Wednesday, March 3, 2021

More Spring Scares

(Keeping constant vigil on Cowboy. He has taken to resting his hind end against his stall wall during the night. His birthday is coming up: March 7, 1995.)

I'm so happy spring has arrived--sunshine and temps in the 50's-60's--wow!! But with it, injuries have also arrived. Leah had swelling in her fetlock, possibly due to the mud everywhere. She's better now, but still on stall confinement. She is very, very happy in a stall, and it keeps her from overeating.

Unfortunately, a few days ago I noticed some swelling in Tumbleweed's back right.  It was almost imperceptible, and I doubted myself--thinking I was just starting to see leg injuries where they didn't exist. But upon closer inspection, there was a little heat and swelling going on.  He wasn't lame at all, and it went away quickly on its own. 

Still, that was a surprising development, since he had been on stall confinement for his spring safety. I saw the melt and mud, and what happened to Leah, and I didn't want anything to happen to him, so I moved him into the barn last week with turnout only in the arena where there's sand. Who knows how he did it. I'm doing everything I can to keep him in one healthy piece before training in 8 days. Pretty much, I've done everything except bubble-wrap him. Stay sound, Tumbleweed!!

And there was one more sad, spring development, or really, the progression of a recurring struggle with Cowboy's arthritic hips and front left foot: I found him down and unable to get up without my help.

It happened when he was turned out for a few hours during the day. I put him out at 1:00, left to run errands, then returned at 4:00--his dinnertime. (The first thing I do, whenever returning home, is walk strait to my back windows and look at the horses, especially when Cowboy is out for turnout.) I saw Cowboy lying down. (Weird, since it was feeding time, and he never sleeps when he knows I'll be out soon.) I watched for a few minutes and saw him lifting his head, then lying it back down. 

I changed boots quickly and ran outside, towards him. He heard me coming, and tried to lift himself, only to lay back down. When I got to him, he was lying in a somewhat slick spot, but really not that bad--and it was level. I got behind him and pushed on his hips and he jumped right up. By then, my husband had also arrived to help with the SOS, and we inspected, and then walked him out.

He wasn't limping, but he was stiff--which is to be expected.  He was hungry. (Nowadays, he is almost entirely eating Equine Senior.)  He had been on his "off days" for meds.  (My vet wanted me to rotate 7 days on, 7 days off, for as long as possible, to give his kidneys a rest.) I think we're at the point where there will be no "off days."

It was 2 days ago, and I'm still evaluating the situation. There have been no repeat episodes. My farrier always said, keep him moving. You've got to use it or lose it. And, winter has kept him from using it or moving it.  Spring arrived, and he started moving it a lot--perhaps, causing him to be sore.

Today, my plan is to lightly walk Cowboy and do bodywork. He will have turnout in the pasture.

For Tumbleweed, I plan to saddle and hand walk him, load into the trailer, and practice obstacles. I want him to stay calm and use his brain. In fact, I'm going to instruct my trainer to work on that above all else. I want a solid trail horse, so I want her to do everything associated with a working ranch horse.

On the positive side of this spring weather, we're getting in some beautiful hikes. Yesterday, my husband and I did an 8 mile hike along the river, and it was just gorgeous. (We were sore afterward, which gives me extra sympathy for how Cowboy is feeling now that he's moving again.) 

A homeschool group passed us and pointed out all the ladybugs along the trail. We had mistaken them for discoloration on the ground and trees, but there were hordes and hordes and hordes of them everywhere you looked.


The birds were back and chirping away. The geese had also returned, and were bathing, flapping their large wings, and honking.




Welcome back, sunshine!

10 comments:

  1. Oh no, how scary!! One of my greatest fears is having a horse slip on the unavoidable ice. They seem to do pretty well navigating ice, until something scares them or they misjudge. Truly hope Cowboy feels better. I agree light moving is probably best, he will likely let you know. Do you think he slipped or just too sore to get up? You might need to bubble wrap him too! 8 miles is a good long hike. Looks pretty. Those might be Asian Beetles. There seems to be an endless supply, I vacuum them daily from our deck windows.

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    1. I think he got down to sleep or roll, but I’m not sure. When it’s slick, anything could have happened. It was a weird place to lie down, so maybe he slipped.

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  2. A lot of scary stuff all at once. That would make me crazy with worry. I hope Cowboy is just sore from overdoing it and will adjust to moving around a little at a time. Tumbleweed will be fine, I'm sure he's going to learn a lot at your trainers and be a great trail horse. Leah will be fine too. Funny she likes being in her stall so does my Rosie. She's always the first one to the gate to come in. 8 miles is a long hike, good for you both. Hang in there. Everything will be alright.

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    1. Tumbleweed’s leg is back to normal, so now I just need to keep it that way for exactly one week. Lol. He’s also mellowing out from those first spring crazy days. Leah is getting bodywork, food and a private stall. She’s in heaven. Rosie must be similar. Although Leah isn’t a leader and doesn’t care about the herd at all. She has never bonded with any of them.

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  3. Awww prayers for Cowboy. It's tough when they get old and you have to watch their health and mobility decline. I am dreading those days....
    Running around in the mud is a good way to get a sore ankle. Hope T'weed and Leah are over their soreness.
    8 miles- wow.... I would be sore too! It is such lovely weather now. I did a bunch of work in my flower beds, getting rid of the dead stuff as the new growth is now coming in. Yay!

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    1. Tumbleweed is back to normal. Leah’s injury isn’t causing lameness anymore, but there seems to be some fluid in a little pocket. She had a horrible injury on that leg as a yearling, went through a cattle grate and tore it half off. It was a miracle she survived. I didn’t own her then. But I think that injury caused her conformation to be off for the rest of her life. And the leg has always retained a slightly swollen look from scar tissue.

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  4. Irish often braces his hind end against the wall. I’ve also seen some great improvement with him since I started him on vitamin E 18 months ago. It took about 3 months to see any change. But I’ve been noticed improvement this winter. He’s on about 8,000 IU per day.

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    1. Interesting. I’ll look for some today. I’m willing to try anything that can help. He has been doing much better these last couple of days.

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  5. Prayers for them all, especially for Cowboy who I am so in love with )))hugs(((

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    1. Thank you. He is a special soul. He has been doing very well these last few days since being down, and he’s moving more. Thank you for the prayers!

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