Saturday, May 27, 2017

Oh Casey

So this title, much like my interactions with my horse today, can be read in two ways. The first way is a tone of disappointment, as in "Oh Casey..." The second way is a tone of excitement, "Oh Casey!"
I love her, but she drives me crazy
This morning I was feeling incredibly bored. I've been stuck at home because of my illness for the past three days and was itching to go to the barn. So before my husband could wake up to dissuade me, I got dressed and headed out to see my horse.
Yay! We got to see each other finally!
I tell people that I can't leave my horse alone for more than a day, and there's a reason for that. Every single time I miss more than one day in a row of going out to the barn, Casey injures herself. It's like clockwork. When I arrived, I pulled her out of her paddock, let her roll in the arena quickly, and then examined her for the injury I suspected existed. I was right. She had re-sliced open her front leg with her back hoof. Luckily at this point I'm a pro at treating this particular injury, so I filled a bucket with a mixture of betadine and water and sponged off the wound. It was a clean slice. Not too deep and not really swollen, so I wasn't super worried about it. I mean, it sucks, I'm sure it is painful, but I've dealt with this a bunch of times at this point and know when I need to call the vet and when it just needs time to heal. This was a just-needs-time kind of injury so I decided to ride anyways and just see how she was.
The wound
And boy oh boy was I glad I made the call to ride. For the first time since her suspensory ligament injury occurred, Casey felt sound at the trot. Her strides were long and even on both sides, she was relaxed and listening to me, and she just felt fabulous. It's such a relief to feel such a difference in her movement, because for a while there it seemed like there was no change at all.
Sound at the trot! Light off fireworks and break out champagne!

We did 10-7-10, with a little bit of a walk break within the 7 minutes of trotting. During our walk work I was having Casey focus on leg yielding and bending in a circle. She's really getting the hang of this whole leg yielding thing. I give her a nudge with my foot and she moves right off it. Crazy how that works, huh? I'd like to eventually start incorporating leg yielding into our trot work, but right now we aren't trotting for long enough to really get into that.
Walk work
Trot work just makes for better photos
Our trot work consisted of mostly keeping the trot balanced and not letting Casey get rush-y. We did some bending circles, but still can't do a lot of circling (until vet clears it). At one point Casey indicated that she wanted to go into the canter and I was oh-so-tempted, but didn't let her as the vet hasn't approved that yet either (although he probably would have if not for the unfortunate scrape which messed up the last vet visit).
Stepping under herself more
Bending a tad at the trot
Casey really felt fabulous. I think that tomorrow we will bump up to 10-10-10 and I will see how she does with that.
She was feeling great
After the ride I tried to get Casey to eat some watermelon (because I have a bunch in my fridge right now), and she was not having it. She wouldn't even nibble it! So I ended up just giving her horse cookies and eating the watermelon myself. Then I sprayed down her wound with some Tea-Pro and put her "jammies" (the blue ridiculous Sleezy/leg-wrap combo I made) so that she wouldn't reopen her cut. Oh horses...
Casey vs watermelon
What do you think about this bonnet color? I really can't decide...

DIY Horse Treats (Poptarts, Macarons, Croissants, & Donuts)

I've been having a case of Instagram envy of all of the adorable treats people have been buying from Slews Chews and Snaks 5th Avenchew. Who wouldn't want to feed their ponies tiny cookies, cupcakes, and donuts? That being said, I'm not a big fan of the price tag. I usually give Casey apples, carrots, and the cheap kind of horse cookies, so shelling out about $10 for six horse donuts doesn't appeal to me. Of course, baking them myself sounded highly entertaining and I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients on hand, so that's what I did today!
Cute Instagram-worthy horse treats
This recipe is a modification of Nicole Equestrian's recipe. Check out her Youtube channel for other cool horse things!

