Saturday, April 30, 2011

Haircuts and hunting


Bill and Rascal both got clipped. I'd say yay but I hate the job. I even washed them, but Rascals coat was so thick I didn't even touch her rump dirt apparently and my blades are pretty blunt now. I had to try and do bill as well because she was sedated and it's expensive. Her coat though is not freaky dense and filthy, rather it's downy and long so my blades happily cut through her hair and she was by far the easiest to clip. She would be the horse I worry most about kicking or striking but she seemed to actually quite enjoy the clipping. Only protested when I did her cheekbones. Rascal was an absolute donkey around her head but I get her done and while she looks super smart and huntery with her roached mane I instantly regretted it when I got on at the hunt.


still there is a bit of a before story. I went out to Palmy with my little sister and fully embraced the binge drinking culture. So I woke up at 7.40am, knowing that the night before I had bet lots of people that I would go to the olympics. I told my sister I had to go home to ride Bill before hunting. I leapt of of bed yelling " you don't get to the olympics by being a pussy" And then fell over. Oops. Still drunk. Has to sober up before going anywhere.

So I was feeling really poorly when I got to the hunt- though 2 McChickens and some Mizone isotonics helped! Rascal was excited having hunted before and remembering how fun it was. It wasas I went to grab a handful of mane as I swung up that i regretted removing said mane and it felt really odd to be jumping spars and to just see my lonely little hands pressed into her naked crest. Still she was awesome to hunt and I was rapt with her, well as rapt as I can be feeling that poorly. rascal is living with my friend so we can hunt until Tru.ckie is fixed

Rode Bill tonight and it seems I clipped off the warmblood and left only the TB because she was hot hot and bucky when I worked her today. Was rapt with a few nice kind circles of trot and left it at that. I have started exercising and ran pretty far tonight and I have to say i'm starting to love the running. Just the solitariness of it, it's only the sound of my feet and breath and then the beat of the music. It's really centering. It's also a really good time to just think about stuff. I really feel like I'm getting a really strong sense of myself and my own worth again and thats really exciting and nice. I feel strong and capable again for the first time in ages. Life is the bomb

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nothing is happening

See title. Otherwise there would be lots and lots and lots of posts about all of the exciting things I had been doing with my horses. It's really not that time of year. Connie and Kate are paddocked away from the house in a paddock full of grass and hills and trees and have been running wild, without covers and they will soon have their shoes pulled. They called for the first few days but soon took to just ignoring me. On sunday, I knew a southerly was coming and that it would get very cold and wet so I went to cover the two wild ponies. They came when I called, bucking farting and neighing. And then they galloped away again and it took me about half an hour before they stopped running like loonies and let me rug them. Southerlies come from Antarctica so they freeze your very bones. They must be happy I persevered because it has been so wet and so cold for the last 5 days, they would have been very very miserable.

Truckie has also packed it in. I loaded Rascal to go to a hunt and then the hinges broke on the ramp so I unloaded her and had to shut the ramp with the tractor forks and lots of man power. That was a fortnight ago and I haven't been out since. I have had a few nice rides on her though and Bill has also been going really well though has had nearly a week off. So I can still hunt I'm going to board Rascal at a friends place, because hunting twice a week is fitness enough. Still it's an expense I could have done without. I have to get the horse going so I can sell her and she is bloody good fun to hunt.

I however have kicked off on an exercise program with the goal of getting both slimmer and fitter. It's been two weeks so far and I'm starting to get into the swing of things though my body thinks i'm totally nuts. I also tried coming off of my anti-depressants but after 3 weeks turning into a snarly grumpy crier and decided it wasn't really worth it and went back on and bam! functional human being again. It actually guts me that I need medication to feel normal but I guess what can you do. I'm really sad when I think of the years I wasted with a low grade depression before I went nuts and realised I needed help. Still life is a journey blah blah etc! I hope everyone is getting a lot more saddle time than I am! I'm really starting to miss it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have had two hunts so far this season, one with Connie about 2 weeks ago and last weekend I took Rascal out. It was her first hunt and i didn't know how she would go but she was really awesome. She chipped into the first spar and kept her eye on it going over and did the same over the second and then jumped everything straight away including the little post and rail. The only time she made me cross was when she wouldn't move off of my right spur so I could close the gate. In fact we even shared a moment when we almost liked each other when I scratched her chin with the toe of my boot.

Rascal and I- we get to hunt over beautiful country

We went out after the hunt proper had left because we were on a bunch of babies. I ended up hunting than I intended to but she was coping so well. She was happy (grateful!!) to stop and stand quietly. If I trusted her a little more over the fences I would much prefer her to Connie who just thinks hunting is so cool she has super ants in her pants.

Kim on Connie and my friend on her maiden hunter

I had a surreal moment riding yesterday. I was riding Rascal around the hills and a fert plane was working the neighbours property. He was flying around our hill and I ended up being eye level with the pilot and we had a wave to each other. It's just strange to have a plane pass within 30m at your on height when you are on a horse. And Rascal seriosly! You are scared of a really white rock off by itself but you are totally cool with the aeroplane? You are a strange pony. Though I think I may be getting to the bottom of what makes Rascal tick. And thats contact and plenty of it. She seems to really like the security of a firm hand even if I don't like riding that way. It's completely removed the spook. Now she looks but she doesn't jump away. Odd pony.

There is a little show this weekend with 30cm up to 80cm classes I should really take bill too. Maybe if the weather is good. She is probably ready but I want another month of preparation! I'm a bit chicken. I'll jump her this weekend anyway because I need to add a few doubles and things.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kate goes to the Vet

So this Friday I loaded Kately up and took her on an hour and 45 minute drive to Southern Rangitiki Vet Services where they have an excellent equine clinic. The lengths I got to eh! She was really such a saint of a horse. I couldn't have been happier with how she behaved. Everyone loved her because despite the fact there wasn't a single other horse around her, she was quiet and biddable and did everything asked of her. So we started with a normal walk and trot up the breezeway. (I was a little hungover and I have to say the running was doing me in) On a positive note at least the sun was out there. It was a beautiful sunny Autumn day while at home it was overcast but absolutely freezing.

Now to recap, Kate has been stopping at fences even when I get a good ride, cranky under saddle and uneven until she warms up and reluctant to go forward. She has been missing some flying changes and cross firing a bit so I suspected that the issue was in her hocks, though she does throw some short strides on her right fore, which I though was because the issue was in her opposite hind, or because she needed her back done. Can you see where this is going? Lunged her on concrete on an 8m circle walk/trot and then we lunged on a big circle trot/canter and while she wasn't really positively lame, she looked clearly uncomfortable. Then we flexioned her and she only flexioned positively on the right fore- about a 101.5/5 lameness. (More running!!!)

Then we I got on and rode her at the canter on the packed lime carpark at the canter and trotted some small figure 8s. The vet then said that he thought the issue was in the right fore which was pretty, obvious after all of this poking and prodding and not her hocks at all. I was just like yea well thats why I'm here, you know more than I do. The problem being in her foreleg could just as easily cause the same issues I'm seeing in her as she tries to avoid waiting that foreleg. I have never really dealt with a horse with a low grade constant lameness, so I guess there is no shame in being wrong but I do still feel a bit dumb!

Then it was time for palpated and Kate clearly reacted when he got to the knee. The Vet was very confident she had a case of DKS- Dicky knee syndrome. It's common in racehorses but not in jumpers so go figure. Then the next stage is to either take that information and think about it or get x-rays which would cost me about $250. It's a funny timing to take her to the vet because I always planned to just turn her out for the winter and start again next Spring, but I needed to take her to the vet while she was still in work and the problem was still aggravated and obvious, even though any treatment would probably wait until the next Spring. One of the major reasons I took Kate there was because of their good x-ray facilities so I always intended to get films done if they were neccessary. It's one thing to know that the issue is in her knee, and quite another to be able to see what it is.

Anyway, she does have arthritic changes in her knee. Some remodelling on the second carpal bone, and some pitting on the surface of the 3 carpal bone, though the joint margin itself looked really clean. I think the vet was worried I'd be freaked out, but even I could see the changes weren't too major, and he was very confident that we would be able to make her comfortable, probably with injections into the joint. Like he said though, it may only be one factor that is causing her stopping but it's nice to know that she is sound and that the issue is something else- be it my riding or her confidence. He did say it could definitely be the major factor depending on her pain thresholds, and Kate is a bit of a wimp. she is a TB after all.

Anyway, belkow is an x-ray of a normal right knee on a horse and I have somewhat drawn in the remodelling in white on the 2nd carpus and the dark grey arrow indicates where the joint surface damage is on the 3rd carpal bone. This diagram is probably actually very inaccurate because it's just from memory and while it was easy to see when pointed out at the clinic, when I went to replicate it I realised I had no idea what I was doing. Still close enough eh chaps!

Realistically, Kates career will be shortened by this and I probably wont be able to sell her because she is already 11 and people don't buy older horses with arthritis. That being said I really want to breed her one day so all is not lost. Her prognosis is good and in terms of bad news it's not really so bad (It does sound expensive though).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bill goes out again

The difficulty with getting a young horse out is finding a place to take her where there is some atmosphere but not so much that her mind is blown. I would be taking her around the road to the riding facility quite near us, but after a falling out over a thin horse everyone thought was mine (Including the SPCA) I don't want to use her facility anymore or be associated with it. The whole situation was pretty wrong. Anyway, I had an epiphany and that meant that despite being a bit hung over and tired, I took Bill down to a friends place. They have quite a few horses and are next to a small airport so it was a good option I thought.

Bill was actually pretty freaking awesome. she was only really a slightly more spooky and forward version of the horse I ride at home so that was very exciting. The day before I had ridden her out in a 5 acre paddock to see if she would cop with open spaces even though open spaces are the most risky on a young horse. She was awesome there though as well so I'm starting to get more and more confident in her ability to cop and behave. That being said she is very green and I'm sure the worst is yet to come :)

So she traveled really well and instead of sweat dripping off of her like her first trip, she was only a little bit sweated up on her flanks. Thats excellent! She also loaded and unloaded really well. I lunged her for about 4 minutes and then got on. My friend was working his horse at the same time so it was awesome for her to be worked around a strange horse. She really did behave so well, far beyond my expectations. The only time she got a bit upset was when the other horse cantered up behind her. They have lots of little logs as well so I took her over all of those and we are pretty much eventers now lol!

I did my first jumping from the canter as well and safe to say it's going to take her a while to get the timing of that sorted. Bill is a bit downhill and has this massively long powerful canter stride and she really isn't sure what to do with all of that power. It's a matter of flatwork and strength and over time it will improve and become more rideable. She loaded up to come home perfectly, and I was just so rapt with her that it's not even funny. I'll take her down there a few more times and then I need to start looking at a busier outing, a practice day or such thing.