Ranger Recap: Feeling SLEEPY. And COOKIES.

Instead of chatting about colic today (which I. STILL. HATE. — but Batts seems to be recovering ok-ishy-ly), I figured I’d do  a lesson recap after my lesson when I actually remember my lesson, rather than days later when I forget my lesson or am too busy to actually recap.


“Skip the work and FEED ME!”

The last few weeks Ranger has had energy. It hasn’t helped that someone has turned him out and I’ve had to get him from the field.  OMG, the WORST, according Ranger. He HATES being turned  out and then coming in to work. He’s on night turnout so usually he stays in until after lessons and then goes out for the night. So, if he goes out he’s convinced he has no job. If I then catch him, Life=OVER. Which has been the story of my last couple lessons. So, basically the last few lessons have included screaming for friends as we canter to jumps and overall distraction. Add that to the fact that he’s not actually easy to catch… Yeah. Each week we’ve had a boogie jump that includes bolting/galloping over and landing/halting/backing… It’s been fun.

So last night I rushed to get there (some texting with trainer to see if I could ride at 6 vs 6:30 due to a cancel) just to leave my house to a text that said “Oops, I forgot someone, don’t rush.” See, I live 3 minutes from the barn so that sort of didn’t help so from her driveway I texted back, “Ha, now you tell me” and  walked in. We laughed about it (I guess she forgot the 4 year old lead liner), and I was told to come out whenever, but at least Ranger was in his stall. I did take my time grooming/tacking and then when I went out to the outdoor.


Still looking for cookies…


When I got on, Ranger just was QUIET. I mean, he’s always quiet, but I added leg and he just looked at me. I was exhausted from a  night of colic checks and stress, but Ranger? He never takes leg like this. So, I guess he decided it was a  day to make me work. Trainer agreed and we had a nice flat ride including extending under pressure (thanks Ranger–I almost considered a pony club kick!), bending, sitting trot, circles, sitting trot tiny circles, etc. Then we cantered and I died to keep him forward. Seriously horse, HELP ME OUT. Oy. Ranger was sleepy. I was sleepy.

So, we started our warm up cantering left lead over our straw bales towards the road and then around to the barn jump/inside single/blue plank which has at times been our boogie jump. This jump I needed to remember to TURN EARLY and steer to it. That said, today it was easy and Ranger just maintained his pace and I was fine and had no issues. Trainer raised the jumps and we repeated the pattern a couple times adding in our inside green line after the straw bales the second time. It was any easy 6 though I did NOT see my spot at the first fence so sort of got left, but Ranger is Ranger so whatever. Then we moved up nicely for the second fence.


Seriously the cutest face around…  He got ALL THE COOKIES. 


We changed it up from here and cantered DOWN the straw bales towards the barn–our other possibility for a boogie jump and  then were to continue to the other inside single which was also a 6. While we moved UP to the bales, there was no drop, drag, and bolt in sight and it was a lovely fence.  The 6 was nice too and through the 6 corner to the first fence of the line I was able to keep him out and maintain my pace (we were passing the gate and moving AWAY from the barn–life is hard for Ranger…).

Eventually we stuck all of this together. Green inside line, blue plank/inside single/barn jump, outside single, straw bales towards the barn, other inside line. Everything went pretty well but the first jump of the very first line.

My pace was a bit slow (we had only done the line with momentum from other  jumps) and my turn was late/didn’t turn with both hands. So we repeated that line (no video, sorry). Same mistake, this time it clicked that my trainer was saying to stay ON the fence longer (using both hands) and then use both hands to turn OFF the rail. Trying that method, the line suddenly made sense. It’s way harder of a line than I realized before! But, we got it and ended there.


Do you keep cookies in your car?

As a reward, Ranger got all the cookies in the world and got turned out with his friends. Interestingly enough, he kept returning to the fence to see me (and find out if I had more cookies). Maybe cookies are magic? Last week he was offended by my offering of an apple… And I forgot to by carrots again.


Please? Another cookie? I came to the fence! Ignore  Elliot.  Me.  Cookies. Please?

I. Hate. Colic.


Colic sucks.

Yesterday after work, I went out to feed Subi meal 2 of 3. All was well. They horses weren’t eating hay (I’m not sure what’s up with that… Same batch as the rest of the hay that they’ve inhaled… Not moldy, smells fine, can’t find anything), but… could be the heat. I decided that I’d run errands and come back and pick through hay to see what’s up.

Came back and jumped into the hay feeder pulled hay out. No dust. No mold. Lovely hay. (Subi not eating isn’t concerning). Jiminy picked at what I tossed on ground. Batts started pawing violently.


Then he stretched out in the pee stance.



Pee stance.

Shit. Shit.

Belly stare.

