Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pondering the Future

How to Run a Barn on No Legs 

I am going to face some problems once my knees are replaced.  Of course, when I first come home, I will need some kind of support to help with the horses. The big problems will be cleaning the stalls and getting the hay over to the barn. Currently, my hay is stored in the carport, about 60 feet or so from the horses.  I am not sure how I will get hay to the Boys. If I am still using a walker, it will be hard to carry anything of substance. If I have a cane, I might be able to put hay in the cart and pull it over. But I certainly won't be able to lift a full bale into the cart to take over.

If I can depend on the kindness of friends, it would be possible to keep five or six bales of hay in the aisle of the barn as I do in the winter.  But getting it into the aisle will be something I will not be able to do.

Depending on my mobility, I MIGHT be able to use the two wheeled wheelbarrow as a kind of walker to clean stalls, but that too will have to be explored.

Grain would be no issue, except that bags of grain weigh 50 pounds and apparently, after replacements, you should not lift more than 40 pounds. I do not know if that is a golden rule without exceptions, but I also have to figure out how, when I buy grain, I am going to get it into the barn and into the storage cans. Plan A, with no help, would be to open each bag, take out perhaps 20 pounds, and then take the bag in to dump into the cans.  This, of course, will take twice as long as a normal unloading, but it may have to do.  The alfalfa cubes are stored in the barn in their bags, so that presents another problem. It seems to me I would have to transfer 15 pounds or so from each bag into an empty bag already in the feed room, put the partially full bags in the feed room and tie them all closed until I need to use them.

I could, perhaps, pay someone to come once a week to do some of the more complex chores and to put the hay in the barn. But I certainly will need a way to handle things on my own should a snow storm snow us in so no one could get here to help.

Where there is a will, there is a way. Somehow,I will figure things out.  And, I always have the tractor with the front end loader, so perhaps I can modify my storage system so I can use it to do my work.

I just have to think it through.

Friday, July 29, 2011


 Ah, Well

That means I can't mow the grass. Darn. And after I went and bought gas for the mower.

It also means no swimming. Kind of OK in that my chiropractor did some muscle work on me to help prepare me for surgery and kind of said, "No exercises today."  I don't thin that meant no drifting around the lazy river, but the storm stopped even that notion.

The Boys are being really cute and friendly lately.  I guess the boredom of hanging out in front of the fans makes my presence in the barn even more interesting than usual.  And it didn't hurt that I unloaded some feed from the truck as well.  I just don't recall their being quite this ready for a cuddle should I offer one. Somehow I have a feeling that down the road, when I have recovered from my surgery and am able to work them again that they will not quite be so willing to hang out around me. Work ethics have always been a bit lacking in my little herd.

Then again, Chance does love to go out on trails.  Toby doesn't want to do anything, and Tucker occasionally shows an interest in doing something mentally challenging in the arena.  But real work--dressage--is not high on the agenda. It's fine. It's not high on my agenda right now either. Love it, but at the moment, the payoff the next day is far too painful.

I will be very curious to see how long it will be before I will be able to ride with my new knees. Research on the Internet suggests it can be a long recovery.  I plan on breaking all records at getting back to a regular life.  That's why I am trying to be as fit and ready before the surgery as I can.

The chiropractic work is designed to loosen my leg muscles so they are less likely to stiffen after the surgery. My doctor says it should help.  I am also doing leg exercises and of course, swimming.  The ideal recovery would be to put me in a pool right away, but the surgical wounds have to heal first before I could take a chance in pool water--too much risk of infection.  But what a great way it would be to start moving again.

I am typing this on my laptop, currently connected to the Internet via my wi fi. My power went out for three short spans during the storm and on the second outage, I turned most of my electronic equipment off.  I didn't realize my wi fi card was on, but as soon as I turned on the laptop to play some FreeCell, lo and behold, it made a nice solid connection.

Cool.  Technology is so much fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little By Little

I Learn

By the time I am in the hospital, I think I will have mastered my tablet.  It's taking some getting used to and it certainly is not as fast as my home desktop computer--hooked up to Xfinity (Comcast) high speed Internet, but it will do.

I managed to load in the SlideMe application store and things from there load just fine. I'll have the software I need set up eventually. Right now, it's a bit of experimentation. Since the android programs don't work on the PC, it's kind of hit or miss. I've loaded up several applications I thought would be good and then removed them because they simply didn't work the way I wanted them to.

