How Many Girths is Too Many?

Eli does not know the answer to the post title question. And neither do I. But APPARENTLY Eli does not have enough girths. Let’s go over what girths he does have.

  1. The Professional’s Choice Merino Wool girth – by far Eli’s favorite. But not ideal for summer.
  2. The Professional’s Choice Ventech girth – Eli was loving this girth right up until a few days ago. So this girth is also not ideal for summer? Boo. He got a rub 😦
  3. Lettia Coolmax Clik girth – Eli kind of hated the fake fleece out of nowhere this spring & I hate the Clik buckles as they snap down rather painfully on my fingers when I am adjusting the girth from the ground. But this is the one I plan to use in the interim.
  4. Lettia Coolmax girth – see above, but without the Clik buckles. I like it. Will probably use this one in the interim, too.
  5. Lettia Memory Foam girth – this girth is weird, because it is hard as a rock if it is cold outside. Some times Eli has liked it, sometimes he has not. The elastic on the buckles is too stretchy, in my opinion. My saddle tends to slip from side to side a bit with this girth.
  6. Random fake fleece girth from Dover – um, not a fan. I should probably just accidentally on purpose lose this girth. The horse I had it for is long gone.

So things had been going very well with the Professional’s Choice Ventech girth right up until a few days ago, when Eli got a rub behind his elbow from it. I think we he is not so sweaty and his hair is not so fine, this girth probably still works, because he seemed otherwise comfortable in it. But for a Texas summer it is not working. He was pretty negative about the fake fleece on the Lettia Coolmax girths this spring, but he was also in the midst of ulcer treatment so maybe that will not be a problem now? I am skeptical.

So my next question to you, dear readers, is which girths do you like? I have a short list of contenders. Eli has strongly communicated to me in the past that leather is not an option.

  1. The Professional Choice Ventech Combo girth – This is my top contender. It has the vented neoprene but is bordered by the wool that Eli likes. I don’t think the rub he got was from the neoprene itself, but from the border seam of the girth/liner (based on where the rub is). Does anyone have any experience with this girth? It looks like the best option based on Eli’s preferences, price, and ease of care and use.
  2. The Equifit Essential schooling girth – I am still curious as to people’s experiences with this one. I like that the liners are swappable. I kind of wonder if I can buy the Prof Choice Combo liner alone, whether the wool is part of the liner or stitched to the girth webbing? I have not been able to find that as an option for the Prof Choice, so this is why the Equifit is still in contention. The reviews I have found, however, do not look promising.
  3. Majyk Equipe “Hi-Efficiency” Breathable Girth – this girth came out shortly after I bought the Professional’s Choice Ventech girth and I was like , oh, damn. Maybe I need THAT one. It’s neoprene free! I know, we all hate neoprene because it doesn’t breathe and yet it persists as a common material for sport horse tack. Does anybody have this girth? What are the border seams on the liner made out of? Is it soft and squishy and flexible? DOES ELI NEED IT???

Really, HELP. I don’t see Eli tolerating the Lettia girths again for very long. Are there other non-leather options I am missing that work for sensitive, thin-skinned TBs?

And on a completely different note, I have a few pairs of breeches I am selling because they do not fit right.

Trophy Hunters in black olive, 32R. Worn twice. Way too big for me everywhere but the waist. I just need to do some sit ups, I guess? Blog reader price of $75 shipped via usps priority, paypal or venmo.

Equine Couture Beatta full seat breeches in berry, 30. Actually fit like a 30. Maybe even a roomy 30 (weird for EC, I know). Again, too big for me. $25 shipped usps priority, paypal or venmo.

Rain or Shine

No matter the weather, I do try to get out to the barn every day. These days, something coming up at work is more likely to prevent me from seeing my horse than a rainy day. Even if the footing in the arenas is too wet to ride, I can still get on Eli and walk him around the property.

Eli has such an active walk, I figure some exercise for us both like this is better than nothing! But there are plenty of things to do at the barn when even riding is out of the question (like when it is raining or there is lightning in the area). Two of favorite things to do on a rainy day at the barn would be to give Eli a bath or to deep clean and condition my tack.

