Monday, July 24, 2017

Ah yes, it's summer

Oh, Texas.  I see you've remembered the time of year.
This was Sunday afternoon...
Yeah, uh, I love having horses and want to go spend time with them and all, but I'm also not insane.  Maybe if there was a little less heat index, I would have gone - but 113?  Christ on a cracker, that's a NO THANK YOU.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I like this news

Much better text to get from the barn!
Yup, that's right, my 2 year old is still making baby faces at other horses, and that's the best way we've got to tell if Mr. I'm So Quiet That My Spook Is, "Okay, Mom, I'm Just Gonna Sort of Slowly Stroll Sideways Away From That," can see anything.  lol

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Left turn

It's been a weird couple of weeks, between my SO traveling, a car accident, an attempted fight with my mother, rain keeping us home from the barn, and... well... this!

Wednesday, while I was taking my husband to pick up his vehicle after the bodywork, I get a message from my BOs.

Justice is seeing the vet.  Will have more information in a little while, but he and his half-sister are having vision issues.

Uh... huh...

So it turns out that early during the week, they went to move the babies to a different paddock, and Justice and his half-sister were running into things and generally acting like blind horses.  On closer inspection, Jus had one cloudy eye and one eye that had a cataract - "like it was full of milk."  His half-sister, who's had eye issues off and on for the last six months since she managed to injure one of them, had two very cloudy eyes.  The other half-sister was perfectly fine, somehow.

Vet's verdict is that it could be moon blindness, glaucoma, or one of three bacteria (one of which is leptospirosis), and since the treatment for the lepto covers the other cases (except maybe the glaucoma?)... well, we can do a $250 test, or we can treat.  Lepto also seems most likely, since we've had an unusually wet spring and summer, and those are prime conditions for it.

Prognosis is guardedly good.  The cloudy eye should clear up post-haste and the cataract may or may not go away.  Worst case is, of course, blindness; best case is that the cataract goes away entirely.  The most likely case, per the vet, is that he may have some blurriness in the vision on that eye, so he probably won't have a career in the jumpers.  lol Which, let's be fair, I wasn't expecting one!

Three days into a fairly aggressive treatment, he's actually looking pretty good.  He's not acting like he can't see at all, although it's definitely clear that he's not seeing perfectly.  The cloudiness in his right eye is pretty much gone.  And his cataract is shrinking.
Only half-full of milk now...

I kind of feel like I should be more stressed by this than I am, but... let's be honest here: I bought this horse knowing that there was a 50% chance he would be night-blind, which requires certain accommodations.  Having to make similar "certain accommodations" for a horse with blurry vision in one eye isn't all that different.  It's annoying, sure, but it's not the stressful event it could be.

...That said, I did march my happy ass out to the pasture to make sure Cessa wasn't showing symptoms either.  lol
Team skeptical FTW.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy 4th!

Instead of pony time... there was cookout time.  :)

So instead of meaningful content, have 12 seconds of me giving Justice treats in his party hat.  Because why not? lol


(Note: it's Flash for some reason? Which I'm not thrilled about and trying to figure out how to change, but... I'm going with it until I do.)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's... complicated

No new pony pictures this weekend - between the planned trip to see how Justice's daddy is doing at training (exceptional, from what I've heard) and the rain that pre-empted both said trip and normal barn time... well.  Old pictures are gonna have to do.

Anyway, one of Emma's recent posts reminded me of my whole, "Which discipline am I going to do, anyway?" problem - something I referenced in my comment there as "it's complicated."

Let's talk about complicated.

When I first started riding, I was riding at a hunter/jumper barn.  In hindsight, it was... not a very good h/j barn.  Or, indeed, a very good barn at all.  But it was what I had, so I learned to jump.
Oh god, please don't ask how old I am in this picture. Also, if you've never been to Texas/Oklahoma - yes, the dirt is that color; that's why it's the Red River.
We did a little trail riding here and there, but mostly, we did trot poles, then single jumps, and eventually we worked our way up to courses with four whole jumps.

That was about the time that the mare I was riding in lessons at the time (not the above pony) flipped out a little and started bucking after the last jump on the course.  I... honestly, I've ridden bucks since then that were way worse.  It kinda felt like she was doing something stupid at the canter, but I had no idea what it was until I got her stopped and my mother and the instructor freaked out about the bucking. After that, the decision was made that I wouldn't be jumping anymore.  I assume I was part of this decision, but I cannot for the life of me remember saying, "I don't want to jump." 

