Monday 26 December 2022

Merry Boxing Day!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope everyone got to spend the day with the people and/or critters that they like. 

My family got together with my brother's in-laws and we had a fantastic dinner with lots of lively conversation.

Santa had been leaving me presents through the fall this year so I've already been using my presents, namely my heated vest and socks. Originally I didn't want the socks, but I've come to appreciate them when driving to and from work on these chilly mornings. I'm going to try the this week for riding. The battery pack for the socks sit high on the outside of the leg, but I think my lace-up winter riding boots will have enough flexibility in them to make it work. They definitely won't fit in my regular tall boots.

Santa also delivered the ponies Christmas present a bit early this year. He was kind enough to bring them a squishier set of Surefoot pads.

I had used the bottom, springier side of the firm pads a couple of times this fall, and both horses went into coma-states when they were standing on them, so I decided that if I could get the medium set on sale I would grab them. Sure enough, around the first week of December, I got sent a code for either 20 or 25% off (can't remember) so I ordered the pads and threw in a set of the pods too. I don't really know what standing on these things does for the horses, but man, do they ever zone out on them! Cisco blatantly shows me that he wants to use them and Phantom immediately has a nap while on them, so I'm happy to buy them another set that they will appreciate.

I think Cisco kept his hind feet on these pads for around 15 minutes this night. He pivoted his front end around to nuzzle the kitty that had discovered my heated vest, but the hind feet didn't come off the pads. 

I spent a wee bit more money on Boxing Day. Since it looks like I'll have to ride outside for probably another month I decided to pick up a quarter sheet. I did not want to spend much on it as I don't think I'll use it a whole lot, so I very reluctantly passed on the Rambo Whitney striped version and found a great deal on a Premier Equine one. 

This afternoon I'm heading out to the barn and am going to take Cisco over to the neighbors to familiarize him with the covered track so that I can get him going aagain.i anticipate having to do a whole lotta groundwork with him before getting on over there. I haven't clipped yet either and am hoping to avoid him turning into a stressed sweaty mess. 

Enjoy your boxing day and try not to spend too much money! (Unless it's a sweet deal - then it doesn't count!)

Wednesday 21 December 2022


 This winter feels like it should be almost over, but it's barely just begun.

The arena is no where near ready to use yet. It's pretty well just the metal siding and roof that need to go on before we'll be able to ride in it, but the contractors are behind schedule due to a variety of reasons, the current one being freezing cold.

We're in our third (fourth?) cold snap of the season already. The last couple of days have been no warmer than -30 Celsius (plus windchill, so in the -40's). Even if the arena was ready, no one would be using it at the moment. All we are doing is trying to stay warm up here.

And here's how I do that when needing to go outside when it feels -44 degrees out - my Catching Horses Outfit Of The Day.

This is what I've been wearing this week:

I know, so stylish, right? Jealous?

What you can see:

  • Eddie Bauer down filled parka (admittedly not as warm as it should be based on it's original price. Good thing I got it for something like 60% off)
  • My fleece lined riding skirt
  • MuckBoots Arctic boots (only need a single pair of regular socks in these)
  • A fleece-lined toque (knitted cap or beanie for the non-Canadians)
  • A polar fleece neck warmer that I will pull over my nose
  • Head ski gloves (kid sized that I picked up at Costco this fall for $8)
The cat discovered the heated vest and was determined to stay draped over my shoulder.

What you can't see:
  • A long sleeved T-shirt
  • A polar fleece turtleneck top 
  • Heated vest (Santa came early this year)
  • Under Armor base layer 3.0 long underwear
  • Kerrits Sit Tight Wind Pro breeches
Wearing all this is what it takes to stay warm for the 10 minutes outside it takes to bring a horse in.

It is, of course, way too warm to wear inside, so the outside layers have to be stripped off in the barn and put back on again to head back out. 

Thankfully, the current cold snap looks like it should be over in a couple of days. It might even be warm enough to ride next week! 

I saw -1 in the forecast for next week - please be right!

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Wordless Wednesday -Catch Rider

 My horse got ridden for the first time in about 5 weeks. I had a catch rider hop on.

Tess was very at home up there (she's quite certain that she rules the barn and everything in it) and Cisco was very much "there's a cat on my lap (back) so I guess I can't move".

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Helmet Safety Study Results

 The long awaited equestrian helmet safety rating study has been released. And there are some surprising results.

The independent study, done by researchers at Virginia Tech, put 40 helmets from multiple manufacturers through equestrian specific testing to determine their efficacy in preventing concussions and other head injuries. You can read about the new tests that they developed that are specific to the scenarios that equestrians encounter when they fall from their horses here. (Edited to add another link to a video about their testing process here.)

Helmets were given a numeric rating (lower is better) and ranked. And there are some very surprising results.

