Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obstacle Training and Trail Ride Day

I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I am also a weakling because I should NOT be this tired from 2.5 hours in the saddle.... even if it was 90 degrees outside.

It was one of those days I wished I had a personal photographer to follow me around!

Today was the monthly obstacle training and trail ride event at my barn. My BO is one of the trainers and one of the mounted sheriff/police guys is usually the other trainer but he couldn't be there today. Junior isn't afraid of "stuff" but it is always good to build trust with "no really, you can do this, it won't hurt you....see?" kind of activities and I wanted to go on the trails with the BO so she could help us negotiate the creeks. For the obstacles he was a champ with everything. He knocked over the jump we tried to walk over but that was a lack of coordination, not confidence! He even served as the leader pony for some of the other less confident horses many times. He had walked under the streamer trellis and over the bridge before but we also got to do lots of new stuff.

So today for the first time we:
  • Attempted to rope the plastic steer roping skills leave a lot to be desired but he did not mind the activity...
  • Opened, went through, and closed the rope gate
  • Went through the shredded tarp curtain
  • Went through and backed through the aisle with the pool noodles sticking into the middle (maybe I should have taken pictures!)
  • stuck our front feet into and walked through a truck tire
  • went over and backed over a big flat wooden circle
  • kept one end of a board on a barrel while holding the other end and walking around the barrel in a circle
  • dragged a pole by a rope forwards and backwards
This ball is not so big, it's a yoga ball like Stacy Westfall uses. Junior thought it was fun but he was bored with it by the time I took out my phone... oh, and next time I take video with my iphone I will try and remember to hold it sideways...sorry :)

THIS ball was HUGE! I was very surprised that he did not mind it at all. I even had him push it backwards.

Then we went through nearly all of the trail system included a big part we hadn't been through yet that was pretty steep and included a very scary creek crossing. The BO was impressed with his willingness to do things even when they are clearly scary to him. Now that I think about it we have come an awfully long way in two years! I'm excited to try that part of the trail again. What bothered him most was waiting for it to be our turn to cross the creek beds. He got very head tossy and agitated while in a group of 6 but later on the new part when we were only three horses he was much better. He still didn't like to wait. It seems he likes to lead more than follow, but he does like to have somebody else there.

I told the BO today that I want them separated from now on. Of course this was NOT a problem at all and tonight he'll start going out with only one other gelding, either Ranger (a sweet 1/2 Arab who JR was in the sand lots with before he was put with the full herd) or with Max. His neck looked a ton better today and was hardly swollen at all after the ride. Gunner was hurt too, after all with a big bite on his hip that made him a bit off. I talked to his owner and she and I were both happy to see them separated.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Wolf in Horse's Clothing

This is Gunner. He looks innocent, doesn't he. He looks like a nice guy, doesn't he?

But HE is responsible for THIS!

And probably all of the other wounds Junior has had in the past two months. Nice, huh? And this is AFTER I hosed it and the swelling went DOWN. Vampire pony.

They've been turned out together along with Max and a hundred year old ex-grand prix jumper since the beginning of July. The first few wounds were BIG and if you remember what he looked like when I got back on August 2nd, those were nice too. He has a new one nearly every day, but he hasn't had a "big" one since August 2nd until this one. But still, they are somewhat constant.

I'm used to grooming around them and putting ointment on them, noting which ones are healing and which ones are newer. Today I found this and did my normal freak out. I called the BM who said that she noticed a bite on his neck when they came in this morning, but it was not at all this swollen. She of course came and looked at it and we talked about what to do. I hosed it for a while which brought the swelling down and then I gave him the last dose of Banamine I had leftover from his eye.

Would you leave your horse in this situation? I know perfectly well he instigates part (if not all) of it but he is MUCH worse for wear than Gunner. If a horse ignores Junior's pestering or makes it clear that playtime is not on the agenda Junior will back off and be content to just hang out. But if he has a playmate that is game he is ALL IN. Both the BO and the BM have told me they can be separated and I will only feel a little bad if I decide to ask for that. But should I? I know it takes a while to establish herd positions and all of that, but how long do I let this go on? It's all superficial so far, but I cannot help think of how bad this one could have been. How long would you leave your horse in this situation? Is two months a decent litmus test of how horses are going to behave together? Longer?

What would you do?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Three Kinds of Progress

1. Progress on my tack storage. I installed the caster under the door today. I needed the help of my BO to tip the whole thing backwards while I drilled the holes, but I got it on! I also chose and installed a shiny silver lockable hasp. This accomplishes 3 things: security, a "handle" on the door, and it also keeps the door flush with the box. It's not terribly warped, but without the hasp on the top of the door is about 1/2" from the box. I hung a collapsable blanket bar that I found in the barn and my BO said I could use, and now my bench is blanket storage. For safety, I put my show saddle IN the box and now my work saddle is just sitting on a saddle rack on the other side of the box. I'm not really worried about security there, but since I've got the security I'll use it.

2. Progress on our stiffness issues. It's still hard for me to guess how much of his weirdness is stiffness and how much is tiredness/laziness. The more I think about it, I think he was showing these same signs of stiffness before we moved. I remember feeling around the time of my last show that his one-sidedness was getting really bad. Our Equitation pattern of a figure 8 was a disaster, whereas the straight-line horsemanship pattern was much better. I do think he had more energy at that time. His turnout time is much increased and that is very likely a factor. I'm interested to see if/how much this changes when the weather gets cooler. I'm used to his "tired lip" now, but it wasn't seen much before we moved. This is how he looks.

He is certainly more energized outside so I've been riding out there as much as possible. Even with the rain we've had the outdoor still has excellent footing. I've worn a circle in the outdoor this past week or so. I've been working on a circle a lot to try to encourage him to bend properly and I do believe it's been helping a lot. Today in particular I thought our canter work was the best yet. He stayed on our circle very nicely both directions and he didn't feel like he was counter-cantering like he had been. I even got a compliment from one of the boarders who said our canter was "just lovely, so smooth and collected. You just looked like you were having such a nice ride." Neat!

3. Progress on our new life as trail riders! Yesterday we took a walk around the whole bean field. There is a nice wide grass trail around the whole field between the woods and the soybeans. He is very alert on these rides and he strides out nicely, but I can tell he's nervous. When we were far enough out that we could not see the barn he was the most nervous. He did spin around once but I simply told him to whoa and turned him back around and we walked on. He spooked another time, too, but nothing major.

Today we went into the far woods by ourselves and did the same two stream crossings from that day with Max. He still is not a fan of the stream crossings, even though there is not running water. He will still walk through big reflective puddles in the driveway, but he does NOT like the stream beds. He did really well considering we were alone. I spend a lot of time talking to him. He seems to aim for all the lowest branches though and he bonked my knee on a tree. Trail mount he is NOT...yet. But I just LOVE having these places to ride in. It's so much more fun than circles and I'm sure the small hills are good for him, too. I just got a new iPhone app called Trails that will log your trails on a map and give lots of interesting stats like ascent and descent, duration and speed. Then you can look at the trail maps you make. Sounds cool. If only I remember to turn it ON!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Tack Box That IS!

It's DONE! It's at the barn! It's got stuff in it!!! Yay! I absolutely LOVE it and am very excited to break it in. It really does have a ton of room in it. I don't actually have enough stuff to fill it up! I'm keeping my bench/trunk there to hold blankets, otherwise I'd be more cramped.

We still have two things to do: install a silver lockable hasp on the middle of the side, and put a 5th caster under the door. It was sagging big time when we got the hinge on and stood it upright. Just too much weight and too much gravity. I had a feeling we might need to do that, but was hoping we'd get away without it, just for aesthetic reasons, but it clearly needs to be there for stability. And so it goes.

