What’s going on with Nay Nay?

First off, thank you all again for your kind words about Subi. Very much appreciated. I still can’t believe he’s gone and yet I have no regrets. I know, 100%, it was the right choice.

Nay Nay has had a bit of a rough time without Subi. He was the saddest thoroughbred every for a few days. It’s funny. They weren’t best friends, but he very much depended on having him around. The first several days were rough, very rough. We moved Jimmy into Subi’s stall where Nay Nay could watch him like a hawk and that made things better. It took a few days (and a stall guard), but Jiminy likes his new quarters.

Nay Nay is better in some ways. He’s stopped calling for Subi or running around when I first turn him out. I have stopped feeding breakfast since he’s not eating it at the moment and instead I feed a morning mash of cubes and soaked pellets. He and Jiminy both enjoy this. But, in the last few days he’s stopped eating hay at acceptable quantities (he was eating for the first week) which tells me his gut is bothering him.

I had started him on ulcer treatment in preparation for losing Subi and in hindsight, I think this was the worst idea possible. I don’t think Nay can handle proton pump inhibitors. He seems to flare up every time he’s on them. So, we’re in the process of weaning him off and quickly and safely as possible. If he needs further treatment, he does ok with Sucralfate. So we can do that. In the meantime, I’m giving him extra chopped hay (he’s cleaning that up) and alfalfa outside and he seems to be eating that.

He’s definitely uncomfortable (nice job, Sarah), but hopefully he’ll start feeling better as the PPIs leave his system. I was so determined to help him out and I did the opposite. Next time, if I want to pre-treat, go the sucralfate route. This horse does NOT tolerate PPIs! Of course he doesn’t.

Meanwhile, he’s missing a shoe. He’s been missing a shoe. I need the farrier out but I’ve been waiting for him to normalize a touch then these gut issues came about. If it’s not one thing, then it’s something else! I almost wonder if I should just do a full cycle barefoot. I’m definitely pulling shoes next winter… But, the way life is going, he might be off for several more weeks anyway…

Finally, to top things off, I finally got covid. So, I’m trying to make all my chopped hay, cubes, and pellets last, but I may need to order from Tractor Supply to make do until I can get to the feed store. They don’t have Nay’s preferred chopped hay, but they do have chopped hay. Some is better than nothing?

Subliminal (April 1, 1997-February 7, 2023)

We said goodbye to Captain Hoagie Man, Mr. Subi, on Tuesday morning. If you’re on my social media, you already know this, but for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to bring myself to write this post. I also should probably share that Subi is pronounced Subby which confuses just about everyone. I didn’t come up with it or the spelling. He came that way.

After almost 17 years together, Subi was ready to go. He was tired. He went very quick and peacefully, but he leaves behind a huge chestnut sized hole in my heart.

He was the original chestnut. The original horse. My first horse. He taught me just about everything I know about horses and the thought about him no longer being here is just… there aren’t any words.

I still don’t have many words so instead, here are some photos throughout the years.

When is it time?

Well, this is a post I didn’t exactly plan to write today. But, I have some thoughts I need to work out on paper and maybe I’ll start here vs a series of separate emails.

The question is always when is it time? How do you know when it’s time? When do you say enough is enough? I’m not doing this anymore! He’s had enough. He’s ready? It’s an easy decision in theory. I always say when there are more bad days then good days, it’s time. 

But in practice? In practice it’s harder.

Batt was an easy decision. There wasn’t a decision. He was slipping away before us and in so much pain and had ruptured and there was no saving him. The best we could do was to end the suffering. 

Hayley was harder. She was 14. But, she was wasting away. It didn’t matter what you fed her, all the nutrients just came right out. The decision just felt right despite a group of people around me encouraging me to try more and more treatments that never worked for her mystery condition. It hurt like hell, but it wasn’t hard. Harder, but not hard. 

But, now I’m facing a real dilemma. I honestly don’t know what to do. 

