Friday, May 17, 2013

Of hairy beasts and sand blasts ...

I was out to the barn again this past Wednesday ... was my day off and it was BEAUTIFUL outside, so I opted to ride Gus out on the cross-country course. But before we got to that point, he needed a good brushing. And holy cow was he shedding like nobody's business. You'd have thought that he hadn't been brushed in years! He was so incredibly hairy ... it's falling off in clumps. CRAZY!

Anyways, our ride outside was the first ride since Gus was diagnosed with being 100% blind in his left eye. He was a trooper and we had a nice time. No spooks or goofy instances ... just a nice, quiet ride outside in the sunshine (and no bugs!).

After the ride, Gus got hosed down for the first time all year. I then treated him to a nice romp in the sand arena. Oh my God, I think he thought he died and went to heaven. He LOVES rolling after a bath and I figured I'd rather have him roll on "clean" sand then on dirty dirt/mud/manure/God.knows.what.else. He was such a goof - but I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Gringo was treated to a mini "spa" day as well, except I just hosed him off ... no grooming. He also got treated to a sandy romp in the arena. Except, this is where him and Gus differ. You see, Gus can flip totally over when he rolls - Gringo is too lazy and just rolls on one side. Then he'll stand up and roll on the other side. Except for this past Wednesday. He just rolled on one side. Silly boy.
I'm hoping to find the time to get Gringo started again ... but not sure if that'll pan out or not. I guess it's the thought that counts though, right?
My plan is to still keep riding Gus as much as I can. Granted my doctor(s) may not like that, but at the present time they are totally unaware of that situation. Riding Gus is as safe, if not safer, then driving a motor vehicle. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The blind pony update...

Today I FINALLY made it back out to the barn to work Gus. Bad news is, he's definitely blind. Good news is, he's sound.

So, I haven't actually worked with Gus for a few weeks - since I noticed his vision was going. So today's workout was interesting, to say the least. Gus was a good boy but it's very obvious that his vision is impaired. Watching him lunge was quite comical. He's having to tilt his head at an odd angle so he can see out of his right eye. Poor Gus!

But, overall, he was a good boy today. Not necessarily well-behaved on the lunge but under saddle he was a trooper, as always. We did our "usual" warmup - 10m half circles followed by 1 1/2 laps of shoulder stretches, both directions. Then we did some trot work. Actually, we did more trot work today then we've done in a while. Probably about 5-7 minutes of trot work. I was proud of myself to be able to keep up with the posting ... I've definitely lost a lot of muscle memory (and muscle) since I became pregnant. So all that posting trot really does a number on me - totally worth it though. We did end up the ride with a little canter both directions. Gus willingly took both leads and was good boy about carting my big butt around. I'm very proud of him.

Gringo just got a good grooming today. He's almost entirely shedded out. If I had the opportunity to groom him daily, he probably would be done by now - but unfortunately that situation isn't on the books at the moment. He's such a good boy though. He meets me at the gate every time I'm out to get him ... which is really nice, considering how much of a muddy mess the barn is right now.

Anyways, both boys are doing well. I hope Gus continues to improve ... but I guess only time will tell.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Riding a blind pony.

I think Gus is going blind. I've thought his vision had been getting worse for a while now, but when I was out at the barn yesterday it became apparent that it has deteriorated rapidly. And it's in what I've always considered his "good" eye aka his left eye.

Gus has been dealing with Equine Recurrent Uveitis for years. He's had flare-ups from time to time, but it's always been with his right eye. That eye continually weeps and tears up often. Because of that, and having ERU, Gus basically lives in a fly mask.

Except, something has changed in the last week or two. Gus's left eye is what I'd consider "cataract blue". The pupil has lost all of it's pigmentation and the eye seems especially sensitive to light, way more then usual. In fact, I had noticed a few weeks back when working Gus in the indoor that every once in a while the light would hit his left eye just so and he's have this major fit, throwing his head every which way. It wasn't like I ignored the symptoms, but the episodes happened so few and far in-between. Probably, because I haven't been riding nearly as often as what is typically "normal" for me.

So, Gus has another vet appointment scheduled for next Tuesday. Hopefully Dr. N will figure out what's going on and we can get a treatment plan. I'm hoping that eye meds aren't in the future because there's no way in heck that Gus will tolerate long-term eye drops. No sir. Gus does not do eye drops.

Left Eye

Left Eye 

Right Eye. The green-ness you see to this pupil is due to the flash, I believe. You can't otherwise see any discoloration on this pupil.
Regarding the riding aspect, I did end up riding Gus anyways yesterday. He was a VERY GOOD boy. We lunged for about 30 minutes, working on walk/trot/canter both without and with side reins. Because my balance is basically non-existent, I limit myself to almost exclusively walking when I'm up in the saddle. Less likely to get off balance and meet the ground. That's my reasoning, at least.

We did our normal under-saddle warmup - shoulder stretches followed by 10m half circles. Then we did some walking leg yields and some shoulder-ins. I did try to trot, both directions, but only managed to do 1 20m circle both directions before calling it quits. This extra baby weight makes it really hard to sit or post the trot. Pretty comical.

I'll give more updates once the vet has been out, but for now I'm going to enjoy the nice weather we're having. Today's high is mid-60s. Tomorrow and Sunday, we're supposed to hit the 70s. We totally bypassed spring. Oh well. Gotta love Minnesota weather.

