Friday, June 15, 2018

My Horse is Obese and Other News

Guys. I'm officially a fourth year vet student. How did I get here already? I can't believe I'm actually getting to treat patients for real!

I know I don't post a whole lot, but for those who do continue to read my blog, I have a few questions.

First off, I'm going to be working a lot of long hours. Medicine and surgery rotations are notorious for super long hours (and I have 3 months total of those rotations). It's fairly common to have shifts longer than 12 hours, and not unheard of to have shifts that are 24+ hours. You don't get breaks to eat or sleep, so I need to figure out some sort of system with food that I can stick in my pockets that doesn't need to be heated. I don't like Cliff bars (they taste like dirt to me), so does anyone know of something that can be eaten as a meal replacement bar that tastes somewhat palatable? I feel like a lot of bloggers would know things like this. Also, I'm willing to make things too if anyone can point me in the direction of a recipe.

And secondly, I'm not sure what to do with this blog. I enjoy blogging, especially when people take the time to comment, but I just don't have a whole lot of time. What do people want to see?
  • Posts about vet school? Things like advice for people wanting to go to vet school, what the daily vet student life is like, or "educational" posts about interesting things that I learn?
  • Baby horse updates?
  • Details of training, clinic, and show rides with Jetta?
  • Product reviews? I have a lot of things I could review at the moment, just haven't gotten around to it yet?
  • A mix of all of the above?
I'd really love some feedback! Please and thank you :)

In the pony world, both girls have been slightly neglected. I've had finals, orientation, and getting the house in order for me to go into clinics plus a new roommate moving in. It's been a little hectic!

Jetta and I got to go on a fun trail ride with PR after finals that was MUCH needed. Unfortunately we got over half way around the loop... and the trail was closed for logging. So we had to turn around, resulting in a 10 hour trail ride, definitely longer than intended!

I love my long-legged hippo mare <3

Jetta got a fairly good cut to her hind leg that I discovered when we went cross country schooling. I kept it wrapped for a few days with some corticosteroid cream to try and keep it from developing proud flesh. It was healing nicely so I let it go naked and it looks fine, just refuses to heal completely, which is a bummer. Jetta's not lame per se, but she's definitely a little sore. But holy smokes guys, my horse is OBESE. This is not something I ever thought I would say about my thoroughbred that takes forever to put weight on. She has gotten a little chunky in the past, but never like this. She's seriously a 7 out of 9. She's typically between a 4 and a 5 which is perfect. She's getting very little grain right now, but her weight just took off when the spring grass finally came in. She may be getting a grazing muzzle very soon...
It looks so much worse all wrapped lol


Other than that, I have a glove review to do here soon! I won a pair of Roeckl's from Hillary's contest which was awesome! I've never owned a pair since they are just too expensive for me, but I can't wait to ride in them a few more times.

PS. I got to do a photoshoot for PR and her horse Bailey and I LOVED it. I'm always trying to convince my horse friends to let me take fun pictures for them and they were such good models. My favorite gift to give people is pictures of their four-legged babies. This is my favorite picture because she looks like a fairytale princess <3

Thank you in advance for any and all comments!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Cross Country and the Ordeal

This post is only a week late, so I'm sort of on top of things, right?

Also, quick unrelated note - this is my last finals week ever!! I can't believe I will be starting 4th year in less than a week. Starting first year, this seemed so far away and I can't believe I made it. 4th year is going to be crazy hard, exhausting, tons of long hours and of course studying for the NAVLE. But I am getting so close to reaching my DVM!

Anyways, we had Memorial Day off of school and PR (another vet student) invited me to go cross country schooling. It was the last weekend for schooling before several shows, so it was crazy busy. We rolled in fairly early at 9am and I'm glad we got up early for it!

Sadly, I have NO pictures, so I apologize for the media-less post.

I was pretty nervous actually to take Jetta. She hasn't been jumped (except for one time over a month ago at <2') in at least a year and a half. We've been to this place a ton so I wasn't worried about the venue part of it. We did a short trail ride around the property and then warmed up in part of the field that had very few jumps in it and everyone else was schooling elsewhere. Jetta was AMPED. A girl I know from when I used to take jumping and eventing lessons was there with a training group and she commented "Jetta looks so fancy!". Not a sentence I would have ever thought to be associated with Jetta lol. Basically we pranced around with very little braking capacity. We did lots of circling like we've been doing for dressage, changing direction often at the trot and that helped. Our canter was another story and I think while it looked controlled, I really didn't have any control for stopping!

