2011 Season

Wow. So obviously I fail at blogging this year. And now the season is over, almost before it began… Behold:

In mid-September, Poe came in with a weepy right eye. A lot of horses had been bothered by a sudden plague of pollen and ragweed, and a proliferation of burrs. (I’m actually surprised there are any left in the pasture after the amount Poe’s brought in via his forelock — but he keeps managing to find them…) I consulted with the barn staff. Verdict: fly mask. It had cleared up other horses’ weepy eyes overnight. (I tried one on him last year, but he quickly started getting rubs, and after discovering several flies actually inside the mask, I gave it up.) So, fly mask.

The next day he seemed no better, and had some cloudiness around the edge of the eye, so I called the vet. He came out and stained the eye, revealing the lovely bright green spot you can see in the picture above: an ulcer. Probably caused by a bit of debris getting in there, and then being rubbed against the delicate surface of the eye. So he got a bunch of meds, and orders to dress as a pirate (to protect the dilated pupil from sunlight).

pirate pony

With one eye covered in strong light, jumping was off the table. We were given the go-ahead for flat riding, with the caution to stay out of dusty conditions. So we concentrated on flatwork, and actually had some really nice rides. I’d gotten lax about leg-yielding, something that was a regular part of our repertoire this spring, so I added that back in the mix. I schooled a lot of simple changes. We continued to improve our transitions down to the walk. When the vet re-stained his eye after four days of meds, he predicted it would be another 4-6 days before the eye was healed. I was optimistic about still being able to attend the October 8-9 Robeke’s Run show at Schweiss Stables. We did a schooling BN show there last year, and I was excited to have another run around their cross-country course.

Unfortunately, at two weeks from the original injury, he looked better but not good enough:

The vet advised against signing up for the show, and I agreed with him. There was no way of knowing how he’d respond between closing date and the show — and absolutely no reason to take any chances. I (hopefully) have decades ahead of me with this guy; we’re in no rush.

I feel like we got off the farm so much in 2010. We did tons of baby shows, schooling, clinics, and heaps of trail riding. By contrast, this year has felt like a long conspiracy against productive work: bad weather, personal upheavals, more bad weather, trailering woes, yet more bad weather, and now the eye. We did fit in one recognized show at the beginning of September, however, and it was an awesome experience. We had our usual tense, tense, tense dressage, which landed us in second-to-last place; a fantastic cross-country (double-clear, go pony go!), which moved us into second (which made me want to puke on my boots); and a spotty stadium round, which landed us in third. Which was good enough to help my group take first in the BN Team Challenge!

I was SUPER proud of him overall. The areas we really sucked at were known trouble spots, and he continues to impress me with what a willing, sensible guy he is. We had lots of green baby moments, but that’s to be expected. We did have an uncharacteristic stop at the second fence in stadium. He was unbelievably tense and nervous going into the ring, giving the bug-eye to the speakers, announcer’s trailer, all the fences… It was an honest run-out from a long ways off that I just couldn’t get a handle on, and when I gathered him up and re-presented he went right over it. After that I rode him more forward — which is something we’ve been working on, but which also let him get a bit flat and strung out, so we took a rail late in the course. (Sorry this recap is all over the place. I’m a bit sick and perhaps getting a little incoherent; I should just delete it and do a proper write-up of the whole show, but given my record on posting so far, I think it’s safer just leaving it a bit scattered…)

We still have the Hunter’s Pace and a foxhunt on the calendar for this year. The vet is coming out to have another look at Poe’s eye tomorrow, and I’m hoping we’ll get the green light for both of those. Have to defend our Hunter’s Pace trophy!

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