Wednesday, January 26, 2022

(Mostly) WW: Eye update and the new pony!

Yoshi's recheck Monday was great news! His ulcer is healed. The constant screaming in my head about gross fungal corneal things in horses can stop. He does have fibrin in his anterior chamber, so he's still on banamine, atropine, and now Diclofenac until that resolves. But all of those are q12h, not q6h. Thank goodness! I'm sure he appreciates it too. We're concerned the fibrin is anchored to the endothelium (back side of the cornea), so it may take a bit longer than it would otherwise to resolve. But the ophthalmologist my vet texted the pictures to felt like it would resolve eventually. He also gets to stop wearing his pirate mask, which again, he was being very good about, but understandably was a bit spooky on his "blind" side. 

The fibrin is that little white bit in the bottom of his pupil

Head so heavy, please hold for me

The new pony!

Fresh off a 20 hour trailer ride and he just moseyed around, drank some water, and then settled in to eat. Stopped eating to come over for cuddles though.

Hard to get pictures because he is so friendly and wants to be so close!

Pico did NOT appreciate HER lap being occupied so basically just sat on the little peeps. They didn't mind much. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

The antithesis of a fun weekend

Friday Yoshi wacked his eye on something hard enough that he was squinting, yawning, and tearing like crazy when I saw him. He had been fine at breakfast a few hours earlier. Fortunately his vet was able to come out to see him just a few hours later. I gave him some banamine and we waited. His vet looked at his eye and his sox and asked if he was accident prone... yep, seems to be. 

As eyes go, it wasn't too bad - 3 areas of relatively superficial ulceration. Rx of neopolybac, miconazole, atropine, muro, and banamine. And as patients go, he isn't too bad either. He has tolerated the eye meds and has been letting me do IV banamine on my own. As weekends go... pretty crummy one to need to treat an eyeball. However, the GYs and my husband are amazing, so we managed to get q6h eye meds done through the weekend while I worked 3:30P-12A each day and went to a funeral on Saturday morning 2 hours away from work and home. The work hours were actually probably a good thing because FL has had a cold snap this weekend and if I hadn't already been up and outside at 1 AM last night, there would have been no way I was getting out of bed at that time to go outside in 27 degree weather to medicate his eye. 

He gets rechecked this afternoon, fingers crossed that it is healed. He is much more comfortable and the surface of the cornea looks nice and smooth to the naked eye. There is some odd white opacity within the eye, almost looks like vitreous or something because it moves a bit when he moves his head. He's stayed nicely dilated on atropine just once a day, which is a relief given the possibility of ileus and colic. I watched a good friend's horse die of a cecal impaction about 10 years ago that coincided with treating for an ulcer. Granted he also ate coastal hay, so it could have just been a perfect storm of things, but it definitely makes me twitchy thinking about it. 

I have failed at taking pictures of his eye, but I have been taking pictures of our newly hatched chicks...

The one in the front isn't dead, they just sleep like that...

In other, positive and exciting news, a lease horse is arriving from Virginia tomorrow evening! He's a 12 YO OTTB who has been competing at novice for the past few years. I can't wait to meet him. His trip was my first time arranging a commercial shipper. It was surprisingly cost effective... when I mapped and considered doing the drive myself, it was going to be $400 of diesel alone, nevermind the wear and tear on the truck and trailer and my time. The cost from the shipper? $550! Seems 100% worth it and the shipper came recommended by JT, so I'm sure he will do an awesome job. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

Quit being such a negative nancy!

Blogging without riding still is not a lot of fun, but mentally I'm on a better track the past few days. Yosh and I have been taking every other day off from grooming and have been just hanging out some. I have also been working on the pillars of the balance through movement method from Celeste Leilani-Lazaris in hand. I took her online master class at the beginning of the month and have been following along in the discussions there. Yoshi really seem to enjoy the work and enters a bit of a zen state while we do it. He is actually much more in tune with me and my movements than I would have thought. I've been working in a rope halter after Mr. GY and I had a long discussion about the poll pressure applied by a regular leather/nylon halter. It makes sense, his regular nylon with leather crown halter is much heavier in my hand than the rope halter. I never tie him in it and never really apply more than light pressure, he's a really sensitive guy. 

He also has finally earned himself solo turnout. It was a bit of a struggle to come to this decision because I do truly believe horses are happier together. But he got either a bite or a kick right across the front of his hock and then bit around his throatlatch in the span of 24 hours. The trazodone did nothing for changing the frequency and severity of his injuries, so he's been off of that for a bit, but we are putting him back on it while he adapts to solo life again. The plus side of this is that he can get alfalfa - Ms GY's horse colics if he eats any alfalfa (strange, strange pony), but Yoshi would obviously really benefit from the extra calories. I am selfishly looking forward to having him look less like a propeller struck manatee. 

Maybe part of the reason he hates grooming... how can that not hurt? 

When I was working with him after his first night of solo living, he was pretty dull, which is unusual. His reactions may not always be what I want, but he usually does react and pay attention to nearly anything I am doing around him. Instead as I applied light pressure to the lead, he just stood, and stood, and so I stood, and stood, and then his eyes closed and he took an actual 5 minute cat nap in the sun. It was adorable. 

It does make me worried too though, did he not feel safe enough by himself to sleep the night before? We'll give this some time before deciding. The problem with the set up at the GY's is that the fields don't share a fence line so that he could even feel safely close to the others. 

There may be something slightly more exciting on the riding front in the future, but I have to sort some things out before making it official. Yoshi's 30 days off riding are done on 1/27. And he's got a dentist appointment, farrier appointment, and another chiro visit this month. Keeping busy even if it isn't exactly with what I had planned. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Relationships take work

Yoshi and I have been going through another period of relationship building. The day my friend came out, which was also the day that he went lame, she noted how much better he was while being groomed than he had been when we moved back in May. But he was still cranky. He no longer kicks out at being touched, but he still makes faces, a LOT. Since I'm back at square one with riding, I decided we could go back to square one with ground work as well. I (re)started working with him with R+. Any touch with hand or brush gets held gently, no increasing pressure, until there is a positive or neutral response. Then click and treat. 

We're on day 3 of consistently doing this. So far we have a decreased time to positive or neutral reaction. We also have an increased pawing behavior; I'm ignoring that in hopes it will become extinct if not rewarded. I'll be honest, I'm discouraged on both fronts right now. He is a friendly horse in that he meets me at the pasture gate almost every time, he comes when he's called, he goes to find people to hang out if anyone (me or the GY's) is in the pasture working on something. He will enjoy face scratches or even hugs, but move behind the poll and then he seems to stop enjoying the interaction. 

I assume it is still guarding from his days at the track. He clearly was not a well cared for and maintained TB given the initial state of his feet and teeth and his endless racing schedule. I would not be surprised if the handling was equally... lacking. But it is discouraging and sad to feel like he wants to be a horse that enjoys human contact, but somehow can't be. As that human of his, it hurts me to feel like he is upset about anything I do. 

Might've also taken scissors to his mane recently 

Blogging about not riding is about as much fun as not riding. I feel obligated to continue though, I'm not sure why. 

We tried trazodone and turn out and he continues to get beat up, so that was mostly a failure, and means I don't have a great way to prevent general body soreness from his shenanigans. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Where we've been, where we're going

Every time I end up without a horse to ride, I am amazed and grateful at the people around me who offer up their lovely horses for rides. I started 2022 off with a lovely hunter pace on Yoshi's sellers RRP horse, Eddie. He was a blast to ride. At the start he was a bit up and bounced around like a lovely little ping pong ball. He is so compact compared to Yosh and even though he was up, he was so balanced it never felt like he was going to vanish out from under me. He settled down beautifully though and jumped everything out there like a pro. 

I also got to take Mr. GY's OTTB for a good gallop with Ms. GY out on the trails near our house. He lifts UP into his gallop in this really cool way that I haven't ever felt before.

Okay, moving on to Yoshi. He got his bone scan done, and the good news is that it isn't neck. We can't deny there was some inflammation in the left side C6-C7 with the excess synovial fluid during the injection, but it was quiet on the bone scan. He had a weird spot in his left radius, near his elbow. They ultrasounded the ligaments and x-rayed the joint. Not much doing there though. In a bit of desperation, they blocked his feet (we've done that twice now). This made him about 50% better. I think the reason we hadn't seen that was we were doing his exam on grass and the footed arena. To get to pavement we'd have to walk him 3/4 of a mile to the main road, so we clearly didn't do that. His improvement means that in spite of the pads and how much better his feet are than a year ago, his feet are still playing a role. Then he blocked his suspensory with local infiltration (we've done that once before...). And then he went sound. Neither vet had any idea why he hadn't before, but there was our answer. The frustrating part of this is that his suspensories are not covered based on our March 2021 work up. So the bone scan comes out of pocket... UGH. If he'd blocked out to that before we obviously wouldn't have gone on to the bone scan. But, such is life. And now I can relax a bit about his neck. 

The good news of the suspensory though is that he felt his prognosis for soundness was great, especially because there are no lesions on ultrasound. Yoshi just will continue to need special shoeing and very careful attention there. He even wanted him to continue doing light work through this because the more they jogged him the better he went even prior to the block. Somehow in my mind I thought this meant I'd get on and he'd feel great. Not the case. I got on and he still felt left front lame (DUH) and kinda sore overall. Between that, the $4k bill I have to pay, and the fact that I have scratched this horse out of more shows than we've made it to, I got a bit discouraged and threw up my hands and said he was going to just be a horse for a bit and live in his field. 

His chiro vet came out Monday and worked on him. She found him a bit body sore overall and also out in his pelvis. He's got a big 'ole piece of skin/hair missing on his right hip, so we suspect that was some pasture shenanigans. This helps explain why he felt overall not great when I got on him. I shared my discouragement with her and she recommended the book Activate Your Horse's Core by Narelle C. Stubbs and Hilary M. Clayton. She said it had been developed for use on horses on complete stall rest and they found that completing these exercises kept the horses from losing muscle tone or flexibility. She also recommended he be separated from the group for a bit. This part is easier said than done. There is a smaller pasture that he could go in; its the one he lived in while he was gradually being introduced to the herd. But in spite of living in that just fine by himself for a month, he now starts running the fence line when he's in it alone. He does this even with another horse in there with him. I discussed with her starting him on some trazodone to see if that keeps him from being such a pest in turnout and inviting the others to beat him up. We figured it would be worth a try. 

So that's where we're at. 90 days of light work recommended by the vet who did his bone scan. Pasture rest decided on by me for the next 30 days at least.