Monday, May 31, 2010

Hot Sunday

The Morning was Fine....But

I had church choir and a service to sing in.  Then, especially because it was the last week the choir was singing for the summer, I went out to lunch.

And then...well here's the news. I will be running for Township Council in my town and my running mate and I need to get signatures on a petition to be put on the ballot as Independent candidates.  I spent the bulk of the day driving around house to house collecting signatures.  I did fill up two pages, but it took a long time.  The houses around here are not exactly accessible by walking, so I had to drive into each driveway, get out, go to the door, and hope someone was home.  My luck ran about 50/50.

It is a holiday weekend--Memorial Day--so a number of people were not home. I might try a few more houses today, but honestly, my knees and body might not take too much more of it.  More than half the houses had steps up to the door.  Eech.  Anyhow, I have a nice lot of signatures and nearly everyone seemed quite pleased that I was running.  The idea of an alternative might be quite appealing this year.

I am also working on another kind of campaign--to get warning signs from some of our roads that drivers are required to slow down to 25 mph when a horse/rider/carriage are present.  Now, mind you, around here, horses on the road are a scarcity, mostly because there are only a few horse farms and because, like me, most of the riders avoid the roads as much as possible.  (I would NEVER take a chance of riding on my road.)

But my friend, the endurance rider, was on a local road the other day and she and her horse were hit by a driver who decided to try to go around them while the horse was acting up.  The horse, a seasoned endurance mount, was spooking at something--rather unusual for him--and despite my friend's efforts to get the car to stop, the driver kept coming.

In New Jersey, this is against the law.  Drivers are to slow to 25 mph and respond to rider's hand signals. Fortunately, aside from the psychological damage to his training, the horse is OK as it the rider.  Two different township's policemen showed up and neither one knew the law!! Apparently the driver was not issued a summons.

My friend is, quite logically upset.  So, the plan is to see if we can get some traffic warning signs like these to
to put up in areas around town where riders might use the roads.  And, of course, we need some kind of public awareness campaign to educate drivers about the law.  Even if it saves one horse or rider, it's worth the effort.

Considering the bad economic times, I can't expect the Township to pay for the signs, so we will need to secure funding from donations or some other source.  What we will need is the Township cooperation and assistance in installing the signs where they are needed.

On the horse front here, I did nothing with the Boys.  As noted, it was darn hot and I wore myself out.

Tucker still looks good, although I did not trot him to check.  Today, Monday, does not seem to be any cooler--and it's only just past 9 AM.  Perhaps things will take a better turn by evening and I can at a least lunge him and give Chance a little time under saddle.

The pool should be open today so I may check it out as well, but I'm thinking the water is going to be pretty cold.

So to all, remember those who sacrificed to make our world a better place.  Let Memorial Day inspire you to treasure the freedoms you have and consider the price for them.  Thanks to all our veterans.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hay in the Rain and Sound on a Circle

Off to the Hay Man

My regular hay man did not deliver any hay this week, so I headed to my alternate source for some bales to tide me over.  Of course, it was raining this morning.

I took the car, into which I can fit 8 bales although the second four stick out the back and I have to tie the tailgate shut.--if you recall a hay trip cost me that tailgate when I backed into a tree, but that's another story.  That means when it's raining I need to cover the bales with a rainsheet to protect them for the drive home.

This hay place was just getting a huge load of very nice looking mixed hay as I arrived, but I bought some local grass hay instead. It was nice and green and I'm hoping the Boys will like it.  They are hay connoisseurs,  I fear.  But this time of year, even with the sparse grass I have they sometimes leave even their favorite hay when they can go out to pretend to graze.  It does look as if they are eating the new stuff, however, so that's a plus.

I helped my friend Shelley proofread her doctoral thesis today, so that took up most of the day.  Afterwards when I went out to feed the Boys, I lunged Tucker for a minute or so.  No sign of a limp on either side as far as I could see!!  So, fingers crossed, he may be over the mysterious lameness at last.

I still have to put the bandage and medicated fill in the toe of his affected foot and will have to so so until the hole grows out, but that's a far cry from a full foot bandaging job.  The best is that he can go out and just be a horse.  Apparently it's been good for him.

So, for now, "wait and see" is being quite successful.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Busy, Busy

Look, At Least I Am Exercising

I went for my swim after school.  On the way home the clouds began to gather. 

I'd left all three Boys out for the day, but the pasture was open so, once again I was worrying about thunderstorms.  Got home, brought them in and fed them. 

By the way, Tuck looked to be walking with BIG sound strides.  I didn't see him trot. 

Phone call from the vet who was checking on his progress.  She offered that the next step would be progressive nerve blocks to isolate the lameness.  I told her we were just going to wait to see how he was turned out.  I know she wants to be more proactive, but my bank account wants to be less proactive for the time being....unless I win the lottery. 

By the time I had to leave for my rehearsal--duet for church in July--the skies had really darkened and lightning was on the horizon.  I shut the pasture gate to keep the Boys in the smaller paddock/barn area and headed out.

About 15 minutes into our rehearsal, the skies opened with a dark, wet thunderstorm.  It probably hit at my house a big earlier as it was coming from that direction, a bit less than 10 miles away. 

The swimming does energize me, so I am hoping it will get me back into my riding.  The lesson my friend and I had scheduled for today--Friday--is postponed, so I am planning on staying after school long enough to see the students arrive to get on the bus to their prom.  They are going to New York City for the affair and I'm going to enjoy seeing them all in their formal attire. 

