Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just because your NAME is "Trilogy" doesn't mean it ALL has to come in threes!

Update after Monday's vet visit: Good GRIEF my boy is talented. He had three different things going on...mercifully, none of them serious and requiring more than rest.

1) His left front had a reaction to the Rap Last. The skin is red and irritated, but not swollen. Washing it off and hosing it, as I've already done, is likely all that was necessary there.

2) His right front--the big ugly swollen mess--was likely caused by some sort of blunt trauma. He kicked himself, he got cast, he...uh...yeah, we likely will never know. His tendons and feet are fine, and most lameness is gone now. The swelling and heat was still present at the time of examination, but significantly better. Treatment: more of what I've been doing. Cold hose, Bute, rest.  A week later, it's essentially gone.

3) Now, what had me scratching my head--his slightly depressed demeanor. Apparently, he has a respiratory infection. No fever, no runny nose, but a bit of a cough. I noticed the cough in particular when lunging him yesterday to check for soundness--I showed the vet the video of it I made on my phone. He said it wasn't the normal throat-clearing cough some horses do at the beginning of exercise--"Yeah, that's not normal." Just for emphasis, Tril did some coughing when I trotted him during his lameness exam. The doc listened to his lungs and said they were essentially clear, but there were some sounds at the beginning that he compared to an asthmatic reacting to a smoggy day. There's been a mild respiratory thing going down the line of the properties, though the other two horses had snotty noses. Maybe it just went straight to Tril's airways--like these dang bugs tend to do with mine??

This means Tril just needs about two weeks of rest. Not stall rest, mercifully, but he shouldn't do anything that will increase his respiratory rate. Getting on and walking around with buddies will be fine.

So WAY TO GO TRIL! Three different things going on. A "trilogy" if you would.  

How typical of him. Nothing serious, nothing too difficult to treat, nothing major...just a whole lot of somethings.

And now, just five days later, he's a fire-breathing dragon.  The swelling on the right front is gone, the cough subsided, and he is done with this walking crap.  I lunged him a bit yesterday, and while he was more or less good (if a bit more deaf to commands than usual), I could tell he was on the verge of being a 1000lb kite.
I love the mildly annoyed handler's unruffled and unimpressed expression.  
He also didn't cough once on the lungeline, so back on the property I took his halter off and let him snort and gallop about just to run off the stupids.  It's a catch-22--he needs rest, but he also needs to not lose his mind.

He was sound, snorty, and happy, but I didn't let him do too much.  While he grazed-twitched-spooked-galloped-rolled-repeat, I turned my attention to cleaning his stall...and, yeah.  Boy is BORED.  His poop was scattered all throughout the stall, a sign of a bored horse pacing and kicking his crap all over the place.  Oof.  I'm glad I let him out, if however limited.

Two weeks of this?  Really?  And we're not even done with week one?  

I don't know which one of the two of us is going to need that calming supplement more.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


It has been established here that Tril is skilled destroyer, but not due to malicious intent.  No, Tril is a sweet, but endlessly curious, goofball.  And while curiosity is reputed to kill the cat, cats are also reputed to have nine lives to balance out that equation.  Horses seem to have a most tenuous grasp on the one life they've got.

After I returned from brief vacation, I gave Tril a sort of play and spa day.  Rather than get straight to riding after four days off, I took him out, secured the polo wraps, and turned him out to play.  Cracking the lunge whip a few times to encourage him, he galloped and played with enthusiasm, but not over excitement.  A few times in his exuberance, I heard his hooves clapping together as he tangled and untangled those limbs, and while I noted a minor cut on a rear pastern, no damage seemed to be done.  I did think about bell boots--which are designed to protect against this exact type of injury--and wondered if they are designed to work on hind feet as much as front.  Bah, I thought, that's for another time.

I hosed him off, groomed him thoroughly, and brought out his wardrobe.  Fly sheet, check.  New hock boots (the type to protect against bed sores), check.  Fly mask, check.  Hmmm...the flies were really biting his front legs, too--time to take out his fly boots.

