Recapping : Ranger, Subi, and life challenges

Sorry for the radio silence here. Work sort of started taking over my life again and I forgot to blog…

My swollen, eye returned (mostly) to normal thanks to mass steroids and I was able to have my regular lesson on Ranger last week. Now, trying to recap the lesson,  I’m reminded that I really should have recapped sooner because much of the lesson was a  blur… oops.

Some of the highlights:

Flat work:

  • Ranger was as stiff as a board in the beginning and decided to pay me no attention at first when I asked him to bend. It took an insane amount of leg and hand and effort to start getting any response.
  • It occurred to me that there was some sort of camp this week which meant kids…
  • I asked Ranger for some small circles around jumps and after our 3rd attempt he FINALLY softened and realized who was on his back and I had my Ranger back and we started bending.
  • Once we worked out the kinks at the trot, his canter was LOVELY. Truly, truly LOVELY.
  • Our halts were gorgeous as well.
  • My trainer reminded we that I am the only advanced rider or rider with any sort of education that rides him so I get to do all the reschooling. Which is why I got to have “fun” in the beginning of the ride. But, it’s also why when I get through to him, he gives me 150% (I think it’s the pounds of carrots and peppermints that I stuff down his throat after lessons and the fact that I don’t hang on his mouth).
  • I rode with my new boots and didn’t feel as secure because, new boots. But, supposedly my leg looked fantastic…

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Over fences

  • The plan was to do more, but we ended up working on 3 jumps the entire lesson (which was fine since it was HOT and I was feeling strange still from the steroids–unlike a normal person,  I get wired and restless and tired and add in heat and I just felt weak).
  • The course was our inside single brown boxes towards the road around to our inside line of the straw bales to the stone wall oxer (or whatever the second jump was). The plan today, unlike our normal forward course, was slow steady, and holding with the add. So, the line was to be done in the 6 vs the normal 5. [In the picture below, the inside single is the brown jump in the middle and the inside line is the one with the white winged standards. The heights were different but at least I found a semi accurate picture?]img_4573
  • First time through we were fine for the first jump, but it turned out I learned we could have been slower, but I didn’t slow down enough on the landing. Ranger started pulling a bit because he’s just STRONG.  But, because we took the scenic route, (read: we wiggled our way to jump 2 in our line), we managed the 6.
  • Take 2, same thing. First jump was fine, then too much speed, but then we move up for a 5. The 5 is nice. I mean, really, really nice. He’s not out of control.
  • Take 3, repeat.
  • Take 4. This time we talked first about lifting and tugging him up. I came in MUCH slower and managed to land slower from the first jump. But, turning to the line, even trying to lift him up and lightly tug tugging, he started pulling and we got the  5. Let me tell you, this horse is strong. I mean, really, really STRONG. He was a big head and when he uses it… He’s STRONG. He’s not bad, he’s not anything, but strong.  So, the really take away was that I have to be way more aggressive to shorten him up. I was a little passive that time.
  • Take 5. Gorgeous first jump. He was off his front end, super collected, shorten right up, landed, stayed collected, and we held that stride right to the first fence of our line (good boy Ranger!). In the end, despite EVERYTHING, by staying perfectly straight, I ended up legging him at the end up for the 5 because I saw that despite everything that we weren’t going to fit the 6 and I didn’t want the half stride chip. So I made the decision to get a nice 5 vs an ugly chip/crash/trot stride.  My trainer said she’s not sure he could actually fit in the 6, but what she wanted was that ride. We ended there.

Take aways:

  • Trainers comment: 2’6″ has become easy. It’s starting to look small?

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In other news, the vet was out on Tuesday for vaccines and Subi also got his teeth floated. The other guys get done by the dentist, but at this point, I just suck it up and get the vet to do Subi so that he can get sedated. He’s been acting even more strange about food lately so I was hoping she’d find an issue with a tooth, but they all looked pretty OK (He has amazing teeth for a senior.  Actually, I think the statement was he has amazing teeth for pretty much any horse), but he’s so sensitive that hopefully the float will help anyway. It did last time. That said, he was super drunk from very little drugs. Falling over drunk. We had to hold him up drunk. Once he was back out in the field, he was still a little hung over but I didn’t think anything of it, but after work, when I came out to feed him meal 2 of 3 (he’s currently on the 3 meal a day plan…), he just stared at it. I eventually swapped it out for chopped hay which he did eat. Dinner time 3 hours later, he just sort of moved his lips around in his soaked cubes after much coaxing to even show up to his bucked. Breakfast the next morning? Ate no grain, but did managed to polish off a bucket of chopped hay (I skipped meal 2 yesterday). It was only last night, a full 36 hours after the sedative that he attacked he meal with gusto and seemed completely alert and normal. This morning he ate his grain (mixed with beet pulp) and chopped hay and was waiting for breakfast when we came out to feed.

 

Horses. Are they trying to drive me insane?

