Friday, June 28, 2013

FEA Benefit Show

This past weekend, June 23, I attended the Friesian Events Association Benefit Horse Show.  I like this show for many reasons, most of all because this organization donates money from their shows to different causes.  This year the show was to benefit a woman from NY who recently was in a bad carriage driving accident and has tons of medical bills.  They were able to donate a total of $2000 to her!!  WOW!  Of course, it also helps that it was held close (30 minutes) from home and is run by several of my wonderful horse show friends!!

Dreamy and I did very well and had a great day!  I am proud of her for holding her own in the open classes, which unless they are specifically a hunter class, we compete against hunt seat, saddleseat, and western riders.  It was rainy in the morning and then SUPER HOT the rest of the day!  Blah!!  I love the heat, but this was a little much.  The show grounds don't have a lick of shade, so it was a bit exhausting to be in the sun all day long.  I literally left my house at 7:30AM and got home at 6:30PM.  Thankfully, though Dreamy does not usually drink much at all while at shows (even when I bring her own water from home), she did suck down three and a half full buckets that day!  I also gave her a dose of paste electrolytes to be on the safe side.  I had eight bottles of water, which was approximately a gallon and I probably should have had more!

My friend Stephanie had her Standardbred stallion there for the in-hand class.  He is still racing and looked great.  My friend Shelly rode her leased QH gelding for the first time and had a great show.  And my friend Katie had her Standardbred gelding there for his second show!  She did well too, though she struggled with the heat at the end of the day.  It was just brutal.

  • Adult Equitation, Open - 2nd out of five
  • Hunter Pleasure Horse, Open - 5th out of thirteen!
  • Ladies Pleasure Horse, Open - 4th out of five (We had an accidental break to the trot for a couple strides when cantering - other than that she was great!)
  • MHA Medallion Pleasure Horse or Pony, Open - 4th out of five (Another break to the trot - I put my spurs on after this class...)
  • Hunter Pleasure Equitation, Open - 2nd out of three
  • NEHC Pleasure Horse or Pony, Open - 3rd out of three  (We got a wrong lead in the right canter - whoops!  That has not happened in a long time!  She was a tired old mare, so I can most certainly forgive her.  I am sure it was rider error!!)
  • MHA Pleasure Horse, English - 5th out of nine (Decent ride but she was getting tired!!)
  • Hunter Pleasure Horse Championship - 6th out of six (We were both exhausted and I probably should have scratched.  We had breaks to the trot while cantering.  It's OK though, because Dreamy really tried hard to do well.  I cannot fault her for a last place finish in our last class of a very long and hot day!)
There were a few volunteer photographers there throughout the day, and they uploaded photos to the FEA Facebook page, encouraging us to use, share, tag, and make copies.  I thought that was pretty neat!

I took this photo to show our ribbons at the end of the day!  Yay Dreamy mare!! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Team Penning Clinic 2013

Dreamy and I had another chance to play with cows this year at the 2013 team penning clinic hosted by the Central Maine Team Penning Association on May 18.  I wrote about it here last year.  My friend Shelly came with me this time, and she brought her new project, a palomino QH gelding.  We both had a great day and the horses were awesome!  I really hope I can make time to compete at a CMTPA show this year!

This is Shelly's project horse.  He was super good and very happy to hang with Dreamy all day! 
Does this saddle make my butt look big?
Cute face, weird angle.  Her neck is not that skinny, promise!   
Wild pony!
Dreamy likes being a cow pony!

The professional pics are here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another new adventure!

My goals with Dreamy last year in 2012 were to try team penning (CHECK!) and fox hunting (CHECK!).  I still want to play around with both of those disciplines this year and in the future.  

But I have also wanted to try sidesaddle for a long time.  I bought a cheap $100 sidesaddle on a whim at a used tack sale that was HUGE on her.  It was literally wide enough for a draft horse.  Sold it on eBay and made a little profit.  :-)

Then I found a no name Elan lookalike on eBay this past winter.  Elans are sort of the entry saddle for the sidesaddle discipline.  It actually fit Dreamy quite well, but it was incredibly uncomfortable   Sold that on Facebook just a month ago and made a little profit.  :-)

I religiously check eBay and Facebook and all the sidesaddle websites, just to see what might come up.  The nice brands - Owen, Mayhew, Whippy, Champion & Wilton, Martin & Martin - are super expensive.  I figured I would never find something appropriate in my price range that was actually usable.

