Friday, December 23, 2016

Third Time Pays for All

Another Escape

This time I went outside to put some garbage in the outside can and I heard some crashing out back in the paddock.  Toby was frantically running about and I saw Tucker and Chance out in the woods. I hurried out to try to keep Toby from escaping, but he was too fast for me. He saw where the back gate lay on the ground off its hinges, leapt it and the three Boys headed out into the woods.

I raced to the barn, got a bucket of grain and two lead ropes and headed out on the trail.

I the pumpkin patch just out of the woods, I found Tucker's blanket. I followed the hoofprints in the field and saw they were headed towards the road.

Then I saw Geraldo of the landscape guys out in my pasture. I called to him and he pointed back to the house by the landscaping firm. There were the Boys, grazing on the lawn by the house with another landscape guy standing guard.

Geraldo had taken down the fence boards from one section of fence to try to herd the Boys back in. Bless Tucker's stomach because as soon as he saw me with the bucket of grain, he came right over and I fastened the neck rope on him. Toby scooted away, but Chance let Geraldo capture him.

I led Tucker into the pasture through the open fence section and Toby galloped right in with us as Geraldo and Chance followed behind.  Geraldo and the other guy put the fence boards back in place, and I locked the gate between the pasture and paddocks until I was able to put the gate in the back paddock together again. I tied it with baling twine to make it more secure.

The only worry left is that Chance was looking really lame after the escapade. I could not find anything visibly wrong, but he was definitely favoring his left front leg.  I will keep an eye on him to see if he just kind of banged himself or if something more serious is wrong.

Of course, it's Christmas weekend, so a vet visit would not be exactly the best option unless I can really see something wrong. I'll just keep my fingers crossed for now.

Third escape this month. Not my the best record.

Meanwhile, I will try to share some holiday cheer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

Tucker's Liberation

Dr. Klayman was out today to give fall vaccines. He examined Tucker and decided he could go back out with the other horses.

He decided to give Tuck a pretty good dose of tranquilizer to keep him calm until his buddies settled back down with him.

Tucker was super quiet with the drugs. Toby was rather confused and tried a few "stallion" squeals and strikes. Not sure what that was exactly unless he was reestablishing his role as dominant horse. At any rate, there was nothing malicious about it and soon all three Boys were scattered about the front paddock nibbling on what is left of the grass.

Later, they all made their way out to the pasture.

When I went out to feed dinner, all three came to my whistle at a nice walk and headed for their original stalls. (Tucker and Chance had switched stalls for the three month lock up.)  It was as if the imprisonment had never even happened.

The run-in on Chance's side still has the side blocked off with corral panels just in case Tucker's hock flares up and he has to be penned up again.

I do need to monitor Tuck for a while to be sure his leg is really OK. Dr. Klayman told me to call him immediately if it causes any problem. Tucker also does not have front shoes for the time being. No point in shoeing him until I am sure he is OK. I would actually love to leave him barefoot, but that has not been possible in the past as he seems to bruise easily.

Right now, it's a happy "wait and see."  It is quite a relief to have Tuck out and about. He was supremely good about the layup, but freedom is so much better.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Saw Them A-Frolicking

The Chestnut Frolic

I was so happy this morning just before I went out to feed the Boys.

Chance and Toby were trotting, galloping, and frolicking all over the arena and paddocks. Chance, especially was full tilt and trotting along without a trace of a limp.

Normally, this would not be a big deal, but considering that a month ago, Chance was dead lame and Toby was just coming off some soreness himself.

Toby was sore in front in September, to the point that I called the vet out to make sure he was not having a bout of laminitis. (he has Cushings)  My vet was totally puzzled and we even drew blood to rule out some kind of other physical issue including Lyme. We ruled out EPM or other neurologic conditions and later discovered all the bloodwork was perfectly normal.

I bought some Keratex and started painting Toby's soles with it, and that seemed to do the trick. Scott, my farrier, had trimmed him a few weeks before, and I guess his soles were tender. The trimming was not too short by any means, but the dry, hard ground may had played a role.

