Ranger Recap: Lightning, thunder, and rainbows, Oh my!

We had some really gorgeous weather this week which was spent tending to Batt’s abscess. Exciting, right? As of this morning, it’s still there. I have a message into my farrier so hopefully I’ll be able to get him out. But, we’ll see. We have days he look better and then, nope, right back at square one. All of this makes me think it starts to drain and then closes back up. This morning I pulled off his wrap (meant to do it last night, but lightning storm) and didn’t see anything and when squirting iodine on his hoof, I got a reaction (major reaction) on his heel (and found a soft spot there too). Then I started prodding his heel like any good mother. More reaction. More iodine in squirting on his heel, more reaction. More prodding. So, I’m assuming the abscess is coming out his heel? At least it explains all the toe walking and why turns are the hardest thing ever. But, with all my prodding, I will win Mother of the Year. I’ll deal with it more when I get home.


Lovely scar tissue hoof… this is what happens when you rip off 3/4 of your hoof as a 2 year old… It looks ugly but when he doesn’t have an abscess, he’s sound on it. Moreso than when we tried to make it look good. Lots and lots of scar tissue…

I also turned him out for a while the other day with his soak bag because I was lazy and had other stuff to do. Jiminy tried to eat the bag. Again, Mother. Of. The. Year.


Can you spot the teeth marks?

But, enough about Batt, on to Ranger!


He lost his BFF Elliot. Elliot now goes out with Coffee, rodeo horse turned princess (trainer’s husband’s new rodeo horse who was NOT happy to be out in the storm last night because he’s a princess now). Ranger is out with Mikey and Forrest now. He’s just as obsessed with his BFFs so who cares? Anyway, his friends were outside, he had already had a lesson earlier in the day, and I was there to make him work again rather than just give him carrots? What the hell man?


Former BFF Elliot

So, we were poorly behaved in the cross ties. Normally poor cross tie behavior waits until post ride. Not today. Ugh. And it was looking ominous outside. Double ugh.

So we finally made it outside and watched the last course of the pony ahead of us. Then we proceeded to truck around the ring like crazy people at the trot. Thankfully after one circuit, Ranger came to his senses and decided to listen to me and returned to a normal trot. Meanwhile the sky became more ugly. We added in the circles and it’s finally clicked that if I add inside leg FIRST then we don’t fall in AT ALL when we circle. Anyway, our circles were lovely and balanced, regardless of size and impressed my trainer. Yay!

We walked and then, being warned that the storm was imminent, picked up the canter. I think we may have only cantered one direction… We cantered around, circled some, and then added in this “tiny pile of poles resembling a cross rail” and continued doing that landing right lead about 4 or 5 times before asking to land left. Which we actually did successfully. However, after landing left, I actually died and needed a break. So we walked.

Highlight of my week? I finally have a utility sink. And a crazy complicated feed program…

We next cantered over the log jump around around to the outside line that I love. I could NOT for the life of me see the spot to the log. We added and I jumped ahead because ???

Next, we did our white oxer and were to do the inside broken line around to the outside line. Except I turned back to the log because I can’t follow directions. And I didn’t even jump the log well and chipped it.

So we started again. And talked about how when I have the longest stride possible, it’s hard to adjust. So instead, I collected my reins and his stride and actually rode and followed directions. And you know what? It was better! Shocking! We landed on all our leads and hit our spots and everything was nice. We were a little forward landing from the in of the broken line and I had to collect a bit after stride 2, rather than sitting for stride 1 and 2, but the line worked out well. I also needed to woah a bit for the outside line, but again, I adore the line and it worked out perfectly.

We took a minute to catch our breath (OMG humidity) and managed to get one last coarse in (thunder was rolling in). This time, we rode conservatively to prove we could. If we’re more forward, we can land the lead, but the conservative ride, nope. So we missed every. single. lead. Ha. But, he was a good boy and did everything I asked. We got in the barn and the skies opened up.

And the lightning started.

And we waited.

And waited.

For 30 freaking minutes until I felt safe enough to turn him out. So much lightning. And rain. OMG.

Ranger had a melt down. While all the horses were melting outside because… rain. Ranger was melting down, because, OMG no friends inside with him and he needed to be OUTSIDE OMG NOW.


On my way out, I came across the most incredible rainbow.


Most amazing rainbow. And a random stranger’s house. 

And then another storm.

Stuck in a rut.

Following the drama of last week (I did, by the way, receive my final paycheck), I spent all week looking forward to a trail ride on Saturday with Michele.


Pathetic. Freeloaders.

Less a fabulous lesson on Ranger that almost didn’t happen due to a conference that had me out of town on my usual lesson day, the week basically sucked. I could talk about my lesson, which was FABULOUS, but I find when I have terrible weeks and my life sucks, for some reason, I feel the need to keep my lessons to myself. Let me just say that Ranger can cure anything and the lesson ended with the jumps getting hiked up for a final course. We cooled out with a walk around the fields and just for a moment, all was right in the world.


Ranger fixes problems.

Good mood vanished pretty quickly when I headed over to the vet to pick up meds for Batts allergies/heaves to find that even though they said they’d leave it in the pick up box (that I couldn’t find), it wasn’t there. One bag of stuff was, just not mine. Ugh. Next morning I got up at 3:30 to head to a conference where my first presenter was LATE. And a whole lot of other drama. Finally on Friday, got back to vet, found out someone else had picked up my meds, got the meds…


Conference views

Which brings us to Saturday. Feed horses, all seems good, got out to open the gate and notice Batt is toe walking on his right hind. Shit. He’s not lame yet, but he’s not sound. Abscess. I text Michele in disgust cancelling our trail ride, toss a muzzle on Jiminy, throw the horses on grass, and basically sit in my backyard and cry. I had a why me pity party. It wasn’t pretty.


Toe walking and proud of getting out of work. 

Then I got a text from the mom of the ONE STUDENT I didn’t contact about me no longer teaching (I only taught her 2x, barn owner taught her once or twice) as they have no loyalty to me. I ASSUMED that the idiots were contacting my students to tell them the change of instructors… But, I guess not? They were letting me know a neighbor was bringing her over, but… Nice. Professional. Anger resumed. I didn’t respond. Who knows if she was even having a lesson today? Not me.

Yesterday Batty was sad, gimpy, and in pain. My friend Sandra came out and we tackled his hoof which I failed the day before… He got the full treatment. During a 45 minute white lightning soak (FINALLY have IV bags to soak in), we removed about 40 pounds of hair, pulled his mane, brushed out his tail, and let him graze. After the soak, he got his hoof covered in iodine then an ichthammol wrap (in which he tried to murder me for holding his hoof up for too long). Hopefully he’ll be feeling better soon. Assuming I have the patience, I’ll do another soak tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the pollen is OUT OF CONTROL. And the coughing is out of control. Ugh.



Because we love abscesses

Batty and I have a new tradition. I go on vacation, he gets an abscess.

He was a little wonky at our lesson before vacation. Not lame so much as  a little ouchy up front. We pushed through it as he was find unless we got into the really deep sand and we both survived. We even survived a hay bale jump that he thought was going to eat him alive. But, we got over it and connected 3 big boy jumps together and called it a night.

Not thinking much of it, I gave him some bute for a couple of days, he seemed 100%, and I went on vacation. I had some fleeting thoughts about soaking his front feet with white lightning before vacation, just in case (brain kept hinting at abscess), but honestly? I ran out of time. Between the heat, buying grain before vacation, and picking up our once dead, now fixed lawn mower (and successfully backing trailer DOWN my long driveway), I just didn’t have time. As it was, I don’t know how I got what I got done. So, no front hoof soaking.

Which turned out OK because the abscess turned out to be in him right hind hoof (and he just showed generally ouchiness upfront). Horse sitter let me know Saturday morning that he started gimping a few days before and was walking on his toe and gimping around starting Friday. Considering he was 3-legged lame last summer when she watched him, she wasn’t super concerned and didn’t want to take away from my vacation this time. All was fine, but damn, 9 months without an abscess and I go on vacation and? Abscess.

So we got home on Saturday night and I didn’t deal with his hoof until Sunday. He was miserable, 3-legged, and stocked up in his right hind. Our typical reaction. But, he had no issues gimping to the water, his bucket, and the hay so… Anyway, I did a white lightning soak Sunday and poulticed his leg. Hoof was definitely bothering him and he did NOT want the hoof wrap on (just while his foot was in the white lightning bag), but we survived.

I got home from work yesterday to this:

Popped a 2″ hole out his coronet. And I’m pretty sure it still hurts.

So much so that he tried to kick me when I set to soak with white lightning (had to get husband to help since this idiot wanted NOTHING to do with me messing with his hoof. Then he decided to run away from me (he’s sound at the trot). Needless to say, I was NOT happy with him and I have a bruised thumb thanks to his antics. Anyway, I got my husband to help with a chain and got his soak going and leg poulticed (don’t mind the excess poultice hand prints…) and dumped him him the round pen (that still needs tree limb repairs) and left him for an hour.

After ignoring each other for an hour (the 98* weather didn’t help any of this), we were both in better moods. Removed the wrap without issue. In fact, he even let me squirt iodine in his gaping hoof hole with no issues and didn’t fight the ichthammol either. While he sound, I’m pretty sure there’s more to draw out.

