Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bareback work 1-26-2011

I love my pony :)

Firstly, she's learning turns on the forehand and haunches. All of these clips are just us schooling turns on the haunches. Also, she's hollow on her R side, so when we back up she likes to curve to the right. Thus, all this turns and lateral work will help to balance her. YAY balance! So, no, they're not perfect, but she gets an A+ for effort!

Secondly, my saddle is out of comission indefinitely. Prolly will need a new one, hopefully not. Saddles kind of cost an arm and a leg, y'know? BUT it does present an extraordinary opportunity to ride bareback! We've had two bareback lessons so far (today's went REALLY well!) and just lots of bareback schooling. It's good for us, good for my position, and good for Miss Greta because I can feel things better and correct them far more quickly.

But it does make my legs sore ;)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quote of the Day - Clark Montgomery

"I’ve got no problem admitting I have definitely tried to force things out of the horses for competition. And it didn’t work and it shouldn’t work. That’s why it’s important to constantly study and to do it better."

-Clark Montgomery, 3-day eventer

Montgomery and Up Spirit at Morven Park CCI**, where they earned a 5th place finish in October 2006. Picture from

For Funsies :)

Actually, I didn't realise this but the video does have some symbolism here and there. Dressage is an intense journey, with moments of triumph and moments were you want to scream into a pillow! One must find that happy medium of the horse both submitting to you of their own accord and dancing with you of their own accord all at once, and in those few glimpses of that happy medium, everything feels right. And it's those moments I have to look back on when I feel as if Greta and I just have hit a wall (I realise later that it was really a rather short, as we cleared it nicely haha). I look back on those moments and I realise that we will continue to grow and progress together as we always have.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lesson today and GRR SADDLE!

Well, I finally paid some attention to two quarter-sized rubs on Greta's back, as they would not get any better. (Me, being the indecisive teenager I am, have ignored these for almost a year, but they have not become bad - as in rubbing off the hair almost entirely - until recently... don't think I don't feel like a guilty idiot.) I also finally brought them to the attention of my instructor, Laura. We looked at them with the saddle on over it, and while the saddle didn't cover them when I wasn't in it, they most certainly were covered when I sat down on Greta's back. Prognosis? The CAIR panels (which are supposed to NEVER leak air) have leaked air and are causing some major saddle balance issues. The nearest person that can replace CAIR panels, according to my research, is not even in Texas! GREAT! Good thing is that we nipped it in the bud before there were actually any back problems. PHEW!!

This means two things.

1. I rode bareback yesterday, and for today's lesson, and they both have been extraordinary rides. I'll be continuing to ride bareback for a while until a new saddle comes along. It's a good workout and it forces me to work on Greta's balance and softening my seat pressure as there is no saddle to sugar-coat things. I posted and cantered and sat out a short silly spook and everything!

2. I need a new saddle. Greta will be professionally fitted for the first time in the almost 3 years I've had her. (I never knew any better, but now I do! All lessons learned!) I'll go from those measurements (and possibly Tess' recommendations) to get a new (well, used really haha!) saddle with wool flocking. (Which I know will need to be reflocked every few years, but I'd rather pay for that minor expense than get a new saddle every few years!) I've found a nice one on Craigslist for $400, and I'll be looking on eBay and consignment shops in the area.

Poor Greta! Wish us luck!

But in other news, Greta is awesome. A lesson student whose mother used to do A-circuit hunters commented on Greta while she was tied up being (as always, painstakingly and lovingly) groomed, and said that she had "just a beautiful build". I told her about how lucky I was to find such an amazing horse on Craigslist within my family's budget, and she was equally amazed. There was also a little toddler tagging along, and I let her help me brush Greta, who stood still the entire time (pony has the BEST ground manners ever, I love her!) but when the toddler went up to her face, Greta came down and super-gently nuzzled her. The little girl LOVED it, and I was just amazed at the enormous amount of cuteness going on. Mom and grandparents were amazed at how well behaved she was. The two other horses tied up nearby were being strangely squirrel-y today, so I'm sure Greta stood out significantly ;)

I swear, I've had Greta for almost three years now (crazy!) and she never ceases to amaze me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Anybody want a TB? ;)

If nothing else, get the word out about her! She is by Jones Hall! (Hunter horses aren't my favorite types of conformation, I like me some flat-backed-open-shoulder dressage warmbloods, but he's nice!) She not a beginner's horse, and she weaves when in her stall, so would probably do wonderfully in a pasture. She is such a cute jumper and does lovely dressage if given a patient, persistent, and very gentle rider. (If nothing else, she could probably instill that in a rider who could use it haha!) I do not know if the sore back could be alleviated or not (I will keep my opinions to myself).