And because I can’t leave anyone out, my poor puppy decided to have her seasonal allergies start back yesterday so we had to have an emergency vet appointment for her yesterday as well (0-100 in severity overnight. She and I were up all night while she itched and cried non stop. This happens every year and every year I forget to get meds to have on hand…). I don’t need money at all, do I?

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The Dangers of the Dover Tent Sale

I have a lot to catch up on riding-wise as trainer was away at pony finals and Ranger was mine for the week so we had a few nice rides, but instead I’m going to focus on the disaster or success that was the Dover Tent Sale…

Thanks to some encouragement, I headed over to the Dover tent sale on Saturday morning to look for paddock boots. I’ve basically been without paddock books since  last August when mine completely died and instead of replacing them, I replaced my tall boots which also happened to die. In defense of my ariat tall books, I bought them in 2004 and they owed my nothing. So, the fact that the zippers finally died in 2016, I really couldn’t complain. Not having money and having plans to take Batts to Ludwig’s Corner to show,  I replaced the tall boots and have been riding in them exclusively since August.

And now, a year later, I’m less than thrilled with my new tall boots. I mean, I found that I  like them, but they’re actually too big. Last time I was at Dover, I tried on a pair of the Heritage tall boots in regular calf (mine are wide) and they were too tight. So I found I was out of luck temporarily (Dover was happy to take them back if I found something that fit better). That day, I just wasn’t in the mood to try on too much and they were out of a lot in my size anyway (and I didn’t have  my boots to return anyway).

So, tent sale. I found a gorgeous pair of tall boots right away but again, calf was too big. See, for some strange reason, in my attempt to find paddock boots, I wasn’t frustrated to search through the Dover Basement boxes… Which is how I found myself trying on a pair of full calf Ariat Quantum Crowne Pro Field Boots. With little to no wear that fit perfectly. Best part was the lack of elastic (I never thought I’d say that but I’m convinced that’s the issue with my current boots). Dover took $75 off the DB price to make them really affordable. At this point I had a pair of cheap tall boots. And no paddock boots.

I eventually found a black Ariat zip paddock boot. Singular. But was never able to find its mate. I found a brown variation but not the matching black one. Unwilling to sort through any more boxes, I gave up. Eventually I settled for a new pair of Tredstep Spirit paddock boots (tent sale price was much cheaper). They’re fine. And it’ll be nice to have something to wear other than tall boots on trail rides because, at this point, I think I prefer to actually ride in tall boots.

To make matters or damage worse, I went BACK to the tent sale on Sunday because I needed electrolytes and in all my purchases forgot them the day before. I saved $5 so that was something (and they’re cheaper than my local feed store anyway and no sales tax). I also picked up a Dover Basement bridle for Batty for $10 (w/o reins) for Batty. No pictures of that because when I got home, I went in to my trailer tack compartment to grab my bridle and managed to get stung by a wasp right above my eye. Disturbing pictures below…

Today, nearly 72 hours later, was the first day I woke up actually being able to open my eye. Between a steroid injection, 6 days of oral steroids, an RX for an Epi-pen, lots of ice, and benadryl, it’s been a fun few day.

 

Again. And. Again. And. Again. Repeat.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but Every. Single. Time. This.  Happens. I get so frustrated.

It’s August. And we’ve made it about 1 year and 3-4 months with Subi eating.

So why am I shocked that he’s suddenly decided that eating is optional again?

And yet I am.

I swear this horse will be the  death of me.

He was eating fine and now. BAM. He’s suddenly leaving at least a half a bucket of grain behind. I have no idea why. I never have any idea why. He just DOES THIS.

He sort of didn’t eat Saturday, but only left a 1/3 of his grain behind at breakfast.

Sunday my husband said he left maybe a handful or 3, but that’s pretty normal.

Monday: half his grain.

Tuesday: half his bucket.

What’s worse is I know, even before he eats that he’s not going to eat well. He’s not waiting at his spot for breakfast either. Normally he hangs out waiting  for breakfast, but nope, not now. I have coax him into walking up to his tree for breakfast. His a little better at dinner, but not really.

That sad thing is this is normal.  We go through this ALL. THE. TIME.  But, I had a nice year plus of false security of EATING where I forgot that my horse doesn’t eat.

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20 year old pain in the ass

I’m going to try a reset and see if I can get him eating again, but who knows.  We’ll start back with just a scoop of Omalene 200 (but I have a feeling the feed store didn’t give me the Omalene 200 RT — the wet version — so I may need to spend more and  get another bag of the wet extra gooey stuff to try and be more appealing. I don’t want the dry stuff) and see if I can get him eating that. If I can, maybe I can slowly mix back in the Equine Senior?

Feeds Subi Won’t Eat:

  • Triple Crown Senior
  • Purina Ultium
  • Strategy
  • Buckeye Senior Pellet
  • Buckeye EQ8 Senior (I think we tried this one?)
  • Nutrena Safechoice Senior
  • Purina Omalene 500 (we ate this for a year plus before it became a no go)
  • Purina Equine Senior Active (ate this for 3 years before the formula changed)
  • Nutrena Proforce Fuel

Anyway, today I hate my horse. I’m sure I’ll feel differently when he decides to eat again.

He likes Progressive Senior Sweet but I can’t seem to get it without driving 80 miles to Bucks County and I just can’t do that right now.

Ranger Recap: Happy Place

I’ve been awful about blogging lately. I had a great lesson last week on Ranger and a really nice ride on Batts on Sunday (we rode in the ring and both enjoyed ourselves), but never got around to writing about it. Oh well…

Last night I managed to drag myself out for a lesson. I wasn’t in the mood, but I made myself. And then showed up to an empty barn. Thankfully after messaging my trainer, she was home and willing to come out and teach me when I was ready so I got Ranger ready and rode.

I guess it was camp week so I had a camp horse. He wasn’t exactly responsive on the flat. I mean, I had great brakes, but that was about it? He was sluggish and just wanted to drift to the middle. So, inside leg was the mode of the day. Great. I had none. But, despite that, he was a good boy and was quite willing to move at the trot. [We also spent way too much time on sit trot circles… Good thing I practiced those without stirrups on Batts…] Canter to the right? Not so much. But, once we re-established that when we don’t pick up the canter I will stop asking, recollect, and ask again, rather than looking like crap until I do get a canter, I got there, but damn, inside leg was necessary because someone wanted to drift in. So, when we cantered left, I was crazy surprised that we stayed out, because normally we don’t stay out that easily to the left.

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You can sort of see the course… Not the best view of the ring, but I took it from Ranger’s back while on a walk so…

It was another course change, but our outside single mostly stayed the same (but we lost the inside quarter line I liked so much). We started out cantering up our outside single and then down our inside single (brown boxes) which was actually UP to start with. Goal of this exercise was basically our path and pace. First time through, eh. I was a tiny bit slow the the first fence but the the spot was there, simple change was actually pretty neat and quick, we stayed out and had a nice path to our inside single. However, I didn’t actually trust someone enough and we were too slow to our inside single heading to the barn and chipped. Basically, I had no pace and  rode too passively. When I’m unsure, I get passive because Ranger will jump me out of pretty much anything.

So we circled and started over, this time with pace and energy and had a much better pace to fence one which we then carried on to the second fence. Now, after realizing that  I was riding Ranger, Camp Horse, aka, “I’m lazy and tired,” I was also I little more confident and active? Ranger can get strong and pull even though he’s amazing and perfect so knowing that heading toward the gate that this was NOT the horse I had, I rode his much differently and actually moved him up. So, turning the  corner to our fence, I saw the distance and instead of steadying him, we maintained our pace and had a nice forward pace and distance. From here, we continued to our inside line (I first almost turned to the wrong inside line… oops) in a 4, moving up on the landing of the first fence to actually get the 4.

Do you ever have one of those rides that after the first jump or 2, you just can’t miss?  That’s what this ride turned out to be. I saw every distance, made every correction necessary, because we didn’t actually come in perfectly at every given time. But, my eye was on. I need to remember and trust that I can actually find distances as scary as it seems. I just, most of the time, don’t trust that I can.

Our next course was basically the same in a slightly different order/directly. So, we came up the inside single (towards the road/away from the barn), down the outside single (towards the barn) and the same inside green line. And, because, for some reason I’m convinced my trainer likes me thinking on my feet, we can’t ever just do what I’m told, we have to add and keep going. So, after the green line, she had me do the brown boxes again, heading towards the barn. This time though, it just felt easy.

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Some of my favorite ears…

We ended with our brown boxes again, towards the road, to our other inside line, gross straw bales (it’s rained a lot lately and they haven’t done well) to the white stone oxer. We landed from the straw bales pretty slow and drifted left but since we started jumping, Ranger has been SO responsive and moved up off and forward off my leg and jumped the crap out of that jump just because I asked him to. I mean, he had campers all week on his back so he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t asked, but he was happy to do so at the slightest asking. Such a good boy. Everything felt easy. I love him so much.

We ended with a nice walk around the property and a bath before helping turn out. Hanging out with him is really becoming my happy place. How can it not be?

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summer in chester county

Oh and just because, meet Biscuit!

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The Biscuit “Bisquick” kitty

Ranger Recap: Devon and the Dixon Oval

On Monday, we had the local hunter show at Devon, Brass   Ring   at   Devon. This was probably the biggest local 1-day show possible in Chester County, because, it’s Devon and everyone wants to show at Devon. The thing is, Devon is Devon and despite being right here in our backyard, there just AREN’T local shows at the Devon Horse Show grounds. You have a few things (Devon, Dressage at Devon, and now Brandywine I and II, but that’s just about it), so getting to have our local show is pretty cool.

Let me start by saying it was a long ass day with an insane number of entries. Schooling was the night before for those interested, but no O/F schooling day of. Show started at 7:30 and rumor throughout the day was the estimated end time was 11:30PM. Insane. Seriously. 2 rings. The class after me was estimated to start no earlier than 2pm but let’s just say that come 5:45 they were still on Baby Greens, division 5 of the day in the Dixon Oval… I’m pretty sure Baby Greens went on for 2.5 hours. They ended up moving Thoroughbred Hunters to the Gold Ring at the end of the day to try and save time… I finally rode at 7ish after a small(er) low hunter division.

