Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

I am on the east coast dealing with cleaning out my father's house - he sadly had to move into a nursing home - so Fawkes is in the much more capable than mine hands of my trainer all week.  I haven't called for an update yet, but I am sure he is doing very well.  Next week should get us back into some sort of schedule with hopefully no further travel plans until Christmas.

Sadly, I have no horse in costume pictures available, so please enjoy this picture of Aragorn dressed up as a reindeer.

Oh yeah, he LOVED that!  Hope everyone has a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Couples Counseling

I am calling my lesson with Fawkes' couples counseling for the forseeable future.  Which makes me laugh and is also really true because we need to work on our relationship.  I have been blog silent because this week Fawkes has been having daily trainer rides and I didn't want to get in the middle of it, so I just stopped by for grooming and bonding.

Thursday night I went to the Broncos game and got this awesome sunset shot.
Of course we had to win when the sky was Broncos' colors.

It has been interesting as trainer R has been finding some basic holes in his training.  For example, she doesn't think he knows how to appropriately soften in the bridle or understand that outside rein controls his shoulder.  Maybe one day I will blog in detail some of the trials and tribulations of our early training days but in short, I had Fawkes in training with someone who was very sick but I didn't know that and I am not sure what she was able to do.  So it is possible that trainer wasn't actually even riding him or wasn't physically able to develop his training adequately.  The next trainer I rode with didn't even want to do training rides on him and I have never claimed to be a horse trainer, so blah blah blah: it isn't exactly surprising that he might have some gaps to close.

Also got some solar eclipse viewing in.  I am a very happy dork and love this kind of stuff

I got on him this morning for the first time since Monday and took a lesson in the basics of relationship building.  The idea is everything is correctly asked for and we only accept the right response.  This will solidify in his brain what he has to do and build our trust in each other.  Probably won't make for exciting times and it involves a lot of transitions and circles and trotting poles but I am confident it will pay off as his trot already feels bigger and more relaxed and he is getting more comfortable stretching down into the trot.

Trainer R gave me a nice riding compliment too, that I have been covering the gaps in his education well.  I guess that is a mixed compliment since I probably should have identified the issues, but let's not quibble.
Aragorn is a football fan too, he sleeps on the Broncos blanket often. I wish I could relax like a cat.

The best of all was after our lesson we went out on a trail ride with another OTTB. Fawkes was excellent in every way.  The first part of our trail goes through a neighborhood complete with barking dogs, and people working in their driveways, and election signs, etc.  He was interested and looky, but didn't do anything.  Then we got to the open space and he was perfect.  When we turned back towards home my friend's horse melted down and spent the next 15 minutes or so spooking and dancing and trying to bolt.  My friend handled it VERY well and Fawkes was absolutely amazing.  He used to be pretty reactive to what other horse's did around him but this time he took in stride and kept walking nicely.  I could feel some tension, but he didn't give in.  So proud of this.

Griffin got a bath and was adorable.  He is the perfect cat.  So glad we found him
Maybe this week I will get some actual horse photos before I travel again.  I have to go back east to deal with some family things next Wed through the weekend so I want to get some more Fawkes practice in before I go.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It was about time for some good news!

Fawkes is under saddle again.  He has not a) thrown a shoe b) hurt himself or c) had a new allergic reaction to anything in like 72 hours.  It is amazing.  He still has edema on the right side of his neck but it isn't painful anymore.  So this weekend we gradually reintroduced him into the working world.  Friday night was just walking and a little trotting.  Saturday was more trotting.  And today we tried a little canter.

We have no new pictures so enjoy us sucking at dressage from May 2013.
The canter wasn't so great, at least the transitions were awful and there were several mini explosions.  I assume this comes from weeks of down time and am not sweating it.  We need work on our long and low.  I can get him to carry himself relatively relaxed but we haven't worked out really stretching down and out.

Canter work was like this
At the trot he feels pretty excellent.  Even the canter felt good for the half time around the ring between the 3-legged-camel transition and the I-want-to-run meltdown. My trainer and I will work out a plan for him going forward sometime this week and I will keep just working on relaxed, back stretchy trot in the meantime.

In more fun news, one of the other boarders was out of town and I was allowed to jump her most excellent horse this weekend.  He is a big Trakehner and a dead honest jumper.  He doesn't look at anything and is just what I need to get my own jumping mojo back.  It was a lot of fun to play around on him and remember that I really do know how to ride.  We were doing 2'6" oxers with lots of fill right off the bat and did courses and it was great.  We figured each other out quickly, which is not always the case for me, especially being so institutionalized to Fawkes and then getting on this big, floaty, warmblood.  But it was just lovely - he is easy to rate, easy to move up, and always hunting out the next fence.  Hope I can get some more rides on him while Fawkes goes to trainer school.

And then we can do this again soon
Fingers crossed for continued pony health!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fawkes' Weekly Health Update

Since we don't ride at the moment and I have been working 14 hour days in Texas, this is all I've got.

The chiro vet came and saw Fawkes on Tuesday and gave him a back adjustment and some acupuncture.  I don't even know what that cost yet, I shudder to think about it.  The good news is that the vet is confident that his back pain is a muscle issue and we don't need to do anymore meds.  He is also cleared to start riding.  Starting with long and low and using his comfort level to move him back up to normal work.  We will probably also throw some jumping in with the long and low work because it is good for his brain.

So that is excellent news, right?

Fawkes was longed on Wednesday by trainer R and was scheduled for a ride Thursday morning.  So of course he determined it was time to have an adverse reaction to his second antibiotic shot (given Monday by another one of his vets.  Yeah, my horse has a team of vets.  Be jealous) and his neck swelled up like crazy.

Sigh x 1 million.

Luckily, he was ok besides the swelling and trainer just gave him some banamine and longed him again.  Well played, horse.  The swelling is supposedly still there but not actively bothering him.

Oh, he is also back on solid foods like a big boy and happy to have hay again.

Maybe we shouldn't tell him, but I might actually get to ride my horse this weekend!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cannot catch a break

So it appears that Fawkes' attitude on Tuesday was not just his normal post-vaccination lethargy.  By Thursday he couldn't chew anything.  When I got to his pen, he turned his head away from me which is not normal.  Then, when I offered him a carrot, he took it in his mouth, threw his head around violently and spit it out.  I took him inside to take a closer look but he was not letting me near his face.

It was literally a dark and stormy night and I had had a crap day at work.  I was not in a great place to handle more drama so I called my trainer and asked if I should call out the vet or if I was overreacting.  She voted vet, so emergency vet call it was. PS I love trainers who answer their phone at night and offer to drive down to be with you and the vet.  I declined, but was very appreciative.

Friday afternoon swelling

I threw him in a stall while waiting for my equally awesome vet.  The vet did a quick exam and said the swelling around his left jaw was very concerning.  Based on Fawkes' sensitivity there and a slight fever, it was likely an abscess of some sort but he wanted to rule out a jaw fracture first.  So it was banamine and a shot of antibiotics overnight.  We also did soaked alfalfa pellets because the poor horse was super hungry.  He would try and pick up a mouthful of hay and then drop it over and over.  The soaked pellets at least helped some.

Friday afternoon we doped him up and took the x-rays.  Luckily, no fracture or obvious tooth issues.  The vet then tried to get back in his mouth but the swelling was so bad Fawkes couldn't open very far.  Vet was able to get in there enough to determine there was no broken tooth and there was definitely an abscess with some drainage.  Could have been he bit his cheek and it got infected or a foreign body.  Don't know yet, might not ever know.  Prescription is lots of soupy roughage for a few days and recheck on Monday.

Fawkes was clearly feeling much better by today and even let me touch that side of his face.  So maybe we can get an uncomplicated recovery because the last few weeks of have been a real bitch.

And of course, I am flying to Texas for work - leave tomorrow and don't get back until Friday.  Fawkes will have excellent care but I don't like being gone at this time.  With some luck, I will come back to a horse with 4 shoes, a pain free back, and a non-broken face.  OK, world? Can we make that happen?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Poor little red horse

Fawkes had his fall shots yesterday.  He had two whole injections and got wormed.  I went to see him last night and the conversation went something like this:

Fawkes: Sigh.  I am dying.

Me: Hi buddy, do you want an apple?

One of Fawkes' life skills includes perfect apple eating.  He takes nice bites, great size, never greedy or trying to swallow it whole.

Fawkes: Well.  I don't know.  But then again, I am dying, so I guess one last apple makes sense.

Commence a sad few minutes of Fawkes wrapping his lips around the apple, sighing, starting to sink his teeth in, pausing, and sighing again.

Me: Do you need some help?  Here, I will bite a piece off and give it to you.

Fawkes: Thanks, that looks delicious.  Let me take it, then hold it in my mouth for 30 seconds, and then sadly spit it on the ground.  Because, dying.

Me: Hmmm, that isn't normal.  Let's try some nice fresh grass instead.

Fawkes: OK, I like grass.  Let me take it, then hold it in my mouth for 30 seconds, and then sadly spit *that* on the ground.  Why bother when you aren't going to see tomorrow?

Me: OK, Eeyore, clearly you aren't feeling well from your shots.  Interestingly, you demolished your grain and most of your evening hay is already gone, but I am sure you will never be able to eat again.

Fawkes: So true, pity me?

Me: Night kiddo, feel better.

Every fall and every spring, it is the same story.  Poor little red horse doesn't feel well for several days after his shots.   I really need to ask the vet if a banamine experiment would be worthwhile.  I feel bad that there isn't anything I can do except scritch his withers.  On the plus side, he should be feeling better again by tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Exciting Times

At the advice of the vet, Fawkes was scheduled for another test ride on Sunday.  Operation Horse Yoga (Long and Low) was set to begin.  So should I have been surprised when this happened on Saturday?

I turned him out for a bit and he ran and bucked and played and had a ball.  Then came happily trotting back up to me sans a shoe.  I never saw anything special happen, but got to spend a really fun 20 minutes finding the lost soul (sole! Ha, punny).  He looked very unbalanced down a shoe and pad, but unhurt otherwise.  Yay for small miracles.

So he earned a few more days off, not that it will hurt him in the long run.  The hoof held up pretty well, although the outer wall definitely suffered some damage.  

 The farrier came tonight and reshaped and attached the front shoe AND had to reset the right hind which he had also pulled loose.  He doesn't have enough front foot left to do this again, so we will avoid muddy turn outs and I guess invest in some bell boots?  This is first lost shoe in the near 3 years I have had him so I have to reach back into the memory banks to try and remember the shoe retention voodoo.

So, what does a girl do when her magnificent steed is down for the count?   Apparently the answer is drink with friends.

Beer pairing dinner with Stone Brewing

My new favorite beer
Great American Beer Festival, where I tasted every sour beer I could get my hands on

And, Cavalia Odysseo which I don't have any pictures of because they don't allow photography.  But it was pretty fun and it makes me want to run away with the horsey circus.  They need grooms, right?
Now that I am all caught up with friends and beer, I am hoping I can actually sit on my horse tomorrow.  He may not be cleared for real work, but it will be nice just to get up there again!