Posts Tagged ‘training
With our Pony Penning Trip just around the corner (next week!) Minnow has been doing a little painting to get ready.
With Paintbrush in mouth, he’s been creating some special masterpieces to take with us on the trip to the island.
Minnow is all smiles, as one of his favorite things to do is to paint!
Around here we like to think the mark of a true artist is the mess he leaves behind – and Minnow certainly knows how to make a mess!
See you all at Pony Penning 2013!
The date is quickly approaching for our annual homecoming of sorts as we travel back to where it all started, Chincoteague Island, for the annual pony swim and auction. Plans are being made and the training has begun as Painting Pony prepares once again to wow the crowds at the Chincoteague Pony Centre all week long!
Only this year is going to be different! Instead of just bringing the super talented Minnow, head Painting Pony and trick pony extrodinaire, we are brining TWO ponies! This year for the first time ever Chesapeake Boomerang aka Boomer will be performing in the nightly shows as well.
Boomer has been working tirelessly on learning new tricks and preparing to appear in front of a crowd, and we’re just excited as you are to see him perform. He’s also been brushing up on some classic reading in preparation for the big trip, because how could he have gotten this far in life without reading Misty of Chincoteague?
We couldn’t be more excited for this year’s trip, and we hope you’ll come visit us at the Chincoteague Pony Centre!
Painting Pony at the Chincoteague Pony Centre 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013 to Friday, July 26, 2013
4:00pm and 8:00pm
See Chincoteague Minnow paint and Chesapeake Boomerang perform at the Chincoteague Pony Centre during Pony Penning week. Last performance is at 4pm on July 26th.
Find out more about the Chincoteague Pony Penning HERE.
Last weekend we took a trip to Double Rock Farm to attend a beginner Ranch Sorting Clinic with Blitz and Boomer. You might remember that we’ve been to Double Rock before, where I introduced Boomer to his first cow.
Both ponies picked back up where we had left off last fall (before my knee surgery) and I think they both enjoyed bossing the cows around.
I noticed that Boomer really likes being able to move the cows with some speed, so I’m very much interested to try some team penning soon – which is a little bit more of a faster paced sport.
Below is a video of Boomer’s first time on the cows that day. I find the hardest part in Ranch Sorting is thinking ahead to where that cow might end up when you start to move it. But I know this will just improve the more we’re able to practice…..now if I could just talk my parents into getting some cattle on the farm!
Boomer is one of those rare ponies that will do just about anything for his “person”, combine that with the fact that he’s pretty fearless – makes the things he can accomplish (in a short amount of time) quite amazing.
So last week I decided I wanted to teach Boomer to sit on some beanbag chairs I had been saving since I was a kid – just for this reason. He had already had some practice targeting his rear end to things, but I had never fully gotten him to sit on anything from a stand-still.
After a few short sessions over a period of 3 days I had him successfully sitting on his bean bags. He was very proud of himself once he figured out what I wanted and now he doesn’t even want to get off of the beanbags.
As he progresses in his training I will slowly remove some of the beanbags until he can hopefully just use one to sit on.
Next he’ll be learning to shake hands while sitting on his beanbag! He’s such a cool pony!
In 2008 Minnow was diagnosed with Ringbone, essentially a form of equine arthritis, it is a bone growth in the pastern or coffin joint of a horse. 5 years ago I took Minnow to New Bolton Center, an internationally renowned large animal hospital, after initial x-rays and visits from my vet could not determine why Minnow had suddenly gone lame.
When I discovered he had High Ringbone, I was in shock, and saddened that his riding and competition carrier with me was over at the age of 15. Initially I tested out joint injections with Minnow, which didn’t help much – you can read more about that journey HERE. So that left me maintaining the pain he had with bute on the occasions he performed or was a little extra sore. He was retired from any strenuous activity, including riding.
Over the years we tried various supplements, with little to no improvement, in the hopes to make him a bit more comfortable. So when Minnow turned 20 this year I decided to take him back to New Bolton in the hopes of finding some better options in managing his pain in the coming years.
I wanted to write this post to document the findings of our visit, mostly for my own records, but also to help anyone else struggling to help a horse with severe high ringbone.
Our trip to New Bolton started off with a lameness examination, which it was determined Minnow is 3 out of 5 degrees lame on his left front. On that left front he has bony enlargements that you can both see and feel on his pastern region. Neither of his feet are sensitive to hoof testers though.
Minnow gets around fairly well on the farm, and he will run and buck with his brothers on occasion – it’s just hard to see him limp knowing that he has some degree of pain. After his lameness examination we decided to get him radiographs – because there wasn’t much the vet’s could recommend without seeing how much his ringbone has progressed.
Once the radiographs were up we were able to compare them to the ones we had taken in 2008. It was immediately noticed that Minnow had a loss of joint space on the inside of his left pastern joint as well as bony growth. The vet told us that Minnow’s body is trying to fuse the joint in order to stop movement which is causing pain. This can take years, maybe 10 or more, and is a very slow process.
Sadly with this significant arthritis in the pastern joint, there are not many options for Minnow’s reduced pain. They could surgically fuse the joint, but this would require several months of post-operative care (and the need for a cast) and may not make him pain free – just more comfortable. At 20 years old I just didn’t think this was a good option for Minnow and likely would cause him more distress and pain in the long run.
The vet recommended we give him 1 gram of bute leading up to any performances or if he seems exceptionally sore, and to limit his movement by maybe turning him out in a smaller space. She said any supplements likely won’t improve him much and any effects would be short lived. She also said we could experiment with different types of shoeing or boots, but that is a whole trial and error process and there may be nothing out there that would help him.
I asked if his pain would continue to get worse as he gets older, but she said that most horses with high ringbone have higher and lower degrees of pain throughout their life and some just have their pain stay about even.
It was a bit disheartening to learn that there wasn’t some magical solution that could make Minnow more comfortable, but I sort of expected this outcome.
I’ve decided to look into different types of shoeing/pads for him – to see if there is anything that just might make him feel a little bit better. I’m hoping to document the process on the blog by video taping him before and again with each shoeing option. I’m going to try Ground Control Shoes from the Natural Farrier first – although I’m not entirely hopeful, I figure it can’t hurt to try!
I know that someday the time will come that Minnow may be too sore to perform and train with me (something that he loves more than anything), but I also know that he will let me know when that time is here.
On a side note I noticed this framed picture hanging on the wall in the billing department on my way out. The note reads:
Because I knew and loved Stormy, and still do, I’d like to help pay her hospital bill. My best wishes to Stormy’s owner, Mike Pryor, as well.
Please relay my gratitude to Stormy’s surgeons for their skills and generosity.
July 24, 1993
Stormy developed a tumor on her udder in the early part of 1993 and had surgery done at New Bolton. She recovered and was able to make her last Pony Penning appearance that summer. Stormy passed away in Pennsylvania, far from her Chincoteague home, on November 24th, 1993. (From Misty’s Heaven)