Monday, January 29, 2018

#NOBADDAYS

People that know me closely understand that I have a pretty sarcastic wit about me, I'm much more serious than my online persona may reveal, and that I am unabashedly optimistic and idealist.  I don't know how the last part developed because I've had enough strife and heartache in my life to turn me into a hateful, negative person... but what remains is someone who is constantly looking for silver linings even in the face of defeat. I try very hard to keep a positive attitude about things (and yes, I struggle and fall apart sometimes too) and I try to lift people up around me. I've spent the last several years culling the fat of toxic, negative people out of my life because to me, it's just not worth having people in your life that don't want to see you happy, or that try to bring you down into their negativity.

So, maybe it's just a result of getting older (hell, I'm pushing 40 this year YIKES) or wiser (doubtful) but lately, I've been feeling less stressed and more certain about the future.

<3

This feeling relates directly to Scout because since I've owned him, I think my whole outlook towards riding and horse ownership has changed. I have goals yes, but they are small... all I truly care about is having FUN. Hence the hashtag #NOBADDAYS. He makes me smile and laugh and is constantly worming his way closer into my heart. He's easy on the eyes and kind. He's a good mover, has a nice jump and good work ethic. What more could I want?

So this weekend even though I had ridden him ONCE since he got cast (if you're counting it was a solid month) the day before being invited, I jumped at the chance to take him on a fun hack with blog friends on Saturday.

And he was a perfect gentleman. It was the first really nice day we've had in weeks and it seemed foolish to stay at home. The two horses we were meeting up with are also rehabbing/coming back into work, so it was going to be a quiet ride (perfect!).

I went into the ride thinking we were going to have a great time and lo and behold, we did. The ponies were terrific, the sun was shining and everyone left with smiles. #nobaddays

Love these perfectly manicured trails

Love that my horse doesn't care where he is in the group

Love that he doesn't care about riding next to the road
They were all looking around quite a bit when we first arrived, but since it was a nice day the park had lots of families rolling in to enjoy the weather too which the horses found very interesting. Scout responded with his telltale teeth-grinding (that's primarily how he communicates tension) but was flat footed once I got on (really need to get that ironed out).

The loop around the park takes about an hour, so it was plenty of time for all of them to settle in and cruise along at a nice pace. We chatted about horses and life and everything in between. Laughed at our horse's individual personalities. I made a new friend and Scout fell in love.

Lovers

Mocha's side eye is REAL

Just a couple of handsome fellows

Sebastian slobbered all over Scout's neck and was whispering sweet nothings into his ear!
Something as simple as an hour long trail ride on my wonderful horse was enough to remind me that sometimes the best days are spent in the sun, with a couple of horse crazy women and their horses just walking around a park. And I was reminded again just why I love my horse SO much.

LOVE HIM

YAY NEW FRIENDS AND OLD FRIENDS AND HORSE FRIENDS!
I'm looking forward to continuing this trend of #nobaddays and I hope I'll see some of you out there in the bright future that lies ahead.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Status Report



Sass Wagon

Are you guys tired of Scout progress posts? Because I am.

But here I am typing up more boring notes on how he's progressing. He's been turned out for a little over a week and the leg swelling is staying down. There's still some residual heat which I'm hoping dissipates over time (it took his fetlock quite a while to finally stay cool and tight). So I stuck him on the lunge with some keep-your-shit-together parameters (Ahem, Pessoa rig).

And thank god he's got a good education on the lunge. He was feeling very good about life and tried pretty hard to keep a lid on things, but he was enthusiastic and spicy to be sure. Luckily, I'm well adept at lunging a wild horse, video-taping and holding a whip (#skillz).

That trot, I'm not mad atcha

Moving pretty nicely at the trot
At the trot he was moving out beautifully. Even in both directions with nice over tracking. At the canter he was still noticeably stiff on his RH. In fact, tracking left he was not subtle about his annoyance of having to put lateral pressure on it.



Tracking right, which is normally his tough direction he was quiet and balanced. Ultimately, I just wanted to get a sense of WTC in a controlled setting. The footing was slick and deep, so I didn't want to do too much with him but I was pretty pleased with how he looked overall.

Going forward, I'll start legging him up like I did in September with some long and low walk-trot until the strength in his right hind improves. I was admittedly a little bummed when I saw how stiff he was, but he'd only been turned out for a few days at that point. So maybe I need to recalibrate my expectations and just be patient.