Two of the top three rated helmets are low-priced schooling helmets, the kind that most riders past the beginner weekly lesson stage of riding immediately overlook when helmet shopping. It's not a surprise that price had nothing to do with safety, but I think that these helmets tested so well is quite a shock to most people.

Also surprising is how low down the list most of the MIPS helmets are. Most of the Trauma Void MIPS helmets are in the top 10, and Uvex has a couple of models just outside at 11 and 12, but Charles Owen and Tipperary didn't fare well at all.

It will be really interesting to see the responses from the community over the next few weeks. What will the response from manufacturers be? Will they respect the results of the study and vow to do better, or will they claim that the study was flawed and their testing methodology is better? Will we see riders trade in the expensive blingy helmets for the plastic mushroom caps that scored so well? Will those inexpensive helmets now be seen as the cool kind to be seen in? Will the manufacturers of those schooling helmets look for the opportunity to run with these results and design these helmets to make them more appealing to riders who want a trendier look but also want the higher safety rating?

This study is definitely going to make me think about replacing my helmets. I mostly ride in a Troxel Avalon, which was not rated, but the Troxel helmets that were rated didn't do well, scoring in the worst 25% of helmets. My other helmet, a OneK Defender, also scored poorly in position #35 with one star. They are getting towards the end of their lives so I will start trying helmets on when the opportunities arise.

Finding a hemet that fits me is a bit of an issue though. Those inexpensive schooling helmets tend to be be round-shaped, and I've got an oval head (possibly even a long oval, though I've never been able to try that shape). It doesn't matter how well a helmet scored if you won't wear it because it doesn't fit and is uncomfortable. 

What are your thoughts about the results of this study? Are you re-thinking the helmet that you currently wear?

Monday 7 November 2022

What's Up?

 It's finally time to slow down a bit. Mostly because of this:

Yeah, that's snow. 

We went from one of the nicest falls we've ever had, right into the depths of winter. It's snowed three times in the last week, and in a couple of days we'll be getting stupid cold temperatures at night. The ponies are very fluffy and are bundled up in 300g of winter blankets.

Phantom and her cheesy smiles amuse me to no end.

They are also enjoying their mini-vacation. Although the weather was beautiful through October, the new arena didn't get started until the beginning of last month, and due to some inevitable setbacks (mostly delays in materials and windy days), it's still at least a couple of weeks from being usable. It wasn't a problem riding in the twilight in the outdoor ring right up until November 1st, but it's now covered in snow, and if the ground isn't frozen yet, it will be in the next couple of days. If the indoor is not ready by the end of the month there may be mass exits by the boarders. 

I tried to ride as much as possible through October, knowing that this would happen. Cisco's respiratory issues have been better, so we got going again, generally with much more enthusiasm than I planned. His gate-boundness when in the ring by himself got better over the summer in that when I got after him he stopped flinging his shoulders in the direction of the gate at every opportunity, but he replaced it with increasing his speed when heading that way. It was super annoying. He just doesn't give up.

Not a horse, but a cow moose that was just down the road from the barn with her youngster out of frame. The thing under her head that looks like a duck is actually a coyote that trotted past them. I had to watch in case some drama unfolded, but other than the young moose moving a bit closer to mom the coyote left them alone.

Phantom has been good, though she didn't get ridden that much. With it getting dark earlier, and thus colder, I wasn't up to riding a second horse most nights. When I did prioritize her, she was either very good and chill, or super sassy and looking for reasons to explode. On her last ride, she was threatening to be very silly at the trot, so I said to her, you want to trot big? Ok, I'll put you to work! and set her up to do a proper lengthened trot across the diagonal, at which point she burst into canter, and from then on could only canter or do a jiggy walk. She's not nearly fit enough to be able to do much canter and is super hairy and I didn't want to deal with a very sweaty horse so that ride got shut down quickly.

This is, of course, the first year in many years that I am able to ride at this time of year because I'm not having to work crazy hours. Now I just need a place to be able to ride to make it happen!

Wednesday 5 October 2022

How to End the Week

 It's been a crappy couple of weeks. Nothing really bad, just a lot of little things not going my way.

Last Friday I decided to hop on Phantom for the first time in a few weeks. We are still riding outside - the replacement arena has finally started to be constructed, but probably won't be ready until early November. Thankfully, Mother Nature has taken pity on us and has gifted our area with a lovely Indian summer, so riding outside has been totally doable. Especially with the addition of a couple of lights to the outdoor arena. They aren't bright enough that I'd feel comfortable jumping, and they produce some spooky shadows, but they're more than bright enough to not run into walls or other horses.

The night before my family had enjoyed A night out at the dinner theatre watching a play based on The Beatles. Since I figured that Phantom might be feeling a bit creaky and that we'd be doing a bunch of walking, I put on my headphones so that I could continue listening to the catalog of The Beatles - one of my all-time favorite bands.

