Wednesday, November 21, 2012

October and November, all rolled into one

Apparently it's been so long since the last update that even Will noticed, and said something about it. In the meantime, Team Riley has been very, very busy with horse things and law school things alike.

October was a pretty quiet month for the horses, unless you count Cole trying to kill himself a few times (what's new?). First, Cole decided he would be a jerk in the bridle, especially to the right. So I scheduled a chiropractic appointment, and when the chiropractor came, she noticed that we had bigger problems than a potentially stuck neck. Cole had swelling on his face, and unfortunately it was in a great spot to be indicative of an abscessed tooth root. The vet came out, x-rays were taken (for the second time in nearly a month), and thankfully like his raging proud flesh that was x-rayed before, it was all soft tissue.
The vet recommended a hot water compress, which meant that I had to hold a hot towel tie a hot towel to his face with a polo wrap for 10 minutes. Cole still hasn't caught on that banging yourself up results in such torture!

A week later, his face looked better, but he was still a jerk, so again the chiropractor came out. Thankfully he didn't have many issues, but not so thankfully he didn't have many issues to blame his jerk-ness on. She also noticed some considerable swelling in his right mandible, by his throat latch, so again the vet came out. The vet wasn't too concerned, and after finding the right combination of goop to put on it (furazone and epsom salts, for those interested), the swelling went down and Cole was back to normal, minus trying to rip out my right arm occasionally.

The first weekend of November, Cole had a great adventure at the Jimmy Wofford clinic. Besides an episode in which he reared while being tacked up at the trailer, he was a very, very good boy. He even stood on the trailer like a grown-up while we watched one of the other groups ride. The clinic itself went really well- Cole jumped everything he was asked to on day 1 and seemed to process the gymnastics well. On day 2 brakes and turning in the open was quite questionable, so I was pretty nervous about having him do XC. But he stepped up to the plate well and jumped everything we asked him to (even if he did refuse the roll top once or twice).

Sadly John's camera died after taking three pictures, so this is the best photographic evidence we have of the clinic.

The best part of the Jimmy Wofford clinic by far was riding Cole afterwards. I jumped Cole over a little  gymnastic in the indoor on the Friday night following the clinic and he seemed quicker to process the question. On Saturday Riley and Cole both went to Lakeside for a jumper show and Cole really stepped up to the plate. I hadn't ridden him over a course for some time, but he got in the ring and was looking for the next jump. The difference between jumping Cole before the clinic and jumping him after the clinic was amazing. He's definitely given me a lot of hope that he's going to be game and smart about the jumping.

Cole did not enjoy dress-up time, even though he won a blue ribbon and reserve champion for his 2' division!

Riley was also a super star at Lakeside, winning 3 of his 4 classes! He got champion in his schooling jumpers division and was tied for champion in the children's/adult jumpers. Sadly, though, he was even more unhappy than Cole about dress up time. We didn't really get a good picture of him in all his ribbons (plus I kind of forgot to pick up one of his blues... but I think we have enough Lakeside blues that we were ok without it).

The day after Lakeside, Cole had to load up in the trailer again to go take a dressage lesson. Not only was he very grown-up about getting on the trailer and being tied to it, but he was VERY good in the actual lesson. We got a refresher on the spiral-in, spiral-out exercise which helped Cole a TON and Cole successfully cantered many 20 meter circles. At the end of the lesson he learned how to stretch and it's now his favorite thing- I'm sure he also likes to rub it in Riley's face that after practicing it once he was much, much better at it than Riley.

The Tuesday after our big horse show-dressage lesson weekend, Riley decided that he'd worked too much and needed a few days off. Presumably while rolling, he did something to really tick off his eye so that it was swollen and light-sensitive. I think that I'm going to need to invest in one of those signs, the kind that say "it's been __ days" since the last accident on the job site vet call. I think we were at a little over two weeks until Riley ruined it.

On Wednesday we stayed busy with a farrier appointment. For possibly the first time ever, Riley got compliments on his feet. Cole got his shoes pulled in anticipation for his big surgery this week. While chatting with the farrier about Cole (and how no one believes he's a Thoroughbred), I found out that he also shoes The Cliff's Edge, who is Cole's sire. Apparently Cole not only gets his good feet from his dad, but also gets a bit of his inquisitive, mouthy personality from him.

This past weekend, I took the opportunity to savor my last two rides on Cole for the next two months. On Sunday, John and I took the boys on a big walk around the back hay field after I helped John jump his first stadium course (ok, mini-course, but it was a good 6 or so jumps strung together). I can't wait for John and Riley to tear it up at beginner novice once they get their dressage game on!

Monday was the big day that I've pretty much been dreading since the day I bought Cole. We found a small bone chip on his pre-purchase exam and decided that it wasn't a big enough problem to not buy him, but that it ought to be taken out if I wanted him to stay sound in the long-term for an upper level career. My dad came down to Lexington on Sunday night and we woke up very bright and early to load Cole on the trailer and have him at Lexington Equine Surgery by 8 AM. It was a pleasant surprise to see someone that I'd once boarded with at the clinic and she made me feel at ease about the surgery. In fact everyone involved, from the surgeon to the anesthesiologist to the vet tech, was super nice. The vet was happy to answer questions and explain everything to me. I stuck around to watch and while some points were a bit scary (seeing Cole on his side was a bit terrifying, until I realized that I could see his barrel rising and that he was indeed breathing), the surgery itself was quick and went well.

Cole immediately post-surgery, before his leg was wrapped all the way up.

I had to leave for class before he got up and was fully awake, but my parents stuck around to make sure he was ok and to take him back to the barn. It was so, so nice of them to keep me company during the surgery- my mom had to come later, but she managed to make it in time to see everything and to make sure it went well. 

Back at the barn and all settled in to his stall! Thanks to my mom for sending me this picture to confirm that he was ok.

Thankfully everything has been very quiet since Monday and I'm hoping it'll stay that way through Cole's recovery. I'm very pleased with the end to the season that we had- a successful clinic, a successful horse show, and a successful dressage lesson. More importantly, I'm SO relieved that this surgery, the prospect and logistics of which have been like a black cloud following me around, is done. Cole had minimal joint damage, but it sounds like it was good to take the chip out before we started doing any really hard work. There's still some risk with his recovery, but the worst of it is over and hopefully it will be smooth sailing to January, when we can start back up. 

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