Monday, February 27, 2012

Butters Video 2-27-2012 + Greta update

Enjoy another fun bop-around on Butters. He's SO CUTE! And by the way, for all you South Park fans, his show name is now officially Professor Chaos haha!

Greta is doing fantastically by the way. I was freaking out a bit yesterday and today during our ride because her trot felt very discombobulated (yes, that's a word) and it has for the past few weeks, but it was especially noticeable yesterday. So I was concerned that I was trotting around a lame horse and not fully realizing it. Her problem?

She too out of shape to make her hind end connect with her front end. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, it took us a long while to get her into that shape. DUH. Poor pony, what with me being a helicopter mom and all. But I guess being a helicopter mom is not so bad when you're in a careful rehabbing program ;)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Greta was cleared by the vet to go back into the mare pasture, which will do awesome things for her hooves and legs (hopefully). Like a good child, she made friends without a fuss.

To Breed or Not to Breed?

Since I can't do much of anything with Chemistry until my appointment with friend/tutor/future-male-Abbey-Sciuto later tonight (believe me, I've tried it... it's not clicking... because it's chemistry, and apparently my brain is not as mathematical as I thought, call me conceited... thankfully I will only need basic chemistry for conservation biology, even at UT) I will type this up because I have been going on and off on typing this up and on the whole breeding thing in general, and I need some honest opinions. Don't rip me apart, I do have feelings afterall, but please be honest.

To breed or not to breed? That is the question. Am I in my right mind to even think about breeding Miss Golightly? I am not thinking about this just because she has a uterus. Believe me, I've met plenty of horses who happened to have a uterus, and I am not stupid enough to think that said organ automatically makes for breeding material. So why do I love my girlie so much that I feel the need to make sure half of her chromosomes get passed on and hang around in this world for a little while longer?
  1. First and foremost, this is one of the smartest, most caring, bravest, energetic, pleasing, tries-her-heart out horse I have ever met, and I would like to think I've met enough after twelve years (though I'm no expert). It's like she has all the good qualities of mares times 10. She has never offered to bite at, kick at, charge at, or any other way act dangerous or extremely aggressive towards any person, under saddle or on the ground int he three years I've had her. To other horses in the pasture maybe, but once that lead rope is clipped on, it's YES MA'AM. About the worst she has done is get into my space on isolated accounts and do that naughty I'm-feeling-great jump the other day that I blogged about, and even that was moving away from me. She has an opinion, but tries her damnedest to figure out what you ask. But she's smart enough to take over if she absolutely needs to. She's a good boss mare if she needs to be. There have been several times on the trail we would've both ended up hurt if she hadn't have stepped in. She's complicated, but there are more good personality traits to her than bad, far more. I don't know if personality is for sure genetic, but if it is, then this is one personality I would like to keep.
  2. She's a piece of heart horse. I feel like I really want to have a bit of her when she goes, even if that won't be for a long time. Enough said there.
  3. She's quite hardy. She kept on trucking with a suspensory strain with minimal "off-ness", and it could've been much worse at the rate I was working her while she had it (unbeknownst to my silly self... don't think I don't still feel stupid about that). When the vet did x-rays on her legs, she was surprised at the very minimal amount of arthritis she had for a 14-going-on-15 y/o horse who had done quite a bit of activity in her lifetime (from dressage, to jumping, to almost a year of polo and ranchwork, and who-know-what-else before I got her).
  4. She has awesome feet. She was able to keep on working the day her shoes were pulled, no transition time needed. And she has yet to have a hoof-related lameness *knock on wood*. The looks on people's faces when they would see us galloping on a rocky road without a hitch.
  5. She has good breeding. None of her siblings (that I know of) have shown any major health or lameness issues, and her sire is still a Grand Prix schoolmaster at age 23 in regular work. Bothersome, but I do not know anything about her dam beyond her registered name, who owned her dam at the time of the breeding , and the dam's breeding. But her grandsire, an Appendix QH named Azure Request, has had many offspring very successful in the racing world and who are sound enough to race for many years and then transition into other intensive sports like eventing. Not bad.
  6. She has an awesome walk and canter. Always at least a 7, usually an 8, the few times we have shown or ridden in front of judges and clinicians, and she scored high on them on her inspection papers. I will admit her trot is nothing spectacular, but it can become nice with some elbow grease, and she shows the same ability when she's feeling really special out in the pasture. Can she trot like Ravel? No. And I'm glad because I couldn't sit that. But she can get some nice loft and elevation and suspension and impulsion in it.
  7. She's got a great shoulder and a pretty decent build. She has some conformational issues as far as her back legs go, and that did contribute somewhat to her suspensory strain, so that is something that worries me as far passing on.
And here are my conflicts with the whole thing:
  1. There are so many horses out there. Granted, not all of them are nice, and certainly not all of them are what I am looking for (which, deep down inside, I realize is another Greta haha) and they are certainly not in my budget nor ever will be unless I get a very well-paying job (and who knows whether or not I will).
  2. If I breed her relatively soon after I graduate, then I should have enough money to cover stud fees and basic vet fees. This will also leave me enough time to have enough money to put a solid under-saddle start on the baby once it is 3 or 4, if all goes well. But here's the big what if: what if all doesn't go well? Pregnancy or labor complications (I would never forgive myself if I lost Greta or the baby or both) at the very least would throw the whole budget thing out the window. If the baby ends up with a defect, it would be my complete responsibility for the rest of it's life, and once again, if that defect(s) entails maintenance medical expenses, then the whole budget thing is once again thrown out the window. Not to mention personal things: what if the economy takes another lovely spin and I lose my job or can't find one? What if something happens to me and I cannot put basic work on a yearling? What if I hit a major unseen financial expense that I will not easily recover from? Those among so many other problems have always kind of scared me away from the whole pregnancy thing (and not just for horses) and I know it's all one big what-if no matter how you spin, but how many risks would I be willing to take? By the time I am old enough and in stable enough work, Greta might be too old to be bred.
  3. Finally, is Greta really nice enough to breed? Or am I just so endeared by her that I am perhaps a bit conceited?
Opinions? Be honest. I will get professional opinions, but seeing as it is a big plan, I like to get as many opinions as possible.

