Thursday, November 30, 2017

Every Time Every Ride

Day 28 of NaBloPoMo bought back so many memories of my childhood growing up in Pony Club that I had to share, even if it's Day 30 now :)

Helmet or No?

Helmet. Always. Every Time Every Ride. Why? Because of the short movie I watched at so many Pony Club events/meetings/festivals/etc that I attended growing up. It was called Every Time Every Ride and it's on YouTube (sort of)

So fashionable!

The entire video hasn’t been posted on YouTube but you can see various clips. Oh man those clips. It goes to show you how much fashion and helmets have changed in the past 30 years. The ugly plastic helmets!!! I had the white schooling helmet for years!!

the experts

Like any good 90’s scare tactic movie they had experts talking about helmets and their function and a handful of horror stories of people dying or becoming severely disabled bc they fell off and weren’t wearing s helmet. From what I can tell by glancing through the videos is they edited out the personal stories on the YouTube clips and just left you the rest. Including the scene that has been burned into my brain forever. The jelly brain. 
Jelly brain inside a plastic bag inside a helmet being dropped- brain stayed intact

No joke- ask any of the other kids that grew up watching this video and they’ll probably talk about the jelly brain!!! They took a mold of a brain and drop it with and without a helmet to show you the protection helmets provide. But the jelly brain scene that really stuck with me was the expert lady digging her fingers into the brain and destroying it

So there you go. That’s why I wear a helmet when I ride. I like my brain just as it is :)

90's fashion at it's finest

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Attempted Artist

A long time ago I followed an Instagram account called EquiLines (or something of that variation). The person behind the account would trace normal photographs and then erase the picture just leaving the drawing. It was really simplistic and clever and I really enjoyed seeing what she would post. Sadly the account no longer exists. I went looking for it recently and found a tag of it but unfortunately that was a dead end bc the account has been deleted completely :(
My little Gus Pony

When EquiLines was still active I tried to figure out how she did it. All the apps I could find at the time would allow me to draw on the pictures but I couldn't delete the picture underneath. So I put it in the back of my mind and forgot about it. Until a few months ago when I stumbled upon a new (or at least to me) free drawing app that would allow me to create layers. It's called Color and it does exactly what I need to do to create fun drawings. 
Chimi at the AEC's

Since downloading it I have created a few pictures, and even the new heading on my blog (look up) I have no claims of being an artist and have zero natural talent, but did spend my entire school career drawing pictures of horses on notebook paper and in the margins of my notes. However I can trace a line and this new system of drawing is exactly that- tracing lines. How easy is that? And for the most part it is. But there are a few tricky spots that my less than stellar artistic skills haven't figured out yet.
Friend and her old horse who has since passed away

Hands. Hands. Hands. I struggle with hands. Hands are to intricate and small to trace well and I'm struggling to find a better way to draw hands. Right now I sort of draw squiggle lines and try to blend them in with the mane, reins, etc and that seems to work well enough. But if there is a picture where the hands are more prominent… well it's awkward.  But I'm working on figuring it out. I think having a pen would help bc right now I'm tracing with my finger. It's really hard to get precision with my finger! I do zoom up on the smaller detail bits so it's easier, but I think I'll invest in one of those little pens with the rubber thing at the end. 
I drew this in the car so it's far from perfect. I was just playing with it trying to figure out all the greenery in this one

Greenery/Fill/foliage- flowers and plants are also very detailed and they end up looking like a scribbled mess.  Haven't done a lot of fill and so I'm hoping that I'll figure out and easier way to deal with this. 

Drawing in missing parts. This is part of why I attempt to draw the greenery or fill in the picture bc when I go freehand and try to draw the parts in the picture blocked by the greenery/grass/jump/water it never looks good. This goes back to the I'm NOT artistic at all and struggle at drawing. I don't know which will be easier- learning how to freehand or learning how to make the greenery look better. Guess we'll see what happens as I do more!

Attempting to do some shading 
Shading. Colors. Patterns. Texture.  I've drawn a few cats and dogs and they took ages bc I couldn't quite decide how I liked them. My first attempt at drawing my dog Jello went really well but then I tried to draw a friend's Jack Russell and I ended up redoing it a million times. The. I tried to draw another friend's cats and they sort of came out too. I have another friend who I'd like to draw her cat but I don't think I'm quite to figure out her cat's coat color. It is very detailed and there are tiny bits of color throughout her coat. I might attempt it soon but have low expectations. 
My friend's cat who likes to sit in sinks. I can't draw sinks so I put him in a bed instead

Overall though I'm really enjoying my drawings. It's a nice way to do something else besides watch tv, play games, or read a book when I'm inside the house after dark. I can cuddle with my creatures and sit there with my tablet while tuning out the football game my husband is watching. It's a nice way to relax and for now it's a fun way to think about my horse when I'm not at the barn :)

Monday, November 27, 2017

The “Off” Season

Thanksgiving is over, Black Friday took my money, and winter is fast approaching. The days are disturbingly dark at 5/5:30, and some nights leave me cuddled under my down comforter dreading the morning when I have to leave my warm bed. The Off Season is here.

Nom Nom Nom

Unfortunately Chimi’s Off Season started way to early and he’s been benched since October with the Abscess of Doom. Just when he was sound enough to ride some personal family crisises arose that I had to attend to (and lasted basically all of November.) So Chimi’s Off Season continued and I’ve ridden him once since the beginning of October. But thinking on it, all the time off has been a benefit to Chimi and I think he’ll come out of it for the better. Chimi isn’t that young, he’s not old either but he will be turning 15 in April and he’s a big horse (17hands of chunky cuteness).

Just look at his Chunky cuteness!!! 

Since I’ve owned Chimi he’s had a significant period of time off almost every year and came out of that time off even stronger and better than he was going into it. I think his warmblood brain needs the time to process all the info we worked on previously and his body has time to heal. He came to me with some health issues that I’ve been able to manage so far but I don’t think he would fair so well if he was on go 12 months out of the year. He has a chronic sore back that I’m able to manage with Back on Track saddle pads, squishy half pads, and a saddle that is fitted to him and checked 2x a year by a saddle fitter. He’s a hot mess but he’s my hot mess and I love him for all his quirks :)

Rocking the "Dad Bod"

Because Chimi lives at home I do still spend quality time with him… at least twice a day to be exact! He also lives outside 24/7 (unless there’s bad weather) so he’s kept himself in good condition with his random gallops around the field and having to walk up and down the hill in my front pasture. I’ve been trying to pack on the pounds since we’re going into winter with lots of hay/forage. So right now Chimi is sporting a lovely “Dad” bod (like Emma’s Charlie) and I’m ok with that.

Stop taking pictures lady... I'm trying to eat!!!

But the Off Season is about to end. I’ve look at the calendar and penciled in a few hopeful shows (let’s face it we’re talking about horses AND winter… both are very unpredictable) I'm not far from Aiken so I might try and start my spring season a bit earlier since we didn't have a fall one. My goals this year don't require a top 3 placing so even if I end up competing against all those professionals in Aiken I just need a completion and not a placing which is really helpful! Though I do love pretty ribbons.... even if Chimi doesn't hahaha.

I guess it's time to put down my fork and get to work.... ok. Fork down. It's go time!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tally Ho!!!!!!

Last Saturday was Opening Meet for Green Creek Hounds, one of the two hunts in this area. The other hunt, Tryon Hounds, opening meet is next week on Thanksgiving Day. So November is a busy month for the Tryon area!

I have never been to a hunt, or heard of a hunt, that does Opening Meet quite like GCH. It is truly a party and ends up being one of the clubs biggest fundraisers of the year. Why you ask? Becauase of the Tally Ho Wagons, aka Party Wagons!!!! The Tally Ho Wagon started out as a way for the social members (the non hunting members) to follow the hunt and get a chance to participate in at least 1 fox hunt a year. There were light snacks and some form of alcohol served on the wagon and everyone had a great time. Word got out about how much fun the party wagon was and now there are 6 wagons, pulled by tractors, that follow the hunt. 5 wagons carry 18-20 people on them, and the 6th wagon has room for 48/50 people. Basically it is an epic party out in the woods!

Both hunts in this area are live hunts (which means they look for the scent of a live fox) but for opening meet GCH lays out a drag (someone ahead of time lays a trail of fox scent in a predestined area for the hounds to find) This guarantees a fast hunt and the Tally Ho Wagons will have a lovely view of the riders galloping by. It really is a fun day for everyone involved!!

After the hunt everyone returns and has a glorious hunt breakfast at this old house and the merriment continues. I'm going to leave you with a few more pictures b/c my brain is a bit addled with the impending holiday and I can't think through a well written paragraph :) Enjoy the pictures instead!

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Abscess of Doom

The month of October started out with so much promise and excitement only to end with basically a month off of riding. The Karen O’Connor clinic was out (thankfully just for Chimi, thank you for saving me Joe!) and after an initial time for 2pointober any hopes I had of winning the cool prizes were thrown out the window. And just like that I was soaking, wrapping, and cursing the damn Abscess of Doom. 

Chimi says “but I’m innocent!!! Feed me cookies!!”
Chimi says "Who me?"

I think the Abscess of Doom started back in September when I was supposed to go XC schooling with KC and Pilgrim at FENCE. Chimi had come in lame the day before and I immediately started soaking and wrapping it bc I knew the KOC clinic was fast approaching. 2 days later Chimi was sound and I got a chance to ride a couple of days and get in my 2pointober time of 3:00 minutes. This summer killed my fitness bc I sat around and ate to much cake at work and didn’t get to move around as much as I usually do. So I had to come up with a “get fit quick” plan before the clinic, which involved lots of riding and two point. 2 days later Chimi was lame. 

Chimi did not like to keep his hoof in the bucket and proceeded to kick it over spilling all the hot water and epson salts out!!! Bad Chimi!

Normally when Chimi gets an abscess he stays sound and the only reason you know he had one is the blowout spot on his hoof. Occasionally he’ll get one and be lame but those normally last 2 days at the most and he’s fine. I was hoping that it would follow that same pattern bc we had just entered the week of the KOC clinic and I wasn’t getting a chance to ride at all leading up to the clinic! After 3 days of soaking and wrapping there was hope and Wednesday afternoon when I lunged Chimi he was mostly sound and I sighed a little bit in relief and thought “yes, we’re almost there”. Then Thursday morning rolls around and Chimi comes in 3 legged lame and refused to put weight on his left hind and I cried in frustration. 

As you know from previous posts Joe came to the rescue and we had a successful clinic. Chimi sat around all weekend probably laughing at Joe having to cart me around while he got a mini vacation and ate hay all day. 

Joe to the rescue!!!

The week after the clinic I was starting to freak out a bit. Nothing was blowing out and my horse was still really lame. I couldn’t decide if I should call the vet or not bc what were they going to do? Tell me to keep doing exactly what I was already doing? My farrier was supposed to come out that week so I begged him (it didn’t take much) to hoof test Chimi and see if he could figure out where it was. The day he came out Chimi came in with a huge tender bulge right at his cornet band and my farrier looked at me and said “there you go, that’s where it’s going to come out”. And sure enough 2 days later it did! 

The day it blew out

Much to Chimi’s relief the pressure had been released and he was sound. Unfortunately the day before it blew out Chimi developed a case of cellulitis that I recognized after the emergency/weekend hours started Friday evening. Trying to save my pocket book from an emergency call I started Chimi on antibiotics and wrapped his leg to help reduce swelling. Saturday afternoon the abscess blew out his cornet band right at the tender bulge. Over the weekend I kept watch over his leg and planned to take him to the vet Monday morning to make sure nothing was going on I wasn’t in control of. In the meantime I had another fun horseless cross country outing with KC and Sara and even got to hop on Gem for a bit! 

