dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Great Start to 2020

I am not sure how it happened but I am so far behind in blog posts. I haven't even done my recap of 2019 and my goals. I will get this done by the end of the week! I promise.

But I want to share about today. My ring has been frozen for the past 10 days or so. I have managed to get a little groundwork and riding in but it was at the walk. Not that I mind- there's a lot that can be done at the walk to work on flexibility and suppleness.

New Years eve was a quite rainy but that meant that today was nice and, even better, the ring was thawed out. Julia came out to ride and we headed up to the ring. Irish was feeling really really fresh. So was Carmen. I spent some time on the ground with her working. The work I do is to get her to soften and relax into the work. I am finding that she is responding well to this.

perfect way to spend New Year's Day
While I was doing this it started to rain, which turned to snow and then hail. WTF? Screw it, I'm not leaving. 
Carmen:  are you sure? 

Irish was being quite ADHD so I stopped to advise Julia. I turned to Carmen and she was quite relaxed. So I got on. She was energetic but forward. At times she would tense but responded well to my relaxing my aids. It's getting easier for me to do this and my lizard brain is less likely to be screaming at me that we're all gonna die. Fortunately the sun started to come out.

Irish quickly settled into work (a great side effect of aging- it doesn't take as long).  Carmen and I worked on our lateral work and it was pretty good. I even practiced a few half-passes. Our mediums sucked at the trot but she was keen at the canter.

Carmen is feeling good and my seat is feeling much more secure as well. But even more importantly, I have much more control over my mindset. It's easier to not get flustered or frustrated. I suspect that it will always be something that I need work on but it's nice to see progress.

Carmen: I was good, no? I should have more apples

But even more exciting is my update on Irish.

As you know, Irish was diagnosed with 'a neurological issue' several years ago. I have been trying various things to manage him. Of the things I have tried I have had the most success with:

  • a daily dose of previcox
  • lysine added to his feed
  • magnesium (which greatly improved his headshaking. 
A few years after being diagnosed he began to present with urinary incontinence. It's been getting worse over the years. I've tried all sorts of things to protect his hind legs. Boots always end up getting stiff from the urine no matter what I do. The most effective protocol I have found is to wash them regularly (everything from hose-off to using dawn soap), then spraying with Blu-kote and sprinkling on powder. By 2019 he had a constant stream of urine and his stall was always a complete mess. 

Way back in April my vet (recently took us over from her dad) recommended that I try Vitamin E. Now in the past I had researched this but everything seemed to indicate that vitamin E at this point in his disease would be too late. However, she said that there was some research that massive doses might provide some benefit or maybe slow down his progression. Sourcing the amount required was not so easy but I settled on the Greenline Vitamin E. He's getting 1 scoop of that (10,000 IU) and a scoop of the vitamin E/Selenium making his dose rate approximate 11,500 IU per day. 

After a couple months I thought I saw some improvement in his leaking but wasn't sure that I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see. I kept dosing anyway. Last sunday I was brought Irish out to give his legs a good wash when the weather was warmer. Normally I have to dodge pee while I do this but there was none. I watched him the rest of the day and never saw any dribbling. On monday morning, instead of the normal soaked shavings I saw a more 'normal' messy stall. And I found actual pee spots. I was really excited and told Ed. 

looking good, you can see the blue on his legs
Irish: knock it off Carmen, this is my photo shoot
Carmen: whatever

I watched Irish carefully the last few days and found an absence of dribbles and more pee spots in his stall. When Julia came out to ride him I wanted to see how he was with the movement. Normally he dribbles more when working. And he did have some dribble when she was trotting him. But not a lot- just a little. Back in his stall after the ride he stretched out peed! Julia and I started cheering. Irish has not had a true pee (as far as I know) in years.  

And watching Irish go he was perky and forward and not looking like he's a neurological horse pushing 20. I saw some of the old Irish in him. 

I know that this may not be permanent but for now I'm really happy about it. 

would love to have this guy back

And on another note, Guinness' birthday is today. Believe it not he's three!!! He's become a great farm dog and companion.
Guinness: yay for birthday bacon! 

How was your New Years?


  1. Great news on Irish. What a beauty is was in that photo! ...takes my breath away.

    1. Yeah, he was pretty stunning in his youth.

  2. That's a good start to the year!
    Is the incontinence linked to the neurological issues?

    1. A good question. In my head it is but I know that that it not good science. It could be something completely separate. It's not related to bladder/kidney dysfunction (at least based on blood/urine tests).

  3. That's so awesome that you're seeing improvement!! Yay Irish!

  4. Great news on Irish, I hope the improvement continues! Happy bday to Guinness, and hope you and your entire herd have a great 2020!

  5. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER ABOUT IRISH! I'm seriously sitting here whooping and cheering for you.

    1. I am trying to maintain perspective but I am so happy.

  6. Replies
    1. I'll see your 'yay' and raise you a 'woohoo'.

  7. Vitamin E helped my neuro guy tremendously too! So glad he's doing better!
    Happy Birthday to Guinness! And Happy New Year!

  8. That is so great that the Vitamin E has helped Irish out so much!


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