EDIT: Another reason for breeding is the ability to be able to start from scratch. Having worked with so many rescue and owner-to-owner horses, it begins to wear on you having to fix all these problems, some of which you just have to live with, and could have been totally preventable if people knew how to raise a horse! The good thing is that I can also do that with any super young prospect, and they're usually cheaper that way than buying them after they're trained. Still the same amount of risks as far as injury at a young age, etc. goes, but I don't risk the chance of anything happening to Greta.

AND I won't be doing ANYTHING as far as breeding until I'm at least fresh out of college. People tell me that now is time since I won't have a whole bunch of time for 4 years so the baby can grow, BUT... who has money like that in college? I don't and I'd rather my parents be funding education than a baby. Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meds for Headshaking

The vet came out today, not only to do a follow-up lameness exam for Greta pony (she is to be on ten minutes of trot per week for the next four weeks, and I can move her back into the mare pasture, which will do wonders for her feet and legs and will get her out of the mud) and then... I asked about her headshaking.

-Very itchy nose, side of face, ears
-Greta never really rolls, especially in mud (I never said she wasn't special) but when this time of year hits, she rolls with a fervor. An itchy fervor.
-Head-flicking, especially when her respiratory rate increases, but she will do it out in the paddock (the only headshaking symptom shown)
-Only shows up in early spring to mid-summer, and when allergies peak

Vet's response:

Photic headshaking does have some allergenic qualities to it, and can be so mild that it is not triggered by extreme light-to-dark situations. It is often an inflammation of the trigeminal nerve, the main nerve that comes out of the skull below the eyes along the side of the face, along some main blood vessels. This inflammation will express itself as itching and headshaking, and is often seasonal. I could go into knitty-gritty details of how the allergies relate to the nerve inflammation, but it would be A) rather confusing, and B) not very accurate as I'm not even entirely sure of the knitty-gritty details. Stupid complex multicellular organisms: they just have to be so complicated!

Compare it to something like, say, photosensitivity caused by hay fever (or any other bad allergies) in humans. Or people who compulsively sneeze when they get too much bright light in their eyes (like me, I'm a freak... good thing it's a common genetic trait among humans).

So, what are we going to try?

