Portraits in the snow

It’s finally starting to get warmer here in Norway, which makes it so much easier to get out and have photoshoots. Both for horse, rider and photographer(hands get cold so fast)! So today we grabbed the opportunity and got some nice photos in the snow!

I have been wanting to get photos like this for a while, but I was quite unsure on where to actually take them. As the background and light is a huge factor in getting decent photos. But I decided to try out the trail leading from the stable to the other, long trails, and it turned out to be perfect for photography!

I am so sad that I didn’t put any makeup on, so I have to excuse myself for looking like a potato. But can we please just take a moment and look at my gorgeous horse?! How lucky am I to have this wonderful creature with me? Ah, I love him.

As a little side note, I will be leaving for Arctic Equestrian Games friday morning to work as a press photographer! I have had many people order photos of their classes, so I hope it goes well and that I can do both the classes for the press and the classes for the entrants. We will see! Should I post some of the photos that I will be taking? There will be dressage, show jumping, puissance and not least gaited!

I hope you enjoy the photos from today as much as I did!

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A promising call

This blog post will be short, but very pleasing. I received a call from the specialist today, and it couldn’t have gone any better.

As it turns out, they found no cancer in the biopsies! The skin is still very abnormal, so it has to be carefully watched for any progression or development. As for the urethral opening, there is a lot more cytoplasm than there should be. The cells are larger than usual, something that indicates that they can split up and make new cells(this is not very good, but it’s still no red alarm yet).

This means that the only cancer he has is in the papillomas, which are still in the benign stage. All I have to do is to have a regular washing routine for Baldur. He needs to be washed every week, where every other week is with a sedative. This way he can drop and I can get a good clean every other week as well as the regular weekly washing without sedatives. I will have to keep smear thin layers of zinc ointment on the elephant skin and the irritated parts, just to help him heal.

IMG_0243Other than that, we are going to let “nature do it’s work”, as there is no reason to give him any big treatments or surgeries just yet. I was also told that there is indeed a small chance that it can resolve on it’s own and go away. The chance is slim, but it’s there!

I didn’t get a “this is not cancer and everything is going to be okay”-call, but it’s pretty damn close if you ask me! He is not in immediate danger, and it gives me such a relief! Now I can finally get my focus back on the good stuff. Doing trails, working towards competitions, and not least just loving my horse without having to worry about losing him.

As a little side note, I got a job working as a press photographer at the Arctic Equestrian Games in Oslofjorden next week! I will be photographing the different competitions, from gaited to show jumping! And I will of course be doing some shopping with the money I earn from selling photos. So I am hoping to get my hands on some new breeches at least! I am very much looking forward to it, and of course meeting with some distant friends!

It’s finally time to look ahead and keep track of all the plans I had before we were sent to Oslo for the examination! I am starting to really look forward to this year, and I hope we do end up starting our first Norwegian Championship together!

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A visit to the clinic

Today was the day I had been dreading once again. It was time to take Baldur to the Veterinary University in Oslo. I woke up at 6:30 AM fit for fight(well, almost). The appointment in Oslo was at 10 AM, but the ride there took about 2 hours.

I was so anxious and nervous about what was going to happen and what they were going to find out. Baldur was of course like his usual self. Big eyes and a goofy personality. He was no problem loading on or off. We were assigned a box for him to stay at while we were waiting for the specialist.

When the specialist arrived, we got him drugged down so that he would drop. She washed him very thorough, and she was not delighted about all the buildup that had came in just one and a half week. Not a good sign in other words. The papillomas we treated last time were gone, but they are the least of our concerns.

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The real problem is the new papilloma-like spots all around his urethral opening. They are big, white and many. Also the elephant skin is a problem. Not only are there more papillomas, but the skin is very strange.

The specialist decided to take two biopsies. One of the skin around the urethral opening, and one of the elephant skin. The skin on his penis has become very delicate and fragile from all the washing and treatments, so it has started to crack a bit. She put on some zinc ointment and let me know that I could do the same whenever I see him drop his penis(he usually doesn’t do it much).

