Despite looking much happier about his hoof, Max still wasn't sound. I had poulticed it as directed (bran + epsom salts) but the little booger had run out of the bottom of his boot on Saturday. His paddock mate went out for a ride, and Max spent the entire time running up and down the fenceline.
I gave the hoof another epsom soak and re-bandaged with just a dry dressing (a.k.a. a disposable nappy, held on with vet wrap). This was enclosed in a new boot made from an old tyre tube, and secured with baling twine and some duct tape. You can't say we horsey girls don't have the Kiwi "number 8 wire" touch!
(Imagine shot here of said brilliant device here, as I forgot to take a photo)
I guess the running about showed he was feeling better, and they say lots of movement is good for sorting out hoof abscesses. And sure enough, he ran right out of his bootie again on Monday. He'd been put in a bigger paddock with two other geldings and they were having great fun!
I brought him in, cut away the remains of the bandage etc, and found that the abscess had made its way out at the heel as well! There were signs of nasty pus on the bandage and a bit of a shallow hole - actually more like the top few layers of skin had been rubbed away. This is now the end of my experience with abscesses, so I figured another soak wouldn't hurt. A quick consultation with knowledgeable friends led me to decide to leave it uncovered from then on. There was a bit of spongy give where the farrier had dug a hole, but after a little exploration with the hoof knife, I decided to leave it alone.
Once I had left and gone to the gym, he and one of the other younger horses started thundering up and down, playing silly buggers. M. got some of it on video on her phone and I think that was one little horse feeling much better!
(Fortunately for me, he doesn't seem able to organise himself into a decent buck even when loose, so not much to be scared of there!)
I arrived at the paddock on Sunday to see my horse limping across the paddock. And when I can spot a lame horse at 100m, he is pretty lame.
There was some heat and swelling in his off cannon but nothing too dramatic, and not worth a vet call. I gave him two sachets of Bute, hosed down his leg and hoped for the best. He was still a bit hoppy on Monday, but I thought overall he looked better. On Tuesday morning, I couldn't decide if he was worse or just the same as the day before. I consulted my coach and another friend who is BHS trained, and they came over to the paddock to have a look. Both legs were looking a bit sore and swollen but the off fore was the worst, with heat in the heel. So I phoned the farrier, A. and left him a message asking for help.
I didn't hear back from A. so tried again, and eventually got his wife who said he was injured. Plan B was to get hold of another good farrier, but who is only part-time so can be tricky to get hold of. The stars were with us and I managed to catch him at home for lunch. He duly arrived, found the sore bit with his nippers (who needs hoof testers?) and dug out the offending abscess.
Voila! To the right of the frog, pus running out!
The farrier recommended a bran and epsom salts poultice, which was wrapped in an old nappy and then in a little rubber booty. Poor Max has a very badly swollen and tender leg, which I guess is a by-product of all that toxic stuff. No riding for us for a wee while though.
Despite no riding, we did the unbelieveable and actually placed in our second-ever dressage test!
Admittedly, it was only test 0.1 (which has no canter in it) but it's only the third time he has been in a white dressage arena.
I am so proud of my little guy because he was (mostly) wonderfully chilled out despite the chaos going on at the Park. In addition to the dressage, there was show jumping, cross country and a western show on! Talk about horses for Africa!
He took a bit of pursuading to get into the float, but we got there in the end. Once at the Park, he came off the float and went "WOW!". It was as if he thought every other horse there was a potential new friend, and he was so happy he could burst. Apparently, my little horse is quite the social butterfly, and LOVES going out. So once we get him to connect the dots and figure out that going in the float = new friends, we should be away laughing.
In yards like a real show horse!
After our dressage, I rode him around a bit and looked at what was going on. He had been a bit stressed to start with, calling out and refusing to stand still. I applied some groundwork and got him to focus on me, and he got much better. A little while later, I was sitting on him next to the show jumping ring, on the end of the reins, just quietly watching. Such a good boy!
