Endless Summer

Fall is not here, regardless of the equinox. The highs all week are around 100. It has made reconditioning Eli interesting. I am trying to balance getting him in shape against the heat and humidity and guess what’s winning.

Once the equinox hits, the days start losing light, albeit slowly down here in Texas. This means some horses are already growing winter coats. Including Eli. He will most definitely need body clipping again this year. He was pretty normal about it last year, so I am less anxious about the process but not really looking forward to it.

We don’t trot for very long yet. It’s going to take a little more riding to get Eli’s head back up and in front of the vertical.

Shorter days also mean more sunset rides until the time changes, then riding under the lights. Eli gets a bit edgy under the lights but usually gets over it after a few night rides. I do hope this winter is a bit drier than last winter. Last winter was brutal with the rain, and Eli had many difficult days under saddle.

Still obsessed with this Asmar belt purse.

Now that I am back to riding more regularly and have worn the DeNiro Salentos quite a bit … review forthcoming. I like how much more substantial they feel than Parlantis. I need all the foot and ankle support I can get, and these make both feel very stable. I never did well with the squishy Parlanti soles and prefer hard-soled shoes and boots. These have that for sure.

September looks to finish out in the 100s. At least that means I get a little bit more time with Summer Eli who is a much nicer horse to ride than Winter Eli!

The Canter is a Cure for Every Evil

Who doesn’t love an eloquent prime minister?

looks pretty good on video!

So. Eli is cantering under saddle. And it’s been a dream. He seems to be sound on all four feet right now (although I am sure he will come up with something as I type this …). I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than being able to canter my horse again. The current expectation is that we will be able to jump by mid-November if he stays comfortable on his front feet. He will have very different shoes on after his next setting — I am hoping they help him. Shoeing changes always make me nervous but his heels need more support than what they are getting right now.

I have also squared away his new diet plan and he LOVES the alfalfa. He’ll go on the barn senior soon, too. He seems a bit more relaxed and contented with the alfalfa and I kind of wish I had gotten him on alfalfa years ago. Of course, he is also getting more turnout and light work so I can’t chalk up his attitude entirely to the alfalfa. But more forage and less grain? Okay by me.

Winter Wish List

It’s trying to rain today, which puts me in a mood for fall-like weather even though that’s not what we are getting it Texas right now! It’s more like tropical weather. But I can’t help but look at riding clothes that remind me of cooler temperatures. Maybe by November we won’t have any more 100-degree days?

Admittedly, I have been warming up to Horze Equestrian and a pair of high-waisted breeches caught my eye, in large part because they come in black.

Yeah, I would totally wear these Tara Breeches. Does it matter that they are full seat and I am HJ all the way? Nope. One of my favorite pairs of breeches that I have right now are full seat. Extra insurance if Eli spooks at something. Anyway, Horze also came out with a pair of PU riding tights and I’ll be honest, they confuse me.

The Hanna riding tights are looking extremely impractical to me, even for winter in Texas. Leather-look pants might be good for a night out, though … I do love the color! But as to wearing these in the saddle? To be determined.

Okay, back to a favorite of mine. I have the grey denim Calabasas breeches from Equine Couture and I am just going to say I want the navy denim, too.

These breeches are so comfortable and I can ride in them even in the heat without getting too hot. They are thin and stretchy and I wear them like once a week at this point. But they are not so thin that they wouldn’t be versatile enough for mild Texas winters. And they are on a bit of a sale, right now, too.

Another favorite of mine is the Asmar logo tee and the colors Asmar has come up with for this fall are gorgeous. I love the plum especially!

The material is incredibly soft and works really well in — again — the Texas heat, but there’s no reason not to wear this tee under a vest for chillier weather. Like, you know, 71F. That’s cold enough for an extra layer here. Can you tell I have only ever lived in Texas?

This next one is killing me. I already have an All Weather Rider jacket, and it is worth its weight in gold. So I can’t justify a second one because it’s not like we get a lot of rain here and it’s not like I am even willing to ride in the rain.

Of course it comes in plum now. Seriously, I wear mine a lot in the winter and not just to the barn. It is a great jacket!

Riding in the winter can be such a drag, and looking at clothes definitely cheers me up about it. Maybe if we actually get rain today I might actually play the “add to cart” game later this evening. And it will be those Calabasas breeches. Those I know I will wear!