I told myself that this would be Subi’s last winter. He isn’t exactly a fan. But what I didn’t expect was that this winter/non-winter (rain/mud/muck) would be so hard on him. Eating has been a challenge. It might be his teeth (dentist is scheduled, but not until February — I’ve asked if they can come out sooner), but it might be that he’s just not interested. I mean, he isn’t interested in cubes either. 

The last few months he’s become very… quiet. He has moments where he runs around and acts crazy or even senile, but the rest of the time he’s quiet. Or even dull. I don’t want dull. I don’t like dull. Dull scares me. 

Last night, I was convinced he was colicking. He was that off and quiet. No temperature, but very listless. He worked out of whatever it was. But mostly he just stands outside and stares out in the distance. 

But, that wasn’t what scared me the most. What scared me was, when I actually did convince him to walk up to me (I had his left over cubes), he just seemed half there. Subi has always been full of personality and opinion. This horse was just.. there.

Which brings me to the point of this collection of words. When is it time? When is it time when there is nothing outwardly wrong but, at the same time, the horse you know just isn’t there? 

Do I try and get him until some nicer weather? See if he perks up and let him have a couple of nice months?

Same goodbye now?

See the outcomes of teeth and try a combination of the 2?

Chatting with the vet isn’t out the question and that will likely happen, but I’d like to see if the dentist gets back to me first. I don’t want to run unnecessary tests or toss meds at him. But, for the horse who was always terrible to medicate (we both almost died last year when he needed 3 meds 2x/day for 10 days or even his steroids for swelling this summer), he’s decent right now…which is another sign that he… not all there anymore.

StableFeed Equibiome Test 

Back in November, I ordered an Equibiome Test Kit from StableFeed (the test kit isn’t on their site, but you can email them if you are interested). Nay Nay was having yet another hindgut/colitis flare and quite frankly I didn’t want him to head into winter not eating. Just a year ago we ended up in January with him basically a shell of a horse, picking through chopped hay and maybe eating the carrots and peppermints out of his grain. I did NOT want to go through that again. Thankfully, he never got that bad and never stopped eating. But, he had a few uncomfortable weeks where I had PTSD and decided to try and find the root of the problem. (I also vastly changed his feeding routine since last January and he has stuff he’ll ALWAYS eat, even during a flare and he’s been back on Succeed since last March which has helped immensely).

Anyway, at Fair Hill this fall, I chatted with the StableFeed folks about the Equibione Test and had it in my back pocket for when I was ready. Ready just came sooner than I was expecting.

The test isn’t cheap. It’s $300+.

Nor is it fast.

But, I was hoping for answers.

I received the test kit in early November. Basically, you collect a small sample of manure and put it in the collection tube with the solution, package it EXACTLY HOW SPECIFIED, and ship it off to a lab in Wales. Yes, Wales. This requires correctly filling out a customs form which appears to be a problem for many folks. But, I chose to go to, not my local rural-ish post office(s), but rather a busier post office in the college town where I work. The postal worker checked my form, asked a few questions (what are you sending? horse poop. OK, this looks fine for agricultural samples.), and sent my poop sample on its way. I signed up for my tracking text notifications and literally checked each update until “arrived” appeared. Customs thankfully was not an issue. But, supposedly Royal Mail rejects a lot of samples when the form isn’t properly filled out (StableFeed tells you exactly what to write and I did have the postal worker confirm everything).

And then I waited. They said 12+ weeks, but I received my report at the end of December. A nice 32 page report that killed my brain the first 3 times I read it.

There are 3 potential outcomes:

  1. Stable microbiome — this is the best outcome — everything is good. , with a well constructed and defined core community.
  2. Imbalanced microbiome– the right bacterial exist, but all the levels are wrong which leads to lots of issues
  3. Imbalanced and missing microbiome — some of the right bacteria exist at the wrong levels while others are missing

Nay Nay had an imbalanced microbiome. I mean, I knew he wasn’t stable so the question was, was he imbalanced or imbalanced and missing?