And, if there's a bit of a silver lining about this whole experience it's that his condition is looking REALLY good! Let's give a big shout out to alfalfa for helping him get there:)

Closest thing I've got to a conformation shot for now
Here's to keep on keepin' on.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Ice, Ice, Baby

Good answer, good answer!!!
Hooray, my horse got turned out and he's behaving himself. After helicopter parenting everyday for 15 straight days (twice a day) I decided to take a day off to give us both a break. He's not longer on meds or needing any hand-holding so he such be fine right? Word from the farm was that he behaved himself without my supervision and all is well. So imagine my surprise when I showed up Monday to access his soundness post illness and he came head-bobbing across his 12 acre field.

#FFS
I immediately assumed the leg was hot and swollen again, I mean it's not like mud helps with horses that are cellulitis prone right? But to my surprise (and secret delight), he was ONLY missing a front shoe. And because I'm turning into a total maniac, I was furious. I turned him out Saturday myself and now it's Monday afternoon and HOWLONGHASHEBEENWITHOUTASHOE. So he got to spend another day in detention while he waited for the farrier to come out. It was far to muddy and icy to even try to wrap up the foot. I couldn't be there to talk to my new farrier about Scout's feet but I did mention that he's never lost shoes before and my old farrier always hot fit him. New farrier did not hot fit him, so we'll see how long these stay on.

The next day I planned to let him trot around a little so I could finally see how he was moving since he got cast. We had gotten a few inches of snow and slightly warmer temps so the ground was at least a little cushioned, but unfortunately I had to test out his free movement in a ring where one 1/5th of it hasn't thawed since temps first dropped below freezing.

You're going to let him loose where?

He was super quiet and he generally stays away from that end of the ring anyway (it's where the puddle of doom is) so I figured he'd just trot around me and come back looking for cookies.
Wrong answer

This dumb dumb trotted off squealing, and trotted right over to the snow-covered ice rink. FUCK.

SASS for DAYS

See those arrows? ICE, ICE, BABY...
But, in the end he adjusted his footwork while cracking through the ice and stayed upright. Maybe he'll make a good fox hunter after all? And guys, outside of a few sketchy steps that I'll chalk up to the world's worst footing, he looked damn good.

Looking confident on that right hind

Don't mind me, I'll just be over here practicing my extended trot on ice:/

All four, off the floor!

Weeeeee!

Uphill much? Damn, son!

My favorite of all... "I did a good job Mommy?"

Watching the videos I can see a little residual stickiness in the hock, but it could just be a little leftover soreness or stiffness from being stall rested for 2 weeks, or from the footing or trotting around in his blanket. Hopefully the warmer temps this week will help get rid of the rest of the ice and snow and I can start him back under tack this week. Hopefully he can keep a lid on his enthusiasm:)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sweet Freedom!!!

SO BORED
After 13 days of stall rest both Scout and I were desperate to get him out and moving around. Hand-walking was occasionally quite scary (think, horse-shaped kite), or he'd be foot perfect. His leg continued to stay cold and tight, though his fetlock was still carrying some residual fill most likely as a result of being stalled. He's definitely prone to stocking up when he's not moving around too much, so I'm not super concerned about it. My vet and I spoke about a turnout schedule and given the weather, she highly recommended some drug-assistance.


We went from highs in the teens and everything covered in a sheet of ice to driving rain, wind gusts over 40 mph and highs in the 60s. I figured Friday was the best day to try to put him out even with the rain as I thought the warmer temps would keep everyone a bit quieter. 

So, armed with Ace and Xylazine I got him doped up and prayed he'd keep a lid on it. The ground was still completely frozen, just now covered in greasy mud and all I could think about was him running around and wiping out like a fool. 
So high

So sleepy
Turns out my giant baby is a bit of a lightweight. And apparently, completely attached to me now since he's been stall bound for such a long time. I literally had to White Fang him to get him to go with his friends.

And his herd mates were pretty cute about the whole thing. At first no one noticed him, and he went off and grazed alone. Then, they all realized he was out there and came up to investigate.

SOOOO happy the boss is back
He's the unanimous herd leader and they were all very happy to see him. Scout? Not so much. There was lots of sass, lots of derpy running around. He kept trotting back over to me which kinda made my heart burst a little.

So sassy
 
Much derp
The temps dropped quite a bit overnight, but I followed suit with the same protocol for day two. He was a perfect gentleman and the whole thing was super low key. 

Best buds

HAHA, JK
On the third day I instructed the morning person just to turn him out last with a quiet buddy and she said he was super chill. Phew! My plan for this week is to get him moving a little on the ground and assess how he's moving and then leg him back up at the end of the week.

