Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I've had an interesting week.  I have a respiratory infection that has me grounded at home.  This has caused a variety of stresses in my life.  On the other hand, I was able to get to the vet before it closed to collect up more meds for the dogs.  Sam, the vet, just happened to be in the clinic when I showed up.  

The Good

If it involves the dogs, then it is in the good column.  My two little shits, er, darlings will be going to their first competitions to herd sheep.  We're going to Mayerthorpe to compete in the Alberta Stock Dog Association Arena Finals.  We'll be competing in the Ranch category so hopefully it will ease our way into the competitive world.  My mentor Ken is the judge which will likely not work into my favour.  I'm expecting to get a stern talking to after the competition.  That happens Monday of next week.  Immediately following I am entered in the Farm Fair trial.  We'll be competing in the Open category and this is where the big guns compete.  I am fully anticipating these competitions will be a learning experience and will help drive the training that the dogs need.  Ryder is about 95% trained and Diva is about 90%.  We're so close I can feel it, but certainly not at the level needed to be successful at competitions.  

Other great dog news is that I've found a different agility instructor.  We've been diligently working on our homework and the dogs are progressing nicely.  We start classes in November and I'm looking forward to a different teaching approach.  I've learned through the years it's always best to get different perspectives.  I was really pleased to hear her talk about Diva's potential.  Normally Diva is my Black Sheep.  

Speaking of Diva... she has officially started a diet.  Her metabolism doesn't seem to be awesome and she is and always has been on the chunky side.  It doesn't matter how much exercise she gets.  I took the dogs with me when I went to pick up their meds.  I weighed them.  Diva weighs in at 50.6 pounds.  Ryder - the larger dog - at 52.4 pounds.   I'm now feeding on a "time" schedule with separate dishes.  Diva gets less food plus some pumpkin to provide filler.  In December the dogs are due for their vet checks.  My goal is to see how effective the diet was.  We'll weigh her again at that point.  If she hasn't shown much progress I'll ask Sam to investigate possible causes.  

Also in the "Good" column is THIS HORSE!!!

I love her.  She fits me like a soft leather glove.  To be honest she is knocking Whiskey from her number one perch on my favourite horse list.  Her papers have been sent off to be transferred.  Every Saturday in the month of October I hauled her into Gorseline Stable and took a lesson on her.  She is so smart and willing to learn.  We started with ground poles.  Last Saturday she was trotting over cross poles.  My coach thinks she's going to have nice jumping form.  In the spring I'd like to send her for a month jumping training there.  That way I know my inexperience doesn't hinder her ability to learn how to do this.  

I also purchased an English saddle.  It's a Santa Cruz which isn't the top of the line brand, but it fits her and it fits me.  It's a great starter saddle that I can use to ride her in.  Eventually I'll purchase something fancy like a Luc Childeric.  My "new to me" saddle is in excellent condition and was super cheap!  I am notorious for scrolling the Facebook horse and tack pages.  I found a lady who was dispersing 75 pieces of English tack and equipment.  From her I bought two English "flash" bridles, complete with reins, gloves, and a new bit to try on Marnie.  All for $120!  I'm thrilled because they are all quality pieces.  I'm still watching for English pads, a sheepskin pad to fit under the saddle, new leathers, and jumping boots.  (I'll get pictures of my new saddle and post them soon.)  

The Bad

My ankle is seriously messed up.  

I have been going to the physiotherapist once a week.  Realistically I should have taken a lot of time off work.  I am blessed to have good benefits but always feel slightly guilty taking advantage of them.  The knowledge that I worked when I didn't have to is how I'm justifying taking time off next week to compete with the dogs.  My therapist has currently cleared me to begin yoga.  (Except I'm now stupidly sick.)  He also tells me that riding is good.  Go figure.  Walking, not so much... My ankle remains wrapped to help manage the swelling.  When I'm at physio they put me into the icy compression boot.  I'm struggling with remaining positive about this.  I'm frustrated that I can't exercise.  

I'm convinced the lack of exercise and increased work stress is destroying my immune system.  I've gone to a Naturopathic Doctor who has done some blood work to look into food sensitivities.  My guts are notoriously nasty, even with prescription meds.  My regular doctor thinks I may have food allergies, even though I've had clean allergy tests.  (I've been tested six ways to Sunday...)  I'm currently limiting to eliminating milk from my diet with interesting results.  My blood work results are back and I have an appointment next week to find out what they came up with.  

