Thursday, July 25, 2013

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

Gorgeous weather. Too chilly to swim, actually, although I suspect the water would have felt nice and warm. Since I've been swimming every day, I opted out, using today as my rest from swimming day. 

That did not stop me from other pursuits, or events beyond my control. 

Yesterday, I rode Tucker. As we circled the arena, I heard the dreadful "clink" of loose horseshoe hitting the little pebbles.  I managed to finish the ride with no consequences. We did the usual exercises at the walk and trot. His left pirouette is definitely improving, but after riding Chance today, I think I may have discovered part of the problem--more later. Half pass at the trot in both directions was OK, but not spectacular. Since I was worrying about the shoe, I didn't press the point, nor did I try any half pass at canter. Since it was pretty hot, I only worked for about 25-30 minutes with much of it at the walk. 

When we came in, I inspected the loose shoe and made an attempt to wrap it with some very good duct tape to see if I could keep it on until my farrier could get here. 

Fast forward to today. Morning brought absolutely glorious, cool weather.  My vet was coming at 9 AM to examine Toby's eye again, so the morning was occupied. We are a bit disappointed to report that while his eye is better, it's still not completely healed. So I will continue to put in the three medications to keep it from developing any kind of secondary infection, I just be patient. Toby is 23 and has Cushings, so either factor could be part of the slow healing. 

As the vet was leaving, I saw Tucker--I'd locked him in his stall while we worked on Toby--take a really lame step. I went into his stall to see the loose shoe totally askew on his hoof so he was actually standing on the clinch. Thinking the shoe was still attached, I rushed out to stop the vet before she left. She has studied horse shoeing and has a set of tools, so odds were she could get the shoe off far better than I. 

We brought Tucker into the aisle--very painfully--and as I lifted his foot, the shoe fell off into my hand. Lucky that. But the clinch had cut the sole of his foot. Dr. Parisio cleaning it out, trimmed a little hoof away from the cut and told me to soak and wrap it for a few days until Scott, my farrier could get here. 

More doctoring, and now, no way of riding Tucker in the lovely cool air. 

After I wrapped Tuck's foot, I headed to the feed store to get some more shavings for his stall, a super deal on the feed I get for Toby--a free bag--and some fly spray on super sale. 

Back home, I spent some time poo picking the riding arena, and then I saddled up Chance.  

We had a good school. Slowly but surely, Chance is getting more consistent about stretching into the bit as a matter of choice. 

But the lightbulb moment hit when I had trouble getting him to do a left turn on the haunches--the same direction I'm having trouble with Tucker's walk pirouette. I suddenly realized that when I turned to the right, I was dropping my right knee and sinking into my right seat bone.  On the left, I was shortening my leg and trying to push him over to the left with my right seatbone. Duh.

As soon as I dropped my left knee and sank my weight into the left seat bone, around he went, as nice as you please. Now this is a horse with minimal training compared to Tucker. Of course, with the missing shoe there was no way to test my corrected riding on Tuck, but for know I will presume it will work the charm the next time I ride him. 

It's supposed to warm up again tomorrow, but the break was an absolute delight. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Short Ride on a Hot Day

Taking On Chance

I rode Chance for about 20 minutes or so today. This time we stayed in the arena. I didn't need to face any bugs out on the trail.

Nothing too exciting to report except that despite the fact that I've been trail riding him for the bulk of the season, he is actually acting more schooled in the arena. Somewhere along the way I must be unconsciously doing something right out on our hacks.

He wanted to reach down for the bit at the trot, even though I did have to remind him now and then.  He was in a nice, long training level frame.  His walk was easy to keep forward, which was another nice change.

I tried a few turns on the haunches. He was very good going to the right, but the left was a little sticky. Again, considering that I haven't really schooled him much on these, he was quite good at it.

We tried some leg yield at the walk as well. The right was very good, the left a little sticky again. Normally, I've found left leg yield easier than right, but he's the opposite. I think his right hind is a little weaker than the left, so stepping over with it may be more difficult for him. But, he certainly tried, did not get upset at minimal correction and was a good boy. I did not try at the trot yet, so we'll see how that goes.

We did some canter as well. Again, left lead was better than the right as he tended to break on the right lead. But, in the past, his right lead has always been faster as he was not at well balanced on that side. Not today. Right lead was slow and easy--too easy.  I'm sure a bit of schooling and some better fitness on his part would fix it easily.