The specialist discussed a little bit with another veterinarian about treatments. He suggested freezing it. And the specialist gave me a few option suggestions to think about. I can keep doing the chemo treatments, I can go over to another chemo treatment(intravenously), freezing, amputating half or the whole penis. These are all treatments that I have to consider, but we are still waiting for the results of the biopsies before we move forward with really discussing the treatment options.

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I’m not going to lie, this is so damn scary. I feel like I am again constantly on the verge of crying and I am being such a child about this. But it is my best friend at stake, and I want him the best that the world can give him.

When everything was done, he got a good dose of pain relief for the biopsies. The specialist was very happy with how well he behaved. He was tied very loosely(sometimes just the rope around his shoulders) and he took it all like a champ. I am so proud to own this horse and have him in my life. I just hope I can have him until he dies of old age. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

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Photo above: Giving a thorough rinse!

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Photo above: The main concern is this. The papilloma-like spots all around his urethral opening.

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Photo above: The second concern – the elephant skin. I don’t like this at all. 

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Photo above: I had to help hold the glasses and his penis while the specialist was taking the biopsies, so I couldn’t get any photos of it. But this is after taking the biopsies.

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Photo above: He was incredibly calm through the whole procedure.

 

Project Baldur complete

I can finally say that I completed my first 3D horse model. And no way to do it than making my very own horse! I also have unlimited references photos, of course, so I never had a problem with making the details. 

It’s safe to say that I am relieved I actually finished it, I was starting to doubt myself. It did after all take nearly a month, but hey, it’s something! I ran into a couple of problems that set me on a long break because I was simply lazy and didn’t do much to figure it out.

If I can say so myself, I am pretty happy with the outcome! The model does have some Baldur look-alike features. I will definitely keep practicing on making horses in 3D.

Anyhow, enjoy these photos I rendered of the model. And in the bottom is a “live” turntable if your computer can handle it!

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Keeping it going

I am currently still waiting on the phone from the Veterinary University in Oslo. I really want to get our appointment sooner rather than later. I have to admit that I am getting a bit tense, but at the same time it’s okay, because I know it’s just to get an appointment and nothing else. 

Anyhow, the day after Baldur got yet another round of chemo treatment, we went back to training! The good thing about his treatments is that I can ride him like normal. And this time I am making myself be more active in riding. So far it’s going great! My motivation is still up for competitions(even though I have no idea if we can enter or not, I have hope).

I tried Baldur on a new bit, mostly used for competition and training for competitions. An Icelandic shanked bit. This one is the EE bit, with shorter shanks making it milder. This was my first time riding Baldur on a shanked bit, and I get the feeling that he has been ridden in one before by the previous owners. He took it really good and the ride was incredible! He really worked hard for me!

I will be testing this bit a little more, but I think I will be buying one for myself in the future! Maja filmed the last 20 minutes of our session, and here is the result!

Back to square one

Today did definitely not go as I had imagined. Or it kind of did. I was hoping for a good result, but I was almost expecting his cancer to be back. Maybe not like this though.

Baldur’s cancer papillomas are indeed back. We counted 4 new papillomas today. They are not as big as they were before, so they should go away with treatment agian. We did give Baldur yet another treatment for the cancerous papillomas. It is a little scary that they are coming back, but that is actually not our main concern.

What I was not expecting, is the fact that there is something new that we do not know what is. And that’s really troubling me. So for now, my veterinarian will consult with an expert in horse’s reproductive organs, and they will probably want to see him in person for an evaluation. It’s not unlikely that we will have to travel to the Veterinary University of Oslo to let the expert look at him.

I was so happy from the last veterinary visit when the papillomas were gone. I have literally been planning this whole year’s competition season and I’ve just been so ready to get into it. And now I am back to the point where I have no idea what to do. I just hope that I am a little bit stronger this time. And I am definitely going to keep on excising him and not let him wither away like he did this winter.

I just hope that we find out what is the cause of all this and that it’s not something that is terminal. 

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Photo above: Elephant skin on the left side of his penis. Dry and cracking, some blood coming out.

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Photo above: One of the new papillomas(the smallest one) between the two thumbs. 

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Photo above and under: The new skin disorder that we do not know what is. It lighter(almost white), thicker skin around his urethral opening. We did not treat this with anything as it is in such a vulnerable place and again, we do not know what it is. 

