Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter & April Fool's Day! Chrome Ride 152

I couldn't pass up the chance to ride today since it was the first time in sixty years that Easter and April Fool's Day landed on the same day (I do still have a goal to ride on every holiday hehe).  This is supposed to happen again in eleven years if I remember right, but why wait that long? 

Sorry I only got one picture, it was starting to rain so I just snapped a quick one and got on with my ride.  I rode bareback, only for fifteen minutes.  I wanted to see if he felt sore from the ride yesterday.  He started out a bit stiff, but worked out of it quickly (we only walked with two very short trots).  I worked on some backing up and I could hear and feel him dragging his right hind leg back instead of picking it up.  That makes sense because that's the side his stifle is weaker on.  I'll get back into his stifle exercises during the week when I feed since it only take a few minutes in hand to get him strengthened back up for riding.

He felt really good and was happy to mess around in the yard again. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and April Fool's Day!!!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chrome Ride 151

Finally!  A weekend without rain! It was a gorgeous day and I was so excited to get back in the saddle.  Chrome seemed happy to be doing something different too.  I actually forgot to get his sugar cube until he started trying to grab the bit out of the air!  I completely forgot about the training we did with taking the bit.  So I ran inside, grabbed a piece of sugar and then held the bit up for him.  He took it without hesitation and I gave him his sugar.  So funny that he remembered and I didn't.

I spent a bunch of time grooming him.  There was snowy fur flying everywhere.  He is shedding like crazy.  He enjoyed the full grooming immensely.

 This is a view I missed!

It's funny because the days leading up to this weekend I was actually nervous.  It had been over a year since I had last been on Chrome and I was worried he would be stupid or I would just suck at riding or something.  Once I had him groomed, tacked and I got on I wasn't nervous at all!

We goofed around in the yard for thirty minutes.  I had him do several short trots and even a few canters, just to see if he could still do it and to see if his canter scared me again.  None of it did at all.  Even when he ducked his head and felt like he wanted to crowhop the first time.  I corrected him and he didn't try it again.  He was very eager to canter and we had fun.  I haven't felt that carefree cantering him probably ever.  It felt so effortless and easy.  His stifles gave out a couple of times and he was doing the whole slow walk away from the house and fast walk toward it, but overall he was great.  We also worked on some backing and learning how to yield his hindquarters from the saddle without a ground cue (needs work lol).

He sweated a little, but never even got his heart rate up.  I was worried I could hurt him even though that makes no sense.  I was relieved to see him galloping around and bucking in the pasture when I turned him loose later (I trimmed and soaked his hooves after the ride).  He was so wound up and obviously felt good.

He was a total butt during his hoof soaks (but fine during the trim that we did beforehand) and I think it's because hubby left and he couldn't see where he was, but he could hear him feeding the goats.  He was such a brat that I didn't feed him when I put him back in the pasture.  I can't stand when horses act up in anticipation of food.  It put a damper on my mood after such a fabulous ride, but I'm not going to let it get to me.  He was just feeling good and being a turd.

It was a wonderful ride to get back into things and I can't wait to ride again.  Also I really want to thank you all for your comments on my last post. I don't know why weekend warriors have such a negative association in my area, but you're all right.  If I'm smart about it and take things slow, he will be totally fine.  So thank you all so much.  Also thank you for sticking around.  I know I've been very absent.  I appreciate my loyal friends.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Weekend Warrior?

Hey guys! 

I wanted to give you an update on the hay net and ask you a question (if anyone even still reads my blog since I'm so absent).  The hay net is doing great.  I can't tell for sure if it's actually slowing them down at all, but it definitely helps with boredom and prevents a lot of waste.  Rocky also seems to chase Chrome off less because he's distracted with pulling hay through the net instead of being a brat.

Now, my question.  What do you guys think of weekend warriors?  Growing up I was always told it's really bad to only ride your horses on the weekends.  Of course the people they were talking about were people that would take horses who've sat all week in the pasture and then ride them ten miles with no prior conditioning, so that is definitely bad and I know that.

What I need to know is if it's done right (start with short rides, gradually build distance and duration, proper warm ups and cool downs, etc.) is it still a bad idea?  Is it even possible to build a horse's fitness level if you only ride once or twice on the weekends?  I have to always keep his locking stifles in mind and I'm terrified of having another tendon injury (although I have no idea what caused the previous one.... probably him being overweight, but his weight is really good now that we have the hay net).  I can't longe him because circles are bad for his stifles and our ground is really messed up right now from all the rain and flooding.

The reason I'm asking is because I work anywhere from 7:30-8:00am to 6:00-7:00pm every weekday.  I have to do chores after work, then take a shower and eat supper.  By then it's late.  We rarely get inside or eat supper before 8pm.  I also have to keep a very strict sleeping schedule or I have insomnia, so I can't just stay up late a couple of nights a week.  I barely fit in all of the chores I need to do after work, so fitting in a ride is almost impossible.  Now that the time has changed, if the weather is decent, I could probably just throw on a  helmet and a bridle and toodle around the house for fifteen minutes but really it seems pointless because we can't really do anything productive and walking circles in the yard by myself gets really boring, especially in the dark.

So what are your thoughts?  I was looking back through my blog and realized it's been over a year since I've ridden my horse.  I've only ridden him 16 times in the last two years since I started working at this extremely stressful, fast paced, mentally exhausting job.  I have time to ride on the weekends (when the weather is okay), but I keep talking myself out of it because I don't want to be a weekend warrior. 

So if you work full time and/or a lot of overtime, do you ride only on the weekends?  Is being a weekend warrior as bad as a lot of people make it sound?  I miss riding and I know Chrome needs the exercise for his stifles, but I'm terrified of hurting him. 

I'll stop rambling.  Please share your thoughts!  I would really appreciate any advice.  Also because I know someone will mention it, having someone half lease him or come over to exercise him when I'm at work is not an option.  Thanks in advance!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Round Bale Slow Feed Hay Net

The slow feed hay net finally arrived!!  It's only been a few days, but so far I think this thing is going to be worth the money.  The horses figured out how to use it in a single night.  I was very impressed.  When they eat from it, it really is just like grazing.  Here is a short video showing them eating from it.  Sorry for the horrid quality... stupid cell phones...

Here are some more pictures.

This next one looks like my hubby has a horse head lol.

He was tightening the net because I wasn't able to tie it completely closed when we first put it on (I'm a wimp).  It's going to be so much easier to put on when the tractor is fixed and we can put it on while it's in the air.

The reason Rocky has so much hay in his mouth in the second picture is because hubby pulled some out and gave it to him.

Here is a further out picture so you can see the net.  It looks like they've eaten a ton of hay in a short period of time, but it's just because they pulled on it so it fell down on the sides making it look wide and flat.  I'm curious to see how long a bale lasts with the net.

Look at how filthy my horse still is.  I'm glad for the rain because we've been in a bit of a drought (we were under a burn ban) but I'm so tired of the mud....

Anyway I'll update more after we've fed a bale or two out of it.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gross Gray!!

It rained so now I get to enjoy the disgusting side of having a gray horse hehe.  When you see his right side he doesn't look that bad.... all things considered.... then he turned around.....

Ew! Just ew!

He's still so cute though lol.  He actually looks really good when not fat....

 Just had to share my gross boy.  I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rocky and Led Zeppelin

I just wanted to share a few pictures of Rocky and Zep too, so you guys don't think they are ignored.

Rocky giving his classic side eye while I photograph his icky coat.  They sure love winter mud lol.

 Zeppy is so cute.

He's still as feral as ever.  I'm beginning to think the only way I'll be able to tame him is if I trap him in a stall.... maybe when we finish building the barn I can try it.  I just don't 100% trust him because he has kicked and threatened to bite before.  Hopefully if trucks and tractors will stop breaking and if animals will stop needing vets maybe I can get him gelded finally.  That should help.  I know someone who had a twenty something year old jack that they gelded and it completely changed his personality, even though he had been breeding for years.  Zep has never been bred so maybe the change will be even more drastic.  We shall see. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Two Horse Tack - Buckle Nose Halter Review

Doesn't look bad for four days post colic...

I have two things to say before we get started in this post. First I'm sorry my horse is filthy and for the low light crappy cell phone pictures.  I'll get better pictures eventually (if it stops raining).  Second, I LOVE this halter!!  I have one other halter from Two Horse Tack (see post here, but it turned into Rocky's halter, so I'm so excited to have another one for Chrome in blue!!

I was contacted by Two Horse Tack (click here for their website) asking if I wanted to test out and review their buckle nose halter (click here for the direct link to this halter).  Of course I said yes because I love the other halter so much.  In case there are people who haven't heard of Two Horse Tack I'll explain a little about their products.  They use beta biothane which is an alternative to leather.  It's stronger, more durable, easier to clean and more comfortable than leather or nylon and it doesn't fade or crack.  You can read more about it here (click here for link). In my experience all of their claims are true.  I honestly will probably never go back to leather.  I'm not going to get rid of the leather and nylon halters I have now, but if they need replaced I'll likely go with biothane tack from here on out. 

Now on to pictures and more specific information on this particular halter.

 Eating clover in January, just days after a snow, gotta love the South!

I LOVE how adjustable this halter is!  It has the buckle on the nose obviously, but it also has the throatlatch clip and buckles on both sides of the crownpiece. It is the most adjustable halter I've ever used.  I was pleasantly surprised that it has the throatlatch clip because that is a required feature in all of my halters.  I love it.  I also love the double clips on the crown because it makes it so much easier to fit it to the horse.  I've never used a nose buckle halter before (with the buckle on top), but I can tell I'm going to be a fan.  It makes bridling so much easier because you just unbuckle the nose and let it drop, then put the bridle on and the horse is never loose.  You don't have to unbuckle the halter, drop it off the nose and buckle it around the neck again.  It makes me wish I had cross ties because this would make it so much simpler to tack up in cross ties.

You can see how many ways there are to adjust it in this picture. My other halter (blog post linked at the beginning of this post) has an adjustable nose, but the buckle is on the underside which I love for making it fit Chrome's smaller nose, but it is still awkward for bridling.  I definitely think I'm going to prefer the nose buckle being on top.  I can't wait to try it out some more.  I'll update again when I have better pictures.

 Munching on his beet pulp.

I didn't know exactly what I was getting, so I was a little surprised how narrow the straps are, but I think they look really good on Chrome!  It looks less clunky than the other one and doesn't drown his face.  I really like it!  Obviously you have a choice on which size to get, so if you don't like narrow they have the thicker straps too.  I love how many options they provide.

 He found the hay bale in the truck hehe.

Chrome should totally be a model!  I'll definitely have to get better pictures on a less dreary day.

I had to share this picture.... classic example of why you have to pay attention to the background when taking pictures... it looks like he's eating Coral's head!

Here is an example of the nose piece unbuckled.  It can easily be slid back on the neck and then you are free to put the bridle on with no interference.  I love that!  Anyway I'll update again when I have better pictures.  If you've been on the fence about getting something from Two Horse Tack I vote go for it.  I'm a huge fan of the biothane and I've always had good experiences with them and they've always shipped very fast (keep in mind if you order something custom it's going to take longer to ship than something like this that they already had on hand).  Feel free to share your experiences below. 

Friday, January 26, 2018


I took these photos on the 14th to show you how filthy my little piggy boy is... little did I know two days later I would come home to a colicking horse.  I guess I jinxed myself with the "boys are good" post.  I won't scare you guys, he is fine now, but it was very scary when it was happening.

So on the 16th when I got home from work Chrome was out in the front yard (he eats his ration balancer and beet pulp outside of the pasture so Rocky can't run him off) and he was goofing off, running around and being a dork.  I parked my car and took my stuff inside, then came back outside to find Chrome standing in the driveway, frozen like a statue with his head down (he wasn't staring at something, he was staring off into space).

I thought that was really weird, but I put a halter on him and put him back in the pasture.  Rocky still had some beet pulp left, but Chrome didn't show any interest in it at all.  He also wasn't showing any interest in me, which is weird because normally he's a pest.  That set off alarm bells.  I went back inside and brought a peppermint out.  He pricked an ear at the sound of the wrapper and I started to breathe again, but then he wouldn't eat it, even when I stuck it in his mouth.

At that point I was in full on panic, even though he was just standing there.  Hubby thought I was overreacting up until Chrome wouldn't eat the peppermint, then he agreed that something was wrong.  My first thought was colic so I told hubby I was staying out there until Chrome pooped.

