Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday, Thursday

Well, I had another amazing ride on Gus again today. It was literally, verbatim, a copy from yesterday's lesson. The only difference really was that Gus was not wanting to pick up the right lead canter on the lunge today. We haven't had any issues with that in weeks... so the plan is to just monitor that and if things get worse, have Dr. N back out to either reinject (I hope not) or do a Legend injection (much more doable).

We otherwise had a nice ride. Gus was obedient and willing, we had some very nice moments. I'm hoping we can keep Gus moving soundly and we can keep moving forward in our training.

Today I also went out to see Gringo. Mainly I went out because my future SIL wanted to visit and we figured we could coordinate our times so we'd both be out at the same time. Anyways, I put Gringo back on the lunge line and he was a good boy again. First time I've worked with him in a few weeks. Mainly the same ol', same ol' - WHOA/walk/trot, emphasis on the whoa.

When I added the side reins back in, I moved them back two holes - so back to where they were originally. I figured I wouldn't press my luck with having them more restricted. The only issues we had were when Gringo thought the world was ending (aka geese honking/T bellering/Buster acting dumb). Ironically enough, just when all that commotion started was when I asked Gringo for the canter. We did have a nice canter on the right, the left was a bit harried - but I did have one nice attempt. We ended the session on a good note...

Then, Gringo got a bath. First bath (sans shampoo) in years. And he was such a good boy. Just one photo of a clean horse, the rest are the results of being turned back out.

[My favorite... both ears are pricked forward as well]

I'm hoping to get more photos in days and weeks to come. I did end up taking a video of Gus's ride from today, but even edited down (removing all the dead space) it is still just over a half hour long. And nothing is working right for me right now. For whatever reason I can't get YouTube or Picasa to work properly... and it's not like I don't have enough storage space, as I recently purchased an additional 20GB of space from Google, specifically for backup storage but now I can't get it to work. Supposedly it has something to do with GPS and all that jazz, but I'm not entirely sure how to turn off the GPS on my cell, cause the way I see it right now, it's turned off already. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nasty bugs!

I had forgotten to mention in my previous post (the mold one, haha) about a lovely sore that Gus developed on his left side aka "girth line". The bugs have become horrendous out at the barn - partially due to all the rain AND the heat, and well since I wasn't able to make it out for days on end, his poor "arm pits" just became inundated with bug bites. Thankfully I only ended up dealing with one major bit and another smaller one... poor Gus.

Anyways, I took a photo. It's hard to make out, so I ended up circling the area that is all swollen. The original size of the sore/swelling was about a small baseball in size - probably closer to golf ball sized. As of today, it's just a small scab with minimal swelling. Scab is about an inch in length and half that in width.

With some good management aka lots of vaseline/Swat/anti-bug goop, Gus should heal up just fine. Gringo is dealing with the same thing (bugs) but they seem to prefer his sheath to anything else. Poor Gringo.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, but I was able to talk to J, the farrier today. After talking to him, he said he'd really prefer to NOT shoe Gus at this time - partially because he doesn't think his hooves can hold a shoe for any length of time. That works for me, I had just mentioned the whole shoe idea because of how chewed up his hooves were last time, after just a couple weeks.

So, for the time being, I've started up the Durasole again. So every ride/anti-ride/whenever Gus is in the barn, I"ll be applying that to his soles - all four. And I did end up reordering Gus's SmartHoof pellets. So, we'll do another couple months of that and see how things sit then.

And, the boots will be coming back out. Whenever Gus is working undersaddle outside, I'll start using the Cavallos or the Boa boots again. I just don't want to deal with any foot tenderness - which is what I think we were seeing at the beginning of my lesson this morning. Hopefully we're getting to the bottom of all these hoof issues... very frustrating. 

Lesson = Very Successful

Today was lesson day again. First lesson, and real ride, since my last lesson two weeks ago. Gus was amazing.

