An amazing thing happens sometimes if you force yourself to take care of another living creature. It becomes very difficult for most normal, caring people not to get attached. You become invested in the outcome of that creature. So it has been with December. My last week has been a blur of taking care of her while simulanteously preparing for our last show of the season with Tax.
The good news is that she's still hanging in there. She still seems to be in good spirits and while there seemed to be a small set back when I first got her home where she seemed worse now I think I'm seeing some positive changes. She's out in our large pasture grazing usually from 5 AM until about 5PM. I bring her in at night and she's getting about 15 lbs of senior pellets and I'm working toward 20lbs to see if she'll eat all of them. I've slowly phased out hay completely. I'm also mixing about 2 quarts of dry beet pulp, 2 cups of rice bran, a handful of flax seeds, a handful of salt, and a handful of sugar and soaking it all in water for about 30 minutes. She gets that at night with her pellets. I've started her on a round of sand clear, and wormed her with Panacur. We'll do ivermectin too in a week. I'm also keeping a blanket on her to help with the cold. She's drinking most of a 70 quart bucket of water per day. At least 3/4 most days. I'm going to have her teeth checked again to see if she needs a float. Maybe that's why she wasn't doing good with the hay.
Yesterday I noticed a couple of things that make me happy. She grazed further from the barn then I've ever seen her. As I was bringing out her beet pulp she started heading for the barn as she does every evening when she sees me. This time because she was further away I beat her there and she came trotting in the last few hundred feet. This is the first time I've seen her trot in a week. I sat outside her stall as the light slowly lowered and watched her eat. She raised her head, alert every time she heard the kids playing up by the house and I giggled as the wet rice bran slid off her chin.
She really is a good horse in many ways. When I gave her the wormer she just dropped her head and let me squirt it in her mouth. She's not any kind of drama about it. She always seems happy to see me and comes running up. She was like that even before I leased her out and she was in a pasture with two other horses. I'm sure it's just because I usually have something good to eat but I appreciate not having to chase her down in my 8 acre field. She's very tolerant of the kids and dogs (unless she's eating, she's been weird about food) and my dumb dogs crawl all around her legs when I'm working in the barn. She was very good with the lesson kids at the place that was leasing her.
I hate to say it but hopefully this was just a feed management issue. I'm taking pics and hopefully soon I'll have before and after shots to post. She looks pretty bad still so I want to wait until there's some noticeable improvement. I'm hoping I can get her fixed all up and find a good home that will appreciate and take care of her.
The horse show went really well. Tax was an awesome boy all day even though we got some high winds. Ponies were dumping kids left and right and we had more than a usual number of falls. My friend, Alyson, who manages the barn at my neighbor's house has never shown before. I like how she rides Tax and offered to let her take him in some of the walk/trot classes if she wanted to. By the time we got there and got ready she only got to do a quick warm up and then it was into the arena for her class. In her very first class she got a 3rd in walk/tot Equitation out of about 15 riders! As the places were being annouced a pony started bucking, threw her kid and crashed into Tax. He never even batted an eyelash.
I got a 5th in my walk/trot Under Saddle class and I showed in my first canter class. We've been working so hard on it. We broke to a trot once and I think the judge saw it so we got a third out of three but my trainer said it was the best she's ever seen me ride so I was perfectly happy with that. We also did the trotting allowed crossbars with the goal of just trotting at a consistent pace for the whole course. Tax was so good and didn't try to rush any of the fences. I felt so much more relaxed than last time. We didn't place but we're slowly but surely creating the type of horse I wanted to own. He was so mellow the whole day that I even let my 15 year old niece walk him back to the trailer to untack him on her own while I went to close out my paperwork and get my ribbons.
We're going to start working at cantering over fences now that I feel strong enough to keep him from rushing or pulling on me. I can't wait for next year!
Oh and I almost forgot... My mom came this time so I actually have pics of me showing my horse. I'll get some up soon. My mom is the cutest thing ever. On Sunday she came by to give me some magazines she bought because they had articles on exercises for teaching green H/J to jump and on weight management for winter. She does pay attention when I'm venting even if she's not a horse person!