No sooner was that out of my mouth then Chrome walked to the barn and pooped (yes, inside, they are brats and intentionally walk to the barn to poop).  Again I was breathing a sigh of relief when he turned around and laid down right next to me.  Again, alarm bells went off.  He NEVER just randomly lays down next to me.  Then he started pinning his ears and jerking his head back, then he would look at his stomach.  At that point I knew it was colic. 

I called my vet and left a message, then I called my trainer at the dressage barn where I used to work a decade ago.  I explained the situation and she agreed that it was colic.  She said I could come get some benamine from her, but said that I shouldn't give him any until I talk to a vet, because it's only helpful in certain circumstances.  I told her who my vet was and that I had left a message.  She said my vet is notoriously difficult to get a hold of (which is true in my experience), so she gave me her vet's number.  I immediately called him and left another message.

At that point I started crying.  I was freaking out because I was terrified I wouldn't be able to get a vet out and the engine just went out in our truck recently so I didn't have a way to haul him to an emergency vet.  I was going to go get the benamine, but we'd just had the first snow of the year which had turned to ice and the roads were scary.

Finally my trainer's vet called me back.  He was on his way to a different emergency and told me he would be there, but it would be two hours.  I broke down at that point.  He apologized, but said that it sounded mild and as long as Chrome was resting quietly and not trying to roll to just stay with him and keep him calm.  If he started rolling I would have to walk him.  He also said to go ahead and give the benamine.  I hung up and told my hubby what was happening (he had gone inside to warm up, it was so cold it was painful that night... in the single digits if I remember correctly... the coldest it's been in years). 

Just as I was trying to figure out how I was going to go get benamine from my trainer (the reason I didn't have any is because mine expired and I threw it away and then forgot to replace it... don't let that happen to you!!), when the vet called back and said the other person canceled and he was on his way.  He said to hold off on the benamine and he would be there in forty minutes.

A picture to break up the wall of text.  So I ran inside, pulled some sweats over my jeans, added a couple of layer on top, an extra pair of socks and some gloves.  Then I ran up the driveway to open the gate and then went out to the barn to wait with my horse.  He had turned around and laid down facing the other direction.  Rocky had probably disturbed him.  I was having to chase Rocky and Zep away.  I cried while I stood watching my horse.  While waiting he actually dozed off!!  He had his nose on the ground and his ear was doing that twitching thing it does when they sleep.

I was shocked because I had never heard of a horse falling asleep during colic.  I calmed down a little thinking it must not be too severe if he was able to sleep.  When the vet texted to say how close he was and asked for a bucket of warm water I ran inside to tell hubby (my phone was almost dead and I didn't want it to die since that was the only number the vet had).  Then the vet pulled up and I asked him if he wanted to drive out to the barn or if he wanted me to bring Chrome to him.  He asked me to bring Chrome out of the pasture if he would get up since there was snow and ice everywhere and Rocky was being a brat.

I went out to the pasture to get Chrome and he was up.... eating hay!  I was shocked, but also scared because if he had an impaction, eating could make it worse.  I took him to the vet.  The vet took his vitals.  His heart rate was 36 beats per minute, he had gut sounds present in all four quadrants, but slightly decreased in upper right GI quadrant, his mucus membranes were pink and moist, his capillary refill time was under two seconds and his respiratory rate was 12 breaths per minute.  If you think I have some super brain and remembered all of this in the midst of panicking, you're wrong lol.  This vet emailed me all of this information after he left!!  I love this vet.  I've never had a vet provide so much information. 

So he gave Chrome benamine, lightly sedated him and tubed him water, oil and electrolytes.  It probably wasn't necessary since the colic was so mild, but I told him to do whatever he needed to do and that I didn't want to take any risks.  He told me that he has a horse that used to do this several times a winter whenever it would get really cold because he was free feeding off of a round bale, so he stopped feeding round bales.  He said it's because they stand and gorge themselves to stay warm and don't bother to go drink.  So we immediately ordered a round bale slow feed hay net because we don't have the means to feed square bales. The net will slow them down so that they can still eat all day, but they can't overeat.  I've heard really great things about them.  I'll give an update on that when I can.

