Monday, September 19, 2016

Horse Husbands

(Sunday Ride--70 degrees and sunny)

I have to give a shout-out to horse husbands.  If you have one, be thankful, not everyone does.  They are built-in riding partners and a big help at the barn.

I had to laugh about this though!    




(Saturday Ride: 55 degrees and raining hard)

I asked my horse hubby to saddle up 3 times this weekend.  THREE times!  And, he did so happily.  One of the rides was a fund-raiser for Free Rein Therapeutic.  It's our local charity that helps kids, and veterans with PTSD, through working with and riding horses.




After the ride, we were serenaded with some live country music.  They also provided a yummy BBQ! The comfort food was so darn comforting because we were drenched and cold when we got back.



Some of the volunteers.




The upside to riding in the rain was the smell of wet pine and the increased activity of the birds.  We saw a bald eagle soar down the middle of the Spokane River for quite a ways.  It was stunning with the rain hitting the water, the dark backdrop of a gray sky and mist--stunning.  Of course, where's your camera at a moment like that?

 (Up on the bluff)

We saw a bunch of activity on the other side of the river, and it turned out to be a WEDDING!  What a beautiful spot to get married--even in the rain and cold.


We even got a free t-shirt for riding!


You may notice, I'm riding Cowboy and not Leah.  I had my farrier put shoes on Cowboy when he was out since Cowboy has been called back to full-time service. My farrier has been handling Leah's lameness issue for me. (He's coming out weekly or as needed.)  Because of my history with veterinarian mis-diagnosis, I tend to trust my farrier more than anyone else.  He is the reason Cowboy is sound 10 years post-P3 fracture. If I had continued to rely on my vets, Cowboy would be dead these last ten years.  (And that is NOT an exaggeration--he was scheduled to be put down.)  So, if there is an issue with one of my horse's feet--my farrier is the one I go to.  You may call this minimalist, but since I started down the minimalist road, I've had FAR less problems with my horses. If it progresses, though, my farrier will tell me when it's time to get x-rays and proceed to the next step.

From his tests, it appears she's slightly laminitic.  Not enough to limp or shift weight, but enough to test for some pain in the toe area of all four feet.  We think it was caused by her obesity, so our plan is to use an anti-inflammatory and take the weight off of her.  She loves to eat, so she's not happy with the calorie restriction, but it's for her own good.  In truth, she's getting a normal amount of food--like most horses get.  I was killing her with kindness before.

Interestingly, she was most sensitive in her left foot, but it is her RIGHT that she fights going to.  I think there are multiple issues we're dealing with--not just the feet, but the feet have to get well before we can proceed to the rest.  I'm quite hopeful that she will be sound--in the feet--very soon.


(Thursday's Ride: 80 degrees, hot & sunny. My TWO favorite COWBOYS!)

23 comments:

  1. I left a reply to your questions on my last comment. I know what you mean about trusting your farrier more than the vets. My farrier has been more helpful regarding Lostine's hip injury than the vet I had out. He's been able to tell how much pain she is in when he trims her, and he shows me chiropractic moves I can do to try to help straighten things out. He also suggested some topicals that the vet never brought up. The vet's answer to everything is stall rest and Bute.

    I'm glad I brought up laminitis. It's better to treat for that and be wrong than to treat for something else and complicate the laminitis. It sounds like you caught it in time and can correct it.

    Yes, horse husbands are a blessing. I wish mine became a horse husband sooner. It seems that we bought his horse for him and just one year later my husband had RH in his spine and can't ride much anymore. Even shoveling manure is hard for him.

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    1. My farrier has been doing this for over 35 years and there is a lot to be said for old cowboy wisdom. He warned me about Leah and her need to lose weight in early spring. I listened, but it was so hard to keep her from grazing with the rest of the herd. I don't think I'll ever be able to allow her to graze after this. He puts this at a 3.5 out of 10--10 being full-out founder. He expects it's on the mend and we'll see a thick white line of separation show up after a few months of trimming. Until then, diet, diet.

      I responded to your comment about your friend. Thanks for the thoughtful response!!

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  2. Getting the weight off will be a huge help. A small hole hay net may help (if you can do it) - that way she gets to eat small amounts all day.
    The day looked like a lot of fun

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    1. That's a good idea about the hay net. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. Dusty had laminitis/founder and my farrier fixed her up so she was basically back to where she was before the laminitis. She didn't like it but she was reduced to wearing a grazing muzzle in the spring,summer and fall. The rest of the time they all eat out of haynets hung on the fences. We even made "hay net trees" out of a post and hung the hay nets from that. It slows them all down and makes the hay last longer with less waste.

