This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Post roundup and some other announcements

First up, 2 blog recommendations:

I’m a regular reader of this blog. More than any other book, tutorial, or website, the posts here have helped me understand my camera and how to take pictures of horses. There’s always just enough information to be helpful, not overwhelming, and there’s enough examples of the concept to make it “stick”. My biggest fear is that when I have to replace my camera, they will no longer have a manual setting in the smaller sized camera. The cannon I use is already a discontinued line and the line that replaced it does not have a manual mode. :(

Excellent article on animal welfare, abuse, and training philosophy. Most of us here are already mugwumps readers, but just in case you haven’t checked out her blog, read this:

Now on to a couple of announcements -

As usual there are too many blog posts to write and not enough time. Thus, some topics that I would love to devote whole posts to that agonize and explain my "feelings", and "doings", and "rationalizations".....end up like this - little paragraphs in a "ketchup" post.

1. Farley is moving Saturday to a boarding situation. It's time to see if it works, especially because the riding situation has turned impossible at my parents - what little piece of decent riding there was has been completely eliminated by the rain. Moving her now means that I'll get to ride more this spring, and I have time to find alternative arrangements, while still having the option of my parent's pasture for a couple of months. In the end the compromise I had to make was the size of the pasture she's in - however she has gained a couple of "roommates", so I think if anything she will move around more even in the smaller space. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time about the move.

2. I'm continuing to refine my career aspirations. I am SUPER interested in behavior, including a possible behavior residency. I'm also leaning more and more in the direction of holistic veterinary medicine...including acupuncture. I came into vet school as the biggest skeptic and it's been a slippery slope....starting with recognizing the value of the barefoot horse. Then moving onto the raw versus kibble debate in dog food. And then.....acupuncture - maybe it isn't as big a tub of hog-wash as I thought or I've been told by some people. Yeah....I'm officially the crazy person in the community.

3. Tess is continuing to do better after her spay. One week post-spay she's still not "normal". She avoids activities that cause her to stretch her abdomen (like standing up on her hind legs) so while I've started to let her run around a little bit (as long as her arousal level remains low so she doesn't overdo it), I've discouraged her from doing anything like tug, fetch, active play etc. I've reached the limit of how long I can keep her confined and quiet, so starting tomorrow I'm going to try doing some activities that are a bit more active, without asking anything that might cause her to overexert herself. So while we will stay away from jumping, handstands, I'm thinking a little bit of tug, fetch, and maybe even some tunnel work is in order.

4. Go over and read this blog ( and my comment.  I was going to do a whole rant on this and name some specific medications I especially HATE the fact that are prescription when it's totally hypocritical considering their ingredients are over the counter......but I don't have time and need to move on to more interesting things like the human-animal bond over at Tess's blog, the mixed breed/purebred debate, finishing up my convention comments, what I learned in my behavior block, some product reviews, and Farley's progress towards an LD.  So....I really don't have time for another rant against the status quo......

Practical things I've learned in vet school

Yesterday I learned how to age a horse with teeth. I went into vet school knowing how to age a horse using that groove on the side of the teeth, but unless the horse is somewhere around 15 years up to about 30 years, I was out of luck. I’m really confident now with horses of all ages - especially younger ones, which is a great little party trick. Unless I actually become a horse vet and then it might actually be useful….

It got me thinking what else “useful” I’ve learned in vet school. Not “cool” in the scientific sense or a “gee whiz” fact - but an actual skill that I could apply to a real life situation - even if there are tons of people better at it than me.

After a year of vet school, here’s the grand tally.

1. I know how to draw blood from all sorts of animals besides a sheep.

2. I can age a horse by teeth.

3. I can feel a dog’s kidneys. Or at least, one of them.

4. I can give IM injections to small animals

5. I can give a subcutaneous injection some where other than the back of the neck of a small animal.

6. I can look at a blood smear and probably tell you whether it’s normal.

7. I have the directions close at hand, I can stain/fix a blood smear.

8. I no longer think acupuncture in animals is complete voodoo

9. I know that neoplasia is always a differential for everything (boo!…)

10. I can tell you what the literature says on how to treat food aggression in dogs.

11. Small groups are the bomb! In a good way. And they will save your ass. And utilized correctly the whole IS greater than its parts.

And…..I think that’s it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


....I won't have to sell all my possessions and live under a bridge in a cardboard box.

I *finally* found employment.  Doing something that is PERFECT for my lifestyle, my background, and my strengths.  It's minimal hours for now, but has the potential to open yet more doors for me.

Yes, technically with my boot business and by extension, the blog, I am employed - but the advertising $ and then boot sales, while fun and rewarding, don't pay my bills.

I wasn't totally freaking out - when I've needed employment, I've been able to find it.  I just usually don't have to stare at this many closed doors to get it.

On Friday I was notified that my STAR project was not going to be funded (the endurance-related study).  My mentor and I knew it was a long shot, and unfortunately a gamble that didn't pay off.  The STAR project would have paid a 5K living dividend and with that possibility gone, I spent the weekend really at a loss.

On Sunday, I slept in the recliner in the living room - too restless and stressed to actually go to bed.

Monday I was talking about looking for employment at Petco, McDonalds, and Starbucks.

Monday afternoon I had an interview

Today I was notified that I was selected for the position.


Where one door closes, a more perfect one opens.  

I'll be doing something very similar that I already do here for this blog - stay current on literature updates, submit that information for website updates, and possibly write a few blog posts - on the subject of Raw Milk.  It also links it very well to my background in the dairy industry and in food quality/safety and pathogen control.  This project has a potential to morph into a more hands on research opportunity, but for now, I'm happy to be working from home doing something I enjoy, on a very flexible schedule.


....want to explore some horse stuff on the internet that will have you wasting your entire day and decrease your productivity to zero?

I have a full day of classes and probably won't get to write a "real" post, so instead I have a website/artist/blog recommendation that I heard on the "Stable Scoop".

I've listened to the "Stable Scoop" on the Horse Radio Network since it's inception a couple of years ago. It only gets better and better.  Did you know they featured Karen Chaton a couple weeks ago?

If it's been a while since you listened to Helena and Glenn, give them another try on the "Stable Scoop" show, it has really matured into a comprehensive, easy-to-listen-to show.  I've added a widget to the sidebar of the blog if you would like to check out the show.

Their guest last week (the show comes out on Fridays) was a graphic artist/cartoon/humor essayist Jody Lynne Werner from "Misfit Designs".  After hearing the description of her cartoons and writing, I had to check it out this morning!

