August 31, 2015

Friends of FENCE Hunter Pace 8/30/15

Pace season has officially started and I am super excited! Sunday's pace was only 45 minutes away up near the SC/NC border and while the sky hung low with grey clouds threatening rain, the ride was confirmed and I loaded Pete up at 6:45 am to hit the road with Dusty and Wyatt in the van behind me.
Parking was in a small slice of grass squished between the highway and a country road with everyone instructed to pull as close as possible. I was really glad I had forced my eyes open so early as it let me snag a safe spot. As the day would progress people were being crammed into some areas I would not have wanted to park.
Registration was a long walk through the parking field, some trees, and behind a barn so I decided to just leave Pete on the trailer. He hadn't been off property in about a year and the risk was too high.
Everyone parked facing the country road with the highway at my back. 
Once back at the trailer, now sporting my #6 bib, Wyatt asked me to play with him. I turned to Dusty who just smiled and said to go ahead, he would tack up Pete. Want to feel like a Queen? Have someone completely prepare your horse for you! The three us then hand walked Pete to the start as my stomach started doing Olympic quality flips.
You see, I had never ridden Pete off property before and my past experiences were all of Dusty having to fight pretty hard to control him as Pete tried to full on gallop away. Not in a mean manner, but in perfect joy of being out and exploring the world. Plus Pete hates anyone being in front of him, a trait only solidified by Gem's hatred of leading. I didn't know what all to expect out of him Sunday morning.
We arrived at the start behind two other groups and I waited patiently to mount up when it was nearing our turn to go. As the last group in front of us disappeared around a bend, I clambered up and waved goodbye to Dusty and Wyatt.
At 9:25am we got the green light to start and I asked Pete to walk off. He surprised me by listening and we walked into the woods. This section of trees lasted only 100 ft or so and then dumped us out onto the shoulder of the road. As we neared the road crossing, we passed the group that started before us.
The trail crossed the road and then entered a private, grass race track. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised since the road we came in on was named Race Track Road, but here I found myself on a beautiful race track and as I asked Pete to pick up a trot my face split into a grin so big it hurt.

As we made the turn, I could just feel the hooves of racehorses pounding the ground and for a split second I was tempted to urge Pete into a gallop. I held myself in check though knowing how out of shape he was and that we had a lot of ground yet to cover. While the rest of the ride was gorgeous and well marked, this would end up being my favorite part of the day.
We trotted down the other straightway to mid point and then veered through an opening in the fence line to make our way along the edges of fields and between little islands of trees for the rest of that mile and the beginning of the next.
About 2 miles in Pete started to get pretty cranky with my picture taking. He doesn't like to stand still and he really didn't understand why I kept asking him to stop randomly.  If he could have given me the middle finger at this point, he most certainly would have.
He moved out at a wonderful 8-9 mph pace through the first couple of miles while we careened around the green fields. Around mile 2 we hit the woods and someone had laid down fresh gravel to protect the trail. Pete is barefoot and while he has never had super rock crunching feet, he is worse now that he hasn't had to use them at all and his soles have lost their concavity. I noticed right away that he was not happy on the gravel trail and decided to let him walk in the woods and trot on the grassy fields for the rest of the ride.
As we slowed down on the firmer ground, a group of three ladies came up and asked to pass. I pulled over into the trees and Pete stood like a gentleman as they went ahead. Once back on the trail he decided his feet didn't hurt so badly after all and attempted to catch up, but I told him that I had no intentions of playing leap frog all day and that he would have to walk.

A little ways later the group was at a stand still at a creek crossing. Two of the members had crossed over leaving the third behind and her horse was having none of it. To be fair, the crossing was a bit tricky. There was a small step over a wooden board down into the creek and then a steep uphill out of it. The creek was very narrow itself and the horse was attempting to leap over. We waited patiently as she tried time and again and then eventually dismounted to walk the horse across who took the opportunity to leap like a deer almost crushing her rider on the ground. Pete, who remember hasn't been off property in over a year and only ridden three times in the past six months, calmly stepped down the bank and gave them a dirty look as we passed.
They would pass us again going up the hill once they were all back in the tack and we never saw them again.
The trail kept weaving in and out of the woods, along grassy pastures and beside gorgeous farms and Pete settled into the routine of trotting when the footing was superb and walking the rest. The rides are between 6-12 miles in length with the actual distance only being revealed once results are posted in the days following the event. Typically the early rides are closer to the 6-7 mile mark and so when we passed 3 miles and still hadn't reached the half way stopping point, I began to feel sorry for Pete. He is incredibly fat and out of shape and I knew much beyond 6 miles would be asking a lot of him.
We were making our way up a small switch back when we came across another couple standing at a creek crossing. The man had crossed and the woman, on a gorgeous long legged buckskin, was schooling her horse on not jumping the water. As I sat and waited I began to become impatient. Her husband eventually had enough as well and told her to just move on so we could pass. We passed on by and didn't see them again either.
After that series of small switch backs, we came to a pond and at the far side was the half way point. They offered up water and apple juice, both I declined, and we settled into the 3 minute hold. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that we were 4 miles into the ride. Poor Pete.
Three minutes goes by very quickly and we headed back out again. The trail took us alongside a road and I got to see some breathtaking farms. About this time it began to rain a bit, so pictures were limited.

The gravel road lasted about a mile and it was slow going letting him walk most of it. Plus it was uphill and I was beginning to worry about him, not because he was breathing hard or slowing down, but because that is what I do: I constantly worry that I am asking too much of my horse and will hurt them.
The day stayed overcast which was a blessing. There was a nice cool breeze as well and this really helped keep Pete cool and happy even though he was drenched in sweat. He was still being his curious self, looking around and calling out a hello to any other horses he saw grazing in the numerous fields we passed.
We eventually turned back into the woods again and the trail had some nice wood chips laid down that made for perfect trotting.

We followed the creek for a good chunk and this was the first time I noticed any bugs at all. Pete started shaking his head a good bit, but otherwise moved out nicely. The creek trail ended in a large corn field and at first I was surprised at how brown the corn was. It took a second to remind myself that it was nearly September already. Summer lasts so long down here that I lose track of the seasons a bit.
The trail skirted the edge of the corn field and it was the perfect opportunity to let Pete open it up a bit. He flew down it in a smooth, effortless extended trot. I asked for a canter, but he was tired at this point and made it clear that he really wasn't feeling it. About halfway along the corn row, I realized that I hadn't seen any trail markings at all. The trail was so heavily marked everywhere else that it made me start to wonder if I had missed a turn somewhere. I would have felt terrible after pushing Pete to have to turn back around again. Just as I was really feeling nervous, I saw a pink ribbon up ahead. Phew!
Nearing mile 8 I began to lose my happy mental state. I know the entire point of the pace is to not know the exact distance and to ride the horse you have per the trail conditions. I get it.  There is just something about not knowing if I am going 6 or 12 miles that day that really messes with my mind. I like to be able to look at my watch and know I only have 2 miles left or that I should hold back and save some.