She's right across the barn aisle from Greta, so I would like to say I know her for the most part, and she's a sweetie (but of course she can have her mare-ish moments, don't they all?) but because she's being offered for free, I would really HATE to see her get in the wrong hands!

Also she is chestnut, and she's a mare, so that might sum it all up right there ;)

But to be honest, she is really lovely and I just want to make she's given a chance!

Updates for this week

Firstly, this has been a crazy week, in a good way (as far as continuing the senior year process and fighting the infamous "senioritis", oh and reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolfe AND Emma AND Jane Eyre at the same time, which is another story in itself, pun intended) and in a bad way. (Please pray for the other three boys!)

I was only able to make it out on Monday and Tuesday, Monday to ride (quite well) and Tuesday to groom and make pretty pony look, well, pretty again. Clipped her fetlocks, jaw, ears, and throatlatch. I've decided to stop clipping her whiskers on her muzzle (I always leave the eye whiskers intact) because I have always felt guilty snipping them off, and thanks to a SWANA membership discount card that was sent out showing a stunning SWB named Rohan all braided and clipped up WITH whiskers, I realized that it can look aesthetically pleasing!

I also rode said pretty pony along the road (well, a safe distance away, about 20 yards!) to work on strightness (open field, no fences to lean on!) and overall focusing, and seriously, 3 people slowed down in their cars to take pictures with their phone! I'm flattered and all, but I had to chuckle because A) we weren't doing anything spectacular, just walking, and B) Has nobody EVER seen someone ride a horse before? LOL

Another lady rolled down her window and called out that Greta was "beautiful". I called out thanks and waved. O Greta! Loved by all!

Will ride tomorrow, and we have a lesson Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Hopefully next week will be less chaotic, or I'll make time to ride, after schoolwork of course. I'm considering it all as practice for college :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A note to the Weather God...

Dear Weather God,

I am in complete understanding of your cycles and I am in favor of the fact that Austin is not included in the current widespread State of the Union, which is starting to resemble something along the lines of an American Siberia. However, it is still cold and wet and sunless here, so it seems that my pony cannot go out and play, as is the case with her other pony friends, and she has really not been able to do so for a week now, and they are becoming terribly cranky and anxious, even with the unamusing entertainment I try to provide them, like walking them up and down the concrete aisles, and pretending to be a walrus with the icicles coming from my nose due to the freezing temperatures. It was all great fun at first, but alas, all good things must end, or at least cease to be amusing. I am not in favor of this. At all. I know there are such things as Rain Dances, and you seem to appreciate and respond to them, so do you respond well to Relatively Warm And Sunny Dances, too?

Aphotic in Austin

Monday, January 3, 2011

Product Review: Animalintex Poultice Pads

Firstly, I'm going to start tagging my posts. Two years later since I've started this blog: it's about time! I'm too lazy to go back and tag everything worth tagging right now, maybe later ;)


Animalintex Poultice Pads (aka "Just Add Water" Wraps)

Official product description:
Animalintex® Poultice is a convenient, ready-to-use poultice that comes in a pad, not a bucket. This unique poultice contains natural poulticing agents, tragacanth gum, a mild antiseptic and boric acid to promote faster healing. Use as an aid to manage abscesses, heat, and swelling. Can be used as a hot poultice dressing, cold dressing or dry dressing.

MY product description:
They ARE convenient. I had purchased two of the full-sized, wrap-like pads and two of the hoof pads when I was putting together my little first-aid kit a while back, in case of emergencies. Emergencies like coming in Saturday morning to find a swollen leg. Within two days of using these wraps and putting Absorbine liniment gel where the wrap didn't cover (just below the hock and the fetlock) plus handwalking several times a day (of course the wrap won't solve everything by itself, any horseperson should know that!) the swelling went down significantly, and she was turned out today with it wrapped (per trainer recommendation and vet approval) and it held up wonderfully.

Because they are about $7.95-$10.00 per wrap, then I wouldn't recommend one use them in place of standing wraps. If a horse needs something like that in the long run, due to an intense exercise program or competitive schedule, then standing wraps and poultice/liniment would be more cost-efficient in the long run. But for occasional stuff like a sudden swelling from a kick, a wrap secured with 3M vetwrap works wonderfully.

They are totally mess free. You literally take them out of the package, soak them in hot or cold water to activate the poultice, wring the water out (GENTLY, otherwise the three layers that make it up with fall apart... I found squeezing a section out at a time flat between my palms worked well) wrap like you would a standing wrap with the vetwrap, and let it be. The poultice kicks in gradually, and there is a lot, as one can tell when they take it off the leg because it is covered with the poultice. I've read reviews that it stunk when it was taken off, but I only noticed that after I took off the initial wrap where it absorbed the slight bleeding from the cut (it hasn't bled since). And anybody in the horse or medical field (or otherwise) who has dealt with dried blood will tell you that dried blood smells! But it certainly wasn't overwhelming, and the pad had really soaked it up. There was no smell the next time I used it, because there was no blood.

Overall conclusion:
These are wonderful for emergencies or if you're horse only needs wrapping on occasion. I feel they are probably a lot more sanitary than washable cotton quilting because they come sanitized in a package, which is good for wound dressing. Yes, they can be used as plain cotton batting, but for the price it would be cheaper to get normal cotton batting and save these for when you need poultice. They work just as well as poultice wrapping and are far less messier (no gloves, no Saran wrap or poultice paper, easy to wash off the leg when taken off). A great addition to a first-aid kit.

I hope never have to use the hoof pads (Greta's hooves are kept quite clean and checked daily and no nail holes or shoes for anything to get in and under) but I'm sure they would work just as well. I wish I had them for a dear mare I used to foster two years ago when she got an ugly abscess! She was fine, but these would have helped! But the baby diapers worked quite well, too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Firstly, most of the swelling (thankfully it's fluid-y edema and not firm swelling) has gone down for Miss Greta, and I'm going to turn her out tomorrow, since walking around brings it down a lot. I handwalked her three times today, and each time it seemed to help. She's still not lame, thankfully, but it still swollen and tender to the touch. Now, as for AFTER this clears up:

I plan on 2011 being about the same as 2010. No shows (aka "no time and not ready") but hopefully with consistent training we'll still be able to work our way up into (MY GOD) training level, maybe even first level, before Greta and I haul off to college during mid to late summer. And definitely I have found boarding places for two of the potential locales (not for Tarleton State, but for Texas A&M and Texas State) that either have a dressage trainer or I can have on come in or can haul Greta off to. Of course, being on a college budget, I imagine lessons will maybe only happen once a month, if we're lucky. Which is why I want to get as strong of a foundation as possible, so I can train Greta by myself in between occasional lessons. But beyond that:

  1. I started something of a strict fitness program in the middle of summer, but of course once school started than it was a lot harder to keep that up, and it was tossed aside by mid-August. I want to see if I can start that up this year, somehow, so Greta can start building the topline she needs to keep trucking along.
  2. I want to try and go on more trail rides. They're just fun.
  3. Work on trailering. My trainer said she'd be glad to help me with that, and barn owner has always been willing to let us borrow her trailer. It'll be nice to work on this!
  4. After vet and farrier approval, maybe learn how to jump, because Greta LOVES it.
That about sums it up. As for non-horsey stuff, besides getting into college:
  1. I want to give back more. I have found some ways I can donate artwork for Fair Trade t-shirt designs, and I want to try and do something for Fair Trade and animal rescue efforts, and I've always thought about selling prints for a cause. I used to rehab, foster, and adopt out equines through Habitat for Horses and Bluebonnet Equine Rescue for almost seven years, but I haven't done that for almost three years now, and the lack of volunteering is starting to get to me I suppose. I live in Austin, TX, for God's sake, the most liberal part of Texas, chuck full of non-profits and benefit events. I should be able to do something.
  2. I want to broaden my riding horizon. If I get into Texas State (crossing my fingers) then I can join their IHSA team, which I'm sure will accomplish that goal very quickly! The big thing is TIME. I really hate school someTIMEs.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

As the Beatles would say....

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: (cold hose, poultice wrap, handwalk and...) let it be."

Thus Greta Golightly decided to ring in the New Year by having a swollen LH, from a kick. Thankfully the wound was not deep, the swelling was not too terrible, she wasn't horribly lame on it (just a bit wonky if she turned sharp, and a bit stiff at the trot). So I cold hosed it, wrapped it, and let it be. I checked in on her tonight and the swelling seems to have gone down. I won't know for sure until the morning. I wanted to leave the poultice wrap on overnight so it could actually do some good. When I came in she was bearing all her weight on it and resting the other leg, so I suppose that is a good sign. Oh, Greta!

But I will be watching it like Rikki Tikki Tavi watched the cobras. I'm sure my eyes might glow red and my tail might brush up if it doesn't get any better over the week ;)