Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The first half of today was very poopy. Horses poop a lot, and I cleaned up quite a bit of it from the boys' corral with the tractor, just in time before we got our first rain of the season. I made quite a few trips back and forth, back and forth, with the tractor. A lot of crap blew back in my face as the wind came up. Our garden will be happy next year, after this stuff breaks down and becomes black gold.

When I was done I had a Gardenburger for lunch while I read my book (War and Peace - does anyone know if anything good ever happens in that book? John makes fun of me, saying it's Russian literature as if that answers the question. But I'd like something good to happen to some of the good people in the book. I'm a little over halfway through and the part I was hopeful would be happy was destroyed...) then I had a much needed bath (continuing to read), eventually got somewhat caught up on my housework, filled some troughs, and organized my feed area a little better. We all went out to dinner with my in-laws tonight. It was nice to visit with them again and talk about the kids going back to school.

Enough of the boring details... Here are some pictures I forgot to share, from our ride last week with the kids.

Levi (the buckskin) has the cutest face in this one:

Sox's face is priceless here:

My kiddo is so suave.

The End

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My dad has to head back home in a couple days so we took a ride out in the mountains today. It was a good ride with some firsts for Scout. First we saw cattle, and he thought they were pretty neat. He wanted to get right up there and play with them. Of course, we live next door to cattle so it's not like he hasn't seen them before. Then we ran into a very large group of horses and riders with an aggressive dog. The dog had no interest in us, it went straight for Huckleberry, but it did run right by us and Scout kept his cool. He was way more interested in the other horses. (Poor Huck headed for the hills and it took him a while to get brave enough to come back to us. Just call him, "Huck, the Cowardly Cowdog.")

Scout also went over a trickle of water (jumped the Grand Canyon) and over and through a lot of natural trail obstacles on some narrow trails. He took it all like a horse who wasn't raised in a flat, treeless pasture. We're going to have to work on the water crossings though...

I think there may be something wrong with this video. If it doesn't work within a couple hours I'll post it through YouTube.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I don't have any pictures, but I had a great time with Scout today. We finally got around to doing some more ground driving. He wasn't doing too hot at first, but when I got my buggy whip and made him walk at a normal pace (instead of turtling along) he suddenly started paying attention and responding a lot better. Eventually I opened the round pen gate and took him out in the field so we could practice some straight lines. When we were done I was so tempted to saddle up and get on, he was being so good. But it's not time yet.

I'm in the process of trying to find a good padding option for Tonka. Strangely, he has perfect sweat patterns with the saddle we use, but the area behind his shoulder blades is atrophying and he's now starting to develop what feels like lumps of scar tissue on the bottom/back of his shoulder. I'm considering 3 different saddle pads. A custom Skito pad, a BioFit Classic Equine pad (it has great reviews but I'm not sure because I don't like my Classic Equine pad because of its poor quality fleece), and the Chris Cox pad. None are cheap but the Chris Cox one is REALLY expensive. My dad is giving me an awesome birthday present if that's what I end up getting. For now I have made my own shim by cutting up an old neoprene pad. We'll see how that works. I rode in it earlier with no additional padding, and it was good, but not perfect. I think I'm going to go out now and try it with a pad and see what happens.

Bella is still doing well although I can still feel heat in her right front foot.

I can't get my photos to load! I want to send a picture of Tonka to the people at Skito and find out what they recommend...

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Inland Empire Mustang Horse Club would like to invite you on a ride Saturday, September 11, at Heyburn State Park outside Plummer, Idaho. Not far from Spokane or my area. A nice, in-between spot. Foot in the stirrup at 10AM, bring a lunch and we'll eat along the trail.

Go to this link and click on the "Maps and Directions" tab in the center of the page if you want to know how to get there or what the trails are like. http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/heyburn.aspx

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We had a lovely little ride today. My nephew got a new horse, kind of. The horse used to be his big sisters' horse, and they had given Dino to someone else in 4H, and now he's back. They're really excited, he's a good old horse. (His name is pronounced like Dyno, not like Deeno.)


My sister, my dad, and my nephew in front of me.
Next time Liam will come with me and ride Soxy. I wasn't sure if he wanted to ride so I left Soxy home with Bella, thinking it would be better for Bella not to get excited. Liam was so upset, turns out he did want to ride really bad. Next time I'll let Scout keep Bella company and the boys can be cowboys together on their old horses. That'll be lots of fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bella is even better today. I had to think a minute to decide that her feet are still too warm, but they're close to normal.