A combination of the medications cyprophetadine (an antihistamine and anti-serotonin) and possibly carbamazepine (an anti-seizure drug). I say possibly to the latter because a dosage usually only lasts for two hours, so it would need to be given immediately before riding. They're relatively inexpensive (I can get the former for less than $5 a month on SmartPak, and in alfalfa, peppermint, and apple-flavored!) and have been proven by clinical studies to improve headshaking (call me a non-believer of anything not clinically tested, but what can I say? I'm a science major...).

The term "improve" always does bother me. Does it "improve" by stopping entirely or just reduces the occurrences? It's such a vague word.

Cyprophetadine, however, means that Greta cannot compete in sanctioned competitions, as it is a Class 4 drug. Because we were totally going to HITS or Devon or the FEI Cup or the Pan-Am Games, and maybe the Olympics in August. Totally. Not.

Anyway, be on the look-out. I'm rather excited to get this show on the road, in a ways.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Awkward Voicemail to the Farrier

Roll with me on this one. One subject leads to another. Whoa.

My farrier was late today. This never happens. And my family and I have been using him for seven years now (and yet to go wrong, no joke). He's usually a bit early, and I'm the one that ends up being late, even though technically I'm on time. But I'm not the most punctual person known to man anyway, but I digress....

He was LATE. I was seriously worried that something might have happened. It was very weird.

So I let Greta grazed while we waited. It's the time of the appointment, I thought I would make a polite call just to see if everything was okay. Before the message tone rang, and I figured I wouldn't bother him with a message since he would probably be rolling up any minute, so I let it pass.

Fifteen minutes later. Greta is feverishly grazing (ground manners needed revisiting aka "*in death tone* OUT OF MY SPACE... sweetheart, good girlie, YAYYYYY, pats for pony!!! *big smile*") and I decide I call and actually leave a voicemail this time seeing if everything is okay if we're still on for the appointment today.

Message tone beeps. I think I wasn't paying attention to the lead rope, and somehow it got wrapped around her leg. She didn't totally flip out, but she was backing up quickly, and instead of standing still like the sane pony she normally is (she was very full of it today, could be anything, don't really care now, and I do like to see some life in her) she decided to back up quicker and quicker. I was calmly reaching for the end of the lead that was attached to her halter, telling her occasionally to whoa, keeping my energy chill as I didn't feel any need to flip out.

Well, Miss Full-Of-It decided once I got the lead and was pulling it away from her leg that it would be great fun to - get this - rear at me. It wasn't a big rear, but it had a lovely undertone of marish-ness in it. Oh, this just got very serious.

Oh, and meanwhile the voicemail is still recording.

So this is what the voicemail ended up being:

"Whoa-ohhhhhhh..... whoa-ohhhhhh..... whoa-ohhhhhhh...... whoa-ohhhhhh..................................... good girl- OH YOU DID NOT. KNOCK IT OFF YOU *poopy face*. TRY THAT ON ME AGAIN *female canine*. GO ON, TRY IT.................... oh *feces*, it's recording."

If only I had used that nice of language :(

Animal abuse, caught on tape. She was a very good girl after my outburst (no physicality involved, mind you, just a mere... intense vocalization). I had touch of bad-mommy feelings, until I realized that it was quite uncalled for, the whole rearing thing. I think it's that time of the month for Miss Greta.

I followed this voicemail up fifteen minutes later with a final check-up call in as sweetly sane of a voice as I could come up with: "Hey, J--, hope everything is okay, just wanted to make sure the appointment is still on for today. Let me know! Bye!"

I laughed then (after I ended the call!) realizing how insane I would sound to whoever found that string of messages.

And on the whole issue of "whoas"... I'll get back to that.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's back....

... Greta's headshaking from allergies is back with a vengeance, poor girl. And the nose net is not helping in the least bit. It was relatively mild Thursday, but Wednesday when the sun suddenly came out and it was nice and muggy, she was headshaking so violently that she couldn't even walk straight during episodes.

It completely disappeared over the winter, which once again confirms it's allergenic. She also does it without anything on her head, and it's not light-related.

So, a question to you guys (and I will be asking the vet): are any of you familiar with allergenic headshaking? Was there anything (besides nose nets) that helped significantly?

