Thursday, December 30, 2010
A few days ago, before the recent snow hit the ground, I was driving home and saw my mom riding Starlett and ponying Mercy for their daily walks. I just couldn't resist not joining in! I quickly parked my car and jumped on Mercy bareback! ARGH! Am I crazy or what!? It was super windy, Mercy only had a halter and lead rope on, and I haven't ridden her for over two months! And I jumped on without a saddle!
Well, she was excited to be free of Starlett! She was walking out so fast; it was quite exciting to really let her go. I was just along for the ride. This was her walk.
Today will be 4 months since the accident that caused her lameness and injury. I will be able to start riding her soon and hopefully before spring I will be able to hit the trails once again!
I really can't wait!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Starlett enjoys our walks too. I think that she feels like she has a purpose: She is watching out for Mercy. Star takes her job seriously, but she also really likes the exercise too. Her arthritic knees seem less painful and more fluid in motion since we started these more routine walks.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
With so much time on my hands, I really didn't know what to do first! I decided that Mercy really needed to get out for a walk. It was really icy on the road, so I didn't want to walk her there. And, I can't take her on the trails, which would have been too icy too. So, I led both of the girls over to my neighbor's pasture for a little walk-about.
I let Starlett loose so she could dink around on her own, but Mercy needs to be kept under control. A controlled walk. Period.
Here's how it went.... :
"OMG! What is that!?!?!?" *snort*
"Can I stare it down?! Maybe? No, no I don't think it's working! What is it?!"
After all of that craziness, she decided that tree snow wasn't that good after all. She decided that real grass was! Mercy actually had a lot of fun digging out the snow to get to the grass. She tunneled around for a while, looking for the longest, tastiest grass.
Both girls rolled in the snow while we were wandering around. Mercy got concerned, because of the lead rope attached to her halter, and decided to get up rather quickly. Star, however, really dug in and enjoyed her roll!
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
And I needed to know why.
That's why she was trailered down to Emerald Downs to visit Dr. Schneider. She loaded like a pro and we were on the road extra early. I had been to Emerald Downs many times, but only for the races, not to get a horse looked at and I wanted to make sure I got there in plenty of time. The drive was uneventful and we pulled in a good 30-40 minutes before my appointment.
I climbed out of the truck once we pulled into the parking area and I went into the building to check us in. Of course, I got lost. Kinda. I couldn't find any sort of 'check-in' room or desk, and of course who sees me all confused?! Dr. Schneider! He helped point me in the right direction and I soon got us checked in. They were running behind, so they asked me to keep Mercy in the trailer until the came out to get us. No problem.
I started looking around this end of the property. I could still see the grandstands! Amazing! And the lines and lines of barns were spectacular amoungst the fall colors!
She appearantly got a woody piece of hay jammed into her lower eye lid. It swelled up a little and was a little sensitive, but once I got the piece out and wiped the wound clean, it looked much better. Mare... We came for a lameness exam and ultrasound, not for an eye problem! >:(
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I should get the official report from Dr. Schneider soon, at which time I will write up a much more interesting and in depth post. Just needed to get something up.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
When we arrived at the parking area there were only 2 or 3 other cars there, so we had plenty of room to park. We saddled up quickly and headed out into the heavy mist.
The trail was covered in fall leaves and the ditches were full of water. I only wanted to ride for about 45 minutes total, so we didn't meet many people along the way. The only couple we came across had a very scary umbrella, apparently... Mercy got over it quickly considering she hasn't been "out" for a long time and was pretty on edge.
She was also quite concerned with a house that is very close to the trail. She really wanted to go see it once we passed though, so it really couldn't have been that bad... silly horse.
