Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everything Between 2/6 and 3/9

3/8: Bad pony rolling around in fresh sawdust with the bag leg down! Sigh. He obviously doesn't know he's hurt.

So the time Mikey has been healing has been very stressful and tiring and depressing so I haven't written. I've barely ridden! But Mikey is going back to OSU for an APS treatment on 3/11, but we're leaving tomorrow. 

The extra shor
t story: Mikey's leg is healing beautifully. His soundness is the only question left. He's healed up without any infection or oozing after the one incision stopped draining.

The short story:

-2/9/15: Mikey's oozing incision was done oozing by Monday after surgery. Yay!

-2/11/15: Our vet flipped shit about his vet wrap covering the point of his hock, before she even saw the leg. She wanted it wrapped as a figure 8. We ignored her because he was being very good about laying down with the good leg on the bottom, so he wasn't rubbing the bad leg in poop, or laying on it in general. There's no reason to make that leg more flexible, and OSU was wrapping him with it completely covered by vet wrap. She sometimes goes off on tantrums. We deal with it because when you're having an emergency, she drops everything and comes out. Oh, she also forced me to take a 16" no bow wrap. A single no bow. Not a pair. Because a 14" wasn't tall enough... even though the 14" was overlapping the hock wrap. >:-(

-2/21/15: Mikey got his stitches out on day 19 after surgery instead of 14. He also tried to colic that day. We had wrapped him with the figure 8 wrap so the vet wouldn't flip shit, so he promptly laid down on the bad leg, got cast, got upset, and began to colic. All on a day that we were hosting a clinic, the pipes froze, the tractor wouldn't start, and the arena drag was buried. They stitches were delayed to this date because the one incision had just stopped draining, and then the temps dropped to a high of 1 degree, so we weren't about to undress him and make him stand on concrete to have stitches out... they weren't healing into him or loose or being pulled, so no reason to have them out. She said only wrap him for that night, then no more. My trainer and I also ignored that. The horse was open to the bone. We weren't about to let him lay down and rub freshly scabbed incisions into his bedding. Hello infection. So the hock wrap stayed on. He also started a series of three Legend IV injections (one every week for three weeks) and a series of ten(!!!!) Adequan injections (one injection that day, then six more every four days, then once a month until gone). After a couple other incidentals, my vet bill for this visit was $824. Talk about blowing through the money I set aside for his after care.

-The next week, he walked for five minutes on days that she changed the bandage. She wasn't about to let him colic again... we'd end up walking for hours if he did.

-2/28/15: Mikey is bucking and squealing in his stall for the second day in a row. So much for 'stall rest.'

-3/4/15: Mikey reached day 30! He's now allowed to walk 15 minutes every day.

-3/7/15: We stopped wrapping the hock. The scabs had healed nicely, and everything looked super. We're still wrapping the lower leg since he's been wrapped continuously for over a month. We also started the Back on Track Hock Wraps for a couple hours each day.

-3/7/15: My wonderful husband and father-in-law put a new jack on my trailer since the old one got stuck and almost couldn't lift the trailer off my truck when we got home from OSU in February. Thank goodness my husband's dad raised him to fix anything.

I'm still very nervous that Mikey will never be sound again. He rolled this weekend and had to get up with the bad leg underneath him, and he struggled. How will he ever be able to do even training level under saddle? Very depressing. I'd never sell him, or give him away. He'd have to be retired and I can't afford to keep a second horse. Buying one wouldn't be a problem, I'd hit up RRTP classifieds and find an OTTB right off the track. Leasing a horse might be an option, but nothing is appropriate at our barn. Everything is capable, but every horse has an eventing career in its future, not straight dressage. And everything is at training level dressage. Not to rag on that, but when I'm so close to my bronze, to have to start over would be very sad.

I only rode a handful of times in Feb, partly because of the distance to the barn, and partly because it was so cold. I rode one of my trainer's 3 year olds for one of my rides. Best 3 yr old ever, plus an OTTB to boot! Quiet, attentive, and a very good boy. It's been a long time since I sat on something that green!

I rode her 3* event horse two more times since my last mention of him. He and I are slowly getting to know each other. I had joked with her about taking him to finish my bronze medal after he ran Rolex. She said go for it! So I might take Cool Decision, "Cody", the Rolex horse, down centerline to finish my bronze. I'd rather finish it on Mikey, but... I think he's going to need time, if he's even able to do 3rd level again.

I'm terrified of screwing Cody up, so I find I'm not as commanding as I should be on him, which of course will screw him up! He is very well schooled, and will do what you want, if you ask the question the right way. In a way, he's an extension of my trainer. For his whole life, he's only been ridden by her and a handful of other people, who have done at most hack him around. So he responds to being asked correctly. When you don't ask correctly, he doesn't guess at what you want, but he doesn't throw a tantrum either, he simply waits for you to ask properly, then promptly rewards you when you do ask correctly. She's letting me just ride him, not in lessons, and it's like I'm getting a free lesson. I have my trainer in my head, and I'm sitting on her horse, so I hear her in my head, I apply what she says, and he responds. With only 3 rides on Cody, I've almost broken my hanging left rein habit. Cody won't connect in the canter to the left because I'm too heavy with my left rein. Recall right hip to right hand, lots of thigh for a half halt, and releasing/soft inside rein, and he connects immediately. And lower leg. More lower leg support than I ever gave Mikey.

When I rode him last Sunday, I really got the feel of what she meant when she described him as a man's ride. Cody is very, very strong, and he's a cocky confident boy. I needed very strong thigh and core half halts to get the good response. My legs hurt for days after riding him! He's giving me quite the education though. When I lose connection, I tend to shorten my arm instead of encouraging more neck stretch to the bit. With him, when he shortens his neck, I feel it, and I know immediately shortening my arm won't work, and I'm able to push him forward and back to the bit. He's gotten me to soften my left hand. He's gotten me to pay a lot of attention to my hip and inside leg and my bend, and then ways to get it all back. He's also gotten me to get my flying changes more accurate and timed better. No more kick and hope. It's plan, get the timing right, and ask. If I botch it, I get a rump high change, if I don't, I get a smooth change.

She also said I can come ride him in the evening during the week whenever I'm out! :-)

He's by no means an easy ride, but he's as close to a school master as I'm going to get! I'm hoping to ride him in our farm's dressage show in June, and maybe take him to one or two USDF dressage shows and do 3rd, and maybe 4th level just to see. My trainer will be selling him after Rolex to pay for her farm, so if he can be ridden by an AA down centerline at a USDF show at his highest level of education, that's all points in his favor. I'll be trying to get to some shows early in the season before he sells. After he sells, Mikey will be the most advanced dressage horse in the barn, and if he's not sound... well then no more fun stuff for me! But everyone deserves to ride a horse at the top of their ability to ride, that knows a lot. It's very enlightening.

I'm going to ask for an actual lesson on him and see if she'll take a little video of me on him.

So here's a mass of pictures from the last month:

I may have gone overboard on the no bows and the cotton sheeting!

Nickels in his dog blanket. He gets around really well in it! 

Mikey's leg on 3/1.

Some awkward snuggling with Penny. Silly upside down snuggle puss!
I got domestic and made Danish Heirloom Cake. 

3/7: Let the rehab begin! 

Completely adorable.


  1. Aw! His leg looks so good! I wouldn't stress out too much yet. It's still so close to the surgery, soundness isn't going to be easy to evaluate.

    Riding Cody is so cool. I think you should totally take him to a USDF show! What confidence your trainer has in you to let you ride him. That shows a whole lot!

    1. I'm hopeful for Mikey, but I don't want to be crushed later if things don't turn out!

      I'd love to take him! Dressage is his weakest phase of eventing, but he's still pretty darn good at it. Yea, I couldn't believe she's willing to let me ride him in the evenings, without her. Obviously when she sits on him the next day after I ride him, he still feels fine, or at least only needs reminded slightly of things.