We started our ride as the sun was setting and got to enjoy a lovely red sky viewed from between Phantom's ears.

She was indeed feeling a little creaky, so we mostly walked with a few short trots thrown in. She was super chill, and I sang softly to the songs in my ears the whole time.

Towards the end of my ride, a George Harrison Beatles song played, and I decided I would end my ride to My Sweet Lord. 

As we were walking around in the shadowy ring, I heard a few popping noises in the distance. I figured someone was shooting something - it's not an uncommon sound. Being deaf, Phantom didn't flinch at all.

And then I turned the corner, and saw fireworks in the sky over the nearest town.

So I was sitting on my horse, in the dark, listening to My Sweet Lord, watching fireworks. Not a bad way to end the night! 

Unfortunately, I missed the first part of the show, so I didn't get to watch for too long. But it was enough for my soul on that night when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Wordless Wednesday - New (Bad) Habits


Cisco's newest thing that he's been doing for the last couple of weeks whenever I tie him up.

Monday 5 September 2022

The Waning Days of Summer

As promised, there wasn't much happening on the horse front last week. It was just too hot to do much that involved movement.

Cisco got started on his nebulised Dex to help get rid of the mucous in his lungs from his earlier asthma episode. He's only had two treatments so far, so no clue as to if it is working yet. C-dog is feeling good though! I popped him on the lunge to see how he looked on Friday. It's kind of hard to tell how sound your horse is when all they're doing is bucking and leaping on the end of the line. I took that as a good sign since when I had last lunged him he looked pretty sorry for himself.

I hopped on him on Sunday for a very quick ride. The plan was to mostly walk with a short trot to evaluate now he felt. I want to give the Dex a few more days to clean up his lungs before doing much with him. Also, because we can't seem to get through a summer with clean air, the air quality was getting up to concerning levels due to some forest fire smoke that had blown in over the weekend.

He felt pretty even at the trot, and was far less sarcastic about his pace than I expected. He was, of course,  waiting for his moment to try to unseat me, which came as a horse that was being lunged picked up a canter as we were trotting towards it. I was ready for the spin and mostly stayed with him.

Thursday had been a bit cooler and was my day off, so I hoped to hop on Phantom. As I groomed her in the barn and watched the wind send clouds of sand across the driveway, I changed my mind.

She got to go for a play in the outdoor arena though, and she totally took full advantage of it. I don't know if I've ever seen her gallop so fast! She paid for that by not being able to turn very well when she hit the end of the ring - fast with steering has always been her weakness.

Phantom has been getting nebulized with saline, and I'm cautiously optimistic that it made a difference. She recovered very quickly from her zoomies, usually it takes her longer.

The air quality seems to have significantly improved overnight, and the stupid-hot weather looks like it has changed to typical fall weather so hopefully this week I'll get some more riding in. It will be slow riding but that's still better than no riding!

Monday 29 August 2022

A Quick Ride

Since we had a two-day repreive from the stupid hot weather over the weekend (fear not, it's coming back all week) I was really hoping to get on each of the ponies for an easy ride. For Cisco it would be a see how he felt evaluative kind of ride, and on Phantom I would be more concerned about how well I could walk post-ride. It's only been a few days since I stopped having any back/thigh related pain and I don't feel the need to overdo it on my first ride back.

I decided Cisco still looks a bit too off for my liking to hop on him. The swelling in his leg has come down, but at a trot he definitely looks uncomfortable somewhere in his body. He's not super lame but he's not right. It's only been a week since he stuck his leg through the fence, I'm not overly surprised that he needs some more time off. We'll aim for a walk ride next weekend when it cools down again.

I put him on the hard slanted pads behind and he didn't move for almost 10 minutes. I actually went out and brought Phantom in and walked her past him and I still had to peelhimoff the pads to turn him out. He obviously found some comfort from standing on them.

Phantom hasn't been ridden in at least three weeks. She's been giving me sad, old pony vibes lately, not in a hurry to go anywhere and always ready to take a nap, so I wasn't sure how she was going to feel.

She really wants to nap while being nebulized, but then she doesn't breathe deep enough, so I rudely have to make her go for a walk.

The plan for the ride was a 20 minute spin, mostly at walk, so that I could test out how my leg would feel afterwards. She initially toodled around on a long rein, taking slow, careful steps. I thought that when we picked up the trot she would do a shuffly jog, but nope - that released the Kracken.

I think we made it about half a lap around the ring before she attempted the first bolt. 

We had a total of three bolt attempts over the whole four minutes of trot that we did. It was partly just her being dramatic about the flies touching her face (I had forgotten to put on her riding fly mask) and partly because that's just what she does when she has excess energy. But we survived our 20 minutes and so far, so good for my leg.

