Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding pictures since the weather here sucks!!

Since the weather here sucks (50mph winds mixed with rain/snow and freezing temperatures) and I haven’t gotten to ride since Thursday since I’ve been sick and out of town. I wanted to post a few more wedding pics from our photographer. I am so happy with how they turned out. She did an amazing job.

I got married last month at one of the most unique venues in the area. It is an old farmstead with a chapel, and a big white “mansion” and a cute white barn. It was a perfect day! I had origionally planned to have my monster trailed in so we could do some pictures with him, but decided that since his last trailering fiasco and the time crunch that we’d do a trash the dress session with him at a later date. (hooray!). But we did have some horses at the wedding!!
We hired a team of clydesdales  to give guests a little ride in the country durring cocktail hour

I want them! I asked the owner of my barn how much to board one of them and she laughed at me...

I am in LOVE with this house!!

I am also in LOVE with the bridesmaids dresses!! I want one!

The boys in front of the old grainery

Bride and Groom!

My besties little boy was the ring bearer. He's a little cutie!

You can't see it in this picture, but on my bouquet there is an antique brooch with a horse on it that looks just like Piney!

Friday, October 22, 2010

first and last rides

When I got to the barn last night I had one thing on my mind. I was going to ride my monster outside around the farm. For some reason I’ve been terrified to do it alone. The last times I’d ever ridden him outside I had a baby sitter, someone to watch us and basically hold my hand through it. I was thinking about it yesterday and I’ve ridden outside many times. In fact with Yellow I’d only ever once ridden him in an arena and that was when we took him elk hunting in Montana. Why was I so freaked out? I know I have a pretty good seat and am able to handle most anything that a horse can dish out, and hey that’s why I have health insurance right?

So when I got to the barn two of the girls who board there were taking off. “We threw hay and mixed grain so all you have to do is bring them in and water. See you tomorrow!” said one of the girls as they scurried out the door. HOORAY! That is an awesome day in my books! So I watered and dragged in all the monsters. Then I went and got ready to ride the beast.

I for some reason feel like I’m more secure riding outside in my western saddle. Maybe its just a psychological thing and goes back to all those hours I spent trail riding Yellow with my friends, or maybe I just think that in Minnesota/North Dakota you have to trail ride in a Western saddle because it just looks right. I don’t know. So I hauled it outside and it reminded me why I prefer my dressage saddle…my western saddle is heavy! I had decided to tack up outside because we still have screens in the big doors and I didn’t want to risk leading pinecone through the people doors with this gigantic saddle of mine. I’m sure he would have fit but I was nervous to try. I brought him the long way around the barn. Just to let him look around. The second I started leading him towards the trailers he stopped dead in his tracks. Eyes bulging out of his head, nostrils flared out. Guess I know he’s still freaked out about the trailer incident. I assured him we weren’t going in the trailer and I got him over to my saddle. I tacked him up with out incident and got on. We walked around the north side of the barn where the out door arena is going up. And a tractor about a mile away caught his attention and I had to assure him, that it wasn’t going to eat him. We rode up the driveway and then headed north on the gravel road. When we got to the tree line of the property I turned him around and we headed south to the south tree line. He was fine. A little jiggy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I then rode him for 10 minutes in the front of the barn and he was fine, a little barn/buddy sour but not as bad as most horses I’ve ridden.

When I got him untacked and brought him back to the barn I kissed him on the nose and went to grab grain. I started dumping grain and when I got to Wizard's stall he was laying down. My heart sank. I got him up and called his owner/the barn owner. He’s been on a pretty strict feeding schedual. He’d eaten some of his hay, and all of his senior feed mix from earlier. His owner asked me to ride him bareback for a few laps around the arena. I rushed to grab my helmet and my clip on reins. He was down again. This time it took some more effort to get him up. But I got him up. When we got to the arena and I hopped on it was half a lap before he pooped. I felt a bit relieved. But I kept riding him around for about 10 more laps. When I brought him back to his stall he instantly layed down. He looked like he wanted to roll all the way over but didn’t. I thought maybe he wanted to get a good full roll in so I brought him to the arena again and turned him loose. He walked around nose to the ground walking in circles like a big dog, then he rolled half way over and then got up…he then continued to walk around for a while and found another spot to roll and this time he rolled all the way over. After he did it I heard his tummy grumbling. I thought that must be a good sign, that he was able to get things moving in his guts. I brought him back to his stall, and he laid down again. This time he laid all the way on his side for a while, his eyes half open. His breathing was weird, then he laid upright, and looked so tiny there all curled up. He kept looking at his stomach. He looked tired of fighting this, he looked like he was tired of being in pain. He looked like he was ready to go. I called his owner back up and said that I did everything I could. Then I started crying and said “I feel like its all my fault! I tried everything and he’s not getting better!” That’s when she said “it is NOT your fault!” and then I heard her voice tremble and she said “it happened when it was supposed to happen. It’s been two weeks and it happens almost every two weeks”. She thanked me for describing everything that was happening and said that I could go home since she’d be there soon. I went up and tried to give Piney a hug and he of course tried to bite my butt…but he did stick his nose through the stall bars as I closed the door and gave me a kiss.

When I got home Wizards owner called and said that the vet was coming out to give him something so he could rest easily that night and that they would be back in the morning to end his pain for good. I spent a good part of last night a crying mess. We’d done everything right and he had been doing so good! It just sucks so bad that you can do everything in your power and still it doesn’t work.

This morning Wizards pain will finally be over. He lived an amazing life and was loved by everyone who met him. He was the horse that many, many children learned to ride on. He was a confidence booster and the safest mount at the barn. He gave me quite possible my best ride of my life and continued to build my confidence in the saddle. He is going to be missed by everyone at the barn. Love you buddy..

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I love my little war horse.

I love this article written on ottbs How To Handle & Care For "Off Track Thoroughbred" I've read it a bunch of times and each time I pull something new out of it. I wanted to post my favorite part here. The last little bit almost made me cry.

 A racehorse today is the closest thing to a "war horse" from the past, and to be a part of that requires a huge heart on the animal's end, much bigger than a man's. The bigger the heart, the bigger the courage of the animal, which demonstrates itself and its beauty at every opening of a starting gate on every track in the world. As most admire the fascinating beauty of this animal in full run, you should learn to "hear" his heart, for it is not surpassed by any other divine creature of this Earth.

Of course, like in any other horse industry, there are many "chicken hearted horses" among the racing stock as well, and these are the ones that you will most likely get, as the greater racehorses will take part in reproduction. Nevertheless, accept this horse with respect even if only for what he went through. It is much harder for the coward to get through a war than it is for a brave heart. Where there is no fear, there is no courage, and it is the fear that makes heroes. These "little chicken hearts" are the true heroes of this "sport of kings" and they will need your brave heart to lean on.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Horse show pics

I was going through pics and I thought i'd post these pics from the dressage schooling show I went to this summer. I was supposed to ride but was a big chicken and thought my horse would flip out...but NEXT year watch out! we'll be there!!

the winds were CRAZY this day and the judges trailer closed right up as my friend started her test...

if you notice the back ground, that my friends is a race track...a HORSE race track...can you see why i might be chicken to take my OTTB to a race track?

We rode outside. Hooray!

Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL fall day! It was warm and sunny and perfect. I decided that I wanted to take my monster out to hand graze him for 15 minutes. Ever since that disaster of a day in the spring where he accidentally sent me to the hospital to have my head stapled back together, I’ve been a little chicken to take him out of the barn/arena/his paddock. I used to be so confident leading horses around the yard. I used to hot walk Thoroughbreds at the track for crying out loud! But of course an injury sets you back and I am a big chicken because of it. But I decided I NEEDED to get him out walking around to get me more comfortable about it. Well as I was walking to the barn I heard a combine pull into the field that neighbors the barn. “Great” I thought. But I was gonna get him out gosh darnit! I brought him out to the big patch of grass in front of the barn. He didn’t even notice the big green “monsters” eating the soy beans behind the shelter belt. He was happily eating grass as fast as he could. So after 15 minutes I thought “hey he’s being so great, why don’t I ride him outside!” I took him back to the barn and then asked my riding instructor, who was doing some Wizard duties, if she would babysit us as I rode outside. She said she’d be happy to!

I tacked him up in his stall then brought him outside. I mounted up right outside the barn and away we went. I honestly don’t know why I was so freaked out to ride him outside more. He was LAZY! Like lazier than I’ve ever seen him. I didn’t bring my “weapons” with because I thought he’d be full of the devil and adding a whip to the mix would have caused me to hit the dirt. Boy was I wrong. I know for next time that I’m definitely bringing a weapon. But we walked and trotted a bit. He of course thought he was being eaten alive by flies and mosquitos even though I sprayed the crap out of him.

My riding instructor thinks that next time a group goes out on a trail ride I should join them. Too bad we don’t actually have trails just roads and fields. Ahhh gotta love the Red River Valley!

Monday, October 4, 2010


Driving out to the barn tonight my stomach was turning. I still hadn't heard anything about Wizard. I figured no news was good news but I still felt weird. As i pulled up and parked i looked over to where the barn owner burried her horse who had lived to be over 35 years old, as well as her beloved barn cats and german sheaperds. The ground had been dug up, my heart sank. I continued on to the barn and i then heard the sweetest sound. It was a horse whinney from Wizard! He was in his stall and he looked very happy!
He now has a new diet of 3 cups of senior feed, a handful of sweet feed and 18 tablespoons of light mineral oil, at night with a leaf of really watered down hay . His morning feed is a little different. We are hoping that this diet will keep everything going through his guts! and that way we can keep him happy and as healthy as we can!!
He also was hand grazed for 20 minutes before he had his supper so I took the time to get some pictures of him.

Same as the previous pic...just don't know which one I like better!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to say goodbye...

I just got a text from one of the girls at the barn. “Wiz is in again. Not good. Looks like it may be time 2 say goodbyes tnight.” Wizard is a lesson horse at our barn. He is a 14.3hh fleabitten grey Arabian and he is 21 years old. Wiz is the horse that everyone learns to ride on and he is the only Arabian I’ve ever liked. He knows the skill level of anyone that hops on board and if you are just learning he’ll be nice and slow with you. If you know what you are doing he’ll give you a run for your money and teach you a thing or two. He was always so much fun to ride. I showed him at our barn schooling shows last year and we kicked butt together. My riding instructor told me that our training level test last year was the best she’s ever seen anyone ride him. He was perfect.

Wizard and my friend. It was her first time riding a horse.

This last year has been a challenging one with Wizard. He’s been sick. A lot. He’s had ulcer after ulcer. And he’s been colicing a lot. His owner has had him in and out of the vet at least once a month all spring and summer. Each trip costing at least $1000. Last night I rode and when I was putting my monster back in his stall, I noticed Wizard was laying down so I went and got my instructor(wizards’s owner) and we got him up. (She said that he was in pain. She went into a lot more detail but I just can’t remember what she said.) When I left she was walking him in the arena. And he seemed happy. But then I got that text today. They are sending him home with drugs to keep him comfortable, but I think that the vet will be called to put him to sleep.

Its something we all face as horse owners. When is the right time to put them to sleep and say goodbye. Wizard has been so sick for so long that it just seems like the right time. Last winter a friend at the barn faced a similar decision, her horse was diagnosed with EPM and they had been treating him but it never got better, and he only continued to spiral downwards. She had invested all her savings into saving him, but nothing could be done.

I want to go out there and say good bye, but at the same time I don’t want to go. I love that little white horse but seeing him will just tear me apart. Am I a bad person for not wanting to go out there? I dunno. I suck at good byes. I never got to say good bye to my first horse Yellow. I missed it and it kills me. But at the same time I knew being there would have made me feel worse. I dunno what to do…