We went to a section with some small jumps and warmed up over a couple little logs and a small coop. Jetta didn't blink about either one but she really wanted to gallop after every jump. We went to school the ditch (usually not a problem) and Jetta apparently didn't remember how to step over a ditch. It's the tiniest little thing but she was not having it. Eventually I got off and borrowed a crop and she finally leaped over it. Such a dork.

After that we went over to a field with some bigger stuff. I wasn't really sure about jumping any of the stuff in this field - the blue barn coop and rolltop coop, even though they were BN height looked HUGE to me. Finally I mustered up the courage and trotted up to the coop and Jetta easily jumped it with hardly any effort. I sometimes forget that she can jump! From there we came around again and took it at a canter then cantered up to the blue barn and she didn't even glance at it. I was estatic. The blue barn can sketch out a lot of horses because it has empty space beneath it. I was standing around watching another lady in our group jump the trakehner when a rider from another group brought her balky horse up to the blue barn... and promptly got lawn darted into the ground. I was SO glad I had already jumped it because after seeing her horse pull a dirty stop into the fence, I definitely didn't want to try it!

From there we ended on playing in the water. One thing I love about Jetta is that she has no qualms about water! She might not always want to canter into it, but she will never refuse it. We jumped a large skinny log into the water (I think it was a Novice height fence) and then popped over a stadium fence on the other side. At the very end we cooled off in the water, PR's horse Bailey likes to paw in the water which was cracking us up, splashing water everywhere. Then the other lady's horse started to paw. This whole time Jetta was just standing there looking at the other horses like they were crazy... then she started pawing and all of the horses were going to town in the water. Pretty cute, but I hope she hasn't learned a bad habit now!

Waiting for the tow...

And now the ordeal portion... I got Jetta untacked and loaded in the trailer, started the truck and was driving away... when the truck died. In motion. It refused to restart. I thought maybe it needed a jump, so we did that. No effect. A handful of people looked at it and tweaked a few things. It started and we let it run for a while, but I wasn't wanting to drive it with a horse trailer if it was going to die while driving. Not fun with a horse trailer when you lose power steering and braking... I called a couple friends and finally found one with a truck that was semi-ok to haul a trailer (one friend had been rear-ended recently and truck was in the shop, other had a lifted truck with no drop hitch, other one was currently using their trailer at another location). The truck was slightly disassembled from installing a flat bed, but was road worthy and would haul my trailer ok. It just couldn't hook up the trailer lights for whatever reason. He had been meaning to replace the plug for the trailer, but hadn't gotten to it and we couldn't get all of the trailer lights to work. Eventually he just hotwired the lights. But half of my lights still wouldn't work... only to find out I had 2 bulbs burnt out on the same side. Ugh.

Jetta finally made it home to the barn and I called a tow truck for my truck. I meant to drive it home, but even though it started and drove off fine twice, the third time it wouldn't start. Poor Freddy the Ford. Not sure what's wrong and of course don't have the money to fix it at this time, so it's been sadly sitting in the driveway. So of course here's another plug for the stuff I'm trying to sell... buy my things pretty please! I'll take reasonable offers on things. I have to pay for my NAVLE next week which holy smokes is spendy, so the poor truck is not going to get fixed for quite a while.

Getting dropped off at home :(

It's super hard not having my independence with my horses. I was planning on a trail ride and taking Maisie to the barn to learn to pony last week, so I was pretty bummed at the wrench in those plans. I've been driving my horse places by myself since I was 16 so this is going to be a weird non-mobile time for a while! I'm just super glad I board at a barn that has access to trails so at least I can get my trail riding in still!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Blog Sale!

I did some late spring cleaning through all my breeches and I have quite a few pairs I need to get rid of. I've been hanging on to a lot of them just hoping that someday I'll fit into them again, but I don't have enough room for all these breeches so they need to go! Shipping is included with everything, Paypal only.

Ovation Aqua X full seat breeches - light blue color - 32R - $90

These have become my favorite breeches ever. However, I thought I could get away with a 32R, while my other pairs of these breeches are 32L and the fit just isn't right for me. It does have a ~1 inch section of seam that came undone near the knee. It is not unraveling and it would be an easy fix.

Ariat Jean breeches, knee patch - 28R - $65

These are great, very comfy breeches. I think it's hard to find jean breeches that don't feel super fake and uncomfortable, but these feel just like real jeans. Sadly no longer fit.
I can get pics, I just don't currently have any. They are in great condition though!

Irideon ribbed full seat pull on breeches - size large - $40

These are in good condition, some staining from the boots, but not noticeable once they are on. Small snag on the side.

Smartpak Piper full seat - mid rise style - 28R - gray with turquoise trim $55

In like-new condition, barely used.

Tropical Rider - white deerskin leather full seat breeches - size 28 tall - Retail $185, asking $90 shipped

Nice Scholler fabric. Velcro leg bottom. The seat is a light grey color (slightly darker than the pictures show). Well taken care of. Three tiny rust marks on the back of the seat, barely noticeable. Still in show condition.

Horseware AA Motionlite jacket in Primatova - size XL - $200 (regularly $250)

Brand new, never worn, only tried on. I bought this on sale from somewhere I can't return it to and it is too large for me. Fits true to size though, I just usually have to size up on jackets. (Riding Warehouse has a sizing chart on their website)

In terms of tack, I have a black 5-point Nunn Finer breastplate with removable sheepskin. Great condition, well used but no defects or noticeable signs of wear. Comes with running martingale attachment. Retails around $200, asking $120.

I will try to update when things sell or if I find anything else I need to get rid of.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Clinic Recap

It has been seriously forever since I have participated in a clinic! I was SO nervous for our clinic on Saturday - worried about riding with a new-to-me clinician, worried about Jetta behaving, worried about whether the money had been well spent, etc.

Luckily, I needn't have worried about any of those things! This was actually my first time auditing JW but I had heard nothing but 100% positive things about her from quite a few people, which I feel is rare in the horse world, so I felt fairly confident diving in without seeing her teach first.

I got to watch the two lessons before me and I thought she was very fair and encouraging. I had heard that she was blunt, which worried me because sometimes people who are "blunt" are actually "mean" but JW was awesome. But I also don't want someone that tells me how amazing my horse is while we're failing around, I really appreciate honesty while at the same time providing structure for how to improve. I've had bad experiences with clinicians who tell me I'm "ruining my horse", but I've had good experiences with very blunt clinicians who will yell at you until you follow their directions, so it can be a mixed bag of what works for me.

I did get a little bit more nervous watching people in front of me because she liked to use a leg yield at the canter to get the hind end more under the horse and engaged, and recently that has been a sure-fire way to get Jetta completely amped up and running away from me. Luckily that wasn't an exercise she had us do.

Anyways, Jetta was on her best behavior. We had a TERRIBLE ride the day before, mainly because I got the idea to try a new bit on her - just a plain loose ring french link that was slightly fatter than her Myler - thinking that maybe she just didn't like how thin the Myler was. Hahaha you would think that I had put the harshest torture bit possible in her mouth. She hated it. She finally got to the point that she could somewhat put in work, but it was not a very good ride as a whole.

At least we were matchy?
And puppy was perfect for her first trip to the barn!

At the clinic we did a brief warm up and she was paying attention to me fairly well. I didn't canter but we did some trotting, counter bending, shoulder-in, and threw in a couple halts. JW called us over and I told her a bit about Jetta - 12 year old Thoroughbred, had almost a year off for a baby, then has been under saddle again for 3 months. Not currently riding with anyone, we've been having trouble with our canter-trot transitions and lengthened trot. Currently riding first level. She's fairly hot, forward, heavy in the bridle and likes to anticipate things and get wound up.

She watched us go for a minute and started right in on our issues. While I normally find it annoying if a clinician gives me the same exercises that we've been doing at home, this time I felt it was more reassuring than anything that I was on the right track with her, plus she did it in such a way that the exercises were building on eachother plus I had a person on the ground to tell me when I was letting Jetta get away with doing stuff only part way.