It's going to be a quiet week as we all try to stay cool, but it looks like fall weather starts next weekend - my favourite riding weather.

Friday 26 August 2022

Thursday Things

 Cisco's leg continues to be on the mend. The farrier was out on Thursday and said she didn't feel any issues from him on having to keep his leg held up so that bodes well.

After three days out for delivery on the courier truck, my Flexineb was finally delivered. It was shipped to my parents house since I am never home, and for some reason couriers have a hard time finding their street. It's on a dead-end cul-de-sac that can only be accessed from the main road, not from the subdivision behind them. I don't know how many times I've had to call to give them directions, but it's been a lot.

Since I wasn't going to be able togo out to the barn on Friday, I had to go back out on Thursday evening just so I could try it out.

I was not surprised to discover that both horses had little concern about the thing stuck to the end of their nose. Well, Phantom had a small one - she couldn't scratch her leg when a fly touched her with it on. Must remember to fly spray her well first!

In typical boy fashion, Casco made his best Darth Vader impressions as we walked up and down the barn aisle. He is always rather expressive with his breathing, so I couldn't tell if his noisy breathing was because he wasn't sure about the mask or because we were walking into the sketchy area of the barn.

Phantom just wanted to close her eyes and have a nap. I had to keep her walking just to keep her awake.

I haven't heard back from the vet yet regarding the drugs she was going to order for me, so at this point they are just getting saline in the nebulizer. I will check in with her next week if I don't hear from her by the end of the weekend. I would like Cisco to have some treatments with the steroids before putting him back to work.

I also succumbed to a sale at LeMieux this morning. They're having a "not quite perfect" blanket sale this weekend, with factory seconds 50% off. That sounds like the perfect price for horses who need a new blanket every couple of years - I'm looking at you Cisco! I ordered a 200g turnout and two liners that came to $280 CDN after shipping.  I like the look of the blanket and have been very happy with the Lemieux products I currently own, so fingers crossed on these items.

Tuesday 23 August 2022

The Day After (and the day after that)

Well, Cisco's leg looked like how I expected a leg that got stuck in a fence the day before would look when I went out on Monday.

It was a little fatter around the hock than I hoped it would be, and less fatter in the rest of the leg than I thought it would be.

When I arrived around dinner time Cisco's bute from the day before would have worn off, and I think he was feeling a bit sad and sorry for himself. He got handwalked for about 25 minutes in the outdoor arena with some short in-hand trots. I think some of the fill came out of his legs especially around the hock.

Monday's leg. Honestly, not as bad as I thought it would be.

He's definitely a litle sore on it - not easily noticed at a walk unless he was turned tightly to the right - and even then a lot of people wouldn't notice his discomfort.

I didn't think he looked too bad at the trot while we were on the soft sand in the outdoor, but when I trotted him on the concrete surface in the bam he was definitely ouchy.

I'm not sharing the trot in the barn aisle - it was bad.

We will see what the next few days brings!

Hey there! Since I was too tired on Monday night to deal with adding video to this post, I am happy to say that Tuesday brought a much sassier and feeling far less sorry for himself Cisco, who's leg started off slightly less fat than the day before, but after our walk it was almost back to normal. Cisco happily took me for a walk as he normally does, and although I was leading him and couldn't really tell, his trot was much more forward and sounded much more even in the barn. When I threw some extra hay to him outside he trotted a few steps and wasn't obviously lame. 

Tuesday's leg.

I'm cautiously feeling a bit better about being able to ride my horse again!


Sunday 21 August 2022

You Try To Do Something Nice For Someone...

 I was scheduled to teach a lesson on Sunday morning. Alas, the storm that merely threatened in my area of the city overnight apparently hit full force at the barn. They had pouring rain for at least two hours, leaving everything very soggy in the morning. 

Phantom has been using mud-based hair styling products again.

No worries. I was up and ready to go so I went out early anyways. I mean, I was already in the car when I found out, but was still in the garage, so there wasn't much point in heading back into the house (although I was tempted for a moment).

Since the road wasn't going to be dusty, I decided that I would put Cisco back out with Phantom and his recently returned from summer camp BFF Pete. He'd have a couple of hours to socialize and move around a bit more than he will in the individual paddock he's been in for a few weeks. 

It all started well. Cisco and Pete immediately sniffed each other with no squeals or strikes, and Phantom emitted huge fuck off vibes so Cisco smartly stayed out of her bubble.

They had gone down to the far end to look for the few blades of grass that might have been previously missed. Cisco was trying really hard to encourage one of the others to play with him, but not being overly rude about it. 

Phantom got down to have a roll, and I got the video ready thinking that when she got up she would take off and hijinks would ensue. Wrong. She got up, shook herself off, and went back to searching for that elusive blade of grass.

