Sunday, August 27, 2017


This past week was the 3rd anniversary since losing Traveler, and this past weekend was Iron Mountain Jubilee where we took our final ride together.

Each year has brought on different events, and while I still remember every detail, every emotion of that weekend, I am able to get through the days easier.

2015 - Tesla and I hung back at home due to saddle issues. I was really not ready emotionally to go back anyway.
2016 - I took Prophecy to learn about ride camp and volunteer at IMJ for the weekend. He did great and took his first time ever in stride, learning about flashlights/headlamps, the vet checks, and the river. It felt good to be there again, someday I will ride it again.
2017 - I saved up for the last several months to be able to attend a Simple Equine Teaching clinic with Prophecy at a beautiful location, The Big Lonely, about 3hrs away.  After auditing a clinic for a day in April, I knew I had to get us both there to work with her.  I have been doing her virtual classrooms and couldn't wait to experience her in full force.

Such a pretty place - dusk arrival.

Morning hello

The view from his paddock spot looking out

All the questions I went into this past weekend with - are answered.  

Don't get me wrong, I have a ton more questions for Dee. There is never enough time to "finish" and so much more to learn! I cannot even begin to explain the experience and the amount of information learned from our group of 5 horses who were at such different points in life and human/horse relationships.  Working from sun-up to sundown, and late into some nights, and totally immersed...mentally exhausted from taking it all in but wanting to do more.  

I knew I needed to go.  I was on the brink of deciding to keep him or not and I needed Dee's honest assessment of us together to see if I was 'outmatched' or if there was a mental, emotional, or physical reason for the hindrance to our progress. I was afraid, and half expecting she was going to say he was all wrong for me, but little did I know how WRONG I was about that!

To sum it up - HE IS HERE TO STAY.  

He is my partner, my 'once in a lifetime' horse if I do right by him.  He is not lame. He has no physical issues in the hind end.
We found some things that needed addressing on him and me.  We found a saddle that doesn't hurt. We fixed my issues with sending him to the right. We will replace the bit that he has now informed me he hates.  

And we will move forward, together.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Step 2 continued

So we have addressed the hooves and are working on the saddle....

First, we had a short ride in the Duett Companion saddle to see how it felt to both of us... Friday eve it wasn't storming as I expected so we grabbed the saddle and headed to the round pen. No bridle, just a halter. I let him move a bit in the round pen without me, then he stood well for mounting from the block.  We had a few good steps, then ears went back, nose came around, crow hopping started.  Ok, then - no go.  I put it a little too forward, my bad.
We tried again on Sunday afternoon, Jen met us to ride with Silver and offer outside insight of the saddle fit (centering, etc).  He was none too thrilled about the whole idea, and I can't really say what we think about saddle fit yet. He was overall fussy and tense, and not appreciative of it riding down his neck on any type of downhill incline. The girth was too long, but the saddle replaced itself nicely as soon as we moved slightly uphill.  We stayed away from steep inclines and did just under 2 miles walking.  Twist was OK for me, didn't feel too wide at least, but that seat is way slicker than anything I am used to! lol  I'm going to take it with me to our SET clinic and see what more experienced saddle fitting folks think.  I've still got a Specialized Wide to try, and have an email sent to Desoto on a used Extra Wide that might work :P

post ride snap shot

Right Front

An update to the hooves, he was walking tons better on the gravel this weekend, and I used his Scoot Boots for riding to keep him comfy.  I have measured his hinds and know we will be keeping an eye out for Size 2 for when we get back into the swing of things.

In addition to the Murdoch Method videos (and hopefully getting a firm Sure Foot pad set in the future for both of us to use) I have been doing a ton of research and digging into other ways to address his pain, and my own questions/concerns.  I signed up for CRK Training Blog updates and have been watching a few of her series to help myself on balance and fear. Plus of course still doing our SET virtual classes and getting excited for our clinic this weekend! I will be totally out of range for a few days immersing myself in Dee's knowledge in the company of some good friends with green and long time horses in different stages of relationship and learning.

I obtained some new reading material from Dr. Renee Tucker to help me try and narrow down his pain and correct next steps, in addition to what I already have in process.  Some of the checks seem simple enough to see what I learn!  (aside from the book there are videos available to view on "how to" as well).

Scheduling conflicts are forcing the TTouch and Bemer appointment to be delayed, but I will definitely still be doing that with him!

All these things are complimentary and only can help me to understand him (and myself) more.

In other news... Saturday morning Asher & Doug graduated to their Black w/ White belts :)  There were 28 students getting their 1st degree Black Belt too....crazy!

Then Doug & I worked Saturday afternoon and finished the deck staining!  That is it for wood work this year.  Now we look for a new grill and clean up our outdoor table to put up there, and finally start the fire pit building for use this fall.  Next spring we will be adding the railing around it (the far side is a 3'+ drop to the ground where the slope goes!)

And would you believe schools starts Wednesday and I will have one in Third grade and one in Kindergarten?  They are both really excited for the start of school :)  Tonight is the open house to drop off all their supplies and see the classrooms.  Skyler has the same teacher Asher did.  The first month is going to be a bit nuts, as she cannot be in the after school program until she turns 5, so Doug & I will be shifting around schedules to pick them up and work from home the last few hours.
So, my horse schedule will be all wonky for a while longer it seems!  Eventually we will find a new routine between school, soccer and karate!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Step 2

Step 1 was hooves, Step 2 is moving on to saddle fit ...

Actually, we did a small repeat of step 1 and the farrier came back out to re-balance Prophecy's hooves on Saturday. We had some good discussions and we are still holding off on shoes for now (he really does not feel this is the way we need to go at this point).  Prophecy was more comfortable walking on the rocks (and is pasture sound for sure with his running about), though I have noticed he has been more difficult about his right front being handled and cleaned since just before the vet visit. This time he tested reactive to the farrier's hoof testers on the RF just forward of his "separation" but that sensitivity ended by the toe.  Still may have a bruise or abscess to be watching for.
 On Sunday I cleaned them again, and for which he was much more willing on the RF now...amazes me sometimes to see that quick a change.  Then I measured his back hooves and re-applied his Hoof Armor on all 4 - easy peasey this time!
We have a plan to keep him at 4 week trim cycles max, and see where we end up in regards to shoes.  The good thing being that his hooves are very healthy, so pulling shoes for winter should give him time to recover nicely if we end up there.

Then we moved on to Step 2... Back mapping (again) and a trial fit of a friend's Duett Companion she has for sale to see if it is wide enough (36cm). I sent all the info to Duett for suggestions -which they said looked good and to give it a test ride. I may also be building myself a 'gauge' of sorts to see about checking other saddles against it.  He has definitely trimmed down since the last time I measured, but doesn't change that broad shoulder of his!

Duet 36cm...lightly girthed.
I'm pretty resigned to the fact he needs an anatomical shaped girth due to the foward groove!

The Ghost is for sale, with a possible trade for which I am going to try out her saddle soon. We will get this figured out one day right?!

Waiting to hear on his TTouch & Bemer appointment, and now have back hoof measurements to send off for review to see what size might work there.

Traveling once again this week, so won't see him till Fri!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Step 1

While my last blog post started some very heated discussions, it has not deterred me from sharing!  People are entitled to their opinions, but folks need to understand: what works for one person may or may not work for another.  I got plenty of suggestions (and some reprimands/demands) as well as some interesting things to consider shared with me on FB and privately.

As we work our way through, I know that no improvement means move on to the next thing, but also don't change too many things at once.  He has been barefoot his entire life that I know of...He is not always ouchy on rocks (summer seems to be doing it with the change in wet/dry grass) so he gets the chance to be like a 'mustang' and condition his foot with a little help.
I am aware and accept the fact he still may not make an endurance horse.  He has a love to go and be on trail, but we will have to see what his body does.  I owe him the work and time to strengthen his back and find the best fitting saddle we can within budget, rather than toss him to next person. Not only that, I want to. I have invested so much in him <not talking $ here> and we have come so far to just let it go...
I am on the great saddle hunt again, but already have several prospects and suggestions to look into...without going completely custom.
My ghost is up for sale, tho not advertised online yet as I have a few interested in it that privately contacted me.

Step 1, the Hoof Armor came in and I put it on 8/3.  Not too bad a learning curve on the trigger (comes out fast) and Prophecy while not happy about his right front being handled at all, relaxed when he felt the armor warm up as I spread it around.

I find this snip-it in one of the articles I read hits home on horse soles and human feet - good comparison to what they feel.

Imagine walking across the kind of sharp stones commonly found in
driveways with thick soled boots. Now, imagine walking (or actually try it)
with only your socks on. I guess what you would do in the latter case is try
not to put your weight on your tender feet. If you did come down hard it
might hurt and it may damage the sole of your foot.

While I was doing the application on the hooves he got to stand with the BOT back pad... of course we also took time for scratches before & after.  He really didn't want me to put away the pad and got an extra 5min by nosing it when I was trying to fold it up.

A 2nd trim is scheduled for end of this week to work on the balance. I'll have to reapply the hoof armor afterward, and then when the farrier returns for the normal cycle we will see if shoes are the next step.

Other tools to be implemented and in the works:
TTouch & Bemer Therapy (Bobbie Jo found me a rep!) - Already working on a date for us to get him started.
Murdoch Method - been watching videos and tips. Attended a webinar on Sure Foot pads (which can also help me and this darn ankle!).  She is also kind of local and is doing various lessons and clinics nearby throughout the fall I will check into.
Backing practice (uphills and along fence-lines - we were kind of already doing it but not consistently).

Take off!

I visited on Sunday morning and cleaned his feet, took a few hoof pictures and somehow forgot to measure his hind feet for boots again!  He got lots of scratches with grooming and time with the BOT pad.  As soon as I put it on, he started yawning and licking and chewing, I'm sure it feels good! He got a little antsy at the end, when I turned him out discovered the why  - he had to pee!  Then he took off through the field, and came trotting back to me after a drink.  So I decided to play and took off jogging and he came right along behind.
He was the only one out in the field, so he called a few times to his buddies but in general doesn't get too riled up and goes back to grazing after quickly. His buddy Willi is on the dry lot next to him until the evening when they are together.

A few videos of our fun:

When I realized he wanted to be with me so I started playing around

Sorry for bobble selfie-cam try at it!

So now I have a crazy schedule, as tonight was the first PTO meeting for the year (even though school starts the 23rd, we/the board have some things to discuss!); the normal weekday madness with camps, and me travelling to Charlotte down & back for a day for work ... I won't get to visit the goof till the weekend it appears!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A new path

I am really amazed by the support from friends - many I have never met in person!  Lots of suggestions to take in and sort through from those who have been there before, with same struggles or just slightly similar - tons of tidbits of information shared, and it not only could help me but maybe someone else as well who is struggling with that gut feeling something is NQR but can't put a finger on it.

There is a lot to consider for the future of Prophecy & me... that is just it, it isn't about the now. I want a decade horse, LD or endurance level doesn't matter really, just one that happily and healthily goes down the trail with me - granted I'd prefer we ditch the race brain part, but that may never happen! lol 
Don't get me wrong - I love to ride.  I will get my fix in somehow, but not on him before having a saddle that works again.

I don't give up easily.  While I know I may just keep peeling an onion, I will keep pressing forward with the simple fixes that I can until he tells me to do otherwise or we have resolution.  While I can't dole out endless funds in treatments and tools, I can give him time to heal; he has come such a long way in the year I've had him - physically and mentally.  We still have our challenges, but I'm hoping we can overcome them together. He knows I'm listening, that I'm looking out for his best interest. I cannot put my goals above his welfare.  It will only create resentment and pain for both of us.  

For now my plan is:
1. Try and toughen up his soles.  Shoes with pads may be the quick fix, and we may still end up there, but I can give him a month or two using Hoof Armor or the like to help him out.  He has good feet otherwise now that we have eliminated the WLD if we keep up the trims.
2. Look into hind hoof boots - they are not quite as round as the fronts, and generally don't flare which can be easier to fit.  Scoots may not be the answer yet until they release slims.  He definitely is not as ouchy on the back feet, but I can look into all around protection for when we ride again if we stay out of shoes. I'm lucky to have gotten the Scoots from Dave in AU and I love how easy they are to use.
3. Sell the Ghost ... try out other (more) treed saddles.  Gosh I hate to sell this saddle - so comfortable and secure even as a treeless...but I will do what I need to.  And the thought of the saddle hunt again on this horse, ack!
4. Get instructions/lessons on ground work exercises to help his back. And under saddle when we get back to that point.
5. Get him on a regular massage and magna wave schedule with Sarah.  
6. Keep hunting for a Bemer Blanket nearby to try - Thanks to Bobbie Jo L this may be figured out!  I also should use his BOT pad more often, despite the heat outside. He enjoys it, let it do its thing!
7. More Osteopath work?  

It's a start, and I have to start somewhere.  The whole thing is overwhelming at times as you could go an infinite number of directions. Everyone has an opinion on what I should do, and that is OK - I'm happy to hear them out and take them into consideration. In the end, it is up to me & Prophecy to figure out our path.

Thank you for reading along... I will continue to update our progress as we navigate our way through and see how things develop; hoping that 2018 will be our year!