Right as I was starting to worry about how long we really were going that morning, we popped out and back near the race track. Aha!! We were at the finish line!
Except then we ducked back into the woods for another mile. In fact the last mile was the most strenuous in terms of terrain. There were some really good hills and I debated getting off and walking Pete, but the thought of scrambling back on him wasn't appealing enough so I stayed put. Since we were alone (and had been for the majority of the ride) and I was losing my love of this ride, I began to sing. I sang "This is the ride that will not end" to the tune of "This is the song that never ends" Pete kept pinning his ears back at me. I don't think he liked my song.
A mile of trudging up the hills later and we plopped out of the woods at the back of the registration area and crossed the finish line! It was just shy of 9 miles per my Garmin which is never really accurate and always a bit short. I bet it was closer to 9.5 miles in reality, but will have to wait until results are up to know for sure.
I gave Pete the biggest hug ever and praised the crap out of him for being such a wonderful horse. I didn't even realize it until the end, but he didn't balk or spook one time. This from a horse who has been ridden maybe half a dozen times in the last year and has not been trailered anywhere in over a year. He went over bridges, across creeks, past cows and other horses, up steep inclines and both passed and was passed by other riders all without batting an eye or taking a wrong step. Where Gem would have ping ponged past every stump, pile of twigs or half dead tree he just kept going forward. No, I won't be permanently ditching my mare for him, but it really was a nice ride.
Dusty handed Wyatt over who was calling out for me and once again spoiled me by stripping tack and sponging Pete. Is this what it feels like to have a crew? Hmmm...
Pete looking good, but tired after the ride. I bet he isn't so easy to catch the next time he sees me coming with bridle in hand :)

Wyatt was thirsty and decided he had to drink out of the water tank just like Pete.
We tucked Pete back into the trailer and wandered over for lunch.  It was mouth watering BBQ, baked beans and coleslaw and I dove into my plate downing my glass of sweat tea in record time. After lunch we packed up and headed home with a super tired Pete and equally tired Wyatt. It was a great start to the 2015/2016 season.

August 28, 2015

August Resources

Fellow blogger Boots and Saddles (please go check her out) has been doing a great monthly post where she shares links to various articles and blog posts that caught her attention that month. I have enjoyed those posts a lot and have been thinking of adding something similar here.

What I envision is a post at the end of each month that highlights the things that caught my attention. Anything from interesting articles I read to apps I used to books and TV that I got hooked on. It is a way to collect the things that mattered to me throughout the month, share them with anyone who may be interested and have a reference for myself to find these things in the future when I go "wait, there was a great article on where is it?" 

With all that as an introduction, here is my first attempt at showing you what all I got into in August. I hope you all enjoy the new monthly feature!!


Gratitude Journal.   I used to do the whole teenage angsty journal entries when I was younger, but I got out of it when I got married and while I enjoy writing the thought of siting down to write some incoherent babble in the little spare time I have was just unappealing. I still wanted to write something though and was in a stressed out head space that needed some clearing. It was in that frame of mind that I stumbled across that article and it got me excited. I ended up buying a 5 year journal which I fill out nightly before bed.

Some teachers just have it. The thought of Wyatt going off to real school in a few years already makes my stomach churn. So much is out of my hands and so much is at stake. What this teacher did to help solve social issues before they took a strong hold in her class is amazing and I really hope others follow in her footsteps.

In my work life, ICD-10 (International Classification of Disease) is looming in the near future. For those not in the business, ICD is the way doctor's bill for their services with each service provided being linked to the appropriate diagnosis code.  The government has decided that wasn't specific enough and so ICD-10 was created with tens of thousands of codes for every possible scenario. Along with a lot of rumors of the end of the world, there are posts popping up that highlight the humor of it all. This list of the 16 most absurd codes is probably one of my favorites.

I love animals, as should be apparent by the mini zoo that lives in my house, and I love photography even though I am really bad at it. This photography project really shows our beloved dogs throughout the years as we watch them age before our very eyes. Its a little bit sad and lot cute.

A 37 year old pony kicking butt and taking names gives me hope that my Gemmie may be around for a long time yet.

Being married to a vet has opened my eyes to a lot of pet healthcare issues. One of his big pet peeves is owners who refuse a humane death opting to let muffins die at home instead. The article puts things into prospective a bit.

I love being a mom and this article pretty much sums it all up for me. Well, minus the part that she is talking to her daughter instead of a son. It still holds true though.

This is by far the best article about cancer I have ever read. I am always fascinated by people who claim that there is a cure for cancer, but big pharma won't let it out because it will ruin their bottom line. Sorry, folks but that's not the way it works.


Media-wise, I don't have cable/dish so I rely on Netflix. This may frighten some, but I have become addicted to Glee. Yes, I am a Gleek. I am binge watching it on my iPad and once you get past the corny bits and very much not realistic portrayal of high school and early college aged kids, the singing is great and it is true escapism.


Beyond that most of my media is Wyatt approved only.  I watched How to Train Your Dragon which is now my favorite animated kids movie. The second one, however was a bit too much and scared Wyatt which forces me to give it a big thumbs down as a kiddo movie even though I love Toothless.

In better movie news, I finally got Wyatt into my all time favorite series ever: Wallace and Gromit. If you haven't seen the wonderful claymation series that included three short films and culminated in the feature film Curse of the Were-Rabbit, you are missing out. I first got into them in high school and have loved them ever since.


I don't have much time for reading at the moment which is a shame because I love to read. I have re started Good Omens by one of my favorites Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I also always have a Discworld book half started as I tend to re read that series on a near constant basis.


I added three apps to my iPhone this month.

I spent countless wasted minutes searching for a usable weather app that didn't suck. Why? I am addicted to checking the weather when planning my rides. Since my time is limited as it is, I rely on predicted rain to figure out when the best chance is to get those miles in. Wunderground is my new love. It has a simple enough interface for quick checks, but also gives rain chance per the hour which are actually accurate, humidity, real feel, 10 day forecast and a host of other things I don't use. I highly recommend it.

Touch Surgery is an interesting one to play around with. Originally intended for up and coming surgeons to practice the ideas and basic plan of various procedures, now it is available to the public. Well, sort of. You have to claim to be a doc which I am so it wasn't hard to do. get to pick a surgical procedure and then walk through the various steps of performing it. Pretty nifty if you are into those sorts of things.

I love word games and puzzles, so adding Word Brain wasn't a big leap. It starts out super insanely easy, but gets harder fairly quickly. Think Boggle in the terms of a grid of letters than need to form a word, but the level wants two specific words in a certain order. its a fun way to keep the brain sharp.