They were being boring so I was just about to leave the gate and head back to the barn to find something to keep me occupied for a couple of hours when somebody made a break for it and they all galloped towards me. There was some leaping around, mostly by Cisco, and then I don't know if Cisco got a bit possessive of Phantom, but he kicked out at Pete - and one hind leg went right through the fence, and got stuck on the other side. 

Just the good bit in slo-mo.

I was still at the gate and realized right away that he was stuck. Thankfully, Cisco also realized right away that he was stuck, and he stood perfectly still and waited for a responsible adult to help him out.

The bar that he got his leg over was pretty well at the same height as the front of his leg extended behind him. His leg was in a flexed position, so the bar was resting on the flexed front of his hock. 

Think this, but the bar was higher, more level with the bottom of his stomach, so the leg was flexed more and higher. (Hind legs at odd angles are really hard to draw.)

I tried to grab him by his hoof and lift the leg up, but that did absolutely nothing. I had yelled "help" a few times as I knew there were a couple of people around, but no one came running. I frantically called the BO's SO, who I had chatted with a few minutes earlier, and told him my horse was stuck on the fence. He had just gotten to the gate when Cisco shuffled his front legs just a bit which put him at a different angle to the fence, and his leg mostly slipped free, with just a bit of assistance needed from me to get the rest of his hoof clear. Phew.

He was probably only stuck for 2-3 minutes, and thank God, he barely moved. I was behind him, and he knew I was there, but I'm honestly surprised that he didn't try harder to escape, although I'm not complaining! In the video you can hear me saying "stay there, stay there" to him as I was running towards him, and had a moment of panic wondering if me running at him would cause him to panic. That might be something useful to teach your horse - not to run away if you run at them!

Poor Cisco was a bit shaken up by this. He wouldn't let me catch him right away, though I had him within a minute or so. We went into the barn, he had some bute, and I hosed off the leg. The scrapes all seem to be superficial, so I'm not too worried about them. I'm much more concerned that something will have happened to his stifle, not that there is currently any evidence of it. He was maybe a bit off at the trot within about 15 minutes of the incident, but I was trotting in hand and trying to evaluate, so I'm not quite sure. 

Hosed off and waiting to dry.

Emma - this coating of Blu-Kote is for you!

I won't be surprised if his leg blows up by the morning. One of the ladies who rides with me is going to have a look at him in the AM and give him some bute if it got big or seems sore, and I'll be out in the evening after work, armed with wraps and maybe ice packs. Fingers crossed that he won't be worse than a bit stiff for a few days.

Thursday 18 August 2022

Vet Day

 The vet was out today and I managed to get Cisco added to her roster. I've not been happy with his respiratory rate when riding since his asthma flare-up at the end of July and I wanted him looked at and options discussed. 

When she listened to his lungs she did hear some mucous still in there.  She said that when they have a flare-up it takes three months for the lungs to heal, and steroids were going to be the best option to help this clear up.

I also had her have a peek at Phantom - I was still worried about that lump under her jaw. Good news - she said it wasn't a melanoma. Phew. I'll still keep an eye on it and if it does grow I'll get it looked at again, mostly because if it gets big it could be in an uncomfortable spot for her, but I don't have to be super paranoid about it. 

She then listened to Phantom's lungs and said they sounded clear. Another bit of relief as she is still in the paddock alongside the road. I didn't think that road dust was a trigger for her like it is for Cisco, although I'm still thinking of moving her to a different paddock for a few weeks. 

After discussing options about treating the pony's asthma, I decided to just bite the bullet and pay the bucks and order a Flexineb nebulizer. Cisco will be getting some dex in it once it arrives, and we're going to try Phantom on just saline and see how she does. Hopefully, it will arrive next week, and so will the medication that the vet is ordering for me. 

Thus, I'll be giving Cisco a few more days off. Also, it will be because it's going to be really hot again, and if I wanted to ride it will have to be in the hottest part of the day - not gonna happen. But really, he's getting time off because I need to see a vet.

I don't know what I've done to myself, but I've been having some pain and aches in my left thigh. I think it stemmed from when I initially twinged my back two weeks ago, which then bothered me a week later after a ride, but was again fine the next day, and then I felt something pop in it over the weekend - and not in a good way. Since then, I've been pretty consistently either sore or very achy somewhere in either my groin or thigh on that side - it keeps moving. It's kind of weird. But really uncomfortable. I've been foam rolling and massage gunning it, and maybe I've overdone it? I'll give it the weekend, and if it doesn't seem to be improving I might have to find time to go to physio.

Monday 15 August 2022

What Happened Last Week

 Although I had last week off, I didn't get a ton of riding in. It was just too hot for most of the week, and I don't do heat very well.

I did a few easy rides on Cisco, including one bareback. I forgot that riding bareback in the heat means you end up with very sweaty girly bits. Thankfully, I had a pair of shorts to change into as soon as I hopped off, although I wish I had had a spare set of undies in my bag too. 

