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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Whole Lot of Nothing

Sorry for all the silence around here, but I don't really have many fun things to post about! Spring break has come and gone and I'm back to classes. I'm excited for this term because we start to get to the "real" classes. Not just the foundational things like Physiology, Histology, and Anatomy, but things like Principles of Anesthesia and Surgery. This term is packed with classes, 7 in total - Toxicology, Ethics, General Medicine, Epidemiology, and a case-based small learning group called VIPS, in addition to the two mentioned before, whereas last term we had a grand total of 4 classes. It'll be interesting!

I've decided to start tapering off Jetta's riding. We're a few days over the 220 day mark.... We are T-minus 100 or so days to meeting my little nugget! Her belly is definitely present, although not huge. Interestingly enough she looks at about the same stage as my roommate's mare who is about a month or so out from foaling and she usually carries her foal without getting a huge belly.

I have been riding a bit, but mostly toodling around bareback or without a clear riding plan in mind. I'm so bummed to be missing out on having a horse to train and show. All my favorite shows are popping up and I don't have anything to ride! Especially since now is the prime riding season with the weather starting to occasionally be nice, not too cold or hot yet! I took Jetta for a trail ride over the weekend as a last hurrah before school began. I definitely plan to continue trail rides to keep Jetta from getting too bored, but they'll definitely be more "strolls through the forest" than anything else.

My cute trail pony

I also decided to take more pictures of her and so I made her a flower crown. Cause spring. And these are her maternity pictures. And she's a princess. And just cause it's so ridiculous and I love it so much.

I didn't get the pictures I quite wanted so I'm going to do it again on an overcast day since the light was so harsh. I want to do them in the outdoor arena, but I can't let her loose (I edited out her lead rope in one of the pictures below) because someone broke the gate post and since no one will admit to it and fix it, the barn owner isn't going to fix it either and it's just going to sit there and be broken apparently. Sigh. So I'm going to ghetto-rig the gate to make it so that she can't get out and then I'll set her loose for pictures!

But I did get a couple cute ones:

A confo pic just cause

My favorite

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wahl KM10 Clipper Reveiw

This post has been sitting for a while, but I never got around to finishing it... since it's finals week and I'm procrastinating, I finally got around to it!

I've finally been able to really test out these clippers that I've had for the past year+ so I thought it was time to do a review!

I got these clippers the Christmas before last after my very trusty Laube Speed Feed clippers died. I loved these very small, quiet clippers, but the motor was starting to have a hard time cutting anything and I was tired of buying replacement blades (since you couldn't get the blades sharpened) and the batteries no longer held much of a charge.

I decided that I wanted clippers with a cord so I didn't need to deal with batteries anymore, plus standard blades so I could get the blades sharpened. I needed something quiet and not too hefty, that would do face and leg trimming regularly, plus a body clip once or twice a year.

Initially I was planning on the Lister Star clippers but once I held them in person I realized that they were just way too big for me.

The Wahl KM10's had just recently come out and I got to see them in person at a trade show. They were the perfect size and quiet. I researched it a lot and at the time couldn't find a ton of reviews, but they sounded pretty neat - a brushless motor that would supposedly last a lot longer than regular motors, in addition to making said motor run quieter and cooler.

Perfect size

It has a nice long cord - 14 feet which was great because of the barn's oddly placed outlets. Our outlets are at the ceiling basically, since the one outlet by the crossties in the tack room no longer works. And it has a 5 year warranty which is pretty awesome! It doesn't hurt that they come in turquoise either!

Basically, I love this clipper. It is very quiet (though not as quiet as my Laube clippers). It's extremely light weight which I love and small for my small hands. It did awesome with Jetta's body clip. While it did get hot, I would oil it every 10 minutes and let it rest for a few seconds and it cooled down quickly and I could get right back to work.

Besides the body clip, I've used it about once a month to trim Jetta's bridle path and chin whiskers, in addition to roaching her mane every couple of months. It does a great job, especially with Jetta's super thick mane - it buzzes through just like butter!

