Friday, July 31, 2009

Super Pony - Gone

I found out a few weeks ago that the eventing pony, Theodore O'Conner, had died. Upon learning that he was gone, I had no clue what had happened to him - I figured sudden colic, twisted gut; they couldn't save him. Then I dug a little and found out that he had died after a freak accident in Karen and David O'Conner's barn here in Virginia. (BTW, the O'Conner name connection is just a coincidence. Karen didn't own Teddy. But what a cute coincidence!) Apparently, Teddy got loose from a handler outside the barn, was spooked, and ran back in. He slipped, fell, and had a collision with something that cut one of his hind legs so severely that tendons and ligaments were severed beyond repair. Apparently there was a vet there at the moment whom examined him, then a second vet was consulted, and the decision was made to euthanize him. The leg was destroyed.
Teddy was only 14.1 hands, and a powerhouse of a pony! According to what I have read, he was the first pony to compete in the Rolex Kentucky (2007.) Watching some videos of him with Karen I confess I teared up. He was absolutely amazing. Who knows, if he had lived, he may have been the first pony to compete in the Olympics........
It is unbelievable that this little guy competed in so many events with hazardous obstacles, but was killed in a freak accident at home, in his barn?! Who would think?
I can understand it, however. My barn has a smooth concrete center isle, and those "Equine Classic" stalls with the iron frames and board slats for walls. One time last winter, during a cold, drizzly rain, one of my horses, Applejacks (who passed away in February of this year) burst through the gate and rain into the barn. As she turned into her stall, her feet slipped out from under her and she slid into the stall door frame, hitting her head on one side and her legs on the other. She hit her head so hard, she was dazed for about 10 minutes and couldn't get up. Luckily, it turned out better for Applejacks than for Teddy. If I could change my barn, I would, for this reason, have a rougher finish on the concrete for better traction. It is even worse for shod horses, and they slip all the time.
There will more than likely never be another pony on international competition caliber for a long while, if ever. Teddy was truly one of a kind, and now a legend as well.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Products, continued.....

Just as I thought, I would forget a few very great things I love in my tack room: Corona ointment, and Thrush Buster!! Also pictured are some of the things I mentioned earlier.
I love Corona Ointment for skin problems, itchies, creeping crud, dry areas, hooves.... I even use it in the latest healing stages of cuts, as I think it helps the skin repair itself better.
Thrush buster is the bomb - literally. It kills thrush really fast. For thrush I also like Koppertox; except the smell gives me a terrible headache. I bought some of the less stinky Absorbine Thrush Remedy, and it is only so-so. But definitely less stinky, for sure. I had a mare in my lesson program several years ago that had suffered chronic founder. My farrier and I got it under control, but for some reason, after that, she always seemed to have thrush. Nothing worked. Then I read some place about a guy using cattle mastitis antibiotics to zap it. So I got a tube of "Today" and "Tomorrow" cattle mastitis meds and gooped it into her hooves. Killed it slam dead in a matter of a couple applications. So if you have problems with chronic thrush, that not even Thrush Buster kills, try cattle mastitis antibiotics! Most of the products here seem to be Farnam.... interesting.
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Products That Make My Barn Go "Round

There are just some things that I cannot do without, and some brands I am extremely partial to when it comes to my horses.

Purina Feeds. Especially Omeline 300 and Strategy Pellets.

Saxon Blankets. These blankets are not the "cheapy" ones, and they're not the super expensive ones, like Rambo. Mine hold up very well, and are very well made. They are a great blanket for a very reasonable price. In fact, I can't believe they're so cheap. I love my Saxon blankets and sheets.

Ariat Boots. I bought my first pair when I was 17 and love them. I lost one of my paddock boots during my last barn move, and I have to buy another pair, soon. They are more expensive than other boots, but your feet will thank you. And if you take care of them, they are an excellent investment.

Hay Nets. These keep the horse's hay contained, giving me less stall mess and less hay wastage.

Bolt Snaps. All my lead lines have bolt snaps. Preferably brass, too.

Repel-X. Flyspray concentrate. One $30 quart makes like 2 gallons. At the tack store, a gallon is like $100.

Lazer-Sheen. Another concentrate I love. Great in tails.

Vertrolin. Great as a liniment or a "brace". I also put it in the horse's bath water when they're suffering from bug bites and other itchies. I love the way it smells, too.

Swat. Clear. It is the only thing that keeps flys off eyes, ears, boo boos, etc.

Old-Fashion Glycerin Saddle Soap. I love the way it makes my tack feel.

Farnam flymasks; the ones with the double Velcro closures; and not ears. My horses hate the ears.

For western riding, a good pair of waxed barrel racing reins. Once the wax stops being sticky, they're soft and pliable, and aren't split so you don't have to worry about dropping them.

Fuzzy girth covers for my tender skinned Thoroughbreds.

Fillis Irons.

Big Horn western Saddles. We have one that has a leather seat and jockeys, and "fake" rear jockeys and fenders. I LOVE that saddle for western riding.


Bull snaps, synthetic tack, colored tack (I'm with George Morris on this), flavored bits? -come on -; Quest Dewormer (My vet advises against it), hackamores, and those Oster grooming brushes; and questionable "training" devices. A running martingale is about all I will do for "training devices."

I am probably leaving something out, that I will pick up out there later and go DUH!! Why did I forget that one??! What do you swear by in your barn?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brownies AND Cupcakes!!!

Last night we had a 4-H club meeting at my barn, and we discussed the upcoming pool party and the food we would bring.
I'd get the pizzas; Abi volunteered chips. Regina would bring drinks and ice; Libby mentioned brownies, and Summer said she'd ask her Mom to make cupcakes. Jane, who was keeping notes in the absence of the Secretary, paused there.

Jane: Wait a second! We can't have brownies and cupcakes!!!
Me: (Chocolaty visions dancing in my head): Oh, yes we can so have brownies and cupcakes, Jane!!!

Horray for brownies! Horray for cupcakes!

My sister, Naomi - my best riding buddy in the whole world, came over to ride Jett this week.

Lookin' cute.......

Lookin' "sprightly"......
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Party Horses

Somebody must have dumped a whole vial of "blond" in my well; because the past two days I have really amazed myself with a consistent "blond" theme to my horsekeeping......
So yesterday, my Sister Naomi came over to ride. I couldn't ride with her, as I had 4-H kids at the barn to do their weekly horse activity for the club. She saddled Jett and rode in the arena; shutting the paddock gate and opening up the pasture gate for access to the arena.
She left, the kids left, and I took my daily jog and a quick swim in the pool before locking up for the night.
This morning, as I turned the corner to go to the barn for AM chores, I saw Gunny standing in the vegetable garden! "GUNNY! What are you doing in there?!" I shrieked. He just looked at me and moseyed on over to where I opened the gate for him to get to the barn.
And all of the other horses, too - they came in single file from the yard around the pool. It seems as though there was a mix-up with the gate closings yesterday when I opened a paddock gate to let the horses into the pasture, the access gate in the corner that my sister used was left open.
I got everyone into their respective stalls and paddocks, and surveyed the damage at the pool - manure everywhere, floaties in the flower beds, chairs and tables knocked over, hoof prints and dirt all over the concrete around the pool..... it looked like a crazy party had taken place all night long!
This afternoon, after work, I pulled up to the barn, walked in, and saw Jett's stall door wide open...... and no Jett in it or around the barn. This is like your front door wide open and your three year old kid missing. "JETT!" I yelled....... just then I saw his huge butt sticking out from the feed room door. That I left open. Yeah. Bright. He had wrecked the barn totally.... strewn a bale of hay all about, pooped in the tack room, played in the grooming brushes, as well as eating all the feed in the feed room. Luckily, it is feed-buying day, and there was only about four lbs. of feed, and a few lbs. of alfalfa cubes. Every last morsel was cleaned up and the containers licked clean as a whistle. How relieved I was that there was hardly anything in there. If it had been the end of the week instead, there would have been 150 lbs of feed and no telling what else; including a hefty vet bill for a stomach tubing. Whew.
I cleaned up everything; including the mess from the horse's pool party last night; and confessed to Kevin, who lectured me about keeping doors shut; feed room doors especially. He's right.
Hopefully this scare will prevent me from doing anything so thoughtless for a few months at least.
Don't cross your fingers......................

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jazzin' it Up

I turned Jazz out for the first time a few days ago - and it became obvious that she'd never been turned out a day in her life. Now, I don't know that for a fact; all I know is, she flipped out and I was afraid of what she would do to herself.
First, she looked around and bolted - running meaninglessly all around the paddock. When she encountered the fence, she pulled up short, nearly smashing head-first into the boards. Then she thought she could try climbing over the fence; to go where, I don't know.
Then she decided to try kicking at the fence, which can shatter it (and her, too).
By this time she had been out maybe ten minutes and was drenched, lathered, and you could see veins under every inch of her skin. She was breathing too hard, as if she were hyperventilating, wild-eyed, and confused.
I decided I had better step in before she injured herself, so I grabbed a lead line and stepped into the paddock. She ran up to me, begging to go back to her stall.
First we hosed her off with cool water and then we stalled her, and she settled down.
I've never had one freak out about turnout like this. But then, Gunny and Major had each other, and she is "all alone."
Of course, she has us, but we're strangers to her.
So we're taking her for walks, and giving her about 5-10 minutes of supervised turnout. She is eating better than my others did at this stage; she nibbles her high-fat feed throughout the day, nibbles her hay, and nibbles the grass. For a couple of weeks, at first, my geldings ate hardly anything. That was scary.
The trainer told us he doesn't feed his race horses baled hay; only hay cubes or chopped hays. So making the switch is a big harry deal. So I got her some alfalfa cubes and I soak them in water, and she eats that too.
She seems to be a little better every day, with a few minutes more each day of paddock time.
She can't stand to be alone in the barn, either, so when I turnout the geldings for the night, one of my mares, Princess, has to come in and babysit Jazz for the night. Princess has quite an attitude about this, and doesn't care two cents about Jazz, only her boyfriend, Jett! Mares..................
The geldings don't seem to think she is such a big deal. I turned Major out in to an adjoining paddock, but had to walk him over to sniff her. He sniffed her, and then turned around and walked away, as if to say, "yeah, so?" Jett did give
her a warning nip and squeal. Jazz met Gunny in the barn (see above) and he just had a sniff for her, too. Then he just laid his ears back a little.
Maybe that is what is making her nuts in the paddock; being virtually ignored. Maybe she's just looking for attention from the others, and mad because they wouldn't give it! Hah!
Nevertheless, we know she'll settle in and be just fine.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

The most Beautiful thing I have ever seen, ever

My friend Jane emailed these to me. I think they are, literally, up there with the most gorgeous pictures I have ever seen.

The newborn foal is cute, of course, but the mare is equally cute and sweet.

I love the raw adoration and love displayed in natre like this....

....they bring tears to my eyes, and it makes me want another foal!!
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Meet Our New Little Lady!!

Whew! What a day! We're all home, safe and sound..............................
Let me start at the beginning:
Last weekend we got a call from our friend the contact at a race track in Philadelphia, PA. where we got our other three OTTTB geldings. They had three horses needing homes ASAP. These calls always come unexpectedly; you never know when they'll be getting rid of horses. First I said no, we couldn't take them but I would check with some other people I knew who might.
One of Kevin's friends from work said he'd take one, and we decided to take the risk and assume one ourselves; a mare. The third horse, a stud colt, was out of the deal as the trainer and his wife decided to keep him for personal use.We left out of here last night at 12:30 am with out four horse stock trailer and Kevin's friend Mike's four-door dually. Our trucks, while they are heavy duty pulling trucks, only have one seat in them; and four of us went up.
We got to Philadelphia Park Race Track about 10 am this morning, after we took a little detour into New Jersey after missing our exit....... tee hee.
They loaded the horses for us and we were off South!
We had one little mishap when the brakes on the left side of the trailer locked and smoke billowed out all over the place.............. luckily Kevin had had the good sense to load a spare tire, heavy duty jack, and tools. They worked on it with the horses still loaded...... it is a heavy enough jack that it handled the trailer and horses. Once they fixed it, we were off again home. The rest of the trip was smooth, the horses traveled well; and we got home around 8:30 tonight.
Kevin unloaded our mare, "Princess of Jazz", and introduced her to some of her new surroundings while I took photos. The white stuff on her legs is a mud poultice; dried into a plaster-like crust on her legs. It comes right off with a gentle rub.
She was a little bit wigged out, of course, but once in her new stall with her oat hay and nice fresh water, and the lights off and the radio on, she calmed a bit. Tomorrow will be her first official day as an x-racehorse and the beginning of the rest of her life as a "horse" horse!
She is a lovely little mare with an excellent lineage. I say "little mare", but she is almost 16 hands I guess, but "littler" than the guys.
The last photo is of one of the trainer's stable barns at the track, where all of out OTTTBs are from.
More on "Jazz" later! I am headed for a nice hot shower and a comfy bed!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Riding in the drizzleing rain......

Kevin and I rode the guys on Sunday in the misty drizzle..... but it was so cool out, we had to take advantage of it.
Kevin took these photos as we were headed back in from a little arena work and a little trail ride in the pasture.....

Isn't Major just as cute as can be? And is it me or is he looking a little toed-out? Or, is it just the way he's standing on the uneven ground.....hummm. Will have to look more closely. Every time I look at photos of myself on horseback, I get annoyed with my short chubby legs. Oh, how I long to be the tall, lanky, long-legged rider I am in my dreams........ or maybe I will just start running, as a few of my friends are doing, and my legs will suddenly become the lean mean things I've never had. It is pretty pathetic when you share stirrup lengths with your thirteen year old students, people. Yeah. That's me.

And that's all. There isn't any more....... :)
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Can I have a Pony?

I found this when I was visiting Red and Cavort at Whinny Hill Farm last week.
He stands maybe three feet tall at the whithers. He came over to see who I was at the fence.

Pretty soon, mama joined him to see if I had any goodies. I didn't.

But that's ok, because apparently my fingers smelled pretty good.

So I came home and asked my husband if I could have a pony.
He just looked at me like I was insane; as if I don't have enough "ponies" around to keep me happy.
So, I don't think I'll be getting a pony anytime soon.
But a girl can dream.............
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