Thursday, November 20, 2008


Werther was such a good boy today. I rode him alone in the indoor, the space heaters where in high gear and he was a little apprehensive about the noise at first, but he did not do anything bad. He was super pokey at the trot but he brightened up a little bit at the canter. He picked up both of leads right on cue, we did quite a few flying lead changes today. Changes are so easy for him, and barely have to ask. I worked up canter up the quarter lines to work on my turns, once I got the turn at funny angle so he did a lead change because he thought we were changing directions. Mom brought Wesley back from the clinic, apparently he was not happy there at all, he did not drink any water and he was sore from the injection and the vets messing around with his tumors. After Wesley was back in his stall for a little while, he perked right up and was his usual sassy self. He goes back in two weeks to get another injection of the tumor vaccine, we are going to see if we can arrange it so Wesley does not have to stay overnight. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Werther and Vinny, Not a Match Made In Heaven

So when we put Werther out in his new turn out situation with Wesley and Vinny, Vinny was inside because Andre was going to ride him. When Andre turned Vinny out with Wesley and Werther, Werther tried to beat up Vinny, he did not want him anywhere near his friend Wesley. So the horses are going back to their old paddock arrangements. I could not get out to the barn today because Wesley had to be dropped off at Anoka Equine so he can get his tumor vaccine shot tomorrow, they have to inject it within the hour of receiving the vaccine. Andre rode Werther today, and I did hear anything from Andre so I am assume he was just fine, I will talk to her at the barn tomorrow and get the full report.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I was worried Werther would be difficult to catch this morning because I came out earlier than usual but he was very good, he is starting to come when I call him. I am sure he just wanted to get out of the cold weather, it was in the mid 20's all day today. Hacking was difficult today, my Mom had a lesson on Spike so I could not keep Werther moving and I had a really hard time getting him to canter on the right lead. He was rooting quite a bit today, Mom thinks maybe switching him to a rubber snaffle might help, Werther is in a french link snaffle right now. I had to get Andre to help me with the right lead, basically all she said was to "hit him until he belives you" and not worry about what lead I get. We did more canter transitions and he kept getting better, which I was happy with. Just as I was finishing up my ride the power went out in the barn, but luckily we have a lot of windows in our indoor so it did not matter to much. When I turned Werther back out we changed paddocks, TJ is now going out with Stoli and Werther is going out with Wesley and Vinny. I think Werther will like having more company.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Shoes

Werther got his new shoes on today.

Our farrier, Scott was happy with his feet. He was able to bump Werther up to size three, when he first came to us they were a two. After Werther got his feet done my Mom and I chased Werther in the indoor which he definitely needed. After a small intial prompting, he galloped around like a mad man, tail up in the air and lots of stallion snorts. Needless to say, Werther was very tired for our ride and I did not do too much with him. After Werther was done, Mom and I switched Werther and Wesley's stalls. Werther cribs on the automatic waterer so we put him in a stall closer to the hose and we put low hanging buckets of water in his stall. My Mom turned off the automatic waterer, ducktaped the bowl to the top and sprayed it with pepper spray to discourage his cribbing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Riding Lesson

I went to get Werther in from the paddock and the first thing I do is loose my footing and end up with my knees caked in black mud. It was kind of a mix bag after that. He was really good when I was warming up, I got the canter both directions on the first attempt. We started cantering over the pig jump as a low vertical. Then we moved on to a line of small cross rails that is really a three stride but Andre was having me add a stride and do it in four. He was really good on the left lead going away from home but I ran into some trouble when I changed direction. The first time I did the line on the right was good, but the second time I turned too early and he jumped into the line big and got really quick going though it. I got nervous after that, and I asked Andre if I could trot the line once before going back to the canter. She kind of snapped at me, told me no and said she doubted if I really wanted jump and that I had to make the choice if I want to keep doing it. I do really want to jump, it just took so long to find a horse after we retired Wesley, it took over a year to find Werther and I am really rusty jumping and I have lost a lot of the confidence Wesley gave me. Andre is the kind of trainer she almost rides too well, I don't think she has ever had a moment of anxiety riding and genuinely does not understand other people's fear and does not know how to deal with it. I don't think she was trying to be mean, but it made me feel bad. I sucked it up and went up the line again to the right, and because I was worried about him leaving long and speeding up again I kept him really collected to the first jump and did not release well over the first jump. Andre yelled at me for that, which frustrated me because she really did not understand the cause and effect of him going to fast one time, and me being to conservative the next time. We switched direction and went to the left again, I thought we had a good pace going in but he was going too fast because he did the three stride instead of adding and doing the four. This time I just mentally said "fuck it if I fall off" and stayed in two point in the line. He was still a little quick after landing the second fence but I did stay on. We did the line one last time to the left with a slower canter, however, he had rooted down the long side so I was going to overshoot my turn with the time it would take to get my hands reorganized, so I canter a circle and went over the line again. This time it went much better. I think Andre was happier with me after my lesson but I was a little depressed after my lesson, I don't know what I can say to Andre to help her understand. Any advice would be helpful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Love My Horse

