Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dewey's CSU Adventure

Dewey had been having some minor discharge from his nostrils for a week or two, and so we had Dr. Landes with Equine Medical Services come out to check on Dewey, especially after he had some head shaking at a horse show.  When examined, we found Dewey had some swelling in his face, just below his right eye.  That combined with the head shaking and nasal discharge merited taking some xrays so we could get radiographs and see what exactly was going on in his head!

When we looked at home, it appeared that Dewey had a soft tissue mass in his maxillary sinus.  Unfortunately, that's not something we could fix at home in the field, so a few days later we were off to CSU to have a few more radiographs done and a likely sinus surgery.  Because of how a horse's face is designed, there's not a good way to remove something like that without going in through the side of the face.

Once we got to CSU and I had given them the background information about Dewey they took him into the radiology room for some more views of his face.

The first couple images showed inflammation in his sinus, called sinusitis.  We knew he had an irritated sinus, but what we didn't know was the cause of the inflammation.  The vets were suspicious of a tooth root being involved, but they didn't want to go in for surgery to clean out the sinus and leave a tooth root problem.  We would have just been back again for another surgery if it wasn't all addressed in the first one.

The veterinarians ended up consulting with a specialist who was working from home that day, who recommended they put a splint in Dewey's mouth to offset the lower jaw from the roof of his mouth, then take a picture of the side of his face.  Fortunately, this gave us the view we really needed.  You can see in this photo that there is a crack in the facial crest, just to the right of the mouse cursor.

Seeing this broken facial bone gave us the information we needed!  In this situation the best way to treat the problem was benign neglect.  This meant we put Dewey on pain medicine and some antibiotics, and hope the sinusitis cleared up on its own while the bone heals.  So no surgery at CSU for Little Dew!

Dewey is now finished with his antibiotics and seems to be feeling much better.  I'm so grateful we were able to get good radiographs to tell us that he had either been clobbered in the face by his friends while playing, or he may have turned his head too fast and clocked himself on a fence post.  It's a rare occasion when I get to leave the CSU veterinary teaching hospital with a couple hundred dollar invoice rather than the multiple thousands it would have cost me to have surgery done on him.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Raven and Rain at the Saddle Club

This weekend we were at the Rockie Mountain Saddle Club show with Rain and Raven.  I was volunteering as ring steward to keep the show moving in a timely manner, so after we did some lunging Raven was left to stand at the trailer.  She initially reared with kicking and screaming, having a general temper tantrum as she was left behind with only a hay bag for company when Rain left to go warm up.  However, my Bit of Honey Crew had strict instructions to ignore her completely unless she untied herself, in which case they were to come get me.  Otherwise she could have as much of a tantrum as she liked, and then when she got tired of it she could eat her hay bag like a civilized creature.  Ignoring her worked quite nicely.  She eventually got bored when her antics received no attention and she gave up.

Jasi rode Rain and did a great job with her.  If given a choice Rain always defaults to her left lead at the canter, but Jasi was able to get her to pick up her right lead most of the time when required.  They did equitation (judged on Jasi), show hack (judged on the horse collecting and extending gaits), controlled riding (a longer pattern class), and hunter hack (two jumps).

It was definitely a fun day with friends!

Big thank you as always to Kimberly Hale Photography for the stunning photos, and to Sara for being an amazing groom. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cross Country Round at Moqui Meadows

Today the owners of the facility generously offered schooling rounds at the cross country course at Moqui Meadows, in Johnstown, CO.  I was fortunate to be able to bring Highboy, and I signed him up for the beginner novice division.  We got there a little early so that I would have time to walk the course since neither I nor Highboy have ever been here before.  I walked it twice to make sure I had it down, and there were only one or two things that I thought might be difficult for Highboy.  It's worth noting that he has a history of pretending he's NEVER seen fences before when jumping in a new place.  We had a few jumps that were decorated or styled in a way that he's never seen before as well.

It was really hot, when I turned on my phone to upload a photo of Highboy watching the other horses' jumping rounds the weather app said it was 99! 

We were parked in an area where even standing tied at the trailer Highboy could see the other horses galloping, jumping, going into the water complex, and coming through the finish flags.  He looks very attentive in this photo of him at the trailer, and he genuinely was this interested in watching the entire time we were there.  It didn't take long at all before he had figured out that we were going to go cross country jumping, and he was REALLY eager to get to it.  

Once I got him tacked up and into the warmup he did an initial lap walking around trying to sample all the grass and alfalfa plants available.  He was quite pleased to be touring the salad bar.  When I set him into a trot, though, he was super eager to be DOING something!  There was some squirreling around, kicking and bucking, but it was all in youthful exuberance not actually intending to be bad.  There were a couple comments from other riders warming up that he looked big and fancy.  I make a note of these comments because there have been significant chunks of my time with him when I didn't think anyone would EVER call him fancy. 

He could have been a little more forward and straight to the warmup fences, with a little less "touchdown party" on the landing side, but Highboy thought they were small and boring and was trying to entertain himself.  When the warmup steward told us we had five minutes until we started, I swear Highboy understood what she had said.  He proceeded to mosey over to the gate where we would exit the warmup and walk to the start box.  I tried to get him back into the warmup for one more walking lap but he was having none of it, he wanted to GET GOING!  Finally they gave us the ok to head over to the start box and we made our way across the little field.

When the gate person had counted us down from ten Highboy happily made his way out onto the course.  He sprang into action and eagerly ate up the short gallops between fences.  There was no bucking or wiggling, he was very serious about this job.  I praised him after each successful jumping effort and I swear he puffed up with pride a little more each time.  This horse LOVES his job.

We had a couple minor bobbles on course, one with a fence that was bigger than he has seen previously which I skipped (ok per today's rules), and he stumbled pretty hard when he landed after jumping up the bank due to a missed distance on the approach.  A good recovery though, because I was sitting back enough to rebalance him.  Other than those two spots, he was eager and excited to be out doing his job.  He made some very dramatic angles look easy, jumped the ditch and through the water.  He even leapt over a jump decorated as a brick wall, which has stumped him in the past on other courses.  Highboy ended the round feeling confident and happy.  That's my main goal for schooling like this over terrain and a course he's never seen before.  I was pretty proud of him. 

We were both incredibly hot and sweaty after doing this in such heat.  Once I had him tied at the trailer I dunked my washcloth in his water bucket, then soaked my head with water and mopped my face and neck.  Highboy was puzzled about what I was doing since usually after cross country I wet HIM down.  He reached over and put his lips on the back of my neck as I hung my head upside down dripping water.  Then when it was his turn to be wet down and squeegeed he again nuzzled me with his horse lips when I reached just the right spot on his neck and chest.  He very clearly communicates that he's had fun and thanks for going with him.

I spent a little time visiting with friends who had also come to the schooling rounds today while Highboy dried off.  Then we loaded up and made the trip home, tired, hot, and happy.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dressage Saturday

This weekend we were back in Longmont for the dressage show at Triple Creek.  We had six horse and rider pairs from Bit of Honey competing!  These shows are a great way to get experience in the competition scene in a friendly and welcoming environment.  There were some great rides, some mediocre rides, and some rides that needed improvement, but everyone went home with plans for what they were going to work on in anticipation of the next dressage show. 

I have to say that personally I was very proud of my barn, especially the way everyone supports one another.  I do enjoy coaching, but I also love going to a show knowing that all my riders will pitch in and help each other and I don't need to hover over horses or riders.  I'm of course right there if something were to go terribly awry, but for the most part I enjoyed a great day riding Highboy without needing to advise anyone because this group is independent and they all help each other.  It's a great crew we have from Bit of Honey, and I feel successful because no one needed me! 

Highboy and I had later ride times, so we hung out and cheered through the morning since he was bored at the horse trailer and wanted to watch the action.

Rosie had a lovely creme colored dressage saddle pad which set off her gleaming dapples very nicely.

Sara and Carol visiting while Dewey snacked.

Alice and I discussed the arena changes for making it larger in order to ride the higher level tests.

Sally and Lynn celebrating Rosie's well done first dressage test.

Linda giving my boots one last shine as I down Kim Hale's water.  I wouldn't look nearly as put together if it weren't for Linda's attention to detail.

Sara must be gesturing her dressage test - and she does it with a smile!

Highboy felt much more at home when one of the resident barn dogs decided to take a nap in the middle of the arena just like Mahzi does at home.  I'm always telling my riders that if they can ride their dressage test at home among the noisy "dogstacle" course, they can ride a dressage test anywhere.

Everyone had an interesting time in the indoor arena with the barn swallows.  Kim H. even caught one on camera in full flight, set against the backdrop of Highboy's legs trotting in white polo wraps.

Joyce was the first of us to ride.  She did western dressage on her gelding, Billy, and they made a good showing.  They got both leads and some nice comments from the dressage judge!

Shambhu and Carol were next.  They also did well in their walk/trot dressage test and of course photogenic Shambhu looked amazing after Jasi had given him a bath the day before to make his white mane and tail just sparkle.

Dewey did pretty well, but we're suspicious he needs another dental since he was tossing his head.  He's on the every four month schedule for dental work.  If ever there was an equine candidate for braces, Dewey would be it!  We're hopeful that keeping on top of his teeth now while he's young will make it so we can go much longer between dentals once he has all his adult teeth lined up right.

Sally and Rosie had a great first test, but Rosie was a little tired from the heat for her second test.  They did some walking around in the cross country field between tests and looked very much at home out in the open.  The highlight of their day was scoring a 9 on their free walk!

Beauty and Alice made a great showing for their first dressage show together.  Beauty is a little bit of a speed demon, but they are making good progress and went home with some good plans for what to work on next in lessons.

Highboy and I had the last rides of the day.  We rode the same tests as last time we were there, plus tried out First Level test 1.  Highboy had a really distracted warmup, but fortunately only had minimal bucking.  At one point I sent him into a good hand gallop to see if I could get him to think "forward" instead of slow and silly.

Highboy and I rode the 2'6" Prix Caprilli test again this week, and he scored 7s on all his jumping efforts.  Clearly the horse knows what he likes to do.  He did ride much better in his tests than he did in the warmup, and better in these tests than he ever has before.  We keep aiming for him to ride and behave at the show the way he does at home, and little by little we are getting there.  Lynn, who owns Triple Creek, made the comment that "Sooner or later you're going to get that horse broke, as much as you've been riding him this year!"  I hope she's right!

It was a great day for bays!  This is Rosie and Highboy touching noses, just moments before she squealed because he was being too forward. 

Highboy even was rocking his new browband that we got at the horse trial two weeks ago from Chameleon Browbands.

Big thank you as always to Kimberly Hale Photography for documenting our day, and to Jasi, Linda, Josie, and Barb for being rock star grooms and keeping everyone hydrated!