We started off as usual on the lunge line with side reins. The only real issues I noticed was he was slightly off to the left (mainly on the left fore it seemed) ... and short with the right hind, although that is not unusual.

Once done with the warm-up, we proceeded to riding work. Same ol' once again. Serpentines. But you know what? They work.

After doing a few repetitions both directions, we worked on some leg yield work. Mainly, we did leg yields across the diagonal. Once we had those well established, we did leg yields across the diagonal again, but once we reached the opposite quarter line, I asked for the canter and kept the canter until just before the next short side. Eventually, that progressed to doing transitions on the leg yield, on the diagonal - just at the walk and trot.

That was the jist of my lesson today. Nothing too overly exiting, but Gus was just fabulous, all things considered. Definitely need to keep working on the down, round and forward. But I really also need to incorporate more lateral work, whether that be leg yields, or haunches-in... He just needs more hind end work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mold, Hooves and Celery, OH MY!

So three topics of discussion... none really at all related other then the fact that all revolved around Gus.

Firstly, mold. OMG. When I got to the barn on Wednesday (no lesson due to the heat), I couldn't believe how much mold my tack had accumulated in mere days. It was like I was back living in N. Georgia... in the summer. It was ridiculous.

Here's a couple pictures of Gus's bridle. It was disgusting...

Needless to say, ALL of Gus's tack needed to come home and get cleaned. So, instead of resting Wednesday evening, I spent two hours cleaning all my tack with a mixture of vinegar & water followed by a light coating of glycerin saddle soap. Everything is now sparkling clean and healthy-looking again.

Hooves. Well, on Thursday, July 14th Gus got his hooves retrimmed again. He was just four weeks post trim and was really needing to be retrimmed again. Frustrating to have to go four weeks instead of the usual 5-6 weeks, but if that's what he needs because of our crappy weather, then so be it.

Here's a bunch of photos from Gus's trim, one week out (taken on July 20th). As usual, then are show from left fore, to left hind, right hind to right fore.

And, for the heck of it, here's a photo of Gus enjoying his celery snack. I did find out via CoTH (my go-to source for information or rather opinions) that Gus probably can have watermelon, just in moderation. So, I'll be sure to get some watermelon for him next go-round.

Celery is his new favorite thing, I think. I've never seen Gus devour something so fast as he did the celery.

Yesterday, I had a really nice ride on Gus again. First ride in like two weeks. And first ride in YEARS sans any real "tack". I didn't even have Gus's halter on. Haha. Actually, he had a halter and two lead ropes as "reins" but the halter wasn't his. I had forgotten I had left all of my cleaned tack at my parents' house... so by the time I got to the barn it was a little too late to head the other direction into town. So, my BO was gracious enough to allow me to borrow a halter and I was able to supply the lead ropes.

All we managed to work on yesterday was a few walk/trot laps over the cavalletti that were set up in the north arena and then we went on a "road" and "field" ride with another lady, L and her horse, T. All in all, it was a nice ride but we didn't get anything accomplished. Tomorrow is lesson time again, so I'm hoping we have a good lesson. I won't keep my fingers crossed as neither Gus nor I have worked at all in the last couple weeks. Slackers I guess. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The heat... it's KILLING me.

Well, not literally. But it's been down right ridiculous here in MN lately. The last nice days we had here in central MN were over a week ago. I was the lucky individual at work who had Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday off, because I was stuck working the weekend shift. Well, you can bet that I enjoyed those two days outside. Since then, we've had nearly record highs - 80s and 90s with high dew points and high humidity.  Supposedly we were hotter then the Amazon yesterday, at 8:30 in the morning!

So, today I am supposed to have a lesson - long standing lessons, Wednesdays @ 6p. However, due the extreme heat - it's cancelled. Bummer but totally understandable, and with temps like we've been having, there's no way I'd actually want to ride in this weather.

