Thursday, June 6, 2013

So Much to Tell and So Little Time

Yesterday was ELPO farrier day in Cheyenne with Sassy and Killian.

Killian has not grown at all so we left him be.

We moved Sassy for Steve, and he was quite perplexed.  Then he had me watch her with him.  What we saw was that she has a hip out of place. It was quite obvious, because her right hip came up much higher than the left. She also had a pronounced head bob.

So, he did the leverage test on her hind feet.  She clearly had some uncomfortable spots and he ended up putting shoes with a lateral wedge on. Then he moved her again and the head bob was gone, and her hips were much more even.  BUT he said we still need to have her seen by a chiro.

Then he moved on to the front feet.  First he trimmed off a ton of hoof.  He kept go on and on about how much her feet had grown.  I'll be honest, I had to really bite my tongue. I wanted to tell him that I felt that he left her way too long on the last visit and that is why it seemed like she had grown so much. Maybe I should have, but I didn't.  

Then he leverage tested her again.  She is much better on the right than when we tested her last time. So although she did still get a clog, less modifications were made to it, to get her comfortable.  On the left though she still shows considerable lameness. Specifically on the outside toe. The outside toe is where that coffin bone was chipped.   So she got her clog on that hoof to make her comfortable there as well.

We moved her out and she was looking much more comfortable.  BUT this morning, I thought she looked as though she was short striding on the LF even at a walk.  I will re-examine that again when I get home.

She still does not land heel first.  When I mentioned that, he said that ultimately that is the goal but with some horses it isn't going to happen because they are always going to be compensating for pain.

That is what he said.

What I heard is, "We really are only giving her relief from the pain, we are not going to be able to heal her."

So 300 dollars later I have a horse that is more comfortable, and she does seem to be healing on the RF, but there is most definitely something still going on on the LF.  I'm wondering if we are still dealing with a coffin bone fracture.   I am seriously pulling my hair out over this horse. I am also seriously out of money.  I think she needs a new xray of that coffin bone. I just can't do it right now.

This will be last visit with this farrier, because of the move. But he gave me "The Man's" (Gene Ovnicke) phone number and even called him while we were standing there and he agreed to take us on.

But is that what I want?   I have read a lot of his stuff and he really does some great work. But I want to heal this horse, not just give her relief from the pain. If pain relief is all I wanted I'd nerve block the hell out of her and ride her till she is crippled. Or I'd give her the ultimate pain relief of a nice shot and deep hole in the ground. I'm sorry if that seems cold, but I am having a hard time watching her go through this.

On to better news....

When we got home, I unloaded 2 horses and grabbed another.  Trax and I ran down to the arena and did a little work. We started slow, did lots of transitions, practiced our trail obstacles, back to transitions, just lots and lots of different things. Then we moved on to some canter work.  I started out by just asking for a canter for a short ways and then asking for the trot again.  He did pretty good. Only once did I have to ask more than once for the trot.

Then we went back to trot, walk, trot ,walk, trot walk, for a while. Then I asked for the canter again to the right.  I kept him moving for a long time.  We did lots of squares all over the place, never the same place twice so he had to wait for me to tell him when to turn rather than anticipating it.  Then when I was ready to ask for the trot I said, "Ready aaaaaaand, Trot."  Only he thought I was going to say "Whoa." so he tried to stop.

Wait.

What?

He did what?

Yes that is exactly what I said..."He tried to stop."

He planted his spotted butt right into the ground.  But then I was saying trot, so then he took off again.  But I had to laugh. He is darn sure trying!

So we walked and trotted a little bit more. Then we cantered to the left.  Same thing, lots and lots of squares all over the place.  He was rating me, had his head down, was waiting for my cues, and then when I thought we had done enough I said, "Ready aaaaaaaand Whoa."  I planted my butt, and he in turn planted his.  It took him 2 steps to stop and when he stopped I mean he stopped!   It was the best stop we have ever had...EVER!

It was not a big fancy sliding stop. I don't care about those.  What I mean is that he stopped on his hind end as best he could, and once he stopped moving he didn't try to take off again. He stood there stock still until I released him.

I gave him mucho mucho praise, swung down off of him and loosened the cinch.  I could not have asked for a better ending to a ride.  He got big hugs and treats and lots of grass to graze on.

I could not have been happier!

11 comments:

  1. Also, for sassy, I would say that her hip could have something to do with the pain in the front (compensating from the back?) weird things can always cause weird pain....but I would suggest taking her to the farrier in Arizona once, and really talk to him about whether its a solution to the pain, or a solution to the problem that causes the pain, and make sure your on the same page with him on that, and if she can't be healed then do what you have to....

    My favorite quote is 'horses are not afraid of death, they are only afraid of pain and fear'.

    And it's true. I think you have really really tried for sassy, and if the truth is that she will never be pain free, then if you have to make a tough decision, you've done everything that could be done.

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    1. Thanks, I sit here and think some days, that I am only prolonging the inevitable and that I should just do it now. Then I flop to the other side where I think that if I can just get her down there where there is better medical help....

      If only this, or if only that...

      I am interested to see what she is like when I get home.

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  2. I gotta be honest, every time I think about that stop I cannot help but grin! I want to call my trainer and tell him, but he is in Haiti till the 10th! I wish I could have got it on video. I wish even one other person had seen it.

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    1. Omg, that's the most frustrating thing about riding alone!! Especially when your horse does something and you don't know exactly what from the ground and there's no one else to watch!!

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  3. Sounds like you have done a lot for your mare. I agree with Marisa Rose. You can talk to the farrier and find out if what he has in mind is going to mask the pain or get rid of it for good. Maybe try calling ahead of time? It's always a tough call but in the end, you don't want them to suffer as we keep trying 'one more thing' to get them right. Either way I support you decision. Pasture ornaments are expensive to maintain.

    I have had a few of those stops. Awesome when it happens like that and yes- good time to quit there. How come there never is anyone around when you do it right, but when you mess up, everyone is there to see it?

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    1. Thanks.
      If she was a pasture ornament that was not obviously uncomfortable then I wouldn't really have so much of a problem with it. Danny is one of those. He is basically retired, walks funny because of his stringhalt, but he isn't in pain, his quality of life is very good.
      Sassy, on the other hand is in pain, and although it isn't excruciating (she can put weight on her feet) it is bad enough that I can watch her move and see that she is not happy. Occasionally she get to bucking and farting around, but not like she used to. She used to race every morning all over the pasture.
      The good news is, that it looks as though I have sold my jeep (keeping fingers crossed) which will take the financial strain off for a while. So although I won't have a ton of money to keep pouring into her, I can atleast afford some more x-rays and possibly an MRI after we move, and see if we are even treating the correct issue.

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  4. Awesome news with Trax! Sad about your mare Sassy, you are not being cold or selfish, sometimes the best and kindest thing we can do is let go.Hugs and Kudos for all you have done so far

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  5. Quick story - there is a county riding facility near me that offers riding lessons etc. on their horses. One of the horses, somehow got a slight fracture of his coffin bone. (he had only been on and off lame too). They had numerous x-rays, mri's and expert vets. The horse has been on stall rest for 4 months. The vet said he cannot be moved at all not even taken out of the stall for cleaning. Now, they are going to re-X-ray him etc. Haven't heard yet the results of those 2nd x-rays. Vet thinks it may take 6 months of total stall rest to heal and then he maybe only lightly trail ridden - and he has a mild fracture. Anyway, just thought it might help in evaluating your mare. It's always a difficult decision. Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quick story - there is a county riding facility near me that offers riding lessons etc. on their horses. One of the horses, somehow got a slight fracture of his coffin bone. (he had only been on and off lame too). They had numerous x-rays, mri's and expert vets. The horse has been on stall rest for 4 months. The vet said he cannot be moved at all not even taken out of the stall for cleaning. Now, they are going to re-X-ray him etc. Haven't heard yet the results of those 2nd x-rays. Vet thinks it may take 6 months of total stall rest to heal and then he maybe only lightly trail ridden - and he has a mild fracture. Anyway, just thought it might help in evaluating your mare. It's always a difficult decision. Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete