Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wild Winter Ice and Snow

The last week and a half has been very challenging in WA. First, some pretty crazy snow, and then a whole lot of ice via freezing rain! UGH! Besides that, the snapping tree limbs weighed down with the 1/2" coating of ice were littering the roads and downing power lines. We were out of power from Thursday around noon to Tuesday evening around 6. Needless to say, I was told to stay home from work for three days so I had a lot of time to dink around and catch up on my photography!

This was the Hawthorn tree prior to the major freezing rain:

And this is the hawthorn after... of course Blogger is being silly, so I couldn't possibly put this after the first pic...:
And Chai wanted her time in the spotlight too:Ice on the 'blueberry muffin plant':
Even the baby twisted willow got it:
Love the colors on this Azalea:My poor Ginko held it's own, thank goodness:Mercy has certainly had enough of this- she was going CRAZYYY!!!This is where the electric fence use to be...Even though the ice was so devastating, it sure was pretty:Glad it's gone though! I'll have an update on Mercy soon, just have to get my thoughts together. Gotta figure out what's up with my blog view too- thath white frame cutting right through the middle just won't do! ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More Down Time...

Time for another update, most likely the last one for the year.
Mercy is back in paddock/stall rest with regular hand walking when I'm able to. Again. I took her out to ride the day after my last blog post and found her seriously lame on her left front leg after I tacked her up. No heat, no swelling, no hoof tester sensitivity. I gave her 2 weeks off just in case there was an abscess brewing, but nothing changed. So, I had Dr. Bob out to do a full lameness work up. After blocking her leg, starting with her sole, then her whole foot, then her fetlock, and finally blocking her up to the knee, she was still lame when making tight circles. There was no lameness detected on the straight aways unless her joint was flexed (stressed).
Since the symptoms of this lameness were very similar to her previous right front leg lameness, we decided to shave the leg down any way and check her tendons and ligaments via ultrasound.
And we found nothing. Well, we saw the previous injury in her RF that has healed nicely! But nothing more...
Since we were no closer to a diagnosis after the very thorough exam, I decided to take Mercy back to the track to see Dr. Schneider. Once at the track, it became very clear that the lameness I was seeing and the lameness Dr. Schneider was finding could be two different ailments. This is because after only one low hoof block, he declared Mercy sound, which means the pain was in the hoof.
We took a few radiographs to check her lower leg and Dr. Schneider found some bony changes on the front of her short pastern bone at the coffin joint. He also found a small bone spur at the pastern joint. Although these are unlikely to cause her pain, that was the best he could find that day without doing an MRI. So- back to stall and paddock rest for 60 days (til early January) and recheck with Dr.Bob.
I'm personally not convinced that the bony changes and spur are the issues here, but I don't have anything else to go on. When I compare the new images to the old images (Aug 2010), there really isn't that much change. I guess time will tell... again...
Until then, Mercy certainly keeps herself busy by destroying my lovely Christmas decorations... lol! ;)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Long Awaited Update

*sigh* So, since my last post in April I have taken Mercy to 2 Ricky Quinn clinics, the one in April and another one in August. I will admit, I got a lot out of them but I also fell more and more discouraged about my relationship with Mercy. She *technically* does everything I ask of her, but with a nasty expression on her face and there is absolutely no 'try' anymore.
And I know it's me who made her change. I have been really frustrate with how things have gone since I started riding her again (after a 6 months lay-off period for a significant leg injury). She is naughty on the trails, still bucks almost every time I ask her to lope, and is generally uncooperative under saddle. I tried bringing her back slowly, literally starting at the basics again, but something had changed in her. So I tried challenging her by expecting her to at least know where we were before this accident happened. That's where I think I went wrong.
She isn't the same horse. Mentally or physically.
I pushed her too hard, too fast. Even though that is what I thought she needed. Now, even when I am being as light as I possibly can be with her, things quickly escalate out of hand. She tries bolting, bucking, taking the bit away, and generally tries to out think me, even when doing simple stuff like move the hindquarters.
And now winter is here. I can't get home before dark and the trails are soon going to be too slick to do anything more than a walk.
I don't really know what the next step is. I would love to talk lessons from a local trainer, but he is not very willing to do haul-in lessons. And I cannot afford full time board and training.
My plan for now is to try and haul out once or twice a week to a local indoor arena. Because if I don't keep trying nothing will get better. Ever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hitting The Trails Once Again, With a Twist!

We rode bareback!!! LOL! Boy, do I like challenges! ;P

Mercy was still dealing with that weird armpit issue and I decided not to let that set us back completely. Riding bareback in the front pasture if fun, and 'getting something done,' but I wanted to trail ride! So, I grabbed the barrel racing bridle and jumped on for a short ride to the creek. Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten how short the reins are when I ride Mercy. Her neck is so long! Plus she holds her head down and poked out, naturally.... I really had to lean forward and still only use a few fingers to hang on! T'was fun!

We wandered slowly along the creeks bank and finally stopped for a few pictures. Mercy swore she could see some thing that she insisted on inspecting on the other side, but we stayed the course instead...

...Which really out someone into an argumentative mood! LOL!

We started home and all was going well until we got to the part of the trail that I am positive a herd of elk bed in. Both Starlett and Mercy always get really uneasy going through there and walk as fast as the can to get out. And of course me being bareback seemed to really set Mercy off. She just wanted to barge through the bit and trot through the area. Uh, no. That's obviously not ok.... so I guided Mercy back to a walk and we walked through the area a few times, back and forth, back and forth, until Mercy began to let up her guard.