Before we hit the first bridge we turned around. Once we did Mercy decided it was really time to head back, NOW, so she walked as fast as she could! LOL! It was hilarious, she was gliding along- I am pretty sure that is what they call the Indian shuffle, but I don't really know. Anyway, she was feeling good and I couldn't detect and lameness!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Until then, we are trying to stay out of the rain and trying to stay positive.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I actually almost decided not to go. The weather was suppose to be near 100* that day and the venue, Bridle Trails State Park, was located close to 2 hours north of us. This meant we needed to leave by 4:30AM at the latest to make it there in time to pre-register and have time for warm up. Plus, we had never been to this facility! We wanted extra time, just in case. I also hadn't practiced reining at all since our last reining show last May!!! Between work, injuries, truck issues, and the lack of a decent arena, we hadn't done much other than spins in the pasture.
Anyway, I decided to go. This was the show that would decide if Mercy and I were going to continue reining. If she was absolutely not going to have any of it, and if it was no longer fun for me, then I would never ask her to do it again. I decided that this show was going to be the one to decided it all the day our vet came out and did the x-rays. Reining is hard on horses, both beautifully conformed and not, and if Mercy was ouchy or not having fun like I did, then I was not going to push it ever again. She could just trail ride.
Luckily, Mercy loaded right up and we were on the road on time. We were worried about parking because it has always been said that that facility had little of it. In fact, the reining club had parking attendants there at 6AM to make sure every one's rig fit. We had no problem finding BT and there was plenty of parking, at least at that time in the morning.
I jumped out and quickly unloaded Mercy while my mom headed over to the show office to turn in my papers and check. I didn't bathe Mercy the night before (again) because she sleeps in sawdust, which sticks to her no matter what. So why? I groomed her really good, tacked up, and headed over to the warm up pen to get a closer look at the grounds.
After walking through the trail that leads from the parking area to the riding arenas, I saw that there were actually three arenas. There were two warm up arenas and the main arena. I climbed aboard Mercy and headed into the warm up arena attached to the main arena. I took my time asking her to bend and flex, maintaining a calm mind and attitude. After trotting a few circles of various sizes, I noticed that the main arena was open to the riders to warm up. Bonus!
We were able to carry that light feel into the arena even though giant umbrellas, banners, and announcers systems were all going up and causing lots of distraction. Mercy was easily able to pick up her leads and not once did she threaten to buck. That nice calm warm up really does prepare Mercy to lope off smooth and easy.
Left spins: -1/2
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Anyway, I will get around to writing up about the reining show from last month and should have it up this weekend.
I'll keep you updated.
Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This was my motivation while attending the SAFE show with Mercy on August 7th.
We headed out alone early in the morning, arriving just in time to get groomed and dresses in preparation for our halter and showmanship classes. My family was up in Alaska, so I had to do things myself, which wasn't hard, but much more time consuming then I remember it ever being. This is what Mercy looked like straight out of the trailer:
It was misting heavily and she didn't get a bath the night before. This show was just a fun, schooling-type fundraiser for the rescue, so I wasn't too concerned about pulling out all of the stops for a few classes. She was actively shedding her summer coat and covered in a very fine dusting of sawdust, which, when mixed with the mist, made grooming very challenging. I curried her for quite some time and just started brushing her out when the first call for the first class was called. I finished grooming her by combing out her tail, soft brushing her coat, and wiping out her nostrils. Even though it wasn't sunny out, she glowed so bright when I was done:
I quickly cleaned up myself, threw on my exhibitor number, grabbed Mercy's show halter, and sprinted to the arena, where my class was checking in and lining up.
First up was stock-type halter. I have seen halter lots of times but had never participated. The judge knew this show was for all levels of equestrians so she took her time explaining what was expected of us once the class started. When it was our turn we walked to the judge until she moved out of our way and then trotted straight ahead, turning left around a cone and continuing to the ring steward who instructed us to stand head to tail with the other exhibitors. Mercy decided during our trot that she didn't like the lead chain under her chin and threw her head in the air, even though no pressure was being applied. Shame on me for not putting it over her nose like I always have... I guess I just forgot. Oops.
