Tag Archives: Horse Boarding & Care

PTSD

Note about last weeks post:  Yes the horse is putting weight on in his back, but the swelling was odd and not equal on both sides.  Turns out that because of the owners bad hips, when she goes to get off she hangs across the saddle until she feels she can let go and hit the ground. Doing this she is putting unnecessary pressure on each side of the withers.  Pulling the saddle toward her pushing it into the back in two different areas.  Massage with liniment and an extra pad is taking care of him and she just has to bite the bullet and hit the ground.  Much happier horse.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been around for a long time, but was kept hush-hush until recently.

I know several people who are dealing with it and it is a horrible thing.  My friend’s son came home from Iraq, she was thankful he was alive and on this side of the Atlantic.  She thought her worries were over.  I warned her that they probably weren’t.  Unfortunately she found that out when she brought him to Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff.  Someone dropped something, and he hit the ground.  The poor guy is still trying to recover from his tour of duty over there.

Another friend, in the last couple of years, married someone she knew from High School close to sixty years ago.  They are pushing 80, if not there already.  His two previous wives died from breast cancer.  They had a lot of history together, is what she told me when she decided to marry him.  They had seen each other over the years at reunions.  I wasn’t sold on this one.  If you didn’t date him in High School, what would make you think you’d want to date him now.  She found out that he had PTSD.  I found out at dinner one night.  We were sitting at dinner and I questioned him about why a screw, in the back of his kitchen cabinet, had to be just perfect.  It wouldn’t be seen by anyone and he had spent a whole day on one screw.  His reply, as he slammed his fist on the table was, that attention to detail was what had kept him alive through all the years in Veit Nam.  His face was red and he was not in control of his temper.  I told him that no one was shooting at him anymore and he didn’t have to dwell on that one screw.  They never did get that kitchen finished, and we gave up trying to help them.

So when my girlfriend told me that she believed I had PTSD the other day, I was like no way, I’ve never been in a fight worse than who got control of the remote.  But then I had to think about it.  After the two horses were killed by lightning, I was a little paranoid whenever a storm hit.  I’m much better now, but it’s taken a couple of years.

I looked up PTSD and it doesn’t always come from being in a war.  It can come from other traumatic situations that you are involved in or have witnessed.  As I read more about it, I really don’t think I have a true version of it, but it was a horrible situation.  Oh I remember what brought this up.  When we had a storm a couple of weeks ago I was out bring the horses in and a bolt cracked close by.  I hesitated for a moment deciding whether to run back to the house or go to the barn and go and get the horses.  It’s funny what runs through your mind in an instant.  I thought, I’d rather die trying to get them, than to go back to the house and live with the horror of them getting killed, again.  I just couldn’t live with two more horses being killed.

So I guess that’s a good reason why my girlfriend decided I had PTSD.  Actually if I truly had PTSD I would have hit the ground and hidden, not been stupid enough to walk out to the two pastures and bring in the four horses.

If you don’t live in Florida, the lightning capital of the world, you probably can’t wrap you mind around this.  Ten horses I know of personally lost their lives that week, two of them were mine.  I heard the bolt that got them.  I still cringe when I hear a bolt close by.  Yes I know many horses that got killed in barns, but I’ll take my chances on them being in the barn as opposed to under a tree that got hit.

Do I recommend going out there and being a target, no way.  Will I do it again?  Probably. Do I have PTSD?  I don’t think so.  I’m just old and stupid.

Check and Recheck

We all assume.  We assume we will get up in the morning.  We assume Saturday will come.  We assume our horses will get hurt in the next 12 months, at least I know one of mine will.  Some horses are just born suicidal. But that’s another post.  We know what breaking down the word assume means, and I won’t go there.

What we can never assume is that our horses are not changing.  As with us, age has a horrible way of getting even.  When I used to wake up in the morning after a hunt I knew every muscle, and joint that I had abused.  It was like when you worked out too much, your body lets you know.  But it was a good hurt.  Now I wake up in the morning hurting and wonder what my body did overnight that I wasn’t aware of.

As you “mature” your body changes.  The old gravity thing.  Body parts aren’t where they used to be.  Everything starts sagging.  Not going there either.