No swimming today as the pool is closed and it looks like rain again. Just hope it hold off until the kids are safely on their way. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

'Tis a Puzzlement

But He's Out

Scott was by to shoe Toby and trim Chance.  Afterwards, he gave Tucker a good going over.  He didn't seem sore in his hoof.  So, after a bit of rebandaging--Scott really liked the band aid--I took the big boy out to lunge.

OK. So, he limped.  But after some careful reconsideration, I realized he was limping on his LEFT front now with his head nodding as the RIGHT front hit.  So what now?  Scott checked his left front and didn't find anything, but really thought he looked a little "funky" on the right once in a while too. 

Now, the shoeing change was pretty radical, so that could be a factor.  He'd been in for three weeks so his right stifle could be a problem.  OR--heaven knows.

We decided to just turn him out and see how things progress.  I left him out on his own for the rest of the evening, locking him in at late feed.  It is supposed to be terribly hot today, so I finally decided to just let him go out with the other Boys for the day. 

I might have been rushing things, but I don't think they are going to run around too much in the heat and thinking of Tuck locked inside again on a hot day was not making me feel too good.

There are all kinds of medical tests we can yet do to try to figure out what's wrong, but I do not have medical insurance on Tuck and my budget is really limited as to how much I can afford to spend. As long as he's happy and comfortable, I am just going to wait things out with this. I haven't been riding much and I do have both Chance and Toby to ride when I want to.  Chance has a lot of potential as a dressage horse should I decide to do some showing again, but I certainly haven't missed the competition.  If I can't ride Tucker, that will be just fine. 

And, if by some chance I come upon a financial windfall, I might pursue some medical tests for him.  If he gets worse, of course, then I certainly will treat him, but right now the limp is so slight you really have to look for it to see it.   And he certainly doesn't seem much bothered by whatever it is. 

More wait and see. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Air Assault

But For a Good Cause

I locked Toby and Chance in and put Tucker on the lawn.  The pulse in his right leg was down again, so that's good.  I figured some nice quiet turnout time would be good for him.

When I went back out about an hour and a half later he was all sweaty.  Turns out the heliocopter had been flying over, spraying for mosquitoes.  I guess that set him off on a lawn frolic.  He seemed to have settled down again, so I thought perhaps I could lunge the other Boys.

The arena is well removed from the lawn area, separated by the front paddock.  Whatever had riled Tuck up was still in effect.  Several times, while I was working Toby, Tuck raced across the grass--looking good, I must admit--but the idea had been for a slow moving turnout. *sigh*

I gave Toby a good work on the lunge, brought him in and then brought Tuck in.  This time his wrap had stayed on.  The bandaid is still working just fine--cheap at 10 for about $1.99--and the foot pulse was about the same as in the other leg.  Good news. 

After I rewrapped Tuck's hoof, I took Chance out and lunged him.  Well, the aftereffect of the Tuck romp seemed to be sticking as Chance bolted off, pulling the lunge line out of my hand.  He galloped around the arena with the line trailing and then came to a stop in front of me as if to say,  "Why did you let go??" 

Sorry, Chance. I can't hold on to 1100 pounds of plunging horse!!  And my knees won't let me run with you, so you were on your own. 

We finished up the session with some nice work and that was my evening. 

I did swim at the pool again after school, and I plan to swim again today. 

Things are looking up---at least for heliocopters!!!  (Not sure they got all the mosquitoes, either. I still got a few bites.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

More of Same

Tucker Out, Pulsing Away

I let Tucker out when I got home from school.  I put Toby and Chance in their stalls so there would be no running around.  From what I saw, Tucker just kind of meandered about, nibbling grass.  If he ran, I didn't see it. 

When I brought him in to change his hoof poultice, he had a fairly strong pulse on the affected leg.  No noticeable sign of lameness, but a definite difference from his other foot. 

I did discover, however, that using a band aid--the kind humans use on cuts--works across the front of Tucker's foot.  It was the only part of the wrapping that managed to survive his turnout time.  That kept the hole in his wall clean and kept the poultice in place. 

I managed another swim after school today and plan on swimming all this week.  Then I have to figure out how to give Tuck some turnout and still work the other Boys. 

Gets a bit tricky when you don't have a lot of little paddocks.  Something will come to me sooner or later.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dampish Dawn

And Was Tucker on a Roll?

Not sure, but I put Tucker out in the riding arena for the afternoon and he may have rolled in the sand out there.  He hasn't had a chance to do that since he's been laid up. 

There was a bit of romping when I first put him out.  I'm pretty sure the wrap came off his foot too, but there's not much I can do about that at this point.  If it has dirt in it, I am just going to have to scrub it out and rebandage the whole thing.  I bought some bandaging tape in the drug store the other day, but I don't think it's like Elastikon.  I've ordered some of the proper stuff off the Internet, but in the meantime, I guess I just have to make do with what I have. 

Every time I go out to check on him, Tuck just kind of looks at me as if to say, "So what am I supposed to do out here by myself?"  The other Boys are in the pasture with a gate between them and the arena.  I did close them out of the adjacent paddock as they would be running and playing back and forth along that fence, definitely stirring Tucker up into a frolic.  This way, once the novelty of playing a bit with each other at the gate wore off, Toby and Chance wandered off to graze, and Tuck was left to fend for himself.  He's not too happy about it, but I must admit of all the horses I've ever owned, he is one of the better ones about being separated from his pals. 