He really gave me a heart attack with this one I have to admit. He was SO lame the first day that I was certain his leg was broken. But if there's any silver lining to him being on stall rest it's two fold. One, he and I have REALLY bonded. Despite the weather being horrifically cold, he tried really hard to be a good boy about everything. I never once heard a negative word from any of the barn workers and he tolerated all the wrapping, medicating and hand-walking like a champ. He looks to me for guidance and boundaries and it's really helped our relationship blossom. The other positive takeaway from stall rest is his condition!

He's filling out

And dapple-y!

I actually cut his feed a little so he wasn't bouncing off the walls and added alfalfa twice a day to his hay. I think we've found a magical combination of hay and feed finally! 

Thanks again to everyone who has reached out to support us, we've definitely appreciated all the love and good vibes! I absolutely adore this horse but man, but the reality of how freaking fragile they are is so real sometimes. I think though, despite the heartache and worry that seeing his face hanging over his stall door is enough to remind me how much it's all worth it in the end.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

One foot in front of the other

Scout says HI
It's been four days since Scout got cast and we're continuing to improve! His fever is gone -- we've switched him from Banamine to Bute and tomorrow he'll scale back to Bute just once a day, so hopefully the fever stays away and he remains comfortable. I started to get pretty concerned yesterday as the limb itself was still warm and VERY swollen.

Fat hock

Cankle

More fat hock
And while he was walking comfortably on it and not favoring it anymore we needed to try something additional to reduce the swelling. After chatting with my regular vet and the clinic we thought that it would be worth trying to sweat the leg to see if it would respond.

Time to gather supplies.
I'm pretty sure the CVS near the barn thinks I'm a serial killer at this point because I am always buying the weirdest stuff. I chose a traditional sweat with Furacin and saran wrap, standing wrap on that and a stacked hock wrap with a figure eight bandage.

Turns out I learned something when I was a working student:)

I added some elasticon to the top and bottom of the stacked wrap to help it from slipping/moving too much. He didn't seem to care much at all about being wrapped up to his neck and I threw a supportive standing wrap on the other hind as a precaution.

In the meantime I got Boredy-McBoredpants some stalls treats that he couldn't figure out how to use
I came back a few hours later to make sure the wrap hadn't moved around too much (it hadn't, but I still re-did the top wrap to be extra careful) and I tucked him in for the night while me and the rest of the East Coast braced for Bomb Cyclone (WTF is with that name?).

For reference, I live in Philly and the farm is in Medford
The snow was scheduled to start overnight and be at it's worst during rush hour traffic. I got up and 6 to look outside and there was just a light dusting so I thought maybe the storm had veered off the coast more than anticipated. At 8, I jumped out of bed and the wind was whipping (gusts of 50mph) and the snow was really coming down. At this point they predicted it would snow until 1pm, so I though I might fare a little better if I made a run for it early to get back before there were several inches on the ground.

Untouched roads everywhere
My neighborhood is always a shitshow after snow, but I figured the main arterial roads would be better. NOPE. Nothing was touched, not even I-95! Major roads that are usually 3 lanes were mayhem with one lane of undefined boundaries and people driving all over the place. I had driven my truck home the night before as a precaution and I am SO glad I did. Having 4wd and a heavy vehicle was the only way you'd be getting around safely. By the time I got into New Jersey it was pretty much blizzard conditions. Visibility was down to about 1/8th of a mile and the blowing snow was making booby traps of snow drifts.

When I got to the farm I was happy to see one other set of tracks on the driveway (phew, the barn staff made it out there!) -- My goal was to get in and get out, as I was unsure of how hair raising my drive home would be!

All the ponies were staying in (much to their dismay), but Scout seemed happy for the company. I took his temp and mixed up his bute and took a peek at his legs. Hooray! The wraps stayed on perfectly all night (I'm not kidding when I say I was worried all night about them!)

OMG, a leg!

I've never been so happy to see bony protrusions 
The heat was greatly reduced and the swelling was down dramatically! I cleaned off the Furacin and cooled his leg off with a wet washcloth (winter's version of cold hosing). I'm thrilled with the effects of the wrap, so I'm going to leave him unwrapped for the night to see if it blows back up. If so, I'll start a protocol like I went through with his fetlock (wrapping until it goes cold and tight and weaning him off the wrap). Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to hand walk him and assess his soundness a little more. I'm feeling much more positive about his recovery at this point. Well worth the hellish drive this morning to see his improvement!

Another thing to check off my skillz list! Parallel parking this beast!
Thank you to everyone who sent good vibes our way, I think they're working! Fingers crossed we can maintain and upward trajectory. For now, stay warm all my East Coast friends, we're bracing for a couple of rough days ahead!