So, it is nearly the end of winter. I am sure we are through the worst of the weather now, although Hawkes Bay has had an incredibly wet couple of months. They even cancelled the dressage practise day, and they NEVER cancel the dressage - it's just get on, and get on with it. I guess the ground is so darn wet now that the powers-that-be are worried it will be damaged by anyone riding on it.
Max has been checked out by the physio - I asked her to give him a Warrant of Fitness and just make sure he is all good, and ready to do some work this year. Judging by my creakiness, I should get one too, but I am a bit scared of what they might find... He has sticky stifles and the near one in particular has been a problem, making him incredibly lame last December. But happily, that looks much better and I just need to do some massage/stretches of the hip/stifle area and keep an eye on him. If needed, he can go out to Auntie Heather's place and run around on the hills there for a while to strengthen his legs.
I have had his saddle fit checked and got S. to make modifications to his skito pad to make it fit better. Until he develops some back muscle and topline, he will need some padding. But I am sure this will only be temporary once we get to work!
While Max is sharing the paddock with Paddy, they like to play fight. We call this "playing stallions" as they like to chase each other, rear up and bite at each other's throats. Both are pretty whimpy fighters so I doubt they will hurt each other, but it is proving hard on their covers.
After one too many trips to get his covers repaired, I finally caved in. I ordered Max a good old-fashioned canvas cover. They are expensive, but then so are all these repairs! And add in the hassle of having to get the cover clean and taking it to C. who does the fixing.
So now, he has this...
So far, it is proving to be very Paddy-proof. The only damage was to one of the neck cover straps which was nearly ripped right off, despite heavy duty double stitching. I guess 500 kilos of horse hauling on it is a bit more than it was designed for though!
I do remember from my younger days how heavy canvas covers get especially when they are wet. And young Maxie has added a layer or two of mud, so it's a bit of a mission putting it back on him. So swings and roundabouts, like with everything. At least my little horse is warm and dry.
Age: Old enough that I don't have to say.
How old were you when you started riding? 12
How many years have you been riding? see above
About the horse:
Show Name:? Takapau Star? Montepulciano? (not had to have one yet)
Barn Name: Max
Breed: Takapau Special - NZ Stationbred
Height: maybe 15.2 hands
Tack Colour(s):Black with red accessories
Leg protection of choice: Brushing and over-reach boots
Saddle size: 44 cm/medium-wide gullet
Bridle size: Full hack
Bit: German silver trainer snaffle with Fulmer cheeks (12.5 cm)
Favorite snack: ANYTHING
Have you ever fallen off? Oh yes.
Have you ever been bit by a horse? Oh yes
Have you ever been kicked by a horse? See above
Have you ever been seriously injured by a horse?Yep, lost three teeth, concussion, haemotoma on thigh
What is the highest you have jumped on a horse?1.05 m
English or Western: English
Show or Pleasure: How can showing be a pleasure? Yuk.
Saddle or Bareback:With Max, saddle for sure
Tall Boots or Paddock Boots: We call them johdpur boots and I like them with suede chaps
Riding Indoors or Out: Outdoors
Horses or Ponies:Horses - don't trust those little ones!
Mare or Gelding: ?Dunno
As usual, when dealing with horses, life is up and down.
It seems so much better when the weather is fine and sunny. Maybe the sun makes me more positive, and then I do things differently? Certainly I don't feel very positive when its raining!
On Saturday it was overcast and I completely failed to get Max on the float. I had everything all packed up in the ute, ready to join the riding club at the Park for an outing. I was really excited about the prospect, did my best nonchalant face, and annointed the float with the aromatherapy oil. (WHAT? yeah, so its a bit alternative to use hippy-dippy, new age therapy, but if it works, then I am all for it)
Young Max walked out of the yard, got around the corner to see the float, and planted his obstinate little feet. I tried all the techniques that had worked in the past. But even if I got him on, he just was not going to stay still long enough for me to do up the chain. I ended up trying for nearly two hours, after which I decided I was bored, and thirsty. I settled for being able to tell him where to put his feet up and down the ramp, and gave up.
