Thursday, July 18, 2019

Finally Answers!

I am not the only one who has been dealing with health issues for a long time. Comrade has been having weight loss, diarrhea, making weird mouth gestures, having a hard time eating food, swollen tongue and mouth ulcers off and on for almost 10 months. Peggy has had the vet and the dentist out, put him on tummy medicine, changed his food, gave him lunches, but nothing has worked. Just like me he would be good, then having an extremely bad day.

We worried he would colic from not eating. Well Sunday he was the worst we had seen him. During it all he has always eaten his food. It may take him an hour, but he wanted the food. Sunday Comrade could not eat even really mushy food. He tried, but then would go to the water trough and stick his head in like an alligator and wash the food out of his mouth. For the first time, Comrade walked away from his food and he did not even attempt to eat hay. Larry told Peggy she had to get the vet out the next day.
Luckily the vet made it out a couple hours after her call. Comrade did not even want to graze. So not him. The vet found his tongue swollen, but not reactive to manipulation. So they took x-rays of his head at various angles. Both Mom and Peggy saw something, but waited until the vet confirmed. He had a possible foreign object in his tongue.
This was not something he could handle and recommended Comrade go to Morven (Marion Dupont) and see the mouth specialist. Even better the vet was able to get him in the same day. So Mom and Peggy loaded him up and took him in. They said that the drugs our vet gave him brought his appetite back and he ate some hay when he got to Morven.
Morven has a CT scan for horses which is the biggest reason Comrade was sent there. And sure enough his tongue lit up with an object. The hard part was that it was in so deep they could not pinpoint its location. An ultrasound showed a massive abscess in the tongue but not the object. Mom and Peggy left him in the vet's care and headed home.
They were going to open the abscess and hoped the object was in the same area while he was standing. Unfortunately they did have to drop him and use the fluoroscope to locate. They removed an 1 1/2 inch wire from his tongue.

 They believe the intermittent bad days were when the tongue would swell from infection and then resolve. The vet said getting a foreign object in the tongue is not a frequent happenstance in horses. Comrade stayed at the vets yesterday and was already eating hay even with on open wound on his tongue. Gotta love Cobs. Today he was supposed to come home, but he popped a fever. Hopefully all the good medicines will get him on track and we will have our fun cob boy back home soon.
It is such a relief to finally have answers. We felt helpless as he struggled. Sometimes it is so hard to get the urgency of a situation across to a vet. So send healing vibes to the big Red Boy!
Oh and DaVinci is doing so much better. His swelling is nearly gone and the bites are no longer as angry.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Progress, A Bumpy Road

Finally after almost a month and the load dose of the new medicine, I am starting to feel improvement. I am not losing weight and slowly gaining energy. That said I still have bad days that pop up, but at least I was able to go back to work half days. Barn chores are not as exhausting. Hopefully soon I can tackle all the long toes awaiting overdue trims.
I am not the only one improving. Roscoe has made super progress with both his riders. Then he began to show some issues escalating to throwing his head up at the canter. With Kelly, we were not sure if it was the bit/bridle change or having too thick a pad. Then when he was just as resistant with the teen while jumping with a thinner pad, Mom knew there was an issue.
She put his saddle on and found it was rocking and pinching him which blocked him when he tried to lift. So we put Comrade's saddle on and it worked so much better. Mom convinced me to ride him on Thursday to see how he moved in the saddle. I had helped Mom drop/stack some hay, so I was shaky, but game to try.
Back in a saddle after over two months

Roscoe was my rock. His new fitness helped make up for my lack. I was able to get him to do stuff I could not before. Once he figured out the saddle would not hurt him he was willing to work. I even did some canter loops both directions. He is so much straighter and his lateral work is easier to ask for. It really felt great to ride. And it was great that Roscoe has moved forward even when I stalled. As I rode, I did not feel sick. Now as soon as I stopped reality came back. I had to hand my pony over to my Mom to take care of, while I sat down shaking. So maybe I won't try riding alone any time soon.
I was excited to see if Kelly felt a better pony with the different saddle. Well Roscoe reminded us that he is a stallion that morning by slipping past my poor dad and running into the old guy field. He unfortunately beat up DaVinci who always is a target because he goes out with Dottie. She of course was in season. Dad was alone and it was a hard call to get when he told me DaVinci was red. DaVinci let my Dad cold hose him until Mom made it back to the barn.

 He is hurting like hell and will be on SMZs and banamine for a bit. Once he is over the acute pain, we will get him a PEMF body treatment. Luckily he stood for his PEMF treatment of his hock which he injured a little while ago and we did not want to lose time. Roscoe is an amazingly well behaved stallion, but given the chance he will act like a wild stallion protecting his mares. We do not blame him, but we do have to reassert his gate manners. Moments like this make you realize just how behaved he is normally.

 DaVinci got some hits on Roscoe too. As I tacked him up, I told him he was not allowed to whine. He did work well since he could actually lift his back. His stretches and lengthening were better. Plus she could actually work the canter. She ran through First 3 and had a much better test than the first time she tried it. Kelly is aiming for Lexington next year. That seems doable as he continues to progress.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Handing Over The Reins, Part II

I started June receiving a denial from my insurance for the medicine my doctor ordered. A definite low point when I was already having to use sick leave and feeling bad. So my insurance snail mailed the options they would allow and we started the process all over again.
Well amidst that drama, a friend contacted me on my birthday and asked why I was not riding. I told her about my health decline. She asked if Roscoe's dance card was full and if she could ride him. Hell yes!

This is a friend we met years ago when I put out a request for someone to ride Winston. She was the one brave enough to take on an arab who takes off in an open field. She got Winston to the point where we could ride and enjoy him.
Three teens riding the three cobs on the 4th of July

Roscoe now gets worked twice a week, on Wednesday by the teenager and on Saturday by our friend. Mom is able to help the girls ride both the red boys. They kind of get a dressage lesson while Mom makes sure the boys don't slack off. Then on Saturday, Roscoe gets a mental and physical work out with our friend. She got the feel of him the first ride and he tested his limits. It was pretty amazing to see Roscoe change under her guidance. His holes were obvious and she began to plan what to work on to fix them. One of the first is to get him to go straight. Even as little as he is, he can feel like a wiggly worm. It makes asking him to do lateral really hard. When she rides I can see some of what Lauren is trying to get me to do.

Last Saturday, she worked on getting him elastic in his posture. She took him from long and low, to a working frame and even onto a more upper frame raising his base. Roscoe's ears were on her with this new challenge. She was a little unsure if he was cheating since she normally rides bigger horses. Her boyfriend came and took pictures so she could review and see what Roscoe was doing. At one point she asked him to open his trot in the upper frame and asked if he could be rounder. I told her he definitely could because he looked like the horse chess piece. Roscoe improves each ride and shows hints of what he could be capable of in the future. She ends the more recent rides by running through a first level test. Roscoe had his mind blown when she did 1-3. They are no where near ready, but it is fun to see him thinking really hard.

It is a bit of a drive for her to come ride, so I was really happy when she asked if she could still ride when I was feeling better. Definitely. Roscoe is happy and being challenged in a way that I do not have the education to give him. She is even talking about showing next year. I may have to save my pennies and get him registered with USEF. I hate being sick, but the fact that it has brought the opportunity to share Roscoe with others has been a good aspect. I wish I could improve as quickly as Roscoe. Now to find some short cheek pieces so Roscoe can wear the bridle she brought. We put him in a loose ring and a flash so he does not open his mouth too much to avoid the cues. Cob heads can be tough to fit.

And not to be forgotten, here is 3.0 "Turbo" who earns his name by zooming around. Such a cutie!