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Somehow I ended up with a franken-number ala IHSA… The secretary stand failed to tell the other family sharing Ranger that they should leave the number and since the show went on for a million hours, they’d already left when I showed up… They didn’t want to re-issue another number so they made me this lovely number… Yeah.

Meanwhile is was insanely sunny and freaking hot all day. Because you’re only ever getting burned at Devon OR in the pouring rain. And then the storm clouds started moving in… At some point there was a massive crack of lightning and a long roll of thunder (I swear only 6 of us saw the lightning) and then basically nothing until I went into the ring. Pretty much a little rain and the storm skirted Devon completely (at home we lost power long enough to require clocks to be reset).

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I don’t know where I’m looking but Ranger is cute… Probably calling for whoever he thinks is his new best friend…

Anyway, the classes were huge (I think we had 17-20 in pleasure under saddle classes) and the horses worth way more than Ranger I’m sure, but we rode in the Dixon Oval which was just about the coolest experience of my life. The cherry on top was our amazing Pleasure W/T class where we snagged our 6th place ribbon in a huge ass class.

He was great in his W/T/C but I got stuck on the rail too much and just wasn’t seen. Oh well, I’m not used to showing off… I don’t even care. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t even figure out where to go.

Over fences? Our course sucked. First off, it was a test not a course (4 fences…) and I never established a pace or a rhythm and screwed up fence 1 (but, Ranger being Ranger didn’t care and we got over even though we took a rail…). Fence 2 was still too slow, but I moved up and started riding to still get the strides for fence 3 and rode again to fence 4, halted, and trotted out of the ring. Seriously though, I had my rhythm by that point and it was over. I hate courses that aren’t courses. Oh well, I still was in the Dixon Oval, jumped my fences, stayed on, and had fun. We weren’t going to get a ribbon over fences anyway so who cares?

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The “lovely” course but whatever… I failed at riding it but who cares. Ranger saved my butt because he’s the best

And with that, I rode at Devon Horse Show grounds on the best Ranger Horse there ever was.

Ranger Recap: It’s HOT outside

So I’m finally back in the swing of lessons, hopefully at least for a few weeks or maybe until Pony Finals?

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With wonky weather and a horse show, I moved my lesson last week to Friday evening and it was gorgeous and then somehow we finished, were about to go for a trail ride to cool off, felt 2 drops of rain and though better of it, walked into the barn, and the skies opened up. Downpours for what felt like at least 45 minutes. Then it ended, I managed to turn Ranger out, and then more insanely heavy rain.

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Lacking media this week so the Lasagna Kitty reminds your she is god. 

Unfortunately, I remember very little of my lesson other than for the first 3/4 of my lesson I could NOT use my corners and therefore could not find a spot to save my life. I was a mess. Eventually, I actually stayed on the rail and stopped rushing and bam! the spots where there. Go figure?

This week the mid atlantic is experiencing a lovely heat wave with unbearable humidity. Today they’re calling for the heat index to be near 105 but really the humidity is what’s bad. So, I moved my lesson to 8AM to try and beat the heat.

It was still damn hot even at 8AM.

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It wasn’t much better at 8am either…

In preparation for our show on Monday (more on that later), the goal was 15mph trot, loose reins, and trot somewhere you haven’t trotted before each time around the ring, trying to keep him round and not interfering with my hands and keeping the bend. Sometimes I was more successful than others. Lots of trot-halt-trot transitions mixed in as well. Left lead we cantered a circle using first half the ring then later a small circle not passing the mounting block down at the far end. The left lead is a struggle for us at the canter and I had to work to keep my body back, look ahead, and not break AND not turn early enough. Add in heat… Somehow we were actually successful today. Small canter circles, left lead in particular, I HATE. I think Ranger helped. I’m pretty sure he knew we’d still be working on the damn circle if we broke…

Right lead we were spared of circles and added in the our log jump (outside single). First time through we had a nice soft canter. Second time around, I was asked to be more forward so I asked for more canter. Still a nice easy jump. At this point, I’m pretty sure Ranger was ready to be done.

We started cantering down my favorite straw bale jump towards the in gate (now in a new location) and continued around to a brown box jump so it was sort of a figure 8. Goal was not to rush to the bales, but to keep the energy to the boxes and remember to stay out long enough on the rail but then to use both hands to steer to the center. Today was the start of “I can see my spots today” and “Jumping is easy?” It was turning out to be that kind of lesson.

