Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas List

Well, its getting to be that time. I am working on my Christmas shopping which mostly consists of my mom, dad and siblings this year as well as the three woman in the HR department at work. They are all tough to shop for, except maybe my sisters because we think very much alike, and I feel like I should be so easy to buy things for since absolutely anything for a horse would make me happy. Things like horse treats, brushes, or medical supplies don't have to be a specific color or style or size and would be great gifts but whether its just tough for non horse people to know what to buy or if they are still trying to quell my horse crazy habits but I never seem to get horse gifts.

I always adore what they get me of course :-)

but if I could just ask for what I REALLY want (from someone with unlimited funds cause its fun to dream) it would go something like this;

These treats because they are made from reasonably health ingredients and are small and hard so they would fit in a pocket well.


One of these bridles because I've heard some horses love them and I would love to see if Katai would. Plus, I LOVE the way they look.

One of these blankets in lightweight. Katai has a heavy/medium blanket and a sheet but I would love something in between and these last forever and just fit right.

Some of these awesome, warm breeches because it would nice to not freeze at the barn this winter :-)

A nice, quiet clippers since at some point I'd like to be able to at least trim up my pony's summer coat.



One of these cool European style saddle pads, bonus that this one is navy and pink :-)

So, to anyone reading this, what would you ask for?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Material Girl

Sometimes I feel materialistic when it comes to my pony and I feel the need to explain even though I know I don't need to.

I do love my pony for my pony and even if I had the same worn English saddle with a towel under it as a saddle pad and a mismatched bridle like when I was growing up I would love her just the same and would enjoy riding just as much. I am not into horses because of products or as a shopping opportunity they are simply a part of my soul.

However, I don't buy much for myself and when I do its normally practical. I love name brands but I can rarely afford them so I almost never buy them and while I do have a weakness for Victoria Secret I rarely buy myself anything fun as far as clothes or shoes go.

I also don't have any other expensive hobbies and even my computer was a good deal and relatively "cheap", in fact the only thing I have that is really nice is my iPhone.

When it comes to Katai though things are different. I save my money so that I can buy her nice things. Mainly its because her comfort and health actually depend to some extent on my ability to buy and use things that fit her and are comfortable and well made. I'll be fine if I wear work clothes from Target but my pony's back won't be ok if I buy her a cheap saddle.

Its also because its fun. Not only is it fun to shop for cute, nicely made, adorable things for her but it is so nice to see her in nice things and to feel proud about how she looks. Probably this isn't so different than parents buying their kids nice things but since I don't have any my pony gets to be nicely outfitted.

I bring this up partially because I did some shopping on Cyber Monday and bought another weight of blanket, finally I think I have the different weights that I need, a new girth and a pair of socks for myself. Partially though its because reading through posts it seems I have a lot of things I want for her. Most of them are things I need for example the girth I just bought was because neither of the ones I have right now really fit her. One is too short so she keeps hitting the buckles with her elbow (ouch) and the other is too slippery and doesn't have enough elastic so I slip all over the place. Having a unique sized and shaped horse means that I'm constantly searching for things that fit and work for her small frame.

And there is the fact that I can finally afford some of this stuff.

Growing up, as I said before, I had almost nothing that I wanted and very little that I needed to actually be able to outfit a horse properly and comfortably. Much of it was a quick fix or was borrowed from a friend and I always felt like I needed something or wanted something. It is so nice to finally have a good job and to be able to afford the things that we both need to be able to function together as a good horse and rider team :-)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Thanksgiving

I think that oddly enough this will be one of the first posts with pictures of me in it! Its tough when you aren't around people when you work your horse to get any pictures but today my dad came up to my new apartment for our Thanksgiving meal and I took him out to the barn to show him where Katai is now being boarded.

The meal was roast chicken, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes and gravy. It was just right for two people and extremely tasty, I know I'm looking forward to leftovers! After dinner we had a chance to talk and then he mentioned that he wanted to get some pie so I suggested that we go check out the barn and then stop at a local diner for homemade pie, since that is one thing I have not mastered.

I so love this arena! My dad was very impressed with the whole set up and it was the first time that he had met Katai in person.

I think she won him over :-)

I had planned on riding but after the large meal I just felt more like a nap and I didn't want my dad to have to wait too long so I just lunged and fed her her grain.
Love this one!
I feel like a marshmallow in this coat but at least its warm. Katai is partial to the nice large "treat" pockets.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful

The things I am thankful for this holiday season;

First and foremost friends. Lisa, the person that I rented from for while, not only has been extremely supportive this week (and always) but also knew that my family wasn't available today on Thanksgiving so she invited me to her family's Thanksgiving meal. She also gave me two pairs of winter breeches which is soooo wonderful since I have been freezing when riding but just couldn't afford winter breeches.

Secondly I'm thankful for a good job, a clean place to live, and a working car :-)

I am also extremely thankful for a wonderful barn and boarding situation which is easily the best I have had so far. I know that my pony is being well cared for and I adore the facilities.

Finally, for now, I am thankful for my wonderful pony and buddy Katai and everything that she does for me every day.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Anchor

My boyfriend broke up with me yesterday on my way home from work, the week of Thanksgiving, by text. I'd had a gut feeling for the past two weeks that something was going on but I never thought it was that. I feel completely blindsided especially because I truly loved the guy and there was no indication that he didn't love me. He was still looking at me with gooey eyes, holding me close, kissing me on the top of the head, pulling me onto his lap on the couch when we were watching a movie together and we were having fun in bed.

I really didn't see it coming.

I did get him to admit that he "bumped into someone else and just went crazy" so whether it was someone he knew from before or just someone new I'll never know. I'm completely positive that he broke up with me because the relationship wasn't new and exciting anymore.

I'd rather never pull my outside life into my horse blog but this relationship has been so important to me and such a wonderful thing that I need to address it and mostly I needed to say that Katai is truly my anchor.

Tonight it was cold and dark out and I was sad and wanted nothing more than to go home, curl up in a little ball and cry but I wanted so badly to see Katai's fluffy ears, to hear her high little whinny when she sees my car because she knows that I'm there for her, and to put on her nice warm blanket to protect her from the cold. I even missed my turn on the way home from work because I was too lost in thought so I went the long way to the barn and sure enough she greeted me with a whinny.

I love her so much and this actually came at something close to the right time, if there is such a thing, because things have been going so well with her. I have been spending so much time at the barn that when I saw the text one of my first thoughts, after how could this be happening, was that at least I would get to spend more time at the barn with my pony.

I don't really know what to do with myself right now other than spend time at the barn. I didn't just loose my boyfriend I feel like I lost my best friend, or at least my best human friend.

Tonight I had nowhere near the mental capacity to ride. I brought Katai into the arena, out of the wind, and free lunged her over some jumps. She was full of herself and snorting smoke in the cold air, doing her best to make me laugh so for a little while I forgot about stupid boys and enjoyed my girl. When she was done I fed her her grain, put on her nice fluffy blanket and cried into her mane for awhile. She was calm and patient and wise way beyond her six years and wrapped her neck around me.

I needed my night with her tonight and I'll need my time with her this week more than every. I'm so glad that I have such a true friend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spoiled Pony

I had the second half of the day off today and I fully planned on riding and spending some quality time with Katai at the barn but on my way into work this morning it started raining and kept it up all day. I still thought that I would at least work with her but then on the drive to the barn the rain started to freeze on my windshield and when I got there the horses were all eating so I got the hint and decided to save the ride for a different day.

I did put Katai's blanket and, for the first time, blanket liner on so now she is nice and cozy. It is supposed to get down to the teens tonight and into the single digits tomorrow. She is still getting fed separately  since she isn't fitting in with the herd quite well enough to be comfortable eating off the round bale but hopefully soon they will all get it figured out.

I planned on giving her tomorrow and Saturday off but now that today ended up being an abbreviated visit I may try to make it out on Saturday which would work out because they will be doing poop control to send in for fecal egg count testing. It would be nice to get to hang out with more people from the barn,...

even if it is to collect poop.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Equipment Update

I just got back from the barn again tonight and talk about a great diet plan! Not only did I post for at least 15 minutes straight (yeah I realize that isn't that long but I haven't been riding much recently) but I'm used to eating at 5:00 and now I don't get to eat until after 7:00.

Katai was great even in the extremely noisy windy arena by herself. She is starting to really get this trotting thing and was more forward again tonight than on Sunday. I did carry the dressage whip again but I barely had to use it. Right now the biggest issue is that when I ask her to walk she thinks that she can stop and when I push her and make her walk she baaaaaaarely drags her feet along at the slowest snail pace possible. I've been able to push her straight from a trot into a walk now a few times but she is still dragging her feet and needs too many reminders to walk nice.

She actually spooked for almost the first time tonight at the side of the arena making a flapping noise and it was the cutest little spook. I'm so glad that she doesn't have a good spin because on small horses those can be tough.


Tonight I used a fleece halfpad for the first time.

  I have this one which is the fake fur kind and I have been concerned that it would make my saddle to unstable but it actually improved things. Katai's saddle is a little on the wide side right now partially because she was fatter but also because she liked the wider saddle vs the saddle that actually fit her a little closer. The halfpad actually filled in that extra space and although it wasn't more stable it also wasn't worse and I think that she seemed to like it. I'm going to mess around with some different pad and girth combinations the next couple of times that I ride.


