Skip to main content
Rodizio food

Date Night & Equine Affaire

Thursday night BF and I decided to do an impromptu date night. For a while we did a scheduled date night once a week, but we’ve both been so busy lately that we haven’t had the time. Since I haven’t been my usual cheery self this week [I blame the rain and grey skies] we decided to go out. Where to, exactly, was the dilemma. BF and I are both creatures of habit; we like to go to the same places over and over. But last night we decided to be adventurous and try someplace new.

We ended up at Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse. Spoiler alert: it was fabulous. The only option is the buffet where you get unlimited access to the salad bar, which has may more than your average salad. I sampled a lobster and shrimp salad, pineapple cole slaw, as well as a mozzarella salad, just to name a few of the options. You also get unlimited appetizers which included polenta, cheese biscuits and cinnamon-fried bananas–yum! After that is the main course: various bite-size meats are brought around the dining room by waiters, and you pick which ones you want to try. I had pork, fish, several cuts of steak (the best was a Parmesan-crusted filet), as well as rattlesnake sausage. I guess I really was feeling adventurous, haha. After eating way too much, we retired to the house and watched the Lincoln Lawyer. Well, I watched the movie and BF fell asleep.

Tracy and Sam Selfie
A rare selfie of myself and the BF

Equine Affaire

Saturday was a busy, busy day. I got up and started chores: cleaning, picking up and laundry, followed by a quick workout. I’m really liking Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD; the workouts are only 20 minutes and I don’t need any gadgets except hand weights. I hate being in the gym with everyone staring at me, so for now, working out at home is a great option. Finally, I took a quick shower and took our dog, Rocky, to his grooming appointment. I even managed to get all the grocery shopping done before picking him back up and heading home. Productivity FTW!

After all of that the BF and I trekked over to the state fairgrounds for Equine Affaire. In case you aren’t familiar, Equine Affaire is an exposition with educational seminars, riding clinics, breed demonstrations and a huge trade show. I usually try to make it every year, but this year I especially wanted to attend. I had a few friends participating in various riding clinics, whom I hadn’t seen much in a year or so since I moved barns. So we met up with them first and chatted about their ponies [who both did stellar in their respective clinics] and went to visit them back at the barns. Ledger, my friend’s Appaloosa colt, was actually broke in his session, and it was so great to see him–he’s certainly filled out a lot in the last year!

After we said our goodbyes, BF and I traversed the [quite large] trade show. I bought a new rubber grooming mit, as well as some Back on Track No Bows for a friend. Her OTTB has an old suspensory injury and she’s working on bringing him back into work. I hope she likes them!

Baby Ledger
A photo of a much younger, baby Ledger!
spring daisies

It’s Finally Spring!

It’s finally spring here, but of course I didn’t get to enjoy the wonderful weather at all over the weekend. I was stuck working–inside–all day on both Saturday and Sunday. Luckily the warmer weather and sunshine held for my lesson last night and I was able to ride in just a t-shirt [no Under Armour, huzzah!]. I rode Vinnie again, and while he was a very good boy, we’re still struggling with some conditioning issues, which is to be expected after his four-month winter break. Currently, his weak left stifle is extremely weak, which makes everything to the left more difficult. But all he needs is some more fitness, which will come with time.

We started out with a flat exercise, focusing on varying degrees of connection and moving from a collected canter to a more forward canter and back again. By the end of the exercise, Vinnie and I were on the same page and it went pretty well. Then we moved on to some coursework. With Vinnie’s lack of fitness, we only jumped small jumps, maybe 18″ at most, but that’s fine with me; I need to focus on getting re-acquainted with Vinnie’s stride and pace anyways. Overall it went really well–when I focused on my core and keeping my legs still, it was all right there. When I didn’t… well, let’s just say it wasn’t as pretty. But, it’s all a work in progress!

As for Diamond, she is doing well. All the swelling in her tendon is gone, so we just have her wound to deal with. She’s still on stall rest, but at least she’s doing better. I’m hoping to flat this weekend and give her some extra spa treatment… if she cooperates. A cooped up red Thoroughbred mare might not make for a relaxing hour in the crossties!

