dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Death of Me

love Terry Pratchett


I swear that my horses are going to be the death of me.

Irish has been NQR since the beginning of August. It would come and go and to be honest I just figured it was an abscess. Before I went off to the clinic he was really off so I figured it was ready to burst. But when I came back he was still three legged. I checked him all over and there was no heat or swelling except I found a solid lump on the bottom of his hoof.

Like what the hell horse? What is this lump? I googled it. And instantly regretted do that. I then called my farrier with the hope that he would explain how perfectly normal this was and entirely common. But he was unsure and told me to call the vet. I called and left a message- the vet I usually use was off but the other equine vet was working.  She called me back and was unsure as well. And explained that  she's pregnant and is not doing large animal calls. She advised me to bute him- but I can't because of the previcox.  She told me to cut out a piece of styrofoam and fit it to his foot with duct tape. Yes, because I have that lying around.

She also advised that maybe I should get x-rays. I had an immediate visceral reaction  of no. Before you judge me - hear me out. Irish is in a delicate balance right now. And he has terrible feet. If I x-ray and find some horrible thing (like navicular) I will have to make some decisions about quality of life. Let's be honest- there are only so many things that he can handle at once. So I am taking the 'no news is good news' approach.

  I took a photo of his foot and sent it to my farrier. I love my farrier because he came out yesterday. He was still not sure what it was but is thinking that Irish damaged it and the sole grew too much in that one spot. He trimmed and reset his shoes and did some pour in cushion stuff- sort of like rubber cement. He also told me (I was at work and he phoned. I would have come home but it was too late) and said that Irish was walking okay when he brought him in.

Really? Because this morning I had to force him to walk out of his stall. WTH horse? He then said that Irish was acting very spooky and jumpy which is not like him at all.

Unless he colicking.

Shit.

I came home right away and I was not happy with how Irish was looking. He was definitely in a mild colic and very agitated. I brought him out and realized that I needed to cool him off. I began to hose him and as the water washed over him he became more and more relaxed. I then gave him some 'chill', sprayed him with fly spray and turned him out into the front paddock so I could watch him. He settled into grazing and seemed to be fine. He was also definitely more comfortable. I think I caught it before he got worse.

By supper time he seemed to be perfectly normal so I figured that it would be okay for Caelen to ride him at the walk. I am a fan of movement if a horse can handle it. I brought Carmen up to ride as well. Caelen's mom (my sister) has arrived with the rest of the clan (husband and 3 more children). My youngest niece is in love with Carmen and wanted to watch. I told her it was okay as long as she stayed still and didn't spook us. With 20-20 hindsight I should have told her to go and get her mom. It's been a long time since I had a seven year old. Anyway, Carmen and I were cantering up the long side and I didn't see Carleigh crouched down by a post. As we went by we scared her and she jumped up with a scream. Carmen leapt sideways and I was completely caught off guard and flew off landing on my right hip and scraping my right elbow. I thought at first I broke something but I was just really sore.
Poor Carleigh was very upset and kept apologizing. I held up my hand and said quietly 'it's okay. I need you to go back to the house now'. I then limped over to Carmen and went back to the mounting block to get back on. 

Needless to say we were both a bit tense. I realized I needed to get her focussed on me. I spent a bit of time working on our 'whoa' because obviously that was a bit rusty. Then we worked on flowing forward and keeping her 'under' me-even in her spooky corners. By the time I was finished we were both a bit sweaty but definitely connected. 

I am sporting a livid bruise on my hip and one stretching across my butt that is an incredible shade of red and purple. And it's sore- so is my neck.  But her spook was legit and I cannot blame her for it. I had been giving her some rein to get her to stretch into it and that gave her a door. It does tell me that I need to get her to stop running through my inside hand/leg - that is not a good thing for her to learn. I'm open to suggestions. 

Irish feeling better and Carmen feeling calmer. 
This morning Caelen and I rode and Carmen was awesome. I spent time at first making sure that she was straight and connected and under me. I found her very stiff in the poll going to the right and that was the side I came off on so she might have had a pull muscle as I grabbed the rein. I worked on getting her to stretch and soften. Finally she relaxed and we were able to get some half-decent work in. Caelen and I then hit the trail in the woods. Carmen led the whole way through the two trails and seemed to really enjoy it. I find that on the trail, when we're leading she really tunes in to me and takes direction. Which is so much better then her making decisions. 

on of my favourite views in one of my favourite places



42 comments:

  1. What a stressful few days. I hope your farrier was right, and it was essentially a callous on Irish's hoof. I helped a friend work with her navicular horse, and saw first hand the bone coming through the sole. There was blood and pus once it broke through. Amazingly, that horse recovered. Sounds like it's going to hurt to sit for a while. Sorry about the accident. I once tried to ride Bombay at a public arena while a maintenance worker was down on his hands and knees by the railing working on the landscaping. I managed to ride out the spooks, but the guy was worried I'd get into a wreck, so he said he'd come back to do the job later. I was relieved that he understood horses. I'm hoping that Carmen's confidence in the woods will improve her confidence in the arena. Super spooky horses don't always feel comfortable being in the lead.

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    1. It was a stressful day. I'm not giving up on the idea that Carmen's reactivity can be channelled away from spooking

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  2. Sorry to hear about your mishap, that must gave been a surprise and you must be hurting. Feel better. Carmen sounds like she's over it and back with you.

    Hope Irish feels better soon.

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  3. Sorry to hear about the accident :( really glad to hear that you're both ok even if both a bit sore. Sending lots of positive healing thoughts for Irish.

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  4. Sorry about the fall. Though, like you said, can't blame Carmen because I would have spooked too. On the positive side you were able to get her working again and that's really important in my opinion.
    Aria loves to evade, bulge, and blow through my leg. I don't like how sharp a dressage whip is and sometimes I think it's over kill or not enough contact when used correctly and incorrectly, respectively.
    My solution has been to purchase some PEX pipe from Home Depot, size it to 2.5 feet (76.2 cm), cover the ends with electrical tape and use that as a crop/wand to enforce my aids (the smaller diameter pipe). Of course I had to teach her to respect it from the ground first but it works pretty well as the final strong cue when rein and leg aren't getting respect. It's light and flexible and doesn't make me feel like I'm beating my horse but gets my point across (I also have one with some foam on each end that I got off a pool noodle).
    Not sure if it will help for you but I use it everywhere on Aria's body to control her direction. She understands that being touched by the pipe doesn't always mean move but it does mean 'pay attention'.

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    1. I used to carry a small jumping bat to do the same thing. I may get it back out

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  5. Hope Irish continues to improve.

    Sorry about that fall and hope your injuries feel better soon. Glad you felt well enough to get back on as that was good for both your and her confidence.

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    1. I hope so too. And it was good for us

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  6. Ugh what an unfortunate and stressful series of events :( glad you are ok from the fall and glad Irish appears to have recovered and is responding well to the foot treatment. Fingers crossed he continues to do so!

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  7. What a stressful few days. Sorry you got hurt, but at least it was an honest response from Carmen. I'm not sure I'd have gotten Gem back to any semblance of work after a screaming banshee popped out of nowhere by her.

    I love Terry Pratchett and Death is one of my characters.

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    1. It was an honest response but still, ow.

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  8. Sorry to hear about Irish. I hope he stays better. Horses are always throwing curveballs. I'm impressed with your get back in the saddle attitude with Carmen. I really do think trail rides are good for them. Leah also tunes in and listens better. I think she's more in need of me out there.

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    1. I agree-it's nice that being on the trail is good for them

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  9. What a rough day! Glad everyone is feeling better!

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  10. Ouch :( What a rough day. I'm sorry about Irish. I hope you get answers (good ones) soon. That fall sounds terrible. Double ouch. It sounds like you handled it really well, but I winced just reading about it. It sounds like your poor niece felt terrible about it too. That was definitely a legitimate spook, but I think I would have been aggravated anyway. Hope you heal quickly, and I'm glad you weren't hurt worse.

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  11. One thought about Irish - if you're in an area that has Lyme, you might want to have him tested. Lyme often produces odd, shifting lameness (in Pie's case he was never lame, just footsore) and also often causes horses to be hypersensitive to sound and very spooky/NQR in general. The new Lyme test is very accurate.

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    1. I've been thinking of getting him tested for lyme.

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  12. As I was reading this, I thought how great it can be to sit down and write down our frustrations. You did such a great job sharing your feelings of concern and love as it was difficult at first to find a solution to Irish's problem. It sounds like things are better now and I hope that will last.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear about all of this, but so glad nothing is broken! It made me think of something a clinician said to me once, that in working with a spooky horse people sometimes become hyperaware of their horse and avoid possible triggers (i.e. loud, fast, flappy, etc.). He said this actually often worsened a horse's reactivity, sensing the rider's level of caution whether the person was aware of it or not. When I started doing horse agility and had my arena full of flags, tarps, and all manner of scary objects, it really brought home the concept of being the confident leader who does not alter her behavior for the horse. I would be fair, as clear as possible, but loud/fast/silly if I wanted and my kids were allowed to be this way also. Of course, all of this was done with ground work for months before expecting my horse to listen to me and ignore the crazy running and jumping kids while riding. I still have spooks from sudden surprises like a rabbit jumping out but it is more of a smaller startle than a full sideways spin that my mare used to do. The mentally of 'just deal with it' has brought us both a long way so far.

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    1. I've been working on that attitude for a while now. I think she would have been fine except for her leaping up and screaming so suddenly.

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  14. Damn, lady! While an exciting read, I'm so sorry to hear about this amalgamation of events! I'm very happy to hear you aren't hurt worse from that fall - it really sounded like a doozy.

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    1. My behind is an amazing shade of purple.

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  15. Little kids and animals - nothing & everything surprises me. Hope you're on the mend quickly.
    As for Irish - I hear you on the no news thing. He's part of your family, I get it. I'll be waiting to hear what the lump is, sending positive energy in the meantime.

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    1. Still not sure what the lump is. We shall see how he does.

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  16. Coming back to blog land finally here.

    I'm so sorry you have this stress and worry. You love him so much.

    Would love it if people blogged about falling off more often. I feel like I'm the only one.

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    1. oh you are not the only one. Did you fall off recently?

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  17. Oh no! Glad you are mostly ok, and glad IRish is OK as well!

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    1. I am mostly okay with a profound respect as to how hard the ground is. :D

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  18. I'm glad you're okay from the fall and that Irish is doing okay with his hoof. I hope it's nothing serious.

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    1. Thank you. I hope so too but to be honest, I'm not horribly optimistic.

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  19. So sorry you have to worry about Irish. I remember that non-stop daily worry of having an older horse.

    My sister and her family spent the last 5 days visiting and the kids (11 and 14) were not allowed in the horse area AT ANY TIME. My sister reads my blog, that's why.

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    1. Good call- depending on how they behave. :)

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  20. I think my other comment disappeared! Glad you are ok from the fall. Sending good vibes to Irish. My horses are definitely trying to give me an ulcer this year!

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    1. Hm, wonder if I deleted it by mistake - if I use my phone I'm don't always hit the right button. Sorry. And the horses can just knock it off.

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  21. I feel you about Irish...Gen is not in a good way. I keep putting off writing about it because I keep hoping it will get better.

    Sorry about your fall! Ouch! Glad nothing is broken.

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