Instead, I plan on going out to the barn to bring Gus a nice, cool treat. Some celery. I wanted to give him some watermelon, but it's high in sugar and with his IR issues I don't really want to push him over the edge. So, celery it is. Plus, I need to refill his grain baggies (all his meals are pre-baggied) and I want to see how his hooves look post trim. He was trimmed on 7/14, so I'm hoping everything looks good. I should have some new photos to post within the next day or two, hopefully.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Published... It's a possibility!

So, last weekend I went with a friend from the barn to a local schooling show. I went as her unofficial photographer/groom/whatever-she-needed. It was a great schooling opportunity for G, my friend's horse and we couldn't have asked for better weather.

Anyways, in the process of talking to the show organizer, they inquired about me being the unofficial show photographer for the day. I figured as long as I was there, I could certainly take photos - least until my ride left.

Here's a few shots I took from the day:

The shots of the bay on top are G, followed by an adorable little girl and her grey pony (her older brother also rode the pony in the ground pole class), then the last few are of E.L. That pretty pinto mare (I forget her breeding) in a phenomenal jumper and fairly photogenic in her own right. I love the last photo I took of her.

I was going to post a link to the photos, but then blogger went all funky on me. I'll try to get that figured out. Oh well.

The exciting part is that some of my work may get published in the local (local to the schooling show - so just south of the TC) newspaper. I'm super excited. Hubby of course says something to the effect that now I can finally use my journalism degree. Haha. Anyways, I'm hoping that I make it into the paper. That would be the highlite of my day.


Yesterday's lesson was amazing. Gus was such a good boy. For the first time in ages, we actually got the right lead canter EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I asked. And there was no rushing into the canter or anything along those lines either. Just a nice, balanced trot to canter transaction. Amazing.

So, the lesson consisted of the same ol', same ol' but fortunately for Gus, it works. So we did the 3 and 4 loop serpentines at the trot, throwing in a 8-10m circle at A/C and again at E/B - depending on what direction we were going.

Then we proceeded to work on the canter. All we did for canter work yesterday was 2 20m circles at each "major" letter, so A/B/C/E. Gus had to maintain a nice, slow, relaxed and ROUND canter. And for the most part, he did.

We ended the lesson with working on haunches in, but more specifically head-to-the-wall, butt-to-the-wall leg yields. Basically, we worked on the baby steps to get the haunches in. Of course we had issues getting the right leg to do what it needed to do, but we did end on a good note. These "haunches in" were really hard for Gus though, so I think I will plan on incorporating them into our workouts in the future... because they really will strengthen this hindend more.

Our game plan for the next few weeks will be working on the serpentines, "haunches in" - progressing towards a more true haunches in, and long canters/hand gallops. I think that kind of conditioning work will help Gus continue to develope his topline.

I'm so proud of my ol' man!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I haven't done much with Gringo in the last week, mainly because of the weather (really HOT) and partly because I've been busy. So the last time he was worked was over the 4th of July weekend. I definitely need to get more motivated and start working with Gringo on a more regular basis, then I might actually get somewhere with him. Then again, I'm in no hurry either.

Today, the farrier was out to trim Gringo again. Gringo was at 7 weeks out. I'm thinking I need to talk to L next time he's out about getting Gringo's toes in check. While he's perfectly sound like he is, he's also very long in the toe... which can lead to other issues, like I've learned with Gus.

Here's Gringo's hoof photos from today's trim, viewed from left front, to left rear, right rear to right front:

I also took some new body photos. Mind you, the barn floor is all dirt and VERY uneven. So, while Gringo looks like he's built majorly downhill, he's really only built slightly downhill.

Weight-wise, I would prefer that Gringo loose a few more pounds. But honestly, I'm not entirely sure to go about doing that. Normal circumstances mean cutting grain/hay, upping exercise or putting on a grazing muzzle. Unfortunately, none of those are really good options. I think I'll try upping the exercise as much as I can, but it's hard to do anything with a horse who's not started undersaddle. At least he's outside 24/7 so he can walking around as much as he'd like.