Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Update

You may recall in January how I posted I was going to use some christmas money to buy some awesome aqua colored leather gloves. I was super excited to get them... well it only took 5 months but they finally arrived!

Seriously the worst experience I have ever had buying something. Ever. I cannot believe the poor customer service, but I'm just happy I finally got them!

They are actually a brand of golfing gloves, called GFore, not made for horses so I'm not sure how long they're going to last since they're not actually made for the demand of riding. But I'm still in love with them! They're kind of difficult to get - if you order them from a golfing store (NOT the equestrian store I went through), you have to find a left and a right glove and order them individually. Pretty much no store had both a left and a right, in a size small, in the aqua color. Hence why I impatiently waited 5 months for them to come from the place I ordered them.

I can't recommend them yet since I've only ridden in them twice and I'm kinda just waiting for them to unravel... but they are butter soft and the most beautiful and perfect color. I love them!

Perfect #rootd

In other news, just a PSA. I found this super cute Joules Welly boot bag for over half off and it seemed about the right size to fit my Dubarry boots, so I bought it... and they fit inside perfectly! It is the cutest bag with a nice wide opening, so if you ever find yourself wanting a cute boot bag for your Dubarry or Faux-berry's these are perfect!

In other news, Jetta is still very pregnant and I have baby fever. My roommates' horse just had her baby on Tuesday and she is PRECIOUS. I love her. I sure hope Jetta doesn't make me wait that long though... she was at 361 days pregnant. Holy smokes, I might die if she is pregnant for that long!

Hard to get a non-blurry picture of the little ginger

Baby belly!

Fresh out of the oven

And finally, I have still been riding Vante three days a week. He has been a little fireball the past three rides. I pulled him out on Friday and tacked him up. He was a little hyper, but nothing unusual. I got him to the arena and went to tighten the girth and he exploded and reared and tried to take off. So we went and got a lunge line and he had a grand time leaping and bucking and rearing and running around. I had never seen him so full of it! He was very good for our ride, especially being in front of my leg.

I ordered some cob-sized cheek pieces (it was super hard to find one with rounded buckles to match my bridle) that arrived last week and now my bridle fits him perfectly. So much better.

Monday and Tuesday I rode him and he was still a little fireball but not as bad. We lunged first and he was ok under saddle. Monday was incredibly windy and the entire barn rattled and he was quite on edge the whole time. Tuesday he just couldn't handle the distractions - one other horse being ridden and a person on the ground watering the arena. He wanted to stop and say hi to everyone! And the left lead canter was just non-existant. He wouldn't bend to the inside, he wouldn't give to the bit and just wanted to be a giraffe, and he didn't want to go at a normal speed, more of a hand-gallop. So that was a bit frustrating. Overall though, he's still learning very quickly and he's still fun!

Maybe we can get these neck muscles developed correctly one day!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

All the Sparkles

If you know me, then you know that I looooove sparkles. I love them. So when I ran across this brand of browband called Equiture on instagram, I fell in love. They are blindingly sparkly. And extremely well made. And they are not crazy expensive! It's a miracle.

I had been wanting a sparkly browband for my PS of Sweden bridle, but I didn't want to spend a $100 on a PS browband. Yeah, the quick disconnect for the browbands is cool, but not $110 cool. These browbands look almost identical to the PS browbands (without the quick-change part) and some of them are almost half the price. Plus they have a ton more options. I seriously have 3 more browbands on my want list right now. No, I do not have 3 more bridles to put them on, but you know... I can rotate them or something!

Like I said, blinding:


I recently bought a second one as a gift for a friend and it's just as beautiful as the one I got. I was going for something a bit more subtle than my iridescent AB crytals, so I went with montana blue and black diamonds - so basically it's navy and grey. I think it looks awesome.

While they do come from the UK, shipping is still very fast and affordable. Plus they come in a cute little bag with extra crystals should you lose a few. The price range varies - you can spend $100 if you want to, but most of the browbands are around $60. Not cheap, but not outrageous. They don't really do returns, but you can exchange them for a different size within 14 days if you need to.

I just really love these browbands and I haven't seen them around that much! Of course I feel like everyone has their favorite brand, but I just wanted to share mine!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weekly Update

It's been awhile and I'm excited to write about Vante!

He's such a fun little guy. I love working with baby horses cause they learn so fast and there's always such a huge difference in where you started and where you end up. Vante is such a sponge, he has soaked up a lot in a short period of time.