Treat Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 dashes cinnamon
1 whole apple (any kind)
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup water

Icing/Topping Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
Water
Sprinkles
Crushed peppermint candies
The ingredients

Treat Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Oven at 325 degrees
2. Mix flour and cinnamon together in a bowl
3. Grate the apple (I didn't use the core). Then put the apple bits in a paper towel and squeeze to remove juices.
4. Add the grated apple, peanut butter, and water to the bowl. Start with 1/2 cup of water and if the dough is too dry add more. You want the dough to not be sticky, but it also has to be able to hold together. If you accidentally make it too sticky, just add more flour.
Horse treat dough
5. Use the dough to make the types of treats you want:
Pop-tarts - Roll out dough flat, then cut out rectangles/squares. For each rectangle, use a fork to make divets on each side so that it will look like a real Pop-tart.
Horse pop-tart step 1
Horse pop-tart step 2
Pre-baking horse pop-tart
Donuts - Roll the dough between your hands until you get a long "snake" of dough. Loop the ends around and pinch at the seam so that they stay attached.
Horse donut
Macarons - Roll little balls of dough, then use the fork to create divets on the sides. Then mush the ball so that it is flatter. The fork-created divets will look like the raised side of a macaron.
Horse macaron
Croissant - Roll out dough flat, then cut out long skinny triangles. At the base of the triangle cut out a tiny triangle (so that the ends will pop out and curve), then roll the dough. Once the dough is rolled, curve the edges of the "croissant" in towards each other.
Horse croissant cut-out shape
Pre-baking horse croissant

6. Bake for 20-30 minutes (check at 20 minutes to determine how much more time is needed). Treats should be firm to the touch and golden brown in coloration.

Icing Directions
1. Put about a cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Slowly add water (a very tiny amount at a time). If the mixture is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add more water.
2. Stir powdered sugar and water together until desired consistency is met. It should be able to run off the spoon, but slowly.
3. Spoon the icing into a ziplock baggie.
Icing in ziplock bag

Decor Directions
1. Let the treats cool until they are no longer hot to the touch.
2. Cut the tip of the ziplock baggie that contains the icing. Squeeze the icing unto the treats in the design that you desire.
3. After adding the icing, you can add sprinkles or crushed peppermint candies to the top of the treat.
Crushed peppermint candy and rainbow sprinkles

Storage directions: Store these treats in a ziplock bag or in a Tupperware container. Keep out of extreme temperatures. Use within a week (although you could freeze them to make them last longer).
Pre-baking horse treats

Note: This recipe can be adapted based on your and your horse's needs and likes. For instance, my horse hates peppermint, so I really only used it to show you that it could be done (plus my dog LOVES peppermints). You could sub carrots instead of apples, or get rid of the fresh fruits and vegetables altogether. If you have peanut butter allergies, you could use molasses. If you don't want to feed your horse sugar, skip the icing and sprinkles. You could also add in oats! Feel free to mess with the recipe and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
These treats are also dog-safe!
Eden approves!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Recap of All The Chaos

My apologies that it's been so long since my last post. Life has been absolutely crazy for the past couple of weeks, so the blog got put on the back burner for a bit. I only have three more weeks until summer vacation and so am scrambling to get everything done before then. Plus, I keep getting more and more riding students since the weather is getting so nice. I love it, but also want to die.
A summer weather bonus - shiny summer coat reappearing!
On top of normal life things, both Casey and I have had weird injuries/illnesses that have been messing up our routine. I've had an off-and-on weird illness that combined painful breathing and nausea which got diagnosed yesterday as a mild case of pneumonia (most likely - doctor was a bit stumped honestly). I'm finally on antibiotics and hopefully will get better soon, but in the meantime have to take a bit of time off from the barn.
The only thing I asked my Trainer to do when I'm sick and can't come out - "Please let Casey out to roll"
Casey did something to herself and ended up with a huge scrape over her stifle, causing her to go dead lame in that leg for a solid week. Of course that happened the day before the vet came out to check on her leg that has the suspensory ligament injury... So instead of getting any feedback about that injury instead we had to look at the stupid scrape. Vet thinks that she probably slipped in her paddock. Such a stupid mare sometimes...
This scrape made her dead lame for a week
She also got this nice gem of a scrape on her face
The treatment plan for the scrape was to handwalk her for a week before resuming our prior physical therapy plan. This did not go well for me as it was more like a horrible game of lead rope tug-of-war rather than actually walking around the arena. She would buck, kick at me, try to take off, and do anything besides walk normally. It was awful, but eventually ended and we resumed our prior physical therapy plan.
Trying to avoid getting murdered by my horse
Don't believe her calm-looking face, she was evil
We also did a lot of hosing of the scrape
Would you want to handwalk this hell-demon?
At this point, Casey and I have progressed past the 10-5-10 plan and now have upped the trot to 7 minutes. This seems to be going well. Casey's not taking any more OMG-the-horse-is-falling-out-from-under-me steps and seems to be mostly sound. The only sign of her injury is that she is stiffer than normal and doesn't seem as willing to step underneath herself. This next week we will hopefully be upping the trot to 10 minutes in a day, but since I'm currently couch-ridden and on crazy drugs I don't know if that will actually happen.
Uninjured back leg extension
Injured back leg extended. Can you see the difference?
Vet will be coming out again on June 5th and so at that point he will finally be able to evaluate her injured leg (knock on literally all wood surfaces here in the hopes that mare won't find some new way to maul herself before then). I'm hoping that he says we can up our work to 10-15-10 and start to incorporate some canter work into our rides. There is also the potential that he will inject Casey's hocks at that point. Right now I have her on Polyglycan which is an inject-able joint supplement, but she's had her hocks injected before and so I'm thinking I'd rather do that, seeing as it is a more targeted treatment.
She's looking happier now!
I'll do a better job at keeping up with this blog, I promise! Luckily, my life should theoretically mellow out now and my hobbies will get a lot more of my attention and time :)
Life has to mellow out so I can spend more time with this ditzy mare!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Stressing

Yesterday I went out to hack Casey, and to be honest, I'm started to get stressed about her healing process. We are now a month and a half into the recovery process, and it seems like the first 3-4 weeks there were massive improvements, but now we are plateauing.
I have so many walking photos now...

I'm a nerd and so made a line graph to show the progress of her leg. She really improved in the first two weeks being on paddock rest. Then 3rd & 4th weeks we were able to walk for 30 minutes at a time and she was starting to feel like she was getting back to normal. At the beginning of Week 5, she decided to be stupid and rear and throw a temper tantrum, making her much more lame again and since then she has been improving, but much more slowly.

Right now we are in the 10-5-10 routine (10 minutes walking, 5 minutes trotting, 10 minutes walking) and it seems like some days she's ok-ish, but other days, like yesterday, she feels pretty lame. She will take these really awkward steps where her back end seems to collapse a bit and then it takes a few strides to recover. I'm not sure if this is due to her being on Ace, if it is due to her being so on the forehand (since we can't circle, I'm having trouble correcting this), or if it is due to her leg hurting her. Or it could be a combination of all of these factors.
More walking..

At this point, we only have a few days until the vet comes back out for a re-check and I'm really worried about what he might say. I'm not really sure what is the right level of healing for the amount of time that has passed. Casey is still obviously injured, which makes me think that maybe she's not healing fast or well enough. If she's not doing well enough then I'm worried we'll have to backtrack in her physical therapy plan. Ugh, it makes me really worried, but there is nothing that I or anybody else can do about it. I'm stressing big-time...
She's looking really cute, albeit a tad chubby

On the plus side, all of this physical therapy time means that Casey is now awesome at leg yielding, listening to voice commands, bending, and responding to super light rein pressure. Maybe all of this will carry over into the trot and canter (once we are able to do that again)?
Snuggles with my girl
She tried Twizzlers. Was not a fan.