Monday, December 31, 2007

Bad Blogger

Man, I've gotten bad at updating this thing! I can't believe I didn't throw a wreath around Lester's neck and a santa hat and snap some pics or at least do it digitally...

So Lester's blog has been on the back burner, BUT he's made so much progress, well we both have. I put him on Thyro-L a few months ago to help with his low thyroid and WOW, his body and mind have both completely changed. I wish I knew how much weight he's lost. He's no longer "just" nervous about being ridden. Hasn't spooked at "nothing" in several rides now. Of course I think this has to do with several things, he's fitter, I'm fitter and he's just overall more confident about things plus I give him sugar cubes now so he's just a happy camper. In efforts to losen up his back before a workout I have taken the suggestion from his Equine massage therapist to put a heating element on his back for 10-20 mins before a ride so that he is more inclined to use his hindend instead of throwing everything in his shoulder. So I have been throwing his quarter sheet in the dryer for a few mins to heat it up and then drape it on his hind quarters while I tack him up- think putting on clothes straight out of the dryer:-) so warm and cozy!

I have also been using the sidepass technique to loosen his jaw and get him soft. When he "unlocks" his jaw he will do just about anything I ask. The other day I threw back boots on him and man did he feel "fancy", he was doing lengthenings that I didn't really ask for and sometimes we didn't just fall completely apart:-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lester Collage

A dear friend made this collage for me because he knows how special Lester is to me! I love it and will print it out and frame it... Thank you Matthew Bogdan!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Cantering...

Yep, there's the proof that we can canter. Both directions too. I don't think there has ever been a horse and rider team to have ever stayed on a platue as long as we have, OK well sometimes we backed up a bit down the side of the platue, but not much has changed in the 12 years we've been together :-/ I guess some folks are destined to stay at lower levels.
It was hot yesterday, almost 80 degrees and as you can see Lester and I were both feeling lazy. I seriously can't tell if he's sound or not, never can. But he's got to stay in work to keep the weight off, we both do!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thanks Limo!

So Saturday I had to get up early and get to the barn so I could ride before Lester got his new shoes. Laura and Ronnie, my farrier didn't think I could do it, but I proved them both wrong by showing up at around 9AM. Ronnie always calls when he gets to our exit and when I didn't answer he said he had some choice words for me and thought I was still in bed sleeping. But he had to eat his words when he pulled up and saw my Honda:-) I was on Lester when he arrived and that is why I did not pick up my phone. We did walk, trot and CANTER again, both directions. No spooking, no fighting just working. The horse I know and love is back!

I first lunged him in the side reins. It takes him a little while to get "moving".

Here you can see him just barely picking up his feets- can't blame him, it was still early for me too;-) just plotting along.





Even though he's trotting at the pace of a fast snail he very willingly goes into the canter with just my voice.


Now Limo comes into "play"
Usually Limo won't chase the horses anymore so I don't know what got into her?? Note the mutant to the right of the photo...



After he settles down and realizes it's just Limo, he gives me this :-)























Friday, November 30, 2007

Last Christmas

Last year my mom made me this awesome dressage lampshade. She's VERY creative! It goes great with the wine holder that a friend from work made me - all out of Lester's shoes, side clips and all!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Lil Dressage Pony

I was VERY pleased with Lester yesterday, he was so willing and was a joy to ride. It's rides like that that just make my whole lil world. I lunged him with the sidereins before I got on, I think it really helps him get in the mood and also allows me to see how he's moving that day. When ever I am leading him to the mounting block he almost always trys to grab the reins and suck on them- somehow that tells me it's going to be a good day, like he's not as tense about things.
I had a little surprise for him yesterday and put sugar cubes in my pocket:-) He got one after he was tacked up and first set up to lunge, then after lunging and again right after I mounted. I made sure to give it to him on his right side asking him to stretch which he had no qualms about! Anything for some sugar! We were still warming up at the walk and I had to laugh when when he just stopped and turned his head to the right wanting another sugar cube.
We did walk, trot and canter. Lovely canter, felt very fluid and loose. No spooking and no running off. Good Dressage Pony. A lil friend told me to lunge him in sidereins because we were having troubles, man was she right:-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Future looks bright

Can you tell I'm really reaching for catchy titles:-p Really it just goes with the photo. Less and I have really had our ups and downs (riding wise) this past month. Several times I had this thought while I was on him - "I'm never going to get on you again, this is it!" Now let me explain why in the world I would say something like that. Less and I have been owned by each other for almost 12 years now! It's been the roller coaster of relationships- It's been a give and take all the way- I give him food and he takes it :-D But seriously it hasn't been easy, it took a good 2 years before I really felt any love or connection with him. That was mostly due to the fact I lost my beloved first horse, Moose around that time, but still it took a while for us to connect.
I'd never been "thrown" from a horse until Lester. He's thrown me 5 times or more, which I guess isn't too bad in the scheme of things, but man I just don't want to hit that hard ground ever again.
The last couple of times I got on him he was so fussy and he's always been stiff on his right side, but he really opposed to me turning him on the right rein. He would rip the reins out of my hands, toss his head and just protest. So I would try to supple and loosen him up by doing lateral work and all that resulted in was more fussing, jigging and just building up nervous energy- the kind of energy that feels like it's going to turn into an explosion of bucking and rearing any minute. Not so nice feeling.
He put on the lbs. again, I would be interested to know how much he weighs now :-x. I even called him the Pigman a few times this month, hmm maybe that is what made him so grumpy?
So you see, not riding or not working him is just not an option. So last week I bit him up and lunged him with side reins. I've lunged him every time this way before getting on him and it has helped alot. We only walked yesterday because it was getting dark, but he was willing and was pretty soft in the mouth and didn't once get fussy or grab the reins out of my hands so for me it was an enjoyable ride...

Monday, November 12, 2007

6 months and counting!

It has been exactly 6 months to the day that Lester had his colic surgery... time sure flys!

I thought I would put together a remix of video and photos to show some of our journey...
Lester has come such a long way.

The first trot scene was shot the night before he coliced. Doesn't even begin to give any hint to what lay ahead the next morning.

My sister said it best in her comments- "Happy 1/2 birthday Lester"!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

How do you eat a Reese's?

In the spirit of Halloween last week I gave Lester his favorite treat, a Reese's peanut-butter cup.
Please don't tell his vet ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's Fall

Isn't he handsome? :-) And to think it's only been 5 months since I almost lost him? :-( I still can't believe how lucky we are and have been. Since Lester's surgery I have had 2 online friends lose their horses to a similar colics:-( It's just such an unpredictable sickness. I know he could colic any day, any time, as he's at a higher risk to do so now, but I am so thankful for the time we've been given back, no matter how long. I really try to let the little things go now and just enjoy him. Unfortunately he thought he was "retired" and resents the little work I ask him to do :-p But he and I are both out of shape and getting fat and that just can't happen. So I gave him a wake up call and reminded him that he can still be a fancy dressage pony. In my plight to decided whether to keep riding him or not I've allowed him into a bad habit of stopping before we get to a turn, and boy did he catch on to that quick! I really didn't want him to do a lot of circles and he agreed:-p
Now it wouldn't be Lester if he didn't try and eat the tree, right? He's not the best "subject" when it comes to taking photo's outside of his stall- too many things he could eat and he gets distracted easily. But I did manage to snap a few good ones before he went looking for food...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chiropractor Visit....

Last week I had the chiropractor/ massage/ saddler fitter lady, Vicky out to see Lester. He's been really stiff lately and not a whole lot of fun to be on so I thought it was time for another adjustment, and I also thought he was probably "out of whack" from having surgery, but no, he wasn't sore in any of the places one might think he'd be... but he was of course sore and stiff in his right shoulder. This time she used the tool you see to the right, something about moxa and burning it and then rubbing it on any sore spots. Man, Lester loved it! Totally relaxed, rested a foot, head low and basically falling a sleep.... she adjusted his shoulder, poll, jaw but that was all that needed to be done. I wish I had brought my camera, I've always wanted to get a video of the whole chiro thing. She also suggested that I put a heating pad on his lower back and hip area for about 20 mins prior to riding, to get that part of him really loosened up and maybe he will be more keen on using himself back there. Right now he throws most of his weight into that right shoulder:-/

Friday, October 5, 2007

We Cantered:-)

Anyone that knows Less' history knows what a big feat that is, colic surgery or not! Less has a bad right stifle. Apparently he was born with an indention on the tibia that over the course of his life has rubbed all the cartilage away, leaving the joint to be bone on bone:-( He was always NQR in the hind end and until 2 years ago we were never able to pin point it. The joint has been injected twice with that big "H" word I can't remember and a steroid. The first injection gave us 3 solid months of sound work, we were "back"! But slowly his NQRness began to show up again. The tripping, the "losing" of his hind end and being very short on the right front. 2nd injection I "used" up slower and did less with him hoping it would last longer, but it didn't really.
I'm lucky that Lester puts up with me. I go through phases in my riding where I want to be completely done to- no we aren't done, we can still do this. Bottom line now is I just try to appreciate him more than ever and that includes asking for a little work out of him;-)
I have gone back and forth on "what" should I ask him to do for years now- let him putz around and walk, trot, canter how ever he pleases? Well that ended up in a lot of just unprepared spooks, not to mention I felt like I was on top of a brick. This lead to less riding and spending less time with him...which in turn made him take out the extra time and energy on his herd mates.
So after his surgery and NOT being able to ride him for an unknown amount of time, of course being told I couldn't, I couldn't wait to get back on him. I thought it was going to be 4 months, but it turned out to only be 2.
The first 2 months we only walked. Gradually I asked him for more of an engaged walk and lateral work to see what he could still do and build up his back end to help support his stifle. I also put back boots on him, in a way I kinda think it helps him "know" where and what his back end is doing. He rarely "loses" his hind end now, he is more likely to do so or trip when he's doing a free walk or airplane nose trot.
OH soooooooooooo back to last night's canter... I hadn't been on him in over a week due to him needing shoes, and he had a teary eye a couple of nights so he was feeling pretty good. I can tell he's bored with the same walk and little trot routine. He felt lose and fluid so I asked for the canter and he picked it up very nicely to the left, stayed very well behaved and controlled. We did about 3 20 meter canter circles to the left and then walked and trotted a little right and asked for the same. The canter depart to the right wasn't as nice as the left, but we got there and managed to canter a couple of circles. The whole time cantering I kept waiting for him to lose his hind end, but he didn't! He felt like a little TB ticking time bomb, but he was very good as I know he really did just want to explode. After that he really wanted to strut his stuff, but I called it a day.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A True Auburn Fan...

If you read Lester's guestbook you would have seen that Dr. Hanson invited Lester to a football game a few weeks ago ;-) due to Lester's busy schedule he was unable to attend...but he would have loved the crowd and "field" I'm sure.

The UDbb SE Get Together- Sept. 15, 2007

I was so excited about the trotting we did that I forgot to post about the UDbb gathering.
Warning: Events posted on this blog may not always be in the order they happened!

My friend Rhonda from the UDbb took this photo (I just love it!) when some of the BBer's came out to meet the famous Mr. Lester:-) He of course didn't disappoint with his trick:-p

Lester being mobbed by his fan club:-) Everyone trying to get a piece of him.

It's great having a gathering of "horse people" because you can put them to work;-)

And here is the whole group that par took in the gathering...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TB Moments

TB moments...Lester had a few last week. A "TB moment" is the act of when a horse "checks out" of their own mind and freaks out/ spooks over "nothing". The "nothing" can be anything from a ferocious squirrel to an unmoving object like a plastic bag (OK, ok they are a bit scary when they do in fact "move"), rock, newly painted fence, etc.
The pic you see to your left has captured a TB moment. He's spooking at the trees. Gotta love him.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ttttttttt-rot





just a few views I liked from the video....




It's been 4 months and 4 days since his surgery. I don't think he could look any better?:-) We have started to trot a little here and there. I think he had a lovely trot yesterday.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Facebook and the FunWall

I drew Lester on a http://www.facebook.com/ application today. :-) It's not easy to draw with a mouse! If you have facebook and want to see it be drawn then look me up on facebook and I'll add ya as a friend! I for sure took the long, hard route on it, just like I do everything!
OK, just finished up a Limo too, wanted to see if I could do something other than a horse or greyhound:-)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Feets!

It was that time again for Lester to get some new shoes! And he got a "smiley" from his farrier, Ronnie, see! Gosh that is an ugly smiley face, but he was perfect as always. Held his feet nicely, picked them up before Ronnie got to them, stood like a statue while all the forging and grinding was going on (he gets special shoes- beveled and rolled toes!) I even pulled his mane while all this was going on.
I didn't learn any new words from Ronnie today, but he did say he likes that green stuff, guacamole, though he said it like "gackamalee"
Oh and every time I said "You're so handsome" to Lester, Ronnie would thank me and say, "I know, I hear that a lot":-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Walk this way...

Feel free to critique in the comments section below. I need all the help I can get as I don't have an instructor. But please note I am aware of my hideous hands and arms :-x, that I'm leaning back too much sometimes, that I lean awkwardly at times. Be sure to watch or skip to the end for the half decent shoulder in :-)

Well after reading the lyrics for that Aerosmith Song (Walk this way) I guess it really isn't fitting for a post title, but it still sounds good:-) Less has been under saddle for a month and a half now! Still just walking, but he's really built up a lot of muscle again with just walking and the lateral work we have been doing. I think he feels better about his stifle as well because he's not spooky nor tripping! I've been having a blast with him lately! There is SO much you can do and accomplish at the walk for both you and your horse.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Got UlcerGard?

Lester sporting an UlcerGard mustache :-) I never fail to give him one!

UlcerGard does the equine body good! ;-)

I keep the UG in the fridge and let him chase it down with a carrot which is also in the fridge. Gosh, it really looks like I'm jamming the tube in there doesn't it?

Note: No one was harmed during this UG administering session

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Win photo misprint...

This "real" win photo shows who actually came in second to Lester:-) Thanks to a tip in my email this morning...






(this photo has not been tampered with! Right Bob?)


Note to Bob: While you were at it couldn't you have at least made the purse size a lot bigger;-)

Monday, August 20, 2007

What do John Henry and Lester have in common?


Lester


(John in 1985)
John Henry
But that is basically where the similarities end. John Henry is a famous racehorse with winnings of over $6 million that is known to be ornery and "mean"(though I have seen lots of sweet pics of John). Lester aka Little Bit Wet only won one of his 7 races for a total winnings of a little over $4k:-) and he is VERY sweet and easy going. Lester also takes any medicines I have to give him like a real champ where as there our stories of having to trick, lasso and flat out give up on some days when it comes to giving John his meds.

I enjoyed this article from 2003 about John Henry recovering from his colic- http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=17141

Raspilla...10 year reunion

Raspilla was my sister, Jen's first (technically 2nd) horse. Our dad bought her from an auction in 1989 for just a little over $1000. Jen and Raspilla did hunter/ jumpers and then moved to dressage shortly before we moved to Georgia. Raspilla was diagnosed with navicular disease shortly after we moved to GA in 1993 and the decision was made to retire her, she was about 9 or 10 years old. To make a LONG story short she was given to our vet's wife, then was sold without her knowledge, then was sold 1 or 2 more times after that. Jen lost track of her and hadn't seen her in over 10 years. But due to the power of the Internet she tracked her down in Kentucky! We recently made a trip to see her...

The "Jenbot 1000" (Matt came up with that one ;-) rarely shows emotion, but when she saw Raspilla, now known as Penny, she must have had a malfunction because she actually teared up...





It was good to see Raspberry Pillow (what I always called her) again and in such good condition. She looked very happy and is very much loved by her new family.
Not all "older" horses get to live out their lives like this, too often they are just sent from home to home and usually end up at an auction where they are bought buy a kill buyer.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Turn on the haunches...

One small sideways step for Lester, one giant supple horse for me:-) Gosh its amazing what a little lateral work will do. Lester has been under saddle again for about a month now. We still only walk, but I'm starting to ask a little more out of him with going on the bit and adding a small hill here and there. He felt so wonderful last night! Don't worry, I won't over do it. Less is more, right?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Worming Device...from anonymous

Worming Device...hmmm, looks more like a torture device! But one of our readers sent me the following link to this contraption.
http://www.horse.com/products/sku-BCA62.html
While I appreciate the gesture I don't think I'll be forking over the $14 for this thing. First of all, Lester IS not the problem. I'm the spastic one. He doesn't like it but, aside from hitting me in the head that one day he is very good about being wormed, buted or getting his UlcerGard. Secondly he is VERY willing to accept a bit in his mouth. I don't even have to put my finger in his mouth to get him to take it. I just hold up the bridle for him. If I bought the worming device I think that would change very quickly!
I must admit however it is a very clever looking device. And if you can easily get it on the horse each time I bet it's worth the money!
Thanks for the tip anonymous reader!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What does UlcerGard taste like?

Believe it or not I do have the answer to that. You would have thought I had learned my lesson with the GastroGard. Even though it SMELLS like cinnamon, it does not taste as yummy like a cinnamon roll or coffee cake would. Now if you were to pop open a jar of straight cinnamon and lick some then that is what UG tastes like, it is an awful, bitter taste and I feel guilty for making Lester consume it daily.


Why did I taste it again you ask Well it was indirectly. I swear I get worse and worse at administering this stuff . Yesterday I ended up missing Less' mouth entirely and squirting the whole daily dose on the ground.


There it sat, all $7.50 worth of UG, I tried scraping it up with a cookie, but he just looked at me funny.


So I gave Less another dose, this time getting most of it IN him. Then for some reason I licked my finger and that is how I know that UG tastes as awful as GG. It is the same stuff after all, just packaged differently- one is for treatment and the other is maintenance/ preventative.
Moral of this story is things don't always taste as good as they smell...