That said, why, of all hooves, do we need an abscess in his already crappy, scar tissue filled hoof? And to blow out the coronary band? So that it can grow down where he’s got plenty of scar tissue and a permanent crack and structural instability?

Catching up

I’m super behind here. Sometimes it’s easy to post, other times? Not so much. Work has been kicking my butt and I’ve just been exhausted. Add on to it that my mom went on vacation and left me with her 4 dogs so we had 6 dogs in the house. NOT fun at all. They’re lucky I love them!

5 of the 6 dogs napping...

5 of the 6 dogs napping…

Meanwhile, I’ve actually been riding the Batthorse! After months of unsoundness primarily due to never ending abscesses, he’s **knocks on wood** sound! We’ve had about 6 rides in the past 2-3 weeks which is amazing! We actually popped over our first jump in about a year last weekend and jumped a little more this weekend. Nothing high, but who cares. He’s been wearing his beat up cavallo boots and while they’re a mess and will eventually fall apart, they’re working for now. I ordered him a pair of renegades yesterday so hopefully we’ll have them for next weekend. Riding him again reminds me just how wonderful it is to ride a horse who has no spook or buck in him. I mean he tried to buck me off the other week, but he’s not actually athletic enough to buck. But, even though he picked his feet about 3 inches off the ground, he thought he was bucking. We worked on our track in the woods today after working on the hill and jumping some. But, I have a wooded area that has a loop that works for trotting/cantering that I haven’t used lately just because the ground had been a mess. Not riding in there for a year made a huge difference. If we ever have funds, I’d love to get it cleared and make it a real ring. Anyway, we trotting and cantered some and he had a ball. Nothing like a change of scenery to change things up.

Pictures because they’re always necessary…

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I also rode Sub a couple times this week after not really riding him due to life/weather. I lunged last weekend and lunged and rode in the round pen on Friday (he was a nut), but got on without lunging today. We worked on the hill for a while though he was definitely alert/up. But, after a decent amount of walk work, we managed some trotting and a little cantering. He was really sticky about his left lead which is NOT him, but not feeling overly confident I didn’t fight too much with that. Another days problem. After our hill work I walked him around the woods for a while and once I was convinced he was quiet (the constant attempts to eat were the clue) I hopped on and we walked and trotting around for a while. He was much quieter back there and I was much more confident. Go figure. We cantered a couple strides on the left lead (he picked it up with energy) and did a little more on the right and called it a day. There are some tighter turns out there and we need a little more time before he’s balanced enough to canter those turns. But he tried hard and we were both exhausted after our successful ride.



Not much to add on the Jiminy front other than I love that little pony. He’s still as adorable as ever and is changing color again. I love him.

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Weekend Catchup

It’s been a busy weekend (and week for that matter). But, then again, it always is.

Friday night, Erik and I went to Philly to see Newsies. I absolutely love musicals and have wanted to see Newsies for quite a while. I missed it on Broadway, but I’m glad the tour officially opened in Philly and I got to see it. Loved it. So worth the ticket price even though I can’t really afford to spend right now (which of course has me spending money). If you have a chance to see Newsies, DO IT!


Jumping away from the weekend to Thursday, I worked Thursday night which left me time to ride Thursday morning. It was a nice day too which helped. Because Erik already left for work, I decided to ride Batt. He’s reliable and I try no to ride Subi when no one is home. Batt is safe Safe SAFE and at least I know he won’t spook whereas Subi… Nonetheless, it wasn’t a fun ride. I got on Batt who was in a mood and decided to do my 2 point in the round pen. Batt wasn’t feeling it at all. He didn’t feel lame a the walk, but didn’t want to move forward. We fought, a lot, all in 2 point. I asked for a forward pace he cantered. I woahed him back, we halted. Lots of fights. I eventually gave in and decided just to deal with the terrible pace until I got out of 2 point. I survived for 12:18.96. I’m sure I’d have made it longer if I wasn’t fighting my horses, but it got to the point that I could deal any more with leg hold crop crap and my calves and back were killing me and I sat down. But I made my original goal of 10 minutes. After 2 point hell, I decided to leave the round pen. Grumpy however was being stupid, again, and didn’t want to stand while I undid the gate chain. More fighting until he realized we were going to leave and stood… That horse. I thought a trot up the hill would cheer him up (strange horse loves hills, especially galloping up them). Unfortunately, he didn’t feel right at the trot. Not lame necessarily, but weird so I walked after a couple strides. Batt was looking longingly at the development across the street so despite the off feel, we went for a short walk which he enjoyed. But his slow pace was just off. I decided to trot again and immediately could tell he was off on his right hind so we walked home (since he seemed ok a the walk). He had some heat in the hoof and based on how he was standing, I was fairly sure an abscess was brewing. He was way gimpier Saturday and I’m sure my diagnosis was right. He’s doing his abscess stand/walk and is otherwise happy and no heat in the leg… Hope it blows soon!


