Friday, June 28, 2013


Fergus must be an OTTB!

Just a quick post tonight.  Rode Alex again today after a good bit of lunging and I was MUCH less nervous which was nice.  I thought it was going to be a quiet night at the farm since there was no one around when I arrived, but apparently I was wrong.  Not only did they start turning horses out around the time I got in the saddle, but there were other boarders just itching to get into the outdoor arena I was using.  Alex had a few little "moments" where he hopped around and got a little puffed up (especially when the last horse being turned out was screaming for one of the ones already out), but for the most part he was very good.  His trot was improved tonight, it felt like he trusted himself a little more to stretch down and lengthen a little bit.  Overall, I'm encouraged, but not ready to claim success yet.  It will be at least a week or more before I ask for the canter (although he kind of did it tonight when he was bouncing around).  I'm just hoping that the third time is a charm, as in, our third start. 

Happy weekend everyone :-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Today I got antsy... Originally I had planned to stay out of the saddle until at least Friday night, but I jumped the gun.  Alex was in a decent mood (chillaxed) when I got to the barn, it was relatively quiet around the farm, so I started thinking maybe tonight was the night.  I figured I'd dress the part, lunge him and see how I felt.  I'm not going to lie... just thinking about riding for the first time in about two months I was nervous.  I am not my mother (who is absolutely fearless with horses), I do occasionally get scared and considering the very real attempt Alex made to unload me during our last ride, this is one of those times.  The difference for me, is that as I've grown up and expanded my riding skills/knowledge, I've also been able to kick myself in the ass and face my fears.

So, I lunged Alex and thought to myself, "I'm glad I didn't Ace him, because if I had, he might just lie down and go to sleep," he was SO lazy.  The pessimist in me said "he's just saving up till you're in the saddle."  Finally I decided it was now or never, Alex was super relaxed and the farm was quiet.  With my heart beating a little faster than normal, I sat down in the saddle and told myself to breathe.  Off we went at a walk.  Alex was looking around but agreeable.  We walked both directions for a few minutes and then trotted both directions for another few minutes.  Tracking left, he was very good, stretching down and bouncing along.  Tracking right, he was not as agreeable to consistently bending and stretching down, but still did well.  I didn't ask too much out of him and definitely didn't ask for the canter.  I think we will wait a while for the canter, until I'm confident that Alex knows his hocks/back are not going to hurt.  He felt great and I didn't detect any of the pain I'd felt from our last disaster ride.  I'm not quite ready to exhale yet, but I'm encouraged.  It seems he's happier in the Stubben, so we will use that until I can get with a saddle fitter and see if we need something new.

We'll try again tomorrow, which given Alex's propensity for throwing the curve ball the second time you do anything, could be interesting.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Hi, my name is Kat and I'm a slacker blogger... it's been entirely too long since my last blog post :-(

To compensate, I did take a few pictures :-)

Handsome Man
Alex has been moving along, we're lunging in full tack, using my Stubben saddle which has a wider tree than the PJ we've been using since I first started riding him.
Nom Nom
Since it appears that his back pain is, for all intensive purposes, gone and the vet says he doesn't believe Alex has an active ulcer, I've been looking into other reasons why Alex would be so anxious about the saddling process (he's still pinning his ears, shaking his head and just generally being unpleasant when saddled).  I started reading a little bit about saddle fit and checked the PJ.  To my horror, it appears that my PJ is entirely too narrow and may have been causing him pain.  The Stubben, which he's never been ridden in, has a wider tree and sits better, so at the moment, I've elected to use that with a Thin Line pad underneath.  I am also working with a saddle rep and may be in the market for a new saddle.  We'll see how that goes.
After a few days of dealing with "Wild Alex" (which proved that he is actually feeling good), he's finally settled down during our last two works.  My plan is to "attempt" to get back in the saddle at the end of this week, but stick to walk and trot for a few weeks, until we both regain our confidence.  Last time I asked Alex for a canter depart, he turned himself inside out tried in a very serious way to dump me.  I want him to be good and comfortable with me in the saddle before I ask for another canter depart :-)  He will stay on the muscle relaxers (once per day) until I've been back in the saddle for a while and we've sorted this saddle situation out.  
The good news is that we are moving forward and things are getting progressively better.  It will just take patience, which as we know, is a virtue.  No one ever said an OTTB's first year off the track would be a piece of cake!
Hope you're all having a great week!
This look is not cool

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Liebster Blog Award!