Showing Vinnie

Back on Vinnie

After talking it over with my trainer, we decided to move ahead with the duo-horse option. I will plan to begin the show season riding Vinnie, while still taking lessons on Diamond. While I don’t love the idea of being back to showing in the same division as last over, over little baby 2′ fences, my number one priority is having a good, safe time showing this summer… and I’m not confident that I can do that at the end of May with Diamond. Fortunately, this decision didn’t come a moment too soon. I skipped one lesson due to a lingering head cold and when I got back, Diamond decided to cut her heel and pull off a shoe in turnout. She’s doing much better, but the wound isn’t healing quickly [three days later and it openly bleeds without a bandage on], as well some continued swelling in the right front tendon. So she’s on stall rest until further notice, poor girl.

When I went out to the barn on Saturday she was sulking in her stall, so I tried to cheer her up with some treats and cuddles. By the time I showed up for my lesson on Monday, she looked downright pitiful. So I loved on her, told her how pretty she was [that’s her favorite] and snuck her some extra treats.

Diamond and N 2012
Happier times for Diamond with my friend, N

Anyways, this post is really all about my return to my main man, Vinnie. He took the winter off and has only had three or four rides since returning to the barn about two weeks ago, so I wasn’t sure how the lesson would go. He’s still a hairy yak and way out of shape, but man, it sure felt like we hadn’t skipped a beat since last summer. I felt comfortable on him right away, and remembered his little quirks like the bear that lives at the end of the arena and how he likes to fool you into a slow-as-snails jog at the beginning of the lesson. It felt good to be back on my little solid-bred paint gelding.

Our lesson started out with flat work and working on adjusting striding between ground poles. I did pretty well, but it’s still a tough exercise for me; I just don’t always have a good feel for our pace. After we completed that exercise with a relative amount of success, we moved on to jumping. We started with some small crossrails since Vinnie hasn’t seen a jump in about four months, but he popped right over them without a thought! Good pony. We struggled a bit with our coursework, Vinnie’s lack of conditioning making it difficult to generate much energy at the canter–plus I forgot just how much leg he really needs! Overall it was a good lesson and a great reintroduction for the two of us.

I’m happy to be able to say that I can feel improvement from last year, but that there are still things I can work on. Now if only the weather would cooperate so that we could ride outside!

dinner party with friends

Dinner With Friends

I don’t know if this is a typical 20-something problem, but I tend to get caught up in my own life and not always make enough effort to maintain friendships. Now that we’re all out of college, we don’t live two streets away and we have to make time to hang out. A few months ago my boyfriend and I had dinner with his college roommates and their girlfriends. Ever since, we’ve been trying to make a habit of getting together once a month for dinner to catch up and stay in touch. But with everything going on with Visa, I wasn’t really feeling very social and didn’t really want to go. But we’d had it on the calendar for weeks, and I felt guilty cancelling at the last minute.

So I shook off my funk [or least, I tried to] and made a new dish to share with everyone: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole. I’ve been shamelessly using my Pinterest Board to organize recipes, and it’s been a lifesaver. I scrolled through all the pretty pictures and picked one that looked yummy, yet healthy. I’d never tried quinoa before, but I’d heard good things on some cooking shows I watch [who doesn’t love Chopped?!]. In case you’re unfamiliar:
Like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. – Wikipedia
I slightly modified my recipe from original on Eating Well… Living Thin and it was a huge hit! I didn’t even have any leftovers to bring home; just an empty dish to clean! So if you’re looking for something fairly easy to make that tastes great and is healthy too, try this one out!

cooking Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole by Eating Well, Living Thin

(Slightly Modified) Ingredients

  • 1 can of low-sodium, condensed Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • 1/3 cup of reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of fat free milk
  • 1 1/4 cups of reduced-fat cheddar shredded cheese
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of broccoli, cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups of Rosemary/Olive Oil Quinoa
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, to taste

Cooking Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook quinoa mixture according to the instructions on the box (time: approx. 15 minutes)
  • In a large bowl combine: cream of broccoli soup, mayonnaise, milk and pepper.
  • Once cooked, stir in broccoli and quinoa mixture
  • Pour ingredients into a cooking pan
  • Bake for approx. 35-40 minutes
Visa grazing

A Trip To The Vet

Ever since our return to the show ring last August, my goal has been to compete Visa this summer for a year-end award. At 19, I know his time is limited and I really want to end on the best note possible. But now, I’m just not sure how possible that goal will be.

