Friday, May 4, 2012

In which I take a field trip and see cuteness (and some other good friends)

I was scheduled to attend a meeting on the Eastside this morning, and everyone knows how dreadful northbound Friday afternoon traffic can be... least, that was my excuse when fellow-endurance-blogger Monica  and I decided to meet up.

There were several excellent reasons that Monica and I needed to meet face-to-face.  Any coffeeshop in King County would have been sufficient for that stuff.  

But the REAL reason to meet up at Cascade Gold Akhal-Teke farm was to meet this lovely little fellow:
Paddy's alpaca impression
 Paddy's birth-story is HERE.   I wanted to see (and hopefully photograph) his famous whorl-heart.  Hmmm.
"Here is my NOSE."

"No, really.  Here is my NOSE!"
Monica, who is a Real Photographer, took pity on me, and mere seconds later, snapped this:
"Here is my HEART."
 Such a lovely boy.   And so is Monica's heart-throb, Danny:
The obligatory "pix or it didn't happen" to prove that
Monica and Danny were there, too.
 Just because I think he looks like a pteranodon, doesn't mean I don't admire him.  He's so slender and dainty though, compared to Gigantor the Dragon!  And such a sweetheart, too!
The only really decent photo I took all day.  Sigh.
When I got home, Fiddle gave me a Thorough Investigative Whuffle before allowing me to scrub her itchy hide with the brushes.  Then, and only then, was I allowed to take her out for some grazing in the backyard to make up for my dalliance. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In which the horse doesn't do all the work (and Hana is a rockstar)

Connor says, "Safety first!"
 With Fiddle on the "no-fly list" for a couple of weeks, Hana and I will be sharing extra saddle-time.  She's still at Fat Camp, which is convenient:  that's where we take our lessons--in the covered arena!

But first:
"Run run run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me
I'm the"
 I don't chase her.  I ping rocks at her to make her run, and shoot photos until she decides she doesn't want to run.  

Then she gets praise and a cookie and then I catch her.  What a PITA. 

But once she's under saddle: 
At the trot, we have skillz.
 It took a little while to get Hana to focus and to stop trying to hollow out and brace against my hands.  Dory has me drop my hands low and wide when Hana gets hollow, so she'll work from her rear engine instead of from her nose.  
Small and Big.
On rainy days like today, the barn (and the arena) get crowded.  That's a problem for Fiddle (who doesn't like to be crowded), but not for Hana, who enjoys an audience.
Patty and Rocky
 Patty is working with her young up-and-coming gelding Rocky, who is very sweet.  He tries really hard to understand what he's supposed to do.

Sirie rode The Old Man, Ross, who finished Tevis in 1997. Now he mostly hangs out in the pasture and tells stories about the Good Old Days to younger endurance horses,
Sirie and Ross
 and gives lessons to girls who love him.

The crowd in the arena:
So sad that I didn't get to ride with Katie--she was finished riding
when we were warming  up.  Hana loves Katie's horse Fire.
 Most of my lesson was focused on canter work.  I can trot with decent form all day long, but my canter work sucks.  
Most of the canter pictures were blurry, sorry.
 I have a good excuse for canter-suckage:  my first standie Story hated to canter, the Toad was an IDIOT when his ground-speed exceeded 7.5mph, and Fiddle isn't fond of it either, partly because of her pacing heritage, and partly because I suck.

Hana, however, has a nice canter...when the rider rides it properly.
Better posture, but I've thrown away the reins again.
 So that's what we worked on.
Inside rein?  who needs it?
I made some improvement, and I'm definitely motivated to go back and practice more.  I really did miss my Dragon, but the Radish is lots of fun, too!

Finally, we did a few laps of good trot-work, just to relax and feel somewhat competent.
Ending on a good note (for horse and rider)
 Then it was time for a much-needed bath (for the pony...although I  got very wet in the process).
"Doesn't enjoy baths, kaitnksbai."
 I am going to be muscle-sore in the morning.  And Hana
"Oh hey.  Food!"

has another lesson in the morning.  Maybe Duana will let her just walk around and be pretty?

