McTavish

Sep
2013
06

posted by on Barn tales, Injury

McTavishIt has been 5 months since Ive been on a horse. Thats a long time. I haven’t had a horse to ride since i broke my hand and got taken away in an ambulance. Ive been frustrated and missing riding. Jez has another month of rest then I have to get someone to restart her (my vet is helping me with some names) shes lost most of her manners and well i feel so guilty keeping her on rest the I let her get away with all kinds of things. Come October though times will be a changing for her. In any event i’ve been sad not having a horse to ride. Enter McTavish!

McTavish is a Halflinger, McTavish is a ex Mennonite cart horse, McTavish is a love bug. I’ve been making friends with him for a while because he’s so cute you cant help but want to love all over him. My farm owner offered to let me give him a go and I took her up on it. I tacked him up and he was very patient with me even when I had to swap out saddles and readjust his bridle with my less then nimble left hand (I don’t expect to have full use of it for at least year) I led Mr Handsome Blondie out to the ring and he stood nicely for me at the mounting block then… zoom! He was very nervous having not been ridden in a while and I’m guessing being an ex cart horse when you get ready to go, he goes! So after a few rounds of the ring with him adjusting to me and my gimp hand adjusting to holding reins we both calmed down and he started to ease into what I was asking him to do. We started with bending in both directions. Interesting, he bends beautifully to the right but the left, not so much. He’s a motorcycle on that side. A friend at the barn thought maybe he was the right side of a cart team which would also explain his need to lean right when he goes in a straight line. It was some work to straighten him out and keep him straight on the straightaways.

McTMcT has a good whoa and he backs up. I didn’t try to side pass him but since my farm owner told me after the ride I could ride him whenever I wanted to I’ll try that next time. I’m also gong to attempt a very short trail ride with him. He hasn’t been worked in a while and will need to be worked up to most things. I’m also pretty un-horse-fit so we can ease into getting back into work together. It was great fun and hes a super sweet boy. After our ride I brushed him and he got his very first peppermints, which he loved! I always have them because .. yanno racehorse Jez but McT being an ex cart horse hasn’t been exposed to things like yummy peppermints. Today I’m going to attack his tail, it needs some major de-tangling.

I was beginning to worry about my confidence having not ridden since the injury and McTavish sure gave me a boost to that. It was just what I needed. It was also pretty fun being on something so much lower to the ground then my 16 hand TB. McT is a super built Halflinger and is very drafty in look and feel but hes still a shorty and that …was fun!

Aloha

Aug
2013
26

posted by on Barn tales, Injury

My Friend Aloha

My Friend Aloha

I got the phone call in the afternoon. I was happy to hear from a friend from my previous barn. A really awesome girl who also had an OTTB. A charming goof ball named Aloha. A recent college grad who has dreams of being on stage and screen. Em and i became quick friends. I’ve hung out with her outside of horse things, seen her act in plays and visited her at her waitressing job. Shes a good kid.

It wasn’t good news, she just that afternoon put Aloha down. It was sudden and it was bad. Aloha came in from the field lame a few days back, he had cuts at one of his rear hocks, there was swelling. The vet was called, X-rays were done and it was not serious. Serious enough but life threatening?  Aloha was put on stall rest and precautions were taken to get the swelling down in his leg. Em rearranged her work schedule to be able to be with Aloha every day. 3 days later the swelling was low enough so that he could be hand walked a little. That evening things went bad it was reported to Em that Aloha was sweating profusely standing in his stall. The vet came back the next day, new X-rays were taken. He had broken his leg straight though. It seems there was a hairline fracture that was missed and this second break was so serious that Aloha was put down. I tried to be strong for my friend on the phone, expressing how very sorry i was, asking what i could do to help, asking if she needed anything. I can only imagine what she is going though.

After I hung up I broke down. I walked down stairs in a fog and told my boyfriend Aloha’s dead they put him down. He came in from the field with a broken leg. I screamed… “they killed another horse” and lost my shit. I don’t know exactly who failed Em and Aloha but they were failed. This wasn’t a freak thing. That large field is toxic, i cant even count the number of injuries that happen out there. The footing is terrible, it has a chute to access it that defies logic. Full of wood chips and at least 2 feet of deep sinkable mud with no drainage in the wet months and rain. The field is huge mostly clover and dandelion. The number of soft tissue injuries is staggering. No work is ever done, its never plowed, replanted, reseeded or in any way managed. It’s just one giant terrible field that horses get hurt in on a regular basis. When 10-20% of the horses in a barn are all on stall rest with similar soft tissue injuries its not just a red flag its a series problem that needs to be addressed.

Missing the hairline fracture, misdiagnosing the problem, that’s another failure. Its my vet that came and I know 6-weeks two two months there was talk of getting a new X-ray because the one they were using was not talking clear good X-rays. I don’t know if that machine was replaced or not but missing a fracture, thats not a good sign. I know this vet shes caring, thorough, kind and will go the extra mile for you. She also is the Jr vet at the practice and is not in control of what equipment the practice uses. I’m sure shes very upset over this because she does care about the horses.

Best friends in happier times

Best friends E and A in happier times

This whole thing hurts my heart and i’m counting my blessings i’m no longer boarding my horse at that farm. The farm with a disproportionate number of horses on stall rest with serious soft tissue injuries (I’m entering my 5th month of rehab right now from an injury on that farm)  where the barn managers own horses have both had colic over the last 2 years, 1 needing surgery. Where on average 10% of the horses had eye injuries during my time there. Horses get injuries and horses get sick but the numbers at this place are stagging. I’m not even going to go into details on the deaths because its just to unreal. Ive never seen so many horses die on one farm in such a short amount of time. Only one was a very old horse who was in failing health.  Yes, I’m happy to be out of there even though it was difficult process and sudden. That doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t break today for Em and Aloha. As horse owners boarding our horses away from our homes we have to rely on other people, trust other people to do right by and the best for our horses. Em and goofy sweet Aloha were failed, they were not done right by and it makes me so sad and  so angry.

One Day At A Time

Aug
2013
07

posted by on Barn tales, Injury, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Vet

MeAndJez

Photoshoot!

Our third shock wave was done and the vet came out for Jezebels final ultrasound and check before the claim for this injury ran out. I was very nervous, our last check didn’t go so great and at that time decision was made to give Jez some turn out since she was really falling apart on 24/7 stall rest.  Two hours a day was all she was supposed to get, though it later was brought to my attention my last barn was not adhering to that schedule. I’m really happy I’m out of that place for so many reasons, not following my vet’s instructions is just one of them.  When Jez was moved to her temporary home at my friends house she was in a 24×24 area out 24/7 my vet approved this arrangement before the decision was made. When Jez was moved to her new farm we kept her on the barns turnout schedule, which is to say shes out all night in about the same size hospital paddock 24×24 and in her stall during the day with her fans chilling with her horse friends.  She seems really happy at the new place and I had high hopes for our re-check.

She was flexed, trotted in straight lines and on the lounge and my vet said she was very much improved! Actually she said very, very improved. The ultrasound revealed that there has been significant healing and Jezebel was pronounced 90% healed! Yay! Thats great news and I can rest a little easier. Just to be on the safe side we are keeping her on restricted turn out for 2 more months and then checking her one last time beginning of October before she gets to go out in the field with her new heard. Until then I will be doing ground work with her and trying to get her head back to a working frame of mind. I started to take her on walks around the property and to do a little work in the ring  with halt and just standing still. Though shes still super distracted, getting used to the new place and all she wants to do is jump and run. It will be a slow process and i’ll have to take baby steps but we’ll get there one day at a time.

It was also suggested since I’m still injured myself that I look into hiring someone who restarts horses to get on her when she can go back into regular work. I think thats a brilliant idea and my vet is going to give me some names so I can start those conversations. Horse people aren’t always the most reliable so I have to start now working on that. So all and all it was a good day and i’m super pleased with my horses progress. It will be a total of 6 months this injury will have taken when all is complete but Jez will be 100% sound and ready to work when we are done. Thats a very good thing.

Downtime

Jul
2013
24

posted by on Barn tales, Injury, OTTB

Bad Ass Fly Mask

Bad Ass Fly Mask

I’ve convinced my better half to take riding lessons. It’s all part of my not so secret plan to get a second horse. Theres a local barn that has a pretty descent lesson program and a stable of school horses and he’s been going once a week for the last couple of months. Its been really fun watching him figure out the basics of steering and halting. He’s the only adult in the class, his class mates are little girls which brings back all kinds of memories for me about when I started ridding. These little girls remind me of me. His instructor is really good at tailoring the lessons so that it works for children and adults and it cracks me up when his 9-year-old classmates are all so happy to see him in the tack room.

I watch the lesson often from the shade of a tree with the moms of the girls in his class. One of whom has a couple of horses at home her older daughter rides. We talk of horses and kids and its a really nice couple of hours once a week. I look forward to it every single week. It has made me miss riding my horse more though. Seems I’m the only one dismounted. Between my pony’s injury and my injury were probably going to be down for the count the whole summer. Which sucks. When I visit her at her new farm and drag my chair next to her stall to keep her company I plan all sorts of things for us to do when we can get back to riding. What trails were going to explore, all the fun things we will do and i’m really interested in getting her out to the jump field though last time I jumped her  (true it was so small it hardly countered) I got taken away in an ambulance. So maybe I’ll take it slow. My new farm is very quiet and peaceful. Having half the number of horses and even fewer boarders i’m there a lot by myself hanging out with the girl. It’s good for me, it clears my head and I don’t have to hear that damn tractor all day long. I also commented to my better half about how much more laid back my new farm is. I never thought my last farm was stressful but in contrast it was. There were so many “rules” and though I never thought I was on edge when I was there, I think I was. With so many people you were always being judged and the barn manager would send out emails notices constantly about all the rules we needed to be reminded of. I’m still on that mailing list and I’m both amused and annoyed when the emails come in reminding me clean up after my horse or turn off the lights or whatever the inaction of the day is over there. I feel at my new barn its more fluid and that you have more control of the care of your horse. I like that,  like that i’m not feeling like i’m being judged all the time or that I have to be careful what I say because the barn manager is going to disagree with the supplements i put on my horse of the fact that i’m keeping her barefoot. Cuz no matter what she was always right in her mind.

So I will wait out our downtime  with anticipation and hope that when we can ride again i will still have nerves of steel and my pony and i will begin our adventures again.

Turmoil

Jul
2013
19

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

I swear shes smiling

I swear shes smiling

I have moved horse farms. It was sudden and very unpleasant. I was treated extremely badly by people I had always been kind, helpful and went out of my way for. It left a really bitter taste in my mouth but I was lucky enough to have a couple very supportive friends who helped me move my horse and give her a temporary home. They treated her like one of their own while I searched for a good place for her to be. In less than 48 hors after the incident my horse was in a safe place, being well cared for. Which pretty much is all that matters to me.

I drove all over Maryland looking at farms to keep my horse on. I wanted to see everything the potential new barns had to offer, the full range of options. The first weekend (a holiday weekend even) I must have put 700 miles on the car. I looked at training barns, fox-hunting barns, broken down barns, private barns. Barns that had emaculate facilities barns that had nothing but a ring with old unsafe jumps and a broken fence. I looked at them all. I noticed some things they all had in common even though so many of them were so different. They were all interested in my business. Everyone but one farm had openings and the one who was full took my number and was going to ask around for me. Also most places were less expensive than where I was coming from and not one had the nickel and dime upsell that my previous barn did. They up-sold  everything from my feed to fans in the summer. I would habitually spend an additional 100-200 dollars a month on the upsells.  Talk about a stark contrast to the place I left (which incidentally has lots of openings as well) I’m not sure why so many places have availability but im guess the economy has caught up with the horse world. People were definitely angling for my business

New Turnout

New Turnout

I knew after looking around the place I decided on that it was the place for me. A beautiful picturesque farm with about 24 horses, many who are owned by the farm owner. It has a small outdoor ring, access to many trails and they have a deal with the farm next door that allows access to their indoor for a couple extra bucks a month and a phone call ahead. My pony is still in rehab but come the winter months I’ll be working out access to the indoor.

We moved in on a Sat and Jezebel settled right in. This whole experience showed me how amazing and adaptable she is, there wasn’t an ounce of stress on her. She went places and did things she never did before. Like a step up trailer and living out 24/7 in a 24×24 area by herself where she could only see other horses across the field. She’s amazingly brave and I found myself in awe of her.  Even now that she’s settled into the new barn she’s turned out into the hospital paddock (she’s still on restricted movement). The horse who shares a fence with her, an older quarter horse mare who is great with people but has never been socialized with other horses and needs to be turned out privately is not an issue for  Jez as she is for others.  They co-exist and I think secretly they get along.

It’s been a hard few weeks but the worst of it is behind Jez and me and we are both looking forward to new friends and a happy safe place for her to live. I’ll never fully be satisfied until I have my own farm but until that day I think this new place fits my needs and more importantly Jezebel’s needs.

posted by on Injury, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Vet

JezzyStiches

Look Ma what I did!

I showed up to the barn mainly to give Alex the head caretaker on site instructions on administering Jezebels new oral Ace compound. Were using this to dope my pony so she can have a couple hours of turn out in the small round pen a day and she wont go nutso running and jumping around. When I got there my pony greeted me like she always does with a happy nicker and I went right over to nuzzle her and smooch her face. It looked to me like she was sweating under her forelock and I brushed it away only to find a rather large gash on her forehead that was dripping blood. Yeah that wasn’t sweat. How did she do that!? shes on stall rest and it looked very fresh as if it just happened. I tried to get some antibiotic cream on it but she wouldn’t let me touch it at all. I then went to the vetericyn which I could spry on the cut and when I did it just poured blood. A friend was there with his horse he’s a medical doctor. I asked him to take a gander at Jez and tell me what he thought. Was this a deep wound or was a worrying over nothing? His response was if it were a person he’d stitch it up. Yikes. Okay I called my barn manager and she in turn called the vet. Ah yes a Sat emergency barn call, I can feel the pull on my wallet just thinking about it. My vet wasn’t to far away and showed up in about an hour, we drugged my little pony with dorm as the torb she reacts badly to and then numbed the cut and flushed it and probed it. Yep it went all the way to the bone so stitches were gonna happen. My poor girl! She got three stitches and a weeks worth of antibiotics plus a few days of bute cuz it was gonna hurt her with that big lump on her pretty pony forehead.

I don’t know how these things happen, the barn manager, the head caretaker and I looked around her stall to see what could have happened and there’s nothing out of the ordinary. The only think I can think of is she threw her head up so high she bashed her forehead on top of her stall door. She does thrash around some when shes trying to get attention, so maybe one of the other horses who were in cuz of the heat were not paying her the mind she has come to expect. All eyes on Jez yanno…

 

Mind Lost

May
2013
21

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Yummy Noms

Yummy Noms

So the controlled grazing isn’t really working. I’m blaming the weather. Its been like thunderstorm central around here, every day predicted chance of thunderstorms and when the pressure drops my horse likes to go nuts. Ive been taking her in the round pen where its a smaller enclosed space for her to graze. I  have her at the end of my lead and i do use the whole racehorse chain over her nose thing. In out last trip in the round pen for a graze it didn’t take long before she was all four feet off the ground. I was able to get her back but man oh man it wasn’t easy to calm her down. Then she decided that pulling back to break away from me was a good idea. That plan got foiled. I let her graze for a few more minutes until she was calm and then… back in the box. Its not worth the fight, or the possible injury to fight with her like this when all signs point to her being more difficult then normal. Today I’m going to ACE her for the graze and see if that helps at all, or maybe i;ll do it tomorrow. I’m patiently wanting for the sun to come out to increase our odds of success. The weather gods say its gonna get sunny so i wait. True they’ve been wrong a lot this last week, but i do better with a plan. That’s my plan.

At the end of this month shes due for her next ultrasound and I’m crossing my 9 working fingers that there will be enough improvement for some limited turn out in the round pen. I don’t care if i have to drug her to high heaven and sit and watch her for hours. I bought a folding chair, i have a laptop, and books I’m ready to do it. She needs out of the box, and even if it makes our recovery a little longer time wise i think in the long run it will be better for her mental health. The injury will heal well this i know. It minor and shes already responding better then expected. I want her mental health to improve too. 2 months in the box is making my pony unhappy and me guilty for putting her there.

I also go back to my orthopedist tomorrow for a follow up which i know wont be great news. My range of motion is crap and i know hes gonna send me to physical therapy which i can not afford right now with all the other accident related bills and horsey vet bills. I’ll have to find a way cuz i want my finger back, i want my hand back i want things to go back to normal already.

posted by on Barn tales, Injury, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Naked!

Naked!

I finally got the pins out of my hand last week, that’s the good news! The bad news? I can hardly move my finger, I can’t bend it at 2 knuckles and my DR is likely going to send me to expensive physical therapy that I will have to pay for out of pocket. Even if I had a horse to ride right now I wouldn’t be able to, cuz I cant hold the reins in my left hand. Ugh this sucks so hard. I hope eventually I will get my range of motion back but we will see.

Jezebel is progressing well with her rehab and I’ve been cleared to do more with her so I’ve been taking her out for hand grazes. Its nice to see her so happy eating grass in the sun. She so badly wants to be out of the box, i can see it in her eyes. I’m hoping after her next ultrasound i can do a little controlled turn out with her. Again that’s a wait and see thing. I put in a claim with my insurance company on her injury. I didn’t want to because its likely her right hind suspensory will be excluded in my next policy but i had to because horse insurance is not like car insurance. You cant just fix this one yourself and claim the next time. You have to claim. Cie La Vie I suppose.

Yikes....

Yikes….

Poor miss Jez alo has a pretty bad halter rub from her fancy pink name on the nose halter. Boo! So shes now naked until it heals. I’ll rig her other halter with a softie on it so no more halter rubs in the future. Shes on box rest, she should be banging herself up like this. I swear if i could wrap her in bubble wrap i would.

 

Bad Pony

May
2013
04

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

After the Ace

After the Ace

Jezebel tried to kill Nik. At least that’s how I’m telling people the story. Jez has been really good while being aced for her walk rides that Nik and i got to thinking it might be a good idea to try her un-drugged. I’ve had better ideas in my life. So we get Jez out to the outdoor so Nik can mount her and shes being a real brat. Tossing her head at the mounting block, stepping back from it trying desperately hard to get a good look at the barn managers new handsome dappled gray draft cross who she was riding for the first time. Jez though he was hot as hell, which meant damn shes in heat and i didn’t notice until just then.

So my barn manager asked me to help her tighten her girth cuz it was slipping (new horse, new saddle) so I walk away from Nik and Jez just for a second and one handed inched up the girth when all of a sudden I hear my barn manager yell “Bail!” I turn to look and Jez is a wild bucking bronc getting air and trying to toss Nik off with her giant rolling full arched back bucks! I yell at Jez to knock it off, shes usually rather responsive to being yelled at and Nik one reign stopped her but Jez was still really worked up. I grabbed her reigns from the ground and Nik got her to stand still for a minute then she dismounted. We took Jez back to the barn to shot her with 4 CCs of ace waited for it to take and then marched her back to the outdoor so Nik could try for round two. Jez was behaving, she was listening, though from the ground it looks like she was being a little headstrong. Nik rode her over to her paddock where the ground is harder and walk rode her for 20 minutes and Jez behaved. I think Nik was a little freaked by the whole thing. Jez’s bucks are epic rolling big bucks, which is how she got me off into a fence and taken to the hospital. I sure hope this isnt a new habit and is just a reaction to being on stall rest and a she does still have a slightly sore back. ugh.

The long and short of it is Jez needs to be Aced to ride. The next day she was such a horrible brat being tacked up that she only got walked in her tack and not ridden. Im chalking a lot of this bad behavior up to her being in heat. Shes a different pony when shes got PMS and being on stall rest on top of it has made my sweet loving horse lose her mind. I got more ace from my vet and the RX actually says “2 CCs as needed for Craziness” My vet has a good sense of humor, she also has her own OTTB who’s rehabbing from an injury so shes in the same boat as me and truly “gets it”

I’m really hoping end of next week I get these wires out of my hand so I can do more with her, I think she needs to be taken out to graze and not just walked twice a day or ridden once and I am not cleared for that.  She needs more entertainment, more engagement and you can only ask other people to do so much for you. I need my own injury to heal so I can do more for my pretty girl. I’m crossing my fingers, on my one good hand that is.

Progress

May
2013
02

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Vet

retired racehorse jezebel

High Pony

We’re cleared for walk/riding. By we I mean Jezebel, I’m still broken and still now allowed to ride. However Jez can be walk ridden under saddle for 20 minutes a day for the first week, 25 the second and then 30 the third. So Nik is the one who’s gonna ride her until im cleared to actually get on a horse. It has to be on a hard surface and she has to be calm, enter… Ace. Yes, we’ve been acing her and my pony seems to like to get all loopy on goof-balls. Her eyes get a little droopy and she really seems to be having fun with being high on ace. It makes me laugh, while walking around her paddock cuz the ring is way to soft she makes motions to try to get a bite of grass. As if you’re not gonna notice. Hilarious.

She’s walking better and on the days the weather and footing doesn’t agree with her RX she will be hand walked on the concrete. I’m going to be allowed to start walking soon so I can finally pitch in with the walking schedule. Lilly is also on stall rest with hand walking and i’ll be doing some of that as well. In about a week I get the wires out of my finger (hopefully) and then I’m get a few weeks away from things getting back to normal. I can finally see a little light at the end of the tunnel. The vet did say the other day when she was down checking on Lilly that she didn’t expect Jez to feel fully sound on the soft ground for possibly 6 months. We will see what happens. I’m going to do everything I can to get her the best recovery i can. So we can move off this on other things.

Look how cute i am.. MORE TREATS

Look how cute i am.. MORE TREATS

I finally put Jez’s hot pink halter with her name embroidered on it on her. I bought it at the MD horse expo and I’ve been saving it for what i don’t know. Now that shes on stall rest i figure its a good time since it will take longer to get all dirty with no turnout. Of course she looks so adorable in it i cant stand it. I think she knows she looks good too and begs for treats extra well in it!