dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Update on the Old Guys

My blog has been a bit heavy on Carmen and Guinness lately so it's time to talk about the more seasoned  (4 legged) residents of Oakfield Farm.

Irish is doing very well this year. He weathered the winter and managed to keep his weight up. The only problem was that with his regular incontinence I couldn't keep his back legs as clean as I would like. I took advantage of every warmish day I could but it still built up to a gross amount. FYI- Dawn soap works really well on gunk like this. But other than that he's been really quite healthy and sound. Well, as sound as a 17 year old horse with a neurological issue that is most likely arthritis in his spine could be.

he is still the one to forge the path through the snow and
takes that job very seriously. 
He has been enjoying his rides this winter as well and I've made reference a few times  to his 'happy face'. Here it is:
He enjoys 'teaching' others and tries very hard for them. Sometimes too hard but that's part of his charm. I'm finding that having a senior horse might be heavy on maintenance but they are so charming that it's worth it. Irish comes up for his face rubs in the pasture and is generally easy to work with. His only issue is that he's getting cranky for not being allowed over into the grass pasture and all of my explanations about waiting for the grass to get established and be growing fall on deaf ears.

Irish and I have been together since he was three years old and understand one another. I love that he's still with me and will do my best to keep him healthy and happy. He knows that he's not going anywhere.
Irish and Steele and I - photo by Kat 
d'Arcy is going to be 13 soon. I've picked him out of a litter and I remember my excitement 


d'Arcy has lived life to the fullest, always doing things 100%. 

Which has led to things like this:

His motto has always been 'it's just a flesh wound' and he can't understand why he can't carry on. This has always been my favourite photo of him because it sums him up perfectly:
And led to him being on a soda bottle:

However, d'Arcy is starting to feel his age. We've also noticed that he's losing his hearing. I was getting so annoyed with him earlier this year when he would be completely ignoring me while 50 feet away. Now I realize that he probably couldn't hear me. I have to make sure that he sees me first. He needs help getting upstairs and doesn't get up with me. I think he doesn't hear me but he notices when Ed gets up. That's okay- it gives me time to get the puppy calmed down before he comes out. This morning Guinness and I were finished the chores and no sign of d'Arcy. I figured he and Ed were sleeping in.
Let's go get the lazy bones up I said.
Lazy bones! BREAKFAST! Lazy bones! BREAKFAST! BREAKFAST! Guinness bounced to the house.

Ed was sitting on the couch and I asked if he let d'Arcy out. He realized that d'Arcy was still upstairs sleeping. He called him down and let him out to pee. We watched from the window as he slowly and stiffly made his way to the barn. He was slow but he had a job to do and he was going to get it done. I had tears in my eyes because, for the first time (to me anyway), he looked like an old dog.

I realized that he was looking for me so I went outside and called him. He didn't look up until I bounced up and down and waved my arms.
Oh, there you are. Everything looks okay here- I just checked. 
I brought him into the house.

d'Arcy is on medication but he's still sore and stiff at night. I know that the vet wants me to really limit his exercise and I sort of do. But I refuse to keep him in the house or tie him to stop him from running. I still throw a ball or stick for him because it makes him happy. And I'd rather have him happy for a short time then miserable for a long time. He has perked up with the puppy because he joins in on the short and frequent exercise and that is probably way better for him.

from a couple weeks ago
So at Oakfield Farm we are mix of young, old and middle aged. Some of us need some medication to keep going while others are young and bouncy. All of us are full of piss and vinegar.  It does keep things interesting- and well stocked with various remedies.




26 comments:

  1. You had me crying in my morning coffee. Old age comes far too soon and it is an honour to be there for them and do our best for them in the senior years.

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    1. sorry to make you cry but it is an honour to have them in our lives.

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    2. My thoughts exactly <3 Also very cool he was the Jones soda model.

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  2. You know me, I LOVE the old horses. I'd be interested to read more about Irish's health issues. Is there a post on that. I suspect Cowboy's head shaking is due to something in his back putting pressure on the trigeminal nerve. He benefits from TTOUCH and, when it's really bad in spring, medication. His previously broken p3 causes him to hold it out a lot and that tweaks his frame. So, it's a snowball effect.

    It looks like D'arcy is doing really well for being 13. Very sweet.

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    1. d'Arcy is very sweet and dedicated to his job. I did do a post about Irish: http://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.ca/2012/11/there-is-peace-in-answers.html
      I do not have a definitive diagnosis and I refuse to subject him to the long trailer ride and poking when the answer might not be had. I suspect that it's his SI joint because he injured it when he was young.

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  3. I so agree with your allowing him to be who he is. Our Ivy will be 12 soon, going deaf as well. It's hard & while we have to be watchful of her back, she's still our little Cardi Princess.

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    1. I really couldn't do anything else. I try to keep our 'play' sessions short but I can't deprive him of his job.

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  4. Boy I sure can relate to this post. Scout has recovered from his recent acute illness, but he is really starting to show his 14.5 years. He is mostly great in the day, but in the evening, before bed, he is extremely restless, wanting to go in and out of the house. He would calm down if I went to bed, but I have things to do yet. I think this might be a form of dementia, but it can be very challenging to remain patient. d'Arcy is lucky to have someone that will allow him to continue participating in the fun parts of his life, while helping him cope with his limitations. Scout has done best with Prevacox.

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    1. Fortunately d'Arcy sleeps all evening until bed time. I do enjoy him and hope to have him with me for many years to come.

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  5. It's so sad when they get old and can't do all they used to. I remember my Maggie lost her hearing and I used to do hand signals and make an ass out of myself but she understood what I wanted eventually. Love the picture of D'arcy that made the soda bottle. Perfect!

    Irish is a sweetheart. Love how he teaches and helps out and his sweet face too.

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    1. I have been working on all sorts of hand gestures. I think he's been relying on my body language for a while. Irish is truly a sweet and gentle horse.

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  6. I'd rather have him happy for a short time than miserable for a long time.

    I love that.

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    1. Yes- it's how I want to live too.

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  7. Brett and I were just saying yesterday that, for the first time, Kersey seems like an old dog to us. She isn't that old, but she is a large breed dog and she has a ton of arthritis. We don't limit her activity either; she loves going on walks with me but I have to go slow(er) and not so far. Flash and Pistol are both 21. No youngsters here.

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    1. Kersey is a lucky dog to have you guys. Pistol looks great for her age. I know that Flash has his issues but she seems to be pretty good.

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  8. My 13 year old dachshund is starting to show her age too. I was crying over it the other day. She's really slowing down on her walks and sleeping deeper. She has an enlarged heart which has finally developed a heart murmur, but like you I refuse to limit her completely. She loves walks and playing with her soccer ball far too much.

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    1. It is so hard when we have to slow down for them. It took d'Arcy a long time to stop looking at me expectantly for our hikes.

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  9. This entry made me cry. I so appreciate the old guys. JR is 19 this year. Herbie is only seven, but her arthritis is catching up with her a bit despite medication, and I have to take it easier on her than I ever have. I LOVE that photo of d'Arcy. What a gorgeous, expressive face. <3 Love this update.

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    1. d'Arcy is very expressive. I am sorry about Herbie- seven is young.

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  10. We had to make the tough choice last year for our 16 year old weimaraner. She was enjoying life and we let her do all the things she shouldn't until one day it was really obvious that something had changed. I'm of the same line of thinking that quality is better than quantity. If my old girl wanted to tear around the yard and eat cat poop, that's what she got to do! Otherwise I think they'd just get depressed. :)

    I'm really curious about Irish's condition. Do you have an older post about it or can I google it?

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    1. I do have an older post: http://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.ca/2012/11/there-is-peace-in-answers.html
      I do not have a definitive diagnosis and I refuse to subject him to the long trailer ride and poking when the answer might not be had. I suspect that it's his SI joint because he injured it when he was young.

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  11. "And I'd rather have him happy for a short time then miserable for a long time. He has perked up with the puppy because he joins in on the short and frequent exercise and that is probably way better for him."

    This. So much. While Kenai is only 7, he's had so many issues with his stifles already that he's slowing down. Supplements are helping him a lot for now though. Having a yard of his own where he can spend ALL DAY outside is also doing wonders. I know he'll also enjoy having a playmate later this year. I hope he's as good a mentor as your d'Arcy.

    And that is SO cool re: Jones soda cover boy!

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  12. Poor Kennai! But dogs are lucky they can find joy even when they are sore.

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  13. On the Oldies: totally agree.
    Most anyone can keep critters who are young & healthy, but it's an entirely different level of devotion to shepherd treasured pets into old age & beyond.

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  14. <3 I love the oldies. They are so charming. It is fun to watch that full cycle of life, even if at times it is hard on our hearts.

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