Thursday, December 15, 2011

Farewell, Indian Charlie

Twice this year, my husband and I had the chance to be enamored by two different horses. And this year, we lost them all too soon. As fate would have it, both horses were of the same family--a great sire and his champion daughter.

A few months ago I posted about the loss of Fleet Indian, and this morning her sire, Indian Charlie, passed away.

Airdrie Stud was the first stud farm we visited in Lexington over Breeder's Cup weekend. The visit was a stark contrast to the hubbub of the open houses later in the day. Rather than a milling mess of people, it was just my husband, his friend, the stallion manager, the barn cat, and I...and of course, the horses. And rather than seeing stalled, perfectly-groomed stallions on display, we were free to roam the property of Airdie and see the stallions at their best--as happy, muddy horses.

This alone was a wonderful treat, but the first stallion we made a beeline for--and the number one reason we were at Airdrie--made the visit all the more special. He was Indian Charlie, and his personality was larger than his gigantic frame. He ran, he made us laugh, and he happily posed for our zillions of photographs. He also reminded me very much of Fleet Indian, and it was clear where she had acquired her looks and sweet temperament. Indian Charlie was a stand-out from the other stallions there and such a pleasure to visit that if we had packed up and left for Illinois right after Airdrie, I would have been satisfied.

"We must see him again next year," I told my husband as we were leaving, and he wholeheartedly agreed.

Upon learning of his passing this morning, my husband I were extremely saddened. We both feel very fortunate to have met both sire and daughter this year. If only we had more opportunities with them in the future. Rest in peace, Indian Charlie.

My husband photographing Indian Charlie

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Barn etiquette and an update

No, I still haven't ridden, unfortunately! I guess it's not so bad to not ride during the winter, though....not! I would give anything to ride Lim right now. However, I have to wait. She is still barefoot and still sore after trims--not as sore as she was when she had the abscess, but still sore enough to push aside any hopes of riding her.

I don't know how long it will be, but it'll be a while. Sigh.

Lim had a chiropractic appointment on Friday; it was a last-minute thing after I found out an equine chiropractor would be at the barn that day. I had been thinking about having this done for a while with Dr. Heinze but I figured I would give this vet a shot since she was already there. I will post more details at a later date, but it was an interesting session.

And now, the subject of barn etiquette. A little over a week ago, I arrived at the barn and found a couple key items in Lim's stall in a disarray--her stall guard was looped up in a way that I would never do, and even worse, her rubber feed pan was located across the aisle by another horse's stall. Needless to say, I was furious!

After texting different people, I could not figure out who had moved her feed pan. So the next step was to talk to the barn owner. She did a little investigative work of her own and pinpointed a particular person, but this person denied everything. I will not go into detail here, but I have decided to drop the whole thing for now. If it happens again then there will be hell to pay, but in the meantime I simply let this person know that "no matter" who moved/used Lim's feed pan, it would not be tolerated. I also updated the info sign on Lim's stall and added a new sign stating that her stuff should not be used or removed without permission and placed it in a prominent location. Lastly, I wrapped her feed pan twice over with bright green tape and wrote her name in black marker all over this tape. There had already been tape on the bottom of the pan, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to make it more clear that the pan belonged to Limerick.

Hopefully this takes care of everything, but really? I find it amazing that people are so inconsiderate and rude that I have to do this in the first place. What happened to "if it's not yours, don't touch it" and other basic, common-sense rules?

While I love this barn and am happy Lim enjoys it there, at the same time, incidents like this make me want to move to my own place that much more.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No riding for all of November! Or nearly so, anyway.

Sadly, my great riding streak ended in October. I rode on the 1st and 3rd of November but not since. I sorely miss riding but I need to wait a while before I can hop back on Lim.

You see, she had the Perfect Hoof Wear removed on November 4. Later that same day, she developed an abscess in her right fore hoof (possibly caused by running herself silly in turnout after the removal of the PHW--too much, too soon!). Fortunately it was minor and disappeared fairly quick. But that aside, I also get the impression that she is protecting her feet somewhat. I have only seen her trot a couple times--once to free-lunge her after the abscess resolved in order to see how well she moved, and again on Thanksgiving when she was turned out in the outdoor arena while I cleaned her stall. I caught her trotting around and putting on a little show for the pasture horses that were watching her from the fence line, silly girl!

She moved fine, but not with her usual lengthened stride and flair. At her best, her trots are not unlike that of a Standarbred's, or perhaps even a dressage horse in full extended trot. Lim is something to see then, particularly if her tail is flagged.

However, a ride will tell me so much more, and I was debating riding her over this past (Thanksgiving) weekend. But after noticing how tense she was on her left side during a grooming session last week, I decided to put the ride off. Instead, I gave her a massage that very day after grooming, and a second one over the weekend. I will massage her yet again either tonight or tomorrow, and also free-lunge her again tomorrow.

If she isn't tense/sore and she moves okay then a ride will be the definite next step. If she is still tense then I will likely make another chiropractor appointment for her; I can only do so much with massaging. Since she was sore in her right fore hoof, it is not a huge surprise to me that she is now sore on her left side.

It seems like a lot of waiting for a ride, but I have learned that this is the best way--if you want a happy, willing horse then you must not force him or her to ride when they aren't up to it. Your horse is your partner, not your slave.