Here's the blog

She does 2 cartoons on her website - Near Side, and Mac and Jill.

I hadn't seen any of her stuff before although I heard from the show that it's been making the rounds on Facebook.  Obviously I'm not on Facebook enough....

Monday, March 26, 2012

Talent Contest & Smartwool product review

Question:  Should Mel play in Sunday's talent contest?

Step 1: find fiddle

Me: have you seen my fiddle?
Matt: Under the bed?
Me: no, the other fiddle.
Matt: ummmm....closet? (the closet is where we stash everything that isn't used on a daily basis)
Mel: (after 15 minutes of searching a tiny house and digging through the closet) Here it is on top of the dresser!

Step 2: inspect the fiddle

Oh good, the strings still have enough tension that the bridge and sound post haven't fallen down.  And the tuner still has battery!  Score!

Step 3: play the fiddle

Matt: I think I need to go outside and work on something....and I'm pretty sure the dogs want to go too.

Step 4:
Realize, after a back spasm and first finger left hand cramp that not only can I not play anything decently beyond "skip to my lou", I'm obviously not going to be able to practice either......

Smartwool review
All year I save up for my REI dividend by buying gas on my REI card (and paying it off each month of course).  All year I've had my eye on something very special for my dividend this year......and as I plunked it into the cart, Matt said "REALLY?" in disbelief.

OK - so may the 2 little lumps of cloth didn't look like much for $140 - the entirety of my dividend.  But really, how else was I going to justify buying $140 worth of underwear if not with my dividend?

I've worn my REI brand long silks everywhere and done everything in them.  I've traveled, backpacked, rode 100 miles and been more comfortable in my own skin than I can remember.

However, the silks are sometimes not enough and as I'm going to be living in scrubs or professional clothing I need a way to be comfortable in a variety of temperatures without bulky jackets or sweatshirts.

I had my eye on smart wool under layers.  They are expensive.  $70 a pop for the basic versions.  I chose to buy from REI because they would be "free" and if they didn't wear well, I can return them a year (or more) later.

So far I'm very very happy.  They are a touch warmer than the silks, better at wicking moisture, while still preserving the barely there feel.

A couple of comments about the smartwool layers.  While I've never been too hot with the silks, indoors with the heater on I did find myself a bit warm in these.  Clothing (such as scrub pants) don't slide over the wool as well as silks, thus if I was wearing clothes where how they "hung" on my body was important (like slacks in a professional setting), silks would probably be a better option.  I did a bike ride yesterday in them and the wool did a better job for activity, especially starting and stopping in cold weather.

As I get older, I'm finding that life is too short for certain things:
-Horses that will probably cause serious injury or death
-clothes that don't feel good
-Food that is less than stellar
-A job that you hate.

Thus, if I can find a way to buy something once that I love, but sacrificing lesser, shorting lasting pleasures, I feel it is worth it, even if two lumps of cloth doesn't quite have the "cool factor" of a new tech gadget or flashy new piece of tack.  For me, quality base-layers give me a quiet pleasure every time I wear them that is unmatched.

If you are like me and spend 90% of the year bundled in a sweater or coat because you are cold (even though you live in CA), or have trouble monitoring body temperature (you're hot, then cold), or sweat a lot, I highly recommend looking at a quality base layer.  I wear my silks even in the summer to help me maintain a comfortable body temperature.  I think of my base layer as my fur coat that God didn't see fit to give me.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Convention - Treatment Seminar

In my notes I have "Treatment 101 for endurance rides and riders".  Actually.....since vets don't treat rides or riders, maybe the title should be "treatment 101 for endurance HORSES".

The vet who presented this (Dr. Jay Mero) was fabulous.  Straight shooting, no nonsense, with a sense of humor.  She's fairly local to me and running a mobile clinic similar to what I *might* want to do, so I'm planning on shadowing her as an externship in my 4th year (I asked and she does take 4th years). 

Anyways, back to the seminar.  As always any mistakes or errors are mine and if you attended the seminar and remember the information differently, please let me know!  

In AERC, there have been increase in fatalities, even while the number of rider starts is the lowest in the last 10 years.  Fatality numbers adjusted according to number of ride starts shows an increase of fatalities over the last 5 years.  

It was emphasized during the seminar that our perception of horse treatment at rides HAS to change.  Although I did not see the case studies (although I did get permission to attend the vet CE portion of the conference next year!), I get the feeling that major factors in the fatalities was either the lack of treatment, waiting on treatment too long, or improper treatment since an endurance horse coming out of a ride is very different than a horse presenting for the same problem out of pasture.  

The key point in the beginning of the seminar is "know what to expect and know what to ask".  Horses that present for treatment at rides often present fast and violently.  It is STRESSFUL.  Take some time now to think about what you want to ask, and educate yourself on your options, as well as thinking about the finacials (more on this later.  I mentioned this after Minx's euthanasia and I believe that deciding the finacials ahead of time is VERY important).  A point emphasized over and over and OVER was don't think it won't happen to you.  A huge problem is the perception that by riding slow, or sticking to distances that you've always done, or because you are super careful not to override your horse that you won't be faced with a treatment situation.  This is simply not true.  

Preventing a treatment situation:

A couple of specific factors were mentioned as proper preparation at home, before the ride.  Includeding basic dressage, hours in the saddle, LSD, control.  It was here that Mero commented that she firmly believes it takes 3 years to build a 100 mile horse.  Besides the training that occurs at home, choice of ride is really important.  I agree with this and while my first thought was a rating system, it would be overly complicated.  Additionally, trails change, sometimes the morning of the ride due to a variety of factors so there's no guarantee that ride you signed up for is the ride you ride.  The best way to find an appropriate ride is to find someone in the area that has ridden the ride and talk to them in detail about it.  I know that I keep a document where I put all the details of the rides that I attend - where to park, where the water is, the structure of the vet checks etc.  Details may change from year to year, but at least I have some information and not relying on my memory.  I do share these docs by request so if you are doing a ride and you want to email me, I'd be more than happy to share.  

At ridecamp, allow adequate rest period  for trailering.  This could range from a couple of hours for a shorter trip, to a couple of days for cross-country trips.  Keep stress to a minimum - no spinning horses on high ties, separation anxiety from a buddy leaving etc.  Any of these factors decrease the likelihood of making it through the ride without incident.  

During the actual ride do what it takes for control.  Power is nothing without control (something "endurance prospect" ads do not take in consideration).  This is was the single factor that I remembered being mentioned during this seminar.  Control control control.  Not having a horse that is fighting you is KEY.  

