Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Spring!

The birds have been back (or at least chirping) for the past week or so. It's so nice to hear them ... it's like spring is truly here, officially and unofficially. Whohoo!

On that note, Gus is getting his spring vaccines this week and next week. Not so great on my pocketbook but things could be worse. Wait, they are. Gus has gone on a hunger strike. As of late last week, Gus has given up grain. Kinda like one would give up something for Lent. Except, he kinda needs his grain. So C, the BM, has been hand feeding Gus his Prascend (that's the new pergolide tab) inside an apple. So far, it's working but it's a temporary solution. B was supposed to check with Dr. N to see if we can do anything to stimulate his appetite .. cause Clover, the ancient wonder pony, is also on Prascend for Cushings Disease and is also on a hunger strike.

Further news ...

It's still really nice here in central MN as of late. I was able to make it out the barn both Sunday and Monday for quick outdoor rides. It's so nice to be able to ride outside in short-sleeves and not freeze to death. Or burn to a crisp. Temps in the 70s and a slight breezy is my ideal weather. Wish we could keep this for the whole summer. Heck, year around would be even more amazing.

I won't be able to make it out to see Gus until next Tuesday (a week from today). So I'm hoping that (1) his appetite improves, because currently his getting only 1/2lb grain twice a day (down from 1.5lbs/twice a day) and (2) the slight head bob/hitch I've felt while riding him outside goes away. I'm hoping that I'm just imaging the latter.

Gringo seems to be doing okay. I haven't heard anything to say differently ... and haven't been out to see him since my last blog post on him. He needs his spring vaccines too, just need to figure out when I get can the vet out (probably in April ... need to recover from this last round of vet appointments).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Putting on the dancin' shoes

Or at least in Gus's case, shoes.

Yesterday was Wednesday, which means ... (drum roll please) LESSON time. You just knew that was coming, right? Yesterday's lesson wasn't amazing by any means but I felt we had some very nice moments.

It all started with  lunge work, as usual. B noted that Gus seemed off on the left hind, but I didn't see anything too unusual. He may have had a few odd steps landing from time to time, but nothing dramatic. Once he was sufficiently warmed up, we went to work.

B decided on cavalletti poles for this lesson. There were only three poles set up in a fan-like arrangement. Gus could walk or trot the poles (not enough spacing for a canter, though Gus certainly tried and DID manage to canter them once, by mistake).

After warming up at the walk and trot (sans poles), B had us do a 20ish meter circle around the poles, gradually spiraling the circle inwards, so we would go over the poles. We probably made about five passes over the poles at different places, before we needed to spiral back out. Once we reached the 20m circle again, it was off to the canter for a lap, then counter-canter for two laps, then rinse and repeat. We did the same exercise twice, both directions.

We did our walk work at the end. This time is was only working on turn on the forehands because I brought it up. Silly me. Gus actually thought he was done, multiple times throughout our lesson. It was quite funny. So, I finally figured out which direction equals disaster for Gus. It's turn on the forehand to the right (so moving off my right leg). He is a MONSTER. Does not want to do them, period. At one point we were doing mini-rears. For whatever reason, Gus finally figured it out, so we had about four nice turn on the forehands to the right and we called it quits.

He was drenched in sweat. Almost comical how much he was sweating ... but when the temperatures are in the 60s-low 70s, what do you expect? Thank GOD I'm "crazy" and body clip my horse.

Gus also had his pedicure yesterday, complete with the new dancing shoes. They are aluminum Natural Balance shoes. Kinda spendy. Not sure what to think about the trim as his heels are still pretty tall ... and underrun.

We'll see how the shoes work ... so far (as in hours after they were applied) so good.

And here's what the view looked like leaving the barn last night ... it was GORGEOUS outside.

Gringo's damage ...

... wasn't as severe as I thought it would be. The photographic evidence is below.

All that shiny brown (unpainted) wood would be new.
He even splintered the wood that is part of the door framework!
There's Gringo. In about the only dry spot in his pasture. 
And Jade. The latch, seen above, was needing replacement after Jade ran through the gate (chased by coyotes). This was what was failing and lead to Gringo escaping.
The dutch door that Gringo squeezed under ... it's really not that tall, so I'm not sure why he felt inclined to escape out. Silly boy.

Then, I decided to take some new conformation shots of Gringo. He was not being very cooperative. Go figure. So, here goes nothing.

It's like he's saying "I swear, it wasn't me who escaped ... it was the other Gringo. You know, the crazy American?!?"

So the floor isn't entirely even, especially from side to side. The middle of the aisle is a bit taller then the sides, but there is definitely no uniform unevenness - it's all uneven.

Not sure if it's just the lighting or what, but it looks like you can see his ribs. You can't really see then in person, but you can fairly easily palpate them.

So, what does this shoulder say to you? Upright? Slopping? ???

Monday, March 12, 2012

Gringo + Loose Gate = Disaster

So I got this strange message from my husband last night. All he told me was this:

"Gringo ran through the barn but he's okay."

