Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I'm prouder than a peacock over my guys!

Toby is getting (actually) fat and he's happy! He's a blast to ride! Sound, happy, lots of dapples and he seems to be blossoming in his new home. I've been able to cut his feed in 1/2 and he's getting more hay and the hay comes in small portions throughout the day. He's actually on the verge of becoming FAT! For as long as I've had Toby I've never had this problem. I'm really thrilled! Not only is he uber healthy, he's sound and fun to ride! I've been nursing him and Ollie for so long!

Ollie is sound, almost at a perfect weight and happy! Even his poops keep looking better and better each day! They are almost (but not quite) perfect poops! His coat is super soft and he's starting to challenge Toby in his hierarchy. All signs of one healthy horse!

So today he was put back into training!! He started out like he knew nothing and about 15 minutes into it his light bulb turned on and he put himself on the bit and was truly lovely!


He wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but based on how he began his work and how he ended - he was perfect in my eyes...




I love how he moves and the way he points his toes. He's just a joy to watch (do I sound a bit besotted?)...


Then Toby and I had a great lesson! He started out slow, lazy and dull but he came to life once I got on his case and was light on his feet (for the most part except for a couple of trips), stretchy and on the bit. So much fun to ride! We even did some good leg yields at the end of our lesson. He was really good and on the aids for me.

I'm just thrilled that my last lesson before my wedding day was such a good one.

I'm so happy. Happy, happy, happy! To have my two boys fat, sound and happy (and the best of all working) means more to me than anything!! I couldn't ask for my horses to be in a better place than this when I approach one of the most meaningful days of my life.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Betsy's Wedding Day

Matt and I shot photos of Betsy and Brian's wedding on their property just outside of Traverse City. Here's a taste of what I got...







And we have photos posted on Matt's Wedding Photography website too. At the time of writing this post, Matt hadn't gotten his photos up but wow did he get some great ones! I had uploaded 29 pics... and yes, she did ride in on her horse Tanner (side saddle) and he bowed for her to dismount into her father's arms. NICE!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No Lesson This Week

There was no riding lesson this week because this weekend Betsy is getting married! She's very busy making her plans and preparing the area on her property where the wedding will take place. Matt and I are their official wedding photographers. It should be fun!

I went out to the barn to work Toby and soak Ollie's hoof. Ollie is doing SO WELL! That's a funny thing about abscesses. One day they are so lame they can hardly walk and the next day it's almost as if nothing happened.

Toby and I worked on bending exercises. We've had troubles bending to the right. Toby's been a bit easier since the chiropractor was out. He popped a couple of ribs back into place and now Toby is traveling much more evenly. So I worked on lots of circles and in some of them I made Toby swing out wide, we did serpentines (after we really warmed up) and then lots of transitions to get him to use his hind end better. It was a really nice ride and he tried his heart out with good results. He seemed so pleased with himself afterwards. All the while, Ollie was calling out to Toby. I think Toby enjoyed that he was main guy in training.

After Toby, I decided that my busy body horse Ollie needed to mentally feel like he worked. So I decided that we could work on standing at the mounting block. I tacked him up, walked him around the new (for him) arena and then got him next to the mounting block. I got him to stand still, put my foot in the stirrup and he took one step backwards. I gave out our "no" noise - kind of like a grunt and he stopped. I got on, walked him around the arena, got off and we did it all over again a few times. After that first time he stood at the block like a good boy.

While he was walking I asked him to be round, which he did. He was quite good and relaxed! I thought the movement would help increase blood circulation and push things out of the abscess and I certainly didn't work him hard. In the end, Ollie was nice and quiet for standing in a bucket of epsom salt water. Both boys were relaxed and feeling good about doing their "jobs" well.

That is one thing about thoroughbreds, they like to have jobs.

Even if their job is to be the comic relief


Sunday, August 15, 2010


What a roller coaster of emotions I've had the past couple of days.

Yesterday I was very testy and tightly wound due to my frustration at getting Ollie better. He was limping around so pathetically it broke my heart! I think he knew I was trying to help him. He was a rock star about soaking his hoof. He'd stand for almost an hour with his hoof in a bucket of epsom salt water.

I had a chiropractor out on Friday and he mentioned that Ollie's check ligament was sore as was his knee on his front right. We all felt that came from the compensation for the sore hoof. But the frustration came because there was no heat and no swelling. We were just guessing!

Last night while he was soaking I made plans to take him to Michigan State University's vet school!

My vet doesn't have any ultrasound equipment - no vet up in this area does unless we travel a couple of hours. I kept referencing my lameness book which seemed to clearly indicate to me that we had an abscess. But that abscess wouldn't show up! So I was doubting myself. I was wondering if I was treating the right thing Could I do more? All I was doing were twice a day epsom salt soaks.

Last night I had a hint of things to come. After soaking for about 45 minutes, Ollie had swelling in the coronet band and heat. This was a first. This even gave me some relief.

Then finally this morning! It broke! And like a teenager with pimples, I was squeezing away to get the puss to come out. I know, that's gross but it's true. I wanted all that gunk out of there. The abscess must have broken between 9 and 10am. The barn owner gave the boys their hay outdoors and didn't see anything. In fact, they remarked at how lame Ollie was. I arrived around 10 and went out to the paddock to check on Ollie's hoof. I saw the dark spot and saw the drainage mark on the hoof. I let out a cheer! He was even walking better.

Ollie had a noticeable swelling in the coronet band and up the leg to about his knee but now we know the cause. Now we know he is going to recover just fine. Now I can really relax!

Don't worry, I'm still going to do the epsom salt soaks, followed by a betadine wash and cover it with SWAT.

But now I think the worse is over and I'll get my old Ollie back. PHEW!



Here is a link to a picture of the broken open abscess.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Waiting Game

There's not too much to write about. Toby and Ollie are thoroughly enjoying their new digs. Toby rules over Ollie when they are together then he pathetically calls to him when I have them apart. For a 20 yr old "been-there-done-that" horse he's the biggest baby.

Ollie is suffering from a stone bruise which looks like it turned into an abscess and is about to break any minute now. Any minute now.... Twice daily epsom salt soaks the past couple of days hasn't made it happen yet. Highly frustrated owner. Ollie is moving slowly and gimpy. Other than that he seems unfazed by it all. He's eating well, drinking well, sleeping well and follows Toby around like a puppy following his person. He's even pooping better and filling out!


Their new friend, the rooster, even hangs out with the boys


And as soon as this abscess breaks through, we'll all be crowing about it!!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Clouds In My Coffee

Last night, the owner of Toby and Ollie's new home had a party. My rock star fiance came along to the party since he was here to help me paint my front porch and do some fix-ups to my home, all in the effort to sell it and get me down to Kentucky.

Anywhere Matt goes he takes a camera. I happily showed him my boys new home and of course the camera came out. We had both seen a cool photo on one of our favorite photo blogs of Carly Simon with her horse. We thought we'd try it out too.



How did we do?

My guys are doing very well in their new home. Ollie in particular. His poops are beginning to take on some shape. He's on U-gard, Finish Line's U-7 and Cosequin's probiotics. The U-7 has aloe vera juice, the U-gard helps with stomach acid and the probiotics are getting a chance to stay in his system and do their thing. He is getting hay several times a day and is managing to keep his weight while his grain is being cut back a bit. Toby is able to cut back on his grain as well due to the increase in hay. Of course we are keeping a close eye on both of them for changes in their weight.

I'm very pleased in the progress over the short time. In fact, I'm doing a happy dance!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good Gut Health

As many of you know, I've been battling loose poop issues with Ollie since the time I got him. I've had some relative success in getting poops with some semblance of shape to them. Lately, however, after fighting an infection with antibiotics, Ollie's poops are as loose as they've ever been.

He has gone through a treatment with gastroguard, and now I'm doing loading doses of probiotics and utilizing U-gard. His feed is Kalmbach's "Kalm 'N Ez" which is a low sugar, low starch, high fat feed (sounds like he's on a similar diet plan as me!). At his new home, he's being transitioned to getting more hay throughout the course of the day (we're doing this slowly) and eventually less grain.

That's our current plan. That's always bound to change as we monitor him.

Many of you have offered your suggestions on supplements and I have checked into many of them. One of them was Bio Sponge. The website doesn't tell you what's in it but after reading a wonderful article about Global Hunter and his recovery, this stuff must be darn good!

So I thought I'd post a link to the story. It's a great read!

Saving Global Hunter

This is the part that made me want to blog about it:

The horse has been placed on Bio-Sponge, a supplement Herthel designed to promote gastrointestinal health. In this case, Bio-Sponge is being used to help Global Hunter’s gut ward off colitis that sometimes is a complication of antibiotic therapy. He also is receiving a daily triple dose of Platinum Performance, a supplement Herthel developed to aid in maintaining healthy bones in performance horses, to help repair the fracture.

Interesting stuff!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 2 At the New Digs

Both seem to be doing well. I think Ollie may have an allergy to the different hay. He keeps sneezing when he's eating it. Poor guy!

Toby seems pretty happy. His poops were a little loose this morning but otherwise he's well. He's eating and drinking well which is most important. I'm sure the different hay is making his poop a little loose. This was expected.

Ollie seems considerably better! He didn't seem to be off at all today and he stood in the cross ties with his weight evenly distributed on all fours. He had been resting his left hind all the time and that is one of the reasons why I wanted the chiropractor to come out. The doc will be coming out to give an adjustment on Friday the 13th.

So here they are in pictures - DAY TWO

This is what greets you when you pull up to the barn:


Their run-in:


You can see that Toby likes the window view.

Both had a good roll and run:





Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Moving Day!

Toby and Ollie moved to a new equine home today. They have moved to my friend Heather's so Ollie can get more training with Betsy and he can get some better individual attention with his feed than at the boarding facility we were living in before. I'm really battling his loose poop issue and trying to keep him sound.

The soundness issue has a little something to do with Ollie's peculiar social skills. I think he has poor equine social skills due to his 7 years of living the track life. At least that's my theory... He is extremely social and he's also very curious. He literally doesn't have a mean bone in his body (OK - I can hear the Sebrights laughing right now because Ollie used to be nicknamed "Chuckie" at the track due to his bad behavior). Seriously, Ollie doesn't have a mean bone and he LOVES attention. So when he hangs with other horses, he has a habit of greeting them by sniffing their behinds. Just like a dog. Needless to say, the other horses do not care to have their behinds sniffed. So poor Ollie gets kicked around often. Right now, he is lame on his front right most likely from an inopportune sniff followed by a kick.

But I think those days are over! In Ollie's new home, he shares a paddock with only his best buddy, Toby. Toby rules over Ollie so all he has to do is give him "the look" and Ollie will back off. Toby doesn't do too much kicking out as it's not needed. No more will Ollie be hanging with a big group of goofy geldings when he's turned out. Rather, Toby and Ollie share a lovely shaded paddock with a run-in that then leads right into Ollie's stall. Typically the stall door is closed but with those two it really doesn't matter. Toby's stall is right next to Ollie's and has a nice window to the outdoors but it opens up to another paddock (not his). So Toby will be led over to Ollie's stall for turnout and the two will hang out together all day. They loved the set-up!

Ollie looking out onto his paddock from his stall:


Toby's and Ollie's stalls are right next to each other and they have a 1/2 wall on the aisle side. So they can hang their heads out to see what's going on and chat with each other. Boy did they like that alot!!


Toby is just a happy guy!


They will have to get used to some new things, like the rooster that roosts in the barn each night. The rooster really had Ollie going earlier in the day. I don't think he's seen too many of them in his lifetime. He kept wanting to sniff his behind...

This is our rooster friend:

the rooster

I'm very excited about this move and look forward to the work we will be able to do - now if only Ollie would be sound!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello From The Skies

Blogging to you from 35,000 feet in the air! Kinda cool!

I'm heading back from Seattle, WA and the U.S. Senior Open. I had an interesting week of working in the score card signing area for Thursday and Friday then working in the broadcast booth on the 18th hole with Dan Hicks and Gary Koch of the NBC Sports team. It was a blast! And it was cool to have Dan Hicks introduce me on air. I'm sure it made my parents proud. :)

Thankfully there were no rulings with the lead groups and I didn't have to actually speak on air (I hate hearing my own voice). I thought it may have been close when Tom Kite hit it out of bounds and then followed it up with a "lateral hosel shot" (aka Shank) into the woods. But he was too far out of the lead anyways to warrant any real airtime.

Now I'm flying home and coordinating my equines move to their new home. Hopefully we move tomorrow...

Toby and Hola