Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Popularity of the Woodstove.

This is the crew in front of the woodstove.

The Next Step

Seneca after getting a thorough grooming and having about six inches of main trimmed off.

The arrangements have been made with my fabulous friend Erin who has a gorgeous six stall barn so that the High Queen can have 5* accomodations after the vet comes out to do the deed.  The appointment has been made with Dr. R for a couple of weeks from now. I wanted to do it sooner but my schedule wouldn't cooperate.

After I made the reservations and the appointment I almost felt like I was making a deal with the devil. Because I got to thinking about the past and the past's influence on the future. Basically the vet said that Seneca has what she would categorize as an OCD flap. Which is what has caused the on and off lameness. But thinking back to four or so years ago Seneca had the same symptoms, of course back then the vet I had at the time said the issue was in her hocks so that's what we xrayed. It never occured to me that we should also do the stifle.  And then I had her on the oral joint supplement that seemed to take care of the issue until this fall where the problem came back. Supposedly OCD is a developmental thing that occurs during a horse's growing years so Seneca has probably had this OCD flap her whole life. Of course her previous owners either didn't know, or forgot to mention it.

So knowing that Seneca has had this issue all along, and she's very stoic, very British chin up, never show your weakness kind of girl Seneca has probably been dealing with the discomfort of this issue for the entire time I've had her. This past year Seneca and I have done more cantering and jumping than we had in the previous four, which is probably why the issue is cropping up. Not knowing the issue existed, all the things we did, and without treatment for it, probably exacerbated the OCD.

Which leads me to the ultimate question. If Seneca has had this issue all along then what kind of horse will she be when I've done the injection and it's possibly not hurting her anymore? Is this the reason she's had issues with her canter leads? Maybe. Could this give her a more free, more fluid movement? Wouldn't that be nice. Will this solve the jumping issues we've had over the past year?  I'm not going to hold my breath on that one but man wouldn't it be grand?

Only time will tell what the injection will do for Seneca. But more than anything I want her to be comfortable, happy and healthy. I gave her a little bute in her dinner last night as I had noticed during the day that while Cowboy was running about she just stood there and watched him like he'd lost his mind when usually she would have been chasing him, or racing him. Then later on I saw how gingerly she was moving and wished that we were loading up to go to Erin's the next day.  It will be here soon enough though. Can't wait.

Keep it between the flags everyone.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Future

Today was the day of the vet visit. Bright and early I got up and fed the four foots their breakfasts. I only gave Seneca and Cowboy half their grain ration because the vet was due an hour or so after they were going to eat and I didn't want anyone deciding to colic because they didn't want the vet to float their teeth.

So here's how it went. Doctor R. showed up pretty much on time, and despite the freezing temps(25 degrees) we were having a good time. We got Cowboy done first, he was as usual a tool about standing still for too long. To even look at his teeth the vet had to sedate him. And then we decided he didn't need a float quite yet.

Back in to the pasture for the Spotted Beast who got to hang out in the back pasture all doped and loopy while Dr. R and I evaluated the High Queen. We trotted out and back a couple of times, then Dr. R got to all the flexion tests. Seneca tested negative on her fetlocks, and mostly negative on her hocks, but then we came to the stifle. She was negative on the left, but positive on the right. Damn.

So out came the xray machine, which thankfully the vet practice had updated to the digital kind since the last time I'd had them done three or four years ago.  Except that Mr. xray machine did not want to work in the cold.  Growl.  We tried and tried, and the High Queen wasn't happy about standing still anyway.  So we decided to take a look at Seneca's teeth then have the vet come back later in the day with either a new machine, or a warmer time of day to get the current one working.

Seneca let us put the float apparatus on, but we could not get her to open her mouth far enough to get a good look.  The vet literally could not pry her mouth open and stated she had never had a horse with jaws so strong that they couldn't be opened with the apparatus. Since we didn't want to have to drug Seneca twice we decided to do the float after Dr. R came back later in the day.

Thankfully no emergencies cropped up and Dr. R came back around 1:30pm.  This time Seneca, bi-polar pony that she is stood like a statue, even letting me ground tie her so I could help with the xrays. Even when we had to nearly stuff the plate in to Seneca's lady parts to get a look at her stifle.

What did the xrays show?  While she did still have arthritis in her hock(like it was going anywhere) it had not progressed past what it had been four years ago. Which was both good and bad. It meant that there was still something else causing the on off lameness. Which is when we saw the most likely culprit for the lameness.  There was an OCD-like flap on her stifle.  Not a cyst, or a lesion, thank God, but though it was just a small deviation on the bone even I could see it.

The vet gave me two options for moving forward. The first is that Dr. R. comes back we do nerve blocks until we positively pin point the issue for certain.  Or we go ahead and do a joint injection to see if that will bring Seneca sound.

Both of these options require the use of a stall for at least a day or two for the horse to recover.  What does super hubs say when I tell him we need to figure out a way to make the run-in shed in to some kind of a stall that Seneca can't escape(We've tried this a couple of times and she's escaped our amateur attempts to confine her)? Super hubs pulls out paper and pencil and starts telling me how he's going to remodel my run-in shed in to a real barn. *BLINK* Not that I don't want a barn, or haven't been hinting for a couple years that a barn with stalls to confine my horses pre-show day/post bath would be great.  But we hadn't discussed doing a barn this year. But he got all gung ho about it, and after enduring the feeding time frenzy this evening, where Cowboy cost me a half a tube of Seneca's Smartbreathe paste, then Seneca tried to turn her nose up at her dinner in favor of stealing Cowboy's I was all for having stalls to seperate them.

And now I'm hopeful for the spring where Seneca will be sound again, and we can put back all the muscle she lost being out of work for four months. Hopeful that we can still manage to do a BN horse trial this year.  Yes there is still that job hovering and possible, but I can have a lot of fun between now and June.

Keep it between the flags everyone. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


So the appointment is made. Barring any emergency calls on the vet's end my vet will be out on Monday to give the High Queen the once over with the xray machine as well as coggins, spring shots, a glance at her teeth to see if she's due for a float.

I am relieved that I can finally get the appointment done, but anxious for what the xrays might reveal. It could be that her arthritis as progressed past the point of her oral joint supplement and she'll need injections. It could be something else entirely. I won't know until Monday and it's scary, so scary because I don't want my girl to become a pasture ornament, and even if the vet clears her for trail riding and no more jumping I still at this point can't commit to a third horse.

My job is up in the air and I may be going to Italy for two years, which means I might still be able to at least go watch horse related events but my riding will be limited to trail rides when I'm in the states on leave.  It does mean I could meet my bucket list goal of watching all of the major 4* events, because Italy is a whole lot closer to England than Virginia, USA.  So that's exciting, and I might even be able to go watch the WEG if time permits.

So even though I might have to move several thousand miles away from my husband, family, horses, dogs, cats and farm for two years I'm still trying to look at the positive sides of it.

So until the vet report comes in, keep it between the flags everyone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

In the Stands

So with my pretty crazy schedule even if Seneca was proven sound, (she appears sound now, but I want the vet to confirm it with xrays)I'm not sure how much I'd be riding. Other than the schedule it's freaking cold out. I hate riding in the cold and I am an ametuer so I don't need to do it.

But this past Sunday which I just happened to have off I went to watch a clinic instead. The next best thing to riding yourself is watching other people do it.  My friend Kate coordinated a clinic with eventer  Jessica Bortner-Harris. I hadn't heard much about her but she events at all the big places and you can always learn something even if its not what you thought you were going to get.

So what did I get out of the clinic? I learned that even my two friends who ride training/prelim have problems and that everyone has a blindspot about their own riding. I fully admit I have huge blindspots where my riding is concerned and I'd love to blame my horse, but bless her she's pretty tolerant of my mistakes.

And I watched as Jessica B-H gave a lesson to prelim/training riders and right after gave a lesson to a middle-aged mother who was just learning to post the trot and wanted to learn to eventually jump. Jessica gave the same excellent instruction to this mother as she did to the advanced riders. It really made me like her even more. Plus she's funny, I love an instructor that can make you laugh.

Maybe if the High Queen is sound I'll get to participate next time. I can dream.

Keep it between the flags everyone.