Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy??? Mouth

After spending a week on the Oregon coast and in Portland, I came home to find my Happy Mouth bit had arrived. It was pretty much my last ditch effort to find something that Jasper doesn't stick his tongue over the top of.


I actually stood there with my finger in his mouth holding it in place so he couldn't get his tongue over the top for at least 5 minutes. Realizing it was a battle I was not going to win I decided to go for a ride. Maybe he would figure it out.


Granted, I haven't ridden for a long time. Gave his knee time to heal and went on vacation. It was one of the worst rides I've ever had. He is usually light and responsive but today he put some weight into it. Chewing and crossing his jaw. Rooting. Tongue hanging out and waving in the wind. He was so concerned about the bit he forgot how to go forward and I actually had to use a crop.

So I'm wondering if these are signs that this is NOT the bit for him, or is he figuring out that it's not comfortable to have under his tongue? I'm thinking about tying the tops of the bit rings together with a piece of leather over his nose so he can't fit his tongue between the bit and the roof of his mouth. Also, I'm pretty sure the bit is too wide. Apparently a 5" mullen mouth is not the same thing as a 5" snaffle. Oh well, at least the insides of his lips aren't being squished into his teeth.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The bee's knees & Al's new life

Jasper got his groove back yesterday. It's pretty obvious when he's feeling better, he gets the (...ahem obnoxious) sparkle back in his eye. I borrowed an equine ice pack and iced his knee which had much better results than cold hosing. The swelling was already down and the ice pack took it down even more. I walked him up and down the driveway and he didn't appear to favor it at all, of course he was giving all of this attention to the horses in the outdoor arena so who knows if his brain was just completely distracted.

Every time I get the hose out Alexandre comes over and stares at me until I squirt him with water too. He usually starts off this way, then turns sideways so I can get his side then backwards so I can get his butt.

Alexandre's new life
Yesterday a whole pack of adults and kids came out (Alexandre's extended family) and started saddling up horses. I caught this image with my phone as they were heading out for a trail ride. If you would have told me 12 years ago that two little girls would be riding him double out on the trails someday I wouldn't have believed you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bad bad bad bad bad

horse owner.

Yesterday Jasper decided he didn't want to be caught. This happens every now and then, a flashback to the first two weeks after I brought him home and he wouldn't let anyone near him. He was in a pasture when I worked at the Ranch and the only way we could get our hands on him was to strategically position people throughout the pasture and keep him running until he decided he'd rather be part of the "herd" than to be exiled. Kind of reverse psychology, chasing him around with a halter and lead rope and cookies was useless. If he wanted to run away, we made him RUN AWAY.

It worked and he's hardly ever hard to catch anymore. Until yesterday. It didn't start off as a big deal, I entered his stall and he calmly turned around and trotted out into his giant paddock. Not wanting to play the game, I tied a rope across the opening in the fence that allows him into the smaller paddock area leading into his stall and swished the lunge whip around. Alexandre heard it and panicked (forgot about him being next door and being terrified of whips) and got all excited. Jasper bolted for his stall, picking up speed every stride and didn't see the rope until the last minute. He tried to stop and all I could see was a giant cloud of dust when he then decided to jump it. Luckily the rope was not tied tight and came undone, but not after pulling the fence post sideways. When the dust cleared my horse was standing on 3 legs.

Besides a few rope burns on his legs he didn't look too bad. He was limping horribly but putting weight on it. I gave him a couple grams of Bute and started cold hosing the hurt leg. I couldn't see the source of the pain until about 45 minutes later when his knee started swelling up.

Sigh. I called the vet and she said cold hosing/ice Bute was what to do. She's pretty sure it's a soft tissue injury and said to plan on taking care of it for the next week. If it got worse she'd come out and take xrays.

I drove up today and was really surprised to see he had two front legs. I thought he would have a leg and a tree trunk. The swollen knee looks almost exactly the same as when I left it yesterday. More cold hosing and Bute, although I didn't notice any difference after 20 mins. of cold water running over it.

I was planning on taking him for a x-country schooling on Thurs. Then possibly doing the XC/stadium/dressage clinic with Karen O'Neal on the 13th & 14th. And THEN possibly signing up for the Stanton Farm Horse Trials the 26th-28th. It's a "real" (USEA) event and the only one on this side of the mountains in Washington.

So now I don't know, even if it heals up in a week I don't know that we'd have enough time to get ready. The last time he did XC was last summer. The closing date for Stanton is the 9th and I'm sure not going to send an entry in if there's any chance he's seriously injured or in pain. I've never dealt with a knee injury although strangely the feeling I get from people is that it's not that big a deal since he's walking on it. We'll see.