We did some transitions in the trot - she had me start with a big working trot, only a little bigger than what we'd show with. JW labeled this as a "5" trot, then had me slow her to a 4, 3, 2, 1, keeping her rounded and on the bit. The main thing I've been letting her get away with is not keeping her round on both reins. I have her nicely on my inside rein, but let her drop the outside rein. We kept playing up and down with this scale of trotting, and JW would occasionally call out a number for us to go to or tell us to make a 10 meter circle.

At home, we've been doing lots of 10 meter circles, figure-8's and serpentines. We've also been doing bending and counter bending. This theme was reiterated in our lesson. JW had us exaggerate our inside bend and counter bend, getting Jetta to accept my leg. That's the other thing that we really need to fix is her not accepting my leg, instead she's running away from it. I've been trying to work on it at home, but I guess I haven't been as committed to it as I need to be.

Then we really got to work. Enjoy my artwork of our exercises:

First exercise at the trot

Second exercise with canter-trot transitions

We did these until we were getting more consistent transitions. Still not great by any means, but Jetta was staying rounder, definitely trying to do things correctly, and the quality of her trot had improved quite a bit. JW ended by saying that while I think Jetta likes to come up with avoidance techniques for everything (and while I don't try to let her get away with it, she still does in some capacity), she liked how Jetta wasn't resentful about anything. I'm just needing to expect more from her, focus on keeping her round and on the bit at all times, keep my leg on in transitions and circles (especially my outside leg!).

Some favorite quotes:
  • "Good struggle!"
  • "Don't fight with them... think of it as a clarification of expectations"
  • "Why do you let her do that?" "I don't know" "Well figure it out!"
  • "Is she bending on both reins?" "No" "Then why haven't you fixed it already?"

Overall, I enjoyed the lesson. I like that she didn't go easy on us, she seemed to easily pinpoint the two underlying problems we're having. Her exercises made sense to both me and Jetta and didn't make Jetta upset or make things worse. She wasn't mean though and seemed to think that I was competent despite my many failings and that Jetta was a nice horse. I would definitely ride with her again!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mini Break

I got jealous of everyone on my social media going for gorgeous trial rides while I was stuck all day in school and studying, so last Friday I threw Jetta in the trailer and we went for a very short and fast trail ride at our favorite trail. I'm not sure why this one is my favorite - it's a logging trail like most of the other local trails - that briefly has a one-track dirt trail at the apex of the hill. Regardless, I love it. I let Jetta power trot up the hill until we reach the dirt trail and then slowly meander the rest of the way up. It was a good reset to a no-good, very bad week.

My favorite place to be
Lost in the woods (but not actually)

We had it all to ourselves

Thursday, May 17, 2018

More Learnin'

Baby continues to learn about life, you know, the difficult stuff like fly spray and clipping and being caught.

She thankfully has improved since her vaccine reaction. She didn't really want to eat for a couple days and I was worried she just didn't like her new food. I gave her some probiotics and she bounced back a few days later and is now eating her new food! She is not food motivated in any way, so getting her to eat grain is difficult. I got her a ration balancer so she only needs to eat 2 pounds a day and she'll be set for everything she needs, but getting to 2 pounds might take a while. We finally moved up from 1/2 a pound twice a day, to one pound in a feeding so she's gradually learning to eat it!

She dropped a good amount of weight and looked terrible, but luckily gained it back. She still hasn't shed out her winter coat and it's been in the mid-80's a couple days here and she seemed uncomfortable and I was over it, so she got body clipped.

I usually think it's silly to body clip in the spring since they're going to shed anyways, but she was taking altogether way too long. All the other horses in the area were shed out except her. The surprise? She didn't care one bit about being clipped. She even let me do her bridle path and chin! She even stood super well for the whole thing since it took a while, letting the clippers cool off every few minutes. I'm kinda bummed - I got these fancy brushless motor clippers by Wahl thinking they'd be cooler but they get WAY hotter than my last pair of clippers.

Before clipping
So much hair!

Anyways, I was impressed by the clipping. I didn't attempt doing her muzzle since I know that's a really ticklish area and we did plenty for one day. But we have found her new nemesis: fly spray. She does not like it one bit and dances around, bolts and just generally hates it. So I bought a spray bottle and now we get to practice with water every day after she eats her food! Very unhappy baby, she would like you to know she is being cruelly mistreated over here.


