From Endurance to Dressage
Are You Kidding Me?
I am a Pollyanna, glass half full, make lemonade, and see the silver lining kind of girl. Usually. Right now, Universe, I am OVER. IT.
When I went out to check on Speedy last night, hopeful that he was looking perky and ready to get back to work, I noticed that both front legs were filled and his stride was pretty wonky.
He looked good on the foot that had just abscessed; it was the other one that he didn't want to bear weight on. Even so, I gave the first foot a thorough exam, poking and prodding as I watched for a pain reaction. Nothing. On the other hand, I got a solid Hey! That hurts!!! as I pressed deeply within the creases of the frog on the other hoof.
I packed his hoof with Numotizine as I rolled my eyes. Repeatedly. It is what it is, but really, Universe, I could use a break. What with three abscesses, two horses, and one sad girl, you'd think it was beginning to look a lot like the "Twelve Days of Christmas." I don't need four of anything unless I also get five glorious days (of weather combined with healthy horses).
Happy first day of Christmas vacation (starting at 1:00) to me!!!!!!!
Another Trailer Repair
I love having my own trailer. It's liberating. I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want. The only problem with having your own truck and trailer is that they occasionally break or need repairs. Less than three years ago, we replaced all three of the roof vents over the living quarters portion of my horse trailer.
A week or two ago, I saw this on the ground, and I knew it hadn't blown in like Mary Poppins. I glanced up to the roof of my trailer and saw the rest of it dangling uselessly.
I assumed we had to replace the whole unit agin. As it happens, roof vents are a weak spot on a trailer's roof as they get baked by the California sun. Turns out you can replace just the cover without having to install the whole unit (which involves a lot more work). I called up my favorite RV center, Pensingers RV Parts and Service, where they sold me exactly what I needed - these are guaranteed to be unbreakable, and then they gave me 10% off my purchase because they're just nice that way.
Replacing just the vent lid is a very easy do-it-yourself job. I give it 1 hammer out of 5 on the degree of difficulty. All you need are some screw drivers and a pair of pliers.
From the inside, you need to remove the decorative casing, then the screen, and finally the handle. These are all simply screwed in. Next, remove the handle mechanism from the cross bar by unscrewing each end. You can see it dangling in the lower middle portion of the above photo.
From the roof, you can now manually raise the bar that lifts the vent up and down. With a little jiggling, the vent will then slide off the hinge. Replace the new vent by first sliding it onto the hinge bar - pinch each end tightly with pliers so that it doesn't back slide off. Place the "lifting arm" - I really don't know what that piece is called, into the round slot of the vent lid's track. Go back inside and reattach the handle mechanism. Replace the screen, the handle itself, and the outside housing, and you're done.
Of course, once we got on the roof to get a good look at the vent, we discovered that another vent lid was also broken, and the third one was in equally bad shape.
The heavy duty vent lids cost $33.73, so replacing all of them with the sturdier plastic will run about $100. I know what we're going to be doing this weekend.
It's tough when you have to manage not only your wheels but your roof as well. And guess what? Blue Truck isn't feeling too well after all. We're in the midst of scheduling an appointment.
'Tis the season ... for vehicle repairs?!
A Change in Feed
The whole time I've owned horses, more than 30 years, I've always subscribed to the Keep It Simple, Stupid, or KISS method. Most supplements have always struck me as a great way to make expensive poop. You wouldn't know it by looking at Izzy's daily bucket.
Over the past few weeks, I've actually added some supplements to his already pretty complicated diet. It's frustrating and expensive, and I am working hard to whittle it back down to a simpler feeding routine.
His hay ration consists of twice daily armloads of high quality grass shipped in from Oregon. He also gets a bit of alfalfa to keep him happy. For now, his daily bucket includes:
I am just not seeing the results from the Platinum Performance that I was hoping to see. Not that I was looking for anything specific, but I had hoped for a better attitude and fewer reasons to call out the chiropractor. For the past month, both he and Speedy have been on a half serving. I just started my last bucket which should last them another two months. After that, no more Platinum Performance.
The Platinum Hoof Support should last another few weeks and that will be the end of that supplement. I never planned on giving it forever anyway. The plan was to give it for 3 - 4 months to help him grow some hoof. That has happened, so I am done with that one as well.
The SmartGI is a new normal. My vet recommended it, so it's an everyday addition for at least a year. Next fall, I'll reevaluate and see if we need a change. Of course, if things go haywire before then, I can always make a change sooner than later.
I have another few days of GastroGuard to administer, and then we'll be done with that one. I have seen a big change in Izzy's attitude though, so I may give the GastroGard when he leaves the property for something stressful or gets a dewormer.
I finally got to a point where feeding this horse has become more complicated and expensive than feeding myself. And all of it is just to "support" his health. Since I am not seeing concrete results, it leads me to believe that I may simply be creating expensive poop.
No one likes healthy poop more than me, but expensive poop is going too far. Bye-bye expensive bucket, hello less-expensive bucket!
How to Pack an Abscess
Hopefully your horse will never have another one. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of owning a horse with a painful pimple in his hoof, here's one way to help him through it.
First up, invest in a boatload of duct tape. Yes, the guy in the paint department will look at you strangely. At least the guy at Home Depot did as I carted an armload of the gray stuff back to the register. If I had bought zip ties at the same time, he no doubt would have called in the FBI. The thing is, if you buy only one roll, you're asking for a lengthy abscess. If you purchase way more than you'll ever need, your horse will never abscess again.
You probably have most of this stuff already, but if you don't, it's all good bandaging material to have on hand as it can be used for a lot of different types of bandaging jobs. I keep a good supply of this stuff on hand at all times, especially the Vetwrap.
If the abscess is still stuck somewhere in the hoof, you'll need some kind of poultice like Numotizine or Ichthammol to draw out the abscess. Once it's blown, the hole that it creates can lead directly into the hoof, so you'll need to clean and protect it until the tissue has epithelized. This bandage is for after the abscess has blown. If the abscess hasn't blown substitute the flushing and gauze pads with Numotizine.
The first step is to clean the entire hoof with water and a Betadine solution. If the hole is at the coronary band, you probably won't be able to irrigate it, but if it's in the hoof itself, it's important to flush it out so that a new piece of foreign material doesn't get stuck as the tissue is trying to epthelize.
To irrigate the hole, create a dilution of Betadine with water. The percentage of water to Betadine doesn't really matter. Just get it looking like tea, and squirt it in. I do at least three full syringes. You want to make sure to flush until nothing but your solution comes out. The first day I did this, the solution actually oozed out from a small "blow out" hole in Speedy's heel bulb, just above the large drainage hole. By the second wrapping, that hole had closed up.
Once the abscess's drainage hole has been thoroughly flushed of foreign material and any pus, pack the hoof with gauze pads that have been soaked in Betadine. The Betadine serves as an antiseptic and provides antibacterial activity. It will also "dry out" the abscess.
Once the gauze pads are in place, wrap the entire hoof with some kind of cotton padding. I like the Webril cotton rolls because they have a waffle texture which gives more cushion than just brown gauze rolls might. It's also easier to handle than cotton sheets used for large bandages. But really, use whatever you have on hand.
The next step is to wrap the entire hoof in Vetwrap. The Vetwrap's job is to keep the bandaging material firmly in place. For some bandaging jobs there's a risk of getting the Vetwrap too tight or even too loose if it's a pressure bandage. For covering the hoof, just wrap it without worrying. You want it tight enough to keep it from slipping around, so wrap with sure, firm, layers.
The last step is to protect the bandage from mud and dirt. If you have a boot, you can use that instead of duct tape. To make the job a bit easier, peel off 3 - 5 strips of duct tape that are about 10 inches in length. I stuck mine to the bucket I was using to hold all of my materials. Once you have your tape strips ready to go, start laying them from toe to heel to create the bottom of the wrap. From there, keep applying layers around the hoof and across the bottom until every bit of Vetwrap is covered. Press it all tightly, and you're done!
For all bandaging jobs, I like to rewrap every other day. If you're interested in doing a pressure bandage, check out this post or this one.
And I guess a thank you goes out to Speedy G for providing this learning opportunity. I appreciate the effort, dude, but I think I've got the bandaging thing down. No more experience needed!
If you haven't been invited to a barn party this year, throw one. There is nothing more stress-relieving than hanging out with a bunch of like-minded, horse crazy folks eating too much food and laughing at stories that the rest of the would find world find boring.
On Friday night, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, opened her beautiful home to all of her students and friends for her annual Team Symphony Christmas bash. Chemaine had students from all over Kern County show up, and it's a big county. That lady really gets around!
Team Symphony's party was like a lot of others. We brought more food than anyone could possibly eat, and I mean that. Somehow the two food tables, yes, TWO, kept getting refilled. It was like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. One thing about horse people is that we love to chow down almost as much as we love seeing our horses dive in.
Like most barn Christmas parties, we all brought horsey-themed gifts to swap and steal. At the end of the night, I ended up with not one, but two new ornaments! One I "stole," and the other came from Chemaine. She had hand painted each student's horse on an ornament. Mine had both of my horses depicted!
Part of the evening's festivities included a fun game of "Reassemble This Bridle." I laughed because not long ago I wrote a post about cleaning three bridles and getting confused when I started putting them back together. Chemaine paired me up with my friend Wendy, an amazing barrel racer who also rides dressage. Not to change the subject, but here's Wendy on Bloo.
Since Wendy and I were up first, Chemaine gave us a moment to strategize. Not wanting to be responsible for the crown piece and brow band - I look like a retarded monkey when I try to figure out those pieces and that's in the privacy of my own tack room, I told Wendy to do that part while I tackled the reins and bit. We end up winning with a time of 1:16. Take that, retarded monkey!
Like all good things, the evening eventually came to an end but not before everyone handed out lots of hugs and well wishes. It was a Christmas party after all, and the spirit of good will was definitely felt as everyone wished each other's horses good health, top scores, and success in the coming year.
Thank you for having us, Chemaine. I am so looking forward to 2019!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: