To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Waiting to exhale

"Who you lookin' at?"

Lance really isn't scared in that photo; he's got his eye on a handful of hay I'd just grabbed. He already knew it was good stuff; he let himself out of his stall and grabbed the whole bale off the stack when my farrier was here Monday. I had lead Breezy out, so Houdini's stall door wasn't chained shut, just latched.  :-/

I've been hand-walking Lance for the last week, and considering how pent-up and squirrelly he's been in his stall, he's leading pretty well. None of the dramatic airs above the ground he demonstrated when I walked him at his old barn before bringing him here to live. He gets his final shockwave treatment tomorrow night. A week or so after that, Rick will ultrasound the injured ligaments to see how they look; I'm hoping he'll give me the green light to start riding a bit at the walk. We'll stick to riding out and about; schooling in our sand arena is OUT until it gets some rain to firm it up and stabilize it. I am convinced that riding in dry, shifty sand footing has been the main cause of Russell's and Lance's very similar, repeated ligament injuries. My vet husband poo-poos my idea, but Dr. Hilary Clayton has written about footing and I think supports my theory. We'll see!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Lance got his second shockwave treatment today, standing quietly for it without any anesthesia. That's good news; it means the injury is healing and not tender.

Before this latest injury, I was planning to compete in a show this weekend. As hot as it is, I can't say that I'm heartbroken that we're not in the ring today. On top of that, life has been so busy with people priorities that I don't know how I would have managed to squeeze in dressage shows without slighting people who are important to me. I guess God knew where my priorities needed to be (of course He did); now I just pray that He will heal Lance's ligaments as good as new so we can at least enjoy the trails together.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A strange aphrodisiac

Last week was a busy week for Breezy. She got all that attention from Oliver, then she made a little girl very happy, then Rick finally took the time to fully investigate a little personal problem she's been having. For some time Breezy has been very itchy, rubbing her backside against posts and panels in her stall and paddock. Eventually, she developed a smelly discharge (we wondered if this was the cause of Oliver's powerful attraction). Rick determined that she had abraded her vulva, but looked normal and healthy inside. Assuming an infection, he started her on antibiotics, but also did a biopsy just to cover the bases.

The biopsy results came back today; Breezy has squamous cell carcinoma. We will be starting her on horsey chemotherapy and hope that clears it up. Brian doesn't know yet; he returns tonight after a week-long trip with his grandma.


It continues to be a very boring time for Lance. He's still on stall/paddock rest; Rick didn't even want me to use him for the little girl's pony ride. All I can do with him – besides keeping him fed, cleaned, and groomed – is nuzzle his muzzle and tell him I wish we do more together, too.


All this makes bringing in the pinto mare for training very appealing. Not only would I have something to ride while Lance is laid up, Brian would have something to take on trail rides/horse-camping trips after Lance has recovered if Breezy succumbs to cancer/if the mare is still here. (Yeah; my mind goes over all the contingencies like that.) The big drawbacks are 1) shoehorning in a fourth horse; 2) using up part of our year's hay supply on a horse I have to train, show and sell before I get any return on investment; 3) getting attached to a horse I can't afford. I see #3 as potentially huge if Lance doesn't heal up to be working sound and/or Breezy has to be put down. I guess one way to handle it is to drag my feet on taking the pinto mare until I know more about how Lance is healing and see how Breezy responds to chemo. If the pinto mare is still available when I know more, I could take that as a sign that she's meant to come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Don't look, Ethyl!"

How to Shock the Neighbors

Lance's peep show
Just because Lance is on stall rest doesn't mean all is quiet on the Western front. Oh my, no.

Breezy is in heat. She's a mare; it happens. But for some reason, for the first time in their several years as herd mates, Rick's middle-aged gelding Oliver has decided he is capable of doing something about that. Cue the squealing . . . every so often . . . all day long. Are they just trying to provide perverse entertainment for poor, locked-up Lance? He's certainly getting an eyeful! And I'm getting an earful through the open windows. Ugh.
Too x-rated for Lance; as you can see, he's disappeared!

I just came back in from putting Breezy back in her stall. I was worried that the constant mounting – from all directions – could be hard on the old girl. Ah, quietude!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Lance looking on – just before he unlatched his door, walked past the ultrasound machine, and started eating hay from the stack! He hadn't been served breakfast this morning like the others since he needed to be tranquilized for treatment, so he took matters into his own mouth. ;-)

Rick decided to treat Lance with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) as well as extracorporeal shockwave this time, since Lance had quite of bit of damage on the bone where the ligaments pulled loose. He drew blood from Lance, spun it down, buffered it, then used ultrasound to guide the needle into the injured area.

Preparing the PRP
Doing the shockwave treatment
Finding just the right spot to...
...put in the PRP

I spotted this across the stall while holding Lance

Lance sleeping it off
So now we wait. In two and four weeks he'll get shockwave treatments again; in six weeks we should have a pretty good idea on how the injury is healing. No further discussions yet on the pinto mare; I'm waiting to hear more from her breeder.