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Monday, April 30, 2012

What I learned.... vet school today.

Fat+sugar (specifically fructose from sucrose) = fatness.

Would share with you the mechanism of the whole thing but it's a blur on the slide......something about activating, lack of feedback inhibition, excess of acetly CoA --> fat blah blah blah blah.  Apparently Fructose is more lipogenic than glucose. 

Why this applies to veterinary medicine. 

More fat in meat = better fat.  More fat = better USDA grade = more money. 

How do we get all this fat into beef?  We give them corn (which is somehow magically = to fructose)!  Which they are not designed to eat, so we give them additives to change the ruminant biochem.  Since they have a lipogenic diet, it results in marbled beef = higher profits. 

I don't have the nutrition and biochem background to critically exam this info, but it was interesting and I'm inclined to think it's true. 

Eating fat isn't necessarily the problem --> it's the fructose/corn that's the issue. And I'm not thrilled that the supermarket beef has a bunch of fat that wouldn't be there if the cows weren't fed an abnormal diet.....Abnormal diet in cows = abnormal composition of meat = what in my body?  I'm currently eating grass fed raised beef that I buy from my pastor and it's about time to drop the cash for another 1/2 of a cow.....I always wonder whether it's REALLY worth it (even though the taste alone is close to making it worth it) and hearing stuff like this from people that I respect and don't have a commercial stake in the industry are really convincing.

Vowing to take a look at primal/paleo again......

In other news, I rode yesterday.  An hour at a trot.  A really really really really fast trot.  And she didn't buck or try to break gait.  I would prefer a slower trot --> some under 10 mph.  We were going close to 15 or 16 I think......not so great for those rear suspensories or other soft tissues, so I've been told.  I'm not totally sure how fast I was going, but we can guess based on the following facts.

1.  It was much much faster than 10 mph

2.  It was much much faster than her usual preferred crusing pace of 12-13 mph.  In fact, it can be explained by the mathmatical formula of what 10mph feels to 12mph, 12 mph felt to this pace + 2mph (10:12 = 12:? + 2). 

3.  It was so fast and extended it felt like my Standardbred's extended trot, where you can no longer post.  There's 3 beats.  You kinda come out of the saddle, and then your butt has a "double bump" in the saddle. 

4.  My legs were shaking after I dismounted.

So...... yeah.  Not the "best" thing for us, but I think it's something we needed.  She needed to be able to go without too much micromanaging, I needed to know I could trust her at speed, AND we both need to know that I can ride a bit "too" fast during a short ride and that she can take a few stumbles and her leg doesn't blow up.  I'll be rechecking it today.  Because I really need to know that the level I'm conditioning (1-2 hours at a trot) isn't THAT close to the line.  Because if an hour doing just a "little" too fast causes a change in that leg, than I need to rethink what we are doing.  Because the probability of us both being perfect (me rating speed and her taking stumble or two) is about nill and I CANNOT be conditioning so close to the line that a mistake or two on a shorter conditioning ride spells disaster.  All sorts of things happen at endurance rides and I don't want to carefully bring her up to a 50 mile distance, only to find out that we were too close to the line and had a subclinical injury/damage that I never caught --> where if I do a rather rough shorter ride and there's a hint of a problem, I can back off and rethink this whole thing.  Hope this makes sense.  I have a test today, a final on Friday (actually 3 of them), and an oral exam next my brain is rather fried. 

Still no little "heat conditioning" veins present on Farley, her pulse was about 80 after trotting in and dismounting and immediately checking.  Did this ride at 2pm while the temps were in the 80s.  Pulse dropped below 60 by the time I finished rinsing her off and gave her, her post-ride mash.  With LOTS of elytes in it.  One Tablespoon elyte to 2 cups of pelleted feed.  Still not touching her elyted water, but I've been able to up the elytes in her mash no problem. 

BTW - a little tip that may or may not be true, but couldn't hurt to try.  After a lesson/ride/session with your horse, there may be some evidence that giving them something to munch on (hay/mash) may improve their "latent learning" --> ie how well they synthesize, retain, and make new connections about what you just taught them.  The book I'm reading suggests giving a dog a chew toy/bone/kong at breaks between training sessions to help with the latent learning process, something based on observations in the horse world.  No, I don't have a scientific reference for ANY of this, so take it as an anecdote/one persons opinion if you will :).

And one more TMI for you --> I think I once again managed to jam the last joint on the middle finger of my right hand.  This is only the 100th time or so I've managed to do this.  I have drastically reduced mobility in that joint which probably makes it even MORE likely for injury.  I *think* I did it dismounting yesterday but I'm not sure.  It seems a bit worse this time --> it's a different color  at the tip now (greenish purple) and it's numb so I'm thinking maybe it's time to actually do something about this?  mmm...but then I can't type!  And really it doesn't hurt unless I try to bend it past it's reduced ranged, or I bump the joint at the flex point on the underside of the figure.  Maybe by the time I'm 50 it will be so stiff I'll go around giving people the bird.  Thank goodness you don't finger the fiddle right handed or I would be screwed. 

With all the tests coming up, you might be thinking that it's about time for me to announce another "black out" period for new blog posts....and you would be right.  As tough as it might be, I PROMISE to practice self control and NOT post until after my test on Friday.  Ummm.....and completely ignore the fact that I have like 3 REALLY cool posts I'm itching to do. Including a review of Laura Crum's new book.  And the 10 commandments of endurance riding.  And a Platypus water bottle review.  Yes, I'll ignore all this goodness in favor of passing this block. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


To go commando….or not?
On the spelling - one "m" or two?  Definitely not something I'm googling during class, so we'll go with 2!

Edit, after seeing comments on facebook and a realize that the beginning of this post is rather non-specific.....:  I'm specifically referring to endurance riding!!!!  But feel free to take it any direction you would like in the comments.....

1.  Commando is definitely preferable to wearing crap underwear with nasty seams in nasty places.  But is commando preferable to well made underwear?  (like these?).  The jury’s out.

2.  There’s no underwear lines in the commando state.

3.  Holes and splits in riding tights are awkward without underwear.  And it happens way more often than you would think.  And then you’ve lost the chance to show off your really cute underwear.

4.  How cool would it be to have underwear that MATCHES your tack when the paramedics cut off your tight?????  Just saying’….

5.  It’s so much easier to pee in the bushes in the commando state.  Girls, trust me on this.  And while the risk of exposing nether parts upon tight failure is higher, pulling up tights after a pit stop only takes a nanosecond without underwear as compared to a microsecond with…….

6.  It makes riding tight changes in the middle of rides at the vet checks difficult.  Instead of pretending that your granny panties cover at least as much as your swim suit and thus gives you license to dance your fanny around, into a fresh pair of tights……commando means that you should show at least SOME sign of being embarrassed as your shiny white hinny bounces around.  And if you are wondering what all this bouncing and jumping is about….you’ve never tried to change OUT of wet tights, INTO dry tights on a cold rainy ride while trying to keep your balance on a wet tarp, while holding onto your horse’s lead rope. 

7.  The only time you go commando will be the time your tights fail at the seams.  HOWEVER --> is this made up for, by the amount of embarrassment you will experience, having to pull from a 100 because your have blood soaking your tights from the rubs and chafing of a poorly selected pair of underpants? 

8.  The judge may or may not be so distracted by the sight of your bare bum through the rip in your tights that he may or may not notice that your horse is a bit hockey. 

9.  Ummm…..commando lets you practice your inner “nudist”.  (OK - I admit that I’m close enough to 10 discussion points that I’m just starting to make up). 

10.  Bottom line: commando is a personal decision that very well might affect others --> i.e. the amount of fun we will have at your expense.  Is the comfort worth it?  Maybe.

It only looks easy

Something monumental has happened.

For the first time EVER, Tess's blog has made more $ in adsense this month than this blog.

Come on people!!!!  Are you going to let boots and saddles play second fiddle to Tess?  NO!!!!!  Of course not!!!!!!  With almost 1000 posts, 10,000 views, and more than 3 years worth of history Boots and Saddles is OBVIOUSLY the superior blog.

So in that spirit, it's time to post something here instead of reflecting on Tess's probable future as my lord (notice the lower case spelling) and master.

Karen's blog post reminded me of a post I've been meaning to write for quite some time.

"It only looks easy"

As a teenager/young adult I would look at dressage tests and shrug my shoulders.  I didn't see the point.  20 meter circle?  check.  Walk/trot transition?  check.  What made this stuff so hard?  Once I actually started showing as an adult I understood.  Beyond the mechanics of dressage, which ain't so easy, showing dressage is extraordinarily difficult.  Why?  Because you are being asked to do something right NOW, at THIS place, at this TIME.  Sure, you can get some nice 20 meter circles at home -->  But can you get ONE really nice one on the first try after down-transitioning on the long side from a canter?

It's wise to contemplate the implications of this before spouting off from the rail that you are obviously ready to show at "x" level because your circles/transitions/movement looks at least that good at home.

