Monday, February 22, 2010

Vacation is Over

Thank you to everyone that has offered their advice on treatment for arthritis in horses! I feel that I have some really great information and possible options. I know my horse is just not himself. His bones are snap/crackle/popping, he's resting that left leg more often, he's moving out stiff and slow. I hate to see him that way. Even Paint Girl's OH says he doesn't run and buck and kick at feeding time like he used to. But don't worry- he is eating well! My Boy is a food monger and if he loses his appetite, I'll know something is really wrong!

In addition to the MSM, I put him back on a joint supplement this weekend. It is one he was on before, which is about the best I can get locally. However, it is a 3-in-1 type of supplement (also for coat and hoof) and since My Boy already gets his selenium and other vitamins in his regular supplement (I call it his "grain", but it is not grain-based) I want to put him on a straight joint supplement with a combination of the key ingredients- Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM/Hyaluronic Acid. I am considering two reader-recommendations which I will have to order online.

The weekend was busy. I was on vacation last week, so when I got back into town from visiting family, I spent a lot of time with My Boy! He was walked/trotted on the longe line every day. We did a lot of hand-walking to warm up. On Saturday, Paint Girl's OH and I bought out the local feed store of all their grass hay, so we are stocked up for a couple of months. Helping unload nearly 30 bales of hay will help that upper body bone strength the doctor was telling me about at my physical last week. I also need to "make sure I get my calcium and vitamin D." You see, My Boy isn't the only one getting old and having issues!

Also on Saturday, I also had my fourth saddleseat lesson. SmartAlex from the Bringing up Baby blog in my lesson video post questioned the instructor using the snaffle bit. This time, the instructor changed out Zoe's bridle. Zoe wore both the curb and the snaffle bit but the rein came down from the headstall and went through the snaffle ring, but not directly attached to it. Does that make sense?

There was a lot going on in the arena. Someone was riding another horse in a lesson with another trainer. There was also another student in the lesson with me, a 13 year old girl who has been taking lessons for 2 years. She rode the white Arab, the "Steady Eddie." The instructor warned me that the cold snap in the air had her first two lesson horses pretty wired first thing that morning, but Zoe was fine.

The Steady Eddie

My first two laps around the arena were not pretty. My instructor had me ride over to her. She took each set of Zoe's reins in her hands around 8" from the bit, then pulled them toward her, showing me how much pressure to use when I "play" with her mouth to set her up into the bridle. This was really helpful. We had slower, more collected gaits. We trotted a lot. My legs looked good, in fact, my instructor told me they could come forward a bit! I think my stirrups were a hole shorter than last week, this might have helped.

The canter felt good, too. Much slower and in control. I would say that without the rein on the snaffle, Zoe pulled out of the bridle and tried to avoid holding her neck up more. It had a tendency to pull me forward. My instructor joked at one point that I was looking like a hunt seat rider. But I knew that, because I noticed it in my shadow as we rode along the southern wall of the arena. I needed to sit back in that saddle and pull my ribs up! All in all, it was a better lesson.My instructor reiterated it again, it takes a long time to learn to ride this horse. I feel I made progress. I really want to do well, but I am also not frustrated that the learning curve is slow.

The 13 year old and I got to ride the horses up to outdoor arena to cool them out. It was around 11 a.m. and getting warmer. In the outdoor arena, which is in the full sun and on top of a slight hill, there was a great view of a large farm field full of swampy water and a flock of Canada geese. Maybe they were taking a break from the Olympics? As we walked around, I felt like I was going on a country "hack."
We walked for about ten minutes, even stopping to watch a coyote stalk the geese. It was the closest thing I've come to a trail ride since last summer!


Paint Girl will be on her way home soon, hopefully arriving on my birthday. What a treat that will be! Not that I'll get to see her until the weekend. She'll be busy sleeping, unpacking, and taking care of all the critters she's missed.

Lastly, I send the warmest thoughts of sympathy to our dear friend Linda over at the 7msn Ranch blog, who unexpectedly had to have her horse Lyle euthanized this weekend. My heart goes out to her as she and her ranch crew adjust to life without their beloved sorrel friend.


  1. Hope you enjoyed your holiday. Sounds like Zoe is a good teacher for you .The Steady Eddie, looks like a sweet old soul. Happy early birthday,I am sure you will love having your sister back to tell you all her adventures!

  2. I think you will notice a difference soon. Cold weather and rain always makes it hurt worse when you have arthritis.

  3. Sounds like you've made great progress in the saddle seat realm! I wish you luck with My Boy and his achy-breaky joints; its very difficult to discern which products are worth your money and actually do what they claim. I'm still working on getting some Dressage lessons in, but my schedule is too crammed right now! I'm really really jealous of you. But, I get to ride with your auntie this weekend ;)

  4. So glad to hear that you are on your way to getting him back to feeling good!!! And your lesson sounds like it went great!! You really are very inspiring for stepping out of your comfort zone with this!!

    So glad Paint Girl will be home soon! I know she has been greatly missed by all!!

  5. You don't mean a snaffle set up like this do you?

  6. Can't recommend highly enough the supplement Platinum. I get it in 5 gal. bucket from vet. My 27 yr old gets that with MSM each day and is bucking often.

  7. just getting caught up on my blog reading! Hope your boy is doing well! Oh my look at all that you can 'read' from the facial profile on steady eddie!!

  8. {Smart Alex}~ Yes, like that, except she was wearing the full-bridle and the curb/curb rein. But the snaffle/rein was set up like that. I'm assuming it's gentler on the mouth?

  9. Thanks for thinking of us, Pony Girl.

  10. That steady eddy is adorable. I love his/her eye.It sounds like you had another great lesson! I'm glad Zoe was a good girl for you.

