Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New shoes.

Max started training in his new Cavallo treks tonight.  We didn't do much .. just putzed around the arena. He looks so darn cute in them! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

I won!

For the first time in my life I actually WON something!! I'd like to thank Lauren from She Moved to Texas for hosting the give-away and to Noble Outfitters for the lovely gloves!

They fit really well and look really snazzy. Since I don't have a pair of show gloves, I believe these will do nicely! Thanks again!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Another Barn Hop!

Today's weather was amazing - 55 degrees, sunny and dry!

So of course we had to go riding..and what better way to maximize horse time than to do a barn hop!

We started off at A's barn. She rode her lovely paint Reo, and I hopped on the barn owner's gorgeous golden Tennessee walker named Dreams.

We played a bunch of games in the arena, from moving cones around on top of barrels, to barrel racing and weaving. Then we headed out to the trails for some fun bush-whacking, and romped around a huge field.

Oh a funny story...While dismounting I actually managed to get all (and I mean ALL) of my clothes hooked on the pommel of the saddle - I'm such a western saddle noob!Anyway..poor A had to try lift my fat butt up so I could unhook myself. It was embarrassing to say the least but we were laughing to hard while I was 'hanging' out on the saddle like a piece of laundry left to dry. LOL!

After a delicious stop at Arby's, we drove over to my barn to have some fun with Max. It's a good thing I decided to lunge him because he was leaping four feet into the air and bucking while lunging! 

He settled down after that fiasco and was very well behaved under saddle. We rode around for a bit then did some trot poles and a small baby 'jump'. Gotta love these warm spring-like winter days! Had such a blast!

Friday, December 26, 2014

DIY: Crochet horse blanket

One year ago I embarked on a quest to crochet a horse blanket featuring Cooper, a lovely QH palomino I used to lease. The pattern was purchased off ebay and it took a lot more yarn and time than I thought...

At long last it's completed! start on a Max blanket...

Lucky bucky.

Today Max gave a couple of big, violent bucks when I asked for a canter to the right. It probably was a combination of the weather being so spring-like, and that he is still a little stiff from his injury.

Whatever the case, he played bronco for a while before settling in and being a nice boy. Silly guy!

It was such a beautiful day and..gasp! We could actually ride outside!! Hopefully this will be the pattern for the rest of winter. *Fingers crossed*!

 *Hmm...Sniff Sniiiiffffffff*


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Max's early Christmas Present.

I finally decided to splurge and get Max a stall guard. I even paid the extra ten bucks for some embroidery work which came out fantabulous!!!  I love it so much..and hopefully Max will have fun hanging his head out and being his nosy self while I put things away and clean up the aisle-ways in the evenings.

Our ride today was relaxing. I want to ease him back to work so we did some walk and light trot work. A couple of very short canters. He was very happy to just Go!

As for my decision on his feet, that is still in the works. I have a couple of folks I've contacted for second opinions so there will updates on that as they come along.

For now, lots of fun pics!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

He's back!

Guess who I got to ride today!  Yay! Max was a little stiff but he did very well and had no sign of a limp. Whew!

So pooped right now so more updates later!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

To barefoot or not to barefoot.

These past few days I've been on the fence about taking Max off his shoes. I have never been comfortable with him on bar shoes but I gave them a chance to see if they would help. His feet have improved..but I cannot tell if it's the bar shoes, or the other care we've put towards his feet (farrier's formula, hoof hardener, hoof oil, sand footing vs mud etc. etc.)

"I get allll the bedding!"

I hear this a lot  -   "Not all horses can go barefoot".

In a sense I can understand that, but on the other Max's condition can't be so terrible that we can't even give it a shot? If anything.. can't we hit the reset button and see how much he can handle? He might surprise me.

The way I see it with bar shoes on he can't be outside when it rains or when it's wet because they'll fall off. He's stuck in the stall. His feet are always held together, never having a chance to expand or contract. Who knows where all the impact is going...into his joints? Maybe they will keep him sound now... but I am looking for long-term solutions, not quick fixes.

Max's ouchy foot.

Barefoot he could have boots on when he's turned out, and boots taken off when he's in the stall. He can go out every single day, rain or shine. His feet will learn to be strong again, and to breathe.

If I compare it in simple terms like that, I can see the right path.

All kinds of other details complicate it, and confuse me. Everyone else seems to have strong opinions on the matter but when it comes down to the nitty gritty the only person looking out for Max is me.

