a first for Hope

Our farrier appointments are scheduled every six weeks, before he leaves our place. Like clockwork. He is a good farrier and therefore a busy man. He has more work then wanted. It's hard to get on his schedule otherwise.

All horses get trimmed, in random order. This post baby visit, Cierra got trimmed at the usual spot. At the front of the barn, closest to his truck. Once again, she didn't mind being away from her baby. Hope on the other hand did mind and let us all know she felt left behind.

8 secs

I tried to calm Hope down, and it worked. Not a peep once I started scratching her.

14 secs

It was Hope's turn for a trim.

first trim at 10 weeks

being a big girl

picking hooves
(17 secs)

rasping after a trim
(9 secs)

Hope got her front feet trimmed. We didn't even try the back. She will also have them trimmed next visit. We need to do more work with holding her back legs up, so she won't resist and can figure out her balance.

Hope was such a good girl!


back at it

Padame attended her third AQHA show of the season. Her first show was practice riding only. They continued working on overcoming Padames fears in the ring. We did not attend, it was held earlier in the season in MN.

I wrote about their second show earlier this month. It went well and progress was made. Our trainer showed Padame and Brad rode her in the practice ring. 

Brad is back at it and showed Padame for the first time! 
The third show was on Fathers Day weekend. He has not shown for four years. Since 9/2019. He planned on showing Cierra one more year, but in 2020 the whole world shut down. She retired early.

I am very proud of Brad!! Showing is a hard thing to do. It is even more intimidating at big breed level venue's. Especially on a young horse. Changing horses is hard too. We raised Cierra, he knows her very very well. Brad is building a partnership with Padame. It takes longer when horses live elsewhere. It will be fun watching them develop into a team!

making friends with a guy from Iowa

waiting, waiting (and waiting) SO MUCH waiting!

Friday's pattern was challenging

Brad's showing debut with Padame
(2:15 mins)

This big three day show was well attended. 247 classes! Stalls in both pavilions at the venue were full. There were people, horses, dogs (ton's of dogs, many owners breaking rules and letting them run loose), e-bikes, golf carts, kids on hover boards with flashing lights etc. It was a horse show circus!

Ranch classes were still small, with multiple new faces. Brad's class had 7 entered. If you watch the video's, you will notice area's need work. She wants to go! Brakes need to be softened. Doesn't matter. What matters is that they did it!! Brad is really enjoying his new girl. She is a good horse, with looks to boot. He received many compliments on her throughout the show.

Our trainer showed Padame in two classes. Same pattern as above. The open level class had 5 entries. She was two of them. I learned two horses are the max you can show in the same class. Padame was also shown in the open Western Working Rail class, with 6 entires. They call out gaits, so no pattern. Brad opted not to show that class. Padame will eventually also be shown in open & amateur Ranch Trail. When she is ready.

Friday was a LONG day for everyone! Especially the horses. I left the show the minute Brad got done and made the 50-ish minute drive home to do evening chores. Hours late. I was thankful our horses at home still had hay and were not hangry.

Sunday was a different story. Padame started her pattern with our trainer (open classes went first). The big bad tractor that raked the arena started up just as Padame got to the end of the scary arena. She had to face what was now a moving tractor, just a few feet away. Padame got scared, and it kind of went down hill after that. Nothing terrible happened. Padame is young and basically shut down. She stopped listening to her riders. It wasn't as visible in her first class. 

Sunday's pattern was much easier

I missed the entry part of Brad's pattern because, um, I was chatting. Whoops! The video starts after the extended trot entry to end of the arena. It was a bit scary. I thought we might be in for a rodeo (which apparently happened during a practice ride) or Brad would stop the pattern and walk Padame out. Instead he finished the pattern, the way he felt was best for his horse. Good job Brad!

quieter part of the pattern
(2:33 mins)

Padame was scratched from her third and final class (Western Ranch Rail) after our trainer said "she is not receiving information". Instead of forcing a tired young scared horse to show, like so many would do. Or leave. She simply took Padame into the practice pen and went back to work. It took around an hour of riding for her mind to come back. Of course, we stayed too.

Alllll those gobs of show people had long packed up and gone home. The pavilions were empty. Only the devoted ranch riders packing up remained. No clue why Ranch is treated like a red headed step child. Always last on the show bill.

It was stifling hot. After a long exhausting show weekend, there was our trainer. On Fathers Day, still working late. Talk about one step forward and two steps back. She said "this is like the MN show all over again". She didn't want to leave Padame thinking, getting scared at a show = going home. She did what was right for the horse and we are thankful for her.

A fellow participant commented to me on Friday, that they were really glad Padame ended up with Brad. She continues to be about a year behind mentally & physically. She is more like a four year old and needs time to mature at her own pace. Whatever rate that may be. No doubt Padame will get there. When she does ~ they are going to be a show stopper!



changes with Hope

Our time with Hope continues to fly by quickly. She will be 11 weeks on Monday. I had to look at what I last shared about her. She was 6 weeks old, wow time flies! A few things have changed with her, but the majority is the same.

We have not registered her yet. I picked favored available names a long time ago, but Brad wants to wait until Hope is a bit older and 
sheds out. I am still trying to get him to change his mind about ownership! Hope should really be his filly, but I guess she is ours :)

Of course Hope has grown. She's gotten stronger and continues to be curious. She hasn't gotten any sweeter, because I don't think that is possible. She is very (very) sweet! We truly hoped the personality trait would get passed down, and it has. It doesn't happen with all off spring. Just like human kids. The filly that was bred the same and born the year after Cierra, didn't get the sweetness passed down from their parents. 

The second you stop giving Hope attention, she walks towards you asking for more. 
Hope just loves people, dogs, cats, being brushed, scratches and just about every interaction. Hope nickers when you walk into the barn and calls out at us across the pasture. 

little outdoor whinny
June 2 (7 secs)

heading to the paddock
June 7

One thing that has changed is Cierra has started lunging at Hope in the stall. She doesn't want to share hay. We put two separate piles in their stall in addition to the hay bag, but it doesn't really help. Cierra is a very hungry mama, and has become a bit of a diva. She also continues to drink water like it's going out of style. All normal things. We feed and water them throughout the day. Cierra may be drying up some and/or Hope is consuming more. Brad thinks we may have to wean Hope a little early. Either way, weaning day is coming up fast. Yikes!

familiar scene at 6-6:30am every day
June 7

Hope has been a bit more trying in hand. Just normal baby stuff. Can't blame her for wanting to run, especially with Tank. I can barely hang onto her when she decides to pull away, or go all hi-ho. It was happening more frequently. I decided it would be better for Hope if Brad was the outdoor handler for now. Don't want her to get into tug & war. I still interact plenty and do shorter leading with her. 

we dress fancy like
June 19 (1 min 21 sec)

The biggest change with Hope is allowing touch. She rarely pulls away when we reach across her neck and has become really good about haltering. Hope only wears her halter while being led. The best part is I can wrap my arms around her now and give her a hug :)

not as stocky as the first two photos make her look
June 11

Hope at 9 weeks
June 11

Hard to believe I only used my good camera once to take photos of Hope in five weeks (above). I do not enjoy taking photos of her in the paddock. Besides the ugly panel background, she follows me too close. Hope does get turned out in the indoor in the evening. I need to remember to bring my camera to the barn!

Sleeping Beauty
June 14

I woke her up, can you tell lol
June 14

We feel extremely fortunate to have this beautiful sweet girl in our lives <3


koda's lameness ~ 2 of 2

A continuation of this post. The care plan we agreed on to treat Koda's ongoing lameness included injections. Yes, plural. Three to be exact. One shot of RenoVo went into his straight sesamoidean ligament (ouch!) and the other two went near his navicular bone. Two shots on his right foot, and one on his left. Our vet didn't feel there would be any benefit on Koda's old left side injury.

RenoVO recruits self healing, similar to stem cells

No clue how Koda tolerated all the shots, but he did. While giving Koda his third shot our vet said "with all the pokes I've given you, you have every right to kick me. I would." Even sedated and numbed, shots in such a tender area are felt.

To make sure the injections went into the correct spot, ultrasound was used for the ligament and xrays for the navicular.

Koda's ligament tear is only .15 cm

Koda was to remain stalled the rest of the day. Before the vet left, he went to look at Hope. It is interesting watching the professionals size her up. They look at her from one angle, then another, then from behind etc. Their heads tilt and you can see their wheels turning. Our vet said "she is something special" :) I will be sharing a Hope update one of these days.

visiting Hope and Cierra

There is a difference of opinion on lameness recovery methods from the powers that be. The MRI vet is strictly about stall rest, and then a hand walking program. Our trainer is of the same school of thought. However, our vet feels stall rest is not always ideal. It makes horses crazy, and they do endless tight circles etc. He is not advocating letting horses run wild, instead he favors low key movement 

I agree with our vet. Stall rest is not automatically the best routine. We have done the stall rest/hand walking program with Koda before. I had a terrifying experience when he turned into a nut case, after a long stalled recovery period. Knowing the horses and living situation helps determine which recovery method may be best. A smaller paddock would be ideal.