The next day was sunny and warm. My friend Cindy had offered her help, having just taught her new horse to load on the float. I rode Max for a little bit, trying to tell him that he was 8 now (in NZ the official horse birthday is August1st) and too old to be a nappy little pony. Not much luck with that, but I did give him a good telling off and a smack on the shoulder.
Cindy's method is the western approach where you ask nicely, putting on the pressure for them to go forward, and releasing when they do. If they don't, you push them to trot in a little circle around you - quite hard work. Then you ask the question again, and repeat as necessary. It didn't take too many circles for Max to figure out the easiest option was just to go into the float. And that there was food in there, so he quite liked being there. Great progress!
So now I have another weapon in the war (not sure that is a great metaphor, but you know). I am pretty keen to try again soon on my own and see how we get on.
Mostly successful in the float training department this weekend.
On Saturday I bribed him into the float and snapped the chain up quickly before he could back out again. Sneaky, but necessary. I'd been advised to take a long drive even though the indoor arena is only 3 km away. So off we went on a tiki-tour of the outskirts of Hastings. Max was really good, no stamping or scrambling and just seemed to be watching the world go past.
We got to the arena, unloaded (fairly quickly but not in a panic) and then Max and I had our lunch. Once he had stretched his legs a bit, visited the girls and checked out the grass quality, back on the float. He was pretty good, just trying to back off again but with food in front of him, I was able to do up the chain without drama.
It was another tour of the neighbourhood and then home again. He wasn't keen to go anywhere near the float again so I decided against trying to reload him. That just seemed to be a battle that could turn ugly, and undo all the good work we had achieved. So maybe another day???
Poor little Max. He has a sore tummy, is making cow pat poos, and is quite sorry for himself.
I don't have too much sympathy because it is self-inflicted! Of course, I am concerned about the state of his gut because hind-gut fermenters like horses are very reliant on this working properly. But he and the other boys got out of their paddock on Saturday night and gorged themselves on long, green grass and some baleage. The next day he was not himself and wouldn't eat his feed. This is very unusual for the horse who is the equine equivalent of a Labrador retriever!
I hope that time, toxin binder and lots of hay will put him right.
Saddle fitting is something I have only just begun to learn about. We are very lucky to have a wonderful therapist/saddle fitter who visits our region about once a month. She's worked with both of my horses and we achieved some great things with my older mare.
Young Maxie, although pretty much unspoilt, was ridden in a saddle way too small for him when we went to see him. It was his laid-back attitude to having this nasty old heap of leather thrown up on him, and then visciously girthed up that made the first good impression on me. He just kind of steeled himself, and didn't move a muscle. So one of the first things to do was to sort out a suitable saddle for him.
I am a fan of the synthetic Wintec saddles made by Bates in Australia. They are virtually the only saddles we can buy here that have changeable gullets. And since they are synthetic, they are incredibly easy to look after and no worries if you're riding in the rain! Naturally, it didn't work out that I could ride both my horses in the same saddle. Max is a bit narrower and a completely different shape to the mare. So I found a second-hand dressage saddle (above) which seems to be doing the job with the correct gullet size in it.
Now as we get into some real work, I need to make sure that I do his massage and stretches to build up his muscle. I hope he will develop more of a topline with correct work. He doesn't yet have much in the way of back muscle, and has the tell-tale sign of poor saddle fit - muscle wastage at the shoulders. It's a difficult thing to get a photo of, but we have some drawings (wither and loin) that will show our progress.
Let's just say I wouldn't like to try to ride the goober bareback at the moment!!!
Max is back in town, sharing a paddock with the Big Boys as of Monday. Initially he was in with Chad, The Pony (aka Painintheass) but their feed requirements were a bit different and they were not doing well. So we swapped Max with one of the other boys.
He looked a bit confused and lost at first. And when I left to go home he stood and looked at me as if to say "Haven't you forgotten to put me back where I belong?". Each morning he is waiting at the fenceline, but as it has only been a few days, I'm not too worried. There is certainly no loss of appetite to indicate a problem!