In other news, Adventures with Shyloh is holding a contest to win one of those cool Horze pom pom hats and I would love one. Here is a link to the contest!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I < 3 my Barn

Really, they have a Keurig coffee maker with all kinds of free K-Cups. I brought some Mocha ones today because that's my favorite :-)
 
There is also hot water for tea and a microwave. The little lounge area and bathroom are heated too which is wonderful!
J has it decorated so cute and there is tons of seating on these cozy little couches.  The small box on the wall to the right is a sound system so you can play the radio, cds or my Iphone!!! over the sound system in the arena. Ones of my goals tonight is actually to work on a riding playlist :-)
The view into the arena is great!
There are two lines of three stalls each in the end of the arena. The lounge is just to my right in the picture. J doesn't believe in stalling horses so these are mostly storage but a couple are cleaned out and ready for horses for overnights or health reasons.

The tackroom is cozy and further to the left at the same end of the barn as the stalls and lounge. I ended up with a whole three saddle racks to myself which is awesome and probably won't last. 
When I took these pictures my saddle was home being cleaned and acting as art in my living room. 

I LOVE that saddle :-)
The best part!
Finally pony eating her grain. Normally she is tied but tonight was declared "love on pony night" by Katai and myself because she has been great and is working hard. She is still young and not very strong and I don't want to overface her and make her dislike being worked. I actually thought that she might not want to be caught tonight but she walked right up to me. She got some hay while I groomed her and then we played at liberty around the trail obstacles set up in the arena for awhile. Finally I took care of her feet, she got her grain and then I turned her out again.

Tomorrow there will be more riding and hopefully I will be able to work her more to her uncomfortable side. Soon I hope to have pictures of me actually riding her!



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Really On Our Way

The weather has been so much nicer for the past couple of days and on Thursday I had a wonderful ride on my girl. We did so much trotting that I was actually sore, of course I haven't been riding much recently so that's not saying too much, and Katai didn't put a foot wrong.

The ride started out a little rough. She was slinging her head around and not wanting to listen to my leg but was very forward compared to normal. I actually climbed off to pull the saddle and check her back and girth because I wondered if she was sore. I couldn't find anything even with fairly rough poking at her back and a thorough examination of her girth and all four legs so I decided that she must just be having a "mare day" and climbed back on. We trotted for almost 20 minutes and she was just perfect. I even had really good steering which is usually pretty tough when they first start trotting.

Today I had another great ride on her and we did more trotting. there was someone else riding in the arena which was great experience for her but honestly she didn't seem to really care at all. She still seemed a little down but again I couldn't figure anything out even with an examination from her head to her tail. Apparently she hadn't finished up her hay that morning but she was eating the hay pile where I tied her and I looked at everything from the inside of her mouth to the pulse in her feet and everything seemed normal. I'm hoping she just has a minor but from the weather changes but either way we are going to take it easy tomorrow and I'm just going to groom her, spend some time with her and look her over again.

This evening I bought a couple of dressage books on my kindle. I just started one about early classical training with young horses and I'm really enjoying it. The writer does a TON of lunging in side reins before ever riding and explains why that is preferable and I can really see the benefits. I think I will probably do a review of the book when I am finished with it.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Ponies

There may be people out there that are wondering why I have a pony and not a normal sized horse or a warmblood. The reason for me isn't because it wasn't an option but because I've always, always, loved ponies. I think that Flash, the 14 hand pony that I competed in hunters and eventing when I was having early riding lessons is a big part of the reason that I have a thing for ponies but honestly I have just always felt that they are much more appealing for several reasons.

One reason is that I feel it is just a much more harmonious picture.

This vs.
This for example.





Or this vs.



I really don't know why I prefer the smaller horses but I do :)

Secondly they just have such awesome attitudes. Calm, not overly spooky, smart and I adore that they always think they know better than their rider.

Lets not forget their sense of humor.

Finally, lets face it I'm pretty short lol. It is just so much more comfortable to be able to get the saddle on and off your horse's back, to be able to get the dirt off their but without a step stool and mount without a ladder.

Not that I don't like ladders.....

I have a great time looking around YouTube for people, not kids, riding ponies well and enjoying them the way I do so I will leave you with some of my favorite recent videos.




Monday, November 11, 2013

Update

Things are going so well with Katai at the new barn. I've ridden her three times so far in the indoor and she has adjusted extremely well especially for a pony that had never been in an indoor arena before. She is also getting handled by a bunch of different people which is wonderful! They are catching her, moving her, putting her blanket on and taking it off, and handling her for the farrier. She is also getting used to working when there are other horses present which is wonderful!!

She has been slowly acclimating to the herd that she is with as well. I don't think she has ever been in a herd of more than 3-4 horses and now she is in with 6 others and a couple are extremely bossy. She leaves them alone and stays away which is nice because she's only received a few bites but currently she is receiving her own small pile of hay because she is too nervous to work her way up to the round bale. I continue to be impressed with the level of care she is receiving and I am loving the indoor since otherwise I wouldn't have a chance to spend time with her during the week since it is dark by the time I get out of work.