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A snowy workout – part two

Better late than never, we also got some video clips from the session. I was actually pleasantly surprised that it didn’t look too bad. It felt much worst than it looked, trust me!

I am not really going to blabber too much about this, since I wrote the most part in my previous blog post here.

Oh, and don’t forget to turn on the high quality!

A stormy workout

I can safely say that yesterday’s workout was rather interesting. There had been a storm during the night, so I guess the horses were a bit tense. And as if that wasn’t enough, it was windy as hell and snowing. Great day to ride outside, am I right?

Well, the workout did not go smoothly. We had our disagreements and Baldur was more spooky than ever. He bolted more than he behaved and it was definitely not a pleasant ride. It was cold as well, so we were extra tense. Not a good combination at all.

But we got through it. Even with a little episode of a big bolt, sharp stop and a straight up on two feet. I had to back him up multiple times as he literally shut me out of communication. It was really not our day at all.

So, to conclude yesterday’s training session: I have learned to take him inside the riding halls if the weather is bad and there has been a storm at the night. I guess I have to take extra precautions for my sensitive horse. And I am choosing to share my bad experiences with you so that I can look back when we hopefully have emerged from it. And it is of course a learning experience.

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Photo above: Little to no action and not collected at all, leaving him look very long.

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Photo above: Much better here, but still very stiff.

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Photo above: I got absolutely nowhere for asking him to collect in the trot, as his mind was everywhere but on me.

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Photo above: The same goes for the canter as well. Very stiff and unfocused again. I didn’t even bother to try and collect him as I was too busy trying to keep the canter clean and not let him bolt off in a pace.

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Photo above: Baldur did not care much for the headwind either. He bolted, I stopped him, and he went up. I sticked the rear and moved him forward again to let him know it did not affect me. It was however an unexpected rear, so I did not get the time to prepare, hence the bad hands. 

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Photo above: We ended it when he started to listen a little bit to me, and he would relax a little. It took a while, but I feel like I can’t end a session in a bad way.

 

Finally back on track

I can finally say that we are headed in the right direction training-wise! We have started to settle at the new barn quite well, and we are loving it. It’s less stressful to get to and from the stables, and the routines are just going like a dream. Having a riding house really gives me no excuse to not ride, which in return gives me a lot more motivation to go on.

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Until now, he has been ridden every day this year except two(January 1st when I flew to Hamar and yesterday, I was exhausted from work), so we are going strong so far. But what is really incredible is how he is still the same horse – I know, right? Totally weird. But he has so much energy, and his personality is exactly the same. He has so much determination and I just love that about him.

So I can conclude and say that I am really looking forward to the rest of this year. And I will pray to every God and holy creatures that the cancer will not come back. That is the last thing I need after how 2017 went on.

We have also been on a couple hacks so far, and Baldur is loving it. There are so many more hacking possibilities here, and that is of course most of his nature. He even bolted with me last time, but it wasn’t to be mean or anything. I think he just missed being able to go full force. His ears were pricked the whole time and I just took myself the time to slowly get him down to a walk instead of panicking. He did so well and we could walk home with one hand on loose reins.

I will do a stable tour in a little while, hopefully sooner than later! I am so excited to show you the place!

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Photo above: There is absolutely no problem with the flow in trot!

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Photo above: I was not actually expecting and lift or speed in the tölt(it takes a lot of energy), but Baldur had no problem and he gladly went all force without me needing to ask.

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Photo above: No problem with hind leg action, either!

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Moving Baldur to Stall Lehne

Yesterday was a big day for us! We finally moved the horses to a new location; Stall Lehne. We have been excited about this for a couple of month already, and now it’s finally done!

Me and Maja both moved our horses together, as both human and horses are inseparable. Having such a great best friend is definitely something I am grateful for. We spent the whole day in the old barn to clean up after us before our ride arrived. We loaded the horses and set course for the new barn.

It went really smooth and the horses seemed very content, so we decided to check out the riding halls. I was skeptical about Baldur’s response to the mirrors, but I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t bother him as much! The boys did great riding-wise and we could saddle off at ease. Both of them got carrots for their work and were put in their boxes.

A great end to an exciting day!