a learning show ~ 3 of 4

Every show presents itself with learning opportunities that don't come up, until they do. I know I learned a lot at this show, altho I wasn't showing. I can see obvious differences in the show ring, nuances not as much. All I can say is, it's complicated and I still don't know half of it. Unless I immerse myself, that's not likely to change. Altho, I make a pretty good show mom *^*

Brad learned a lot from his time in and outside the ring. It wasn't his best show, especially in Ranch Riding. I know it's frustrating for him, to be so busy that he can't get enough hardly any lesson or practice riding time. He knew this when he committed to four shows this season. But still, I hope they can improve their riding together before the last big show rolls around. Regardless, he had some success at this show in other areas - and more importantly enjoyed his time with his sweet girl Cierra!! 

Together they earned 1 point in AQHA Amateur Ranch Trail (1st out of 8) and 3 points in Ranch Conformation (two 1st, two 2nd, out of 5 in Amateur & 6 in Open).

This show was last weekend, and already seems like a long time ago. That is where photos come in! Enjoy a few of my favorite dynamic duo getting ready for Conformation classes...

I wasn't going to share this one, because Brad looks like he is scowling. Frequently. 
Not exactly the look I try to capture,
but I love that they are both looking away.
He said, and I quote "that's just me". I know that, but viewers don't.

Here it is regardless, my scowly faced love with his beautiful girl!

My favorite of the few photos I took.
Can you see the love?


build-a-barn ~ summer update

Summer is flying by so quickly, it was Spring last time I did a barn update. We've made progress on a few more areas. In June, Brad graded the center aisle and got everything ready for more flooring. 

He also finished up the remaining tongue & groove walls on the storage side. In July, they poured the rest of the barn aisle, wheel barrel full by wheel barrel...in a sideways rain thunderstorm no less! They had to build a make shift tent entryway to get the job done. Poor guys came home soaked to the bone. They work so hard!!

Next up was the front, human, office room floor...you know "that room". Well that room, now has a name! We are calling it "the saloon" !!! Brad came up with the name, and it fits. Everyone that stops by seems to congregate in the general area. Remember that wheel table we bought at fair? It's going to fit perfect in the saloon! Who knows, maybe we'll even play some cards on it. What I do know is it will be a break area for us, a place to warm up or cool down. 

we poured colored concrete
(our son is in the background filling up the wheel barrel)

stamps & floor area had a non-stick spray applied,
then stamps were strategically placed,
and pounded to make an impression
(Brad's doing the pounding)
the saloon floor has to cure,
before having a contrast stain applied
to bring out the wood grain & then sealed.

By the end of July, Brad started framing rooms one by one...

mechanical & bathroom walls went up first

saloon on left, bathroom on right
mechanical behind bathroom

The barn interior is starting to take shape! Brad more or less finished rough framing all the rooms in early August. The tack room might still get a topper. The photo below is where we are at right now.

(L-R) Saloon, Bathroom, Wash Stall,
Feed Room/Misc Storage (door goes to storage side) and Tack Room

We've come so far, and yet there is soooo much left to do...


View other Build-a-Barn posts to date.


miraculous recovery

The first five days were long. They included a lot of worry, x-rays, tourniquets, antibiotic infusions, long hours, multiple shots of antibiotics multiple times a day, and more worry.

The following ten days would reveal the general outcome of Koda's accident. If he recovered quickly, he would most likely be completely rideable again. The longer the puncture wound was problematic, the less likely he would be rideable. 

At the end of the five days he got switched to oral antibiotics twice a day, and our trainer began changing his bandage every other day. It is really hard not being able to completely take care of my boy! But I have to trust, and let others help. It's part of life. I remember the day I learned that hard lesson as a young adult. 

Brad & Koda
We also tag-team hand walked Koda twice a day. I would walk him once, and our trainer did a second time. Around 30-40 minutes each. Walk a little, graze a little, walk a little more, graze a lot more. The latter part of our walks were spent mostly grazing. It kept Koda from going crazy. He had a couple days, where the cool breeze and running horses created excess energy, but he managed to keep it together. The last few days Brad helped, and we walked Koda together. My arm is soooo sore, even little tugs on a lead hurt. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Orthopedics, to face reality. 

the many colors of Koda
Yesterday was our ten day follow-up. We got miraculous news! Koda got cleared for turn-out!! *surprise* The punctured part of the wound is closed, and his leg can now be exposed to fresh air during the day. The influx of antibiotics has held off infection, a main concern. Late afternoon it will get cleaned, and have a topical antibiotic ointment light wrap applied overnight. If his x-rays are good at an upcoming four week appointment, he will be cleared to ride!! 