Now we expect it with an older horse.  Their body changes too.  They lose their top line.  Muscles lose their tone.  They are harder to keep weight on.  They move a little slower and stiffer.  (Who doesn’t after how many years of hitting the ground.)  We know that we have to take these things into consideration when putting our saddle on.  The saddle that you bought for him/her years ago may not fit anymore because of the lack of weight and tone in their back.  On the other hand, after a long period of time, and groceries, the girth may not fit.

Now here is the thing we don’t consider.  The younger horse.  Yes as they grow we have to be aware and make changes.  The bridle that fit them perfect may be making the bit rise up in their mouths because their head grew.  Now my Zoey always used to be a 55 gallon drum with a leg in each corner.  Now she has a withers.  I used to use the first two billets to hold the saddle down in place so it wouldn’t ride up on her shoulders.  Now I used the first and last to keep it from sliding back.

When my friend got her new horse, a ten year old OTTB, we had his back adjusted and checked to make sure the saddle was perfect for him.  He still hasn’t gained the weight I want on him (he was a rescue), but he didn’t get thinner.  He’s been going with his head up, and back dropped.  He isn’t moving forward the way he should, and fought bending to the right.  You can put him into a frame, but he’s not comfortable with it.  He worries, but tries so hard to please.  Things weren’t adding up.

When she first started riding him he had even sweat marks on his back, so we knew the saddle was okay.  This was about a month, maybe a month and a half ago.  She’s taking it slowly with him and rides a couple of times a week.

So what is the issue here?  Ah my favorite, detective mode.  I was sitting watching her while she bathe him.  The sun was shining on his wet chestnut coat, but something caught my eye.  A shadow.  My eye kept drifting back to the spot, it wouldn’t go away from my mind.  My brain said get up and check this out.  Finally I did.  A huge swelling the size of my fist just down a little from the withers, behind the shoulder, on his right side.  I check the other side and there was a smaller lump a little lower.  Well this would explain a lot of things, but why was it there.  We got the saddle and put it on.  It seemed fine, but putting my hand where the swelling was said not so.  The owner has bad hips and mounting and dismounting is a problem for her.  She tends to lay across the saddle for a good 60 seconds before she can hit the ground or the saddle.  He has always readjusted his body to stay under her, or that’s what we thought.  He was actually fidgeting because the saddle was digging into his back.

Liniment and a few days off will help along with an extra pad and changing the saddle.  But how did something that looked so perfect cause so much trouble.  We always have to remember that the way the rider sits and moves in the saddle will cause compression and shifting of the pad and saddle.

This proves he is a good, kind horse, because he should have bucked her off and run screaming into the night.  To show her what he was feeling I made a fist and dug int into her back next to her shoulder blades.  It drives the point home.  Now this owner notices every scratch, cut, lump, bump on this animal.  I think she notices if one of his eye lashes is missing, but this never even came on the radar screen.

So don’t fall into this sense of everything is fine and normal.  It may not really be.

Check and recheck.

What I Learned From Irma

Oh my gosh!  The Hurricane won’t kill you but the prep before the storm will.  If that doesn’t get you the cleanup after is sure to finish you off.

Well the whole “Wolf” thing came into play.  You don’t want to do too much too soon just in case it doesn’t come your way, but you’re afraid not to.  I was going with the thought we were going to get nailed and Bob said no it will turn away.  It was so impossible to predict until the last moment and then it’s path changed in mid stream.  So for four days I carried things I could never move, lifted things like Superman and worked at a speed that I haven’t done in years.

I was exhausted, and hurting all over.  I thought back to 2004 when Charlie was supposed to get us.  I didn’t remember hurting this bad and falling into bed passing out on my way down.  Of course not, I was 13 years younger.  Wow does 13 years make that much of a difference?  You bet it does.  I only realize that now that it’s over and I can think clearly again.  Four days to prepare and so far a week to cleanup, and we still have to undo and put things back where they belong.  The jump poles feel heavier this year for some reason.

A woman stopped me in Publix on Saturday and told me I looked tired.  Seriously!!!!  I just smiled and told her it was a tough week.  Hello?  Where have you been?