August 24, 2015

Gemmie Update: Turned Out

According to the vet, Gem should only be out for 4 hours a day right now. I call rubbish on that. She has been out in her enlarged pony paddock now for nearly a month and has been doing well. Dusty went to pull Coggins on Pete Friday, or it could have been Thursday I really can't remember, and found Gem wrapped up in the garden hose. She had pulled a loop through the fence, had twisted it around her good leg and had the rest in her mouth swinging it around. Bored mare.  He freed her up and I lamented to poor Nicole (aren't you glad you became my friend??) about how she is trying to send me to an early grave.

Between that and her riding date only a week away, I thought it was high time to put her back out in the big pasture. The more energy she can work off before I get back on her the better.

Sunday afternoon was the day. We headed over in the afternoon with the plan of sending her out and sticking around a while to make sure she settled in. The herd has changed quite a bit in the two months since she has been out of the pasture with her best friend leaving and a few new additions. I wanted to make sure she would be ok.

You look suspicious Gemmie

Why must you reach over the fence to drink? Can't you be normal and walk around to the other side to drink safely? 
She followed me along her fence line all the way to the gate nickering quietly. She was never loving or vocal pre injury. I'm not sure if she now finally believes that I won't leave her or hurt her or if it was the extra time spent doing the bandaging and feeding or if she is just lonely, but our bond has most definitely solidified through all of this.

First stop was the trailer to check her leg out.

Very not happy with how tall her heel is growing in the stupid bar shoe, but the rub from the wrap is healing nicely and you can see how much new hoof growth has occurred. It has only been 3 weeks since the shoe went on. She will need short cycles in shoes. 

I couldn't be happier with how everything looks back here. No matter how bad the communication and outpatient care was, that surgeon did a darn good job in the OR. 

If you follow the scar from the back of her heel bulb in the natural arc it took you will see the vertical deformity/line in the hoof wall. This is what I am most concerned with growing out. It appears as though it may be a permanent thing which isn't unexpected since she damaged the periople (I think that is what the vet called it - the root of the hoof as such). The concern is that this may be a weak point prone to full length cracking and make barefoot not a very good option. Time will tell as the hoof wall grows out completely. 

You can also see the crack in the hoof wall. This is what I am waiting to grow out before attempting barefoot again. If it is going to crack, I want it to cause the least amount of damage when it does. Going to get her out of the bar shoe next weekend and into a regular shoe. Then watch as this area grows out. Once it is no longer in a critical portion of the hoof, I will switch her to the NG Easy Composite Shoe to begin frog loading and then try barefoot. 

Wyatt asked to get on her and when I took a step back I realized just how fat she has become on her medical leave. 
Once I was happy with my inspection (and coated her again in No Thrush) it was time to let her out. I will admit to being nervous. I am completely going against doctor's orders and there is a lot at stake, but she is determined to hurt herself in her boredom and everything looks so darn good. It was time.

As I untied her I got the brilliant idea to try to capture her movement by hand trotting her and having Dusty video it. As you saw from yesterday's teaser post, it really wasn't necessary but I didn't know that at the time. To say Gem was UP would be an understatement. She was telling me loud and clear that she was ready. She is moving perfectly sound at the moment which is a big relief.

As I walked her back out and past her pen she nearly pulled me to the gate to the mare pasture. I made her calm the poop down and listen like a good mare. With the gate closed behind us, I took off her halter and held my breath.

As the videos show, she took off to greet the mares only to find out that they were not who she thought they were. Whoops! Once she realized that, she came flying back to me just as fast and stayed behind me pacing while she snorted and checked out the herd from a far.

I laughed and told her that she just happened to meet the new comers, but that the boss mare and several others were still the same. I don't think she believed me.

Even with the shoes on, she has a beautiful heel first landing. Being barefoot for so long coupled with her living arrangement has helped her to develop this and is my hope of being able to get her back out of those shoes once again. 

Even fat, she is still the most gorgeous horse I have ever laid my eyes on.

Eventually I went and sat down half way between the gate and the mares who were at the very back of the pasture. I was hoping that she would chill out and decide to go meet them or that they would take an interest and come meet her. Neither happened and she settled in to graze peacefully behind me. I really enjoyed the warm early evening sun and peace of the farm and stayed there for 45 minutes.

It was my nephew's 5th birthday though and dinner was waiting. Time to be more pro active. I moved over to Gem and tried to get her to follow me over to the herd. She made it a quarter of the way and then beelined it back to the gate.

I apologized for abandoning her, but it was now apparent that as long as I stayed around she would have no interest in re joining the herd. This made my heart swell a thousand fold, believe me. My aloof mare who has never shown me much affection has finally, after 5 1/2 years, decided to let me in! Unfortunately, she can't come live inside my house and so she will need to learn to find her place once more in the herd. I left her with a big hug and a promise to return before dark to check on her.

When I returned, she was happily once again in with the herd. I would have loved to see if she went to them or they came to her. I am suspecting that they came to her because they were all now at the front of the pasture instead of the back. The other mares all pinned their ears when she walked around, but that should hopefully settle down once she finds her place. It will be interesting to see where she ends up. She always used to be bottom rung, but after her second 50 she came back with an attitude and became second in command. Time will tell.

As I left, the grassy lane looked so inviting. The gelding pasture is off to the right, the mares are behind the bushes on the left. This is a lovely hill going back up to the barn behind me to gallop on and Gem was just beginning to understand the glory of galloping under saddle when she got hurt. Someday soon.

August 23, 2015


Time to let Gem run free. Hoping she behaves herself and doesn't do anything stupid.....

Ok...that went well. Perhaps there isn't anything to worry about....

Just standing there staring at the herd. Good mare....

Or maybe not.

At least she came back to me.

August 20, 2015

PSA: How To Get A Job

I love my job. Or at least that is what I tell myself on a daily basis. In reality, I do like being a podiatrist, its just that I don't like being a boss especially when the employee is horrible.

I've found myself in the position of having to hire a few times now and have been astonished by the utter horribleness of some of the applications I have received. I can just imagine how these people go around lamenting the fact that they never get an interview. In fact, I had a very good, highly qualified medical assistant working with me when I was an associate in the world's worst job. When she found out I was leaving, she put her time in and started looking for a job. She came crying to me about the fact that she never even got an interview and I found this odd knowing how great of a worker she was. When she handed me her resume, it all became clear. I re-worked it and low and behold, she got the very next job she sent it to. How you write your resume is extremely important.

Maybe everyone isn't the same, but I will fill you in on the behind the scenes of hiring from an employers perspective.