Anyhow, that did not solve Chance's lameness. As readers already know, my treatment for Lyme disease may well have helped him turn the corner.

However, I had not seen the Boys playing much and Chance didn't seem to be expending any extra energy out on the paddock. He was generally walking kind of slowly and just lazing about.

Not this morning. It gave me a thrill to see them romping like that.

I did feel sorry for Tucker, though. He was watching them frolic from his tiny little pen.  He looked more wistful than anything. I've only seen him get riled up once or twice since his confinement. Either his hock hurts or he understands he must be careful until he heals. Too, over the last nearly three months, he's lost a lot of muscle.

Dr. Klayman, the vet who took care of Tuck's hock in the first place, will be out tomorrow to give all the Boys their fall vaccinations. I will see what he says about the hock.

Meanwhile, I do need to share a trail ride story to finish. up:  I'm not a big fan of hunting, but I do respect hunter's rights and the game laws. I could never do it myself, but I do understand those who hunt.
I just want to compliment a hunter I met while I was out riding Chance the other day. He was aiming his gun into the woods from the field lane I was riding in. I whistled to let him know I was coming and he immediately dropped his gun, "broke it" and stepped backward off the lane to give me room to ride past. He also asked if my horse would be OK if he was standing there.

I thanked him, of course. Then he told me he was just about to shoot a squirrel when he heard me.

"So I saved a squirrel's life?" I asked.
He grinned and nodded.
"I like squirrels," I said.
"So do I," he answered. "They are delicious." We both had a bit of a laugh and I rode on, telling him I'd be back along the same track shortly after I rode one of the shorter wood trails.
He told me he'd be gone by then and we parted our friendly ways.
I have such respect for him. Not only did he give up his shot, maybe his planned dinner for me, but he also went out of his way to make sure I and my horse were safely on our way. Thank you, sir. You are a true sportsman and a gentleman. You are a model for hunters everywhere.
I guess the squirrel needs to thank me.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Rather Excited

Good News So Far

As you recall from my last post, Chance was VERY lame.  It could have been a resurgence of his navicular, but I suspected, since he seemed sore on all four, that it was actually a recurrence of his Lyme disease.

After a some research and a better understanding of how the Lyme bacteria can hide and play chameleon in the body I decided that another course of antibiotics might not fix things.

For more information on how insidious Lyme is, this is an excellent presentation by Dr. Joyce Harman:  Lyme Disease in Horses.

After listening to an online forum presented by Dr. Harman, I decided trying some other protocol would be worth the effort.

My research in the past into colloidal silver as a good antibiotic which bacteria and viruses cannot resist, led me to this site:  Colloidal Silver for Horses  This is a veterinarian's site and he endorses the silver.

So, using information from both sources, I decided to put Chance on colloidal silver and colostrum to build up his immune system. I also ordered another herbal immune booster from Australia, but that just arrived a few days ago, so I will not yet put it into the equation.

After about a week or two of treatment, and a new set of shoes from Scott, my farrier, Chance did seem a bit better, but not quite.  So for about four days, I put him on a course of bute, twice a day, tapering down to once a day. He was much better on the bute and it may well have triggered the inflammation to subside.

I have continued the silver, colostrum, and immune supplements since. I has now been just a bit under a month since I started treating him.

I am excited and delighted to say that after a quick lunge to see how Chance looked at the trot, I saw a virtually sound horse!

So, I saddled up and took a short trail ride. I could hardly keep him at the walk as he just wanted to trot merrily off.

My seat was OK, but definitely not good enough to ride an eager horse for too long, but my brain was so happy I didn't care.

I need to work on my own seat until I regain all the riding muscles I need, but at last I have a horse ready to go.

I am absolutely delighted.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chance Report

You Never Quite Know

I am currently treating Chance for Lyme disease by using immune system herbs and colloidal silver.

I am not 100% sure that is why he was lame, but it's worth a shot here.

My farrier, Scott, came out and checked his front hoofs, trimmed and rebalanced his shoeing, and that also helped. When he pulled the shoes, he tested for soreness and found absolutely nothing.  I would have thought if it was navicular syndrome, there would be some heel soreness.

After listening to a lecture from Dr. Joyce Harman on the Internet, I realize that Lyme is a most sinister disease that hides in the body where antibiotics cannot touch it. The only way the body can rid itself of the bacteria for good an all is for the immune system to figure out what the invader is and finally conquer it instead of being led astray.

I am still awaiting an immune formula from Australia, but I am using colostrum supplement at the moment.

Colloidal silver is a very effective antibiotic that attacks bacteria that are immune to antibiotics. It disrupts their ability to function.  It has been successfully used against Lyme.

I gave Chance a course of bute for about four days and have since weaned him off. So far, as of this morning....third day without bute...he looked pretty good.

I'm keeping my hopes up. He is such a sweet horse and such a good trail mount, I really do want to be able to ride him.

But for now, I just want him to be happy and sound enough to enjoy the lovely fall weather roaming about the paddocks and pasture.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Good News, Bad News Again.

Back in the Saddle

I finally managed to take a ride today.

I knew as soon as I got on Chance that he did not feet super sound. He had lyme disease last summer and when he finally recovered, the vet was pretty sure he had navicular. We treated that with Osphos, he seemed much better and then we found out he had OCD in his stifle. That would not keep him from being a trail horse--and he LOVES trails.

So today, after working all summer to fix my own hip issues, I saddled him up and headed out for a short trail ride.

It was shorter than I expected because a tree branch snagged my prescription glasses about 2 feet out of the arena and I had to dismount to look for them. Since I really couldn't see to well, I didn't find them. So I headed back into the barn, cross-tied Chance and went into the house to put in my contact lenses so I could hunt for my glasses.

Fortunately, I found them hanging on a bush.

I remounted and headed out. Poor Chance felt like he was walking on rocks. He was decidedly lame on both front feet. Bummer.

I've contacted my vet to see if there is anything we can do to help him out.

Meanwhile, Tucker is still laid up and will be until at least January.

And Toby, the elder master of the herd is just acting strangely. I had to vet out to look at him when I thought he might actually be having a bout of laminitis. But he was fine. His blood work was fine, neurologic tests were fine, and he does not have Lyme disease.

He is sluggish come in for meals and is walking "funny."  I did start to paint his feet with Keratex just in case his feet are sore from the summer ground.

It's just strange.

So, three horses in the barn and I'm not sure I can ride.

At least the Boys are in my back yard, so I can easily take care of them with all their special needs.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Medical Update on Tucker

Not The Best News For Sure

I've been icing Tucker's hock with frozen diapers/epsom salts twice a day now for over a week.

There isn't much change in appearance.

I contacted my vet to see how long this tendon sheath injury may take to heal.

His answer? 6-8 months.

Tucker will need to be confined for the whole time.

Holy moley!

I am going to need to find a way to entertain him. He does have the run in shed in addition to his stall, so he gets "out," sort of. And I have to admit Toby and Chance do spend a lot of time visiting him, so that's good.

I've been picking grass 2-3 times a day to give him with his hay.  But what I will do when the weather changes and the grass dies, I do not know.

In the meantime, after talking it over with my human chiropractor, I realized there is one option I haven't tried....kinesiology tape. I've used it with great success on my knees, and it is used on horses.

I found a website with some good directions for taping a hock to reduce inflammation, and I ordered the horse version of the tape from Amazon. It should be here by Thursday.

It is not a cure, but the support and stimulation the taping offers could speed healing.

I don't know if my vet is aware of taping, but I emailed him about it. It's a "no harm" treatment, so there should be no problem.

Now, do you think I need to get Tuck a TV?

Latest hock pictures:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

No Significant Change

But An Escape!

I was in Tucker's stall, adjusting the ice boot on his hock and I left his stall gate open.

What I did not realize was that Chance's stall gate (Tucker's actual stall as he is rehabbing in Chance's stall and run in) was open as well.

Tucker made a break for it. Out he went into the paddock. The ice boot slid down around his ankle scattering the ice packs hither and yon as he trotted about, and even took a few strides of canter as I grabbed a lead rope and tried to catch him.

Fortunately, it was hot. Fortunately neither Chance nor Toby felt inclined to join in the romp.

Fortunately the water trough seemed more attractive to Tucker than a full breakaway. Besides the slipped hock boot and his not quite comfy hock gave him enough pause to stop for a drink and I snagged him with the rope around his neck.

Bless all the ground work I've done because as soon as I had the rope looped around him, he was under my control. I let him drink and led him back into the confined safety of the barn.


He certainly didn't get any more exercise than he would have on the end of a lead line if I'd tried to walk him

With a potential tendon sheath injury some limited exercise is OK, such as walking about the little run in shed area, but trotting and cantering are not.  Bless his heart that he put his head back together and calmed down as soon as I caught him again.

I keep telling him I'm so sorry he has to stay in like this. I think he understands and is really trying to be good about it.

I may call my vet tomorrow just to give him a report on the fact that the swelling seems to be pretty much the same. I wonder if he has any other ideas to help ease it a bit.

Meantime, I've been watching the Olympic horse events on line, live streaming them from NBC Olympics.  If you have the NBC stations on your cable or satellite provider, you can watch too. If not, I don't know if the US offers any other way of watching. NBC has exclusive rights.

On the plus side, they do offer coverage of just about every event at the Games live without commercial interruption.

Oh, by the way, the announcers for the horse events---on the Internet feed, not on broadcast TV--really know their stuff. Good commentary for the most part and good analysis. On TV? Well one could wish for better.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Tucker Hock: Part 5

Ice and In 

My vet and the consulting vet both think the lesion on the bone is a result of part of the tendon sheath tearing away. So, rather than a kick or blow, it was likely a twist or bad step of some kind.

That kind of feeds into the fact that his front shoe was twisted off that day as well.

The current treatment is naqusone, which is a corticosteroid and antiflammatory. I am icing it once a day and still applying Surpass (in a generic form).  Tuck is also still confined in his little stall and pen.

He is being a good boy about it.

However, yesterday, I took him outside for a little graze and a roll in the dirt.

My bad.

I did not lock the other two Boys in their stalls and Chance decided to come for a visit--a rather energetic visit. He careened around us in galloping, bucking circles and Tuck rolled. Then, pulled a crash and burn of his own, slipping on some mud and landing on his side with a tremendous "whomp" next to the fence.

Fortunately, after he caught his breath, he leapt back to his feet and took off again.

That set Tucker into a rather scary fit of bucking and striking on the end of the lead line. While I would rather have ducked and run for cover, I managed to hang on, settle him back down and head right back into the barn.

He was remarkably self-contained back on the cross ties. Whew.

He is a BIG horse, about 17 hands, and I never quite know how safe he is when he gets riled up. So far, he responds to correction, but his size is pretty intimidating.

I guess the hand walking will only be done without the extra equine visitors.

My vet says it could take months for Tuck's leg to heal.

I just hope Tuck can be a patient patient in the interim.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tuck and his Hock, Part 4


Here are some pictures of Tucker's swollen hock. Dr. Klayman shaved it down to the skin to see if he could find a cut or puncture wound, so that's why it's so light colored compared to his other leg.

So far, aside from an X-Ray showing an inflamed bone, there is nothing else to find.

Hope we get some news this week.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Tuck and his Hock Part 3

Still Swollen

Tucker's hock is still swollen after a week of poultices.

My vet was out again yesterday. He is very puzzled. He did an ultrasound and did not find any damage to ligaments or tendons. There was a lot of fluid in the joint capsule area.

He drew some of the fluid out and took some to culture for an infection.

However, he just called to tell me there was no sign of infection in the blood or serum.

So, we are still sort of at square one.

Tuck is on one gram of bute a day and a Volteran rub on the hock for now. He is confined to the stall and a very small run-in shed area...about 10' X 24' to keep him from running around. It's better than just stall confinement and it's on the shady side of the barn.

My vet has sent the X-rays to a surgeon he knows to see if there are any other suggestions for treatment.

The hock is not quite as swollen as it was, but it is certainly not normal.

The adventure continues. (I might see if I can get some pictures to post.)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tucker Update

Not Cellulitis After All

After a full week plus of treating Tucker for cellulits in his left hind/hock and getting really nowhere. I call the vet out again.

This time, after a thorough hands-on evaluation, the vet decided to take some x-rays.

Aha! One of the hock bones, on the inside of the joint was inflamed. Apparently, somehow, Tuck had either kicked or hit or somehow traumatized the inside of his joint.

So, protocol changed completely, from sweats to icing and poulticing.

Talk about messy. And, the hock is not an easy joint to work with as far as traditional bandaging it concerned. I have the Back on Track hock boot, which I used, but that helps generate heat.

Worse, using soaked brown paper on top of the poultice, is another mess.

Getting the old poultice off before treating with the anti-inflammatory ointment is another mess.

Icing the hock with ice packs is another bit of a mess.

Well, it's all a mess, but a manageable one. I did find a really good deal on an icing hock boot on eBay and I'm waiting for it to come. In the meantime, I've rigged up methods to keep the ice packs in place while I putter about cleaning stalls and filling water buckets.

I also discovered that those reusable paper towels work better than soaked brown paper and that the super long standing bandages I bought work really well to figure eight wrap the hock joint.  (Learned proper hock wrapping technique years ago but it used to need two bandages. Now it's just one super long one---and of course, one on the lower part of the leg for support.)

Then there is the bute, applesauce, syringe, and not too happy Tucker mouth I have to put it in. A seventeen hand horse can be really tall when he puts his head way up trying to avoid the medication.

Anyhow, as we all know, dealing with these challenges of horse care is just a part of owning a horse.

Just think of what the rest of the world is missing.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Adventures In Follywoods

All Was Not Quiet

Trouble for me started when Tucker came in lame on a hind leg. When the leg filled up, hock to pastern, I decided I needed to call the vet for at least a consult. I've dealt with swollen legs before, but something was bothering me about this one. Tucker had pulled his front shoe, with rather dramatic damage to his hoof, so I thought maybe he'd injured his hind leg in the process.

My vet was suspicious enough to decide a visit was worth his time.

Sure enough, after a flexing and feeling exam, he decided Tucker had developed cellulitis, probably from some small scratches in the pastern area.

Antibiotics, bute, anti-inflammatories, and a nasty leg sweat became the remedies along with leg wraps. I soon ordered a Back on Track hock wrap with one day delivery from Amazon--a remarkable shipping guarantee.  In the meantime, I bandaged up the boy with the sweat and hoped for the best.

Bute and other meds end up in a syringe with applesauce while the antibiotic is in its own syringe.

Fortunately, aside from being too tall when I approach him with the syringe--head goes up, and he's 17 h.--Tucker is an unhappy but well-behaved patient.

Scott came to shoe on Saturday, the day after the cellulitis discovery, and did manage to get two front shoes on Tucker, but he left his hind feet alone. Once again, Tuck was a really good boy for the shoeing. So sad.

Meanwhile, not to be ignored, Chance and Toby had their own attention-getting action. When I went out to feed late night snack at midnight on Friday, one, then two horses streaked by me on the back lawn. Toby was actually trying to get into the paddock through the locked gate. Chance was not far away.

I got Toby in, and Chance a bit later after I'd at least checked the front paddock area fence line by flashlight. All the fence was intact so I locked the stray Boys in their stalls and headed out to the pasture.

Soon I found two sections of slipboard fencing rails totally demolished. The rails were not knocked down, they were shattered. From the looks of it, once horse may have tried to jump, cleared the middle rail and smashed the top rail while the other horse had just crashed through all three rails.

What the heck? Smashing through the fence is not normal behavior.

The Boys had gone through the fence, then through my neighbor's yard and run back home.

Their frantic behavior back in my yard suggested something had panicked them really badly.

But what?

Investigation the following morning in the light of day offered no real clues. Coyote? There were no tracks I could find. Bear? Rumor of one in town, but on the other side of town over 10 miles away--a possibility still. Something else?

My friend jokingly suggested the Jersey Devil.

I walked the pumpkin field adjacent to the pasture today, and all I found were deer prints. Cloven hoofs, nothing more.

One must wonder.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Ah, It's Been Too Long

All Is Well At Follywoods

Nothing to report at the moment. All three boys are doing well and actually look really good.

I finally found a way to get more weight on Toby the oldest boy. He has Cushings and lost weight and musculature over the last couple years. I was feeding him three times a day with Purina Equine Senior feed, but it just wasn't adding weight. Maintaining, but not adding.

Finally, after some research, I decided to add beet pulp (no molasses) to his diet. I soak a little less than a quart of beet pulp pellets until they are total mush, and feed that along with the Purina as before. Once a day, I add a pint container of rice bran to the mix.  I feed this three times a day.

He really enjoys eating it and nickers for his meals. And he's put on a nice layer over his ribs.

Another plus out of a negative is that he is no longer cribbing. The reason's not so good, despite the good consequences. He has managed to wear away his front teeth completely, so that he only has gums on top from his cribbing habit. No more cribbing is good. The reason is not. The vet did tell me he'd still be able to eat OK, and he does seem to be happy grazing on my sparse grass.

Tucker is fat as ever--he could be a metabolic horse--and practically lives on air.

Chance, is, according to the vet, at a perfect weight.

I still haven't been riding. Not only do I lack an element of motivation, but I am a bit leery after my experience when I tried to ride after my hip surgery.

But, I am working on stretching and have been "riding" my iGallop with my old Ansur saddle on it. So one of these days, I will try to wrap my legs around a horse again.

Meantime, I've been keeping fit with swimming and lots of walking inspired by my Garmin Vivofit. It's like a FitBit, except that it's totally waterproof and I can swim with it on. It does record some of my swimming exercise, so I get "partial credit" for the exercise as well.

I am getting a bit addicted to the challenge of walking 10,000+ steps a day, though. It's interesting how wearing a little "conscience machine" on your wrist can keep you moving.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


No Pics. Too Tired

In case you missed it, New Jersey was hit with a blizzard on Saturday.

Here is my area we got somewhere around 26" of snow. All I know is that I shoveled the path to the barn--around 100'--three times during the storm. It was not drifting full. It was snow that fell. I suspect that was 8"-9" of snow each time.

This morning, Sunday, I got up at 8 AM, fed the horses quickly and the climbed up on the Kubota tractor with the front end loader to start clearing my driveways.

4 1/2 hours later, I dragged myself back into the house for a respite. I'd gotten some 200' of driveway cleared mostly by digging and shifting snow one load at a time.  It was nearly impossible to actually plow snow that deep. The snow was light on top, but the depth had packed the lower layers down and they were actually heavy. Kubota was brave, bold, and mighty, but not mighty enough to push more than about three feet forward at each swipe.  (A friend on Facebook posted that two snow plows had gotten stuck in her cul-de-sac trying to plow.) Suffice it to say, unless the snow removal equipment was really big, plowing was not an easy task.

I did want to try my snowblower--recently repaired and tuned up--but I could not get it started. Not sure I was doing everything right to get it going, I gave up to try again tomorrow. I re-read the directions on the Internet and will try again when I am not frustrated by just breaking through the piles of snow to get my driveway open.

A bit later in the afternoon, my new young next door neighbor's father was in my driveway. He had come to clear out the next door driveway so his son could get home with his partner and brand new baby. Apparently, he had to take his partner to the hospital during the storm to deliver a beautiful baby girl.

They have a snowblower next door, but the drifts were pretty big, so I stumbled back out to the barn, hoisted myself back onto the tractor and went over to help them out. I cut a swathe though the barricade by the road and then battered my way up to the house, getting the basic drive area open. They finally managed to get the snowblower running and spent at least another hour or so finishing up. Hopefully, father, mother and daughter will be able to make their way safely into the yard and house.

I am really tired. I did shovel a path to the manure pile for the wheelbarrow so I can clean stalls and another path to the squirrel feeder so I can keep my furry buddies fed.

Now, all I really want to do is just take a nice long winter's nap.

Enough snow for the season.  I will ignore dire forecasts in the future. Spring will come early instead.