Odds & Ends: Spurs, Browbands, and Antlers

watchfulThe fields and the small arena dried out enough to ride by Wednesday, so ride I did, and Eli, true to regained form, physically felt pretty much as he usually does. I am hoping to be able to accomplish a lot more this evening, as far as with flat work and pole work.

feetI’ve been flatting him in roller ball spurs, which seem huge to me, but I like Eli’s responsiveness to them–responsive, but not reactive. There is definitely a difference between the roller balls and the PoW spurs I had been using. I guess the PoWs are pokier, and Eli seems generally more easily irritated by them than the roller balls. Either pair, I wear quite low, so I have to actively raise my heel if I want the spurs to reinforce a leg aid that Eli is not paying enough attention to. It rarely happens, but having that secondary aid as back up is pretty important as far as keeping any horse responsive. The longer I ride, the more I profoundly realize the beneficial truth of George Morris insisting on a rider always wearing spurs. But of course, I usually take the roller balls off for jumping–I’m not THAT confident in my leg position. Ah, well, I can hang onto that as a tangible goal for later.

brightblueEli scored a little more sparkle. If he’s going to wear the fly mask, I guess the sparkle isn’t as visible. But I KNOW it’s there. This alone is satisfying enough. Eli’s browbands and bonnets will continue to twinkle. He will also be scoring some white BoT polos …

graybrowbandPolling the internet is always fun, yes? So I’ve been seeking a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to Conrad’s Nylabones. He’s a voracious chewer, so he’s got to have something. But he goes through the Dura Chew Nylabones in a matter of days before they are so chewed up I have to toss them, and they are not recyclable (I asked the company). And it bothers me that he can bite off tiny pieces that for the most part I watch him spit out, but what if he did swallow them? I’m not happy about that possibility. So I scoured the internet and found a lot of positive things about antlers. I had given him a small whole deer antler once, after trying antlers the first time around, but the shape of it was hard for him to hang on to for him to chew. So then I read that split antlers might be better for smaller dogs. And EVERYTHING I could find said that antlers themselves would not splinter. So I picked up a few splits and gave Conrad one last night. And of course he managed to splinter off a small chunk of antler within an hour. No, not the marrow–I’m fine with him drooling on that and eating small pieces of marrow, as it is spongy and digestible. I eat cooked marrow occasionally myself and it’s so funky and velvety and amazing. No, this was actual antler, splintered off. This meant sharp edges that resulted in me distracting Conrad with bacon so I could toss the antler, plus I think he may have cut his gum because some of the marrow looked a little pink. My next idea is to give him a whole elk antler in the hopes that he will not be able to splinter that. I also do give him ball and rope toys, but those are not as satisfying for him to chew on and he loses interest quickly. I have thought of soaking cotton rope in beef broth or something like that, but it would have to be homemade beef broth or the sodium would be way too high, and I don’t exactly have occasion to cook stuff that leaves me beef broth. He has a few Kong toys, but again, he’s not that into them. (Except this one squeaky piggy Kong thing that I had to take away from him because he got completely weird and stressed out while trying to chew it–normally the chewing relaxes him.)

antlerSo dog people, what do you think of antlers? Or raw marrow bones from the butcher? What do you suggest for a smallish dachshund with the jaws and chomping alacrity of a bull breed? I am also slightly worried he might crack a tooth, but the benefits of chewing outweigh that worry right now. He does have a sensitive digestive system, so I can’t give him “greenies” or rawhide, and I’m worried hoof or horn would be too much like rawhide. And I won’t give him anything that isn’t made in or from the US or Canada (another reason to like antlers–the good ones are hand-harvested after being naturally shed).

Weenie Wednesday: Ruffwear Front Range Harness Review

harnessYou’ve seen Conrad quite a few times now in the Ruffwear Front Range Harness. There’s a reason–this is THE BEST harness Conrad wears. At $39.95, it is priced a little higher than many harness on the market, but so far I have found it is superior to those harnesses in every way. The harness is well made with durable materials and is easily adjustable, with straps adjusting in 4 different places. Conrad and I don’t exactly go on grueling hikes, but I have no doubt this harness would stand up in any terrain under any weather conditions. It is made to be worn outside, and I have no doubt it will last Conrad’s lifetime.

preshakeOne of my favorite features of the harness is the adjustability. As you can see, I can adjust it enough to fit it over one of Conrad’s thick wool sweaters, which he wears frequently on our walks in winter. And then when the weather is warmer, I can adjust it back down to fit him again.

beefcakeI probably even could have gone down a size, but I wanted a harness that would fit over his sweaters, that wouldn’t be a struggle to get on. He’s never fussed about wearing a harness, and he was no different about this one.

withsweaterHe runs around fine in it, too. It doesn’t restrict his movement in any way, substantial as it is. Another thing I love about  this harness are the rich, bright colors it comes in. I really want the orange one for Conrad, too. I definitely recommend this harness for any dog, but especially if you and your dog spend a lot of time outdoors!

Weenie Wednesday: DST Rant

I’m taking a stand. Yes, Daylight Savings Time means more hours of light at the end of the day for those of us who ride after work. But my barn has arena lights.

I don’t like Daylight Savings. Waking up in the dark is hard. I want that extra hour of sleep back, and I want to walk my dog in daylight in the mornings.

weeniebundleWaking up is hard enough.

weeniebedToo bad I can’t work from home. Or have a more flexible work schedule. Conrad would appreciate that.

darkwalkWalking him in the dark pretty much blows.

sodarkPlus he growls at stuff I can’t see. So I’m like, great. I bet it’s a tiger. With wings.

cannotseeWaking up before dawn is so uncivilized.

notawakeEvery weekday morning, Conrad considers skipping breakfast and going back to bed.

yumminsHe wishes for bacon.

breakfastBut then he eats anyway. And then goes back to bed.

I’m ready to fall back.

Cold Holidays, Warm Sweaters

starlightChristmas, come back! I need more time off to recover from time off.

lensflareweenieOver the break from the M-F grind, I rode when the weather wasn’t rotten, and for one ride it was rotten. I took Conrad out on walks, too, also when the weather wasn’t rotten. Lots of damp and blustery days over the long weekend that otherwise might have kept me inside, left me a bit tired, and also I have a cold that has settled into a lovely chest cough.

diggingBut Christmas was ever so enjoyable, and I got lots of cool stuff, including some books–maybe a few of which I might review.

booksI tried to have a lesson on Saturday, but north wind blowing rain into my face and Eli’s pretty much convinced me to call it quits. Eli was totally game, and wanting to play and maybe even go for a bracing gallop, but I just wanted to curl up with a hot toddy.

suchafaceIt rained even more on Sunday, and I thought for sure I’d be hand walking, but the footing held up, so I got in one last vacation ride, and jumped a few jumps just to make sure Eli didn’t forget his job. He may have thrown in a few dolphin leaps instead of canter strides, but if we get to the jump, he jumps. He seems to enjoy the cold, at least for a while. I’m going to ride tonight, too, because the weather looks to be taking a downhill turn starting on Wednesday.

windywalkI’m over winter at this point, but it’s still just December.

thinkingI think I have finally settled on a breastplate & running martingale set up that I like, after trying, oh, about 7 different ways. So I may have some breastplates with running attachments for sale soon… I can’t decide if I want to keep them as back-ups, at least until I get a new saddle, because I may like a different set up with a different saddle.

doneridingI hope everyone had a fantastic holiday! On to the Internet window shopping of all the sales!