Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Royal and Coco Go To The Doctor

I'm still recovering (I hope) from the Plague, albeit infuriatingly slowly. I even lost my voice for a few days. It didn't get to this point,

 But it was close.

Obviously I haven't done much with Royal lately, due to feeling like death warmed over. But last Saturday, he and Coco pony went to the vet to get their teeth done. Mother Nature was feeling particularly grumpy and sent us a snowstorm of light, fluffy snow the day before, which caused me to get stuck in the driveway and it took me and my sister two hours to get my car out.

The next day, we got Royal and Coco all loaded up without a problem and down the office 2-3 miles away (So convenient, I love it!). I had warned the vet ahead of time that Royal has a history of being able to hold his liquor well. He's always been the equivalent of the skinny guy who can drink all the big burly bikers under the table. He seemed a little antsy at first, but Coco handled the whole thing with his usual aplomb and Royal (thankfully) followed his lead. Coco went first, and he had a case of Old Horse Mouth. Dr. K thought he was about 30, and he's starting to lose his teeth. One even fell out during the procedure. He also had a wave, a couple hooks and sharp points, which was surprising to us. He didn't seem to have any problems eating or keeping weight on until the cold snap, so we didn't think he had any issues. Dr. K worked her magic, and while he still doesn't have the greatest mouth, he should have a lot less trouble now.

Next it was Royal's turn.

"I'll just make myself invisible."

First we had to get some photos for his Coggins and then we decided to try the normal amount of sedation, as he's stood around so well for Coco's. And whadda know, 1 cc of dorm and 2cc's of Ace and he was in LaLa Land. That has never happened. Ever. He's always had double to start with and frequently needed more, just to get him to the point where he seemed safe to work on. Nope, not this time. We theorized that it was probably because of the environment. At the old barn, everyone had their teeth 'n sheath done on the same day, which meant that horse were going in and out and here and there and whinnying and carrying on, and it was always tenuously controlled chaos. Here, it was just him and Coco (who was snoring for quite a while) in a completely non-changing environment. So, nothing to get upset about, and by the time the power tools were busted out, he was too out of it to care.

His mouth was relatively good. He had some points, a slight wave, and a small hook in the back, but otherwise looked fine. He got a little bothered when Dr. K worked on his premolars, but his only reaction was to raise his head and lean back a bit. Other than that, no issues.

Seriously. I've never seen him like this. He was so sleepy that the vet cleaned his sheath in the stocks, and has still a little unsteady afterwards. I even had to walk him around the clinic driveway to get him awake enough to travel home. We got home safely... and the rig got stuck in the snow by the driveway. The thing about fluffy snow that when it packs, it packs hard and slippery and offers no traction. So after much effort, where there was an SUV hooked up to the back of the trailer trying to pull it and the truck out of the fluff, we got the rig out, but the trailer ended up having to stay on the side of the driveway for the night. It got moved the next day back to it's usually spot where it will stay until winter leaves and take its snow with it.

After their adventure, Royal and Coco seem a lot better, especially Coco. Now we know we'll have to watch him like a hawk for any weight loss or eating issues, but he's doing pretty well for an old guy. Royal still dribbles his grain a bit, but not as much. I haven't tried a bit at all, but it'll be interesting to see if he feels different.

I still can't get over how sleepy he got. Environment is huge with these sensitive horses.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Notes From The Infirmary

I'd like to say the recent lack of posts was due to many awesome adventures in places that are not cold and being crushed beneath mounds of snow. But in reality, I've been sick with the flu and now the Cold From Hell.

It all started last Thursday, when I got the fevers and muscle aches. In some ways, it was good that I have no beau or paramour as I would have been all

Needless to say, I haven't done much with Royal lately. It's also been pretty cold lately, so that also puts a damper on any plans. But we had some nice rides, and lots of undemanding time.

Still, I will be very happy when I can breathe properly again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We Are So Not Going To Sochi

At least not in ice skating.

This past week was interesting. It's been snowing on and off all week, so I (foolishly) hoped that the snow would provide a nice cover for the glare ice and give us a nice space to ride. And I was sort of right. Tuesday we rode in the front, and Royal was full of beans. He held it together pretty well at the walk as we steadily tramped out a "trail/rail" about the size of a small dressage arena, but as soon as we started to trot, I could feel his life come up and I just let him canter. He was light on his feet and balanced as we scooted around, and still held on to his brain pretty well. We cantered for a while before he dropped back down to the trot, snorting and sighing. Same thing the other way, only he didn't canter as long. He seemed pretty happy for the opportunity to boogie.

Thursday was a different story. I decided to try riding down to the Demonic Barn again, and at first he did very well. There was a truck that seemed very lost as it went up and down the road veeeeeeeeeery ssssssllllllloooooooooowwwwwwwllllllllyyyyyyyyy. Royal is fine with vehicles as long as they behave like normal vehicles, either going normal speed or stopped. The truck creeping past us 3 or 4 times was not normal, and he started to get a bit worried. He snorted a bit at the Demonic Barn and the Sheep of Death, but otherwise behaved himself. However, it was very cold and windy and by the time we got home, Royal was both very cold and cranky and spooky. There was something going on in the neighbor's yard that he did NOT approve of, and he wasn't very interested in eating. I wondered he still had some ticklish feet.

Friday I resolved help him get all his excess energy out. I played with him OnLine, and he was a bit more cautious than usual. I tried playing with him out in the back, but there was still too much ice, so we moved up to the front. The Bloks I had set up in a Weave pattern were still frozen into place, so I ask Royal to do a figure-8 around two of them. It was going fine, until both of Royal hind legs slid out the right in a spectacular fashion and he landed on his butt. He popped right back up and didn't seem any worse for wear, but the session pretty much ended there, apart from asking him to trot around so I could see if he was limping. He wasn't, but I gave him a couple of grams of bute just to be sure.

Yesterday, I rode again and he seemed okay, if stiff. I let him walk for a long time until I could feel him loosen up and start swinging through his back. Trotting also helped quite a bit, but when I asked him to stretch, he was crooked to the left when we went either direction. I just played the Game of Contact and slowly took the contact on the left until he took it. It took some repetition, but by the end, he stretched down evenly on both reins. But this confirms my suspicion that he's due for a chiropractic adjustment. It'll probably have to wait until March or April after he gets his teeth done, but I figured his hips were troubling him this winter when he started resting his right hind a lot. I'll have to get some names from the vet, but we'll get Royal all fixed up.

Monday, February 4, 2013

This Will Probably Be Interpretted As An Anti-Helmet Post

"Self," I said to myself, "it's been a while since we've written a helmet rant, hasn't it?"

Self considered this and agreed. "It has been a while. Why is that?"

"Well, we've been busy. And we haven't felt like it."

"Do we feel like it now?" ask Self.

"I suppose so." I said.


So Lendon Gray posted this on her Facebook page:
and then there is the official Parelli opinion on helmets:"Personally speaking we feel very uncomfortable wearing helmets because it affects our balance and perceptiveness." In listing the "torture" equipment seen in stallion sheds, "equipped with chains, whips, hobbles, helmets and flak jackets." And from a letter posted onlinefrom[sic] the Parelli team, "The reason you do not see our people wearing helmets is because we try to teach people that rather than be brave because they are wearing a helmet to protect them, they would be better off not riding until their horse is behaving safely.
People have called us brave for not wearing helmets, but we say they are a lot braver than we are. We would not get on their horse until we had addressed the issues that cause it to behave in unsafe ways." And no comment that I have seen at least after Linda Parelli was knocked unconscious when her own horse fell on her.
HOWEVER you can buy an extra special Parelli helmet cover from their website, for those of you brave enough to ride your unsafe horses.
I struggle with how to respond to this. I could start out by pointing out that in no place in any of the quotes above does it say that helmets are bad. Or that people shouldn't wear them. Or that people who wear helmets are bad rider solely because they wear helmets. I could point out that it merely says that they would prefer that helmets not be the first defense, so to speak, in terms of protecting yourself from injury. That your helmet won't save you from everything. That if your horse seems to think there are ninjas hiding in the corner, it may be best to not ride that day. I could point out that there are a number of Parelli Professionals who wear helmets regularly and have not had their star ranking pulled or downgraded. I could point out that I have ridden with multiple Parelli Professionals, while wearing a helmet, and nary an anti-helmet comment was said. I could point out that people have taken lessons from Pat or Linda Parelli, while wearing a helmet, and everything was fine. Copacetic. Peachy keen even.
I could point that that, until recently, you did not have to wear a helmet in pure dressage or the dressage phase of USEF recognized eventing competitions. That you still do not have wear helmets in any dressage competition at the FEI levels. I could point out that it took until 2006 for approved helmets to be mandatory for showing over fences. I could point out that you don't have to wear a helmet in pretty much any breed or western discipline if you are over 18. I could also point out that nobody has (to my knowledge) accused the USEF or FEI of being anti-helmet.
I could point out that being anti-helmet and anti-mandatory-helmet are two completely separate positions. I could point out that not being a helmet evangelist does not necessarily mean one is anti-helmet. I could point out that it is possible to be committed to wearing a helmet and still not think that helmets should be made mandatory (I myself happen to hold both positions). I could point out that nobody, least of all the Parellis, has advocated banning helmets from competition. I could point out that nobody, least of all the Parellis, has advocated banning the sale of helmets. I could point out that everyone is free to wear a helmet whenever they want (even in competitions where they are not required (because those still exist (how anti-helmet!))), and no one, least of all the Parellis, has said that they should not be free to do so. I could point that there is a fundamental difference between "I don't think X should be compulsory" and "I think X is a bad thing and anyone who does X is a bad person."
 Or I could simply post some pictures of Linda Parelli in a helmet.

From Linda Parelli - Fan Page

From Linda Parelli - Fan Page

From Linda Parelli - Fan Page

From Linda Parelli - Fan Page
I know! How anti-helmet! Won't someone think of the children?