"Smile! It keeps your brain from falling out when you're frustrated!" - Clinton Anderson (Downunder Horsemanship)

"They say boys never grow up, their toys just get bigger. I say I never grew up, my 'My Little Ponies' just got bigger!" - Me

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love the Rocky side!

 Gotta love Lady's Rocky Mountain Horse half!  She might be only 15 hands and short strided, but she can sure cover some ground on the trails when she gets her groove on!

Memorial Day Parade - May 2004

Tonight we did a little bit of arena work, just some flexing at the walk and more of the clover leaf exercise at the trot.  Then we hit the trails for a short trail ride with three of the big boys at the barn.  One 16.2 hand Quarter Horse and two 16.3 hand Thoroughbreds, and Lady kept up with or ahead of them the whole ride.  And helped show those big boys that the trail isn't that scary of a place to be.  She's such a little steady eddie.

But 15 hands or not, she can definitely cover some ground.  It's not uncommon for Cody to have to do a western jog to keep up with Lady at the walk on the trails.  And Cody's 16 hands and takes one stride to Lady's two!

When I started ponying them together, it took forever to get them both to canter together.  I could move Cody out in a nice english canter, and Lady would just book it at the trot next to her.  I have to push Cody into a hand gallop to finally get Lady to canter too! 

Lady just has a different set of gears I guess!  But then the gaited breeds are known for covering ground, and well, she is half Rocky!

Such a silly girl! - 8-21-10

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wayne's World

Wayne's world lately has consisted of four walls, one with stall bars, and lots of fluffy bedding. He gets a morning and evening view of the barn aisle that might offer a peak into the outside world depending on if one or both barn doors are open. And occasionally getting to have the hay window in the stall bars open so he can hang his head out of his stall. But otherwise, that's about it. Stall rest is definitely not fun.
But really, he seems to be handling it much better now than he originally did. No more nipping me while trying to bulldoze his way out. I think he's getting used to the fact that he's stuck in a stall right now and there's not a whole lot he can do about it.

And it's not like he's never been stall kept before. Honestly, this is the first barn I've kept him at that wasn't of the mentality that "stallions have to be stall kept". Every other barn I've been at has either let him out during the day, then put him in a stall at night. Or kept him stalled almost 24/7 because "stallions can't be trusted outside". And really, it's only in the past year that he's been on complete pasture board. Heck the guy that had him before I got him used to keep him in the pasture 24/7 with the mares in the summer, but come winter, all his horses stood tied in standing stalls 24/7, only getting out of their stalls long enough to get the stall cleaned and get a drink of water once a day.

So Wayne can do stall bound, it's just a matter of getting back in the habit, which he finally seems to be doing. I wish he could go outside, but that bowed tendon says otherwise right now. But at least we have a pretty busy barn. The number of horses and boarders has I think about doubled in size over the last year, so there's always people coming and going throughout the day, so at least there's plenty going on around him to help his mental state. Someone's always going by or stopping to say Hi, both human and horse, which is good, because Wayne is a VERY social critter.

And it looks like he has a stall rest buddy for the next two weeks as well. One of the geldings in one of the stalls across from him managed to jam a piece of wood deep into his frog out in the pasture yesterday that required a vet to sedate him and a farrier to dig it out, resulting in stall rest for two weeks. So, I guess if two horses need to be on stall rest right now, they might as well be on it together, and keep each other company across the aisle. Though I think Wayne is handling stall rest a whole lot better than Dusty right now.

So Wayne seems to be settling in. I had to laugh the other night, I had opened his hay window for a while since the barn was quiet, and he'd been hanging his head out looking around for a while before heading back to work on his haycubes some more. The barn owner came down to do chores and started to shut his hay window for the night, and Wayne popped his head up out of his haycubes and gave her the dirtiest look, as if to say "Don't you shut my window!"

We discovered that the big plastic feed tubs that I normally use for his hay cubes in the pasture was a bad idea to use in his stall for his three daily feedings of hay cubes. He kept kicking bedding into his haycubes as he moved around to see what was going on, then he didn't really want his food once it was full of shavings. And they never remove empty dishes from his stall, they just keep sticking full ones in there, so every night when I'd get down there after work, he'd be kicking around/tripping over 3 empty feed tubs. One, fine, but three, that's asking for trouble. So, I put the feed tubs away, hauled out my stack of buckets for putting his haycubes in, hung a couple of bucket straps, so now there's room to hang at least two buckets of haycubes, and if it ends up being too hard to unhook one empty bucket and replace it with a full one, I suppose I can probably rearrange and make room to just keep hanging buckets three times a day and end up with three haycube buckets hanging in addition to his water bucket and mineral salt bucket when I get down there at night. Holy buckets!

As far as the bowed tendon, that seems to be doing pretty good too. I'm still icing it twice a day, morning and night. Gave up on the frozen veggies though. Found a couple of refreezable cold compress packs that actually stay soft while frozen, so no more mushy, leaky veggies. The packs seem to get SUPER cold though, and it says right on them to cover with a towel before applying. So I hauled out the sewing machine again, and two old wash clothes off the stack of rags, sewed three sides together, put a seam down the middle, stuck a cold pack in each side of my new wash cloth cold pack cover, wrap around leg, secure with a polo wrap, and boom, a cold back that stays put and covers his tendons on both sides from knee to fetlock! Works great. He's less than thrilled about it, but still easier than the bucket of water or veggies method! Though the first day I put it on him, he stood there holding that leg in the air like he was getting ready to paw and looking at me as if to say "Damn that's cold!!!" Oh the things my horses have to put up with.......

While the cold pack was a success, I think the rolled foam I bought was a bit of a fail. It would probably be great for short term use or as a shipping bandage. But after being on for 24 hours, the foam just seemed to crush down too much and let the bandage get loose and slide down a little. Not terribly, but just enough that the double figure eight wrap around his fetlocks for support wasn't giving much support anymore. And he definitely needs that fetlock support right now. So back to the good old leg quilts under his standing wraps, and his bandages are staying snug and supportive again.

So over all, he seems to be doing pretty good. He's walking a little better. There's not much heat, and very little pain response when you palpate the area, that alone is a huge improvement over Saturday. His fetlock isn't nearly as dropped as it was when he first injured himself. The support wraps definitely help, but his fetlock isn't nearly as dropped now with the wraps off either. His whole tendon area was swollen from knee to fetlock, and you couldn't really see the bow, but could find it by feel. But now you can see where the bow is located, and while the bow is still swollen, the tendon area below the bow is finally a little less swollen. And we've been able to back his bute down to a half a gram morning and night for now, and hopefully back him down to a half a gram a day soon. He's eating great and seems to be in good spirits.

So hopefully we're on the right track. Another two weeks of stall rest and then we'll see where we're at. Still just taking it day by day. He is still laying down some (though not remotely as much as he did last Saturday when he reinjured himself), but here and there I'm not worried about, probably good to get off his feet and let his legs rest a bit, and that should decrease over time as things heal. I felt bad last night because I had put him back in his stall with his cold back on while I took care of my mares. And just as I was getting ready to get him back out of his stall to get the ice pack off and put his standing wraps back on, he decided to lay down. So I had to go in there and coax him back up, and he's looking at me as if to say, "But I just laid down!!"

He's definitely not in the clear yet, and I need to keep that in mind, we need to take this day by day. But hopefully if we can keep him quiet, and with lots of good thoughts and prayers, he'll stay on the road to recovery. His spirit is definitely there, now if we can get his body back there too!

Wayne - 5-15-10

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pig Pen

Brought Cody in from the pasture tonight, and she was pretty much head to toe caked on mud.  Oh yeah, when Cody does mud, she cakes it on REAL good! 

Kate, one of the boarders at the barn that lives in the apartment there and does riding lessons, had just got done with one of her lessons, and the two little girls had just finished up untacking and brushing out Lady and Kate's horse Cheyenne when they noticed a very mud covered Cody. 

They were like aren't you going to brush her out?  I'm looking at Cody going...ah....no.  I'm not touching her!  Maybe tomorrow after some of the mud falls off.  Yes, bad horse mom I know, but I'm also allergic to horses (yeah, fun, and I own three of them, never used to be until a couple years ago), so brushing that mud mess would have me paying for it for a couple days.  No thanks, Cody can stay muddy!

So they wanted to brush her!  You don't want to brush her, believe me!  It's not fun!  But for two horse sick little girls, a filthy Cody was no big deal.  So their mom's said yes, and they went to work.  It was all they could do to reach the top of her back and rump, she's a little tall for them, but they didn't care.  They curried and curried and curried, and there stood Cody with the most comical look on her face, a little girl on each side brushing up a storm, and this cloud of dust rolling around the three of them that made me think of Pig Pen from the Peanuts!  But she was nice and clean when they got done!!

The girls with Lady (left) and Cheyenne (right) at one of the fun shows at the barn this year.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lady and Wayne

Lady girl got some cute new polos recently, blue and purple flowers, so cute for my sweet Lady.  Finally got a chance to use them today, so had to take a couple pictures!  She looks oh so thrilled!

But we had a nice ride today.  The weather was just perfect!  73 in October?!?  I'll take it!  Didn't work her too hard though, considering she's pretty fuzzy already and I didn't want her soaked with sweat.  But we had a nice ride together alone in the outdoor arena.  Well, almost alone, Cody was tied outside the arena waiting while we rode.....moral support.....pinning her ears at Lady every time we rode past.....some moral support there Cody!

But we worked on some more of the Clinton Anderson exercises.  She's finally starting to trot the clover leaf pattern fairly decent, starting to wait for me to tell her which direction to turn rather than always trying to pick the direction she wants to turn.  Worked on more vertical flexion at the walk and staying flexed at the walk a little longer.  She even walked some complete 10 meter circles while collected!  Major accomplishment for Lady girl!  And worked on the canter a little bit.  Finally got a nice slow canter both directions again, even if it was only for a short bit before she wanted to rush again.  But that's an improvement over our last ride that we worked on the canter!  Good girl Lady girl!  She'll play lesson horse tomorrow night, then hopefully I can ride her again Tuesday or Wednesday.

As for Wayne, he had a major set back yesterday.  He spent Friday night outside, but I guess even the small area I had roped off for him wasn't small enough.  When my husband and I went down to take care of him in the morning, he was very sore and not moving very well.  His leg was hot and very sore when palpalted.  He'd obviously reinjured his leg.  So we ice and buted him, got him settled in a stall, and I'd be back later to check on him. 

But I got a phone call from Jesse, the vet student at the barn, that Wayne had been laying down most of the morning.  He'd get up for short periods, then lay right back down, and didn't have much interest in his haycubes.  So I headed back down to the barn, and pulled Wayne's wraps off so Jesse could take a look at his leg.  He came to the same conclusion I had, that Wayne had reinjured that leg.  And we decided it was probably best to just keep him on stall rest for now, since even though his area outside is small, he's too busy worrying about everything going on around him and keeping an eye on the place to pay attention to the fact that his leg hurts.

So I spent most of the day in tears yesterday, just sitting in Wayne's stall with him, just spending time with my little man, holding his head in my lap when he laid down, just sitting with him when he did get up to nibble at something to eat or to see what was going on in the barn.  He laid down most of the day, and was laying down when I came back last night to check on him, but he did get up and eat his grain and let me ice and rewrap his legs. 

Wayne having a peek outside the barn today.
I was affraid I was going to have to make that decision today when I went down to check on him this morning.  But he was on his feet and bright eyed when I walked in, and had finished all of his evening haycubes and the afternoon ones from the day before.  He'd obviously been moving around during the night, since his bedding was all pushed around the edges of his stall.  And he was walking much better this morning.  No heat in his leg when I unwrapped it and no pain reaction when palpated.  And he dug right into his breakfast. 

When I went back this afternoon, he'd been laying down once before I got there, but he was on his feet the rest of the day in his stall.  Since my husband went hunting, I spent most of the day at the barn, fussing with the furkids and keeping an eye on Wayne.  He seemed happy and back to his normal self today.  A complete turn around from the day before.  So I guess we'll just continue with stall rest and see how it goes day by day.  Thankfully our barn is a pretty busy place anymore, so at least there will be lots of activity going on in the barn to help keep his mind busy.

When you don't have no bows, improvise! 

And keep up with the icing and wrapping.  Since I rarely have to wrap Wayne's legs, I don't have very many pony sized leg quilts, and the horse size ones I use on my mares are just way too big for him.  So to keep from having to go do horse laundry every couple days, and since foam no bows work so much better than quilts, I made a trip to JoAnn Fabrics and bought a 2 1/2 yard roll of 1/2 foam, and cut out a set of no bows for him!  So far, they've worked pretty well!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Lead Ropes!

Ordered some new lead ropes for the furkids a while back and they finally arrived today!  Navy and light blue!  So pretty!  Couldn't wait to use them tonight!  They were well over due for something new, since Lady and Cody have had the same nylon halters and lead ropes since I got both of the girls almost 8 years ago!  Their halters used to be royal blue, not the faded ragged light blue they appear to be now!  And Wayne still had his original lead rope, though his original halter got retired a year ago when the snap on it got bent, but the one I replaced it with was his old nylon one he used to wear at shows, so he was definitely due for something new too! 

