posted by on Life with Circe, OTTB, Vet

The two fancy sport models

The two fancy sport models

The last month or so has been hard. Harder on The Circe Effect than me but hard none the less. Her lameness issues were not progressing how anyone hoped they would. To add insult to injury she came up lame on the right hind a week ago with stocking up in both hinds. The farrier, then the vet came back out (because I’m made of money) and bruising was again the diagnosis. Again there was little improvement so i asked for a Lyme test. Why not start ruling stuff out.

Sammy and i pulled the blood and i drove the tubes to the vets that evening i got the email. She didn’t test negative on the snap. What that means is that her blood is being sent to Cornell for a multiplex test. This should tell me if the infection is acute, chronic etc. Also it should tell me about when she got infected. My money is on when she had that mystery fever but who knows. Now its possible she doesn’t have Lyme and has only been exposed and therefore producing antibodies as i’m in MD and this is Lyme country but i’m not betting the farm on that. Its going to take two weeks for the results so until then i hold my breath and spend my time becoming an equine Lyme expert per the Google. Miss Circe is insured so you can bet if this is Lyme she will be treated up the whazoo in hopes of knocking this thing down so far it will never rear its ugly head again. Also it will be excluded in my insurance if thats the final diagnosis. I have one shot at this then its all out of pocket for the rest of her life. I already called my agent and discussed how to move forward. I just need to wait for Cornell to get back to me with results.

Circe and her pet girl

Circe and her pet girl

I was surprised at how hard this hit me. I was hoping to find an answer for her lameness but this kinda knocked the wind out of me. I guess because Circe is such a sweet girl. Shes a real doll baby and i don’t like to think of her with an ongoing issue that could effect her. Shes been on stall rest for a while now and shes still the sweet affectionate horse shes always been and thats saying a lot for a  horse thats living in a box. Though she really doesn’t want to go back in her box after i take her out for her daily graze. I cant blame her for that, I wouldn’t want to either if i was her. I’m working on finding a way to cushion her feets in a way that makes the vet happy so she can go back out on limited turn out. That i think would make up both happy. Today i try on a bunch of borrowed boots.

If anyone has had any personal experience with this .. please help a brother out and clue me on on what you’ve tried and whats worked and what hasn’t.

 

posted by on Life with Circe, OTTB

Redheads

SqunitsGrazing

 

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Hi Mom...wha?

Hi Mom…wha?

Most mornings she gets it all the way off…. she really has a knack for making me hike out into the field and look for it. I got to the barn early enough the other day to see her fly mask removal task in process. Clever pony!

The week in review

Sep
2014
10

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

Clinics

Heath Ryan, Moe and his rider

The week has been long and hot and not a ton is going on.  Both ponies are still out of work. Jezebel is still being treated for ulcers, shes not as reactive when palpated and is much less cranky in general. Sammy did take her on a 20 min how is she feeling ride and she was mostly okay. A little bit of pain anticipation was evident but that should fade with successful rides. A few more days for her and she should be able to get back into work.

Circe is a lot less lame. I sent video of her trotting right, left and straight lines to my farrier who assured me she was better then i thought she was. With two different shoeing packages on her fronts and the still healing splint shes actually in good pretty shape. That doesn’t mean that she can run in a full paddock though. Every week were creating a new limited turn out area within their field with the temp electric fence. As they eat all the grass in one we build out another. We’re getting really good at this even though its a giant pain in the ass. Note to self when i get my own farm a small hospital paddock is imperative.

I was able to watch a little bit of a clinic that was happening at my farm. Aussie Olympic rider Heath Ryan was teaching for a few days and since i’m a resident i was allowed to audit, sans big piles of cash. When some jumping semi privates were going on Sammy and i went up to the upper ring to check it out a couple different times. Pretty interesting stuff. The first one i caught the tail end of was a couple of ladies who gallop horses at the track and event every weekend with their really lovely OTTBs. Everyone had their game faces on and i was truly impressed by how great their horses were. Someday i hope that my horses will be able to just go to a clinic at some farm they’ve never been to and not melt down then jump 3’6″ like it was nuttin’. The next day when we went to observe the jumping class consisted of two beautiful grey geldings. I have a not so secret soft spot for grey’s and joke with my better half that a grey is next on the list. He of course doesn’t think owning 3 horses is funny… at all. I chatted with one of the participants after class and it was only his second time jumping his new horse Moe. Wow, impressive riding going on!

So basically i’m not riding at all though that might change soon and i might take a some lessons on one of the other trainers at my farms horse. Thats still being worked out. My better half is riding though, his lessons are really coming along. So theres that.

Peas in a pod

Sep
2014
03

posted by on Life with Jezebel, OTTB, Vet

Bad Belly

Bad Belly

Were are a lot alike. We both over think stuff, we both have beautiful show pony hair and we both have to deal with ulcers. I know how it feels so when Jez came up ouchy (not to mention the behavioral issues) for ulcers again, my heart sank. I didn’t have enough omeprazole for treatment and would have to get more. Only it takes many weeks when you order it from overseas. I ordered it anyways and counted out how many days i had on hand. Not enough, so i started looking for a way to get my hands on some that A. wouldn’t require an RX (another vet bill in my life was not needed) B. wouldn’t break the bank. I found some UlcerGard on sale 26 bucks a tube (one tube a day). Yeah thats a good deal but not when Abler (from overseas) cost is 6.00 a day. I bought it anyways because my pony needs it. I choked back the tears as my credit card was processed. Of course after I bought it i found a little known racehorse website where I can get it for about 8 bucks a tube. Ugh.

Some facts about omeprazole. Its the only FDA approved treatment for gastric ulcers. UlcerGard and GastroGard are the same thing from the same company. One is marketed as a preventative the other as a treatment. Same stuff, same dosage in a tube. Abrazole (from Abler) is omeprazole in granular form (Google blue pop rocks) Ranitidine which is Zantac will achieve the same results as omeprazole though comes at the issue in a different way. You need a RX for Raniditine in the 300mg pill form but not the 150 mg. Horses love Tums and people swear by them for before riding. 10,000 mg a dose.

Average prices:

UlcerGard: 29.00 a tube

GastroGard: 32.00 a tube

Abprazole: 6.00 (for 3 packets)

Ranitidine: 90 bucks (at Costco rx) for 2 weeks

Tums: Costco again for 9.99 for two giant containers of it

The amount of treatment times varies from source to source. When Jez was in crisis and had gastric and hind gut ulcers i treated her for both. 6 weeks for the hind gut and 28 days for the gastric. Some vets says 10 days is enough others say some horses need months. Since this is a flare up i’m going to go with 15 days, give or take based on how she palpates for ulcers and her tude. I’m also going to have to put her on a maintenance program. So i think that is going to cost me about 700 bucks a year. I will pay whatever it costs to get her feeling better. She was doing so great until this last flare up and was showing amazing promise as a Jumper. Good thing too because at jumper shows you can earn money and Miss Jez is going to have to pitch in for her special needs care. Jumper shows… here we come!

Resources:

http://www.abler.com

http://www.drkerryridgway.com/articles/article-ulcers.php

http://horseprerace.com

 

The saga of Circe

Sep
2014
02

posted by on Life with Circe, OTTB, Vet

The red-head

The red-head

Circe’s been lame for about 3 weeks now. It started with right front lameness and a suspected bruise. She was taken out of work while i waited for it to heal or abscess. It did neither. My farrier came out and Circe came off the hoof testers pretty hard but it was all over sore. It was time for the redhead to get shoes (clips, pads, magic cushion). We did that and hoped with a day or two she would be better. She wasn’t. The day after the shoes went on a lump appeared on the inside of her right leg, below the knee. There was heat along with swelling. Ice, poultice, wrap for a couple days. No change in her lameness. I was getting pretty frustrated at this point. The general barn consensus was that she was popping a splint. Seemed to me to be a reasonable conclusion. It was the weekend so Monday I called the vet out.

My vet was on vacation so the a different vet came out. How much do i hate dealing with vets i don’t have a relationship with or vets who don’t know my horses history … lots. He came out did an exam on the legs/hooves and decided that we needed to do some blocks to find out where the issue was coming from. Then he trotted her out. By that i mean i trotted her out while he talked to The Jr vet in training who was with him. In fact he spent a lot of time speaking to her not to me. He blocked the hoof. To be truthful he tried to block the hoof but only blocked the outside and didn’t fully block the inside. I trotted her and he said she was 80% better (i didn’t get to see this sine i trotted her out though she still looked lame to me from what i could see) he declared the issue in the hoof, pulled the shoe and took X-rays to rule out pedal osteitis, demineralization (thinning) of the pedal bone. I held my breath while the 3 x-rays were taken.

They didn’t show pedal osteitis. He was going with deep sole bruising and said she needed an egg bar shoe on that foot while the bruising healed. I asked him about the heat and swelling in her inside front leg. I was told it was just her compensating for the lameness and it wasn’t anything to worry about. My farrier came back out that evening and put on a straight eggbar shoe with a thicker leather pad. She had some slight improvement on trotting out but nothing along the lines that i had hoped for. I decided to give it a day or two and see what happened. The next day she wasn’t better and i was getting more and more worried. Worried about the heat and swelling on her leg, the fact that i wasn’t seeing any improvement in her lameness and i started to second guess everything and everyone. I began to think i was dealing with multiple issues with my beautiful red-headed mare. I started to lose sleep. That evening Sammy and i took Circe to the indoor with the very soft Equicush footing and trotted her out. She got worse. Worse on soft footing screams soft tissue injury.

WTF happened to shrink our field?!

WTF happened to shrink our field?!

The next morning at 8am i called the vet. My vet was home from vacation so waited the day for the return call. She was able to get back to me end of the day and we discussed my horse. I told her i wasn’t happy with her lack of progress, that i was worried about the heat and swelling that that ignoring t was no longer an option for me (in fact i had been icing it like a mofo) I explained the worsening lameness on the soft footing and that i really wanted her to come out and reexamine Circe. She told me she was going to call my farrier and discuss and get back to me the next day. Which she did and we made plans for her to come out on the weekend.

I brought my better half with me so he could trot her out and i could watch. Sammy also was able to be there for the second half of the exam and helped out with the trotting. We started with blocks. Heel, not a lot of improvement. Pastern, some improvement. Then she did a spot block of the swelling on he leg looking for a tiny bit of improvement. There was just a touch. She was lunged on the Equicush footing in the indoor both directions and as her foot got more and more numb she was more and more difficult to deal with as she began to feel better. Next back up to the barn for X-rays. As soon as the redhead was back at her own barn she was the sweet easy to deal with mare i love and she did very well for her x-rays. A plan was put into place for Circe which includes medications, corrective shoeing  and limited turn out. The limited turnout btw means i needed to buy and install an temporary fence and portion of my paddock and by me i mean my better half. If doing that didn’t prove how much he loves me nothing will.

follow the arrow

follow the arrow

Circe is popping a splint. Its a mild but you can see it on the X-rays. She’s laying down new bone. So ignoring the heat and swelling was the wrong thing to do. Good thing i didn’t do that. I will be icing and surpassing the leg until thats healed. Its unclear how much the splint is contributing to the lameness but it is contributing.

There is something going on in the hoof though its not conclusive. It could be a bone bruise, deep sole bruising. The vet spoke to my farrier and between them came up with some options. My farrier who by this point is a saint for coming back out a 3rd time (and on a damn holiday) meet me at the barn at 7:30am to try some things and see what worked after going though putting different things on Circe. The only thing that gave her any relief and eased the lameness was aluminum eggbar wedges (2 degrees) and a hard rubber pad also at 2 degrees with nothing underneath to put any pressure on the sole and some silicon at the heel to try to keep any debris out. Her alignment was off (you can see that in the X-ray too) and this not only fixed the alignment but keeps any pressure off the foot so whatever is wrong in there can heal.

When my farrier and I trotted her out Circe had a more improvement then i’ve seen her have since this whole saga started. Less head bobbing and not every step was bad. Now i wait. Circe can be ridden at a walk in straight lines for up to 30 minutes now that we have something that works on her and continue with the limited turn out. This will go on for 4 to 6 weeks.  So she should be good to go as soon as the weather turns horrible. Ugh.  I’m  just am happy i have a path forward with her as i love the sweet redheaded mare to pieces and want her happy and sound. All this will cost me a fortune (the temporary fencing was 250 bucks alone) add in all the x-rays, corrective shoeing, medications and the stress and strain i put on everyone close to me while i was worrying about my horse. the cost is not just money but emotional strain as well. Thats what happens when you love horses though, its just how it is.

 

 

posted by on Review

Horze No Turn Bell Boots

Horze No Turn Bell Boots

When the good folks over at Horze.com got in touch and asked me to review products for them I was pleased as punch. I love reviewing stuff. When the items showed up i was rearing to get to reviewing! They sent a couple different things and i will be giving my thoughts on them in separate posts (still need to test out the second item) Though the items were provided, I always tell it like a see it. It’s how I roll.

First up is the Horze No Turn Bell Boots. I really, really, needed bell boots because the Redhead just got shoes. I’ve had her barefoot for almost a year and always knew at some point shoes were in the cards for the thin soled mare. With the lameness issues i’ve been dealing with (post to come later) i was very happy to try these bell boots as my horse currently has two different kinds of shoes on the right and left fronts.

Pros: They look great and mine are in a nice blue color. They’re not to bright like a royal but not too dark like a navy. Lets call it navy light. These are no turn bell boots and the Velcro is a nice, thick and has two strip and heavy duty. Just what you are looking for when you have bell boots because they get a lot of abuse being in the hooves. I got the Full size and they were a touch big on her but with the Velcro closures you can make the adjustments you need to.  They come in sizes Pony, Cob, Full and XF and the cob would have been too small for her. They looked really great on my chestnut mare.

Cons: Sadly my horse pulled a shoe the first night I used these bell boots. She pulled the eggbar shoe and it was laying in the paddock with the leather pad still attached. The regular steel clipped shoe on the other foot was in tact.

Lowdown: I had really high hopes for these no turn bell boots so I was really disappointed and sad that it didn’t work for me (I almost cried on lone single salty tear when I saw the pulled shoe). They look good but they didn’t perform. Lets face it you want cute bell boots but they need to work as well. You cant just be pretty. If you regularly use no turn bell boots with success and have a horse that doesn’t often pull a shoe they might be worth checking out as they look really good and are of strong construction. If not, then you might want to pass on the Horze No Turn Bell Boots.

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

Bucking bronco

Bad Bucking Bronco

Well not really but thats what i’m calling it. The better half was taking his lesson my my trainers event horse and i tacked up the Bo and was going to ride her for the second half of his lesson then Sammy was going to get on Jez. She had been kept in the night before to keep Circe company because i’m dealing with lameness issues with her (post to come about that once a definitive diagnosis is had) so JezaBo was a little up but not to bad. The better half was riding in the lower gymnastics ring looking really good by the way, he was trotting over poles and getting the lazy Rep to move forward. Sammy was explaining to him that you have to ride the horse that shows up to your lesson. He was getting lazy i dont want to go forward Rep but he was rinding who showed up.

I walked in both directions and began trotting and we were doing great. I was posting from my core and paying close attention to my hands and as a result Jez was putting her head down for me, very light in the bridle and kinda sorta listening to my half halts. I was feeling confidant and happy. I was trotting around the bottom of the ring about to go up the line of poles and then it happened. The switch went off in Jezebels brain. She caught sight of the upper ring way in the distance and that was the only thing that would get her focus. She didn’t want to go forward, if i pressed her she would try to either A. turn to where she could see the upper ring B. Canter in place or C. throw her shoulders around like a retard. Add in threating to go up on two legs and i’m of course freaking out and just trying to get to chill out. Sammy saw this happening and though she kept an eye on my better half and continued to direct him she walked over to me told me to take breath and took a hold of the reins from the ground in an effort to hold Jez long enough for me to dismount. Jez did not comply. She threated to go up rocking back with Sammy holding her and me on board and the shoulder throwing continued. That was it, Sammy looked up and me and said “get off”  and i jumped off emergency dismount style. Ta da!

The better halves lesson was almost over so i took Jez from the ground so Sammy could finish and walked her around and she acted like a crazy horse. Then Sammy got on her and by that i mean after Jez tried to run her over on the ground and got sharply disciplined until she would stand at the goddamn mounting block. Once she was aboard, Jez was still being a jerk. Pulling the same crap with Sammy she did with me. The difference of course is that Sammy can ride though it and i cant. She tried to get jerk horse to just trot nice over the poles. Jerk horse wanted to jump them all like a maniac so Sammy worked with her until she would. She asked jerk horse not to throw her shoulders around like a child having a temper tantrum throwing themselves in the floor and jerk horse didn’t want to comply so Sammy worked with her until she did. It when on like this for a little while until jerk horse did what she was asked although begruginly and the ride was declared over.

Some take aways. Jez was mad, angry pissed off and some of that might have been she was off her routine and had to stay in (one freaking night) She was also acting like she did before she was diagnosed with ulcers and Sammy noted shes not always great in the lower ring. So Michelle and Sammy are  going to consult and a more formalized plan for Jez is in the works. Essentially a boot camp for Jez. Shes going to be have all her buttons pushed. Shes going to be asked to do things she doesn’t want to do. Shes going to learn a little resilience. They are going to come up with the Jez is a jerk plan and we are going to implement it. I was supposed to start lessons on her this week but that of course has been postponed ( ugh) im not riding her unless its after one of them have been on her so thats totally inconvenient for everyone but it is what it is. So i’ve got one broken and one bad. Story of my life. Dr Jim was out recently and said Jez showed zero signs of ulcers but im going to Omeprazole her for a while anyways just to be on the safe side since this behavior is familiar and on the off (very off) chance its ulcers again its not fair to get after her if it is pain induced. Honestly i dont think it is but hey its only money… and it grows on trees so no worries there.

 

Circes new Manolos

Aug
2014
23

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, OTTB

Circe checking out Patty

Circe checking out Patty

When Circe came up lame a week and a half ago and i saw the bruise, I put her on rest and waited it out to see if it would manifest into an abscess or get better. A week went by and it didn’t get better. The lameness did get a little more pronounced but she didn’t do the abscess turn and ever come up three legged lame. My farrier was due to come out and i figured she would let me know if i was in abscess world or not. Circe still had no pulses, heat or swelling but she was defiantly off at the trot on the right front and over the week she was off  she was on lame at the walk as well, though not every step.

When my farrier (the best farrier in Maryland FYI) came out she looked at her at the walk and trot (still off) and put the hoof testers on her. Circe was all over sole sore on both feet. she also had a pulse in the left front which is indicative of horses favoring the right. It didn’t appear to be an abscess brewing my farrier found no indication of an abscess. The decision was made to put front shoes on The Circe Effect. A few things weighed into this decision. The current assessment of Circe’s feet and comfort. Her current workload which is only going to get heavier and the fact that i pretty much knew at some point that Circe might need shoes. Unlike Jezebel Circe’s feet are thinner and more typically thoroughbred like. Lastly I asked my farrier (who is also my friend) if she were her horse what would she do. Shoes and pads with magic cushion.

Shoes and pads

Shoes and pads

I spent almost exactly a year trying to get and keep Miss Circe barefoot but Circe told me it was time for her to have shoes. As much as id like to keep both my horses barefoot the horse will tell you what they need if you listen. I always try to listen. We decided on steel shoes with clips and leather pads. Circe was to be hot shod and we had no idea if that was something she’d ever experienced before. When she came to me with really terrible farrier work she had aluminum shoes on so who knows what she’d been exposed to before. Shes a very good girl for the farrier in general so when it came time for the hot shoe i took her off the cross ties, lightly held her lead and gave her a treat right before my farrier fitted the shoe. She was great until the noise sizzled and then she started to pull back a little. She didn’t totally freak out just a little and we both told her she was good and it was okay. Theres some room for improvement here and i’m always at my farrier appointments so between the two of us i’m sure after a few cycles Circe will hot shoe like a champ.

New Manolos

New Manolos

Hopefully this will fix her lameness issue. I’m giving her bute for a few days for any inflammation and if shes not sound as my farrier expects by Tuesday then i’ll call the vet out for a lameness exam and rads and take it from there. Theres always a chance that its something more serious but in this case i strongly believe this will remedy the situation and Circe can go back into work very soon.

posted by on Barn tales

Heading out to the X country course

Heading out to the X country course

I went to the horse trials at Wardaca. These are rated trails and it was a lot of fun. Wardaca is where my better half first started taking lessons. They have a lot of land including a big cross country course. In fact they do cross country schooling there. One of the Jr riders at my barn was going to be moving up to training level on Sunday and i went down to cheer her on and to take a few snaps. She was riding Brilliant Truth a sassy  red-headed mare who is known around the farm as Baby. They kicked ass in dressage, no faults on cross country but had a couple unlucky rails in stadium that took them out of the ribbons. It was a beautiful day and they both did a great job on her first time at training level!