Monday, October 29, 2012

No news is....well, no news!

Seriously, its been a slow week or so, horsewise.

I have been in work/hell, so riding has been taking a backseat.  Last Thursday I finally accepted that I was not going to be able to get off work early enough to get a ride in.  So, I hauled C over to Shawn's Dad's farm so Shawn could ride him for me.  No sense in letting all of our conditioning and training go to waste!

I dropped the boy off before work and picked him up after.   Yes, my horse went to Day Care. Hey, if dogs can do it! 

The sun was starting to fade as I pulled in so I quickly loaded up, and got a little update on C's progress.

Cartman was good but had two significant coughs.  Uh oh.  Shawn rode him lightly but didn't want to get the boy too sweaty. 

Once home I checked C's temp.  It was 100.5 still within acceptable range.  I'm ashamed to say I don't know what Cartman's average temp is.  He has been a remarkably healthy horse, so I've had little reason to check it.  Bad owner.

I had noticed C was a little less "animated" than normal, not picking on his big brother quite so much as he usually does.  But he has been eating very well and has no nasal discharge either.

I decided better safe than sorry and gave C the weekend off.  His temp remained at 100.5 until Sunday when it was 99.5  I don't have enough data points to determine if this may be his normal temp fluctuations, or if indeed he had a slight bit of fever.

So, the plan is to continue checking his temp every few days to get a baseline and we will resume riding on Thursday.  Its kind of nice to have a little "break" anyway:)

On another note, I was thrilled to see Amigo is making a new 100g fill 1200D turnout!  I found one and ordered it on Ebay for $110 and $11 shipping.  Still $30 less than the local Wilco wanted for it:)  These blankets fit the TBs really well and are a reasonable price, compared to the Rambos.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cartman and I Ride in the Sun:)

Nothing too exciting to blog about these days....lots of working, and preparing for winter going on.  But today C and I were able to spend a few hours down on the jogging trail by the river.  And the sun shone!!!!!

We worked on our arena exercises, just did them on the trail.  Lots of turn on the haunches and fore.  A nice forward working trot with some collection- he's getting better and keeping a nice position even when I go for a loose rein for several strides.  Then a lot of loping on both leads and some transitions.  I have to admit I love having a horse with a real "whoa". 

Last week I hauled Cartman and Dazz out to Skamokawa so that we could see if Dazzby would be able to be used a bit by some of Shawn and Tina's kids riding group.  I've told Shawn about what a kind horse she is and how she will literally try her best to keep underneath you if she feels something going wrong. 

Some of the girls in the group are a little  interesting in learning to ride english, so, what better job for my girl than doing the English Pleasure thing.  Honestly though, despite my best attempts I've not had a lot of luck finding someone to ride my extra horse!  Hard to believe but people aren't lining up for a free well trained horse to play with, go figure??

I was not really prepared for the true extent of the 4H/kids group.  It started out that Shawn and his wife Tina (both teachers) wanted to give some kids the opportunity to learn to ride and learn horsemanship.  So they set up this group on Tuesdays after school.  The school bus drops the kids off at the County fairgrounds and they stay and ride until their parent's can come pick them up.  I believe none of the kids had had any exposure to horses previously.  Shawn provides nice-kid appropriate horses and even a small cow for the kids to learn roping if they are interested.

So here I am riding Cartman and practicing canter circles when around the corner of the arena appears a few girls, carrying their books, backpacks and lunch boxes.  Then another group of girls, then a group of boys that were running towards the arena, then some older girls and more boys!  Holy cow, there must have been 20-25 of them.

The boys started practicing their roping and the girls were everywhere, brushing, saddling, riding, talking (lots of that), and then they'd trade off and start over.  It was some serious desensitizing action for my horse. 

The kids were all surprisingly well behaved, I did not hear one bit of whining or complaining even when they had to trade off their horse to another child.  They didn't all know the traditional arena etiquette but noone got run over and noone ran into anyone else either.  They learned some games on horseback (Shawn demonstrated on Dazzby- I was so proud of her!)

I'd left Cartman tied in a stall off to the side of the arena area and he was occasionally screaming pathetically for his Mama.  I had no idea that the two were so herd bound!
I went to check on him and found a handful of boys at the other end of the stall area.  My first reaction was to wonder what they were getting into.  I didn't really worry too much, but was later surprised to find out they had been doing their homework!  Learning to identify parts of the horse on a chart that Tina handed out to everyone at the beginning of the session.

All in all it was actually quite fun and one little girl about 6-7 years old told me "I like that horse, she is so cute!"  So, I think Dazzby may have a part time job:)

Back to today, C and I had a great ride, then I spent the afternoon cleaning the inside of the truck- still dusty from OR100!  Then cleaned all the wood chips out of the trailer and hosed it all out.  I also cleaned about 20 water buckets with bleach and got them ready for use the stalls,  put up my solar hotwire box for the winter, and dumped the trough over in the paddock that contains our septic drainfield since its off limits for winter use.  Whew,  we are getting closer to being ready for "real" winter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last Chance!

To ride on dry ground that is.

We've been enjoying some unbelievable good weather out here this fall, but rumor has it that is going to change this weekend.

Our trails are closed due to fire danger, so Michelle and I headed up to Kalama Horse Camp on Sunday to get one last long fun-ride in.  We've been talking about going to Kalama for several years, I even bought the Cowboy Trail Map of the area.  Finally we got around to it.

We left the house at 8am sharp and drove almost 2 hours up towards Cougar.  The  trees have started to turn, so it was really beautiful out.  We passed the Motor cross track and it was completely full of trucks and trailers, and of course, motorcycles.  I love watching motorcross, but there was no time for that today.

We pulled into camp, suddenly realizing that we were breakin' the law:)  We had both forgotten to bring Weed Free hay.  Ack.  As soon as we were parked and had the horses unloaded we quickly snatched all the hay bags and stowed them in the nose of the trailer.  We piled our gear around them and I threw C's rainsheet over them trying to hide them without being too obvious!  Just another one of the joys of having a stock trailer with no tackroom. 

We saw a small group of riders getting ready to head out and Michelle asked them about the trail.  They suggested we take the Ski Trail #31 and loop around to the Toutle trail #38.  This would give us a nice first ride up here and a promise of nothing too extreme. 

Cartman was really dogging it going away from camp.  Michelle had brought her trusted trail mare Coco for this ride, so C didn't have his little buddy Tucker to be competative with.  We climbed up and up, although the trail was not steep so I think it was a little deceptive how much elevation change there actually was. 

After an hour or so we finally turned a little bit to the South.  C seemed to think this indicated that we were headed back to camp and really picked up the pace.  I love his big walk- you can really cover some ground, yet it is effortless for him.

We stopped to take some pictures (M promises to email me copies next week after her vacation) and made our way across a huge area of lava rocks.  I was really really proud of Cartman- I no longer have to do as much steering in treacherous footing- he actually checks out the options and is chosing the best path.

After another hour or so we crossed over onto the Toutle trail.  This trail follows along the side of a large hill and offered some great views of the lake below.  I think the Cinnamon trail was above us- it must have some really steep sections or switchbacks to climb up so quickly.  We may try that one next time.

Finally we crossed the river and had completely looped back to the trail we went out on.  All in all we rode for 4 hours.  Cartman barely broke a sweat but I think he was actually pretty tired.  It was a lot of climbing and downhill too.  The day was really fun and we got home before dark!  Yeah for still being on Daylight savings time!

Today I hauled Cartman out for one last rain-free ride on the jogging path along the river.  We did a lot of jogging and quite a good bit of canter.  His canter is finally starting to come together a bit and he had a good work out.

Now, on to our winter challenge- learning some Western Dressage!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Goodbye Girl

Sometimes I don't blog because to I have nothing in particular to write about, other times I'm too dang busy even think about it.  Then there are those times that I put off blogging because I have something unpleasant that needs saying.  This is one of those times.

Almost a year ago I started posting about the foot issues with my homebred Pinky.  The trouble started almost 3 years ago now. 

A quick recap:
Early spring 2010- a horrid abscess/soaking fiasco that ended up blowing out the coronet (over an inch wide).

Late spring- repeated abscess in about the same spot that was drained out the sole and would blow up again and come out the coronet.

Summer 2010- A trip to the vet for X-rays of her foot. This vet ended up cutting a golf ball sized hole in the middle of the front of her hoof and cleaning out much damaged tissue.
Months of wrapping the foot ended with Pinky crushing my big toe during one of the re-wrap sessions. 
Note: Don't tie your horse and attempt to do this involved wrap, even if your helper and horse holder is very sick and trying to sleep in the house.

Summer 2011- The foot has almost completely grown out, finally!

Fall 2011- the abscesses start up again.

Oct 2011- I haul Pinky to Gresham to a good lameness vet- at Columbia Equine.
Pink is diagnosed with a hoof Keratoma.   There is a good chance it can be removed and she will be sound.

0ct 26- Pink's foot is operated on, the tumor was larger than expected, and the hoof had to be completely cut from coronet to sole to get the tumor out.

Nov 2011 to Setp 2012- Months of casts, to glue on shoes, to bar shoes.  The crack had set but was stubbornly splitting up towards the coronet.  She kept ripping off the bar shoe and shredding her hoof, so in July I took her back to Columbia (our 5th trip since surgery) and a glue on Sigafoos shoe was put on.

Sept 22- Todd and I flew to Ark. to visit my parents, Pink seemed a little sore before we left, I soaked her foot and made a vet appt. for the Wednesday after our return to have the glue-on reset.

While we were in Ark. my good friend who was horse/dog sitting called to let me know Pink was sore.

We returned home and I went to work Monday.  When I got home Pink was extremely lame (she didn't even want to put weight on her foot)  Todd took her up to the barn while I fed the other horses and I went up and soaked her foot with the warm water and epsom salts in a Davis boot.  I noticed she was actually feverish, so called down to the vet.  He determined that the shoe needed to come off asap, so I made arrangements to leave work for a while Tuesday and make the trip a day early.

When I was leading Pinky from the pasture to the horse trailer she would just let out this huge blow of air every time she had to step on that foot.

She was equally lame coming off the trailer at the clinic.

I had assumed that she had gotten some dirt packed down into the crack in her hoof and that it had formed an abscess at the spot where her hoof was split.

I think the vet thought so too, as he was equally surprised when he cut off that fiberglass cuff/shoe and we saw a huge black tarry abscess on the inside of her hoof.  It had no relation to the original injury.

As he worked trying to clean out the site it quickly became apparent the her hoof was extremely damaged.  Despite having the glue-on the foot was not really growing back and there was still nothing to nail a shoe to.

I guess that wasn't really a quick recap, but I know some day I'll want to remember the chronologial order of things and this will be there for me.

I think the vet and I were thinking the same thing at this point- he suggested we take another X-ray of her hoof as the shape of her foot didn't really look "right".  Surprisingly, the film showed no rotation and adequate sole. 

Nonetheless, it seems that this horse was never going to be sound with a good hoof.  We had discussed putting her down during the original appointment, before I opted to try surgery. and this time I decided it was time.  He agreed.

Pink was fat, shiny, beautiful, and in a lot of pain.  She got a huge dinner of Orchard/alfalfa hay and a fluffy bedded stall and left us on a sunny fall day, Oct 3.