After the ride do NOT let your guard go down.  Allow time for adequate rest and recovery before trailering home.  Again, for a cross country trip, this may be a couple of days.  After the ride, up to 3 weeks for a 100 miler, was the period of time I was most interested in and planned on doing some preliminary research to identify what welfare issues endurance horses are at risk for in the time AFTER a ride - a period that is currently not tracked.  Unfortunately, I was notified on Friday that this research will not be funded this summer, which is disappointing.  

A note about completions.  Fit to continue is incompatible with something metabolic going on - your horse doesn't have to be "sick" in order to be pulled.

Catching an issue early

Mero encourages everyone to use a HR monitor and says it is the MOST important parameter.  An increased heart rate in a horse that is a consistent performer is a key sign.  This is harder to use in a new or inexperienced horse.  

If you DO catch an issue early, your "treatment" plan could be really easy - slow down, allow more time at a hold, assess hydration and potential need to elyte.  You may still be able to finish if you listen correctly and ride CAREFULLY.  Rest and cooling can prevent treatment!!!!!!

Another key parameter to determine whether you might have an issue is anything over 10 minutes for heart rate recovery.  This means something.  An inverted CRI is also key.  She did mention that something like a 15/16 isn't really that big of a deal.  It's more of the 60/72 CRI that is a cause for concern.  

Absent or VERY reduced gut sounds mean something.  A "B" doesn't mean as much - gut sounds are subjective .  

Monitor gut sounds and heart rate during the hold.  

If you are in the gray area for treatment, i.e. "pulled but not in crisis", take the horse to the treatment vet ASAP.  Do not wait.  Have them checked out.  It just takes a few minutes and won't cost anything.  We MUST get over the head-in-the-sand, it was fine last time so it will be fine this time, I don't want other people to think I'm a bad endurance rider, I'm embarrassed, attitudes.  It's hurting our horses.  

The number one reason for a crash is herd runners up front where they don't belong, BUT sometimes subtle stuff is all you get before your horse crashes - a slightly higher HR on the trail etc.  

Pre-plan if you ride some one else's horse.  "Can I act as owner for terms of treatment?".  Have it written down.  Give a copy to the ride manager.  Only the owner can agree to treatment!  

Some notes about treatment.  You are entering into a legal client-vet-patient relationship.  This means that it's like if you are seeing a vet at home - you have the right to know what's going on, to have things explained to you, and to leave with paperwork/stuff written down.  Be prepared to make decisions both emotionally and financially.  Base line treatment is $400-800, but can vary greatly.  Some vets at rides give a "break", some vets charge according to if they were in a clinic.  According to Mero, "fair" to the horse if you are going to compete in endurance is being willing to spend the money for initial fluids (you should budget around $800).  Many many many horses (86%?) that need IV fluids fully recover and comeback to compete.  Your odds are good!!!!!  Fluids don't have to be "spiked" with anything - although some vets have a preference for something a little "extra" like potassium.  Volume is key when giving fluids.  

Pain meds need to be used VERY carefully.  Dehydration dramatically affects dosing.  This seminar was before Garlinghouse's but knowing that endurance horses - even those without issues - are dehydrated, you can't assume that your horse is fine for bute, banamine etc after a ride.  Mero stated that the endurance horse needs to drink about 5 gallons an hour, which will not happen - thus an endurance horse at a ride is a dehydrated horse.  Dehydration can make a 1/2 dose act as a full dose.  A full dose given to a dehydrated horse is BAD.  However, if they aren't dehydrated a subclinical dose doesn't work.  Bottom line: DON'T USE BUTE/BANAMINE AT A RIDE.  Go see the vet.  

Specific Disease notes:

A horse that has recurrent the ups is a management issue.  Get an experienced vet to help you.  She mentioned that tye ups can present in all sorts of ways, and can happen anywhere in the ride.  Some tye ups are one sided - only one side of the horse is affected.  

Thumps - diet at home needs to be evaluated.  

80% of the mortalities are resulting from colic.  Don't underestimate a mild colic.  

Notes on non-metabolic conditions:
-Severe lameness may be a good candidate to trailer to a referral hospital.  There were some really wild stories about fetlock dislocations etc. that the horse was still walking on etc.  
-when talking about fractures, CORRALS came up over and over and over.  Single wire hot wire is not sufficient because it's a flight animal and the horse will easily bust through.  However, there is no perfect system - each has it's pros and cons.  

Other notes:
-if you are needing to cool a hot horse, use ice water.  Don't worry about cramping.  At the point where you are having to cool a horse like this, cramping is the least of your issues.  
-don't feed dry feed to minimize your risk of choke.  

The running theme throughout the entire seminar is that an experienced endurance vet is needed to treat!

The lack of treatment is a vet AND rider issue
-Culture has to change
-We wait to too long to treat
-Sub-clinical level of fluids DO help (classically in vet school you are told if you can't/don't need to give "x" amount of fluid to not bother).  It's OK to ASK THE VET not to wait on fluids.
-The blame the rider mentality needs to stop.  Instead, why don't you do over there and see if you can help the rider - get them a cup of coffee, watch their horse while they use the bathroom.  Just listen.  Provide a shoulder to cry on.  Heat up some dinner for them.  Don't stand around with your friends condemning them because their horse is in treatment or judge them because of what you "guess" happened out on the trail.  
-Fluids will not hurt.

Some questions I asked after the presentation:
-Is the use of Surpass OK after a ride or is it similar to other NSAIDs and should be avoided? A: surpass is fine.  
-Are you testing CBC/chem panels at the rides when you decide to "spike" the fluids? A: no, the amount of potassium etc. going into the fluids isn't enough to screw up the biochemistry if they don't end up needing it.  
-Is the treatment of a horse at a ride different than how you would treat one out of the pasture? A: yes - there are special considerations with a horse at a ride such as dehydration.  
*I asked this question because when Farley tyed up at home, we didn't treat with fluids, and we administered pain medication right away.  When we ran the blood panel, she was NOT dehydrated, and our choices were appropriate.  This could be why some endurance horses run into trouble if they are being treated by vets that are not familiar with some of the unique factor at an endurance ride.  Dehydration/elytes are always decreased in every horse at an endurance ride.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Just to show that my priorities are in order!

New Sticker added to the laptop collage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blog round up 3/20/12

A new author to check out! Yes, I know it’s dog related, but maybe it will give a budding horse author an idea for a novel? Maybe me????? Note to self….need to totally redo the premise of the novel I’m writing. (BTW - the novel is a serial novel online and the first chapter is already up….I’m not going to tell you where it is because so far it’s stupid, but it is live on line somewhere. Maybe sometime in the future when I decide it doesn’t totally suck I’ll share. That’s what happens when you know your readers are talented writers and authors and liberians, and sometimes all three…..

Hilarious and way too true.

I LOVE hearing about those “sweet” moments

Karen echoes some of my own observations about the differences in how different disciplines approach preventative care.

Some of the prettiest lead ropes I’ve ever seen!

OK OK OK - I know, yet another dog thing (I don’t do a post round up on Tess’s blog) - but I think it’s an interesting thought - and yes, there’s yet another iditarod reference…. And certainly from my experience doing foundation work for, Tess doesn't do anything that she isn't motivated to do.....although it's up to me to make sure her lack of awareness of her future wellbeing means she doesn't over do it.

Yet another dog post - but you don’t go to any other link I’ve put up today, READ THIS POST. This is JUST AS APPLICABLE TO US AS ENDURANCE RIDERS, as it is for agility people, or any other sport where we ask our animals to give themselves and even more for our desires.

And….let’s end with a bit of humor. In cartoon form.

And with that, my google reader is under 100 unread posts, so it’s time to pay attention in class. Approximately 1 hour until spring break (all 3 days of it…) starts!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Convention - Hydration Seminar

Onto Convention day 2!

If you haven’t seen Dr. Susan Garlinghouse speak - you should take advantage of any opportunity to do so. She is at least as hilarious in person as she is on her website. At one point she called us a “tacky” crowd (which is apparently synomonous with “endurance”) and then mentioned that this being an endurance convention, she has probably seen most of us pee in the bushes and vice versa.

Oh too true, too true. And sometimes there aren’t even bushes.

I digress.

The point of the seminar was Hydration of the endurance horse and cumulated with some electrolyte advice.

One point that was reiterated over and over and over was that there are long term effects on a horse. Think of the horse as a rubber band - you can stretch it repeatedly, but it produces micro damage that can accumulate and eventually lead to failure, OR you can stretch it REALLY far a couple of times, and then lead to failure. Horses are NOT 100% when they cross the finish line and we can not pretend it is. Going 100 miles or even 50 miles takes a certain toll on a horse - whether it is conditioned and not - and this seminar covered dehydration specifically. The bottom line is that EVERY horse needs consideration for it’s hydration and other physical needs after it crosses the finish line and in the hours and days afterwards. Just because you got that completion, or received all As at the finish doesn’t mean that your horse is as “good” as it came out of the pasture (in terms of hydration etc.).

Just a few numbers and facts to keep in mind:
  • A 12% dehydrated horse is about to die. 6-7% usually has some other associated problems
  • Dehydration under 5% can't be accurately identified without blood analysis
  • Average endurance horse is 5% dehydrated whether its a 50 mile or a 100 mile. (Some interesting theories such as after 50 miles the thirst mechanisms finally catch up, or the coolness of the night/slowing down helps etc.)
  • Having your horse's head to one side can affect the skin pinch test done during the vet checks. This was interesting because I think I’m very guilty of having the horse’s head tipped in towards the vet during the vet check, and I often get marked down for skin pinches, even when the rest of the parameters look good.   
  • Difference between tolerable dehydration and treatment is 2-3 gallons of water. 
  • The difference between tolerable dehydration and “about to die” is 8 gallons of water.
  • Trailering loss is 0.8 gal per hour, 1% dehydrated per 90 min travel. Thus, 8 hour trip produces a horse that is 5% dedicated upon arrival (6.25 gallons low). 

Another point that was addressed was the people that say “my horse will drink what it needs”, or “when it’s thirsty it will drink”. Actually, although the second statement may be true, depending on how you offer water, the first is definitely NOT true. Horses only voluntarily replace only about 2/3 of fluid deficit by drinking during the ride. Part of managing hydration of the endurance horse is getting that figure as close to 100% as possible.

Lots of factors were presented that won’t let your dehydrated horse “tank up” after getting to ride camp, the night before the ride. Here’s some that were new to me, or were good reminders:

-If at all possible, bring familiar water. At least for that first night.

-Provide BIG buckets. Horses will drink out of large buckets better, and keep the water level up so that they don't have dip into the bucket below eye level. The difference between having a large bucket versus a small bucket is the difference between being at the airport and only having a water fountain, versus a water bottle. Muck buckets are ideal for water buckets at rides. Clean is a must.

-Alfalfa. Although we were told in an earlier seminar (nutrition) about some of the problems with an alfalfa diet in terms of calcium and ammonia production/secretion, I didn’t connect the dots about a diet high in alfalfa impacting hydration until this seminar. High protein (alfalfa diets) need more water in order to excrete the excess protein. Horses fed a normal diet high in alfalfa are already at a disadvantage when it comes to hydration because of their need of additional water.

-The older horse has less fluid in their body than when they were younger, so the older horse is closer to the edge of dehydration than when he was younger.

It was mentioned that a higher heart rate at ride than at home is probably because of fluid losses. Thus, don't count on your horse having the same heart rate and recoveries at a ride that he does at home

Always try to feed wet foods - hay if possible. Never feed dry pellets.

OK - back to the numbers!

Cellular function is adversely affected at less than 2% dehydration. The result at this level is decreased sweat production (which will then increase heat load)

At 3% dehydration there is a 10% decrease in muscle strength, 8% decrease in muscle speed. How does this effect endurance horses? Think about a horse that is presented as tired, and stumbling. Do you think that it could be related to a decrease in muscle strength due to a very low level of dehydration? (remember - we can’t detect below 5% without a blood analysis!). Why do we care about muscle speed? Think of a tired horse that is tripping - do you want them to recover their footing quickly, so that you don’t need to check out the ground in an intimate fashion? Does any one still think that low levels of dehydration still doesn’t impact their horse’s endurance performance? Garlinghouse mentioned that dehydration will show up as lameness because the horses are going to be fatigued, stumble, hurt something etc.

So why don’t horses replace the fluid they are losing?

Horses have a lag of thirst response and an “apparent tolerance” for thirst in the horse (i.e. they are more tolerant of being thirsty than we are). One mechanism that was explained in the seminar is that horse sweat is the same saltiness as the while the overall blood volume is less as the horse becomes dehydrated, the saltiness level of the blood doesn't change that fast. This can be compared to humans - whose blood gets saltier as they lose fluid. The little receptors that trigger the thirst response detect the change in this saltiness. Thus the response in the horse is slower and less selective. The adage of “don't wait to drink until you are thirst because then you are dehydrated” is even more true in the horse than in the human.

