Monday 30 December 2019

Who Wore It Better?

I'll hopefully be mostly over this whole flu-thing in the next couple of days. It looks like Mother Nature is planning to cooperate (for a week or so at least) and my work schedule isn't crazy. I might actually get a couple of rides in this week!

Part of the prep for getting back in the saddle is getting the ponies clipped. Both of them have big wooly coats. Phantom is definitely the woolier of the two, but Cisco seemed to grow more this year than he did last year.

Sunday was a beautiful day, so a perfect opportunity to create some semi-nekkid ponies. I stopped off on my way out to the barn at the dollar store to pick up a couple of things - some kind of sanitizer spray so that I could wipe the mouse smell out of my tack locker, and a disposable painting haz-mat suit. I've worn one over my clothes the last couple of times that I've clipped and it's been fantastic at reducing the amount of hair that ends up attached to me.

But they didn't have any. And I didn't feel like driving around to find one. So I sucked it up and clipped in the clothes I was wearing. Which wouldn't have been too bad except that I wore a bra. I don't usually wear a bra when I clip, just a thicker shirt. I'm so not going to do that again! The girls will forevermore be free when I am clipping!
So itchy!

The kids were both pretty well behaved and my Lister Star clippers got the job done pretty quickly. They got their normal variation of an Irish clip and somehow I managed to get both sides pretty even on my first attempt. It doesn't usually happen that way.
I am saddened by the lack of dapples underneath his coat this year/
Phantom, aka the Polar Pony, was quite warm when I brought her in, so I'm glad I got her clipped. The weather has been pretty nice for the last couple of days, but it's hard to blanket. Today's daytime high was just over freezing in the lovely sunshine, but it's supposed to feel like -19 celsius tonight. Those 20 degree swings are hard to figure out how dress.
Not her most flattering angle.
Hopefully, the new racing stripes won't give them any bad ideas when I get on them on Wednesday or Thursday!
Bonus pic - the bright spot in the middle of the sky is the moon, which was actually a lovely crescent moon. The bright spot to the right and below is apparently Venus. It was super bright in the sky, though not as much as on my drive home on Friday night, when it was just below the moon.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

I had great plans for this week and was going to get a bunch of rides in. And then I got the flu. So I've barely made it off the couch for the last few days.

My family is doing the Christmas thing on Christmas Eve, so I'm hoping that I'll feel up to heading out to the barn on Christmas day. I doubt I'll be able to ride, but the ponies will be happy being stuffed full of treats.

I hope everyone gets to spend time with their loved ones, whether they be of the 2-legged or 4-legged variety. Enjoy the food, the company, and the gifts, be them large or small.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday 23 December 2019

Update: Smegma Transplant Results

Back in May I wrote about trying a smegma transplant on Cisco. Long story short: he'd been rubbing his tail and butt daily and his sheath stunk. The idea is that you take smegma from another gelding, stick it where the sun don't shine on Cisco, and hopefully it changes the ph balance in there and he stops rubbing.

Did it work?

A resounding yes!

I think he came in only a handful of times with a rubbed tail during the worst of fly season. Compared to before when he came in like that daily, there was a significant improvement.  I also no longer smelled eau de sheath whenever I was in his vicinity.

It's been about 7 months so far and I haven't had to repeat the treatment. With my old horse Farly, I had to re-implant smegma every 6 - 8 months. We'll see how the next few months go for Cisco before I decide if I need to do it again.

I'll have to find a new donor horse though. The one I used last time is no longer at the barn!

Saturday 21 December 2019

This Means War

For the first time in many years, this winter I've had a mouse problem in my tack box.

I think that they're getting in at the bottom where the doors don't line up properly as the ground it sits on is uneven. They only need a space the size of a dime to be able to sneak in.

On two of my last five visits, a mouse has greeted me when I opened the door. So that makes it obvious. Not to mention the raisins they've left behind and the distinct aroma of eau de mouse.

Whenever I've been out for the last month I've been in a bit of a rush so I haven't taken out anything other than grooming kits. Last night I had a few extra minutes so I ventured over to the saddle side of the box.

And discovered that a mouse had chewed into the lining of my Equestrian Stockholm saddle pad.

That's a declaration of war.

They couldn't have chosen the $10 pad that was with it. Nope, had to go for the good stuff.

I think that Miss Mouse was trying to set up her nest in there as there was what seemed to be a Kleenex all chewed up into bedding in the saddle pad. Hopefully I disrupted it at the right time.

I went home and immediately ordered bait stations. Nothing is fair in love and war.

(I'm pretty sure the saddle pad will survive to be usable - the hole is fairly small and on the underside. I just have to decide how I want to patch it.)

Friday 20 December 2019

Bad Hair Year

The ponies have been looking a little feral lately with their 5 weeks of little attention. They are super fluffy and have hair sprouting from everywhere.

Well, not quite everywhere. Cisco is missing a big chunk from his mane.

He is not having a good hair year. I buzzed off too much of his forelock last spring when I had to blindly put the clippers up above my head to clip his bridlepath. He is now much better about the clippers by his ears, so the forelock has been slowly growing back. He had a bit of a mohawk through the summer.

Then the top part of his mane disappeared this summer. It was either his fly sheet hood, or from sticking his head through the fence to eat the greener grass. That's now growing back, but it's growing straight up.

Lately, the bottom part of his mane got rubbed out by his winter hood. It's the same hood he's worn the last couple of years without issue, but it underwent some repairs between seasons and I think that the stitching is what pulled out his mane. He's now wearing a different hood so hopefully there will be mane there by spring.

The plan is to start riding again on Monday as work starts to quiet down. High on the priority list will be to get the kids clipped. I had a couple of hours free on Tuesday morning so I decided to get a head start on their makeovers.

Phantom was easy - I just shaved her goat chin and gave her cheekbones once again. She needs her mane done but I'll do that another day.

Cisco also got his face sculpted, and then a bridle path. Then I tackled his mane.
A little bit better?

He doesn't grow a lot of hair so his mane is very fine and not very thick. I don't really pull it, I usually just use a combination of a thinning rake and scissors.

I grabbed my scissors. Which apparently were My First Scissors by Crayola. They sucked. Oh well, his mane couldn't have looked much worse than it was before.

Now it's kinda the same length. Except for the part that isn't there - can't really do anything about that. If only it all laid down instead of going in different directions!

Friday 13 December 2019


I've finally spent a bit of time with the video that I took using the Pixio. I suck at any type of video or photo editing - I've just never had the patience to learn how to do it.  Since I'm going to end up with a bunch of videos over the next little while (well, when I manage to start riding again, hopefully in a couple weeks!) I've decided that this is the winter to learn.

I bought a new computer which came with Cyberlink PowerDirector installed. Might as well try the free program first before deciding if I need something better. It's supposed to be pretty easy to use, and there are some good Youtube videos on how to do things.

My first project wasn't too ambitious - just a side by side video showing some trot from March and from November. Child's play.

I'm not going to lie and say that the video is great. I think I needed to change where the zoom was centered for a part of it to keep me in the middle of the screen. But you get a good idea of what I was trying to show - the difference in Cisco's tension.

The ride in March was a fairly typical ride in the arena by himself - erratic pace, erratic contact, and we couldn't make it down to the scary end of the arena.

The ride in November is typical for our current rides. The scary end hasn't been an issue since the spring. He's now good in the arena by himself - there's no significant difference if there are other horses or not. This ride was only his third ride in three weeks and was 18 days after my surgery. I actually chose to ride Cisco over Phantom after surgery as he is much more consistent with his energy level.

We definitely have lots to work on, but now that he is much more relaxed it will hopefully come much faster.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Well, Poop.

Tuesday was my one day off in the week.  I finally felt good (my last two days off I've felt crappy) but I still wasn't able to ride. Why? Because I had a whole bunch of things to do. One of which was clean a poopy horse butt.

I forgot to take before and after pictures. But trust me - it was gross.

Phantom tends to have an icky backend whenever she wears a blanket. It's not that she has constant diarrhea, it's more like with a tail flap on her blanket she doesn't lift her tail out of the way enough. It gets stuck on her tail, which then smears poop all over anywhere her tail touches.
This is what colour her tail would be if it wasn't put up. It's supposed to be white.

In winter, it also freezes. Which is probably better because then it doesn't smear. Except that it freezes in chunks on loose hairs of her tail or on the tail cord of her blanket.

In summer, it's no big deal to be able to clean her up on a regular basis. Winter isn't so much fun. She lives outside 24/7, so she has to be dry before she can go back out. My barn doesn't have hot water in the wash rack, though there is hot water from a sink that I can use in buckets. Also, polar pony fur doesn't dry very fast with a regular hairdryer.

I put her tail up all winter to at least try to minimize the damage. It definitely helps. But it doesn't work miracles.

Thus, I had to don the kitchen rubber gloves on Tuesday to do some scrubbing.

I had a helper = a 10 year old barn rat was killing some time before her lesson and she wanted to help. I don't think she believed me when I told her how poopy Phantom's butt was based on her comment when we went out to catch her.

A couple of large buckets of hot water later, and only one hole cut into my glove when I removed Phantom's tail wrap, I had a pony with a pretty clean tail, and tannish coloured legs and butt cheeks. She wasn't squeaky white clean, but good enough for trying to use a minimal amount of water.

Her tail got blow dried and put back up into its pink unicorn duct tape and vetrap cocoon. Phantom was put into a stall to eat some hay while the rest of her continued to dry (I had used the drier on parts of her legs so she wasn't soaking, but she wasn't dry enough yet). She was quite unimpressed so that didn't last long and we went over to the arena for a hand walk instead.

I'm hoping that this will last for a few weeks, but I'm not overly optimistic. I have a feeling that I'll be scrubbing poop again for Christmas.