I am watching the weather, however, as it keeps showering and seems to be threatening some more serious rain.  If it does start up in earnest, I'll have to bring him in as the wet and mud would not be good for that open hoof area. 

You'd think someone would invent some kind of good, practical, durable hoof bandage that you could change each day, but would still survive a full day of horse standing and walking on it.  I think the old Elastikon I remember would, but it's not the stuff I have here.  I'll be interested to see what comes in the mail.  Meantime, I need to check another pharmacy to see what they might have. 

So much for the Follywoods report for Sunday.  Once again, not much happening.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's a Shoe On!

But Let's Keep It Under Control

Tucker has two new shoes in front.  Both of them have well rolled toes and the shoes themselves are beveled.  The right one--the problem foot--has a special pad on the frog area to give some extra support and protection.

The right front has a  large part of the wall carved out in the toe area--I'll try to get some pictures later--where Scott tried to clean out the old areas of infection.  He's been working on this toe thing for years, and he thinks it's the cause of the current hoof issue.  The downside of that is that I have to keep the hole there packed and Tucker still needs to wear a wrap to protect it.  I need to get some Elasticon, which is much stronger then mere Vetrap to do the job right.  Once I do that, Tucker can have a little more turnout.

Which brings me to the fact that he is allowed limited turnout now.  We don't want him running about too much.  This is not an easy task. This morning, I have turned him out on the lawn and locked the other two Boys in their stalls.  Tuck does not tend to run around a lot unless something stirs him up, so if the other two are not around he should stay pretty quiet. 

Later, after I do my chores and, if all goes as planned, give my lesson, I will put Tuck out in the riding area so he can stretch his legs a little more in the afternoon.  Again I will put the other Boys in their stalls.  Fair trade, I should think.  While he's been locked in, they've been out. 

It's going to still be a bit complicated for a while, I guess. Tucker still has a pulse in the affected foot, so we are not at all sure everything is healed up.  Scott had another vet look at the X-rays and there was a bit of a question about whether or not his coffin bone might be a little affected.  Curiously enough, this was almost the same conclusion my vet came to some five years ago before they found an abscess.  (May 19, 2005--when the xrays were taken!)  Tuck looked fine out there today.When I put him in the arena later this afternoon, I'll watch a bit more.

The lesson was great.  What I love about teaching someone basic dressage on Toby is that he responds to every move his rider makes.  So, a leg too far back will push his haunches in.  Sitting crooked will make him go crooked.  Too much inside rein will create shoulder out or a host of other unexpected inbalances, etc.  He can be like a fine-tuned car where the slightest pressure creates a reaction. 

We didn't work him too hard, because he certainly is not fit, but I will do some riding on him during the week to build him up a bit and we can go for another lesson on Friday if the weather is OK. 

So, slight changes in status here at Follywoods, the best being that Tucker can get out for a little. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Into the Pool!!

Swimming is Indeed Good for the Soul

And the body!  It felt SOOOOOO good to swim again.  The pool at the college is the same length as the pool I swim in in the summer, so my lap distance was perfect.  I did 8 lengths, which rather surprised me.  I wasn't tired but my breathing needs work.  I was a little winded.

Happily my back felt better too with the swimming.  There were not too many people in the water, so I had a lap lane all to myself.  And, I was actually finished in less than an hour.  The pool is not far from the school where I teach and there is a faculty parking lot right across the street so I don't have to walk too far.  The only downside is that the pool is only open Mon-Thurs for now, so I can't go back tomorrow. 

Then again, that's just as well since Scott is probably coming tomorrow evening to work on Tucker, so I have to be home anyhow. 

But come Monday, I will be back in the water!! The pool was at 81 F today as well, a really nice temperature for me.  They had one of the outside doors open as well since it was somewhere in the 80's outside as well.  Once again we are going through some warm weather.  One of my friends who lives not far from me has an outdoor pool with a solar heating system and he said I could swim there anytime I wanted to, so if the weekend gets really hot, I'm going to take him up on it.

The nice thing about swimming is that it is high aerobic and low impact, perfect for my dreadful knees but good for building up my stamina.  I have a feeling I am still not quite totally recovered from my surgery--another friend told me it would be a full year before I'd be back to 100%. 

Meanwhile, my riding partner from across the woods would like to come over on the weekend to learn some dressage.  Her horse is laid up with some back issues and she would need to ride my guys.  I figure I can put her on Toby for a short session and then have her ride Chance.  The idea would be to feel how it's supposed to be and then to try to recreate some of it on a green horse.  I suspect her own horse is somewhere in between, so learning from a schoolmaster is great, but then she needs to be able to use the skill and understanding to develop her own horse.  She is an experienced rider, so there will be far less confusion than if she were a novice. 

Looks like the weekend will be busy in a good way. 

Should be fun, especially if Tucker gets a shoe on and can get some turnout time. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So Here's the Plan

Light At The End Of the Tunnel?

Scott and the vet talked again today.  If Tuck has an abscess, it is definitely a strange one....but there is some general agreement about what to do.

Scott will be back here on Friday--Saturday at the latest.  He will examine Tucker again.  If he does not find an abscess, or if nothing blows by then, he will do some work on a suspected bit of infection in his toe and put a shoe on. 