I have been working hard on his float training. As much as possible I feed him in the float which works well as he is like the horse version of a Labrador. As in "food is good, more food is better". So he happily clomps up the ramp to get to his feed. The problem is that he tends to grab a mouthfull, then back out to the ramp so that he can see what is going on around him. Not helpful if you are trying to teach him to stand there calmly. So I just quietly put him back in. And repeat. And repeat. Hopefully this will sink in soon.
I have taken him on a few short trips around the block to give him good experiences of travelling. This weekend I hope to take a longer drive to the local indoor arena. He will then get off, eat hay, be fussed over and then go home again. (As long as I can get him back in the float).
Max has been coming along nicely, learning how to stand quietly, and go in and out as asked. The next step was to do up the bum bar behind him. I don't know if it is anything to do with the Stressless product we have him on, but it has all been pretty easy. My coach swears by Stressless for all sorts of things and she has huge experience with stroppy warmbloods.
I don't think he is that scared of going in, but he is reluctant to stay in there. And now he has had a few trips, he seems to be stubbornly saying "No". So it just needs time, and perserverance, and just a little bit of bribery (apples, Max?). I hope to be able to take him lots of places over the wet winter months and that he will enjoy being out and about and load easily.
Wish me luck!
Hi, me Max here.
Iz been on da internetz an made new frenz on Horsetalk forum. There is Kody an Fari an Mz Molly an Lacey an lotz of cool horsz.
I tellz everywun how dum my Mum iz. Yip, they havz the same problum. How do you get them to just give you lotz of food and leave you in peace? And now Mum sez we gotta do dress sarj. What the??? The Old Grey Mare sez she was a dress sarj horse and she went to HorseoftheYear before she got hurt and retired. And she can do walk to canter and sidewayz stuff, and I have truble wif straight lines when Mum is riding me.
Man, I iz worried about this!
AND she keepz makin me go in the moving box!!! That is REALLY scarey and I shakez and sweatz coz of all the noise and fings going whizz past. Last time the Old Grey Mare was wif me, and that wuz better coz she said don't be stupid, nofing is gonna get ya. Just eat the hay and wait. And she was right! We stopped, and we wuz home again!
When we collected him last year, it took me and my coach 2 hours to get him on the float. And five minutes down the road, some lunatic drove right up behind us and scared the pants off my little horse. We heard a bang, and thought he was okay, just kicking. What we didn't realise is that he had got his head under the chest bar and was then stuck. Poor little guy, he just stood there until we stopped and sorted him out.
So that wasn't a very good introduction to travelling. We later found out that when the previous owner got him, he was ridden about 15 kms to her farm. Thinking about it - they probably had tried/failed to get him on a float then and no doubt it was a traumatic experience.
So my Max is not very happy around floats. I took him for a couple of rides around the block last winter, and one of those times he got his head under the bar again. The next trip was to shift him home for a bit of schooling - just 3 km up the road, and although a bit reluctant to go on, we got him there and he didn't put his head anywhere stupid. But he came down the ramp and was dead lame! Hoping he had just knocked himself, I left him for a while but he wasn't getting any better. So out comes the vet to diagnose a stuck stifle joint (upwardly fixated patella). Treatment: rest, Bute, more rest. He then had a couple of months off work and then went to coach's place which has great hills, perfect for strengthening sticky stifles.
That trip was a tad dramatic too. We thought we had him fixed in place by short-tying him, doing up the back bar really short and putting two lucerne bales in front of him. But, no, young Houdini/Max got his head under the bar again, and ripped one of the bales to pieces in the process! He was very pleased to see me when we stopped to untangle him, and started eating the lucerne as soon as he could reach it. Not much harm done, then. He arrived 40 minutes later cheerful enough, and although he had sweated up he'd dried out again and came out fairly quietly considering he must have been a bit traumatised.
That was the last time he travelled anywhere. Since his silly Mum had entered the introductory dressage, it became time to start some work on that again. So it was up to the float with his friend Rustie, and just some quiet walking up the ramp. And standing. And walking off the ramp. Standing. Back up the ramp, stand with your head inside. Reverse down the ramp calmly. Big fuss. Repeat three to five times. Enough for the first day.
