Wednesday, March 30, 2011
We pulled blankets last night and today Bar had a fluffy layer of dead hair all over him, which he gladly transferred to my person. I'll be spitting out Thoroughbred hair for a week, I know it.
It was so warm, Bar worked up a sweat with a rather mild workout in the round pen, so then he got a rinse down! Since it was 84 degrees when I left the barn at 6:45, I figured he'd dry out in time. He won't be clean for long, mind you, but he will at least not have dried, crusty sweat matting down his hair.
The temperatures are nice all the way through Saturday, so the horses will air out at least until then. They are ready for it, that's for sure.
It's been a long, cold, not-lonely, winter. Spring can hang around for awhile as far as I'm concerned.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I have often contemplated whether--knowing what I know now about the challenges we've faced--I'd go the same route and choose Calabar as my trusty steed.
We were talking over dinner tonight--Steve, Katie, and me--about our horses, the personalities and training differences of all three--and Katie challenged me. With the schedule I have now, the commitment I need to put into my job, would I choose Calabar?
It gave me pause. He's needed all the time I've put into him. Heck, I needed that time, too. Would we be where we are now without it? Would I have survived the relationship without that investment?
It is hard to say. Hindsight obscures the hard times and what I have with him today is worth every bump, every bruise, every doubt I've had up to this point.
Could I have picked an easier horse? Of course. Could I have picked a horse that would watch and respond to my every move, as well as teach me as much as he has? That is doubtful.
If I'd been working then like I'm working now, it would have been different, more difficult. But what he offers me is warm oasis, a haven in the desert that sometimes surrounds me in my professional life. (Healthcare is really a mess, I have to say.)
Life offers opportunities and I think things tend to fall in where they should fit. Not always, mind you, but often enough.
There is no doubt in my mind that Calabar is my horse. Do I wish I had more time with him right now? Absolutely. Do I need to work as hard as I'm working for my company right now? No doubt. Is my goal to balance out the two because I value both? Heck yeah.
If I had not had the time and energy to spend with him before work got so crazy, we would not have the foundation we have now--a foundation that lets us take a few days off and start back where we left off.
I don't think he'll ever be a horse I can just show up and slap a saddle on and go. He needs more from me, just as I need more from him.
So would I do it all again, knowing all I know now? Yeah, I probably would. He's just too awesome to even consider a do-over.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I'm a sucker for horses, but baby horses with their funny long legs and wobbly balance melt me like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. And in this horrid cold and rainy weather, little Miss Chantilly Lace was like a breath of warm spring air.
She is the newest of the Thoroughbred family (with it's many pieces and parts) Calabar and Forrest came from, and we got to see her today. She was born ten days late, early Tuesday morning, and is quite a character already.
Her mama, Ursulita, is not only a calm and patient mare with her cantankerous filly, she did a good job of shielding the fragile humans from the tiny but no-less-powerful "Lacey" on several occasions. Lacey is learning manners from Devon too, but Ursi interposed herself between the bouncy baby girl and the humans in her stall more than once. Being that this is Ursi's first foal, it was pretty impressive to see her taking care of all of us in the stall--not just Lacey--in a calm, understated way. Ursi is also the mare that went to the beach with Calabar and me--her first trail ride, calmly handled. Take that, crazy Thoroughbred stereotype.
Devon and I took on the role of "Auntie Mares" in the herd at one point--me scratching an itchy spot on Ursi while Ursi groomed Devon.
I love that I get to be around babies without breeding Lena and turning both of us (Lena and me) into neurotic basket cases.
This little filly will be fun to watch--such a personality, such energy. It will be a treat, watching her grow and unfold into the horse she will become.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Today was Calabar's own personal dental day. He did not, however, feel special about being singled out.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
At least sometimes.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Lisa was there holding Winston when I rolled in, and he came through with a pretty good bill of health, though he could use some groceries. He's getting more exercise, and he was glad to hear that meant he got more goodies, too.
