Monday, June 29, 2015

Updates, Updates

Some tiny blurbs about life since not much has changed on the horse front.

  • Lessoned on Charlie Friday morning (6:30 am lesson time, ouch). He was fabulous; a little slow from not working consistently due to pulling shoes left and right, but it is so, SO fun to be on a jumper. I rode with the assistant barn manager, A, in a lesson since H had just gotten her wisdom teeth out. It was a lot of just playing around with the jumper course A had set for the schooling show that weekend. Our lesson was a lot of "So, it's supposed to be a one stride, but we'll see." and "I estimated a 4 stride bending line, but just ride it out". It was nice to have an instructor be comfortable with letting me test out distances, and I guess confident that I can ride  and find distances if shit hits the fan. Charlie has been a blast. I'll try to snag a video or picture next time I ride him so y'all can see the tongue hanging out in its full glory.
  • Candy is a giant sass-master. The last bareback ride 2 days ago was the first bareback ride he didn't try to buck me off. He gets very excited, then wants to go fast, then wants to roll, then very angry, then bucks. Or spooks. Or bolts. It's been a fun time... I'm just still on the fence about what to do with him; I'm probably going to see how far he rehabs, but not bet on him coming back into work. I think that left hind will never track up completely.
  • I've been working a TON. Like 40 hour weeks in the lab, 20 hour weeks in the ICU. Still lovin' ICU; emergency medicine- you have my heart.
  • I'm going to apply to adopt an OTTB! When Candy is back on pasture board and less intensive rehab-wise (wrapping, handwalking, etc.), I'm going to submit an application to New Vocations Thoroughbred Rescue. I've heard great things about the rescue, and have met a few "graduates" and I really think the next step in my riding career is my first (technically second... but I would never sell the Candy Man) project horse. I really like the rescue, like the horses I've met from there, and think it would be a nice fit for my budget and needs. I am a little nervous about getting a green horse, but I will be in a lesson program and have been reading about re-training OTTBs like crazy. I've ridden my fair share of greenies, and Candy was once a sassy, unpredictable greenie, but it's been a while since I've really played with a young horse (I mean, Sawyer was green, but so mellow I'm not sure I can count him). Hopefully, it will be a positive learning experience. If anything, it will put me in the saddle for the next 2 years.
Rule of thumb for selfies: make the most unstable looking face you can. "I own 50 cats and may murder your family."

Bath time. Bath time!

Shameless #rootd ft. EIS, Tailord Sportsman, a needlepoint belt, and Candy.

Finally catching up on OITNB and cuddles with the pigs

I was not drunk. But it looks like it.


Thursday, June 11, 2015


In honor of Candy being declared "baseline lame" (his lameness when I first started having issues with soundness- so not tracking up evenly left vs. right) and being cleared to do bareback walk work (poles, on the bit) for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. He is still dragging his left hind toe slightly, and not fully tracking up through the left, but there is no hip hike at the trot like there was when I retired him a year ago!

According to the vet, "2 months ago, I would have said he would only be pasture sound. Now, I think there's a good chance you can give him a job." 

So without further ado, here's a #tbt of me and the Candy Man through the years.
A couple days old with his nurse mare.
Yearling Candy. Forever a dweeb with a tiny forelock.
First show EVER. Note my pink polo and matching boot socks in my too-short, fake leather pull on tall boots, and Troxel.

First off the property hunter show.
An off the property show where, by the grace of God, we only got eliminated 1/4 o/f classes back when I did Eq and Hunters.
Last lesson on him before starting a lease the spring before college.

First show after he became "mine" officially. Note the rolls of fat.
Candy's first 3' jump. Poetry in motion- aggressive slam poetry written by an angsty 13 year old.
First 3' jumper show- a year after refining and editing said poetry in motion. Before I discovered coat conditioning, excessive currying, and fly sheets.
When we tried to become eventers, and I discovered fly bonnets (his "thinking caps") helped his head shaking.
Novice CT. We also did a Training CT that day- the highest jumps we've ever shown and placed 2nd out of 3.
Last fence before his retirement.
This is the first time in a long time I've let myself feel optimistic about Candy's future as semi-retired (I know, I know, I keep moving him in and out of retirement, but he still feels and acts like he has miles left in him while I just want him comfortable and happy.). I'm still taking it very very slowly, and cautiously, but I'm happy that the vet sees progress and thinks he can be pushed a bit more on the flat.

