Today was a long day.  Due to the fact that Dr. Specht was coming to do a lameness evaluation on Gus, I had to reschedule the whole morning to make sure he got ridden before his appointment.  I fed, ran, rode, and had Gus ready for his appointment at 11:30.  Dr. Specht was a little late to get there, and by the time he flexed him, watched him lunge, and made a decision to inject both of his hocks, it was almost 1.  The assistant scrubbed him and Dr. Specht sedated him to get ready.  After his injections, I ran to get some lunch before I had to come back to check on him.  He got his late lunch, and then I had time to catch most of Elissa’s dressage lesson with Jon Holling.  Her 3* horse, Cooper, is extremely talented, but very hot.  He looked like a difficult ride, and my favorite moment of the whole entire day came when Jon Holling (one of the best riders in the country at the moment ) said,

” He gets an “A” for effort today, the poor bastard”.

I’m not quite sure what he meant by that, but I nearly fell off of my chair when I heard it.  After the lesson, I went to ride Murphy.  Our homework for the next few days is to jump a million crossrails at the trot.  His confidence is very weak when it comes to jumping from the trot, and he would much prefer to canter fences.  On Thursday I’ll take another lesson with Elissa, and she wants him to be a trotting superstar by then so that we can do some more elaborate gymnastics.  He dressage is coming along nicely, and we are working toward strengthening his hind left.

Tomorrow Gus is allowed to go on a long walk.  Thursday he can do walk/trot work.  Friday he can do a full on dressage ride.  Saturday Elissa wants to take some of us to Longwood for a xc schooling.  If you would like to see the fantastic farm where the US Eventing Team does many mandatory outtings, you can check out their website www.longwoodfarmsouth.com.




Today was a hot day!  I spent time running errands, riding Murphy, and going for a run.  I waited until late afternoon to take Gus on a long hack over at Jon and Jen’s .  It was the perfect temperature, and there was a nice breeze as Gus and I roamed around the farm.  All was quiet at Jon and Jen’s because most of the horses had the day off after Rocking Horse.  Gus enjoyed himself, and I will plan to do trot sets in the morning before Dr. Sprecht comes to do a full lameness evaluation on him.



Murphy’s first lesson!

Yesterday Murphy and I  had our first lesson with Elissa.  It was an assessment of sorts to see if he would be a potential upper level prospect for me.  She was supposed to let me know whether I should keep him to compete or train him to sell.  She had a lot of nice things to say about him and thought that I should plan to keep him.  I was really glad to get her input, and she plans to give me a lesson on him weekly while I am here.

Gus had the day off yesterday.


Rocking Horse 1 (day 2)—-lost, lost, and more lost

Today was a good day that will look horrible on paper.  It started out with a big question mark as to whether or not Gus would be sound enough compete.  Jenn worked on his back yesterday, and this morning he was MUCH less sore.  I was at the barn at 5am to feed him, give him some bute, and get him ready to head to Altoona for a 9:10am ride time.  It takes an hour and a half to get there, and we were pulling out of the farm by 6:30am.

We arrived at Rocking horse at 8am, which gave me a few minutes to walk the stadium course again before I had to tack up.   The stadium jumping arena at Rocking Horse is really small.  I was slightly concerned that with Gus being sore he may have trouble holding a good canter in the turns.   I tacked him up, hopped on, and met Elissa in the warm up area with 20 minutes before my ride.  I could tell as soon as he picked up the trot that he was MUCH less sore than yesterday.  He felt like my horse again.  Warm up was great, and I was thrilled with his stadium.  He had one rail, but for a good reason.  We have been working on jumping him out of a bigger stride, and his stride was just a hair too large coming into a combination.  He pulled a rail on the way out because he just got too close to it.  Not bad.  I was thrilled at how well he jumped, and I couldn’t wait to get out on the xc course.   Maybe I should have grabbed a GPS on my way to the start box???? Or perhaps a tour guide????  Or maybe I should have walked it a third, fourth, or fifth time????

Anyway, Gus was machine on the course.  His idiot rider got lost 3,  count them 3 TIMES!!!!  Any time there was a patch of trees with a jump inside of it, you could bet your life that I would take the wrong path to it.  Gus was amazing and was forced to jump about a big combination at a 45 degree angle.  We tiptoed our way through the brambles to search for another fence.  And we made the mistake of heading toward a prelim table instead of the training table WAY OVER THERE!!!!  I had been extremely worried about being way too fast and getting time penalties, but I actually had time penalties for being so slow…..or should I say, taking the LOOOOONG way.  Gus was actually galloping at prelim speed, but when you gallop an extra mile due to the directionally challenged rider on his back, there is not much you can do.   He was brilliant, and I am looking forward to preparing for the next show.  Tomorrow he is off.  Hopefully it will give him a chance to heal up from whatever had been causing him to be sore.


I wanted to cry when I had to drag myself over to the other barn to ride Murphy today after the show.  I am exhausted and sore from my week.  Murphy was waiting for me at the gate, which I was grateful for.  I put my jumping tack on and spent the next 30 minutes (which is all I could handle!) doing some light jumping and flat work.  He was a little bit “looky” for the first few minutes, but ended up doing some nice work.  Elissa is going to give me a lesson tomorrow sometime, and I am starting to form my own opinions about whether or not he will be my next upper level prospect.  We will see what she thinks.

I’m meeting all of my roommates at the Olive Garden tonight for dinner.  It will feel so good to sit down at a dinner table in something other than my breeches and boots!

The weather is beautiful here.  Today was nearly 80 degrees, and I’m happy to say that I am just a bit sunburned.

Rocking Horse 1—-sore, sore, and more sore

Today was dressage day at Rocking Horse 1.  Gus was originally entered in the Preliminary division, but due to some overall soreness issues (still unexplained), I decided to bump him down to training level until we figured out what was going on with him.  Yesterday he jumped well and seemed 100% sound with just a soreness in his back.  This morning he was worse, and his dressage was not good.  He was such a good boy, and though I knew he was sore, he did his best.  We ended up with 36  (64%) which landed us in 12th out of 24 riders.  I was extremely happy with how well he did, considering the back soreness.   After he was done with his test, Jenn (a massage therapist/one of my roommates/from Kentucky) worked on his back for an hour and stretched him out.  She said that she thought he was sore in his left hock.  That’s what I have been thinking all along, but we have not yet been able to rule out some other things.  Dr. Specht is coming back out on Monday to do a full lameness evaluation on him so that we can finally inject him if that’s the problem.  Tomorrow I will try to ride my stadium course.  If he is fine in the stadium, I will take him out xc.  The course is so much smaller than what he’s been jumping, that I hope it will be easy for him even if he’s sore.  We’ll see how it goes.  I have to get up at 4:30am tomorrow to get ready to leave for Altoona.    Bedtime.

Thursday…..jumping day for Gus!

Gus after his lesson
The dressage arena at Murphy's barn
The dressage arena at Murphy’s barn

Today we had our first lesson.  The goal was to do a stadium lesson and then make our way to some cross country fences.  He jumped really well, and after we did our coursework, we headed to the water complex.  Gus handled everything like a superstar!  His back was sore after the ride, and I spent the afternoon icing his back and legs to make sure he would be ok for this weekend’s show.  According to the vet, he may just be sore due to the long trailer trip.  He is not handling it quite as well as he did in his younger days.

I ride dressage tomorrow and jump both phases on top of each other Saturday.  I’m thrilled with my decision to bump him down to training level for this show.  Neither one of us is ready to do a preliminary after having only jumped once since November.  I’m looking forward to having fun this weekend.  Hopefully his back will hold up and we will get to finish the show.

Murphy had the day off today.  I went out to see him for awhile and to check on his eye which is almost completely back to normal.  I will take a jumping lesson on him on Sunday.  I can’t wait !

The jump field at Murphy's barn
The jump field at Murphy’s barn


Wednesday——a good day for both boys

Today was a good day for both of my boys.  The morning started out a little differently with Gus’s new turnout schedule.  He was out by 8am, and I went down to the local diner to get a hot chocolate and work on my computer for awhile before my run.  It was really cold here today……..35 degrees when I woke up!  (you are all probably cursing me right now for even thinking to say that to you)

I went on my run after that.  Major soreness has begun to set in at this point.  I am riding and running, and walking more now than I have since November, and it’s taking its toll!

Gus came in at 12 to get his feet medicated and get tacked up.  He was great today, and I actually had a productive ride with no craziness.  His back was still a little sore, but not as sore as it was on Monday.   Tomorrow I’ll take a jumping lesson with Elissa.  I decided to switch my entries for  this weekend’s  show to training level just in case Gus is having hock issues.  We will decide after this weekend if he is having any further physical problems.

Murphy was exhausted today.  He is being turned out from 9am-4pm, and I had to literally drag him to the barn to be groomed and tacked up.   His eye was still puffy today but not nearly as runny.  I believe he slept while I brushed him, and itwas  a welcome change.  The sand and the sun and the 7 hours of turn out had turned my wild young thoroughbred into a lazy mule.  I nearly needed spurs today to get him woken up enough to trot, but once we started jumping he was a bit more forward.  We cantered a few crossrails and then did a whole course of crossrails, and he was very good.  He stood well for his bath….because he was far too tired to be antsy.    Tomorrow will be a light dressage day, Friday he will have the day off while I am at the show, and then I will ride him after my show on Saturday.  Sunday I’ll take a jumping lesson on him with Elissa.  I’m really looking forward to hearing what she has to say about him.    It will probably determine what I do with him over the next few months.  Goodnight.  I have a dressage test to study.


I started the day today by going back to T & T (for the 3rd time since I’ve been here)  to pick up medicine for Gus’s feet.  $45 later I was out the door with a supposedly fantastic hoof drying medicine.  I headed off to Gus’s barn to feed and apply his hoof medicine.  While he ate, I took a run in the neighborhood across the street from Jon and Jenn Holling’s.  When I got back from my run I changed into my breeches and got ready to tack him up.  Elissa called and wanted me to stop over at the dressage arena to check Gus’s feet for a digital pulse.  If he was footsore he should have a digital pulse.  He didn’t.  What he did have, however, was a whole lot of crazy.   I barely got him as he spun and hopped like an idiot.  He has been insane since we’ve been here, and all of the jumping activity over at the Hollings is just a bit too much.

He felt sound at the trot, but he did feel a little strange in the canter to the left.  I wasn’t sure if it was the personality issues or the sore back or the supposedly sore feet or the hocks.  You pick.  My vote is on his winning personality and the hocks…..all of which is left to be determined.   After about 20 minutes of non stop fun, I ended up having to get off of him to get him back across to the other farm.  The alternative was not going to be good.  How old is he???????  11 years (at least) past stupid.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that his back wasn’t quite as sore as it was yesterday.  I turned him out, grabbed my saddle, and headed off to see Murphy.

On my way out of the barn, Kerryann (the owner of the barn where Murphy is staying) texted me to say that his eye was more swollen today.  It has been  a  little bit drippy for the last 2 days, so before went out to ride him today I stopped in at T & T AGAIN to pick up some eye ointment.   A lot of the horses from the north have had eye problems this winter, so I am not extremely worried about it at this time.

I jumped Murphy today over some small crossrails.  He was very distracted, but eventually got down to business.  He was really good considering the jump field is a stone’s throw from the track next door.  He got a bit excited when the thundering hooves came galloping by, but after an initial reaction, he was over it.   I put him back out and went back to Gus.

Gus came inside and got fed, reblanketed, and got all of his gear off.   Tomorrow I will do another actual ride on him.  Thursday we are going to jump.  Elissa has decided to push him a bit to see if he will present his true issues.  If we can get his hock to show issues, then Dr. Specht will be able to inject him if need be.

And the saga with Gus continues………………………..


I started the day at 7am with the horrible beeping from my crazy borrowed alarm clock.  It has a mind of its own, and I can’t quite figure the thing out.  Anyway, it worked today at the proper time, and I headed out to the barn to feed Gus.  Elissa wanted me to do a flat ride on Gus at 8am and then do a jump school at 11am.  At least that was the plan.

I had a better ride than yesterday, but Gus was doing some weird things in his back end.  He kept taking stabbing steps with his back left, and also kicked out several times on that leg.  When I got him back to the barn to untack him, his back was extremely sore and nearly untouchable.  I have been worried about his hocks for a couple of weeks, and I just assumed he needed to be injected.  I called Elissa to tell her that I wouldn’t be taking my lesson at 11.  I called Dr. Specht to see if he could come out to do injections today, and they said they would get back to me with a time.

Murphy's barn
Murphy’s barn

In the meantime, I went out to Murphy’s barn to ride him for the first time in Florida.  I took him for a walk around the jump field and in the dressage arena.  He was busy watching the horses gallop on the track next door, but he didn’t seem bothered by it.  It’s nice that his stall faces the track, and he can watch them all day.  Sort of like horse television.

He was a bit high today at first, but after taking a small walk around the farm I was able to get on him.  We had a decent first ride, and I ended the morning by reminding him how to behave like a big boy in the wash rack.  He is starting to look cuter and cuter.  I hope to try to jump some crossrails tomorrow, and begin to introduce him some verticals later this week.

Not thrilled about the bath
Not thrilled about the bath

After my ride, I went to T & T to buy some new clippers.  I still had 1/4 of a horse to clip after yesterday’s clipper debacle.  I also stopped at the BP to get some gas and a bag of pretzels.  My DIET DR PEPPER 🙁  hit the spot (not really), and I headed back to bring in Gus and get ready for the vet.

Dr. Specht got there at 3:30pm and did a full inspection on Gus.  I pretty much learned the following…..

3 out of 4 feet are sore (or at least responded positively to the hoof testers)

His back is sore in multiple places

His hocks may also be sore



So…….I am to treat his hooves first and see what happens.  I am to give him bute.   I am to ride lightly over the next few days.  I am to call a spine specialist vet to check out his back.  I am to stay in touch with Dr. Specht and see how it goes.  I am more than likely NOT going to be showing this weekend.  We will discuss injections at a later date.


Looks like Murphy and I will be spending a lot of time together this week.