I'm still not sure how he's doing with his breathing. I've had some rides under saddle that he seems fine, and others where I'm not happy with his recovery and ended up giving him some Ventipulmin post-ride. One of my vets is coming out to the barn on Thursday and I've added Cisco to her appointments, so we'll see what she says.

Lighting not due to the golden hour of sunset. Just a dirty horse.

We also did another car ride last week. I think Cisco has figured out that if Phantom is in the trailer with him, he's going to get locked up and the murder box will start moving. He was not very good about getting on. But I stuck with it, and he got better, and away we went. He was about half as sweaty as the previous ride upon arrival back home, with no dripped sweat marks on the floor of the trailer, so that's progress over the previous ride. 

Phantom's look of "can we please get this show on the road?".

A sweaty Cisco releasing his tension from the car ride. 

What else has happened? 

I was bad and bought a new saddle pad at the Greenhawk summer sale this weekend. It was black, and I have more than enough black saddle pads - but I don't have a snakeskin print one!

I'm a sucker for reptile prints (hence my crocodile patterned boots), add patent leather piping to it and I'm gonna have to buy it. It was 40% off, so that made it totally affordable. 

Phantom's Rambo fly sheet was repaired by yours truly. I picked up some sewing machine needles more suited to horsewear as I have a few blankets that need minor repairs before winter and I'm going to try to do them myself. I can sew straight lines, but not a whole lot more, but the ponies won't complain if the seams aren't straight. 

For the tears on the fly sheet I used a strip of Rambo binding that had come off the neck piece and didn't really need to be put back on. It got cut up into smaller pieces to patch all the holes, but I didn't think to check that the pieces made actual words. Seeing this patch on her side makes me giggle. 

And, just today, I finally got my car back! It was a full six weeks since I dropped it off. The extra week was because something happened to it while in their care (relatively minor) so they had to fix that as well, at their expense. But I'm back to driving it. Please - no one hit me again!

It looks like we are going to be stuck in this heat wave for another 10 days or so, and since I'm back at work and will have to ride in the evenings, there probably won't be much riding happening. We'll try to get another car ride or two in though - maybe we will be ready for a field trip in September when I'm off.

Friday 5 August 2022

Sorry - More Horse D!ck Pics

Cisco's swollen sheath went down a little overnight. It still looked like he had a pair of saggy testicles in the wrong spot though. Gravity has kicked in, and the remaining fluid has settled in the bottom front part of his sheath.

Pre-walk. My phone chose to be prudish and not focus on the manbits.

Due to the dump of rain we'd had in the morning, riding in the outdoor arena was a no-go. I considered toodling around on Cisco bareback to get him his needed exercise , but I hadn't taken a change of pants with me and was driving a rental vehicle, so we just stuck to hand-walking. I think his sheath looked better again after the exercise, but he still got some bute to help the process along.


So looks like droopy testicles.

I apparently had the moose filter on when I took this pic.

Why was I in a rental car? Well, back in mid -June, someone did a hit-and-run on my four month old car while it was parked at work and caused $3500 worth of damage to my rear bumper and taillight. I dropped it off for repairs on July 4th for what was supposed to be a 7 working days job. Once they took the bumper off they realized they needed a piece that I don't think they knew about when they did the estimate,and, surprise surprise in the current world order, that part wasn't available and had no ETA.

The light alone was something like $850. It doesn't look like much, but it was just under $3500 worth of damage.

So I've been stressing the last couple weeks over how long it would take and if my insurance was going to stop paying for the rental once I hit my cap. I got a call yesterday from the repair place, not to say that it was ready for pickup, but that they'd somehow managed to lock the keys in the car while it was in the paint booth. I had to zip over with my other key to unlock it. Hopefully, the car will be done today, and I can go back to not having to gas up every week again, or worry about riding bareback.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 4 August 2022

The Attack of the Flies

 Poor Cisco. This summer has been a bit hard on him.

Apparently, the flies have been attacking him. There were enough bug bites on his neck when I took his blanket off that I was initially worried that he had hives, but under the blanket he was fine.

Taking the blanket off revealed something else however - a very swollen sheath.

It looked like his balls were trying to grow back in the wrong spot.

I'm assuming that it's due to the bugs, and maybe not moving around as much as he is still in the individual paddock. There was also some evidence of some edema having been on his chest, with just some saggy skin left over. 

Some weird saggy bits.

None of that was there on Monday when I was out, so it had all just happened in the last couple of days. 

I hadn't planned on riding, but needed to get that swelling down. I dug around in the car and found a pair of fleece-lined leggings that would have to do (it wasn't hot enough that I would die with them on, but it would be warm) and didn't plan to do enough that my lack of a sports bra would be an issue.

I'm pretty sure that I felt a waddle in his step. The footing in the outdoor was a bit damper than ideal so we tried to keep it to a quiet trot in the half of the ring that was usable, and by the end he felt better than he did at the beginning.

He had some bute before the ride, and I think the swelling close to his body came down a bit after exercise. It was still pretty fat though.

Post-ride old man saggy faux balls.

I've got to pick up some Swat today and will apply it liberally to his bottom bits and see if that helps the bug situation. I'm still trying to decide on where he stands regarding his asthma, and if the swelling stays up over the weekend I guess we'll have to see the vet next week for an all-over check-up.. 

Tuesday 2 August 2022

More Car Rides

 We are apparently back at square one with Cisco's confidence about trailering. 

Last summer, we were going on weekly car rides, and managed to get to the point where he finally came off the trailer dry and not a stressed sweaty mess.

However, he hasn't been on a car ride since whenever we last did it last year (it would have been in September or October). We did one practice loading session a few weeks ago, for which he was great, but he hasn't been fully loaded and locked in. 

Since I haven't been riding with the heat, I took the truck out last Thursday with the intent of a quick car ride to get him familiar with it again. I'm having vague thoughts about wanting to do something, anything, with Cisco away from home before the end of the summer, and I want to make sure that he can at least arrive relaxed (pretty sure he won't be when we unload) and that he will reliably get back on to go home. I fully accept that he might need an emotional support animal, ie. Phantom, for the first couple of times away from home, especially if he needs to go inside somewhere like the vet clinic. Strange buildings are still very concerning for him.

I hoped that since the last loading session went so well that he would hop on pretty quickly next to Phantom. That was a big fat nope. 

He was very sticky and I could see the concern in his eyes. I don't know if he remembered that if there is another horse next to him that means he'll be shut up inside or not, but he was just not getting fully on to the point that we could put up the butt bar.

After about 20 minutes, I pulled Phantom off, and went back to schooling the getting on for Cisco. I moved the divider aside to give him a bit more space, and he hopped right on the first time. Of course. 

I gradually moved the divider back, and every time he went right on up to the front and stood quietly. I don't know why he wouldn't with Phantom on. 

In the end, we got both horses on and had a leisurely drive around the neighbourhood. 

Which resulted in a soaking wet Cisco upon unloading. 

One gross, sweaty mess of a pony. Who was not at all happy to have a cool shower afterwards.

Not pee marks - sweat that dripped to the floor marks.

Looks like we are going to have to go back to weekly car rides again. 

Monday 1 August 2022

Forgot His Inhaler

 Our summer went from rain almost every day for 3 or 4 weeks in a row, to pretty well no rain since the first week of July. And it got hot. Pretty well as hot as we get.

Cisco reacted by picking up a cough. Which turned into a bit of an asthma episode.

The paddock that the ponies live in is alongside the road - a dirt road. When it's been as dry as it's been of late, passing cars kick up quite a bit of dust. 

I've wondered in the past if that dust could be causing problems. Cisco has had a bit of a cough other summers for short periods, but I was never sure if it was the dust, the heat, or some years, the air quality that caused the cough, and it never seemed to last for more than a few days.

This year, he coughed a couple of times through a couple of rides, and then on one ride he was coughing so much when I tried to trot that all we did was walk for half an hour. When I went back out two days later, his respiratory rate was noticeably up and he was coughing at rest.

I put him on Ventipulmin for about 4 days and talked to the barn owner about moving him to another pen further away from the road to see if that made a difference. It's a single horse pen, and I prefer my horses to be turned out with buddies, but breathing is kind of necessary, so we'd both have to suck it up. 

I think it has made a difference. I haven't heard him cough at rest since that one night. The only ride that I've done (it's been too hot to ride after work most of this week) was much better, though he still had one coughing episode after about 20 minutes of trotting. I hadn't intended to do much on that ride as it was only a few days since the night his respiration was up, though Cisco had other plans and was a wee bit sassy about everything. 

Although he was very good the night before our ride when we did some TRT groundwork, and for once he didn't feel the need to be in my pocket the whole time. 

At one point about 10 days ago I almost said fuck it and ordered a Flexineb nebulizer, but I didn't, although I'm still thinking of it. I'm just trying to figure out if using it with just saline is of benefit or not. Since Phantom also has asthma and gets Ventipulmin before rides, the nebulizer could get enough use to justify the $1500 price point. We'll see. If this continues with Cisco and he sees a vet I'll have a discussion with them about it, as it will work best with prescription drugs. 