    I'm so sorry to hear that Your Boy is sore. I don't have much experience with arthritis in horses, I just know that this cold yucky weather aggravates it.

    My sympathy goes out to the7msn :( How sad!

  11. That set up is what is known as a gag bit. It's used to raise the horse's head or keep them from laying on the bit. It isn't milder, although I wouldn't necessarily call it harsh. What it does is put upward pressure on the mouth, rather than backward pressure. I use it myself when long lining to keep the horse's head above the withers. They aren't uncommon in the Saddlebred world as they are legal to use in Saddlebred classes.

    If I were starting someone saddleseat with four reins, I certainly wouldn't use a double bridle or bother with a gag snaffle which is for tweaking the horse's performance. What I would use is a large training snaffle, four reins, with one set of reins on a running martingale. Like this

    The rein through the martingale acts similar to the curb without the sensitivity of it. The rider gets to learn to hold four reins and set the horses head while not "getting into" the horse's mouth as they develop the independent seat needed for that flat saddle.

    The only reason I personally would put a rider in a double bridle right off the bat would be to humble them and/or give them the feel of how refined the style can be and what they can achieve in the future. With work. A sensitive show horse in a double bridle isn't necessarily an easy ride, and really isn't something you need to start on if you are trying to learn.

    My opinion when I saw your video was "wow,she did darn good considering the circumstances". I feel pretty confident that if you posted that video over on (where the Saddlebred people hang out) you would get the same response. I think you did excellent, but I don't think your instructor is doing you any favors.

  12. Now that I'm finished offering my unsolicited opinion ;-) I just want to say that your Appaloosa is just lovely.

    If you're looking for a joint supplement, I haven't read your blogs or the responses, but I was very pleased with Aniflex-GL. Later I switched to Cosequin because it came in SmartPaks, and couldn't notice a difference. but, since Grey is IR, I pulled the Cosequin. I read that Glucosomine could trigger the IR, so now I'm shopping for another supplement. :-(

  13. Hi there,

    I know nothing about saddleseat so I have no useful advice for you but I enjoy reading about your lessons (I learn a little bit each time too). Sounds like you are having fun and I love hearing about the lesson horses! Loved the pic of Steady Eddy

  14. You are going to love saddleseat once you get the hang of it !

    You should come down this summer and we'll go on a trail ride with all of the blogger peeps.

  15. Let us know how the joint supplements work! They are going to snap, crackle, and pop as they get older, it's just the way of things. But being consistent once you find something that works is key.

  16. Sometimes I get a break on shippimg by ordering through my local feed store rather than directly to me. Did that make sense? Instead of ordering online or from a catalog and having the bucket'o'stuff shipped to me, I tell my feed store manager what I want and she orders it, it gets shipped to the store, and she calls me when it gets in for me to pick up. Sometimes it's cheaper, sometimes it isn't. Worth checking on, though. Some products I was ordering they decided to add to their stock, too, eliminating the whole ordering thing.

  17. {Smart Alex}- Thanks for the feedback! It is interesting to get someone else's insight. When I rode the Steady Eddie, I used a regular snaffle, and one time, a set-up similar to what you mentioned that you would do. I'm not sure why my instructor is working with me the way she is, but she's been giving lessons a long time and I'm just going to assume she has a plan an knows what she is doing, LOL! Also, I actually will compliment myself a bit and say that I have a good seat and hands in general, and have been riding off and on or nearly 30 years. While I am a beginner at Saddleseat, I think she asessed my ability and felt I was capable of it. I don't think she would put me on Zoe (her horse, and her former showhorse) if she thought I was going to totally mess her up. But, she may make adjustments to bridling (or move me back to the Steady Eddie) if needed, she told me that. I'm expecting to improve and regress at times, LOL! :)

  18. what an incredible, interesting life you live! I think that having a horse sounds so relaxing. Just today I've been nursing a very sick puppy and it's amazing how you can worry about them, isn't it. Your blog is so beautiful. I love the font and the header.

  19. A trail ride is wonderful, but anytime spent on a good horse is just as great. I'm glad you enjoyed your lesson time. You are very in tune with your body to be able to recognize when what you're doing isn't quite right, or is right on. Good for you!

    I hope you'll be able to get My Boy's stiffness and discomfort under control by this summer, so you and he can ride together out on the trails. You're a good horse Mom. :)

    I'm so excited to hear from Paint Girl and hear all about her time in Scottsdale. I bet you're happy she's home now, too.

    Oh! And Happy Birthday to you!


  20. That triple combo supplement isn't by any chance the "Farnam Joint Combo" is it?

    Love hearing about your lessons. There is no saddleseat riding anywhere around here that I know of.

    I love the 7MSN blog, when I saw the title of Linda's post my heart sank and I will admit that I cried while reading it.

  21. that first photo of your boy is stunning.
    he is so handsome.

  22. {Cdncowgirl}~ Nope, it's Trifecta 3-in-1 by Horse Guard. It's actually a great product but like I said, it contains a duplicate of some vitamins for my horse (but not enough to stop him from getting his other supplement and put him strictly on this) so I want to try a joint supp. only.

  23. Happy birthday. The best gift is YOUR (MY) Boy recovering!

    We had a buckskin that would not take a bit at all.

    I am hosting an exchange. Stop by if you get a chance:


  24. I have had wonderful results with sonovy MSM, actually helped my terribly arthritic horse get back to running and bucking at the age of 26...
    Best wished

  25. {Cactus Jack}~ Thanks! I am just dying here waiting to see if this joint supplement helps him get back on track. If not, I'm afraid it could be something worse.....I'm just being a worrywart horse mom!

  26. I'm so sorry My boy isn't feeling well, Sure hope he's up and feeling spry by the time our stampede rolls around! Sounds like you're haveing fun at your lessons.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin