Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Update in Four Chapters

Chapter One: My Boy

My Boy has been on joint supplement for three weeks. I'd have to say he's an eency-weency bit better. It's hard to tell. I am obsessively analyzing every gimpy move he makes. Mostly, he seems to have more willingness to move forward at all gaits. He even cantered in the round pen last weekend!

I know it could take up to another month or more to really notice a difference and I'm not expecting it to be a miracle. Okay, well maybe. Also, I am trying a new joint supplement for him, so that can be a bit of a trial and error. I still worry (it's like a part-time job, my worrying) that something else is going on. If I don't see a marked improvement by the time he gets his spring shots, I may have him x-rayed or a check by a different veterinarian for another opinion.

My Boy must not be feeling too sore, the stinker did do a nice rollback on Saturday as I was free-longing him in the round pen. I typically whoa him, have him face me, and then reverse him. For some reason as he was walking, I stepped out in front of him a bit, hoping he'd turn in towards me and reverse, but he kind of jumped and turned on his haunches towards the panel wall and took off the other direction! I felt kind of bad, it was not my intention to have him use those achy hocks in such a manner!

Chapter Two: Moldy Grain

Have any of you ever opened a new bag of grain and found mold in it? I call it "grain" but it's actually not grain, it's a vitamin supplement, not to be confused with the separate joint supplement I give him. I bought a bag on Saturday, and while pouring it I noticed a chunk of grains stuck together. Upon further inspection, I saw that it was fuzzy with green mold. I was quite upset. I am so glad I noticed it! When I scooped the "bad" grain back out of my grain bin, it didn't appear to all be bad, nor did it smell. However, I exchanged it for a new bag. I wasn't going to take a risk- one clump of 4 grains with mold was enough for me!

I am thinking of emailing the company and letting them know, and, inquiring about how this could happen- is it on their end or the feed store's? I have been purchasing this supplement for over two years, a brand that I believe to be rather reputable, and I have never had this happen (not that I've noticed, anyway.) However, when I returned it, the guy at the feed store said that per pallet they get, once in a while a bag or two will be bad. Huh? Goodness, that doesn't make me feel any better!

Chapter Three: Lesson Frustration

Last Saturday, my lesson horse Zoe was still recovering after a bout with colic and wasn't herself. We had a mellow lesson, mostly just giving her some exercise and me working on my equitation. But this weekend, she was back to her quirky, silly self. Me, on the other hand? Oh Nellie, I felt like a big old mess! My instructor told me it probably felt worse than it looked, and that she thought I actually did good. She said she loves giving me lessons because when she tells me things, I get it and do it.

Well I didn't feel like I was doing anything right. I didn't feel like I was riding her well- I was more of a floundering passenger. My reins were fumbling in my hands (remember, I'm using four reins), I felt like my posting was a millisecond behind the beat and my legs had lost strength. Zoe was being spooky (something she never is) and I had to be on guard for her snorty quick moves as we passed the "scary" end of the arena, where someone was working on a truck on the other side of the wall. We did do some figure eights at the canter with simple lead changes which was a fun challenge.

Hello Pony Girl- it's not going to happen overnight! There are going to be rides that are good, and some that are not so good. And some that will be downright awful! Looking back, I'd had a really long week and was feeling a bit drained physically and emotionally going into Saturday. I'm sure that didn't help.

It would probably be beneficial if I could take two lessons a week so I can better practice my skills and build some muscle memory and strength, but that is not financially possible for me. My instructor is going to be out of town at a show this coming weekend- so no lesson scheduled. But before I left the stable she told me that I could come ride Zoe anyway if I wanted to. Wow! It feels good that she is confident enough in my riding to let me ride her mare without her supervision.
Okay, so maybe that lesson wasn't so bad!

Chapter Four: Spring Has Sprung!

All of the pictures in this post were taken in the latter part of February or beginning of March. I can not believe how many signs of spring are here- yes, that is a bee with pollen on it's legs already! So here is my question of the day- if spring is here so early, does that mean it will be snowing in August?


  1. That is good that your boy seems to be doing better. I wish I was around to see him move. But unfortunately our schedule's just don't match up.
    That's too bad about the moldy "grain". I have been using that brand for a few years and have never had a problem. Hopefully this will be a one time thing. We have had moldy grain at the barn, but a different brand.
    I can't believe the spring weather we have had. The bugs were so bad today. I can only imagine what they will be like this summer. We didn't have any real long deep freezes to kill those buggers.

  2. What supplement do you give him? Denali is on joint supplements (Trifecta) but I'm always curious as to what other ponies are using. I had to choke today as I slide the credit card ($200) for a 50 pound container. Ugh. Amazing that I'd drop that on her without a second thought, but I haven't bought a new pair of jeans in over a year. Sigh...oh pony love.

  3. The trials and tribulations of the horsies, they are just like kids! Sorry I didn't get to see you much this weekend, the Man Cub kept me busy. BTW, great score on Nana's crib! I love it!

  4. {Paint Girl}~ UGH, don't remind me of the bugs! I'd better start stocking up on fly spray for my poor bug-hating horse! :)

    {Denali}~ Right now I am trying HylaSport OTC by Horse Tech. They sent me a sample of that and another one of their products, ReitSport-HA100.

    {Sares}~ Yes the crib was pretty much perfect! Don't give me credit- our moms found it! :)

  5. Awesome bee pic PG! And I would totally let that grain company know about the mould - who knows, you may get a freebie!!!
    Hugs to you and your boy.

  6. Poor Boy being ouchy. Maybe your vet will find something. It is difficult when these guys can't talk and tell us exactly what is going on!
    Sounds like you are doing great with your lessons. I remember feeling like a sack of @#%! up there when I was first learning to ride. My instructor kept saying that my equitation was fine, but I felt horrible. Part of it is trying to remember everything - where to keep your legs, eyes, hands, makes you crazy. You must have looked good if she is letting you ride her horse on the weekend. Well done! Have fun.
    I can't believe those flowers are from this year. That is amazing. We are "springing" into action, but no flowers yet!

  7. Hey at least you have green! Our grass is still yellowy brown.
    Lucky you getting to ride when you want outside of your lessons!

  8. I know the feeling of frusturation with lessons! I've come to realize now that somedays, I just don't have it in me to ride as well. Sometimes I've got it, and everything is great and others, I just feel awkward and ugly in the saddle :). I know your next lesson will be great, don't sweat it.

    I'm sorry your sweet boy is feeling sore still. Maybe once it really starts warming up and you two can go out for some nice slow rides, he'll start to feeling better.

    The grain thing happens once in a while to us too. We use "reputable" brands as well. We just always keep an eye and nose out for possible faults with the grain as we're emptying it into the bin.

  9. Gorgeous pictures , the colors are amazing! As to the feed issue ,if thet feed pallets are delivered shrink wrapped and the feed storage area is quite warm they can mold or mildew quite quickly , my feed store guy says in the summer here ,or any feed in a heated area , to take the shrink wrap off right away. I had a bag of spoiled feed last summer from this type of issue.
    As far as the lesson goes , you might consider that your skills and awareness are growing , so you are not nessesarily riding badly , you are just noticing more about your riding that you can improve

  10. I swear, we are on the same brain frequency sometimes. Just yesterday I took a bunch of photographs of some blooming cherry blossoms that I have been driving past for weeks now! I just need to get them uploaded... I agree, spring has sprung! I rode my little mare for 3 hours on Saturday, in my English saddle! Keep your head up with the lessons. I've been riding Maria for years now, and we were a hot mess on Saturday. You and Zoe will get the feel for each other, and your legs will come around. Its always true that you feel way worse than you actually look! Give your legs time to strengthen also, then everything will start to come easier. I wouldn't stress too much over the grain mold. Things happen. Most horses pick around the mold anyways if it does end up in their bucket. And breathe deep regarding Your Boy. You're taking great care of him. His soreness may also have to do with the winter season, the coldness and not getting to really stretch his legs as much. Good luck though.

  11. So glad your little spotted pill is on the medn with his supplements! I would worry too. Sometimes i think: will a vet coming out to take an xray in the end make me feel better? Or will it reveal some terrible thing I had never considered? Ack, the worry!
    I bet you are such a good student in your class. I love reading about it.

  12. Yeah usually in my experience, after working in feed stores for 8 years, sometimes, very rarely it comes from the supplier that way(spoiled) but it usually is someone lazy in the stockroom that does not rotate product, did you happen to see the expiration or bagging date? there are two different ones, it depends on which one they use. Some say bagging date, or thats what they tell you when you call. I always look at the "date" on the package, it can sometimes save a headache, you cant rely on product always getting rotated on time unfortunatly.

  13. Spring? What's Spring? We still have a foot of snow on the ground and temps in the mid 20s.

  14. Hi Ponygirl,

    This is Crystal from the old Olive blog. I'm back and wanted to let you know. These are some gorgeous photos too by the way. Hope you have been doing well!

  15. Icky! I would definitely complain to the company and the feed store. You good money should not be wasted on moldy grain.

    As I was reading your post I was thinking to myself that x-rays wouldn't hurt, at least all of your bases are covered that way....keep us updated!

  16. Great post, Pony Girl! You do such a good job of describing your riding lessons.

  17. Glad your boy is feeling better. I'm sure warmer temps will help too.

  18. You will eventually get the hang of using two sets of reins! I rode my horse for about a year in a gag bit that had two sets of reins. At first when we were jumping and I'd slip my reins or lose one, it would take forever to recover! Eventually I could be galloping cross country and not even have to think about it. Just be patient and you'll get it!

  19. I've only gotten a few bad bags in my history of buying, but I've always assumed it was the feed store's problem.

    I sure hope you see more signs of improvement in your boy. I think the warm weather will help, too. I took my boy out today (the P3 fracture) and he did great. He was off a bit last month--so I think the warmer, drier weather is a benefit.

    I got lesson frustration last month--I quit. Don't follow my example!! LOL!!! I have to admit, though, I like the trails!!! I can only handle so much of that meticulous stuff before I flip a spring.

  20. Sorry to hear about My Boy. Keep us posted on that rascal:-) Tell him no more roll backs!

    Great pics!

  21. I've gotten a couple bags of chicken feed with mold in it from Walmart. I was told the same thing that the shrink wrap and the lack of air flow will cause the mold to build within the bag. I've since stopped buying from Walmart and only buy from my local feed store, who is small and don't buy in bulk so they stock the bags out for the customer as soon as it arrives. I've yet to have any issues with the feed from the feed store.

    Your lessons sound great! You must be doing just fine for your instructor to invite you to ride without her supervision. Good for you!
    I bet you are just so attuned now to what your body should be doing that you are more critical of yourself. But you probably shouldn't be, which is why your instructor says you're doing so well.
    You're doing great!

    Maybe you should do the x-rays on My Boy if you're so worried. At least that way you can find out exactly what is wrong and adjust your supplements, if they are even needed at all.
    Sure would put your mind at ease, even if he does have any issues. Just knowing a diagnosis gives you that knowledge and then you can deal with any issues with confidence.

    I am shocked at how many flowers you have blooming and how green it is there. We got over 9" of snow dumped on us yesterday! Spring is definetly not here in New Mexico yet.

    Do you think that it still might snow there? The year before last, we were tricked into thinking Spring had arrived as warm temps showed up after March, and we had no snow...nothing. All the flowers were blooming and the fruit trees were glorious!
    And then on Memorial Day weekend, BOOM! We had a hail storm and snow.

    That year we had no fruit because all the blooms froze and died.

    I sure hope winter is over for you guys....but I'd be a little wary, too.


  22. Fly season is coming! Try ATLAST! Fly Spray! It is 100% organic and actually works!

  23. oh geez fly season is upon is, but with that comes, NO MORE BLANKETS! I hate blanket/mud season more I think!

  24. Pony Girl - I know how you feel when it comes to flopping around on Jello legs on a horse. I don't get to ride often, and when I do, I want to actually be able to ride!

    That's why I've taken up doing yoga four times a week to keep my strength - and what a difference it's made. Perhaps some extra strength training would speed up your progress? Just a thought.

  25. I know what you mean and yes some rides are just down right awkward but we get better and stronger with each ride! Sorry it's taken me so long to complete your painting....still working on it. I want it to be just right....hope that's O.K. with you. Today is the first really nice springlike day here! Supposed to snow on Sunday....ugh. I have a migraine still but managed to take our dogs outside for a walk to the barn but immediately they started searching for horse poop to eat so we went back in after they ran around. I had the stalls all cleaned ( I over did it a bit, hence the headache/plus getting off caffeine) so thankfully they didn't find any. Funny I guess my Dr. was right he said I would make a horrible junkie being sensitive to any kind of chemical....I only drank 2 cups every morning but obviously that's too much for me! Also had reaction to medications while in the hospital. At least I don't crash in the afternoon anymore.....I could just crash any moment now with no energy! LOL!

  26. I would definitely write to the company that manufactures the grain and find out what is up with the mold. Someone is doing something wrong - either at the plant or at the feed store. Love all the flower photos -- hard to believe at the end of Feb or beginning of Mar those kinds of sights can be seen. A few days ago was the first time we saw the ground without a cover of snow on it since December!

  27. Your boy sure is gorgeous!!! He is so photogenic, which is obviously a good thing ;) I am sure the joint supplements must be working if he didn't have any complaints lunging! Moldy feed....BAD! I hope you did end up emailing the company, if anything just to make them aware! And I am sure you are just being to hard on yourself! Especially since she offered for you to ride without her there! She must trust you!!! You have a lot going on and I think you are juggling it well!

  28. Hang in there Pony Girl! Lessons do tend to be that way, most horses have good days and bad days, and people do too. I'd really recommend trying to find a horse to practice your saddle seat on by yourself during the week so you can at least get one more ride in to practice the things you learned in your lesson. You could practice on My Boy if he's feeling well enough to do so. Even just walk and trot are great to practice. If you don't want to ride him in a full bridle (can't imagine you would want to since he's probably never had one on), you could even just put an extra set of reins on a snaffle bit and practice holding the two different sets withought having them actually act differently on your horse. My Boy doesn't have to hold his head up like Zoe, but you can still hold your arms up where you hold them on her. It will feel different like riding that Arabian school horse, but at least you'd get to work on your leg position, etc. I think you're doing great. You looked awesome on Zoe for one of your first times in that tack, I think you're a natural, so hang in there!!

    For My Boy, hopefully the joint supplement will help him. Have you done cortisone injections before? those are usually really helpful if the arthritis is limited to 1 or two joints. Also some of the IM/IV products can be helpful, so they're worth a try if the supplements don't work. I'm not a big believer in joint supplements, and refuse to waste money on them, I feed MSM, which is cheap and has shown to have at least some effect on inflammation. People have varying results with various products, it's rather individualized, so you may have to try a few different things. My vet recommended a product called Equinyl CM by Vita Flex, she says she's had good results with that one. Otherwise, I think it's kindof a crapshoot. Louie seems like he really responded positively to his chiropractic and accupuncture treatment, perhaps that would be worth a try if you haven't done it. I'd go to joint injections first though. Good luck, hang in there!

  29. "A part-time job worrying" -- I love it - I'm afraid that job comes with owning horses!

  30. My daughter is big time, into horses and her photography business, just equestrian. She would love following you, so if you don't mind, I would like to send her your way. Glad you took the moldy supplements back and YES, do contact the company. It may even directly send you more or coupons or somekind of compensation for your worries.
    Have a Springy Weekend

  31. Yea, this year has been unusually warm in the Tri-Cities. It felt like its been spring since Jan.


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.

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