I truly believe the hand walking made the difference. We did way more then they asked us to do (5-10 minutes of walking once a day) without over doing it. That's where the grazing came in. What difference does it make if he is standing in his stall, or in a lawn? A lot if you ask Koda, for different reasons. Mobility is key with a healing tendon shield, to keep scar tissue from restricting movement. I think we accomplished that. 

my beloved guys
One more week to go....so far it's been a miraculous recovery, in half the expected time. 


a horse who cares

In the midst of all the recent accident drama, something very special happened. It is the main reason I love horses so much. Their innate inner ability to connect, moves me to no end.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know Nemo is Brad's heart horse - and really cares when Brad rides any horse other then him. Especially Cierra. Even a non-horse person can see it in Nemo's demeanor. It is really obvious, and we've gotten lots of comments over the years. Nemo will watch Brad intently if out in the field, or pouts in his stall. The barn staff comments on how they can tell when Brad rides Cierra, because on those days Nemo "trashes" his stall. Because of Nemo's allergies, showing Cierra, and our building madness - Brad has been riding him less then usual. 

Sunday was the first time in a week Brad was able to ride, of course he choose Cierra. They have a show coming up in a couple weeks! Nemo went to the back of his stall and hung his head, poor guy. He is still on half day turnout, and has been left home for trail rides. I think Nemo is feeling left out.

While Brad rode Cierra, I hand walked Koda & grazed him. It's only been a week, but I already miss riding. Thought I would see how things went with the big guy. Last time I rode Nemo, was the last time Koda was lame. It's been a while.

I hauled all my tack in, and opened up Nemo's stall. He lifted his head and gave me a look as if to say "me? your taking me?" awww, it was so sweet! Before I let him out, I told Nemo he was going to have to be really really nice to me because of my arm. He can be a handful when he is convinced something is wrong. Nemo is an extremely sensitive horse, a feather could move him over. Nah - actually, make that a thought. 

Nemo stood like a rock as I tacked him up the best I could. We headed out to the arena, once again stood like a rock at the mounting block. He doesn't always, most times it requires "discussion". We proceeded to ride, eventually Nemo offered the softest smoothest trot ever. From the first ask, to the last step. He always has a smooth trot, but this - this was him being extra gracious and careful. Melted my heart. I think he was very thankful to be included, even if it wasn't Brad riding him. He got lots of hugs, which he doesn't always want from me. That day he did. He had such soft eyes our whole time together. We hand grazed, I tucked him in his stall and thanked him for being so kind.

The very next day I was at the barn to take care of Koda. Before I left I stopped out in the field to say hi to Cierra & Nemo. They both trotted over when I called them. When I got inside the gate, Nemo positioned himself between us and got after Cierra. He didn't want her to come by me. Apparently our ride together meant something to him :) He doesn't get to tell me who I can pet and when, he has to share the love. But still, who doesn't love a horse who cares.


sometimes things just happen ~ part 2 of 2

For those who missed it: sometimes things just happen ~ part 1 of 2

The long trip back to the barn brought out all the emotions I had been holding in during the remainder of the ride, including tears. I felt so damn guilty, embarrassed for being kinda wimpy after the fall, and for bumming the ride out. I was just plain sad. 

The "if's" started ruminating...if only Koda hadn't gotten hurt, just think what a magical ride that could have been...if I had hit my head...if I had my chinks on, pretty sure I would have stuck that jump...if only I hadn't worn those jeans. I knew they were slickery, the thought even crossed my mind that morning. Why don't I listen to myself? They are thin, and it was hot so I wore them anyways. Big mistake. Every thought circled back to Koda. I knew he was hurt the moment I saw him standing on top of that ledge, and it was all my fault. I put him in that precarious position. He willingly did what I asked, and look what happened.

the group waiting to cross
host is in the water getting ready to step down
off the "waterfall" ledge on her appy,
  where Koda slipped

riding together, after the accident
(L-R) Koda, a 2 year old mare,
 her brother Prince who is 3, the hosts two horses,
and an 8 year old riding her mare Dixie

We arrived to the barn in the evening, hoping our trainer was home. As always, she was there for us. Her 30 plus years of horse knowledge, was comforting advice. I so appreciate her! She loves our horses too, and if they can't live with us there is no one we would rather they live with. It's the only way we've made it through these in-between years of not having our horses live with us.

We had wrapped Koda's right front to trailer him home. He became instantly lame from the pressure. When we unwrapped him, and took a closer look we could see a puncture wound on his front right in the pastern area. Our trainer was concerned about the angle of the wound. His back leg injury was minor, a surface scrape on the front of his foot. We agreed to give him a low dose of penicillin, and call the vet in the morning. We tucked the horses into their stalls, and headed back to our house. Once again, tears of sadness rolled down my face. My hubby tried to get me to see the bright side, all the good things that happened. But that's hard, when you are broken in more ways then one. I couldn't lift my arm, but my heart was much heavier.

First thing Monday morning our vet took my call, even tho it was his day off. He advised Koda be seen asap because of where the injury is located. One of the vets that works for him came out to evaluate Koda, and we agreed on a care plan. They probed the injury & took x-rays, started him on a series of antibiotics (and bute for pain) that including three days of leg infusions, and a lot of pokes. My poor boy was such a trooper!

This is how I found Koda on Monday morning.
Just about broke my heart, it's so not him.
I could barely get him up.
The x-rays confirmed, Koda had cut into his tendon sheath. No clue how he rode all those hours after the injury. Made me feel 10X worse, even tho he never showed lameness. For anyone who is not familiar, the tendon sheath runs from around the back of the knee to the bulb of the heal and supplies fluid for mobility. The vet was very clear, Koda may never be rideable again...I couldn't believe my ears...allll my dreams, riding with my boy up at our land...once again, I cried all the way home. I am usually not so blubbery, but this was hitting me hard. It goes without saying, but we decided we would do whatever we could to help Koda regardless of cost. If in the end he wasn't rideable, at least we would know we tried everything for our beloved irreplaceable boy.

It has been a long week of daily vet visits, non-stop worry, and painful sleep deprived nights. I finally went in Friday to get my arm looked at. My sweet doctor was so worried about me. I wouldn't come in earlier because the only appointments they could offer meant missing a vet appointment. That wasn't happening. If I had hit my head, or was bleeding I would have gone in right away. I had more important things to take care of, my horse. Xrays showed I didn't break anything, so I have an MRI scheduled next week. Likely rotator cuff, or ligament tear. Hopefully I don't have to have surgery!!

Much of Koda's riding outcome will depend on how the treatments take, and how quickly he returns to mobility. I am relieved to report, he has come around amazingly fast! So far any infection has been cleared, and five days later they are done poking him. He is on oral antibiotics now for 10 days, continuous leg wraps, and of course stall rest with daily hand walking. Sigh. Stall rest makes Koda crazy! Here we go again...at least this time the projection is 8 weeks (vs the last 10 month ordeal) and will include some Shockwave Therapy. I was forewarned as the wound closes he will become lame again. If things stay on course we can begin a mobility plan back to riding, after he passes his vet check in 10 days. Last time I did the riding rehab myself. Brad doesn't think I'll be able to, because of my damn shoulder. Grrr! I don't make a very good injured person. We will see...regardless, I am so very thankful!! For so many things! My wonderful horse network (includes you guys) and especially my husband. No clue how he puts up with me, but I'm sure glad he does.

We've talked about what happened to Koda many times, and the only logical explanation anyone can come up with (including two vets) based on injuries etc is he either stepped down off the ledge, slipped, cut his leg & then jumped -or- cut his leg while stepping down & jumped. I think it was the first scenario. It doesn't really matter. What really matters, is it appears we are both going to eventually be okay.


sometimes things just happen ~ part 1 of 2

As our second trail ride of the summer approached, I couldn't find any open trails within reasonable distance. All the State and County park trails were closed due to excessive rain. Just as we were about to cancel our plans, an opportunity to ride on private trails came up. It was further then we normally drive for day trips, but we agreed to meet up.

It took us longer then expected to get there. By the time we arrived, the group of 5 we were meeting were chomping at the bit to head out. We quickly tacked up and headed out, onto a road. I must add, I hate road riding! On a horse, on a bike, walking - doesn't matter. If I am not in my truck, I don't want to travel on any roads. Too many unsafe drivers. I was forewarned we had to cross a highway to get to the trails. The farm we were visiting is on a County Hwy. I assumed that was the road, it would be no big deal to cross. I was wrong. I had NO idea the road we had to cross was an extremely busy four lane highway *gulp* with a median strip, and speeding vehicles approaching from around blind curves on both sides! We stuck together, and made it across safely. 

It wasn't too much longer and we found ourselves on trails in an area of WI with terrain that had a hint of Colorado, especially the crystal clear long streams. It was stunning and beautiful, until it wasn't.

There were rock bed water crossing around every bend. We had only been riding in the woods around 15 minutes when the third water crossing we came upon had a wide waterfall type drop off (5"?) that you couldn't get around. Five riders before me navigated it just fine. They went across the low 1-2" stream, took one step down, crossed more stream, and back up onto the wooded path. The horses before me went one by one. Koda stopped at the top of the step down, and dropped his head to look. I gave a gentle encouraging bump with my legs, he did what I asked and stepped off...the rest, is nothing but a blur.

In a nano second I found my self vertical with the horn inches from my face. I tried to reach for it, but after a brief suspended moment realized "uh oh, I am going to fall". I slid 'er fell off to the right, into the stream. Landing hard onto the rock bed, shoulder first. I heard someone scream. I remember yelling whoa! Think Brad did too, and then called Koda. I instantly stood up and said "I am okay". I didn't hit my (helmet-less) head. There I was stunned, standing in a running stream with one sock foot, soaked from shoulder on down. My boot had fallen off to the left of Koda. I watched my petrified boy as he walked back up the drop off, to Cierra. Thank god Koda went to the left, or he would have crushed me. 

No one saw what happened, until we were mid air. The gal two horses in front of me heard scrambling, turned and saw Koda do what she called "a lippizanner jump". Brad was behind me working with Cierra in the stream, and looked up to see us in mid air. He thought I had it when Koda jumped. Me too. Clearly I didn't. I was completely stunned. What the hell just happened?? My shoulder hurt, but I hurt much worse for my horse. Who willingly did what I asked, and now his lower legs were cut up. Two of them were bleeding, one more then the other. 

Brad & I switched horses. He splashed cold clear water on Koda's legs. It took Brad a lot of coaxing to get Koda to step down that drop off again, this time in hand. He didn't appear lame, so we continue on with the group.

My heart was in my soggy boots. I wanted to go back, and be done with this ride - but I kept my mouth shut & sucked it up. We rode on for around 3 more hours. After a few more in hand water crossings, Koda was able to get his mind back and ride through them. I should have, and wanted to be the one to help Koda through this. But I was injured, and did what I felt was best for my horse. Brad rode him the rest of the ride.

Cierra took good care of my broken self. I was worried sick about Koda, the entire ride. We kept a close eye on him. He never showed any lameness. Brad & I rode side-by-side most of the remaining way. I love my hubby so much! Such a good guy, he knew I was hurting. Our friend also stuck nearby much of the ride, trying to cheer things up. Meanwhile the others loped their horses silly, back-n-forth. I will keep my opinion to myself for now on that subject. Especially considering we had young minds on the trail, both horse & human. I'll just say, to each his own.

I tried to enjoy the beauty that surrounded us, as I came to grips that things could have been much much worse. I am thankful to be alive. We made it back across the busy highway, to the trailer. Rinsed & wrapped Koda's right front and headed home. 

The trails we traveled on last Sunday are ridden frequently by area riders with permission from the farmers that own the combined acreage, including the rock bed stream. We rode just a tiny portion of these beautiful hidden trails. The prairie paths were mowed, the huge oak pastures had worn paths, and the beautiful wooded area trails were cleared. On hot days, the host said they ride the length of the winding varied stream. I would too. 

To this day, I cannot figure out what I could have done differently to prevent the accident (other then not fall). Am I that bad of a rider? I know I am not. I must have bad luck? I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but why is it always me?? Our trainer reassured me, sometimes things just happen. For no reason.

...to be continued...