We only lost electric for seven and a half hours, but the phone and internet was down for four days, and it’s still questionable.  Verizon, for as much as everyone complains, worked perfect through the whole mess.  AT&T and Sprint lost towers.  It’s one day over a week and almost everyone has power.  We were not hit like South Florida or the Keys were.  We were Blessed.  Everyone I know just had a lot of  branch cleanup except for one couple who had a big Grandfather Oak land right on their brand new house.  They’ve only been in it for a couple of months.  They went up to stay with family in North Carolina and won’t even come back to look at what’s left.  I feel so bad for them.  They are still in shock and their insurance will only cover half.

So how did my plan go and what did I learn.  First of all I learned that I’m too old for this stuff.  Secondly I learned that my plan works.  The meteorologists said it was going right, then straight, then left of us.  Surprise!!  The eye came right over us.  By the time it got to us it was a Cat 1 or 2.  We had about 100 mile per hour winds.  But the noise that wind made was unbelievable.  I heard this horrible noise at 2:00 a.m., thought yes it’s here.  I thought that the one oak tree could come down right on my bedroom, gave the whole situation to the Lord, turned over and went back to sleep.  Bob however, got up with the flashlight and looked outside.  The next morning he said he’s getting out before the next storm comes.  He saw the big oaks bending over in the wind.  I told him we made it through with no damage, why would you leave?  He just gave me that look.

We figured our barn was good to 120 mph.  It wasn’t even fazed by the storm.  I kept the horses in because with my neighbors, I felt that UFO’s would be more of a problem than the barn caving in.  I was right.  I thought we’d lose some shingles on the house, but no, it was fine too.  God did a lot of tree pruning, so the property was a mess, and since it’s still mowing season that had to be cleaned up before we could cut.

I had extra horses because people were afraid and moved them to a safer place.  So I figured I’d go for extra grain, hay and bedding before any one else panicked.  I went on Tuesday before the storm was going to hit us on Sunday night.  Everyone else had the same idea.  I wasn’t so much worried that they would run out of grain as much as I was afraid their warehouse would get damaged and they would be closed after the storm.

Secured all the jumps in the corner of the pasture.  Tied them together to the fence.  Filled all the troughs, not so much to have extra water because we have a generator and extra gas, but to keep them from blowing around the pastures.  Secured all the gates, and removed hoses, and buckets.  Picked up anything that would become a missile.  Put break-a-way halters on the horses even though they would be in the barn.  The only thing that I had a problem with is the fact that I had name tags to braid in their tails and attach to the halters, but I didn’t have new ones for the new horses.  So I used tags from the horses that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and just put the new horses names on with a Sharpie.

So the bottom line is don’t only prepare for the storm, think of what you are going to run into after the storm.  There was no gas after the storm, because there was no electric to run the pumps.  We had plenty of gas shipped in prior to the storm because of President Trump’ careful planning.  Fuel trucks had police escorts to get them to the stations.  People were going crazy trying to buy water.  Take old gallon jugs from juice or whatever and fill them.  Store extra gas for the generator or your vehicle because you don’t know how long everyone is going to be without it.  Get a generator.  Get name tags or spray paint to put your number on your horses.  Don’t do hoofs, it will wear off.  Put your cell phone number on, your house phone may not be working, but then your cell phone might not either.  Perhaps give a number of a friend or relative in another state for them to contact.  Same thing with your dogs and cats.  The shelters are filled with strays that have been picked up.

Make sure your shots are up to date.  Especially tetanus.  Mosquito control came by last night spraying.  The little monsters have been very active so shots for mosquito borne diseases are also a necessity.  Dump all standing water from the storm to keep breeding to a minimum.  Have your Coggins and any other important papers in a water tight bag or container.  Keep enough grain for a week to two weeks after the storm, but make sure that it’s protected from water.  Don’t forget to have meds for all people and animals to get you through a couple of weeks.  All stores and restaurants were closed for days because of no electric.  All food, dairy, and produce had to be thrown away so stores did not have anything even after they opened.

My Farrier was here yesterday and told me that he had been moving horses north for other people the whole week prior to the storm.  I asked him about the traffic on I 75, because it was crawling bumper to bumper for days before the storm, and to have horses stuck in a hot trailer when traffic is not moving will cause great harm.  He said they moved them at night.  The top speed was still only 40 mph but it was moving and cool.