She is 9 months old now and just hit 14 hands at the shoulder! She weighs a little under 600 pounds. We are getting better at being caught (she tends to walk towards me now in the pasture instead of immediately walking away), she is a pro at tying and loading in the trailer. She hates fly spray, clippers are acceptable, treats are still very meh. We need to continue working on trailering away from home, tying in the cross ties, and our new adventures will include ponying and a bath as soon as I have time!

That's pretty much a complete update on little Miss Maisie.

Jetta continues much the same. Our trot work seems fairly good and we had a great ride yesterday. The canter continues to be a mystery as to why on earth we seem to be flailing around. I waffle back and forth on "it's all me" to "my horse is being a resistant idiot" and I'm pretty sure it's 50/50. We are playing around with different exercises, stirrup lengths, and bits or lack of bits to try and find SOMETHING that works. I'm pretty bummed that this is the place in our current training that I'll be taking her to see the clinician this weekend since I'd love to work on stuff more towards preparing us for 2nd level, vs. "how to canter" like we haven't been doing it forever. But oh well, at least she keeps me humble!

At least our outfits are matchy

She's getting pudgy! We just cut her grain back finally

She's lucky she's pretty

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dressage Debut

We had our first dressage show in a long, long time since baby made her appearance!

And it wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be!

Luckily, the show organizers were very flexible and we were able to drop down from First level test 2 and do Training test 3 instead due to Jetta's terrible behavior these previous couple weeks. This was SO helpful in terms of having a positive show experience.

Jetta was very hyper the morning of the show. I turned her loose in the arena before we loaded up and she galloped around like a psycho for at least 10 minutes before she regained some semblance of a brain. We picked up a friend on the way to the show and he was quite amped up, whinnying and pacing the entire time once we made it to the show. Luckily, Jetta seemed to remember that she's supposed to be a seasoned veteran show horse and behaved like it, settling down to snack on her hay without a peep.

I helped my friend most of the afternoon since this was her first dressage show ever (she does hunters/eq) and called tests for her. She did great for her first time not having any idea what she was doing! It was super fun to have a group of friends at the show since I'm so used to going solo. Jetta warmed up ok. The show seemed to remind her that she can actually be a real horse, but she was quite heavy on the forehand and especially stiff going to the left, not wanting to move her barrel off my leg. We had a bit of a half halt and she was only sometimes running through my aids.

We did Training 3 first and it seemed fairly lackluster to me. Jetta was mostly obedient, listened to my half halts, transitions were acceptable, she bent when I asked her, etc. The worst parts were a couple steps of trot in our free walk (seriously horse? this is always our best movement!), our canter-trot transition at X that she completely ignored and we got late, and a stretchy trot that didn't show a whole lot of stretch.

Otherwise, it wasn't a bad reintroduction to showing for us. I didn't think it was great, but I definitely couldn't be upset about it.

I was pretty shocked to see we got a 72.5% to earn us second place. The judge was VERY generous (not a problem to me!) but I was surprised to see that it looked that good when it felt just meh. But I will take it! We got an 8 on one canter circle (very surprising!) and an 8 on our impulsion. Mostly 7.5's and 7's on everything else!

Our ponies are in love - and just too cute!

Our second class was First 1 and unfortunately we got a little too carried away taking pictures in front of the blossoming trees, so we didn't have any time to warm up for this class. Oops. Jetta was not very good for this class. She was WAY too excited about the lengthenings - she basically took off at a gallop for the second canter lengthening, then got sassy when I circled and asked her to come back down to a reasonable speed (judge's comment was "disobedient" = accurate). Her trot lengthenings were ok, but mostly just quick and on the forehand. We need to do a ton of work to be ready to put in an acceptable first level test.

The judge was, again, very generous and gave us a 64.25% which was much more than we deserved, but we placed out of the ribbons which was accurate.

Overall, not a bad way to kick of the show year!

Her favorite move - free walk

Trying to do a stretchy trot


I think our takeaways for the weekend were the same things we've been working on - get her off her forehand, get manageable lengthenings that are not just going faster, improve our stretchy trot and my equitation is awful and I really need to work on it!