The day after it blew out his cornet band

Finally Monday rolled around and I called the vet to set up an appointment. I was feeling a bit of relief bc the cellulitis was going down and my horse was sound (at the walk). But I wanted to make sure it would stay that way so I loaded Chimi up and headed to the vet office. We were met by a vet tech and a younger vet while we waited for the more senior vet to finish injecting hocks on another horse. Chimi was not being a very good patient and kept insisting he walk around and the poor vet tech kept him going while I went over everything I’ve done and noticed with the younger vet. Finally the senior vet arrived and we went back over everything. Dr PJ (the senior vet) was amazing and used Chimi as a teaching opportunity for the younger vet (I feel terrible bc I forgot her name but I can recognize her face!) Dr PJ picked apart Chimi’s conformation, had him jogged to check on soundness, and asked younger vet (YV)  how to proceed and what she would do. She gave an acceptable answer but Dr PJ used this as an opportunity to talk about all the factors, including financial. YV wanted to do radiographs and clean out the area the abscess blew out and Dr PJ said yes that is an option, to make sure nothing else is there, or judging how sound this horse was (they were very impressed that he was sound at the walk and mostly sound at the trot b/c apparently horses with gravel abscesses (what Chimi had) are usually still lame after it blows out.) that his cellulitis was improving, and I was only 15 minutes away so if something changed Chimi could easily come back for a more in depth exploration. THANK GOD FOR DR PJ!!!!!! He looked at me and said "Radiographs and debriding the would would cost me $500-$700 or just wrapping it and keeping it clean would be much less and more budget friendly. I went with the more budget friendly option.

Chimi was pretty close to being a model patient and stood still but did lift his sore foot when they were cleaning it. But as the vets said "he's not trying to kill us so he's behaving wonderfully!" Dr PJ continued to use Chimi as a teaching opportunity and asked YV how you should wrap the wound. I'm sure at this point she probably started second guessing herself (I know I would!) and sort of answered questioningly. I really don't blame her b/c there's nothing worse being put in the spotlight and hoping you don't give the wrong answer. Either way Dr PJ showed YV how he wanted the foot wrapped to keep dirt and debris out of the abscess which was still draining. He layered Chimi's foot with so much padding that his hoof grew two sizes! One of the major things Dr PJ was very adiment about was no vet wrap directly on the skin, for 2 reasons. 1) Vet wrap can be an irritant and cause irritation on the skin for some horses and 2) if pulled to tight it can cut off the circulation to the hoof and cause the hoof to die. He then talked about how he's had to put down to many foals that were put in corrective hoof casts that were just vet wrapped onto the leg. And on that sad note... Dr PJ finished off Chimi's hoof wrap with elstacon and we were sent home with directions to keep the boot on for 48 hours and then rewrap it again for another 48 hours or until the abscess stops draining.

The vet's wrapping job.... it lasted 48 hours

Dr PJ's wrap lasted 48 hours and possibly could of gone another day but I cut it off 2 days later and OMG it smelled so bad! The animalintex (sp?) was soaked and smelly with 2 days worth of puss. Barf.

my wrapping job lasted 24 hours... vet did a better job but my was good enough! (I was very careful not to pull the vet wrap tight access his cornet band since I didn't have as much padding as the vet did)

Now a week or so has gone by and the abscess is growing out! Just hoping no lasting damage from the cornet band but at least Chimi's sound and happy. I've started riding him again and he seems no worse for the wear. My friend JP came over with her 4 year old to go trail riding and Chimi was very lazy! I think he's enjoyed his time off to much, but not anymore!!! It's time to RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's starting to grow out