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.