So I put a blanket on Chrome and separated him from Rocky and Zep.  I'm going to start blanketing him when it gets below 20F (pretty rare in this area) just so he doesn't have to work so hard to stay warm and hopefully won't feel the need to gorge himself.  He doesn't shiver at that temperature, but the vet said it definitely can't hurt him.  I left him overnight with no food and plenty of water.  I was up off and on during the night checking on him, but he was fine.  He didn't drink, but the vet said that was normal after getting tubed all the water and electrolytes.  In the morning there were eight poop piles and his pesky personality was back, so the vet said to give him beet pulp every three hours and watch how he handled it (the vet quickly answered all of my texts even the next day).  So I called in sick to work so I could stay home with Chrome.

I fed him the beet pulp and he did great, so that afternoon I was able to start easing him back into eating hay.  He continued to poop so the next day we put him with Rocky and Zep.  While waiting for the hay net we've been feeding them hay two or three times a day.  I'm not using square bales.  We opened up a round roll outside of the pasture and I peel off the hay, put it into the wagon and haul it out to them.  I've been putting it in multiple piles around the pasture so they move around between them.  I looked up how much hay they are supposed to eat in pounds a day and then weighed the hay to see how much I needed to feed them, so they are only getting what they should be getting.  So far, so good.  Everyone seems to be doing well, even though they are angry about not having hay 24/7.  I just hope they don't develop ulcers.... they will be okay once the net gets here....

 Dirty boy was watching hubby dump water into their heated water tank.

Chrome has lost some weight since these pictures were taken, but he actually looks really good!! I forgot what he looked like when he isn't overweight.  So the net will help with that too.  They really do eat way too much with free access to a round bale.

 He covered both sides evenly lol.  My gray horse is brown again!

So as you can imagine I am ecstatic that he has recovered and is still doing well.  I know you guys will understand what it was like when I was waiting for him because you love horses as much as I do, but it was terrifying.  I kept telling myself if he died I would never get another horse because I couldn't go through that again.  I'm very thankful it didn't go that way.

Anyway, I have a more fun update for tomorrow.  Sorry updates have been so sporadic.  Things have just been so hectic this winter.  I hope all of you are doing well and that all of your horses are safe and healthy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Boys are good!

 Does he look good in black and white?

Chrome watches me while I play with the goats.  I swear he's jealous!  I've still been bad about posting.  I'm sorry!  The new year hasn't started off great as far as my job has been concerned.  I don't want to go into details on here, but it's nothing earth shattering.  Just short tempers and I've been stressed with trying to avoid the flu that is circulating in the office. *shudder*  I don't know how I'm going to avoid it.  :\

Enough of that though.  The boys are doing great and that's what is important to me.  I just wanted to share a few pictures and I wanted to apologize for continuing to be so absent.

Bad lightning, but he looks good.  He's actually not fat!  I mean obviously he isn't fit or anything, but he's not a blimp either.  Winter is so kind to him lol.  It's so weird to have a horse that thrives in the winter and is so miserable in the summer.  I'm actually dreading the summer because of his sweet itch.... it used to be my favorite season.

You haven't seen this adorable face in a while!!!

Zep is doing well.  He's finally stopped trying to kill the goats (did I forget to mention that?), so that's a relief.  I was worried we would have to rehome him since we don't have a place to keep him that is separated from the goats.... but we figured out a safe feeding situation that avoids conflict.  We are also going to get him gelded, but HUGE truck repair expenses put a delay on our plans... sigh.  I'm so glad he's being nice though because I was in tears when we were considering having to find him a new home!  We've had him almost nine years and I can't imagine parting with him.

 I got a picture of Rocky without his face in a hay bale!  Welcome to the light of day piggie lol.  He's doing well too.  Sorry the lighting is awful.  I took these pictures last weekend at the wrong time of day.  I don't have a lot of choices though.  I never see daylight on work days and on weekends it's too cold outside during the nice lighting times.

I have to wash his tail again ick.  Chrome likes to beg at the dutch doors for handfuls of hay because obviously the goat hay is better than his hay (actually I think it's simply because it comes from my hand like a treat). *eye roll*

Well that's all for now.  Hopefully I can get some new pictures this weekend, but don't hold your breath for me getting them posted any time soon.  I had to work most of the day today and only having one day off a week puts me way behind on things like... laundry!  :(  I hope you all are doing well.  I miss you guys!!