Today he started to show signs of getting better. I took him for a short hand-walk and he was excited and happy to be outside. He had a very very tiny limp, a 2 instead of an 8. Did another poultice wrap and tucked him away in his stall. The poor guy hasn't been outdoors in weeks... :(

The Cavallo Treks are too small for him I I will have to do an exchange and go a size up. I hope the process is quick!!

The vet will be evaluating him next I will have to make my decision to re-shoe him or just pull them all off and work with a barefoot trimmer.

Decisions..decisions. And none of them easy :(

In the mean time....videos...

Salt lick goodness

Enjoying some bran mash

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I realized I've been reacting to this whole situation the wrong way.
Yes it sucks Max hurt his foot.  Yes it's scary to think it might be worse than a stone bruise. And yes it's so easy to think... why Max.. why me?
When In reality what I've gained this week is bonding time with my horse without the demands of under saddle work.
I've also learned to poultice and wrap like a boss hehe.
And even Max knows the drill now and will stand patiently for me to fix his foot up.  Sometimes he'll even lift and hold it up for me.  What a trooper!
Oh. .I purchased a pair of Cavallo trek boots for him. Tried them on today and fit but a touch snug. Of course I forgot to take pictures. .. ah well.. tomorrow !

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I heart Max.

I just do!

Vet update.

The vet came by again today to check on Max and basically he hasn't improved and that I have to continue to poultice wrap everyday for who knows how long.  This means an 80 mile drive a day 0.0 Perfect timing for snow and icy driving conditions.

He's worth it of course, but I for-see fewer blog posts till he is all healed up. I'll be posting occasional updates here and there so I can look back one day and laugh at all of this.

Things could always be worse!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mystery solved..kinda.

The BO texted me last night and we made the decision to have the vet come see Max this morning.

I arrived super early and walked around like a frozen popsicle, fussing on Max, sweeping, organizing the lead ropes..geez...I was so nervous!

She finally arrived, removed his left shoe and did some hoof testing on him. It looks like he has a bruise in his left foot, that she says could also possibly be an abscess. So he is now on a poultice wrap and stall rest for a couple of days till she heads out again for a check-in.

The good news is nothing else on his hoof hurts so it probably isn't founder. *WHEW* never know. We will just have to see in a couple of days.

Somehow, some way, Max always finds a way to remove his shoes. Perhaps he is telling me something!

I'm ouchy, go away..

Bruised foot all wrapped up.

That camera looks delishus

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rainy day.

Max was limping this morning and in the afternoon I got a text that he was uncomfortable and warm on all four feet. The BO put him on bute, gave him lots of shavings and is monitoring him hourly. Vet will possibly come out tonight or tomorrow morning. I am trying not to freak out but one crying session has already happened.

Keeping my fingers crossed that the bute will help him feel better and that we can figure out what the heck is going on..

It's been a pretty crappy day.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Training: Getting a back lift.

Tonight we did some simple warm up before working on our canter departs. I didn't want to over do it  so after a lovely canter depart to the right I ended that session and did some small jumps. Max was pretty excited to do something other than weight lifting!

Afterwards he rewarded me by lowering his head and lifting his back in the trot. I could actually feel his back lifting me upwards. And it felt awesome! I tried it in his weaker direction and he kindly complied.

Learning to communicate with Max has been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. I am so thankful I took the plunge to bring him into my life!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Training: Spiraling to canter homework.

Today was warmer but definitely muddier! Still lovely though and the hubby came along to help take some video. So super nice of him.

Max was rockin today. Super quiet at the cross-ties. No drama in the indoor. Pretty much just did what he was fuss no muss. Love these kind of days ^.^

We pretty much practiced what we worked on with J yesterday. The spiraling is working great in our canter departs. Keeping this post short today as I'm pretty dead tired. Instead enjoy the pictures and video below!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Training: Right lead canter departs.

Got to the barn super early this morning and it was f-f-f-f-freezing!! It sure didn't feel like November...more like the middle of January. Time to stock up on more hand-warmers..

Max was incredibly well-behaved at the cross-ties. Actually he's been really good lately compared to how he was before. Perhaps he's just settling in and getting used to things. It's funny how I feel like I've had him for a long time as opposed to a few months. I need to remember that..

I told J about our problems in canter depart to the right so she had me work on my position right away. She had me get him forward and our diagonals coordinated. Then we did some spiral work in the trot - using the inside leg and outside reign for bend and steering. Something important she pointed out was that the inside leg must always be applied before outside reign so we are riding back to front. 

After spiraling inwards with a good bend, she had me spiral out and about part-way to the wall  ask for a canter depart. This way there were two things that helped greatly in fixing our canter departs. One, my position was stronger because my right seat bone and inside leg were already working with my outside reign. Two, he was bending and his outside leg was already actively stepping forward and out. He did do the rushy-rushy thing a couple of times, but she had me try again and finally we achieved a great canter depart. 

We alternated a lot between right and left so I could figure out what I was doing correct since our left leads were great. Going to the right I'm weaker and tend to slant forward instead of sitting back, keeping my legs steady and applying a strong seat bone.

Definitely found out why we were having trouble with the right lead canter departs, but it is not something that can be fixed in a couple of rides. Luckily we have allll winter of arena work to get into tip top shape for spring!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Max is back!

Max is back in work! Our ride on Tuesday night was okay. He was sleepy and a little stiff so it took a little more warm-up before he was ready to go. We did a lot of the usual stuff - circles, serpentines, one-loops, leg yields.

Back to work..woopee doo.

Thanksgiving Thursday I decided to head on over there for a short ride. I was curious to see how my car would manage through the leftover northeaster snow we had from the day before. Thankfully she did my prius!

Max was a good boy on Thursday. Definitely more forward because of the extra nip in the air. The indoor arena had snow crashing off of it and besides a dead stop and a couple of jumps Max did great!

Today I was over there again (LOVE these long weekends!) and we had another fun ride. The arena was super packed today so it was a lot of focusing on my horse, and focusing on not crashing into someone else! On top of that more snow/ice was crashing off the roof. Max was a champ with that!

I am noticing though that he is especially stiff going to the right and is having a tougher time flexing and bending right. Our canter departs going right are starting to unravel too, and I find myself having to ask very strongly for a right lead canter, or I wouldn't be getting anything but a rushed trot!

Looking forward to my lesson tomorrow to see if J can find a solution for us there. Updates to come!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November's 10 Questions

Have you ever owned a horse?
I currently own Max and he is my first horse.

What is your favorite aspect of your discipline?
Building that subtle communication and connection with my horse. I feel it is gentle on the horse when done well correctly.

What pet peeves do you have concerning your discipline?

That black and white are the only acceptable colors. Also, no shiny sparkly stuff. Colors and sparkles don't affect technique and skill, so I don't see why there can't be more freedom with that.

Do you do barn chores?

Sometimes but not often. I try help out when I have time to.

What is your least favorite barn chore?

Pushing a huge wheelbarrow full of poop and dumping it in the manure pile.

What do you consider the worst vice in a horse?

Biting (hard) and rearing.

What saddle brand is your favorite?

I don't know :(

Do you ride with a quarter sheet in winter?

No, but it does sound comfy. I might this winter!

Does your horse wear boots? What kind?

Max wears black Centaur double Velcro boots in medium in his fronts and he has them on 24/7. He also has a pair of sparkly turquoise Professional's Choice Ballistic No-Turn in large for the days when he feels a little more showy ;)

Full seat or knee patch breeches?

For comfort I like the knee patch. But for maximum stickiness I like the full seat.

Training: After a week off..

The farrier finally came by Friday morning! Yay!!

He put new shoes on Max, as well as pads and other stuffs which names I cannot recall right now. Basically something to help with hoof growth, and something else to prevent thrush etc. in the pads.


He actually said his feet look great!!  I did a double take at my phone (he texted me). After months of hearing  how bad Max's feet are...finally...some progress!!  I teared up at my desk at work but disguised it with a yawn. Don't want folks to start thinking I've gone soft or something...

This morning I had a lesson. My trainer suggested I  lunge him first since he's had a week off, and really, we don't know him that well yet. He might be demon pony.

BLaargh!!! Me Burns you all!

My main concern when lunging him was to see if he was limpy. That was what I was worried about all week actually..that I had messed his foot up. Thankfully he was sounder than ever. He was ready to go though and super fresh. He went zooming around in a circle throwing in a couple of bucks. After about ten circles of zoom zoom he finally decided to be good and went into a nicely framed trot. In the background I could hear my trainer saying "Good thing we lunged him before you got on!"  I heartily agree!! 0.0

 The lesson went amazing. Max was forward and willing. He seemed genuinely happy to be back at work and tried extra hard. We worked on straightness today. When going left we tend to not have enough bend and going right we have too much. Some adjustments to my diagonals and we got him moving straighter. The goal is to be able to drop the inside reign, while keeping outside reign and inside leg contact, and still have him going in the same bend and direction. Lots and lots of homework to get even minutely close to that. Love it!