Probably not.  Tough life for you, rock star pony!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In which healing after surgery is uneventful (read: "boring")

Fiddle is bored.

 Her stall-rest (plus tiny grass-paddock enclosure time) is supposed to continue until Sunday, so that she stays nice and quiet while the staples are still in.

The good news is that I no longer need to worry about manure.  Her food-processing process is back to normal.
Not a photo of poop.

But, she is bored.   Bored bored bored bored BORED.
It may look like a blanket. It is actually a toy
 Yesterday she dragged her blanket, which usually hangs on the wall, onto the floor, and stomped it through the manure and peeshavings.  


She's also feeling well enough to get down and roll now, as evidenced by the shavings stuck to her back in this morning's photos:
Right-side incision, Spay Day + 6

Left-side incision, Spay Day +6
Fiddle isn't tidy in her stall (unlike Hana, who is very tidy--Fiddle is a piglet), so when she rolls, she isn't mashing lovely fluffy clean shavings into her hide.  Oh, no.
"Manure and peeshavings are excellent for the complexion!"
Last night I capitulated and opened the stall door to allow access to the 24'x24' paddock.  She doesn't run around in there anyhow--mostly, she just wants to look around at something besides plain boring stall.

Now, at least, she'll have room to roll someplace that isn't yucky.

I tried to take a picture of her standing placidly and looking around at her pretty Springtime surroundings.

Instead, I got eleven photos that look like this:

It's good, y'all.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

In which worrying is discussed, and also manure (with pictures)

Fiddle continues to do well on day three post-surgery.  

Her appetite is good, she seems bright and cheerful--well, as cheerful as Dragons get.  She isn't exactly "Oh what a beautiful mornin'" but at least she isn't "Marvin the Paranoid Android" either.  Her temperature remains normal.  The problem isn't her.  It's me.

Last night was a fretful one for me.  I couldn't help thinking that Fiddle's gut sounds were pretty quiet...and there just wasn't much manure happening.  

This is where I run into difficulty on this blog sometimes:  I was raised by nice people.  Polite people.  City people.  

People who don't talk much about poop. 
This is not a photograph of poop.
I'm sure that the people with whom I spent my formative years spent more time than they ever wanted dealing with poop (actual and metaphoric poop, to be specific).  But,  in my experience, these nice polite city people don't talk much about poop.  

And, as far as I know, they almost never write about poop.   

Me, of course, I'm an endurance rider/writer.  I think about all the functions of my horse.  Including poop.  

Unlike Jane, I've (thus far) managed to avoid writing blog posts about poop.

Apple blossoms.  Not poop.
That's about to change, readers. 

When a horse is recovering from surgery--even a minimally-invasive surgery like ovariectomy--poop is really important.  What's really important is that poop happens, and keeps happening, preferably on a regular basis.  Regular poop means functioning guts.  That's pretty vital for a horse.

The fretful bit (for me) is that for about 36 hours prior to the surgery, Fiddle didn't get to eat anything.  And therefore, further down the line, there's inevitably going to be time when she doesn't have much processed-food to excrete.

In other words: not much poop.
Dandelion.  Even if you don't like dandelions, there's no escaping
the observation that they are prettier than poop.
As a horse-owner, especially an endurance rider, an absence of poop is generally bad news...a symptom of colic at best.

So it was that several times during the night, I checked on my mare: listened to the gut sounds (grumbling, but quiet), took a temperature (99.9 F, which is normal), and assessed her attitude (incredulous that I'm hanging around the barn at 3am).

Finally, just as I was walking away from her stall (at 3:15am), I heard a familiar sound, and caught a whiff of a familiar odor.

I did NOT take a picture at that hour of the morning.

This is poop, beside my size-7 boot for size comparison
This afternoon, though, I did take a picture.  The poop is not huge, but considering what we've put Fiddle's guts through in the past few days, I think it's quite pretty.

This picture is posted so that you can look at something other than poop.
Today, her appetite, temperature, gut sounds, and output continue to be adequate.  She's recovering nicely.  

And I'm learning trying not to obsess quite so much.