She set up nice and stood still during the line up. The judge looked over everyone once more and then made her placings. This class is based on a horses conformation and movement, both of which Mercy has faults in. I was surprised to hear when our names were called for third place! :)
Next was our showmanship 18 and over class. The pattern was not that difficult: when instructed to begin, pick up the trot and weave between some cones, at the last cone break to a walk and circle the cone to the left, when lined up with the judge pick up the trot again and stop in front of the judge, set up for inspection, when excused back up a horse length and execute a 90* haunch turn, walk into line. Sounds like a lot, but really it's pretty basic.
I practiced outside of the arena for a while, focusing on the weaving at the trot. When it was time to get started, of course we were placed next to the crazy draft cross that kept rearing and trying to lope out of the arena... Mercy handled it well, however, and eventually the draftX left the arena.
It was soon time for us to set up at the start of the pattern. When acknowledged by the judge, I asked Mercy to trot off with me. She was really with me mentally, so it was no big deal there... until we needed to swerve for the cone. *sigh* She landed right on my foot at the peak of our turn. I don't know if she saw something and over stepped or what, but she came flying at me and my foot took the whole impact. I instinctively lifted my right arm to block her from coming further into my space, at which she threw her head and nearly knocked off my hat.
My foot was throbbing already and it was killing me to "trot" the rest of the pattern. We rounded the cone at the walk and picked up the trot at a limp. I sure didn't care about a happy face anymore. I just wanted to be done with the pattern so I could get my foot out of my boot before it swelled itself in. Luckily Mercy had the same idea and set up perfectly. When the judge excused us she backed up feather light and pivoted like a pro. I was so glad to just stand in line waiting for everyone else to finish up.
But oh no! That wasn't it! The main grounds speaker decided to blow as loud as it could from directly behind us and that's where Mercy had had enough. Someone finally started talking in the speaker, but that didn't calm her any. She didn't dance around or anything, she just wouldn't stand the right way, with her butt away from the judge... When it was all done she was still just not having any of it, and neither was I, so I chained her pretty hard and she quit squirreling around. She was still alert and looking around, but her feet were still.
I didn't think we would place at all. The class had over 10 exhibitors and they only placed to 5th. But, then I heard our names called for fourth! I guess that we were just the best of the worst, since most of the people were off pattern or touched their horses during the back or pivot. After picking up our ribbon we slowly made our way back to the trailer. I used Mercy for support and we made it out there just in time to hear the announcement that the riding classes would begin soon. Great...
I wasn't sure how my foot would look, or feel, so I took my time getting Mercy saddled. Here's what my boot looked like before I took it off:
My pinky toe was swelling already and turning very interesting shades of blue and purple. It hurt like hell, but I put my boot back on; not much I could do if it's broken.
The following pictures were taken by my friend A. She brought me some Starbucks and some moral support for the rest of the wet morning. My next class was walk/jog western equitation. I didn't have much time to get ready and warm Mercy up, so it was a "whatever" kind of class. Of course Mercy knew this too and for most of the class she had her head looking everywhere and held high. Luckily, A is a great photographer and caught many of the good moments. Plus eq. is based mostly on the rider, not the horse. So as long as I held it together, we should place.
I really like this first picture, and yet, it's so revealingly sad. Both of us are momentarily at ease, just plodding along in the arena. And then you see how she is taking that step with her left front. That right there is why she has bone spurs. With every single step she takes, she places all of the force and weight of her motion on the lateral side of her hoof, and thus her joints. The repetitive strain of those motions are what are crippling her so young. Dang.
The judge had us walk and jog both ways, and then line up. I took my time getting to line so I could avoid some of the more *ahem* special horses and their riders...
Guess what?! We won! LOL! I thought we had a good chance of winning, but still. It's always nice to bring home that blue ribbon!
After this class we headed over to the indoor arena to get out of the drizzle and chat. I'm glad they decided to have the show in the outdoor arenas, because Mercy's shows better in them, but with the rain it would have been nice to not worry about your clothes, equiptment, and horse. Right before our walk/jog 18 and over western pleasure class we finished our coffees and headed down to the arena.
"Hey! Has that always been where you keep that straw contraption?!? I wasn't done with it!"