 

Hunger Strike

Now that we have Eli cleared for reconditioning, all injected and sound and not ouchie on his front hooves, he has decided now would be a great time to go on one of his little hunger strikes. Initially, he stopped eating the barn grain the day after his appointment that involved a lot of poking a prodding, so I figured he was just being “sensitive.” Ha.

eats the sad summer grass

He eats cookies, “cookie” supplements, hay, grass … his teeth will be attended to in October and are otherwise fine. He has no fever, regular respiration and heart rate … He just doesn’t like the taste of the barn grain anymore. The SAME barn grain that he decided he would eat instead of Purina Senior. However, I offered him a handful of the barn senior feed — which he had turned his nose up at right before he started eating Purina Senior — and he gobbled it. Turkey.

most finicky horse I have had the pleasure of knowing but does like to lick rocks

Even more special, the barn senior feed is kind of hard to find in this area. I have to call around today and pick up enough bags to get Eli to the end of the month because the barn orders just enough of the feed every month to cover the horses that eat it. So Eli’s an extra horse and if he gets it, it won’t last through to the next order. After that I will just pay the upcharge and the barn will order enough for an additional horse, I guess? I hope so.

Other than that, Eli has been doing well and feels very good under saddle. We have now cantered without incident! I am not riding him for very long yet, just about 15 minutes total of w/t/c. I will add more time as the weeks go by and hopefully we’ll both get back into shape.

sweetest mare

I also got to ride my trainer’s mare a few more times. She is the least mare-ish mare I have encountered. Her canter is a dream. She’s easier on the ground than Eli, that’s for sure!

Easy Patient

I never thought I would see the day that Eli would actually perk up his ears at his vet, but yesterday was that day! Initially, I had made the appointment simply as a recheck of the RH suspensory branch. Fast forward to Eli’s next set of shoes, and suddenly I had a few other things I needed the vet to examine. Throw in some tenderness on the inside of the left hind fetlock, as well as long-overdue stifle injections, and you get an appointment with lots of poking, prodding, hoof testing, and imaging. Through all of it, Eli was a model patient, standing quietly for x-rays, being polite about flexion tests and hoof testers, and tolerating the ultrasound without so much as a twitch. Just as I was thinking, “oh wow, do I finally have a normal horse?” my trainer said out loud with surprise, “he’s being really good.” Not normal for Eli, but perhaps a new normal for him? Maybe he finally understands all this vet stuff is for his benefit? However, both the vet and I spoke up just as a tech was about to start scrubbing his stifles for his injections — wait, wait, wait, we need to sedate him first. Trust.

sleeeeeeeeepy and also kind of dirty, with bitey-face battle wounds

Once he was hilariously sleepy, the scrubbing commenced, and the only protest Eli could manage was twitching his lips in consternation that he couldn’t act out a little more irritably. I don’t think he could even manage grinding his teeth at that point.

Attitude may or may not be influenced by number of German horse muffins consumed.

So getting on with the results … First, how about some more good news? Eli flexed sound on his RH. The still-healing area of the suspensory in question “looks awesome,” in quotes, because that is exactly what the vet said. Like it’s pretty well healed. As far as that goes, Eli is cleared for regular reconditioning work. The PRP and shockwave seem to have been well worth it.

Now for the trickier stuff. After some jogging and hoof testing and blocking, Eli has some heel soreness in both front feet, the right being worse (which is always the case with this horse!). He seemed very foot sore after this last set of shoes, but after packing his feet a few days, he got over it. He still takes a wonky step on the RF every so often, usually on hard ground (and we have some super hard, may-as-well-be-cement ground around here right now and could really use a little more rain). He is sound in the arena footing. If he continues to improve, he can work, although no jumping until his next set of shoes, which will include pads. Not sure we would have got back to jumping before then anyway, in consideration of the RH. The vet and farrier conferred, and the farrier now has x-rays to work from, too. Although this farrier is still pretty new to Eli, he and Eli’s vet have worked together for years on horses, so I feel like I know what to expect. If shoeing alone doesn’t suffice, there are other treatment options, too. Thoroughbred feet, man. Ugh.

Stands weird at all times but somehow it’s super cute when he’s trying to wake up

And last, the localized, LH tenderness disappeared after a day so by the time of Eli’s appointment, it wasn’t even necessary to address. The stifle injections should take care of any other weakness I may have felt in his hind end — since we were only trotting I couldn’t even be too sure of that. He can go back to work on Sunday, so I guess I’ll find out then! Maybe he’ll feel a little too good and offer some expressiveness upon finally cantering under saddle after more than five months of not cantering under saddle. Eli is still good to go for regular turnout, so hopefully the bottled-up energy won’t be too bad.