That's about all I have to report. Have a great day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bella is much better this morning! Her feet were cooler, although still warm. She's walking well, but then she has been ever since we started on Bute. I'm hoping we're in the home stretch.

I've decided to duct tape pads onto her feet. Later I will temporarily trade my Easyboot Epics for my sister's regular Easyboots, which don't have the neoprene gaiter that goes over the pastern and holds in heat. I won't leave the boots on 24 hrs a day, they'll have time to dry out after water treatments, and I'm thinking of putting a diaper and some powder in there to so the hooves will stay dry.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bella is hanging in there. Hooves are still pretty hot but she's spunky and not very lame. Of course she's still on drugs. The hives on her face are mostly cleared up but not completely.

I dug the hole to stand her in while I hose her feet. It was hard. The ground is very hard right now. I started with the tractor and finished with a shovel and pickaxe, with my son's enthusiastic help. :)

She didn't like standing in the hole, and she especially didn't like being hosed off while in the hole, but she did it with only one false start.

The water slowed to a trickle and I realized there was something wrong up at the cistern. That's where I had the opportunity to make a new friend. He's very cute, but my phone refused to focus on him.

Due to the lack of water, we did the ice water routine again tonight. I think I'll alternate ice water and hose/mud treatment.

She's such a good girl, standing in her ice water for 20 minutes while I sit and read. I do have to put a foot back in now and then. It's like it gets to cold for comfort and she carefully lifts her foot out.

You can see the most recently broken open hives in the above picture, next to the halter on her face. Those are the ones that are still bumpy.

My Wonder Mud was less than wonderful. It didn't stay packed in there long. So I now have a dilemma. Duct tape pads on, therefore trapping heat, or let her be in her soft footing and with the water treatment she'll have mud in there some of the time. Or I could buy bedding and keep her penned in a smaller area, but movement and circulation is important too. So many options! What would you do to support her coffin bone? Shoeing her isn't one of the options.
I'm so worn out after yesterday, walking back and forth to take care of Bella, and worrying the rest of the time, that I actually canceled a trail ride today. Besides, I have a lot to get done.

Today my plan is to get some clay from the creek to pack Bella's hooves with. The boots and pads held in so much heat it was scary. I have never felt a hoof that hot. She needs sole support though, so I'm going to try the clay. Then I'm going to get the tractor out and dig a shallow, horse sized hole, so I can cold hose her legs while she stands in it, and it will turn into a nice, cool mud hole. I've been icing her feet in 4 buckets (I need to get a picture of that) which works great but doesn't go up the leg. I think some cold water farther up will be beneficial. I also need to move some hay feeders into their area because the soaked hay picks up dirt when they eat it off the ground.

Update: I wandered off and forgot to publish this, so now I've made my Wonder Mud (clay and topsoil mixed into a thick goop) and put it in her hooves. She trotted up to the fence as I left. I'll take that as a sign she's not feeling too bad.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The vets say I'm doing all the right things, just keep it up. Bella is happy and chipper in her padded Easyboots.

I don't know if I speculated too broadly before, but I want to clarify that I have NO reason to think she had a big worm load. I saw no evidence of it before or after I wormed her. I just thought that if she did, the toxins released could have made matters worse. I don't like the idea of a daily wormer in most circumstances. But I do worm regularly, and rotate the chemicals I use. I am considering looking for a different option for wormer for Bella now that this has happened. I remember that the Equine Cushings website had listed something about wormer being bad for horses with metabolic problems. I'll have to look that up again since I don't remember the details or the specific wormers mentioned.

I had started to panic thinking the wormer was going to kill her, but after talking to two vets I think it may have just been the thing to set off a laminitis attack that was already started and just wasn't visible yet. The only strange thing I can't explain are the lumps on her jaws. They got worse and some are open and oozing. The vet said Benadryl was a good idea.

Anywhoo... That's the up to the minute info. I'm heading out to see how she's doing.
Bella is having a laminitis attack. I thought it was odd the other day when I trimmed her that she seemed to have trouble standing for me, like something hurt and she could only hold a foot up for so long. At the time I wondered if it was her stifles, or even just flies bothering her. But yesterday it was obvious something was wrong. She's lame on all four feet. Her digital pulse is pretty strong but at a normal rate (44), her hooves are pretty hot. She walks okay but it's uncomfortable. Standing was uncomfortable for her before the bute, she was constantly shifting her weight around. She's not lying down. She will pretty easily allow me to lift a hoof but she needs a break after about a minute holding it up.