We'll see how it goes this week. The temperatures are forecasted to be much cooler and we will hopefully get some rain. I also want to see if there's somewhere where I can put both ponies away from the road for the rest of the summer. There are paddocks next to where the arena was/will be that are empty, but I don't know if there is access to put water out due to the arena work.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Cisco Gives Lessons

I picked up a pair of sisters as riding students at the beginning of the summer. They are at a similar riding level - solidifying their position at all gaits and getting more comfortable with riding a canter - but are completely opposite in their confidence. One is very brave and willing to try anything, the other worries and has a hard time releasing tension. She's actually made some great progress since she started with me - the first couple of rides were all about how it's actually easier to ride when the horse is going forward, and now she's a speed demon who I have had to tell to slow down the last two rides.

One of the other instructors at the barn goes away to do a summer camp every year and as she owns most of the lesson horses, they also go to camp. Usually, the barn owned horses don't go, but this year I was told only one would be staying. (That instructor runs most of the beginner lesson program, with her gone for the summer there is very little need for lesson horses.) 

One advantage to riding outside is that you get to see the rainbows!

This left me with the issue of coming up with two horses so that the sisters could ride at the same time. It was just going to be for three lessons as they were going away for the full month of August.

I voluntold Cisco to be a lesson horse for a couple of weeks.

The view from within the outdoor ring we are using.

The more confident sister rode him, and the less confident one rode the horse usually ridden by the other sister. It was actually a good change for her and she did well on him.

Cisco wasn't really sure about his situation. There were definitely some strong side-eye glares aimed my way, and I had to try to keep my distance from whatever exercise they were doing because he really wanted to gravitate to me. But overall, he was a pretty good boy.

I had told her at the beginning of the ride that he was a very wiggly horse and when it came to wanting to bulge towards the gate, he wouldn't give up. She definitely agreed with me by the end of the ride!

She loved his canter - we've been working on sitting the canter instead of perching tipped forward for it - and Cisco has a very easy to sit canter. 

The only thing that he was sticky about was, oddly, the halt walk transitions. Not really sure why, as she is pretty light in her contact, but that will be something I'll play with a bit in my rides.

The resident ravens are a little put out by the removal of their arena roof perch that they loved to hang out on. Now they have to sit on a fence or horse shelter roof to shriek their someone's being murdered screams.

I'm not convinced that she loved riding him overall though (which I'm only slightly offended by).  Maybe it was the wiggliness, or it might have been my saddle. It doesn't matter though because hopefully I won't have to subject the poor pony with that misery again (his words, not mine).

I was very happy with how Cisco went for a different rider. He hasn't had many other people on him (I don't really like to share my ponies) but whenever he has he has been very well mannered. It's a good life skill for horses to have.

Friday 8 July 2022

Working Long

 For what I think was the first time ever, I set the Pivo up last week and nailed the setup on the first try.  Which totally makes sense as the arena is now closed and the process of taking it down has begun. When the new arena goes up I'm sure it will take me forever again to find the sweet spots. 

This was a couple of rides after the ride in which we used the Sure Foot pads. I'm still working on trying to encourage Cisco to lengthen his neck in a forward and out way. It's kind of been a little hit and miss since we used the pads as to if he will give it to me, but I keep encouraging him to do so. It's much easier for him to lock the base of his neck and tighten it than he thinks it is to keep it soft and long, so this will be an ongoing way of thinking. 

Here are a selection of carefully selected screenshots. Sorry that they aren't super clear - my video camera is about 12 years old and the lighting in the arena isn't super bright, so it struggles a bit on having a clear image with the lighting and movement. As much as I would like to upgrade to a 4K camera I can't justify the cost at this point, so blurry screenshots it is. 

I like the look of softness in his body here.

Lengthen that neck Cisco!

Any time that Cisco has his ears below his withers that's a good thing.

It looks like we are practicing some cutting moves, but this was a splat spook at the bird that flew up over the gate. You can see the black speck in the top right corner that is the bird.

Cisco has a really fun canter. He has these moments where he really feels like he is jumping through his stride - which feels super fun and makes me laugh. I'm always saddened that it never seems to look like a fancier canter though. I was laughing in the video at this moment.

Lifting up a bit on our stronger right side, but not quite there yet...

and with the softer neck. 

The riding on a longer rein to encourage him to lengthen his neck out is tough for me as I keep wanting to bring my hands back, especially at canter. He tries pretty hard to reach out to the contact, I just have to keep letting him have the extra rein to do so.

We are now stuck outside for the summer. The arena was closed as of yesterday. It still keeps raining - we have another thunderstorm watch pop up as I started writing this. The ground is pretty saturated at this point so nothing is drying quickly. Oh -and the mosquitos have come out in full force. I walked Phantom out after a ride on Wednesday on the grass and she was quickly covered in them. I'm pretty sure that our first few rides in the outdoor arena will not be conducive to Cisco having a long neck, especially if it takes a few more days before things are dry enough to get on him. I'll give it a few rides and try the pads again to see if we can get back to it again.