I'm looking at Shake No More Gold, but before I spend that money I want her checked out and get some opinions. I also heard good things about giving an antioxidant with MSM.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Greta's New Outfit

These were actually taken several weeks ago, but due to technological issues I did not get them uploaded until today :)

Anyway, Greta's old pink camo blanket was starting to fall apart (we seriously had to patch up several holes each winter, and she's not rough on her blankets at all) and look a wee bit tacky and gave her horrible shoulder rubs, so I figured I would spend the money to get her something nice that would last forever and NOT rub off her hair. Granted, I didn't end up spending that much money because Dover was having a sale on Horsewear blankets, and Greta could fit in the Amigo! I love this color on her, so glad I did not get the brick red. Maybe blue should be her new color....

Granted, she has only needed to use it twice this winter, since it has been so mild. It's a rare instance I need to wear more than a light jacket, if that!

Anyway... meet her new blanket (and her awkward looks... hahahahaha! Gotta love her!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In response... jenj thinking that I think she and her family and friends are crazy: no, I think you guys are completely sane. Afterall, you did feed me. I think as a "starving" college student I'm going to be good for the next week.

To further enforce the sanity clause, let's recount today's would-be-jousting events:

We drove north to the other side of Austin for jousting practice, all bundled up, Wee Reddums and Saga Munster in trailer, got there, chatted for a few minutes, and then come outside to get the ponies ready and... IT WAS SNOWING!

So we headed back home before conditions got too bad for hauling a trailer. So much for that! BUT WE GOT TO SEE SNOW! THIS IS THE CLOSEST WE WILL EVER GET TO WINTER! So, us running around with a horse trailer in a "wintery mix" does NOT help the sanity clause.

So, because the conditions were fine on the southern side of Austin, we saddled up the pony and went for a ride in the neighborhood. By the way, riding up and down the street in armor on a Saga Munster does NOT help the sanity clause.
Once again, jenj's husband riding down the road in a medieval saddle and armor... completely normal.

OMG... a Wee Reddums! My ride. He was awesome.

The gang, with me lagging behind to get the picture. We were an odd bunch. Definitely not helping the sanity clause. Note the lance in S's hand. That sucker is heavy by the way. I tried. Not a good idea.

Another fantastic picture of normalcy: riding down the road in a suit of armor. Need I reiterate how this does not help the sanity clause?

Well... I guess your guys are kind of crazy. But in a good way. I swear.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jousting Practice with Jenj!

I had so much fun!

Watch in HD at 720p! I finally figured out how to actually get the HD part of my camera to upload haha!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fail... but a good one

Bre last posted a week ago. Womp-womp.

Anyway, let's start:

1) Greta is cleared for ten minutes of trot per week now! Wheee!! And I got a pretty sick trot out of her Saturday out on the two-mile gravel track alongside the stable property. She feels great. So great in fact, that...

2) Greta thought it would be great fun, after being so well behaved for the past five or six visits, to go nutters in the round pen during the vet check. After me having a slight anxiety attack, the vet assured me that it was not a big deal and that she looks really good. Greta feels very good now.

3) She also was very excited to ride today, and the cool weather and great deal of activity around the barn furthered her enthusiasm. Were she not recovering from an injury, this would have been one of those days where she could have used a nice gallop or hardcore flatwork session to really get her working and thinking (she was very excited to work and really wanted to). However, I'm not risking any overenthusiastic outbursts, so I decided against the ride after she sprang and pranced and danced about underneath me a few times because we were only walking (much too impatient to wait for the trot). The look on the poor pony's face when I put her up and gave her lots of pats and cookies after sitting on her for a mere minute. It was that "But... I really wanted to work today.... *sad puppy face*" sort of look. It procured a frown from me.

4)I just realized I'm reading five books right now: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Catching Fire (tenth time now, booyah), We Need to Talk About Kevin (good book, but rather scary), and two Jonathan Safran Foer novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It's one of the many perks of having a Kindle: you can read a little bit from one book and pop over to another. It's funny that they all tie together in a way. I can't quite put my finger on it, but they do. I'm not a nerd, I swear.

5) I'm going to get video of Greta really working in the Micklem soon, so I can do a proper write-up on that bridle. So far I am really loving it. But definitely a certain bridle for a certain horse. She has never felt so relaxed and on the bit, but that could also be a combination of her leg recovering and my riding improving (at least, I think it has....)

6) I went to jousting practice with jenj on Sunday!! Be looking for a post with a video from that! It was so much fun!

7) Forget technicalities... all horses are "ponies". Admit it: even you with the big 16.3 h warmblood call him a "pony". It's a fact of horsey life.