Monday, May 23, 2022

Still Out Here!

 It's been over a year since I posted last.  No particular reason for the sudden drop off other than Instagram is much quicker to update.  I have so many other projects and things I work on that the blog took a back seat.  While I do enjoy writing about our adventures, sometimes you have to take a hard look at prioritizing things.  People ask me a lot how I "find the time" to do all these things.  Simple, I don't.  I have a saying I tell people that I believe in and use every single day.  That saying is "If you are always looking for time, you're not going to find it.  You have to MAKE time."  How do we make time?  Prioritizing.  

I am very grateful and honored to have had some AMAZING opportunities present themselves and there came a point where the blog was not going to move me forward in the direction I needed to take these opportunities.  Why?  Time consumption.  This is why I post mostly on Instagram.  It's very easy and quick to post what the girls are up to.  So, if you don't follow me on Instagram, you can find us here:

Even though the blog has taken a hiatus, the girls sure haven't.  Klein and Super B are doing amazing as always.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dead Tooth Extraction - Dental Surgery

All done!

Klein's surgery went really well yesterday.  I will warn you now, there will be graphic picture of the procedure in this post.  It looked very invasive, but it is a somewhat routine surgery.  I think that is why I could watch it.  That, and the fact I wanted Klein to know I was there with her.  After Super B's colic surgery last year, I think my nerves are deadened enough to put up with watching a lot more procedures on my animals.  People, that's not a problem.  Animals, I've always been the person that demands the channel be changed whenever the ASPCA commercials come on.  I have a really hard time looking at posts about abused/neglected animals or even just ones that need homes.  My heart breaks.  Yet, I am an MFS, am halfway through an MFM, and deal with the some of the worst of humanity on a daily basis.  I have held a decapitated human head, with absolutely no second thought.  But kind of like the saying "there's someone for everyone" it's the same for occupations.  

My vet warned me that this procedure is very bloody.  She also warned me about the hammer.  So I knew what I was getting myself into.  The left side of Klein's face was blocked and she was sedated.  That's why she appears to not really care in the video.  

The whole thing took about an hour and a half.  Basically, a bone flap was cut so they had access to the sinus and above the tooth with the dead root.  The appropriate term for the procedure is "Dental Repulsion of 209 through Maxillary Sinusotomy."  There was already a bone response going on where the bone was remodeling where the dead tooth was.  Some of that had to come out so that the dead tooth could come out.  The dead tooth had six roots too.  It was not loose at all either.  

Globs of pus came out of the sinus.  I cannot imagine the sinus pressure and headache my poor girl has been dealing with.  Through all of this her attitude never changed.  Beyond being a little lethargic she never once had any attitude about anything.  These types of horses can be in some serious trouble in the wrong hands.  If you aren't committed to finding out the actual cause, even though the horse is still just slightly out of sorts and won't refuse anything you ask, you probably don't need a horse like this to be honest.  Klein won't quit, if I asked her to go out and jump a course right now, she would.  

After the sinus was cleaned a bit and the additional new bone was removed the hammering started to essentially punch out the tooth.  They each area of the tooth start to give until it finally came all the way out.  It took quite a bit of hammering.  You could clearly see the little hole in the tooth too.  All of it came out when it let loose from the hammering, so that was great.  No little pieces were left, meaning no additional digging, poking, prodding.

After that was out they flushed and cleaned the sinus, put in a medicated putty where the tooth came out, put the bone flap back in place and closed it.  


Within a few hours she was allowed to have her hay again.  I went to see her that evening and took her for a walk and a hand graze.  She acted like nothing ever happened.  If you didn't see the bandage, you would have no clue what went on just hours before.  The putty will fall out on its own once the gum has healed where the tooth came out.  

Grazing like nothing ever happened.

My vet let me know first thing this morning that everything looked great and she had the green light to come home.  She will have a follow up I will take her in for on Friday morning, then her staples will come out in two weeks.  I can start riding her now as well.  Which, will just be long walks for the next couple weeks anyways.  She's out of shape, so we'll start back slow.  She did gain a little weight while she was on her vacation, so that needs to come off a little bit. 

Unicorn reunion!!  I took B on a little field trip this morning's ride anyway, so I just took her with me after we were done with our ride to go get her BFF.  She was SO happy to see Klein.

She has a VERY minor amount of drainage.  It is barely noticeable, and it will just continue to fade away.  It's already significantly less than when she had the infected snot drainage.  I am just so relieved it's over and done.  She already seems brighter overall.  She even did when I went to visit her yesterday evening.  The rest of the recovery seems incredibly easy, so I am thankful for that too.  

My happy girls!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Back to Normal

I have been home from my work trip for a few weeks.  The Super Mares are so happy to have something to do again.  They don't mind a little time off, but after a while they start to get a little bored.  They LOVE to work.  Both of them.  Oddly, even though they are complete opposites when it comes to their breeds, they are both bred to work hard.  It shows.  Combine that with being mares and you have two workaholics that don't know when to quit.

They will both come back to work gradually.  Despite the fact that I don't think it's possible for Super B to become unfit, she's going to come back to work gradually, for the sake of prevention.  Imagine if you hadn't went to the gym for months and tried to go in and go back to the workload you were at months prior?  Same concept.

Unfortunately, Klein mare has not been herself.  A couple weeks before I came home my ponysitter said she was eating, drinking, peeing, pooping fine but just wasn't her normal self.  She just couldn't quite identify what it was that was off, and she knows Klein extremely well.  She has known her for years and taken care of her many times.  She started to seem stiff in the mornings sometimes too, even a little lethargic.  Still, she continued on normally as far as appetite, water intake, bathroom habits.  Even when B would sass her, she would be like "Look, yeah, I don't feel good, but I still run this place.  Step off."  She never had a fever either.  

During this time she had a trim and was uncharacteristically lazy about it, leaning on him and just being fidgety.  That's not her normal.  She also had a bit of a snotty nose with clear snot, but it cleared up and could easily be attributed to the terrible air quality that lingered in the valley for weeks due to all the fires in California.  The smoke was THICK in the valley, so thick you couldn't see the mountain behind us that was only about 3 miles away.  

The snot cleared up on its own, still no fever, everything else normal except just not really herself 100%.  When I got home I noticed her eyes seemed somewhat puffy, like the horse equivalent of having puffy eyes from a cold.  I don't know that anyone else would have really noticed it, I only did because I have had her for 13 years.  I know her through and through, and can see subtle things in her.  I still couldn't quite figure out what was going on.

A few days after I came home she had a snotty nose again.  This time, it was yellow and had a slight smell to it.  By the second day it had an abscess smell to it.  It was FOUL.  The vet was coming out the next day anyways so she fit her in and took a look. 

The foul smelling snot.

The snot was only on the left side.  She checked her teeth, and examined a few other things.  Since she was still mostly normal (appetite, etc...) she did an injection of Excede to see if we could kick whatever was causing the snot.  We also did some blood tests which came back showing a mild infection, which we knew, everything else was normal.  She said it SHOULD clear within three days.  It didn't clear in three days so I picked up another injection of Excede at the vet's direction.  She said if that didn't do the trick to bring her in.

Well, that second injection didn't do the trick.  So, we went in for further investigation.  The plan was radiographs of her head and a respiratory scope.  Radiographs were first and in about 10 seconds the vet identified the problem, a tooth with a small hole in it and a dead root.  You could also see all the sinus congestion on the radiograph.  She said that tooth had to come out.  So, surgery was scheduled for a few days later.

Top radiograph:  tooth with the dead root in the square, congested sinus in the circle.  Bottom radiograph:  right side, normal.  Notice the difference in the sinus.  The sinus is much more clear, not so opaque with congestion (pus).

While the surgery was going to be pretty invasive, I was relieved that we had a concrete answer as to what was up with my girl.  I absolutely hate seeing her uncomfortable to any degree, and the fact she is so stoic about stuff just makes it worse.  It's ok not to be tough ALL the time, Klein mare.

Meanwhile, Super B has been back to work.  We started with long hacks on a loose rein for a week.  I got right back on her and it was like I never left.  That was a great feeling.  I wasn't sure if I would lose some of the training I put on her recently.  I feel stupid for even considering that may happen. Of course it wouldn't, she is SO smart, there is no way she would forget anything.

The second week we hacked some hills and did long trots.  We added in some slow canters and picked up more contact here and there.  On her days off I would still do some stretches with her and walk some ground poles.  She is SO happy to be back to work.  She hacked out on a long rein on the trails like she goes out every day.  She hopped right on the trailer.  I didn't expect any less.

Racing our shadow.

I can't wait to get Klein back to work, I know she's ready too.  I feel bad she sees me leave with B.  Klein LOVES to go out and about.  But, she needs to be 100% too.  

Both of the girls have had chiro adjustments and PEMF treatment since I've been home.  Just all part of the plan of getting them back to work.  They had great reports from the chiro, and they absolutely LOVED their PEMF.

Super B finding her zen.

Klein mare enjoying her PEMF.

Klein had her surgery this morning, and it went well.  The next post will be the full details on it.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Horses From the Other Side of the World

I have now spent about four months watching horse racing on the other side of the world for hours on end every day. I have a tv in my office and have it on as background noise most days since I figured out there is a channel that plays nothing but Thoroughbred racing, Arabian racing, dressage, showjumping, Arabian horse breed shows, race horse sales, racing stallion parades, and camel racing. It cycles through tracks from around the world, including tracks in the U.S. on some days, but the U.S. tracks are definitely the minority on this channel. A lot of the racing is from England, Ireland, Singapore, and the UAE. 

Last time I was in UAE, I was there in the racing season, the winter. I went to the Dubai World Cup and the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. This time, obviously, there were restrictions in place and it was the off season, the summer. It is just too hot in the UAE for live racing of any type. With the heat and humidity combined, some days it would be 140 degrees out. However, the dressage and jumpers still work and compete because they have large indoor, air conditioned facilities, and they are quite impressive. So, if I can't ride, and I can't go see horses in person somewhere downtown due to COVID restrictions, the next best thing is to watch them on tv, right? 

There are some things I have noticed about the racing in other parts of the world versus racing in the U.S. The horses race in both directions. The tracks have undulating terrain. Why don't we have that in the U.S.? I also watched a really cool documentary about Godolphin's training barn in Australia and their baby starting program. Dubai in particular has a track called Jebel Ali. There are a few tracks in Dubai. The one I went to for the World Cup was flat, but Jebel Ali has a MASSIVE hill the horses run up to the finish. It's impressive.  

These past few months have made it clear why imported race horses seem to hold up better than ours. I have always heard about how Ireland's race training, how it does involve galloping hills a lot and taking them out on varying terrain, so they're not always on a prepared surface. They just seem much smarter about it than we do. 

 Dubai Racing frequently plays a tribute to the late Shamardal as well.


 Here is a short video from one of the sales I watched last month:  
 They also do a "Where are they now?" that features well known retired race horses in their new homes.

I also found this in a gift shop here, so of course I had to have it:

It's time to go home.  I'm starting to smell horses randomly, and the other night I saw the running lights on top of a bus go by over a building and thought it was running lights on a horse trailer for some reason.  Clearly my mind is trying to tell me something.  It really is a mental game when you're away for months.  You just have to try to not dwell on what you're missing and just look at the work ahead.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Plantation Field and the Disrespect of Private Property Owners

 The Plantation Field Horse Trials fallout continues.  In case you're not up on the drama, recently it was announced that the Plantation Field Horse Trials would no longer be running after their international event last weekend.  Here is why:

Here is the Eventing Nation article:  The Problem With 'Plantation'

The shockwave went around the eventing community several times.  People are pointing fingers in every direction.  Some on the side of the owner, others calling the owner immature for refusing to "just change the name."  A few upper level pros have spoken out, but the majority of them have stayed silent, at least publicly. 

Now, the latest development is that Boyd Martin has made a post asking Eventing Nation to not mention him in their articles, or post pictures of him.  

Again, the comment section is going crazy with people siding with Boyd, and others making it known that they're going to unfollow him immediately.  

The thing is, Cuyler Walker is a private land owner.  All these people bashing him with their sense of entitlement to HIS land are wrong.  I have seen a few people making a comparison to the Kentucky event being changed from Rolex Kentucky to Land Rover Kentucky.  That is not even close in comparison.  The Kentucky Horse Park is owned by THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY aka in no way, shape or form, a private party.  It is also staffed by a number of full time state employees.  
You're also talking about actual legal contracts and sponsorship.  That is not the same as a private land owner leasing some of their land.  These two situations could not be more opposite.  So the people that can't understand that, well, good luck to you.  There's really no getting through to them.  

Cuyler Walker can do whatever he wants and feel however he wants about HIS private land.  It doesn't matter how mad or "woke" you are.  It's a fact.  There is family history in the reason that piece of property is named Plantation Field.  It has to do with a Boy Scout project 80 years ago.  Clearly that name has significance to his family.  Who is everyone else to tell him it's unacceptable?  Who are they to tell him his family's reason is invalid because of their feelings?  Their being those that don't own that land and have no say in what happens to it.

While there have been some articles from POC that say that the name bothers them, there are also articles out there from POC saying it doesn't bother them and they are pissed that a great event has been taken from them.  

What about all the upper level pros that still competed last weekend?  What do those of you that are so pissed about what this private land owner is doing with his own land have to say about that?  Are you still going to support them?  Even though they still went and competed at a venue with this awful name?  And don't use the excuse of qualifying competitions, or that they already paid their entry fees.  What's more important to you?  If they really cared, wouldn't they have just not went?  But I bet that most of you will still be finding yourselves taking lessons and clinics with these individuals.  Because that's what you do, you post on social media to be cool and trendy but won't back it up with action when it comes down to it.

Anyone that has that big of a problem better not be caught in lessons, clinics, or boarding with those that continued to compete at Plantation last weekend.  Or, if that is you, I'd love to know why you will continue to support them.  Maybe because it was a personal decision that was their own?  Guess what, so is Cuyler Walker's personal decision to do whatever he wants with his personal property.  Also, what about their silence?  Isn't silence compliance?  Aren't you pissed they're not speaking up like you think they should?

Though not for the same reason, do you all remember with Longwood shut their doors to the public?  They got absolutely roasted all over the internet.  Why?  Because so many people felt entitled to use their land.  Guess what?  Private property that doesn't need your business or money.  I don't understand why people feel so entitled to others' property.  Get over yourselves.  That was quite a while ago, and guess what, Longwood is doing just fine, Joe Watkins certainly didn't lose any sleep over it.
If you don't like the name, you could have just not went.  It's pretty easy.  You don't like the name, don't enter events there.  

Guess what?  I work with victims of some of the most horrifying and personally violating crimes you could possibly imagine.  That is no exaggeration.  These victims have endured the type of things that your worst nightmares are made up of.  Some of them have taken their lives over it.  Almost all of them know the name of the offender or offenders that comitted these acts against them.  Do they protest and throw a huge fit to have that name stricken from existence?  They sure don't.  Do they avoid every speaking to anyone with the same name of their offender?  No, they don't, or none that I have worked with have, there may be some that do avoid people with the same name.  

I'm not trying to minimize the hurt or offense that some are caused by the word Plantation but, where is the line?  

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Trailer Maintenance: Mandatory Fun

All sparkly and clean coming out of the truck wash.

A big part of having a trailer, is trailer maintenance.  It’s not the most fun thing in the world, but it’s a requirement to ensure the safety of the horses.  It’s something that can easily be put off, and shouldn’t be.  Aside from just taking care of your trailer in general (cleaning/greasing), annual maintenance should be a priority.  Not only does it service the parts that needs continuing regular maintenance (brakes/bearings) but it also serves as a thorough inspection of the trailer.  It’s possible for the techs working on it to spot an issue before it gets worse.

Before I left for my work trip I had the annual maintenance done on mine.  The brakes/axles were inspected, bearings packed/greased, and it got a once over.  

I don’t expect any issues out of my current trailer, but you never know.  I have had great luck with Sundowner.  My previous trailer was a Sundowner too and it was a GREAT trailer.  My current trailer is living up to that reputation as well.  I bought my new trailer new in 2017.  Part of why I did this is because I will know its history from the start.  I will know it was taken care of a serviced on a regular schedule.

I also greased all the locks, latches, and springs.  

Some  hinges have grease ports, some don't.

You can use the grease ports on the jack, or you can take the top off and hand grease it.

Using white lithium grease for the hinges that don't have grease ports.

Be careful not to over grease, it can actually just attract more dirt and cause issues.

The two types of grease I used.  If you have a trailer now, you better know what Moly Grease is because you had better be greasing your hitch/coupling at regular intervals.  I always have Moly Grease on hand in the truck/trailer.

The Other half did me a huge favor and power washed the inside of it.  Some truck washes will do it for you if it's empty of all shavings, etc... But some won't.  Blue Beacon here will not.  

I took everything out of my tack room and organized it.  Pulled the mats and scrubbed them, and vacuumed.  The trailer usually gets this type of spa treatment on regular intervals but this time was also in preparation for me to be gone for a few months on a work trip.

This was when I come back it’s ready to go.  My truck is being started regularly too, even though it’s not being drive.  When I get back I’ll still get an oil change and then we’ll be ready to hit the road for some adventures.

Doing what you can on your own will also help you familiarize yourself with how things work and give you the ability to recognize if something isn’t right, just like with horses.  So, being afraid to do some maintenance is bad.  I've sadly seen people who even think it's cute to have someone else to haul their horses around and say how it's that person's "job" and they will be willfully ignorant about the process.  Ok, well maybe it is their "job", but that is still no excuse not to familiarize yourself with equipment that involves YOUR horses.  

Checking fluids, etc on The Beast.  KNOW WHAT IS NORMAL.

