Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Epona's Checkup

I may not have raised foals from birth before, but I do know what they should look like, and how they should progress, if for no other reason, just watching Shirley's blog at Ride a Good Horse. So, when people were asking me how Epona was doing, and if she was 100% yet, I said no. I guessed that she was 50% better. She had been 80% efficient at nursing the last time she was at the vet, and I figured she was 90% (or just a little better) now. 

Everyone around me thought I was being unduly pessimistic, but I think of myself as a realist.  For example, if you ask me if a glass is half full or half empty--I'd say it is both. I'm a glass is half full AND half empty kinda gal.

Therefore, when the results of her ultrasound revealed a 50% improvement, my realism (and x-ray vision) was vindicated.


It was a HOT ride to the vet clinic yesterday, but not nearly as hot as it's going to be when we go back next week. Cowgirl was sweating because we had to wait 20 minutes for our appointment. She got very nervous in the trailer, and did a lot of prancing around with Epona. It was nerve-wracking for me to make her wait like that. I was almost ready to drive off.

But just when I'd lost all hope of ever being summoned, the vet came out to get us. 

Epona has learned to enjoy the vet clinic. She's very curious, and they let her wander around the room.

When we gave them our update: congested nose sounds, a drip of milk here and there from the nostril, but not nearly as often, or as much...our vet immediately jumped to the possibility of taping Cowgirl's nipples and starting Epona on pelleted milk replacer. However, after seeing Epona's lungs with the ultrasound, she backtracked.  She was happy with Epona's weight gain (176 lbs), and the improvement in her lungs, and she decided to keep her on mama, but introduce another antibiotic to her regimen. (and also increase her old antibiotic, to reflect her gain in weight).

I asked her how long we can go on like this before there's lung scarring, and she said we have a long, long way to go. 

She wants us to start introducing Omolene 300 (Cowgirl's supplement) as a mash, once per day. She also wants us to add a low water trough for Epona so that we can see if she starts to drink water by herself. (Currently, she has access to a low automatic water) And then we're going to take it on a week to week basis, assuming she doesn't go backwards. Her next appointment is next Thursday.

We left the clinic feeling pretty confident about the future. Epona has done very well, and as she gets older, and more mature, our options expand. 

As for Cowgirl's weight, she told me she doesn't want her any heavier, and as Epona starts to eat other foods, slowly back off on her Omolene 300 supplement.  Right now, she's getting about 10 pounds per day, and 24/7 grass. We had been told to give her Bute (by Cowgirl's vet in the same clinic) for her nursing issues, but Epona's vet wasn't keen on the Bute. She said some of it is getting to Epona, and she'd rather it not. I told her I'd compromise and only give as needed. (Which I'd already been doing.)


We are going to have record hot temperatures this week--exceeding 100 degrees--and I am very happy Epona will be more mature by the time they do hit. I'm going to have to find creative ways to cool them off. We have a sprinkler in the pasture, and I may turn that on for them--a cool ground does seem to take the bite off of the extreme temps.

What things do you all do to help the horses survive during extreme hot spells?


  1. I think it's good news and she's improving week by week. The low water trough is a good idea. I'm like you a realist, I don't believe in living in fantasy land where it's nothing but unicorns and rainbows. If you keep your eyes open to every possibility you will be ready with information to keep helping her. You've been doing all the right things so far and she's improving a lot. Hang in there, I'm sure she'll be fine.

    Those temps sound ridiculous. What we do in high temps is simple, we either keep them inside during the worst heat of the day and let them stay under their ceiling fans in their stalls and turn them out at night after the sun goes down and it cools off a little. Or if it's not too bad they have two ceiling fans in each run in shed. They're smart enough to go under the fans to cool off and they have plenty of water at all times with the automatic waterers and troughs. Also, we have huge salt blocks outside and the pink Himalayan ones on ropes in each stall. They also get hosed off if they're really sweating (I've been known to turn the hose on myself occasionally too!) That's about all you can do. I know they sell giant floor industrial fans, we had one once and put it in the aisle for more cooling off help and to keep the air moving at least. Good luck with everything.

    1. That is smart—in during the day, out at night. Hosing them off is also smart. We have a good breeze today, and it’s keeping the barn cool, but I have added fans most summer when the hot air is stagnant. Tweed started to sweat last summer, and I put a fan directly on his stall. It’s crazy that it’s this hot in June. Temperatures like these usually don’t happen at all, but if they do, it’s in August.

  2. I think people in general just want to hear only good stuff, but that's just not life. I try to be an optimistic half glass full kinda gal, however reality is just that. Why would you say Epona is 100%, when she isn't. Not that you don't want her to be, we all do. I am glad her vet visit was reassuring. YOU are doing all the right things!!! Seeing Epona wander around the vet clinic is so precious, and great socializing/desensitizing I might add. Epona continuing to nurse sure seems ideal. With high temps coming, I would think a water trough would be helpful for hydration.

    When we get high temps, our horses go out/come in earlier and we turn our ceiling fans up a notch or two. If there was only one thing I could recommend to someone building a barn, it would be to install Big Ass fans. They are worth every penny. On the real hot days, our horses also get hosed off with cool water after they come in. We wait to give them grain supplement until they cool off. Nothing out of the ordinary. No clue what one might do different for a foal during high heat, other than keep a vigilant eye. Keep doing what you are doing, it is working!

    We are looking into putting up a mesh screen cover somewhere in the turnout area for shade. We really don't have much pasture shade late afternoon, other than the shed. Nemo really needs shade. I think your sprinkler is a great idea. Early on, we tossed around the idea of a horse hoop walk through type sprinkler. It doesn't make much sense here. On our few needed days, a sprinkler would serve a similar purpose. Plus, I wouldn't want to make a slippery mess. We don't use electrolytes, but there are plenty to choose from.

    1. Good suggestions. I did buy some electrolytes the last time I was out. I may add them to her water. I’m interested in what you find for mesh screens. I’ve had a similar thought. All the horses do have access to shade, but sometimes they prefer to be in areas where there is none. We’re locking the baby and mama in, but when the temps get really bad, I’ll lock them all in and open the pasture at night. The sprinkler does create wet ground, more easily damaged by their hooves. I will need to turn it off a couple hours before they’re released.

    2. If we had a foal, I think we would keep mom and baby inside with extreme heat too. Those industrial floor fans Grey Horse mentioned really move air!! I have noticed them hauled into horse shows & those aisles are significantly more comfortable than those of us using individual box fans for horse/human. Your turnout plan sounds good! Hopefully the heatwave isn't as bad as predicted. The weather sure is different this summer

    3. I just ordered one. It’s supposed to be here Sunday. I probably should have bought it at a local store, to be safe. I will look tomorrow. Anyway, bases are covered.

    4. Check out the greenhouse supply places for the shade cloth they use to cover greenhouses for the plants that need shade. They are well constructed and should be easy to figure out a way to mount to a turnout area.

  3. All good suggestions - I might add use loose salt as well as a salt block. When Pistol was born on the hottest days of the summer a couple of years ago, I used wet towels on him to help cool him off as it was easier than trying to spray him down. I am going to be keeping a close eye on Dally, especially by Monday as the temps are going to be unbearable= a "feels like 110" day!
    If you use a trough, you may have to change out the water in the hottest part of the day as it may be too warm to drink/cool them off.

    1. Yes! Even my automatic waters are getting hot, and I have to drain them and allow them to refill. I need to make a list! I am dreading next week, and hoping they’re wrong about the heat wave. We’re going to make sure the dogs are in the house, and we will be home to do constant checks on the horses. It’s going to be brutal.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.