Thursday, October 22, 2015

In a Nutshell...

I can't believe I am sitting here and it's already October. OCTOBER????  And, it's been weeks, month actually since I have posted anything. Sorry dear readers..I just couldn't find time or the focus to sit and write a post. I will try to summarize, well , atleast hit on the high notes.

So where did all the time go?

Well, I rode....


Brego and I finally had a breakthrough and are now "communicating" , or should I say I am getting through his big fat Morgan lips..I had to change his bit multiple times but finally we landed on one that works  and he is much happier ... and that makes my life a whole heck of a lot easier. God as my witness... it has made him a different horse. All the lateral flexion I knew he had in there  is now available to me use (if that makes sense ) because he isn't racing around anymore. I no longer  end our riding sessions in a dripping sweat with shoulders that feel like they are pulled out of the socket and blistered ring fingers , through gloves, because he is pulling on me so hard.  These days,  he' s light, responsive and he isn't a runaway in the canter. His canter is a true canter now!  And it's getting quite lovely to ride.  If there was another 3 day event  available to attend, I would take him in Novice and not thing twice about it.  He is come that far.. but the show season is over.. so we will have to wait. Until then I am finally enjoying riding him. ( I may not want to give him back! but don't tell)

Then when I wasn't riding Brego, I was riding some other horses that belong to my trainer. I made some big leaps and bounds this summer in my jumping.
                                                                           I did this...

There are no other words..It was a big , wide fence. It was totally awesome...

We attended the celebration of the friend that passed in June . The family has a cemetery on the old ranch property, overlooking the valley where the ranch was. It was surreal and a truly amazing setting. During the service, I happened to look up and one of the clouds over head was in the shape of an Angel's wing. It will be etched in my memory forever. It made it just a little easier to say goodbye to my friend.

I don't get much vacation time at my work so while I was working, T was working horses for my trainer.  Her thing is taking OTTB's , and retraining them as Eventers and then selling them. She does well and gets some amazing horses because of her connections from her days in the Olympics. So, T was quite busy with all that. Several of the Thoroughbreds she had gotten this past spring were being prepared to compete in The Event at Rebecca Farms. It's a huge thing that is gaining popularity every year. It draws some of the best riders from all over the nation. We spent the weekend out there  watching all my trainers horses go in their divisions. They all did quite well.

Anyways, one of the horses T worked with came in from a client as an outside horse. The owner was at a loss with what to do with him.  No one could get on him without getting bucked off . He went to the Event and took 7th place in the Young Event horse, 5 year old Division. He qualified for Galway. It was pretty cool to see a horse make such an amazing transition.
 It was an awesome fun summer full of horse activity.If all continues to go well with Brego,  the plan is for me to compete at the Novice division.

Then things got real....I mean, life got turned upside down.. in a good way mostly.. 

We happened to find almost the perfect piece of property cruising around one day , mostly just checking places out casually , dreaming of finding more land with room to ride out the back door.  It's  not easy to come by in our price range. But here it was..

The price was a bit high on this place as is the case with most property  in the area , but we talked to the realtor, arranged to go look at it, thought about it and decided not to miss out on another opportunity like we did two years ago.
<Insert rewind noise.....>  Two years ago we found an fantastic 20 acre piece with a house and an apartment /shop on it,  but thought it was way out of our price range so never even thought about putting in an offer because we didn't want to insult the seller. Tuns out , 3 months later, the place sold for less than what we were going to offer. We weren't going to make that mistake twice.

This new place we found wasn't everything we wanted . We weren't crazy about the house because it's a pre manufactured home, but we loved the property. There are several old outbuildings that need to be torn down but it has so much potential. 15 acres backed by state land.. I can deal with a less than perfect house.

We put in an offer.

It was  accepted..

We nearly had heart failure.

Then it was time to put our place on the market. So we did..

And we sold it..

We nearly had heart failure again...

Is this all really happening? 

We close on our place in November.

Meanwhile, in the middle of all this T's mom's health took a turn for the worst and he traveled to go visit her last month,  knowing it would be the last time he would see her. She was put into hospice the week after that  and she passed away last week . T is too young to be without a mom and it's been heartbreaking. He was so close to his mom and she was a wonderful lady. We will travel to his home town next week for the funeral. There has been alot of family turmoil so I am not sure what to expect.  I just hate  that my hubby has to deal with all this right now.

The new place that we are hoping to purchase is all looking positive as well. There are some things on the house that the sellers need to fix . In fact, we can't even move in right away once we close on it  because we have to pull out all the doggy smelly carpet and refloor and repaint.

SOOOOOO.. we are moving in with my parents for a few months until we get that all sorted out. The horses will become a divided family for a while. Two will go out to my trainers farm,  and my not so little baby Otto and his pasture pal Cassidy will be coming to my parents with me. They have a neighbor that has a little bit of land I can use  to keep them on. It's not ideal but I just have to keep Otto nearby.  I have control issues, I know..


With any luck we can put in some temporary corrals in the next couple of weeks or so before the ground freezes.  Once we move out to our new place, (hopefully before the end of December), we will then move atleast Otto and Cass out there. There is one shelter that is mostly suitable for two horses...

I knew life was going to get crazy so I took advantage  of one final weekend getaway  with some friends to Jackson Hole Wyoming. We had a fabulous time and even spent 5 hours floating the Snake river. It was beautiful and while I didn't get to see a real live Moose, which was a major goal of mine for the weekend, I did happen upon this guy.. ( I have a thing about Moose)

On another note, I do have a product review to share..

                                                       Bale bags made by Hay Chix.

Cass and Otto are testing it out this week. They love it although they are lifting it out of the feeder/trough thing still.. I am hoping they will become less rough with it  and settle in.. They just couldn't believe they were being given a whole bale of hay and possibly frustrated at the fact that they couldn't get humongous mouthfuls like Hoover vacuums. With any luck, It is going to be my answer to Otto's insatiable appetite without burning through all my hay before February! If anyone decided to get one, put my name in as a referral. I want to get more and we both benefit on the refer a friend program they run!!

So there you have it.My life lately in a nutshell..I am enjoying the journey!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Slightly distracted and Officially Bitten

So, this past week has been the start of the big Event here in my hometown. It literally called The Event at Rebecca Farms. It a 3 day event that started about  13 years ago by a local family who was very involved in the sport. Since then, it has grown to impressive levels. It is now deemed one of the top cross country courses in the US.  Riders from all over the country fly in with horses to attend this event. It's also an Olympic Qualifier. This year they added an international level 3 Star division. It's a big deal, really. One of the top riders in the US is in attendance this year,  Buck Davidson (and my hubby got to meet him and talk to him.. and he didn't even realize who he was at the time.. GRRRR!!!) It is spectated  by well over 20,000 people each year plus most of the riders bring in multiple people and/family and turn it into a vacation.  You can imagine what that does to the traffic here which is already horrendous for our little town that doesn't have the infrastructure to support it.Our little town bursts at the seams for a couple of weeks.

Over the years, we often went out to Rebecca Farms to watch a few hours of dressage or cross country and wander through what seemed like endless vendor tents. Its always exciting and fun to attend.  I usually know a couple of riders and try to watch their go, cheer them on and pray they don't crash on X-country. There was one year a well respected trainer from the northwest ended up badly injured. She passed away as a result of her injuries. It was definitely sad and scary.

This year we have had the opportunity to be a little more involved behind the stages of the Event because of the work T is doing for a local Eventing trainer (the same one I am taking lessons with). This year, we know alot more of the riders and the horses in attendance at the Event because T has worked with several.  One of those horses competed in the 5 year old division  It was exciting to see how far this horse has come in such a short time. 6 weeks ago, the horse wasn't allowing anyone to even get on him without a huge bucking fit. Yesterday, he took 5th place. He went clean in Novice Cross Country and his dressage score was a 28.8. Impressive.
It's been fun watching scores  and seeing those riders we know (and their horses) do well. Its definitely a different experience to be on the back side of things, at the barns , as opposed to being a spectator.  What has been most striking to me is seeing some of the people who are riding in this . I have always had this preconceive notion that in order to compete at a show like this, the rider and horse really had to have everything perfect.  That isn't really  the case. While there are alot of top riders here , there are just as many  novice riders, junior and adult,  that are out there doing it.  I found myself thinking several times, "if that person can do it, I could certainly do it". I guess I have officially  been bitten... I might make this one of my top goals for 2016 . We will have to see.
In the meantime, Saturday I will take my mom out to watch on Saturday and enjoy a few hours away from the party planning chaos and stress!

Monday, July 20, 2015

We survived our first Dressage Test

So this weekend , was my third schooling show with Brego. I almost can't believe it myself. I never would have imagined getting myself in the show arena this much but  I think we are finally getting the hang of it .   I was way less nervous this time around and generally felt better about going than I have for the last two. This time around we signed up for dressage, this was yet another one of those firsts.

For the last few weeks,  we practiced a very simple Intro level test in preparation. I wanted  easy and attainable and nothing that required a canter.  (you all know the issues here by now)

Basically Intro is to be ridden at walk trot only, no cantering involved.  Movement include a free walk,  medium walk, riding trot and 20 meter circles. The horse and rider should be adequate with effective aids in transitions, developing bend and relaxation.
Each movement is scored on a 0-10 rating - 0 being Not executed and 10 being Excellent.  The rule of thumb is that you don't move up a level in dressage until your scoring a 6 in all areas consistently.

The next level is Training level and includes canter and sitting trot so that was out.

Side note ...I always struggle with finding the balance between challenging myself enough and taking the easy known happy path that I know I can be successful at. If you let me, I will always take the happy path (which is why I have a trainer , otherwise I never would have entered a show !)  because I want to avoid a total mess up and the ensuring embarrassment. Personality flaw I guess.

At the same time, it was pretty obvious watching some of the other competitors in attendance that  they had "over challenged" their skill levels  with the tests they chose to ride and I was thankful to be on the  opposite side of that problem.

We rode our test and aside from a few little glitches with Brego getting above the bit and a little unsteady in his pace,  I could not have been more pleased with his performance. Yes, it was simple, no, it was nothing to write home about ,  but with Brego, that "being steady" things   is a huge thing for him.  He likes to go slow one minute or suck back sort of, then surge ahead or just have the accelerator on full throttle. In the last few weeks, we have finally been making some progress on steadying up his trot .
free walk across diagonal- He does this really well

Waiting for my bell
Showing what we know.. me doing my "tip forward"

I think it was a respectable score,  109 points, 68.1 %

Intro Test 2015 level B below.  

My highest scores were 8's  and surprisingly enough, it was on the 20 meter circles.I know my geometry was off, but because he had correct bend we scored well. All that time doing circles and lateral flexion paid off.  All of my other scores were 6, 6.5 or 7. I had one 7.5 on the Collective Remarks section on his impulsion and forward. No surprise there.

My highest scores were 8's  and surprisingly enough, it was on the 20 meter circles.I know my geometry was way off, but because Bego had correct bend we scored well. All that time doing circles and lateral flexion paid off I guess. All of my other scores were 6, 6.5 or 7. I had one 7.5 on the Collective Remarks section on his impulsion and forward (second page not pictured) No surprise there. As for the mark on my position, (not pictured again),  I tip left and tip forward. It's my very bad habit and I fight it every step of the way when I ride. Someday, I will learn how to truly sit upright.

The judges remarks were "Lovely ride, nice energy and bending. Becomes slightly unsteady in contact at time".

I think these remarks are just about spot on with what we have been working on in my lessons (and at home) so it was nice to have a fresh set of eyes and feedback. It was confirming at the very least.

The overall impression of this test is that this is generally a horse/rider that are off to a solid start and could /should be looking at moving up to Training Level very soon. We will have to see about that! The world of being an Adult Amateur making a re-entrance into the show world is full of highs and lows. This day was

Jumping-There were very few people jumping. I did the crossrails class once again (safety zone) and felt very relaxed about it. Brego got a little speedy but he jumped his round clean so we were in the jump off. We were the only ones that jumped clean and did it the fastest (even though I thought he was going at a reasonable pace for him) so we won our jumping class. We were even able to canter several and keep it to a controllable canter. All those days of cantering ground poles might be sinking in a bit!

Find the middle


Overall,  I was quite happy with Brego. He listened and was really good. One of the things that stood out to me the most is that there were several "horse"  mishaps  with horses hauling back from their trailers and getting loose, running around the other trailers. It's a dangerous situation but my horse just looked, and then went right back to eating his hay. Not a care about the other nonsense that was going on.  Having a good minded horse that you have done your homework (groundwork) with....priceless!

So the world of being an Adult Amateur making a re-entrance into the show world is full of highs and lows. This day was definitely a high and maybe we will be ready for sanctioned show by end of season. You just never know!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Broken Wag

This post has absolutely nothing to do with horses in the least, but since most of us also have dogs and it's dog related,I thought it was worth a quick post.
A week or so ago, my dear Borgi dog ,Duncan, rolled in something gross , ofcourse . No spot wash was going to help. He needed a full on bath to get through whatever foulness he had ground into his coat. It was a 97+ degree day  out, so no need to carry him in and do a back breaking bath in the bathtub.
Instead,  in an effort to consolidate my time/effort, I found  a big shallow water tub and hauled it into the back yard, filled it with water, dog shampoo suds , and put Duncan in it and got to working scrubbing off the shmutz...  Duncan wasn't pleased with the situation but there was no way he was coming in the house looking and smelling like he did. I hosed him off to get all the soap and and he was good as new.
Besides, the cool water should feel good on such a blazing hot day, right? ( I kind of enjoyed it atleast, Duncan was tolerating it)
When he was done, I tied him to the back porch so he could stay put and not find mud or dirt or whatever to get himself dirty again. This way he could dry in the sunshine. Once he was mostly dry, I brushed him out.
Wallah! A clean cuddly Borgi dog again.
That evening, he ran around like his usual playful self for a couple of hours, Bed time came and all was fine.
Mourning arrived and he was anything but fine.
His tail would not move.  Literally ,not move.  Normally his tail curls up and over his back but it just hung there, limp.  He kept sitting down and looking at  his tail. It seemed to hurt when he walked.  I tried to palpate it and it seemed a bit swollen at the base of the tail but he was so tender he didn't want me messing with it. All I could think was that somehow sprained it or broke it the night before.
My tail hurts
Duncan being pathetic, Xena trying to console him
Being naturally curious and hoping to stumble upon an explanation other than a broken tail, I did exactly that.

Turns out, there is thing called Limber Tail Syndrome .
Who knew? certainly not me...

(aka; Acute Caudal Myopathy, Dead Tail, Tail Gland Inflammation, limp Tail, etc.)

It normally affects sporting dogs who go swimming early in the season  in cold water . The tail is used as a rudder and the muscles and tail glands get exhausted or inflamed. That is the typical cause. However there seems to be a fair amount of cases where dogs (non sporting type breeds) develop this in the same way Duncan did; cold bath= dead tail

According to this article I found, I made three major mistakes,

  1. I bathed him with a cold hose- never do this again I guess.
  2. It was late in the day when he got his bath ( guess this has to do with the dog being dry and warm prior to them settling in for the night)
  3. I tied him up so he didn't move around after his bath- should have run him around a bit

Duncan had a vet appt scheduled on that Monday for his annual visit anyways so we kept an eye on him throughout the weekend . He didn't get any worse and was eating, drinking, pooping and doing all the things a dog normally does, just without his happy tail.

After his examination, the vet confirmed LTS was in fact what he had developed.  She didn't feel any breaks or suspect any nerve issues based on how he was moving. She prescribed a course of Rimadyl for 7 days as an anti-inflammatory.

Here we are just a few days out and he is already improving. The tail is working about 50% of normal so I suspect a few more days he will be back to his normal happy tail dog wagging self.
Look! It's starting to work again!

The good news is that while this is painful for dogs, and makes them look sad, it's not permanent and it can usually be avoided if the right care is taken.

So now you know!

Monday, July 13, 2015

30 Day Trial Is Over

So our 30 day trial was up yesterday on Midnight. You remember him? The Rehab case.

After alot of hemming and hawwing we found ourselves hunting for a good reason to keep him. We really wanted to keep him but it finally dawned on us, we shouldn't be talking ourselves INTO keeping him.  In the end, there were just too many red flags that we kept seeing pop up, deeming him in both of our eyes as unsafe. it was clear this horse could /would eventually hurt one of us because of his fear/panic issues.  Knowing this didn't make it any less heart wrenching to make the decision to send him back,  because his future probably isn't good.

The drive to the owners was difficult and quite sad. There was still that question, "Are we making the right decision?" looming in our minds, but neither one of us said anything. The decision was made and as it turned out , that answer became glaringly obvious when we went to unload him. He nearly killed himself and my husband  in the process. He attempted to fly out of the trailer backwards while still tied. The rope stretched enough to where he got his back feet out, scrambled, nearly fell because one leg was under the trailer,  and then lunged forward back into the trailer. It all happened so fast I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  We  had hauled him twice before with out any issues. There was nothing to spook him but this is his thing. One time, ok, next time, panic.

Luckily he was only shaken up and he was  missing some hair  from his forehead when he hit his head as he came flying out. My husband , in the scramble, was quick enough to duck and only lost his ballcap in the process but it could have been really bad. He had no where to go.

To the owners credit , she is hoping to try to place him at a sanctuary. I put her in touch with two that I knew of that were reputable.  I hope it works out because it may just be his best bet.
She was disappointed we didn't keep him, but she said she was glad to know it wasn't just her.  She did reveal some stories of various "situations" he had gotten himself into.  One story involved getting tangled in a swingset as a yearling and then running as he drug it for quite a while. He nearly died. There were more stories too. Hearing some of that answered the question of how this horse got to be the way he is.  I have to wonder if maybe had she worked with him after the first wreck he had , if he might have been ok.  Or is it really just bad wiring?

There was a time where I thought most horses could be fixed with the right care and training but as I have seen a couple of times now, that isn't always the case.  Especially when too much time passes and the horse gets too mature. This poor guy I believe, is damaged beyond repair.

So onto more positive news!

Brego and I are still chugging along. His trot is getting super nice and he is getting really soft and supple, although he does have a tendency to get behind the bit. So we went from head tossing to curling up like a shrimp. GHEESH!

We have another schooling show this coming weekend. This time I am actually going to do the dressage and the jumping whereas I have only been doing the jumping in the last two.  I will be doing an Intro dressage test that is only walk/trot with two 20 meter circles. We can handle that although I am pretty sure my 20 meter  circles will look alot more like Amoeba's,  or something unrecognizable as a true 20 meter circle!! It's all part of the learning.

The canter continues to slowly improve and we started doing more and more cantering over ground poles. He still gets pretty fast but it's getting more controlled now. I am developing  the shoulders and hand strength of a weight lifter as a result. He is one powerful little horse. My trainer loves his boldness. I could do with alot less  but I am learning so much.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Family Time and Outdoor Spaces

My parents will be having their 50th Anniversary this July .  50 Years of Marriage, 4 kids and a lifetime of memories. This past year has been challenging for my mom's health so while a 50 year anniversary is special all on it's own, its even more special when for a time, you weren't sure one of your parents was going to be here for it. Their love story is story book. They were born in the same hospital just days apart. They were in the nursery together in fact. They were high school sweethearts. Dad went into the airforce, mom continued with her professional dancing career, eventually opening her own academy. She was a beauty queen pageant ,  he was devilishly handsome young man. Their old photos remind me of a Hollywood couple.This is one of my favorite photos of them , it was taken at my wedding and the photographer captured a special moment.

Nonetheless we are having a party and yours truly is hosting it and doing the majority of the planning It will be a small gathering as most of the extended family is back east and can't travel or is no longer with us. As you can imagine, the planning of this has taken the majority of the small amount of free time I actually do have (in between work and riding and keeping the garden watered ...ugh, so sick of dragging hoses!)

Since it's been so hot and dry here, and my yard doesn't have quite enough shade to keep people from congregating inside, we had to come up with a solution.

While I was frantically calling around to try to find a party tent rental (which was turning into an exercise in futility because it's the height of  wedding season here) , T had it all pretty much figured out already. Smart guy that hubby of mine!

We had a spot in the back yard that is just a square of gravel with a fire pit in the middle. It's where we have our bonfire parties. It works, but it's not "pretty" or  all that exciting. It s just kinda stuck out there, next to the wood shed and the garden boxes, in between a couple of trees.

But it had potential....
He decided that he now had a good enough reason to build that Pergola he has wanted for years. Before I knew it, there was a stack of lumber ready for construction in the yard. I love that he loves to build cool stuff.

So what is a Pergola? (seems alot of people don't know because everyone asks when we tell them what we are building)  If your curious, here is the blog site I went to when we did our research and based some of our design on (plus, it's a really cool blog for the DIY'er)

The building , or in this case , its more like a frame , is done, nestled between the trees.

getting better

almost done, one more strip for shade and then lights.. 

Eventually and before the party,  it will be decorated much like this...with a few of my own added touches for additional shade and lighting effects.

Then we have fix the gravel footing. Since the Pergola is larger than the original bonfire site, we have  to dig up additional grass, get rid of the ugly gravel that is there now, put in treated lumber barriers and then bring in new pretty stones.

We have a nicer outdoor metal fire pit  that has been sitting in the hay barn so finally , we have a good reason to retire the old ugly one that we have been using.
Old and ugly
For the slightly less ugly one..
will need painted..

I love creating outdoor spaces for relaxing and entertaining during. I love it even more that my hubby loves building stuff.

**Please excuse me while I go hunting for the water feature ideas  (husband rolls eyes)****

ok, onto other things..

The title of this post is Family Time and Outdoor Spaces, after all...right??

We have taken the opportunity to get out there to enjoy a little of both.... I hate to brag.... but doesn't this look like an amazing place? I won't lie...It was....

I just love this place... and the hubby was catching a quite a few nice brookies while I was enjoying a book, listening to the water fall.

Montana can be so amazing this time of year....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Event Derby with Brego.. and Otto's Pasture Accident

Our weather has been .. well down right southern California like. We are breaking heat records left and right . April May and June have been the driest we have have seen in years. Forest fires  have already begun and there is no rain in the forecast. Most areas have restrictions for  campfires and fireworks, which doesn't hurt my feelings ( on the fireworks)

I attended an Event Derby last weekend. On the hottest day of the year SO FAR ( we set records in the temperature department)Plus, it was yet another  FIRST. First time attempting anything resembling an actual cross country course. Logs, ditches, water jumps.. and then the occasional regular standard fence thrown in for good measure. Again, it was schooling level so low pressure,  (well it was supposed to be but I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs!)   We made it around the course with no major issues but it felt really clumsy and awkward. Brego hesitated at one of the log jumps, but with encouragement got over it in a less than graceful way.

Ofcourse, because I was nervous, I got too far forward on most of my approaches .. ughhh...I know better.. really but I don't even realize I am doing it half the time.. SO maddening!! 

The good news was that in spite of my forward position, Brego wasn't rushy, he was actually lazy so it was just weird. He normally requires  alot "Whoa dammit"  moments between fences but not this day. Nonetheless , we made it around without any major issues but I wasn't happy with how I felt  about the course. Had it been cooler, I would have hung around until the jumping was done and then gone out to school it some more with my trainers help but by noon, it was already 95 degrees. I was drenched and wanted to get to the lake for a swim. 

After the show, we got Brego home and hosed off, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy and then was adequately swabbed with multiple layers of bug spray, swat and wound cream for the bug bites that had turned into sores. The horses all looked so miserable and hot,  that I decided they all might appreciate a cool hosing off before we left for cool water ourselves.

Otto seems to enjoy the hose and did all kinds of funny things like trying to drink from it and squirting himself in the face in the process. We were both amused and refreshed, and Otto was  apparently feeling so good that after his hosing off, he ran out to the pasture and promptly injured himself. Dumb colts...

We got lucky, really lucky. I could easily be writing that I have a dead horse.

Otto, in his rambunctious two year old ways, (please let us survive this year!) was running around and apparently ran into or jumped up and came down upon one of the  metal T posts in the pasture that fences off the archery backstop and target holder thingy.. (I know, go ahead and gasp as images of an impaled horse run across your mind) .

LUCKILY, the T posts have plastic safety covers on them,  for just this reason.  I hate that we have these metal posts as some of our fence posts but replacing all the posts is an ongoing project. He still did a number on himself, but had it not been covered, he would have impaled himself.

This saved my horse
Instead, Otto ended up with a nasty scrape and a fair amount of soft tissue trauma. He also managed to cut his lower gum. I was watching him run around and play , as usual , in the pasture and looked away for just a minute to get through the gate and over to the corrals to fill water tanks. By the time I got there, Otto  came over to me with a mouthful of blood and blood running down his chest as if to say as if to say..  "Um.. I did something dumb and I have a boo boo" . I missed seeing the whole thing by seconds I think.  One minute he was fine, another, injured.. sigh

I examined him, cleaned it up and he happily let me squirt water in his mouth which must have felt good on whatever his mouth injury was,  but he wouldn't let me get a good look in there. I could kind of see that there was definitely a good cut below his teeth on the bottom jaw. I called the after hours number for our vet, because it was , ofcourse , afterhours. After a long series of questions and answers,  we determined that he was probably not mortally injured based on what I could see and feel. There was no actual puncture wound, just a really bad scrape, which almost looked more like a rope burn. The plan was to administer oral banamine, hose the wounds a couple times a day , keep ointment on them and watch for changes, especially watch his eating/drinking habits with the mouth wound. We walked out to the pasture and we did find one of the posts was pushed over , leaning to one side. That had to be the one he did it on.

He developed alot of swelling over the next couple of days on the chest but he was eating and drinking and moving fine.  By Tuesday, however his chest became hot to the touch and the swelling was increasing and spreading over to the other side.  He didn't have a temp but he acted like he felt terrible. I decided to take him in to be looked at.  The vet examined him , debrided the wound and basically determined he was fine, other than there was alot of  soft tissue trauma. There was no sign of infection or foreign objects.  I got a tube of Ascend Silver Sulfadiazine (best wound cream in the world!)  and headed back home.  Like I said, we got lucky.

Like magic by the day after the vet appt, the swelling was significantly down and the lacerations were looking much better. They really didn't do much so I am not sure if it was the cream ,  the debriding or just coincidence that things look significant better. I am opting that the cream did it. That stuff is amazing.
Here is how it looks now.. the long center one is where he came down on the post, we suspect. No idea how the one occurred on the point of the shoulder.

The injury at the point of shoulder is much more bothersome to him. The vet was initially concerned most on this one because of the growth plate there. However,  Otto hasn't been lame at all so likely it was just more soft tissue damage. Maybe more tender because it's bone mostly there.

Lets hope this is the first and last of any major incidents..

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Rehab Case

Since the big 50 miler, things have been horses, injured horses, party planning and another horse show but maybe the most interesting might be that we took in this guy. Handsome isn't he???

From a distance I have to look at the white on the legs to tell him and Brego apart.

Did I mention his story??? ok, guess I missed that detail...

So yours truly saw an ad  at a local coffee shop. It said Midnight needed a new home.. a 10 year old Mustang/TB gelding. He was green.. but had groundwork , supposedly.  His price was "negotiable". Owner was getting out of horses.

T and I talked about it and he went to go look at the horse while I was away at the Idaho endurance ride. He  worked Midnight a couple of times on the lunge where he was currently living, talked to the owner several times and they worked out an agreement that we would take him on trial for 30 days. He had some bad history but seemed to respond to T pretty well in those first couple of meetings.  We weren't really in the market for another horse, but we are always looking for opportunities to take one in that needs help and then rehome. His movement was nice enough that possibly,  we could train for jumping and eventually sell as an eventer.  Or use him as a replacement for another archery horse since we lost Rebel in November. Either way, he was going to be used.

As the story goes, the owner said had sent him to a trainer a couple of years ago but took  him home early because the trainers couldn't get him to stop bucking. She had tried to ride him last year but had been launched a couple of times  and had lost her confidence, understandably. Midnight  hadn't been ridden since then, and owner and her husband were getting out of horses.

 Maybe he was salvageable. I have seen T do amazing things with worse cases.

We saw the issue right away when T started working with him at home so it was pretty obvious that he needed to be  started him from the basics. Ground work first to build trust and repore. Anything Midnight  did know seemed like he was forced to do it and as a result , Midnight's reaction to everything new is fear based.  He tries very hard but his reactions are somewhat explosive. It became very clear to us that Midnight  was started all wrong and at 10 years old.. his issues won't be  easy to over come.

Over the last couple of weeks, he has slowly learned that life isnt going to be awful and has made some improvements but the theme with him has been 1 step forward , 3 steps back. T has not attempted to get on him yet. No sense until things on the ground get a whole lot better and safer. The last thing I want is my husband to get injured.

Whatever the previous trainer did certainly left a mess in their wake in regards to the mental state of Midnight. I have watched T work this horse nearly 6 days a week and once day is not like the other. Typically, a horse that has not been messed with too much makes slow progression, sometime with the occasional set back , but then eventually progression continues. The horse learns to trust and relax. They learn that its' ok to take their time to sort things out for themselves and  that it's ok to move their feet if they feel the need.  With Midnight, every day is a new set of challenges and just when we think we have him over one thing,  the worry and fear eeks back in.

If he sees something in the distance, like the neighbors horse or in one case, me dragging a tarp to put in storage, he wants to flee, even if the scary object is a long ways off .

If you put anything above him, such as having him stand next to you while you are on a mounting block (where a rider would be)  he loses it and tries to flee.

Anything touching his flank or shoulder sends him sideways or bucking and cow kicking violently.

These are just a few of the issues we have been working to get him through.

One night over dinner, puzzling over this horse,  I recalled that when we picked Midnight up to take him home ,it took him a while to get in the trailer. T, ever patient , eventually got him to step in nicely without a fuss, but it took an hour. The not so patient husband of Midnights owner wanted to get on with his evening plans.  We were definitely getting in the way of those plans.

That was when he (a rodeo wanna be guy who used to rope apparently) made a joke , that I recalled. When he saw that it was taking a while to get Midnight in the trailer and he was about done waiting, he made a comment , half joking,  "guess we need to see about getting out that cattle prod out again.".

At the time, I thought it was just a joke..but now.. I wonder.

 Seeing the issues with this horse, makes me think maybe there was some truth to that so called joke. The husband didn't exactly strike me as the nicest of people. All he could talk about was spurring his rope horse to get him to do what he wanted.. and how terrible the horse was.

We will never know the truth but it would provide some explanation to what this horse has suffered.

While we have made progress with Midnight,  it has been incremental. Right now he isn't safe for anyone to ride without alot more time, and maybe not ever. Hard to say.Sometimes the damage is too much.

We have a couple more weeks left on our trial period. I am hoping for a miracle but I am cautiously optimistic.  I  hate the thought of returning him to his owner, moreso his owners husband but I also know that we don't have the resources to keep yet another pasture muffin around. He has to be useable and/or saleable.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

City Of Rocks 50 Miler- Bagged

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a 50 miler, my first!

A friend (and co-blogger) and I had been chatting for several years about joining forces at some point and doing a ride together.  However, it never quite worked out. This time , it did.  While I didn't have a horse of my own, she  had an extra one that was fit enough to do a 50. She was kind enough to offer me a chance to ride. I was grateful and excited.

With a little planning and alot of finger crossing it somehow all came together.

Last Thursday afternoon I hit the road, to make the first half of the 10 hour drive , stopping off at another friends place for an overnight. Her place was about the half way point of the long drive and I was more than happy to have a mid way break in the trip. Making a 10 hour drive in one shot, then riding 50 miles the next day didn't seem too appealing to me. I had a nice visit with J , who moved away about a year ago . She was my favorite riding partner so it was great to catch up and see her again at her new place. She now lives with as many Desert Hares as she does with horses. I have never seen such giant rabbits.. ! She is a bronze artist and she showed me some of her new pieces in her new shop that she was working on. She does amazing work! 

Friday morning came too quickly, and I said my goodbyes to J to hit the road again and make the remaining 5 hour drive. I was anxious to get to ride camp. That second half of the drive seemed like it took FOREVER!   As it turned out, my parents were coming the other way, on their way home from Arizona and the plan was to try to meet up in Idaho somewhere for lunch so I had that to look forward to . Unfortunately, the timing didn't quite work out and we just ended up honking as we passed each other on the road. I was grateful for my audiobook, a Janet Evanovich  story which are usually guaranteed to be entertaining.

Finally, I turned onto the final stretch towards ride camp and happened to fall in behind Tamara's rig.  That worked out great because I would have been so lost. Honestly, the directions to ride camp could be improved upon to instill a little more confidence in attendees that they aren't going off into no mans land. 

We got the horses settled in , and I got my new  "60" second tent set up which took more like 3 minutes and 60 seconds and an extra set of hands,  because apparently it wasn't completely dummy proof. (camping is something I came to later in life and haven't done a ton of it, especially on my own so cut me some slack) .

We took a short "trial " ride so I could get to know my ride , Maji and get my stirrups adjusted. Then we vetted in and it was time to we make our way to ride meeting. 

The plan was we would go out , climb to 7500 ' elevation , arrive at a mecca of green grass and cold water at a stock tank,  turn around, and make our way to the first 30 minute vet check  at 15 miles. 

Then the second 50 minute vet check would take us back to ride camp, completing the first 25 mile loop. There was a lot of climbing on loop one. The second loop was all 25 miles and no vet checks. I thought this was kind of odd . 

Once ride meeting was over, Tamara and I got a few minutes to sit and chat and finish a beer, while being fully entertained by the tiny adorable mice that were  running from sage brush to sage brush around our chairs.  I was just waiting for a giant Owl to come down and leave claw marks on one of us. 

A mostly sleepless night for me in spite of my usual dose of Melatonin followed and before I knew it , it was time to saddle up and head out. The start was totally quiet and unremarkable for us, which was great. We made our way up , up and up, to our  first turn around point at a water tank. We were going alot slower than what Tamara typically would ride  because Maji was challenged by a couple of things. One, she was carrying me, and at the risk of self deprecation, I am not exactly in the lightweight division and she had only ever carried a much smaller rider. She was carrying an additional 30 lbs. She also had not done much training at elevation. I got off and walked a few times , to give her a respite on the tougher climbs but also to stretch my legs and keep my knee from getting too sore. 

Several  LD riders, including a pack of riders on mules caught up to us at the turn around point and it was here that  I started to see why there is  such a division in AERC with LD riders. There were several riders in this pack that were definitely "racing" and risking their horses/mules well being in my opinion.  I had not seen this in previous rides and given that all I have ever done were LD's, I was surprised. When we all arrived in at the first vet check, one mule was having trouble getting to criteria . Tamara and I sailed through , HR's were down well below criteria. Maji got a B on gut sounds but Tamara thought that was fairly typical for her at this point, given the climb. The mule people remained, arguing (actually yelling) with vets.

We rolled our eyes, bit our tongues and headed  back down the trail.

Before we knew it, here came the guy on the mule , so we let him pass. 

We made it into our 2nd vet check. She pulsed in at 56 ,  A- on gait and the vet kept us at a B for gut sounds. She wasn't quite as animated in her gait , thus the A - . However, she was eating and drinking well so there were no other red flags or a reason to not continue. The B for gut sounds was that they were a little quieter than they liked I guess. I had no baseline for what her normal was. The first loop took us about 4.5 hours.

Before we knew it , it was time to head out again and off we went to complete that second long 25 miles, with no stops. We again did alot more walking than we had wanted to but I wanted to make sure Maji wasn't going to be over ridden. She was being a real trooper and I wanted her to finish this ride, even if we were in the back of the pack, which we were. It was ok though , other than it  meant a lot MORE time in the saddle.  Tamara was planning to do a 100 in a few weeks on her gelding, a long slow ride was just fine and maybe a good thing for his conditioning.  

The last 10 miles of the ride , we were playing peekaboo with a thunderstorm . I had heard several stories from last year when several riders were caught in a wicked electrical storm. I was not hoping to repeat that. We went as fast as we reasonably could, where we could. Several sections were pretty technical so we had no choice but to walk. 

We finally made it in, and the storm had luckily moved off. We finished at 5:03 pm. We shaved off a half hour from our first loop, finishing in 4 hours.We thought, hoping at this point, that we were last and might get the turtle award but there were two riders behind us yet.. Boo.. 

We got the horses settled in , had  dinner , and  made  a dash for the hot springs down the road. I have never been so happy to sit in Hot Springs. That was exactly what I needed after 8.5 hours in a saddle. 

For my first 50, I really have no complaints. I was sore,and still am. Mostly my calves and quads but that was because I had to keep my stirrups longer than I might normally , due to the blevins buckles on the saddle, which I was not used to. It was a small price to pay in my opinion. Given I had not done much trail riding at all, my "owies" were not as bad as I thought they would be.

The drive home  was again broken into two separate trips, this time going to a different friends house in a different direction, for different reasons that weren't for fun. 
This friend's husband had become ill and now had been sent to ICU. It was not looking good and his time was short. I went to their home to spend the night with the dogs so they would not be alone and more importantly, it would allow my friend to stay with her  husband and not worry about things at home.  He has since passed. Yesterday was a very sad day. He was the kindest, gentlest man I had ever come to know and he will be missed greatly by many people. 

I guess sometimes, with the good comes the bad. I have so many mixed emotions from the weekend. I am tired, sad and at the same time feeling so blessed that I was given an opportunity to do something like this.  It was a good reminder that we never know when our time is up and we should take every opportunity we can to live life to the fullest while we can.

See you down the trail!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Have to Start Somewhere

This is going to be a short and sweet post.


Last Sunday, Brego and I went into our first show , or as it was called, mini event. It was a two day deal and is intended to be low key for training purposes.  Not a huge turn out and very casual atmosphere. The first day was dressage and cross country.  We did not attend those days. We only opted for one class on show jumping day. It was a 10 course fence, more than I have done with Brego  so we entered into Smurf, which meant the fences were 18". Super easy, super inviting and super low stress for him and me so  as to make our first "show" experience  positive.

Ofcourse I made it into a much bigger deal than I needed to and got way more nervous than I needed to. More than anything I was concerned about remembering the course.

My class started at  9:00 . I warmed Brego up and he was completely cool headed. We jumped 3-4 times in warm up and he was super quiet , which surprised me because the night before when we practiced at home , he was anything but quiet. I anticipated on show day he would be just as bad. Luckily he decided to be good on this day.

We finished our warm up and  I got to watch a couple riders go ahead of me.  Then it was my turn.
I opted to trot him through the course for the first several and if he offered a nice canter at some point, I would let him stay in it. I think we cantered 3 fences.
Brego was absolutely calm , cool and made it super easy on me. I think we did most of the course on a loose rein.

I was happy, trainer was happy and Brego was like... ok ,, what's next??

*** I didn't get any photos unfortunately and I didn't get any ribbons because I only competed on the one day.. but it didn't matter. Our first experience at a "show" was very positive.

Maybe we will try for another in June!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Updates

Working from home is awesome on days like we have had lately.  I can work from my back yard while working on my tan. (Damn, my legs are white!) We are having unusually warm , sunny and dry spring. 
 Our typical spring rains seem to be going everywhere but here. Surrounding areas are getting drenched while we have had to start irrigating .  Hay might an issue both in availability and price this year.. alot of hay farmers here don't have irrigation since we typically get enough moisture.. exept on dry years like this year.  I think we are in for one of those hot dry years which also means a bad fire season. We haven't had one for a long while.. guess we are due. 

Lots of things going on around here so I will try to summarize. Most noteably, and most impacting to life in general was my weird back dilemna last week. Last Monday morning,  I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, bent over to give Duncan his customary “good Morning” belly rub , and found myself stuck. I could not straighten up. A sharp twinge in my lower back and I literally could not move. I dropped to my hands and knees and slowly clawed myself into a mostly upright position using the bed. Walking  was nearly impossible, standing up straight was impossible , walking , twisting or bending caused excruciating pain.  I couldn't help but remember the Seinfeld episode , "The Pen" when Elaine slept on the  couch and woke up with her back all messed up..and then took too many pain meds. 

"STELLLAAA" (ok, if you haven't seen the episode, you need to!)

It could have  been me.. easily..
if I kept heavy duty pain meds in the house, it would have been me.
I was that desperate. 

I suffered through two days of hobbling around before finally calling my chiropractor, which I dreaded the thought of , the idea of  being”cracked” was enough to make make me vomit. But , I also knew I couldn't stay like I was,  and he probably wasn't going to create any more pain for me than I was already in..I had nothing to lose..  

 Apparently I had something call "Meniscoid Entrapment” which is a fancy term for the cartilage disc known as meniscoids getting caught between intervetebral spaces. As it turns out , sudden or non-physiological movements, cause these little meniscoids to get caught where they don't belong , causing a spinal blockade and pain. ( I 'll can confirm the pain part) From everything I read, manipulative treatment is the best option. 

Ice, ibuprofen and limited movements that involve twisting was the order . By that night , after the adjustment, I felt about 50% better and could walk mostly normal.  Another 24 hours and I was mucking paddocks again and lifting hay bales without too much pain. 

So, in between all this back stuff happening, my trial saddle arrived. It arrived three days before my back thing but I didn't have time to try it on any of those days so it sat.

On the second day of back misery, (now five days into my trial period and still no idea if I would like it) I decided I better give it a go. Time was ticking.  

Somehow I thought that it might not hurt so much once I actually got in the saddle??

T made several attempts to talk me out of my crazy fooled idea but I wasn't going to listen so he figured he could atleast do damage control  He agreed to help me get in the saddle,  since I couldn't really move my legs  or pretty much do any of the movements needed to actually get on a horse. We should have taken video .. it was pretty hilarious, although I wasn't laughing at the time.. 

As soon as I sat down, I was proved wrong in my theory .

Nonetheless,  since I was up there,  I walked around and tried to do a little posting trot to try to get a feel for it.  It was a major fail all the way around because I was so tense and in so much pain I was riding weird. Brego was pissed because I was so tense.. and it was just not working out . So, slowly and cautiously, I slithered back of the horse with T's help.. and promptly went in the house to get my ice pack again. 

I have ridden in it since the back issue resolved and the verdict is : I love it. I was just going to buy the trial ,even though it was the more expensive leather version  

However, that plan also kind of went sideways. The trial they sent me had a flaw in the panel.
The leather literally had a slice in it on the panel. It's a wool flocked panel.  So even if I wanted to keep that saddle, I couldn't.  It's not even really repairable because of how the panel was shaped as a result of this cut.

The bad part is that to order a new one, it takes 10 weeks (backordered from England) which totally sucks. Considering the situation,  the dealer offered to  let me keep the trial until the new one arrives since they can't sell this one anyways and it's getting returned to the manufacturer as a dud. I thought that was pretty nice. 

So I have a new one on order and I did stick with my original plan and order the saddle that is part leather/part synthetic  (seat, knee and trim are all leather so the riders gets the feel of leather where it matters.) The price difference was just too much for the budget right now. 
Here is my review/ impressions of the saddle. 
  •  The leather is beautiful and obviously good quality.   
  • The brown color is very dark, almost looks black but it’s nice. Not sure what color I want now.   
  • I could easily see being able to do flat work and jumping in it based on the flap position. 
  • I love the multiple billet strap configuration option that the saddle has because it allows adjustment of girth placement for horses of different builds which means better stability. 
  • The extra wide bar that I had the dealer put in the saddle before they shipped it is too wide. Brego actually measured a "regular "wide according to their fitting chart, but I thought given my past experience with his saddle fitting, an extra wide would be better for him. I was wrong. It sinks down just a little too much on him.
  • I felt secure in it but because of my back pain, my posting was weird and I didn’t get a good sense of whether it was tipping me forward or back. I definitely didn’t try to do a sitting trot .   
  • Seat is really nice and cushy. (with the Synthetic version of this saddle, the seat and knee pads are leather just like this one so it should feel the same in that respect)
  •  The saddle was lighter than I thought it would be. 
  • The stirrup bars are more inset than a lot of saddles which is a nice feature because it doesn’t dig into the riders inner thigh. Definitely a plus.

My hubby didn't go to Canada over Memorial day weekend as planned for his Archery competition which meant we got to go fishing in our new little fishing boat!!!. (and by little I mean 12 feet long little) Its for lakes mostly and while  it’s a far cry from my  Dream Pontoon boat, it’s sure to provide some fun summer days on the water. 

We also got a few things done around the place over the long weekend like finally getting my feed room and tack room repainted. They used to be an ugly brown color and for years I have dreamt of little red barns which match the trim on the hay barn..

I finally got them!

The tack room still needs the door scraped, painted , and the white trim repainted.

Tackroom- ugly brown chipping away on door

Feed Room and Dog house

Jump Training-
I lost last week of riding due to my back,  but had a good lesson this week, aside from one little snafu where Brego thought he needed to jump a 2' fence like it was a 4 foot fence and nearly unseated me on the landing. Yikes.. had I not been in my new trial , very supportive saddle, I probably would have come off!  

We are planning to attend my first Mini Event with Brego this weekend. I am just doing one jumpers class.  It's a super casual atmosphere where my trainer can be coaching me through the entire time which is good because I will likely be so nervous I will forget the course.  Luckily it will be super small fences and its really just about trying to see how Brego and I handle the show ring.. Keep you fingers crossed for us!! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Few Firsts

These last few weeks  has been full of activities on many spectrums  but a theme has emerged it seems.

The spring weather has been absolutely unbelievable which meant that Glacier Park was calling me.  It was time to step out for my FIRST Glacier hike of the season,and as always, it never disappoints. 0 Atleast once a year, I hike this hike.It's just a thing most of the locals must do.  It isn't a terribly long trek so a good one to get the season started with. I was suprised at how LITTLE snow there was . It seemed more like July snow rather than April/May levels. Nonetheless, the Glacier lilies and a variety of other wildflowers were putting on a good show.


First hike=> FIRST gear Malfunction

I have never owned a pair of  real "hiking" shoes before, never really saw the need for them. A retired pair of sneakers was always hanging around and always seemed to work in the past, although, I did recall having some issues last summer.  
Given the level of pain I was experiencing this time around,  and considering I plan to do plenty more hikes this season, I figured it was time to throw out the holey, worn out sneakers and  get something that supports my foot more appropriately. I begrudgingly went and found a new pair of actual hiking shoes. My FIRST ever set of bonified hiking shoes.

I opted for these, because they seemed to give the most cushion to my mid foot area (my problem area) and they seemed to have the best arch support.

I will feel so "Official" now out on the trail...I have plans to try them out this weekend.

With the first hike of the season out of the way, it was onto some other horse related firsts (Yay, right?)

Otto's FIRST saddling

We started with a review of last fall's lesson  , in case he forgot..which of course he didn't .

 A simple rope around the barrel to mimic the feel of  a girth.

"yeah, ok.. can I chew on it?"
"why you be pulling on me"?

And then to walk with rope , while having a little upward tension put on the rope while walking..

We moved on to this, which was also a review of last fall. A blanket pad and the rope mock "girth"
not sure about this..

always looking at the camera when he should be paying attention to class

 "I am too sexy for my blanket.. too sexy for me blanket."...
From here we moved onto placing the saddle on and and off several times, with out the girth and just moving him around in the same way, while holding the off side stirrup up so it wouldn't bother him.

Baby steps.. baby steps..

This procession was over the course of a few different sessions.  When it came to the actual saddling session, my hubby decided to do it while I was riding Brego, therefore I have no pics to share... :(
You will have to take my word for it ,  but it went about the same.. at first a little concerned and eventually walking around with his head down..

Jumping firsts

I have had 4 lessons  now with my new trainer.  We had kind of a break through a couple weeks ago. We have jumped our FIRST big REAL fence, a 2'3 Oxer.

As it turns out, Brego only jumps in really cute form when the fences get bigger..
As much as I like my cross rail and small vertical comfort zone , it was time to move on because apparently,  you can make a horse like Brego develop less than desirable jumping  habits if you spend too much time jumping smallish jumping flat= bad

So, my comfort zone is being challenged..  Not only have we taken a  step towards bigger fences but we have CANTERED our FIRST jump.  Brego's  thing is to rush and get "chargey" when we approach from a trot, but to our surprise, he didn't seem to do that in a canter. He  surprised all of us  but time will tell if it was just "beginners" carefulness or if he is going to maintain that way.  That was a great discovery since we have mostly been trotting in , landing in a canter, asking for trot again, and then taking the next fence...

In spite of all this good stuff happening, we have still been fighting with saddle fit for Brego.  You might recall this post about the jumping saddle dilemma?

Remember that borrowed saddle I thought was working out great????.

I LOVE the saddle. Brego.. not so much.

Its comfortable for me. I feel super secure in it and it puts my leg in a really good position. However, it is NOT working for Brego.  He started in with Head tossing, hollowing back, pinning of ears, swishing of tail, and once he even kicked out when I asked him for a canter. The crazy thing is that to look at the fit, it really doesn't appear to be bad fitting. Atleast not bad enough to warrant the big reactions I was seeing in Brego. (and we ruled out all other options like teeth, or soreness somewhere else)  There were no overly obvious signs of bad fitting like too much rocker or too much tightness in the shoulders. The only thing I did notice was the the hair was "scruffed" the wrong way behind his shoulders after a ride and there were slightly drier areas than the rest of the sweat pattern but nothing that screamed. "THIS SADDLE IS HURTING YOUR HORSE".Brego didn't even react if I palpated the area.
 In the long run, we concluded we probably had a "Princess and the Pea "situation here and that it was obviously causing him some discomfort , thus hindering our progression for sure. For now, I am back to riding in my Close contact because I know it fits him. Besides the fact that  I feel like I am going to tip over the front of it, Brego is much happier.. and we can carry for me, I can get by for now.

.....but long term its not the best solution and since we are talking about firsts.. I have this coming......My FIRST All Purpose jumping type saddle.

The saddle is coming as a trial . Historically , I always disliked a deeper seat for jumping but after experiencing the difference with my friends all purpose,  I have come to my senses. Considering  I am also doing a fair amount of flat/dressage work with Brego, it just made the most sense to try going this route.

It's fully adjustable in the gullet and it has this other really cool feature in the panel design that supposedly eliminates the part of the panel that restricts the shoulder movement. I am optimistic this will be a good option for the princess.

This particular saddle brand actually has a sister brand that is what I was originally planning to try, but they had no trial models available. The two models are identical except the sister brand is partial leather and partial synthetic , and offered a lower price point whereas the one I have coming is all leather.  (and a much higher price point) I am sure there is a marketing scheme in here somewhere.

Send out the more expensive leather model , rider will fall in love and just have to have it.. 

The silver lining here is that until I get a more supportive saddle that works for both Brego and I , fear of being launched over a fence head first in this damn saddle has developed one hell of a strong leg position which makes my trainer super happy.

There might be a few more FIRSTS coming our way . Originally,  I wanted to hold off even posting this until I could include those things as well,   but that could be two weeks away before I know for sure.. and it  could all come unraveled between now and then so while I  can't won't give any spoiler alerts as it might jinx things , I can tell you it should be stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a photo I like to just stare at.. because he is developing so darn nicely..and I don't have barn blindness. nope.. not me..