Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I rooooooode Bracos!


Last Saturday (27th Feb) it was time so see if Bracos was sound to lunge. I am pleased to report he was sound in walk, trot and canter on both reins. We even managed a couple of jumps! He was such a good boy.

Bracos being lunged

We're a team and jump together!

That's quite a big leap for a very small jump Bracos!
Yesterday afternoon I actually got to have a proper ride on Bracos! I've only owned him for 2 months LOL.

I gave him a little lunge to check he was still sound after Saturdays lunging and then Chad gave me a leg up.

At first I nearly jumped off him because he was pinning his ears back so my initial reaction was "he's sore". But then I realised that he was quite happy to stand by the gate to the arena and it was only when I asked him to walk away that his ears went back. So I decided to persevere and I asked him to walk away from the gate. The response was really quite remarkable. He's a pretty horse, but not with his ears pinned back! When ears back didn't work he tried a little buck. My response was "That's awesome that you can stand one your front feet Bracos but you still have to work". After that he admitted defeat and carried on as if nothing has happened. But every time he went past the gate the ears went back again. Nappy little bugger!

I'm going to try my Old Macs pad on him when I ride on Wednesday (I'm reasonably sure the saddle fits OK) and see if that makes a difference but to be honest I just think he's a Young horse trying it on with a new rider. He will NOT be getting away with it!

Yay! I'm on my horse!

A little trot, ears going back because he's nearing the gate.

Having a cruise around the arena

We have our first ribbon day together on Sunday at Silverdale Pony Club with Waitemata Adult Riding Club. So fingers crossed we don't disgrace each other that much! Haha!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's been going on.... Part 2 (Bracos)

A few weeks on from seeing John Ewan and coming home from Abderry Bracos was still lame. I rang John and asked him at what stage we get worried. He said it was probably a good idea to get the area xrayed now. John recommended Mark from Kumeu vets to do this.

A few days later Mark came and examined Bracos. First he nerve blocked his foot and surprise surprise he was sound on the lunge. This told us what area was sore and that this was the area we should xray.

Nothing showed up on the xray (which was VERY good news, I was so scared that I would have to retire Bracos as well!) except a bit of inflammation around the coffin bone. Mark diagnosed Bracos with a touch of  pedalostiosis because he feet were so unbalanced (honestly, how hard is it to get a farrier or trimmer that actually knows what they are doing?). He diagnosed a course of shoes (:P).

So last Wednesday night Dave Rhodes came and put some shiny new shoes on Bracos. After a CORRECT trim and with the shoes back on he was instantly walking much better. Dave thought I would be surprised by how quickly he because sound again and predicted I would be riding him this weekend. Let's hope he is right!!!!

What's been going on.....Part 1 (Star)

Hmmm....so I haven't posted lately. I have been dealing with some issues with both Star and Bracos and I wasn't to wait until I could post something positive!

As you know, Star was diagnosed with arthritis in his fetlock joint at the end of last year. I turned him out hoping that with time (and no work) he would become sound again and live out the rest of his days retired.

A few months on he was still lame at trot so I decided to get Kylee from Hotspots to have a look at him with her thermo-imaging camera (I also needed her for Bracos, more about that later). The results were quite outstanding.

The joint is so inflamed Kyle was really quite astounded by the rapid progression since she last looked at him. It really got me thinking that maybe it was time to make the hardest decision for him and send him to run free in the big paddock in the sky.

There were a couple of things I wanted to try for him though, Back on Track boots being one of those things.
I started researching arthritis in horses again and came across an interesting bit of information regarding the use of Pentosan in horses. I had previously had a good experience with Pentosan in the UK with my ex-MIL's older Border Collie. She was crippled before the Pentosan and showed a considerable amount of improvement in just 1 week. I was unaware this drug was available to use in horses as nobody (not even the vet know had dealt with Star) had mentioned it.

I have a new vet now. Mark from Kumeu vets was recommended to me by John Ewan to help with Bracos' issues. I immediately arranged for Mark come and give the first shot (Star will require 1 shot a week for 4 weeks as a 'loading dose').

Mark came on Wednesday evening and I discussed all the issues I had with Star. The arthritis, the weight loss and the lameness. He examined him and told me he had had some very good results with Pentosan, but at the end of the day it entirely depended on how Star personally responded. He also stated he hadn't seen all that many positive results of steroid joint injections (which Star had previously had).

Mark also recommended getting a good farrier to take a look at Stars hooves. He said at one stage "if we can get this horse sound he's got another 8 years riding left in him. A good farrier can work WONDERS!" (A comment to which I laughed at and Star looked most unimpressed about!).

Dave Rhodes was due out that night to shoe Bracos anyway so I asked him to look at Stars feet. It's the first time I've used Dave but I was very impressed. He used a hoof gauge to measure the angle of Stars feet. Apparently, in a perfect world, both feed would be at 50degrees. Stars feet were 60 degrees (the boxy hoof) and 46degrees. Dave basically too heel off one and toe off the other and got them both to a very respectable 51degrees each. He thinks Star has been so sore because his feet were so unbalanced. I know his club foot will never be perfect but we still want to get as close to perfection as we can!

So Star has been turned out for a couple of days with the BOT boots on. Tonight I'll bring him in and trot him up to check how he is feeling.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Today Bracos came home from Abderry.

He was unloaded on SH16 because the truck couldn't get up the drive. It was windy, he was in a new place and there were trucks roaring past but was was PERFECT! I was so proud of him.

After a quick feed I put him in the paddock to meet his new buddies!

Tomorrow I will give him a quick lunge and try his new saddle on for size! Soooo exciting!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Star Update......

At the end of December, whilst at Abderry, Star had a little 'incident' in the cross ties and ended up on the floor scraping his offside hind with his nearside hind in the process. It was a pretty superficial wound so we thought nothing of it.

A week later, after Star had returned home, the whole leg from pastern to hock swelled up. I bandaged it and gave him some Bute and within a couple of days it has gone back down again.

Moving forward another week and an area just around the initial injury (although it had healed up now) came back up.

Stars bumpy leg
It was still up two weeks later, although he was not lame on it and he let me prod and poke it no problems. I decided to get the vet to check it just in case he had an infection brewing. Well, the good news was there was no infection in there, it is just tissue fluid which should disperse itself within the next 8 week. PHEW!

To celebrate this good news I went to Kumeu Grain and treated Star to some BOT leg wraps and some Devils Claw. He has the boots on for a couple of hours yesterday and two doses of the Devils Claw in his lunch and dinner.

This morning, when I went to feed him after the awful weather last night, I was greeted with a huge neigh and he trotted up to me! I trotted him on the hard driveway and he was sound(ish) so I decided to give him a run about in the arena to assess how he was feeling at the moment. (I try to do this one every couple of weeks so I can get a feeling for how he is feeling.

He still isn't 100% but there are some improvements. For example, when I asked him to canter he was more willing to do so and actually carried on cantering for about 10 strides on each rein even when the mad women (or man - Chad did some of the legwork too) stopped chasing him around waving the leadrope around. Previously he had been VERY reluctant to canter at all.

He looked happier as well, even though I only asked him to do a couple of laps of the arena on both reins. Not sure if the BOT wraps and Devils Claw could have started working so quickly or if it was just coincidence!

Anyway, he seems happier which is exactly what I want for my boy :D

Oh, and my ex gave me heaps of photos of my old horses yesterday so I'll have to find a scanner somewhere so I can put them on here and BRACOS IS COMING HOME TOMORROW!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First Post!

Well this is it....the first post!

I've been meaning to blog for ages and reading some friends blogs got me motivated enough to start this one!

So introduction time......

I'm Helen, I'm 28yrs old and Mum to 3 beautiful kids. Joshua (6), Harrison (4) and Liliana (1). I started horse riding when I was about 11 years old. My parents were (and still are!) VERY unhorsey. I started out with 1 lesson a month, then one per fortnight and then moved on to weekly treks at the local park.

When I was around 13 I started helping out at a local trekking facility at weekends and in the school holidays. About 18 months later the owner decided to sell up and she managed to persuade my parents to let me get a horse on loan.

My first horse was Nipper, a Appaloosa x Arab gelding. He was soooo much fun! Sadly the lady who owned Nipper decided to sell him after a year and although we did try and buy him (loooooong story that maybe I will go into another time) he ended up being sold to somebody else.

I then got a grey Connemara gelding called Sam on lease. Sam had previously had his penis amputated due to cancer. After a week of having him his sheath started to bleed and the owner refused us permission to get the vet out. Eventually my parents were so annoyed they send Sam back home and decided to actually buy a horse so they had full control of its care.

So then Barney came into my life. He was a 4yr old cob gelding and he REALLY tested me. I was so used to schoolmasters so suddenly riding a green youngster really knocked my confidence. Barney would nap with me and at first I just didn't know how to deal with him. Eventually, however I learned how to cope with his rearing and bolting home. He taught me so much that horse!!!!

Barney was sold when I started college when I was 17 because my parents wanted me to focus on my studies. I was devastated!

I bought my first horse out of MY money when I was 19. Tasha was a gypsy cob yearling who had been purchased from the sales. She was completely and utterly wild. It would take me at least an hour to catch her and then another hour to drag her out of the paddock!! Slowly though, we build up our trust in each other and I actually managed to back her myself when she was 3 years old. That horse was awesome. It was like she was born bombproof.

I sold Tasha when I decided to move to New Zealand in 2005. Again, I was devastated but I just couldn't justify the cost of having her flown over. I made sure she went to the best home available.

Upon arrival to New Zealand I bought Neo from Awatea Farms. I had been admiring Neo on their website for months and honestly thought he would be sold before I could get here. But he wasn't and as soon as we arrived we went to visit him. He was a scatty brained boy that one! Would run away from the slightest thing but I there was something about him.


In 2006 when I was pregnant with Harrison we decided to move back to the UK and Neo went back to Awatea Farms with the intention of selling him.

We moved back to New Zealand in 2007 and Neo was still for sale so I took over his care again but,having decided I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mum I put him back on the market again. He was snapped up about half an hour later and I have remained very good friends with his new owner ever since. He really did go to the best home, I couldn't have wanted anymore for him!

But a lack of horsey involvement really got to me and a few months later I bought Pepsi from  Seacrest Sport horses. Pepsi was a Clydie x TB yearling filly. She was so gentle and had a temperament to die for.


 At this time we moved to a house with paddocks in Kaukapakapa and I was gifted a TB called Star and a SB called Wally. Life was perfect, I had my horses on 'my' property and my kids.



In August 2008 I broke up with my husband and took my horses with me. But my contract came to an end and I couldn't find more work so with my finances in a dire state I reluctantly sold Pepsi to my grazing owner and left Wally to keep her company as he had decided not to offer grazing anymore.

So I was just left with Star.

A few months later I was offered a SB mare called Fennec who I took on with the intention of breaking to saddle and being my riding horse.

As I was pregnant at the time I turned Fennec out with Star. I later decided that I didn't want to return to work after giving birth to Liliana and as a result I couldn't keep 2 horses anymore. I re homed Fennec via NZHorses.

In October 2010 I sent Star to Abderry to be brought into work. Star had really struggled with his weight over the winter and it had taken some time to bring his weight back up. I was very excited with the prospect of finally being in a position to ride my beloved Star Wars!

Star in the roundpen at Abderry

Star being ridden by Cheski at Abderry for the first time

However after exactly 1 week of being at Abderry Star was found to be lame. A week off didn't work and the vet was called in. After nerve blocks, flexion tests and xrays Star was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his offside fetlock joint. We tried a cortisone joint injection which helped for about 5 days but ultimately it was decided to retire him as I didn't want to cause him pain through my own selfish desire to ride him.

After I had re homed Fennec I had made a vow to not have more than one horse again. I don't like having to re home any horse because I get quite emotionally attached to them. But with the revelation that Star could not be ridden and my increasing desire to be back in the saddle again I was given permission by my wonderful partner Chad to start looking for something else. My heart wasn't really in it but I started to trawl through Trade Me adverts. Nothing took my fancy......

But then a friend pointed out an advert I had missed. It was for a 6yr old TB gelding. He looked nice enough, the price was cheap and he was local, so I though I should at least go and see him. I wasn't expecting much. I was waiting for the catch.

As soon as I saw Bracos I fell in love with him. He was GORGEOUS! I bought him on the spot, subject to passing a vet check. On the 22nd December 2010 Bracos sailed through his vet check and on the 23rd he made the journey to Abderry where he is currently being schooled. He will join Star on or around 22nd January 2011 and I have plans to compete him in hand this summer at some local A&P shows, the first being Franklin on 20th February.

Bracos being lunged by Cheski at Abderry

Bracos being ridden by Cheski at Abderry

Bracos - My latest addition

So this is where I'm at. That was quite a trip down memory lane for me! I'll have to try and dig out some older photos of the horses that have been in my life.