Forrest was next and (as we know), definitely needs weight. When we told Leslie he hadn't been himself Friday night--picking at his food, generally listless, digestive system (always our first thought) working better than fine--she immediately took his temperature. Turns out he had a bit of a fever, poor guy! So no vaccines for him until he's better. Katie gave him some Bute to help him feel better so he'll eat and drink.
When Leslie looked in his mouth, she said, "Oh, he is young!!" He needs his teeth done, and has a new tooth coming in behind (on top of?) the baby tooth in front. Lena actually had the same thing, but never has had the adult tooth come in all the way.
Next came Lisa's young horse, Whiskey, who was entirely unsure of this whole process, but cooperated fairly well nonetheless.
All the horses have been poked and prodded and pronounced fairly healthy overall, and Leslie said Bar looks the best she's ever seen him. His coat and musculature look great and he is more in his head than he has ever been. Yay, us and all the work we've done! Of course, then he had to act like a spoiled Thoroughbred when I interrupted his grazing for the trotting part of the exam, but even then he wasn't crazy. Bratty, yes. Crazy, no.
Lena is beautiful, strong, and her only need is more exercise than she's getting currently. She is blessed with good feet, a good mouth, plus smooth and comfortable movement. Leslie watched her trot past and said, "Oh. She's a really nice horse." Lena heard her, too. It almost made up for the flu vaccine up her nose. Almost.
One of the things Dr. Leslie advocates is doing regular fecal tests rather than worming arbitrarily. Even mixing up the worming regimen by switching from one wormer to another can contribute to what are becoming increasingly resistant parasites. By doing a fecal, you not only determine IF you need wormer, but what specific wormer you need. Leslie prices it about the same ($15) as a mid-range tube of wormer and the logic seems really sound to me.
Turns out both Bar and Forrest need to be wormed, but not immediately. There are very small quantities of Strongyles in their samples, so we'll wait a few more weeks to be sure we get all the little buggers--actually, large and small--with a good dose of Ivermectin.
We also had an interesting conversation about feet and allowing horses to go barefoot. Bar has had shoes on all four feet (unless he loses one) since we got him because of how shelly his hooves are. Lena has great feet, but we wanted to protect them while out and about on rocky trails, so she has always been shod all the way around, too.
Leslie brought up some really good points about the natural way a hoof works, and making sure the frog is able to do it's job of helping with circulation by being in contact with the ground. Her point was that you don't really know what kind of foot you have until you let it go natural for a little while, and winter is a good time to try it.
We haven't decided yet what we want to do, and Steve is in charge of talking to Mike. There is no way on earth I want to alienate my farrier, so Steve's particular form of diplomacy is definitely required. Of course, with the rate that Bar loses shoes in the winter, it may just be easier to let him go barefoot! And, of course, invest in regular trims and a full set of boots for both horses for trail riding.
Despite the rain and the ornery Thoroughbred (mine, not Forrest), it was well worth the time and cost to have this done. Not just the vaccines, which are important, but the outside view of this horse I see every day.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
"Oh, yeah! West Nile and Rabies, our favorite!" I suspect it's better, however, than the intra-nasal flue vaccine they get in the fall.
Dr. Leslie is also doing a wellness exam--a check of the basics, weight, heart, feet, etc.--something she's trying out with her clients this year.
We decided to opt in for this for a couple of reasons. One, because the reason we have always had our vet do our vaccines is because she catches things we might miss. Two, I think you need to pay your vet for their time and not just pile on the questions when they are there to do something else. Really, I'm just selfish. I don't want to find another vet so I want to keep Leslie in business as long as possible.
I am fairly certain all the horses are healthy as, well, horses. Forrest is a little underweight and Bar perpetually needs his teeth done, but little prevention is a lot better than a midnight phone call when it all goes wrong. My other not-so-secret goal is to hear Bar's heart. Last time Leslie listened to it, she said you could hear an extra beat because his heart is so big. I just about cried right then and there.
Bar is scheduled for his teeth next Friday. He might still be speaking to me after that, but it will take lots of treats and many fewer missed barn nights.
Oh, and the correction (as kindly pointed out by Joan at Cowboy and Dexter's Excellent Adventures) was to Kathleen's age the day of Bar's win in November of 2003. She was thirteen. Not three. Thirteen. I slipped a decade, apparently.
Oddly enough, it was that very year--her 13th--that we chose a Christmas present of Slide Mountain Ranch because we couldn't figure out anything else more suitable.
Funny how the path of a racehorse careened right into the path of a future horse-crazy woman.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Here is Calabar's win from November 22nd, 2003--two days before Katie's thirteenth birthday:
Here is his last race, the one where he bowed his tendon:
My boy was fast, but I'm almost glad for his injury. Had he made it to the big time, he would never had ended up with me. And that is where he belongs.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The art of the roll--Step one
Originally uploaded by spottyhorse67
Shoulder first, as demonstrated by Calabar, and especially satisfying after three days of rain and blanket.There was lots of rolling on both sides, leaving me with a big brown dusted truffle of a horse.
But a very, very happy big brown truffle of a horse.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I don't honestly know how Howie and Devon do it.
One minute, your horse is running well and training great and the next, something happens that has you scratching your head.
Y'all know Sittytwofitty is my favorite On-Track Thoroughbred. She is a classy girl---beautiful, well-mannered, and a joy to watch run.
She won her first race last month, came in second in the next race (and should have won that one), and was training really well headed into yesterday's race.
Granted, it was a tough field--a $40,000 claiming race with some top horses and jockeys on the ticket. But she had the same jockey up that took her to her win and she had been training really well. Odds had her coming in second to the favorite and the distance was perfect for her style--1-1/16 mile, just enough to give her that last bit of room if she needed it.
She started really well, blowing out of the gate with tremendous power, but never quite clicked in. The jockey said she felt "off" in her left front and while he got her to drive up to a photo for third, you could see in her movement that he was right and she was hurting.
She got fourth by a whisker, so still in the money, but you could tell she wasn't herself--not as much power and speed at the end and off a little during her cool down walk.
It is an up-and-down world, is horse racing. I think I'm glad I'm on the Off-Track side of things. The On-Track side is way too stressful. But kudos to Devon and Howie for hanging in there and taking such good care of their horses. Big Girl is in good hands, of that I am sure.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Originally uploaded by spottyhorse67
Bar got his first workout in nearly two weeks, and he needed it!
The race-breathing returned as he ran himself to the left in the round pen. I just figured out it reminds me of Lamaze breathing--quick, explosive, and rhythmic, "phuh, phuh, phuh."
He even dealt reasonably well with Forrest banging around in the round pen and other commotion. After ten days of cooped up Thoroughbred energy, his antics were not only expected, but welcomed. It all meant he was feeling much, much better and that's all that matters to me.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Originally uploaded by spottyhorse67
Much to my surprise--especially after a solid night of rain--the diaper and duct tape boot we reapplied yesterday was still in place this afternoon. Phew!Even better than that, Bar is putting weight on the foot and moving much more comfortably than he had been. He even let me pick up the other hind foot without any fuss or obvious discomfort. Yes!
The plan is to see how it's all holding together tomorrow, take a little walk to see how he's moving, and call Mike for next steps. If Bar is doing well enough, we'll probably put a shoe back on in the next few days and see how he does.
Certainly, the energy under the skin is beginning to hum at normal levels, too, which was really good to see.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
All week without my horse...
Originally uploaded by spottyhorse67
And now it looks like he has an abscess. Drat!
Left hind. The lap horse was subdued and (I had no idea this was possible) even more snuggly.
Dead giveaway he's not feeling so great.