Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beach Ride!

I had a wonderful beach ride on January 6, 2013!  We ride at Pine Point Beach in Scarborough, ME, which is open from October 15 to May 1, as long as you pay for a $2o permit (you can sort of see the permit number on my back in a few of the photos).  I decided to bring Snappy, since she has been to the beach numerous times to train in the winter (harness folks love the good footing to train in the winter months!) and I thought it would be fun to go out and about with her for the first time.  I went with horse friends Tania, her dad Craig, and Molly.  We had a great day!!

Gorgeous photo of Snappy (left) on the beach a few years back, taken by my friend Katie Flaherty and used with her  complete permission!  See more of her work here.

Clearly, Snappy was wild and uncontrollable when we arrived.  ;-)  And I don't know why my saddle pad is so far forward.  Uhhhh, ignore me??  LOL!
We are on the right.  My friend Molly with her horse JP and her dog on the left. 

I was trying to take a photo...had to put my glove in my mouth.  LOL!

Same pier from Snappy's jogging photo in the beginning!  :-)
Headed home!  Snappy was absolutely perfect.  She is a brave and levelheaded mare!

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012: Looking Back

Overall, I did pretty well with my 2012 goals!  It was a good year in many ways.  I am surprised that I actually met as many goals as I did!  LOL!  The only one that bothers me is not meeting my personal goal of working out and getting more fit.  I know I am not in terrible shape, but I wish I had time to commit to strengthening my core.

  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound - SUCCESS!
  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound - SUCCESS!
  • Compete in at least one horse trial (or more) at Beginner Novice level - SUCCESS!
  • Go foxhunting!! - HUGE SUCCESS!
  • Hopefully attend a few hunter paces - Did not meet, but that is OK!
  • Attend at least one team penning clinic (May)  - SUCCESS!
  • Marshal at the track when asked - SUCCESS!
  • Ride at Acadia again (July) - SUCCESS!
  • Continue all of our good dressage work, take a few lessons here and there with Judy - SUCCESS!
  • Maybe take a few jumping lessons...???  - Did not meet, but that is OK!
  • Keep her healthy, happy, and sound - SUCCESS!
  • Continue the excellent under saddle work from late fall 2011 - SUCCESS!
  • Work on bending, transitions, and transitions within gaits - SUCCESS!
  • Work on balance at the canter to be ready for 3-gait (and Intro C/Training 1??)  in 2013 - SUCCESS!
  • Attend at least one clinic - Did not meet.  I was just too busy and there is only so much money...
  • Take at least 2 lessons per month with Judy, preferably more if possible - SUCCESS!  
  • Compete in Intro A and B at SMDA schooling shows and maybe other venues too - SUCCESS! 
  • Compete in MHA shows in 2-gait classes (maybe roadster under saddle as well?) - SUCCESS!
My Personal Goals
  • Strengthen my core and use the Wii to work out - Yeah, this did not happen.  I wish I had put the effort in, but sadly, I did not.
  • Attend Standardbred Nationals with Dreamy or Reva....maybe.  It is being held in September this year!  :-(  That is a very tough time of year for me to go away, since I am back teaching at the high school.  I have already been down there four times to show and I don't feel a HUGE MAJOR NEED to go.  If it works out for me, great!  If not, it is OK too. - Did not attend, but I am happy I did not
  • Go on beach rides with Dreamy/Reva as much as possible! - We went on a few beach rides, but not nearly as many as I would like!  Damn work gets in the way of fun!  LOL!
  • The Standardbred Performance Society needs to be more active.  I am not sure how this might look, but I have some ideas. - Utter failure.  I am way too busy for my own good.  Uggg!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snappy update

Snappy has settled in well since she arrived in my care on December 11, 2012.  There were so many things I did for her!  She is like a brand new mare!  Ha ha ha!
  • Hoof trim - Snappy had her hooves trimmed by my farrier just three days after she arrived.  She had her race plates pulled just before I got her, so she was barefoot.  I was horrified to find that first night that whoever pulled her plates left all the nails!  WTF!!!  I don't even want to know or hear why they were left in, but I can tell you, it was one of the most unprofessional things I have seen.  My farrier wasn't too worried, but did ask me to remind him next time so that he doesn't forget.  She was so off balance and much of her "unsoundness" was simply because she had such unbalanced hooves.  It was amazing how quickly she moved soundly once he trimmed her just slightly.  
  • Vet visit - My vet came out on Christmas Eve to float her teeth.  I knew they were bad, but I was not prepared for what we saw when he opened her mouth.  OMFG!
BEFORE: This is why you need to float your horse's teeth EVERY YEAR!!!! 

AFTER:  Not perfect, but SOOO much better! She has an incisoral slant that she was either born with or developed early on. It will take time to realign everything but now at least all of her chewing surfaces match up properly. 
I also had my vet check her eyes, which are always gunky.  He flushed her tear ducts and gave me eye ointment, which has really helped.  

Also, she had weird bald spots with a little scurf on the inside of her hocks.  He had me break Vitamin E capsules open for a few days and use the oil to soften it up.  Once all the scabs were off, I applied Animax ointment.  He felt it was just a bacterial dermatitis and was not worried about it.  The Vitamin E oil made it looks much better, and the Animax has helped it just about completely clear up.  It is starting to grow back the hair (and thankfully it is growing back the correct color: black!)

