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I really need to timetable myself time to blog. Because otherwise, I end up having to catch up a lot. So I guess I’m back to catching up. I won’t even promise to try keep up, because we all know, I won’t.

On March 6th, I rode Bonnie and she had been very excitable for her first day back doing polework per the instructions of our physio (I talked about that in my last post – click here to read it). She was going great! I talked about it on my Instagram – click to see the post.

On March 7th, Bonnie seen her physio again. Boo unfortunately went lame after her antics and the physio referred us to get investigative tests done to see what is up with her, so we headed to the vets on Monday the 12th of March, at 2pm. This was after the trot-up and Bonnie was dropping her pelvis on her hind end. The physio did not want to work on her without further investigation from the vet.


We used a equine specialist veterinarian this time, and from the minute we arrived I felt at ease about the situation. I already knew the vet we had chosen had a great reputation, but meeting him in person confirmed that I had made the right choice – and throughout, he has been nothing but supportive even when we are making no sense with worry!

When we arrived, we first did a trot up (well, a few) before the vet took her off me and trotted her in a tight circle around him – and i can honestly say I have never seen her so lame. It was a harsh shock, especially since she had been lame on-off since she got kicked in August and we had been told previously it was merely muscle damage.

After the tight circles, Bonnie was taken into a lunge pen and loose lunged around where her lameness was again, very noticeable. Immediately we were told there are 2 issues here – a joint problem, and a muscle problem.

The joint problem was severe osteoarthritis as a result of a trauma. It developed very rapidly, the trauma only happening in August, and this was determined by the fact her other leg was completely fine.

The muscle problem was a mixture of the trauma and the way she had been moving her leg since. It had left her with large, gaping holes of muscle tissue in her flank.

In the following slideshow, it begins with her perfectly healthy hock (L) and then shoes her damaged hock (R) and the differences. The ‘parrots beak’ should not be there. We then move into the ultrasound images of her muscle, where the white is healthy tissue and the dark is no tissue at all. As you can see, there was considerable damage.

Click to view slideshow.

We put her into a box to get X-Rays and ultrasound scans. Immediately afterwards, when he was looking at the scans, I could tell it was bad news – he made that horrible “mmm” sound vets do before they deliver you bad news. I knew immediately because I used to work with vets and I have heard that sound many times before. I was immediately thinking “Oh god, it’s unfixable…what is going to happen to her?” because obviously – when it’s your own horse, you panic 1000000x more than if it belongs to someone else.

We were presented with our only treatment option due to the stage it had reached: chemical arthrodesis and stem cell treatment.

Chemical arthrodesis, from my knowledge (and what I recall inbetween my panicking that day!), is a chemical injected into her bone to burn off the excess cartilage and then fuse her bone. So, instead of a mechanical movement, she will have a “snap” as he called it – so her leg will “snap up” instead of a joint moving. Essentially, he disabled her joint from being painful. This is my understanding from a non-veterinary perspective, because vets use big words I do not understand nor have time to look up.

The stem cell treatment then used her own blood (I think) which was taken and sent to labs to retrieve the cells. This was then injected into a large portion of her flank and around her hock. So far, our vet has seen her 3 times since (with no scans, but those are due in 2 weeks time), and each time her muscle has improved drastically. He actually seen her today, only that wasn’t an intended visit.

We left Bonnie at the vets that day and picked her up on Wednesday, March 14th, and since she has been in rehab.

Watch the vlog of our veterinary adventures below:

CHEMICAL SURGERY & STEM CELL TREATMENT - GETTING ANSWERS TO BONNIE'S LAMENESS | equistoryni - YouTube

Her original rehab plan was –

  • 2 weeks complete box rest
  • 4 weeks of hand walking, beginning at 10 minutes and increasing by 1 minute each day

However, and I will say I was sad about this, Bonnie needed to be shod in a special way, and it meant giving up our barefoot aim. A small price to pay for a happy horse. She is now shod on all 4 feet – and on her back feet she had bilateral shoeing with a square toe (and twice the thickness). This was doctors orders.

The little princess, though, unfortunately had to be hot shod. Absolutely terrifying, according to Bonnie. We couldn’t be there for either unfortunately. On first attempt, my wonderful farrier attempted to do it with no one there, as she is normally 110% to shoe – she shook like a leaf and the farrier had to call it a day. On the second attempt, our yard owner smarty gave her some sedalin first and so it was a pleasant experience for all because she wasn’t messing around!

By the time we had got all of this sorted, we had been on box rest for 3 weeks. A week over, but I believe this is what has helped us along the way as her behaviour got increasingly dangerous.

Every horse will act differently to box rest. Bonnie was completely fine, originally, albeit a little fresh, which is expected. I even taught her a new trick! We spoiled her with long grooms, extra cuddles and scratches, and her treat ball and extra treats everyday. 
The real problem came when we began handwalking. The first day, much to my surprise, went perfectly. Infact, most of them went okay – until we got into longer distances of walking. We decided to long-rein Boo after the first day because, being honest, she has no manners on the ground. She will happily trample you and drag you off your feet. However, as she is broken to drive she long-reins particularly well. Everything was going perfectly, the odd spook, the odd little “bunny hop” which had us so worried, but the real bad behaviour has come into effect the last few days. Even over the last week or so, her stable behaviour has got increasingly worse – following you in the stable, trying to bite, pinning her ears back; something we had gotten over this time last year!

Bonnie has become very dangerous. 3 days ago, she bucked out and just missed mum as she was walking her (I have been ill or working and my poor mum has been left with everything). She has been doing her best black beauty impressions and rearing and kicking her legs out. This escalated to turning to face mum and kicking out her front legs at her while in the air.

Yesterday, however, she took her ‘vengeance’ to a whole new level. At the end of the first loop of her walk (she has been walking down the back lanes a few times a day on the long lines), she double barrelled out and THANKFULLY my mum was able to get out of the way so she only got skimmed at her side. Not satisfied, Bonnie began to rear and kick out, again with her wonderful black beauty impressions, and then tried to take off – with mum still hanging on. She pulled and pulled and mum said she literally thought her arm was going to pop  out of her socket, so she let go. Bonnie galloped off back to the stables – albeit, completely sound with her new leg motion, something I’ve been worried about. When she got back to the stables, she reared a few times before the wonderful Mandy made sure she didn’t escape and Joe caught her until mum made her way back.

However, she wasn’t supposed to be leaving walk for another 2 weeks yet.

Mum phoned our vet who came out and checked her over and noted she was completely fine, and Bonnie was finally less psychotic to have let off a bit of steam. Her leg was completely fine – and I honestly think this was due to the extended boxrest, because she galloped over a hard stone lane and the concrete to get back to the yard! She got trotted up for the vet who then decided, for everyone’s safety, to change her rehab plan.

Her rehab plan for the remaining time she is on it now consists of:

  • 1 week on the walker, increasing the duration 1 minute each day from the 24 minutes she had reached.
  • 1 week on the very end of a lunge line in the paddock walking/trotting, trying to keep her in more of a line than a circle.

I’ll make sure to keep you updated this time (promise) since that’s all I have for now. I’ll also do a vlog and update it, and I need to edit the boxrest routine I filmed a while ago!

Until next time…
Be sure to check out all my social media in the mean time – I even uploaded a new video (I’m on a roll here)

Catch up on my social media:
Subscribe to my main channel and click the bell – @equistoryni.
Subscribe to my second channel and click the bell – @swxtobias.

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Check out my latest video SLEEKEZ REVIEW  below:

sleekEZ review | equistoryni - YouTube
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Once again I’m behind with these blog posts, but in my own defence, I’ve been very busy. Since I last wrote a post, I’ve had a second eye surgery, been dealing with a lame horse, and bringing a horse home! (but you can read about that in my next blog post which I will also be writing today, that’s if my fingers don’t fall off from the cold first though).

On January 7th, after a night of cold temperatures, we had planned to take Bonnie schooling to Eric Pele’s all weather XC. However, when we were a mere 5 minutes away, we got a call telling us not to come – because the place was frozen solid.

Panic stations began, trying to find a place local to the area (as it was an hour away from us) and to no avail, we eventually rang up Portmore which was in the complete opposite direction. They had the first leg of their £1000 Arena Eventing league on, but said we were more than welcome to come and school around afterwards. Pretty good deal – yes? So off we headed on our little journey to Lough Neagh. (fun fact: we travelled over 200 miles this day trying to actually get somewhere to ride)

When we got there, we had about a 2 hour wait until the show was over and we were able to tack up. When we did, Bonnie was a little spooky at first in the warm up but behaved impeccably and only bucked once! Result. Especially since bucking was her new favourite thing (but if you follow me on Instagram, which you should, you would know that already!). I uploaded a video on my second channel of Bonnie schooling, which I have embedded below.

Arena Eventing Schooling Portmore - Bonnie Shooting Star | January 7th 2018 - YouTube

We had so much fun schooling around the course that it was time to take her to our first show of 2018! How exciting. Particularly since I was still blind in one eye – I could see absolutely nothing out of my left eye. So on January 14th, we trekked back down to the East side of Lough Neagh to Portmore once again.

Bonnie was an angel in the warmup, and went into the ring and felt absolutely amazing…until she decided she did not like the look of the shoot jump at the far end of the arena. That caused us to get eliminated and it just went downhill from there really. She jumped nice, don’t get me wrong, but just not well. She didn’t feel on form, but she didn’t feel lame, just nappy, so I rode her through it. Coming to a very skinny skinny, my vision issues combined with Bonnie spooking abit resulted in me taking out the wing with my knee. I then lost a stirrup in the course and my right knee rolled out of the place, but I was able to pop it back in with relatively no pain (the next day, however, it did roll out of place again and it turned out to be an MCL sprain. All healed up now though, since I’m such a bad blogger and have ended up telling you about my January adventures on March 1st).

Following her napping fit in the 85cm, we had lengthly discussions on what to do. She was jumping fine, and flew some pretty hefty fences in the warm up (100-110) and so we put her in the 1m class. Well, it went even further downhill! She got abit close to the first fence, but cleared it, then said nah and began to nap. Now, it just so happens that fence 2 was right beside the gate – but upon later inspection, she actually landed lame from fence 1. So she was napping, but it was for a genuine reason (perhaps combined with a little ‘my friends are out there, why am I in here!?’ thinking from Boo). We knew something was up, and that was the last time that she jumped.

You can watch a vlog of our Portmore Competition Adventures below:

LAME AGAIN - PORTMORE ARENA EVENTING VLOG WEEK #1 | equistoryni - YouTube

Because she was lame again, it was time to go through everything once more. So, we phoned the chiropractor and he was in the area (he comes from down South, so it was pure luck). Well, that couldn’t have went worse either! In her first trot up, she looked lame (shocker) and so we did a second to try and pin point it. Only Bonnie, the delightful little madam she is, spooked and quite literally fell to the ground and rolled on concrete. My face was a treat. I had injured my leg at this point, and so it was my mum doing the trot up – I got to see the entire scene unroll before me while thinking “please be okay, please don’t have ruined yourself Boo bear”. 

She had nothing structurally wrong with her and once again, we were told to get a physio. So we did – we contacted the physio most local to us (who would rather not be named), and she came out and outlined everything that was wrong. Quite a lot.

When Bonnie got kicked in August (her original injury, which I blogged about on this site. You can go read blogs from back then by clicking here), the ligament in her right bum cheek shortened and so she over-compensated with her left, which was the leg she was now lame on. We were advised light work, long reining, hacking for 6 weeks but that she could canter and doing raised poles were a must either on the lunge or on her back. No jumping – it just so happened I got called for eye surgery, so my mum took over the majority of rehab as I was forbidden from riding by my consultant for 4 weeks.

I have attached her physio report below, since to be honest, I can’t remember every single detail as so much has happened since then. I leave you with this lovely piece of information all about my accident prone mare who is trying to make me go grey before I’m even 20 years old.

I’ll see you next time!

Be sure to check out all my social media in the mean time – I even uploaded a new video (I’m on a roll here)

Catch up on my social media:
Subscribe to my main channel and click the bell – @equistoryni.
Subscribe to my second channel and click the bell – @swxtobias.

Follow @equistoryni on twitter
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Check out my LATEST VIDEO below:

Principio deinde ueris | equistoryni - YouTube
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So, I really am quite awful at keeping up to date with my blog. I was doing so well, and then went blind. So I think we can excuse my lack of updates. I’ll try write a few posts to catch up before 2018!

I moved Bonnie yards in September and decided to compile my ULTIMATE CHECKLIST of what I looked for when I was considering moving her (I am happy to report I am the happiest I have ever been at a yard, almost 3 months in).

I think we can all agree that on the basis of picking a yard, two major things must be considered before you even look into ‘luxuries’:

  • Can I access the yard easily? (is it too far, can I get public transport, cycle?)
  • Can I afford to pay to keep my horse/pony here?

Everyone knows that horses are very expensive animals. These two factors, to me, were the most important when I was looking at the yard I was planning to move to.

Some other questions I asked myself were the following:

  • Was the arena well kept? Did they have enough jumps that I could make a course?
    This was a big factor in my decision. Lots of arenas are big enough to flatwork in, but making a full jumping course at home is a challenge especially if you are on a green horse (no one wants to end up plonked into the wings just because you needed that extra stride). Having the space and means to do that was a big part for me, since I like to train a lot at home (as it is a lot more cost effective, but you can also set up whatever you please – you aren’t set to someone else’s design). If you are a dressage rider, you may want to consider if you are able to effectively set yourself up a mock arena for practising your tests. A well kept arena is also important – you don’t want a bad surface that will freeze or flood immediately. Absolutely useless in the Irish weather! You want to make sure the people want to look after their yard. If they don’t want to look after and maintain it, chances are the yard won’t be that great in the long run for you or your trusty companion.
  • Was there anyone to help me on site if I needed it?
    In the case of my health, it is essential for me that should I need Bonnie taken care of, this was available by someone who has the knowledge to care for a horse with her temperament. In my case, it couldn’t have worked out better; Bonnie can be ridden and cared for at an extra expense.
  • Was the stable suitable for Bonnie’s needs? Would she be happy in the type of stabling?
    Bonnie isn’t bothered much by moving; taking her on holiday so often means she can walk into anywhere and call it home. A big thing for us was that our new barn is an American-type barn, where she would be facing other horses. In the yard she was at previously, she was facing a wall but was able to see outside. We got the selection of two stables; one at the door, where she could overlook the yard and see up to the walker, or one further into the barn that would provide more shelter from the wind and rain. We opted for the room with a view, as we can always rug her up and she is more settled when she can see outside.
  • Was anything included in the price I would pay for livery?
    More and more yards are switching to complete DIY where you provide your own hard feed, hay, bedding etc, whereas before it was usually a no-brainer that at least your hay got included in the package (at least, this was the case for yards in my area). When we were touring the yard, we made sure to ask what would be included in the price that we were paying.
  • How did the turnout work? Was turnout available?
    I was going to be moving Bonnie from a yard where there was turnout year-round, in the winter months from 9-12 daily on hardstanding pens and in the fields in summer where plans varied from 9-12, morning-evening or 24/7. Bonnie is a foodie; she ADORES the field. So this had to be a major consideration for the sanity of my horse when moving.
  • How does the billing work? Many yards are happy to let you pay your bill when it best suits you (whether that be weekly, every 4 weeks, or monthly); so it was an important question to ask. Was there a receipt given on payment? Keeping a track of each bill date is vital, also are there any additional hidden costs e.g pay to use the arena lights? 

All of these questions popped into my brain, and if you are reading this and considering moving, why not add anything I haven’t thought of in the comments below this post?

I’ll see you next time!

Be sure to check out all my social media in the mean time – I even uploaded a new video (I’m on a roll here)

Catch up on my social media:
Subscribe to my main channel and click the bell – @equistoryni.
Subscribe to my second channel and click the bell – @swxtobias.

Follow @equistoryni on twitter
Follow @equistoryni on facebook
Follow @equistoryni on Instagram
Follow @lifethroughboo on Instagram

Check out my Rydale BLACK FRIDAY HAUL  below:

I MOVED YARDS!?! Showing you around / updates!! Mini Tour of New Barn | equistoryni - YouTube
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I left you off on my last blog with an update of how our first go at a 1m course competitively went, and at the end mentioned I should’ve known something was up (you can read that blog by clicking here).

We set off on Wednesday, August 16th and headed up to stable at Maddybenny in time to settle for the Eventing Ireland on Saturday. Having been there several times this year, it was like going home as the entire yard, the liveries and staff are so lovely and welcoming. We had a great ride on Wednesday and Thursday and were looking forward to a lesson with my amazing instructor on Friday morning at 9am (maybe not so much the time of the lesson!).

Nevertheless I was tacked up and ready, albeit a tad sleepy, but we ended up having an amazing lesson including mastering 15m circles. Of course none of this was apparent in the actual test – but she was foot perfect in our lesson.

Bonnie then went into turnout for the rest of Friday and we brought her in and fed her and left her to sleep and gets lots of energy for the next day.

Our dressage time was 11:34am, and so mum plaited Bonnie up early on Saturday morning leaving me to get myself ready. I was on Bonnie and in the dressage field at 11:00am, and was promptly told that there was 2 to go and then me. Panic stations started. This being my first ever event, I had no idea I could refuse to go in until my time. I rushed my warmup and Bonnie, on grass and wanting to go as she had seen the 1* XC going on whilst walking to the dressage field, was wanting to do absolutely anything but dressage. I did get her relaxed, but of course then a horn of the car sounded for the arena beside mine when she was at the same end as the car and this was right before she went in. She was on her toes again – even more so this time.

Dressage not being a strong phase for either of us, the test went as well as it could’ve considering her energy levels and inexperience. She only did her first Prelim tests in the middle of July, I wasn’t expecting much anyway. I as a rider then let her down by completely just learning the test wrong at the very last movement – I was convinced, and had practised in my lesson, trot down the centre line “AX and halt immobility salute at G”. It was in fact “AKX and halt immobility salute at G”. Bonnie did a beautiful halt first time round, but the judge insisted I redo the movement and my final halt ended up being facing the judge in the other arena. All in all our dressage earned us 53.7% or 46.3 penalties.

We then untacked Bonnie and went up to the SJ field and got a burger (yum) but with such a short distance inbetween, there wasn’t much else to do but to go back down and tack up for the showjumping. I got Bonnie’s boots on (the beautiful Veredus colour carbon gel tendon and fetlock boots) and then got myself changed into a stock and my showjacket on. I then opened our new Le Mieux saddle pad and put the rest of her tack on and we headed up to the showjumping fields.

As the EI90 runs after both the 1* and the EI100 classes, the warm up was very boggy and hadn’t been rolled yet. I warmed Bonnie up and jumped a few xpoles, uprights and eventually into a 1m spread. She jumped it sticky, and landed sticky, but thinking it was the ground I continued on. She didn’t feel at all lame, but when I took her back around she refused to jump the spread. We put it down to 60cm, and still she refused to jump. Thinking it was just because the ground was boggy, I rode her into some more uprights (at about 1m also) and she soared over them.

When I took her into her round, third to go, she spooked at a spectator who had pulled over to the side of the road and was blending into the hedge. I rode her on and at this point, you can see she is lame on her back right leg, though she didn’t feel it. She soared over the first fence but when I brought her around to the second, she wouldn’t jump at all. Long story short, we had 3 refusals and got eliminated at fence 2.

I took her back down to the yard. I thought she had been spooking at the man in the hedge and so I took her into the jumping ring but she wouldn’t even jump an xpole. I then cooled her off (in tears, of both disappointment and frustration) and took her back to her stable, where I untacked and began to brush her down. When I got to her back right leg, she missed my head by inches as she kicked out whilst I was leaning down. I knew something was up immediately – as she has never tried to kick me before. Carefully standing no where near legs, I again brushed the same spot and again she tried to kick me.

I then trotted her up – about 45 minutes after our elimination at this point – and she was lame.

We had her booked in with our chiropractor before the event for August 21st – but I’ll make another post on what we’ve done since discovering that she is lame.

Of course I am so gutted that her eventing record has began with a bad start, an elimination on her record, but most of all I am concerned for my amazing little horse who clearly knew she wouldn’t make it – and I’d rather she stopped and refused to jump than try and perhaps have us both fall. She’s always keeping me safe, and I will do my best to keep her safe too.

Until next time…

Eventing Vlogs – Days 1 & 2:

Puppies & Stressage - Eventing Ireland Vlog (Maddybenny) Days 1 & 2 - Preparation | equistoryni - YouTube

Eventing Vlogs – Days 3 & 4:

It didn't go to plan - Eventing Ireland Vlog - Days 3 + 4| equistoryni - YouTube

Catch up on my social media:

Subscribe to my main channel and click the bell – @equistoryni.

Subscribe to my second channel and click the bell – @swxtobias.

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We are thankfully all caught up on the blog posts now, so it is time for our most recent competition. Our second two phase (Bonnie’s third as she did one as a 5 year old), and it went better than I could ever have hoped.

I was first to go on the start list for the 85cm class. We’ve been schooling around at least 1m for a while now so I didn’t want to drop back to the 70 class (which the the one we did in April, but I hadn’t started this blog at that point). We had been schooling the week before around a mixed track of 85cm-1m (which you can read about on my last post here).

I was very pleased at being drawn first as the weather hasn’t been great here so I was expecting the ground to be a bit soggy, and was pleasantly surprised when it was just a little soft. I warmed up for my SJ and we ended up with a double clear, with just one sticky moment when she began spooking at the hedge (she really does hate hedges) but she got over the fence clear without stopping or running out.

Watch our SJ and some of our XC here.

Mid-Antrim PC Laurel View Two Phase SJ & XC - Bonnie Shooting Star | July 29th 2017 - YouTube

We were straight off to the XC which took a while to start as the stewards had taken a break between the end of the 70cm and the start of the 85cm. We eventually set off and were going really well until jump 8 when she sort of leaped over and my saddle fell around to the right side. We stopped immediately and I started leaning over to the left to try my best to fix it without getting off – I succeeded, and carefully leaning to the left over the next few jumps to ensure it didn’t slip again we were back to business. That was until she started to nap riding up towards the main yard and we were stuck for 32 seconds (the joys of GoPro footage) before slowly trotting towards the next fence and getting over.

We were back in business and to my absolute shock she went into the water – I didn’t even vocally encourage her, use my stick for backup or anything. She literally just went in. I was so shocked I literally couldn’t speak and had to think quickly about my next move. There was a rather large jump out (about 1m) and I really hadn’t thought I would get in so I wouldn’t even need to worry about getting out – I was actually laughing about it to everyone when we were discussing the course before the show. This led us into a very sticky jump up where she caught her back leg and lost a boot. Thankfully, as I write this the day after, she is absolutely fine and not lame in the slightest which I was concerned about because she quite literally dragged herself up the step.

The remainder of the course rode smoothly and with the second competitor hot on my heels (a tad too hot for my liking) we headed in home and cooled the best little supercob down.

You can ride with me around the course by watching my GoPro footage below:

GoPro | Mid-Antrim PC Laurel View Two Phase XC - Bonnie Shooting Star | July 29th 2017 - YouTube

All in all we had a great day, we picked up 11.5 time penalties for being too slow, the total course being 1750m in length and they were wanting a pace of 375m/min making the optimum time 4m40s. We completed it in 5 minutes and 29 seconds – so nearly a minute off the time, meaning if we hadn’t of had our two little incidents we just might have made the pace.

We ended up 14th/86 competitors which I did is a really good result, especially considering the experience of Bonnie in this discipline and at this level.

Until next time…

Subscribe to my main channel and click the bell – @equistoryni.

Subscribe to my second channel and click the bell – @swxtobias.

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