While I consider the sport of agility to be the "endurance" sport of the dog-world (brains over beauty, function over tradition), the actual act of showing agility has more in common with dressage than endurance.  You and your animal partner are asked to perform specific maneuvers, at a specific time, in a ring in front of a judge. 

That's a whole lot different from being a huge group of people and evaluating whether you can get away with something when the judge isn't looking, or deciding to do something management wise to "pretty up" the horse right before presenting to the vets/judges.

So please, don't disparage someones contacts or poles at a competition and pronounce yours superior if you've never been in that ring, performing under the pressure of the judges watchful eye.  In some ways a dressage+endurance background is the perfect combination as I prepare for an agility competition.  Endurance made me inventive and creative;  and dressage showed me to be cautious about proclaiming myself ready for competition based on comparing my dog's home performance with that of the dogs competing in the ring.  It ain't as easy as it looks.

As a side note: Endurance may be the only sport I know of that you can expect to do BETTER at the "show" than at home (assuming that you've trained the pace you are riding yada yada).  Done a couple of seasons of 50's at a moderate pace and horse looks fine and bouncy at the end?  You could probably do a 100 even if the thought makes you sick to your stomach with nerves and excitement and you don't know how you'll ever get through it.  Just rode 25 miles and can't imagine riding 50?  You're probably closer than you think.

PS - yes I know that this post was dog related.  But the word endurance was mentioned!!!!!!  and its applicable to the horse world!!!!  OK - I may be reaching, but seriously!!!!!  This blog needed some love.....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Really cool paper!

Shetland pony as the origination of the speed gene in thoroughbreds?  Read this and I'm off to go look up the original paper.  I'll post it in the Mendeley journal club on the sidebar when I find it.

Err....right after I study for and take the test on Monday.  And did you know that I have my final exams not this Friday but NEXT Friday.

I'm officially freaking out.

But obviously this paper is top priority.  :)

Edit update: Oops - forgot to mention I actually tried to ride today.  Stupid thin-skinned arab.  Apparently the hot ride last weekend combined with a seriously shedding horse + synthetic girth made her go all "girthy" on me and she was way sensitive today.  Or maybe it was her shedding and sweating over the week without me there to pull the chunks of hair out of her elbows.  Whatever it was, there was no way she was even tolerating the mohair girth and I was in a quandry.  I ask enough of my horse that on days she says she's uncomfortable or in discomfort, she wins.  I probably *could* have slapped a girth on and made her deal with it, but that's not fair to her.  Even if I looked forward to this ride ALL FREAKIN' WEEK.  I hopped on bareback but she was all wonky and stupid.  I realized she hasn't had turn out in a while so I hopped off and let her loose.  She then proceeded to run around, squirting and neighing - and low and behold we had our finest example of "I'm in season and will determinedly ignore you and be all reactive and sh*t".

It was at that point that I decided that we would do some ground work.  In the 95 degree heat.  The first hot day of the season.

You see, before I had the kind of relationship with Farley that comes with spending 5-6 days in the saddle.   We didn't have to have discussions of who was in charge, Farley trusted me on the trail, I trusted her and we had a great working relationship. 

Apparently that erodes when you only see your horse 1-2x a week. 

Someone suggested last time we were out on the trail that some of Farley's new spooking and hotness on the trail since putting her back to work was a sign that she wasn't quite sure I was the leader anymore and didn't necessarily trust me to make good decisions and keep her safe.

I conceded she was probably right.

A definite attitude check was needed and I put her on the lunge. 

Holy smoke and popping jalopenos!  I'm not sure you are suppose to see the entire back of the horse as you lunge them.  If they are leaning THAT far in, I'm not sure they are particularly balanced........Took about 15 minutes to get her walk/trot/cantering nicely on the lunge.  Definitely noticed a different "aura" about her once we were done - she seemed more satisfied and content - like this was the discussion she wanted to have with me and she was glad it was out of the way.

She is DEFINITELY more out of shape now than we have ever been going into the hot season.  ZERO little veins that speak of an efficient heat dissapation....just sweat sweat and more sweat.  It took her FOREVER to cool down and her pulse stayed a bit high.  I know from experience it wont' take long for both of us to get into shape for the hot weather, but 90 degrees after 2 weeks of rain and cold temps sure didn't ease us into it......

So I didn't ride, and yeah I'm still disappointed.  BUT, I think I set my next ride up to be a damn good one.  

Don't worry if the next week or so is quiet.  I'm approaching the end of another block and I have a lot of information to absorb in the next 10 days....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Post 'round up 4/21

I have over 250 freakin' unread posts in my Reader people!  Where do you find the time to post all that??????????

