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We Are Flying Solo

January 28, 2015

Can You Identify These Suspicious Characters?

With my usual heartless cruelty, I left you dangling in suspense with our earlier "Tease Twit" (uhhhh, that just doesn't sound right...).  I hope you didn't pass out after holding your breath, awaiting celebrity identification.

Because I'm not giving it to you.  *my favourite evil laughter goes here*

I'm not sure what dastardly plots lie within the realm of possibility, but tonight certainly saw a gathering that could result in trouble awesomeness of epic proportions.

Pop quizzes are more fun!  Can you name these enigmatic faces?
If you get all three right, I personally guarantee* an extra two points on your next dressage test.

And no, "dork" does not count as an answer, however true it may be.

Ok, one hint:  this is the view outside my current window --

*All guarantees not necessarily guaranteed

January 19, 2015

Hooves: Excellent For Both Exploding Heads & Amazing Healing Powers

No one's favourite supplies
Time may not heal ALL wounds, but given enough of it, equine feet can certainly recover from some gory feats of coordination fail.

Waaaayyyy back in July, Encore felt I needed a reminder of this & my horse of many talents (a few of which are even useful) dissected his own hoof wall.  Long experience means I keep the first aid kit well-stocked and Dr. Bob & WunderFarrier are both nearby.  I am grateful daily for their incredible experience, attention to detail, & ready response when it counts!!

17 July 2014 - the fresh handiwork on RF

17 July 2014 - go big or go home?
Overnight poultice
18 July 2014 - post-poultice
I have doctored all sorts of nasty injuries over the years, from a horse who completely degloved an entire hind cannon on loose wire (incredibly, despite exposed bone, never lame, fully recovered), to draining pus infections, to deep, hot, swollen slices.  Yet I had no idea what to expect from this one, even after the vet assured me that coronet band was undamaged.

26 July 2014 - Out, damned bruise!

A roller-coaster, just like every other horse injury.  Why do I never learn to go back to fish-keeping?

Because, I mean, just duct-taping & doctoring one foot every day, that's boring, anyone can do that!  Let's really mix it up.  Throw in a bruise in the OTHER front foot on the horse who refuses to abscess, so it just floats around in there.  That way you get to spend some real quality time with your horse.

And by quality time, I mean ALL the time.  Then you can become a true master in the art of duct tape boots (I was a bit out of practice, but I really didn't need a refresher...).

Sleep makes things too easy to deal with, so we have to include the midnight emergency vet call on July 27th, while you empty the contents of your fridge's ice-maker into buckets of water on two hot feet. 

Thanks, buddy, that only took a couple more years off my life...
But It Got Better

Thanks to another quick response, our mini-founder passed without incident, & Encore's hoof quickly began to take care of business. 

30 July 2014 - closing fast
5 Aug 2014 - LF bruise defeated!!
29 Aug 2014 - Epoxy & frog pads make things look weird, but one month & it's growing out!
We Were Lucky

Although it felt like an eternity, it was only about six weeks before we were able to start riding again.  Thanks to wonderful communications between vet & farrier, close monitoring saw us through the most unstable stages of grow-out (including just a few weeks ago, where he pulled his LF shoe & twisted the RF, so that I feared I'd find him with his entire RF heel torn off, as the crack was just millimetres from the ground, in need of immediate stabilization).

18 Jan 2015
So here we are today yesterday:  his heel has pretty much entirely grown out.  You can just see the remnants of the injury above the rear corner of the frog pad (& that SOMEone has been thriving on good hay & SmartHoof & is quite ready for impending farrier visit!).  

He still gets his epoxy coating to help stabilize what's left -- so if in need, I have now learned JB Weld can even glue your horse together (ok, so it wasn't ACTUALLY JB Weld, although I did fix a trough with that yesterday...and a cat bowl...).

There's a bit more growing to do, but he's been sound (on THAT quarter anyway, geeeezz...) & once Dr. Bob has him re-lubed, we'll try that whole "work" thing again.