My coach has continued doing this during the week and we hope to take him and Rustie out for a drive at the weekend. I have withdrawn our entry for the dressage, but intend to be there next month. Hopefully I will have also had some time to actually ride by then too.
That will make the test a fraction easier.
This time of year is always tough. I am still working 7 days a week, I am tired, the days are getting shorter and I don't get to see my horses. Just when I really need a horse hug, I don't have time to visit them.
This is what I get to see. So much for the glamour of the wine industry, eh? Mind you, there is a pretty good view just out past these tanks -
Meet Mount Tulloch Royal Dynasty, aka "Dinky". He is Max's BFF since they moved into the Tank Paddock together at the weekend. Dinky is a part-bred Morgan who has retired to the country and now does his favourite thing - eating- all the time.
The two boys are having a great time together, running up and down the hills, sharing hay (and Max's feed!) and lots of wither scratching. Bliss! The only problem is that Max is now reluctant to leave his buddy and his nappiness has returned. But that is just another learning opportunity for me, and I have better skills to deal with him now.
We might enter the Winter Dressage for next month and see if we can get into an arena. And preferably stay there for the test too!!! That means we have to do some float loading training too. Oh boy, it might be quite an adventure just to do Pony Club test D. Yikes....
They are there, I promise you. You just have to look at bit harder.
No, look again.
Well, Max tells me there are speigels* in them there trees, and that we should be very, very careful when going past. It is best if we are with Rose the Grey Mare, as she scares them away. (She is very scarey). But last weekend, as it was Easter I got a whole day off work and I made Max go past the speigels ON HIS OWN!
Everyone else was busy so I thought it was time we put our Big Kid pants on, and go out on our own. We had tried this once before about 6 months ago, but it all went pretty pear-shaped and Max was very nappy, and I have to admit he scared me. Now, after months of hacking out with Rose, I was feeling more confident on him and (almost pretty) sure I could deal with any shenanagins.
So I tacked him up, and led him up the driveway, past the speigels in the trees and into the cricket paddock. This is a big paddock full of thistles but he knows it well from previous adventures. I did take the precaution of taking him into the smaller paddock to get on him. And just as well that I did, as he took advantage when I let go of the reins, and buggered off, trotting around looking for any horsey friends. I quickly shut the gate and recaptured him, got on and did a little bit of simple schooling (at the walk).
Once I was more sure that he wasn't going to run off in a panic, I moved on to the bigger part of the paddock. I took things very quietly, just walking around practising our contact, steadying on sloped bits, changing the speed etc. This also meant we got to harrass the sheep in the paddock, as they tried to stay out of our way. As sheep are not very bright, this was on going as they moved to be in the way every time.
Satisfied that we had achieved our goal, I didn't try for anything faster, although Max did offer some jogging and half-hearted trot. There was a bit of napping towards the gate which earned him a walk up the track to the woolshed. Apparently there are speigels under the woolshed too, but they didn't come out and chase us, so we safely made it home.
"Phew, made it home in one piece and with no speigel bites"
* Speigels are not very well known as they are very hard to see in their native habitat. Animals are particularly good at spotting them, and I first learned about them when I was a kid. Our dog, Cara, would see them, and she was really good at hunting for them in long (about knee-high) grass. She had this cool method of running along and periodically leaping up into the air to see ahead of where she was going. Although she never got near one, it was great fun to join in the chase. We would also tease her at home by saying "Find the speigel, Cara" and set her off on a wild goose chase. Hours of fun!
Huhhi! It's Max myself here. The short woman is completely ignoring me at the moment, and I haven't even seen her for nearly a week. Really, it's not good enough.
I have been getting used to seeing her all the time, and have done a pretty good job of training her not to come empty-handed. She is a bit thick really, but if I make it really obvious she will sometimes figure out what I am trying to tell her. It took a bit of standing on her feet, but I have got her to bring me carrots, apples and sweetcorn, all of which are pretty tasty. Luckily for me those other horses in the paddock are snobby "Warnblud" types and they don't like the corn and so I get to eat ALL of it! Yummy.
