Friday, August 21, 2009

Go West .... Women!

Dubois, Wy is our destination tomorrow to gather at Grace's house before heading into the mountains on Monday to ride pack horses up to base camp near the Grand Tetons to spend the week with our com padres. The final count is 16 packwomen with guides and cooks to lead and feed us (halter mares?). We will be on the look out for fab scenery and jackalopes....

Diez and TC went to Dr. Shipman's today for a laminitis check up -Diez, and to be companion- TC. Hoof testers show some tenderness in both of Diez's front hooves but the rear feet do not test tender. However, a little separation and development of "seedy toe" show that some damage was done to the rear hooves as well as more serious damage to the front hooves.

The good news is that Diez is improving and Dr. S is satified with her progress. She now needs a "four point trim" to concentrate weight on the four "corners" of each front foot and to get weight off the front/toe. Also, a couple of months with some shoes put on open side to the front. That will provide support on the hoof walls and leave the toe with less pressure to minimize the separation of the hoof wall from the sole.

The bottom line - as horse age and reduce work and undergo changes to metabolizm, risk of laminitis increases. The recent research on Equine Metabolic Syndrone indicates that the pattern of older horses developing laminitis (inflamation of the sensitive hoof wall laminae) and subequent founder (detachment of the coffin bone from the hoof wall and "sinking" toward the sole) is much more likely with an overweight horse and can happen in the same pasture where the animal has lived for many years with not obvious changes.

When no clear indication of laminitis is observed (not all horses show the "camped out" stance when they are in trouble), significant damage can occur before the horse shows lamness. So, any older horse (late teens and twenties) with a little extra weight especially with a cresty neck, should be watched closely when irregular rain patterns cause lush grass to come on after a dry period. TC is now 23 and certainly not thin, so I will reduce his feed a bit to try to reduce his risk of founder. Also, Sunny is always a bit cresty, and although he is much younger, his tendency to carry weight on his neck could indicate that he is at risk. Sunny's sire (I Stand Grand) was donated to OSU after he "road foundered" from a heavy show shedule. Perhaps he had a genetic propensity for laminitis?

So pat your ponies and watch your grass grow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Horse Work Horse Work Horse.....

The weekend was a blur with horsey activities and I never got to ride once!

Friday night was time for mighty show preparations including trimming (done by eagle-eye mom who NEVER missed a single hair.....) and then washing, etc. Splash, Sunny and Pico for the August 4-H point show on Sat. Up early to get to the show and band/weave various manes and do the show thing all day long. It rained a bit but didn't get mushy.

Nancy and Madeline stopped by to check out 4-H and I coached M in how to beg for a horse. Perhaps she can join Quiz Bowl until she has her own mount.

Ivy didn't get to jump cross-bars but did ride the speed events on my/her best dressage barrel horse. Alaina rode Sunny in all English, Western and Trail but skipped the speed stuff. After the show, the girls hung out with their friends while the fabulous show horses grassed on expo pasture.

Then, on Sunday we attended the 4-H County Record Book Award Banquet and both girls earned Bronze horse medals.

I am headed to Kansas for a conference this week and will miss the girls' first day at Central Upper Elementary but I did get to go meet the teachers tonight. The girls are in the same Pod with Ms. Bacon and Ms. Edson in classrooms across the hall from each other - so a new school with 6th grade only.

In other news! The great 2009 Wyoming Pack trip is almost here. After I get back from Kansas on Thursday, just in time for 4--H ride night, I will take Diez to Dr. S for a founder check-up on Friday and then, Sat. morning early, head out to Jackson Hole for a pack trip into the Tetons.

I have been in denial since early July when Diez developed acute laminitis after the July 4 rain caused lush grass growth in the middle of summer. Poor Deezie-Doo. After 16 years in our back pasture - through drought and monsoon, Diez foundered on grass. The culprite? Equine Metabolic Syndron. EMS is more likely in older, mares of a certain body type (easy keepers) and Diez, although thinner than in her pudgy youth, was not thin. Hormons and reduced exercise may have been factors as well. I will write a full update after the check-up.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dog Days

Hello YaYa Sista's! Long time no ride together! The weather was hot but the humidity not to bad and the breeze was blowing strong. The girls and Steve were up at the annual Orban campout for the weekend and since I go back and forth, I got to ride at Patty's for the Sat. party lesson. Kathy B is in Mexico, and Carol J is busy with the big Show, but Marsha and I rode Lil and Splash and Ruthie joined us on Pico. Marsha and I shared spanish fries at Ron's afterward...mmmmmm... yummy....

Marsha started off lunging LB but then switched to Lil for the lesson. Lil was a bit stiff for warm up but then moved nicely and Marsha had a good lesson. Pico was a bit spooky with the wind but Ruthie got a couple of really nice (energetic) canter transitions. We worked on leg yields and spiral circles in and out. Splash was his usual non-energetic self which makes lateral work so much harder for me since my energy is diverted to maintaining (or getting) forward movement. We really focused on our line from bit to elbow and discussed the corridor between leg, arm, rein and hand. Pico is further along with his training and so can be ridden in a more narrow corridor compared to Splash but I need to work toward a more direct path for the Splash. For canter work, Splash and I worked on our transitions (better) and keeping energy between circles and staight work. Pico and Ruthie worked on going deep into the corners between Patty, the mounting block and the shadow line near the rail. A very difficult exercise, but they did it and really improved their canter work.

The girls and I will take Kathy's lesson on Wed. since they have a 4-H show next weekend. Hope to ride the range with my yaya's soon, but I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jet the New Pet

Well, we finally got a dog. It has been a slow process waiting for Jet but Molly M had a sweetheart named Bubby who needed a new home. Bubby has been christened Jet by the girls although his personality is not all that speedy. Jet is an Aussie-miniAussie mix, chicken and cat friendly and pretty laid back. He hung out with the girls all afternoon and now is sleeping in his new digs.

In horsey news, the girls and I had lessons with Patty yesterday - what with the weather and my travel schedule, we hadn't had a chance to ride since the last ride night when Alaina was still sore from her unintended dismount at the Rocking C Dressage show on the 18th of July. She was still a little nervous about canter work but lounged the pesky Sunny before the ride; she did a great job and cantered after all. Ivy was doing really well with Pico and then he tried to resist her canter request and she popped him with the whip and he tried to rear and run off. Ivy got after him for the disobedience and worked through it. I am proud of both girls, since as you know, riding and training is not always easy.

My lesson with Splash was a mixed bag. We had some really nice canter departs and got the correct lead on his bad side every time. The leg yield right before the canter seems to help with the lead. I used the German Neck Stretcher and we had some nice trot work. But, during the first 20 min or so, Splash was looking for some space to resist the work. Several times, he felt like he would try to buck a little and I pushed him forward and he missed his chances. Those moments weren't pretty but.....

Then, Shannean rode Splash with the girls in their lesson and did really well. S&S had some good canter work after Shannean convinced the slug that she really does want to canter. So. progress is happening. YaYa!