Now, again, it also has been established Tril is very skilled with that mouth of his.  Leg wraps and boots, left unattended, are for shredding and entertainment.  (Ditto reins, lead ropes, hoses, sprinklers, water fountains, jump poles, mounting blocks...)  Oh, but I've got you all figured out, Tril-man.  I have discovered RAP LAST!
Now with more capsaisin for your mouth-burning pleasure
Yeah, wanna chomp on those fly boots?  Huh?  Sound like fun?  Hmmmmmmm?  Well, get a solid bite of habanero-flavored OH NO YOU DON'T!

So after two hours of playtime, grooming, and attentiveness (incidentally, my eldest was showering our mini with similar attention, exercise, and affection, so she wasn't left out), I left feeling like Good Horsey Mommy.

Then I arrive today with eldest, all set for me to ride and then eldest to ride in his new Wintec saddle, and I am happy to see both front fly boots are on.  The hock boots fell off, but whatever, 50% success rate is good for me.

Then I take the damn fly boots off.

What the fuck is THIS?  No, seriously...the fuck?  
Puffy McPuffy Ankle is puffy

Um...there shouldn't be a bump in front of the fetlock joint!  Learn from your white-footed friend there.  See?  No bumpy in front.  Everyone's doing it. 

I take that left fly boot off, and gasp.  His ankle is a puffy, boggy, hot, pulsing mess.  CRAP.

Seeing the right front is also a teensy bit puffy and appears to have sweat marks or somesuch on it, I assumed--hoped--his skin was reacting to the capsaisin-saturated Rap Last.   I first lunged him for soundness, and as has to be obvious, he's lame on that leg.  But he's not horribly lame on it; when my mare tore a tendon sheath, she was head-bobbing lame even at the walk.  This was definitely a bob of the head, but not a dramatic UPdownUPdownUPdown of extreme ouchiness.


I cold-hosed the leg (rinsing the other leg as well), hand walked him, and gave him a solid dosing of Bute.  At this point, I was 75% believing it was a reaction to the Rap Last.

 Uh, Tril, trying to help you out here.  

Okay, go ahead, have a drink.  Over and over again.  Okay...uh...okay, shall we get to that hot puffy ankle now?

CHOMP.  Well, I suppose this was an inevitability.  Not only did he bite it, he like to play with his bite to make the water pressure change.  Playful little big goofball.
Then I went back to feed him his dinner about 6 hours later, and saw it was WORSE.  Forget crap, this has now escalated to aw, FUCK.

With his old healed splint and now whatever this is on the inside of his cannon bone, his leg looks ALL kind of ugly wrong right now.  

The white foot is a little puffy too, but not even half as bad as its neighbor--which has lost all definition.  Shouldn't I see tendons and things between the knee and fetlock?  CRAAAAAPPPP

Oof.  I'm gonna need a drink.

Holy shit, that is ugly looking.

This time I took him out for a more careful assessment, and found a squishy dome of not-supposed-to-be-here starting about and inch and a half below the knee.  His ankle definitely was warm to the touch, but I no longer detected a pulse--which made sense, really.  It doesn't appear to be an issue in the foot, but something above the fetlock.  I think all that swelling is just being thrown down.  Maybe.  I dunno. 


Time to call my vet.  He found it hopeful that Tril isn't severely lame, and thinks it may be one of two things--a reaction to the Rap Last, or he kicked something. We're waiting until Monday for the appointment as long as he holds steady in this condition.  I was advised not just to cold hose, but use soap and scrub the legs to ensure removal of all the peppery oils (well, DUH, of course--why didn't I think of that??), keep up Bute, and NOT to wrap his legs.  Since Tril is a notorious standing wrap-rip-aparter, the vet warned that behavior can actually worsen an injury as he's pulling on tendons and everything else while getting his bandage chew on.  Brilliant, Tril.  Seriously, I've said it before--how the heck does Darwin keep missing you?!