At that point, I am hoping Tuck can get some turnout, even if it is limited. 

In the meantime, I am keeping him totally in so he does not aggravate anything.

My back is getting slowly better, and I am hoping I will have some time after school tomorrow to get in a bit of a swim.  I now have a pass and the pool is definitely open when school lets out.  I think at this point a swim would do me some good, both mentally and physically. 

Speaking of, I am still having a good time teaching at the academy.  The kids seem to enjoy my class, especially reading and acting out the Shakespeare plays.  I'm quite impressed at how well they can understand what's going on and "suit the action to the word," as Hamlet would say. 

I had the 11th graders read "The Other Side of Stick River Road," today.  That's the driving play I wrote last year.  They did seem to relate to it.  Their formal dance/prom will be held next week, in New York City.  While they will be taking a bus from the school to get there, driving to and from the bus is always a concern.  They had some really good discussions after they read the script today, especially, so I'm hoping they will think a bit more about safe driving over the next few months. 

Anyway, I just hope I am making English class something worthwhile and special for these students.  I know I am getting a lot out of teaching them and I'd like to think they are too. 

I also went to my surgical doctor today for a 4 month check up.  Everything is still fine.  Maybe in five years I will be considered cured?  That'd be nice. 

Something to look forward to. 

Well, At Least I Got Somewhere

But Tucker??

Still no sign of a breaking abscess with Tucker.  I did manage to keep the pad on his foot all day this time.  But so far, he still has a pretty strong pulse and doesn't show any more signs of change.  Frustrating is not enough to explain how it's going.  What I feel most bad about is keeping him in.  I'm not sure when Scott is coming back, but this time, I am not even taking Tuck out on the lawn.

Instead, I am picking grass for him and feeding him with it in his stall.  Poor kid. He is being pretty good about all this.

It was raining yesterday, so inside was a good place, but today the sun is breaking through and it will be sunny and warm tomorrow and Friday as well.  Bummer for the Boy.

I managed to get to the chiropractor.  My lower back was a mess.  It's much better this morning but still not quite eased up all the way.  I have another doctor's appointment after school today, so I can't get readjusted if I need it, so I'll just see how it goes.  I think it's getting better.

I did find out--something I hadn't thought of myself...duh!!--that there is an indoor swimming pool here on campus and as a faculty member, I can use it!! Outdoor swim season may start at the end of this month, but then it's only on weekends and, if the weather keeps up its current pattern, it's going to be too cold for me!

So, having access to an indoor pool is just perfect! I can swim before school if I want to get up REALLY early--like around 5 AM--or after school, which would probably be better.  If I only swim for a half hour or so I'll still get home early enough to take care of the Boys in a timely fashion. 

I'll test it out, perhaps tomorrow, and see how things go. If I get a chance today, I'll go over to sign up and take it from there.

Now, if only I can get Tucker better......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Status Quo

Tucker and I

It's not easy keeping that pad on Tucker's foot.  Yesterday, it was off in the morning, so I had to re-wrap him before school--which threw off my schedule.  That meant I had to get up early to wrap it again today. 

The pad was off again and the vetrap and duct tape with it were all buried in the stall bedding. *sigh*  I had to sift around to find it.  Wrapped him back up this morning.  Hope it's on by evening.

My back?  No appointments available at the chiropractor. But if the receptionist had let my doctor know, I am 100% sure he would have seen me.  But she said, "We can't do that," and left me hanging.  Had my brain been thinking faster, I would have tried to make an appointment with the other doctor and at least gotten in.  Fortunately, I am functional with my back out like this, although I really do have to be careful how I move.  So I didn't quite want to classify it as an emergency. 

At any rate, I did get an appointment for this afternoon, after school, so I'll move carefully for one more day. 

Tucker's the same and I'm the same.  So this post is just "ditto." 

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Can I Just Copy and Paste?

Scott was back out today.  Tucker is still showing a strong pulse in his foot and reaction to the hoof testers. 

Scott talked to my vet again and this time we added a pad to the bandaging/poultice routine.  So, now I put on the Animalintex, a hoof pad, the diaper inside out too keep it from soaking up the water from the poultice, a strip of poultice on the heel/coronary band,  a good wrapping of vetrap and then a layer of duct tape.  It's quite an engineering feat to get it all in place. 

The vets are still convinced it's an abscess. Scott is thinking it's something else. But what?? 

It's not helping me that I threw my back out somewhere along the way.  Nor did it help that I  weed whacked the 150' front bank and around most of the trees and house.  Shall I say that neither body nor mind managed to do any work with Chance again?? 

Currently the horses are just kind of big housepets....good for cuddling, caring for, and general adoration.  No work for them. 

Guess they don't mind too much--except for Tucker who is spending hours and hours in his stall. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Still Waiting

No Big Change

Tucker was out on the lawn for about an hour, roaming free.  I do have gates across the driveway and fencing too, so there was no place for him to go.  Hand grazing was just taking too much time and I needed to clean his stall while he was out.

He did do a bit of frolicking, but not much.  At some point the hoof bandage came off--it was not one of my better wrapping jobs--so I put a boot on.  I have to be careful with the boots as they do tend to chafe, but for a short time, they are OK. 

After I got my chores done, I brought him back in and re-wrapped the hoof.  The vet had called to check on him and suggested that since we didn't know where the abscess might break out, it might be a good idea to either put some Animalintex on his coronary band or to use some Icthamol there.  I opted for the Icthamol this time.  I will probably go to the feed store a bit later and might pick up some more of the Animalintex in sheets and use that next wrap.  My new order of vetwrap arrived the other day--25 rolls--so I'm set there.  Pretty good deal on the Internet, less than a dollar a roll. 

So we are still at the same place we were several days ago.  The only good thing is that it's the weekend and I can let Tuck out for a graze twice a day instead of just once.  At least that gives him a little more joy in his locked in life. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Status Quo

Nothing Yet

Still no progress on Tucker's foot, although the Animalintex pad did keep it wet just in the one spot we are suspicious of.  No change yet, and no popping abscess.  I keep hoping.  Scott said he was coming back again this weekend, so maybe he will find something now that we are focusing the soaking on a particular spot.  *sigh*

With a meeting one day, the vet one day, and choir rehearsal one day, I simply haven't had any time to do anything except tend to Tucker.  Since he is locked in his stall all day, I take him out to graze on the lawn for 45 minutes at the least. This gives him a chance to enjoy the sunshine, eat some grass, and wander around a bit--under control. 

Then I have to put him on the crossties so I can clean his stall and, eventually change his hoof bandage.  By the time I am done with that, I need to feed all three Boys. 

So, I've had really no time to ride Chance or Toby.  I think Chance is feeling a little neglected, as he keeps coming to me for hugs--which I always have the time to offer. 

Regardless, times like this, having the Boys in the backyard is a true blessing. If it takes this much time at home, I can only remember with pain how much more time and effort it took to care for a wounded Boy at one of the boarding stables--usually some 14-15 miles from home. 

I don't miss that at all. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back to Square One

Or No News Is Good News?

Dr. Parisio and Scott arrived nearly at the same time.  This was the first time they'd ever met, but they got along really well right from the start.  Once again, Tucker had a pulse in the sore foot, and did react to hoof testers on the side, towards the middle.

While the goal was to find out what was wrong, it was also to elminate some more serious possibilities, including bone injury/fracture.  The good news is that several X-rays showed nothing.  All of his joints and bones look just fine. 

But, on the down side, the X-rays also did not reveal the cause of his lameness.  Essentially, we ruled out most of the more worrisome causes, including laminitis, leaving us with the conclusion that it is either a deep bruise, or a very stubborn abscess. 

Because of the soaking, the wall of Tuck's hoof was softened, which wasn't helping.  Scott trimmed him and now, instead of a full soak I am using animalintex poultice pads, just on the side where Tuck tests sore from the hoof testers. This way the only part of his hoof that's getting treated/soaked is the spot where he's sore.  This should allow the rest of his hoof to dry out a bit and get more solid and supportive.

I am pleased to know the basic structures of his foot look good.   That is a big positive. But he is still lame and that's not good.  Fortunately, Tucker is still being pretty good about being locked in his stall.  It did rain today, so I don't think he missed being out quite as much as when the weather is nice. 

One more time, it's a matter of wait and see.

No Luck Here

The Vet and the Shoer

Hopefully Scott and my vet will get together to look at Tucker today--Wednesday afternoon. 

While he is much better, what I thought might be a popped abscess turned out to be just a shedding flap of skin.  By the time Scott looked at it on Tuesday, it had gotten smaller and showed no sign of any kind of drain hole. 

He called Dr. Parisio while he was here and they discussed things, both agreeing that they needed to take a closer look and get some more x-rays.  Bummer.   The first set did not show anything.  But to be sure, they need more angles. 

Hopefully, Tucker will cooperate. He is having a hard time standing quietly.  Tuesday morning, when I soaked his foot, he was moving all over the place on the crossties.  I use a soaking boot, so it's not a matter of his having to keep his foot in a bucket.  But still the water sloshes out and half the barn aisle was soaked. 

I can't blame him.  Being locked in a stall all day and night cannot be fun.  I did take him out to graze on the lawn again and that was the highlight of his day.  He's trying hard to be good, but at times his energy just gets the best of him. 

He is walking sound, but he definitely has a limp at the trot. 

Scott really gave him a good going over again.  He used the hoof testers and found some soreness near the hoof wall this time and just a little near the frog where Tuck was reacting before.  He also said Tuck had a more pronounced pulse than on Friday. That is kind of strange.  On Friday he was dead lame, and there wasn't a lot of pulse.  Today, he was nearly sound and he had a strong pulse. 

It's back to worrying about laminitis again, of course, or some other equally serious problem. 

I'm hoping x-rays will eliminate most of the more worrisome options.  I'm not sure I can afford too many other more expensive tests.  At the very least, I hope this is something manageable.  Tucker certainly does not have to work for a living, if that's not in his future, so the best I can hope for is that we can get him comfortable.

Of course, it still may be an abscess.  He does have some infection in his hoof wall and that might be the problem. 

Once more it's a matter of wait and see. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Better and Better

Is He Really Sound?

Tucker looked good again this morning and tonight.  I still have to go out to soak his foot again and rewrap it.

Slightly contradictory advice here.  Scott told me to put some Icthamol on the possible drain site.  My vet called to check on Tucker's progress and told me just to wrap it without any icthamol.  Both options make some sense to me.  So, I am going to clean off all the poultice, scrub his foot clean, soak it in some epsom salt water, and then soak it in a mild Betadine solution. 

Then I will wrap it with a dry dressing just to keep out any dirt. 

Scott is still planning on coming some time tomorrow afternoon, so he will then be able to give me a good assessment and perhaps reset the shoe. 

I had Tucker out grazing on the grass again this afternoon and he looked great.  He is still being pretty quiet, but I can only imagine how he will be when he gets turned out with the other Boys again.  It should be quite a circus. 

One more day in for sure and then, perhaps, freedom.

Addendum:  I took Tucker out this morning--Tuesday--and lunged him for about 30 seconds.  He is still limping.  His walk looks just fine, but there is still definitely a limp at the trot.

We'll see what happens when Scott comes.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Maybe an "Aha" Moment

Feeling Darn Good

It looks to me as if there is a breakthrough on Tucker's hoof, right at the heel/cornary band.  It does like strikingly like Chance's heel when an abscess broke through on his hoof.

Trouble is, there is a little lifted flap of skin there kind of full of white poultice and no sign of any kind of yucky stuff.  Then again, I never saw stuff draining out of Chance's foot either, so that may not mean anything.

The key here is that Tucker is really looking sound in comparison to the past few days.  I would not put him at 100% for sure, but without a shoe on a foot that has been hurting for a week, what should I expect? 

I took him out to graze on the lawn for a half hour or so.  Twice he spooked and tried to romp off--I had him on the lunge line, ready for such an emergency--and he certainly had no problem putting full weight on the bad foot.  It was very, very windy again, encouraging flighty spooks and such.  Considering that, he was very well behaved for a horse that's been locked in for so many days. 

I called Scott to give him the heads up on this, but I had to leave a message.  It is Mothers Day here in the USA, so I am hoping he, his wife, and family are taking the day to celebrate.  So if he does call me back, it will probably be late.  I guess somehow we will have to decide if I'm going to need to keep that vet appointment for x-rays. 

Tucker has not had any bute since the first dose, so that certainly can't account for his sudden improvement.  That makes me even more suspicious that an abscess did open at that spot.  So, once again, I guess I just have to wait and see how things go.

The wind was vicious yesterday afternoon, last night, and for most of today.  There is another large maple branch down in my yard.  Looks like I have to do some tree tending again.  I do need to mow the lawn as well, but before I do I have to pick up all the other less, but still "lawn mower attacking" branches that had blown down as well. 

Nothing's ever easy.  *sigh* 

But Tuck's looking good, so I still can smile.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

One Does Get Suspicious

Bute or a Breakthrough?

Tucker was much better this morning, so I suspected the bute had made him feel better.  This would be bad as that would mean his lameness was a result of something other than an abscess.

I soaked his foot in a warm epsom salt solution and then put the poultice on and wrapped his foot.

He was much better by the afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Scott and my vet had managed to coordinate a possible time and day to get here together to take some more X-rays and try to figure out what is actually going on.  That would be Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Parisio called me as well and suggested that I give Tucker bute only if he seemed to be getting more sore and otherwise to just keep up the soaking and wrapping, with him on stall rest. 

Scott called back later, after I'd fed the Boys and noticed that Tucker was even sounder.  I went out while I kept Scott on the phone, opened Tucker's inside stall door and he strode out into the aisle of the barn as if he'd never been lame.  While I did notice a little short step as he made the tight turn--the aisle is 12 feet wide, but I do have things stored on the side--he was practically bouncing sound again.  It was very windy out and the other two Boys were out in the pasture, so he was a little frisky looking for them. 

When I cleaned off the poultice earlier in the day, I certainly hadn't seen any sign of discharge.  The poultice is very white, so it would show something--I'd think--if an abscess had burst.  Since Dr. Parisio told me to soak him once a day, I decided to leave it on for the night--I'm pretty good at wrapping in vetrap and duct tape at this point--and see what I have in the morning.  If there is no sign of a burst abscess then, I am totally clueless as to why he'd suddenly look so sound again.  Yesterday he was, as Scott said, "broken bone lame." 

Abscess makes the most sense, but where is the darn thing????

Oh, yes. I lunged Chance too and had him jump a pile of blox--the plastic block thingies that hold rails for jumps and cavaletti.  He is really casual about it. Wonder if he needs something higher to inspire some real effort?

So many questions and as the wild wind whips around outside, I simpley don't have the answers.

Perhaps they are "gone with the wind."   *sorry, couldn't resist.* *lol*

Friday, May 07, 2010

Not Much Better

And Still  No Answer

Tucker is still very lame.  Scott was here for almost two hours trying to figure out why. 

He put in a call to my vet, but it was after hours and, of course the beginning of the weekend, and she is not on call, so I don't know if they will connect.  This time hoof testers seemed to indicate pain near the frog. While it still could be an abscess, perhaps from a puncture, there are also some other disturbing possibilties.

There may be a bone fracture in the navicular area, although the two x-rays we have do not show anything.  There also could be some flexor tendon issues.

But Scott did put a wedge pad on Tuck's foot to see if taking the pressure off the heel would make him feel better.  There was no noticeable improvement.  That temporarily eliminated that concern.

It's back to soaking and poulticing and wait and see.  Scott did tell me to give Tuck some bute to see if that made him feel better. He said if it is an abscess, the bute will not have any impact at this point, but if it is something else, it might help ease some of the pain.

Scott was soooo concerned.  And, he was gentle and sweet to Tucker too. At once point, he just stood at Tucker's head, hugging him and petting him and telling him how sorry he was that he could not figure out what was wrong. 

I may have to get the vet back out for more x-rays.  Bummer.

Meantime, I will just hope to wake up tomorrow morning to find a better picture.  Scott said he was probably going to wake up at 3 AM just worrying about what is wrong. He really does care for "his" horses and loves them.  I told him I'd post the hugging story and he said it was OK.  *lol*  

I do have to say that after I got back from the supermarket with my new container of epsom salts and diapers, I opened Tuck's stall door to soak his foot in the stall and he came out into the aisle on his own.  Earlier I could hardly get him take even a step.  So there was a tiny bit of improvement in a few hours--and this before I gave him his bute as I also bought some applesauce so I could dose him.

Poor boy.  It's so, so sad seeing him this uncomfortable.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

All Is Not Well

Dead Lame Again

Tucker was totally, completely and horribly lame again this morning.  He did not even want to hobble out of his stall. And he was just as bad, if not worse this afternoon. 

Either the breakout or the poultice or just the nature of whatever is wrong with his foot all came together and completely traumatized his hoof.  I felt dreadful pulling him out of the stall to soak his hoof and change the bandage.

Scott is still planning on coming tomorrow, so perhaps he will be able to find something.  I'm not sure if he is coordinating with my vet or not. His phone message was a bit garbled as he was on his cell in a bad area.  I had to go out tonight, so I missed his call and by the time I got back home, it was too late to contact him directly, so I left a message on his service. 

I keep hoping to see some kind of discharge when I change the bandage, but so far, nothing I can find.  It certainly does look like his toe as he is trying to walk on his heel.  That could be good and it could be bad.  The toe area is where there is some sign of infection but it is also a signal of laminitis--far more serious. 

Once again it's just a matter of wait and see.  Hopefully Scott will discover something tomorrow.

Stay tuned for a report.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Great Escape

What Next?

I thought I heard a kind of "thunk" sometime during the night.  When will I ever learn that it's a wise idea to check out anything suspicious in the vicinity of the barn?

This time when I went out for morning feed, Tucker was out in the paddock again.  The side of the door frame where his stall door latches was knocked off the barn and his door was hanging open. 

When he saw me, he squealed, bucked and cantered off across the paddock, quite full of himself.  I started to nail the frame back in place only to discover the nails were all bent.  I think it's going to take a more serious fix.  I went to Home Depot on the way home tonight and bought some long screws. When I have the time and energy, I will drill some holes and screw the frame back in place so it will stand a better chance of staying in place the next time some rambuctious horse decides to kick the door open.  *sigh*

I transferred Tucker into Toby's stall for the day, put the tamper proof baling twine on the latch and settled him in.  He was still there when I got home from school.

I called Scott to tell him Tucker was much improved and he told me he was planning on coming out Friday to see about putting the shoe back on.  He also said he'd emailed my vet to assure her that the slight drop in Tucker's coffin bone was his normal conformation, mostly because of his tendancy to be clubfooted.  While the right front was the club foot he'd had the surgery for as a foal, his left foot is also a little steep.  When his toe gets a little long, it does get a bit out of line.  He agreed that the last time we'd had the X-ray on that foot he and my other vet had discussed just that. 

He is concerned about the bit of infection in Tucker's toe, and does worry that it might be causing an issue since it was one of the only places Tucker reacted to the hoof testers. 

Tonight, I let Tucker out on the lawn for a while, then rebandaged and poulticed his hoof for the night.  This time, I used poultice instead of the Icthamol.  It's another option for drawing out any possible infection. 

Tucker is getting a little impatient with his confinement and really didn't want to come back in after his graze.  He balked at the barn door and took some persuasion to finally come in.  If he gets his shoe back on Friday, then he can get some turnout with the other Boys.  In the meantime, he is just going to have to play the shut-in.  I feel sorry for him, but I certainly don't want to aggravate his hoof problem.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Looking Good

But Not A Real Test Tonight

Tucker looked really good when he trotted across my lawn leaving hoofprints in the wet ground.  I let him go for a moment when I went to get something, and he decided romping would be fun.  That was his only trotting test tonight, as I did not lunge him.  I will check him more formally tomorrow.  He is being good about staying inside and once again we had some storms pass through. 

I still do not see any definitive sign of a draining abscess, so that is still unresolved as far as I am concerned, but if he is sound, then I'm guessing something cleared up.  If he looks totally sound tomorrow, I will call Scott to have the shoe reset. 

I did take a little time to lunge Chance.  (I had a chiropractic adjustment today, so I did not plan on riding.)

As always, he was a good boy and did some really nice, soft jumping over the little obstacle I had set up.  Nothing big, but just a tiny challenge for him to keep the session interesting.  He does not try to run out and clearly heads for the jump on his own once he knows that's my plan.  When it's that low, sometimes he will just trot it, but when I praised him for giving a nice relaxed jumping effort out of a canter, he seemed quite pleased and finished up with a lovely effort on each lead. 

I'm kind of glad I didn't try to ride as the mosquitoes are horrendous! With all the budget issues and money problems the State and local governments are having, I am wondering if they have any money to spray for the voracious little critters.  If we keep having rainy spells this summer, it will be impossible to spend any quality time outdoors.

I am going to dig out my own fogger, make sure it's working properly and see what I can do around my own property.  Maybe I can keep the miserable pests under some kind of control--but I don't want to endanger the baby barn swallows in my rafters or any of the bats I see flying around.

Guess I need to do some research on the insecticide the fogger can use. 

Another project.  *sigh*

Monday, May 03, 2010

Not 100%

But Better Still

I took Tucker out to the arena tonight for just a quick little lunge to see how he looked.  He is walking sound, but he still shows a bit of a nod on his right front as he favors his left front.  It is almost so slight to be unnoticeable.   Still I am not going to press the issue until I  think he looks better than that.

My vet called as well, just to check up and she was pleased to hear he was doing so much better. Apparently, she sent the X-rays to Scott with some shoeing recommendations.  She is still concerned about the appearance of a very, very slight coffin bone rotation in that foot.  However, I have an X-ray from years ago when Tucker had a hidden abscess in that foot and, as I recall, both my vet then and Scott were a bit concerned about something similar, so it may be congenital.  Scott will remember better than anyone as he is super conscientious about his shoeing and knows Tucker's feet better than anyone. 

We had off and on rain today with thunderstorms predicted for the night and possibly tomorrow.  It looks as if the other two Boys spent most of the day hanging out around the barn near Tucker, so I guess he wasn't too lonely even though he was confined to his stall.  If this turns into an extended layup, I will fix up Chance's stall and the run-in shed on the other side of the barn for Tuck, but for now he's fine in his stall. 

When I took the bandage and packing off his foot, I still could not see a sign of an abscess breaking through anywhere.  It's still a puzzle that needs to be worked out.  I just hope he continues to improve as he has over the last two days. 

On the up side, he is a very good patient and well behaved to handle both when I am wrapping his foot and when I took him out for about 20 minutes of grazing on the lawn.  How nice to have a horse with good manners.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Well Now, Much Better

Despite the Escape

When I woke up this morning, Tucker's stall door was open and he was out in the field with the other two Boys.  H-m-m-m.  SOMEBODY must have opened his latched stall door.  That SOMEBODY needed to have done it from the outside.  Is there a CHANCE it might be SOMEBODY with good lips? 

On the plus side, to all intents and purposes, Tucker was pretty sound looking at the walk.  I put him back in his stall while I went to church and when I got home, I let him out to graze on the lawn for about a half hour.  Well, he was rather excited about that. and took off before I could stop him--trotting pretty sound as well.  But it is hard to tell when a horse is excited like that because often he will ignore any pain in the thrill of the moment.

After a bit, I put him in the arena and there, he was a little off at the trot, but SO much sounder than yesterday.  And, since he has no shoe on that one foot it was hard to tell if he was taking a short step due to that or due to a real limp.

I showered him off, soaked his foot and wrapped it up again with Icthamol.  I will definitely leave him in tonight and tomorrow--it is supposed to rain for at least half the day--and then reevaluate when I get home from school.  While I still have not seen evidence of a draining abscess, something may have broken through somewhere.  There was some poultice left on his foot, even after soaking, so I couldn't quite see everything.  Tomorrow, I will give it a good scrubbing with some soap and water and give it a good look over--presuming, of course, that he is even sounder than today. 

Then, I guess, it will just be a matter of getting Scott to reset the shoe with even more of a rolled toe. 

Here's hoping the unplanned night out didn't cause any extra problems. *sigh* 

Oh yes, I have secured the stall door with a rather escape proof latch arrangement.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Vet Exam

Not Much to Report

The vet is pretty well convinced the lameness is in Tucker's foot.  X-rays did not show anything except perhaps a very slight drop of the coffin bone, but I'm not so sure it's not pretty identical to the situation we can see in X-rays I have from several years ago when Tucker last had an abscess.

Scott had dropped by yesterday, pulled Tuck's shoe and done his own exam, not finding too much either.  But as I recall, when we did have a hidden abscess before, hoof testers were not very helpful either.  So, for the nonce, I am going to treat is as an abscess and do the soaking and poulticing routine for about a week.  If nothing resolves by then, the vet will probably come out again for some more tests.  She did tell me to watch for any signs of lameness in the other front foot, as laminitis is always always a concern with front lameness.  Still what showed up in the X-rays was so minimal probably not a worry here.

The hocks?  Again, there is not a lot of significant arthritis, but his joints spaces are pretty narrow, again common as horses age and the cartilage gets worn away.  I am going to wait until he is sound in front and then probably get his joints injected just so he is more comfortable.  We could have done it today, but I figured there'd be no real point as he's stuck inside and can't be exercised anyhow.

Tuck's hocks are actually surprisingly clean for a dressage horse, so that's kind of good, but I do know how a lack of cushion in the joints can hurt, so I'm guessing that he protests his work at times due to some discomfort.  I was going to get my own knees injected a few months ago, but got sidetracked with this teaching job, so I guess I will do Tuck the favor instead.

Temperatures are on the rise.  By 11 AM it was already a bit over 80F.  I have a feeling this afternoon will be in the 90's.  Crazy since the other day it was in the 40's during the day and freezing at night.  Quite a radical change here.

I'll go out and soak Tucker's foot a little later and put some fresh bedding in his stall.  I might give Chance a little work if I'm not too worn out by that point.  My energy level is lower than I'd like it to be, that's for sure.

Oh, yes, the vet is sending Scott, my farrier, the X-rays too, so he will have a good idea as to what's going on.  I'll be interested to hear his take on it all.