Eli is usually less excited about bath time than I am. One of my favorite shampoos right now is the Knotty Horse Apricot Oil stuff. It smells sooooooo delicious. I like the Vetrolin whitening shampoo, too, for Eli’s socks. Then I discovered that adding a little of Shapley’s Light Oil to the shampoo water is a great way to keep Eli’s coat from drying out.

Speaking of oil … cleaning tack on a rainy day may not sound like fun, but just the smell of Belvoir makes me happy. I’ve got four bridles for Eli at the barn and really only use one regularly. But I don’t like the others to just sit and collect dust, or worse, mold. Ew. The Belvoir conditioner soaks into the leather really nicely and doesn’t leave a weird residue like some other leather conditioners might.

So even on a rainy day, a trip to the barn is worth it to me. Although admittedly today I am hoping I will be able to ride after work. We have had so much rain for July here in Texas!

“Immersed in a Cocoon of Serenity”

Hello! I am still here and kind of did not notice that I have neglected to blog for two months – for many reasons. I have various updates on Eli, Eli’s fly boots, Eli’s preternatural ability to get randomly injured, Eli’s tack, and Eli’s mommy’s (yes, me) recent realization that is it VERY IMPORTANT to leave work at work and forget about work while interacting with Eli. So that’s where the title of this post comes from – me recognizing I need to be peaceful while approaching Eli if I expect Eli to be peaceful while approaching me. This makes it sound like something dramatic happened but I really just had one exhausting day at work and failed to check my stress at the barn door. Fortunately, I realized this and dismounted and came back the next day with renewed calm and Eli was – magically? no. Responsively. – calm. So I’ll get to that more later in this post.

Moving on to the meats of this update! Eli is doing well. Eating well. Playing in turnout as the weather allows (which omg I think it rained every day in May

and now all week we are getting rain which is super weird for July in Texas but climate change and such, so … ). Going well under saddle if I have my head screwed on straight … and when is THAT never the case for any horse & rider?

Okay, so, Eli’s fly boots: I sucked it up and bought a pricey set of the Shoofly fly boots. Although are they really that pricey if you get 4 to a set? I have never bought fly boots before so I genuinely don’t know and did not research other options since basically everyone recommends these.

At the time of purchase, I was having a difficult time tracking down a blue set in size medium for Eli. So he got orange. I do like orange but wow, these would not be difficult to find if he took them off in turnout somehow. More importantly, they work. Which I am surprised about, because what stops flies from landing above the boots and crawling down the legs? Sorcery? I don’t get it. But they work! Eli’s farrier agreed that they are helping a ton with the condition of his front feet. No stomping = no cracking. He wears them almost all the time, just not when I ride him.

Oh! Before we get to Eli’s random injury of the day/week/month, I did have to get new tall boots. Okay, maybe did not have to, but. I broke the zipper on my Salentos. I mean. I really did a number on it. I zipped a boot sock into it and it took me a really long time to get the sock all the way out of the zipper, all while Eli started at me, tacked up, wondering why no cookie, no bridle, no mommy attention. I gave up and rode in the Dublin river boots and I don’t know how people do that on a regular basis. The sock and zipper suffered complete shredding annihilation. I can get into my black Ego7s as long as I am wearing thin thin thin riding tights. But even so they are snuuuuuuuug.

My orange Deniros need new zippers. Now the Salentos need new zippers. My brown Deniros are too precious for daily use. I need another option. So I ordered brown Ego7s from Equizone (highly recommend Equizone if you are not averse to ordering stuff from Europe) and can now wear breeches again. Yay.

On to Eli’s injuries. A number of weeks ago now, I came out to the barn and Eli’s back legs were a bit chewed up and swollen. He had tiny scrapes all over below the hock on both hinds, and random areas of localized swelling. I have no idea what he did and it doesn’t really matter because horses do random shit to themselves so I may as well treat and move on. I “iced” a lot with the Incrediwear circulation wraps and didn’t ride for a few days, mostly from the rain. Kept icing, rode at just a walk for a few days until all the swelling was mostly gone. He seems fine now. I did try to put the Incrediwear standing wraps on him one night, but he managed to take one off and generally doesn’t like things on his hind legs so I stuck with just the icing after that. And liberal amounts of Sore No More Gelotion.