Part of the test included a consultation with StableFeed to…explain the report. LOL. So, I ended up having an hour phone call to discuss the entire report and next steps. While I won’t go over the entire report (this could be a 10 week series), I will share some interesting findings.

From the report:

…imbalance may be reflective of disease elsewhere in the body such as allergies, food sensitivities, headshaking etc. Horses with this type of microbiome are sensitive to changes in management and diet…

That pretty much describes Nay… lol.

One area of high concern was biofilm bacteria:

“Most bacteria reside in a fixed area as part of a biofilm community, for protection and an improved chance of survival, though biofilm formation is implicated in many chronic disease states. Biofilm bacteria commonly reside in the gut wall and aggravate/cause  ‘leaky gut’. Colonising gut bacteria tend to rob the host of nutrients, reduced levels of good gut bacteria linked to a strong immune response and produce toxins linked to inflammation.”

This likely plays a direct role in my of Nay’s gut inflammation issues so it was very interesting to read. This area also directly corresponds to EGUS.

Another area of interest was the section on skin allergies. According to the report, Nay is at high risk of skin allergies. My first thought was, he has no skin allergies. Then, I started thinking about bugs and flies and the reason he wears fly sheets all summer (hives) and then the fact that he is basically allergic to all chemical fly sprays (skin sloughs off). So yeah, this fits.

We delved into this a little more. Nay and chemicals.

So, I have mentioned before that Nay is the most ridiculously picky eater ever. Especially when it comes to hay. Right now he IS loving my local cut of orchard in round bale form. Square bale is decent, but the rounds are better. But, alfalfa is his drug of choice. He loves western alfalfa and will murder you for it. I was getting it from a local dealer but he stopped getting it in. He had some lovely PA alfalfa that even my hay guy said looked nicer than my western. Nay… doesn’t like it. In fact, I can’t consistently get him to eat any PA/east coast alfalfa. There is nothing wrong with it. Subi and Jimmy attack it. Nay picks at it, but eh. I finally got him western from a local tack store and he’s back to inhaling his alfalfa. My hay guy has said it multiple times (Nay refuses a lot of hay, rarely ever his and never the western), a lot of hay this way is sprayed. And Mr. Chemical Sensitive doesn’t like/won’t eat/is sensitive to chemicals. This report pretty much says that.

So, next steps (I could talk more about the report but… I’ve typed enough):

We add in different probiotics for different lengths of time. Ultimately he’ll end up on a maintenance probiotic.

For now? He’s on month one of 2 of biome food 5. It sounds strange, but I see a difference. He has the stinkiest poop and it’s already less smelly and harder (he always has softer manure). He gets this tiny 1/2 teaspoon type scoop, but…? Or it’s doing nothing, but manure consistency has changed.

He has a 5-6 month protocol and at some point after that, I’m sure we’ll retest. At the recommendation of the report, we also added some oats into his diet. He’s big on food right now so he’s quite happy with that.

Pig Gate and Other Full Moon Happenings

Was a pig involved in this tale? No, well, I don’t think so, but there was a full moon.

The other morning, I went out to feed. The horses were their normal, happy selves. I fed them breakfast, gave them pats, and went inside to get ready for work. When I went outside an hour later to turn them out, all hell broke loose. Nay Nay was a nervous wreck in his stall. He was anxious, spinning, and lathered in sweat. Honestly, I have no idea what had happened. Subi was fine but kept looking at Nay Nay with alarm.

I got halters on (at this point Nay was rearing in his stall) and we attempted to turn out. Nay tried his best to hold it together. He was terrified. At what, I don’t know. But he was terrified. He reared and spun a few times on the way to the paddock but otherwise held it together. He didn’t bolt when I turned him out but was very very very alert. I went to work and completely forgot about it.