Lo and behold, a decent Owen in my size came up on eBay recently!  Owen sidesaddles are like the Rolls Royce of sidesaddles.  In the end, I got it for a steal and could easily resell it for over double what I paid for it!  I just wish I knew more about the provenance.  That sort of stuff really interests me.  Oh well!

It is not perfect, and some of the repairs need to be redone in my personal opinion, but it has a sound tree and it is super comfortable!  It fits Dreamy like it was made for her!!!  And I love it!!!  It came with the original stirrup leather and breakaway iron, which is very cool.  It also came with a balancing strap and overgirth, even though the seller told me it did not.  (To be fair, she was selling it for a friend and maybe did not know what I meant when I asked.)  I just used my regular hunt girth for now, but eventually would like to find a true sidesaddle three fold girth.

Small tear that will need to be fixed.

A small tear on the left side of the offside flap that was crudely repaired.  I will have it fixed. 
This is a patch on the seat.  I wish it was a nicer repair! 

This shows the serial number: 10986
Love this!!  
First ride!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Well, we couldn't avoid it forever...

Over the years, various horse friends have dealt with it.  I even have non-horse friends who deal with it in their dogs or even themselves.  There is not much you can do, and just have to treat it when it occurs.

Can you guess?

Yup, that's right...

LYME DISEASE!  Uggggg!!!!

Over Memorial Day weekend, I met my friend Tania at our instructor's farm for a lesson.  Dreamy hesitated to get onto the trailer, but I didn't think much of it.  She seemed funny when I groomed and tacked her up, arching up her back when I brushed her and almost like she did not want me to touch her. 


I got her to the ring, though she seemed a bit lethargic and immediately when I mounted and asked her to walk on, I knew something was wrong.  Not just the NQR feeling, but the OMGMYHORSEISBROKEN kind of feeling.

My instructor encouraged me to walk her a bit to see if that helped.  It didn't.

My heart was fluttering and I thought I was going to cry.  I dismounted and she acted neurological, almost like she was drunk and could not control her entire hind end. 

I called my vet while I untacked.  THANK GOD he was the one on duty that weekend!!  I talked with him as I finished taking care of Dreamy and readying her to trailer back home.  I was nervous that she would not be able to stand up during the 20 minute trailer ride home, but I just wanted to get her there.  My vet promised to be there in 45 minutes, which is how long it takes to get directly from his house to mine.  I told him I immediately thought Lyme, but he reminded me it could be something else and we would figure it out.  

I started to cry the minute I left my instructor's farm.  I just wanted my mare to be OK.  We made it home safely.  I put her out on grass and just waited.  I knew it had to be Lyme.  It also seemed obvious because she had just recently come in with a HUGE tick bite on her jowls.  Don't ask me why my gut said this despite the fact that I have never dealt with the disease personally.  I just knew.  But I was also scared that it could be something much worse.

When my vet arrived (it was Sunday and I was bracing for the emergency farm call cost - YIKES!), Dreamy seemed perkier.  We did all the usual neurological tests and she passed them all easily.  Phew!  He examined her, we trotted her out in a straight line and on the longe line, etc.  She was a lot less ataxic that she had been earlier, but she definitely was switching up the hind leg lameness.  At times it seemed both were lame.  She did not have a fever.  We decided to do the ELISA snap test first, just to get an idea of what I was dealing with.  Because it can have false positives, etc., we figured I could also send out for the Cornell test.

Sure enough, there was a HUGE dark blue perfect blue circle on the snap test.  Well, then!  :-)  I felt pretty good that between the obvious skin sensitivity and lameness AND the very clear positive, this was not a false positive.  My vet didn't push me to do the western blot Cornell test, and after we discussed everything extensively, I decided I will run it this fall instead.  I kind of wish I had run it now, just to get the preliminary numbers, but oh well.  The Lyme diagnosis seemed very obvious.