And I was like, What the fruitbat? Go figure, my husband was missing half of the details. By the time he happened to mention Gringo, it was already late in the evening and my MIL was sleeping already. So I couldn't  bother her to find out the whole story.

So today I found out what really happened.

First a little bit of background informaition. The latch on Gringo and Jade's turnout was ruined earlier this winter when Jade decided to attempt to run though the gate. There were some coyotes in their pasture and Jade freaked out (understandably). Due to my MIL OCDness, there is not only a latch but a lock AND a rope to keep it shut. Since the gate run-in, only the rope was working to keep the gate closed. And that was working well enough, least til it warmed up enough to replace the broken latch.

After talking to my FIL, I guess the turnout gate wasn't secured when my MIL was went out for feeding. So Gringo got out. No big deal as he ended up in the corral. Well, the gate from the corral to the barn was open since she was doing chores, so he ended up in the barn. Then, probably in his typical Gringo fashion, he saw a chance to escape and attempted to get out of the barn by ducking out of the main door. It's basically a dutch door with a screen on the top (removable). My MIL had the screen latched but the bottom open, so the geese and chickens can come and go as they please. I guess the screen door didn't quite survive.

Supposedly Gringo is doing just fine, but I'm worried a bit about his back/withers. I can't imagine that his withers cleared the door without any issues. I guess the screen door and the latch on the turnout gate both needed to be fixed. 

I'm planning on getting out to the barn tomorrow to see Gringo so I'll be able to take a good look at him then. My MIL usually calls me is anything is awry, so I'm guessing that everything is just fine but I'm a worrier. 

The view from the back of my horse ...

... is always a fabulous view.

On Saturday (and Sunday, for that matter), we had fabulous weather here in central MN. It was nearly 60 degrees, slightly breezy and just as sunny as could be. So what did I do? I took Gus out on the "trails" aka gravel roads.

All we did was mainly walk and trot, with a couple canter strides thrown in for good measure, but Gus was such a good boy. Just a few dragon-breathing moments, but no spook and spins. So that's a plus (granted we didn't see any cows either).

Here was my view during the ride:

Look at all that standing water! Sad thing is, we're in a drought AND we still have frost in the ground.

Our shadow.

I ended up booting Gus up with his Cavallo Simple boots, simply (haha) because he's been a bit foot sore again and I didn't want to have a new issue arise. Gus is due to have his hooves trimmed again on Wednesday. Last go-round, J suggested Natural Balance shoes but only if the weather was cooperating. So, we'll see. It's a muddy mess outside right now and I don't think shoes are the smartest idea, at the moment.

Here's a few more shots I took after our ride:

Conformation shot + tack (note the Cavallo Simple boots)


Gus modeling his new sheet. Pretty spiffy, don't ya' think.

Friday, March 9, 2012

An update on Gringo

Gringo, Gringo, Gringo. Where do I start?

Well, for starters, he's doing okay. His weight has dropped a lot over the winter, and while he needed to lose the weight, the reasons why aren't necessarily good. I definitely need to deworm him soon, the sooner the better. I'm thinking about doing a Power Pak, and then following up with something like Ivermectin. It's been since November since he was dewormed last and I think that may be contributing to his weight loss. For once, you can actually palpate his ribs. Yikes!

So, after the freak snowstorm we had at the end of February, I took the opportunity to take some shots of Gringo on Friday, March 2nd. Some of the highlights of Gringo's photo shoot are down below.

Because of the simplicity of this photo, it's one of my favorites. It was actually either the first or second photo I took of Gringo that day.




I love this picture. You can't really tell it, but Gringo is ducking underneath some tree limbs. He's got his eyes closed and is making himself as small as possible. So typical of Gringo.

Gringo and Mr. T - T is such a stoic, old soul.
Gringo and Jade

Jade and Gringo again

Jade, Gringo and the neck of Mr. T

Mr. T

On to things less pretty, but still equally important. Hooves.

This past Wednesday, Gringo had his hooves trimmed again. Nothing spectacular ... but L thought he may have found an old abscess pocket. Or it was a dirt pocket. He couldn't tell (crappy lighting in the barn). It was somewhere on the sole of the right hind. Wasn't causing Gringo any issues, that I'm aware of, in the past nor right now. So just something to keep an eye on.

Anyways, here's the photos. As usual, the order is left front, left hind, right hind to right front.

This photo looks bad ... but the ground is so uneven. The hoof really isn't that unbalanced.

Not sure what to think about the heels on the hinds. This photo makes everything look really odd, but the following photo doesn't look so bad. So kinda what the fruitbat?!?


So somewhere on the sole of this hoof was an abscess or a clump of dirt. I should've cleaned out his hoof better before taking photos. This is what happens when the barn floor is dirt packed and a bunch of geese and roosters roam freely.

And this is a photo of the sole of the right front. A large chuck of frog is missing. Why? I haven't got a clue. Maybe he was shedding his frog again. Honestly couldn't tell you. 
So, there you have it. The least week or two of Gringo, in photos.