We had the go ahead for Koda to be on a normal turnout routine starting the very next day. With reevaluation in 8-10 weeks. We were forewarned to expect Koda to be lame at first, maybe even worse. He was worse. It made me feel horrible. I thought "what have I done...". Koda kept putting his nose down by his right foot. My response "I know buddy. We gave you some shots, to try and help you. I am sorry..."

Koda was SO lame, there was no way I was turning him out. He wouldn't be able to walk to the pasture anyways. The indoor isn't far from his stall. With some encouragement, he hobbled to/from.

walking from arena, post day 1
(13 sec)

For the first time, Koda came over to me looking for comfort. Asking for a hug, with his big head resting on my shoulder. He has given me many horsey hugs over the years, but this felt different. Koda really is a sweet horse, when he isn't being a naughty little kid.

walking better
(11 sec)

It was encouraging to see Koda felt well enough to interact.

Leo sympathizing with Koda

I watched Koda hobble across the arena to play with the ball. He loves playing with it! I doubt we will ever be able to play soccer together again. Maybe.

(12 sec)

We kept Koda inside for a couple days with twice daily indoor turnout. Once he was walking better, the day came for turnout with Nemo and Harmony. It went well. Until it didn't.

While walking Cierra and Hope inside, the pasture shenanigans started. I watched helplessly as Koda turned, spun, kicked and ran...damn it!! We couldn't stop them (it wasn't all Nemo) until we had the other two inside. That was the first and last time Koda has been turned out with Nemo. 

Fast forward.

I wish we had good separate turnout options, but we don't. Yet. Brad is working on the area behind the arena, but it takes time. Cierra and Hope's paddock is only used in the morning. They also require a separate turnout space. In the afternoons, their paddock becomes a hot sweltering fly pestering area. The reason Cierra & Hope also come inside mid to late morning on most days.

We live on a land of sand and sunshine. There are pro's & con's with everything. We do the best we can, with what we have to offer.

Koda's current recovery routine is turnout in the morning with Harmony. He gets swapped out for Nemo mid to late morning. Koda goes into the indoor for a short time in the evening while we clean out his stall (again). We feel this care routine is in Koda's best interest. Certainly not ours. It is a PIA to swap out horses etc. Chores have become an off/on daylong activity. Every. Single. Day.

We continue to receive no rain. Our pastures and fields are yellow and dormant. We aren't dry, we are parched. Add the fire smog filled air and all our horses want to be inside. Which is unusual. 

Tomorrow will be two weeks post shots. Is Koda better? Hmmmmm. Good question. I wish I could say he was "magically better" but he isn't.

Sometimes Koda seems to walk better, other times he is the same lame horse. All in the same day, or even walk. RenoVO likely works miraculously for some injuries. However, my understanding is the straight sesamoidean ligament is difficult to heal. We have to give it more time. I will be curious to see what the reevaluation reveals.

No magic happening here.


koda's lameness ~ 1 of 2

Late April, I posted an update on the status of Koda's ongoing lameness. Blocking was done and the result warranted an MRI. We hauled Koda to a reputable equine hospital for the MRI on May 9th. It is about 1.5 hours away, via Interstate highway. It was a day long event. Thankfully our daughter covered evening chores.

I was very nervous the entire drive. Not knowing what to expect. Koda has not left our place since we brought our horses home in 2018. He is not used to being hauled alone and has never been anywhere without either Nemo or Cierra.

The trailer passed Leo's inspection.

Do you think they would notice this isn't Koda?

The equine hospital was new to us. We have heard good things. Friends have taken their horses to see the reputable head vet. I was very impressed with the whole place and overall experience. They are very efficient, friendly and helpful.

Koda loaded/unloaded and walked right into the barn and to his hospital stall. Like he did it every day. I asked the gal who greeted us if we could watch the MRI. She said no. It never hurts to ask! I thought perhaps there would be a viewing window. We took her offer to see the MRI room & machine before Koda's procedure. I didn't even think of snapping a photo, sorry. The MRI machine images I've found on the 'net are much smaller and different.

Walking through the tall double big white doors to view the MRI room felt very much like walking through doors into a human ER. We learned horses have to tolerate having a chest high stiff cushion sandwiched around their entire leg - and stand still for the MRI. The tech said some horses don't mind the restriction of the cushion, other's do. 

The whole 
evaluation/sedation/imaging process would take around 4 hours. We left Koda and went into the nearest town for lunch etc. Leaving my horse with complete strangers, was a weird feeling!

It was a Monday and a lot of places were not open. We found a great neighborhood feeling restaurant/bar, with a large menu and great food. I would love to go back some time (under different circumstances!) to enjoy their rooftop seating and soak up the waterfront vista with live music. 

We headed back to the clinic. I reclined in the truck and read my book for a whileI had not heard from the clinic and was getting worried. Their 5pm closing time was rapidly approaching. 

I couldn't stand it anymore and went inside to Koda's stall. It was empty. More waiting.

Meanwhile, all kinds of crazy thoughts swirled through my head. I took a peek at their educational waiting room:


The second time I went inside to see if I could find out what was going on, I found Koda back in his stall. Drugged up and still hooked to needle ports. Looking forlorn. The MRI tech saw me and came over by us. I asked her if everything went okay. She said Koda was very well behaved and made up for all his peeing. Apparently geldings pee a lot (from fluids) during the MRI process. I was asked to hold Koda's head up for a while after she pulled the needles.

At last, it was time to review the initial MRI results with the vet. A committed knowledgeable guy. He apologized for the delay. They had an emergency and had to put a horse down, and connect with the owner. Completely understandable.

I was a bit shell shocked when he said that Koda had a lot of things going on with both his feet. He rattled a bunch of medical speak off, pointing things out while morphing through imaging. He did explain the main concern in layman's terms. Most of what the vet said went over my head. 

He mentioned that Koda didn't particularly like standing in the cushions. They were able to get very good imaging on his right side, but by the time they got to his left side Koda had enough. The tech had trouble getting him to stand still long enough to get clear images. In the end, they did get enough left imaging for comparison.

We headed home and the MRI was sent off for an expert to read. Their report came back with 11 concerns listed on his right foot and 9 on the left. Several observations were listed as mild. I can only assume some are common for a horse his age (15).

notable right side imaging

It reminded me of something my mother used to say about medical testing "if they look, they will find something". I am not going to get into all the detailed MRI findings. The images cover the most relevant. Most revolve around early signs of navicular and
 arthritis, along with the past injury on his left.

notable left side imaging

I tried to be patient.

It was taking too long for our vet to get back to me with next steps. By the end of the following week, I couldn't stand it anymore and called. Not sure what the big delay was, but I was not amused. Not going to get into that either. Our vet apologized and has since redeemed himself. He is a busy guy and I am sure there was some phone tag involved. He is after all human.

Both vets concur that the current injury causing Koda to be lame is on his 
right side, a "straight sesamoidean ligament injury". Fairly uncommon. It is the dark purple ligament in the borrowed graphic below.

Stem Cell injection/s was mentioned as favorable treatment. I didn't even know they offered it for horses. I started researching and Brad asked our trainer for me. I wanted to know her experience with stem cell therapy. The horses she knew that had the treatment done "it worked like magic".

I also called the MRI vet to get his opinion. He shared some stories and basic treatment plan. He would call our vet again, and share his advice. It felt odd to be the monkey in the middle of two vets. MRI follow up and care goes to the original referring vet. I am so glad I called the equine hospital (and our vet was also) for their opinion. It shortened the whole process.

It turns out, the vet hospital no longer does stem cell treatments (some types are still available, but our vet has had problems with them). They use and recommend a product for treating lameness injuries called
RenoVO. It is an equine amniotic tissue allograft. They have used RenoVO for the past three years. I was told it has similar or better results than stem cell therapy, and the cost is significantly less. 

The vet's connected again. Our vet followed up with me right away. We agreed on a plan of action. To be continued...



Padame turns five

Brad's beautiful blondie turns 5 today! She is spending her birthday weekend at a horse show (Thur-Sun). We drove 2 plus hours north to watch her be shown in two classes yesterday. AQHA Ranch Riding Level 1 and Working Western Rail.

It was obvious to me that Brad's girl is growing up and has filled in since I last saw her. We walked up and I got handed Padame "can you hold her..." of course I said yes! I hardly get to interact with her. We stood in the sun together, enjoying each others company 
while she was drying. I could feel her sweetness come through. I noticed her mane was more multi colored than I remembered. Padame's sooty/dark palomino coat dried to a glisten. 

Brad had driven up the previous day and ridden Padame in the practice ring. He opted not to show her at this show. Brad has been so busy at work and hasn't been able to ride consistently. He always puts the horse first and didn't think it was fair. Brad will start showing her at the next show coming up later this month. Looking forward to seeing him show again!

Padame has struggled with a few things at past training shows. As all young horses do. I wrote about it earlier. Last year and at an earlier MN show this season (we did not go). 

