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2nd January

Posted: 2 Jan 2017 - Comments (0)
Happy New Year to all. Also an opportunity to say a big thank you to the support the Shoestring community gives me.

It is a tricky new year for me, usually a time to set goals and plan for the year ahead but currently so much is up in the air, Posy is for sale and Ellie is recovering from her neurological problem. There is still no guarantee that Ellie will come back into work although signs are now far more hopeful than they were. So I haven’t ridden for 6 weeks and the pounds have piled on, I’m the heaviest I have been for a while and that clearly won’t help Elli’s recovery. So my first goal is to get in shape, eat sensibly and I have already started the gym, Mum kindly bought me some personal training vouchers for Christmas so hopefully I’m well on the way to a new me!

Horse wise though eventing isn’t looking promising, certainly unlikely I will be riding anything at the start of the season. However, I now have the bones of a new website in place which is exciting. Hopefully the look and feel will be much the same but it should be slicker and less glitchy. Goal number 2 is to get it running before the season starts. (That makes it sound like it is all my own work, this time it is in the hands of an expert!)

With this in mind if anyone has any course pictures that are not on the site please do email or message me with the pictures / links so I can have as comprehensive database as possible.

Lottery win seems needed now more than ever to get things back on an even keel!

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Supplement Solutions strategic worming programme

Posted: 28 Dec 2016 - Comments (0)
As the year draws to a close it is time for a big thank you to Supplement Solutions who made me their worming ambassador in 2016.

This involved taking part in their strategic worming programme for the year with both Ellie and Posy. Now I am someone who had every 3 months wormed my horses hopefully with the right type and in Spring and Summer have also treated for tape worms. I am your typical lazy horse owner with limited time who takes the easiest course of action.

So I was intrigued by the worming programme which involved testing using saliva and dung at the appropriate times of the year to ensure they were wormed correctly. Now heading back to the lazy bit it is great to be told what is happening when and the strategic worming programme does that for you. I was told what needed doing when and sent the kits. The tests were easy to perform and the paperwork simple to complete, the results came quickly and interestingly it seems I have been over worming my horses as in contrast to my previous regime I found that at times they did not need worming, hence I treated according to need not just because it was the time of year.

If you are interested in the Strategic Worming Programme it is £100 for the year to include all the tests, advice, wormers and postage which I will certainly be using again and would recommend to those other lazy people like me that need the security of having everything put in front of you at the right times and then where appropriate given the right wormers. Strategic Worming Programme Link

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Ellie Update

Posted: 23 Dec 2016 - Comments (0)
The news on Ellie is more positive than I feared although we are not out the woods yet. I went up to B&W vets on Tuesday and met specialist Dicky Hepburn who was lovely and took time to explain everything carefully.

Although to me she wasn't showing neurological symptoms he could see from her just walking a number of subtle tell tale signs of a problem. She was x rayed which showed the likely problem was in her neck between C6 and C7 vertebra. We were at this stage from the x rays able to rule out that she was a wobbler. We discussed further diagnostics and treatment options and decided in order to get the fullest possible picture we would leave her at B&W for a myelogram. A myelogram involves injecting a contrast agent, which is a solution that shows up on radiographs, into the spinal canal to reveal any compressive lesions of the spinal cord that could be affecting the horse's neurologic function. Under a general anaesthetic, they manipulate the neck to show at what points it pinches the cord.

At this point, I must say a huge thank you to sponsors Equicover Ltd who have shown their usual efficiency from receiving the claim and processing it in 5 working days to giving B&W a speedy decision to go ahead with the procedure.

The procedure showed there were two points that the spinal cord was being pinched. Between C6 - C7 and C7 - T1 (where neck goes into chest). The good news is that it is likely to be treatable with a steroid injection which was done yesterday. We will know in 4/5 months if this has been successful, if so she may need injections every couple of years or potentially it may be a total cure.

Performance wise Dicky was able to reassure me that two horses that medalled or were in medal contention at the Olympics had similar treatments and that it will not impair performance.

I picked her up on today surprisingly having a good journey there and back despite the Christmas exodus! She has a range of clipped patches and they do seem to have been brutal on the amount of mane they chopped off at the top! However been delighted with the professionalism and service from B&W.

Ellie is now tucked up in her stable (see left) and has a week of strict box rest before she returns to normal turnout. I can start long and low work in 2 weeks i.e. lunging. This will be difficult as I have no school at the yard or within walking distance so need to decide if I move her short term, travel her to a school or just give her longer in the field before commencing ridden work. All are viable options having discussed our circumstances with Dicky just want to make sure I give her the best chance of a full recovery.

Just for 24hrs she can’t eat at ground level so rather than buy a bucket to attach to the door I took the cheaper option of holding her food for her to eat. Her Mummy clearly told her to chew each mouthful multiple times as I stood there for what seemed like forever. She then spoilt my efforts by nuzzling around the stable for any crumbs dropped!

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15th December

Posted: 15 Dec 2016 - Comments (0)
I have survived this week, why survived? It was my birthday and I hate birthdays even more so since I turned 40 two years ago! All I want to do is quietly forget it. I am a bit of a bah humbug about Christmas too but had to make a bit of an attempt last week as I was asked to judge at the pony club Christmas show.

Pictured here with the fancy dress winner you will see they even made me wear antlers!

Counting down to next week and Ellie’s tip to the vets. Seems strange not riding and certainly the longest ever I haven’t other than due to injury. If it has to happen it is a good time of the year with dark evenings.

The foals continue to entertain and amuse me. They are growing quickly and coping fine with the living out and haven’t found a need to resort to rugs yet. Sarnie of course is in a thick Rambo as she is both special and delicate!

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9th December

Posted: 9 Dec 2016 - Comments (0)
I always promised Shoestring would follow the highs and lows of amateur eventing and certainly just now is one of the biggest lows. Sorry for not updating before now but the enthusiasm has rather left me and certainly I have been rather burying my head in the sand. I haven’t really felt like updating the blog but with some firm news now is the time.

Sadly Ellie has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder. A neurological disorder is a disorder affecting the brain, nerves or spinal cord and the prognosis is often poor. Over the last 3 or 4 weeks symptoms have developed from a slight lack of co ordination behind to her almost drunk and staggering. Quite interestingly she can vary between the drunk staggering and perfectly normal, the first time my vet came out he could find nothing wrong. However since we have been to my practice for neurological tests and they have confirmed it is neurological. At this point in time this is as much as we know, we don;t know where the problem is or what has caused it, she has had no accidents.

We have now been referred to one of the Country’s leading specialists (Dicky Hepburn) in Gloucestershire at B&W vets. However even the specialist said diagnosing the cause in a horse of Ellie’s age can be challenging. Looking on the positive occasionally there is something they can do to cure the problem (remove a cist may be an example) but realistically the outcome is often poor. Not only am I selfishly upset but she is one of the loveliest, most genuine horses I have had who I genuinely believe could have made a top class eventing pony.

Please can everyone keep fingers firmly crossed for the 20th December. This depressing news has also coincided with another big decision. However talented Posy is I have come to the conclusion we have never really clicked and it is time to move her on. I just lack the facilities and time to bring the best out of her and we have never really built up a ridden bond. Due my lack of facilities and the reluctance of people to travel to Cornwall she has gone to a friend to sell on. So no riding and nothing currently to look forward.

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3rd December

Posted: 3 Dec 2016 - Comments (0)
Apologies on the lack of updates everything is a bit in the doldrums really however more on that next week. The website is playing up again and I am desperately looking at options to get it functional again. Sadly having built this from scratch with limited knowledge moving it to a new platform, upgrading and giving it the functionality I crave is proving way beyond my budget. Need to work out what the best option is as there will be a cost involved and need to make sure it is the right one! I want to have something in place before March and ideally January so service can resume as normal but not sure how realistic it is very frustrating.

Meanwhile with the dark evenings and lack of exercise I have now joined a local gym. This is a big sacrifice to me as I don’t enjoy the gym, can’t relate to a lot of the people that go and would rather do just about anything else. However I can’t run (due to hip), don’t fancy cycling in the dark so my options were distinctly limited. Managed 3 visits this week so hopefully can keep it up for the benefit of my fitness.

Website permitting hopefully a proper update next week. If we do have anyone reading this who knows website design to a professional level and can give me some advice I would love to hear from you.

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