If it weren't so hot, I would have entered him in the schooling show--local horse rescue benefit--but I simply cannot face all the effort of prepping for, trailering to, and riding in a show. There was a time the heat would not have bothered me at a competition, but no more. And, it doesn't help that I haven't been able to ride much during the heat wave--10 degrees F hotter than today. I'll hope there will be an opportunity to compete at least once on him at a better time.

I also swam and did water aerobics for an hour today. I have a routine I've set up that exercises most of me pretty well. I've been averaging an hour nearly every day. After my swim, I ride down the water slide a couple times and then take a circuit or three of the Lazy River, depending on how hot the sun is.  I have to be careful that I don't burn. I use sunscreen, but that only protects so far.

Dinner out with my friends from church finished up the day on a good note.

Heat or not, summer is still fun at Follywoods.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

And The Heat Goes On

Most everyone knows the US East Coast has been suffering from a heat wave since the beginning of the week. It's supposed to break later on tomorrow.

Today, there were a few clouds obscuring the sun off and on. Every time they did, the temperature eased significantly. And, there was an on and off breeze making the heat a little more tolerable. Yesterday was total misery. Today? Moments of relief. Temperatures are in the upper 90's with times where it has felt well over 100F. And, of course, there is the famous NJ humidity to make it even more uncomfortable.

The Boys are faring pretty well, considering. They mover from the shaded barn with fans to outside in sun or shade, depending on what feels better. They have plenty of water as I keep the trough filled.

I also just bought a new salt block, but so far I haven't noticed anyone licking it. It has been an "object of curiosity" so perhaps someone will test it with his tongue.

I hosed Toby off yesterday after filling his eye with three different medications. As noted, all the lab tests came back negative for fungi or bacteria, so all the meds are primarily precautionary. He is an exceedingly good patient and very easy to handle with all the treatments. Aside from closing his eye when the meds draw near, he is perfect to medicate. I'm still giving him a gram of Bute every day as well and with the orange flavored powder mixed into some apple sauce he takes that quite nicely too.

I've been giving all three Boys a wet morning feed and I've added a wet evening feed as well just to make sure they are getting some water into them. The water trough goes down every day, but I don't know who's drinking what, so the wet feed is another precaution. The woman in my vet's office said the vets have been treating a number of colics due to dehydration over the last hot week. Soaked meals may help me avoid that problem here.

My friend Chris, whose young horse was running a fever a day or so ago, had the vet out to look at her horse's hock. Sure enough, it was cellulitis. That explains the fever. He may have had an old cut or scrape...or something new...that blew up into a really big swelling. Apparently, cellulitis is another problem that's been plaguing area horses as well. When my vet was here she mentioned that as a cause for several emergency calls over the weekend.

I'm not sure if eye problems are cropping up as well. I will have to ask.

It is continuing to be a bad year for animal health all around. I'm beginning to wonder if the "13" at the end of the year has cursed us all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Another Vet Check

Toby's Eye is Slowly Improving

I'm still waiting for some test results on the cultures the eye vet took from Toby's eye to see if we need to change medications. But in the meantime, I am medicating him 3-4 times every day with two medications. I found Terrymycin on EBay, as noted, and it's a good thing because I will probably need the extra tubes.

The regular vet, Dr. Parisio, was here today to check on him. She said it is healing slowly. It it quite possible his Cushings disease has impacted his immune system which is why the healing process is slower than it could be. But there are definite signs of improvement.

He no longer needs a patch over that eye which is really good as I'm sure being one eyed was frustrating to him. But he is still wearing his fly mask and a halter to help keep it on.  Normally my Boys are on halterless turnout.  The halter Toby is wearing is leather, so in case of emergency, it will break.

Meantime, we are suffering another horrendous heat wave. Temperatures are in the upper 90's F and will be until Sunday. The thermometer on my garage that sits in full sunlight registers well over 100F during the day. It only goes up to 120F and I fear I'm going to see it soar up that way by the end of the week.

The Boys are spending most of their time in the barn with the fans blowing on them. There's not much else I can do except perhaps hose them to cool them off. The only trouble with that is with the high humidity, the water will not help too much.

Needless to say, I am not even trying to ride. No sense in torturing everyone, including me. It's just too darn hot.