I'm treating her with bute, ice baths for her feet, soaked hay to remove the sugars, epsom salt as an emergency magnesium supplement (I'll get something better ASAP), and her hooves are padded to support the sole and coffin bone.

She also has some strange lumps under her skin, most notably along the sides of her jaw.

So I'm wondering if this is a chemical/toxic reaction to the wormer I gave her the other day. If there were a lot of worms (I never saw any evidence of any and I was looking) their deaths add toxins to the system as well. That and the fact that she's too fat and obviously predisposed to metabolic issues just adds another reason as to why she might founder. I think the wormer probably just tipped the scale in the wrong direction, and she was probably on the verge of founder anyway. She'll need better feed management in the future.

This is a good lesson in something I knew but didn't practice - don't let your horses get too fat, and when the neck crest gets hard you're in the danger zone. She has been off pasture and losing weight, but I shouldn't have had her on pasture so much and allowed the weight gain. So now I have 4 easy keepers and one slightly hard keeper. I think I'd much rather have a hard keeper than an easy keeper. Or better yet, a trouble-free horse! I'm not sure there is such a thing.

Oh, I do have some good news though. My sister says she's never seen a young horse that didn't have ascarids and she wouldn't worry about it at all. (She's had and cared for a LOT of younsters, since they run a boarding facility). Horses develop an immunity as they age and most any wormer will kill them. My vet advised worming them again in 3 weeks and again in 6 weeks, with whatever is cheapest, Ivermectin, Panacur, or Strongid.

Another good news is that Scout's facial marks are bite marks, not a fungus. Thank goodness I don't have to bathe his face.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When I went out to feed this morning, Tonka's eye was totally fine. Who knows what these horses do when we're not looking... I'm guessing either a sting of some sort or he bumped his eye. I'm very glad it got better so quick. I've dealt with a few eye issues before (in five different horses if my count is right) and I've become pretty good at medicating them, but I'd rather not if I don't have to.

Other than that, on the horsey front, all I have to report is that Bella had a pedicure today. This is the toughest time of year for hoof trimming. Their hooves are so hard. They're also starting to exfoliate a lot of dead sole and it's a lot of work to help it out of there, plus they seem to be a bit tender on their bare soles for a few days if you try to take them out of the dirt and down the road. Luckily Bella doesn't have any work scheduled in her near future. Although it is tempting to have her and Scout take turns on the ponying trips out to the mountains.

This post at the 7MSNRanch made me think of a picture I took a couple years ago, so I thought I'd share it. Scout is such a funny guy.
Speaking of Scout, there's a 2 year old on Craigslist that I suspect might be his brother. This link will only be active until he sells, of course, but check him out. It doesn't say he's a mustang, but the age is right and he sure looks like he could be related.

And speaking of Craigslist, there's a wonderful donkey on there right now who is really torturing me. Liam wants a donkey bad after meeting Peaches, and of course I've wanted one for a long, long time. Liam was counting change this afternoon for a good hour, but didn't come up with even a quarter of the purchase price. He also made many promises about the care he'd give to his donkey. It is extremely tempting... I really need to quit looking at Craigslist.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I shouldn't have been so fixated on eyes in my previous post...
Poor Tonka. I don't know what he did. I don't see any signs that his actual eye is hurt, so that's good.

**Evening update - his eye is much better tonight. I had rinsed it with saline and I put some antibiotic eyedrops in it tonight for good measure. I think it'll be fine soon. Either there was something in there and it flushed out, or more likely he bumped it or got stung by something.**
Scout went on his second trail outing today. I hadn't seen that I had a phone message, so I didn't know Melissa wasn't going to be able to make it until I got to the trailhead and she called my cell phone. So we went out all alone! I haven't done that before, but I'm going to try to do it more often. It was really peaceful and relaxing.

I was going to delete this first picture until I realized how interesting Tonka's face is. He has a completely different expression on each side. Evil Eye and calm, uncaring eye.

As you can see the Evil Eye didn't work.

Finally a decent pose.

He had the cutest look on his face for this next picture, with both ears locked on me, curious what I was doing with my phone/camera. Of course as soon as I clicked to take the picture he moved. There is another interesting eye thing to note here. His right eye (on your left) is the one that was kicked when he was only a few days old. The only lasting difference I've noted is that the eye is kind of pulled in, flatter to the face than the other eye. It also waters sometimes. But he sees fine with it. All I had to do was move my hand while ponying him on that side and he'd move back (he was feeling kinda trotty when Tonka really moved out).
(I think he has a fungus on his face, going to scrub him with betadine later)

We did do some trotting when the surface allowed. We had to wait for the gravel to give way to dirt. Scout trots with Tonka really nicely while being ponied. He knows the voice cue "trot" with two clucks, so he moves right up into a trot with Tonka and I don't have to worry about any jerking on the rope.

Now on to something gross and worrisome:
I've never seen these in my horses before. I looked them up, they're ascarids, also called roundworms. I'm not sure how I need to proceed with wormers at what interval, so I called my vet and he'll call me back when he gets a minute. I found one website that said to stop the life cycle, worm every 60 days with either Ivermectin or Quest or double dose with Panacur. I don't know if I can use Quest that often. It did the trick this time, for sure, but I don't want to poison my horse. I did pick up his poop from the trailhead and bring it home with me, like every responsible horseman should. I had left my poop fork home so had to put it in a plastic bag, like with dog poop. That's one big puppy poopoo bag!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scout's first trip out on the trail was AWESOME! He couldn't have been better. Melissa and Gypsy went with us and we had a nice relaxing hour and a half of riding. I'm sure she was relieved that I didn't take her out for a long ride again.

Scout has now had 3 days off thanks to a family trip and pure laziness on my part today. These weekend camping trips wear me out and it takes a little time for me to get back in the groove. This heat is really sapping the energy out of me too. I got a fair amount of housework done today though. It really needed to be done. I also got the horses wormed. They loved me for that. Quest gel has got to be nasty if it tastes as bad as it smells. Another thing I did today was kind of naughty. I bid on a Myler bit on eBay. Not much, so I'm sure I'll be outbid, but I'd really like to have a nice gentle bit for both of my boys. We'll see, maybe I'll get lucky.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scout's training is moving right along.

I just love my boys.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My portly youngster tried on his corset today.
Haha, just kidding. I borrowed a surcingle and some other gear from my sister but I was too lazy to do anything other than try the surcingle on him tonight.

Speaking of fat horses, did you know they're more apt to get navicular? It makes sense, considering they're carrying too much weight on their poor feet. And why do I bring up navicular? I spend a good part of the day today at good Dr. Rustebakke's in Clarkston while my sister had her big paint horse evaluated. They trotted him around, did a nerve block, did some radiographs, and surprised us all by saying he's in the beginning stages of navicular. He has big, healthy hooves with nice wide heels and healthy frogs. Why would he get navicular? He has been a big fatty a lot of his life (he's only 6). But who knows if that has anything to do with it. So he can't be ridden for 4 weeks and he's on bute to stop the inflammation. That means I can borrow my sister's Corrector pad and try it out. But I'd rather her horse was sound. Hopefully after the corrective trimming, rest, and treatment, he'll be just fine. The vet even went so far as to say it might be reversible. I sure hope so.

Oh, and it turns out Bella's stifle surgery isn't going to cost much at all. Yay! I think I'm going to wait until it cools down a bit though, so that she won't get overheated in our metal shed during her recovery time.

I also delivered Gypsy to my friend Melissa today and we spent some good time talking and visiting with the equids out there. I adore her donkey, Peaches, and so does Liam. He wants a donkey now and I've wanted one for years, so maybe we can gang up on John and convince him how badly we need another pet.

Gypsy just settled right in and started eating grass. I think she likes it there. :)

It's been a busy day. I wish it was over but I have a few more things to do. So I'll see y'all later!

A little walkabout.

I do walk him on the other side about half the time, I just happened to take all of these at the end of our walk when I was on his left.

He has stopped fussing with the bit almost completely. Perhaps it's time to start ground driving? I think so! And I have our first trail ride scheduled for Friday. With him as a pony horse, not riding, of course. Tomorrow morning I may take him for a hike but I'm not sure what I'll do with my lazy kid if I do that.

So far I've been working with Scout every day and it's been wonderful! Hopefully I can keep it up and not get sidetracked.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Scout's work last night consisted of a hoof trim and then just standing at the trailer while I did some work with Tonka. Just working on softening since we've been doing so much trail riding and little or no training.

And here are some pictures from the garden. We've been harvesting things here and there. It's wonderful to have a garden! I'm glad John insisted and did all the work. Next year I think we'll plant quite a bit more.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"I don't like this metal thing in my mouth!"

