After a 8 month hiatus, I decided I would return to my blog and write a little about what has happened in the remainder of my 2015 since it's almost over at this point... Only 5 more days of 2015! Crazy, time seems to be going faster and faster.
It looks like in my last blog I left off with running to be an officer for the UCD Hunter/Jumper Team and finding out that I would get to ride the handsome and noble Ziggy at the UC Davis Schooling Show. Well, unfortunately I didn't end up getting that officer position, but that wasn't a huge surprise. The members who deserved it got it instead. I did end up riding Ziggy at the horse show, and what a doll he was! We got a 1st, 2nd, and a 4th. The one I was most excited for was the 2nd place, because it was in an under saddle class with a bunch of fancy young warmbloods, and cute Ziggy beat a bunch of them! I was so proud of him. I hope that someday when he retires from being on the Hunter/Jumper team I can snatch him up and take him home to live out the remainder of his days! (Pipe dream, I know.) Dante and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary on the same day.
At the very end of April, I landed a job at the UC Davis Equestrian Center as a barn supervisor. For the majority of summer, I worked there as a barn supervisor - feeding the horses and dragging the arenas mostly. It was so convenient for the beginning of the summer, because I could work and see Dante all in one (although it is a 45-50 minute drive from home). In July, I wanted to move Dante into a pasture at the EQC, but they have an "intro pen" policy that did not work for Dante, so I wasn't able to. The intro pen is a 12x12 pen that's situated in the corner of all the pastures, each horse must go into the intro pen for 6 days before being released into the main part of the pasture. I think it's generally a pretty good idea, but for a nervous horse like mine it's a terrible idea. All the other horses in the pasture could surround him and he couldn't do anything about it, he was a sweating, running, prancing, dangerous mess. He wouldn't even eat grain or alfalfa. He was only somewhat calm if I sat with him, and I was obviously unable to do so for 6 days straight. At that point, I just decided to move him home to Elverta Boarding Stables for the sake of money and his comfort. We got to return home soon after that and he even got his old paddock back! He's so much happier now.
In August, I interviewed for a second and third job at the Equestrian Center, and got hired as a Facility Attendant and Stall Cleaner as well. Facility attending is my favorite of the three positions, and is what I have been predominantly working as since August.
Dante didn't have a very great summer. We went on one bareback ride, and he seemed to be okay but when I checked on him later that day he was pretty lame in the hind. I decided at that point to not get on him for the rest of the summer, and haven't been on him since. Towards the end of July, I was supposed to be leaving for Wyoming but instead Dante choked on his pellets and I had to call my vet out on emergency. We had to sedate him and put a tube up his nose and down his esophagus to flush out the pellets. For the following 10 days, I had to drive to the barn 2x a day (7AM and 4PM) to give him 15 dissolved TMS pills, varying doses of Banamine, and to feed him a special diet to prevent choke happening again. (Since now it's more likely to occur again!) He was on only soaked Stable Mix pellets for 10 days, and then for 30 more days he was given soaked pellets and soaked hay. Now, finally, he can have dry hay and I'm still giving him soaked pellets just to be safe. Luckily, the guys who work at the barn do this for me so I don't have to be out there twice a day every day. Later in the summer in August, I went out to see Dante to find him nearly falling down, eyes rolling back into his head, and not eating. My vet had to come out on emergency yet again, less than a month later. He had a fever of 103, so we did bloodwork to see if we could find anything out by that. His bloodwork came back normal, so that was a relief that all of his organs were in order. She also decided that the falling down was because he's sleep deprived (which I figured was due to his legs bothering him hence not wanting to lie down). About 2 weeks after the visit I started him on 1/4 of a tablet of Previcoxx and that has worked wonders for him. I also made him a super nice bed of shavings to see if that would encourage him to lay down. He seems like he's been better with that since then! The fever took forever to break. I had to go out 2x a day for 7 days and give varying doses of banamine in order to keep the fever down, and it would break and then go back up. It got to 105 at one point and I could tell he wasn't feeling well at all. It broke my heart. Finally, his fever broke and stayed that way after about a week, but he had barely eaten anything while he'd had a fever and was still off his feed. With the help of a dear friend who let me borrow some of her Integrity feed, I was able to get him to eat by mixing the Integrity with his Stable Mix. It was such a relief when he finally started eating. His appetite took a very long time to come back, and just in this past month has he really been himself!
He seems to be doing very well except for his right knee which basically makes his front right leg a bum leg. That knee bothers him pretty badly and I'm just unsure of what to do about it, all I can hope to do is make him comfortable. The guys who work at the barn say he's been feeling real well lately, and bucks and rears and runs whenever it's feeding time. I've saddled him up 3 times and lunged him but by the 3rd day he was looking pretty lame on the front right when trotting to the left. I'm considering getting on him and walking him around to see how he does with that. I just don't want him to be so bored.
In August around when Dante had the fever, I started riding an APHA gelding that lives a few paddocks down from Dante named AJ. AJ has been there, done that and is absolutely a joy to ride. I call him a whale because when he's frisky he moves like a big white whale. I'm so lucky his owner is so generous with him. We have plans to go to horse shows this summer. I'm so excited for that.
When school started in September, I was on the UCD Hunter/Jumper team and began leasing a BelgianxQH mare named Lakota from a fellow team member. I rode her in my team lessons and then an additional day of the week. She is a tank and quite strong, but has such lovely gaits that it's hard not to enjoy her. She's a blast. I had to quit the HJ Team for Winter Quarter due to my lack of money, but I am still hoping and planning on riding Lakota for the rest of the school year a couple times per week if her owner allows it.
In November, I went on my first baby "endurance" ride in Pt.Reyes with my friend Courtney from UC Davis. She's an endurance rider and trying to get me into it too! I rode another sweet friend of mine's horse, Kingsley. We only went about 15 miles, but it wore me out! Courtney wants me to take me on my first LD Endurance Ride this quarter with Kingsley, so we will see if that can happen! For those of you who remember my sweet filly Zetta, she is being ridden by an endurance rider and did her first 30 mile race and came in 6th. I miss her daily and am so proud of her.
Currently, I am in Hawaii and haven't ridden in awhile, but planning on riding both AJ and Lakota when I get home. I also might take a lesson at Los Lagos on Dolce since I did that a few weeks ago and Dolce wanted to kill me. I'm hoping if I take another lesson on him we can make amends. Since I'm not doing the HJ Team, I might be able to take lessons at Los Lagos every other week this quarter which would be amazing. I'm still not sure what my exact plan is but I'll figure it out once school gets underway next week!
I also ended SAHJA in 10th place for the season in senior pleasure with Baby so I will be getting a big ribbon for that which is super exciting since I only went to one show! The show we went to in May was at Shandoni Ranch and Baby kicked major butt in pleasure. Sadly, she has a fracture in her front right leg and is out of commission until further notice. I'm glad I got to ride her and spend some time with her before she got injured.
That's about it for this year, it was a quick year and I've been all over the place with horses and rode quite a few different ones. I will miss being a part of the team, but maybe other doors will open for me. AJ and Lakota are amazing in different ways and I can't wait to see what happens with them. I lost Sunny this year the day before my birthday, on February 13th, at the ripe age of 29. He would've been 30 on April 17th. Dante didn't have the best year, but it was definitely better than his 2014. Hopefully our 2016 will be even better than this year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to everyone. ♡
Xoxo, much love Lauren and Dante