I'm hoping to take some pictures soon but right now in the, still dark arena, there aren't a whole of of great picture taking opportunities. I'm hoping to catch up with some people next weekend during the daylight so I may be able to get some pictures then.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Move

Went very well :-)

I got to the barn early so that I could get everything packed in my car and spend some time with my pony before her world changed again. She was sleepy because it was so much warmer than it has been and she had been standing in the sun.

J, the barn owner, got there soon after and I got Katai out of the pasture after having to track down the property owner to unlock the gate. She oddly enough marched straight to the trailer and climbed halfway on before I had myself organized. Then she caught herself, heard the trailer making clanking noises and jumped back out. She was a little wound up then and it took another 20 minutes or so to get her on but she still did well and was listening and not getting too wound up.

I followed the trailer back to the barn and she rode very well, not bouncing around at all, and J said that she couldn't even feel her back there. She was quite sweaty and stressed when we got there and I pulled her off and turned her out into the round pen to bounce around for a little and work off some of that stress. I stayed with her for awhile and then went to unload my tack and get settled in.

I realized as I was unloading and finding places for my tack that she has never been at a normal boarding barn before. In fact, the largest herd of horses that I think she has ever been in was with 3 others. She was calling and basically pretty wound up. It didn't take her too long to calm down considerably though and after a couple good rolls she was relaxed and walking instead of running.
She was really a perfect lady despite all of the big changes and walked right over to her isolation pen nicely even past some scary things like tarp covered hay bales and a dog that is almost as large as she is. I walked her around the pasture to show her where the fence was and left her to call to the other horses and make friends.

Last night Gordan and I had been given free tickets to the Minnesota Roller Girls roller derby. It was my first time watching roller derby and it was awesome! The ending was extremely close and I almost lost my voice yelling for our friend's favorite team.
Then this morning I went to a Dressage Clinic with Amy Larson. A whole bunch of D's student's rode including Lisa and I was there mainly to help groom for Lisa and keep her nerves to a minimum. Everyone rode very well and I really enjoyed Amy's teaching style. D told me that there will be another clinic in March and I'm going to make it my goal to get Katai ready for that clinic. Amy concentrated a lot on getting things right at the walk including rider position and the getting horses moving well and using the correct muscles. She had people trot very little which was a big change compared to the other clinics I've been to where the clinician can't get the rider and horse into the trot fast enough.
 Unfortunately this is the only picture I took that turned out at all but this rider was the most advanced I saw and her horse was excellent. They were both very fun to watch!

This evening I went out to the barn to see how things were going and to start to acclimate Katai to the coverall arena. Another thing I had realized is that my little pony has never been in an indoor arena so I knew it would take a little getting used to.

When I got there I noticed that her halter and lead rope were missing and when I went out towards the pen I had left her in she wasn't there. I saw J in the distance and walked over to see what was going on. As I walked I was looking around and finally did see her out in a large pasture and guessed, correctly it turned out, that she had escaped her isolation pen. Mostly Katai isn't much of an escape artist but the huge change in her routine and all of the new horses had her pretty worked up. J told me where to find my halter and I went to catch her and check on her.

She actually walked right up to me, which is a huge change from how she used to react, and let me catch her easily. She also walked calmly with me back to the arena and even walked in pretty well. As we walked I noticed that she was pretty gouged up. I have no idea where she went or what she ran into but she has deep scrapes on both sides of her barrel up towards her back and a very deep nasty looking scratch right in her flank. I tied her and then went to get medicine to put on them and she lost it a bit. Luckily J has some of the Blocker Tie Rings and she just pulled back a ways and then stopped. I got her sorted out and got her lunging to work off some of the stress. She was obviously sore, tired and stressy and I'm sure the fact that she is in raging heat isn't helping her feel any better. Moving around a little wasn't going to hurt her at any rate and I walked around the whole arena lunging her close to all of the trail obstacles that had been set up. She didn't bat an eye at anything, not even the bridge covered in tarps. Once she started to drop her head and blow I tied her again, cleaned out her feet (which continue to look better and better) and got her all doctored up. She danced a little whenever I left her but was really a lady all things considered. By the time I had her all set she was getting herself a little worked up again so I got her out and moving again. More stress release and then she got her grain.

Finally, as it was getting dark, I put her rain sheet on since the weather is taking a turn for the worse again and put her back out in her pen. J had pulled in the herd that she is going to be a part of (and the herd she got loose to try to join) so they are right along her fence. Hopefully she will stay where she is supposed to and not be any worse for the wear tomorrow.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diet

There is a lot of research that has gone into Katai's current diet and I am very happy with how her she is doing on it. I haven't always cared about diet as much as I do now though.