We have 5 rides so far under our belts and he's been great.

He's such a character!

He started out being pretty naughty - I guess one day he decided that the barrels that sit in the corner and never ever move were scary and he spooked pretty hard, slamming his owners foot into the wall and breaking it. Ouch.

The next time I rode, he was fine going to the right, but as soon as he saw the barrels to the left, he spooked and froze, refusing to go forward. I tapped him with the whip (I specifically rode with it for this reason!) and he reared and back pedaled across the arena. We worked on it a few minutes, with every time he threatened to rear, I turned his head and made him move his hind end around to get unstuck. Eventually we got back across the arena to the barrels and he sniffed them and took a break. After that, he was much better, though he still wanted to spook really hard, he held it together with just some counter-bending and trying to run his inside shoulder through my inside leg.

Finally confronting the scary barrels

The next ride had much less spooking and now he barely looks at them. We did try to ride outside one day to cool out since the weather has been so nice, but it didn't last very long. The horses in turnout started running when they saw him, and he grew several inches, arched neck, tail in the air, complete with snorting and prancing so I got off and walked him instead. Eventually we'll get there once we have better steering and listening skills :)

Such a different view with these ears!
A few of my favorite things - peach iced tea lemonade, sunshine, and horses!
Our last two rides have been absolutely fantastic though. He's picking up on taking contact. While he's still very inconsistent and he just doesn't understand why being a giraffe is not allowed, he's doing a lot better. While I haven't been insisting on it at the moment just because I'd rather have a forward horse who's steering appropriately, I've been having a steady light contact and he's really picking up on what it means. He's moving off my leg better, both laterally and in the forward direction, using the whip to reinforce it is helping a lot. Our circles and straight lines are more resembling what they should instead of odd jagged shapes.

While he does need to work on basically everything, our trot-canter transitions really need some help but once we start schooling them he does a lot better. He tends to die a lot in the downward transitions (but at least he stops well!), and I'd like our 20 meter circles to start resembling circles. He is going to have a hard time learning a free walk and stretchy trot, so we'll see how that goes. He's such an upright horse that stretching downward is so odd to him.

But I'm having such a blast with him!

And he's so handsome!

Jetta hasn't been forgotten, though I'm sure she wishes that she had been. She got a bath the other day, which she was very upset about, but it was very necessary. I've just been grooming her and lunging her, so she's been enjoying her pregnancy leave. Roughly 80ish days left!

In other news I got to go to my first derby party! It was super fun, I really enjoyed dressing up and making my fascinator and watching ponies.

My first mint julep aka adult snowcone

And my last kinda exciting piece of news... I did my first ever "surgery". Not real, just on a foam model, but it was really fun to go through all the steps of opening the different layers of skin, going through the linea alba, performing a bowel resection and anastamosis, then putting it all back together again. My sutures are getting better and better, though still not as "pretty" as I'd like them to be yet!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Borrowed Steeds

First off, I am absolutely green with jealousy for everyone going to Rolex! It seems like so many bloggers are going this year and I'm so sad I couldn't make it. A classmate and I discussed trying to make it "school-related" to get excused absences to go, but it's right in the prime midterm time and it would just be too much hassle to rearrange midterms and too much $$ :( So have fun for me everyone! Maybe one year I'll make it.

But I finally have (somewhat) exciting things to blog about!

A different view

I haven't been riding Jetta at all lately and I've been BORED. I need a pony to ride. So when a fellow boarder was at the barn (one of the 3 people I actually like!) I asked if she would be interested in having me ride her horse since I know she's been super busy lately with her new baby and working as a nurse. She said yes!

Meet Vante (rhymes with Monty). He's a 5 year old spanish breed cross (not exactly sure what breeds). He's the sweetest, most curious guy ever and I've been eyeballing him forever. I'm so glad I can ride him!

He's normally ridden western, but I'm using my own tack. He looks quite wonderful in dressage tack I think. My bridle is a touch big, he's got a small head compared to Jetta so I think I need to get some cob sized cheek pieces for my bridle so it'll fit better. I think I also need a black breastplate to go with because he's so narrow my saddle slid back a good 3 or 4 inches.

