SUBSCRIBE TODAY Smiley face  Get updates via email! 

We Are Flying Solo

February 11, 2010

Hoof And Mouth II

Since Dr. Bob was already at the farm to do Solo's hock injections last week, I had him take a look at our ongoing foot rehab and took the opportunity to ask a few questions. Because I ALWAYS have questions. And I am trying not to drive my wonderful farrier completely insane by asking 40,000 questions. So Dr. Bob = new victim.

Dr. Bob was the one who helped us get the feet back on track so he has seen their progression over time. Overall, he gave the farrier's work a thumbs up and said things were looking good (woohoo!). I need to get some new pictures...

I had several questions about the hind feet though. I freely admit I hate (HATE HATE HATE) having Solo in shoes, but as I told Dr. Bob, they are working and he is so obviously more comfortable, I have a hard time arguing with their usefulness for the time being. He still has some sensitivity in his rear heels. I wasn't sure if that was residual from the removal of heel by ex-farrier or if it could be caused by something else, even the shoe itself. I wanted to pull the hind shoes but couldn't in good conscience do so KNOWING those heels were still sore to the poking. I also had been staring cross-eyed at his hind frogs. Barefoot, his frogs had gotten VERY wide behind and since reapplication of a shoe, had narrowed back up some. Not so much that they looked cramped or smooshed, though. So was this bad, good, indifferent??? I had to know...and fortunately, Dr. Bob's most favouritest thing is talking to people so he was happy to answer as follows:

The heel issue: residual soreness can last for six months to a year after the heels are compressed in constant contact with the ground. Don't pull the shoes until that bulb sensitivity is no longer there. (Which seems like a big duh, but ya know, sometimes you just need to hear from someone qualified that yes, you are doing what you need to be doing.)

The frog issue: yes, all the barefoot literature constantly talks about the frog being wide. But much more important is the fact that frog have depth/height to it so it can actually function as the pump it needs to be. When it gets super wide and flattened and smooshed down as you see with barefoot horses who are low heeled, it can't do anything. So, no, I do not need to worry about the width as it is nowhere near constricted at this point.

So I guess now, I get to find something new to worry about, hmmmm....

February 10, 2010

Hoof and Mouth Lessons

If I have learned anything about horse ownership, it's that we can try our damndest to do everything right, to give our charges the bestest, perfectest life...but we'll still screw up somehow. Blessedly, most of the time, our horses patiently hang in there till we figure it out.

As you've probably figured out by now, I pretty much bust my ass to educate myself on every issue I can related to horse care and training. I try to keep an open mind, think critically and research via every venue I can get my dirty little paws on. So, frankly, it just plain pisses me off when I still get it wrong! But I guess life is a series of lessons learned via experience and if you never have the experience you never learn.

So, two recent lessons:

Lesson 1 -- Tooth maintenance. Last time I had Solo's teeth floated was about a year and a half ago. He had all kinds of pointy bits on there. My vet at the time (no longer my vet) had one of those fancy power units and lots of sedation and filed them down over the course of an hour. It looked pretty cool and efficient to me. It cost me over $300. Turns out there is actually no relation between price and quality.

New dentist came out yesterday. Supposedly he is the best. He travels up and down the east cost from FL to Canada and he just does horse teeth. He has told me that Solo drops food all over the place because his teeth are screwed up and don't even meet. He walked into Solo's stall with his little metal file and just went to work. No sedation. Done in about ten minutes. Solo just stood in the corner and was like, oh, ok, you are scratching my teeth, have at it, dude. That kind of calm is kind of shocking if you've ever seen tooth floating in action -- giant long metal rasp stuck in horse's mouth and loudly scraping at the molars while moving the whole head after which crazy looking Midieval Torture-Device-Resembling Speculum is strapped on to their head to hold their mouth open.

I figure he knows what he is doing because by this point I have figured out who he was discussing with BO as he is telling client stories. He keeps talking about "Mike and Charlie" who live about two hours south of me. Slowly, after a comment from BO, it dawns on me that he is talking about Michael and Charlie Plumb. Yeah, the Michael Plumb who has, oh, six or so Olympic medals in eventing. (This happens a lot when you live in Area II, where if you forget to set the parking brake on your truck, you will run over a member of USET, they are that prolific) So I guess if the top guys hire Dentist Man, he must be the best!