Makes quick work of that mane

I've been storing it at home since it was at the barn for the last few months and started to get a small amount of rust, which I do for most of my things since the barn is just so ridiculously damp. But I forsee these clippers having a long productive life!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunny days

This weather has been super fun. Monday it snowed 3 inches and then on Friday it was sunny and 63 degrees! I can't complain about sunshine! But now it's back to rain.

But I'm super glad I got to enjoy both nice days, one on Friday and one on Sunday. On Friday I was just about to pull into the parking lot at work when I got the phone call from a coworker saying that the power was out at work so I should just not bother coming in since we weren't going to be able to do anything. You don't have to tell me twice! I happily headed to the barn and played with Jetta in the outdoor arena.

We just lunged and then I toodled around bareback but it put me in such a great mood. And it made it so that I went to the barn 5 days in a row and rode 4 of them! Craziness.

So shiny
Jetta got Saturday off and then Sunday was another gorgeous day (plus Daylights Savings!) so I went to the barn in the evening and lunged first. Jetta was being pretty chill so I was thinking about just ditching the lunging and hopping on when she pulled a huge sliding stop, spin and bolt spook. Apparently someone took their horses' blanket off and hung it up on the stall and that's what she was spooking at (after passing it approximately 10 times already). So terrifying. She was a bit of a powder keg after that. Not bad per se, but she wasn't listening to my half halts super well. Also, the BO was gardening outside and we had to keep a keen eye on that because you can apparently never trust people digging in the dirt several hundred feet away. Dork of a horse.

But at least she looks cute in her new outfit

But it was so nice to leave the barn after 7 and still have it be light out. I love it! Can't wait for summer to hurry up and get here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Four Years

Yesterday was the four year anniversary that I lost Grady, my first horse, and the absolute love of my life. I can't believe it's already been four years already, it doesn't feel like it's been that long and I still miss him like it was yesterday. He was certainly the greatest horse I have ever owned and likely will ever own.

Sorry for the downer post, but it popped up on my Facebook and made me really sad. I've been thinking about him a lot lately and that Facebook memory confirmed why.

In happier news, I've made it to the barn three days in a row which is a minor miracle. And not only did I go three days in a row, but I rode two of them! You know I haven't ridden in a long time when I was sore after the first ride...

Proof I actually sat on my horse!

Jetta was pretty bracey and strong on Tuesday. She was getting pretty frustrating, but we added a bunch of walk-trot-walk transitions and some serpentines in and she started getting softer and lighter in the front end so we ended the ride on a good note.

Today was much better. I went at the worst possible time when almost every single person at the barn who actually rides was there. Two people riding, one person leading their horse in the arena, another who was just finishing her rides and then me lunging. Plus feeding time. A little bit of a mad house. Jetta was actually very good. She is notoriously spooky when it's feeding time with the BM throwing food down from the loft, to the point that the BM sometimes goes and does something else if I'm riding when she goes to feed. But Jetta held it together super well. I lunged her really quick since we were cramped for space and I wanted to get on as quickly as possible without running anyone over.

She was much lighter and much less braced. We did a lot of shoulders-in and I tried my hardest to push her forward whenever she got braced, as hard as that is for me. You'd think I'd been riding this horse for 7 years, I would have figured out how to ride her forward even with out hot she is, but it's still hard!

Hopefully the good streak will continue! The weather has been crazy - we got almost 3 inches of snow at my house on Monday morning. It quickly melted luckily and now it's just been raining non-stop, which looks like the forecast for the next couple of weeks. I wish it would be dry enough for a trail ride!

No more snow please. Thanks.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pet Peeves

Wow, I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last posted but I really have nothing exciting to write about!

It's been midterm central here and the last midterm was finally Monday. Freedom! Kind of. I don't have any tests for a whole two weeks, I just have a mountain of homework to do instead.

Lots of boring lunging pics
Anyways, Jetta has been slightly neglected. I think I've only ridden her once since my last post where I went on a trail ride. Spoiler alert: she was awful. But that's what I get for letting her sit for 5 days and then deciding to hop on for an arena ride. So we've been lunging a lot until I can string together a coupe days where I can lunge one day and ride the next so she won't be so awful.


She got a pedicure the other day and the farrier hasn't been out since November. She commented that Jetta's belly is definitely getting big, which is hard for me to see. I keep thinking it's getting bigger but then I compare older pictures and she kinda looks the same.

Little preggo belly!
But when I lunged her yesterday I could definitely tell she's got the preggo belly. She's almost at 200 days! I've just been a giant ball of nerves about it. I love Facebook's memories and today this picture popped up with the comment "I want a foal!" four years ago when I saw a foal being born for the first time. And now it's finally going to be a reality!

In reference to the title, otherwise nothing is too exciting besides barn drama. Jetta almost ran over a small child the other night who was running around in the arena while his mom was riding, he ran directly through the circle Jetta was lunging on, spooking her so she took off galloping, almost colliding with child and mom. So that was fun. Funny how common sense doesn't really seem to be that common. If I had ever done that at that age, I would have gotten not only yelled at, but I would have probably been put in time out or not been able to come to the barn again. Mom said not a word to the child who then proceeded to go outside and throw rocks.

Not going to talk too much about the other barn drama until I leave, but I am so OVER IT. I've been an ideal boarder at this barn for over 3 years and there's many things I like about it, but the bad things have just all the sudden started to add up. I really don't want to leave because there are so many good things about this barn and I've actually been pretty happy there and it's super cheap, plus we live in such a tough area for finding a good barn, especially one that ticks all the boxes I want in a barn without being astronomically expensive. So we will see what happens...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Playing Hooky

I decided to skip work yesterday since it was absolutely beautiful out - the sun was shining and it was a whole 52 degrees! The great thing about work is they don't care when I come in, so a quick text to say that my plans had changed and I'll work on Thursday instead and I was free!

I still can't believe we're a month and a half into the new year and I still haven't hit the trails. We were wayyyyy overdue. I don't think Jetta's ever been so excited for a trail ride. Once I started putting on her hoofboots in the crossties she knew exactly what the plan was and she started impatiently bobbing her head (her version of pawing).

We got to the trails in record time. Jetta's front hoofboots twisted off during the trailer ride. She's due for a hoof trim right now so the front boots don't fit right. I really just need to sell them and get another pair. They never really fit right. But since she's due for a trim and since I was just planning on just walking we decided to do it barefoot. Winter is so wet and Jetta loves standing out in the rain which makes for soft feet, but with that little bit of extra hoof wall she wasn't tender at all on the gravel.

She was so excited to get on the trail. At this trailhead there's a wide bridge that you have to cross first and usually she stops and snorts at it (you know, just to make sure you realize that if she wanted to, she COULD refuse to cross it if she felt like it). But today there was no pause at all and she did her excited speed walk over the bridge, almost slipping a bit on the damp wood because she was cruising so fast!

We had a great ride. I let her trot a bit on a flat spot before getting to the hill. She really wanted to power up the hill but she is definitely not fit enough for that and I didn't want to overdo it so I made her walk. If she could have grumbled about it she would have. We kept the ride short and only went for an hour, doing barely over 3 miles. But it was perfect. I really hope we get to go on the trails more. Especially once Jetta starts getting more of a big belly my plan is to just go on trail walks and mosey along just to keep her brain engaged and keep her a little bit in shape.

Earlier, over the weekend, I went over the mountains to a two-day mare reproduction conference. Holy cow did it make me nervous for all the things that can go wrong! I might type up some of my notes and post them, but we'll see how much time I have this week. It was a TON of really great information but I am going to be an absolute basket case. Jetta is officially over half way through her pregnancy and tomorrow she hits the 180 day mark. Baby nugget is about the size of a beagle now!