That night after we cleaned stalls, I went to bring in and noticed Nay Nay was NOT at the gate (I mean, dinner is the most important meal of the day and he have to be prompt). Nay Nay ALWAYS is waiting at the gate (add that it was raining and he HATES the rain–all the more reason he usually NEEDS to come inside) and if he isn’t, he comes the second he sees you (at a gallop) or if you call him. Instead, he was at the hay feeder, glued to Subi. So, I walked to hay feeder to put his halter on and Subi decided that if Nay wasn’t going to the gate, he’d take the moment to go to the gate (it’s Nay Nay’s gate, Subi doesn’t like to hang out at the gate if Nay’s there because Nay is a little… devoted to dinner time). Nay was anxious and just about melted down when Subi left. I did get his halter on and thanks to the chain, prevented him from bolting. But, wtf.

We got them in and the walk wasn’t actually bad. I had a carrot and both boys. Nay Nay instantly relaxed thanks to Subi and his carrot. But, in his stall? Instant tension. Spinning and snorting and general anxiousness resumed (I did close his windows). He took some bites of food but was a mess. I went inside and came out an hour later armed with a tube of succeed (I hadn’t given it in the morning due to antics), half a tube ulcergard (I use it sparingly with Nay since it exacerbates his hind gut issues), and a treat. He seemed better at first but then started stressing. 1 hour later, I came back with some ace. He was a little more relaxed so my hope was that he’d relax enough to make it through the night.

Unrelated, but Jiminy got a new rain sheet and it’s adorable even if he wouldn’t stand far enough away to let me get a good photo.

The next morning he seemed better. He hadn’t finished all his food, but definitely ate overnight. I was able to change blankets without incident (Nay was definitely a little warm but I hadn’t wanted to risk it the night before) and just in case, I gave him a touch of ace so I could safely turn out an hour later. At that point he was ultra relaxed and we went outside without incident. Since then? He’s seemed OK.

Best thinking, something scared the shit out of him (perhaps Fat Squirrel who visits his stall during the day tried to visit while he was still in his stall? Maybe the neighbor’s cat came in his stall? Or, it’s possible that he unintentionally ate some soy. That is the ONLY thing that has ever turned him into an anxious mess like this. But, usually it has to build up in his system. But, he’s been off soy so long that I wonder if I accidentally dumped something of Subi’s in Nay’s bucket and didn’t realize it? I have no clue. Usually he’s fine with a small amount of soy in human treats (most likely oil vs soy meal), but honestly, no clue. So I’m being ultra careful for a few days. He doesn’t get a lot, but the occasional oatmeal cream pie has never bothered him after a ride. Or maybe it was a pig.

Then yesterday. Subi got loose on the way to turnout. Right by the gate he did a duck, spin, and rear move. He’s patented it. Anyway, he got away from my husband. Usually if this happens, he stops and grazes. Honestly, he does it to get to the good grazing spot. But, instead he went galloping around like a lunatic. It’s happened once before. The last time, he did a loop and ran into the field. This time, he panicked, galloped around my neighbor’s yard, and finally made his way back to the paddock. But, he was in panic mode. He came back and was galloping around near the gate, rearing, and otherwise panicking, until he responded to my voice and ran in to where I was holding Nay Nay (who held it together while his buddy was losing his mind) and Jiminy. But, he did do some damage to the neighbor’s grass.

Thankfully, my neighbor runs a lawn service and does not treat their lawn like their clients. They drive and park on the grass and told me they didn’t care at all when I texted after this happened. The ground was so soft that there were quite a few hoof prints (also quite a few tire tracks lol) and we stomped them back as best we could,

But, Subi is definitely a bit senile. It’s getting worse. And he’s lost all leading privileges without a chain. He spooked this morning and the second he felt the chain, he kind of came back to earth. So, hopefully it helps.

Quick update

Smug but happy

Long time, no blog. What can I say, I have a list of excuses, but honestly, I just got burned out from life and had little to nothing to write about. So I didn’t.