New dentist has a little teaching tool: a bag of horse teeth. Digging around, he pulls one out of the bag and says, "This is what happens when you use power tools on horse teeth; the tooth heats up almost instantaneously and then the roots burn and a hole blows out of the tooth in some random spot."

Awesome. I had no idea. So, I write him a check (this one's only $90) after he shows me how nicely Solo's teeth meet up now and I promise never to let a power tool touch my horse's mouth again.

Stay tuned for Lesson 2 -- Hoof biomechanics.

February 8, 2010

Sun Is For Basking

Our snow is all melted now (thank god!!!!) but I thought I would share these pictures anyway of what I found upon arriving at the farm last Monday.

I ponder life as I lie in the snow...

Pondering + sun = sleeepy


I'll be right with you after this snow scritch...


February 4, 2010

It's Just Around The Corner!

Spring, that is!


And Solo never tells a lie...

February 2, 2010


Well, you know, "I-Day" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Yep, yesterday, our favourite Dr. Bob came out and shot a bunch of cortisone into Solo's high and low hock joints. We decided to skip the HA (hyaluronic acid for the uninitiated, be happy if you have never had to think about it) because (1) it adds $200 to the price (why yes, that was my moan of agony you heard just now!) and (2) unless you are doing super upper level stuff, Dr. Bob has not observed it adding too much, especially if the horse is already on Adequan/Legend (which Solo is). After discussion with the vet and consultation of the science, I'll be dropping our feed-through supplement and just maintaining the Adequan.

The cortisone takes away the ow. The HA/Adequan helps rebuild fluid/cartilage and protect them from further degradation. The antibiotic shot in there with it all helps protect against infection from the injection itself. Dr. Bob has never had an infection and it's easy to see why -- he spends ages with the bucket of Nolvasan scrub and other little scrubby pads to the point where I would happily lick Solo's hairy legs.

Solo gets his lovely injection of happy juice and I am assigned to hold the head end up (yup, owner gets the bitch job.). The procedure then goes something like this:

Me: Holy crap, Solo, your head weighs 247 pounds! (Anyone who has ever held the head of a tranquilized horse knows EXACTLY what I mean!)

Solo: Heyyyyyy....don''

Dr. Bob:
Hey, Solo, don't kick Dr. Bob now or else we'll have to get some more drugs out.

*SLAM! BAM! WHACK! POW!* (The pasture abuts the barn directly behind us. This is Ms. Hunter Princess Moxie Mare using her head to hurl open the sliding barn windows and the washstall door in which we are standing as hard as she can to illustrate her desire to be let in and pampered above all others. At which point I thank all the gods that my horse is calm. And drugged. Don't let her innocent face in the picture fool you.)

Ok, Solo, really, could you use just ONE of your many neck muscles at this point?


Solo: Let me blow all the snot out my nose too....


Me: My arrrrrmmmssss........

Dr. Bob: Only one more, be nice to Dr. Bob now, Solo!

Moxie: *SLAM! GALLOP GALLOP GALLOP!!* (This is the sound of thundering hooves as Moxie leads everyone in a riotous protest gallop since someone besides her is OBVIOUSLY getting pampered.)

Solo: Snottt.........

Me: OMG, not only have my shoulders dislocated, my head is now encased in a bubble of horse mucous as Solo seems to feel his only method of protest is blowing out his nostrils.

Moxie: *WHAM! KICK KICK KICK SQUEAL!* Freaking mares.

Dr. Bob:

Solo: Duuuuuuuude.....

Could someone pick my arms up off the floor?

So pretty much routine, you know, uneventful. Just another quiet day on the farm. At the end of it all, you might have heard another anguished scream, but don't worry, it was just my checkbook.

I am instructed to give Solo three days off. Which is not really a problem since currently the ground is covered in about 3" of leftover snow topped with a serious ice crust. Oh and freezing rain is falling on top of that. Then on Friday I can do some light walk/trot work (yeah right, it's supposed to rain some more Friday) then Saturday I can do whatever I want (since it's supposed to snow on Saturday).

For now, I will just lie still on the floor with ice packs on my arms and be grateful that we chain the washrack door shut precisely BECAUSE of Moxie's lovely little ways.