Thus began an ill-fated career as a dressage rider.

Well, ill-fated might be an exaggeration.  It might be more accurate to say, "career of being a dressage student while riding with all the wrong people."

First instructor: the same h/j trainer I'd been riding with.  Bless her heart, she had no idea what she was doing.  We made it to two shows, and let's just say that if we got a dressage bingo card going, I could make a line with any of the following:
  • "What's a diagonal?"
  • Misunderstood judge's instructions
  • Plenty of whoa, absolutely no go
  • Spooked at judge's box
  • Retired or withdrew
  • Judge's comments: "egg-shaped circles"
Four of those six were this day, all on the same test...
Second instructor: the dressage instructor from hell.  Thank you for convincing my parents to buy me a saddle, crazy woman, but it's not cool to make teenagers cry because you've decided that we really aren't buying one of your half-broke monster horses.

Third instructor: clinician while riding with Psycho Bitch.  Seemed nice?  Probably would have been more helpful for me if I hadn't been terrified of the barely-broke three-year-old colt Psycho Bitch had me on.

Fourth instructor: another hunter/jumper trainer, this time entirely in group lessons where everyone else jumped and I didn't.

Fifth instructor: eventing instructor.  Going the right direction!  Sort of!  Until she had a baby and stopped teaching.
Such a pretty property. These days, it's a stupid subdivision...
Sixth instructor: dressage instructor!  Real, honest-to-god dressage instructor!  And she even kept teaching after she broke her leg.  Unfortunately, the barn was sold to one of those guys that believes that only he could teach you, and if you didn't have your own horse... well, you weren't going to learn from him.  She moved out of town; we moved on.

Seventh instructor: theoretically a dressage instructor.  Actually cut from much the same mold as Psycho Bitch, but we noticed her directing that at my friend, with whom we were sharing lessons, and the two of us cut and ran.

Eighth instructor: English rider from South Africa who was apprenticing with a Western Pleasure rider.  Meant well, but by this time my confidence in my riding was completely in the can, thanks to a couple of falls and Psycho Bitch, and after another fall, it didn't get better.  Kind of suspect I'm why she stopped teaching lessons (oops).

Ninth instructor: Western Pleasure rider who was game to try teaching me English riding.  Great at rebuilding my confidence, up to a point; I don't think I ever made it back to where I was when I first started.  Taught me all kinds of things, very little of it dressage.
One of the last days I rode with instructor #9, and probably the last time I rode in my old dressage saddle.  Best picture from that day, unfortunately; the rest of the photos are tilted and/or blurry. Yay for letting a random teenager at the barn use my camera...

By the time I stopped taking lessons with #9, I was in college, and I'd realized two fundamental truths:
  • I like dressage just fine, but it's not that exciting by itself
  • I don't remember actually being scared of jumping
So my first riding instructor that I chose for myself was another hunter/jumper instructor - hilariously, one operating out of the same barn I'd started at, easily a decade before.  I rode with him for a few months, and never did get around to jumping again - which I respect that he had to back things up a bit, I really do.  But I found after a while that there were some things that I had fundamental differences of opinion with him on. (The biggest being, "We put our horses in hackamores so the novices don't chuck them in the mouth with bits."  Practical concerns about leverage aside, the Clyde/TB mare they had me on needed a bit; I got to ride her in both, and she pulled like a goddamned freight train without one.  Shouldn't need freaking gloves just to keep your fingers from being torn up, sorry.)

That's not quite my last formal instruction experience - one of the BOs and I did a clinic a few years ago for what's basically Western Dressage on video - but close enough.

So what discipline do I ride?

All due respect to those that do endurance, but I'm pretty sure if I tried to do more than a short trail ride, I'd be a miserable mess of a human being.  I might could survive an intro ride without breaking down into tears or screaming at someone?  Maybe?

To be honest, at this point, I've had so many confidence issues that it's hit or miss whether I'm comfortable outside an arena at all.  The last time I tried, a combination of an unfamiliar (and HUGE) mare and an individual I didn't entirely trust meant I couldn't do it, even though I knew that mare wasn't going to do anything more frightening than stumble; the time before that, on a mare I trusted, I was fine to motor along on the exact same trail ride in a larger group.

(If you want to be really, painfully honest, me and my confidence issues aren't always comfortable inside an arena.  *wince*  We're working on that.)

So I'm not really a trail rider.

I'm not just incredibly excited by dressage.  I seem to be reasonable at it, and I've got a shitload of technical, book-based knowledge bouncing around in my head that needs to be linked up with experience to really make sense, but it's not something that I sit here and go, "Whee, dressage!"  I'm excited by some of the upper-level movements?  And I kind of feel like I should enjoy watching it more than I do if it's "my" discipline; I love watching the freestyles, but the rest of the tests... meh.

Hunter/jumper... I like watching them.  But I find myself unenthusiastic when I read about the shows.  All due respect to George Morris, but there are too many appearance-based things to hunters.  Jumpers might be too fast for me - speed and my confidence issues aren't always friends - but it's slightly more interesting to me than hunters.

Ask me what discipline I'm enthusiastic about, which one I enjoy watching, and the answer will be eventing.  Except eventing involves at least some being outside the arena, and also immovable jumps, which is somewhat intimidating because I'm used to seeing the size of those jumps at the kinds of events that they televise - you know, Rolex... the Olympics...

I am so not prepared to be a Western rider of any sort.  I have been an English rider way too long; I cannot neck rein to save my goddamned life.  I get the concepts.  I know what I'm supposed to do.  But tell me I have to neck rein, and I am going to sit on that horse with a stupid look on my face and hope like hell I don't have to do anything other than go left and right, because "stop" and "back up" are utterly beyond my ability to actually do.

Also not all that interested in most of the Western disciplines.  I don't do cows; they're stupid and gross and I'm just not interested in trying to herd or rope them.  I'm mildly curious about reining?  I'd like to ride a barrel pattern some time, but not if it's a pattern anywhere near 90% of the "barrel riders" I've met locally?  That's about all I've got.

Play days and the like sound like fun once in a while, but I am clumsy as hell and somewhat competitive; that's gonna end in frustration for me, sooner rather than later.

I know that since I'm not really showing, what discipline I ride doesn't actually matter - except it does matter to me.  I'd like to do some showing - not a lot, but maybe one or two in a year?  I guess I just feel weirdly cheated by the fact that I went to all of three or four shows as a kid.  And I want to have some sort of goal more than, "Putter around the arena for a while."


Me and disciplines?  Yeah.  It's complicated.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A random note on white patterns and family lines

I follow the Equine Color Genetics group on Facebook (which... I hate FB so very, very much, so consider the word 'follow' to be a generous description).  Some days, it's great, and you can see some really cool colors and discussions.

Other days... well, I've said to my BOs before that it's a good thing I only check FB every few days.  I have a high level of sarcasm in my bones and a short fuse for repeated questions with blindingly obvious answers.


One of the discussions I saw recently was about the sabino-1 and splash-2/splash-3 lines in stock horses.

I had mentioned in the classic paint post that SB2 seemed to come from a single Quarter Horse mare, and was related to the Gunner line of Paints.  If what they were saying in the FB group was correct, that mare is Katie Gun, the dam of the stallion Colonels Smokingun (otherwise known as Gunner).

SW3 looks like it's coming from a Paint stallion named TD Kid.

Sabino-1 in stock horses seems to come from Real Luck and Gold Mount in Quarter Horses, and Nylon/Jetalito/Scenic Jetalito in Paint horses (again, per FB discussion). Although I have... questions... after looking at Scenic Jetalito's pedigree - the way it was phrased in the FB group was as though Nylon were an ancestor of Jetalito, which does not seem to be the case.  Instead, Jetalito is Scenic Jetalito's sire, and Nylon is in Scenic's damsire lines.  Real Luck was a 1970s stallion (born 1968), and Gold Mount would have been 1940s (born 1940).

It's not really ground-breaking information or anything, but it's fun to have names that you can look up to see what a pattern or color looks like.  :)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Look who turned 2!

"Mom says if I wear the funny hat, I can have cookies."
Gotta love the kiddo - I whipped out the hat, and he was more concerned with whether my trunk still had treats in it than with the hat.  The only time he even seems to notice it was when it fell off his head.

He even ate treats out of it.
"Mom, can you add a few more?  I can't quite reach them."
"Thank you!"
And we even got a side shot of him that isn't embarrassing!  I mean, as long as you account for "pocket pony wants to cuddle, not be a model."
Not much in the way of back muscle still, but neck's getting better and the rest isn't ridiculous. I'll take it!
Cessa got some cuddling too, but that was cut short by someone sneezing in my face.  A big, fat, WET sneeze.
You can look innocent all you want. We know the truth.
Gross, mare.  Gross.