Shit. Shit. SHIT.


Oh the misery (from his last colic 10ish months ago last December)

Now, an hour earlier, he was trying to eat Subi’s dinner, but now colic symptoms. Super agitated pee stance and pawing. While I stared at him cursing, he did walk to the water trough and drank a bit, but…

So, with Jiminy already in the paddock picking at hay,  I squirted some banamine down Batts through and tossed both Subi and Batts  down on the grass and decided to wait it out. Typically my vet’s colic protocol with Batty is withhold hay and allow him as much grass as possible. I usually toss him in the round pen with water, but as he was already agitated, I decided to keep him with Subi instead. Interestingly enough, he trotted himself down and picked at the grass for about a half hour which confirmed my suspicions that we were dealing with a mild impaction rather than gas. Because Batts can’t be a normal horse with gas colic. We have to get these stupid chronic impaction colics…

30 minutes later Subi ditched him and was waiting for dinner and Batty was feeling a little better thanks to banamine. I started him on beet pulp and electrolyte soup (basically super soaked beet pulp shreds and electrolytes and a handful of grain for flavor) and he inhaled that. But, he was still dehydrated.


A little later I fed the other boys dinner and gave Batts more soup which he inhaled again.

At midnight he greeted me when I came out to check on him and thankful decided to poop while I was out there. He was rewarded with the soupiest soup yet. Subi was thoroughly disgusted by the concoction.

At 3 AM I’m pretty sure he was feeling OK, but he was also looking towards his belly. That said, I was pointing a flashlight at his face and the action of looking towards his belly may have been simply turning his eyes away from the light. The second I moved the light his eyes moved away from his belly.

He received a slightly larger breakfast and had a normal 99.1 temp this morning, but I still feel like something is NQR. I just don’t know what. I think I caught it early. I think he just forgot to drink because he’s stupid like that. But nonetheless…

I just HATE THIS! I HATE COLIC!  I hate that I can’t prevent it.

I don’t ever want to have him back in New Bolton again like he was a few years ago for around the clock fluids. 3-4 days in the Colic Wing… Not fun. I just don’t know. He was part of a clinical study while there and had an ultrasound that revealed NOTHING.

Anyway, he’s getting a few more days off work. It’s a gorgeous weekend too. I guess I don’t need to open up my tack compartment in my trailer yet after all…

I hate colic.

Now I just have to go home and hope he’s OK.

DIY Hay Feeder

Last month, I lost almost an entire round bale to summer heat and a heavy down pour.

It was awful and many tears were shed. In all my years of feeding rounds, I’ve rarely ever lost much hay. Yes, I’ve been incredibly lucky. But, my horses are pigs. But the heat and humidity combined with the massive rain we had this summer were just too much for this bale to take. Moisture from the top, moisture from below. Good bye hay.

So for the first time ever, 75% of a bale molded through. Goodbye $55 worth of hay (or 75% of $55).

So, after pricing out hay feeders, searching craigslist for hay huts, trying to win the lottery so that I could  buy a hay hut, realizing that there was NO WAY I was spending $800 on a hay hut, I decided we were building a hay feeder.


Easy to move, not easy on wallet…

And then  I got stung by a wasp and instead served as project manager while my husband and father-in-law built my hay feeder.

I found plans online for this feeder and made some modifications to make it work for our situation.  Mostly, I did NOT want the back open to the fence line as we’ll be loading it from the paddock. So, ours is 4 sided and we have a hinge and  latch on the front so we can load the hay. We were originally going to have a shingled roof (I have shingles leftover from our run-in shed), but “we” decided that the plywood was a pain to cut with the circular saw and the shingles would have taken forever so we just bought some cheap metal roofing panels.


We ended up building the pieces on our driveway and  assembling the feeder down in the paddock. At the time of assembly, the paddock was super muddy. Usually by August, I can walk out there in flip flops, instead, I was wearing my muck boots if that gives  you an idea as to how bad it was.

And Jiminy was around the entire time, watching. Stalker.


All in all, the project took a couple of ours and keeps our hay super dry (and fits a pallet nicely inside to keep the hay off the ground as well).

Jiminy thought we built him a house of his own (he could walk in under the top boards and spent the first night before the roof was added inside the shed hanging out. I think he was annoyed that we stuck hay inside). We are going to added an extra row of boards just to keep more hay inside since SOMEONE (Batts) is a pig, but if I start using my round bale net again, that would probably also solve some of the issue. I’ll probably just add another board about 18 inches above the bottom board.

Overall, the horses LOVE IT. It keeps the hay dry, and we’re on our 3rd bale since installation with little to no waste.  We’re also getting the smaller bales which help (the $40-45 bales), but they’re cleaning up almost everything and the first bale survived some serious rain so success?

Still, we might need to build a second at some point. Then Jiminy could have his own house?

Total project cost ~$200-250?


There’s hay in my house…

Ranger Recap: Sit back and hang on

Getting to my lesson this week was a success. In my ongoing wasp saga, I managed to get stung AGAIN last Wednesday a week ago (this time on my wrist) and my entire arm swelled up past my elbow towards my shoulder.  To make matters worse, I went to the doctor’s office and saw someone in the practice  who decided I didn’t need steroids and decided instead to put me on what felt like 12 different antihistamines. Except instead on helping, swelling increased. So, an rx for prednisone was called in. Except, it appears I’m actually allergic to prednisone (I was on prednisalone last time) and broke out in hives from the prednisone. But you can’t just get off high doses of prednisone so I’m still on in (last dose tomorrow), but at least it brought the swelling down. After all the fighting to get steroids… On top of  that, I ended up with bronchitis from severely compromised immune system.


Nicely played facebook… 

Then, on top of all that, work has been hell. 5 classes to teach this week, so, again, getting to my lesson was a miracle. I was exhausted, had a migraine that morning and residual headache, and probably should  have  stayed home. But, Ranger. And I wanted to see him, I was just tired.  My husband convinced me to go and armed with a bag of carrots,  I headed out.

I arrived at the barn to find Ranger in the field. Typically Ranger is in when I show up, but someone turned him out. So, armed again with carrots, I bribed him into coming in, led a crabby and grumpy pony into the barn. Crabby was the best way to describe Ranger. We had to scream multiple times to Forrest and Elliot. Because, how could be separate him from his BEST FRIENDS? How would he survive?  (Elliot asked the same question…)


After tacking up, I got on and pretty much felt like jello. I’m pretty sure that was the most exercise I had in a  week. I had to dodge ponies and Ranger had to scream to his friends. Then the  ponies left and he had to complain more. We eventually remembered how to bend at the trot. At the canter he did move nicely, but we were a couple strides away from “let’s take off and gallop around the ring” though he wasn’t strong or anything, just pretty much pissed off that his life was terrible and he HAD TO WORK. The injustice of it all…

We also had a  new course, like an entirely new course with some brand new jumps, gorgeous new standards and everything. I was tired so no pictures. But my brain was on overload. Things looked new. We started off trotting over our straw bales towards the barn, landed, halted and backed to basically remind a certain Ranger-pony that was not in control… This went surprisingly well. That said, I was also at the trot. We then cantered up our outside single towards the road which again went well. Spots this lesson were just… there.

Next things got a bit…Hard. We  were  to canter down an inside single around to an easy inside line in the 7. The issue was going to be the single as picking up the canter, a certain someone wanted drop his head and bolt at the jump. First time, I decided to circle because  I didn’t appreciate it which was a good plan, but then I could NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME FIGURE OUT THE DAMN TURN and the sun was blinding me. Ranger also started looking at another fence which didn’t help matters. Finally, to help a bit, my trainer stood in front of the other jump and reminded me to look sooner. Picking up my canter, lifting him up and NOT HALF HALTING, I was able to actually get a nice distance to the boogie jump, but got dragged on the landing. I got it back eventually and got the simple change and the  inside line was lovely. We repeated and I got him back immediately and it was all good and easy. The line rode really nicely.


We didn’t jump puppies, but this is what happens when you have no media and you resort to stealing media off the barn’s instagram

From here, we switched to the straw bales and cantered those towards the barn and then continued around to our other inside line in the 6. I was a bit concerned about the straw bales, but other than trying to drop his head at the canter early in the corner, he really listen when I gave him a little tug to lift and then the 6 was gorgeous. It was just a let him go type of line as we were moving past the in gate and I needed to be careful not to interfere. (Don’t let his perfection convince you that he still wasn’t be tortured. There was still much headshaking and screaming for friends and an overall refusal to stand still while we talked about anything….)

Finally, having found my stride, we again cantered towards our straw bales. This time Ranger held the loveliest of canters on a loose rein and I was even able to move him up to a forward distance. Landing, adding leg, we continued to our inside line in an easy 6 and then continued DOWN the  outside single towards the barn with just the slightest lift to remind him not to drop and drag. And we finished with our other inside line in the 7 with a little hold just to make it nice and even. He was perfect.

I cannot explain just  how amazing these jumps felt. It was just one of those lessons.

I had the opportunity to take him for a walk to cool out but Ranger saw the barn, I saw the barn, and hands and legs started shaking. I figured it was a good time to end.

There’s a show on Sunday at the barn. I said no to it and I meant it, but now I’m thinking about it. But, then again I’m so tired I probably shouldn’t. But, it would be nice to go to a show in my backyard with no hauling fees. But right now I’m just exhausted.