Now for Eli’s tack: I have switched things up a little bit.

Another thing I ordered from Equizone a long while back is a Trust elliptical sweet iron dee. I like it. I think Eli likes it. Mostly I’ll still ride him in the Dynamic RS but I know he enjoys sweet iron so I wanted that option.

I noticed a few months ago that my saddle developed a squeak (ugh, probably a loose rivet, yuck). Could it be the humidity? Maybe. I also noticed Eli seemed a bit irritated near the top of his shoulder (only under saddle, not really all the time or anything). I started suspecting that his alfalfa bod, my saddle, and the Ogilvy half pad were a less than optimum combination. I swapped the Oglivy for the Thinline, got some Back on Track Mathilde pads, the weather dried out and my saddle stopped squeaking and Eli seemed more comfortable under saddle. It’s weird – it’s like the Ogilvy is just too thick and also slightly unstable. I don’t know why I suddenly experienced all this at once, but luckily I already had the Thinline and everything is working for now. I do wonder if Eli would be better in a different saddle, but due to a particular situation at work which, yes, I will get into in a minute, I am reluctant to spend much money on anything right now if what we have is serviceable already. Which it seems to be.

The little Polaroid Cube tries but damn I am having Pivo envy. Also I need to sit up.

So yeah, Eli’s tack set up is sufficient for now. My stirrups and stirrup leathers needed a bit of an update, though. I picked up some TSF stability leathers in the Riding Warehouse Memorial Day sale and I don’t know if I like them or not. I have yet to pull the trigger on any new irons. Again, trying not to spend money. To which you may respond, but you got a Trust bit and new boots … ??? Yes, well, those things happened before a particular work thing happened and I had not been concerned about that particular work thing happening for real because of reasons one might characterize as “separation of powers.”

On to the job stuff … I am, along with a couple thousand other people, in a situation that is very fluid but could still possibly end in not getting paid after September 1. Otherwise I would be saddle shopping. This is an interesting situation that has changed my attitude about my current job. I mean. I am a librarian, a public employee. I expect any job to come with some stress but I am now faced with A LOT of stress, much more than I would expect as a librarian. Books do not cause me stress so wtf. On one hand I am completely fascinated by the entire situation because I am a law nerd and a political junkie. On the other hand, I have to eat and put gas in my car and take care of my animals, so it’s a bit of a mess. If you are a law nerd like me you can follow the case.

As a result of this political Gordian knot at work, I had a stupid exhausting day earlier this week and came out to the barn with nothing but anger in me. Eli picked up on it immediately. I did tack up, and did get on, and walked around for a minute, but realized I was not in a mental state that was fair to Eli. I dismounted and felt defeated at not being able to control my emotions over stuff that I normally never even think about while I’m at the barn. But later at home I ran across a couple of posts – one from Warwick Schiller and one from Denny Emerson, both making very strong cases for staying calm around the horse if you want a calm horse to ride. I felt less lousy about dismounting so quickly.

The following day, I got to work from home (we are still hybrid right now at work) and took a lot of breaks, drank a lot of water. Bill filing started up at work and I do truly enjoy indexing legislation so that helped to have my favorite work task. I put on some labradorite bead bracelets (placebo effect is still an effect) before heading out to go ride. Eli nickered at me as always when I walked into the barn and I was much better able to leave stupid work at work and brought peace and happiness up to Eli as I got him out of his stall. And what a difference attitude can make. He was a perfect gentleman under saddle. He was cuddly on the ground. Cuddly! Him! So yeah, if you want a calm, happy horse, you gotta be calm and happy, even if it’s a difficult thing to do under whatever circumstances you might be in. You CAN control whether or not you are calm and happy around your horse. And it makes a huge difference! “Immersed in a cocoon of serenity” comes from the Denny Emerson post and it struck me as a slightly dramatic but very wise way of describing how a calm, centered, serene rider produces a calm, centered, serene horse.