First, understand that hiring sucks. It takes a lot of effort,  money and stress to search for, research, interview, select and train a new employee. Employers want it to go quickly, smoothly and without issue. This means that everything they do is for a specific reason and you (as the potential new hire) should pay close attention to what they are asking for.

My job advert is specific, to the point and full of helpful information to set you on the right path to acquiring my job. Pay attention to it. My latest advertisement received over 250 applicants. That's a ton and honestly, I don't have time to read each and every one in detail. Here is my method of hiring and some tips along the way to help you out:

1.) Post the ad. I post an ad that contains the qualities I am looking for (you know that annoying bit about must be energetic, friendly and organized), the basic duties and anything I am looking for: experience level etc.. I always ask for a cover letter.
TIP: Read the ad carefully.  If the ad asks for something specific, then you need to actually provide it. This is more for seeing if you pay attention to details and can follow instructions that anything else. If you can't do something as simple as provide a cover letter, how can you be trusted to perform the duties of your job?

2.) Quickly scan all applicants for the requested information. My last job posting had over 250 applicants. No way did I have time to read them all. In order to whittle that down to a manageable number, I scan each for what I asked for. When I said must have experience, I meant it. When you answer no you get deleted. If you didn't provide a cover letter, you get deleted. You might be the best person ever, but no cover letter equals a 10 second glance and then delete.

TIP:  Again, provide what was asked for to make it through the first step. A cover letter doesn't have to be lengthy, but needs to be present. If they specifically want you to be bilingual make sure that is front and center. You know those three little adjectives they added into the ad? It would probably be a good idea for you to somewhere, somehow mention that you are in fact energetic, friendly and organized.

3.) Look through those that remain more closely to choose interviewees. I'll admit that I rarely read a cover letter, but I do look to who it is addressed. If it is to SIR, I delete you. Grammar and spelling errors get deleted immediately as well. If I have to squint to read your annoying font or spend more than a minute trying to decipher your work experience history, you get deleted. After all that it is just guess work to be honest.

TIP: Either take the 5 minutes to google the company name (if provided) and find out who to write the cover letter to or use To Whom it May Concern or even Hiring Manager. Assuming I am a man annoys me. Proof read the crap out of both the cover letter and resume. Use a normal font, easy to see paragraphs and nice layout. Remember, make this easy on the hiring manager.

4.) Make the call for interviews.  When I call I tell you who I am, what company I am calling from and the name of the position. Something like "Hello, is this so and so? I am Sara from blah blah blah calling you in regards to the receptionist position you applied for..." Very clear. If at that time, you are way out in left field and obviously have no clue who I am or say something really annoying like "I applied to so many, who are you again?" You get hung up on in a polite but firm manner. I then proceed to tell you the non negotiables to not waste a valuable interview slot: money, benefits, start date etc... If you are okay with all these, you get a time slot. If you are insanely picky about when you can interview, game over.

TIP: When on the phone sound professional, walk outside or into another room if the dog is barking or a baby crying. I understand you may be at home, but it is distracting and will get you pulled from the list. Even if you have applied to 100 jobs all sounding the same, act like you know who I am. Be honest with the non negotiables. If the pay is too little or you have to have free health insurance, say so. Showing up and demanding them won't get you anywhere and will make me cranky as I wasted my valuable time and a valuable interview slot. When offered an interview time and day, do everything you can to take it. Being hard to fit in will guarantee you wont get a slot.

5.) The interview. Interviewing is horrible, but there are some pretty easy judgments that can help make a choice pretty quickly. If you show up late, you are out plain and simple.  If you look like a slob, I won't take you either. I always shake your hand and introduce myself as Dr. Sara B not because I will always make you call me that but because I want to see how professional and respectful you are. If you slip into calling me Sara I get very annoyed. I will ask annoying, stupid and pointless questions mostly because I have to ask something. The answers aren't all that important (unless you answer with something way out in left field like the lady who answered my standard "how do you handle angry clients" with "I hang up on them") but the way you handle being asked annoying questions is. I'll also ask you about yourself, your family, potential issues with the job and the ever dreaded "what questions do you have for me?" Notice that I don't ask "Do you have any questions?". I am forcing you to ask me something and when you respond "None" you just lost yourself this job.

TIP: Show up 15 minutes early. Dress better than the job being offered. Maybe not suit and tie obviously, but dress well and do your hair in a nice, non aggressive way.  Make eye contact and use your body language to show interest. Leaning back and crossing your arms over your chest, says "I am too good for this and not interested" pretty loudly. When asked about questions: ask them! It shows that you have paid attention. Obviously, don't ask something that was already said but come up with something: what are your patients like, do you mind if I bring my lunch, what computer system do you use etc... Avoid asking bad questions like: how long is my lunch break, when can I begin taking time off, can my family come visit etc...

6.) Making the decision. Pretty much every interview session ends with a decision between two or three people. Which means that 247 others were rejected to get here. Most often, for me anyway, one has the better personality while the other the more experience. I tend to pick the personality which hasn't really done me much good to this point. It comes down to a few things: who has the experience I want, who was personable and would be easy for me to work with, and who is reliable. The one with all three wins.

TIP: Wait patiently and see. If you haven't heard in a week, call the office and check in. Do not call the next day. I find it irritating and I really dislike having to tell people they didn't get the job, so you calling me and forcing me to do so just sucks. If it has been a long time and you want to make sure, go ahead and call but chances are if you haven't heard you didn't get it.

7.) Calling to make an offer. While I dislike telling someone they didn't get the job, I do really like telling someone they did. It has been a long and arduous process and chances are I am feeling a little insecure about my choice. Should I have picked the other one? When I call you, you better sound enthusiastic. Answering and saying something like "oh, ok, good" bursts my bubble and makes me wish I had hired someone else.

TIP: You don't have to go overboard like you won the lottery, but sound excited please. You just got offered a job that 250+ others wanted (or at least in theory they did). Let the person know you are happy and excited to start.

So that's that. If you are job hunting, do yourself the favor of making it easy to hire you because in the end that's what the employer wants: someone who will make their life easier. Good luck out there!!

August 19, 2015

I'm Sorry Gem. I Don't Know How It Happened.

I cheated.

There. I said it. It is now out in the open. Judge away.

Gem and I have had an exclusive relationship for 5.5 years. Most people find it very odd that I do extremely little with Pete and have only been on him twice: once when we bought him and again a year later when Gem was on stall rest for being an idiot. That's it in 5 years. Pete is Dusty's horse and we have very different opinions on horse care. With two healthy horses, it is hard to argue that either way is right or wrong however I have found it best to just stay out of it and let them do their own thing.

However, Hunter Pace season is upon us and I want that supporter award. Gem will not be cleared for doing the paces again for a few months, so that leaves me with either begging rides or riding Pete. Sorry, Pete. Your semi retirement is at an end.

Sunday afternoon, Dusty suggested that it might be a good idea for me to actually ride Pete once or twice before taking him to the pace in 2 weeks. I wasn't so sure, but agreed and went and plucked him out of his pasture where he was intently watching another gelding run around his owner to avoid being caught for the last hour.

He seemed a little surprised that it was me out there which is probably why he didn't bother to run away.

He followed me willingly to the trailer where he then proceeded to lose his shit about something in true Pete fashion. He is a massive spooky monster on the ground, but brave and bold under saddle. I hope that by the time Gem is ready to become my main squeeze again I will have gotten him over a lot of that.

I brushed and sprayed and scraped away at him. I always wonder where he came from, what his past included and what he was like before psycho woman owned him and ruined him.

Such a handsome boy

I decided to try my saddle on him. Why on earth I thought it would work is beyond me. The saddle fits my 15H, round barreled but still very narrow, flat back arab. Pete is extremely wide, broad, has a slight dip to his back and is round. It was too tight. I didn't want to ride in the Wintec Dusty uses and only planned to be up for a short walk, so I left it.

Red looks good on everyone

Right as I was about to scramble on his extremely tall back, Wyatt came running over begging to ride. Wyatt also has been having a riding dry spell since Gem got hurt and he really wanted up. I hoisted him up, Dusty walked beside and I led Pete down the trail to the back of the property where the cows are. He giggled the entire time.

Once we reached the cows, he was more than happy to get off without a fit which was our secrete plan. I looked up at Pete. Those stirrups seemed so far away. I barely got my foot in and scrambled up mumbling under my breath and cursing at 12 year old me who always had to have the biggest horse possible. Why are little girls like that?

Once perched on top, I breathed a big sigh to calm myself and Pete and then immediately noticed that my head was bare. I never ride without a helmet. Ever. And here I was at the farthest point on the property up on a horse I wasn't particularly familiar with and without a helmet. Stupid.

I asked him to walk. He obliged. We made it past the cows and turned down the road along the mare pasture. He started asking to trot so I let him knowing that Dusty lets him warm up at the trot a lot of the time. He picked up the smoothest ground covering trot I have ever rode. No wonder Dusty loves riding him.

Once we reached the house, I asked him to walk. He jigged. He gaped his mouth to avoid my half halts. He started to swerve. He started to get grumpy.

Typically I don't let horses do this, but without a helmet I was not ready to pick a fight. I let him do his jig across the front yard and over to the trailer where I jumped off. I debated grabbing my helmet and getting back on, but decided to just call it a day and try again later on. He had done well enough and we had been there for 3 hours already. Wyatt was tired, hot and thirsty and we still needed to clean up Gem's corral mess.

I put Pete back out and he looked really confused as to why it had been such a short ride. As I walked back to the trailer past Gemmie she came over to the fence and snorted loudly at me. She most certainly looked offended at my choice to ride someone other than her and was prancing along the fence following me. I apologized for cheating on her, but she isn't rideable right now and I have needs.

August 17, 2015


When I last left Gem she was happily and safely tucked into her small pony paddock with my portable electric fencing. According to barn staff she didn't stay happy for long and soon began cantering circles, leaping, bucking and rearing for most of every afternoon. In addition, and even worse in my opinion, she learned that the tape was easily knocked down and she was then able to open up the paddock into a more suitable size for Queen Bee. Crap.

Options at the barn are limited, but workable. The best scenario, in my mind, was to let her out with the three crippled geldings in the arena pasture. It is larger than I want, but the next smallest on property at about 10 acres. The geldings are harmless and the fencing is in good repair. She could have room, friends and hopefully no accidents. The BO was happy to do so, but those geldings are on borrowed time and he was really worried that any added stress (such as an unruly Arab mare on medical leave) could tip them over the edge. He was willing to try it if we could be present for an entire afternoon to watch her and pull her if she riled them up.

It was very nice of him to allow this, but in the end I decided against it. I would feel awful if Gem was the reason one of those geldings had to be put down. I couldn't risk it.

That was a week ago and both the last I had seen her and had heard of her shenanigans.

This past Sunday we loaded up and headed out to see what state I would find her in. The barn staff was there and I saw that they had opened up the second half of her pen to make a larger area for her. This basically doubled the size of her paddock. Gem was sedately munching on grass in the new area. The tape was completely torn down with stakes laying in a mess all over the place on the other half. Miss Gemmie had clearly shown her displeasure of the original set up. She was looking shiny, fat as all get out and perfectly pleased with herself. barn staff confirmed that since they opened the other half, she calmed right down.

I grabbed her halter, scolded her for being such a PIA and lead her to the trailer to take a close look at her.

Her right hoof is looking the same: tight, painless, scarred in well. The hoof wall is cracking at the injury point, but nothing alarming and will just have to be monitored as it grows. All swelling has resolved to her other legs as well. As I walked her, I watched for any hints of lameness and saw none.

The palmer hoof itself was a mess though. The bar shoe just plain sucks. I HATES it. it traps everything in it and she has a massive case of thrush now. I scraped and chipped away a lot of it, noted how her heel is already contracting quite a bit and cursed the shoe a ton. The hoof was covered in No Thrush Powder, my favorite thrush remedy, and I moved on to her front left.

It was much better than the right since it only has a regular shoe, but still I could already see the years of being barefoot washed away as the heel is contracting and the frog is getting weak. I HATES it. Have I mentioned that?

Gemmie got walked to the barn and I lamented to Dusty. Couldn't I just pull the shoes? Pretty please? No, I can't. Sigh. She will remain in the bar shoe for 3 more weeks (6 weeks total) then I will switch it to a regular shoe until I can't take it anymore. Probably next late spring.

I trotted her in hand a little ways back out to her paddock and she trotted very sound. A good sign indeed.

2 more weeks until I can ride my fat pony again. 2 more weeks until I can decide if I want her kept where she is or put back in with the other mares. 2 more weeks. Just 2 more weeks.

August 11, 2015

Ride Between the Rivers AKA The Best Vacation: The Rest

Saturday morning came and camp was alive. For once we were not the first ones awake. In fact, Wyatt chose to sleep in and I began to fear that we would miss the start of the ride.


Eventually he opened his eyes and off Dusty went in a scurry to make it out after the 50s but before the LDs. His one goal: catch up to and pass Liz and Dom.


I took a much more sedate pace to my morning and eventually wandered over to the start with Wyatt to watch them go. I figured the horses going by would keep him entertained. The trail was announced open at 0630 and the front runners raced off in a blur with some bucking and rearing but no accidents. Liz and Dom waited until mid pack and then headed out themselves. Q looked cool and calm, but ready for what lay ahead. Dom's horse gave some trouble but she is a great rider and before long they were out of sight.

Dusty left about 20 minutes later on foot.

A lot of endurance, for those not on trail, is a whole lot of hurry up and wait. I figured two hours at a minimum before they were back, but more like 2 1/2. I wanted to be there for the first check to help with Q since Liz's Dave hadn't even been to a ride before and he wouldn't know what to expect.

I fixed breakfast and then we played in the tent and read some books before the LDs headed out. For all those who are anti LD due to their tendency to race, I question what rides you have been at. The LD riders mostly walked out of camp with the front runners holding a slow and steady trot. No shenanigans, no incidents, no racing. Much more controlled than the 50s. Not all LD riders want to zoom around and be done by lunch.


I can't recall exactly what I did to pass the time, but I believe it included a lot of playing with his dump truck and talking with Dave. I know that by the time I wandered over to check in with Mike as to the ETA of Dom and Liz, I was already tired and running out of ideas.


Knowing they would be in soon, I hung out in the crew area with Wyatt playing with his dump truck. He desperately wanted to play in the water buckets, but I told him it had to wait. Instead he practiced sponging Kenai. Poor dog.


They showed up looking great and with big smiles. Holding Wyatt in one hand, I helped to untack as best I could and scrape the water Liz was sponging onto her. She looked like she had barely done anything and once Liz headed to vetting, I headed back to our camp.


It is hard to crew and watch a toddler, so I did my best and tried to hang out and talk with Liz about her first loop. Dusty came in with 20 minutes of her hold time left and I urged him to get back out there! The good thing about running is no hold time. So he could get a decent head start. He had put in a fast 16.5 hilly miles and was very proud of himself for passing some of the 50s on trail having started 20 minutes behind them all. He was looking good and having a good time.


Once everyone left again, I had the brilliant idea of taking Wyatt and Einstein on a hike. I figured we could go on the now vacant blue loop since everyone else was already out on yellow. I strapped him into his pack and hoisted him up. Then I fell over.


This was Dusty's job. I hadn't hiked carrying him all summer due to how big he has gotten and the fact that the frame is too long for my back and hit the top of my butt with every stride. It wasn't a big deal when he weighed 10 pounds, but at 35 it was much more annoying.


I unhooked Einstein and off we lurched up the hill out of camp. A quarter of the way up and I couldn't breathe. That mother was steep! Wyatt asked me if I was ok. I wheezed back that I thought so and trudged on. Another quarter of the way and I stopped again. Wyatt asked if I was going to make it. Yes, my son. We would make it. I may have to crawl, but we would make it.


I kept the swearing to inside my head only, I don't swear around Wyatt at all, and made it up that blasted hill. I turned left to follow the blue loop and planned to go as far as the right turn up the steep hill a mile later.


The hike was extremely tough with the added weight and Einstein tugging on his leash. He is so used to being let off since he is great at staying close and has an amazing recall for being only a year old. With horses out on trail and not knowing for sure nobody would go this way, I kept him on.


Some indeterminate length of time later I made it back to camp. After unloading Wyatt, I found Mike again to verify the ETA and noted that I still had plenty of time. Time for lunch, hot dogs from the concession stand, and a nap. I warned Dave back at camp that this could get ugly and headed into the tent. Thankfully, Wyatt did fall asleep which allowed me some shut eye as well.


We woke up in time to catch Liz vetting in for her second hold. She told me that they had passed Dusty on trail a ways back and that things were still going great for all involved. The camp was buzzing with rumors of trail sabotage as a major turn had all of a sudden had the sing pointing the wrong way after the first 4 had gone passed. Not knowing the trail at all, I kept my head down and stayed out of it.


It's been too long for me to remember everything anymore, so I can't say if Dusty came in before they left out of the hold or not. I'm thinking they left before but I could be wrong. Either way, Dusty came in looking worn. He had an empty beer can in one hand and I knew he was done.

He said he could tell his glucose was super low and the beer had done wonders. He hadn't planned to run this far and so his nutrition and sleep leading up to it were not sufficient, but he had had a great 30 mile run on steep, rutted and muddy trails. He was happy and I was proud of him.


Selfishly, I knew this also meant I would have help with Wyatt and could fully devote myself to help Liz with the final vet check when Q would be the hottest and most in need of a quick vetting.


And that is exactly what I did. Once I saw her coming in, I left the boys to their own devices and helped pull tack before she even got close to crewing. I helped sponge and Qs heart rate dropped quickly. The mare looked fantastic. Over to vetting she headed and I got busy carrying her tack back to camp. The worst part, for me anyway, of having no crew (I am always crew less) is cleaning it all up after you've completed. You are tired, hot, smell bad and are hungry and the thought of carrying all your tack, buckets, sponges, etc... back to camp just stinks. So I got busy. Between Dan, Dave and I we had everything back including my EZ Up Tent within 10 minutes.


Dinner that night was the best pasta I had ever had. I got the spicy sauce and it was mouth watering good. Those people sure can cook. The only time all weekend I got ticked about the very loose dog policy was at dinner. Everyone brought their dogs. Large crowd, lots of dogs and food is a bad combination and I watched more than one dog fight break out. One lady, in front of us in line, had her dog seriously attack another. She just shrugged saying her dog had had enough and was stressed. Then put him back in your camp and let him de stress. I swear if any had come even close to biting Wyatt I would have boot kicked its head in. Dogs don't belong at dinner.


I paid minimal attention to the meeting and then helped put Wyatt to bed. After he was down, I came back out to find Liz and Dom to chat and we all eventfully made it to the bonfire. The fire was huge and the two man band was entertaining under the full moon. Originally I had planned to join Dave, Dan and Orion on a moonlight ride using Griffin, but when the time came I was tired from a day of chasing Wyatt and I also partly chickened out. It was dark, he was a horse I barely knew and the others were also friendly near strangers. I could see a million things that could go wrong and so instead I passed.


I went to bed.


The morning dawned bright and early as usual and we found ourselves being the first ones up again. We ate breakfast and started the arduous task of tearing down the behemoth tent and piles of toddler things. The rest woke up in due time and we talked about the day. I had really, really wanted to have Liz show us some of WV but we needed to be on the road toward home by lunch and we didn't leave camp until 9. Liz had been worried that her SUV would have trouble making it out of camp with both horses in the trailer. Simple solution: hook it up to our truck and we would haul them to her barn. So we did and made plans to eat at Bob Evans afterward.


Her barn is absolutely gorgeous and the horses hauled nicely. We dropped Einstein at her apartment and headed to breakfast. Wyatt was exhausted and while he had been a super star all weekend on his first ever camping trip, I could tell his fuse was short. He squeaked through breakfast with the help of being allowed to leave the table to wait for food. Typically he is not permitted up until we are all done eating, but we made an exception this time.


After breakfast we headed back to grab Einstein and head home. It had been a fantastic weekend, a massively successful first camping trip, and a wonderful way to make new friends. We said goodbye and about 8 hours later pulled back in suburbia already missing the hills, wide open spaces and fresh air of WV.

August 10, 2015

Ride Between The Rivers AKA The Best Vacation: Friday

As the sun began to peek over the hills, so did Wyatt's eyes. It wasn't surprising since he always wakes up super early and I also wake up with the sun when camping. I don't understand how people sleep in when outdoors.

Everyone else in camp was still sound asleep, so we tried to keep Wyatt to a dull roar as he did his normal morning ritual of singing, reading books and playing with his toys. Eventually we headed outside for breakfast. Sarah joined us. Apparently she doesn't like honey nut Cheerios as she turned her nose up when Wyatt offered to share his cereal with her. It actually hurt his feelings and he just couldn't understand why she wouldn't slurp up the soggy cereal and milk like his dogs do at home.

Sarah always joined us for all our meals throughout the weekend. You can clearly see what she thought of her companions!

By the time we had eaten and cleaned up, the sun was getting warmer and the grass was starting to dry off from the heavy morning dew. Wyatt climbed into this hiking backpack and requested, well more like demanded, a hike. Einstein was needing to blow off some steam and I was ready to show Dusty the trails Liz and I had explored on horseback the day before.

Just as we were heading away from camp, Liz emerged from her tent. Breakfast was calling her name and she needed to check in with management to see what help they needed, so she declined our offer and we parted ways for a bit. I was thankful Dusty was carrying Wyatt on his back as the climb out of camp was worse on my own two feet. When we hit the gravel road we turned right to follow the yellow loop and retrace Griffin's and Q's steps.

We ambled down the gravel road with Einstein playing ahead of us and zig zagging up the steep hills that shoot off from the road. About 1.5 miles later Dusty spied a trail offshoot to the left that went up the hill. He turned an evil grin on me and disappeared up the trail. I cursed his insanity and followed behind.

The trail went up. Up. Up. Up. I was convinced there was no top, but followed along behind my boys as we climbed the rutted and steep trail. While it seemed to be 5 miles long, the top was really only a mile away. Once there, we both looked around in great anticipation of a wonderful view and instead saw trees. Lots and lots of trees. The tree cover was too dense to see any sweeping views, so we turned around and headed back down.

Once Wyatt realized we were done climbing and instead onto the fun part of going down, he wiggled and squirmed until we got him out of the pack. He hiked the entire way down and then all the way back to camp. The hike ended up taking 3 hours and was about 5 miles in length, so the little man hiked 2.5 miles on his own two tiny legs. We were both very proud.

Liz greeted us back in camp. She was waiting on two friends to show up and thought we could swim in the afternoon and then ride before dinner. Dusty, Wyatt and I made lunch and by the time we had cleaned up her friends had arrived. Once again, Sarah joined us for lunch, but turned down Wyatt's offer to share his hot dog.

Camp started to get a little busier Friday morning and would fill up throughout the day.

Shortly after, Dusty took Wyatt into the tent to torture him get him to nap. He never did. In fact he screamed bloody murder for nearly 30 minutes while I ignored him and Liz cringed. I knew hearing me talking outside wasn't helping matters and her friends were all set up, so we decided to hop on bareback and play in the field.

A few minutes later I was itching to explore the blue trail and I asked Liz if we could just tack up and hit the trails. l riding on a 5 year old gelding I just met bareback. She readily agreed. Liz, Dan, Orion and I all climbed out of camp and made a left onto the gravel road 30 minutes later while Dusty loaded Wyatt into the truck to see if a car ride might help him fall asleep.

Having put down 8 miles the day before and with a tough 50 the next day, Liz wanted to keep it quiet on the ride. We headed down the trail and I got to know Dan and Orion as we went. They are both great riders and super interesting to talk to. They live a life very different from my own and he is active in the native American community. He was fascinating to talk to. The miles flew by once again.

We logged about 4 miles or so on that ride and kept it slower due to the steeper terrain. Griffin was a little unsure what to do in a large group of horses, but he behaved himself and was once again a joy to ride. Once we got the horses tucked back into their pens, we all decided it was time to swim. Wyatt hadn't fallen asleep even in the truck and we needed to keep him happy.
At some point Liz vetted Q in with all A's and looking good.

All day long we had been hearing how warm the river was. Everyone who climbed out dripping wet were smiling and really happy with the swimming hole. We hit the water and I swear I nearly froze to death. There is no way anyone could think that was warm!!! In SC, by mid June the water is about 80 degrees and feels like taking a bath unless it has just rained. Even then it is still a cozy 70. That water was not cozy. I refused to go in past my knees. Liz splashed me. In pure muscle memory retaliation I splashed Dusty. Not a good idea. He picked me up and threw me into the deep water and under I went.

When I popped back up Wyatt was laughing big belly laughs. Apparently, mommy getting thrown under water is hilarious. From then on I stayed in, but I'm telling you all it was not warm.

We managed to stay in for a good hour or so before Wyatt's teeth started chattering. I saw a good exit strategy, blamed it on the kid (hey, you have to have some benefit being a mom) and out we scooted for dry land.
A soaking wet Einstein after he joined us at the swimming hole

At some point Dom and Mike arrived while I was taking a nap and I got to meet another wonderful blogger. The weekend was very busy for them riding for another group and I unfortunately didn't get to spend much time with them.

That night was the hog roast and they once again out did themselves with food. I paid zero attention to the meeting knowing I wasn't going to be riding the next day and instead talked and ate myself stuffed.

Around about then Dusty looked at me with his evil grin. He asked if he could run the ride the next day. Um? What?

He didn't see why he couldn't just run the course. I wasn't riding, so I could be on toddler detail while he ran. I reminded him that I was going to crew for Liz, but I could help and watch Wyatt for the most part. He planned to leave just as the last 50s headed out of camp and before the LDs started. He has run endurance rides before, so he knew to be courteous and cautious around the horses and to not mess up anyone's race. I agreed, but with the condition that if Liz was needing more help or Wyatt was being a PIA to handle solo he would be pulled at the LD mark. He agreed.

Wyatt adored Kenai and spent most of the weekend giving him huge hugs.

August 8, 2015

Gemmie Update: Freedom

Monday morning I woke up really tired. The weekend had been a blast and I was not ready to face pure reality just yet. Endurance ride hang overs are real. Nonetheless, I had to get Gemmie to her check up at Tryon at 9:30 am. The one good thing about having a horse on stall rest is how incredibly easy it is to get her loaded up and out.

I made it there about a half an hour early without any mishaps along the way and hand grazed Gem in the sparse grass growing along the gravel drive. The vet was out on a farm call and was reportedly on her way back.