I had a lot of fun riding him. He's more green than I thought he was, but he's very honest and listens very well to voice ques. We just need to work on steering, getting him to move off my leg and giving to the bit. His default mode of travel is giraffe-style and while he's soft to the bit, he doesn't want to seek contact and is quite fussy with the bit, which I can't blame him since he's normally ridden in a double twisted wire.

He has the most uphill canter ever though and it was so fun to ride him! The goal is to ride 3 days a week since his owner usually rides him twice a week (though only lightly).

Much uphill, so giraffe
I'm excited (obviously).

And then I got to ride a second pony! PR, my fellow eventer vet school buddy, is taking care of some horses at her barn for people going to Rolex, so she asked if I'd want to ride her horse Bailey while she rode another horse to save time.

I rode last night and I get to ride again tonight - Bailey is amazing. She's a prelim level eventer who loves her job and she's impeccably trained. I had such a fun time riding her, though I think by the end she was a little annoyed with me bouncing around since I'm so unfit. Plus I just had too much fun playing with her adjustability and she was just like "pick a speed and stick with it!".

So it was a great horse-y day. I might even be able to ride Bailey this summer since PR is doing several internships out of state.

I'm glad I have some opportunities to ride and keep my sanity!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Apple a Day

I went to an equine dentistry dinner talk last Wednesday that I thoroughly enjoyed. The speaker is one of the veterinarians that have influenced modern equine dentistry. A lot of the tools that we have now are because of him and his practice is 90% dentistry. The university brings him in to help teach the 4th year equine dentistry class. Between 12 students, they will perform dentals on over 600 horses for the course.

It definitely got me excited about taking this class in a couple years! At this point I have a handful of dentals under my belt so I'm beginning to understand the basic technique for a healthy equine mouth and I can't wait to learn more.

Drunk Jetta after I did her teeth

The speaker, Dr. Greene, was thoroughly engaging and obviously excited to share what he knows. This was a client education presentation, so not as academic as I would have liked, but I really liked what his message was for the general horse owner.

Some general notes from points that stuck with me:
  • It's important to evaluate the horses mouth in it's natural position, but it is not necessary to perform your dental in a natural position once evaluated if you are proficient enough in how the horse's mouth works
  • The horse's mouth moves in an ovoid pattern when chewing
  • Unlike humans who have a layer of enamel over the whole of the crown of their (brachydont = short crown) teeth, horses have layers of enamel, dentin, cementum on their (hypsodont = long crown) teeth 
  • The cementum is what becomes discolored due to the natural pigments in forage, this is normal
  • Tartar can accumulate around the canine teeth (something I hadn't seen before!)
  • Something I've heard many times: you NEVER take away all the ridges on the occlusal surface of the teeth, horses need a rough surface for chewing. You level things out so the teeth are better able to move against each other and don't get hung up on each other
  • Dentals are necessary because horses are meant to be grazing course forage for 16-18 hours a day which most modern horses do not do, many horses also have poor mouth conformation, and are asked to carry a bit. The natural silica in plants is what helps wear down the teeth
  • The purpose of a dental is to ensure the horse has a comfortable chewing pattern in addition to make carrying a bit more comfortable - aka COMFORT is the primary goal
  • The horse's tongue occupies the entirety of the space in the mouth at rest. When putting a bit in the mouth, it flattens the tongue and can push it against sharp points on the lingual surface of the mandibular molars (inside bottom teeth). The cavesson can push the cheeks against the points on the buccal maxillary molars (top outside teeth). This is why it's important to remove sharp points
  • He puts a bit seat in EVERY horse that is going to be asked to carry a bit. The bit pulls the corners of the lips inwards which can push against the edge of the first molar. While there is no scientific evidence that this improves the horse's comfort, there is also no evidence that it is harmful. He believes that it is important to make every effort to make the horse comfortable
  • A bit seat entails taking off a millimeter or two of the leading edge of the first molar (not aggressive, not going to have any negative effect)
  • He uses motorized tools in all horses except geriatric horses that can't handle the sound or feel of a motorized tool
  • While hand tools are virtually impossible to take off too much tooth (unless you have incredible amounts of muscle) motorized tools have allowed us to not only treat so many more issues in horses that previously went untreated, but horses can also be done much quicker (= less sedation and stress needed) and with less mechanical stress on the veterinarian (in case you didn't know, being a large animal veterinarian is incredibly hard on your body)
  • While he thinks it's important for veterinarians to work with Equine Dental practitioners, they cannot legally practice on their own, they must be under supervision of a vet. While they may be very knowledgeable about the mouth of a horse, they are not knowledgeable in other areas, such as the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of anesthetics on the horse which can be very bad if you administer a drug that interacts with another drug that the horse is on or if you have a horse with liver or kidney problems
  • Additionally on the topic of equine dentists - since there is no governing body there is no certification program and thus no repercussions on a dentist for doing a bad job, whereas if your vet does a poor job you can report them to the board
  • He also mentioned a disease called Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis (EOTRH) which I'd never heard of and can happen relatively commonly in the PNW - they do not know what causes it yet and there is no treatment except for tooth extraction. It looks pretty crazy!