It’s nice to know that all your plans and prep work are right on target.  It’s nicer not to have to try it out in real-time.  Thanks to all the people who sent up prayers for us.  We appreciated it and God was good.  Please keep praying for the people in the Islands, Keys, and South Florida.  They have a tough road ahead of them.  And especially pray for the Utility Workers, Police, National Guard, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Volunteers who gave up their lives to come and save ours.  Also keep in mind the Animal Shelters who are taking in all the animals that have lost their homes and families.  Not to mention the wild animals who are without fresh water in the Keys.  The salt water mixed with the fresh.  They showed this morning on the news some Firemen who stopped and gave a bottle of their water to a dehydrated deer who drank two bottles of water and then went on his way.  How many won’t be that lucky?

There is so much out there that we are not even aware of.  The devastation that Irma has caused and now Maria is causing is going to last a while.  Be Thankful for what you have, so many no longer even have housing, or fresh water.

This has been a little long, but it makes up for last week.

So We All Saw What Happened With Harvey In Texas

Here we go with crying Wolf again.  That was a post from just a couple of weeks ago about being prepared.  The people in Texas were not prepared.  Houston was not told to evacuate.  What were they thinking?  I saw men putting their lives on the line to rescue a beautiful Quarter Horse from raging waters.  They all made it to safety.

So here I sit in Florida waiting to see if Irma is coming for a visit.  I have four extra horses whose owners were picking them up this weekend.  They are in Pennsylvania visiting family.  They had no idea that we are under a Hurricane Watch/Warning.

So to be prepared, I decided I’d better get more grain, hay, and bedding just in case they don’t make it back in time.  If we have trees down on the road, no one can come or go until we know that the electrical wires are not hot.  We’re about five days out from being hit.  I figured there wouldn’t be a rush on the feed store yet.  Surprise!  Everyone else was there being prepared.  One woman said that she had horses coming up from the Keys which will probably be evacuated today, Wednesday.  The last time the people on the West Coast evacuated because Charlie was supposed to come up that way, they all went inland to Orlando.  Charlie turned, ran up the middle of the state and guess where it went?  Orlando.  You just can never tell.

We’re high and dry.  For us to have waterfront property the rest of Florida would be submerged, another Atlantis.  But I’m glad people are taking this seriously.  There is no food or water on the shelves in the supermarkets, Costco, or Wal-Mart.  The governor has already declared that price gouging will be prosecuted heavily. $1,000.00 to $20,000.00 fine.  People are urged to call and turn these people in, they’ve already received 200 calls.  Everyone is taking this seriously.  Bob and I sat down at breakfast and made our plans of what needed to be moved and tied down. Now all we have to do is wait and watch.

Food – check.  Water – check, for all the people and animals.  Generator in working order – check.  Everyone has needed prescriptions on hand – check.  Now it’s a wait and see if we spring into action to lock down and tie down anything that may become missiles. Potted plants and furniture mowers and other equipment needs to be moved indoors. Hoses have to be disconnected because if the wind grabs them they will rip the water pipes off.  If we don’t have electric to the well, we won’t know we have a broken pipe until we do.  But with the generator, we will have water.

I’ve watched a thousand pound horse trying to hold their ground in major wind storms. Irma is packing 185 mile per hour wind.  Nothing would survive, neither house or barn.  Usually when a storm hits land, the winds diminish, but still we may not be in Kansas anymore Toto.  I told that to my brother yesterday and he wrote back, Just Follow The Yellow Brick Road.  I’ll get back to you on how we made out.

Prayers happily accepted.

I Know It’s August, But……..

When I lived up north I hated the fact that summer was almost over.  Well surprise! it is. Down here, we’ve got several months to go.  However, I do not let go of that old habit of preparing for the cooler and even colder winter months, starting in August.

It’s not quite time to pull out your winter underwear, but it is time to start thinking about washing those sheets and blankets (if you haven’t already).  I pressure wash my winter blankets, and it’s a lot nicer to do it when it’s 90 degrees and the back spray feels good, rather than when it’s cooler and you don’t want to get wet.

It’s also a good time to go over the sheets and blankets to see what needs to be repaired before everyone else descends on your repair person.  Besides, if you’re the repair person you don’t want to waste one of those beautiful fall days washing or repairing when you could be riding.

Your horses should be starting to lose their summer coats so don’t forget to curry them before they start doing it themselves on trees or fences.  That creates a whole different set of problems.

Well it’s still too early to worry about oiling the clips (but that’s always a good idea) and finding the heating units for the water, so do what you have to do and go and enjoy, the beach for now, and the glorious fall riding in a month or two.

I do miss the beautiful colors of the fall leaves.  Hey, did anyone ever notice that the colors seemed much brighter and more vibrant on a cloudy day than a sunny one.  No kidding,  if you haven’t, look and see them this year.

I know this post is probably like those commercials that run over and over again.  But if I need to be pushed into doing something I don’t really want to, I’m sure some of you do too.

Just “Get’er Done!”

The Sense Of Touch, Don’t Be Afraid To Use It

We really don’t realize how much we touch things.  I’m not talking just to hold something, I mean really touch things.  Sometimes it’s for comfort and sometimes not so much.  Ever touch something just to see if it’s alive?  I usually do that through a stick.  Yuk!  There’s the loving touch that you may give someone, whether it be human or animal.  I love touching my animals.  Just a soft, almost caressing touch.  They respond very well, with love in their eyes.  There’s always the Wet Paint sign.  We all are tempted to touch and see if it’s still wet.  Why????

However, there is more to the touch than sharing your love.  Did you ever have a hay or hair splinter in your sock or piece of clothing?  Every time you move you feel that prickly sensation.  I hate when you shave a muzzle and have one of those tiny little pokey things somewhere.  You try to find it and pluck it out, but it eludes you.  Especially when it’s in your bra.  You take your foot out of your boot.  Look for the thing.  You put your foot back in your boot or shoe and there it is again.  I’ve pulled half the threads out of my sock and still can’t find it.  It’s so annoying, and scratchy.

Well did you ever think how it must drive your horse crazy when he/she has something poking them?  They can’t sit down and pull at things trying to find that one tiny sticker that’s driving them crazy.  Maybe it’s a sticker caught in their saddle pad, leg wrap, blanket, or girth.  One tiny little pokey, annoying, scratchy thing.  Have you ever just decided you can’t find it on yourself, so you try to ignore it?  Doesn’t work, does it?  Well they can’t tell you, and they can’t find it.  Always run your hands over a pad, fuzzy girth or any girth, leg wrap, blanket.  Yes it takes a little time, but if it was going on your body with stickers in it, you sure would.  I hate pulling stickers, or seedlings off socks before I wash them, but they may end up in my underwear, and I don’t want to have to deal with that nonsense.

Hears one that caught my attention the other day, and that’s why I decided to write on this subject.  I went to put fly masks on the horses.  As I was running my hand up to the top I felt something poke my finger.  As fly masks get some miles on them, the mesh starts to unravel, and there are those little poky things.  You don’t have to throw the mask out, just trim the poky ends with a scissor, but check on them often.  Just imagine a horse having to walk around all day with all these little spikes scratching against their faces.  Poor babies.

When I Hunted I used fuzzy girths, I still use fuzzy girths, and boy do they catch sticker clusters.  You know how they hurt when they are on your clothing.

Be mindful and run your hands over everything before you place it on your horse. He/she will be so grateful that they have such a wonderful human who looks after their comfort.

Now if I could only find that hay splinter that’s in my sock, I could go to the barn and feed.

Wolf!!!!!

A friend, actually x husband, just called to see how we made out with Tropical Storm Emily yesterday.  Sore subject.  It went above us, and it went below us.  It’s always the same story.  Now I’m not saying that I like storms, but our pond is drying up again, and the fish are all going to die, again.  We needed the rain, Tampa didn’t.

My point is that the weather people can’t get it right here in Florida.  When I lived in New Jersey, you saw it coming across Pennsylvania and bam, you’re going to get it.  Here you listen to the weather every morning, and sometimes in the evening, and you still don’t get what they tell you.  Now I know it has a lot to do with the fact that our weather is influenced by the winds coming off the Atlantic and the Gulf.  Living on a hill (Yes we have hills in Florida) seems to deflect the rain.  Which in one way is a blessing, and in other ways a curse.  You see this storm coming, you watch its progress on the radar, then you watch it split and go around you.  Very frustrating after you’ve tracked down all the horses, run them into the barn, run in the house and closed all the windows and then turn around and undo everything.

So why the old Fairy Tale about the boy who cried “Wolf”?  Because sooner or later you’re going to get hit.  Or so they tell me.

Every year the state puts out a pamphlet about Hurricane preparedness.  Our local horse newspaper puts out an article about being prepared for your animals.  These things are important, but when nothing happens for years at a time, people stop reading and stop being prepared.

Most “People Shelters” won’t take dogs (although they are being persuaded to by local authorities).  It seems more people are choosing to stay at home with their pets than leave and go to safety.  This includes people who have been threatened by Wild Fires and Hurricanes.  The Fairgrounds here in Tampa will take horses, but there aren’t enough stalls for the amount of horses we have in Florida.  So what do you do?

Now here we’re talking about Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, but there are Fires, Floods, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, and other disasters that occur in other areas of the country.  Although Tornadoes and Earthquakes do not give you any warnings.  Being able to track down animals after the fact is.

Have an evacuation plan in mind.  Also have all your paperwork, and a Disaster Kit available and ready to go.  I always keep my horse trailer stocked with first aid necessities, Coggins on all the horses, and extra equipment.

Recommended articles for your Disaster Kit, whether you live in Florida or other places.

  • Food, water, and bowls, for each pet , buckets for horses.
  • Paper towels, plastic bags, and spray disinfectant.
  • Extra collars, harnesses, and leashes for all animals including cats.  Halters and lead lines for horses.
  • Copies of your pet’s medical & vaccination records, including Coggins for horses.
  • A two weeks supply of medications, along with a copy of the current prescription.
  • Recent photographs of you and your pets
  • Crates or traveling carriers large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around, these should be labeled with your pet’s name, your name, and where you can be reached.  If you can’t be reached give the name of a person you have designated as a home base.  Do this with people too in case you and your family get separated.  Have a relative, may be in a different state, that everyone knows to check in with.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Cat litter or newspaper.
  • A manual can opener.
  • A muzzle or materials such as gauze (to act as a muzzle).
  • Pet comfort items such as blankets and toys.
  • A list of hotels and boarding kennels that accept pets.  Make sure they are evacuation safe sites.
  • Detailed instructions for someone else in case you cannot care for your pets.
  • Microchip all your animals – This is always a good plan.

This article was mainly on dogs, cats, etc.  I threw in a couple of things for horses, but if you go back to my post on June 29th, 2016 “Be Prepared” it is more clear on what to do for horses.  We as horse owners usually have a multitude of other animals, because that’s who we are, so I thought this was an appropriate article.

As I was telling a friend this morning.  How do you tell the weather forecast in Florida? If you look up in the sky, it’s cloudy and your face gets wet – it’s raining.  If you look up in the sky and it’s blue and you get sun burn – it’s not raining.  See I can forecast the weather too, and I don’t make the big bucks.

So just because the weather people keep telling you that the “The Big One” is coming, just remember, some day it will.  Will you be ready????

It’s A Puzzlement

I wrote this a while ago and never posted it.  Just found it.

The title comes from the Broadway Play and movie “The King And I.”

Just couldn’t think of a title that expressed what I’m feeling and what this is about.  It’s almost like a TV detective program.  I’ve touched on these ideas before, but this week has been full of detective work.  Uncovering the hidden clues.  I really like this part of my job.  Sometimes I’m right, and then sometimes, not so much.

Case Number 1.  Got a new boarder in.  A very large Warm Blood who is down on his weight.  He’s 20.  Not old for me, but the owner and most of the world, consider him to be “Old.”  Went through the usual questions about a new horse in my care.  Got good information, but there were several pieces to the puzzle I thought were missing.  Like really why is he thin.  What the owner told me made perfect sense, but I was not comfortable with it all.  So sleuthing I will go.  He was on a well-known senior feed.  But I’ve seen this many times before.  For whatever reason, the feed just is not working for a horse.  Some horses may do exceptionally well on a feed and then you get another horse that does absolutely horrible on the same feed.  The amount she was feeding sounded fine, but I don’t know this horses metabolism, and previous living conditions, so it may not have been ideal for him.  She felt it was the heat of last summer.  Usually the heat doesn’t bother them that much, unless he was stressed on top of it.  I asked her if he could have Beet Pulp or Alfalfa Cubes?  She said that he had never had any.  She dropped off the two types of grain that he was getting so that I could gradually change him over.  She is a good, knowledgeable horsewoman, but she had barn help feeding him.  Sometimes we are so close to the situation that we miss the simplest thing.  It becomes so familiar to us that we just don’t pick up on it.  It occasionally requires a clear mind, a different view, and an outsider to see more clearly.