Presence of water in the mouth and esophagus shuts down the thirst response. I am familiar with this concept, which is why I'm adamant about not pushing other horses off the tanks or letting someone else do so to me. I will hang back and let my horse stand while waiting for a hole at the water trough, and then once I’m there, I am adamant about not letting other riders let their mounts say “hello” or do anything else that might cause my horse to stop drinking. I’m polite but firm. If you allow your horse to be pushed off the water or stop to drink to say hello to someone (which is just bad disease control as well….) your horse will drink less. Considering that under ideal circumstances your horse already will NOT replace fluid he is losing, this is probably less than ideal…..don’t do it to others, don’t let it happen to you. Better to wait 5 minutes until there’s less people at the trough than to “get in the thick of it”. Garlinghouse’s suggestion was to let the horse;s mouth go dry - don't use your water bottle to squirt water into the horses mouth, or drink out of small puddles. These sources provide the horse with minimal water that won’t significantly replace his losses. Better to not let him get his mouth wet (and thus shutting down his thirst response), and let him drink at a source where he can “drink his fill”.

Electrolyte use

In one study, aggressively elyting horses at a 36 mile ride caused them to voluntary replaced more of their fluid losses than the horses that were not elyted. Electrolyting causes the blood to get saltier (thus increasing thirst response) BUT electrolyzing is not without its risks. Some of the horses that were aggressively elyted had blood work with too high NaCl. Recommendation: don't try to replace ALL the horse’s elyte losses during ride - only a portion. This study tried to replace 50% of elyte losses, they recommend replacing 1/3 of losses in practical application.

Example of what that actually MEANS: Average loss of 2 oz per hour in ambient conditions. 4 oz in extremes conditions. .6-1 oz per hour of exercise. 51/2 to 8 oz in an average 50 mile ride.

Other electrolyte considerations from Garlinghouse:

-Smaller doses work better for horses that stop eating on larger doses.

-Elyte when watering, or even earlier than the water in the early part of the ride. Do what you can. Try to do more often than just at the vet check.

-Lots of problems to try and replace all electrolytes so don't try to do that. You can get arrhythmias by elyte too heavily.

-Don't give elytes to a horse that's already dehydrated and should be drinking and isnt. Can make problems worse. Example: your horse doesn’t usually drink on the first 10 mile loop, but is usually drinking by mile 20. When he isn’t drinking at mile 30 is NOT the time to start elyting.

Some cool trailering tips to minimize the dehydration effects described earlier: elyte before departure (Can give a huge big load here since you know he isn't dehydrated), and hang tub of sloppy mash in trailer that is high value. Mash should have milk shake consistency. Soak soak soak and then add some more water. Horse can consume a couple gallons this way and is MUCH better than having them eat dry hay in the trailer…..obviously need to get horse used to eating milkshake mashes at home….

Another option is to offer salty water first, before going to communal water trough. Have to start doing this at home (of course!). Here’s how to practice: bring a thirsty horse to the bucket and don't let them drink out of their water trough until they drink out of the salty bucket. Use the same bucket for the salty water each time. Start really dilute and work up. Recommendation for Enduramax was 1 oz per gallon (2 tablespoons) for ending concentration, thus start at 1/4 or 1/2 this level then increase over time.

You must be consistent about putting elytes in the food at home if that’s how you want to give them because the horse will start to refuse feed. Have to start building small and then build up over time (like the salty water). Get the horse to the point where they can tolerate a higher level of salt. At home can use just regular table salt (no iodine), don’t have to use electrolytes (because what makes the elytes taste salty is the NaCl in it, which is the taste aversion you are trying to overcome). However, make sure to test your horse with the ride elytes before the ride because it may taste a little different than the table salt and you don’t want anything weird to happen at the ride!!!!

And that’s it for my notes!!!! I hope that you found a little something or a little tidbit in this information that helps you during your season. I think I’m going to experiment with salty water, and offering wet mashes in the trailer instead of hay in the trailer. And you bet I’ll be paying attention to hydration this upcoming season!!!! I didn’t realize how low levels of dehydration produces significant physiological/performance effects and I’ll be making sure that the water I offer at the trailer is in a container that promotes drinking.

Back to paying attention in my animal welfare class. I have a couple more convention posts to put up: one more seminar to summarize, and then some product/vendor reviews.

PS - sorry about the font/formatting. I CANNOT get blogger to cooperate with me today, and even had to use a different browser to even ACCESS blogger :(

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seminar follow up - Nutrition

I was doing some literature searches and came across a paper that is almost exactly the information that was presented during the nutrition seminar.  I can't remember whether the guy who wrote the paper (Duran) is the same person who presented at the seminar, but the company is the same - Kentucky Equine Research.  Unfortunately, there is no year on the paper so I'm not sure how much older the information in the paper is than what I heard at the seminar.  And, while it has references, I think the in-text citations are inadequate - BUT I think it's nice to see the information written down so it can be evaluated, rather than what I remembered being presented.

If you are interested, the paper has been added to the Mendeley group (you can access it from the side bar) and is called "Feeding the endurance horse".

Update:  After reviewing KER's "published research" page, I think the paper I posted was probably this one:  Duren S, KM Crandell. 1998. Feeding the endurance horse. World Equine Veterinary Review. Vol 3/2:28-35.

Other citations that might be of interest to you (but I don't have the time to look up and post the actual documents) are:

Crandell, K.G., J.D. Pagan, P.A. Harris and S.E. Duren. 1999. A comparison of grain, oil and beet pulp as energy sources for the exercised horse. In: Equine Exercise Physiology V, pp. 485-489.

Harris, P.A., J.D. Pagan, K.G. Crandell and S.E. Duren. 1999. Effect of feeding Thoroughbred horses a high unsaturated or saturated vegetable oil supplemented diet for 6 months following a 10-month fat acclimation. In: Equine Exercise Physiology V, pp. 468-474.

Bullimore, S.R., J.D. Pagan, P.A. Harris, K.E. Hoekstra, K.A. Roose, S.C. Gardner and R.J.Geor. 2000. Carbohydrate supplementation of horses during endurance exercise: Comparison of fructose and glucose. Journal of Nutrition 130:1760-1765.

Duren, S.E., J.D. Pagan, P.A. Harris and K.G. Crandell. 1999. Time of feeding and fat supplementation affect plasma concentration of insulin and metabolites during exercise. In: Equine Exercise Physiology V, pp. 479-484

Pagan, J.D., I. Burger and S.E. Jackson. 1995. Long-term effect of feeding fat to 2-yearold Thoroughbreds in training. In: Equine Exercise Physiology IV, pp. 343- 348.

FYI - All these papers hare some how associated with KER's research program

References - Mendeley

Hi everyone! 

First off - I think I did well enough on the test (and I know I did well enough on the lab portion they had), that passing shouldn't be a problem. 

Second - I'm almost finished with my 1 week block on behavior - and I'm totally bummed.  Although I love vet school and everything I'm learning...behavior has been the FIRST subject that I'm absolutely obsessed with, almost to the same extent that I'm obsessed with endurance.  At the convention I was reminded that it IS possible for me to focus on 1-2 hour presentation if it's a subject I love - such as endurance.  Behavior is the first subject that I've been able to 100% focus on during school hours and after school I'm inspired to spend HOURS in the literature looking up stuff and reading research......this is a very very very good development.  I had almost come to the conclusion that I would end up as a horse vet after all, specializing in performance/endurance etc., because obviously I wasn't going to be as happy doing anything else.  Now, with the introduction of behavior, there is a very real chance I'll still be able to keep my professional life and my recreation life somewhat separate.  And thus, my sanity has the chance to remain intact until I'm 80 as opposed to 40 or so. 

Third - you may have noticed an addition to the side bar - you can now join a Mendeley group!

The amount of time that I've spent delving into the literature lately reminded me that I should share how I manage my journal articles, and how you as a reader of my blog could have access to the articles and other resources that I use write many of the articles here, such as the "tendon" post. 

I use "Mendeley" to save journal articles and keep everything organized.  Mendeley can be used as a desk top application that you download, or as an online tool - or a combination of both (everything on your desktop version will sync with the online version and vice versa).  The nice thing about mendeley, as opposed to some of the other citation management tools out there, is the ability to form "groups".  My school small group is often required to put together group presentations and papers that require us to research and cite primary literature.  The groups are a great way to share citations and references without a bunch of emails, documents, and mistyped citations floating around. 

I've created a group for this blog, where I will put the papers and other references that I cite in my "educational articles".  In most cases, the papers are available on the internet through a search in google scholar, in other cases you might need to check out your library and see if they subscribe to the journal so you can read the article.  Even if the article isn't free, often you can find the abstract and read that, which will give you a general idea of what the article is about. 

I've started by placing 3 articles about tendons in the group that I used for writing my tendon post, and I'll place other articles that I think are relevant to endurance riding there as I come across them.

I've also created a group of Tess's blog, which will have various dog training and behavior articles added to it periodically.  I've started by adding some really interesting articles about behavior that I came across while doing research for a behavior block project (food aggression in dogs). 

It's always a good idea to do your own research, and make your own decisions based on what evidence is out there.  I never expect anyone to just "take my word" for anything and hopefully this will make it easier for all of us to stay informed. 

BTW - if you join the group, feel free to add your own favorite articles to the group for us to read!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Convention day 1 - Nutrition Seminar

Slept in and only have 15 minutes to get this post out this morning.  EEK!

Nutrition talk

This was the seminar I most regret losing my notes for, since it had specific technical details I wanted to share with you.

The seminar was given by a representative from KER (Kentucky Equine Research) which produces research driven horse supplements etc so interspersed throughout the presentation was some recommendations for their products - however it was a rather low key sales pitch compared to what I see on a daily basis here at the vet school and since most of what he had to say fit into what I already knew, I’m inclined to believe his data. 

In general, the nutrition seminar confirmed what has already been widely discussed throughout the endurance world, and what I’ve seen spreading throughout the horse world in general - cereal grains are not that great for horses, unless fed under specific circumstances (more on that later), diets should be composed primarily of forage, with alfalfa not being a good choice for an endurance horse.  To add calories add soy hulls or beet pulp because of their high amounts of fermentable fiber, and add oil. 

Although I’ve been aware that cereal grains (corn, oats etc) are not the best thing to feed a horse when you are trying to add calories, I usually pointed to things like the type of carbs the feed contained, the risk of increased inflammation with corn etc.  The seminar focused on the risk of ulcers - both gastric and colon - associated with feeding cereal grains.  I *think* (darn my loss of notes) that the significant risk was seen at 5 pounds of cereal grains.  He went through the mechanisms of HOW the cereal grains cause ulcers which was mildly interesting at the time, but I have promptly forgot now, a week later.  He did say that an appropriate time to feed cereal grains is at vet checks.  Since they do produce an insulin spike (more on that later), the timing is critical so you don’t get a blood glucose crash. 

Some notes about oil: He recommended feeding 1 pound of oil daily.  Specifically feed veggie oils.  Stay away from Corn.  I also stay away from Soy, however he didn’t specifically say there was any problems with soy.  The health benefits of adding oil to the diet go beyond the calories - and yes, they were listed. But do I have my notes?  NO!!!!!!   There was also a nice paper cited on the effects of fat adaption on glucose kinetics, I believe written by JD Pagen.  In summary, after feeding 1 pound of oil daily, at 5 weeks there was significantly more fat dependance energy, and the reliance/effect on  blood glucose significantly decreased.  Which is good.  Through a mechanism that will probably become very important to me during my next block (GI) but for now I DON’T have to understand the intricacies of it….but if you are interested, ask and I’m sure I can write another vetmed post on it in a couple of weeks. 

A couple of days before a race you need to make sure to “top up” all tanks - but during competition need to use the correct tank - i.e. you don’t want to do something that will inhibit the horse from using all those nice fat-burning/metabolizing systems you have conditioned.  Feeding close to the race will release insulin.  Increase in insulin tells the horse to go into storage mode, which inhibits mobilization of fat.  (This is bad)  You’ll end up with a huge blood glucose drop, which is also bad.  The recommendation is to feed 5 hours before the start of race.  Feeding cereal grains during a vet check is fine because exercise inhibits the drop of glucose.  However, like I mentioned earlier, its a timing issue.  If you are a little late leaving the vet check, your horse could experience an insulin spike/glucose drop etc.  It was at this point that I asked what happens to a horse during a glucose drop.  He related to humans and said it was probably much like what we as humans experienced.  I was hoping for a less anthropomorphizing answer and something a little more physiologically related to the horse, but oh well.  He did mention neural fatigue which makes sense - if insulin causes blood glucose to drop and that’s where the neuro system is getting it’s energy….then you will definitely feel fatigue both physically and mentally until you give your system a chance to stabilize.  The consequences probably involve slowing down, understanding why your horse is “bonking” and trying to convince your horse that this is temporary and he’ll be feeling fine and having fun again soon - he just needs to stop pouting and whining.  If anyone else has a good, based in physiology and literature, response on what exactly happens to the performance of the horse during a blood glucose drop/insulin spike, would love to hear it. 

That takes up through day 1 of the convention!

Sorry this is rushed.  I’m having a blast in my behavior block and don’t want to be late to class!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blog round up 2/29/11 and beyond

Here's the blog round up - the best from my google reader and beyond!!!  On a related subject, how the world did my Reader top 200 unread posts????????

Have you subscribed to this blog yet?  Because it seems like every time he posts, I end up linking him.  The post today really hit home.  I was sure because I didn't really learn to ride until I was in college that I was so far behind my friends who had been riding since junior high or earlier, that I would never ever ever catch up.  But I've been just fine.  I wish I could go back and tell that 12 year me that riding isn't like learning a foreign language and doesn't have a "critical" period for learning. 

I think I could relate to EVERY single one of the "truths" posted here.

Another example of someone who isn't afraid to reevaluate their opinion, when faced with something new.  I like that.  I support that.   IMO that's the only way you grow and develop into a person with depth and character.

Beautiful post on Black Stallion book illustrations.  A client sent me this link and it really brightened my day.  It makes me want to go through my books again and just look at the pictures.  For some reason black stallion illustrations put a certain feeling of anticipation in my stomach.  Of a good read, a relaxing afternoon, a sense of comfort.

An endurance rider gets inventive (of course!  What else is new?  I'm not sure you can be an endurance rider and NOT do something crazy like go to a ride where the weather is going to be crappy enough you are compelled to put up plywood sheets on your horse trailer....)

I'm thinking my blog could use an emergency button ....

I finally met Merri in the flesh at the convention!  Such a cool person.  Looks like everyone at the convention ended up with new tights from Evelyn's....myself included!

I think that long distance sled dog races have a lot in common with endurance - and I must admit that sledding was my obsession before I found the much more reasonable ride-a-100-miles-on-a-horse sport.  However, after reading this blog, I'm quite sure that dog sled teams have one problem I'll never have as an endurance rider!

Proof that we vets do have a sense of humor .

Yet another cool article about the Iditarod......and I love it that he said he pulled because his dogs weren't having fun.  I must admit that this one sentence "made" the article for me and I didn't even read the rest.  BTW, if I ever did the Idiarod I would totally get a tatoo.  Wouldn't you?

And with that, my google reader is below 200 posts and I'm done for the night!

Convention Day 1 - Heart Seminar

Just how brain dead was I yesterday?  After I got out of school I remembered that I needed to fill up my car, since I ran it almost to empty to get to school.  I pull up to a pump, get out, and realize that the card reader isn’t working on the pump.  I run inside, hand the card to the cashier and then say: “wait a minute - I can’t remember if I need gas or not, I may have filled up this morning….”.  Run back out to the car, look at the gas gauge and sure enough…..I had filled up that morning and forgotten.  And apparently forgotten to look at my gas gauge before pulling into the station. 

So, I decided I had no business writing blogs or doing anything else “important” and proceeded to take a nap, eat cookie dough, and watch an episode of Castle.  And enjoy my evening of no studying and homework as it was the last day of the neuro block (except for a week of behavior that starts today, that is technically part of the block, BUT is separate in structure, separate test etc.).

Anyways.  The convention. 

It was fabulous.

You all should go. 

Convention day 1

At the used tack swap I found 2 pairs of tropical riders!!!!  $15 each.  Size small - I’m between a size small and a medium, so I decided that I could afford to buy one pair for my “skinny” days.  Lots of other good stuff - including a dressage length mohair girth for 30 bucks - my choice of several different sizes.  I sold all my short mohair girths because my solstice was a short billet saddle, but the saddles I’m using now are all long billets…….if the rain ever stops and I DO get to an endurance ride (it’s the type of raining this week that has the sidewalks covered with bloated, dying worms…..) I’ll have a good girth for Farley, and not my synthetic wintec girth that looks suspiciously like it was designed specifically to gall thin-skinned arabs. 

Moving on from the used tack swap (and trust me, it was hard……) I went into the vendor section.  More specifics on who was there and what products I’m trying later - but needless to say I didn’t attend a single seminar that morning, nor did I get ANY studying done. 

I FINALLY dragged myself away to attend two afternoon seminars……after which I went up to my room and studied.  which is a good thing since that’s the ONLY studying I got done ALL weekend. 

Seminar notes - Day one.

Unfortunately I came unprepared for how fabulous the seminars were going to be.  I guess I had some vague notion that I would be able to retell the gist of the talks from scattered memories of facts and figures that somehow would stick in my brain. 

Half way through the first seminar I realized I was in real trouble - there was NO way that I was going to be able to remember all the cool stuff to tell you guys, so I started taking notes as a text on my phone. 

That I promptly deleted.  CRAP. 

So, for this first day, here’s my best recollection of what was interesting, what was intriguing, and what made me go “really?”. 

The heart talk

In this study funded by AERC, they looked at whether heart size/function mattered for endurance horses, and whether you could predict a horse’s performance capabilities based on heart parameters.  Apparently there is some precedence in other horse sports and on the human side. 

I thought the most yawn worthy thing about the study was that their hypothesis was borne out - heart function and size DOES matter and correlates with performance.  Eventually we may have a model that accurately predicts the horses performance based on their heart parameters. 

What was REALLY interesting was the other stuff they found during the study……

Did you know that murmurs are normal as you train and the horse gets more fit?  These “physiological” murmurs (as opposed to pathological) are the result of the heart getting bigger and stronger as you train - although the “heart muscle” gets bigger, the valves don’t, causing some leaking of the valves and thus murmurs!!!!  They do not think that these physiological murmurs affect performance or are meaningful.  Note to self: if in the future Farley develops a murmur after being in training and is super fit, do not have a freak out. 

Resting heart rate doesn’t necessarily improve with fitness.  Considering how many times I’ve seen advice on various forums and in magazines that you should monitor your horses heart rate and use a falling resting heart rate as an indication that your horses’s fitness is improving, this apparently does NOT hold true!  Perhaps because horses already have a very low resting heart rate, unlike humans, a low resting heart rate isn’t necessarily indicative of fitness. 

The subjects of the study were all 100 mile finishers that were evaluated within a month of finishing a 100.  The horses were divided up into “elite” and “non elite” groups.  Elite horses were defined as winning a 100, or coming in within 2 hours of the winner.  The non-elite horses were the rest of the pack.  I’ve always thought about 100 mile horses as all being elite and very fit, and really didn’t think there were significant differences beyond how hard the rider was willing to push the horse to that “edge” of training and racing.  It’s also been my belief that a horse with any serious issues isn’t going to finish a 100 miler, and completing a 100 on a sound and happy horse that still looks great a month later is “proof” of that horse’s health and fitness. 

I was proved wrong on both counts. 

TWO non elite horses were ELIMINATED from the study because they had such serious heart disease.  ONE horse’s heart disease was so serious that the vet doing study recommended that the horse not be ridden because it was putting the rider in real danger.  Keep in mind that these were competing 100 mile horses that had finished a 100 mile race in the last month.  All together 4 horses in the non elite group had serious heart disease, while none of the horses in the elite group had heart disease.  The results were statistically significant - The elite horses had “better” hearts and heart function than the non elite horses. (even when the nonelite horses that had significant heart problems were eliminated from the data). 

The vet presenting (no I don’t remember her name….) suggested it might be worthwhile to test a horses’s heart function if its an older horse (over 15 years) and/or if you notice a change in the horse’s behavior/perceived fitness - seems more tired after a ride etc. 

The study isn’t completely done yet, but I expect that the results will be published once the study is completed.  Dr. Meg Sleeper’s name should be on the paper - keep an eye out for it in the literature. 

And now….I have to go to class.  And learn about behavior.  And stare out the window at the rain.  The convention posts shall continue!!!!!!  Later.  After I have more caffeine - which is my drug of choice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just hang on...

The final is tomorrow and I'm frantically catching up on my studying so that I can pass this block. 

I had a BLAST at the convention and I have so much to share with you - stuff I learned from the seminars, products and vendors that I'm in love with, and much more.  So hang with me until I get through a test or two and check back soon for some FABULOUS discussion on hydration, electrolytes, heart function, exciting new products and why you should go to the convention next year. 

See you in a day or 2!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The cherry on the top

Why yes, I DID fail the test.  Wonderful.  Final is Monday/Tuesday, so you'll excuse me while I completely check out from blog-o-land until after then?  Of course, from the sounds of it, a substantial number of OTHER people also failed, but it remains that I now have a C in the class, which does not cut it if I want to stay eligible for funding this summer.  At this point in my college career, grades are of minimal importance except when it comes to a) having to repeat a class, and b) maintain a GPA for the funding grant that I've already applied for, but do not know whether I've gotten it yet. 

And in even more exciting news, we have...the formaldehyde levels in the anatomy lab.  Which were tested as unacceptable for a second time, even after modifications to the ventilation system.  Which, as of 5pm today, resulted in a new restriction. 
-Students are not allowed to spend more than 1 hour a day in the lab.
-Personnel are not allowed to spend more than 2 hours a day in the lab. give you an idea of how much this impacts me/my fellow students/and the upcoming test.

1.  I had a 4 hour lab this afternoon
2.  I have another 4 hour lab scheduled for Wednesday
3.  On average, I've been spending 10 hours of SCHEDULED lab time per week in the lab.
4.  This does not count any personal/study time, only scheduled hours where we are dissecting and learning NEW stuff.
5.  We have yet to be tested on the anatomy stuff that we've been learning in the last 7 (?) weeks - that was reserved for a lab practical to be taken with the cumulative final. 
6.  Given that the lab practical ITSELF takes 2 hours to complete, anyone want to guess how many hours of personal study time was going to be needed in the lab in order to review over 50 hours of lab instruction? 

So....lets say that they break the 4 hours of lab remaining for the week over the next 4 days before the test (which would royally *insert F word* me as I NOT GOING TO BE HERE THURSDAY AND FRIDAY).  That's an hour on Tuesday, an hour on Wednesday, an hour on Thursday, and an hour on Friday.........Which leaves us exactly 2 hours (one hour on Saturday and Sunday respectively) to review 50 hours worth of lab structures. 

Wonderful.  I'm SURE I'll be able to pick out the gazillion little structures I learned the end of January on my exam Tuesday with no review.  Hey - a nerve is a nerve and really, who cares whether it's CrN VII or CrN X? (I sure don't at this point). 

I haven't even gotten to the part where my car almost didn't start this morning.  No idea what's wrong.  When I shut it off 20 miles down the road to refuel, it started up just fine.  Although, I wasn't sure it would and as I stuck the key in the lock, I found myself trying to control my fear that it wouldn't start.  Kind of like a strange, aggressive dog.  "show no fear, show no fear.." as if, if I didn't trust in the car to start it would become some weird, self-fullfilling prophesy.  "be confident, show no fear, just turn the key". 

Consider me off the radar for the next week or so.  I'm going to convention NO MATTER WHAT they do to my schedule.  And I'm going to have fun.  And I'm going to learn lots of new stuff that I'm going to share with you.  Either as daily "convention updates" (what I want to do), or after my test next week (as I should be using my evening time in the hotel room to study, NOT compose blog posts).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Almost out

Almost out of my Funk.

Not quite up to composing an entire blog post but, things are looking up.

1.  I'm 90% sure I found a place for Farley that is acceptable. 

2.  I'm having a lot of success (more than I even dared to dream) teaching Tess how to weave poles.  After only 2 days of really working at it, I'm ready to add poles 3 and 4 - very exciting.  Even more exciting, a week before her first birthday, Tess really shows signs of an approaching maturity and is so much fun to be around and play with. 

3.  The AERC convention is this weekend, and I get to visit Funder.  Alcohol may or may not be involved.

It almost makes up for the fact that:

1.  I'm worried that I didn't pass the test last Friday.  And that the final is Monday and Tuesday.

2.  I feel guilty for being a bad horse owner and not doing anything with Farley this week and weekend - not even basic stuff.

3.  I've missed all my runs for the last 2 weeks and generally feel like a fat slob.

4.  I'm having MAJOR issues managing my anxiety in the last couple of weeks.  See previous comments about lack of running and horse time......that just may be a major contributor (who are we fooling here???  OF COURSE my lack of taking care of myself and doing my self care acivities are too blame!).

5.  My allergies are killing me. 

Too much caffeine today (really hard for me to kick the caffeine habit and I'm back on it - it's not that I'm even tired - I just REALLY like the high caffeine gives me.....but the "after math" of mental effects is so not good for me and I REALLY need to let it go), it's my bedtime, and I think I'm starting to fall into that "HALT" mentality that one of my wise readers advised me blog post tomorrow if I'm still sane. That's a huge if.  The 4 hour after noon labs after a full morning in the class room are slowly killing off brain cells.  I think I only managed 2 showers last week? 

I keep meaning to end this post and yet I keep rambling on and on and on......