But on the desktop front, I had to get a new keyboard as my other one was getting wonky.  I wanted an ergonomic one and ended up with the Mircrosoft 4000.  Cool. It's got all kinds of keys to actually access and control the Internet interface right from the keyboard. There is even a "Zoom" key that let's me enlarge webpages without having to access my toolbar. It's kind of fun.

The weather today was a delightful break. This morning was perfectly lovely out. The sun showed up, but the humidity was much lower.  The Boys spent quite a bit of time outside grazing and just relaxing.  I have started giving Toby beet pulp in the morning again, and so far he's eating it.  I will not go back to alfalfa pellets for him, though and I have to keep an eye on him for any signs of stiffness or discomfort in his feet. So far, so good.

I also got a nice swim in today with both the air and water at just perfect temperatures.  I am up to fifteen laps with my leg exercises added to the program.  Nothing like the swimmers at the world competition, however. I just found out I do have a TV channel broadcasting it live, so it's fun! Men's 200 meter freestyle.  Those guys make me look like a snail!!

I also had a visitor in my side yard--a cute little red fox. I tried to take some pictures, but the screens on the windows post a problem. I'll look at what I got but I'm not sure anything is worth posting. The little critter was hunting for something in my lawn. I eventually went out the back door to sneak around to see if I could get a better picture, but foxy was too elusive and finally slipped out of sight--probably heard my tiptoeing my way towards him.

Maybe when I get my new knees, I can hone my ninja skills and get some decent wildlife pictures around here. That would be novel.

More to look forward to.

Monday, July 25, 2011

From My Tablet

Just a test from my tablet.  This is using Blogaway.  Not too bad so far.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sprinkler Failure

Not Like the Video

There is a widely circulating video of a horse enjoying the sprinkler on a hot day. Great idea. So, I got a sprinkler, set it up, turned it on and....indifference. Chance kind of hung out in the vicinity of the spraying water for a while, but Toby and Tucker really didn't seem to think the whole idea was either worthwhile or even interesting.  My hopes dashed, I unhooked the contraption and put it away for another day.

You'd think standing in a cool spray of water would be appealing on a hot day. I don't know if there was a mental disconnect going on or if they really didn't like it. Either way, I will try again, but I guess hosing will have to do instead. Bummer.

Meantime, I didn't even bother going for a swim on Saturday. On Friday the water was so warm I almost overheated doing my laps. I figured it would be even worse yesterday.  Last night, though, it cooled down a bit outside, so I went over to the pool just around noon and sure enough, the water felt pretty good. Not exactly cold, but cool enough to do twelve laps.

Then there was a members' meeting at the pool and we sat discussing issues of concern.  I've been pretty happy with how things are run, especially since the life guards have been really good about keeping the non-lap swimming kids and other non-swimmers out of the lap lanes this year. It's made it much easier to actually get some exercise without having to worry about collisions with people just fooling around. Everything else has been pretty good too, but I did suggest that perhaps they might post the results of the swim team's competitions.  I see the kids practicing all the time but I have no idea of how they've been doing. Some other member complained about the lounge chairs being carried off to the far side of the park, and a few other minor issues, but for the most part, things seemed to be pretty satisfying.

I came home, had lunch and then spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to load the Blogger app to my tablet. For some reason, Google market refuses to recognize my device, but I am now beginning to think it's more a problem with AT&T denying access to download files.

I can post to Blogger through my email account, so that's good, but a direct post to Blogger would be so much nicer. I'll keep working on it, but either way, I'll manage.

Technical glitches like this can be so frustrating and only seem to increase as technology advances.

It's kind of like training a difficult horse......*G*  (See, I got back on topic after all!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Got the Tablet

And the Heat Continues

I hosed the Boys yesterday afternoon for the first time. They have been generally OK every other day--but  yesterday!! Temps over 100F got to them.

Toby was rather indifferent and actually seemed annoyed by it. Once done, he went off an rolled in the sand.  Tucker was another story. Not only did he lean into the water, but he was making all kinds of  happy faces and insisted I let him drink from the hose.  Chance, who I've not sprayed much at all, caught on really quickly and seemed to enjoy it as well.  Neither he nor Tucker rolled afterwards, so they stayed wet when they went back in to stand in front of their fans.

I am going to get a sprinkler today and I'll set it up in the front paddock for a while in the heat of the day to see if they go play in it.  Not many other options left as air conditioning in the barn is out of the question.

My tablet came yesterday as well. I tried to set up my Internet connection through the ATT&T MiFi WiFi to no avail. The tablet kept giving me the message that it recognized the network and that the signal was strong and clear, but every time I put in the password code to establish the link, it told me it could not connect. Unlike PC operating systems that have lots of "back doors" to get something done, the Android tablet interface seems pretty direct, so I had no way of trying to configure the connection any other way.

So, I called the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy and told them my problem.  Soon, I was on the road to the store, to get them to set it up as I'd been promised when I placed the order.

The Geek was a really nice young man. I explained the problem, and he started to work on the tablet.  In short order, he did EXACTLY the same thing I had done, with EXACTLY the same results. Now what?

I knew the MiFi worked OK, because it connected my laptop to the Internet. Was the tablet OK?  There was in in-store network active, so my geek tried to connect my tablet to it. No problem. Therefore, the tablet's wifi seemed to be working.

My geek tried putting in the password in lower case letters. He tried a different password. We looked at the instruction manual, and then had to just keep repeating the same technique over and over--find the network, click on the connection, put in the password.

As my very clever, intelligent geek said, "You know, this proves we are insane. We keep repeating the same action, expecting a different result."  In the middle of our laughter--suddenly--CONNECTION!! The exact same technique, repeated, actually did produce a different result.

My geek (Chris, for he now had earned a name and my gratitude) saved the connection on the tablet, and, as we both held our breath, turned the tablet off.  We let it sit for a few seconds and turned it back on. To our relief, the Internet connection was still active.

Now I am still a bit stuck here as I cannot seem to get the tablet to post to Blogger. If I can't fix that, I will find some other way to post from the hospital, but for now, things seem to be working OK. Could be there is some kind of issue about the posting protocol for Blogger?:

Anyone know. The tablet works as an Android, as far as I know......still learning. I have a month.......

Addendum: I think I have figured out how to post--by sending an email to Blogger. I will try later, mostly because I have burned out my techno brain trying to figure this out.  I had, at one point, three computer devices running at once and was trying to use the mouse to control the wrong one. I think I have had enough geeking for one morning!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Too Hot For Words

The Heat Wave Begins

Nothing really to report.  It was simply too hot to do much outside, and it's only going to get hotter over the next few days, with hope that the heat will break on Saturday.

The Boys were out and about up until around 10 AM or so, and since then I'm pretty sure they will be hanging out in the barn by the fans.  I was thinking of setting up a sprinkler in the paddock and may still do so, but I'm not sure where the sprinklers I have are, so that might require a trip out to buy one--dangerous move.

I and going shopping are a bad match. Yesterday I was supposed to have a doctor's sppointment--my 6 month cancer check--but my doctor had an emergency and canceled. So instead I headed out on a mission to find out what kind of Internet options I might have when I am away from my home computer--Comcast Cable (Xfinity) connection.

Nearly any way you look at it, it is an expensive proposition. First you need the device, and then you need to pay for some kind of service provider.  I was going to get a Kindle as once you buy the pad, the Internet service is free. Supposedly, you can access the web just fine, but after some investigation, I found out that Web access if pretty limited as the Kindle does not read all kinds of programming languages, so a lot of Webpage content will not load.

Then, of course, there are all kinds of phone options, but then you need both an phone contract and a data contract, raising the overall cost considerably.  I had a long talk with the tech advisor/salesman at Best Buy.  There was a promotional deal going on with AT&T.  $100 off on the device, a free personal WiFi connector (AT&T Moblie HotSpot) so that you connect through AT&T cellular service no matter where you are as long as AT&T is available, and data service for $35 a month.  (A 2 year contract)  Still pricey, but from what I could tell, the most economical option.

Then we found a tablet for under $200--there was an even cheaper one but we couldn't find a way to order it at the discount price.  Best Buy gave me free shipping, and I'll be on my way as soon as it arrives--it's been shipping already.

Better yet, my laptop can also connect to the Internet through the mobile WiFi and I set that up in about 2 minutes last night.  So, if my cable Internet should ever to out, I can still access the Web.  Not bad at all, since I apparently can also set up my desktop computer to do the same.  (The tech suggested I could do all my surfing through the AT&T device, but I am most happy with Xfinity, so I will not change that.)   While my laptop is portable, it is still rather big compared to the tablet, so I guess I have turned into a real "geek" with all this.

The goal? I was hoping to be able to keep people updated during my knee replacement recovery. Not so much to let people know how I am doing, but to give everyone a good idea of exactly what is involved in the whole thing.  I do not know how many horsemen have had double knee replacement surgery and my Internet searches have not been able to find out too much specific information, so I hope to take on the job of informing people myself.

I don't know how vociferous I will be. Not only will some of the post surgery stuff knock me for a loop, but I also don't know how efficient it will be typing on the tablet, but I will do my best. I've plenty of time to acclimate myself to the new technology as my surgery is not until September.

I will give my tablet review as soon as my new toy arrives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clean Fridge

Good Deed On A Hot Day

I finished cleaning the refrigerator--at least the bottom half. I still have to sort out what is in the freezer, but I did that not too long ago, so there may not be too many expired items hiding up there.

The bottom was another story. I had a lot of half full/half empty jars and containers of various sauces and foods I definitely was not eating. As a result I now have three garbage bags full of discards. I a lot of cases, things are still in their containers--kind of a big break in my rule of really trying to recycle everything possible, but in this case to empty and clean all the jars was just too much work for me to manage.

The refrigerator as now nearly empty, with just the foods I am eating. It looks amazing.  Hope I can keep it that way.  I have stopped buying things I'm not sure I am going to either like or eat, so perhaps I can keep things under control.

So one major task is complete. I'm not sure what the next phase will be but I certainly need to tackle something soon.

I let Toby out at 6 AM for about three hours. It was not exactly cool, but the sun was just peeking through the shadows of morning so it wasn't too bad. When I went out to feed at around 9 AM, both he and Tucker were quite ready to come into their stalls. Chance was quite ready to come into the barn and investigate Toby's stall while I was cleaning it--or at least dumping the wheelbarrow.  He was very persistent and I finally had to give him a prod with the handle of the manure fork to convince him to leave. Apparently there was a bit of feed in Toby's tub and Chance was determined to eat it.

Once again, all three Boys seemed fairly content to stay in the barn away from the annoying flies and mosquitoes. With all the rain we've had this season, the pests are flourishing despite all my efforts to keep them under control.  I use fly predators, feed through fly control, and flysheets--with fly spray as needed.  I really don't seem to have a lot of stable flies, but all the other outdoor varieties have had had a great breeding season.  I haven't been in the woods, but I suspect it would be horrible out there with deerflies and mosquitoes. Ugh.

The fans help keep the flies away as well as offering a fairly nice breeze for the Boys, so it wasn't too bad inside for them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Little Out

 But A Lot More In

I put Toby out in the arena yesterday morning. He started to enjoy himself until he realized the other horses were on the other side of the barn. Then he started fussing and running around. Eventually, I put Tucker in with him and things quieted down, except that already, by a bit after 9:30, the flies were out in force, and both Boys were clearly bothered by them.

I cleaned the stalls, filled the water tub, put hay in and then brought the Boys in for breakfast.  Everyone pretty much stayed in the barn for the bulk of the day after that. Toby was locked in, and Tucker and Chance chose to stand in, with their fans blowing on them.  I hayed again around noon and fed around 5 PM, so being inside wasn't too bad considering it was a hot day.

This morning, I went out at about 6:30 just to let Toby out for a while--this time before the flies were fully awake.  He just strolled around, stretching his legs for a couple hours until I went back out to feed.  By then, the barn was starting to be appealing again--heat and the bugs--so he came right in for breakfast and is now closed in his stall.

Chance is out and about, mostly browsing under the apple tree for fallen apples--just a few little green ones--and nibbling at the grass.  All is quiet and settled out there.

The vet is coming on Friday, hopefully to clear Toby for full turnout again. He looks perfectly sound, so I'm pretty sure he's OK.

There's not much action here, although I did start to do a really thorough refrigerator cleaning and I trimmed some more of the out of control weeds around the outside of the house. I did not swim yesterday as I figured a hot Sunday would be really busy at the pool. I will swim today, though.

Not much else to report.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shoes On

And Now the Recovery Begins

Scott came this morning to shoe Toby and Tucker and to trim Chance.

Tucker was first and Scott said he had a lot of punctures in the foot where he lost his shoe.  I knew there'd be something evident as he had walked on the displaced shoe for a while and on the toe clip.  But, surprisingly enough, he was quite sound after he had the new shoe set in place. I will still have to monitor him in case he abscesses, but for now, he's pretty comfortable.

Toby was even better, showing no signs of any discomfort when Scott used the hoof testers.  And as he was being shod, he did not react at all to the nails being hammered in. He was actually almost dozing in the crossties as Scott worked on him.  He now has leather pads with gel injected under them, and rolled toes on his shoes.  I am a bit betwixt and between as Scott told me turning him out for a bit in a smaller paddock--the riding arena would be good for him.  My vet had said he needed to stay in for the week after he was shod.

I did leave him in for now, and I will perhaps put him out for a little while tomorrow in the morning when it's cool. If the other horses are in, he may be less likely to run around.  I don't want him getting too silly until we are sure his feet are OK.

Hopefully, both Boys are on the road to a good recovery. I will keep a close eye on them from this point on.  I haven't decided on any metabolic testing for Toby at this point, and I will keep him on the magnesium/chromium supplements.

Chance, of course, looks just fine is quite happy to have Tucker out with him.  Toby, still locked in, is not happy with that arrangement, but a little turnout for him will help.

So far, so good.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Out With Friends

Me, Not the Horses
Status quo in the barn, although this morning, Toby and Tucker played musical stalls and changed places. So, since they are both stuck in recovering, I left them that way--Toby in Tucker's stall and Tucker in Toby's stall.  I just have to make a mental note not to feed by habit when I go out, as Toby gets twice as much grain as Tucker.

I'm still waiting to hear from Scott for shoeing. My vet is coming back for a recheck on Toby next week on Friday, so I really do need those shoes on Toby for at least a little while before the vet sees him again.

Tucker looks pretty comfortable, but I haven't taken him out to check to see if he still has a limp. As long as he's relaxed in the stall, I figure he's OK and that foot is healing on its own.

That being said, I met my friend Stacie for lunch at the Chinese restaurant buffet yesterday. We had a nice meal and a good long in person visit. We talk nearly every day on the phone swapping stories about our horses and saddle sales adventures. (Stacie is a rep for Trilogy saddles.)

Soon after I got back home, the phone rang, and it was Don, my choir director and friend who'd decided to invite me and another friend over for dinner.  I'm always up for a social meal so I accepted.

I went to the pool for my swim, but didn't ride the lazy river to save some time, came back home, fed the Boys and headed over to Don's house.

We spent a fun evening eating hamburgers, corn and broccoli and then just sat around chatting until after midnight.  Although time was rather interesting as Don's grandfather clock has somehow gotten totally out of sync with the world and was chiming away the time an hour and a half late. Don said he'd just reset it and regulated it earlier in the day and is totally perplexed at what's going on.

Anyone out the have a pendulum clock who may know what's wrong that one should lose so much time within a few hours?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Lazy Swim

First, a report on the Boys. It finally cooled off a bit today, so that was good. I'd left the fans on the last two nights just because it was so hot.  Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty nice.

Tucker looks pretty sound, but I really didn't take him out to test him as I don't want to stress his hoof without the shoe. For Claire, Tucker was wrapped with a "nappy," vetrap and a layer or two of duct tape. He still managed to get it all off.  Today, however, the same kind of wrapping seems to be staying on just fine. I wonder if he stepped on his foot yesterday?

Hard to tell about Toby either as I've not had him out according to vet's orders. But he is eating better and seems quite cheery and interested in things in a positive way. I've put him on a magnesium supplement--Quiessence--which is both a calming and a metabolic supplement. Since he is eating his feed, he eats it up as it is pelleted and must taste OK.

Chance is alternating his hangouts among his own stall in front of the fan, the apple tree where the little green apples fall, the run in shed by Toby and Tucker, and the pasture.

I am in "accomplishing nothing" mode for some reason. Then, to top it off, when I went for my swim this evening, there was a swim meet going on and the lap pool was closed.  There is a family pool, but it's nearly impossible to actually swim there, so I opted for a "lazy" evening. I rode around the lazy river about six times. Then, for exercise, I decided to go down the water slides.  The exercise consisted of climbing 30 steps up the stairs to reach the top of the slides and then, a very short swim across the landing pool once I was back down.  I did this circuit four times, so that was 120 steps up the staircase--quite an effort for my bad knees.

