others.

It appears that every activity has the option to have a cost associated with it. The default for adding in a cost is an expense, which types up in red. You can easily change it to income, which will show up green. You can also make any entry public to be shared with your connections, or leave it as private.

You can add a word in the search bar to find specific entries, but you have to search within a specific horse's information. It would be nice to be able to search all horses at the same time.

A great aspect of The Equestrian app is that you can add a picture to every entry. You can even add pictures to your journal that don't have a specific category. The pictures have to be cropped square, like Instagram, and you can only add one picture per entry, but you can keep adding new journal entries to add more pictures.

Your journal entries will then show up as a Newsfeed, which looks similar to Facebook. If you have friends linked, you will be able to see each other's public journal entries here.

It has business applications with mini-apps for farriers and stable owners. There are other business icons like instruction, grooming and training, but these are not set up to be able to add information yet.

The Equestrian is not perfect. But none of the apps that I've tried so far are. I would like the option to be able to view expense reports as a spreadsheet. I'm still figuring out the calendar, but in reality, I'll continue to use my Google calendar that I add my life to.

The newsfeed seems to sort by the most recent entry and not by date, and there is no option to change that. It probably won't be much of an issue once everything is set up and the information from earlier in the year has been entered and I'm only adding current information, but at this point, it's kind of annoying.

Another annoying thing is that when I set the picture for the horse's profile, it crops the photo square, yet on the mobile version the picture ends up flatter and stretched, so the horse ends up looking a little wonky. It doesn't seem to be as much a problem on the desktop version.

It would also be nice to be able to change the category or horse as I am entering information, or even apply a journal entry to multiple horses at the same time. This doesn't appear to be an option at the moment.

The absolute best thing about the app? It's completely free. Even the business parts of it. And no ads!

I think this is the app that I'll be using to keep track of everything. I don't usually do much journalling of daily training (I'll keep that to the Equisense app), but I like to be able to keep track of the vet stuff and my expenses. Being able to add pictures to everything is what appeals to me most about this app versus many of the others I've tried.

It's available for Android, ios, or on the web. Give it a try!

Friday 3 May 2019

Wow H-Girth

Cisco's new girth arrived from England this week. It's a Wow H-Girth.

It's definitely different looking than a traditional girth.

It's supposed to be good for wide sprung horses who have a forward girth groove. Which is totally Cisco.

I've only had a chance to lunge Cisco while wearing it so far. I was expecting a bit of a rodeo, but he didn't seem to give it any concern.

Before lunging.
These girths are ridiculously expensive - they start at about $450 CDN. I bought this one off of Ebay for about $270. It's in very good condition with little signs of wear.

After lunging.
I'm hoping this girth configuration will stop the saddle from being pulled forward during a ride. It doesn't look like I can get the foregirth option (which moves the point billet even more forward) in an extra short version to match my flaps, and the regular sized one will stick out a couple of inches below the flap. So I'm really hoping this girth will solve the problem.

I'll have to add a D-ring to it for my breastplate, and figure out how to attach the Equisense. And eventually I might want to get a longer back strap to even up the buckles. But the first impression after a lunging session was good - I don't think it moved forward. Now to hope that the saddle stays put while riding!