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Author: Stephani Hren

The End of a Long Wait

The End of a Long Wait

I know what you’re wondering: was the fifteen week wait worth it?

Let me just start off by stating the obvious: it’s BEAUTIFUL. The pink piping is exactly what I wanted it to be and the leather is super soft but seems durable. Plus it looks so good on Raglan.

It’s a minimalist saddle that takes the idea of “close contact” very seriously, with a monoflap design, no back blocks/bulky knee rolls, and small knee blocks that I would have to be in serious trouble to hit.

Riding in the Passion K has been a completely new experience. I feel so much more freedom of movement! At the canter it gives me a lovely floating feeling that I can’t get enough of. Plus the narrower twist and the lack of a second flap suits me better too; my thighs and my pelvis don’t have to open as far and the sharp pain I used to get in my inner thigh hasn’t resurfaced since I started riding in the Passion K.

The seat is comfortable, but not so squishy that it invites you to hunker down in it. It’s a saddle that inspires you to get up and out of it, to ride lightly and stay forward. It’s there to help you stay balanced and with the horse, but not to pin you down—the opposite of the Devoucoux Biarritz, which wanted me to SIT SIT SIT.

The drastic change has left me feeling shaky—”vulnerable” is the word TrainerK used—but I can tell that when I build the strength of core and leg that I need to stay more stable in it, it’s going to be fabulous.

With the change in equipment and the month or so that I haven’t been riding, it almost feels like starting back over again. I’ve really appreciated the mental break. It’s given me the space I needed to stop fixating on the falls I took, and watching Raglan succeed with a pro has given me a big dose of confidence. The first few rides were tough, but now I’m back in a position where I feel like I can start trusting my horse again.

I’m excited to build my strength up so that we can start jumping again—and this time I’ll know that I have TrainerK to back me up if I start to feel like I’m not able to school Raglan as effectively as I’d like!

The Plague

The Plague

On our way up to Lynden with our second load of ponies, TrainerK’s phone rang. It was our vet calling with some grim news: a horse back at our home facility had just been diagnosed with a confirmed case of equine influenza, a highly communicable (although not typically deadly) respiratory disease.

Equine influenza (EIV) typically presents with a fever, nasal discharge, and a harsh, dry cough. Symptoms usually last less than three days in uncomplicated cases, but the virus can damage the respiratory system. Horses that catch EIV typically need one week of rest for every day that they have a fever to repair that damage—so it can easily put a horse out of work for three weeks or more. It also makes horses more susceptible to bacterial infections like bronchitis and pneumonia. In short: it’s a huge inconvenience.

EIV is highly contagious, all it takes is one cough or sneeze to pass it through air particles

Our barn’s Patient 0 brought the virus home from a gaming event he attended two weeks ago. The event’s management failed to notify participants that other horses that attended had tested positive for EIV. By the time we knew we needed to quarantine, it was too late.

The SEC is a huge facility. We have four barns, two indoor arenas, and 50+ horses. Patient 0 is stabled in a separate barn and typically uses the other arena. Since we’d already transported half of our horses to Lynden and none of them were symptomatic, the vet gave us the go ahead to compete. We notified show management, who instructed us to keep our horses stabled separately from the other competitors, and went about our weekend. All of the horses seemed right as rain and performed well.

RAGLAN COMPETED LIKE A PRO, OBVIOUSLY

But as the weekend wore on, the paranoia set in. When we got back home we started taking temps and confining the horses to their stalls. The vet came out to draw blood, swab noses, and dole out meds.

By Monday evening, the SEC was officially placed under quarantine.

PSA: If your horse is boarded at a public facility, travels to shows/trails, or is otherwise exposed to other horses: YOU NEED TO VACCINATE. Those that were recently given an EIV booster are showing much milder symptoms and have a higher chance of staying healthy altogether.

So far Raglan has shown no signs of being sick. With any luck he stays healthy, especially since he was just vaccinated against influenza in September! The horse he was stabled next to over the weekend tested positive for EIV, though, and three other horses in our program have shown minor symptoms (but had too low of a virus load to test positive). Another horse across the aisle has pneumonia, too—very sucky.

Unfortunately, other barns have also reported cases of EIV. The situation is crummy all around—but it could be a lot worse if the disease in question was something like strangles or EHV-1. With any luck the EIV outbreak will run its course and we’ll all come out happy and healthy in the end.

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