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: http://www.animalgenetics.us/Equine/CCalculator1.asp

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


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