The saddle racks were Saddle N Pad racks but my carpenter removed the pad bars so I can install them somewhere else if I choose.

I nailed one of Junior's old shoes (primed and painted with glossy rustOleum) to the door with actual horseshoe nails, the hinge is silver and the hasp will be silver too. I'm opting for a hasp with an integrated lock instead of the type you add a padlock to. I considered painting the wire rack black, but couldn't convince myself that it wouldn't flake off so it remains with an oddball finish.

Since I KNOW you all want to rush out right now and hire someone to build you your very own, I will give full disclosure with a price breakdown. I was lucky to have access to space and tools (including pneumatics) which made this project possible, and the labor for a college kid was undoubtedly cheaper than for a union carpenter.

Lumber (1 -3/4" ply, 3 1/2" ply) 124.70
Saddle Racks & Bridle hooks (2 of each) 33.00
Wire rack, interior hooks 22.50
Piano Hinge 16.00
Stain (2qts) 15.40
Poly(2qts + 1 spray can) 36.00
Brushes, sandpaper, min. spirits, etc. 24.00
RustOleum for Horseshoe 4.50
5th Caster and Hasp 19.00
Total Materials 294.40
Costruction Labor/Delivery (15+hours) 225.00
TOTAL 519.40

The total does not count the 4 casters, staples, glue, and some of the mounting hardware as they fell off a truck somewhere. It is still a savings over purchasing a slightly comparable unit I discussed HERE, AND it's fully custom made. I was able to make adjustments and changes through the process when I changed my mind or realized potential snags. I did the staining and top-coats myself, as well as procuring all parts aside from the lumber. Leave yourself at least 3 days for finishing with drying time in between.

I am very happy with the box, but of course in hindsight I think I would change a few things. First, I would go back to the double doors. The width of the cabinet plus the 3/4" ply makes one door just too heavy for the 1/2" plywood sides. Looking back, the one door cabinets were only 25" wide with 1/2" plywood, and the double door one is 30". I should have realized there was a reason for that! Secondly I would re-consider the integrated plywood saddle stand for the western saddle and then having the English saddle above it on a metal rack. On the plus side this would add overall stability, but may decrease storage space. It's actually hard to tell if you'd lose space as long as you still kept some similar storage under the unit, added some shelving to the right and left of the English saddle, and used the inside of the saddle stand for shelves, too.

In other news, Junior and I had a very brief Centered Riding lesson and it was very eye-opening, AND I got a deposit today for my show saddle! They're picking it up and bringing me the rest of the payment next weekend. More on all of that later. :)

Want the step by step? Check out these other posts:

Progress III

Progress II

Progress I

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, The Spotty Monster!

(Extra points if you know what movie that is from... hint: it stars Robert Downey Jr.)

The stain is on... it is not Guntock. Gunstock was bright red. It is now "Provincial" and it is EXACTLY the color I wanted. You can see sneak peek here on my arm. It appears I am a messy stainer....

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've Got My Eye On You

Max's girl, Chloe took this picture. She takes such good pictures I sometimes wish she just followed me around all the time!

I bought stain and spar urethane and will begin the staining process very soon. Some timing might not work out for me to start tomorrow, but certainly Wednesday I'll get the stain on. I chose "gun stock" as the color. Picture the wood part on your grandpa's shotgun. Yup. Sure hope I like it once it's on! It's so hard to tell what it's going to look like for real. The image on the can is not really the color of the image on their website, and the "samples" at the store are out of date so half of them are not sold anymore and many that are for sale (including gun stock) are not represented in the samples. I'm sure it'll be fine. If it were a church instead of a tack box I would do samples and stuff, but it'll be fine. Besides, unless the sample was covered in barn dust it won't be accurate. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

APHA Show Visit....

I'd love to be telling you that I had so much fun watching the Paint show and that I am all excited to show there next summer. But alas, I am not going to tell you that because lying is bad.