That's damn nice taping, though...
Hindsight Is A Lot Less Stressful

Unfortunately, we don't get to sit back & be amazed until afterwards.  But one of the many reasons I like to track these things (the boys certainly give me plenty of opportunities, it's sort of hilarious that "injury" is one of the largest, ergo most frequently used, in our tag cloud on the right sidebar) is that when we do get a successful outcome (which I would have really appreciated, ahem, Solo), it's like my own little emotional baseline, a reminder that I have to be patient & well, I'm probably going to freak out a lot.

While it confirms my hypothesis that horse owners are batshit crazy masochists, I hope it also helps you feel a little bit less cursed when your own creature induces head explosions.  And a lot less alone, because any of us who have spent enough time around horses have experienced both kinds of results, the successful & the heartbreaking.

But you can't fly on a goldfish...

Dang, I miss this; running Solo is riding joy.  Photo by Pics of You, 2010.

January 11, 2015

There Was Riding! Among Other Things...

I can't see you...
Two horses in one day!!

The Browner Orange One

Ok, fine, be pedantic.  I long-lined Encore as he is due for his yearly back injections (we match, only he gets four & I get three, although thankfully, mine are still holding at three years) & he is quite clear in his reminders of this fact.

One of the almost magical parts of truly getting to know a horse over days & years is learning not only every detail of his body, but expression, posture, & which level of The Horse Finger that tail swish indicated.

So now I am edu-ma-cated:  Encore generally walks up to me in his pasture, begs for work, & doesn't bother trying until a jump gets to 3'.  Around mid-January, he instead walks AROUND me (equine efforts at false nonchalance are hilarious), loses impulsion, falling out behind often, & rushes anything higher than 18". 

It's an odd relief, but relief nonetheless, to calmly surmise, "Oh, lubrication time approacheth," as opposed to the horse owner's traditional spirals of mental agony & the worst torture of all:  the unknown.  So he will remain on a relatively light schedule until his "oil change" (I say, as if I would otherwise have him on a full training schedule during 187% work overload insanity).

I would never...
The Super-Orange One

His little big brother appears to feel this gives him freedom to take over anxiety-instigation duty.  Cod forbid one own a horse calmly, I believe that would break some universal law!

Solo has definitely lost condition.  Sadly, his minion has gone & incapacitated herself; along with our string of simply horrid wet cold weeks, I've had few chances to stretch his legs.  He seems to be running on fumes, though, & I confess to being mystified.

He is still shiny with a winter hay belly, a springy trot, his trademark deep meal nicker, & takes a good prance gallop around the field with Encore.  But his face looks tired & although I enjoyed our ride today, he fatigued very quickly, even though he was not out of breath.

I just wish my favourite face could elaborate a bit?
What's Up, Dude?

Perhaps it is simply muscle loss.  When I first began working with Dr. Bob, he had a similar problem & a simple CBC revealed Solo had a low red blood cell count.  With vet approval of ingredients, I put him on SmartVite, which he's had ever since, & his count popped up to normal almost immediately.  It dropped again when he had a heavy parasite load from a previous facility, but I have dewormed with vigilance & now am in charge of my own pasture management. 

I've added more fat to his diet, although he certainly is working hard at maximizing intake of my lovely winter hay supply!  We'll run another basic CBC in a few weeks, as Dr. Bob comes out at the beginning of February for his spring collection of large amounts of invisible TFS cash (Encore will also get a set of check-up lateral radiographs on his front feet to make sure WunderFarrier & I are on the right track).

An odd sight after so long
There ARE Good Things

Recently, Solo did get his front shoes back.  While his Cavallo Sports were wonderful for trails & light pleasure, when it came to schooling & jumping, he just wasn't comfortable.  He felt like there was too much sole concussion.  He certainly felt happier about his feet today & reached out those giant shoulders with a freedom I've missed, so it's not all bad news!

Let's see...what else can we throw imaginary money at add to Dr. Bob's hard-earned retirement fund next month??

Who knew-there's a WikiHow for "how to solve all horse problems!"