Even if your friend/trainer usually hauls you because you don't have a trailer, you really should learn what you can.  What if there is an emergency and that person is unavailable for some reason?  You HAVE to be able to help yourself.  Doing small things like this is where it starts.  Know your equipment's normal.  Even if it is your friend or trainer's equipment, if your horse is in it frequently, make yourself useful.  Know how to change a flat on a trailer, know how to break lugs, know how to tighten lugs in the proper pattern, know the normal squeaks, clicks, bounces, etc... with the truck and trailer.  Know what the normal running temp is on your truck when you're hauling.  Know how to adjust the brake controller, remember to check your fluids regularly.  Know what oil you use in your truck.  Things like this can help you spot a potential issue before it becomes a catastrophe.  I get it, some things just cannot be avoided, but some absolutely can.  Being uneducated isn't cute, it's not funny, it's dangerous.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Preparation Is Key: Leaving Your Horses For Months

What do I do to get ready to be away for months is another common question I’m asked.  This is more concerning the Super Mares, and not things like my truck and trailer.  The most important thing is to have someone you trust to look after your horses.  Too many times I have seen horror stories after someone left their horse or horses with someone they didn’t know for that long, or personally did not know but was just recommended to them.

An authorized agent is something you need to have in place.  That is someone authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf while you’re away.  Some vets have their own form you can sign that authorizes that person, others require a Power of Attorney to do it.  Either way, do it and make sure your Authorized Agent’s contact information is included in the file.  This guarantees that if for some reason the vet is not able to get a hold of you, there is someone in the local area they can speak with regarding medical care if needed.  I don’t care if you are even just one state away and not on the other side of the world, you need to have this in place.  I have two, obviously The Other Half, and then my friend that is taking care of them.  I recommend you have one in your file even when you’re not gone.  You just never know.  What if something were to happen while you’re in an area with no cell service one day?  

I also always have a card on file with the vet.  I imagine most of you do, some practices require it, but if you don’t, that’s something else you should seriously consider.

Have that hard talk with your Authorized Agent(s) (and your caretaker if they are not the same person) of what your threshold is if serious illness or injury were to occur.  Let them know your limits financially and ethically.  This can be a hard conversation to have, but it needs to happen because it will be much worse of a conversation to have in the middle of an emergency.  I am very fortunate in that my friend and I are on the same page. 

Tell your equine professionals (farrier, chiro, etc…) that you’re leaving as well and who will be caring for your horses.  This way they know who to contact if appointments need to be changed, or if your caretaker needs a random appointment for something like a thrown shoe.

Change your autoships if you need to.  It may be easier to just have things like treats, fly spray, SmartPaks go directly to your caretaker.  Amazon is your friend too.

Make sure your First Aid Kit is stocked up.  That way your horse or horses have supplies if they need it and no one is running around looking for things that aren’t there.  Ask your caretaker where they would like it to be kept, that way they know exactly where it is.

I also left the keys to my truck and trailer with my friend.  

Truck and trailer spotless and prepped to take a break.

An app like Marco Polo is amazing while you’re away.  The beautiful thing about Marco Polo, if you are unfamiliar with it, is that you will always receive the videos.  It’s a video text app, but it can also do live videos if you are watching it while someone is messaging you.  This is super helpful because the videos don’t take up space on your phone.  You don’t have to worry about the quality or if they are too big for a text message, etc…  This way you can see your horse or be present for things like vet visits, even though you can’t be physically present.  

Super B noticing that gorgeous mare looking back at her on the phone.

My friend also has multiple ways of reaching me if she needs to.  It’s not as easy as just calling my phone right now.  If this means you get a Google Voice number, WhatsApp, etc… then do it.  

Have Zelle, PayPal, Venmo or something similar set up in case unforeseen issues arise or extra supplies are needed for whatever reason.  These apps make sending money quick and easy.  For example, Klein recently broke something in her paddock, I told my friend to let me know what I owe her to get it fixed and I’ll Zelle her immediately. 

Have your grooming supplies stocked.  That way there is plenty of shampoo, conditioner, etc...  

I had all of their sheets, saddle pads, and wraps professionally laundered and bagged up neatly before I left.  All of my tack was deep cleaned and prepped to sit for months (appropriate covers, bags, etc…).

These are just some ideas, I would say veterinary care planning is without a doubt the most important. you go.  

I lost count of the number of sunrises and sunsets I saw in one 24 hour period.  After over 44 hours of traveling, you know what I wasn't worried about?  Things involving my girls.  The peace of mind you get from being well prepared is absolutely priceless when you have a big job ahead of you.  I cannot explain the feeling of massive relief knowing my girls are in the best possible situation while I am not home.  Also, as soon as I go to the airport, the timer reverses and the count down is on until the day I come home.  Leaving is tough but, your mindset makes all the difference in the world.