Rio Rides Again

As I mentioned at the end of my last post- Rio got cleared for light riding by Amazing Vet on Monday.  Bursting full of excitement, I drove out there last night after work- hustling my dear hubby to drive faster the whole time. We had to stop at old barn first to grab my very heavy trunk to move it to new barn (only about 15 mins away). Trainer is maybe 100 lbs soaking wet so I try not to have her move my trunk anywhere- it is just too big!

 

After what felt like forever, we arrived. I love the new facility! I will do a full photo tour soon- but for now, here is the view as I pull into the drive…

Pretty, right?

 

I pulled Rio out of his stall to groom him, but as soon as I put the saddle pad on his back he kept turning to look at me, as if to say “What the heck are you doing?!”, it was truly hilarious. He looked so perplexed as I put the saddle on him and tightened the girth. You could definitely tell he thought he was in a for a good grooming then back in his stall for the night. Sorry not sorry Rio!

Look at this goofy face. I am obsessed with it.

He seemed pretty anxious as I led him to the arena. I began to have some second thoughts about being the first one back on him and was wondering if I should have asked Trainer to get on him first. Yes, I can be a whimp, don’t judge me! But then I remember how much I trust him so I relaxed.

Artistic girth tightening photo, good job hubby!

He was SOO good! Like super chill, walking around on a long rein. Not only was this his first ride in 5 1/2 weeks, but it was his first ride at a brand new facility, and he didn’t bat an eye. We walked around some trotted a lap each direction, walked some more, and then called it quits after about 15 mins.

 

I’m not happy at all. Not even a little bit.

 

I am really excited about the new facility as well, I can’t believe that we have 3 rings! The stalls are nice and roomy, and the horses seem really happy. Makes paying the board bill worth it (sorta).

Apparently my hubby is really into artistic girthing photos- evidence: our post ride loosening of the girth

I wasn’t scheduled to work until noon today, so I ran out there this morning for another quick ride and more pony time. Rio was great again today, and I am so freaking excited that we able to start getting back into shape. His leg isn’t TOTALLY healed yet, so we will be taking it easy for awhile, but it’s almost there!

THHANK YOU to everyone who sent good vibes and positive jingles our way. I am so thankfully that my boy recovered so quickly. Fingers crossed this is all behind us!

 

 

The Rio and Scottie Saga

Rio made the move to the new barn today- Flower Mound Farm. I work late today, so I can’t even go see him, but thankfully amazing Trainer and MM have been sending me tons of snaps and pics. Here is a photo story or Rio’s interaction with his newest friend (MM’s horse), as I imagine they would interact.

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Rio is on the left

Rio: “HEY. Hey I’m Rio. Let’s be BEST FRIENDS. Look how high I can lift my leg! I’m so fun and awesome! And handsome, like so so handsome. I know because my mom tells me ALL the time!”

Scottie: “Umm… idk if we can be friends. You seem kind of high maintenance…and you have really big ears. Just look at them!”

hanoverian horse friends warmblood

Rio: “No way! Look, I am so chill. I can just hang out and chill all day. I won’t even lift my leg high anymore. From down here my ears don’t even look big. And we are like twinsies. I heard our moms say that.”

 

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Scottie: “I mean… I guess… you smell kind of ok so maybe. Let me think about it.”

 

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Rio: “UGH NO. I’m completely awesome and I guess you just can’t see that. I mean, look how amazing and archy my neck is! And I can flip my mane like nobody’s business!”

hanoverian horse friends warmblood

Scottie: “Fine. We’re done. You seem too uppity. I vote we just ignore each other.”

Rio: Ignores Scottie 

hanoverian horse friends warmblood

JK JK. BEST FRIENDS FOREVERRRR!

 

And they lived happily ever after…

 

 

Thanks MM for all the photos of my handsome, archy necked, hair flipping baby!!!

MM and Rio

 

Best news for last…. Rio’s wound is finally scabbing over and…. I got the OK from Amazing Vet to start RIDING AGAIN!!!!! That’s right- RIDING HIM!!!! So so sooooooooo excited to see how he feels tomorrow!

 

Food for the soul: Peanut gallery edition

What should you do when you have 2 days of PTO for a horse show that you actually ended up not entering? You obvi go any, because horse shows are soul food. Then again, if you aren’t competing because your horse got bitten by an agent of the devil and then the ensuing vet bills basically ate through your show budget for the next several months faster then my hubby runs from a cockroach- the soul food is tinged with a tiny bit of mold. Like- it’s still delish and everything you want, just with a tiny side of sadness & remorse.

Coco's ice cream Waco texas
L and M showing off their haul from Coco’s

I had a blast in Waco this weekend cheering on my trainer and spending time with the barn family. It made me even more excited for the day that Rio has his A show debut (stay tuned this fall). Waco shows are especially close to my heart because I spent an amazing 5 years in Waco as a Baylor student (yay super senior year 5 😂). I get all the nostalgia feels driving around town and visiting old stomping grounds.

The largest most delish banana split ever

Trainer brought several horses, as well as showing a couple of the imports she has previously sold. Ado had his show debut in the US and he rocked it- winning reserve in the 2’3 and champion in the 2’6. Go Ado!

 

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Gimmy and Trainer schooling Friday evening

Gimmy (who sold earlier this year and is loving being the best adult ammy horse ever) also put in some lovely rounds in the 3ft hunters.

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Cascai making 1.20 look like child’s play

 

The Amazing Cascai had an awesome go of it this week for his debut in the 1.20- topping the field for a blue ribbon on Thursday, getting 7th in the 1.20 classic Saturday against a competitive field, and overall reserve champ for the 1.20 division. He jumped incredible,  and is going to be hard to beat once he gets a few more show miles under his belt.  Go Cascai!

Czech import warmblood show jumper

 

Tomorrow is the big move to the new facility, so I should have plenty of media for posts this week. Rio’s leg looks incredible- it’s actually scabbing over finally! I’m hoping to get the ok from the vet to start lightly riding him again this week!!

6.25.17 progress pic

Thanks again for all the good jingles and juju!!!

What’s in your trunk?

Rio is still doing great, but I’m not riding him yet, which leaves plenty of time to do other stuff at the barn while I spoil him with extra grazing time. We are moving to a new barn on Monday so I decided it was a good time to clean out the tack trunk. (My trainer is moving her whole program, so I’m not changing programs, just facilities). 

My sweet hubby built this trunk for me 2 Christmases ago. It is huge and so so nice. #bestpresentever. Step 1 involved emptying the whole thing out so I could  clean out the dust.

Once emptied, I went through everything to clean it all and decide what didn’t need to be in there- trunk space is muy precious after all 😂.  A few things got nixed, and some got repositioned into lower, less accessible spaces in the trunk. 

Bottom right compartment is the hardest to get to, so it holds the items I dont need as often. It has all my extra bits, show boots (leather, for eq), fuji boot covers for muddy shows, a Kingsland waterproof rain coat, extension cords, numbers, braiding supplies, dewormer, measuring tape for setting jumls, and extra halters.

 The left compartment hides under the removable tray so its a bit easier to access. I hold my polos, back on track quick wraps and hock boots, a bucket with liniment, sponges, and bathing supplies, gallon of fly spray, clippers with oil and cleaner, CWD cleaning kit, and his show halter. 

Rio can tell I’m bored as is trying to make me laugh. He was successful to say the least.

All loaded back up! Top right contains medical supplies, boots, grooming tote, a plethora of grooming sprays, fly spray, and helmet. The tray on the left has treats, tack cleaners, baby wipes (for me and to clean Rio’s face and eyes),  dry erase markers, pens, chapstick, sunglasses, Bobby pins, a million hairnets, small can of hair spray and dry shampoo, antibacterial, mints…. you know- the absolute essentials!

The lid has these amazing nets that hold my gloves,spurs, and whips. The mirror says bungeed when not in use, otherwise it’s super convenient and I love it.

Finished product. Dirt free and newly sanatized.

I feel oh-so accomplished. If only I could make room for my hoof packing stuff, poultice, and my millions of saddle pads…

Moral of the story…one can never have a big enough trunk!!! If anyone wants to magic my trunk like Hermione’s bag in the last 2 Harry Potter books, I’d be forever in your debt. 

Protective boots, more risk then benefit?

Some of you may have seen an article circulating facebook recently about the pros and cons about protective boots for equine athletes. After a bit of googling, it looks like you can find it several places on-line, including this UK based website. Feel free to skim it for some further context.

Anyway, in my never ending quest to do right by my equine best friend, I have spent a good bit of time reading about protective boots. I know that at many barns, including mine, it is common practice to turn out horses in protective boots to reduce the risk of injury in turnout. When I first moved there I was given the option of providing boots for this purpose, or I could choose to go without. I chose to go without. My concern for turning out horses in boots is mainly based on my fear of overheating the tendons and ligaments, and making them more susceptible to damage from over-stretching and cell death.

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Protecting or harming?

 

An excerpt from the article I linked, and also from TotalEquineVets.com, says the following about heat:

Boots can also trap a lot of heat beneath them.  This heat can have serious detrimental effect on tissue, especially of the superficial digital flexor tendon.  A study out of Japan showed that exposing tendon cells to temperatures of 48° C (118.4° F) will result in the death of 80% of the cells.  Additional studies have shown that temperatures in the distal limb tissues will reach that high or higher.  If boots are added and prevent heat dissipation or increase the temperature, thermal damage to the flexor tendons can result.  The best way to prevent thermal injury is to remove the boots as soon as they are no longer needed and to ice your horse’s legs immediately.”

Notice I didn’t link to the actual study- because I can’t find it. So take all of this with a grain of salt. I am in no way saying this is 100% scientific, I am basically trying to sift through information that is readily available, and use my noggin to make a somewhat educated opinion on whether I want to use boots or not.

That’s the thing with horses though. Good, credible research is EXPENSIVE, and there just isn’t a ton of scientific data to prove a lot of manufacturers claims. Same goes with supplements and my never-ending internal debate about which supplements are best. It would be easy if we had black and white results that were drawn through the correct scientific process, but unfortunately that isn’t usually possible.

Back to boots. I long ago realized that boots most likely don’t actually provide “support”, but I do think they can protect from traumatic injury (from hitting a jump, or stepping on themselves). I do feel that the risk of traumatic injury while jumping overrides the risk of trapping heat while actually riding. Rio is a gangly boy who doesn’t always have the best control over his long limbs. If he trips/missteps/stumbles in his efforts over fences, I would prefer to have protective boots on then go without. I do not use them in turnout because without the interference of a rider, I feel that he is much less likely to step on himself, and I do not want him wearing boots in the Texas heat for hours at a time that hold heat and sweat. To me, that risk does not outweigh the benefit like it does when we are actively jumping. I often do not flat in boots, but I kind of go back and forth on that one depending on the day.

iceboot
Tough 1 ice boot- $33 on amazon and does the job well!

 

In summary, I have basically decided that I need to look for better ventilated boots for practicing to settle my fears about trapping heat, and make better use of my ice boots after strenuous rides. I do not judge anyone that chooses to use boots for turnout as I do not think there is definitive evidence either way- it really comes down to personal choice.

Anyone have any recommendations for well-ventilated boots??

Rio Progress Update: In the homestretch

Great news on the Rio front. I am so happy to report that he is doing amazing! I’ve had a lot of time lately to go out and see him, so he has been getting super spoiled with love and attention. It is going to be a harsh turn of events for him when he realizes he is still a riding horse and not a a pampered pasture puff!

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One happy pon in pastern deep grass

I threw him out in one of the large pastures on Sunday, knowing that I wanted to do some cleaning so I could keep half an eye on him. He has been getting turnout, but in a smaller paddock, so this was his first time in a large one in awhile. He was soooo happy, and frolicked around all excited for the first 15 minutes while getting a look at his new space. I noticed how incredibly shiny his coat looks- I guess the flax seed oil I put him on a few weeks ago is really helping!

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Prisma app is so fun- can make any pic look like a work of art!

While Rio enjoyed some extra grazing time, I organized and cleaned to my heart’s content. I came armed with clorox wipes (my fave) and really dug into my trunk. We are moving barns next Monday, so I also had a little duct tape and sharpie labeling spree of all Rio’s stall accessories and such. It felt amazing.

 

After my little cleaning rampage, I brought Rio in for a rinse and a to change his bandage. His leg is looking so good that we have even been able to scale down to a smaller bandage. Considering we are going through about $40-50/week in bandaging supplies, my wallet is happy about this latest development. Last time I posted a Rio leg updated pic on 6/10 this is how it looked:

equine spider bite
6/10 progress pic

8 days later…

Drum roll please….

duh dum

duh dummm

duh dummmmmmmmmmmmmmm

 

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6/18 progress pic

 

Incredible right?!?!

Product Review: Alessandro Albanese MotionLite Show Coat

I live in Texas. It is hotter then Hades here for basically 3 months of the year. It is barely tolerable for about 3-4 more months, and then there are 2ish perfect horse show weather months. Whoever came up with the concept for the Alessandro Albanese MotionLite Show Coat MUST be from Texas, or at least heard our cries of desperation for a coat that doesn’t roast us like a Thanksgiving turkey in the Texas heat. Earlier this spring I bought a new show coat for the 2ish perfect months of weather, but what about the rest of the year?

Solution: The AA MotionLite. Really. Buy one. Now.

AAmotionlite
Purdy, right?

Description from the AA website reads:

“AA Platinum presents the award winning AA Platinum MotionLite competition jacket. Its unrivaled levels of breathability and stretch, makes this jacket is an absolute must for the warmer days of the season. Features include; second skin fit with no lining, internal key or pass pocket, a hidden secure zip fastening, interchangeable buttons for multi-discipline – including equitation.”

 

I was skeptical when I heard about them. Real skeptical. A mesh show coat with no liner at all?? How is it not see through? Mesh? It must look so tacky. And they don’t come in long sizes, so there is no way one would fit me. I was wrong on so many levels.

So the material is a super lightweight mesh, 78% Nylon 22% Spandex. It’s also obvi machine washable. But it’s magical mesh, because you can’t see through it, even when you put it over a white show shirt. No liner whatsoever. It also comes with a removable AA pin (I took that off immediately, because hunterland) and a 2nd set of buttons that are “less blingy”. I actually like the buttons that come on it though, and don’t think they are too much for the hunters.

Like I said, I wasn’t sold until I tried one on from Luxe Eq at a show. I saw a few hanging up and my eyes lit up and I eagerly hunted for my size. I really wasn’t even in the market for a coat, but I had heard so much about them that I couldn’t wait to get my paws on one. I slipped it on, and immediately thought, “SHIT!” because I knew I had to purchase it. Then I started mentally calculating how I could hide the purchase from my husband.

sneaky
Oh Hiiii hunny! What?! No, no this is old. I’ve had this forever. No those aren’t tags…

 

So if you are on the fence about this coat, and can’t try one on anywhere, I’m here to help you out and hopefully answer any questions!

Fit/Sizing:

The fabric is quite stretchy, so fit is pretty forgiving I’d say. For comparision, I bought a small in this coat. I wear a 32/34 show shirt, size small in Essex Talent Yarn shirts, small or medium in Kastel, usually a small or XS in Noel Asmar because some of their stuff runs big, and a 10 or 12 in Grand Prix. I recently got a 12 but it needs to be taken in a bit. I wear a street size 4 and a 28L in breeches. A small fits me very comfortably. It is a hair short for a show coat, but I don’t mind, and I especially won’t care when it’s 90 plus degrees. The sleeves are actually a decent length. I am 5’11, so I’m shocked the sleeves aren’t super short.

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I’m wearing a white belt, so that’s my belt you see peaking out, not my shirt. #dumb

 

Fabric:

Like I mentioned, the fabric is a soft mesh. It is superrrr comfy. When you put it on, you kind of don’t want to take it off. It is certainly way cooler then my Grand Prix techlite. I would imagine that as long as you don’t leave it in a crumpled ball it won’t get too wrinkly. I haven’t washed it yet, but when I do I plan on using a gentle cycle and line dry.

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If you look real close you can see the outline of the tag on my back. I’m weird and don’t like to take tags off new things until I am wearing it FOR REAL

 

Value:

At a $250 price point, I think these are a terrific value. Once they become even more popular I am sure there will be some sales, which might lead me to buy a 2nd color! Seriously, this is a great coat, and I am so excited to have one!

 

Downsides:

Personally, I do not have any. But, I suspect that this coat may not hide a lot of “flaws” due to how lightweight the fabric is. It IS stretchy, so theoretically I could wear an XS, but it wouldn’t be cute on me. So, a downside might be someone picking a size that is one-too-small and the coat showing any lumps and bumps. The way you can see the outline of the tag on my back in the above pic also leads me to believe it’s not super forgiving.

 

Overall, I think they are worthy of all the hype! I expect to see lots of people with them in the Texas heat. Anyone have any questions I can answer? I’d love to help out!

 

Summer Goals

Being a type A superfreak about most things equestrian, I love lists. I love charts. I love to do lists. I love goals. When I am really stressed, I love to organize. When things are out of my control, I hyper focus on what I can control. I am very lucky and thankful that Rio is on the mend from his spider bite of death, so I can finally breath a sigh of relief and start looking toward the future. Fall shows seem too far away still, so instead I want to focus on summer goals, aka now through the end of August.

 

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you will remember that before Rio’s recent injury we had just completed his first real h/j show. I was so freaking excited to have had such an amazing show experience (I still am!) and now I cannot wait until the fall shows. We will have our work cut out for us getting back into show shape after his month plus long lay-up, but thankfully we will have plenty of time.

Summer Goals List:

  1. Finish up Rio’s vet care and get Amazing Vet’s ok to start riding.
  2. Focusing on the basics while legging him back up- proper straightness,  reaching forward into the bridle, promptness off the aids, consistency in the gaits.
  3. Once we start jumping, focus on the hard stuff, aka the exercises that show your weakness such as “circle of death” and similar grid type work.
  4. Inter-mix jump work with strength training flat work, working different paces within the same gait and strengthening the lateral movements.
  5. Not dying in the summer heat!

In short, I want to spend the summer really hitting the hard stuff so the fall shows will feel easy! Perfect plan, right?!? We all know things never go to plan with horses but at least I have a place to start!
Until then, don’t mind me sitting over here with some scotch!

Rio Vet Update

Great news! Rio is doing very well. Amazing Vet started him on a different antibiotic on Wednesday (SMZ) and he is doing very well on it. Eating his hay and grain normally, and very happily getting a few hours of turnout in a very grassy paddock in the mornings.  He is still getting his ulcer paste every day, and the probiotics in his feed to help keep his tummy happy, and it seems to be working. In fact, I think he is putting some weight on and starting the sport the #hunterchunk again! His spider bite of death is actually getting smaller too! I’ll put that pic at the very bottom of the post for those who are a bit squeamish, as it is still kinda gnarly looking.

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Dapples for days

 

Trainer went out of town this week for a beach wedding, so no lessons to report on. I did get to hack Cascai a couple of time while she was gone though and he was amazing per usual. This horse is going to be a junior/ammy’s dream someday! I love riding him because he has a great dressage foundation and I get to dust the cobwebs off my more advanced dressage training and actually get to apply some of it. Nice to know that the knowledge is still somewhat there, rattling around in my brain somewhere. I keep telling Trainer that if he doesn’t make it as a jumper I’d happily steal him for a dressage career.

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Cascai, aka the handsome devil

 

Wednesday night after riding Cascai and doting on Rio I *may* have forgotten to bungee the latch on his stall. We recently started doing that when Trainer found him on the front lawn one morning. Well…. Thursday morning Rio was not in his stall, and no where to be seen.

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The look of realization that you forgot to bungee the stall

M (barnworker) hopped on the golf cart and started looking for him. He was all the way down by the back pasture. Rio’s new nickname is Houdini. Thankfully, he was certainly no worse for the wear and is probably quite proud of himself.

After riding Cascai on Saturday, I spent a few hours spoiling Rio. He got a good long curry followed by a bath. I took off his bandage and hand grazed him around the farm to let it air dry. Aka he took me for a walk (not kidding, he really did take the lead and tell me exactly where he wanted to go haha). Basically heading straight for the back pasture. I guess that’s where the best grass is!

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post-bath munchies

 

Being the social butterfly that he is, we stopped by several paddocks during our walk/graze sesh to say hi to his buddies.

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Rio & Ado are the best of friends

 

What can I say? I am so thrilled that Rio seems 100% his normal self, and his leg is definitely getting better. I hate to jinx it, but I really feel like we are over the hump with this whole spider bite thing! His leg finally seems to be on the mend, and we are on a medication regimen that isn’t causing secondary side effects. I’m hoping in another week it will be healed enough that he can resume normal turnout, and even be ready for light riding in 2-3 more weeks. Keep those fingers crossed, and good vibes coming our way!

 

***Wound progress pic below, semi-graphic***

 

 

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6/10/17 progress pic. Way better right?!

Rocking E Cowgirl Blog Hop

For lack of any interesting content… here is a fun little 10Q blog hop!

bloghop


What is your earliest, clearest horse memory?

I can’t remember the exact one, but I have many wonderful ones of riding my pony, who I got when I was 6. Trail rides, playdays, pretending to run-away together… the whole gambit!

Describe the perfect summer day.

A summer horse show where the weather is not unbearable (aka maybe 80’s) with a cool breeze, good rounds, and great friends!

Are you reading anything right now? Tell me about it.

I basically read constantly. Currently reading book 2 of the Black Prism series (AMAZING btw!)

blackprism

Do you follow a celebrity (horsey or non) that you’re embarrassed to say fascinates you?

Nope, not really into anything celebrity.

What is your single most biggest horsey dream or goal?

Realistically, I want to one day have an an AO hunter that I can do 3’6 on and consistently ribbon at rated shows. Unrealistically- show at indoors on said hunter. (Are your ears burning Rio?!)

If you were at Starbucks right now, what would you order?

My go to since I was like 13 would be a sugar free soy vanilla latte. In the summer I go for an inced coffee with 2 pumps of classic syrup (1/2 the regular amount).

What is your biggest equine pet peeve?

People who blame their horses, or act like horses have a vendetta, such as “he is just a jerk”. No he is not, he is either, confused, scared, hurting, etc.

With everything going on politically and in the media, tell me, do you follow it religiously? Tune it out? Or something in between?

Not religiously, but I listen to NPR every morning on the way to work, and frequently read news articles. I can name most of the top people in D.C. and leaders of foreign countries.

If you had to show your horse to a song, what would you choose?

Cliche, but classical. Hunter ring playing classical in the background=perfection. Vivaldi is one of my faves.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Moving to the new facility with Trainer at the end of June (3 arena!!!) and getting Rio all healed and legged up for the fall shows.