This past weekend I spent 2 days at the beautiful Texas Rose Horse Park cheering on my barn family. Rio may be home living the life of a pasture puff, but I still enjoy horse shows and cheering on my team mates. It was a lovely time, and a lot of success was had by everyone on the team!
MM rode Clark in his first National Derby and they did awesome!!! It was a super positive experience in a really competitive field. Clark jumped around like the super horse he is, with only very minor rookie errors. They will be strong contenders once a bit of experience is under his belt.
If you haven’t yet, you may want to start by reading my last vet update, which included pics of Rio’s surgical sites up until that point.
Let’s start with the RH (original site of spider bite wound and where he broke his splint bone which is what required surgery). We are still treating it with SSD and wrapping every day or every other on occasion.
If you read my blog on the reg, you will know that Scotti (MM’s horse) is Rio’s bestie. They have a serious bromance going on. Since Rio has been out of commission for a bit, and probably will be for another month or so, I’ve been begging rides. You guys have all met Clark the super horse, but he is going to be at show this week with his real mom. I am super extra lucky though, because Scotti is staying home from the show, so we get to keep each other company. MM let me ride him on Saturday and jump him for the first time. We don’t know each other very well yet, but he was super good, and tolerated my ammy mistakes amazingly for only being 5 yrs old.
Keeping the post short today- here is a lil short vid of Scotti and I!
Here’s the deal guys- we all have to agree not to show this post to Amazing Vet.
She mayyyyy have said Rio could start turnout, as long as he doesn’t run around like a wild man. He has basically gotten to the point where I can barely control him on the lead with all his antics, so we decided that for the sake of his mental health we needed to start turning him out some, in a small-ish enclosure. I TOLD him to behave but of course some playing was inevitable, so now I get to share all the adorable photos and video with you guys- just don’t show my vet!
First of all. HUGE THANK YOU to all of you. I feel so much better after my last post- and have received so many incredible suggestions- of which I am exploring them all with Amazing Vet. Seriously, the outpouring of support has been amazing, and I am learning about new treatment options I have previously never heard of, which should make for some interesting blog posts in the future. I don’t want to go into detail about everything yet, because we are not 100% sure which treatments we will be using just yet, but I promise to keep y’all updated as it happens.
In another news, Rio is doing well. He is superrrr feisty from being on stall rest, and it’s equal parts hilarious and annoying. I try to get him out of his stall every day and start by lightly hand walking him around the indoor before going outside to graze. He likes to roll in the soft sand and then try to bolt/buck. Thankfully, I am a pretty sturdy person, and he respects a lead chain, so we haven’t had any escapes yet. He did give me a bit of mild whiplash on Monday though when he tried to show me how fast he can spring up and bolt after rolling. He also loves to demonstrate his Black Stallion impression by walking around on his hind legs. In all honesty though- he isn’t doing it to be malicious. He is literally bursting with energy and is just trying to get some of it out. In about 10 more days I am hoping we can do small space turnout (like the round pen) for a few hours a day. Fingers crossed- otherwise he may self-combust LOL.
I had a jump lesson on Clark last night with MM, the first in about a week since he has been busy show prepping with his mom and MM. We didn’t have the ride I thought we would, but aren’t those the ones you learn the most from?
Up until this point, my limited experience riding Clark has all been easy, like too easy. He makes me look awesome with little to no effort on my part. Obviously, that effortlessness has come from a ton of good training and isn’t actually easy. Horses have a way of keeping us humble though, as Clarky showed me last night. He was feeling his willies a little bit, and at one point MM said, “Well, that was exactly what I didn’t want you to do. Glad we got that out of the way.”
But really, it was a great lesson. We actually had to WORK THROUGH the less then perfect moments, break it all down, take a step back, and focus on fixing things. I learn so much going through that process, especially since MM knows Clark so incredibly well, she is able to tell me exactly what to do to make things better.
When I ride a fresh horse, I tend to ride a little more assertively, i.e. shorten my reins, sit a little deeper in the saddle, etc. Well, a quite soft hunter that does not make with Clark. Not saying this works for every horse, but I learned some new tools about calming the ride on a hotter horse yesterday. MM had to keep telling me to lengthen my reins a lot, like 6 inches, and to take my leg off to the base of the jump, and to sit taller and quit throwing my body at the jumps. We started with a chargey canter that wanted to launch all the jumps, and ended with a very quite almost lopey canter with him jumping up to me over the fences. Now trust- this was hard for me. The fresher he was the more MM wanted me to stay soft, lengthen my rein, and leave him alone once establishing a quiet trot/canter. It worked! Weird, I know. Must remember to try this in the future.
I’m going to be really honest. This post has taken awhile to write, and not all with dry eyes. Things are just not going well with Rio’s recovery. I am so incredibly disappointed. I can’t shake the feeling of having this unlucky storm cloud that just hovers over him constantly. When I found out he had broken his right hind splint bone and needed surgery, I actually took the news very well, and was able to keep a positive attitude. I felt confident for the first time in awhile that he would recover smoothly and that all this bad luck would soon be behind us. I mean- we have been through a lot already, how much more trouble can one horse get into? We have certainly filled our quota for at least a few years, right???
Wrong. Amazing vet is flummoxed about his poor healing- as am I. We are currently 2 weeks and 3 days post surgery (so more then a 1/3 of the way into the estimated recovery time) and both wound sites look terrible. Just terrible. Only proceed if you want to see graphic photos.
There are several tackrooms at my barn. One for the lesson program, 2 general ones for boarders, and one was dedicated to a specific trainer and her students. Well, that trainer has since left for greener pastures, so the tackroom became available. Our program currently has the most horses/boarders, so we were lucky enough to get to take over the empty space. Problem was, the other trainer who had it before us built the whole thing- and she took it with her when she left. So we had a shell of a room, but not much else. Working on a tight budget, we were able to complete the whole project under $250, and I am pretty dang pleased with how it turned out!
Although the room was empty, it did have a linoleum type flooring, and the walls were painted. We went to Lowe’s and purchased the following supplies:
1 x 6″ 8 ft sections (3) lumber to use as the anchors for hanging saddle racks: $10.12 ea ($30.36)
1 x 4″ 12 ft sections (4) to use as baseboards: $9.14 ea ($36.56)
1 x 12″ 8 ft sections of primed MDF boards for shelves and bridle rack (3): $16.62 ($49.86)
8 ft landscape timbers (3) for the saddle racks: $3.99 ea ($11.97)
Eye hooks, 6 pack (2): $6.20 ($12.40)
Stanley tarp/rope hook (12) for attaching saddle racks: $1.48 ea ($17.76)
Horizontal bike hook, gray (4): $1.18 ea ($4.72)
Steel shelf brackets, multipack w/ 5 (2): $17.48 ea ($34.96)
Wednesday evening I had a super fun ride on Clarkamas, aka Clarky, aka Clark Kent. I have decided this is a very apt name for him as he really is a superhorse. We have only jumped together twice before this, and we jumped around on Wednesday like old pros. It was SO FUN. I seriously cannot wait until Rio is ready to be doing the same kind of work.
So much of what I get to work on with Clark is going to translate over to my rides with Rio. I am still learning the “hunter” ride, and it is amazing to get a feel for it with Clark. Seriously, you just leave him alone. I am the worst at doing nothing. I tend to sit quiet then over ride the last 3 strides or so and mess things up. Clarky really just wants you to chill and trust him.
It seems that the key to Clark is getting a good quality canter, being patient during long approaches, sitting tall, and no touchy of the face. It felt so EASY when it all came together. Like, major light bulb moment. Stay patient and do not interfere you say? Who knew.
Of course this lovely jumping only comes after many months of solid flatwork, but it is nice to feel how things can come together when done correctly.
Rio loves me. I mean, why shouldn’t he? He has spent almost half his time in my care on some version of stall rest, so he barely ever has to work hard, he regularly gets groomed to the nines, and stuffed with carrots and cookies on the reg. Like, dream life for a horse basically (minus lack of turnout). I have added a new regimen to his pampering routine- massages. That’s right. These seem to have only increased his love for me. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) his love may be borderline obsessive/stalker/creeper. But, I’ll circle back to this problem (or wonderful situation?).
About 6 months ago my hubby bought this hand held massager on Amazon. I tend to have a lot of back pain from my day job, and he also doesn’t have the best back ever. We LOVE it. We used it a TON in the first few months and wow, it really helped. I barely have any muscle tension/pain anymore, and we haven’t really used it in a couple months. I had the brilliant idea to bring it to the barn and use it on Rio. Rio has really taken to it, and seems to enjoy his massage time. Evidence in the vids below!
He always rock back and forth when I get to this one spot on his butt. It’s hilarious.
Along with Rio’s intense love of me comes his uber intense possessiveness. He’s like that boyfriend you had freshman year of college that what way too obsessed with you and constantly needed to know where you were, who you were with, and what you were talking about. He revels in my attention and can’t figure out why I would even look at another horse.
MM and I decided to try the massager on Scotti, who is stalled next to Rio. Here is my case in point of Rio’s creeper behavior:
Don’t see it yet? Look closer.
When I ignored him and continued giving my attention to Scotti, Rio tried a new angle (literally 😂).
Yup, he has now progressed to showing his teeth too.
My horse is a creeper. I’m cool with it. I actually like it. I’m one of those girls that kind of relishes in the obsessive “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH” relationships. My hubby, bless his soul, does not often indulge me in this kind of behavior. My chihuahuas show me love, but, they also love my husband. I may finally be getting the creeper/stalker attention that is my secret love language from Rio.
So, is your horse a creeper/stalker? Do you secretly like it?
For now, Rio is going to have to share me with Clark. I have some GREAT pics and vids of me jumping schooling him last night, but I will save those for my post tomorrow. #getexcited
**As usual, photo/vid creds go to MM. THANK YOUUUUUU**
So… Rio’s sutures did open up in the left hind like we (vet and I) were anticipating. I’m sure his trailer loading antics didn’t help, but what is done is done. The plan is to just let it heal up on it’s own, not re-suture them. I’m kinda bummed because this area didn’t heal well the first time around- but hoping that with diligent care and wrapping we can do better this time.
Good news is his other leg (RH) looks amazing. This was the spider bite leg at it’s worst (in case you are a new reader), this was late May:
This was it recently, pre-breaking his splint bone and re-opening the wound:
And here it is after the surgery, all sutured up. It looks really nice, and the surgeon expects it to heal very well with minimal scarring, if any!
Rio is thankfully really good for the bandaging process, because it is quite a task lol. Here he is all bandaged up and looking colorful:
He also got a really good grooming, a massage, and lots of carrots. Not at all spoiled. Nope!
Huge thanks to everyone for all their amazing support, Rio and I can’t thank everyone enough! More updates on his healing to come, and more riding updates on my lovely surrogate pons as well!