Thursday, June 23, 2022

What's in Your Feed Bucket

 I'm jumping on the mini blog hop Moonlit Pastures did and showing what's in my ponies' feed buckets. 

Currently the ponies are out 24/7. Peebs is in a smaller pasture that's half dry lot half short grass. Cinder is out with two other horses on a 2 acre field that's really nice right now. My BO reseeded and fertilized it last fall and we've kept the horses off of it till a few weeks ago. Obviously Cinder's living situation will change next week, but I'll go over what she's currently getting and what she will be getting. 

Peebs would like you to know he doesn't get fed enough

Peebs is the easiest of easy keeps. Which is good, considering he has Leaky Gut Syndrome. I've done a lot of trial and error over the years, but have found that he does best with half hay/half hay pellets. Contrary to most horses, his gut does better with shorter stem fiber vs long stem. He currently gets 1 flake of Timothy and 4 quarts of soaked pellets (I try to do Teff but its been hard to find lately, or super expensive, so I also do Timothy) am and pm. Sometimes I'll give him a little extra hay, like half a flake, midday/early afternoon because I feel guilty.

 I've had him on Assure Guard Gold (the recommended 3/4 scoop twice a day) as a GI support on my vet's recommendation, but over the winter he had a bad Leaky Gut flare and even a double dose of the it didn't help. I was reading a thread on Twitter and someone recommended Tribute Constant Comfort. Tribute isn't sold anywhere near me but I was able to order it on Chewy and it made a huge difference. He gets a cup and a half twice a day. They also make a Constant Comfort mineral block but Chewy has been hit or miss on having it. When they have it in stock, he gets it and one block last about a month. He's also on salt twice a day and MSM once a day. 

Peebs' supplement packs I make up so my BO doesn't have to measure all his various shit

Cinder is currently on just pasture as far as hay goes. During the fall/winter/spring she was on 2 flakes of Timothy in the morning and 1 flake Timothy and 1 flake alfalfa at night, plus being on pasture during the day and her stall opens up to a grass paddock. So she basically had 24/7 access to forage. When she moves to SF, and when she was there in February, she was on 2 flakes of orchard am and pm, and 1 flake alfalfa at night. They're also turned out daily, and fed piles of orchard at lunch outside. Their pastures aren't as lush as our home barn, and I appreciate that they feed as much hay as they do to compensate.

At our home barn, they sometimes get fed in piles at breakfast outside too

 As far as grain, Cinder is currently on Nutrena Safe Choice, but once I'm out of it she'll be switching to Purina Wellsolve. SF provides three different Purina grains so if I'm going to be spending $$ on board, I'm going to take full advantage and use their grain. She currently gets about two cups of the Safe Choice once a day. She's also on a little rice bran as another boarder bought it for her horse but he refused to eat it and she didn't on it to go to waste so she gave it to me. Cinder's also on Platinum Performance and 1 pump of GutX. I'll probably up her to 2 pumps of the GutX this weekend and keep her on it for a few weeks after the move just as a precaution. Cin can be a bit of a picky eater so who knows how long this version of her grain will last.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Pre-Training Trainer Ride

 The university I work for starts summer term today, and with the Juneteenth holiday they gave us Friday off instead of Monday so classes wouldn't be disrupted. Which honestly, doesn't feel ok with me, but whatever. My job requires someone come in every day and this was my holiday to work in our rotation. Thankfully we usually only do the bare minimum on holidays so I was done in about three hours. I had decided to use the rest of my holiday day to haul up for a lesson/trainer ride with Trainer A.

I had thought Cinder was feeling better after her round of Adequan, but wanted a second opinion. And since Cin is moving up to A's July 1st, I figured it would be a good pre-training check in. We got stuck in a major traffic jam on the way up and during our 30mins of stop-and-go traffic Cinder had a huge fit in the trailer. I was half tempted to pull over and see what the hell was wrong, but as soon as we started moving she calmed down. She did unload like a bat out of hell and was pretty worked up as I tacked up at the trailer. 

From baby horse having a tantrum to respectable hunter in 30 minutes

A saw Cin having her fit at the trailer and wisely grabbed her helmet to ride her first. I ran to the restroom while A got on and came down to the ring to see them attempting to trot. Cinder was flinging her head around like she was possessed. A just gave in and let her canter it out for a few laps each way and Cinder settled down. They did a little more trot and canter work before A pointed Cinder at the fences set up. 

First time seeing the astroturf rails? No problem

If I hadn't know that Cinder has only jumped twice since February, I wouldn't have guess it. She hopped around everything like no big deal, only jumping big at a square oxer that she didn't realize was an oxer till she was over it. She got funky distances but figured it out; she hit rails but didn't react; she acted like a pro and I was so proud of her. A said she felt great, and that she loves Cinder and is so happy we're coming back. 