-K & C

PS- Just peeked at my (tiny) follower count- with the exception of 'Fraidy Cat Eventing- it looks like it's the Bay Brigade!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Lesson Was a Fail, But Life Is Okay

God bless Alabama. It never fails that the first hot-hot day I lesson, I die. I had a migraine Thursday night, and thought I was out of the "migraine hangover" by Friday afternoon, but I was wrong. I was so excited to ride Charlie again. I made sure I hydrated really well during the day, even broke my own personal rules and wore a tank top to ride in, and still, I got queasy, almost fainted, and had to hop off and throw up 20 minutes into our lesson. I may be a delicate flower, but I do not like hot houses; I am an arctic flower. I blame it 50% on heat/humidity (Charlie and I were dripping before we even rode) and 50% on still having a migraine hangover (felt spacey, had the munchies). Oh well, better luck next week.

Good news is that everyone (trainer-H, assistant barn manager-A) were super sweet. A let me go home early, and re-wrapped and hand-walked the Candy Man for me, and H was super kind about me being a total weenie in the heat (I hate heat... I will lesson in cold weather as long as the ground isn't frozen, in the wind, in the rain, but I'll be damned if I have to lesson in 90 degrees).

On the Candy front, he is (hopefully) on his last week of stall rest. He has been nailing these hand walks like a (spooky, feisty) boss; he's up to 30 minutes now, and only gets sore if he does something stupid (rears, spooks, bolts, etc.) and even then, the soreness only lasts for a few minutes. I've started to incorporate belly lifts and carrot stretches to start prepping him for light under saddle work as soon as he is cleared. I also have been trying to grow out some Andalusian status mane and tail, and the hunter in me was dying; so Candy got a haircut- mane was trimmed (he's retired- I'm not gonna pull it) and tail was banged just above his fetlocks.

And oh my goodness, y'all, I am obsessed with the BoT no bows; yes, I think they're gimmicky voodoo, but his legs have both been so tight, and his funk is healing quickly that there must be something workng. (Thanks to Hilary from Equestrian at Hart for recommending baby powder- what a life saver!)

"Mom- I don't know if you know this, but there are horses. HORSES OUT IN FIELDS."

I let Candy roll for the first time in 6 weeks. He's an expert at rolling on one side at a time.

Only bummer in Candy Land is that SmartPak either double charged me or shipped me 2 months worth of Candy's supplements so I can't start him on his new rehab SmartPak (SmartFlex III Resilience, Bute-less, and a hoof supplement) until July. I'll need to see how many supplements he has when I go out to the barn tonight. He's been feeling and looking great, so I can't wait to see how far into the rehab process he gets.

It was Wilbur's first adopt-iversary this weekend! I've officially had this weird, slightly slow creature for one year; in a year, he's discovered his favorite sleeping spot is on my shoulder, he's stopped peeing on me in his sleep (still farts all. the. time.), got a costume and went trick or treating, lost his new best friend (RIP Dudz), got a new best friend (hello, Lila Bear), and finally discovered his vocal cords. He had a rough start: thrown over the fence at the Atlanta Humane Society, was severely underweight, lost his new cage mate after 1 month, and then got neutered a week later, went through some GI problems, but now he is happy (and healthy) as a clam (as evidenced by his popcorning and daily zooms around my room). I didn't think I would grow to love this creature, but he's found a spot in my heart.
Fave sleeping spot: my shoulder (that one leg sticking out kills me every time and I'm assuming we were having a gassy day in the bottom L). His Halloween costume. And a lil cuddle sack photo shoot.

In other news, I am scraping funds together for a new horse, and this whole broke ass bitch schtick is getting really old, really fast; it doesn't help that Father's Day and Phil's birthday are this month and presents are in order. Money is super tight lately, especially since I am trying to tuck away paychecks from tech work, and my student loan reserve is dwindling. All aboard the struggle bus!

-K & C

Friday, June 5, 2015

Brush, Condition, Shine, Repeat

Before I used coat conditioner. This is probably Show Sheen + Pyranha.