Scout wore a bit for the first time yesterday. Actually I think I may have slipped a bit in his mouth for a second some time a couple years back, but of course he didn't remember it.
He immediately slipped his tongue over the bit so I snugged it up a bit more. Then I asked him to follow me around a little. He didn't start to settle until I took the reins and lead rope off and went out of the round pen to let him graze. He's such a busy little goof that I don't want to leave him alone while he's wearing it. He'd be sure to get in trouble. But with time he'll get used to it.

Here's a rather unflattering illustration of why I don't want to ride him yet. He's fat and his back isn't strong.

Do you have any exercises you recommend for a young horse to get them into shape for riding? I'd like to target his core muscles and get that back stronger. My plan is to start working with him most every day, and either do groundwork or pony him down the trail. Since I can't haul out every day he'll have to work more at home than anywhere else, which limits the distances we can do. I'm hoping to be able to take him out on the trail twice a week but that may be difficult until school starts.

Also, do you find it's beneficial to get into a routine of working at the same time every day? I know a lot of trainers recommend it, saying horses are creatures who thrive on routine. I'm not good at routine but I'm thinking it might be best for both of us, mainly to keep me accountable.

He's such a neat horse, I'm excited to start spending more time with him. His weaknesses are that he's slow to respond and pushy. When I ask for something, he won't give it to me right away, I have to get after him. He's the same way with the other horses, not just me. I'm hoping to get him responding to less pressure and speed up his reaction time. He also needs to quit lugging on the halter and getting in my space (he does that especially when he's feeling insecure). Not that he does it all the time. His good points are that he's not reactive, he takes to new things quickly, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body and he's real personable. He's also really lazy but I'm not sure whether to put that under good or bad points. :) I'm sure it will be a little bit of both.

Friday, August 06, 2010

"Let's just see what's around that next ridge." "But it looks like we're almost to the top, let's keep going." "I think the trail's going to turn and go down right ahead, what if we turn back now and we're almost to the road we want?"

Those are the things I said today that led me on a 6 1/2 hour trail ride rather than the leisurely few hours I'd planned.

I have Melissa to thank for all the wonderful pictures in this post.

Here's Gypsy, Huckleberry, and Dixie. Aren't they adorable?

The view from atop Mount Margaret. We were on top of the world! And we could see Melissa's house from there.
I love the lighting in this picture:

Here's my hot dog wallowing like a pig in the first mud he found.

He loves to burrow his nose into the water or mud. I'm glad he comes clean before we get back to the trailer!

Here's the best picture of all! Gypsy with her new owner! I am so incredibly glad Melissa wants her, because I know Gypsy will be in a wonderful home with a very caring woman.

Now for some other big news that I couldn't bring myself to write about until now - Dove went to her new home yesterday. She has a nice family to take care of her and they're going to train her as a trail horse. I was so happy to see how excited they were to get her home, with her pretty purple halter and new lead rope, and the whole family all gathered around to greet her. It was great.

A HUGE thank you goes out to all of you who donated toward her care! She got the second (third?) chance she deserved. I had hoped to charge an adoption fee and pay back some of the money that was donated, but I ended up giving her to her new people. So you all just get a great big cyber-hug and a pat on the back for saving the life of a very worthy individual.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I ponied Dove for the first time today, and she did great! I rubbed my leg all over her, petted her a lot and waved my hand over her back. She made an ugly face about the bumping and rubbing at first but she relaxed pretty quick. We also opened the gate and went out of the round pen, around the horse trailer, through the ditch and over the hill and back. She is so smart and level-headed.
Two people came to look at her today and hopefully a third will come tomorrow. One family wants her but I want to meet this other lady first if possible. However it turns out, I think she'll probably be gone by the end of the week. Which will be sad, but good too I guess... I really shouldn't work with her anymore, I like her too much.

Speaking of sad partings, I am going to offer Gypsy for sale. So if you know anyone who needs an old trail/pack horse, send them my way. She is a great a trail horse, not an arena horse or a dink around the field at home horse. If she has a butt to follow down the trail just about any level of rider could ride her, but I wouldn't put a young kid on her unless you were ponying her, just in case. I doubt she'd do anything but kids just don't have good reflexes sometimes. She doesn't spook at anything, which is really refreshing after riding a horse like Tonka who actively searches for something to spook at.

I know I already posted this picture of Gypsy but she looks so gorgeous I had to post it again: