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

Monday, October 26, 2015

One step forward, no steps back

Today a friend posted a link to these "micro lessons with Charlotte Dujardin." I'm hot-linking it here so I remember them when my dance partner is back in the swing of things. That is one step closer; Rick gave Lance his second shock-wave treatment yesterday. He said I could start hand-walking Lance 15-20 minutes daily, but I didn't have time today. Hopefully tomorrow; Lance is getting frisky and could use something to do. He's getting fuzzy, and is filling out again. Although when his supper was delayed while the effects of the standing anesthesia wore off last night, he seemed to be fretting that we might be putting him back on starvation rations! Ha!

Friday, October 23, 2015

On my wishlist

No, not a Finnhorse (although I probably wouldn't turn one down). A GoPro!

Thanks to Haynet, I just learned about the existence of finnhorses, and am now following this blog . . . where I found another, even more wonderful, video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I'll do better later, I promise!

But my browband arrived yesterday, so last night I had to try it on Lance, even if on an incomplete bridle with a different bit than his, in a dark and dusty barn. ;-)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Getting happier!

The browband has reached Portland!

The State Fair photos are finally getting uploaded!
I have a coffee date today with the first horsey friend I met when we moved to Oregon 26 years ago!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Getting happy

For me, happiness is being on the back of my horse. For Lance, happiness is eating. Happy, happy!




It's been three days and my browband has traveled even farther away from Oregon? How does that make sense, USPS?

I'm going down to the barn to feed Lance his lunch and sit on his bare back for a bit while he eats.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All the king's horses

I was so happy to have Lance treated Monday that I forgot my promise to post Perrydale Trails pictures. Sorry!

Kate brought Lance's girlfriend and a very green five-year-old Quarter Horse she bought as a project for her daughter. I have a feeling Lance might be torn between his "best girl" Dinah and this new girl once he meets her; his dam is palomino.  ;-)

Here's Welsh Cob/Trakehner Dinah modeling the green fly veil I got her when I bought Lance's.

Amber (the palomino) did incredibly well!

This couple from our Christian trail-riding club came to ride with our dressage chapter. The red roan is a Tennessee Walking Horse and the little bay is a Paso Fino.

There were a LOT of other riders at Perrydale Trails Sunday mounted on horses of all colors, sizes, and breeds. I admired this couple's mounts; he's leading on an Appaloosa and she is following on her Lipizzan.

This is the oldest member in our dressage chapter; JoAnn is in her 80s and still going strong. I hope I can sit a horse so well in another 30 years!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sleeping it off

Dopey pony:
Rick treated Lance's strained suspensory with extracorporeal shockwave therapy today, followed by PRP (platelet-rich plasma, using the horse's own plasma). Lance then had to sleep off the standing anesthesia (he wasn't going to tolerate a needle poking in his sore suspensory) before he could go back to his mid-day hay snack.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy dance!

Rick checked Lance's eyes last night, and they are reacting to light! We celebrated by leaving the fly mask off last night; it was so nice to see Lance's beautiful eyes. We don't know if they are completely back to normal yet, so I'll continue to put the mask on during the day for now.

Lance is almost back to full hay rations again, too, and Rick said we'll probably be able to add back in his daily oats, vitamins and wormer tonight. Yesterday I took him out for some hand-grazing, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Today I took Oliver to Perrydale Trails to ride with my dressage chapter. Even though I would have MUCH preferred partnering with Lance, I still enjoyed being with friends on the back of a horse on a perfect fall day. Besides, it keeps my riding muscles tuned up! Photos tomorrow....

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ooooh, shiny!

Guess what's on its way? Lance's fancy new browband, with two interchangeable strands! Lance and I will have to put on a runway show when they arrive. ;-)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beaver Nation

I think someone's hungry, bored – or both!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Lance's GI tract is handling his tiny, frequent meals just fine, so we will stay that course, gradually adding more hay over the next several days.

This morning Rick ultrasounded Lance's right hind high suspensory ligament and found swelling, but no large tears or holes. That's good news for that area . . . but why then would he be so lame? Rick may do more investigation, as well as treating the high suspensory with extracorporeal shockwave therapy.

Why another injury? I'm suspicious, again, of the sand footing in our arena. I had schooled Lance there a few times recently to start preparing for our lesson and the Nov. 8 show, thinking it would be okay because we had gotten some rain. But there were areas that were drier, and Lance is used to the much harder ground and gravel roads we have been riding on through the summer. If I could, I would amend the sand with something to make it more stable – or replace it ALL!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


I will start this tale with the good news. As I posted on Instagram last night with the above photo, "The most beautiful sunset ever, because we were bringing my pony HOME!" Even better, he was still doing well by dawn's early light –
and still is.

Say what?

Sunday I should have just stayed in bed. I felt like hammered grunt from the virus I picked up last week, but I didn't want to miss our morning lesson with Julie. I figured if nothing else, Julie could ride my boy to tell me what we need to work on before our upcoming show. So we loaded up and off we went. When we arrived,  I carefully and intentionally hit the "unlock" button before getting out of the truck. After unloading Lance, I went back to the truck for my gloves – and realized that in my addled state I'd locked myself OUT, and my keys and phone IN. Sigh. There was nothing to do until Julie (and her phone) arrived but proceed with grooming and tacking up.

Mr. Lancy-Pants has always been Mr. Antsy-Pants when tied to the trailer; true to form he sashayed around while I worked. Something was off in the rhythm of his side-stepping; I paused to focus. It didn't take much observation; he was definitely lame on his right hind. Seriously?!?

About that time Julie showed up, and I gave her all the bad news, in order: sick rider; locked truck; lame horse. I called Rick, and told him he might want to come prepared to do a lameness exam in the better footing of Julie's arena. Then Julie and I went over Lance's leg carefully. Compared to the left hind, the right hind was warm from the hock down, and somewhat thicker through the fetlock, pastern, and heel. She suggested we watch him move, so I clipped on a lounge line and led him into the arena. As Lance moved away from me he trotted a couple steps – and was short-stridingly, toe-stabbingly lame. Abort that! I immediately unsaddled him (he heaved a big sigh at that – I think it was relief that I wasn't going to torture him more) and we waited for Rick and Brian to arrive.

After confirming the lameness, Rick started blocking. There was no change with a low block or a fetlock block. Out of lidocaine, Rick sent Brian to the truck for another bottle, then proceeded to block the high suspensory. While we waited for the last block to take effect, Julie snapped a couple of family moments:

There was maybe a little improvement after the last block; buggers. There was nothing more to do but wait a day or two for the effects of blocking to abate before Rick could ultrasound the leg, so we headed home in our respective rigs.

~ Cue ominous music here. ~

When I unloaded Lance, he almost fell to his knees getting out of the trailer. Startled by this unusual display of clumsiness, I observed him carefully while leading him to his stall. He didn't seem to be moving quite right; he didn't clear the stall door as I led him in, then stumbled over the threshold going out into his paddock. I called the house from my cell phone and asked Rick to come to the barn ASAP; something was clearly wrong with Lance.

Everything escalated from there. Examination revealed that along with neurologic symptoms, Lance's eyes were totally dilated and his heart was racing. Rick told me to put a fly mask on Lance and do NOTHING that could excite him, then tore off to the clinic to get some drugs he didn't have on the truck. He came back empty-handed, not having the drugs at the clinic, either, loaded Lance in the trailer, and took off as carefully and quickly as possible for the Oregon State University veterinary school.

At some point in this terrifying turn of events I learned that Rick had looked in his truck's drug tray and noticed that none of the lidocaine bottles had been opened – but a look-alike bottle of atropine had been. Lance's hind leg had inadvertently been injected with 10-15 times a normal dose of this powerful drug; if it had been given IV, he would have likely dropped dead on the spot.

While doctors worked to keep my horse alive, a lot of prayers were said and tears were shed. The first hurdle was keeping him alive without hurting himself or others in his drug-induced paranoia; after that, the concern was colic, as atropine shuts the gut down. (That's why it is used for spasmodic colic.) By Monday afternoon, the clinicians felt his gut was working well enough to send him home – with strict instructions to severely restrict his food intake and watch for signs of colic for the rest of the week. The effect on his eyes would take much longer – three to four weeks – to subside.

So my horse is alive and home, albeit masked, thin, and extremely hungry. For the record, he was 1258 pounds when he arrived at the vet school Sunday afternoon; he's not looking quite so robust now, but he is his normal, personable self. So thankful!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Anticipation; anxiety

I have a lesson scheduled with Julie Sunday morning. We got some rain; I've gotten to school Lance in the arena a few times. My son has even figured out a set-up for grooming the arena that seems to work pretty well, at least appearance-wise. (The little lawn tractor he got from his grandpa is getting used for all sorts of things!)

Our arena rides haven't been great; I accept most of the blame for that, riding without eyes on the ground as I have for so long. But last night made me wonder. We started out in the arena, and Lance did not want to move – I mean, even more than usual. :-/  Since the sand is drying out and felt shiftier than I like, I decided it wasn't worth risking a strain. We went back to the barn; I put his Renegade boots on (he was trimmed on Tuesday) and headed out for a ride through the woods. Lance still didn't want to move, and acted quite tenderfooted, even on his booted front feet. Odd. It did get a little better when we got to the dirt path, but not a lot. When we got back to the barn I went over him with a fine-toothed mental comb, looking for any sign of injury I may have missed during his pre-ride grooming. Nothing. I gave him a gram of bute, and decided to give him two days off before our lesson.

Yes, I'm worried. Has Lance strained something while working in the arena sand recently? Are his feet really that sore? Is it something else? He was telling me quite clearly under saddle yesterday that he didn't feel great; I don't want to take him to a lesson and demand that he put out if he's not up to snuff somewhere. And I don't want to work towards being ready for a November 8 show at the expense of my horse's soundness.