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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In which I compare Farley to vehicle maintenance

As you will shortly find out, I really have nothing to talk about - blah blah blah blah.  But since this sounds very much like my current lecturing professor, I'm going to make a valiant effort. 

Oh - and BTW, most of the posts for this blog are scheduled now.  It's in an effort to make the posts a little more consistent and help me manage my time between school, writing, Farley, and self-care easier.  You may even notice a certain pattern here - Mon, Wed, Fri anyone?  Of course, that assumes that I don't screw up and just post, or if I write an awesome post and can't WAIT to share it. 

Thus "yesterday" and "today" are figurative, not literal terms. Deal with it.  I'm about to whip out the "but I'm a vet student..." card and nobody wants that right? 

Yesterday I did the weekly maintenance on my car - I checked the oil and the tire pressure, found that (probably due to recent weather changed) that my tires were ~5 pounds too low and dragged out the air compressor.  The low tire pressure corresponded with a drop in gas mileage I had observed during the week - which was a relief - tire pressure was the simple answer.

The car gets a lot of use - I fill up my car ~3x a week, each time checking the gas mileage,  and travel almost 900 miles a week in my commute. 

Competing an endurance horse, specifically a 100 mile endurance horse, is a lot like my routine car maintenance.  I keep close tabs on it, do the weekly mileage, and keep an eye on anything that might signal that I have a problem starting.  Sometimes a problem is as simple as changing a management practice.  Catching a problem early while its still fixable (or manageable) prevents getting stranded on the side of the road, late to a midterm and (just guessing here) on the edge of hysterics, since that WILL be the day that you wore heels and a skirt and were supposed to do a million errands after an 8a-5p day at school. 

We can contrast that to my truck.  I never check my oil.  Tires may get checked before a long trip that involves a horse trailer.  I'm not an entirely irresponsible vehicle owner - the periodic maintenance (oil changes, transmission fluid etc.) is all performed.  The difference lies in how often, and to what detail I monitor the small details.  I could maintain my truck the same as my car - but it doesn't make sense from a time management point of view - the truck gets very few miles on in relative to the car, is less likely to have an issue considering the age, mileage and use.  Sure, if I had unlimited time and energy I could do it - but we are talking about reality, not lalalala land.

Of course, if the truck ever became my main commuter, then my management practices would change.

Let's talk about Farley.  A year ago she was a well oiled machine, in fact, a Tevis machine.  I carefully managed every aspect of her care - from monitoring selenium levels, stuffing vit E capsules down her gullet, and coordinating a complex schedule of conditioning rides, lessons, dressage, jumping, and off days.  Nowadays, her routine looks a little more like my truck.  She sits, fat and happy in her pasture 90% of the time.  When I tear myself away from studying and the puppy, we go on a walk.  She's fat, so we go out bareback.  Sometimes, because I'm mean, I make her trot for 10 yards or so before we take it back down to a walk, both of us sweaty and out of breath.

Now, I could rack myself with guilt on how much she is ignored and force myself through the routine I've kept up over the last couple of years - but what's the point?  If I'm not asking much from the horse, any gain I might receive from such a routine would be minimal - and not a good use of my time (or $$, although right now, time is more precious than my dollars).  She's a generally healthy animal, and if I'm not doing 100's or 50's, why bother?  If I DID have to intensively manage her now, I would be SERIOUSLY reconsidering her ability to be a successful endurance horse.  In my experience, the "management committment" goes up as mileage goes up and if you START with a hard to manage ain't pretty when you get to 100, or even 50 miles.  Can anyone spell M-I-N-X?  (Bless her heart.....).

So, for now, Farley is a GMC (in more than size....), not a Corolla.

Other School Update Stuff

I'm toying with the idea of a new blog for vet stories called "Chick n' Boots", but until I have REAL stories that don't consist of "today I sat in a lecture and...." or "today I took a test and...." it will be kept in reserve and I'll continue to post little updates here.  (and yes, I already have the name reserved.  I've learned that if I have an idea for a blog, it might come in useful in the future so I take it)

School is going GREAT.  I totally rocked the exam last Friday (grades yet to be posted - but trust me on this) and I opened up the take home (open book) pharmacology exam and realized that the open book was a moot point because, I tell you, I GOT this!

Yeah, I may be getting a little cocky.

But seriously - I have no job except to play with my puppy, study, and sit in class and after experiencing the world of salaried management, I can tell you that I do NOT take this for granted.

90% of the "trick" of vet school (if there is such a thing) is to figure out how to learn the material.  I'll save my suggestions for a more vet school-oriented forum, unless someone comments that they want to know more.  It took me through the first test to orient myself, but now I have a routine that works, and still leaves me time to play.

At least theoretically.  Who knew puppies could be so much fun?   Me and Farley will be a matching pair soon (in the "shape" category) unless I can get my act together.

Although, I think I'm coming to the conclusion that life is too short to spend it in any other way than having fun.  So assuming my fun is NOT doing awful, unhealthy things (horses excluded of course - don't look at the statistics!!!!!) I can barely bring myself to care too much.

Oh and by the way - one of your fellow bloggers broke the ice and asked me a vet related question for one of her animals.  And guess what?  It was fun.  So if you have a vet med, animal, or biology related question and want a not-so-professional, not-too-serious, heavily-based-in-conjuncture answer, ask away!!!!!!!!

OK.  I'm done.  I swear.  Back to learning about artifacts in ultrasound.  After all, it seems like I'll be a vet someday. 


  1. The ration of ground hours/flight hours on a commercial aircraft is something like 10/1. I think sometimes that the ratio of ground hours/saddle hours is something like that...which means, logically, that if you ain't riding much, you probably don't need to commit a ton of time to, er, rotate Farley's tires!

    Glad to hear that vet school is going so well, too.

  2. "Ratio". Sorry. I do know how to type, honestly.


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