Monday, 10 October 2016

Barefoot Eventer is back!

Hellloooo out there!

After the longest hiatus, I thought it was high time to kick off this little blog again. Barefoot adventures await documentation, and there's a whole lot happening horse-wise now.

So, Annie the superstar continues to go from strength to strength. Lucinda Green came again in February and taught us a few things! She's such a gifted coach, very encouraging and non-judgmental. I enjoy her lessons immensely!

Lucinda demonstrating something - could've been the 'tube.' Riding your horse between your legs and hands like they're in a tube.

Tackling the skinny oxer

And the normal oxer!
 We stepped up to PreNovice (EvA105) at the start of this year - probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life to date! Of course, Annie was a pro (a green pro, but still a pro) and looked after her frightened little middle-aged rider. It was pretty awesome, and that heady mix of relief and elation after completing our first 'big kids' event is hard to describe.
Us on our first EvA105 run

But, then we moved. After thinking and researching for a year or so, we decided to move the family to Beechworth, Victoria, about 30 minutes south of the NSW/Victorian border. This upset the applecart in a big way, and led to a period of about 6 months without riding. A dark time, indeed!

On the bright side, I finally got to the bottom of Uno's issues (see previous blog posts if you're wondering who the hell Uno is!). Rose had a gorgeous little colt called Onyx around Christmas last year.
Onyx about a week old

But Onyx started to suffer some problems very quickly. He had a muscle hernia to his offside flank (not uncommon according to wonder-vet Ian Neilsen), but experienced a slight fever and inflammation around his umbilical stump. Within three weeks he was dead lame on a hind leg. His joints became enlarged and he was very sad.
Onyx about a month old, having been shaved, x-rayed and osteo'd within an inch of his life!

The vets agreed he was suffering from physitis (inflammation of the growth plates caused by an imbalance of calcium to phosphorous in Rose's milk), but even after changing Rose's diet, he continued to show marked lameness. It would be another 6 or 8 weeks of expensive 'treatments' before wonder-vet Ian came out and said, almost nonchalantly, "It's still physitis - you need to wean him."

So, the poor little bloke got weaned at just on 4 months' old. Two things happened - the first was we moved to Beechworth and I took him with Annie to keep him company. The second was that Annie adopted him like her own, making it impossible to ride for months! It really helped his mental health, though, as he had a foster mum to make him feel safe.

The physitis disappeared within 3 weeks. Amazing!
Onyx at about 7 months old. Completely recovered!
This means we need to think carefully about breeding from Rose again as she seems to have this milk imbalance. Ian surmised that it was Rose's milk that caused Uno's difficulties, as physitis greatly increases the chances of fracture and injury to joints. At least we know now, but such a shame.

Since we've moved the herd as increased quite a bit. More on our new fur family in the next post, or this will be a whopper! The new farm is over 90 acres, with lots of rocks and undulating country. Perfect for barefoot!