And finally, the vet looked at the aural plaques in her ears.  They look like big white warts, and way back when I first met Snappy in July 2012, I was told she had always had them and it was why she HATED to have her ears touched.  (She was SOOOOO head shy and I hated it!!) I was really hoping my vet would have a tried-and-true remedy, but alas, there is not much that can be done.  At least they are in a dormant stage for the winter, but will probably come back just as bad in the spring and summer.  She will wear a flymask and he recommended Vitamin E oil again.  He said he has heard that a homeopathic remedy called Thuja could be fed to her, but it not sure he is willing to say it works!
  • Having FUN!!  - I have been riding Snappy as much as I can.  We are in the throes of winter and riding time is just short and easy hacks, but she is a lot of fun to ride and seems to enjoy it.  We are playing "dressage pony" for now, learning about bending and using our body correctly, and will bring out the race saddle in the spring!
I did not realize how hard it is to take a pic by yourself.  Snappy says, "Oh look, a goat!" 

Such a happy horse! 
Our first rides on the track at her new barn...
And then it sn*wed a bit...
And then it sn*wed MORE!  But Snappy passed the "snow plow" test!  Wheee!
And MORE SN*W!!!
And the beach!  I will do a separate post on that.

  •  Supplements - I tried the SmartPak Combo Pellets at first, thinking what a perfect supplement this would be for Snappy!  Ummm, well, she refused to eat it for five meals.  Yeah, that's not going to work...I have compromised with TriSport and Tractgard, with a chaser of UlcerGuard.  So far, she is eating it without issue.  I feel pretty confident that she has ulcers, but I am not going through the expense of having her scoped.  A few tubes of Ulcerguard will help for now and I will reevaluate.

  • Trust issues - Snappy was a very unhappy horse when she first arrived at her new home this past December.  I have known her since last summer, and while she is distant and polite to work around, she is just generally grumpy and dislikes being touched.  I would not say she has ever been abused, but I do think she is sore.  She HATES her ears being touched (see aural plaques above) and perhaps she has been "eared" in the past, which would hurt worse due to the aural plaques.  She gets very kicky when you touch her belly, hind end, back legs, or tail.  I had to just be careful when I worked on her.  I would have never touched her teats in the past, as she would have kicked my head off.  It has taken me lots of time and daily grooming sessions to get her to trust me and know that when I touch her, it won't hurt.  Granted, she "knew" me, but being with her every afternoon really helped establish a relationship.  I worked patiently with her and found the approach/retreat technique worked the best on her ears.  I am really proud that I can now touch her face and ears with no problems.  She still wants to flinch at the very first touch, but then lowers her head and her eye changes.  It is great!  She is still not crazy about her belly and legs touched, but she doesn't strike at me anymore!  LOL!  Sometimes she will just lift her hoof an inch off the floor, but quickly put it back, which is a huge step in just a month.  And now I have cleaned her teats and bum a few times, too!  (The first time I wiped her teats with a baby wipe she cow kicked like a boss.  OMG.  LOL!)  But again, being patient and working through things in small steps has really helped.  I tried clippers with her back in the fall to do her bridle path and I thought she was going to flip over.  Oh boy.  At this point, I can touch her body all over with the clippers running, including her poll area (but not yet her head or ears....that will take much more time).  I have just been using scissors to do her bridle path all along, but soon I will be able to use the clippers, I am sure. 

So much progress!  This is huge!!!  If I tried this before, she would have had her head high, her eyes wide, and I would have no chance of touching any part of her face.

  • Her "exercises" (as my son calls them) - I have been doing some basic in-hand work with Snappy, teaching her carrot stretches (loves it), how to lower her head to my hand on her poll (much better now that I can touch her ears!!), backing up (which is foreign to racehorses), and standing square (still a work in progress)
  • Chiro appointment - My chiro vet is coming out tomorrow, so I will have a very good idea of where Snappy is out of whack.  I suspect her poll, neck, back, and SI joint are messed up.  I think a lot of her crabbiness and kicking comes from her pain.
Stay tuned!  :-)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year and all that good stuff...

What a crazy few weeks!  I had a wonderful Christmas vacation from teaching and while there were several things going on to blog about, I have just not had the time to sit down and write!  I need to do an update on Snap Dancer, news about selling a horse, a recap of 2012 and our goals, and of course, set some new goals for 2013!

Before I get to all of that, here is a little pictorial wrap up...

We had a great pre-Christmas lunch and gift exchange with my mom and her husband.  And yes, we threw some knives.  NBD (That's my husband.)
Santa was very generous!
My son loves to ride his (junky old) bike in the sn*w.  I guess it handles better than the new one.  LOL!  We got about two feet of sn*w TOTAL for the month of December 2012.  We only had 2 inches in December of 2011.  sigh  
20th annual Christmas Day ride on my Sparky 
Mac the barn cat is not sure he likes this sn*w...I feel the same. 
Dreamy (She wears a blanket because she is body clipped.)
The mat is not actually this color, but my phone is not exactly a fancy camera.  LOL!  It is more green.  I love this!