I am obsessed with shiny coats. Candy never dappled for me, but he shone like a copper penny when he was at the peak of his show horse career (ironically, his peak was also at the end, but whateva). During this rehab process, to entertain myself, I've been buffing and brushing and hot toweling. To go the extra mile, I like to use a soft brush or sheepskin mitt to rub a coat conditioner into his coat. Here are my reviews of the ones I have used thus far:

Eqyss Premier Marigold Spray
The label says it can be used to "[reduce] bleaching of the mane, tail, and body, [to] repel dust and dirt." I've also been told it's possibly a fly spray, but I've never witnessed much fly repelling action. It definitely lives up to it's name. It is my go-to, gold standard coat conditioning product. It works so well, I used barely, if any, Show Sheen on Candy's body. It makes the coat soft, silky, and if you wet your soft brush with it, really helps the soft brush soak up dirt and gunk on your horse's coat. Plus it smells amazing; very floral, but not overly sweet. The only cons are that I don't find it a good detangler (take it with a grain of salt- Andalusian tails are very thick and dreadlock quickly) and that at $20.95 a bottle, it is on the pricier side.
Body clip + Marigold
Body clipped with  24/7 turnout with a fly sheet, and Marigold Spray. He just kind of glows.
Fresh trace clip (also my first clip job ever) + Marigold Spray. Glowy glowy coat.

Sunflower Suncoat SPF
This product was designed to protect your horse's coat from UV-A and UV-B light as well as maintain "the natural and true color of coats, manes, and tails with... a quality blend of conditioners that make hair more manageable and easier to detangle...". I was not incredibly impressed with this product. I bought it when I moved to Alabama thinking it would prevent coat bleaching; Candy's coat still bleached and still got dull. I'm sure it helped a bit, but not enough to justify re-purchasing or even finishing the bottle. I got rid of it and picked up some more Eqyss Marigold. It has that traditional sunscreen-y smell, and I can't really attest to its detangling qualities; just that it didn't slow the dreadlocking process or make them easier to brush out. The price, at $14.95, is mid-range, and I just don't love it enough to re-purchase or re-try.

Just meh. Shiny, but there's no glow. The coat isn't nourished; just shellacked.

Vetrolin Shine
I am a huge fan of Vetrolin shampoos and liniment. This spray has the same Vetrolin smell which you either love or you hate: the nostril burning, menthol scent. Luckily, I love it, so the scent doesn't kill me. I'm still on the fence about this one. I haven't seen the results I saw with Eqyss Marigold, but it shines the coat well after the application, and Candy's coat is noticeable softer. Being stalled, he gets dusty faster, and I think it has cut down on the dust collection when I use it. I definitely think it helps keep his tail in check; dreadlocks have been minimal since I started using it. It contains sunscreen, Vitamin B5, and conditioners. HOWEVER, it also contains silicone, so I'm not sure how much the conditioners counteract the silicone. I have not noticed any drying of the coat or tail with regular use. At $10.95, this would be my first choice for a coat conditioner on a budget, and my second choice in general.
There is flash, but it's night time. Not a deep glow, but still nice.

Pyranha Wipe N' Spray
While not technically a coat conditioner, I included it because it is in my coat regimen in the summer and contains a coat conditioner. It contains lanolin which acts as a coat conditioner, and dust magnet extraordinaire. I switched to the water-based non-conditioning formula because dust was sticking like glue. A bottle is $14.95, and while it is a bomb-ass fly spray (RIP environment), it's an awful, awful, sticky coat conditioner.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Happy Post

I took a lesson last Thursday and rode a cute jumper named Charlie (and I got to wear my new Trophy Hunters!). No pictures unfortunately.

Holy. Smokes. It felt so good to be back on a jumper! I haven't been in the saddle for about a month so I did flop around like a sack of potatoes in between turns, and my legs have gotten loose, but we nailed 99% of our distances. It was just a huge confidence builder overall. I'm one of those riders who gains and loses muscle tone very very quickly. One month off is enough to throw off my strength; it is frustrating in that regard.

Charlie is a neat horse; his changes are automatic and if you give too much leg, he'll do 2 beat tempe changes until you fix your leg (ask me how I know). He also goes around with his tongue sticking out of the side of mouth and his ears pinned. I've watched him before in the 1.0m jumpers, and his "game face" is adorable.

I had a blast though- we only tackled 2' fences, but I had some related distances, jumps at angles, tight turns, and a couple oxers to make things interesting. Can confirm: the jumper ring is the ring for me.

Candy's rehab is going alright. His legs have gotten so angry from the standing wraps; I've started cold hosing before his hand walks so his legs will be dry when I rewrap with clean wraps. He's on 25 minutes of hand walking, and possibly 2 more weeks of stall rest! His pastern area still puffs up now and then, but it's nothing like it was. I rode him bareback the other day- it was so beautiful outside and I love riding him so much. It's moments like these that make me remember why I ride.