That was my rather short circuited exercise program, but I did get to cool off in the water and relax some more.

Now if I could only get some work done around here.........

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Even Quieter

Follywoods in a Restless Peace

Hot here in New Jersey, so I go out every few hours to make sure the Boys have water and hay.  Toby is quite content that Tucker is locked in the stall next door and has started to eat better.

Tucker is a little restless in his stall but accepting the enforced recovery. I haven't seen him walk much, but he seems much more comfortable on his foot.  Keeping the wrap on has been a bit of a problem. Tomorrow morning I hope I will be able to find the elastoplast I bought. That will work much better than vetrap in keeping the packing on.

My foresight paid off. When I shut Toby in, I tied his outside door latch with baling twine. Good thing. "Somebody" opened the latch to try to get his door open. "Somebody" failed because of the baling twine. "Somebody" took a "Chance" in trying to help Toby escape. "Somebody" also opened Tucker's door latch, but the eye hook held it closed. "Chance" had nothing to do with it. It was all well planned. *G*

Chance seems to be spending at least part of the day in the east run-in shed, by the big Boys' stall doors. I guess herd instincts are pretty strong.  But he does go off to graze by himself, which makes his herdmates jealous.

Another week or so, and I hope this will all be resolved.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

All Quiet

Wrapped Feet

Toby is sporting the silver duct tape the vet put on his feet to hold his pads. Tucker is in bright orange duct tape on his foot. He has an Ichthammol  poultice on his foot.  They make a fine ad for duct tape, that's for sure. I either have to buy a new roll of silver tape or find the one I think I still have.  I may have used it somewhere else besides the barn and--typical of me--misplaced it.

Tucker is really good about being in as he does not fuss much at all. He will try to get out of the stall into the barn aisle, but he does not get frantic if left in by himself. However, this time the east side of the barn is a hospital ward, so all is quiet. I do feel a bit sorry for Chance who was hanging out by the occupied stalls.  Yesterday, at some point, he opened Tucker's door, but Tucker stayed inside, lay down and took a nap instead of going out.

I have since fastened the extra eye hook I put on the door for such occasions. I also have a piece of baling twine holding Toby's door shut. Chance is very clever at orchestrating escapes, so I have to plan ahead.

I gave Tucker some bute this morning and he looks a little less sore this afternoon.  I hope that and the wrapping has made him at least a little more comfortable.

Toby looks fine but I haven't seen him move too much. With Tucker in, he is very relaxed and is spending most of his day either snoozing or eating hay.  I go out several times during the day to check water buckets and give them each a flake of hay--one at time so they don't waste it by dragging it all over the stalls. So far, so good.

Went for a late swim today, so I would miss the bulk of the weekend crowds at the pool. People usually leave around suppertime. Going early, before noon, or after 6 PM solves the problem of too many people swimming in the lap lanes.  It was still a bit busy, but I got my laps in without any "traffic" issues.  It was quite hot today but I think the humidity was at least a little lower.  With the thunderstorm ripping through it was almost like a tropical rainforest around here.

My weeds are very happy.

I need to do something about the ones on my front bank and the other side of the driveway so I can see when I try to pull out.

Maybe tomorrow....maybe.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Problem Solved

With Another Problem

Toby was hysterical when I went out for evening feed this evening.  Chance and Tucker were in the pasture, just out of sight and Toby was calling and circling in his stall.

I gave him some hay, got the feed and called the other two Boys in.

Along came Tucker, three legged lame, limping badly on his left front foot. When I first looked, I thought he had simply lost his shoe. But no. The shoe was twisted on his foot and he was walking on both it and the front clinch.  I managed to get the shoe off completely, but he was still lame on that foot.

I didn't do anything with it for now as ideally, I'd like to have Scott look at it first, but Tucker is locked in his stall next to Toby for now. If his foot needs treatment, I guess the problem of Toby's being upset staying in alone has been solved.

Sometimes bad things have a bright side, depending on your perspective. Bad for Tucker, good for Toby.

Hopefully Tucker hasn't done any serious damage.....*sigh*

Bad News, Good News

Vet Visit #2

Toby is doing fine and his feet barely showed any sensitivity. I am to lower his dosage of Bute.

My vet spoke to Scott and they discussed the shoeing, which I hope will take place next week. BUT, poor, unhappy Toby must stay in all week and for a week afterwards.

He is SOOOOOO miserable.  I went out for late feed and he was distraught because Tucker and Chance were off in the front paddocks grazing--or nibbling on the very sparse grass.  He got out of his stall into the aisle of the barn and trotted back and forth a few times, whinnying frantically.  My aisle is only about 30 feet long, so it was just a short trot, but I do have to say he looked sound.  Once Tucker came in for his snack, I ushered Toby back into his stall and he settled down enough to eat a little. He did clean up his food from dinner, so that's good and he's been eating his hay.

Two more weeks is going to be so hard on him. While I could take him out to graze, my Dr. McAndrews was very clear that he should not be moving around much at all so his feet can heal.  Poor boy.  Some horses are OK when laid up, but I fear he is not one of them.  I did buy a supplement to help calm him and, since it's magnesium and chromium, it's good for metabolic issues as well. Perhaps it will make him feel a little better and less anxious.

Here is poor, sad Toby in his stall:

In contrast, by choice, Chance is here in his stall enjoying his fan:
And, outdoors, the little black kitty who lives in the garage actually sat still long enough for me to get a blurry picture:
I call him Peppercorn, but so far he does not want to be friends.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thunder Rumbles and Toby Bounces

All Day Long

Thunderstorms rumbled through off and on all day long. I'd gone over to visit my friend at a barn on the next road over and we heard thunder several times, but no rain. When I came home, it was soaking wet at the end of my road, but dry at my house, less than a mile west. Really rather amazing that rain had hit just one spot and not another.

But shortly after I gave Toby some more hay, my phone rang. It was Stacie my other friend calling to tell me she'd just seen on the Weather Channel that a huge storm was going to hit my area in a few minutes.  Once more I heard a rumble and this time went out to the barn to get Tucker and Chance into the barn as heavy lightning was also predicted.

The storm hit shortly after with torrential rains--so heavy you could hardly see outside. That lasted about a half hour. Then things cleared up and the sun came out.

Every now and then afterwards, I heard little rumbles so I decided not to even bother going to the pool as they close the water when it storms.

Good thing. It turns out an electrical wire had come down over there and they'd closed the partk for the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Toby was in bounce mode. I have to feel sorry for him. He is so upset that the other Boys are out and about while he's locked in. He is bouncing about the stall, going to the door and whinnying to them. When I tried to give him is bute tonight I had to wait until Tucker came in for his late feed before I could even get Toby's attention.

On the good side, even though he is worried, he certainly does not look at all lame. Now, emotional upset might be playing a part here, but when he was sore on his feet, he did not care that he was separated from the other horses. In fact, the night I found him lying down, he was out in the run in shed while they came in the barn and he showed no concern for where they were at all.  It may not be the best kind of enthusiasm for life that he's showing now, but it certainly is normal Toby behavior.

The vet will be here this afternoon.  Scott called me yesterday to confer but he said we needed to wait to do any shoeing until we were sure the inflammation in Toby's feet was gone. He cannot be here when my vet is here, but hopefully he will answer his phone so he can talk to her about what to do next.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

So Far, So Good

Toby Update

While he is not exactly a happy camper by being locked in his stall, Toby seems to be doing well. He is moving about with ease and appears to be comfortable on his feet. Because he has the foam pads taped on to his feet, I have not taken him out to see how he is walking, but he does "bounce" around every now and then when the other horses go out to the pasture.

Hopefully, his calling to his herd has not disturbed my neighbors. He was whinnying last night when Tucker and Chance went out to the pasture to graze.

He is not eating well, however. With him, it's a pretty sure sign of emotional distress. He has never been a "stomach horse" motivated by feed. If Tucker were not eating that would be a different story, but Toby?? All he has to do is get a little upset and food is no longer on the agenda. He did clean up his hay, so that's good, and his water buckets were both down to about a quarter full, so he is drinking just fine.

We have a vet visit scheduled for Thursday at noon.  I called to Scott, my shoer, to let him know, but I haven't heard back from him yet.  My vet also sent Toby's X-rays and I forwarded them to Scott as well.

There is always a bit of consideration that needs to be taken when a vet prescribes a shoeing/hoof regimen that might not exactly agree with what the horseshoer wants to do.  I have utmost confidence in both my vet and farrier, so the ideal situation would be for them to confer and reach an agreement. But I did tell the vet that Scott's opinion has highest merit in my eyes.

Guess we will just have to wait and see how it all works out. No matter what, I am sure all parties, including me, have only Toby's best interests in mind.

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Toby and the Vet

When I went out for very late feed after midnight, Toby did not come into the barn. I checked and found him lying down in the sandy floored run in shed in the arena. He was looking at his belly and at first, I thought he was colicking.  But then, I offered him some feed and he ate it. For him, that was a sure sign it was not colic.

I put a halter and lead on him, and encouraged him to get up. He did, but did not want to walk at all. He was very unsteady and unsure of every step, and finally refused to budge without my forcing him.

My first thought--laminitis.  There wasn't much to do at that time of the night/morning, so I left him alone and came back into the house to spend sleepless hours until it was a decent time to call the vet.  The new woman vet from the office called me back and after I told her what was going on decided she'd better come right away. She was nearly an hour away, but headed over and arrived by around 10 AM.

When we went into the barn, Toby was lying down in his stall in the bed of fresh shavings I'd put in.  Dr. McAndrews immediately checked him for signs of colic, our first worry, but ruled that out. So, we got him up and eventually led him outside where her further exam with hoof testers showed him to be sore in both front toe areas, a pretty clear indication of lamina inflammation. She then gave him a dose of injectable bute.

Then the doctor took xrays of both front feet. Fortunately there was no sign of rotation, so that was good.  And, with the bute, Toby was already looking much happier and comfortable.

Dr. McAndrews then decided to put some foam pads on Toby's feet which she secured with Elastoplast and duct tape.  He will be staying in for the week with a restricted diet, bute and the pads with a follow-up visit on Thursday or Friday. The vet believes Toby will need a set of shoes for a few weeks--his soles are thin and she wants to be sure his hoofs heal well.  However, she will also consult with Scott, my farrier, to see what he recommends. There are many options at this point.

It looks to be a very mild case, so far, and hopefully all will be well. I've been giving Toby a lot of feed--with the vet's approval and recommendation--so that could be the cause.  But there are many other possibilities. I plan on adjusting his diet, so any suggestions are welcome. He is on a low carb ration with beet pulp and some alfalfa cubes now. I have a grass hay/timothy mix as well.  My pasture is not lush, but with all the rain we've been having, the grass does tend to grow, although Toby has never had a problem with that before.

Still, he is older now and metabolisms do change. We may put him on some Cushing's medication any how, but for now we are going to see how he does by the end of the week.

Regular readers of this blog will recall I posted that I was a little concerned about Toby's behavior over the last week or so. Now I know why.

This is one more example of how important it is to really "know your horse."  It is one of the advantages of having the horses in the backyard as you do get to see them all the time. When I boarded, was was at the barn almost every day and tried to keep an eye on how my horses acted at feed time, turnout, etc., so I would be able to spot issues before they became serious. Good barn managers will often do the same for each horse in their care, but I still believe it's the owner's ultimate responsibility.

I never could quite understand "absentee owners" who only showed up infrequently, yet claimed to really care about their horses.  What a heavy burden that leaves on barn management.

Something to think about.

Friday, July 01, 2011

All On a Summer Day

I Am Well Adjusted

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning, so I am feeling quite good at this point. I had my afternoon swim and my lazy river ride and I'm a happy camper.

Except that my car's air conditioning is not working right. I hope to take it in tomorrow sometime to have it checked. Hopefully it's just a minor problem as sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  Could be it's just low on coolant or something simple like that....I hope!!

I have some catnip growing by the back door and I picked some for my kitties. Rather than a lot of excited play, the herb seemed to have a more calming effect. There was a bit of wrestling, and then Scooter decided to take command of the greenery.

 This is Scooter, totally under the spell of the catnip. He spent the evening sleeping with his head on it. And again, today, with some newly picked stuff, he has taken control and once again is lying on it.
Maenwhile, outside, Chance is off by himself grazing in the paddock. As you can see, my grass is pretty sparse. It keeps the Boys occupied, but doesn't pose a "too much grass" threat.
Here is the mown lawn but you can still see the weeds that need some kind of tending.  They are in areas where I cannot take the mower.
And, just for a bit of color, some of the lilies by the front paddock.
Basically, I have to let nature kind of take over around here as there is no way I can keep things trimmed to perfection.

I guess it's enough to try to keep the forest at bay.