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Next we came up the straw bales and then down the inside line on the quarter line and continued around to our brown boxes. First time, picking up the canter, Ranger was a bit strong and even through I tried to “tug-tug” I also held a bit. As a result, we broke turning the corner to the bales and then got our canter back. The spot was still there but the rhythm wasn’t a nice as it could have been. Still, remember that the turn to the inside quarter line was tight, I remembered to stay out (yay for fixing last week’s mistakes!) and look and our turn worked and again, spot was there and the line was there. We kept our energy and continued to the last jump which was fine. We repeated our exercise to improve my hands and not fight and with a better first turn and better balance, we didn’t break–everything else stayed the same. We walked our corner to looked at the angle of a broken line (I like looking at lines whenever possible, especially if the turn is weird).

From the first jump of our broken/bending line, we turned left and picked up a canter and cantered down over the outside single log jump, cantered up our brown boxed, and then continued around to our weird broken bending line. What can I say, I was have a good day? I don’t know…

 

By this point, we’d jumped everything in the ring but 3 jumps. So, we ended with trotting the cross rail on the end (awkward entrance) down the long side to the inside line (goal 6 strides). First time through we came in from the left. The cross rail was fine (Ranger wanted to rush it, but whatever), but then I struggled to bring him back for the change and  I never re-established our canter rhythm. By the time we approached the first jump of the line, we were crooked and it wasn’t pretty. We ended up with a 7 because that was what was there and I didn’t have any rhythm. We did it again, this time from the right. The cross rail was better (I found the right approach easier even though most evidently like the left approach better?), he still wanted to rush, but we landed less draggy. I managed to bring him back for our change right away and then established a rhythm rather than fighting and could actually look for my spot. First jump was there and then I could move him up for the 6. Thankfully after that, we were done.

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One Hot Ranger

I tried to walk him out a bit, but moved on to the hose pretty quickly. I’m pretty sure I spent 30 minutes hosing and scraping before he actually felt cool. No one was ever going to dry today…

Meanwhile we’re supposedly showing on Monday… I’ll be off from work for the week and agreed to this. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Like all shows do… But now? Local show at Devon which is mostly the reason. How often do I have the chance to show at Devon? Pretty much never. So, for that reason I’m going. But then I think, why spend money so that people can judge me? Makes little sense… Regardless, this will probably be it show-wise for me for a while. I need to build up my reserves. Maybe sometime in the fall, maybe not. But definitely it for the summer. Possibly the fall. But maybe I’ll get some nice pictures out of this one?

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Love my Barn Dog Apparel T-Shirt!

Supplements (BlogHop from DIY Horse Ownership)

 

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Olivia from DIY Horse Ownership is doing a Blog Hop on supplements so I thought I’d participate.

Batts:

Batts is my supplement horse. He’ll eat anything (except bananas and fig newtons) so he’s not a good test case regarding taste. He lives by the philosophy of eat first, think later.

Which is why it’s really strange that there are items he won’t eat.

Like fig newtons.

Go figure?

I don’t understand this horse entirely…

Digestive:

Dispersible-Powder_5lb Probios Powder 2 scoops daily (~ $.22/day). I started him on this after his New Bolton stay for colic since I’m just paranoid. New Bolton basically told me probiotics don’t do much, but, it’s cheap and doesn’t hurt and makes me feel like I’m at least doing SOMETHING vs NOTHING so why not, right?

 

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Joint:

 

 

I just feed MSM. Right now he gets the Vitaflex MSM @ $.17/day. He’s a little sticky sometimes and this seems to help him be less creeky and more comfortable. When he gets more ouchy/stiff, we go back to the loading dose @$.34/day but most of the time we do well with the maintenance dose.

 

Electrolytes:

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So, Batts is my chronic impaction colicer. He gets EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL. SOAKED. More than soaked, he gets them soupy. Thankfully he’ll more  or less eat anything. He gets a single 3 quart scoop of cubes, 2 take out quart soup containers of plain dried beet pulp dumped in a 5 gallon bucket, and water added so the whole thing is filled 2/3 – 3/4 of the way (lately it’s 2/3 since he’s started protesting the 3/4). To that we add 1-2 quarts of grain for flavoring (right now he gets strategy healthy edge which I can up if he needs to when in higher work but this summer he doesn’t need it — winter he gets too fat and usually needs a diet…). He doesn’t do well on ration balancers and usually looks terrible coat and condition-wise. This seems to work for us… Then he gets electrolytes. LOTS of electrolytes. I buy a MASSIVE 20lbs container of Orange Stress Dex (smells like tang) and he gets 2 scoops AM and PM spring and fall and had been getting 1 scoop AM and PM the rest of the year. But, after he coliced in December, my vet advised he stay on the massive dose all year. But, I go through 3-4 of the 20lbs containers a year. It’s INSANE. So, since he does drink a lot in the summer, I’m experimenting with 1 2/3 of a scoop AM/PM just to limit my use. Yes, our electrolyte usage is insane, but it’s under vet directions. Stress Dex is the cheapest I can find and he eats it so… I have no idea the cost per day nor do I wish to ever calculate it. I usually buy from Dover @ $44.99 per container (tax free) from the local Dover store. If I buy from my feed store, it’s a few dollars more with tax (I buy most everything else from them so I don’t mind skipping them on the Stress Dex purchases).

