Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

May went from due to impending in about 24 hours time.

She's bagged up, flaccid across the croup and pulling the strange nighttime behaviors that impending mares do.

Normally, I wouldn't be as worried, but it is my first production and its a large baby coming through.

It doesn't help that there's a tinge human drama surrounding the entire thing as well.

While I can hear the opinions of breeding a larger stallion to a small mare (I've been called inhumane to greedy to stupid this week), it was done purposefully and with consideration of the mare in mind.

I'm not going to defend my position here, and I'll let people think what they will think about the match. However, breeding large to small, small to large, or similar to similar is go guarantee on the outcome of the of the birth.

Complications occur in the very best and worst of facilities and with the best and worst of matches. A person can cite studies and experience until the cows have come home and been milked. But it boils down to this: birthing is a risky, not-for-faint-of-heart process. As my animal's steward, I signed on to that liability and knowingly took that chance.

Because of the risk, I authorized and went through the what ifs and possible scenarios, which were incredibly heartbreaking to do, but it needed to be done.

Truth is, I'm not in the right financial position to spend the amount of money it would need to take to do a cesarean. Nor do I want to. While cash plays an issue in it, it's not the entire issue. It comes down to what's fair. If May fails in labor, is in pain and there is no hope of getting out, then it's my job to end it.

It doesn't make me any less a horseman, nor human. I love the mare, and I care deeply for her, and the last thing I would want is to take away the quality of life that she would have otherwise.

Eventually we all come to this moment, we all hope that we never have to think about it.

But we have to. We have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It's all we can do.

So, I ask anyone out there, irregardless of denomination, to please keep us in your thoughts for a successful, undramatic, uncomplicated birth, a healthy, conformationally exceptional foal, a swift recovery and a stiff drink.

Here's to the best, and may it be the best.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Purple people eater

Greetings from Rolex!

Despite traveling the "great" distance of 20 miles or so to the Kentucky Horse Park, every year I go it feels like I've been transplanted very far from my backyard.

For the last two days I've played hooky from work, but for the last four, I've been working behind the scenes helping take care of the infamous four-star course. I was graciously volunteered for course planting and covering. To give you the scope of the course- it's (I believe) 25 jumping efforts with 5 or 6 complexes. 18 to 20 of those jumps have perennials which can wilt. Because of the bi-polar weather going from 50 to 30 and then from 40 to 70, the flowers needed to be covered every night.

Which took four to five hours. In the rain and cold.

It wasn't so bad. I enjoyed it and the company.

Rolex is also the one time out of the year where I loosen the wallet and shop for myself. This year's deals include a pair of Equissentials full seats (purple!) and 18 dollar stubben reins. My double bridle is complete, and we can start hacking out on it.

I also exposed the boy's mother to all things equestrian. I think she had a good time.

Aside from being distracted for three more days than I wanted, we went back to riding. Yesterday worked on three surfaces, and today we had a lesson. It was easy in comparison, but we worked on thoroughness, which for Sinari can be hard.

Bella also made her seasonal start today. Both biological and physically. She's into her second day after being off of work and on the ground. She's an interesting horse, with physically talented enough to do third level, but recalcitrant enough to be considered part cow. When she's on, she's really on and I think from the time off, she matured, but she, like Sinari is in raging heat. Which bites. So we deal for now.

May is in her final countdown, and bagging up. No veins yet, but getting there with a sagging croup and extended vulva. Still having trouble with S names. Added to the list: Synonym, or Synonymous. It will probably change by next week.

Otherwise, still cleaning up from the show, and it promises to be a very busy week for Derby.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Drowned rat

It poured buckets on Sunday. To the point where everything was under three inches of water. The footing sloppier, the horses and people drenched. They even had to move the judge to a truck because the tent was almost sideways and taking water at one point.

It was a miserable day and it was getting lots of company.

Sinari warmed up wonderfully in the indoor, round, fluid, bouncy, hot and ready to go. We walked out in a break, but by the time we hit the top of the hill, the weather opened up again and we were soaked to the core.

The game little mare was unhappy about the request, the mud, the sloppy footing and despite her internal grumblings, gave it her best when I asked. We bombed around the test, putting in some really fabulous moments (medium canter, collected canter) and some really bad moments (medium trot, couldn't show enough angle in the haunches in).

To get to the point we didn't get the score. We missed out by 2 points.

Ironically we still won. First prize was a towel, which I used to towel her off.

I'm still proud of her, and there will be other times.

But may will be a building month and a few other things, we'll resume in June.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moving on up

I haven't posted much lately because of my current schedule.

This week and weekend is show time. On top of that it's been a crazy schedule trying to get everything together.

My personal goal is to earn the second level scores for my bronze, and I'm half way to meeting that goal.

Despite schooling well all week, Sinari faced and still faces a bunch of hurdles and I faced more drama than usual from the peanut gallery.

The first being the footing.

Normally I don't complain about footing. It is what it is for the area. Most people around here don't do it correctly to begin with, let alone know how to take care of it. But this was beyond deep and unacceptable. It was riding in quicksand.

So I changed the plan. Instead of pulling out the stops and gunning down the test, I rode it as conservatively as possible. Especially around the S corner. It was just too deep to the point where I was worried about pulled suspensories.

The first score just broke 60 percent under a very tough, but fair judge. I saw where I was lacking and will make the improvement for it.

Second challenge being the weather. It went literally from 50 to 70 overnight. It sapped the poor pony of her energy and it was all I could do to keep her energy up and flowing throughout the day.

She pulled a good test, despite weather and footing.

Tomorrow looks better since they moved the arena and scraped the surface by one to two inches. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, people's issues will die down and life will move on.

20 something days until bundle of joy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

30 Days

According to the little ETA monitor at the bottom of the blog, we passed day 290.  We're now down to 28 days with drama ensuing. 

This week has particularly been busy at the barn. I finally got hay (a gorgeous 40 bales of second cutting grass), 10 bags of feed, vet visits, farrier visits and cleaning out my ultra-dirty show trunk for the upcoming weekend. I still need to clean all my tack, pay some bills (with now non-existent cash) and get the rest of my gear cleaned up and organized. 

My schedule hit a high gear as well. I have no less than three articles due out, a few press releases and web updates. Since I've been slightly neglectful of my Director duties, I put that in to gear as well, searching for sponsors and getting the breed organization to participate. On top of it, it was time for PT, and I was very in need of it. 

But at least Sinari was organized...

Sinari pulled consistent rides throughout the week, and with the new added energy of McCauley's Finisher 14, it's like riding a rocket pony again. She pulled a clean run through of second two on Wednesday, it's just about cleaning the details up at this point. Prior to this week we were working on developing steady extended trot, cleaning up the changes and slowing down the half pass. 

May however is a different story, I get the call on Saturday she's not eating or showing interest in her grain after the last rounds of shots. It doesn't mean she's completely off feed, still loves the hay and grass. Still shows normal behavior too. 

This is my first broodmare and thankfully, isn't a maiden. Otherwise both of us would be on a ship with no course. Thinking it was a reaction to the last couple of shots, I called a few friends in the industry up (there are perks to living in Kentucky) and confirmed this is normal, just as long as she doesn't completely go off food and start signs of distress. 

I have a feeling that this baby is going to be running on time, which from watching mares in my short experience, is like the IRS sending your return back a day later. 

Speaking of... I need to send that in. 

And the weather has been horrible. Between rain and gale winds, I'm surprised we're not in Oz at the moment. It crashed a few computers and shorted out a number of systems the other day, and I spent the majority of my Saturday chowing on Easter chocolate trying to fix a website. 

Today, probably the final lesson before the show, doing a massive load of laundry (and ironing) and generally packing up. My house needs cleaning, my budget needs re-organization and I need a Martini. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Never bend better

After the hoopla of the truck settled down, it was back to business between uploads.

Coming back from three days off, we hit outside first. Namely, due to the impending rain that was forecast for the rest of the week. What started out as a simple conditioning run really turned into a mission of bend and send in extended canter.

And holy cow.

Different kinda work entirely. Even though she lasted only 60 yards, Sinari was out in something that would have earned 7's on the low end at 4th. The work is challenging at that tempo because the horse has to have the diaphram for it. After the initial 60 yards, I left the subject and went to the changes, she did two or three of them correctly, but she was becoming less straight as she was tiring.

Friday we went back to the arena, we worked more on the same concept, with micro pir's, canter on the spot and half pass. I ended up with the changes again, and I've come to realise that I've been pushing the issue with her, to the point where the poor pony is getting frustraited. Planning on backing off until after the show again so she can get her counter canter in order without frazzling it too much.

Saturday was lesson day, while Sinari grappled the bend very well, in addition to getting in and out of the half steps quickly-- she wasn't grappling the canter on the spot terribly well to the left. A temporary bubble. But she was on for everything else. It happens in training, one thing looks great the other stuff is occasionally left out.

Today, she had the day to herself (she worked hard), so I called up Poulin and shared our current successes and plans, I was really excited to learn he'll be in the area more and more frequently as resident trainer at one of the local farms. The price tag feels a bit steep though. I also got the KDA Camp flyer in the email box today, it looks tempting, three day intensive at a decent price, but with Poulin happening the same month, I'll probably opt out.

Tomorrow, barring severe weather, we'll be back again. Start running through the tests too.

May is due for her final round of shots and worming for everyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The iron pony

My truck came back from its near steamy end. The radiator ran around 400.


Ouch to the point where I dipped in to my wee meager savings to cover the purchase. Normally, the parentals would take care of that kind of purchase, but as of late, I've been taking on more and more of the financials so they can get out of my hair full time. The repairs don't stop there either. I have to send the truck back in two weeks for a U-joint replacement and seatbelts.

The other problem with this situation is it's becoming increasingly obvious that I have to start looking at new trucks within the coming year. Since I don't like loans for something that will eventually need to be replaced, I'm going to buy my truck outright, keeping the loan for the 'ideal horse trailer" (can we say living quarters?).

The boy reminded me that I need credit for that and a few other things.

So, it's on the list to do.

With the truck in the shop and my main alternative source of transportation slightly busy with the upcoming Triple Crown, my poor ponies were SOL. Not sure they minded too much, three day break (hard pressing a website through). But I had to cancel my Wednesday lesson for it.

I'm just wanting to get back to normal... now.