Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Little update!

Swelling was the same today. In all night was no bueno and I knew it but it would have been worse for her to be sliding in mud fussing with the others I figured.

Tonight she is out by herself in the front arena. I think perhaps it's the rain rot on her legs...I had NO idea but found out via google that that can happen. Being that I discovered the OTHER hind swollen today...and upon a closer look...I think it IS rain rot.

It's been very wet and humid this year. It's really unusual, usually it's very dry this time of year.

So there's that...I'm going to give it a couple of days treating the rain rot and see what happens. She trotted out fine today. I won't even have the cash to have the vet out until Friday in any case, thanks to still recouping from the $565 I popped for the trip to Apex.

Unrelated, I think I'm going to have her go back out in the back pasture next month. I would have done it this month, but being that board is due soon, I don't want to spring it on Casey. But not only would it help me save some money for potential future complications, but I think the 24/7 would do her good. I'll just have to keep an eye on her weight...I wonder if there are any supplements that help easy keepers not be SO easy!

She'll still get her supps in the AM, I already talked to Madison, the morning feeder, and she said she'd be willing to bring Amber in for feeding in the morning. Of course, I'll be paying her for the trouble.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The mare...is falling apart...

Seriously, there is so much going on with her right now!

Not only does she have a weird fungus/bacterial infection on her skin, not sure which at this point, the hives are still there in small places and to top it all of, she had a big fat swollen leg today. The left hind, of COURSE.

I had gone out to bathe her and apply some solution for the skin problems.

Skin problems are these tiny little scabby places of skin that are just peeling off, hair and scab and all. I don't think it's rain rot. But it makes it look like she has hives, due to the little scabs festering up and the little tufts of hair poking out.

The swollen leg...le sigh. I cold hosed it and put on some liniment. I decided to keep her stalled overnight. While I'd prefer her not to be standing around with a fat leg, I suspect it may have happened in the pasture fussing with the other horses, and it's muddy out there. So I don't want to risk her sliding around fussing with the fat leg.

I didn't find any puncture wounds. It's from just below the hock all the way down, slightly worse just above the fetlock. Alissa said she was fine yesterday, so I'm pretty confident now that it was not due to her going back to "normal" work.

I will digress a moment to let you know how that went.

I decided to lunge her for about 5 minutes lightly just to loosen her up, and also so I could see her. She was very well behaved...except in her supposed "good" direction (or should be good, based on which leg is the worst). She decided to buck and fart a bit. And the proceeded to gallop around me a moment. Sometimes...you just have to humor your horse. I got her back to business with some sharp transtions. I rode her maybe 15-20 minutes in the indoor, mostly walk trot. Cantered once around in both directions - this thing is the size of a small dressage arena, mind you.

Then I went for a trail ride. We cantered half-way down the long side of the back pasture, at which point you have to stop for a limb in the way and some low branches, and then we did a slow gallop the rest of the way. Back pasture horses following along behind. We walked the rest of the way back home. Amber was just lovely for all of it. And very happy that she could finally do something other than walk/trot.

We got back. I cold hosed her, as well as those legs (which I had been careful to wrap). She was a happy camper and ate her dinner and went out. Perfect day.

At first I was really worried that our short little gallop might have screwed her legs. But considering I was encouraged to start hill work, I didn't feel that a very brief and slow gallop was more strenuous than that. Not as beneficial, of course. But being that was Saturday and she was okay yesterday...I can't imagine it was that. I had checked on her this morning early, to see how her fungus was doing, and I didn't particularly look at her legs, but I don't think she had the big swollen leg yet. Not positive though, I was in a hurry because I was on my break at work.

Anyway. If the leg is still poofed up tomorrow, Dr. Smith is going to come check it out. If so, perhaps she can clue me in on what's up with the fungus too. Still, mareface continues to be happy as a clam. Fat leg, fungus, hives and all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The vet appointment went very well. Amber was well behaved as usual. She was sooo ready to hop off the trailer - after 2 hour ride, understandable.

I lunged her for the chiro, and hilariously, she behaved better on the lunge there than at home. Usually if I haven't been lunging her at least once every week or every other week, she likes to be silly, but she was very good.

Dr. Wheeler was doing some paperwork, and she didn't get to see much of the lunging, but she said from the bit she saw Amber looked improved. The chiro did some adjusting.

As we suspected, the majority of her problems are in her hind, worse in the left hind. She said due to her conformation, her pelvis is susceptible to coming out again, but we will take it a day at a time. Ideally, she needs to be adjusted every week for a while and then taper off to every other week and then once a month until we find a maintenance point, but obviously this is not feasible for me. Not only could I not afford it, but it's impossible to get a chiropractor out to the barn (as I found out last fall). I'm hoping the kinesiologist can help fill that gap with his monthly visits. Dr. Baker, the chiro, did recommend that I have him adjust her as well.

The stifles were injected.

The dex I'd been giving her, 10ccs, Dr. Wheeler seemed concerned at the high dose, and she recommended we not give her any after the injections (too many steroids in her system), and take it down to 5ccs after that. She was on stall rest yesterday and today, and she will be able to go out tonight. On Friday she will go back into light work, and Saturday she will be able to return to normal work. Obviously I'm going to hold off on jumping. I want her to build some muscle again. We will be doing hill work. I'm going to start that probably next week and do it once a week. I don't want to throw her under the bus with that on the first ride!

So basically, the plan is, just limber her up with some leg yields, bending, and walk/trot/canter, big circles and light lunging for the first week. Then start doing a few minutes of trotting up the hills once a week after that. Next month, if she's doing well, I'll consult Dr. Wheeler again and if she's all clear we will start small X-rails again. Honestly I probably won't be doing 18" and 2' again for several months. And it's really a waiting game as it is.

We still don't know how well or how bad she will respond to all this. Dr. Wheeler said it's very reasonable to think she could be sound for lower level and light dressage work if jumping becomes out of the question.

On a side note, check out this new halter!

I also found a fly spray that doesn't seem to be bothering her. Bug Block. We are sort of starting to think that it's something in the hay. Amber isn't the only one who has hives now. *** claims nothing new has been done to the hay, but I'm just skeptical. There's no way I can take her OFF her hay permanently, and really no way I can do it temporarily. Her turnout has roundbales right now because they are locked off the grass so it can grow (which it has - I don't see why they haven't been allowed out again).

At least it isn't the huge welts that it was. I'm thinking that maybe the hay gave her an allergic reaction, and then the Pyhrana irritated the hives (the oil-based mixture is pretty strong), making the welts.

I really wish I knew what the problem was, though.

But yeah. I'm so thrilled. I feel like this is pretty much the final length. We have found the problem, the main problem is a chronic problem, and it's going to be a matter of seeing just how chronic is is, and how it's going to limit her. Finally, finally, I know what's been going on. And we have "fixed" it. But it's not over yet. We have to continue to improve her hind end strength to try to prevent it, or at least prevent it from happening very often. It could still come out that she is limited to flatwork or trail rides.

I just want to take a moment to say to many individuals - I WAS RIGHT. It was everything I thought from almost the beginning. Her pelvis. She was NOT lazy, never was. I have to start trusting my gut more. I was right on the money about what was making her lame before any professional would entertain the idea. I was also right, recently, about her feet - the old farrier WAS the cause of her WLS (which is gone now, thanks to Cat's AWESOME trim). Now her feet and body are finally on the right track. I am SO grateful to Dr. Wheeler, Dr. Heather, Cat, and Dr. Baker. You saved my girl and I will never, ever forget it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Before, and After.

Tomorrow is the big vet appointment. Obviously tomorrow isn't the final news. We will have to see what the chiro work and stifles actually do, and I'm sure there will be follow up chiro appointments...

But tonight I decided to post some before and afters for some black and white comparison of what Amber was, and what she has become. Kind of inspired by a facebook status Andrea (at The Continental Drift blog) posted about unfancy things...just reminded me I had wanted to do this.

Before, December 2010.

After. Some of these are from Summer 2011, some are from this year.

(Ignore me here, I look foolish)

Her tail is even longer now. When it's in a relaxed position, it touches the ground. It's really a gorgeous tail...I'm proud to say it was accomplished by MTG, keeping it clean, conditioned and brushed, and good nutrition. She's not a million dollar warmblood, but she's something more than the $1,500 "mutt" I bought. ;) Or what I thought was a mutt until we found her papers. I'm still not sure I see the cutting/cow horse in her...or the racing QH. Which is what's in her ped. Like, 3/4 of them are ranch horses, cutting and cow horses, I think maybe a couple of reining horses, and maybe 1/4 racing QHs. Go figure.

I'll be sad if she can't jump anymore. She loves it. She drags you towards the jumps if you aren't paying attention.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vet Tuesday and Mystery Hives Solved!

So we are definitely going to the vet Tuesday. Dr. Wheeler said she was hoping for around noon, so hopefully we won't be too late getting back. Casey wanted to be back by around 3, and that might not be quite possible, but fortunately it won't be terribly late.

I was kind of getting the gist that she wasn't really feeling taking Amber up there this time. And it could have just been me misreading things, but last week the appointment couldn't be done because of the trailer we need to use being in the shop, and she was also busy with some other stuff. That wasn't her fault at all, but she then wanted me to use the hauler that trailers horses who need a ride to the clinic, then she wanted me to get the vet and chiro to go meet us at another barn that is maybe 30 minutes from us, and still an hour to an hour and a half from them...

Just kind of avoiding taking her up herself, or at least I felt it was that way. And I understand she is busy, and this is really something you have to donate an entire day to...but there was no issue helping us before. But really the only thing to do is go up there. The hauler wants to charge me $150 from the barn to the clinic and back. Apparently it was $80 from the barn in the other town...which, I don't know why I would bother with that, seeing as how I have to give Casey gas to take her to that barn anyway, plus the $80 for the shipper...only coming out slightly better. I pretty much knew that there was no way Amber could possibly have the appointment anywhere but the clinic. The chiropractor and the vet are not associated - and the chiro is in the clinic's area. So arranging to have them both travel an hour or more to see Amber the same day is really not fair to either of them, and I'd have to pay a farm call for both of them anyway - exactly what we were trying to avoid. But, Casey wanted me to ask, so I asked, and they were just kind of like "Ehhh, you really need to come back up here like we planned..."

So off we go. Hopefully for the last time for a while.

We did discover that it IS Amber's fly spray giving her a reaction. No hives yesterday when I got to the barn. Sprayed her, and an hour or so later, little hives again. I washed it off immediately. Hopefully it'll be clearing up soon. I wasn't really feeling giving her more dex. She got several high doses last week when it was so bad, and I'm just not comfortable with giving her more. She got 8ccs one day, and then 10ccs two days in a row. At least now we know why the dex wasn't working. Because I kept spraying her, not believing it could possibly be the fly spray. It was kind of a "duhh" thing. But having used it last year and two weeks this year already, it just didn't seem possible. Now I know.

She's ready for summer!

And so is her stall. Yes, I am "that owner" who decorates my horse's stall seasonally.

Since the barn's ATV is broken, I've also had to become creative with getting hay. I refuse to push the wheel barrow around in 90 degree heat. Call me lazy, but sweat, heat and hay do NOT mix.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another quick update!

Amber's trim went well. I was very impressed with the attention Cat paid to her and her concern, not for making it a quick job, but doing the best job for Amber's individual needs. She took the time to get to know Amber and to also take pictures of Amber's topline. Felt around, I showed her the pelvic misalignment we have right now, and we chatted about it for a bit before the trim took place.

The trim is fabulous and although Amber is still draggy draggy, I can tell she is more comfortable. From just a trim, that is saying something with all her current issues.

She was ouchy the day after the trim, but rock solid the next, so I'm pretty sure that ouchyness was due to her sitting back on the break away tie that did NOT break in the washpit, when a drop of water accidentally got in her ear and freaked her out. Scared the shit out of me, I thought she was going to flip herself and break her neck. Casey runs out saying "Don't scream at her"...I didn't even realize I was shouting, I just kept saying, apparently accidentally shouting, "easy" trying to calm her while not getting smashed in the process.

Anyway. The reason she was actually IN the washpit was due to the huge welts and hives all over her sides and belly. We battled this with dex and coldhosing for like, 5 days. She hasn't had anything new. I don't think it was bugs of any kind. The only thing I have that might do it is her fly spray, but she has had it for two weeks and she used it all last summer with no problem. Makes no sense. Gone now, but I'm going to do a "test patch" to see if it was the spray. Weird.

Tenatively her appointment to get her stifles injected and have the chiro work on her is May 22. We will see if Casey can make it. If not, I might see if I could beg a ride off someone else. I want this done ASAP.

I haven't told anyone about this next part yet, and Victoria is probably not going to be super happy when she hears it, but I have a new plan if Amber will be unsound to jump. I'll be moving her to Windrift Stables or Canamer Stables. If she is sound for trails, she would be sound enough to do baby dressage (Intro and maybe Training) I am sure. I love trail rides, but I am not content with it full time. Nothing brings me the satisfaction of doing good arena work with my horse. Her understand what I'm asking for, and what I am not asking for. And I really don't have the motivation to do it with any horse but her. To everyone else, she is just a too-short Quarter Horse who is too opinionated, more difficult to ride than I make it look, and not sound enough to ever really do squat in her life - which has barely begun at just 8 years old. To me, she is a gem that fell through the cracks and luckily ended up with someone who is committed to giving her a princess lifestyle. Though she is broken right now, she has the potential to be incredible, and if she can't be fixed, she certainly HAD the potential to be great. She is a fast learner, and a mental ride. You will do a lot more thinking with her than you will be using your body. Part of this has killed me - Gulliver and Jack were super physical rides, and after having Amber so long, I have recently realized how ineffectively I ride other horses now.

Anyway. If she can jump, without risk of problems later (or sooner) in life, we will do the hunter thing for a while. Ultimately, I feel I will end up doing dressage and combined training. But hunters isn't quite as intense and I think it would be a good way to start off easy. A NEW start at showing her.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Quick update.

Don't have a lot of time to post much, so this will be quick one.

Amber's appointment is still pending...I called Apex and told them to have Dr. Wheeler call me a day or two ago, nothing yet but she's busy so I'm sure she will get to it. If I don't hear anything in a few more days, I'll call again...I'm anxious to get this done with and see what we have. I think I'm more nervous than anything about her response to the treatments, and what it means for our future.

Her white line is still separating, and I have the barefoot trimmer coming Monday because enough is enough. Our farriers are are nice as they can be, and they aren't "bad" farriers, but it's just not working for us. I need to do all I can to insure she is on the road to soundness, and a balanced trim is a huge part of that.

Kind of feel like everyone thinks I'm loopy for having a natural trimmer do her. She has an excellent reputation and her trims are beautiful from pictures, so I'm hoping when Amber develops some awesome feet it will change some minds. If not, I'm still happy because I'll have a horse with awesome, sound barefoot feet. But she's never had WLS before, and I know it's because of the flare that has been left. Casey said she doesn't see the flare...I don't think Casey knows entirely what flare really is, with all due respect to her. Flare probably brings to mind the pancake-like overgrown feet for her. It used to for me as well, until I became slightly more educated on healthy hoofs. I can't fault anyone for going with our previous farrier - the vet recommends them. But as I said - it's just not working out for Amber and I.

I did go on a trail ride with the "new girl" at the barn, Alissa. She's a fox hunter. Her horse is coming next week, and he seems completely awesome, I can't wait to meet him. We went down the road and around the back. Amber was a good girl! Even when a school bus nearly drove up her rear end, and some horses we passed decided to buck and fart. She even had to take the lead for Mickey (cute OTTB I rode that time that Alissa was on). But he was also very brave for the most part. I'm just excited to finally have a trail buddy.

My grades are still amazing. Average is 99.