If you aren't a member of one of these organizations, than you probably won't get this post - but it's a great look at the differences between the different "distance riding" organizations.  They are NOT created equal and I am an AERC endurance rider for a reason - a definite personal preference for the way endurance riding is run compared to the other models.  All I can say about this post is AMEN SISTER!  

Boy oh boy is this a hot topic since Funder, ~C, E.G., irish horse, and a whole host of others are posting on the topic.....Someday I'll get on my soap box on the whole "are LD's endurance and should AERC continue sanction distances of shorter and shorter mileage in order to retain/gain membership and make more $" but for now, I'll just say that I generally agree with the posts above.

I am allowed to post my own posts from other blogs in the round up?  Go to Tess's blog and give it some love.  And then head on over to Chick-n-boots.  For a while I've only known where the character is going, not how she got there - but now I have it figured out for at least 5 or 6 chapters (thank you Laura Crum - your intro on the new book inspired me) - I feel comfortable posting the link.  [All sorts of disclaimers - it's a first novel, it's a serial novel so I can't decide it's horrible and keep scrapping it after 2 chapters, and it will probably be filled with ho-hum characters that do predictable things in cliche plot arcs.  Sorry, but I feel like if I can push this novel out, I won't be so scared by the mechanics of writing a novel].

Oh and BTW - did you know my mom is posting a serial novel too?  Since she's the one that got me into the whole thing, then she can enjoy some of the shame publicity too.  *evil laugh*

Dog related, but-OMG-I-want-it!

And with that my Reader is under 200 posts.  I'm not sure exactly how "productive" this is, but I'm thinking that it doesn't count for much....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yes, I do wear dresses

Allow me this show off moment, as my first opportunity to wear "real" earrings.  Not horse related at all, but the pictures make me smile, and like I continually say - this is MY blog so I get to post all sorts of weird things :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

post 'round up

Yes, it's a muwumps post again.  I bought Farley because she gave me the same clear message during my test ride.  "I can do 100 miles and I can do Tevis".  It was sincere and it was STRONG.  It's amazing when a horse speaks that clearly, and it can come from the most ugly, unassuming ponies (which is what I thought of her when I saw her for the first time).  And it's amazing to see them keep that promise. 

Thoughts like these are why I read Muddy Paw's blog. Just goes to show that there are other people in other sports whose priority in the well being on their animal.  Every time I read something like this, it renews my commitment to do what's right for my horse and my dog. 

Didn't have a chance to get through my entire blog roll today, so more features soon! 

Let's Go!

Hopped on Farley for a 2 hour ride yesterday.

It's poured here for a week and I was feeling lazy, so I got on bareback to do some dressage in the arena - but she made it clear it was a trail weekend.  On the bit, forward, and just a wee bit on the side of almost naughty.  She was in the mode for something longer and more physically demanding/less mentally demanding than dressage. 

So we saddled up and hit the trails with some other riders.  I got a tour of some new trails and let me tell you - they are GORGEOUS.  Wild flowers, turkeys, moss hanging off of trees, birds, water, beaches, trees......All of it trot-able, 50% of it canter-able.  We walked yesterday.  Walking uses FAR more muscles on *MY* body and I really need to do more of it.  I tried to keep her up above 4 mph so that she was really moving out and stretching.  I would rather keep her moving out, and then stop for a snack break than encourage that wretched 2 mph walk that she sometimes insists is her max during a ride (she cannot POSSIBLY go faster without jigging or walking - yeah right....). 

Let's get to the exciting stuff - the nuts and bolts of the lessons tried and learned during this conditioning ride (and yes, even though this was a 2 hour WALK - there's still plenty to learn and apply to an endurance ride).

1.  It's definitely summer - I got a sunburn on the top of my thumbs.  As always I forgot a nice swathe of skin from my wrist to my thumb.  Lesson - wear gloves or learn how to apply sunscreen better than a 3rd grader.

2.  Elytes in food - Farley does NOT take elytes in her food during a ride.  After sitting through Garlinghouse's seminar at the convention, I now know it's probably because I'm not consistently adding salt or elytes to her food or water at home.  I tossed in 1 tsp in her mash and she sucked it down just fine. 

3.  Elytes in water - I prepared a bucket of water that I have determined will be the elyte bucket (it looks different than my others) with 2 pinches of elytes.  She didn't go for it - but I think it's because she really didn't get hot enough and wouldn't have gone to it regardless of what I did or didn't put on it.  Will continue to do this - especially after longer, hotter rides.

4.  Milk shakes - I premade the mash before I left on the ride and it's AMAZING how much water a pelleted feed will hold.  Susan G is right - you can really get a good quantity of water down a horse just in a mash - excellent for trailers.  The important thing is to make it and then let it set - add more water and let it set - add more water and let is set.  Chances are when you get back to from riding you you'll have to add a bit more water to make it truly milkshake like. 

5.  A new feed - I picked up some triple crown low starch samples at the convention and have been feeding it to Farley.  I still love and use my Elk Grove Stable Mix - but I believe it's good to have options.  Not every feed store carry's every feed, and I find that having a minimum of 3 choices at a long ride like a 100 encourages my horse to eat more wet sloppy mash. 

6.  Elytes for the human - I didn't take water on my ride (My only excuse is I was only planning on being out for 30 mintues, AND it's the first ride of the I'm allowed to be stupid once right?).  I was really really thirst at night and really tired even after drinking a ton of water.  Then I remembered my elytes!!!!!!  I dragged them out of the cupboard where they had resided since last summer and mixed up a glass of acculytes.  I felt so much better, and today feel totally normal.  Since it's that time of the year, I put the 3 elytes I use in my carry bag so I'll have them with me and there's no excuse to not use them when I need them. 

7.  Shedding - Farley is shedding like CRAZY.  I got out as much hair as I could in the tack areas, but I knew with the amount of shedding hair, the sweat, and the brisk walking I'd probably end up with little hair balls under the saddle near the cantle.  Yep - I did.  She was a little reactive (she's a wimp) over those spots where there was accumulated hair, but fine.  BUT.....if it had been an endurance ride she wouldn't have been fine.  If I was competing in a ride during this season, I would probably clip, or do anything I could the expedite the shedding process.  I used my Haf pad for this ride, knowing that she was going to shed a bunch of hair and I wanted clean up to be easy......but for a ride I probably would have used a woolback or an equipedic and while the pad would have been dirtier, I may have not had the "hair balls".  Lesson?  Be very observant and proactive during shedding season if you are racking up the miles. 

8.  Feet - Farley has been standing in mud for a week.  I was almost positive I would be booting up for this ride, as there are some stretches of gravel.  However, she didn't seem reactive and didn't seem to notice, so I decided to just go with it.  Lesson learned - standing in less than ideal conditions for a while isn't necessarily the death knell for the barefoot horse.  A fully transitioned horse should be able to take a few knocks without it crippling it.  If small events DO start to adversely affect my horse's comfort, it's probably time to reevaluate my management and see what ELSE is contributing to hoof sensitivity. 

That's it for now!  I'm one happy camper.  Saturday night I took out my piercing studs for the first time, put in some pretty dangly pearl things, put on a flirty dress with some awesome (affordable) accessories and went to the big city (San Fransisco) for the symphony with a friend.  And dinner.  And drinks.  And then Sunday was spent on the back of my horse.  And Tess had an awesome session on the weave poles (and we have our first agility lesson today).  Could life be better?  I didn't think so either.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bits, toys, and human perceptions OH MY!

I'm working on a post over on Tess's blog, so just in case I don't get around to posting anything here, go over and read Go Pony's post here.  My comments on the subject are posted there as well :)

And for those chicken crazy people - the continuation of the chicken story is here. 
 -it made me spew my coffee with giggles even though I had just cleaned up dog vomit from the carpet (dogs are the best pets ever dogs are the best pets ever dogs are the best pets ever).  And on a strictly "vet-ty" level, yes, it as vomit and not regurgitation.  And if you would like me to explain in great depth, including pictures of the said vomit and a reenactment of the abdominal effort required for such an act, such as one of my professors INSISTS on doing in their presentations on the subject.  I would be happy to *oblige.

*Actually I wouldn't.  Anyone who knows me knows my gag reflex, especially in the morning, especially in regards to anything that comes out of the GI tract - either end.  Ugh Ugh Ugh.  

BTW - it seems that Google Reader is being picky about which posts it wants to show you'all, so it might be worth your while to come on over to the blog site and see if you've missed anything.  I know for  a fact that a HILARIOUS dressage test I posted yesterday isn't showing up....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Incredibly funny

Saw this on Facebook and almost giggled outloud during my mucosal immunity lecture.  Which is far from funny.  And please don't ask me what I was doing on Facebook during this all important lecture that assumed that I did the required reading (except I had the new edition of the book and the required reading was out of the old edition...soemthing I didn't realize until about 15 into class...)

BTW - We can add a skill to my "what I've learned in vet school" list.  I can now spell "diarrhea" accurately.