The horses are good. Really, they are. Subi is trying to eat. Somedays he is successful, somedays he thinks he knows better and eats less than I’d like. Jiminy is doing well. He’s eating all the hay and more and is breathing is doing pretty well. Seasonal allergies suck, but he’s enjoying steamed hay and zyrtec and life is good.

As for Nay, he’s chugging along.

Yesterday marked his 3 year gotcha day. It’s hard to believe he’s been part of the family for 3 years. It feels like both forever that I had him and just yesterday that I still had Batt.

In terms of health, we had a little colitis flareup this fall but he’s getting back on track. I’ve come to accept that fall into winter will ALWAYS be hard. I added a high dose pre and probiotic and while he hates it, he does eat it. He’s on the high dose for problem children. LOL. I’m also waiting on results of his full gut panel to see what (if anything) he’s lacking. Full analysis takes 10+ weeks so I anticipate January/February for those results. But, that plus his mash plus chopped hay plus his supplements plus this new batch of hay that he thinks is pretty great seem to be keeping him comfortable. So, we’ll see.

Riding wise? We’re riding. Nothing fancy or crazy. I actually had a nice bareback ride the other weekend and found that my horse really bends even bareback. Who knew? All our work is paying off. We only walked and did a little trotting, but he was very good.

A year ago he would have completely melted down during the lunging. Maybe I can’t ride during it, but at least I could do ground work.

Sunday I rode again. He was high as a kite when I went to tack up so I tossed him on the lunge line to come back to Earth. And he did. Then another horse joined up and was a bit of a mess. Nay worked through it. And, kept it together as best he could when this guy was spinning, rearing, and bolting. Turns out he wasn’t broke and the whole situation was… a bit of a mess. When Nay, a nervous wreck, willingly trotted a nice circle on the line with all the drama at the other end, I took him outside to ride.

The outdoor was a bit boggy and wet for my liking, but riding inside wasn’t exactly an option anymore. So we pushed through. Nay immediately relaxed and we trotted and attempted a canter. But, I never ended up putting my spurs back on or grabbing a crop and Nay was pretty much physically and mentally exhausted from our lunging session. We got our leads but barely held the canter for a full circle (it was… pathetic). If I took my leg off to kick, we broke. Squeezing did nothing. So, I picked up the canter a few times, asked to trot, and called it a day. Happy and listening were good enough for me.

So that brings us up to date. Nothing exciting.

3 years

Some days it feels like forever ago and other days it feels like yesterday. 3 years ago we lost our Batthorse.

It’s funny, I’ve been pretty good lately and today? Not so much. Batt was a lot things (including a pain in the ass), but he was the epitome of security. Of safety. Even when he was flight and all that, he was just solid underneath you.

Man do I miss him.

Catch Up

I feel like I write this post a lot. I honestly just haven’t been up to blogging as of late. Work has kicked my butt this fall and riding has been on the back burner. Between that and my regular health crap, it’s just been hard to keep up with everything.

But, I should do a quick update on the kids.


We like MUD. A lot.

Back in October, we celebrated 16 years together. It’s hard to believe he’s been in my life that long. But, he’s definitely starting to show his age. After all his medical stuff this summer, I’ve been struggling a touch with his weight. He’s just been ping ponging a bit. We swapped him from a complete senior feed to a senior concentrate and after an initial “I hate this and my life,” he’s actually eating it. He was eating alfalfa cubes and pellets every night, but he’s been a bit iffy with them the last several weeks and I’ve had to cut volume. It could be multiple reasons including the change in feed or the fact that the last 2 bags of cubes are hard. Like REALLY hard. Subi has a brand preference based on what soaks well. These are them but the amount of water we’ve been adding to make them soak is insane. I’m almost wondering if they’re mislabeled and not straight alfalfa. I’ll be getting a new bag this weekend so I’m hoping things will sort themselves out. Prior to this, I was considering adding oil to his cubes, but now that it’s hit or miss how much cubes he’ll eat, I’m probably going to add an extra fat source to his senior feed and hope I can add some more weight before winter.


Finding Jiminy in his stall when you left him in the paddock…

Other than looking like a molding potato, Jiminy is living his best life. I switched his feed from a ration balancer to a vitamin/mineral supplement and other supplements and at night he gets it mixed with fibre beet and in the morning he gets it mixed with a handful of sainfoin pellets. He’s also getting Stable Feed’s Prickly Pear for glucose support and zyrec because, allergies. Honestly? He’s doing great. He gets steamed hay at night that seems to be all he needs (being in seems to increase coughing, but the steamed hay — fresh or up to 24 hours old — is perfect for him and he’s fine on a round bale with his muzzle outside, even if he tries to burry himself in it). He’s living his best life. We were between rounds last week and despite having hay out, Jiminy got bored, found a weak spot in the fence, exited, heard voices, and decided to visit my next door neighbor who was working in his garage shop. Just walked right on in to visit. This happened on a day no one was home so they brought him home and locked him up in the barn. Meanwhile, Nay Nay and Subi spent the entire day in the shed and couldn’t be bothered to even notice Jiminy took off… It was raining and they don’t do rain.

Nay Nay:

My complicated problem child. Nay Nay is mostly fine. Really. But, I’m realizing fall is very tough on him. He’s showing signs of a slight colitis flare. No diarrhea (he never has diarrhea, just super stinky poop that slightly changes consistency) and his eating habits change. He backs off hay and stops being an eating machine. At this point, he’s still eating, but not eating the same way? He eats his fibre beet every night (thank you.) and does eat his night time grain. Breakfast grain is hit or miss. He is eating chopped hay, but is back to only wanting store bought chopped hay vs my home chopped hay. I may need to experiment with what I chop. I’m sure he’ll eat mostly chopped alfalfa, but I try to get a little orchard in it. I might just need a fancier cut of orchard to chop or a nice timothy. So, I may purchase chopping hay specifically for this purpose. I don’t mind buying chopped hay for him (and if he’ll ONLY eat that, so be it), but at $25/bag, I’d prefer to supplement it with home chopped hay. I’ll play around this weekend.

Handsome boy. I did end up clipping him as well

He’s more iffy with long stem forage (which makes sense because long stem forage isn’t great on the gut of horses with colitis). He does eat at the round bale, but not for hours at a time. At night, he’ll eat some steamed orchard grass hay, some alfalfa, and some steamed alfalfa. I’ve just been steaming him whatever and seeing what he’ll eat. I may actually try steaming orchard, letting it dry, then chopping it. That way if there is any dust, it’s gone… that might be something to try…

Despite all of that, he’s been LOVELY to ride when I have ridden. I haven’t taken many lessons (1 in October), but he was a gem. I then had an unexpected hiatus because of truck issues (keep reading) but this past weekend he was LOVELY again and yesterday I snuck out a lunch and again, wonderful.

Honestly? He’s just been quiet and fun to ride. He’s getting his leads. Our trot is SO MUCH BETTER (we started halting and backing at the walk before we trot and that improved our trot so much). And other than dying at the in gate going left, life is good. Yesterday I just working on cantering over a little 12″ fence on a circle in both directions, holding the lead, and it felt great. He also held his right lead canter on a tiny circle when a buggy (he HATES buggies) came down the road and listened to me vs losing his mind. The only thing I could thing do do was canter a small circle as I just picked up the canter and didn’t want to stop. And? it worked. He said OK. I’ll focus.

Post ride snooze. I feel like half his hair has already grown back!

Anyway, nothing has been exciting, but it’s been GOOD. Good is great.

The Truck:

Yes, my truck gets its own update. Unfortunately.

A couple of weeks ago I went outside to turn my truck around so I could hitch up the trailer (plan was to clip Nay Nay that afternoon but I needed to connect the trailer so I could tie him to it). As I was backing up the trailer, I found myself flying backwards with my foot on the ground. I lost my brakes. Completely. Thanks to my e-brake, I was able to stop in my neighbor’s yard, but it was absolutely terrifying.

Thankfully, AAA towed the truck over to our garage who fixed the right front brake line (it appears the left front line was replace when they replaced a front caliper in August) so our front lines are good to go. The back lines were replaced a few years ago. So, we should be OK, but I’m still slightly terrified to drive.

Maryland 5* Recap

I’m about 12 blogs behind because I’m too tired to blog, but I might as well post a little bit about my favorite event of the year, Fair Hill.

I cut back my volunteering significantly this year because I’ve just been so burned out. In the end, I just worked the in gate for Young Event Horse jumping on Thursday and Friday and while I could have done more, I’m OK with this for this year.

Just gives you an idea of the conditions…

I’ll be honest, Thursday was…less than great. I LOVE working the in gate. It’s one of my favorite volunteer jobs–you get to chat with the rider before they ride, see the horses up close, almost get taken out (thanks Mike), and overall, it’s just a good job, but Thursday? Thursday was… in less than ideal conditions. It was raining for a while. Then there was a deluge. And, let’s be real, after a while, it doesn’t matter how many rain coats you have, you can’t really stay dry. But, waterproof pants ARE the way to go. What Thursday did have going for it was 1. It wasn’t cold and 2. I spent a good amount of time standing in the horse ambulance (which was parked in the wrong place, but whatever) and 3. I had my truck parked near the in gate which let me sit down when needed.

And then the rain got worse… I was very impressed by the last few horses who were going around the course in pretty much a deluge. No video of them as I was trying (and failing) to stay as dry as possible, but… Condition were less than ideal. The ground stayed surprisingly good.

Much prettier morning!!

But for as bad as Thursday was, Friday was GORGEOUS. The footing was surprisingly good, mucky in spots, but decent.

There was some communication issues first thing in the morning with the announcer. I found out later that they didn’t have a radio for the first 6 riders so they were just guessing who was on course. This led to mistakenly calling the first rider as Boyd Martin vs whoever it actually was (I don’t have the order in front of me). But, it did lead to one of my favorite interactions of the day.

Trusty post

Boyd came down early to watch. Near the in gate in a holding area where the next rider can watch, warm up, or walk around. They have a true warmup area up the hill, but they can also warm up a touch near the gate. One the previous rider finishes, they can school the water/look at jumps/warm up in the ring. Anyway, Boyd was the second rider and more or less followed the first rider down to see what the course looked like. As the announcer was announcing all of Boyd’s accolades and accomplishments, information on his horse, and other such information, Boyd looks down at me and with a straight face says, “you know, I’m Boyd Martin.” The only thing I could think to say back was, “ya think?” But in hindsight, “No shit,” would have been a better response. Anyway, that was my entertainment of the morning.

After 2 exhausting days, I ended up just taking it easy during cross country day. Normally I try to walk as much of the course as possible, but I wasn’t feeling it. I never made it down to saw mill. I stayed closer to the main arena and just moved back and forth between a handful of jumps. While I missed seeing the saw mill area and larger parts of the course, it was a nice, relaxing change without feeling like death at the end of the day. Well, almost. I did spend too much time at the StableFeed booth and ended up buying a bag of Sainfoin pellets and getting a 40lbs bag to my truck during the break between the 3 and 5* was… not fun. But, the folks at StableFeed are great. So too the ladies at Botori and DappleBay (I only shopped Botori clearance and scored a nice pair of Adlers in petite at more than 50% off — way better than cuffing the leg– and a $20 shirt I already own because I love it).

Sunday I splurged for seats as my husband joined me for the day. After the running around the other 3 days, I’ve really grown to love stadium day. Our seats were great and it was just a fun, enjoyable day. 4 days later I’m still exhausted!

All about Nay Nay

Another week, another blog post?

Nay Nay in sticker form
Nay Nay in sticker form from the Sticker Lemon Press

Throughout August, I was following the 1 ride a week routine. I wasn’t feeling well (let me tell you, vestibular migraines are the worst kind of hell), but I mostly forced myself on once a week. Mostly? I walked. Walking was good. Trotting sucked. Cantering didn’t make me want to pass out. But, in order to canter? I had to trot.

For the most part, this worked. We walked. We worked on bending and building muscle. Nay was super good. If I felt good we did a tiny amount of trotting and then cantered a lap each direction. Otherwise we just walked.

Sticker Nay Nay wearing a saddle and boots from the Sticker Lemon Press
Sticker Nay Nay #2 courtesy of the Sticker Lemon Press

2 weeks ago Nay just wasn’t feeling it. He was GREAT at the walk and then promptly had enough. Of course this coincided with other horses joining us in the ring, a puppy playing under the deck, and me not putting on Nay’s sound muffling bonnet. Nay decided that this was just too much to handle. We could NOT go anywhere near the deck. We did a lot of backing and a spin or two and were generally an utter turd. I managed to get my trainer’s daughter to walk us past the deck twice and it was fine. And then a few minutes later? Turd mode. At this point my vertigo was in full force and all stimulation was…not helping. Nay thought the pony having a lesson (basically walk trot) was the best thing to… spook at because of course he did. Mostly, he was bored and needed a good butt kicking. At this point, one of the girls who works for the other trainer offered to hop on when she untacked her ride after one more spin, I hopped off (and then almost fell over from dizziness) and we waited.

Nice hot and sunny day for a walk

And that was probably the best choice. He was actually a good boy though she admitted that he has a really good spin to him (yep! He won’t buck you off, but he is quick with the spin). But, after a couple smacks with the crop that he deserved, Napalm learned that it is MUCH EASIER to trot past the deck vs spook at it. Way less work. And with that? He was good. He trotted, cantered, and picked up both leads. He needed the work.

He’s really starting to fill out

The following week (this past weekend), I was feeling better, but decided not to push my luck. I lunged and then hopped on. Nay said way too much work, but was utterly perfect. Again, he picked up his leads and his canter was lovely. We trotted a tiny fence to end. Nothing major (we were both exhausted), but we jumped for the first time in a month. More of a miracle? We rode Sunday too. We’ve been struggling with the left bend (this was our good way, but we’ve improved to the right so much) so I ended up adding a left spur and it made all the difference. We also rode with 2 pony kids and usually I end up not doing much when the kids are in the ring because kids. But, the one was actually told to stop chasing me and stay out of my way so she doesn’t get kicked (Nay doesn’t kick, but “stay out of my way” didn’t resonate where as “don’t get kicked” seemed to) and I had a lovely ride. They let me canter solo (I have no issue cantering if I know where others are going, but I can’t do the 3-ring circus stuff (especially during a vestibular episode–Sunday was definitely verging on one)) and I popped over a small fence at the trot twice and canter once to end.

We haven’t earned halter snacking privileges yet…
I do love him, even if he’s Napalm somedays and Nyet Nyet other days. Somedays? He’s good old Nay Nay

Monday I felt beat up. I didn’t have it in me to haul out to ride. So I pulled a page from Stacie’s book and decided on a bareback snack hack. Nay HATES riding at home and decided to be Napalm for a while, but eventually after grazing near his friends, he calmed down and I felt safe enough to hop on….except I couldn’t figure out how. I tried stacked buckets. Nope. A ledge. No. Eventually, not wanted to die, grabbed my mounting block, carried it down by the other boys, and got on, but seriously? Once I was on, we snacked more, walked some circles, and snacked for 15 minutes and then wandered to the trailer and halfway up the driveway. I need to do this more often because I think it’ll be less of an issue the more I do this. Anyway, way more work than I planned, but the actually sitting/snacking part was completely fine.

There was also an incident earlier in the week where Napalm left me with a bloody and potentially broken nose, but we’re not talking about that…