Moving ahead to Saturday, it was rainy and miserable. Based on the pending weather, I threw sheets on everyone Friday night. Of course, Saturday morning, Batt had some tears in his hastily repaired sheet so I repair my only other sheet and threw that on Saturday night (Saturday morning duck tape didn’t stick with the rain). Erik and I threw out a round bale first thing in the morning in the dark at 6:30am. Batt parked himself in front of it after breakfast and didn’t move until dinner while Subi and Hayley sulked about the rain, cold, and wind…. Due to the rain, I didn’t teach. I had a lot to do and instead spend most of the day on the sofa with my puppies. They loved it! (I did too).


This morning I went out early to teach. Horses were good despite the cold and crazy wind. After a quick trip to my mom’s to pick up her supplied alfalfa cubes and beet pulp (and a quick visit with her puppies), I had a 2 person trail ride. Really nice pair and despite the wind, they had a nice time. I took Peyton out instead of Heidi and it was nice just to be riding something dead quiet. He was a good boy. Unfortunately, my right hip kept cramping up during the ride and it’s still bothering me a bit. I did realize how easy short bursts of 2 point are though! I guess all of this 2 pointing has paid off!

Now I’m home and it’s dark outside. I really need to start dinner, but the sofa, quilt, and dogs are so much better!

Weather. Abscesses. Hay.

Went back to work on Wednesday. I wasn’t ready for vacation to end, but end it did. It hasn’t been terrible being back, but being at home is so much more fun than work. That said, I’ve had headaches every day since Tuesday so  that hasn’t made things easier. In addition, I’ve felt really run down which hasn’t helped either. I’m afraid I’m fighting something. Just what I need. To get sick. I also need to get a flu shot which will definitely mean getting sick which is why I haven’t gotten it yet. This week. This week I’ll get the flu shot and likely get to take a sick day. Great. Being home will be nice, but not when I’m miserable from getting sick from the stupid flu shot…

The ground has been super frozen since who knows when. Prior to freezing, we had a crazy amount of rain which resulted in mud. Now I have ugly frozen mud. Not fun. Horses are miserable due to the frozen (and deep in some places) foot prints throughout the paddock/field. Just what I need. Right now I need spring so that the frozen ground can become unfrozen and the ground ultimately become normal again.

I’ve discovered why this riding thing is so hard. Being at home is a part of it, but mainly my issue is that it’s winter. I hate the winter. I hate the ground. I hate the season. I never like winter and over the past few years, I can’t say I ever have ridden consistently. So why should this year be any different? If I don’t like winter riding, why do more of it than I have to?

So I’m just going to continue to ride when I can and forget the rest. Expectations, etc. Sandra came out today and despite my hopes that the warmer weather would lead to softer ground, no such luck. It’s going to take several days in the 40+ degree temperatures so that the ground can start unfreezing. Anyway, we mostly walked. Batts wasn’t overly comfortable and lots of trotting isn’t yet in the plans for me and Subi. So we worked them both hard at the walk. Subi was awesome. He’s really starting to get it and our work on framing and carriage has come a long way.  I do have to say at this point I’d love some dressage lessons… Anyway, back to the ride. I mostly walked with Subi, but we did through in some trotting and he was awesome. I could feel how hard he was thinking AND how much he was trying. Plus, he’s getting more and more muscled the more we work. Have I mention lately how much I love that horse? Even when he’s a jerk, I still love that horse.

Batts and Sandra worked on hind end work as well. Poor horse was so confused, but he seemed happy whenever everything clicked. And, like Subi, poor guy was exhausted. That said, hopefully if we get him going nicely at the walk, we’ll be ready to do the same at the trot when the ground improves.

Poor Hayley, likely as a result of the ground, appears to have an abscess. Just what that poor mare needs. Her feet have been doing great, but I’m assuming with the ground… Poor girl. I hate seeing her miserable.

Speaking of miserable… The horses are driving me nuts. They’ve been finicky about their hay. Sometimes not touching much of it, sometimes demolishing it, lately a combination of the two. Now, this is the same hay they’ve been eating and cleaning up in a few short hours until last week. Now? Who knows. I thought I had a bad bale or two, but if I put the hay out a second time, they have been finishing it and then not eating the new stuff… They’re also eating it on the ground and not always in the nets? Maybe they’re protesting the hay nets? Not that they haven’t had nets for the last year plus… I’m starting to think that maybe the ground where the nets are is bothering them and that more of the issue? I don’t have a clue but they’re driving me nuts.