I'm so excited to be nominated!  Thanks so much to Hawk at Forging Fiction for the nod, I've never been nominated for a blog award :-)

How to accept the award: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
11 Facts about me:
  1. I was born on April 15th, which is, of course, Tax Day. 
  2. I love Sushi, I could literally eat it almost every day. 
  3. I've owned a boa constrictor and a ferret as pets.
  4. I'm a huge NFL Football fan, particularly of the Green Bay Packers.
  5. One day, I'd like to have my own farm, so I can see my horses when I wake up AND before I go to sleep. 
  6. My favorite color is Green, which is convenient because it's one of my "horse colors."
  7. I love Photography and wish I could do it as a profession.
  8. I've watched every season of Sex and the City at least 5 times.
  9. I talk to my horse... like out loud. 
  10. I once rode a cross-country course in 100 degree heat with a very recently broken nose. 
  11. My favorite movies are mostly historical, Gladiator, Braveheart, Lincoln... 

Questions for me:

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
The first time I jumped at a horse show.

2. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
The ability to be in two places at one time.

3. You have one wish - what would you do with it?
To travel to every country in the world.

4. What is your favorite color?

5. What are you most passionate about right now?
My horse.

6. You win the lottery.  What is the first thing you buy?
Horse farm with house.

7. What is something that intimidates you?
Super pretty "girly" girls... seriously.

8. What is a quote that best describes you?
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”― Friedrich Nietzsche

9. If you had a week off from work, what would you do?
Catch up on all the things I keep meaning to do, but never find time for...

10. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

11. What is the most dangerous/daring activity you have ever partaken in?
Does holding a Tarantula count?  :-)

11 questions for nominees:
  1. Why did you start blogging and who in real life knows that you blog?
  2. Black or brown tack?
  3. Favorite Comfort food?
  4. Favorite Color?
  5. If you could ride any horse (living or not), who would it be?
  6. What other pets do you own?
  7. What is your "hidden talent?"
  8. You win the lottery, what would you buy first?
  9. You can travel anywhere, for an infinite amount of time, with an infinite amount of money, where do you go?
  10. You're intimidated by?
  11. Favorite movie?

11 bloggers: I wasn't sure at this point who had been nominated, I tried not to pick those who had, but if this is one of multiple nominations, I'm sorry!
  1. Kelly at Princess Diva Diaries
  2. Karly at All In
  3. Martha at (Re) Training as an Adult Eventing Rider
  4. Mary at Simply Horse-Crazy
  5. Syd at From Racehorse to Princess
  6. Redheadlins at My Mojito
  7. Lauren at She Moved to Texas
  8. Sarah at Collecting Thoroughbreds
  9. Suzie at Diary of a Young Horse
  10. Kelly at Dressage Pony
  11. Hillary at Equestrian at Hart

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Building Blocks

Alex and I have been working in the surcingle for the last few days with some success.  The crud on his back is fully healed and he seems to have only minor intermittent sensitivity to medium pressure without the muscle relaxer.  Although he's still girthy and grouchy at times, my vet doesn't think it's ulcer episode, since he's eating, drinking normally and generally appears to feel better.  Tonight I tried tightening the surcingle very slowly tonight and stretching his front legs out in front of him to keep any of his skin from getting pinched.  I will probably give him tomorrow off and then lunge him in the surcingle again on Thursday.  If that goes well, I would like to put him back in full tack on Friday.  I've also decided to try him in my other saddle, because I think the PJ might be too narrow for him (it always slid back a lot on him no matter how it was placed) and could have caused some back pain along with his hocks. 

Anyone else have experiences with a saddle being too narrow?  Tell me your signs, symptoms and remedies, I'd be really interested to compare.

