Tuesday, July 21, 2015

20 at 20 Update

I turned 21 on July 16th - last Thursday.
Last year for my birthday, I put together a bucket list of 20 things that I wanted to do before I turned 21. In just one year, I didn't get to do all of them, but I did get a good portion completed. And it was lots of fun!  :D  Here's the updated/completed list.

1)  Make new friends.
2) Complete Level 3 Freestyle with Lady (solid).  FAIL. I didn't get to ride as much as I needed to.
3) Act on stage.  Not quite yet, but our show opens in 2 weeks, so close enough.
4) Laugh every day.  I did a million times better. :)
5) Write a third novel.  Kind of? I'm in the process of writing it now.
6) Pay for a drink for the person behind me at a drive-thru.  I didn't write down the date though.
7) Try out a new instrument.  FAIL.
8) Learn how to dance.  I don't do much out in public, but I can dance now!
9) Get my health back.  Not perfect, but well on the road to it.
10) Visit Europe.  February 11th, 2015 through March 25th, 2015 was spent abroad. 
11) Take riding/jumping lessons.  One in January 2015 and one in April 2015.
12) Eat vegetarian for 28 days.  June 2015
13) Have a party.  Christmas 2014.
14) Try a new language/learn basic phrases.  Very basic French and Italian.
15) Go see live horse racing.  November 22nd, 2014 at Zia Park and January 19th, 2015 at Oaklawn.
16) Go to the beach.  The Mediterranean Sea doesn't count, so FAIL.
17) Help/volunteer at a horse show/event.  FAIL.
18) Ride/work with as many horses as possible.  FAIL.
19) Start writing with 1-3 penpals.  FAIL.
20) Try a new art medium.  I played around with pen drawings.
So.... 13 out of 20 or around 65% complete?  Not bad!

I'll probably make up a 30 before 30 list soon too.  Except that I don't want to think about being 30 yet...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Back Home

I'm grinning so big right now, its funny.  I won't explain too much, I'll just give you this picture.

Yeah, y'all. I got to sit on my horse. *cue ecstatic grin and squeal*

Side note: No, I don't advocate riding shoe-less by any means at all. It was a super short ride and I only kicked my shoes off for while I was actually on her.

But guys, seriously... its been about 2ish months since I last rode a horse and as soon as I sat down in the saddle, I felt so at home. I knew I had missed riding, but I didn't realize how much I had missed it until I looking through her ears and picking up the reins again.
Now I'm going to crave it.

All we did was walk around for less than 10 minutes, test the gas/brakes/steering, and so on. She's gotten a bit pushy and has more energy from being cooped up, but she was mostly responsive, just a bit unfocused.

I'm pretty pleased about this. :D

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tips Needed

In the midst of the taking care of Lady drama and everything else that is going on....

My brain is trying to wrap around the fact that I will be moving in approximately 3 months...
I'll be moving across Texas so that I can go to Texas Tech and continue my education.  It's coming up fast and I'm diving headfirst (terrified though, believe me) into searching for housing arrangements.

And boarding barns for Lady, because the horse has to come along, obviously.  I've never ever boarded a horse before.... and although I have family in the area, I don't know anybody with horse experience or connections.

So, my question to everyone is.... have you moved to a totally new city with a horse before?  Did you know people, or how did you find places to board/lesson/vet/etc?

Huge step over here that I'm taking...

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Lady Update - In Picture

Because I'm terrible at taking pictures... here are a few I took yesterday, so that you can see what she is up to and how she looks. 

Note that I'm well aware of how bad she looks. If you haven't been keeping up, read HERE. She's fine.

She is the best at awkward pictures.

She eats a lot of hay.

Making more faces and frisking me for treats

This one shows how much she's dropped weight and condition. Makes me sad.  (Forgive me)

Night-time does not make for the nicest photos. Her eyes look totally normal, I promise. ;)

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Super-Official Health Plan Update

I've seriously started writing this post five times in the past week. Never could get into it or anything. Blech.

Anyways... Lady is doing better in some ways.

The Good:

  • She is sound about half the time.
  • She's putting on a little bit of weight. She's just ribby now, not so hollow.
  • Her attitude is amazing - she's a lot happier and much more perky.
  • She's interested in "work" again.

The Bad:
  • She's still coming out stiff and lame half the time.
  • That left front hoof continues to be sore. Can't figure it out.
  • She doesn't want to put on weight properly. Very odd for her.
  • She still can't go out on pasture like I would like her to.
  • She has almost no topline left and almost zero muscle in her hindquarters. :(
The Questionable:
  • She is drinking a lot of water.  A. Lot. Of. Water.  This is an Arabian who doesn't drink much.
  • She calls to her buddies. But when she's let out, she doesn't go see them over the fence and when she's with them, she doesn't stay with them. My horse is a social-bug! Weird.
  • Her feet look kind of funny shaped - even for her.

So things are kind of making me unsure about how to proceed. Since the silly horse is moving around of her own accord in her paddock and pasture, I feel like she's okay to be in some light exercise as long as she doesn't limp the whole time. With her whole topline being such a mess, it doesn't seem to be a good idea to ride her or stress her back though. 
Her laminitic issues plus the high water consumption and topline issues are making me think Cushings, but I'm trying to avoid that thought. 
The current lameness issue with her front foot could be an abscess trying to come out - or at least that is what I'm hoping. 

So what is the current/new plan?
  1. She stays on the grass restrictions - hay almost exclusively with 6 hours of pasture/socialization time maximum per day. It's usually 2-3 hours and some days none at all.
  2. Keep a hay as free-choice as possible. Keeps stress down for her and she's happier. :)  Also, two small grain feeds per day - if she doesn't gain weight on that, something's wrong.
  3. Lunge/exercise for at least 20 minutes 5 days a week, including some hill work. Hopefully she starts to put on a bit of muscle. This is the plan for the next two-three weeks.
  4. If none of these things cause improvement by the end of July, then the vet is going to run bloodwork and see what we can find. I would love to not have to do the tests, but if that's what it takes, then we'll do it.

It's definitely not fun having a horse that's NQR, but at least we have a plan and as long as she's happy, I can't get too depressed about it.

Anyone else have any experience with any of these issues? :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Goals - Quarter 2 Update

  1. Go to Europe for six weeks in February/March and have a safe, enjoyable trip. Come back with lots of great memories and experiences and ride at least one horse during that time. Completed in February/March.
  2. Write my second novel by finishing all the character development, plot structure and background work before actually writing. Possibly use Nanowrimo to complete the writing part. Have a completed first draft before Christmas 2015.  Quarter 2 update: starting to write with Camp Nanowrimo to help!  I've gotten so far already!
  3. Go back to school in Fall 2015, at TTU if all works out, and move out on my own. Move Lady to a barn nearby, find a decent job, and get settled into a new life.  I've applied to school and am working a lot in order to save money in time to move in October. Starting to look for barns and places to live too!
  4. Ride Lady 120 times. Keep track of this by recording every ride, its length, type of work, and good/bad thoughts. Add a page to this blog to keep this record.  Record page here.  I hit 20 rides in May. All the lameness issues have pushed riding aside for a while. This will still happen.
  5. Take the opportunity to ride horses of varied disciplines, ages, and levels with the goal of riding 12 different horses for at least 30 minutes each throughout the course of 2015.
  6. Take at least 10 riding lessons, preferably spread out throughout the year. Try to have at least several that are discipline-specific.  See Goal #4.  Same issue.
  7. Improve my lifestyle to be healthier by having a full food allergy/intolerance test done, exercising 4x per week, taking daily supplements again, and creating better sleep habits.  This has definitely improved a lot in the second quarter. 
  8. Become more balanced, organized, and stress-free by spending more time outdoors, keeping a daily journal, and utilizing Tech-Free Sundays. Say no more often.  Yup!  An on-going process though.
  9. Keep up with and improve on both my blogs. For this blog: post 5x weekly, host at least 3 guest interviews, and clean up categories and tags. For Katharine Marie: post 3x monthly, become more active on Facebook and Twitter, and start monetizing.  Getting there!
  10. Improve my riding ability so that I can ask for transitions properly, ride the canter and gallop, jump up to 2' with decent EQ, and see/feel/change diagonals well.  See above.
  11. Continue to work with Lady, especially in fitness so that she can gallop for 3 minutes/canter for 7 minutes. Work also in balance so that she can work in a 50/50 frame (not on the forehand) and not throw her shoulders in.  Again, see above.
  12. Work Lady through her trailer issues and prepare/go to an event (trail ride, parade, clinic, show) in the summer/fall.  Completed May 9th and 10th in Athens, TX.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It Never Ends...

I had an update planned for one of these days about how we've been working so hard to get Lady sound and how she was doing a ton better.

And then she got trimmed... aka more stress on the feet.

And she came up dead lame again.

So we're back to the beginning.

I'll update on the sweet girl soon. For right now, enjoy my view lately while spending time with her.

On the other hand, Comanche is getting better and better. He is SUCH a sweet boy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

HGBG: Everyday Tack Setup

Considering I haven't ridden in quite a while, this is kind of a funny blog hop to participate in, but here goes. I also don't have any fancy pictures, just what I can find.

Stephanie at Hand Gallop asks: It’s fun to try new stuff and experiment with the latest goodies, but I’m curious to know what your every day tack setup is like.

In general, this is how she looks.

When we ride, we go in a lovely Kieffer Aachen all-purpose saddle. It's a 1999 model that I bought used in December 2014 and I seriously love it. It fits me well and its a good shape for Lady's back - not perfect but the closest we've ever gotten.

I use whichever of my multiple saddle pads that I feel like using on any given day, but I just got bought a thick Roma pad that is going to be the go-to until we build back her topline.
I have no-name brand stirrups and stirrup leathers from the local tack shop - the stirrups are great and work fine, but I would love to have something a bit nicer and more fancy to help my position. The leathers need replaced, so I'm looking into that.

All of that is secured with my very very favorite TSF girth. I splurged last year and went for Total Saddle Fit as a last recourse to helping Lady's saddles not slide all over the place. It works like a gem. Unless I'm not careful about tacking up, the saddle stays put and I feel solid. Plus, it's pretty.

When I use a breastplate I have a no-name brand one again from the local tack shop. It's a very very nice heavy duty one though with great hardware and double leather. Stands up to almost everything I've thrown at it in the past 1.5 years.

I ride in a plain headstall that I bought locally and I don't use a noseband (as of right now). I got my reins off of an older Stateline bridle that was more broken in than the reins that came with the bridle. Nothing special there. In search of a plain cavesson noseband that fits Lady though.

I'm currently using a french-link full cheek with Lady, but we swap between that and a plain loose-ring snaffle. Depends on what I feel we need to work on.

WW: Collecting Tack

My collection of equipment that is assigned specifically to Lady.