At one point my family owned seven horses which were all healthy, mixed breeds that were easy keepers. They had great hooves weren't being ridden that much or shown so as long as they were healthy we weren't too concerned about how shiny their coats were. They were all extremely healthy and had great feet and their only diet was grass during the summer and grass hay during the winter with maybe some sweet feed if it got really cold.

I'm sure it never did them any favors since their grass would have been deficient in certain minerals but they never seemed to be suffering any poor health so I didn't thing much about it. In fact, because they seemed to do so well with so little I had very little belief in supplements or fancy feed until I got Sora.

I started off simple enough with her and when it became apparent that she needed more than just grass and hay I added Safe Choice. It quickly became clear that it was not a safe choice for Sora when her attitude changed drastically so I researched other options and switched her to Purina Senior which, looking back, probably wasn't the best choice but I was working with what I knew at the time.

I continued to feed Sora Senior for quite awhile until I ran into some other horse owners who were talking about ration balancers and they sounded exactly like what she needed. Vitamins and not much else and just enough to balance out the hay or grass that she was eating. 

That is when I found Nutrina Empower.



Nutrient Level
Crude Protein 30.0%
Lysine 2.2%
Methionine 0.6%
Threonine 1.2%
Crude Fat 5.0%
Crude Fiber max. 8.0%
Dietary Starch* max. 8.0%
Sugar* max. 6.0%
Calcium 3.0% - 3.5%
Phosphorus 1.5%
Copper 250 ppm
Zinc 750 ppm
Selenium 2.5 ppm
Vitamin A 18,000 IU/lb
Vitamin D 1,800 IU/lb
Vitamin E 600 IU/lb
Biotin 1.5 mg/lb

I first started feeding it just because it was an available ration balancer but the more I learn about which vitamins horses need the more I realize that this feed is perfect. Everything from the level of Protein to the lack of Iron (which we already have too much of in our soil and interferes with the absorption of Copper and Zinc both of which are extremely important in hoof health) to the small amount you can feed and the extremely reasonable cost.

I had just started to feed Sora Empower before she left and then when I got Myshla and Katai I continued this feed. I was extremely happy with it and not really looking for anything else but when I got Katai and was worried about her feet and Founder risk I started to look into some of the reasons for those issues and found that Magnesium is very often lacking from horse diets. The lack of Magnesium can make many horses tense, jumpy and tight through the back but it also can affect insulin resistant horses and if fed in the proper quantities it can reduce fat deposits and help to reduce the risk of Laminitis.

Currently I am feeding Quiessence to supplement Magnesium mostly because the balance of vitamins and minerals is supposed to be especially helpful with horses (or ponies) that are prone to Founder but also because it comes in a pelleted form that is very palatable which is something that is tough to find in many Magnesium supplements especially when you are trying to feed it with a very small amount of ration balancer and not something sticky like a sweet feed.

 Active Ingredients Per 1oz:
Magnesium Oxide 7g
Magnesium Proteinate 1g
Chromium Piccolinate 1.25mg

Quiessence® provides 4.2 grams  of elemental Magnesium (4g from Magnesium Oxide and 0.1 g (100 mg) from more bioavailable Magnesium Proteinate) per 1oz serving.

 All in all I am very satisfied with Katai's diet right now. She gets about half a pound total per feeding which is not much more than a double handful. Just enough to make her happy and to make her feel like she is special but not too much :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yay! Boarding!

I found a place!!!!

I really love where Katai is now but with no arena, a sketchy pasture (used to be an alfalfa field 0_0) and nobody to ride with I have been seriously considering moving her. The problem is that the closest boarding stable and the most reasonable is also over crowed and has poor pasture spaces with many, many horses per field plus it is way more expensive just for pasture board.

This barn is slightly further away from home but almost exactly the same distance from work. It has a huge indoor coverall arena, an outdoor round pen, trails and a nice outdoor riding space, arena with grass footing. There aren't too many boarders and the woman who owns that place has exceptional horse keeping knowledge. She only deworms if she knows what the worm count is, rotates pastures and is willing to dry lot and manage turnout which is so huge for Katai!

















 Best of all the board is exactly what I will be paying now where she is for winter and only a little more expensive then I have been paying for the summer plus I can move in soon! It looks like I may be able to move her as soon as next Sunday although it will depend partially on Dan since I know I didn't give him much warning.

I can't wait to be able to ride her inside a nice safe space, ride with other people and be able to ride during the winter.

I was going to get more pictures but it was getting dark and its always a little weird taking pictures as the owner is walking you around. Next time I will get arena pictures :)

I can't wait!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blanket Review

Unhappy pony face thinks that blankets are stupid but I really like this one!







 It is fully lined with that slippery lining material so that it doesn't catch on her fur and rub. It fits her great with plenty of room and all of the buckles are just what I would expect from a good blanket. I continue to love Saxon blankets :-)

















Plus, isn't the color just adorable on her!

I also received the really cute pink blanket liner hat I ordered but it was much too long so I pulled it apart, cut off a chunk at the end and sewed it back up. Its all set now and as good as new but I still need to add the hardware to the back corners so that it stays under the other blanket. I plan on using it with this sheet so the color combination may be interesting lol.

You can also see in this pictures that she has graduated to her leather halter. I bought it several months ago for her but I wasn't going to use it, its a really nice one, until I knew she wouldn't pull back and break it. I now trust her enough to stand tied that I've started to use it with her. I think she looks so adorable in her gear and like such a big girl :-)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blanket Season

Well, blanket season is fast approaching and this year that means shopping! I had three different weights of blanket for Sora plus a dress sheet and she was a huge blanket baby. I have never had a horse that loved blankets so much and she would get extremely tight backed and sore if she got cold without her blanket.

However, not only was Sora quite a bit bigger than Katai, she wore a 72 and that was nicely fitted, but I also sent all of her blankets with her when she left because it felt like the least I could do. I did keep one of her blankets from when she was still growing and that fits Katai fine although it’s just a bit long but it is a heavy weight blanket and since Katai is a fuzzy pony its really only appropriate for the coldest days.

Now I’m not much of a fan of blanketing when it’s just cold out but even with the nice shelter that Katai now has I will blanket if it is extremely windy, wet and raining and below 60 or if the temperature is in the low teens or lower. In those cases I have no doubt that a horse can stay warm but it burns so much energy and compromises their immune system to the point that I just don’t understand why we wouldn’t use the tools available to us to make them more comfortable. Sure the blankets do lay down their haircoat which means that you have to be careful about which blanket you are using for which temperature but I think that if you are educated on blanket use it is only a good thing.

Because of that I just have purchased two blankets from State Line Tack. My favorite brand has always been Saxon and I was happy to find a cute Saxon sheet, no fill that will hopefully fit Katai on sale at SLT. Saxon are fairly cheap blankets, at least as far as price goes, but I have yet to have one that has torn or fallen apart in any way. They are extremely water proof, I used to put Sora’s on in the pouring rain when it was cold out and even hours later she was completely dry under her blankie, and have all of the features of a much more expensive blanket. Plus they just fit well. I also bought a blanket liner for the first time and hope to use that and the Saxon for the in-between weather before it gets cold enough to use the heavy Weatherbeta. 

 

I will do a review and pictures when they get here! Hopefully they will both arrive before we get too much more cold rain so that I can keep my girl warm and toasty J

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Update


It has once again been an extremely long time since I updated this blog. This has mainly been because this dating thing takes way more time than I thought it would but is also because while our HR department at work is finally staffed there is a lot of training and still some stress that I’m just starting to get rid of. Feeling like a normal human being again is great!

Despite the lack of updates things have mostly been mostly good with Katai. She has always been so tender footed and with every change in living or diet or anything her feet seem to become sensitive. I was concerned that she was very insulin resistant and I was dealing with laminitic episodes so I had changed her diet completely and was monitoring her very closely including taking her pulse and recording when her feet were sensitive and everything from the weather that day, cold weather brings up the sugar levels in grass, to diet such as how many treats she had. I was having a really tough time finding any type of pattern and she continued to be sensitive randomly.

Finally about three weeks ago she started to shed her soles. It was a scary thing to see and I knew that I needed even more help so I got my previous barefoot trimmer/guru involved through email and text. I sent her a bunch of pictures and she said that the sole shedding was due, in this case, to the fact that she had really bad deep Sulcus Thrush. Her frogs have always been beefy and dry so I’ve never even thought about thrush but deep Sulcus Thrush is usually much more painful then the Thrush that most people hear about because it goes deep into the heel and even the hoof itself. Because of this infection her whole hoof has been compromised and that is part of what was causing her to shed her soles, as well as the dry weather we’ve been having.
                                                         Like this photo that I stole off Google

My previous trimmer than gave me a treatment regime that involved cleaning out all of her hooves, since it is in all of them L, every day followed by scrubbing them out with either just water or Dawn dish soap depending on how dirty they were. Then I was supposed to flush them out with a Clorox/water mixture and finally fill the middle crack and each side of her frog with a mixture of triple antibiotic ointment and athlete’s foot cream otherwise known as Pete Ramey Goo.

I have been doing this every day and so far the difference is amazing. Her Sulcus are going from tight cracks to much more open valleys, she is shedding off pieces of frog that were infected, and is already much more comfortable walking and trotting. Basically all of the changes that my trimmer said would occur have been happening on schedule. Slowly I have been weaning her off the Clorox flushing and just filling her Sulcus with medication after carefully cleaning her feet out. As soon as her Sulcus’s open up a bit more I will start to just clean them and then spray them thoroughly with Apple Cider Vinegar which kills bad bacteria while not damaging the good.

Overall, while I’m not happy that she has had thrush for so long, probably since I got her, and I didn’t know about it I am happy because it is something I can fix and it means that once it is better she will stay better as long as I follow some preventative care to keep it from happening again. It is a much better outcome than the laminitis that I’ve feared. It will take awhile for her frogs to literally regrow healthy tissue and as that happens her heels will continue to widen out and she will start to land heel first rather than toe first since she will be more comfortable.

When my trimmer told me what was wrong I asked her why I didn’t know to look for this. I told her how bad I felt that my pony had been uncomfortable and that I didn’t even think to check for Thrush. She said that almost nobody even knows about this type of Thrush and that she has found countless horses with this infection. Some are more stoic than others and it is only because my pony is very honest with me that I even knew that she was uncomfortable. She said that I had been going above and beyond by researching and changing diet, controlling her environment and recording all changes. I also asked why this would happen when she is never in a stall and has been living on sand that drains well for the past year and she said that she thinks that Katai probably had the infection when I got her and that it can happen even in dry, healthy conditions if their immune system is down. The best prevention, according to her, is to clean feet EVERY DAY or at least every other day and to not just pick them out but scrub them out whenever possible. They also need to move around as much as possible and work their entire foot in different surfaces. Finally, if they are out in the wet, or standing in manure or anything that could increase their chances you can help them out by following a good cleaning with a coating of Apple cider Vinegar.

This past weekend I was gone way up North for a wedding and had Dan, the person boarding her, clean her feet out for me. When I got back they looked even better and she was so sound! I decided that a little light riding would be good for both of us so I took her out in the beautiful sun to ride around the field. She felt great and we behaving so well that I decided to work on trotting. So far I’ve only trotted her a couple of steps just to build her confidence and keep things happy and calm. This time I pushed and ended up with four great, long, trots! She was brilliant for all of them and did nothing naughtier than toss her head.

Hopefully I can do some more soon!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Finally Some Photos

I have been completing missing out, and missing, the horse blogging community recently. Work has been nuts but we are finally fully staffed in HR so my work load is finally getting back to normal. 

The other issue has been the weather and while I am glad that we are finally getting some rain, I'm not happy that it has been interfering with my riding.

Overall though things with Katai have been great! I just started to introduce trotting under saddle and I'm taking it slow because of the cool weather and the fact that I'm stuck in a huge open field that at times make the pony feel like she has wings. She has been excellent though and I have no complaints about her behavior. In fact she had her feet trimmed for the first time by someone other than me last weekend and she was a complete angel, just nervous even though I kind of thought she might be naughty.

Our other project has been getting her to work through her back. For one reason or another, either breeding or conditioning since shes a shorty and always has to stretch up to do horse things, she has developed a very high headset when trotting. She is nice and relaxed and swingy through her back at the walk but the trot is a whole different kettle of fish.

I'd had side reins on her quite awhile ago a couple of times but it was clear to me then that she wasn't ready as she started to curl a bit. Since then she hasn't worn them at all but since recently she has been trying to root the reins out of my hands I thought that I might be able to work on two birds with one stone :)

Here is what I got. She was obviously still tight through the back and trying to avoid the side reins but she also balanced herself sooooo well and started to really use her hind end. You can see from these pictures how tight she is through her shoulder so that is certainly something we will be working on but her natural balance had me grinning the whole time.


She was really starting to get it at the end and was working nicely through her back so we ended on a good note.


I think the plan is to work her in side reins again next time for a short time in both directions and see if she remembers what she learned this time and then we'll go from there. I want to work more on trotting under saddle and while I know it will take her awhile to become comfortable and balanced with someone riding her it feels like I'm riding a giraffe right now so I need to do it in combination with this to help her learn to use her muscles correctly.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Activities

This weekend was all about me :-) The boy was running in a Ragnar so I was all on my own and I made good use of the time to myself!

I had ridden Katai on Sunday and Tuesday so far this week and she had been excellent both times. On Thusday and Friday I worked on her hooves but then rode again on Saturday and Sunday. She has been soooooo good and is developing a nice, forward, relaxed walk. As you can see from the photos I'm riding her in a LARGE open field and she hasn't tried anything funny at all. 


She is going to be SUCH a great little riding horse as she gets some more miles on her. Shes just so calm, relaxed and obedient. I love this picture of her because you can see the custom browband I had made for her. Its in her colors, Navy Blue and Pink, and it is nice and big so that it doesn't squish her pony brains. Ponies certainly don't need their brains squished lol.
Craaaazy pony face picture,

and proof that yes, I do ride her sometimes haha.

On Saturday I decided to check out the new Dover Saddlery that opened up in the Twin Cities. It's about 45 minutes away and I didn't really NEED any tack but they were having a tent sale and that was a good enough excuse haha.