Once we were back on our way home, Mercy once again picked up a trot, which was easy to correct, but it still irritates me. So guess what!? Mercy got to work her butt off doing rollbacks, serpentines, leg yields, haunches in, shoulders in, and sidepasses, all while going up and down the same track of trail, until she calmed down and walked out content.

I swear, once I get the saddle back on her, we are going to have one very long trail ride until she figures out we are NOT going back to the barn until she is smooth and responsive. I need to pick a nice day to do that. I need it to be a good experience!

Then, just the other day, we let the girls out into the big pasture for their first big romp in months. And guess what? nothing happened! I thought Mercy would have exploded with the freedom, but nope!

Oh well! LOL! This weekend is the Ricky Quinn Jr. Clinic in Buckley, WA. We are going to be busy for sure!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More *Slight* Set Backs

Figures. I get the all clear to start riding again and something else comes up to slow us down. Mercy's allergies have come on fast and furious (and really early) this year. She is itching all over and basically mutilating herself. About two weeks ago she was chewing herself so bad that she literally skinned herself. I came out to feed dinner and found her left armpit swollen, painful, and gooey.

I haltered her up and washed the area well with Betadine. She was ouchy, so I took my time and really got into the folds of swollen skin to make sure everything was clean and dry. When I checked her the next morning her armpit was still swollen and sensitive, but not as gooey or raw looking.


She slowly started improving over the next few days and now the area is just flaky from where the scabs had fallen off. Weird. Needless to say, I couldn't saddle her up with that injury so close to the where the girth would go, so I have ridden her almost daily bareback! I cannot believe how much I miss riding bareback! I have really enjoyed refining my balance and being more connected with Mercy. She can easily feel my shifts in weight and readily backs circles now. All of that leather is apparently getting in the way! LOL! We are getting more done now in our short 30 minute rides than when I saddle up and work for an hour.


Last night I was trying to re-learn how to feel when Mercy's feet leave the ground. Being able to call out when each individual foot leaves the ground is quite a skill, and since we will be heading out next Friday for another fun weekend with Ricky Quinn Jr., we need to refine our skills and re-establish those that have been lost due to injuries and time off. Mercy's injury really threw us off on our 'goal's list,' but that's the way it goes. Time to play catch up! ;P

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Believe It or not, but Spring is HERE!!!

The Hellebore I bought last year is in full bloom right now and might I say, what a beauty!!! I love it! Every flower is a slightly different shade of pinky-purple with random hints of lime green. The cats are doing good too! Chai has momentarily (voluntarily) taken up residence in Cuda's crate...
...and Tiki is posing for all to see!... No, really she is just getting positioned to watch the swallows better. They're back! ;D

Mercy got to ride in style to her recheck ultrasound with Dr. Schneider on Thursday. This is "Meaty," my new 2005 Ford F250! I purchased this beauty a little over a month ago, but needed to have some work done on it first before it assumed the position of "Official Hauling Vehicle." It hauls like a dream and all of the special features inside doesn't hurt either!
Mercy got a clean bill of health at our visit and Dr. Schneider said saddle up and ride! Her tendon is healed as good as it will ever get, so he said to start more trot work and add in some loping too! Well, we didn't waste time doing just that:

Someone is tired of waiting

The trails haven't changed much

It's really hard not loping up hills like we use to...
Yup, the grass tastes the same! Om Nom Nom!
The Lake is really high! The 'shoreline' is completely submerged
The creek is showing off it's white water and strong current

The ride went well considering there are a lot of new trees down. Luckily they are low enough that I can ask her to simply step over them instead of launching over them (like we usually do, heehee!). She did get a little squirrely at one spot near the lake where we usually blast up a rocky hill to the top. She was getting jiggy and kept pulling on the bit, so to work we went. Circles, serpentines, backing circles, and spins quickly knocked the jig right out of her, and once we could easily stand still on a loose rein, we headed back home the way we came.

Here is a clip from the lake. Mercy never ceases to amaze me with her pawing power! I never make it home with dry legs or boots! Even Star gets into the act! Enjoy!

Oh, by the way, the Ricky Quinn Clinic is ON for us! We will be there and hopefully we will be in the bosal! ;P

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mercy, Cuda, Chai, and Starlett Update!

Mercy is doing good. The mysterious swelling in her right hind pastern is now gone. She just finished another loading series of Adequan and got all of her vaccines updated! All I am waiting for now is the all clear to start riding from Dr. Schneider, but until I can get an appointment with him I wait and continue to hand walk Mercy when I can...
Cuda is now spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated! We are still going through some interesting and difficult issue with housebreaking, but it is certainly better than the first week she was home. She goes to work with me Monday through Wednesday and gets lots of walks! Tough life for a little poo dog!

Chai, my Norwegian Forest cat did something to her right front leg when she was outside last Tuesday. She came into the house right after I got home from work and she was non-weight bearing on that leg and literally ROLLING in pain. We rushed her up to her regular vet and they ended up putting her on some antibiotics and steroids. We are also giving her a half a baby aspirin every 3 days, just in case this is a heart related condition, as the vet expects. She is responding well, but we still would like to to a cardiac work up on her, just so we know if something more serious is going on.

Starlett not only got her teeth done, she also had her stomach scoped for ulcers! She is has always been a classic cranky mare, but more recently cinching her up has become a more painful ordeal for her. Luckily for her and us, she is clean! No ulcers! She also had her vaccines updated and is good to go until fall!

BTW, the swallows have returned! Spring really is on the way! ;)