Today I went to bring Werther in, after I walked a few feet, he actually came when I called him which he has not done before. After I got his halter on and gave both Werther and TJ their treats, I turned around to leave the paddock and I noticed the gate had swung open behind me. TJ was moving too fast for me and I could not cut him off before he got out the paddock. He started out waliking so I thought maybe I could catch up to him and herd him into the barn. As soon as I got out the the paddock he started trotting down the lane of paddocks. Luckily, I had my cell phone with me and I called my trainer Andre inside the barn and she got a groom to come out and help me. At this point, TJ was on the grassy lane on the left side of the barn in between the paddocks and the paved driveway where we pull up the trailer to load it. He started galloping and bucking up the lane, and sometimes turning and cantering down the blacktop. I was really sacred, I thought that A) he was going to run into me because he kept galloping straight and Werther and turning away at the last second. B) That he was going to slip and fall and I was going to watch him break his leg on the black top. Luckily, Jorge caught him. TJ is already extremely lame right now because of arthritis from Lymes disease, my Mom has already pretty much decided that she is going to put him down before she leaves for Thermal. I feel really bad for him, but it is better than living out the next 15 years being so uncomfortable and wild because he can't be in work. While all this was going on Werther was so good, he just stood at ate grass. I was afraid to move Werther because I thought it might rile TJ more. Werther was so good in his stall and cross ties, and was just so relaxed and calm when I rode him, it helped me to get my heart to stop racing, I had so much adrenaline pumping after what happened with TJ. I started out cantering on the right lead, it took two tries to get him to pick him up but once he did he was perfect. Lately when we have started cantering, he roots on the first stride, especially on the right lead, but he refrained from doing that today. He picked up the left lead on the first try, and when I switch directions and asked him to pick up to right lead again he did it on the first attempt. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom's ride

I could not get out to the barn today so my Mom rode Werther. I guess it went well, because she was threatening to steal him when she has four jumpers of her own to ride. She said he was a little up trotting but very quiet at the canter. She also jumped him over a few fences, and she said he was excellent and felt like he still had a ton of jump left in him. We think that the people who had him before us were showing him too hard and got him ring sour. Now that he has had a couple months r and r with us, he has a much better attitude and could probably do bigger jumps if I needed him to. One of my main frustrations with the hunter/jumper world is that there are so many big name trainers out there who view horses as disposable, they show them into the ground. Because of my disability, I can only show at 2'6, so I usually end up with those trainers cast offs, which is good for me, but not good for the industry as a whole. 

Still Catching Up

I am still a day behind in my posts, but I will try to catch up today. Yesterday was freezing, Werther was turned out in super heavy Rambo Wug blanket. Werther was still difficult to catch and my hands were numb by the time I got him in the barn. He was better in the cross ties, but still a little fidgety. Werther was really good when I got on him, he was much more relaxed than yesterday. He was still a little more fresh than usual, so I spent some extra time trotting him. We were alone in the ring most of the time, and he started out a little bit of a drama queen, whinnying like a horse in a hollywood movie. I was a little nervous about cantering him, so I was pretty conservative about the asking so it took a few attempts to get him to canter. I also started out on the right lead, which means I have to ask with my weaker leg. I switched to the left lead and he was really good, he was moving really well after he got his hocks done. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yesterday's Ride

I got back from NYC late Sunday night, and went out the barn yesterday afternoon. We are finally experiencing true November weather for Minnesota, which means the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees. Because Werther got his hocks injected last week, he basically has had a week off. This combined with the recent cold weather made me a little nervous. He was very good to catch in the paddock, and moved quickly to get inside instead of his usual stop and stall routine. He was a little fidgety in the cross ties, but he did not do anything that raised any major red flags. My first true indicator of how fresh he was was when I was trying to get on. He would not stand so I could get on, Andre was riding Vinny, so she came down to my end of the ring, to help me pen him in a little so I had enough time to get my left foot in the stirrup and my right knee on the seat of the saddle so I had enough balance to get him stopped so I could finish swinging my leg over. He had impulsion at the walk, but he did not misbehave himself. When we started to trot however, he wanted to be very quick, and found excuses to spook forward at little noises. When I trotted him around for awhile and he did not really settle down I asked Andre to get on him canter Werther around. I took Vinny from Andre and untacked him for her, than went to watch Andre with Werther. Werther was cantering around like the engerizer bunny, closer to a hand gallop really. Andre had the reins very relaxed, and was not doing circles with him, but every so often she would do a flying lead change on the diagonal and change direction. She said he did not offer to buck, which was a relief to me, before I got Werther, I tried a horse from a rescue who after we got him fit and feeling good would buck really hard when you asked him to go on the right lead.  I got on and walked out Werther for Andre, he was tired but that did not stop him from being anxious about being the only horse in the ring and whinnying like something out of the movies. Andre and I decided that during the winter he is going to chased in the indoor once and week to blow off some extra steam.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Light Hack