Conrad will be back on the blog soon, too, and he has just as many updates! Blogging helps me track events for both Eli and Conrad, so I hope to get back to it more regularly. There are few affiliate links in this post, too, so if you feel like doing a little shopping through them I’d be very appreciative – I prefer to be proactive about my current income quandary 🙂

Re-Scope: Progress

Eli was re-scoped recently, and while he was at the vet clinic he also got his spring vaccinations, a Coggins, and I asked for front hoof xrays as it had been a  … while.

The scope? Ulcers about 50% improved. He is going to continue Gastrogard & misoprostol, and his vet added in sucralfate. He has also been on platinum Performance GI for a few weeks now and is eating well.

The front hoof xrays? Eli’s vet said they looked very good, and that is all I need to hear! His feet are balanced, and he has about 11mm of sole on each, which is about a 3mm improvement from the last images. I am thrilled!

I am also a proud pony momma because on Tuesday an instructor commented that Eli looked great under saddle as I was trotting around. Dare I hope to start riding this horse in the Sunday group lesson regularly? Maybe? He definitely seems more comfortable all around. I have tried a few Fager bits on him and really like one in particular for him for occasional use on the flat. I have also been riding him in the Back on Track Mathilda AP pad with his Sheepskin Thinline. He seems a bit happier in it than the Ogilvy stuff right now so I’m going with it. The left lead canter is still a bit testy, but when was it ever not if I am honest?

I have also managed to fit back into my Ego7s (!) as long as I wear super thin breeches and thin socks.

Which means I got to take my Salentos in for another minor repair plus a conditioning & polish. Not going to lie, I do miss my Salentos as the DeNiro footbed seems to be nearly a custom fit to my feet (even though they are not custom). My “tan” (they are so oraaaaange — I loff them) DeNiros do need full zip replacement on both, so I will have to send those off. Anyone have any experience with Pacific Saddlery? They are my first choice to ship my boots off for repair. They seem very organized based on the website, anyway.

AND Eli turned 18 on April 6! So happy birthday, Eli — now you can vote!

Goes Easy on the Ides

Perhaps we can all agree the Ides of March have done a number on us all yet again this year? Eli decided to have a little veterinary adventure right around the time change, so instead of me benefiting from more light after work, he got to benefit from two clinic visits.

 

Poor guy has ulcers again – that’s the short version. But wow, the new facilities at the vet clinic of which he has been a patient for years are really, super, super nice! 

I mean, check out this grazing! But anyway, Eli got IV fluids, scoped, sent home, sent back, monitored … he is back home and doing well so far, on a month-long course of medication to clear up the ulcers (hopefully–he’ll be rescoped to confirm this time) and by Friday I will have a few samples of some supplements to try him on. He is now refusing to eat the Purina Outlast. It’s alfalfa pellets, essentially. His regular pellet feed is also essentially alfalfa pellets. I … don’t know why he won’t eat it. I have lots of options and suggestions from his vets, so I know I’ll find something eventually that will work for him. 

Luckily we had some warm weather when he got home, so he got a bath and I fixed his out-of-control mane. He dropped a few pounds over the last two weeks, but he is gradually being built back up to his regular diet and he seems to be *much* more comfortable. I know there are like no less than 8,000 different ways people go about trying to treat and prevent ulcers in horses. I’m going to go with listening to his vets and listening to my trainers and I think that’ll be doing the absolute best we all can for Eli. I cannot thank the barn workers, my trainers, and especially his vets enough for all they have done for Eli! 

6 Days in the 9th Circle

Remember how it already snowed 6 inches in my corner of central Texas back in January? Texas got wrung through the iciest wringer in the state’s recent history (meaning since weather has been recorded here back in the late 19th century) starting with Valentine’s Day. And then President’s Day. And this extended through an entire week — 6 days below freezing, 6 days of ice and snow, and wouldn’t you know it, our federal regulation-free, independent little power grid almost collapsed catastrophically! 

Along with many, many trees. So yes, as I am sure you have now read in the news, Texas went through days of “rolling blackouts” which were just straight up blackouts for some, no rolling about it. I stayed up all night without power the night it was 5 degrees at the lowest, snuggling Conrad under 5 blankets and drinking hot beverages periodically because the gas stove could at least be lit with a match to heat water. I have rediscovered the deliciousness that is percolator coffee. I was lucky, as my house stayed just above 50 degrees and we got power back before many people. And I never had a water issue, but I am sure you have also seen the news — Texas is in a water crisis as a result of the “rolling” blackouts. Water treatment facilities lost power and left 14 million Texans without potable drinking water. FOR DAYS. Some had no water at all. 

No, snow is not fucking pretty. No, we do not have snow plows in central Texas (Dallas has a few). No, we do not have snow tires, crampons, pipes buried eight feet deep, or taboggans. (We can’t bury pipes 8 feet deep in central Texas anyway because just below a thin layer of crappy topsoil you get into our limestone karst systems — our ground is a mix of solid sedimentary, fossil-flecked rock and hollow caves that live and grow and store water for some of us.) Why I bought snow boots years ago I have no idea, but it made me the designated backyard guardian so I cleared small areas for Conrad to relieve himself and for birds to eat birdseed. I regularly tromped through icy, crunchy, deep (for Texas) snow and I NEVER want to do it again. And compared to many, I had it easy.

People died here because of this weather. It started with a heinously nightmarish pile up in Fort Worth caused by black ice and ended with children and the elderly freezing to death in their homes, or dying due to lack of access to medically necessary life-saving treatments like insulin and dialysis. And but for Texas’ obstinate independence from federal regulation of electric utilities, these deaths were preventable. 

Like I said, I am one of the lucky ones. Conrad is totally ok. Eli is totally ok and was in the best care for the worst of the weather and it’s already spring-like here again, the kind of Texas winter Texans know and love. I may have gone 6 days without seeing my horse because of hazardous road conditions (and a car that did not want to start so that was a’ whole n’other thing), but I knew he was safe where he was.

Eli’s opinion of snow seemed pretty low, after he licked some while grazing – it produced the flehmen response so I’d say he is still indeed a summer horse. He finds the white stuff bewildering and of course there was too much ice along with the snow for safe turnout. The turnouts dried out enough fairly quickly and he’s had sunny outside time again. I am keeping tabs on him closely though, since stuck-in-a-stall time for 6 days other than hand-walking is not his favorite and I hope he is not getting ulcery again from it. 

So …. yeah. 6 days of the 9th circle here in Texas. I much prefer it in the 1st circle … or even the 6th is probably ok for me personally. Anything but entombment in this much ice and snow ever again. 

Incrediwear Circulation Standing Wraps Review

<Modeling the Incrediwear exercise bandages>

Let me just tell you how hooked I am on Incrediwear products — for horses AND humans now. This is another unsolicited review: I am actually just that impressed with this stuff that I am almost always going to recommend it now. I don’t know what I was even doing for Eli’s frequent dings before these things. Oh, no, wait, yes I do … lots of cold hosing, lots of clay poultice, lots of wrapping with quilts, and maybe once or twice even sweating a leg – although I have never been a fan of sweating concoctions as they seem a bit caustic to me and nobody likes messing with cling wrap in a barn.

<Goop-free therapy>

The Incrediwear Circulation Standing Wraps have gotten a lot of use for as long as I have had them because Eli never fails to whack and/or scrape himself in turn out. He frequently has had random cuts and swellings that require more than just a disinfection and application of antibacterial salve. And I even briefly used them in an experiment to see if they were thick enough to keep his right heel/shoe off his right elbow (and unfortunately the answer to that is no but it was worth a shot). Eli also has some hoof issues that benefit at least some from good circulation so both these standing wraps and the Incrediwear hoof socks assist with that.

<This therapy was that time when Eli did something to his left hind and the wraps were one of many things I threw at that. He has since fully recovered from that mystery (suspected hamstring) injury.>

Once again, if you are interested in the science behind the Incrediwear material, I encourage you to go to the website. This review is all about the practical application so I won’t get into the science — I am basically just observing whether these things reduce swelling and heat. And let me tell you: they reduce swelling and heat quickly, drastically, and sustainedly. (Is that a word? Is there a better word? I can’t think of it right now so you get an awkward word.)

<Yes, I do have a lot of pictures of Eli wearing these things because he wears them a lot.>

Okay, so, as I have said, Eli comes in from turn out with dings. After the left hind injury, he decided a slice on his left cannon was necessary (I think I mentioned it earlier in a post?), and then he decided to whack the left hind fetlock pretty hard and scrape the top of that pastern. This all resulted in some cold hosing and wrapping for a few days. Within one day of wrapping with the Incrediwear standing bandages, the swelling and heat in the fetlock were gone and never came back. I kept wrapping overnight for a few more days, but I am wondering if I even needed to? I did not limit his turn out in any way and he managed to stay ding free long enough for me to feel satisfied that that whole left hind minisaga was behind us. I kind of feel like these wraps are not just an excellent replacement for but a major improvement over a more traditional sweating bandage wrap. (Obviously in instances of new acute injury to your horse CALL A VET.) Honestly, with ceramic fiber products, I was always like … huh, well, they seem to be working … and they have evidence to support the benefits they are asserting … but I only ever noticed minor improvements with using the ceramic standing wraps and polos (although still love the mesh sheet). With Incrediwear wraps I notice a rapid and significant improvement in heat reduction and swelling that lasts. It’s almost shocking.

He has worn these a lot on his hinds, I swear, I just have almost no pictures of that and I don’t know why considering I take a thousand a week.

One other thing I’d like to mention about these wraps is their thickness and how they wear. They are thick. It doesn’t take much to get them snug around a horse’s leg, though, if you use the stretchier stable bandages. I don’t think I could use these wraps with flannel bandages, although I haven’t tested that. They can be left on all night without any kind of “breaking in” acclimation period that the ceramic fiber brands suggest, because this is not a ceramic fiber brand.  The technology is different and this goes the same for their human products. I have the fingerless gloves and they have helped my slightly arthritic hands a ton. I type a bit for work, and I handle books – some of which are stupid big – a lot for work and the Incrediwear (fingerless) gloves for people really diminish the achiness and fatigued feeling I get in my hands. I also get a slightly cool sensation from wearing them which boggles my mind but I guess that means they are working? Anyway, when wrapping with these bandages, make sure you’ve got the correct side of the fabric toward the leg. The outside is smoother, the side that goes against the leg is more textured and it seems a bit softer to me, like a soft sweater a little bit, maybe. (I am doing a poor job of describing it.)

So if you’ve a got horse that needs some help with reducing swelling and heat for whatever reason in any of their legs, I 1,000% percent recommend the Incrediwear standing wraps. They have been immensely beneficial to Eli over the past few months. Dear Incrediwear, please tell me saddle pads and quarter sheets are on the menu in the near future!

And one last unrelated thing — this bit is still for sale: 5 1/4″ Myler full cheek w/hooks & copper roller. Too big for Eli. Considering all reasonable offers.

So I am curious — have you had a good experience with new products or technology that has helped your horse, or you as a rider, way more than you expected?

New Year, New Girth, New Trunk

Resolutions are not my thing. But I am constantly hitting the refresh button on various aspects of my life. While 2021 just feels like an extension of the endlessly jacked up timeline know as The Ides of March MMXX, it hasn’t stopped me from extensively weeding my closet, getting a new tack trunk, and tracking a few of my health markers with a fitness wearable.

Don’t worry, Eli gets a few new things himself for 2021. First off, without trying to even explain the situation, Eli has a new farrier. The first setting with the new farrier marked a significant improvement to Eli’s hooves, and I can feel it in his gaits. I’m not holding my breath but so far, so good.

Secondly, for whatever reason, the synthetic fleece girths that were initially Eli’s preference, and that he has worn for YEARS, are suddenly VERY OFFENSIVE to the point of Eli trying to bite his girth off while I am on him! He is, if nothing else, a very effective communicator.

I do have a Professional’s Choice wool girth that Eli does not protest, so he still wears that one. And during winter, that’s fine. But a wool girth in the summer in Texas? You can imagine my point well enough. I had been considering the Equifit schooling girth but couldn’t really find any reviews that talked about how the sizing runs. Additionally, the wider center part of the girth might be kind of weird with a martingale. So I returned to Professional’s Choice and ordered the vented neoprene one, just kind of hoping Eli would be comfortable in it.

Definitely got to love the “Made in U.S.A.” So I tacked up Eli with this girth.

Not once did Eli try to bite at the girth. He had no reaction to it at all, really. I’ve been riding him in it since. So at least one Ridiculously Sensitive Thoroughbred approves unreservedly of this girth. 10/10 recommend.

And on to the tack trunk … my wood trunk, made in 1997, needs HELP, so it is now in my garage awaiting its revision/restoration/refurbishment. I liked the idea of these big tool chest trunks, the 50-60 gallon kind with wheels and a handle. I also like the idea of spending $90 instead of $900+ that a wood or vinyl/metal trunk would cost. The Stanley ones seemed to be out of stock in my area, but my local Home Depot had Dewalt ones in stock so that’s what I got.

I had to rearrange how I store stuff in my trunk and locker. My groom box now lives in my locker (plenty of space for it since my tack locker refresh project) and without a tack trunk tray, I nabbed a few of my unused leather pouches and small bags from home for storing all the weird little contraptions and junk that had been in the tray, things like rein stops, hairnets, double-end snaps, gloves, etc. It is also now much easier to get to the clay poultice and hoof packing.

I have made it out to the barn almost every day this month, although I have only ridden Eli a handful of times due to weather. No surprise for January in Texas.

With all this new stuff that makes Eli more comfortable and makes me feel more organized, 2021 is okay so far in my tiny little personal corner of the world. Hopefully we can all only go up from here.

The Injury of the Week Club

Eli seems to enjoy a life of leisure. Basically since Thanksgiving, I have only ridden him a handful of times.

And the majority of the handful of rides? Pretty much just walking.

Walking … in the dark. So also spooking. He has a lot of energy. He expends some if it in turnout, but …

He has also managed to bang himself up while expending that energy every few days or so. His Incrediwear stable bandages are getting a lot of use.

So in the past two weeks, he did *something* to his left hind, up high. He visibly limped at the walk and turned on three legs instead of four … ultimately I think he just strained his hamstring but it took days of strategically applied DMSO and long walks under saddle to sort that out.

So THEN, he decides after managing one ride with some trotting under saddle, his left hind just wasn’t messed up enough so he sliced it. Fortunately the slice seems to be shallow. So that earned him a bit of disinfecting and cold hosing and wrapping again.

Not two days later, he managed another ding on the left hind, this time with a little swelling and heat. More tack walking to get the swelling down, more disinfecting, more wrapping.

He gets hours of turnout pretty much every day. I expect dings. Just … not so many so close together!

The Hunter Clip

I prefer a full body clip over other styles, but I put Eli’s needs first. And he needs those legs to be fuzzy. And he needs a back patch for the saddle.

I don’t think he needs a hairy face, necessarily, but clipping over his face dent does freak me out a little so he gets to keep his face hair this winter.

Eli is very amenable to clipping. He is okay with me clipping his legs and I have in the past. But he also bangs his legs up in turnout. My hope is that if I leave the thick hair, it’ll offer some protection from smaller scrapes and dings.

I realize that a traditional hunter clip would mean clipping a smaller, contured patch for the saddle and clipping all of his head. My back dictated skipping the extra time on a step stool.

Eli looks okay to me! And he is now much less itchy. Body clipping is practically a necessity here in Texas. It maybe be almost November, but it’s getting up to 90° every afternoon this week. Could you imagine living outside in a fur coat in 90°? No thanks! Eli also dries so much faster now, too, if he needs a rinse after a ride. In this climate, I really can’t think of why you wouldn’t clip!