The Back On Track back blanket will be here next week, I'm not sure at this point whether we need it, but still want to try it to see if it does anything for him. 

The crud on Alex's legs is also slowly healing and there hasn't been any stocking up for several days.  I since I used multiple things, I can't say that it was the Vetericyn or the "concoction", but I will say I think the "concoction" + Desitin really is helping.  So here is what I have been doing for the crud on Alex's legs/pasterns:

Scrub with Iodine shampoo, pick off any scabs, let shampoo soak for at least 5 minutes, dry legs and coat with Gold Bond powder (I use the spray powder, but the other stuff works too).

Pasterns:  Scrub with Iodine shampoo, pick off any loose scabs, let shampoo soak for at least 5 minutes, dry, spray with Vetericyn, cover/rub in with the "concoction," cover with Desitin.

I have been doing this pretty much every day, but may slow down once he heals a little more.

"The Concoction" contains the following in equal parts:

Triple Antibacterial
Antifungal (like what is used on human feet)

Make sure you use all creams so they mix evenly (the ointments don't mix well)

Thought this might be useful for others in the same boat!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'm Baaack!

Yeah, Alex would never put up with this!

... from my beach vacation and ready to get back to my blogging.  I returned to find Alex nearly free of the dreaded crud on his back.  As expected E had taken very good care of him in my absence for which I thanked her profusely.  Unfortunately, he was still battling a pretty bad case of crud on his hind pasterns, the right hind in particular.  Google to the rescue! I found that others had some success with a mixture of triple antibacterial, hydrocortisone, anti fungal and Destitin creams, so that is what we're currently using, after a scrub with Betadine shampoo and a spritz of Vetericyn beforehand.  This concoction seems to be working, but we're only three days in to treatment. 

Alex also seems to be feeling better about his back, we've been lunging with just a bridle Sunday, Monday Tuesday and tonight (we started right tonight for a change of pace) and he looks pretty comfortable.  He's also less sensitive to medium pressure in the areas that were previously uber sore, so I am hoping we're still moving in the right direction.  He only really flinches when he"knows" I'm going to poke, prod or scrub him, he's tired of it and I can totally understand how he feels.  Poor guy has spent more time in that wash stall since his arrival than practically any other place in the barn!  Alex is such a sensitive guy that I think a lot of what goes on with him is remembered pain,  which of course makes me feel like a bad horse mommy that he was ever in pain, but c'est la vie I suppose.

Next week my goal is to get him back into the surcingle/side-reins and see how he feels about having something on his back.  We'll be using the muscle relaxant recommended by my vet for a little while to keep him super comfortable as we keep progressing back to regular work.  I don't want him/us to have a bad experience that pushes him back into pain mode before I can help him build his back muscles back into shape; he's such a "thinker," I'm certain that would be a set back.

I think I'm also going to buy a Back on Track Back Pad and see what that does for him.  I figure I can always sell it on EBay or something, if I don't feel like it helps.  I can't afford a full BOT blanket, so we will start with the Back Pad.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Vacation and Anniversary

This is what it looks like when I'm gone for a week...
This week I'm on vacation in St. Augustine, Florida.  I was really torn about leaving Alex for 7+ days while he has this skin infection (crud) going on and I was still uncertain about his back soundness, but I didn't have much of a choice.  Luckily for me E, my barn buddy graciously agreed to keep an eye on the big guy and give him a few scrubs to keep the crud from taking back over.  This is the longest I've ever left Alex (our previous record was 5 days) and I have to admit I was/am a little nervous.  BUT, I know E will take great care of him in my absence, so really there's nothing to worry about :-)
On another subject, June 1, 2013 marked one year together for Alex and I.  It has been a roller coaster of a year from the never ending abscesses to the hock injections/back injections and crud, but it's all been worth it... The planner in me feels like we haven't accomplished much, but then I have to remember the first year coming off the track for an OTTB is full of ups and downs... AND... we'll get there.
I love my big man more every day and hopefully we're going to get back on track once the crud is defeated.  Can you tell I already miss him?  ;-)