Sunday, July 28, 2013


After our ride last Sunday I called my vet out on Tuesday to check Cartman over and see what is going on.

He listened to C breathe, took temperature and re-checked him after a brief trot on the lunge line.  He said nothing appeared abnormal.  We were discussing the potential ride (and long trailer ride) over in Seneca Or. that I had planned on attending.  He said he wished it was another week off, but C seemed healthy enough.

I was really waffling, in particular due to the 7 hour trailer trip.  As we were talking Todd came out and gave C a couple of little BerryGood treats.  He immediately started to cough.  Uh oh.

At this point, the vet said he was concerned that C might have allergies.  He suggested putting him on Ventipulmin.  I explained that in the AERC rules pretty much all pharmaceuticals are prohibited substances.  It seems this is not common knowledge and most of my vets and the horse professionals I know are surprised by how strict the endurance drug policy is.

We decided that I would call down to Columbia Equine and see if Dr Hansen could get Cartman in for a more thorough examination, and possible a scope.

So, Wednesday I called right when they opened and they had an appointment available at 3pm.  I skipped eating (but did run and grab a coffee:)  so that I could get as much done as possible before racing off to Portland at 1pm.  Not a good idea to skip eating, but it is possible if I'm following a primal diet.

We made it to the vet clinic about 10 minutes late due to the dreadful traffic in Portland and the neverending construction areas on the freeway.

As I jumped out of the truck something looked amiss on the trailer.  A blown trailer tire. 

It was still on the rim but flat as a pancake.  I hadn't felt anything as I drove but it looked like someone had shot a big hole in the sidewall of the tire.

The vets were ready for Cartman so I put the tire problem out of my mind and headed into the clinic with him.

Dr checked him over, took his temp (100.5 I think), listened to my description of the coughing, and listened to him breathe with the stethoscope.  They performed something called the "slap" test where they listened to his breathing while popping him in the throat with the palm of his hand.

"Well, unfortunately..."  Not the words you want to hear your vet start out with.  "He doesn't appear to have any thing infectious, which leaves us with this being some type of allergic response... Although he's a little young for it....."  I don't remember the rest of the details of what he said at this point.  Dr Hansen was discussing it with another vet as well as with me and they were both asking me questions.

The other vet suggested putting him up in the barn (yikes!) in order to get him away from the pasture as they seem to think that the allergy is to something outside.  Dr H said we would start with putting him on Clenbutarol and Dex. in an attempt to stop the coughing episodes.   He said we would try this without stalling C, because he thought I might have a handful to ride if he were to be cooped up.

He said it might be "possible" to get him comfortable enough to attend a ride on Saturday- but he wouldn't really recommend it, and I again explained the strict AERC Drug rules, again these vets also were shocked.  We did go to the website and sure enough both of the best allergy treatments are on the prohibited substance list.  Surprise, surprise.

I was starting to feel a little sick to my stomach at this point.  Although they assured me that if it is  this summer pasture allergy thing that they do have a lot of luck using meds to keep a horse able to work, etc.  And that it might be possible to keep him on a low dose of the meds once this is under control and then withdraw the meds prior to taking him to endurance rides.

Whenever I get in a real emotionally stressful situation I tend to "check out" a bit.  It beats crying like a girl and all.  So, C got some IV shots,  I got the drugs, picked up the instructions and paid the bill.  The plan is to try the three weeks of meds and then see if the coughing returns after he is off them.  There are allergy tests available for horses but they aren't always very definitive for this type of allergy.

After almost an hour of fighting the jack ( a crappy scissor style thing), the lug nuts, and the spare I finally got that trailer tire off, just as the guy from Les Schwab pulled in.  I let him put the spare on and replace the lug nuts. Finally I headed home just in time to get stuck in that wretched Portland traffic for an hour.  We made it home about 8pm.

The next day Cartman's blood work came back completely normal.

Yesterday was day three on the meds, we did about 2 1/2 hours on the trail and he was still doing some intermittent coughing when exerting himself.  Also, I've noticed that he's wanting to go a little bit high headed and resistant (perhaps this is due to the breathing problem and not a training issue as it started about the same time as the coughing). 

So, now I'm just sulking.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dazed and Confused

I think I've been a little bit dazed and confused since the knee-meets-head incident. 

Last Wednesday, during our ride, Cartman was coughing, a lot.  Every time we'd do some trotting or loping he'd cough like he had something stuck in his throat.  It got progressively worse throughout the ride so we took it easy and did mostly walking for the last half.

I worried he'd got something stuck in his throat because that is what it sounded like, like he was trying to clear his throat.

Thursday I was really not on top of my game.  I put C on the lunge line for a minute before feeding that evening to see if he would display the coughing.  He did not.  I then head d up to the house and proceeded to leave the water on filling a trough and completely draining our 1000 gallon holding tank and sucking the spring dry over night. 

Friday Todd spent several hours fixing my mess with the water system.  I didn't hear Cartman doing any coughing but really wasn't home much.  Did I mention I just worked a 60 hour week?  It sucked.

So, finally getting to my point here....

Today Michelle and I did a ride on the trails, in preparation for the Seneca Stampede next weekend.  We took advantage of the Telegraph Run trail to get in  some good hill climbs at the trot and canter.  After our first canter set C started coughing again.  He was almost panting and that is not normal for him at all.  I've never really gotten this horse truly winded like this.

We walked for a while.  C's ears were up, he was forward.  We then did some jogging and he seemed just fine.  We pulled some really steep hills and after these he would do one or two small coughs.

At the end of our ride we were untacking at the trailer and I turned around and spotted the tiniest little bit of yellow mucus in his left nostril! 

Crap!  How could I be so stupid not to think the coughing just might be a little cold???? That would explain the coughing.  But, he has never acted "sick" at all.  So tomorrow I will put in a call to Doc and see what he has to say about this.  Unfortunately my thermometer fell out of the medicine cabinet and exploded on the tack room floor, so I can't take a temp tonight.  Tomorrow I'll pick up a new one.

Crossing fingers that we get to go!

Friday, July 19, 2013

For the Dog Lovers out there

I just found this blog and am really enjoying it:

On a more somber note, by heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones recently, too many tears are flowing out here in the NW.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Knot Head

Me, not my horse:) 

I was feeding Cartman his beet pulp and electrolyte mash this evening after a relaxing 2 hour trail ride.  I'd noticed some of the dreaded bot fly eggs on his front legs in our pre-ride grooming session but hadn't had time to scrape them all off.  So, I decided to do a quick scrape job as he ate his grain.

Stupid me, I leaned over to get some on the inside of his left front leg, just as the dogs tore off after a neighbor dog.  C isn't a big spook but he basically spooked in place- with his front legs flying out and smacked me right in the head.  I went rolling across the stall.  Ouch. 

It swelled up into a goose egg immediately but no dizziness or anything so I think its just going to be sore.

Apparently I should have left my helmet on tonite!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gettysburg Treasure

A friend at work just got back from a big Civil War Re-enactment in Gettysburg.  He was there for two weeks and had a great time.  Despite the oppressive heat and humidity the re-enactors were out there in heavy wool uniforms- can you imagine?

Today he came back to work- and brought me a big surprise :)

Check out these beauties!
I can't wait to have them put on a bridle for Cartman- being plain bay, he really could pass for a cavalry horse.  Thank you, Jim!

After work Michelle and I jetted up to do a short ride on the trails.  It's kind of funny, we rode for an hour and forty minutes (a short ride).  Several years ago that would have been a REALLY long ride for me! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

3 Hours, 4 Creek Crossings, Countless Logs

Today I decided to do a solo ride on Cartman.  I had hoped to be at the trailhead by 8am but was moving a little slowly.  Last night I spent three hours hauling and stacking, and then re-stacking 40 bales of alfalfa and what was left of last years grass hay.  Cleaning out the hay barn is one of my least favorite horse related activities, but I do really enjoy having the years supply of hay in the barn.

We did get in quite a bit of trotting and cantering down one particular stretch of trail, it is hilly so I usually let C trot or canter up the long grades and then we walk down the downhill portions.  This particular trail is an old logging road, so there is packed gravel covered by forest debris a!nd grass in spots.  The old H/J rider in me cringes to hear Cartman's shoes clippity clopping down the gravel sections, but this footing is solid, doesn't contain hidden holes, and I think after the last three years of slowly working him on it he should be somewhat adapted to it.  I sometimes insist that he track in the center of the road (where the grass has grown up) if I can see well enough to avoid holes or large rocks.  This seems to annoy him a little and he will move right back over to the tire tracks as soon as I let him.  Go figure.

We spent about 45 minutes doing this first section of trail and getting in our "cardio".  Then it was down the windy forest trails to a beautiful creek crossing and up some steep hills!  About half way through our ride we spooked up two deer.  They trotted away from us and then stood absolutely still and watched us as we walked by.  We spent the next two hours climbing hills, crossing creeks, and climbing more hills!

Can you find them?  There are two.

C is such a funny guy, I tried to get him to stop and take a break and graze for a while and he would have none of it! He would grab a bite and then head off down trail, walking and eating at the same time.

Here are some pictures of our ride:

heading out

this is new!

going down

crossing #2

C in purple flowers

more wooded trail

Someone else has been through here

My favorite view

This trail is getting over grown

the sun finally makes an appearance

back into the woods

another crossing

this crossing has some mud

C puts his nose down and checks out how deep this mud is!

we went over a bunch of logs today, some were big!

Happy, happy, happy!

When we got home I gave C a bit beet pulp mash.  He stuffed his head in it and didn't move for about 10 minutes!  When he was finally done I had to hose him off.


 Then it was back to the pasture!

C scratches on his brother.  Taj has the white hind sock.

C feels TOO CLEAN!

Bonus points for making mud in July


So very itchy

I luv ya man!

Cartman thinks I got Buddy just for him, he is fascinated with dogs.


Back to business.

Friday, July 5, 2013


I can't put this off forever- time to get caught up and back to my blog!  In March my sweet Bo Dog got out one Saturday morning and was hit by a car.  I had decided not to get another dog here in this house, as it is impossible to fence the yard.  Our property is bordered by Arkansas Creek, in fact it runs about 50 feet from our back porch.  This creek has occasionally flooded and even has gotten up to the foundation on one side of the house.  The house itself has not ever flooded (it was built in 1934), but you can't put a fence up as it would be pretty damaging if the yard was to get flood waters in it.
I have always wanted a German Shepherd and one day, a few weeks after Bo died, Todd's friend asked him if he knew anyone out in the country that wanted a really nice dog.  It turns out the dog was a serial stray and they were trying to avoid having to take him to the dog pound.  Todd went down to meet the dog.  The next day he went and brought him home.  Meet Buddy.

I adore him.  He is probably the smartest dog we have ever had.  He problem solves.  He opens doors!  At first it was just the flip handle type door that we have on our French doors that lead to the patio.  Soon after he began opening the round handled door knob kind.  If we want to keep him out of the house, we have to lock the doors.   Luckily Buddy definitely prefers the outdoor lifestyle and doesn't ever want to be inside for too long.  He has several favorite spots around the property and he pretty much hangs out on the back porch or under one of the fir trees in the front yard.  He does not tend to wander, thank goodness. 
He is also the first dog I've ever had that is terrified of fireworks.  wow.  He gets absolutely panicked as soon as they start.  He tries to get in the house by clawing at the doors.  He has destroyed our dog kennel in the last few days, to the point that the metal clips have been pulled off and he has bent up the chain link on the door so he can actually wiggle out of it.  Sigh.  Tonight he is in here with me and tomorrow morning he will get locked into a horse stall.  I hope he does not chew the heck out of my barn!  We are making plans to build a new dog kennel/condo and will have to use the European style powder coated or wrought iron panels.  Chain link will not hold this dog!
In other news.  I was on the way to Les Schwab to purchase new tires for my horse trailer in April.  Todd suggested we go look at new trailers.  My trailer was 17 years old and needed a lot of work in addition to tires, so I didn't argue too much.  I would love to have purchased one of the lovely LQ trailers they had on the lot but finally settled on a gooseneck with tack room instead.  We took the truck down a week later to have the hitch installed and picked it up April 27, in preparation for the Mt Adams ride.
The next day my father died.  So, the trailer got parked for a month.  I did use it to haul Cartman out to Puget Island so that Shawn could ride him while I was gone. 

I had to get an extra tall, extra wide to accommodate Cartman.  He is a long horse:)  He seems to really be comfortable in the bigger stall and I think he gets a smoother ride in the gooseneck.  It's taking me a little getting used to though, I could back up my Trails West just about anywhere but this sucker doesn't turn the same and I feel like I'm learning to back up all over again!

Here are a few pictures I took at my parent's house in Arkansas.  They built this place when my Dad retired and he kept it up like a park.  I am not a gardener and was simply amazed at how much work it is to maintain.  We spent a lot of time outside doing yard work as it had been let go a bit this spring.  I did my first ever trimming job on the round bushes- actually got a blister and am STILL having some soreness in my thumb from hand trimming those bushes!

Pastures don't tend to look this pretty when you keep horses in them!

We set up the fountain for the summer.

                                               Here are the dreaded round bushes.

 I can't believe this place was nothing but a hay field when my Dad started on it.
 After we returned home (I missed Mt Adams) but attended Klickitat Trek in Glenwood.  It was a great ride.  The trails were TO DIE FOR this year.  Michelle and I rode together and had a blast.  We each drank a whole Fierce Grape Gatorade at the vet check and I think it really helped me not feel so tired and headachey by the end of the ride.  We did the 25 and although I had ridden exactly one time in the preceding three weeks I felt really good.  Cartman had been getting ridden a lot while I was gone (he did a lot of cattle sorting with Shawn) so he was really fit.

The next weekend I hauled North to Monroe Wa to attend a Jack Brainard clinic (thanks to Connie of the Hoge Homestead for suggesting this!)  Cartman had a small portable stall and did really well despite being the only horse outside the barn.  I was very comfortable and can't believe how wonderful it is to actually have a tack room in my trailer!  I can pack a lot of stuff now and don't have to try and fit it all into the truck bed, plus the gooseneck is a perfect spot for a bed.

 After the barn cleared out on Sunday night I looked out the trailer window and saw this.

Cartman sees it too.

 Gotta love a horse that can see a wild animal come through camp and NOT freak out, even a little:)

C was really good for our lesson.  I have this theory.... I think he sees a man in a cowboy hat and thinks he has to be really really good!  I learned a lot from the clinic and my lesson.  Mr. Brainard is an excellent teacher, as well as a very respected horseman.  He liked C and said I was doing the right thing with him.  I was elated!  I suppose this is how parent's feel when their kids do something really good.  Lol.

 After the clinic I was back home, back to working tons of hours, and fitting in trail rides as I can.  We went up to "our" trails and discovered this.

 Uh oh, looks like they'll be taking some of these beauties down in the future.

 Sad, but I'm just thankful that the timber companies let us use their tree farms to ride.
Today we did about 1.5 hours and got in some good hill climbing!  We are hoping to head out to Oregon to the Seneca Stampede in the end of July!