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It won’t let me open the video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,562 ·
It won’t let me open the video.
Hmmm..I thought it looked odd when it posted to HF (it usually displays the video in the box, rather than just being a link). Probably my terrible internet. Just imagine a horse itching their butt and making silly faces...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,566 ·
Yes, we really hate them too @carshon. In addition to these itchy ones, I found bites on the hairline right above her heel bulbs on both hind legs. I've never shaved off her 'feathers' before but I think I need to trim them back to try to keep the ticks off. I've recently heard a suggestion to get the spray bottle of cat/dog frontline and spray their lower legs and tail every morning, which I might try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,568 ·
This weekend felt like we moved right to summer- it was hot and muggy for our rides. Everywhere you look has turned to brilliant green, even in the shady spots in the woods. Saturday we went for a fast ride, we're at about 50/50 walk/trot, even with incorporating woods trails more now. She still gets a little unbalanced and rushing on the downhills in the woods, so I have to work to keep her paying attention to where her feet are as she tends to want to look around. But since her recent trim and a switch to new boots on the front, the tripping has nearly stopped, so that's a relief.

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One new issue that has popped up though, she suddenly is not drinking very well- she used to always take a long drink right before we left, and drink well from streams or puddles as we found them. But the last couple of weeks, she doesn't really drink much before we leave, and she has no interest in water on trail. I thought hot weather would make her more interested, but not really. Not sure what to make of that. When we stopped at the stream, she didn't care about the water, but she did want to eat - there's nice green grass all around so we paused for snacking a couple of times. Better than nothing, but I'd still like her drinking. Saturday we did 7 miles in 1.5 hours.
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Sunday morning we met M and Coalie early, to beat the thunderstorms that were forecast. M trailered over and we went off to do the Newhall Farm loop. Coalie was enthusiastic and we trotted right along at the beginning of the ride. He even paced Fizz for awhile!
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We rode past not one, but TWO fields with cows- and we actually were able to keep riding as we went by, which is huge for Fizz. The first field, they were probably a football field length away from the road, but she still saw them before I did and wanted to stop and look. But she got going again easily enough without having to be led past them. Then, as we made our way through the farm, we came up the hill and there was a little herd napping in the shade right along the road. I think we both noticed them at the same time, but we said hello to them and kept trotting as we passed, which was huge! Very proud of her. I think if they had gotten up and came over to say hello it might have been a different story, but it all worked out well this time! 😉
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As we headed through the woods, we saw a biker and some dogs up ahead so we called out hello to let him know we were there. The biker got the dogs caught off on the side of the trail, but he left his bike laying on the ground and the horses gave that some snorty looks as we went by! 🤣 He was very nice though-one of the dogs was just a puppy, so it was a good first horse experience for her too. We ended up doing about 6.5 miles, in an hour and 45 minutes. Coalie lost some steam as the ride went on so we did a lot of walking.

M left her trailer at our house for the afternoon so we could do some loading practice. I think it's been almost a year since Fizz has been on, and she walked right on the first time I asked. We practiced just standing on there with the ramp up, and she tested out the option of going backwards once; as soon as she felt the butt bar she just stood where she belonged, even though Izzy was calling like a crazy lady from down in the field. I had a nice wet mash that I let her nibble on while we hung out, and we practiced getting off and back on a couple of times. She seemed very nonchalant about it so I didn't see any reason to overdo it. We probably played around with it for 15 minutes tops? Hopefully she'll stay calm about it when we start driving. Our tentative plan is to do a ride that ends at M's house next weekend, and then load Fizz and Coalie together and drive Fizz home. It's a short ride, so should be a good refresher.
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We're planning for our first competitive weekend in a couple of weeks (June 12th/13th). I haven't quite decided which distances I'll do, but right now I'm thinking we'll hack the horses there on Friday, do the 15 mile CTR on Saturday, and the 10 mile intro endurance on Sunday (and then trailer them home). M doesn't want to do two competitive rides, so I'd be on my own on Saturday, which I think would be fine. I'm not totally sure if we'll be fast enough to do the CTR at a finishing pace, so if not we'll do the pleasure ride Saturday and the intro on Sunday. Either way, it will be a busy weekend. But I'm getting really excited!
 

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Beautiful photos 😍

We were bequeathed an old iPad which is super for looking at photos and for reading but really lousy to type on... loved the scratchy film but not that Fizz is itchy obviously. We have ticks here too but only kangaroo ticks that don't really like horse or human hosts and only latch on half-heartedly. I find them on the horses sometimes but they scrape off easily and never get very big...

Those woods of yours are emerald! ☘🍀🌳🌲
 

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I was interested in your comment about drinking. Around here, there is no surface water. Anywhere. No drinking from start to finish. Which is why I never take a canteen. If I start feeling dry, how much more so my horse?
 

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Halla and Amore would almost never feel the need to drink until at least after they'd been sweating for a couple of hours. Sometimes not even then. I didn't worry about it after a while, because they never seemed to have trouble. We would trailer a couple hours somewhere, offer water and they'd say no, then we'd ride a couple of hours pretty hard, offer water and they'd say no, trailer home, and then they'd usually drink at home by then. Hero drinks a lot more than the girls ever did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,572 ·
Poor Maggie, tis the season for grazing muzzles as the grass comes in. Izzy is trying to be a supportive friend 😉 This shot really shows how grey Izzy is going- makes me a little sad. But her condition is looking so much better overall after a week or so with decent grass.
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Unsolicited product review: Stability Stirrup Leathers and compositi stirrups

I’ve been wanting to try the “stability stirrup leathers” for awhile now- they are basically just a wide pair of leathers that promises to keep your leg in a more stable position- and I finally ordered a pair last week and couldn’t wait to try them out. I also had a pair of Compositi stirrup “irons” I had snagged for $10 from someone who didn’t like orange (can you imagine such a person?! 😉), so decided it would be a good time to try those too. It’s been years(?) since I changed out my stirrup setup, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. After some fiddling, I had them shortened to a length I thought I could ride in. After about a mile though, I realized they were a bit too long. So I parked Fizz on the side of the road grazing, hoping it was not a day we saw a bear or a grouse family while I had my legs up over her shoulders shortening the leathers from the saddle. Fortunately she was happy to munch away while I fiddled. One of the criticisms I’ve heard of these particular stirrups is that they are too lightweight, making it hard to get your foot back in the stirrup after you drop it. Now, I’m no Grand Prix rider, but also not a lead line kid, so I was fairly confident in my ability to reclaim my stirrup at any gait without having to look for it or hold it in place (y) Lo and behold though, those critiques were right- every time I tried to flip it with my toe, I just ended up kicking the entire stirrup forward into space, and it was swinging like a pendulum at the end of the leather. Thank goodness no one was watching, because I had to reach down and hold the stirrup in place to get my left foot situated. That was embarrassing. And would definitely be a problem if I lost a stirrup because of a funny step or a spook on trail. At any rate, I got everything situated and continued on our ride. With the leathers up a hole, they felt a smidge shorter than I like, and they must have changed my balance point because I was getting a lot of confused ears flicking back and forth from Fizz. Eventually we settled into a decent rhythm as we trotted along. I’m not sure yet if I’ll get used to them at this setting, but I think the too-short adjustment was a little more comfortable than the too-long adjustment. So overall, I’d say the inaugural ride was inconclusive- it certainly didn’t give me instant stability as promised, and I didn’t ride long enough to say whether my knee will be more comfortable over longer distances. And if the lightweight irons are impossible to pick back up when you need to, I’ll definitely switch back to my basic fillis irons. She looked cute in extra orange accessorizing though.

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We did a short ride yesterday since lovely husband was actually out physically working at his office (first time in months!) and I didn't want to go too far from home with no one there. We had a beautiful day for a ride.
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I've been thinking about the upcoming GMHA competition weekend, and realized I was having a little anxiety thinking about the parts of the trail that cross open fields. I don't really have any reason not to trust Fizz, but there's something about all that wide open space that makes me think about worst-case scenarios. So that means I need to do some work on myself. I'm trying to make it a habit to end our rides by hacking around our fields. I think that will help.

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And finally, a celebratory picture of Hugh- we've now had two car rides in a row without puking. I took him to get coffee with me yesterday morning and he did so well. Maybe we've turned the corner on the car problems! He's healed up well from his surgery and is having fun with the training games.
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Discussion Starter · #3,573 ·
We have ticks here too but only kangaroo ticks that don't really like horse or human hosts and only latch on half-heartedly. I find them on the horses sometimes but they scrape off easily and never get very big...
Uggh, I found TWO on my stomach yesterday. I can't figure out how they're ending up there- on arms and legs, I can understand. But I promise I am not gallivanting around topless 🤣

I was interested in your comment about drinking. Around here, there is no surface water. Anywhere. No drinking from start to finish
Halla and Amore would almost never feel the need to drink until at least after they'd been sweating for a couple of hours. Sometimes not even then. I didn't worry about it after a while, because they never seemed to have trouble.
I guess I noticed the lack of drinking because she's always been so enthusiastic about it. I know people say good endurance horses take care of themselves and drink whenever given the opportunity, and I was hoping she had that inclination. It's true that up until a week or so ago, we very much had "Morgan weather"- cool and pleasant, so not as much of a need to drink. But when it was so hot over the weekend, I expected her to want the drink more than she did. I'm sure as we continue to up the distance and work harder, she'll come around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,576 · (Edited)
Got some great news from the vet today. First, 27-year-old Izzy had amazing blood work. Not even borderline for Cushing's. With the extra senior feed I've added in, and being on grass for a couple of weeks, she's filling back in and looking really good. (Except her mane needs some spring cleaning...)
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AND- Maggie also had excellent bloodwork- ACTH is well within normal range, not even elevated. Glucose, insulin in the upper end of normal, but normal. Of course she still needs to be managed carefully, and is back in the grazing muzzle. But the Pergolide and the diet changes over the past several months seem to be working really well for her and keeping her metabolic profile in line. I'm just so relieved!
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We had beautiful weather yesterday, but rain moved in this afternoon.
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Before it started raining, I took Fizz out for a short ride on the Bartley loop. I kept the new stirrup leathers on the "short" setting to give them another chance. Fizz was a little worried from the beginning- the bears are back out and moving around, and there must have been one across the field last night or this morning because she was pretty fixated on something off in the distance from the time I caught her to get ready. When I got on she wasn't thrilled about crossing the field, and spent the first mile snort-snort-snorting her way along. She wasn't particularly tense through her body, but her little spooky noises made me laugh because she's usually so level headed. I just kept her moving along. Let's see if this little video will play- if you listen over the sound of her footsteps, you can hear her little snort-snort-snorts
We turned onto the paved road and there was a lot of traffic, so we hung out in someone's driveway for a minute and nibbled their weeds while the traffic cleared. We had to ride through a thick cloud of smoke pouring out of someone's chimney - I was a little worried they were having an actual fire, but I think it was just "cleaning it out." It stunk but didn't seem to bother Fizz any, so we got through the 1/4 mile stretch of pavement efficiently, despite the traffic.

We turned onto the next dirt road and she seemed happy to be able to move up into a trot. Forward is usually the answer to her being worried. So we're trotting along, and out of nowhere, she did this huge kangaroo leap to the right, apparently spooking at something rustling in the woods on our left. Her jump flung me off to the left, and before I knew what was happening I found myself hanging off her left shoulder, my left foot still in the stirrups but my body and right leg hugging her neck. Fortunately her spooks tend to be spook-and-stop, not spook-and-spin, so she came to a quick stop perpendicular to the direction we had been going. I do have the distinct memory of looking down at the ground and trying to decide how much of a chance I had of saving myself and not hitting the ground. Since she had stopped, I figured I had to try to climb back into the saddle, so even though I was squeezed around her like a stuffed animal sunction-cupped to a car window, she didn't move and let me get myself situated. I was particularly appreciative that it ended this way given the nasty gravel we were on at the time! I thanked her for being reasonable, and figured we should just keep doing what we had been doing and picked up the trot again.

Have you ever ridden a horse that can hold their breath while trotting? This one can! She hasn't done this in awhile, but she used to stop breathing a lot in our lessons when she would get worried. It's the weirdest feeling, it's like her barrel is inflated to twice its normal size. I can sometimes get her to exhale if I start doing lots of loud breathing or deep sighing, and sometimes I can tickle her ribs with my toes to make her let out the breath. Nothing was really working though, and she refused to let that breath out for what felt like forever. Finally though, we headed up the hill towards Mac and the mini donks, and she let out a long sigh, and immediately the whole shape of her body changed, her neck relaxed, and we walked most of the rest of the way home without any concerns.
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What an odd ride- definitely not what I was expecting for a quick lap around the neighborhood! I guess it just goes to show you horses are horses, not machines. Hoping the spookiness was an isolated issue and that whether it was bears or something else worrying her, she'll get used to "it" being out there and not carry it with us on our next ride. Looks like a break in the rain is coming tomorrow afternoon so I'm thinking about a longer Cavendish loop if the footing hasn't gotten too mucky overnight.

Oh- as for the new stirrups. I think the next ride I want to try them back on the longer setting. I just really don't like feeling like I'm twelve feet in the air above the saddle while I'm posting- her trot is fairly up-and-down, so there's a lot of launch up into the air. On the other hand, I guess they kept me relatively stable through the kangaroo spook!! :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,577 ·
We've had a very gloomy weekend, which is a bummer when both lovely husband and I actually had a three day weekend. It poured down rain Saturday, and was cold enough we lit a fire and made "breakfast for dinner" accompanied by big mugs of coffee and Bailey's. Yesterday started off just grey and dismal, so M and I skipped breakfast and moved up our riding time to go out before the skies opened again. We did about 6 miles, and were able to pick up the pace pretty well through the woods, which was fun. The horses were a little snorty with the cool temps and howling winds, but we managed to go 6 miles and get home with a little time to spare before the rain started up again.
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After Fizz was settled, I took Hugh out for a romp through the fields to blow off a little steam from being stuck inside most of the weekend. He needed a good run!
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Unfortunately today has been more of the same, and not sure it's going to stop raining long enough for me to get out to ride this afternoon. I'm feeling stir crazy!
 

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We've had a very gloomy weekend, which is a bummer when both lovely husband and I actually had a three day weekend. It poured down rain Saturday, and was cold enough we lit a fire and made "breakfast for dinner" accompanied by big mugs of coffee and Bailey's. Yesterday started off just grey and dismal, so M and I skipped breakfast and moved up our riding time to go out before the skies opened again.
That breakfast for dinner thing sounds very cosy! Your weather sounds like ours. We had 60mm in one day last Sunday, at the tail of two weekends of wet, cold, windy weather - and everything is sloshing around here. I can't even plant anything in the garden until it stops squelching everywhere I walk! So we're just diving out there hiking and cycling when we can on our days off, and I suppose I will ride again when everything dries out a bit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,579 ·
It was another week that flew by- when it wasn't raining, I was swamped at work, and when I had some flexibility in my work schedule, it was pouring rain. So that meant Fizz didn't get ridden for an entire week because of all the bad timing.

Yesterday summer arrived out of nowhere. Temps all weekend, through tomorrow, are hitting near 90*F/32*C, which we sometimes will get here in late summer, but it's not typical. And it's a humid heat. With no air conditioning. And lots of black flies, deer flies, and horse flies. Yuck. Have I mentioned summer is not for me!? 😉

Stupidly I didn't head out to ride until 11am yesterday. I was naive about how bad the sun would be. This is probably the freshest we looked all afternoon, riding past lovely husband as he was out working on the tractor when we were leaving the house.
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I decided on a "lollipop" route I hadn't done since last year, which would be around 9 miles. Fizz set out strong and was happy to move along at a comfortable trot. Right away it was clear that we were not the only ones out enjoying the nice weather. We were passed by several peletons of bikers, but they were all very considerate and asked if it was ok to go by. Fizz responded by looking at them sweetly while they told her how pretty she is. We also met a fleet of ATVs out for a ride, but they also slowed down for us (the last guy mentioned he had horses).

She became a bit less enthusiastic when we turned left in a spot we usually turn right, heading away from home rather than looping back. It was great because we were in the shade, but it was a long, if gradual, decline- probably close to 2 miles of all downhill with rare spots that would flatten out so we could trot a bit. Whenever we'd come to a driveway on the right side of the road, she tried to do that infuriating evasive thing where she tries to spin around over her right shoulder to go back towards home. The first time she surprised me with it so we did a big circle, but then I caught on and just gave her a firm shove with my right leg whenever I saw her cock her head in that direction and think about it.

Soon enough, we looped back in the home direction and, unfortunately, back into the blazing sun. Every time I took a sip of water I was splashing her on the neck to try to take advantage of the good breeze that was blowing. We did come across two little streams trickling through roadside ditches, but she really didn't want anything to do with the water even though she was breathing hard. She was willing to eat though, so we slowed way down and let her grab periodic bites of the tall grass. That seemed to help revive her, but we still took it easy because the rest of the way home was uphill and she was breathing hard.
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We saw lots more bikers, but Fizz was far more interested in eating grass than even looking at them. The last group we saw, I joked with them that we had reached the snack time portion of the ride (Fizz was on the side of the road, up to her knees in grass at that point), and they all agreed it was too hot to be out in the sun. They hung around for quite a bit waiting for their third rider to make it up to the top of the big hill at the overlook. I think they might have been regretting starting their ride too late as well.

In addition to all the bikers, earlier in the ride we had two funny encounters with random people out driving, rolling down their window to ask for directions. I'm trotting along on a deserted dirt road, focused on my ride, when I see a lady in an SUV crawling to a stop. She rolls down the window, and asks if the road we were on connects to a paved county road, so she can go visit the spa. I have to admit that at first the mention of a spa threw me for a loop, as I'm not much of a spa person myself, nor are most people around here 😉 But she called it the "Castle Spa," and I remembered that the road she was looking for did have an old house that had been designed to look like a castle, so I guess it's a spa? At any rate, I told her how to get there, and as she drove off she said she was a horse person too. Which made me want to ask her why the heck she stopped me mid-trot to ask for directions to a spa!! 🤣

Second woman did the same thing, rolled up next to us while we were moving along, but her question was even funnier. "Where does this road go?" she asked, and looked at me expectantly. For a second I almost asked back, "where do any roads in this life go, and do we really want to be on them?" but I held back. I took a deep breath and explained...it goes a lot of places. There are three different intersections within about 2 miles, so she could end up going to three different towns depending on which turn she took. I tried to figure out where she was trying to go, and she said she was just out for a drive because she remembered the road being pretty (she was right about that). I don't know where the road ultimately led her, but hope she had fun. Oh, and she also drove off by telling me that she was a horse person and she was going to ride her young colt when she got home. What a weird series of interactions!

Fizz and I meandered the rest of the way home, and ended up doing the 9 miles in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Our goal for our intro endurance ride next Sunday is 10 miles in 2 hours, so we of course need to continue to pick up the pace. But given the series of interruptions, and how much we wilted in the hot sun coming home, it didn't seem too terrible.

I untacked Fizz and let her out on the lawn, rubbing her down with a big bucket of water and a curry comb that is perfect for a cool bath. She thoroughly enjoyed all the green grass!
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Today we met M and Coalie, and headed out first thing in the morning. It was still very hot out in the sun, but not quite as bad as yesterday, at least that early in the day. We planned to have more woods trail for this ride, and we appreciated all the shade and the breeze. Though not the flies.
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The horses drank happily at the stream, which was a relief. They seemed to enjoy standing their with their feet in the water while they splashed water over the rocks with their lips, so we let them rest there for a bit before we continued.
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As we headed down the last stretch of road, we were happy about our timing for a different reason- we got passed by, no exaggeration, a dozen huge pickups pulling trailers with side-by-sides and ATVs. It was a massive caravan heading to one tiny parking area, so not sure how they all managed to get in there and offloaded. The horses didn't even glance in their direction. We weren't sure how rattly the trailers would be, so we moved over to a grassy side of the road just so the space wouldn't be tight, but they were more than happy to nibble grass rather than worry about the trucks. No pictures as I kept both hands on the wheel just in case things got exciting!

The rest of the ride home was all roads, and pretty noisy. People are just starting to hay here, so we passed a lot of loud equipment out in the fields, motorcycles, more people pulling ATVs on trailers. No cows though, so Fizz was happy.
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We also ended up doing 9 miles, but a bit slower at 2.5 hours. I think there are a lot of places where we should have trotted, but still trying to get M to want to move out for longer stretches, particularly on the road. It was hot though, and the horses were dragging a little, so we didn't want to push them too much since the humidity is hard on all of us. And after last week's storms, there were a lot of washed out spots on the trail that weren't there a few weeks ago, and the rocks made the footing tricky. I'm happy that the long-term forecast for next weekend, at least right now, has temps back in the 70s and slightly overcast. That will be perfect for us, as long as it doesn't end up raining!
 

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I am just catching up, so a bit late in discussing the not-drinking-much issue.

Here is the answer:
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All of that lovely green grass which they are gobbling with delight has tons of moisture in it compared to the hay they ate all winter. Every spring as our grass comes in, I notice everyone drinks much less on trail and I don't fill the tank at home nearly as often.
 
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