So what did he do?

Did he react to the Rap Last?  (I will be puh-ISSED if that $15 bottle costs me $400 in vet bills.)  Did he get into "No, this is MY bucket!" bickering with his butt-biting neighbor?  Did he get cast in his stall somehow and bang himself up extricating himself?  Did he nail something more than a hoof in his overreaching, exuberant strides in turnout?

New marks above his eye and in front of his jaw.  Clues?  Or red herrings? 

Crap if I know.  Crappity crap crap.

But, the thing is, if this had happened six months ago, I would have felt a different way.  I've become bonded to him now, and really have come to appreciate and adore him.  He's just the sweetest thing, if too curious and too playful for his own good on occasion.  He hasn't a drop of nasty or malicious blood in him.  Wary, yes; untrusting of people he doesn't know, true; but not the least bit unkind.  But today, he felt secure enough to show me he was hurting. It was in his face, his eye, his movement. He, a prey animal, showed me the ultimate weakness for his kind.  

It's okay, baby.  No matter what has happened, we'll make it right.  
I'm sorry, it's just what I do.
Just please...try not to do anything else to yourself in the meantime.

Friday, July 12, 2013

House shopping photo and description WTF?s

While I'm on the topic of buying horse property, I have to vent my WTF??s at some of the photo choices--and wording choices--realtors put on their online ads for a property. Because, seeeeriously.

I find that some realtors are inexperienced with selling, and thus marketing, horse property.  It's not uncommon for the only horse-related photos of the property to be a zoomed in shot of the horse on site.  Not the barn stalls, paddocks, pipe corral, tack room, hay storage, water and electric hook-ups--just the horse.  Um...yes, he's cute, but he's not coming with the property--show us something, I dunno, USEful to us, eh?

Then there are some that swing the pendulum this way.
Look!  Bedding and we even provided...uh...moss? Mold? Styrofoam mountain? Easter grass?
Seriously, WTF?  All the things they could show us, and they went for the floor of the stall?  Which MIGHT make sense if it was showing stall mats throughout or something, but...uh??

(At least this place showed the barn and the rafters, as well as the arena.  Not the fencing, water supply, tack room, or feed room, but at least evidence there is a place to keep a horse here.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

To horse property, or not to horse property

I have an itch.  And while I am fully stocked with antihistamines and Calamine lotion, none of those will satisfy this nagging sensation:  I want my horses at home.  I want to look out my window and see their eager, perpetually-hungry faces and hopeful pricked ears.

But I also have a problem: my husband and I live and work in Los Angeles County, one of the most densely populated areas in the country.  I grew up in a state with a total population of 6 million; I now live in a county with a total population over 9 million.  All those bodies need to go somewhere, and lately, it's being squeezed into every free space available.

The latest trend is to take properties on large (that is, large for SoCal) lots--an acre or so--and divide them up into smaller lots, build homes (yes, plural) on them, and sell them for profit.  Profit, profit, profit! the price of space.  I have seen local horse properties and their facilities converted into townhomes, guest quarters, tennis courts, and multiple-vehicle storage.  I have seen horse communities slowly disappear as owners move on, and non-horsey folk move in. Eventually some folks become essentially an island of equestriandome, and often with nonhorsey neighbors offended by the presence of the horses that were there long before they were.

Horse properties and communities are more common if I go about 15 miles east, but then the problem becomes the wicked commute it would create (an hour a day each way) as well as the dust and high heat that comes with moving into the desert areas.  It just isn't feasible.

There are horse properties out here, but they are limited.  Beggars can't be choosers, and all that.  Problem is, dangit, I'm picky. Double-problem is, so is hubby.  Compromise is an inevitability.

But, what do we need to be willing to compromise on, and what are definitive lines in the sand?

Heckifiknow.  At least, for now.