Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Update on Cowboy's Progression Towards Healing

Because I leave at a Gods awful hour of the morning that should be reserved for dreaming about cross country fences snug in my bed under the down comforter I don't get to see my horses very clearly some days as its too dark and a head lamp doesn't do my horses justice sometimes.

So I try very hard to be home before dark, I don't always manage it, but yesterday I made it home with just a little bit of daylight left.  I immediately threw off my uniform and tossed on farm chore clothes so I could go do Cowboy's daily wound cleaning.  That and his new, tougher, higher denier blanket arrived from Dover.  He's already mangled his other 150 weight blanket, it's not totally ruined but it's got some sizeable tears that will have to be patched before another horse can wear it.

I, like alot of horse people am a blanket nazi.  It has to last, it has to be tough, and it has to stand the test of Cowboy who is really the only one of the three who regularly tries to deconstruct his clothing.  Cowboy is now sporting an Amigo Bravo 1200 Lite/Medium blanket which is a 100 weight.  I like these alot. I have one for Fox, which used to be Cowboy's before he grew a bit. So far neither gelding has managed to destroy it.  So Fox and Cowboy have their Amigo Bravos, and Seneca is sporting on the cold but not freezing days an Amigo Mio 150 weight, 600 denier blanket.  Which is great for her, not too heavy, and she's never been a blanket mangler.  On the really, really cold days the boys get another layer, and Seneca gets switched in to her Weatherbeeta, mid-weight(250 gram), neck to tail blanket. I want to say it's a Landa, but can't recall for sure.  It's got a fancy diamond weave to the outer shell and so far it's been doing a great job.  Horseware is my go to brand, love the T buckles, and the durability (the Mio's not withstanding, but Cowboy is really rough on his clothes, so I'll give it a B rating), but I also love Weatherbeeta.  I have a turn-out sheet that I can't even remember how long I've had it, and as long as its not pouring is still doing a decent job of protecting the ponies.

But enough blanketing obsession and back to Cowboy's head wound.  Last night it looked, and smelled loads better.  The wound is starting to scab over (our recent drier weather has helped), it's oozing less fluid, and while there is still a bit of a bad smell it's not like the previous days where I could smell Cowboy from four feet away.  He still has some swelling in the area, but he's acting like the wound is a bit itchy. Cowboy tried to rub his face against my hands while I was cleaning him up. I'm taking that as a good sign.

Until the next bit of farm chaos, keep it between the flags everyone.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Luckiest Horse on the Planet

That would be Cowboy, the luckiest horse on the planet right now. The vet was out on Friday to take a look at Cowboy's head wound because it wasn't healing as well as I would like and a horrible smell had developed that no amount of cleaning, water, betadine, or anticeptic cream could remedy.

 The first vet, because my vet practice has five or six vets, came out, sedated Cowboy (had to hit him twice), cleaned the wound and told us she could feel what seemed like an abrasion or a crack on Cowboy's skull (que up the hysterical panic!)  We decided to do the Xrays on Monday since Dr. Collins (Friday's vet didn't have the xray equipment with her) and I needed to get the other two horses their semi-annual visit.

Dr. Gus came out Monday and I was actually home (Friday Superhubs had to take point and he does not deal well with animal wounds, but I think Dr. Collin's petite, blonde cutenss distracted him that time.) In fact I was just about clean Cowboy's head when the vet rolled up.  I had finally developed a system where Cowboy was not exactly happy about me fooling with his wound but at least more cooperative.  A spray bottle full of hot water, a wash cloth, medical gloves, and the cream Dr. Collins left.  After squirting Cowboy in the face a few times he would resign himself and let me clean the wound without much fuss.  Which was a relief because previous to that Superhubs would have to try and hold him while I attempted to clean the wound with Cowboy thrashing around.

Dr. Gus, with me acting as his assistant did a few xrays after hitting Cowboy with, again, two rounds of sedation.  There was indeed a fracture.  Which proved my theory that Fox must of caught Cowboy in the head with a hoof.  We don't know yet what will happen. The vets want to wait a week to see how the healing progresses before we move forward. 

Here is where Cowboy is lucky, although I'm sure with all the sedation, poking, prodding, and cleaning, he doesn't think so,  his fracture is right over his brain.  If he had been a hair slower to move out of the way I would have been making the worst phone call of my life.  Superhubs was a Marine, he's seen things I don't ever want to see. I've seen him cry a total of three times in our 17 years of marriage.  If I had to call him and tell him that his precious Spotted Beast was dead I don't know if either one of us would recover. I knew a horse that had this exact thing happen to him, a hoof directly to the middle of the forehead.  He died instantly.  I don't know if the waiting is worse than the instant death.  Because the waiting is all wrapped up in worry, anxiety and what if.  Where as the instant death is painful, but there is no room for hope to cut you deeper.    

We are not out of the woods yet.  The Dr. Gus is due back next Monday for a recheck to decide if Cowboy needs a field trip to the vet clinic for a better look at his head, or if he's healing and we can just hope that his brain stays where it should, and the bone doesn't die. I don't know what the prognossis is if the bone dies, I hate to even speculate, but the worry, the anxiety that we might lose Cowboy is right there digging a hole in my heart.   So cross your fingers everyone and keep it between the flags.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Viva Herd Revolution!

This evening I discovered something new about Fox that I was not expecting at all.  Last Sunday Cowboy got a nasty gash on his head.

In the interest in making Cowboy as comfortable, and stress free as possible I moved Fox in to Seneca's pasture.  I really did not want to do that.  Even living in adjacent pastures those two are far too attached to one another and I do not want to add fuel to a herd binding fire.  And I was also afraid Seneca would pick on Fox and bully him as she does Cowboy.

Yet that is sooo not what happened.  I fed Cowboy first, then grabbed Fox's feed pan from the field, both his and Seneca's grain buckets, and a lunge whip.  I was not taking any chances that Seneca might snap at Fox and he or she might run me over.   I swished the whip around as I entered to get both of them away from me and the tempting grain then walked out to Seneca's dish and filled it first.

I expected her to squeal, flick her feet at Fox and send him off.  Nope.  Fox dug in to the first pan of food while Seneca stood there confused and disgruntled.  I went and filled the second pan while Seneca and Fox had their stand off.  In the end Fox won and Seneca slunk towards me where she proceeded to eat her loser's meal.  Interesting.

I then proceeded to get everyone's hay from the hay shed.  Cowboy's hay went in to the run-in shed, where he quite happily chowed down in his newly established bachelor's pad.   After I divided Seneca and Fox's hay I treked through their pasture towards the house.  When I looked back at the two OTTB's,  Fox was leaving off hoovering up Seneca's dropped grain and was telling her to get away from his hay pile, which she did and went to the other pile as meekly as a toddler being put in time out.

Where did the High Queen go?  Where is my mare beast who is the most dominant horse in the pasture? How is Fox suddenly the King of all?  I didn't see it coming, but Fox is the most dominant horse in my herd.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Castle and a Horse Trial Adventure/Girl's Road Trip

After the last Snowpocolypse Superhubs and I started taking apart the horse shed that we had thrown up in all haste to protect my precious bay pony from the weather. Why would we take apart the shed we'd just built? So we can build a whole new, even more fabulous one of course!

Seneca supervising the building of her new castle.

It's not quite completed but Superhubs used his day off yesterday to put up the cross bracing for the roof. So hopefully by the end of this coming weekend it will be 99% complete.  What is that last 1% you say?  Why a gate of course so I can transform the run-in-shed in to a stall in which I can capture beasts that would rather roll in mud the day before a horse show. Or in case some canterous pony decides to injure themselves. Again.  Why again?  I don't have photos of it but somewhere between feeding Sunday AM and filling the water trough for the boys, a total of 15 minutes mind you, Cowboy mangled his head. 

I went to fill the water, Cowboy ambled over, dipped his head down and when he brought it back up I happened to glance at him.  EEEK!  Blood running down his face, massive gash on his forehead!  WTFing HELL!

Trying not to be alarmed I grabbed a bucket of warm water, a towel, leadline and then went to catch the Crack Beast. Not that hard, that is one his better attributes ever since the whole 2 1/2 hours of trying to rehalter/catch him when superhubs got him as a yearling and I made the mistake of taking the old, crappy, too small halter off, Cowboy has been pretty good about being caught.   It might have had something to do with the copious amounts of treats I gave him to encourage his happiness about being haltered.

After I tied him to the trailer and really inspected the manglement I had to wonder how exactly he got such a nasty gash.  My only theory is that he tried to take food from Fox who disabused him of that notion with a flurry of hooves.  This unfortunately is the second head wound Cowboy has gotten.  Any more and Fox is going to be living solo in his pasture, and Cowboy will go back to living with Seneca.  Seneca may have left some teeth marks on Cowboy's body, but never his head.

I doctored Cowboy's wound as best as I was able.  He was not happy about me touching it, no small wonder, it had to hurt pretty bad.  Which I remedied by giving Cowboy a bit of grain laced with Bute, which encouraged him to be okay with me fussing with the wound.

So as you've seen by the title of this post I am going on a horse trial adventure/girl's road trip.  While Rolex is still on my bucket list is just hasn't worked out for me to be able to go.  But the Carolina Horse Park is hosting a CIC ***   YEAH!  And super yeah! Since it's only about five hours from me.

When I started talking about this on Facebook two of my friends jumped on board with doing a road trip down to watch this amazing event.  Soooo at the end of next month I will be headed south to enjoy a really cool event, awesome riders, fabulous horses.  I will of course tote my fancy camera with me and document the whole trip. 

Keep it between the flags everyone.