I looked Gem over while she ate in the sunshine. Her coat has remained glossy if dusty, her mane and tail have been torn up a bit from her boredom in the stall and she has gotten very, very fat.

Eventually the vet arrived and I walked Gem inside. I mentioned to her that she is stocking up on the right hind only nearly every day now which began right after the shoes went on. I find the location to be unusual. If it was due to not fully loading the injured front right it should be the back left that is stocking up. She agreed and said she would look at it. I also told her of a wound that began once the cast was off and we switched to the smaller, less padded dressing. It is on the coronary band on the outside and I asked if we could stop the wrapping. She nodded and said she would look at it.

Once inside, she removed the bell boot and took a closer look. She thought the rub might be due to the bell boot, but there is no way. It is definitely from the elastikon. She agreed though that I could leave the wrapping off and keep a close eye on it. If it seemed like the boot was rubbing, I was to cover the area again.

Rub from the bandage.
Next she removed the wire sutures in the hoof wall.

Wire sutures removed. The hoof wall is banged up more from the wires than the actual trauma.

She poked and prodded at the injury site and was very pleased with how well it has healed to date. I was hoping she would let me walk and maybe trot Gem a little on the soft barn floor to watch her move, but she never offered and I didn't ask. She did look at the right hind and basically said she had no clue and to watch it as Gem got more motion and see if it didn't go down on its own.

At this point she seemed ready to walk away. I stopped her and asked her what was next in terms of her stall rest, outside time, working, shoes, barefoot, follow up....I swear I had to ask each and every question super specifically or I wouldn't have gotten any information out of her at all. So frustrating!!!

I didn't stop badgering her until I was completely satisfied with everything. The last question I asked was about her follow up and she gave me the best answer ever: no planned follow up. YEAH!! I could drive away and wash my hands of Tryon for good. If lameness or other issues pop up, I feel comfortable switching to a different vet knowing that the original injury and surgery had healed and we could deal with it elsewhere. now what did she say? In general, I tend to follow doctor's orders to a T. To date I have done exactly everything the vet has said to do exactly how it was supposed to be done. Part of it is just my natural propensity to do so, but a big part is knowing that the orders are there for a reason and that a) it is always better to do the time now than double time later after you have messed it all up and b) how insanely frustrating it is to be on the other side as the doctor with a patient who doesn't follow orders and then complains to you that things are not healing right. So. Very. Frustrating.

However, when the instructions make no sense I feel that I have every right to ignore them and to devise my own plan that follows a much more logical path. I will type out her exact instructions in bold followed by my thoughts.

The vet's instructions:

1) Stall rest to continue for 3 more full days without any hand walking. I didn't understand this at all. Everything is healing. The bar shoe is on to prevent any motion. What good would three days do? When I asked she said the sutures had only been out for a week, but I corrected her that it had been two. She seemed to back track after that but didn't ever really explain why theatre extra days. Given no logical reason, I chose to ignore this.

2) She can then go out for 2 hours in a small paddock or round pen for the next 2 weeks. After that she may have the time out increased by 2 hours every 2 weeks until she is out for a total of 12 hours for 2 weeks and then she can go back out full time. First, I do have a full time job and while I will bend over backwards to make sure Gem heals this is ridiculous and just plain not doable. Second, if she gets out for only 2 hours she is more likely to freak out in excitement and do something stupid. Third, according to this time line she would not get to go out for a full day for another 3 1/2 months. That seems insane when everything is firm, healed and doing well. Plus wasn't the entire point of the bar shoe to prevent any excess heel bulb motion? Why bother putting it on her if she is just going to stand around all day long? So I chose to ignore this too.

3) I may begin to ride her walk only in 1 month. I'm actually surprised it is so soon, but very happy as well. Come September we will begin slowly walking on the grassy barn trails only. I think I will start with some hand walking to see how she is moving and then progress to under saddle. She didn't mention for how long or how far, but did preface it with "you do endurance so your good with conditioning" I'm pretty sure that was a cop out. When you combine this with the above stall rest plan I think it makes even less sense to keep her in for so long. According to the above plan, Gem would only be out for 4 hours total when beginning under saddle work. Would her under saddle work count as her out time? Who knows.

4) After 30 days of walking only, add in short trot sets and work up to longer trot sets to her tolerance for another 30 days. I can get behind this but again no specifics as to what pace or how long. At this point she would be out for 6-8 hours but allowed to trot under saddle. Hmmm....

5) After 30 days of trotting, she may return to canter work and go back out on trails. This is too aggressive for my likings and I will make a whole other post on my back to work plans for Gem. For now, I will say that I don't plan on taking her off property for real trail work until the first of the year and we will be going slow and steady throughout the fall.

6) Shoes. Maintain the bar shoes for 3 more cycles. Ok. I don't like the idea of shoes, but I will follow this recommendation closely.

7) After that she is to go into a regular keg shoe until the one year mark. Ouch. Way longer than I had hoped, but ok.

8) We can try barefoot at the year mark, but she wasn't too optimistic. The hoof wall was damaged in a very small section. There is a chance that this will form a vertical ridge that will run the entire height of the hoof wall. If this happens, she will be prone to cracking this and could lose the entire back quarter of the hoof wall. Not good. In this case, she would need to be permanently shod up front with this region floated in the shoe to prevent much weight bearing to the now weakened section of hoof. If the wall grows in fine, then she doesn't see any reason to not attempt barefoot once again. A bit of a bummer, but there isn't much to do about it. She didn't recommend a hoof supplement, but it can't hurt any so I will be researching this in the near future and adding it to her daily regimen.

And that was all folks.

I thought about her instructions on the way home and talked it over with Dusty. I just plumb don't agree with or really understood the excessively conservative stall rest especially when it is in stark contrast to her aggressive return to work. According to her plan she won't even be out full time when she is allowed back to basically full work. How does that make any sense?

Out she went!

Finally getting to graze once again in the southern sunshine
Her modified paddock was once a pony paddock. We used my portable corral tape to block off the back section where there is a pony sized metal shed she could get hurt on and to reinforce the fence line.

Happy mare!


No clue the dimensions, but it is about the size of a medium round pen only square.

I debated long and hard about turning her out during the night and bringing her in during the day with the other stalled horses, but in the end I decided to just let her out. It isn't big enough for her to cause much trouble and it is so much better for her to be out. I checked back in on her in the evening and her back right leg was nice and tight and the wound from the wrapping was dry and looking already a 100 times better. I left a message for the BO to feed and hay as he saw fit (probably a bad idea since he loves to overfeed) and if he thought she was too hot in the sun with no shelter to bring her in during the day. Otherwise leave her out. She will stay in this small pen for at least a month if not longer.

I can't explain how much of a relief it is to have her back out. I will keep a close eye on her and return her to partial solitary confinement the moment she seems off or something isn't right. For now, she is outside once again.