Meantime, I can at least keep up my swimming even if the pool water is starting to heat up as well. I swam for nearly an hour today. Part of that was going down the water slide. But the sidewalks around the waterpark were super hot under my feet, so I cut that short to do a few more laps. I did not ride the Lazy River because there was a line waiting for the tubes and I didn't want to stand on the hot pavement waiting.

I headed for Target on the way home to buy a pair of water shoes so I could walk around the park and go from one water area to another without burning my feet off. I'm such a wimp!

Ironically, Target had only one pair left and they were in my size!! Talk about luck. I had another store as an option but didn't need it. Now I'm set for the next hot day at the pool--tomorrow.

A blessing indeed that I have air conditioning in the house.

I also had to buy a new refrigerator because my old one--long overdue for replacement--seemed to have sprung a leak. I say "seemed" because I am not at all sure where the water was coming from, but I suspect it was something giving up the ghost.

I got a really good deal on a floor model at the local appliance store on Sunday, and they delivered the refrigerator this morning.  It will take a while to get used to it as it has the freezer on the bottom and I've had a top freezer all my life. If it lasts half as long as the old one did, I will be delighted.  It's a big bigger than the old one, but I did have to be careful of the size as my cabinets above and the door to the side limit space.

It really looks nice and I think I'm going to like not having to bend down to see what's in the veggie bins at the bottom.  The freezer pulls out like a drawer so that's pretty convenient too.

Now I have a nice place to store the Boys's carrots.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tucker Actually Works

On a Moderately Cool Day

Yesterday, Friday, it cooled down for a change. Rain was in the forecast, but did not start until later in the day.

So before I headed over to the pool for a swim, I saddled up Tucker for a schooling session in the arena.

Not much to report of real interest here. He was generally a good boy. The main issues are his giving to the bit when  ask him to go round in a slightly elevated frame. He will set his jaw and refuse to move forward for a short time before giving in.

And he is having a bit of trouble keeping cadence on a walk pirouette to the left. The right one is pretty good as he keeps marching with his right hind leg, but to the left, the left hind gets stuck in place and the pirouette stalls. This happens even if I make the circle larger. I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong or if he is really having trouble getting the hang of it. Sometimes, if a rider holds back the forward too much in order to get the sideways movements, it can restrict the hind leg. I worked on it for a bit and finally, when he gave me a moving one, I praised him mightily and quit that exercise for the day.

The only other issue is his tendency to break from canter on the right lead. Again, I am not asking him to canter in a frame, collected, and on the bit, so he has to find his own balance and energy. Since he's not really super fit, the lack of impulsion is not a surprise, but he does not lose the canter on the left lead. I'm not planning on competing him, nor doing more than just basic training, so it's not really a big issue, rather just an observation about his way of going at the moment. I did not push that point at all since he's not fit enough to worry about it.

This is "no pressure" riding I'm doing at the moment. We spent most of the ride in walk and trot, varying the intensity by loose rein, long rein (rounded back), and a little toward collection. The half passes are progressing, the shoulder in is good, and essentially, all is well.

One of my goals is to eventually get the flying changes. Tucker really doesn't care which lead he's on, so most of the more common methods don't work too well with him. Right now, I am doing figure eights with a trot change in the middle and I might be able to teach the change from that. If not, I have a few other approaches to try, but nothing to work at until he gets fitter.

After the ride and grooming...all of which took well over an hour....I went for a 45 minute swim and then a 40 minute walk when I got back home. By then it was raining, so I walked with my umbrella.

I finished the walk by cutting home through the woods to the arena gate.

Well, oh my! When I and the umbrella emerged from the trees, Chance must have seen me. Suddenly all three horses erupted from the barn where they'd been sheltering and they took off in a panicked gallop out to the pasture. That umbrella was terrifying!!

I went into the house, changed into a long raincoat instead and went back out to feed.

It took all kinds of coaxing to get the Boys back into the barn to eat dinner. Trauma 101.

This morning, there are roofers working on the garage at my Aunt's house next door. The garage is the building nearest the pasture.

The Boys were out in the far side of the pasture grazing.

Once again, it took all kinds of coaxing to get them in to eat as they had to go within 100 feet or so of the scary roofing guys making noise.

Trauma 102.

Horses have vivid imaginations.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Out on the Buggy Trail

We Ride

It was warm and muggy, but my endurance friend from across the way convinced me to ride out with her. She'd taken a tumble from her young horse the other day and bruised as she was, she really wanted to get into the saddle for a ride. I think company was important to her as well.

We met at around 8 AM.  I was five minutes later than I meant to be because on the way out, a certain Chance decided to spook at a new tree branch sticking out of the woods. Someone had sawed off some of the branches so maybe it was sticking out across the dirt road. Anyhow, Chance thought it was some kind of "attack tree."

Now, mind you, this is the same trail horse that had nonchalantly watched three deer leap across the trail in front of us just tree minutes before.

I would have ridden out the spook and spin, but right behind me was another big tree that does stick out into the little narrow go around into the cornfield. And it has a rather ugly branch precariously positioned right at rider head/neck level.  Since Chance's spin spook threatened to carry us back past that branch, I opted to dismount, lead him up to the "attack tree" and then remount later from a fallen tree in the woods.  With me in the lead, the "attack tree" suddenly became a "so what?" tree.

I led him on a bit further to the next woods road where there was a nice sized fallen tree to climb on so I could remount since I am no longer really able to mount from the ground.

Back in the saddle, I rode him to the meeting place and a bit beyond because Christine was a little late herself.

Chance was absolutely delighted to see JJ, his trail buddy.  We rode around the farm along the dirt road by the Turnpike, through the tree farm, and completed the circle in about 45 minutes or so.  When Christine agreed with me that it was enough for the day, we parted ways. JJ headed willingly towards his barn, while Chance balked at heading home.

He didn't want to go back, so it took a bit of persuasion to get his feet moving.

About the bugs? Chance was wearing the new riding flysheet from Horseware/Amigo that I got at Rick's tent sale. It worked well except that the bugs were so bad they still managed to find the few places the flysheet and flymask did not cover.  And in some places, the 747 mosquitoes still managed to bite through the mesh.

All in all, Chance was pretty good about the insect assault, but he was fussy and I was frustrated with the whole thing as a few of them even bit me.

With all the rain we've had and are still having, the biting critters are breeding in force.  My barn area is not too bad with the flies, but the mosquitoes are  really having a good season. There's no way to dry up the water and wet places they breed in, so every puddle and drop of water is a perfect nursery.

Today it's cool so I will go out to ride Tucker for a bit. Afterwards, he can go stand back in his stall with the fan blowing on him to keep the bitey bugs out.

Meanwhile, I am now treating Toby's eye with two medications. I drove down to the NorthStar vet clinic yesterday to pick up some Terramycin ointment to use in addition to the medication the eye vet left here. It seems most of the suppliers are out of Terramycin for some reason, so the vets are having trouble getting it.  NorthStar, where the eye vet works, had a tube, so I got it--for a dear price. I only say that because I found lots of tubes listed on EBay for tons less.

Now, the EBay stuff is made by Pfizer,  the US manufacturer, but most of them seem to have labeling in foreign languages--Turkish for one. A lot of the tubes were being sold out of Asia but there were a number of  US sellers as well.  I ordered some, just to have it.

Gee, maybe I can sell a tube or so to my vets....for the dear price.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Toby's Eye, Part 2

Multiple Vets

My regular vet came out to check Toby's eye, and, although it was a bit better, she was not satisfied with his progress.

So she suggested a specialist come out.  That was Monday. Amazingly the eye doctor was able to get here today, Tuesday.  She examined Toby's injury and took a scraping to see if there was any infection we needed to address with specific antibiotics. And, she gave me some eye drops to put in 4 X a day.

It is a corneal ulcer, and not a pretty one. That does not mean it will not heal well, but it's definitely a concern. He had a spot on that eye already, and this may be connected.

At any rate, he will require a lot of doctoring. He's getting Bute as well. The complications of all of this are that I have to put the Bute in a syringe with applesauce to be sure he will eat it. Then, every morning, I have to hide his Pergolide--for Cushings--in a piece of carrot---sh-h-h-h-h-h don't tell!!. And I have to make a little mash to assure that he eats his Bug Check.  Talk about high maintenance.

Glad he's in the back yard.

Meantime, this morning, when I went out to feed, I found Chance in the center aisle of the barn. I'd managed to leave Tucker's gate unlocked and a certain horse took advantage.  The barn was trashed!

I fed and started clean up.  I was hotter than I expected, even with the fan blowing on me. I was dripping with sweat as I swept and moved things back into place.

Tucker's fan was all bent and useless and blankets and sheets were strewn about. The wheel barrow with some manure in it was tipped over and the wheelbarrow with no wheel was dragged into the center of the aisle.

I was just about to finish up when I suddenly felt dizzy and sick. My stomach had been bothering me before I went out, so it's possible I had some kind of intestinal bug or something, but the dizziness was scary.

I just left the rest of the work and headed back into the house. I did throw up a little, so it's possible I was suffering from heat exhaustion.

Or not.

Anyway, I took a cool shower, and then had a drink of some fruit juice in water to rehydrate.

My stomach has been queasy all day even after some rest, but I am feeling a little better now. I have some stuff my metabolic doctor prescribed to me years ago that I keep refreshed.  It's called Oxegenic D+ and it tastes terrible. But when I was sick a few years ago with a long term fever--some kind of virus--my doctor told me to take it and I felt really, really better. So now, whenever I am feeling weak or sick, it's one of the remedies I try. I took two doses so far and feel quite a bit better.

I'm not sure what I want to or can eat, but I will find something. So far a banana, blueberry, strawberry, pear juice smoothie has been all that's on the menu.

Not eating. Potential diet technique.

Not the best.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Looking Good

And the Heat is On

Heat advisory for today and yesterday.  We are talking well into the 90's F. With it much hotter in the sun. While that is nothing compared to what parts of the USA are experiencing, here in New Jersey we have to add the humidity to the heat, making it miserable in its own special way.

The Boys are spending a lot of time in the barn with the fans blowing some air on them.

Toby continues to be a model patient for his eye treatments. Although he does try to keep his eye closed when I am putting in the meds, he does not pull away and stands graciously for it all. In fact, one night I treated him in his stall with just a lead rope draped over my shoulder attached to his halter. What an angel.

Riding? No. It doesn't even cool off at night so the mornings are just as oppressive as the day itself.

A nice shaded indoor would be a blessing, although I'm not sure it would inspire me much more.

My friend, Christina, wants me to ride Chance over to her barn so we can go out with her young horse one day next week.  It looks as if the heat may moderate a bit, so perhaps we can set something up.

My vet will be out on Monday--emergencies notwithstanding--to recheck Toby's eye.  She was on duty over this holiday weekend--Independence Day--and had one emergency after another.  I don't know if this only happens when she is on duty or whether it's the common thing with the practice. So, while I do expect here to get here on Monday, I will not be surprised if something interferes. It's OK. Toby's eye looks so much better.  The only thing is that I will probably need more antibiotic ointment by then.

I did get my swims in. I am up to 50 minutes of laps. I figure if I can discipline myself to an hour, that will be fine. The water was warm, though, which makes it not always the most cool experience. I have been going in the morning when they open to avoid the holiday crowds.

The problem with that is by the time I am finished with my laps, the sun is full force. I did ride the Lazy River for a few turns yesterday, but I think I got a little too much sun.  I'm not too sunburned, but I hate to over do.

Guess I will just swim today and leave the River for an evening visit when it's less busy during the week.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Toby's Eye

When I went out last night to feed, Toby's left eye was closed and watering. When I looked at it there was definite sign of an injury. He already had, from some time ago, a white spot in his eye, but now it was enlarged and there was the sign of a scratch or rough patch on his lens.

I had some eye wash in the house, but no medication, so I flushed his eye and then called the vet.

Why not? After hours, right before a holiday? Sure.

About an hour and a half later--after she restocked her truck, Dr. Parisio arrived.

She examined his eye and decided it needed some aggressive treatment. The used a nerve block so she could examine it without his blinking, tranquilized him so he would not get fractious, flushed it, stained it, and eventually medicated it.

Now he is on oral Banamine for two days. Then he will go on Bute. I will be putting his own blood serum in his eye until Sunday. Then there is Atropine to dilate his pupil, and some antibiotic. The serum and antibiotic are 4 X a day. The Bute 2X and the Atropine will be done tomorrow.

Then, Toby is wearing a fly mask with a duct tape patch over the eye to protect it from dirt, flies, and the light.

It's a bit amusing to note that when Toby went out with the other two Boys in his fly mask, they did not recognize him. There was some "new horse" squealing going on for a minute or two before they settled back down.

Talk about silly.

Anyhow. Toby's eye looks a lot better today and he is a model patient for his medications. Thank goodness. With all the doctoring I have to do, I'd hate to have to wrestle him every time.

Too hot to ride, although today was almost nice.