The Ugly

Yesterday I talked to Sam about Whiskey.  I showed her pictures of her standing - with shoes on.  I told her what the farrier thinks.  Basically, it comes down to this.  The vet sees no purpose to do x-rays.  She has said that there is a list of things we can do but to what end?  This is a horse who is now a pasture ornament.  She really feels that Whiskey sustained some sort of suspensory injury while she was gone.  This is causing havoc.  Her suggestion was to leave her be.  As long as she's not being asked to do anything or is not suffering then we maintain her.  She will not be bred again as she can't handle the weight (and the vet would not support a breeding in her condition).  As it is, we're working diligently to pull the weight off of her.  

I'm a bit torn as to what the right thing to do is.  Option A:  leave her to be a companion.  Give her bute on her bad days.  Keep up with maintaining her via vet and farrier care.  Option B:  Euthanize her.  

As her eye is soft and she doesn't appear to be suffering I'm inclined to leave her to be a companion.  When any of her conditions change, or my ability to provide her the care she needs change, then I'll make a different decision.  

It depresses me to see her hobbling around the field.  Last Saturday she actually loped a few strides, with a snort and a buck.  This is so unusual to see in her these days.  I remember when she raced the field for fun.  

I won't lie.  I fully regret selling her baby this summer.  Selfish of me, I know.  

I know she'll be a great nurturing Auntie to any baby that I happen to have on the place.

Friday, October 17, 2014

To Do List

Tonight as I sat idly scrolling though the Horsey Internet World, my mind worked over the various things I need to do or accomplish the next month.  Next week I have the following things booked:

  • Massage Therapy for the dogs.
  • A private agility lesson.
  • Jumping lessons on Marnie at Gorseline. While trying an English saddle.
  • I have two full nights of parent teacher conferences.
  • Add in some physiotherapy for my ankle.
  • Don't forget to get some training time in on the dogs on sheep.
    • I'm entered in the FarmFair and Alberta Arena Finals all the first week of November..
  • A trip to Ken's to work on "penning" the sheep.
Now here's the list of things I need to squeeze in:
  1. Vet - I need to pick up dope for the dogs, dewormer for the dogs, vaccinations for Marnie, and I need to make an appointment to get the horses teeth done.
  2. I have a pending Naturopath Doctor appointment.  Waiting on some blood work results.
  3. I'd like to start back with my Moksha Yoga.  I've been given the go ahead by the physio to do limited activity.
  4. Buy groceries and live life.
On November 3rd, we have our first dog trial in Mayerthrope.  On November 4th and 5th we have our second dog trial in Edmonton.  

Some days I wonder about myself.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I really don't know why I try to name my horses, as my father tends to just do it himself.  Marmalade has now become Marnie.  When I told my dad my name ideas he just looked at me and said in his matter of fact way "Well, I've just been calling her Marnie."  And that was that.  Marnie it is.

Marnie has had a stretching couple of weeks.  I've learned a lot about this little horse.

A couple of weeks ago my brother and sister-in-law were up for a few days while my brother worked in a local community.  They brought their brood of 3 kids.  They kidlets are 4, 2, and 4 months.  I had gone to the farm to work the dogs.  Both of the mobile children are animal crazy and I offered to lead them around on the horse.  (They already ride the sheep.)  They were PUMPED!  With no helmet and no boots and no child saddle I decided bareback was the best route.  Dad led the mare around while I walked beside hands on waists to ensure safety and balance.  This was the first time I put a child on Marnie.  She was great!

On Saturday I hauled her to the jumping stable I ride out of.  She was saddled English and rode in my lesson.  She was great!  She handled everything in stride and with grace.  I am so pleased with this horse.

Today my other brother and his brood, a 4 year old boy were out.  The little monkey was keen to ride but scared.  My brother insisted I saddle the horse.  So saddled, with precious cargo aboard we began making circles in the field.  After the first few laps he relaxed and was thrilled to be riding a horse by himself.  The mare was fabulous.  Her ears were almost straight back as she listened to him chatter away.  Her head relaxed and her eye soft she patiently walked endless laps carrying the little guy.

I am thrilled with her kind attitude and her willingness to do this.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Playing with Names

I've been playing with names for little Miss Marm.  She's soooo not a Marm....  sooooo...

I've thought about Brandy.  Does she look like a Brandy to you?

I've thought about Reba (red hair and all).  But I had a dog named Reba...

Then I wonder about Doll, Miss, Chick.  And I just can't decide.  As of right now, Brandy is the front runner name.  I plan to "test" it out when I go ride this afternoon.