Sunday 24 December 2023

Merry Christmas

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


Tuesday 12 December 2023

Fall (Cisco)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 9 December 2023


Our summer wasn't fantastic. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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