In touch with our feminine side ...

So, a few weeks (maybe a month?) back, I had to get Gus another new fly mask. I ended up tossing out two fly masks a while back because they had literally gotten destroyed, so I figured I should replace at least one of them.

My favorite fly masks are the Cashel ones. They are made of a softer fleece material, which seems to help minimize rubs. And the mask part itself is fairly sturdy yet still yielding. LOVE these fly masks.

So, normally I get the plain ol' boring (original) grey/grey fly masks (with ears). But when I was at the local tack store a month or so ago, all she had were the pretty (but PINK) breast cancer awareness masks. So, Gus was stuck looking like an Easter bunny with big ol' pink ears.

Photographic proof that Gus wears pink.

However, just one feminine fly mask wasn't enough. I felt the need to torture Gus further. It didn't help that I had a gift certificate that I needed to use up as well.

Proof that I enjoy embarrassing my horse WAY TOO MUCH.

I really don't think the above fly mask is TOO girly ... and Gus is a pretty enough color to pull it off. However, this is what Gringo thought of the fly mask ... 

Looking at Gus ... think OMG! I'm glad that's you and not me.
Gringo acting like a flirt ... and giving Gus the "look" of knowing at least he (Gringo) isn't getting tortured.
 Lastly, some parting shots of Gus sans fly mask.

I'm pretty sure I have two of the prettiest ponies out there. I love my two Appys. I may *think* otherwise, from time to time, but I'm only human. They are DEFINITELY the best therapy out there that money can buy. 


So, Gringo has his hooves trimmed last week (I forget which day) and Gus had his done yesterday. Both boys' hooves are looking pretty good, all things considered.

J said Gringo's hooves showed signs of improvement, least where thrush was a concern. I'm still supposed to be using Tomorrow (or is it Today?) as often as possible to help cure and prevent further thrush outbreaks. Easier said then done when it's been so dang muddy and wet outside. Oh well. Such is life for an outdoor horse who's owner is VERY pregnant.

As usual, here's Gringo's hooves in their typical order (LF, LH, RH, RF).

I'm not entirely sure why his front frogs are so dang narrow. I can understand with the left front, as that's his "clubby" foot due to lingering effects associated with the fractured coffin bone in that hoof. But the right front? Nothing has ever been wrong with that hoof - but it's always had a narrower frog, least when compared to the hinds.

Gus FINALLY had his pads and studs removed. Woot! Woot! This means it's finally SPRING. Or in our case, it's summer. Spring never even happened.

All things considered, Gus's hooves look fabulous. The fronts look pretty dang good, especially since they've been covered up since January (I think that's when I put pads on ... it may have been back in December even).

As with Gringo, Gus's hoof shots are in the same "order".

I ended up pulling Gus's bell boots for a couple days. I'm REALLY hoping it wasn't a mistake to do so, but they were so mud-logged, it wasn't even funny! Hopefully a couple days to air out will allow Gus's fetlocks to air out as well. I'm really hoping I don't have to deal with any "scratches" this year.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

27 Weeks and Still Riding!

... And I have pictures to prove it! Except, well they are on my cell phone and I'm on the computer. I will get them downloaded and update this blog once I get the opportunity though.

So after work yesterday, I decided to get some "therapy" in and headed out to the barn for some 1 on 2 time with my boys. Both boys were SO HAPPY to see me. Makes me a happy mom, that's for sure. Gringo is almost entirely shedded out, where as Gus still has a long ways to go. But, we're making progress. Since I've owned Gus, I don't think he's every began shedding this early in the year. Typically, it's late April/May and he's not done until June. We'll see if he's done by May. I kinda doubt it - especially with the type of spring we've been having. But at least he's started the process.

Yesterday's ride was very lazy but good. I rode Gus and ponied Gringo so we didn't get anything accomplished. Which is okay because my body really can't handle too much right now anyways. Getting on and off of Gus is getting more and more comical as the weeks go on. Least I'm still landing on both feet!

We started off with the should stretches followed by the 10m half-circles. Once done with that, we did a half a lap at the trot around the arena, with a 20m circle thrown in at either E or B. Then we rinsed and repeated the other direction. Very uneventful.

Gringo was a good pony yesterday as well. He was not such a pest to Gus and actually is becoming better at trotting on command, least when I ask Gus to trot he picks up the trot as well. Very proud of him as 6 months ago, we didn't have that ... heck even early December/January we didn't have that. So all the ground work (long-lining and ground-driving) have paid off. Woot. Woot!

Anyways, I'll get those photos posted soon. Promise.

ETA on 4.26.13 - Proof that I'm still riding at 27 weeks.

Proof that I'm in the saddle at 27 weeks ... riding Gus and ponying Gringo.

Pre-ride ... wasn't sure if I'd be able to manage riding + ponying + camera.
Gus and I

Post-Ride. A very sleepy Gus.
Post-Ride. Gus conformation-ish shot.
The boys before our ride.
Gringo and I, pre-ride (or in his case, pre-ponying).

Gringo. Post-Ride ... bright eyed and ready for more adventures.
Gringo, post-ride.

A conformation shot of Gringo.
Another confo. shot of Gringo.

Gringo mugging the camera.