I missed the showmanship classes (the 33 halter classes took less time than I expected) and got there right when yearling lunge line was starting, then saw pleasure driving. I picked the winners in all three classes so I felt smart. Then they opened up the ring for riding warm up. It made me sick. Of course there were some very nice horses with nice movement, but the volume of crank-n-yankers, gadgets, backing as punishment, and diagonal cantering were making me sick. I'm sorry, but if the OUTSIDE rear hoof is striking the ground further inside the arena than BOTH of your front hooves you're doin' it WRONG. I don't care WHO you are. That is NOT a natural way of going, especially while you have the poor thing's chin touching it's chest and it's mouth is gaping open with a twisted wire snaffle in it. There is nothing pretty or "pleasure"able about that. Nothing. And I'm not talking about a hip-in exercise I'm talkin' the whole way around the arena spurs jabbing the whole way. And if I heard one more "trainer" tell a rider their drugged looking horse needed to "walk slower" I was going to scream.

I'm NOT saying that all breed show people are like that. I'm NOT saying that shit doesn't also happen at the open shows I go to, too, because I have seen it there, just not as much. I'm just reporting what I saw and what I do NOT want to be a part of.

I decided to stay for the first few riding classes up until Novice Amateur Hunter Under Saddle since that's probably what I would show in if I were to go to this show next year. The one horse in 2yo HUS was okay and the two kids in the walk trot and novice youth HUS (respectively) were okay. Nov. Am. HUS had 7 nice looking, consistent and forward moving well framed-up horses. If I had been in the ring I would have been very last place even on our best day. This fact does not upset me. I love my pony. He is what he is and I love him more than I love blue ribbons. I love him more than showing at all. I never had ambitions to show breed and I'm glad that I still don't! I think we could do breed shows if we were in training with someone (like KAT) getting consistent lessons AND trainer rides, but I'm not all that interested in that.

So I left and went to Home Depot and bought stain and poly so I can finish my pretty tack box for my wonderful pony. I would have stayed longer if I had a friend to make quiet snarky comments with, but I'd rather go play with my own pony anyhow.

We can stick to open shows. They're WAY better on the pocketbook anyway. I did the math. YIKES. They sure tack on the fees! APHA membership, Nov. Am. card, judges fees, class fees, AND APHA show fees.

I'm glad I went to investigate. I'd be pissed OFF if I'd decided to show there without doing a little re-con first.

So back to our normal lives.

I love how he's looking me in the face in this picture:
Junior: "Really? No, seriously, WTF are you doing to me?"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"The Tack-Box-To-Be" Part III Beta -More Progress!

The door is constructed!

Bridles will go on the right side and the pantry shelves go on the left side. Almost time to stain/poly!

I am SO ready to have this box in use. I had a routine at the old barn and I can't seem to get into a groove yet. I keep making seventeen trips back and forth from the tack room to the crossties, leaving the barn with my half-chaps on, or without my sunglasses. I spent the first week shuffling stuff back and forth from the barn to my apartment. It doesn't help that I had a show right before I moved so I left lots of stuff at home I didn't think I'd need but then realized I did. I baby my English saddle WAY more than I babied my western work saddle so that's been some juggling, too, making sure it was always covered and on a proper rack. I could just set my work saddle on the ground on it's horn and not worry about it. Not so much with a saddle I show in!

So I am VERY ready to have this box in place so I can re-organinze and get back into a routine. I find comfort in the old saying "A place for everything and everything in it's place." I was even helping my BO with re-organizing the lesson tack room yesterday. The label maker will probably make an appearance before long....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"The Tack-Box-To-Be" Part III - Progress!

Evidence of progress on my tack box!

The main box is on it's backside and the rest of the ply to make up the door is lying on top. My carpenter is not so thrilled about being in the picture. :)
Really excited but kind of scared at the same time. My worst nightmare is that it will either look terrible or worse, be non-functional. Neither of those things are likely to happen, but that's just how my brain works. You should know this by now.

Now to decide whether or not I want to stain it (and what color?) before the outdoor-grade poly goes on... hmmmmm.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Horse Has Mental Problems.

My horse has mental problems. Or perhaps he's a masochist. Why else would he wound himself in the face THREE TIMES since the end of June!?!?! I found this new one today. Wasn't there yesterday. My awesome BM had already put Tri-Care on it for me. She rocks. You can see the first one just above and inside his eye and the one he did early in July up towards the middle of his face. Both are healed and getting their hair back and this one will heal too... just like the others and just like the multitude of abrasions that cover his left side. *Sigh* Masochist.

In other news: One step forward seems to always equal two steps back. While I was away he got some irritation from probably bug bites (they're out over night in the summer) and the BM asked if I had a fly sheet. I did but couldn't get it to the barn until I got back last weekend. It's not a great one. It was technically free because I got it for $10 at the State Line Tack tent sale at congress two years ago and then sold some of the other stuff I got for more than my total bill that day. Anyway, after wearing it for a week his shoulders are rubbed bald. I. CANNOT. WIN. I like him wearing it for bug and bite protection, but now his shoulders are bald. Do I need to go spend $65 for a softer fly sheet like THIS ONE? I really don't WANT to. With my luck that one will get torn to shreds. He's really hard on stuff....not sure if you've noticed...

In BETTER news our ride today was a huge improvement. Trotting was much more fluid and extended. His left lead started out really really rough but with some lifting and encouraging he straightened himself out. Overall a big improvement over yesterday and our best ride all week.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First Trail Rides!

On Saturday I got brave and decided to ride Junior on the teeny tiny trail loop closest to the barn. That's the trail I took last video clip on. I started our day with the Electro Stim and the stretches and then led him by hand along the whole loop. He was uneasy about the pond. He's making me think he doesn't like water. He acted the same way towards a big puddle once on a walk around the old boarding stable. But he walked fine through all the puddles in the pastures and in the driveway at the old place.

After our walk I rode him a bit. He felt the same as he did on Friday. He was really extending his walk on the trail so I decided I'd go ahead and ride the trail. Made me a little nervous because we were alone on the place, but when bravery shows up unexpectedly I usually listen. I am a bit of a pansy after all.

He was great. He walked SUPER fast but I let him have his head so he didn't feel trapped. We did the loop twice and then went out past the barn and did the path around the turn out fields. He flinched at the jumps and at some barrels along the way, but no spooks! He seemed to really be extending his stride so hopefully that's a good stretch for him.

Today I did the Stim and the stretches and then did the "carrot" stretches using treats.... this may have been a grave mistake. I was hesitant to do it because I've banned hand feeding him since last October. The ban as really helped his impolite mouthiness. He is still mouthy, but when he hasn't expected there to be treats he's much more polite and respectful about it. I wasn't really able to get him to stretch though, so I thought I'd try it. Once he figured out he had to keep his feet planted and reach for it he stretched SO much further than he had been. So that was successful.... but I spent most of the rest of the day smacking his mouth away. It's like the 10 months of work was gone. Grrrrrrr. So now what? Which is the lesser of the two evils? Mouthy or stiff? Hopefully I don't have to choose, but I'm not sure how else to encourage him to stretch. Any ideas that don't involve food?

Max's girls came and we agreed he looked a little stiffer trotting (in hand) than we'd like, so I rode but just walked. Max led us into the trail loop. Junior walks a lot faster than Max so I kept having to stop him to keep his nose out of Max's tail. After the short loop we went to wooded trail with creek crossings that we had not been on yet. He did pretty good, but I was very glad to have Max there to prove there were no monsters. We got to the first creek crossing and there were only puddles but he freaked out a bit and bounded the last stride out of it and a few hops beyond. The second crossing was drier (both were sandy with round stones) and I held him back so he would pick his way calmly across it. Maybe he doesn't like water after all? He was great the rest of the way. We walked the perimeter of the fields again and he actually stopped to pee. That's only the second time he's done it while riding so I know he really had to go. He will rarely even go if someone is watching!

Hopefully the nice brisk walk was good for him. *I* sure enjoyed getting out of the arenas! I realize though, that I really don't have any trail experience and my anxiety steps up a bit. What if he spooks and bolts? Throws me into a tree? Can he handle the stones in the creek bed? I grew up with horses on the treeless prairie. Our version of trail riding was riding the perimeter of the fenced-in hay fields! Good thing my BO is an endurance rider! I'll have some questions for her

Junior remains calm and very happy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stiff Stuff

Junior is calmer and more content than I have ever seen him. He seems to be absolutely LOVING this new barn. THIS is the horse I wanted. His weight is finally at a great place, too. He's loving his turnout time, I haven't had to clean a stall since I left the old place, and the BM and BO have been incredible at communication and making sure Junior and I are happy.

But alas, nothing is ever perfect. He's stiff and a leeeeetle bit off. Not injured, but stiff along his whole right side is stiff. Honestly it's not any worse that I've seen him for a while, but now I am able to concentrate on it because his overall wellbeing is so improved!

Since he's been at the new place we've had his feet trimmed by a very cool farrier, who reported that his feet were "a mess". He said his shoes were too small, his front feet were uneven, and his toes were too long. I had his shoes taken off since the footing is far superior to our old place and we don't have any shows planned. I saw a huge visual difference in his feet when I got back from vacation. If MY untrained eyes can tell the angles and proportions are better, that's major.

He's also been seen by a chiropractor. His comments were limited to one cryptic phrase like "He's fine. Just stiffer in the neck than I expected." Um... than you expected? Does that mean he's really stiff? Why didn't you expect it? Now what? Unfortunately that's all I got. I've got the BM on alert to let me know when he's out next.

Then yesterday he was visibly off. Not "lame" just off. He was not unwilling, just "off." He's so laid back right now that it's hard for me to tell how much is just lazy-legs and how much is stiffness. He doesn't act unwilling, just stiff. I took it super easy yesterday once I felt how much resistance to bending I was getting. I did ask him for a left lead canter and even that felt wonky so we only did a few strides.

Today the farrier and my BO were both there so I conned them into watching him move so I could get some more experienced opinions. Junior was put through a short time in the round pen which he didn't seem to mind.

Then we got him out on the lunge on a bigger circle. Both viewers agreed that he was a bit off going to the right and showed stiffness through that side. The BO showed me some stretches to do with him and demonstrated how much more flexible he is on the left than the right.

THEN she suggested we try this... electric thingie-ma-jig...thing... she has, which turned out to be Electro-Stimulation, the same thing my chiropractor uses on me! Once I understood what she was talking about I jumped at the chance. I think it feels great on me and really helps my soreness and stiffness, so why wouldn't it work on him, right? Well, at least it can't hurt.

Of course it's hard to tell if he liked it or if it bothered him or if he felt anything at all. There was a lot going on (three riders in the indoor on reining horses, Max being led right past him, two horses he could hear in the outdoor and we were right in the middle of it all) while we were doing it so it was hard to read his reactions. I rode him afterwards and thought he felt a lot better than yesterday. We even cantered a lap each direction. I'm going to do the Stim 1-2 times daily for 10 days and work on the stretches and see what kind of improvement we get. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh, Mighty Captain Destructo, Why Dost Thou Vex Me?

Here is what I was greeted with at the barn today:


Good thing I know how to sew so I can just shorten the nose area, but I'm still thinking about what to do with the other part. It's hard to know if the damage was all him or all a friend, but Max's mask has both ears ripped off, and Gunner is on his 3rd fly mask in three weeks. Those rowdy boys! Gunner isn't as chewed up as Junior, but as I was sitting on Junior in the arena and Gunner was led out of his stall and I had to hold Junior back because he wanted to go see Gunner so badly. I guess he likes the abuse! I put a fly sheet on Junior last night and it is very dirty but survived the first night at least. We'll see how long it lasts.... I didn't see ANY new wounds on him so maybe the sheet will be a tooth guard, too, at least for a while.

The saddle and girth didn't seem to bother his wounds so I think we're all good to go back into a riding routine. My plan is to ride English only for a while so I've left the western saddles at home. I'm going to work on my seat and strength. I've lost most of the little I had by not riding for a whole month. I was riding well in my western saddle without stirrups but I know perfectly well that's WAY easier than in an English saddle Once I feel like I'm back in business (today was NOT that day) I will take off my stirrups for a month and see how that goes.... might want to invest in some full-seat breeches before that starts.....

Home Again, Home Again!

Disclaimer: Those of you who have missed the kind of posts that make "overanxious" look like "bat-shit crazy" may enjoy this post.....

I headed out to the barn on Monday afternoon to see how Junebug was doing. I found him sleepily hanging his head over his door and drooling from the clover he gets to eat for 12 hours each night. Other times I've left him for weeks at a time he's seemed sulky and pouty. This time he was calm and sweet, nuzzled me all over slowly. Though it would be nice if he actually noticed I was gone, I was overjoyed that his attitude has turned around and I could easily see how happy he is at the new place.

I was not as happy when I saw how beat up he's become (this is the overanxious part). It's all superficial hair loss scrapes, some may have had a little blood when they were fresh, but he looks like he was in a bar fight. I was told right away that he and another horse, Gunner, were playing rough and that they both showed big bite marks. I was NOT prepared for what I saw though. He is absolutely covered on his left side with marks! From his withers to his hips and down his barrel. He was also filthy with poo all over and his stockings were brownish yellow so I kind of went into a protective-mom panic. Luckily nobody was there so I was able to suffer needlessly in silence until I got over it. I went right to work giving him a full bath. It's nice to have a wash area with cross ties, but he moves around so much it was still a rodeo. The dirt was just pouring off of him with the first rinse. I even went so far as to use the Show Clean whitener on his socks, even though we have no plans for any more shows this year. Though he did not appreciate the bathing I felt much better being able to see all of the wounds clearly and I was mollified. Only one big one on his side does not show hair growth yet, which freaks me out a bit. The rest are all in various stages of healing and hair re-growth. After the bath I put Tri-Care on everything I could find and combed his mane back to one side. While he was quickly drying in the 91 degree heat, I took him into the trail just outside the barn. He was VERY snorty about it which amuses me greatly. He spent a lot of time just staring off down the trail. I was so worried that he was going to bolt, though, that I limited our first adventure. Plus the biggest horsefly I have EVER SEEN started trying to land on his back so I got us out of the woods quickly. The thing was the size of a small hummingbird! I knew it'd be bad news if that bit him... how would I ever convince him the woods DON'T bite!?!

Though I freaked out about the wounds he seems SOOOO happy there. I'd rather have a happy horse with scars than an unhappy one without, so I'll have to get over it. So far he's never had a wound that didn't grow back roan so I'm crossing my fingers. My least favorite part about roans is how they tend to grow back solid hair when they get hurt. Unique battle scars, but I just don't like them. I don't think I could take him to a show like this though, and I'm not convinced it's okay to saddle him like this, so I'll look at that today.

The other fun thing I discovered was THIS:

Yummy yummy mildew! I know it's a sign of "healthy" leather (though how can dead tissue be healthy?) to have mildew so I guess my reins are not as healthy as my headstall.

I took all the mildewed pieces home and cleaned and oiled them. My english bridle was fine so I'm not sure if that's unhealthy, or just didn't get mildewed because Max's girls used it while I was gone. The mildewed pieces were in less ventilated areas of the box while the bridle was exposed to more air. Ventilation is good for horses AND tack!