Lady and Cody - 10-20-10
Wayne looked sharp with his new leather halter and finally a new lead rope too!  The lead ropes looked great on Lady and Cody too, now they just need new halters.  I plan on getting them both leather halters just like Wayne's at some point in the next month or two.  Maybe for Christmas.  lol!

On the Wayne front, I'm still worried about the old man.  He was moving a little better, but I think he's back slid just a bit when I saw him today.  He's been moving a lot better than last week, but today, just not quite as good as he has been, and he seemed a little blue.  He was definitely getting upset about being in a stall.  Pacing a lot and trying to push his way out the door.  When he tried to push his way out on Monday morning, and nipped me in the side when I blocked his way and wouldn't let him push through me, I knew he was getting pretty upset about being in.  He NEVER bites, he knows better. 

Wayne - 10-20-10
So Monday night after work I got the step in posts and temporary fencing out, and roped off a very small area in his pasture not much bigger than his stall, so he could go back outside, but still not move around too much.  He was so happy to be back outside and back with his buddies, the two geldings in the pasture next door.  Though he's back in tonight, since they're calling for rain, and he can't get to his shelter right now and I don't want his standing wraps getting soaked standing out in the rain.  Hopefully I can rope off his shelter this weekend, so if it's raining, he can go out there in a small area.  But we'll see.

So, we'll keep taking it day by day and see how it goes.  Made a rice hot pad out of a couple of wash clothes and some rice to heat up in the microwave, and wrap over his tendons.  Works really well!  We're at the point of alternating between warm and cold therapy, so it's a bag of frozen peas or corn in the morning and a warm rice pad in the evening!  lol!  Much easier than trying to get Studly-Do-Right to keep his leg in a bucket of warm or cold water!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Worried about Wayne

What a week......I'm very worried about Wayne.  Thursday I found him in his pasture rocking back in the founder stance trying to get weight off his front feet.  Upon inspection, it wasn't founder, but rather his good front leg had a very swollen fetlock and tendons, big hard bump in the tendons between knee and fetlock that were painful to the touch, and everything was hot.  So the reason for the founder stance was he didn't want to put weight on his injured leg, but didn't really want to put all his weight on his other front leg with the bad knee, so he was rocking back on his hind legs trying to get weight off his front legs.  Looks like a bowed tendon.  I'm crushed.  A bowed tendon is bad enough, but a bowed tendon on a horse that already has a bad knee on his other leg is a disaster. 

Wayne looking good in his brand new leather
halter yesterday! - 10-15-10

So we slowly made our way in the barn, got him started on bute, cold hosed that leg, then dried everything good and put a dmso/furizone wrap on, put him in standing wraps, and on stall rest he went.  He was so dumpy and depressed and not wanting to eat.  I cried.  I may be facing a decision I'll never be truly ready to make, but I can't make him suffer either just because I'm not ready to loose my old man.

My husband (wow, still getting used to saying that, lol) and I went down to check on him Friday morning before work, and while he was in better spirits and more alert, he was still horribly lame, and doing the founder stance a little.  But his appetite was back, as he'd finished the two tubs of haycubes that had been in his stall sometime during the night, and dug into his morning grain and haycubes.

Last night he was moving a wee bit better and still eating good.  Slapped a bag of frozen corn over his tendons and put a standing wrap over it to keep it in place, and took him out to graze a bit while he cooked his corn.  But he was a little too excited to be outside and see the other horses, and more interested in strutting his stuff regardless of how bad his leg hurt, so back in the barn we went. 

This morning he was walking better and pacing in his stall.  No more founder stance, but that leg is definitely still ouchy.  Put his frozen corn ice pack on his leg again, and attempted to go out and graze again.  He was more interested in the other horses than grazing, but at least studly contained his excitement a little better this time, so we went for a very slow very short walk down the driveway.  He's definitely got his personality back, and was into everything while I was cleaning his stall and had him tied to one of the cross ties in the barn aisle........I finally had to shorten the cross tie so he couldn't go very far or I was going to be there all morning trying to clean his stall out, stopping every few scoops to go get him out of something.......

"Wayne, get out of there, that's not your beet pulp!  Leave the cat food alone!  Blake isn't going to share his hay!  Leave that lid alone, that's not your beet pulp!!  See, rice bran taste bad, that's what you get for getting into something that's not yours, now don't take that lid off again, go eat your hay cubes!"

Yeah, he's like a little kid sometimes!  It felt good to laugh this morning though, and have him into his usual mischief.  But I am still worried about him.  Bowed tendons take a long time to heal, and can easily happen again.  And a horse needs at least three good legs to stand on, so to have a bad knee on one leg and a bowed tendon on the other just worries me sick.  I know most people would put him down, but at the same time I have a really hard time playing God when he seems alert and happy (ok, he's not thrilled with being in a stall and voices it rather loudly at times) and he's eating good again and seems to be responding to treatment. 

So we'll take it one day at a time.  Stall rest for the rest of the weekend, then see what next week brings.  Heading back down there with his frozen corn ice pack again soon.  I'm sure he'll be thrilled.

Somebody slept good last night. - 10-16-10

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weight Games

With all the wedding stuff going on over the last 3 weeks, I really haven't had time to do much with my horses other than run down to the barn, feed them, make sure no one's hurt, clean their feet out, and head home. I just haven't had time to pay attention to all the little details like I normally do. (I'm usually a pretty fussy horse mom!) But with the wedding and honeymoon behind us, I finally have a week of getting back to normal and spending a little bit more time with my furkids, and what do I discover......

Leave the furkids alone for 3 weeks and their weight goes all over the place!! I have fat, I have skinny, and I have slightly plump! Maybe not as noticeable to the eye, but the weight tape tells no lies!

I never used to weight tape my horses much, but about two years ago I started weight taping all three of them regularly to prove a point to the barn owner where I board, because numbers don't lie. And since then, I have continued to do so fairly often and kept a notebook logging dates and weights of all three of the furkids. Which has been handy, because now I have an idea of where they should be in the summer and where they should be in the winter, and have a better idea of when they are gaining or losing weight before I really notice the weight gain or loss.

Really taking a look at the furkids this week, I knew Wayne looked skinny, and the girls looked fat, so last night it was weight tape time.......

Cody, I'm not too worried about. Yes, she's plumped up some, she's got a crease down her back, but we're coming into winter, and she's at the weight she was going into the last two winters, so no big deal there. She's within her normal weight range, so she's my slightly plump girl.

Lady, well, she's always fat. All she has to do is look at food, and she gains weight. Some of it is just her broodmare belly that makes her look pregnant even when she's not. Not much we can do about that. Six babies in a row starting at age 3 doesn't do much for a girls figure. Before the whole craziness of the wedding kicked into full gear, Lady was at a pretty decent weight for Lady. But then she went from a pasture with little grass, to lots of grass, and went from being ridden 3 or 4 days a week, to 1 day a week, and boy has she turned into a butter ball!

I decided to ride her for a little bit last night, and at first I thought someone had bit her by her shoulder while I was brushing her out because she had a swollen spot there. But then I took a step back and really took a good look at her, and no, it wasn't a bite mark, her fat pads are all filled in. Nice fat deposits on both shoulders, around her tail head, and nice cresty deposit on her neck. My next clue was having to let my cinch out a hole, which I've never had to do with her since I bought this saddle least year. Oh Lady, you silly girl.......

So after our ride, I hauled out the weight tape, and yikes, Lady is "30 pounds" heavier than she's ever been over the last two years, even when she was at her fattest on spring grass!! No wonder she was huffing and puffing after only trotting two laps around the arena! I want her a little heavier going into winter, but this is just a little too heavy, especially when the fat pads are showing! And that's all grass! Because she only gets one pound of grain a day right now (soon to be a half a pound), just enough to mix her joint supplements in to get them down her. Thankfully the grass is getting eaten down fast in that pasture, so that will definitely help, and getting ridden more now will help too. So I'm not too worried about her, she'll slim down a little. But turn my back for a while, and she definitely got rollie pollie!

Wayne is the one I feel really bad about. Since he's individual turnout, the grass in his pasture is limited. In the summer there's usually enough grass to support him, but with fall coming on, the grass is getting less and less. I've been giving him some soaked hay cubes morning and night to supplement the dwindling grass. But looking at his weight, it's obvious the grass ran out at some point, and the hay cubes he's been getting aren't enough to keep his weight up. He's definitely skinny. Not horribly so, but he definitely needs to gain some weight before the snow flies. I feel bad, I should have paid closer attention over these past weeks. But he's up to his winter ration of hay cubes now of three square meals a day, so he should be fat and happy again by the time the snow starts to fly. Poor old man.