Yesterday she was better about the judges, and also being alone in the ring. Our trainer was super happy with her improvements!! "This was the first show that Padame wasn't so scared that she couldn't receive information from me. She missed some cues, but last year at this show I had a horse that was scooting sideways and backing up". It appears Padame has turned a corner :) 

So many things have changed with AQHA Ranch showing since I last attended a show. It has been sooo long that I had to look it up. I love Blogger for this very reason! Apparently the last time I attended a horse show was in 2018, when Brad was still showing Cierra. Unreal! I didn't go to training shows last year, add the COVID gap and a transition year. The proof is in the post.

AQHA has added/changed Ranch classes and terminology, and guessing some rules too. I didn't dig into it that deep.

2023 Ranch Classes offered

It was sad to see how small the show has become this year. Some large group trainers have retired. Several others took their crews out of State, to a fancier show down south. In addition, they changed the show format. I heard some were not happy about it and did not attend.

Typically you show twice, once on two different days. This show was three days of one day classes. Showing once in front of four judges, on the same day. It's great if you are having a good day. Not so good if you are not. Personally, I like it ~ ha ha! Less back-n-forth. 

Ranch Riding Level 1 pattern

Ranch Riding Level 1
(2:56 min)

They came in last out of three, which is expected when schooling. Their score wasn't too bad. Four judges gave them 65.5/65/63.5/65.5 with two penalties. One was during a lead change and the other I think was a second right turn. Not sure what some abbreviations stand for. 

There were only two entries in the Working Western Rail class. The sequence is called out and there are placements (no scores). It is similar to Western Pleasure...I don't get it. Perhaps it was added so more people would be interested in showing Ranch.

Attendance should be higher for remaining shows. I learned that MN and WI are working together, their sanctioned show points qualify for both States.

Working Western Rail
(3:49 min)

I found out this morning that WI Quarter Horse shows have gone digital!! Whoot whoot! There is a company that enters show details (via scribes). Gone are the days of waiting around to take photos of score sheets and trying to decipher chicken scratches. As someone who used to do digital work for a living, WOW I was super impressed with their app!! This detail girl got so excited seeing all the scoring data mesh together! Brad thought I was totally ridiculous.

I almost skipped going to this show. It was another blazing hot day. I had errands and a zillion things to do. I am really glad I went! It wasn't too bad in the shade and it was so nice to see everyone. Especially Padame <3



Every turnout day is different for Cierra and Hope. So far between weekends/holidays/staycation days/our daughters help, we have managed to turn them out every morning. Brad frequently comes home from work mid-day (when he can) to help bring the duo inside. It is tempting for one person to lead them together, but we prefer to be cautious. Everything is going super well with Hope, and we want to keep it that way.

The day will come when morning turnout doesn't work and they will need to stay inside. We are in a stretch of horrid hot weather, with no rain. Afternoon turnout is just not an option.

Thankfully mornings are still cool-ish. By the time the sun is baking, they are ready and asking to come inside. It is refreshing to walk into the cool breeze of the barn.

Remember that lush pasture? One word = yellow. Our hay fields are spindly at best, and new planted hay fields cannot even begin to grow. The few rain chances we had/have do not materialize. Well, except for the three drops that fell yesterday. Just a tease. I swear the sparse rain drops dried up before they hit the ground.

On days we have a little more time, they get to stretch their legs twice. Outside and inside. The activity level is very different. Although both turnouts wear Hope out. Hope inside = run, act like a nut and get in trouble for eating sand. Hope outside = munch/sleep on fresh grass, put up with pesky flies and knicker to her humans to make sure we didn't forget about her.

Who could forget about Hope?! She has completely stolen our hearts!!

Hope has become even sweeter. Cierra's demeanor seems to have passed onto her. Hope never wants us to 
stop interacting with her or leave. She appears to be very smart and catches on quickly. Mimicking her mama. Even the not so good stuff. Hope also watches our every move. She is very curious and trusting. I think Hope is going to continue to be a fun horse to teach new experiences :)

Some outside images:

Hope wakes up like I do

the sticky spot

evidence that I do work with Hope

Side note: I had no idea Brad was taking video of us. Also, Cierra did not spook she tripped over the shifting terrain (concrete lip). I told my kids I have eyes in the back of my head, but I really don't. Shhh!

We switched to me doing all the haltering & leading with Hope. Brad really wants me to connect with her, me too. However, she is a baby learning when it is okay to let go of energy. I can barely hold Hope when she pulls. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. See video below. Unfortunately, I am wired with morning grogginess. Not a good combo for leading Hope at 6-7am, with a torn rotator cuff. Lately Brad leads Hope outside and I take the easier (and awake!) lead inside.

getting walked around after being rushy

Some indoor images of a second afternoon turnout:


Sorry Hope, indoor turnout is for more than zoomies

Hope at 6 weeks (and one day)