My sister compared these bridles to art and I think thats pretty appropriate :-)
I ended up with a waterproof turnout sheet, breeches (which I LOVE), cute argyle socks, crocheted gloves, a magnesium suppliment that I'll write more about later and some Swat. It's been an awesome weekend :-)



Friday, August 16, 2013

Goal Oriented

I’ve always been someone who sets goals for myself. It started with my mom pushing us when we were little and learning to play the piano, she wanted us to all be professional musicians and two of my sisters will be, and has carried on from there. I’ve always had goals around my career in HR, some assumed and simple, others more difficult that I have to work towards, and I’ve met or surpassed them all so far. However, things with horses have always been different for me. It started with the fact that we had so few extra resources as we were growing up, I got my first horse when I was 12 years old, that even owning a horse was difficult and there was no way we could afford a trailer, lessons, or appropriate tack. Because of that they always had to be just fun and that carried on as I grew up partially because after being pushed so hard by my mom to compete and be competitive with music I had lost my taste for it with the horses. They were my escape, my fun and the best therapy ever.

Now though, things have changed. I chose to change my career from music to an office job so that I could have horses and be more serious about riding, owning and training them. I have always wanted to be more competitive than I was and now that I’m making a better living it’s something that I can actually pursue in the way I want. Because I changed my career at least partially for horses I feel like I have almost an obligation to myself to pursue this at least for awhile.

I do have realistic expectations though. I’ve been riding since I was 12 and I can stick to anything, have shown a couple of times, had some excellent lessons and trained three ponies, before Katai, that all ended up as children’s’ first ponies. I am great with groundwork and making horses/ponies into safe, excellent citizens that are safe to ride while not teaching them any habits that would be hard to break for any discipline. However, I do still consider myself an intermediate rider and know that to reach any goals with Dressage I will need lots of lessons and hard work. I’ve had so many hurdles in the past such as the lack of resources and time that I haven’t made it as far as I would have liked but I’ve also always known that as soon as I could get a good job it would be completely within reach. When I acquired Katai I looked ahead and knew that I was getting close. I had my dream pony and a new job was within reach.

I took a couple of Dressage lessons that winter and although I couldn’t afford many I learned a lot. I had already lost some weight but during the course of the winter I lost more and brought my total to 45 pounds. I started running, something I NEVER thought I would be able to do, and now run over a mile consistently with the goal of doing a 5K sometime this fall or next spring. Most importantly, at least to me, I started working with Katai. That fall was a huge battle dealing with a pony that was somehow spoiled and scared of people at the same time. She would run right into you and walk all over you but if you approached her first she would spin and run. She was tough to catch, didn’t respect fences, and had no idea about what a halter was much less any other piece of tack. She caught on quickly though and last fall I sat on her for the first time. During the winter she sat mostly because I didn’t have any place to work with her in the snow but right away in the spring we started working again. Now she is doing excellent and would be even better if not for all the other little distractions I’ve had this summer such as taking on a new job, being short a person at the job and doing twice the work I should be, starting a relationship J, and moving myself to a new apartment and Katai to a new facility. However, even with all of these distractions and all that change she has mastered a lot of important skills. She now will tie, hard tie or cross tie, can spend time in a stall, is easy to catch, will pick up all four feet, lunges all three gaits in both directions with side reins or without, trailers beautifully J, and is riding nicely at a walk.

My next hurdle is to move her to a different, bigger facility that has an indoor or at least an outdoor arena and an instructor since there is no way I will be able to afford a truck and trailer anytime soon. To be able to move her I need her to be good at a couple more things first. She has to be able to be ridden walk and trot and safely enough that I don’t feel like she’s going to buck or take off at any moment (she feels great at the walk now but the trot will be a whole different story), she needs to be able to be trimmed by a farrier, and she needs to be more comfortable in a stall/barn. The last part is almost set and after this winter she will be fine in a stall. I just emailed Dan yesterday asking when his farrier would be out next so that I can have her professionally trimmed for the first time. The only part left is up to me and should be easy to achieve by the end of fall. I also plan on continuing to work on myself this fall and will keep running, would like to lose a couple more pounds and will be taking some Dressage lessons.

Why do I want to compete at all? Honestly I’m not sure how much I want to compete. I’ve always thought that it looked like so much fun to be at a show with a horse, to talk with other horse people, show off a bit of what you’ve learned, and have people admiring your cute horse. It’s something I’ve really wanted to do since I first got a horse. For me it’s never been about ribbons or winning, its more about doing better than last time and conquering all of the tough tasks that a horse show embodies for your horse, being around other horses, trailering, being in public, standing quietly, and being around other horse people while getting to ride which is something I truly love. However, there are many things about showing that I don’t love and I don’t know if the wonderful things will outweigh those and I won’t know until I try.