Werther was already in when I went out to the barn this morning, they weather was really icky so the guys brought the horses in early. Werther was happy to see me, he wanted to know where his treat giver had gotten to these past couple days. I only rode at the walk and trot, but next week when I get back from New York City he should be able to return to a regular schedule. He was still pretty lazy even after having had the last four days off, but especially after we had been troting for awhile he gained more impulsion and seemed to be moving well off his hind end. I groomed Wesley before I left, he was still wet from being out in the rain, he is not clipped so he takes forever to dry. I put scrim on him, and they guys were going to keep an eye on him to make sure he got fully dry. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Dr. Sarah came out very early and injected Werther's hocks. She said he really needed it. Werther will be off until Thursday. I go out of town on Friday for my niece's baptism for the weekend, so I am going to ask Andre to hack Werther on Friday. While I don't think the hock injections while turn him into a wild man, it is nice to have the trainer be the guinea pig. Wesley is doing well after his biopsy. He is such a cheerful horse, Wesley is not phased by much. It is nice they were able to just do a local block for the biopsy and they did not have to tranquilize him. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tumor Biopsy

I did not ride today because Wesley had his tumor biopsy done by Dr. Turner at Anoka Equine. I could not go, I would have been a mess. It is not a needle biopsy but they actually cut a piece of the tumor out. I'm told it was pretty bloody but it went well. I don't know how long it takes to make up the vaccine, but I am anxious to see if it will help him. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Visit

Quick trip out to the barn today, Becky came over with a girl who currently works at her boarding barn to interview for a grooming position. Tom is no longer with us, so my Mom is trying to find someone before she goes to show at Thermal. I groomed Werther and Wesley, Werther's scratches are greatly improved. I was going to take some pictures with my camera but the battery died. It was nice to spend some extra time with Wesley, I don't want him to feel like Werther takes up all my attention. I worry about Wesley with his melanomas too, his condition is stable right now, but I don't know for long that will be it could be years or only weeks. When I rode Wesley he really took care of me and gave me a lot of confidence, I just want to make sure I return the favor. He is going in tomorrow to get this tumor biopsy done so they can make a vaccine from the tumor cells which they inject into him and is supposed to help reduce the tumor size. We had some more leads on Dressage trainers, Dr. Sarah recommended a person, and a woman my Aunt Karen used to ride with gave her a name as well. Debbie was also going to ask a trainer who works with the Leatherdale's, a local high end breeding barn. 

Lazy Saturday

Another nice fall day here in Minnesota. One minor incident, when we pulled into the farm this random woman had pulled over her car and was trying to entice Jingle Belle and Fiona to the fence, so now we most likely will have to move them.  Luckily she was not stupid enough to try and go in the paddock and the two ponies did not go over to her, but it was worrying none the less. My Mom and I went on a long walking trail ride with Werther and Stoli. We went across the road and went on some of the hunt paths over there which we don't usually do. Werther was really good, he and Stoli are both excellent trail horses and they enjoy each other's company so it made for a very pleasant ride. After we were done I brought Wesley in for my Mom to clean up before he goes into the clinic on Monday for his tumor biopsy. I washed Werther's back legs with Microtech, his scratches are getting much better. We had to move around some horses, because our young mare Violet was being a wench, so Werther and Wesley are two stalls down from where they were before, I think they like their new digs. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Last two days recap

Thursday was gorgeous out so I went on a trail ride with my Mom and Spike. He was a little bit up to begin with, we had one little spook where we turn around after the small hill, he also decided to canter up the small hill which took me by surprise because normally he is so lazy I can barely get him to finish trotting up it. Cantering up the hill was about the midway point in our ride and after that his energy level went down considerable and he behaved more like his regular self. The one thing I was really proud of is even when he was doing those things I did not anticipate, I was able to stay centered and balanced on him, The whole ride was a good exercise in steering for me, my Mom's horse Spike was leading, and he is a touch spooky, so he would not go in a straight line on the path, but was constantly zig zaging instead, so I had to steer Werther around him. We ended by walking up the bank jump and going into the outdoor ring where I worked on my canter. I started him out on the right lead and he was really good, the left lead he was reluctant to pick up and was pulling his head down very low. My Mom was watching and she thought he may need to get his hocks done, the way he was going indicated he wanted to get off of his hind end. He has not had has hocks done since we got him, and we are not sure if he ever has had them done. Andre rode him on Friday, to confirm what I was feeling and my Mom was seeing, he is going to get his hocks done on Tuesday.