I purchased an Ultra Thinline Contour Dressage pad on ebay and tried it on today. I noticed it was comfier for me..but I don't know how Max felt about it. Not so many head tosses during warm-up, so maybe?

Looks like it's going to be warmer tomorrow!! Woohoo!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hoof updates

The farrier is injured and unable to head over to put the shoe back on Max till Thursday. This means the poor guy is cooped up in his stall for four days. :( I headed over tonight and hand-walked him around the arena so he could at least stretch his legs and move around, after wrapping his foot up in a diaper and vet tape of course.

He was definitely sore. I felt so bad. He got lots and lots of hugs and kisses and treats but it still didn't help relieve the guilt I felt. His feet were doing so well..and now I may have messed them up again. When I applied keratex I noticed there were a couple of red-ish spots on his sole that looked like bruises. It didn't look pretty. I sure hope it's something that will go away once his shoe gets put back on.

The vet took a look at him yesterday and said he has to go through at least two cycles of shoeing without losing a shoe before we consider barefoot. I guess we'll revisit this in spring. His previous owner had him barefoot for a while and mentioned he never minded hoof boots. So looks like this could be a great option for him in the future!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yet again...sigh

I don't usually crave pity parties but I kind of am today. We had a fun day riding around the arena going over small jumps, followed by a peaceful walk through the forest and down the road. Halfway along the road I realized Max lost a shoe...again. And it was on the trail...I found it embedded in some damp dirt.

I just cannot believe it. I've tried to do everything right..upgraded him to a stall, moved him to a sand paddock, put him in bar shoes, put him on farriers formula, keratex, farriers fix, no trail rides....wait...oops. Yeah. Stupid stupid stupid!

We did break that rule a couple of times before and his shoes were always on tight. It could be the fact that he's due in a week anyway, and that maybe he loosened the shoe on a rock hidden in the leaves. Whatever the case...farrier's coming in Tuesday probably fuming and saying I'm one of Those owners who would put their own fun before their horses well being. *hangs head in shame*

Maybe something good will come of it. I mentioned it to my BO who is big on barefoot and she put Max in for the vet to look at to evaluate if he could possibly make the transition over to barefoot. I've always hated the fact that he had nails hammered into his hooves...but the farrier is adamant that he needs the support. He's probably right...but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

We will just have to see!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Training: No stirrups!

I read somewhere ( I believe it was someone's blog..but I am sorry to say I have forgotten whose..) that November is No Stirrup month! I was bad the last two times and forgot...but today I did so much stirrup-less work I think it makes up for it!

Originally I had a private lesson with J but when I got there she asked if I'd like to join in a quadrille/group lesson where they'd be focusing on stirrup-less and seat work. Heck to the yeah I did!

We started the lesson off with the canter catch-up exercise in two-point - where we had to play catch-up with the horse behind us. Not having our seat, we had to get our horses moving forward, but still maintain bend with just legs and reigns (lots of inside leg into outside reign stuff). This was awesome..but I was huffing and puffing so badly by the end of it I had to take a break. Such an old lady.

Then we moved on to the no-stirrup work. J had us begin at the walk and stretch each leg away from the saddle individually. Really felt this in the hip! Then she had us point our toes towards our horses ears. My core and legs were dying!

After a couple of rounds we moved into a trot where she had us stretch our legs down, and roll our feet outside then inside. This is a real challenge for me because I naturally have duck feet.

Thankfully we moved on to one loops on the long side. This required so much focus..good position, quiet hands, and clear seat bone weighting. Max did wonderful after a couple of rounds and he wrapped nicely around my leg by the end.

Lastly we did canter circle counts (still stirrup-less!). I found that my position was better and more relaxed , which made him relaxed too. Maybe because I had to focus more on balancing that it was even more crucial to have a good position? Whatever the case our canter departs were nice, as well as our downward to trot. 

However, at the very end she had us put our stirrups back on, and boy did they feel short! My position fell apart, and the first two attempts at a canter depart were messy to say the least. Luckily J was there to talk us through it and we managed a good depart. We ended on a nice stretchy trot, lots and lots of hugs and treats!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Family Day!

Today my hubs joined me at the barn! He was so sweet and helped me set up jumps for Max, and he video-ed pretty much our entire ride. He even caught graceful moments on camera...LOL!


We did have some good moments though.

Then guess who hopped on for a ride!

Cowboy in the making.

Here's a position and timing isn't great, and there was a section where I had him on the wrong lead!! Oops!! But cool music and filters make it look so much better so I'm going to leave it at that and fix stuff on our next attempt.