I lunged her on Sunday and we had a cuddle session in the arena afterwards


We then switched and I had a little trot and canter lesson. Mainly it was A reminding me to relax my arms and not hang on her face. But we got some good stretchy trot and it felt like I had my horse back, something I realized I hadn't truly felt since February. Cinder was definitely tired and traveled home without attempting to kick a hole in my trailer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Plans Made

 When we left off last week I was planning on heading up to watch one of our local schooling shows and do some recon on trainers. Well, thanks to an unseasonably late atmospheric river, the show as cancelled. It's been the wettest April/May/June on record and all the stalls, the warmup, and the lunging arenas at the show were completely flooded. Show management also pushed back the start of the rated show this week a day due to how wet everything was. 

But Trainer M wasn't deterred and decided to host an in-barn show for her clients, and two outside riders who wanted off property schooling miles, and basically put together a show in 24 hours. M is the one who hosts the show series we did last fall, and the one this spring, so she had almost everything ready to go. I messaged her asking if she needed help running it and volunteered myself. She happily accepted and I became the office lady. 

My station for the morning

It was fun seeing all the lesson kids getting ready and I was able to put names to faces, both human and equine. I got a close up look at how M runs her program, how the two assistant trainers work, and I was able to snoop around the barn more. When I introduced myself to people, most of them remembered Cinder and loved her. I felt very welcomed by everyone.

I was pretty happy with most of what I saw during the day, but there were a few things that pinged my spidey senses. I know there's going to pro and cons with every program, and nothing will 100% mesh with what I want, but for the most part I agreed with what I saw and heard during the day. Unfortunately M still hasn't said anything about when/if a stall will be open, and looking ahead she's gone most of the month of July at shows. I really don't want to wait till August to put Cinder in training.

Splitting up my shit is hard

 So, July 1st Cinder is moving back to SF and going into training with Trainer A. I like A's riding style a bit better than M's and I think Cinder will do better there. My tentative plan, that A's on board with, is to haul over to M's once or twice a month for lessons and then show at the h/j shows with M. We'll see how it goes but I'm really excited to be back with A and she's really happy to have us back as well. 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Holding Pattern

 Not much is going on over here. Cinder finished her round of Adequan yesterday. I've put a couple of easy rides on her to gauge how she's feeling, but honestly, my mental and emotional state is pretty shitty right now and I don't trust myself to assess her soundness. She did feel more even behind, but still has some anxiety picking up the canter. But the canter work itself was really nice. So 🤷

She has been working on her hunter bod with help from the spring grass.

I will say this downtime has been good for her body. Cin's always been a bit of a string bean, and I was told her siblings were similar till around 6 when they all chunked out. Cinder's bulking up happened this spring and she's gone from wearing a 50" girth in March to a 54" now. I barley had time to break in the 52" I bought her. She's also in a warmblood sized fly mask now because the regular size was too tight across her jaw. I had to let her throat latch out a hole from where it used to be. Apparently the only part of her head growing is her cheeks. I've told her that between a new saddle, vet bills, and new girths, she's not allowed to grow out of anything else she wears for at least a year, if ever. 

First ride back in 3 weeks and she was almost asleep


Our trainer situation is still up in the air. I haven't heard back from Trainer M on when/if a stall will be open, but we do have a lesson tentatively scheduled in two weeks. She's at a show this weekend and next week. I do plan on going up to the show this weekend and doing a little recon watching her and other trainers. I also have a lesson planned for next weekend with Trainer A. She knows Cinder better than anyone, so if Cin is still having any soundness issues she'd find them. And honestly, part of me still wants to be in her program, even if I'm the hunter in a barn full of eventers. 

Peebs is still the best boy ever. We've been doing some bareback walks once or twice a month and he's been great. He's back in the bigger paddock 24/7 and thankfully hasn't gotten too fat. He's the easiest of easy keepers and I was worried he'd gain too much weight being on grass and out of work. I do plan to do at least once a week walks with him once Cinder is in training, just to help keep his weight down and so I can ride one more day a week.

Monday, May 16, 2022

State of Cinder

 First off, happy fifth birthday Cinder!! 

We hauled up last Sunday for our second lesson/pro-ride with potential new trainer (who will go by Trainer M). Cinder was both better and worse for her. Better in that she was a little more relaxed at the barn and with M on her, but worse in that she tested M more and was very slightly off. M said it felt like the right hind, which has always been Cinder's weaker leg. 

Still super tense with M up, but not quite as giraffe like as the previous week

They did walk/trot/canter each way and Cinder had a bit of a hissy fit about picking up her left lead. I was slightly frustrated and embarrassed about bringing a naughty horse into the barn, but M handled it well and was very complimentary of Cinder. I ended up getting on for the last 15 minutes and while still tense for me, Cinder did relax and go around quietly. I did feel what M felt in regards to the hind right and made a plan to haul Cinder up on the following Wednesday to see M's vet. 

Cinder no want to canter on her left lead

M's barn is out of my regular vet's area, and M's vet is there almost weekly so when Cinder moves in she'll be seeing M's vet anyway. Might as well see her for this lameness. And she also does chiro and Cinder was due for an adjustment. I really, really liked M's vet. She was incredibly thorough, and we ended up doing flexions and radiographs of both hind hocks and stifles. The left hock and stifle looked great, but the right hock has a small area of concern. We decided to do a round of Adequan and if that doesn't help, we'll discuss injections. Thankfully its mild, and we caught it early, so hopefully the Adequan does the trick. For now Cinder's hanging out in the pasture at home, and once we're towards the end of the Adequan series I'll start hauling back to M's for lesson or they'll have a stall open up and we'll move in.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Waving the White Flag

Since I last blogged, Cinder and I haven't done all that much. April was one of the wettest months on record, which is a good thing since we need the rain, but didn't really work well with only having an outdoor arena. As I found myself going days with out riding, I was less inclined to hop on Cinder alone. And considering I'm alone 90% of the time, I didn't ride much. Add in some brutal work stress, and my mental and emotional game is pretty much shit right now. 

I did do a couple of bareback walks with Peebs because sometimes you just need your best boy

I've decided that for my mental health, I need Cinder in a program. I need to know she's getting worked regularly, so I'm less fearful of getting on her alone. I'd like a trainer to get on her first at a show if she's worked up. I need regularly scheduled lessons to hold me accountable. I also really miss having a barn family and the social aspect of a bigger barn/program. 

I also recommend taking your horse's b-day pics early for a quick pick-me-up

So, I'm on the hunt for a new trainer and barn for Cinder. Peebs will stay at our current barn since he's currently retired and it's a great retirement facility. As much as I love Trainer A and all that she's done for Cinder and myself, she's an eventer and I'm a hunter. I want a h/j trainer and program that goes to the shows I want to do. I've talked with A and she understands, and I did say that if whatever program I try doesn't work out, I'll go back to her because she's my safe space. 

I failed at getting media so enjoy this one blurry pic

I've been in this area long enough to know what barns/trainers I'd want to/be able to afford to ride with. After talking with her a bit, I scheduled a haul-in trainer ride with my top choice trainer. She's a little over an hour away (boo), but is very nice, has a good group of students (both ammys and kids), and her philosophy seems like it meshes with mine. Cinder was pretty wound up, and wasn't so sure about potential new trainer on her back (only the third person to ever ride her, so fair) but I really liked how potential new trainer handled her. We go back this Sunday for another lesson with her. She doesn't have an open stall till June, which is both good and bad. My anxiety wants Cinder in a program ASAP, but this gives me time to work with PNT without fully committing to her program and completely changing both my and Cinder's lives. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Saddle Fitting Round The Last

 At least I hope this is the last saddle fitting round we do for a few years. I ended up buying the Voltaire Palm Beach I took on trial. It fit Cinder much better than Peebs' saddle, and was much more comfortable for me, and helpful for my equitation, than the Crosby. 

For as slick as the Crosby was on the flaps, it always felt like I had the stickiest of full seat breeches on and when I posted it was like my butt would come off the saddle but my breeches wouldn't


Cinder still has a little lingering soreness along the right side of her withers, but Surpass has been helping. Unfortunately I've run out, and everywhere is back ordered on it. Anyone have any luck using the human version, Voltaren? 

Unfortunately the Voltaire billets didn't work with the new super squishy memory foam girth I had gotten like two weeks before, so I had to order her a size up. Anyone want a lightly used 50" girth?

I haven't been able to ride much in the Voltaire since I got it because we've been having some majorly weird weather. It was 75* a week ago, then over the weekend we had thunderstorms (including a funnel cloud about 10miles south of me), and then Monday morning it snowed. It didn't stick (at least where I live) but it's been snowing/slushing/hailing/raining off and on all week plus being in the upper 30s-mid 40s temp wise. This is the first time in recorded history we've gotten snow in April. I'm getting really fed up with living through unprecedented events. 

Still my best boy

As for Peebs, he's loving the currently-retired life. He's back to 12hr turnout, and got the grass run off his stall opened up again. I pull him out a few times a week to groom and check him over, but otherwise he gets stuffed with cookies and enjoys life.