    Looks like you had a fun time. Wish my husband rode but he doesn't. He likes his golf cart better. Doesn't want to ride anything with a mind of its own!

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    1. I hope Leah takes after Dusty in this situation. Was Dusty truly lame when they started treatment? Leah doesn't look lame. She chooses to run, trot, walk at liberty in their turnout. She doesn't do anything that looks like she's favoring her feet or rocking back. In truth, my husband likes the boat and waverunners more than riding horses, but we compromise!

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    2. She was slightly lame at first and favoring one of her front feet. We thought at first she just pulled something. When she started laying down in the pasture we knew something was wrong. Her feet hurt. We have excellent vets who work with our farrier and they came up with the protocol for helping her. She had special shoes and medication (which I believe was pergolide) and after a while her rotation mostly reversed itself. I think because we caught it early on and were able to get her started on treatment right away we had a good chance of correcting the laminitis. I hope Leah bounces back quickly. It sounds like you're doing as much as possible for her.

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  4. Here's a link to my blog with the post about the "hay tree" in case you would be interested in it. I'll also try to find the outside and inside hay nets we made for the fence and the stalls. I have to do this separately because I can't copy and paste two things at once. Just delete it if you're not interested.
    http://greyhorsematters.blogspot.com/2009/11/magical-hay-tree.html

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    1. Very cool! We have round bales for ther herd. What I did to solve our problem is:

      1. Bought a ton of grass hay bales for Leah only.
      2. Separate Leah am and pm for her flake.
      3. Placed the round bale in the North pasture and only let the herd (minus Leah) graze the bale for 2 hours at a time.
      4. After 2 hours, I run them back in to the turnout.
      5. Once locked away from food, I release Leah back into the herd.

      It's more work, but all my horses have different needs--some need lots of food and others (the mares) need less. The mares are all fat. I'm not proud of that either.

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    2. About the mares being fat--that's why they're getting limited round bale grazing. Maybe they could all benefit from a hay tree.

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    3. We don't use the round bales so these worked for us. Otherwise there would be wasted hay all over the place and on and off tussles over who gets whose hay.

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  5. And here's the other ones we use. It's from my daughter's blog:
    http://glenshee.blogspot.com/2011/01/hay-net-helpers.html

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  6. There are so many varying degrees of founder, and sometimes without lasting damage. It's a miracle that Ladde is doing as well as he is, given how painful he was a year ago. It saddens me to think that you cannot trust your veterinarian. My boss/vet is a very good, knowledgeable veterinarian who's helped countless horses over the years. But they are humans, and capable of making mistakes just like everybody else. Working in a veterinarian clinic, I am shocked and amazed at what some people come up with regarding treatment options for their horses. If it were me, I'd still want to know why Leah is so prone to being heavy and would go for the testing, especially since it's free right now. It's good information to have, and would let you know if Leah would benefit from medication, or if she's just an easy keeper. I hope everything is resolved for you soon. Without the pergolide, Ladde would be a dead horse right now too.

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    1. I don't mean to sound like I'm against veterinarians. I've also had some great ones.

      The vet(s) who misdiagnosed Cowboy are no longer our vets. The first xray took on the first day they started treatment revealed a fractured P3--very clearly--but I trusted them to read the xrays and they missed it. If I'd gone down there, I would have seen the fracture. A child could see the fracture. Instead, they dug into his sole for an "abscess" until he bled. Came back over and over and over--repeated the digging and the bleeding. He didn't get better. They made a special screw-on plate for his foot so I could pack it with sugardine and "draw out the abscess". 3 months later, switch to a new vet, get the xrays from them, take them to new vet, vet goes into bathroom with flashlight, comes out and says, your horse has a broken foot! He could have gotten a bone infection from their digging. The special plate may have saved him though. 1.) From keeping out infection, and 2.) By stabilizing the foot. Sadly, they had told me to let Cowboy move as much as possible, which I did, even though I could see he was in extreme pain. I even had neighbors knocking on my door to report it--and I'd tell them, my vet gave me instructions to let him move to work out the abscess. After the correct reading of the 3 month old xrays, a specialist told us it was too late in the process to do anything for Cowboy and the bone had shifted into his coffin joint. The prognosis was poor. We scheduled to have him put down and a renderer to pick up his body, but the night before we did it, we thought he deserved one more night out to be a horse. We let him out of his 12x12 and he went running all over the property--bucking, rearing--I said, if he can run like that on a broken foot, I'm going to give him a chance. One year in a 12x12 stall in a bar shoe and lots of TLC from farrier and my family, and Cowboy is sound 10 years later. Since then, that same farrier has been my go-to for all things related to feet. I have good vets now that treat anything and everything else that comes up. :) So, I don't want to knock vets. In the Cowboy case, I did request a refund of all the money I'd paid them post-xray that revealed his fracture. I thought that was fair. I didn't blame them for Cowboy's situation--they didn't cause it. In the long run, it all worked out. Actually, in many ways I'm glad I didn't do the surgery to repair the P3 with screws. There are lots of bad outcomes with that surgery--or at least there used to be. In my case, 10 years and counting with a broken/healed front P3--I'm a happy girl!

      I'll look into the test more. I may still get it, just to know how to manage her in the future. Thanks for the info! And, please don't think I don't respect vets--I really do! My current vet is my best friend's daughter, and she is amazing. She fixed Shadow's fractured skull, stitched up Leah's 3 day old cut & the stitches stayed in a healed without a scar...and so, so much more! She has recently moved and wasn't available to take care of Leah, but she is setting up a new practice in a town nearby and will up and running soon.


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  7. Almost forgot! Your rides looked amazing, except for the rain part. I am so grateful that my hubby is a horse guy too, don't know what I would do if I didn't have him for a go-too riding partner. Beautiful riding country where you live. That reminds me - how far from you is Rathdrum, Idaho?

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    1. Yeah, the rain is not super fun, but it did bring out a different element--smells, wildlife. I'm very close to Rathdrum. Why do you ask?

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  8. You are blessed to have a husband who rides with you. Mine can ride, and used to come with me but doesn't any more- he says he can't afford to get hurt as he is the major bread winner here- yet he wants to take up mounted shooting? Hmmmm.....
    Even in the rain, it looks like it was a good ride and Cowboy looks like he was pleased to get out. The entertainment looks like it was my style, with fiddle and banjo :0)

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    1. I am very motivated by good food and music! This was a win-win! And yes, mounted shooting seems even more dangerous, but probably exciting, too. Another horse husband told me on Sunday's ride that he wants to do that!

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  9. I love-love-love riding in the rain. But I hate-hate-hate saddling a wet horse. Whatcha gunna do?
    Bill

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    1. Ah, speaking of horse husbands! It's not fun saddling in the rain, very true. We hadn't brought towels to dry them off either--so we used Kleenex. Was wishing I had a slicker/duster raincoat!

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  10. Thinking of you drying your horses off with kleenex definitely has me smiling! :)
    Wow, that's some story about Cowboy! I had no idea...I absolutely agree with them paying your money back to you. How could they miss a fracture like that? Ah well, sometimes there just is no excuse. So sorry that happened. We've had several clients' horses who've recovered well from p3 fractures and they didn't have surgery either. Just therapeutic shoeing and rest. I'm so happy your Cowboy is doing well! And soooo relieved that you didn't put him down. Scary!

    Re: Rathdrum...we have a client who sold her horse to a gal who lives there. I was talking with her and asked her about the town, I'd never heard of it before. Sounded just lovely, so I started checking it out and it really does look like a nice area. More snow than I'm used to, but overall nice. We're kinda, sorta looking for somewhere with a lower cost of living, and a drier winter for more riding time. The thought of moving to a place where we know nobody is worrisome to me though. But it looks like a nice place.

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    1. Yeah, the facility was happy to pay us back for that mistake and they apologized. I hated to even ask, because I considered them friends, but it was appropriate in this case. Because of the misdiagnosis and TX, Cowboy wasn't in a 12x12 with therapeutic shoes until 3 months post-fracture. :( The vets at WSU took xrays, saw a shifting of the bone into the coffin joint and gave a poor prognosis for long-term soundness because of arthritis in the joint. I had it xrayed a few years ago and there is a lot of arthritis in there, but somehow he stays "sound". Sunday, I gave him Bute before a ride, but I've only done that a few times.

      Well, that would be cool if you moved to Rathdrum! I'd ride with you. Rathdrum is about 30 minutes from me--so not bad. There are lots and lots of places to ride horses up around there. I don't usually go that way, but I have friends who do. Crossing the state line (Rathdrum is in Idaho), you do need Coggins, brand inspections, etc. I don't like to get Coggins if I don't have to. Rathdrum is a very small town, but there is lots of land for sale around there. It's really close to beautiful Coeur D'Alene and Sandpoint. We were married in Sandpoint and our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks, so we'll be driving through little ol' Rathdrum!

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    2. I believe what Cowboy has is osteo-arthritis--if that makes any difference. Basically, bone shifted into the coffin joint and there is a degeneration around it. It's his front left.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.