My vet did an IV dose of oxytet, which was a huge vial of brown liquid.  If I were capable of giving daily IV doses (only one of his clients ever has...) or could afford to send her to a clinic to be daily dosed by a vet, giving IV oxytet for 28 days is the "gold standard" in Lyme treatment.

Instead, being sane individuals, we opted for the initial dose of IV oxytet, followed by 45 doxy pills twice a day for 45 days.  Oy.  This sounded like a crazy regiment, but I was happy to do whatever I had to do, of course.  My checkbook groaned a bit, but it's the right thing to do.  I cannot imagine NOT treating her!  :-(

I struggled a bit at first to dose her, and eventually wound up using the (horses only) coffee grinder for the pills and mixing them with her grain, warm water, and a healthy dollop of molasses.  And of course the probiotics, because the high antibiotics can mess with her stomach.  Dreamy is very VERY picky about her foodstuffs, but she happily slurped down her doxy mash twice a day.  The doxy is disgusting, as I accidentally inhaled the fine powder from the coffee grinder a few times.  Blurgh!!!!    :-P 

Of course, just my luck, there was a nationwide shortage of doxy this spring, so I had to purchase what my vet had in current stock (six bottles of 500 tabs for $65 each), which would just get me through a 30 day dosage.  He could order more, but it was going to be outrageously expensive, from $600 - $1500 for a bottle of 500 tabs!!!  OH. MY. GOD.  The doxy powder was backordered indefinitely.  


I tried not to freak out and just patiently fed her the ground doxy pills in a mash.  Within 24 hours, she looked only a little off in the hind end, but it was probably only something I would see.  By day four, she looked 100 percent sound and happy.  I rode her lightly a week after her diagnosis, which may have been a bit long to wait, but she is 22 years old and doesn't need to be rushed.  I started building her back up to her regular workload with no issues.  Thankfully, Dreamy has bounced back with no side effects!!!  

And just as I emailed my vet another update and to ask him what the heck we were going to do when the 30 days of doxy ran out, I got a return email that said the compounding pharmacy had doxy in stock again!  YAY!  So I was able to send back two unopened bottles of the doxy pills and received the yummy molasses smelling, bright yellow doxy powder (for $450!! Oww again!!) on June 17, just three weeks after her initial diagnosis.  We are currently on day 30 of her doxy and things are going fine.  She is not as crazy about the powder as her molasses laced mash, but she is reluctantly eating it all.  I think the doxy powder smells marvelous!  LOL!

So far, so good.  I am lucky that Dreamy responded so well to the doxy.  I am hoping this will be my one and only Lyme treatment, but of course, who knows.  I ordered the Equi-Spot Fly Control from Smartpak to try.  Thoughts on that??  Any other readers deal with Lyme in their horses and have words of advice?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blog Award

Thanks to Dragon and NBChoice, I was doubly nominated for the Liebster Blog Award!  Yay!  Thank you both!!  I think I won this award once before, too!  ;-)  I have not seen blog awards for a few years, so this was a lot of work fun.  (haha)

The Liebster blog award is to recognize blogs that have less than 200 followers.  The word Liebster is German for beloved and valued.  There are rules to this award...

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  • List 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  • Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  • Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them!

Random Facts:
1.  I don't watch TV.  Most people think I am strange for this and I don't know why I don't watch it, but truly, I don't miss it.  
2.  I want to change my career, but I don't know what I want to do.  And my job, while the pay is not great, is very safe and dependable.  But I am unhappy with it.
3.  I could eat chicken for dinner every night and never get sick of it.
4.  My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.  LOL!  But I do all the household chores, except for the small tasks that my nine year old son helps with.  *sigh*  :-(
5.  Poor grammar makes me ridiculously irritated.  LOL!
6.  I really wish I had flower and vegetable garden(s), but I have a hopeless black thumb!
7.  I am slightly addicted to saddle pads.  I have waaaaaay too many!!
8.  I have an irrational fear of trains and I am not sure why.  Not so much passenger trains (we have the Amtrack "Downeaster" here in New England and I have ridden it to Boston many times), but freight trains.  *shiver*

9.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Google Drive and Sites.  Not only do I use it exclusively in my classroom (I am a paperless classroom now!  Love it!!), but also in my real life.  I don't know what I would do without Google!!
10.  I love Stubben tack!  After finding my Juventus saddles (I have two dressage in different widths and an AP) that are a perfect fit for me, I cannot imagine riding in anything else!  The Juventus is technically a child's saddle with a short flap, which works well for my five foot frame.  I now have Stubben leathers, bridles, a bit....
11.  Growing up, many of my peers thought I was stuck up.  Truth is, I am just shy and quiet around people I don't know.  Now, once you get to know me, watch out.  I will talk your ear off and try to make you laugh.  Just ask my closest girl friends!  I am that silly friend who loves to have fun, can be serious if needed, and am extremely loyal.  I have always said, if you don't like me, you definitely don't know me.

Questions from Dragon:
1.  Get up early to ride or stay up late?
Definitely stay up late!  I am not a morning person!!

2.  What do you do for a living?
I teach English 12 and AP Literature at a small rural high school.

3.  What do you wish you did for a living?
I wish I were married to someone rich so I could stay home, be a full time mother, and ride horses! 

4.  If you could try any type of riding, what would it be?
Well, I have tried most everything, but I am just starting to get into sidesaddle.

5.  What is one thing about your horse you wish you could change?
I love my horses just as they are...but I wish I could make Dreamy about ten years younger!!

6.  If you could change your horse's name to anything (registered or barn), what would it be?
Oh, that's a tough one, since I really like my horses' names!  I wouldn't change them!

7.  Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram?
Facebook!  I don't use Tumblr or Instagram anyway.

8.  eBay, Craigslist, or tack shop?
Tack shop!  I love to shop online, but eBay makes me annoyed (haha) and I am not really much of a Craigslist person.

9.  If you could take on the life of any character in any TV show or movie, who would it be?

10.  If you had an unlimited budget, what type of car or truck would you buy?
Hmmm....well I like my truck and I am not really one who is concerned about car/truck types, so I would say I would buy a new fancy trailer!  A Sundowner something with a four horse slant and LQs!!

11.  If you could move to any part of the world, where would it be?
I would move to a warmer climate (Maine winters are wearing on me, despite having been born and raised here!), perhaps Virginia or New Jersey...or even Florida!

Questions from NB Choice:
1.  If you could have any job in the world and money wasn't an option, what would you do?
See #3 above.  ;-)

2.  What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for my health and resilience.

3.  Do you like scary movies?  If so, what is your favorite?
Nahhhh, I am easily scared!! 

4.  What was your very first job?
I stocked shelves at a local upscale grocer/deli the summer after my freshman year of high school.  I made $4.15/hour and worked fifteen hours a week!  Technically my first "job" was at the barn where I took lessons, cleaning stalls and tacking lesson horses in exchange for my own hour lesson on Saturdays.

5.  What is the longest road trip you have ever taken?
I flew to California, but the longest trip in a car (truck) was to the World Equestrian Games with my pony in 2010!  Craziest and most fun road trip ever!!!!

6.  Would you rather mow the lawn or vacuum the house?
Neither??  LOL!  No, I'd rather vacuum the house, though I admit I am not domestic.  See #4 under Random Facts.

7.  How old were you when you first learned to drive?
I was fifteen!  The first time I ever drove was in driver's ed!  And I rolled through a stop sign!  LOL!

8.  Do you wish you could have a specific talent?
Hmmmm...I have never really thought about this.  I am pretty happy with who I am.  I wish I had the ability to communicate better...???  Or sing well.  You know, I have a pretty awful singing voice, but I like to sing.  ;-)

9.  Do you have any siblings?
Yup, I have a younger brother.  He is four years younger than me and we finally get along.  

10.  What is your favorite song?
That's a tough one, because I am a music slut.  LOL!  But probably "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.  Corny I know, but I love it!

11.  Would you rather have a really old laptop or a really old phone?
Neither!!  LOL!  Hmmmm...probably really old phone, since I use my laptop for my job and I could live without my iPhone5.  :-)

Questions for others:
1.  Describe your perfect house/farm.
2.  Explain the significance of your blog name.
3.  Is the glass half empty or half full?
4.  If you were given $1000 to spend in ONE store, which store would you choose?
5.  Who is your equine mentor?  Past or current.  Describe.
6.  Do you check caller ID before you answer the phone?  Do you sometimes let it go to voicemail because you just don't want to talk to someone?  
7.  What's under your bed?
8.  What are your best characteristics?  (And I don't necessarily mean physical!)
9.  Where did you grow up?  How far away are you from your hometown?  (You don't have to give your personal address here, a region is fine!!  Stay safe online!!!)
10.  What are your nicknames and how did you get them/who gave them to you?
11.  What is your favorite book?  Why?

Nominated blogs!!

1. Tania at Tania and Otis - One of my bestest friends in real life!!
2. MyHorseFaith at Change of Pace - A fellow STB blogger friend!
3.  Karen at CONTACT
4.  Aarene at Haiku Farm - Another fellow STB blogger friend!
5.  Katie at Beyond Ribbons
6.  Laura at LittleKeebler - A fellow blogger friend, who doesn't have a STB, but I like her anyway.  ;-D
7.  LiveToFly at Dancing Hooves
8.  Val at Memoirs of a Horse Girl 
9.  PunksKidRock at her blog of the same name
10.  Sarah at The Foxhunting Friesian - A fellow fox hunting blogger friend and in real life!
11.  Marissa at Tucker the Wunderkind

Thursday, June 13, 2013

ASAM Dunegrass Living Classic Show - May 12, 2013

Our second show of the year was the ASAM Dunegrass Living Class Show on May 12, 2013. It is a double judged show, which is always kind of fun!  More ribbons!  LOL!!  Dreamy was super good, but sadly the judges continually pinned the shuffling four beat peanut rollers whose riders yanked them around with big kimberwickes.  SIGH  

The ring was a huge mud pit along the rail, so riders in my large classes rode about ten feet off the rail.  It was impossible to go between horses and the rail because not only was there not quite enough space, but also because the footing was horrible.  So of course, my free moving hunter needed to pass on the inside, which meant we were pretty much making a 20 m. circle in the middle of the 100x200 ring.   It was frustrating to ride a good round with perfect leads and manners, but because the "hunters" in my classes were really western horses with English tack on, we looked terrible.  The horses that pinned would have never made it in the hunt field!!  OMG......anyway.  I realize that showing in open classes means I have to deal with this, but I miss showing in the Standardbred division with my friends.  And I miss judges who actually know what a hunter should look like......

But we had fun and that is what matters!  :-)  I even got suckered into doing Standardbred In-Hand, though I swore I was done with halter classes forever this year, and I surprised myself by doing well!  LOL!

Our Results:
classes were double judged, so two judges/ribbons
1st Standardbred In-Hand (out of 3)
1st Standardbred In-Hand (out of 3)
3rd NEHC Open Pleasure Horse (out of 4 - single judged)
3rd Hunt Seat Pleasure Equitation (out of 5)
4th Hunt Seat Pleasure Equitation (out of 5)
4th Adult Equitation (out of 9)
4th Adult Equitation (out of 9)
6th Hunter Pleasure Championship (out of 7 - only placed with this judge)

Did not place:
MHA Medallion Pleasure Horse (out of 11)
Hunter Pleasure (out of 15)
MHA Pleasure Horse English (out of 12)
Hunter Pleasure Championship (one judge pinned us 6th and the other did not use us at all)

Ponypants says IN HAND!?!  I thought we were done with this crap!  LOL!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ASAM Long Horn Fun Festival Show - First Show of the Year!

Dreamy and I kicked off the 2013 show season with the American Saddlebred Association of Maine's (ASAM) 8th annual Long Horn Fun Festival Horse Show on April 28, 2013.  As a high school English teacher and the prom advisor, I was out super late on April 27 for our prom, so perhaps attending a horse show all the following day was not my smartest move.  But, hey, whatever.  I had everything packed and ready to go on Saturday morning before prom preparation began, and I waited to bathe Dreamy first thing on Sunday morning.  (She was thrilled - LOL!).  I did not bother to braid, which irked my inner George Morris, but there was no way that was happening.  It takes me forever to braid, since I only know how to do the sewn-in button braids, and I was already running on very little sleep.  And because I have decided to not show in-hand this year, it really did not matter anyway.  She was clean with a neat, pulled mane and it was fine.

Because I arrived when the in-hand classes had just begun, I was unable to park with my regular group of horse show friends and had to park waaaaaaay far away in the second row in the field by myself.  Blah.  I stifled myself and sucked it up, but being overtired and cranky from prom the night before (well technically early morning) did not help.

We had a good show, though I don't think I was at the top of my game.  Ha ha.  Dreamy has not been to a pleasure show in years, so she was definitely a bit scrambled in our first class, MHA Medallion Pleasure Open, mostly because it was HUGE with fourteen horses.  She was like OMGWHATAREWEDOING!  THIS IS NOT DRESSAGE, but she was still very well behaved and I was pleased with her.  We poked along as hunters in a class full of snazzy high stepping saddleseat horses.  ;-)  After that first huge class, she settled down and was fun to ride.  Of course, the classes stayed huge, but overall it was a fun day.  It was hot and dusty but a great way to kick off the 2013 show season.

I was completely worn out by the end of the day, and I am pretty sure I did not see 8PM.  LOL! 

Our results:
1st Hunter Pleasure Horse, Open (out of 21)
3rd Hunt Seat Equitation, Open (out of 15)
4th NEHC Pleasure Horse, Open (out of 5)
6th Adult Equitation, Open (out of 9)

We did not place in:
MHA Medallion Pleasure, Open out of 14
MHA Pleasure Horse, Open out of 19
Hunter Pleasure Horse Championship out of 11 (which bummed me out since we won the qualifier, but she broke to trot in the canter and I had to cue her again - oh well!)

All photos here were taken by my amazing photographer friend Katie!  

Good pony won a big class of 21!!  It was split, but still!!!  :-D

This mare has come so far!  

Always with the smile!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Driving Miss Snappy

Snap Dancer has a reputation for being a tough little race mare, but she is actually a peach to drive.  My friend Katie was her groom and she not only loved to sit behind Snap, but also her husband learned to jog with her!  She is like a jogging schoolmaster!  LOL!  ;-)

So, while I have been having a blast schooling her in dressage and jogging her under saddle, I have never driven Snappy.  I finally put together a harness for her (it has a lot less parts than a pleasure driving harness, that's for darn sure!) and my grandfather was kind enough to cut the long ends off one of his old wooden jog carts and rig it up with the quick hitch hardware.  My weekends were so packed that we did not have a chance to try it out as soon as I had hoped.  
My son approved.
He actually brought it up to me the day of prom (April 27) but we did not get to give it a test until June 1!!   While I knew Snappy would be fine, I did want him there for our first try.  Of course, she was perfect!!!  I love driving her and cannot wait until I have the money to buy a pleasure carriage for her!

I finally got my son to take pics after we had jogged 2.5 miles!
Coming down to a walk...
All smiles!  She was super fun!  Can you see how HOT it was that day!?!  This was at 9AM but it made it to 90 degrees!
That's my grandfather coming out to help...


Sunday, June 2, 2013

My horse rolls like a boss

I ought to have more time to blog over the next few weeks!  Lots to catch up on!  

In the meantime, check out how my mare likes to roll!  It makes me giggle every time I see her do this!

Snap Dancer Rolling Like a Boss from Elizabeth Tewksbury on Vimeo.

The first time I saw Snappy roll like this, I thought she was either stuck or something was wrong.  Today I finally made sure I had my phone ready to film her, because after I hosed her off I knew she would roll!  LOL!!