Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Almost Exciting

Things are about to get exciting around here. Show season officially starts this coming Sunday for me and Maggie with small open pleasure show hosted by a local riding & driving club. It's not exactly the fancy prancing that we've been working on all winter, but it's literally four houses down the road from my apartment and a barn mate of mine is doing it to, so it promises to be a low-key and fun day. We'll enter the adult Hunter Pleasure classes, so that will be a hoot, plus do two "Horsemanship Over Fences" classes...whatever those are judged on. It's for funzies. You know, before we get to serious stuff like 2-Phases. 

"Did someone say funzies?"
Thanks for all the feedback on my last post about the hunter pace vs. the 2-phase! It's good to know you all think that it wouldn't be too much to do both in the same weekend. I get paid this week so at that point I'll reassess my May budget and see if I can afford to do both. if I have to pick just one I'm leaning toward that hunter pace since it will be both a fun outing with a friend and I can kind of treat it like an XC schooling, which we desperately need!  

Now, I said that things are about to get exciting. They are not very exciting yet, but I'm going to do my best here. First and foremost: Rolex. It happened. I watched.


Rolex is exciting. I've never been in person, but I for sure want to go someday. No, I NEED to go someday. I'm not even exaggerating. It's like going to Mecca. I was glued to the USEF Network's live stream all weekend and I may have even had it on at work on Thursday and Friday (in a minimized window, listening to it, and taking a peek every so often. Ok maybe I maybe a peeked a little more than every so often...) I may have also rescheduled my optometrist appointment that was on Saturday so that I wouldn't miss any XC...

But of course I told myself that I was going to be productive this weekend and take advantage of the dual monitor that my husband set me up with to blog while watching Rolex.

Fail.
Turns out I'm not so good at multitasking while there are horses jumping. I couldn't take my eyes off the action and there were exactly zero posts written over the weekend. I did get some pictures uploaded and edited though, so that's something?

I also rode Maggie several times throughout the past week and she is continuing to impress me with how she's been going. We haven't any rides quite as amazing as our last dressage lesson and we also both fell on our faces at one point, but I can really feel her pushing from her hind end and coming into my hands at times. That whole "circle of aids" thing? Yup, it's real.

I saddled Maggie up in the Wintec on Friday and took her over to the neighboring barn's jump ring, which recently acquired some strange, giant alphabet blocks. Kudos to Maggie - she was a machine and locked onto it every time. I was still kind of expecting her to spook at it the first time, but she sure showed me.

Definitely ready for Rolex. 
There was a local used tack and horse paraphernalia sale this weekend which is an annual event put on by one of our local equine organizations so my friends and I got up early on Saturday to peruse it. The most exciting this that I made out with was a large pony sized nylon driving harness for $30. I WILL teach Maggie to drive someday! After I teach her to event...

I also acquired some brand new items earlier last week that's I've got some product reviews planned for, so stay tuned for these:

Gotta say it looks pretty sharp.

Shed all the hairs!
Finally, before the horse shows commence I've got a human show to go to - and by that I mean I'm running my first 5k on Thursday. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Feedback: This, That, or Both? Help Me Decide!

I don't think I've made it a secret that I looooove planning out what shows I want to go to. It's just how I work...always planning ahead, scheming and dreaming. However, I've hit a snafu. Two events that I want to do are on the same weekend and they're very different, so now I need your help! Which one should I go to? Or should I go to BOTH?

What to do?
Here are the options:

1. Ledyard Farm Spring Fling 2-Phase - Saturday, May 16th

This sounds like a fun low-key 2-phase to enter before we head to the Groton House Farm 2-phase later in May. I think there are several neat things about this show: first, I think it would ben really neat to show at the historic Ledyard Farm! If you're a fan of the movie International Velvet, then Ledyard might ring a bell; they filmed some scenes there in the 70's. What I also find interesting about this 2-phase is that the jumping will be a mix of stadium jumps and XC jumps. I would plan to enter the elementary division, which is Intro Test B for Dressage and 18"-2' for jumping (there's nothing between that and 2'7" for BN, which is a little much for us at the moment.)

Yay tiny stadium jumps!

2. Myopia Spring Hunter Pace - Sunday, May 17th

I've never done a hunter pace before, but I have been really wanting to! One of my good barn friends has gotten into them and been on a few now so we would do this local one together as a team. It's a 6 mile course and we would do the non-jumping division because my pal isn't a jumper. Even in the non-jumping division though, all the jumps are optional so I could school over the little ones of my choosing. Not only would I get to go riding on trails that I don't normally have access too, but I would essentially get to do a little XC school and conditioning as well - and maybe even get a ribbon for it!
Trail riding for ribbons? Yes, please.
3. Both???
At $75 for the 2-phase and $50 for the hunter pace doing both might make my bank account a little sad, but given that these two events are on separate days it would be possible! Aside from the entry fees, my main concern is if it would be too much for Maggie. My first thought was no way could I ask her to go to shows two days in a row. But then I gave it a little more thought...and I figure that doing these two shows back-to-back would essentially be like doing a 2-day event with dressage and stadium on one day and XC on the other. Both these events are actually in the same town (which is like 15 minutes away) so distance isn't really an issue.

So what do you all think? Could Maggie handle both or might it sour her? If I pick one, which one do I pick? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jog Outfits - "Yay" or "Neigh"?

IT'S ROLEX TIME!!!

If you're a stateside eventer like me, you know this is the most exciting weekend of the year for our sport. I don't have to tell you that. I also probably don't have to tell you that I'll be sneaking peeks of the live streaming dressage on Thursday and Friday as often as I can while at work, and I plan to watch the cross country and stadium jumping in their entirety on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Thanks USEF Network! Live stream is such a beautiful thing...

Anyway, the official jogs happened yesterday afternoon. For anyone unfamiliar, the "jog" (aka jog-up, trot-up, or horse inspection) precedes the beginning of a 3-day (CCI) event and it is when a group of veterinarians (called a ground jury) inspects each horse entered into the competition to essentially check that it is sound enough to compete.

During the jog, riders have a rare opportunity to dress like normal people - as in they don't have to wear helmets, breeches, and coats that make everyone look like Victorian gentleman. Many of the female competitors even wear dresses. Whoa.

I think you can look at jog outfits in two ways:

1. A rare chance in equestrian sports to show a little personality and flair - the horse is groomed to impress and the rider is dressed to impress!

2. Something that causes unnecessary hubbub and detracts from the real reason behind the jog - inspecting the horse!

Personally, I can see the merits of both arguments. Should I ever jog a horse in a 3-day competition (unlikely, but I guess you never know...) I'd certainly want to show a little personality with my outfit, but at the same time I would want to be practical (so you wouldn't find me in stilettos and a mini-skirt, though those that know me would know you'd be really unlikely to find me wearing either of those things EVER.) Let's not forget that during a jog, one must actually jog. Next to a horse. That can crush your toes.


So what side are you on? Do you say "Yay! Pretty clothes! Fashion!" and check out all the best/worst dressed lists? Or do say "Neigh! Focus on the fit and shiny horses, not the fashion!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sand In My Pants

I awoke at 4:50 am yesterday morning to a thunderstorm and I could hear it absolutely pouring outside. Sadly, I was unable to get myself to fall back to sleep until my alarm went off at 5:10. It's always annoying when you wake up to realize you have a few precious minutes of sleep left, but then your brain doesn't let you take advantage of it. It had rained off and on the day before as well, so I was confined to ride in the dusty indoor on Monday. By the sound of things I didn't have high hopes for riding outside on Tuesday either.

However, I when I left work later that day I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had turned into a really nice day - blue sky, 63 degrees, and sunny. My hopes were renewed! So I got to the barn, tacked up, and took Maggie to the ring next door. The footing was a little sloppy, but I had ridden in worse.


I got Maggie trotting and she was going pretty nicely. She was stretching down looking for the bit though she was a little off balance and slow in the squishing footing. Understandable. So I decided I wouldn't ask too much of her. Being kind of tired from an early morning, I just wanted a short easy ride anyway.

But then someone started a tractor next door just as we were coming around to one end of the ring where there was a particularly sloppy patch. Maggie didn't really spook, just popped her head up to look off the the right and as she did so she slipped in the muck and fell to her knees. I can sit to her bucks like it's my job (I guess it kind of is?), but I was a goner as she suddenly fell and I just kind of rolled down her shoulder and into the slushy sand. Maggie and I both got right back up, no worse for the wear other than a little surprised with ourselves I think.

May or may not have snorted a little sand.
Maggie stood perfectly still as I re-mounted. Of course you have to get back on the horse, muddy boots and all. She was a total gem and very steady for the rest of the ride - I think she had decided she better be a little more careful about where she put her feet. After another 10 minutes or so of trotting I called it a day since she was being so good and also because the sand that had gotten down my breeches was becoming a little uncomfortable.


The are two morals of this story, kids:

  1. Never take your footing for granted.
  2. You can write blog post about anything. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Houston, We Have a Dressage Pony!

Maggie totally brought her 'A' game to our dressage lesson on Friday and we had the best lesson that I think we've ever had.


Disclosure: All the pics in this post are from the day after our lesson. I coerced my husband in coming to take pics/video because I wanted to see if we could duplicate how we were going. Maggie definitely didn't ride quite the same the next day, but we certainly had some good moments reminiscent of the day before. I'm sure she was tired and/or sore from the lesson - she worked very hard! I usually give her the day off after we have a long lesson, so I felt a little bad about making her work again...


I started off warming her up, trying to get her a little more forward but not fast. Then we went into some figure-eights and changing bend as we searched for a good rhythm. Often, we get a couple nice strides on the bit and then Maggie loses her balance or tries to evade and up pops her head. My instructor told me bring my hands wide when she pops her head up in order to maintain the contact - basically, don't let her evade it. Then when she softens again, make sure that I soften my contact too to reward her... 


...and it works really well! Maggie settled into a really gorgeous - dare I even say floaty - trot. She was really, truly on the bit probably for the first time ever. My instructor was really complimentary and happy with what she was seeing! Maggie was actually working over her back and I could feel her pushing from behind. 


At one point, I commented to my instructor that I felt like Maggie was really heavy in my hands and on the forehand and she said, well yeah, she is. We need to find the connection, balance, rhythm, and consistency in a lower frame first before she can start carrying herself with more collection, off her forehand, and in balance. Oh. That makes sense! I just need to make sure that I don't start tipping my upper body forward as well or else then she'll really end up heavy on the forehand.


We were able to keep the lovely trot throughout figure-eights and while going down the center line, but it came apart when we tried to leg yield. Leg yielding has never been my forte and I know we need a lot of work in this department. Even after we bobbled all over the place trying to leg yield, Maggie still settled right back into the lovely trot right away. My instructor said  "this is the most committed I've ever seen [Maggie]." We did some canter work as well - still working on the timing of the transitions. We had a few really good ones, but still need to work on it!

So I hope that something has really clicked in Maggie's brain and my muscle memory and that we can keep this momentum going!

Stretchy trot. FTW.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Girth Update and Other Randoms

I really appreciated everyone's feedback in my previous post about how Maggie has recently and suddenly become a little girthy/sensitive! Unfortunately, I still have no idea what her deal is.

What I have deduced, is that it really is mainly an area on her barrel that appears to be bothering her. In an effort to help me describe it to you, here's an illustration:

There.
It's on the lower had of her barrel, on the underside, but not quite reaching to her midline. I still can't feel any cuts, bumps, or irritations there and I was able to gently wash the area over the weekend. And it's not her umbilicus or udder...she oddly doesn't mind it too much when I touch those. She mostly dislikes the curry comb there and will give a good stomp of her left hind foot with a big tail swish when I groom it. Sometimes she tries to turn and nip as well. She doesn't react as badly when I curry her girth area (or anywhere else...including the same spot on the right side of her barrel); last week I would have said she doesn't react at all when I curry her anywhere else, but she does seem more generally sensitive this week. Lauren commented on my prior post and linked me to this interesting video about pressure points that can help pinpoint ulcers. Maggie didn't react to any of them, but it was a really fascinating watch.

So I believe the girthy/cinchiness is secondary to whatever is wrong with that spot. As I do up her girth, perhaps she tightens her abs and tweaks that spot? Or perhaps some other general discomfort (muscular? digestive?) is manifesting in that spot?

Who knows...

Well, I had been toying with the idea of getting an anatomic girth, such as a Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth, which I feel like are kind of a thing right now. My current girth is a Wintec Elastic Girth which gets the job done, but fits pretty poorly. It has a tendency to gap either on the front or the back, depending on the billet holes I use - it never seems to lay flat and even. Also, the billets won't fit into the keepers all the way so they bulge out and my legs hits them sometimes. So a little over a week ago I scanned Ebay and all the tack sale-type Facebook groups I've joined and after not finding anything that fit the bill I posted an ISO for a 22" TSF dressage or similar anatomic girth. No less than 10 minutes later, someone replied that they were just about to list a TSF 22" girth for $75 shipped. SOLD. (And funnily enough I had two mutual friends with this random person and she graduated a year ahead of me from UVM and also did biochemistry. Small world.)

So on Monday, this beauty arrived at my door:


I tried it on Maggie and immediately realized that I'm a dumbass who apparently can't measure a girth, because it's a little on the large size...



That's as high as it can go and unfortunately it's not really appropriately tight. Despite not actually being the right size for Maggie, I did like the way the shape seemed to fit her overall. I have been intrigued but skeptical about these girths, thinking that they must be gappy in the center/front where it curves. It certainly was gappy because it was loose, but with the appropriate size I think it should be good and even with the too large size I could see that the pressure would actually be fairly well distributed.

Slight difference.
So...anyone interested in a 22" TSF Shoulder Relief Girth? ;) It's in quite good condition and frankly I think it was a steal at $75. I'd be willing to sell it for $75 shipped just like I bought it for (it has been on Maggie exactly once). I think I will now look for a 20" TSF girth and if I can't find one used then I'll probably just shell out the money for a brand new one - I definitely liked it enough. I don't think it's going to cure Maggie's sudden sensitivity, but I figure anything that can help make her more comfortable is worth it.

In other news...

Maggie has the shits again. Not quite as bad as she did in December/January, but it's not cool and I can't imagine it's terribly pleasant for her. Perhaps it even has something to do with the girthiness/sensitivity? The girthiness is still a totally new thing though, she didn't display any of that back in December/January. It's all very mysterious, but the shits seem to be correlated with her workload. When we've been on a riding hiatus, it stops. When I start working her at least 4 times a week again, it starts. And it makes for some seriously gross hocks.

There have been no feed changes. I have been pretty particular about keeping her water trough clean. She has been on a digestive supplement since last summer (KERx RiteTrac). RiteTrac is geared at preventing ulcers and hindgut acidosis by balancing pH. I've worked with KER before and I really trust their research and their products, but in terms of the shits the RiteTrac doesn't seem to be doing a darn thing.

Perhaps she needs something different, so I figure, hey, SmartPak likes to throw every single ingredient that could possibly maybe work into their supplements, so why not give SmartDigest a try...

dun dun DUN

If this doesn't have any effect, I think the next thing to try would be a couple tubes of GastroGuard and seeing putting her on a low dose round of that helps. I am still open to suggestions!

In other, other news (the good news)...

The snow continues to melt! Thanks to the consistent 60 degree weather we've had all week, our outdoor ring is on it's way to being snow-free. Unfortunately, the owners of the property left it all torn up in the Fall from putting in a new water line and somewhat of a mess remains. I have been told that the property owners plan on finishing it this weekend and returning the ring to a workable condition. I will believe that when I see it.)


Probably going to have to do some rock-picking
HOWEVER, the snow is now fully gone from the neighboring farm's outdoor rings so I RODE OUTSIDE. It was amazing. Maggie was a bit excitable the first time out there, as expected, but we had a pretty good ride. Nothing super spectacular. I was just so stinking happy to not be in the dusty indoor.


Soon.
In summation:
1. Anyone want to buy a 22" TSF girth?
2. Why the heck does my horse have the shits again?
3. YAY OUTSIDE!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Zipper's Story: Laminitis, Coxofemoral Luxation, and Crankiness

Last week, a post on Eventing Nation really resonated with me. On Friday, I asked what you thought of that post. I also mentioned that that post really got me thinking and wanting to write more about it. In this post, I'd like to tell you more about my Miniature Horse, Zipper, the horse that has tamed me.


When I was 12 years old I asked my parents if I could get a horse. I'd grown up having dogs and being an animal lover, but the request was completely out of the blue. Now, don't worry, this isn't a parents-spoil-their-kid-and-buy-her-whatever-she-wants kind of story. In the back of my head I knew that we didn't have the money, the land, or the experience to own a horse and my parents sure knew that too, but I asked anyway. Being the sensible people that they are, they said no; and I'm glad that they did because it made me work for it. However, the seed had already been planted in my mind, and from that moment on I was determined to own my own horse.
I spent the next year saving up money I earned from odd jobs - mostly babysitting. One day that summer my mom came home from work and found me pulling weeds in the small patch of land adjacent to our detached garage. She asked what I was doing and I told her, “This is where my future horse is going to go!” She resigned to just sigh and proceed into the house, but I think from that moment on she knew I was totally serious. I continued clearing the "paddock" for the rest of the summer and I spent the fall cleaning out our garage (that made my parents quite happy.) I was going to build a stall in the back of the garage where there was already a little dutch door leading out the side and into the future paddock area. In the spring we enlisted the help of a family friend to help us build the stall and by then there was no turning back - my parents finally caved in and I was allowed to purchase a horse! There were just a few minor details to work out...
By then I had saved up a decent sum of money (for a 13 year old), but I still didn't have enough to pay for the fencing in addition to the horse. The other problem was that our little acre-and-a-quarter really just wouldn't give a horse enough room. The solution: get a Mini. My parents agreed to pay for the fencing.

That summer my mom, sister, and I went horse hunting. After visiting several farms and looking at a number of candidates, we welcomed Zipper in the fall of 2002. Zipper was a 5 year old mare, as smart and sassy as they come.
I continued to pay for Zipper out of my own pocket - hay, grain, shavings, farrier, and vet care - it all came from my babysitting earnings and eventually a job mucking stalls for a small local barn. I fed her and let her out into the paddock before I went to school everyday, mucked out her stall and groomed her when I came home, and fed her and shut her in for the night before I went to bed. On the weekends I'd hitch her up to a little cart and we'd go driving around town.
And sometimes in parades!
One day before school, about three years into Zipper-ownership, I went to take care of her before school as usual and I found her lying down in her stall unwilling to get up. This was highly uncharacteristic; I was used to her pacing her stall anticipating her morning ration. I finally encouraged her to get up and take a few steps and could immediately see she was having trouble walking. Overnight my little mare had gone from perfectly sound to looking like she was walking on eggshells.
Very fat and very sassy
For any experienced horse owner the phrase 'walking on eggshells' is sure to elicit a sense of dread, but at the time I had no idea what was going on. My instinct told me something was wrong with her hooves so the first thing I did was call the farrier. The farrier arrived, took one look at her and said, "laminitis." That was the first time I'd heard of laminitis, and regrettably not the last.
We called our vet who came quickly and prescribed a regimen of banamine, icing, and stall rest. The vet could find no obvious triggers for the laminitis - she hadn't broken into the feed room or eaten black walnut shavings - but she was seriously fat. I was unaware at that point of how out of control her weight had gotten. As with many cases of laminitis, we'll never know what caused it. There are many factors that can lead to the development of laminitis, yet no concrete "cause".
Doesn't everyone pose with their pony and their dog in their church clothes?
We did a lot of supportive care for Zipper, all of which I believe played an important part in her recovery, but one of the key things we did was change her diet. It was my farrier that was able to recommend an excellent ration balancer that we switched her to and we decreased her hay intake as well. It took weeks (if not months) and a lot of supportive care and checkup x-rays, but eventually she made a full recovery.

Zipper and I enjoyed three more years driving around town and I even brought her to college with me at the University of Vermont, but in my second year of college we had another major setback.
UVM Homecoming demonstration Fall, 2007 - our last drive.
I found Zipper in her stall standing on 3-legs one night. She was pretty bright, but in obvious discomfort - she was not particularly interested in her hay, and when a Mini isn't interested in food you know something is wrong! I made her as comfortable as possible and called the vet first thing in the morning. We treated it as an abscess at first (an obvious choice given her three-legged presentation) to no avail. Over the next month we gradually ruled out a lot of causes as we worked our way up the leg with various diagnostics. Other than being resigned to stall rest (which for a Mini in a 12x12 stall isn't too big a deal) she seemed fairly comfortable given her obvious lameness - she was eating like a pig again after that first night and was alway bright, alert, and opinionated. Finally the field vet couldn't do anything more and we were referred to Myhre Equine Clinic.
Note the teeny standing wraps that a barn mate helped me make. 
A bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy) revealed that she had dislocated (luxated) her hip (coxofemoral joint). With her pain being managed and her spunky personality still intact we opted for her to undergo surgery. The joint had been displaced too long for it to be popped back into the socket (though Dr. Myhre tried!) so he opted instead to resect the head of the femur - leaving her essentially without a bony hip joint and to develop a 'false' joint over time. After recovery from anesthesia, she was actually immediately more comfortable - it was quite impressive. Though I had gone back up to school for midterms after dropping Zipper off at the clinic, my mom stayed at there and actually watched Zipper's surgery AND an emergency colic surgery that they had to perform before hand!


Cranomedial view of Zipper's left coxofemoral joint.
You can see that the head of femur is above and to the right of where it should be sitting.  
It took a lot of patience and a lot of time, but we helped Zipper along in her recovery through physical therapy, supportive medications, and good nutrition. Keeping her on a strict diet and keeping her weight in check was imperative at this point.
Just a few years ago in 2011 we had another laminitis scare. Not due to her weight gain this time, but more due to the stress on her 'good' leg. Because of her bad hip Zipper now carries more weight on the opposite leg. The increased weight bearing on that leg causes the hoof wall on that side to grow faster. Despite regular trimming, the hoof wall had grown in such a way that a crack was developing along the white line. It looked innocuous enough from the outside, but I was worried and I took her back up to back Dr. Myhre to check up on it.
Poor pony not feeling to hot, but very glad for a nap.
Dr. Myhre took some radiographs and found that the crack went far enough up that the coffin bone had rotated downward as a result - technically it was laminitis again. This time it was mechanically related, as opposed to metabolically related. We did a series of hoof wall resections in order to take away the excess hoof and help reposition the coffin bone. It took many months, hoof soakings, and wrappings, but we eventually grew a new hoof!
After the first hoof wall resection.
Before the first hoof wall resection. Crack = problem.

We decided to pull some bloodwork on Zipper at the same time we were doing the hoof wall resections. Cushing’s Disease can make horses more prone to developing laminitis; Dr. Myhre and I were both curious to see if this could be part of Zipper’s case. Indeed, her bloodwork showed elevated levels of the hormones that are key in Cushing's and she was deemed “Cushingoid.”
Second hoof wall resection. Before (left) and after (right)
Naked hood capsule and a lovely betadine dye-job
Throughout all of this, Zipper remained her sassy and spunky little self. It's a lot of money and time to put into a little horse, but Zipper made it clear all along that she would just deal with it and keep on trucking. At one point Dr. Myhre said to me, "She's just cranky enough to stay with you a good long time." That sentence has stuck with me because it couldn't be more true. She's a cranky little fighter and I love her for it. If at any point Zipper had made it clear that she didn't want to fight anymore, we may have had to make different decisions. I'm sure glad that she has wanted to stick around though, because I love her dearly.
Enjoying the labors of a freshly shoveled driveway. 2015.
Now 18 years old, Zipper still lives in my parent's front yard in the paddock attached to the garage; although now she shares her space with Billy Boomer the goat. He keeps her young and they can frequently be seen racing around the paddock together. This little horse has been with me since high school, through college, and is still kicking (literally and figuratively). Though Maggie has taken over being the focus of my equestrian pursuits, Zipper will absolutely alway have a place with me and my family because she is the horse that tamed me and that is something that no other being can replace. "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Anti-Blerghs

Last weekend was annoying - I got sick and had to ditch a lot of my plans. I didn't do any blogging, riding, or gyming and just felt kind of "blergh" all around. This weekend was the exact opposite.

Just a pony doin' a little beach dressage
First: it's finally spring. FINALLY. It was in the 50's and 60's all weekend and was gorgeous. And since I kicked my cold during the middle of last week I could actually enjoy it! On Saturday I went to the gym for the first time in a week and a half and went for a treadmill run while watching a little live stream XC from Ocala. It felt excellent to get back to the gym, though I was embarrassingly a little sore from it the next day. Since the weather was so nice, the husband and I also went out to a local park to play as much disc golf as we could without sinking into the soft ground. After, we went to Staples to get a new printer because the old one that I've had since college finally kicked the bucket and without a printer, how will I print show entry forms?! That's right, I've mailed my first show entry form! It's for a 2-Phase next Sunday and I actually mailed it after the closing deadline so I may or may not end up getting to go...we'll see!

Amazing. And what's even more amazing is the fact that it looks like the nice weather is here to stay!
The weather was even more beautiful on Sunday and in a fortunate turn of events, we got to take advantage of the gorgeous day to go to the beach. Normally, the beach closes to horses on March 31st, however, this year the management extended it to April 15th because the shorebirds that nest in the dunes have been delayed in their migration back (I wonder why?) That's good news to the horse community here though because it's a very rare thing that we get to enjoy the beach when it's not freezing cold! I wore a long sleeve shirt and a soft shell jacket and I was actually quite warm! My husband even came, so I loaded up him up with the camera!









Beach pedicure

There some video too, but I'm too tired to upload and edit that at the moment.

After we dropped the horses back off at the barn and tossed them hay we went out and got frozen yogurt for lunch (lunch of champions). When we came back to the barn I was so jazzed that it was warn enough to eat frozen yogurt outside that I decided it was also warm enough for Maggie's first bath of the year. She was not as excited as I was about it. 

BLINDING WHITE (or just overexposed picture)
I tried to get the winter's worth of yellow staining off her hocks to little avail. Let me know if you've got any tips...
I ended the day with heading over to my parent's house to take care of Billy and Zipper and topped it off with some takeout Bertucci's pizza and a cider. Ahhhh. I love spring time and what a relief it is for it to finally be here after the winter we've had.