Overall, a great talk and I'm really looking forward to taking the Equine Dental 4th year elective!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Countdown Begins

The countdown has officially begun. I finally figured out how to make a little countdown widget on the homescreen of my cell phone. 110 days until her "official" due date! Meaning her 320 day milestone is only 90 days away! I can't wait to meet my little gold nugget.

In other random news, there was a small chance Jetta's baby could have been palomino or smoky black. Neither colors that I was really excited about, although overall I'd just like a healthy baby. I don't know what Mirabeau's color genetics are, besides the obvious that he's homozygous for the cream gene (CrCr), but he could be homozygous dominant or recessive, or heterozygous (AA, aa, or Aa) for agouti. Supposedly Mirabeau doesn't throw smoky blacks, so that would indicate that he's AA. However, I didn't know Jetta's color genes, and since I'm obsessed with how color genes work I decided to find out!

I caved and bought Jetta a(nother) pretty new saddle pad

I submitted a hair sample to be tested for agouti and red factor. She came back homozygous dominant for both (so AA and EE). This means that she cannot throw any other color but bay unless it has another modifier (cream gene, dun, gray, etc.). So no chestnut or black babies ever.

In case you aren't obsessed as much as me with color genes... There are three main horse color bases - red (chestnut), bay, and black. Black and red are the red factor gene, and black is dominant to chestnut. So if they are Ee (one black gene and one red, but homozygous recessive agouti) they will be black but have the ability to have a chestnut foal. If they have two dominant EE genes, they are homozygous black and cannot throw a chestnut. Homozygous red is ee.

Bay is carried by the agouti gene, but they have to have at one black gene (Ee or EE) and then have at least one agouti gene (Aa or AA) to be bay.

It's just interesting in case I ever decide to breed Jetta again... and now I know for sure that my little nugget is buckskin! Baby nugget's color genes will be Ee/AA/nCr so 100% buckskin!

More fun with color crosses can be had here:

Got Jetta a new salt lick... she's obsessed:

And finally, I'm still trying to decide on names for baby nugget. Any thoughts or ideas? The registered name is already set in stone, but I'm still torn about other names. I really like Midas if it's a colt, but I have no clue for a filly.

Registered name: Merely Gold (by Mirabeau out of Gold Jet Away)

Boy names: Midas, Milo

Girl names: Marigold, Mirabelle, Melody, Marilyn, Maisie, Mira (pronounced meer-uh), Macy, Margarita
 - Don't like: Molly, Milly, Mia, Misty, Missy

Any name ideas?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bad Horse Mom

Oops, I missed Jetta's birthday. For some reason I thought her birthday was today, the 7th instead of the 5th. I don't have her birthday memorized, even though I still have both Grady and Jazz's birth dates memorized... (Jazz's birthday is in 10 days, she would have been 28 this year).

Always a good excuse to share baby pictures!

2 year old baby Jetta when I bought her

More recent confo pic

At least I did go to the barn and gave her a good grooming. She's been so itchy lately with all the shedding. She will adjust her body to the exact spot she wants curried. It took me a bit to figure out why she kept backing up every time I worked my way backwards. Duh. Her favorite scritchy spots are over her last ribs so of course she was wanting me to work on those spots.

But I can't believe my baby is 11 years old! I have now owned her for almost 9 years now. Crazy. In honor of 11 years, here are my 11 favorite pictures of my monster pony!

Our first recognized HT, conquering the scary trakehner

Don't know why but I love this dorky angle with her

The first show where I felt like I had a trained horse, showing at first level and winning both our classes

First 3' jumper course we competed in

First 25 mile LD race!

Bad pony still does well at dressage... but this is the horse that once upon a time ran through the show grounds when a ribbon was placed on her bridle