April 30, 1999 - August 4, 2015
Mikey was a 1999 model chestnut Thoroughbred gelding who raced 8 times as a 4 and 5 yr old, and made around $1,100. Needless to say, he was crap at it. He ran his last race 4/30/2004, and I started working with him in July 2004. My parents bought him for me as a high school graduation present in May 2005. He was my first horse, and I'm proud to say I made him myself. No one put training time on him, and unless it was past my skill to school, I rode the bad stuff out. OK, so my trainer rode him the day he learned haunches in and he retaliated by body slamming himself and her into a wall, but everyone needs a hand every now and then!
Over the years, we had done hunters, eventing and jumpers, and eventually settled on dressage.
|Jumping a 3' hunter course back in 2012.
From working at my horsey job after college, I eventually got serious about eventing. Mikey handled our career change well. We successfully completed a number of events at Beginner Novice, mini trials and recognized trials. I eventually competed in a BN level long format event in 2012. We had a blast on steeplechase and won the event on our dressage score with two rails in hand on stadium jumping day. Yes it was only at beginner novice, but our steeplechase was 1200m long at 400mpm with the brush jumps at 3'3"-3'6" (we shared with Novice)! Mikey and I really settled into a good mindset on steeplechase- he knew he could brush through the tops and I let him gallop and it made both of us bold!
|Jumping in the steeplechase phase of cross country day at Full Moon Farm's 1/4* Long Format Event.
|Victory gallop at Full Moon Farm's 1/4* Long Format Event in 2012. We won the BN division on our dressage score!
We made the move to Novice in 2012 and things started to unravel a little. We started schooling Training Level cross country jumps (always school a level above where you compete!) and I just didn't have the right level of guts to tackle the bigger jumps and terrain changes. Mikey needed a much more confident ride than I could give him. He started acting out and quitting when we were on course, and I started to look forward more to our dressage than either jumping phase. After he re-injured his old bowed tendon for a second time (racehorse injury), I decided we'd had enough of cross country and jumping and made the switch to straight dressage. We used to jump every now and then, and it was ugly because I've lost most of my timing and all of our old demons are free to play! (He stopped jumping in December 2014 for reasons detailed below)
|July 2012 - Schooling at our first novice level event. I rode in it with a severely sprained ankle (the one you see on this side). My stirrup on this side was about 3 holes longer than my other side because I just couldn't bend my ankle.
My first year doing straight dressage was in 2013. I got my First Level scores for the USDF Bronze medal, and made the move to Second Level almost successfully. We got two scores within a half point of 60%- talk about beating yourself up after a ride. If I had caught the break in his counter canter, if I hadn't asked for so much free walk that he trotted, etc... I need to learn to let go of the what ifs!
|Riding a medium trot in our first 2nd level dressage test at a recognized show in 2013. Suspension!
I arranged to be at a barn with an indoor over the 2014-2015 winter to disastrous results. Two months into our stay, Mikey had a pasture accident. He immediately moved back home and we spent a month trying to keep the swelling out of his right hock. He was sound even with the swelling. We finally had the vet take xrays of the joint when the swelling would no longer subside and he became mildly lame. The xrays showed a large bone chip on the outside of the hock and the only option was surgery. I got that scheduled at OSU for the next Monday.
OSU took their own xrays before surgery and that's when I got the extra bad news: Not only was there one chip, there was a whole slew of chips throughout the joint and a fracture bed. He also had a torn tendon on the inside of the joint.
|Another view showed 2 chips that had drifted down to the lower part of the joint.
|Over 16 chips of various sizes were taken out of the joint.
Day Three - Surgery Post
And his check up/additional treatment visit in this post:
Second Visit to OSU
All in all, Mikey got the following: 1 Legend injection before surgery, surgery to remove the chips, stem cell treatment for the tendon, APS treatment for the cartilage, 3 Legend injections, 10 Adequan injections, 6 months of the loading dose of OCD Pellets, and many rounds of Acculife Patches. He quite nearly drained my emergency horse savings that I had stashed away while I was in college.
It seemed I didn't waste the money in trying to help him get better. Mikey had beat the odds and was sound and healthy again, schooling 2nd/3rd level by early July 2015. Trainer and I agreed he should never jump again. Not that it mattered, I hadn't jumped him in a year.
|I made time in summer 2015 to have play days like this. The farm flooded and the pond overreached its banks by 50+ feet.
My goal for this blog was to chronicle our dressage career together to what I hoped would be PSG. I am happy that in his last 8 months on this earth, he got extra special attention and love, not just from me, but from everyone. I got to just spend time with him and just be his friend. He answered by trying with everything he had.
|The last picture I ever took of him, 3 days before his death.