Weenie Wednesday: Weekday Walk

I don’t often walk Conrad very far during the week because of school traffic, morning rush, and me not being a morning person coupled with having to drive to work at some point. However, I had Tuesday and Wednesday off this week!

So we got to walk to the park once all the school traffic evaporated. We had a very enjoyable stroll through the neighborhood park.

I am not sure what Conrad is looking at because his eye level is vastly different from mine. I suspect he is looking for rabbits and squirrels, which reasonably could indeed be found at Conrad’s eye level.

If you peep my social media, you’d have seen a sneak peek from a photo session Conrad had over the weekend. I have another appointment with the photographer in a few weeks to select the photographs and display options. I don’t have anything to share from this experience just yet, but I am really looking forward to seeing her work with Conrad as subject!

Recheck Eve

True to his indomitable form, Eli has prepared for his impending suspensory recheck by adding a few other mysteries for his vet to investigate.

He had been feeling quite good under saddle. His trotting was coming along (from strung out to half way acceptable) and I even took the executive step of adding in some shallow turns to our straight lines of trotting just last week.

 

Still, we do walk a lot. Eli has of course enjoyed his turnout time. Perhaps he enjoyed it a little too much on Sunday? On Monday, he seemed tender at his left hind fetlock and foot sore in front, especially on the right. He also pretty much needs some of his maintenance, like, yesterday.

Today, thankfully, he felt much better. My trainer said she could get the farrier to take a look at his right front today and I’ll also have the vet examine it tomorrow. As for everything else … honestly I think the RH we are rechecking is okay. The left hind did not seem to bother him today. He is, still, staying affectionate without the reserpine, which is blowing my mind but I’ll take it. I see no reason to restrict his turnout yet, either. Yesterday my mind was racing, but today I am a little calmer about the whole thing. Because oh yeah, Eli is a 16yo ottb. He is not ding-free. If he needs help to stay in work, he gets it. If it gets to where any help can’t help enough, he gets to retire comfortably. He is clearly happy right now, so I can’t justify fretting over things I don’t know yet. He also does stuff like this basically every month, so I should be used to it by now!

In more enjoyable news, Conrad had a photoshoot over the weekend and the photographer posted a sneak peek! I get to see a lot more in a few weeks so hopefully I will will have more to post about the experience then, too. Short version: I highly recommend Green Paws Photography!

Weenie Wednesday: Too Sleepy

Yes, it’s Thursday. Just go with it!

Conrad has something pretty exciting coming up on Saturday, and I have a lot of vacation days coming up for the rest of the month. And *maybe* Eli’s recheck next Wednesday will go not too badly? I am ready for some real vacation time! I haven’t had but a few days here and there since work got less crazy (but not because of the relo) and I am most looking forward to being outside more and in a car less and at a desk less.

One Less Medication

Now that Eli gets to play outside regularly and is trotting many, many straight lines, he is off the reserpine. So far, so good. He does have a little more energy under saddle, which is fine with me. He also seems to be staying cuddlier than usual, although who knows how long that will last. At the very least, the reserpine is one less expense on the vet bills.

sees German muffins and doesn’t understand why they are not in his mouth

I am giving him a break from working under saddle for today and tomorrow, mainly due to the extreme heat. Also partly due to the fact that Tuesday and Wednesday are pretty busy lesson nights and trotting straight lines through lesson traffic is actually pretty effing difficult. I wouldn’t mind doing them in the fields, but the ground is basically cement right now so that’s out as an option. I don’t even like walking out in the fields right now because of the ground.

don’t worry, he still dings himself on a daily basis as evidenced by Corona slathered on a minor heel/coronet band grab
I don’t even know how he did this

But Eli’s not totally off the hook — his mane is a mess so I’ll be cleaning that up and taking off some of the length. I might work with him on the clippers-by-the-ears stuff a little bit, too. He’s not afraid of the clippers at all, he just doesn’t like the sensation of his ears getting trimmed. I should probably work with him on it more often but it’s not something that’s any kind of priority.

pretty day but hot AF

I mostly stayed away from all the Labor Day sales (because, again, vet bills) but I did need some more hoof packing. Riding Warehouse had the best price on a 4lb tub of Magic Cushion and the 15% off of stuff already on sale means I have another Asmar logo tee headed my way, too.

Eli’s next vet appointment is on next Tuesday … I have managed to line up three 4-day weeks in a row. Why is this not like every work week?