I don't know what them other horses are going on about when they tell me they are well-bred. I dunno what "Warnblud" means, except everyone should be warned about that big black one. Man, he is mean! Here I am, just minding my own business, and WHAM! he gallops at me with his ears back. All I did was look at the Grey Mare and wonder if she would be my friend today.
And then I just walked over to see if anyone would like to share a hay pile with me. It gets a bit lonely somedays, standing there eating on your own. I just think it would be great if we could share a bit of hay and have a bit of a talk about stuff, but nobody here will join in. No, says the Grey Mare, you're an annoying little common-bred short-arse horse. NO! says Busta the Black One. She is my friend and so you are not my friend. Chomp. No, says Rusty the Red One. My tummy hurts, and I feel icky, and I want my Mum to make it better and just go away!
So I'm reduced to trying to get some sense out of that dumb pet lamb. And people say I'm not the brightest - you should meet this bimbo!
I hope the woman comes to visit me soon. I would even be good for her up the road and try not to see the scarey monsters behind the trees. I kind of miss her.
And 'specially the carrots.
Look at the gloss on that coat! Nothing to do with good, old-fashioned grooming I have to admit. Just a healthy horse living in a good paddock.
Max is having a fairly easy life at the moment as I am hugely busy (like 10 or 11 hour days) at work. He is getting a bit of training from my coach and will start some lungeing soon. I have managed to fit in a ride about once a week lately which is nearly enough to keep me sane. I had to go and visit him last night as it was the Friday of a tough week and I needed some horse time! He just got some sweetcorn - his current FAVOURITE treat - and I did a bit of massage on his back with tummy lifts as well. Then he was rugged up in the 100g cover as the nights are getting a bit chilly and put out in the paddock.
We're planning a ride on Sunday but as that is work-dependent, we will see...
Poor little Max had an abscess. I thought he had broken a leg, he was so incredibly lame! Turns out he is just a complete sook and like a typical male, can't cope with any pain. I had never seen a horse with an abscess before and now I know why they say they are hard to miss. That is the most lame I have ever seen a horse and I'd be happy not to see that again.
I read up my barefoot books and stood him to soak in some warm epsom salt solution.
He was incredibly good about this, considering how green he is, and stood pretty well in the little foot bath.
Could I drink this?
Unfortunately, that's when the standing nicely ended. He got a sip of epsom salts, shot backwards away from it and knocked over the tub. Ah, well, it got a bit of a soak. Then on with a poultice, bandage and good ol' duck tape to hold it on. A few days later, the abscess burst and he was okay again.
My Max is a dear, sweet little horse. But he isn't the sharpest pencil in the box, if you know what I mean. So this has led to a number of nicknames we apply as needed.
These include, but are not limited to:
Ah, sweet boy
All of which are very tempting to use as his official registered name, but I will worry about that when it gets closer to us actually getting out in competition.
He came with the name "Bubba". We hadn't got very far down the road after seeing him for the first time before I burst out with "Nice horse, but there is no way he is keeping that name!". My coach agreed with me completely and confessed she was worried I would be too superstitious to change his name. I had been superstitious before that, but rapidly changed my mind.
I have a few ideas for his show name but Max is good for now. It is even funnier as he is the smallest horse in his herd.
Irony, you know.
Yep, I bought this half of a horse! We found this cute little horse for sale on a farm down the way, so we went halves in him. The plan is to take him along with the youngsters as a sobering touch, and for me to learn a bit about teaching a green horse.
Actually, I just wanted to be able to tell my Dad that I'd bought the arse end of a horse as I knew he would find that hilarious. I may end up owning all of him yet...
He is "the other horse" in my life and I thought it was about time he had his own blog.
Approximately 15.1 hands, 7 year old-ish stationbred gelding from Takapau, Central Hawkes Bay. I'm not sure of his colour, although he looks bay in this photo, he is more brown in summer. I would like him to be my next all-rounder with a tendency to eventing, but we will see how that goes.
He was bought for a small amount and had been well started but was as green as grass. With the patient help of my coach, I intend to bring him along and into competition and riding club events.