It’s like my husband the other day.  He was looking for his glasses and he got me to join in on the hunt.  You can’t see the forest for the trees.  He was wearing them.  So detective Diane went to the ingredients on the bags of feed. This is something I could actually view for myself.  Not many people read the ingredients.  At least not often.  Manufacturers do change what they put in.  Well the first and main ingredient on the one bag was Beet Pulp.  Not much in the way of grain at all.  The second bag, the first and main ingredient  was Alfalfa, not much in the way of grain either.  Now remember I not only asked her if he was getting Beet Pulp, but I also asked if he was getting Hay Cubes.  She said no.  Obviously she didn’t read the bag either.  So I was changing him over to my grain anyway, adding Beet Pulp and Alfalfa cubes.  His other odd behavior is that he licks everything.  Your hands, your face, hair, jacket, hat, gates.  So I put him on minerals and salt.  I spoke with my vet and she said if that didn’t work it might be behavioral.  Really???  You just never stop learning about horses.  He’s quiet where he eats and is in a pasture by himself so he doesn’t feel threaten or in competition for food or space.  He loves people.  Has hay in front of him all day.  Finding out what his real story is will take some time.  Any situation is like an onion.  You have to peel it back one layer at a time.  I’m confident that as long as he’s upright and breathing, with no hidden medical issues, that I will put weight on him and get him back to what he should be for his age.  He just had his teeth done and had been wormed, with all his shots, two weeks before he came, so we’re good in that department.

Case Number 2.  With the cold weather down here, horses have a tendency not to drink enough water, so they colic.  It sounds ridiculous to me, coming from the north where horses have to break through ice to get a drink.  I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it.  But my guess is that it has something to do with the local hay that is grown down here.  Also it will be down to the 20’s than in a few hours back up to 70, then back down, you get the picture.  Anyway my Quarter Horse was looking a little off.  Didn’t want her grain, would pick at her hay.  Was down a lot.  So I treated her for mild Colic.  Gave her table salt to make her drink more, a little Banamine for the pain.  Took her off grain (she wasn’t eating it anyway) and removed her hay.  Now that’s being just plain mean, when at the time there wasn’t any pasture.  I feel, and they believe, I’m starving them to death.  They like to munch on hay all day even in the pasture when there is no grass.  I have to give the other two hay in their stalls so she wouldn’t get any.  I’ve got an ugly bunch of horses at this time.  It’s like one of those pictures in the movies that the eyes follow you.  They stand at the gate and just watch your every move.  I can hear the whispers.  “There goes our evil mom, trying to starve us.  Maybe she forgot, she’s old you know, try to get her attention again.”  The mare is passing normal manure, no temperature, gums look fine, drinking water, gut sounds are normal.  She is in heat and has had trouble with her ovaries before.  The other side of the coin, her stomach is sucked up in pain, not eating grain, down on the ground most of the day.  She’s alert, but just not normal.  Kept in touch with my vet and finally declared, none of it makes sense.  So bring out the big guns.  My vet came, agreed on my findings.  It’s not a normal colic.  Neither was Desert and we had to put him down.  So we ran bloods to see what everything else is doing.  Hopefully it isn’t a liver problem.   But it just my be those darn ovaries again, but she has never had this type of colic issue in the past.  I’m just gathering all the pieces to the puzzle and we’ll see what the picture turns out to be.

Well, five days later she’s back to normal.  Blood showed everything working fine.  We’re thinking the dreaded ovaries.  Usually she just gets sore in the back and doesn’t want to use her right hind leg.  This is a new twist.

The jury is still out on the final verdict.  We’re waiting for the next heat cycle to see if it happens again.  Part of me wants it to be ovaries and part of me doesn’t.  What’s the next step?  Acupuncture and if that doesn’t work,  Ultra Sound.

With horses, it’s not always a detective program.  Sometimes it feels more like the “X Files” and we’re waiting for the “Mother Ship.”

Because this post was lost and was written a year ago, bottom line on both cases –  The Warm Blood gained weight and was placed in a new home with a teenage girl.  My mare – it was ovaries, went into her next heat just fine. Both cases, solved and closed.  Can’t wait for me next adventure.

The One Eyed Jack

In a deck of playing cards you will find a One Eyed Jack.  He’s just faced that way.  If he has two eyes, no one really knows.  There was a line of One Eyed Jack Quarter Horses.

With this last Triple Crown there was a one-eyed horse, and people made such a big deal over it.  “Oh his blind side is on the side of the “field.”  “Oh how can a blind horse run?”  Seriously people???!!!

As it was explained to me years ago by a vet (and I know I’ve mentioned this before) – Horses are different from people. Predator animals, such as ourselves, cats, dogs, anything that has their eyes in the front, their two eyes focus in to make one picture.  A prey animal has eyes on the sides of their heads to give them a pretty close to 360 degree view of anything that is going to attack them.  Actually the only blind spots they have are directly in front, and directly behind unless they move their heads.  So it comes down to, we have one TV screen in our head and the horse has two TV screens.  One for each eye.  Removing an eye knocks out one of the screens and the horse has to move his head to see around him.

I’ve had a horse that had an eye removed, and one of my boarders horses was blinded in one eye when she was young.  I also had my granddaughters pony who was blind in one eye.  Not one of these horses were bothered by the fact that they could only see out of one eye.  It bothered people more than it bothered them.  Once my mare got used to looking before going through a narrow space, my leg no longer hit a fence post.  The first time I brought her out to the hunt field after the eye removal, I was a little concerned.  The sun hadn’t come up yet, and she was set and determined to follow the huntsman over the first three-foot coop.  I wasn’t even sure she had seen it let alone made a correct judgement of distance and height.  Her bouncing in anticipation told me that she had it under control and I let her go.  Perfect, as though nothing had ever changed with her.

I have a dog that is deaf and is totally blind in her left eye, and almost totally blind in her right.  She was born this way.  She doesn’t know that other dogs hear, or see better than her.  She is happy, playful and totally enjoys life.  Does 90 miles an hour through a doorway on a turn and never hits it.  I do, but she doesn’t.

Humans are getting a little more comfortable with people with disabilities, but not with our animals.  Three legged dogs and cats don’t care they are missing a leg.  They are happy and run and play just like all the others.  Horses don’t care they are missing an eye, they just go on like before.

We are the problem.  We protect them too much, and worry about them.  We need to be more like our animals, and accept things we have no control over, and just go a head and enjoy life.

Sounds like a plan to me.

 

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Just a friendly Public Service Reminder.  It’s Summer!!  Yay!!

I was speaking with my neighbor the other day.  I told her, as usual, one of my horses is sweating like crazy and one of them wasn’t.  The usual reply is – well the other one isn’t bothered by the heat as much, or one stands under the tree more.  No, I said, she shut down.

Red flag district.  No, the one that isn’t sweating has flaring nostrils, and is breathing hard.  She hadn’t been running or stressing about anything.  She was NOT sweating.  She does this to me every summer.  I’d like to believe that she just handles the hotter weather better, but I’d be fooling myself and hurting her in the process.  She normally doesn’t do this until late July or August.

When you have two out of three that are soaking wet and one that isn’t, it’s a good indication something is wrong.

This seems to be more of a problem here in the south.  I don’t remember ever having this situation when I lived up north, but it can happen, you must stay aware.  If you are at a horse show, even up north, pay attention.  Listen to your horse.  Get him cooled down as fast as possible.  They can, and will die.

Don’t forget – When the humidity is higher than the temperature, they can’t cool themselves.  I seem to say this every summer.

A horse that is overheated may not be drinking water as he should.  Adding a little table salt to the diet will encourage them to drink more.  Adding electrolytes to their water and food won’t work if they are not eating or drinking.  Keep a tube on hand, just in case.

Don’t forget the suntan lotion for yourselves and your horses.  A pink nose on a horse will burn.  Full length fly masks work wonders.

Broken record signing off for now, but over the winter, we forget.  Also when you don’t face heat and humidity like we do in Florida, you just don’t think about it.  Stay alert.