Friday, February 12, 2016

Odds and Ends

Here are some topics that I didn't make it to their own posts in the past week (work has been hell- at least one to two hours of OT each day for the last two weeks), but I'd still like to take note of:

1. Penn got his clip updated last Saturday!

"Mom, why do you do this to me?"

And we did it without drugs, and with only one meltdown... at the end? I walked in front of him with the clippers running to trim the other side of his face (I had already done his entire body, ticklish bits and all, his bridle path, and one side of his whiskers and goat hair) and he freaked out, dancing sideways while I held his lead rope and engaged the chain and waited for him to stop. When he finally stopped moving back and forth, I tried to continue stepping around him, and he freaked and tried to back out of the crossties. A hind shoe slipped on the concrete and sparked and then it smelled burnt in the barn, haha. He did hit the end of his chain and respect it, along with the crossties (which are the sliding rope type, so they can't break out but there is give and can be released quickly in an emergency). WTH Penn? I'd already been clipping you for a half hour.

2. I tried Vetoquinol's Zylkene at the last horse show. One of the boarders at winter barn was at a farrier clinic and met with a Vetoquinol rep, and she managed to wrangle 4 packets (4 days) of their calming drug from the rep to bring home for me to try. The product uses casein to induce a calming effect on the horse when their nerves would normally be high (for Penn, this is the rampant diarrhea when trailering). Everything in it is natural- there's nothing that would make it drug test. It's meant to be used in high pressure situations that bother the horse, and you shouldn't see a change in personality. It either works or it doesn't, and it seems to work in 7/10 horses.

You feed the product 3-5 days before traveling, and the morning of travel. The first night Penn ate it, he did not stall walk. At all. Then it all went to shit and he was just a terror all week. He had diarrhea in the crossties the day before the show- in his defense, he'd already been in the crossties for a while because of a timing issue with lessons, and then I braided him and fussed over him and then made him hang out for a little while longer so he wouldn't churn in his stall waiting for the other horses to come in. All during that time, there were little kids running and yelling, a drone camera flying, and the normal barn activites. Only one diarrhea poop was impressive. He didn't poop as much in the trailer, but there was still a little bit of diarrhea on the way to the show. Everything was looking good on the way home. I'd say the product helped a little bit, and I'd like to try it again.

We had done 3 days before the show and then the day of, so I wanted to try 5-6 days before the show and the day of. I contacted the rep and asked about getting more, and that's when it all went downhill. I found out that I can't buy it direct from the company under any circumstances- I knew they didn't sell direct to owners, only to vets, but I thought if I had a vet RX for it, maybe they'd sell direct to me. I HATE paying vet upcharges on things like supplements that already cost enough as it is.

I asked how much vets usually sell it for, and the rep said between $7.50 and $10 per packet, but it's at their own discretion. No wonder he didn't want to part with 4 days of sample!

I contacted the vet office that hosted the clinic and asked if they sold the product- they said yes, but the vet would have to see my horse (they are not my usual vet). Coincidentally, the vet is going to be at winter barn for dental work (which I opted Penn into), so no issue there. I asked how much it cost per packet... $15 per packet. HELL NO. The smallest box is 20 packets, which fed at 5-6 days before the show and the day of barely lasts 3 shows. I was totally appalled. To have the rep quote me a low of $7.50 (which makes me think the product costs the vet somewhere between $3-5 per packet), and then this vet charging $15, I was speechless. I said no thanks, that's too expensive for something that didn't work well enough.

I am going to call my vet and ask if they would get it in, and mention the price quotes that the rep and other vet office gave me... and I know my vet will do better than that and be down in the rep's price quotes, if only to beat the competition!

I wish the company would let owners buy direct with a vet RX. Right now, the drug is legal and they don't want it abused. I get that, but at price of double or triple the cost of the product? I'm being blocked out from buying it. Bad business move I think.

3. Penn is going to see the dentist! Or rather a vet who does dental work. When he gets relaxed, he's started to click his teeth together. Like, he's slack jawed and they're clicking. Another thing is that he's jumping off the contact a lot- someone commented at winter barn that it's like he doesn't trust the contact. His last owner said he saw the dentist last summer, but I'm going to have him looked at this Friday (2/12) anyway, just to rule out any mouth issues. It's a vet that's doing it, so they sedate and everything, and while I'm not crazy about the whole sedation thing (I don't think they need it for teeth floating) and I'd rather a dentist look at him (dentists see teeth a lot more than certified dental-vets), but she's already coming out and I don't have to hunt down a dentist. Trainer's dentist is good, but difficult to talk to. I know nothing about teeth and floating, so I need easy to talk to.

4. Riding. Penn and I went on our first trail ride at winter barn with Hawk and Fiction. The two horses have quite the bromance going on. They are each other's security blanket out on the trail! I'm glad we got to go and do something different, I think Penn needed it!

Penn and Fiction definitely have a bromance going on.

It seems when I try to practice things from the training level tests, I get a jumpy horse and he bounces off the contact. When I do things like the below:

  • leg yield from the wall to centerline, change directions and shoulder in down the long wall, go around the short wall and repeat.
  • take the leg yield zig zag from the 1-3 test down one wall, go across the next diagonal and lengthen the trot, repeat the other direction.
  • canter at A, 15m circle in the corner/early on the long side, lengthen the canter down the long side, collect, go across the next diagonal and either do a simple change at X or trot at A and then canter when we get to the wall, repeat the other direction.
He really gets on board with the work and seems to enjoy it and his fussing instantly stops. Especially in the last one with the canter work. He loved that! The leg yields are getting sticky, and I tried Karen's figure 8 with extra attention to the change of bend last night, and he just about had a fit. I worked it in trot with walk at the change and the trot became a short strided disaster. I don't know if he finds the circle work boring (I would) and that this other work is more exciting (it is), or if there's something else going wrong (I'm sure there is).

I'm doing something wrong here, and I can't put my finger on it. I should be able to trot circles and changes of bend in posting and sitting trot, and it's just not working. I lose the bend in posting trot (because I suck at seatbones when posting) and I lose my forward in sitting (I think I'm restrictive by accident). He's certainly strong enough and well trained enough now to do a figure 8 with change of bend without getting nervous! The dressage instructor is going to be back 2/20, and I'm going to take a half hour lesson with her since my own trainer is in Aiken right now. We didn't click all those years ago (a reason I stuck with just Trainer), and I'm not that hopeful now, but I need some help. We'll see what she has to say!


  1. I hope you get the change of bend worked out. I hate it when something like that pops up and you can't quite figure out how to fix it.

    That vet up charge is ridiculous! I wouldn't ever use them on principle...

    1. I don't use that vet for other reasons too. Though I am having someone from that office do Penn's teeth.

  2. Re #1... there will be plenty of people with lots of $$$ who are willing to shell out $15/packet for a calming drug that doesn't test when Perfect Prep is $23/tube. At some level, this sport is all about the money, sadly.

    1. They said there's barns in Wellington who refuse to take the horses off of it. Unfortunately, that's how it's going to end up getting abused.

  3. aw jealous of your trail riding weather! also my mare is way less fussy with harder work too, the training level stuff bores her to tears and we end up just nitpicking each other into oblivion...

    1. Last weekend was beautiful! This weekend it is 15.

      Mikey was a lot less fussy with harder work too. I think that's part of Penn's issue, training level gives him (and me) too much time to think and fuss. I think if I vary it a bit more he'll settle.