First, some background information. Over the winter, Visa was just “not quite right” for several months, meaning he wasn’t lame, but he wasn’t moving 100% either. We did a round of hock injections, followed by a round of stifle injections, hoping those would help so we could begin to prepare for shows over the summer. But it’s the end of February now, and things are going downhill fast. A week ago, Visa came out of his stall limping horribly, unwilling to bear hardly any weight on his left front foot. At first, I kind of freaked out. Visa sustained a pretty serious injury to his left front back in May 2010 (a bone chip beneath the hoof, as well as ringbone in the coffin joint). But because this lameness was so sudden and so pronounced, I hoped at first it might just be an abscess.

After a few days of soaking in Epsom salts and no signs of an abscess even close to bursting, I called a farrier. My current farrier lives about two hours away, which has never thrilled me, so I called a more local farrier that comes out to my barn for several other horses. What he found did not make me happy: Visa’s feet were unbalanced side-to-side, his shoes were too small, he had no toe support and worst of all his shoes were put on crookedly. New farrier said these issues could definitely be causing Visa’s lameness, so I immediately asked for a trim and new shoes.

And it definitely had an instantaneous effect: Visa went from three-legged lame to just unsound. But at the same time, my horse wasn’t fixed and New Farrier did not see any signs of an abscess. My options were to wait and see if Visa had any continued improvement, or call in the next professional. So I made plans to visit the vet.

Visa's shoes before and after
Visa’s front shoes before [inside set] and after New Farrier [outside set]
Our vet appointment was scheduled for this week, so on Saturday we loaded up [which turned into a miniseries of its own…] and headed to the clinic. The appointment itself went mostly the way I expected: Visa flexed positive on both front feet, so we moved on to x-rays. Luckily the wait wasn’t long, as in fairly short order we were looking at pictures. Visa’s x-rays showed bone fragments as well as ringbone in both front coffin joints. So my diagnosis was pretty much the same as it had been about two years ago, and so were my treatment options: surgery or injections. And I made the same decision I did then. I’m not putting my 19-year-old on the table for surgery in his hooves, with a year plus recovery time. Even with injections, the vet recommended only light jumping, maybe a few jumps on the weekend with the aid of bute before and after.

We continued to talk as we then compared the x-rays from 2010 that I brought with me. Unfortunately, I only had pictures of the left front, none of the right. Immediately, the vet noted that not much had changed, at least in the left front. But considering the previous treatment hadn’t done much and that we were now facing similar issues in both front feet, our diagnosis got worse. We would still inject, to try to keep Visa as comfortable as possible, but the vet recommended no jumping at all.

As we drove home, at first I was devastated. All I heard was “no jumping,” meaning no show season. No chance to prove to everyone that Visa and I could overcome our challenges and be successful; no chance to have one last hurrah. But then my boyfriend said “He’s 19, of course he has arthritis. Isn’t that why they make medications for that?”

And he’s right. Normally, I am totally against medicating a horse to get him to do something. And obviously I need to see how things go—maybe things have changed for Visa since last summer and jumping will hurt him. But if I have to give him a little bute when he jumps, why can’t I? I only want to jump 2′ for one summer; for five shows, in one division at an unrated local series. Obviously I won’t get to practice jumping like I had planned, but Visa doesn’t need to school fences. I can take lessons on another horse to work on my form, ride Visa on the flat to keep up his condition and work on his adjustability. We might not do as well, but for me it’s not about the ribbons, it’s just an accomplishment to be there and showing.

I guess in the end it’s the same diagnosis that I expected: “Let’s inject his coffin joint and see how it does.” If Visa doesn’t want to jump, I know he’ll tell me.