Friday, April 30, 2010

Better but still not Well

Rugby has been quite sick. For weeks. For 3 weeks he had the swelling along his belly and in his sheath and occasionally behind his jowls. Every day it looked different, some days it was so swollen that it was hard for me to keep patient and stay with the conservative approach of my vet. As if that wasn't bad enough, then the nasty diarrhea started (not to get too graphic... aww, hell why not - we're talking lift the tail and spray liquid poo in a 5 foot long stream diarrhea). The bloodwork indicated that whatever it was, was attacking his G.I. system and we had to immediately pull him off everything - bute (which we were phasing out anyway from the whole lameness episode) and his usual feed supplements. Then start him on UlcerGuard to stop the irritation and the diarrhea.

Now that belly and sheath swelling has gone down but he's definitely lost weight and his blood counts are still way off. Whatever hit him, hit him like a ton of bricks. I don't know if it was in reaction to his spring shots, a virus, that he ate something that triggered this reaction or God knows what but my guess is he's a pretty lucky horse to be here now.

I feel it may have been almost a "perfect storm" of events. The bute he was on for almost a month to help the lameness issue. Then he got his spring shots, then the swelling started several days later. I'd think that the bute should have also helped control the swelling but at that point maybe he'd been on it long enough for the added stress on his immune system to cause him the stomach problems - or something else got in the mix like a virus or he ingested something. I'm not a vet, I'm speculating based on what I know and all my years of experiencing the ups and downs of horse care. I'm just hoping he's now on the upside of all this.

As for his unsoundness. Okay, at least that seems to be doing well. He's been sound on the egg bar shoes since he got them 5 weeks ago and completely off bute for almost 2 weeks. I've been mainly lunging for 15-20 minutes at the walk and jog 3-4 times a week with the vet's ok to lightly stimulate his circulation to help with his swelling condition and every time he's been sound. Yay. I feel he can go back to light saddle work (walking and some jogging for no more than 15-20 minutes) but only if he seems up to it.

So, as I close my eyes and accept the vet bills like a firing squad, I'm hopeful this is coming to an end and he gets better. I was so looking forward to spring and nice weather to get his saddle training under way after this long and crappy winter. All I seem to be able to do with this horse is lose time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rugby is sick

So just as it seems my horse is sound, now he's sick. Not sure exactly what. Could be a reaction to one of his spring shots or something else. Poor boy has swelling along his tummy and sheath and today has diarrhea. Vet has been watching him and did blood work today. My poor sweet boy. I just came back from checking on him and he was laying down quietly in his stall and so were almost all the other horses! I guess 11:00PM is bedtime at this barn ;) At least he was quiet, not rolling or in distress. Will go there again in the morning and check on him again. I wish I could just sleep in the barn and stay with him all night.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Ah, spring. Time for a clean sweep. Toss out the old and the broken, donate the unused but still serviceable, Ebay the good stuff. It's cathartic to do this, sometimes even fun and often a relief. Clutter follows me like a shadow. Every time I do it though, I have some feelings of melancholy.

Like this morning when my husband and I put my boys' battery operated 4-wheeler ride-ons to the curb for the trash to pick up. Yes, they were sun bleached, the batteries didn't charge well anymore and one had a broken switch so it only went backwards, not to mention my kids are too tall to sit on them comfortably but I still felt sad when I saw the garbage man heave them into the back of the truck and then they were gone.

All I could see were two smiling little boys, about 3 years old, driving around the back yard, chasing each other and having a great time. Last night, when I gingerly brought up the subject that maybe it was time to get rid of the 4-wheelers since they couldn't really ride them anymore, I was kind of shocked when they said, "yeah, you can throw them out." No hesitation. Wow.

So many memories. On my dresser I found the following pictures of my black Thoroughbred mare, Alta. She's the black horse I'm riding jumping over a fence in my profile picture. These must go back to 1998 or so. She was already retired, and probably around 20 years old. But she still looks shiny and healthy. There is hardly any graying around her muzzle. I scanned them and want to share them as you get the full range of her personality from just these 4 pictures.

That's Miss Alta to you. Yes, I am the queen and you may take my picture, now move along.

See my cuteness? You bore me so I will go to sleep now. (by the way, the red arrow points to my tack trunk, the one I had custom made with my own design of 3 horse heads on the front!)

WTF are you staring at?! If you don't have treats or scratch me in the right spot I'll show you what pisst off looks like.

Yes, pets do take after their owners. After around 16 years together, my goofy sense of humor even rubbed off on the mare!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So Far, Shoes Good

This Saturday makes it two weeks that Rugby has been wearing his egg bar shoes. And he's sound. I have been stopping by the barn almost every day since then and have been regularly lunging him for 20-30 minutes mainly at the walk but with a few times around at the trot to his left and only once or twice around at the trot to the right (his sore side). And he's sound. If there's any head nod at all to the right, it's almost as if I'm so paranoid that I'm making myself see things.

I even lunged him in the polo arena in the sand to see how it would affect him. I was also curious to see how he'd handle being out in that big arena after not being worked in there for about 4 months. He was a star! Rock steady, calm and completely in tune with my groundwork! A very pleasant surprise! One of the boarders commented on how well-behaved Rugby was and I told her it feels as if he's grown up a lot this past winter!

He's still on the bute but at a reduced dosage and this Saturday we will be weaning him off even that. I am considering adding an anti-inflammatory supplement to his feed to see if that can further help him. I've been reading about Devil's Claw and many people like the results.

Also, the vet agreed if he's consistent by Saturday that I can get on him and ride at the walk for a bit. I am super pleased with that. Each step has been adding something else and seeing if the horse stays sound or not. So far, so good!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Updoc™ Bit - amazing bitting breakthrough!!

How did I miss this one!? Click the link below:

The Updoc™ Bit

Be sure to click on all the sizes and colors available! I NEED one of these!!