Flax Seed:

I started feeding whole flax a few winters ago. It improved his coat and hoof quality. I feed a 1.5 cups/daily. A 50lbs bag runs ~ $29.95 from the one further feed store ($45 from the close local feed store) and lasts 2 months since Subi will no longer eat it. Every time I take him off of it, he gets abscesses. Now when he gets abscesses, he’s rarely lame from them so…?

Jiminy:

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He’s easy.

Metabolic:

1 scoop of Quiessence just because I’m paranoid. I don’t know if it does anything, but I’m afraid to stop. He’s in decent weight, but just in case… Gets soaked beet pulp with 8 alfalfa cube PM only and a handful of grain.

He also gets 1/2 scoop electrolytes.

img_3376-1Subi:

He’s terrible about eating poison aka supplements. He gets 1 1/2 cups Buckeye Ultimate Finish fat (~1lbs 2x/day) with his grain and beet pulp in the morning or grain and soaked alfalfa cubes in the evening. He gets chopped hay AM as well (he will ONLY eat the tractor supply brand chopped hay… we are that picky…). He gets way too much grain (combo of Equine Senior and Omalene 200 RT which is currently willing to eat now, but I’m sure it’ll change when he decides that’s no longer edible).  You haven’t met picky until you’ve met Subi. When feed reps actually suggest mixing feeds (which they do NOT do), you know your horse is picky… Nothing medically wrong with him either. I’d love to add at least one supplement (MSM), but I’d risk him going on a hunger strike so it’s just not happening.

Grumpy Chestnut: We jump stuff

Somehow I have a happy horse again. I mean, he’s grumpy and he’ll always be the grumpy chestnut, but at he’s a happy, grumpy chestnut.

I haven’t hauled him out ANYWHERE in a while so we’ll have to see if he’s happy attitude continues when we go ride in a ring (or, if the attitude was due to the 2 abscess he had even though he was sound on his right front…). Either way, Grumpy Chestnut, aka Batts, is back to his old self.

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Note the crazy dogs around us… He still loves his nose net…

Just like last time, we kept  the ride relatively easy. A quick warm up on the lunge line (he’s just happier that way), some trotting and cantering hill work (SO GRUMPY when I won’t let him just canter up the damn hill), then off to jump all the things in the backyard. By all the things, I mean 3 crossrails and some ground poles (ground poles we did 1x because I stuck them too close to the trees and wacked my head against the branches…).

So I decided I would walk idiot horse up to our first crossrail and let him look. Because that’s how we roll. Well, someone wouldn’t get near it and had a temper-tantrum. HOW DARE I TRY AND MAKE HIM LOOK AT THE DAMN FENCE! HOW DARE I THINK SO LITTLE OF HIM! HOW DARE I! HOW DARE I! HOW DARE I! It was going to be THAT kind of ride.

See, let me remind you, Batts is a stopper. We have jump issues. THIS is why I ride Ranger. When your trainer tells your no amount of training will likely fix the issue (and your horse was just miserable)… Yeah. So I like to make him look. Well, not happening today.

So I circled, tapped him with the crop (extra encouragement to hopefully remind him that yes, we would be JUMPING), and closed my eyes.  We’d do one of two things. Jump or slam on the breaks and realize he needed to inspect the jump. Today we launched ourselves over with complete confidence. We were NOT inspecting jumps. It was a Batts is right, I am wrong kind of night.

So, I decided to trust him and trotted the other two crossrails (sans inspection) where we also launched over with enthusiasm… Go figure. Sometimes this horse is confident? It’s kind of scary. But, he is crossrail champion of the world.

He wanted NOTHING more than to canter the broken line between two of our crossrails. The first time I WOULD NOT let him. Pissed him off so much. Second time I gave in and we did it, but you can see the slight hesitation at the base. Lovely that now I was going to have to ride… Damn you horse. Make me work? Later?

The first several jumps, my Hermione dog was having fun running up the hill along side of us (several feet to our right). Batts is NOT a dog horse (that’s Subi). But you can tell he was having fun when that wasn’t even annoying him. He learned long ago not to mess with them (and they know when to get away from him), but it’s amazing when he’s having fun. Meanwhile, my cat started watching our antics from the window, with great confusion…

He didn’t quite love the other fence as much after the first time through (boredom) and I was too lazy to put them up to a larger crossrail, but he still had fun “galloping” up his hill. He’s such a weirdo.

And I did make myself go back and redo our bending line, adding leg, and thankfully it was a success. It’s still hard to trust a horse who has such a stopping history, but he loves his crossrails and seems to ADORE jumping uphill on grass. Go figure? I’m telling you, if Batts could go jump a cross country course of all crossrails and MAYBE a water element (we’d have to school water a bit, but eventually we’d be OK with it), he’s LOVE IT.  Seriously. I’m not sure how he’d do with banks, but again, it’s solid jumps that freak him out, so he might actually be OK with those. Weirdo.

 

I do have a log from a downed tree I want to see how is with… It’s small enough to walk over… I just need a good place to put it permanently so that my husband can mow around it without messing with the mowing flow…

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“I jumped all the things!” So proud of himself!

Ranger Recap: We go to a show and I don’t pass out!

After not showing since… February? I finally agreed to show again. I almost could have showed last weekend but didn’t and then agreed to show this weekend. For what it’s worth, it was both a better decision and a worse decision. Better because as it turned out I got to split the hauling costs again (yay for $34 hauling!), but it was hot (last weekend was humid as hell and rainy, but not sunny so…?) and sunny and hot and I don’t do heat. (Plus, the jumps were tiny and everyone basically agreed that we didn’t care and just not to raise them for the horses (it was a combine pleasure pony/horse division so they just left the fences at 2″)). Honestly I was hot and didn’t care. Other negative for this show? Pleasure is normally 2 flat and 1 over fences. This show was 3 over fences and 1 under saddle. Under saddle in pleasure is Ranger’s strength normally so… But, it turned out to be a positive…

[We didn’t end up having a lesson on this week as my trainer was at a show so I just went out and rode and had to force myself to jump a bit. I trotted and canter and Ranger was tired, I was tired and thought, “he’s perfect, why do we need to do more?” Meanwhile the teenager in the ring with me was doing mini courses and all that. Meanwhile I was happy just to sit on Ranger and plod around. That said, we did (eventually) pop over a few fences. Our hay bales in both directions (yay! the tug method worked beautifully!), a skinny single a few times, and the outside single. With a little nagging, we did our outside line twice as the first time I had no pace (nerves… — in my defense, the second fence was a solid 2’6″+ (though it felt bigger) oxer that I’m not entirely sure I should have jumped outside a lesson–not that Ranger had any issue with it…) and added for an ugly 7, the second time I had pace and rode for a nice 6. We called in a day and went for a walk to cool out. Then I bathed him, scrubbed half his grass stains out to see how clean he’d be on Friday… Very. I just had to wash his legs. And he stayed clean outside overnight in a storm Friday night into Saturday. Good boy!]

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I don’t know what that child is doing but… or who that child is actually… 

So the joys of hunter shows. We got there at 12:30 and my ring was just getting ready to start short stirrup eq. So I got to watch Ranger and his kid. He was adorable though they didn’t get much love from the judge. He was in the bottom of the ribbons, but looked adorable doing it. Kid’s eq wasn’t bad either. After that it was down to the trailer for grass and water and then time to watch the other ring for a while. And wait. Because that’s what you do at hunter shows. Wait.

What felt like a couple hours later (and probably was), it was time to retack Ranger and realize that pretty much none of the girths in the trailer fit. I managed to squeeze him into a stretched out 44″  (I had a 52″ in my car… that wouldn’t help either)–we usually wear a 48″? I guess I need to keep an old girth of Subi’s around just in case… Too many pony girths! And hit the schooling ring. We had a ring conflict as children’s horse/pony combined was about to start right as I was heading in to school (my schooling break consisted of short stirrup hunter and pleasure pony/horse combine) so I made the executive decision to school myself. For right or wrong, I basically went in, jumped everything once in 1 direction (all jumps we were to do in both directions but whatever), didn’t die (though people started falling) and then one of trainer’s kids told me I could stop and leave so I did. Whatever, I was fine with it. I needed to jump something and the schooling was for me, not Ranger. Sorry Ranger.

Then it was untacking and saddle swapping for short stirrup so that Ranger could do that division. He did decently over fences (2 seconds and a first) and then AGAIN failed under saddle. Seriously, this judge did NOT like him under saddle. Then it was a saddle swap and my turn. By this point, they had decided only to raise the jumps to 2 ft and put small gates/boxes under what didn’t have stuff, but when my coat went on and I declared my goal wasn’t to pass out, I decided I really didn’t care. I was told I need more ambitions goals. But, think back to my first show when the goal was not to die. I think not passing out is a fine improved goal. At least I’m not worried about not dying!

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yay courses! I took a picture so I could look at it and then instead forgot I had a picture of the courses… 

So first class in and I go in and promptly pick up…the wrong lead because I’m a complete idiot. But, whatever, we never had the goal of picking up the correct lead right?

Second class, I almost forgot the course right before walking in. The course was fine. Goal was the pick up the right lead. I stopped caring after that part. Nothing to write home about. My turn to the inside single sucked as I turned too late. Oh well. The rest was ok. And with all our courses we cross cantered a lot because it’s Ranger and we don’t exactly have our changes so whatever.

Third course. Same as the first. Right before the first jump there’s a nice crash in the other ring. You should be able to hear it. I don’t know exactly what happened other than it sounded like someone crashed through a jump? No one died or fell, but… It was really loud. I was dead at this point so survival because the goal. Spots became long. Or short. And ugly. I barely had a canter at the end. I don’t know how I made it out of the ring. I was dead.

Somehow I still needed to hack. Oh how I just wanted to die instead. So we hacked. I was dead. And the ring was tight since all the jumps were still up and there was no where to go… It was fine. I rode around on a loop and got my leads and rode fine. The judge did everything she could to find something wrong. Hacking is our strong suit. Which is why we were third. Then they announced the o/f portion and I managed a 1st (1st course, must have missed the lead…), 2nd, and 2nd. So, my strong suit of the hack was our lowest placing portion. The judge did NOT like Ranger on the flat. Though the 3rd was his highest placement u/s that day.

Ended up Reserve for division which was fine. Thank you Ranger for carting my butt around and keeping me in the saddle. You are 100% the best!

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Ranger Recap: Differentiating between the half halt and the tug tug

Lessons 2 weeks in a row? Shocking! But once again, seeing Ranger was the highlight of my week. After all, when your week includes things like window estimates, dying pool pumps, migraines, and kitties (!!!!), ok, forget the kitties, how could Ranger NOT be the highlight of the week?

I did not steal kitties Quijote and Sancho from their family, but I thought about it…

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The Lasagna kitty was NOT impressed by our visit with kitties.

Well, maybe the kitties were the highlight, but other than the kitties, Ranger certainly was MUCH better than that other stuff!

Ranger (and Ranger’s adorable new pasture mate)

Unlike last week, Ranger has a bit more energy to offer (not that he was fast or anything, but just slightly more energetic than asleep). Me on the other hand? I was back to being lopsided and riding on the flat with my right shoulder in the air and my hand raised… On top of it, my right hip was hurting all day (I think it’s finally better as of today) so I was riding even more lopsided so I’m sure that wasn’t helping. Eventually I guess I evened out? Or my trainer just stopped nagging me about it. Who knows. Flatwork wasn’t my strength this lesson. I was doing too much with my hands so compensate for my hip?

We started off trotting in to our outside line in the 7. Ranger had other ideas and 2 strides out broke into a canter and while we did manage a 7 (I still had too much energy and had to woah late), less than pretty would me my description. Second time through, I was able to actually ride to it and we trotted in nicely and I was able to maintain rather than woah at the last minute.

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Single and straw bales

We then moved onto our outside single and thankfully cantered in nicely to that and then continued to our inside straw bales coming down to our in gate. The goal here was not to let Ranger get too fast and charge to the gate, because, being Ranger and having a bit of energy, we might do that. Coming around the corner, I felt him pick up the pace so I half halted and he slowed down-ish and but still pulled so I half halted again and he slowed but pulled again and but did not speed up. In my mind, mission accomplished?  And we came to the most awkward spot ever where I held, he added and it was super ugly. My trainer was happy I held so we didn’t take the super launch but… before we could talk, we continued around to jump 3, our white oxer around the corner to the inside  outside line we had just been doing. We actually managed to keep our pace and jumped it nicely…

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our oxer and second fence of the outside line

So, our discussion and the point of this post.

Coming in to the straw bales I had been half halting to slow Ranger’s pace, but when I half halt, Ranger slows down, yes, but he gets really heavy on the forehand. So, instead of half halting, we introduce the “tug tug” method. Basically, a couple of short tugs, encouraging him to shift his balance off of the forehand whereas the half halt just gets him heavy. (Alternatively, if he gets really fast and draggy, we halt and back).

So, 3 jumps take 2. This time, the first jump was again fine. Employing our “tug, tug” method, we had a much better attempt at the straw bales and continued to the oxer which again was fine.

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Outside single collection of boxes ?

To end on, we would attempt the whole thing one last time. Except, we can never just end on good enough. Because after having the best first three jumps, really nicely employing a lovely tug, tug to the straw bales, and moving him up to the oxer, my trainer had us continue down our outside vertical (first jump jumped the opposite direction towards the in gate). This was a test to make sure I really understood the tug, tug method. Evidently not only did I understand it, but during this lesson I could use it AND move up to an appropriate spot. This this with this is, the “tug” really doesn’t do too much to change Ranger’s speed, at least once he realizes who is riding him. All it does is changes his balance. It gets him off the forehand and using his hind end so that he can really jump well and it make it even easier to set him up for the fences. Even coming towards things like in gates. He is so well trained to do what his rider say so to that if you add leg, he WILL speed up. If you point him to a fence, he WILL jump it. (Alternatively, if you point him away from something, he WILL skip said jump.) So, if you tell him to get off his front end, he will, but he won’t unless he’s told to. So, after the outside single, we were told to continue around to the outside line in a 6 and since I remembered to keep my leg on around the in gate corner and going away AND remembered to look, the line was easy (and small). And Ranger was perfect. Because he is. We might have finished here or with another jump. I remember finished on another part of the ring. But that was several days ago. So there’s a chance we rejumped the outside single just because. If we did, it was easy because  Ranger is Ranger. And at this point he realized there was no point to test me because I won the battle of the tug tug.

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Best Ranger Horse.

We finished with a nice walk along the fields to cool out. I enjoyed it, Ranger just wanted his carrots. Going to attempt to show soon (next weekend? Eeek). Really bad idea financially, but when are horses ever a good idea?

Meanwhile, it’s humid here. I’m stuck at work. Fun times.

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