Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Preparations

We've been very busy preparing for our big show this weekend.  Louie is moving pretty nicely in his plain plates and I've gotten most everything packed up and ready.  I have hardly ridden in the past 2 weeks because of the heat, but I think Louie will be okay, he remembers his lessons well. 

This show will also be Louie's introduction to his new pasture buddy, Jackson, our 5 year old walking horse gelding, who we are also bringing to the show.  We'll see how that goes, I can just about smell trouble already from those two! 

Then after the show, the big move, and Mister Spoiled Pants will be kicked out of the stall to be a horse for a while.  I can't decide whether he'll be happy or sad about that, but I'm expecting happy. 

I also wanted to apologise to those who have left comments lately, I have been having difficulty logging in to reply to them for some reason.  So I apologise, but I really appreciate your support!  We will check in after the show! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Puddles of Slobber

Louie had the farrier out today to put on new shoes- sans the pads.  He was exhausted from his past 3 nights outside fighting the bugs, so he stood in the cross ties and slept while Pat worked on his feet.  He was almost as sleepy as when he was sedated for his dental work- no kidding!  Well the weather has finally cooled off some today (84 degrees and much less humidity than the past week), and he gets to spend the night in his stall, so I bet he sleeps like a rock. 

Shortly after I brought Louie in we started to notice something strange.  Every few minutes, he would open his mouth and move his tongue around a bit and about a cup of drool would land on the floor.  It was so bad that I had to hold a rag under his mouth for the farrier to work on his front feet!  Nothing better than a hot drool bath. 

We think he must have been eating a lot of clover, which is known to cause excessive drooling.  I just hope that he stops slobbering in time for our show next week!  Well, if he doesn't, he'll have a very well lubricated mouth.  He was a little lethargic when I rode him today, probably because of the heat and bugs he faught the past several days, but I worry about him getting dehydrated from all that slobbering!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat Wave

We're in the middle of an extreme heat advisory across the entire midwest.  Today the heat index was 119 when I looked at it at 5:00 pm. . . We reached a record for dew point, I want to say 83, but I could be off on that number. 

Any way you cut it, it's HOT!  Way too hot to do anything outside, let alone work horses.  And I feel bad for the horses, sweating just standing there.  Louie's fan broke this week too (bad timing!) so he's been sweated head to toe when I go out to see him in the evenings. 

Lucky for Louie, the barn manager was able to arrange to leave the horses outside overnight, last night and tonight, as it's just way hotter inside the barn with no airfow.  I think the horses are loving it.  Of course there are more bugs outside, but at least they have a breeze, space to roam, and large quantities of water available.  Unfortunately, none of Louie's pasturemates were allowed to stay out overnight, so he's all by himself in his pasture, with  one other horse to seek out for company over a fence.  Either way, I think he's happier outside, I know I would be. 

This all is good practice for him too, as soon Louie is going to become and outdoorsman.  Well, in a sense.  Since the vet recommended I get him out of the stall, Louie is moving to a new barn at the end of the month to be on pasture boarding.  It will be a new experience for him, but I think it will be better for him long-term.  I'm looking forward to letting him be outside enjoying the cool evening breeze soon.  The only thing I'm not looking forward to is winter. . . I have to admit I love having a somewhat warm and decent place to ride in the dead of the winter, gets me through the long depressing cold half of the year.  Well that is one part of the plan, Louie may move to another stable for a couple of months in the winter so that I can ride and get my horse fix when it's too cold to be outside.  Well that's a long ways away, right now we have more heat and humdity than we know what to do with.  We're sweating at the thought of going outside.  Ack!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sharp in the Tooth

Louie had his teeth floated this week because they were getting a bit sharp around the edges.  The vet was pretty surprised how sharp his teeth had become in less than a year's time since his last float. 

Here is Louie, after the sedation.  He got pretty tipsy and nearly fell over, apparently he's a lightweight. 
But I think he's happy now that his teeth are no longer scraping the insides of his cheeks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer is Finally Here

It has been hot here in Minnesota for the past few weeks.  I guess, it is July.  Louie has been sweating pretty profusely when I get him out of his stall in the evenings.   So much that tonight I actually had to hose him down before working him. 

Louie was kindof an idiot with the hose bath today.  First he got himself into a situation caused by hunger and the desperate need to eat the grass in front of him, where his hind legs were straddling a plank that was resting up against the fence.  I'm sure you can predict what happened next.  Of course he took a step to the side, moved a hind leg only to meet the plank then had a brief spaz while he tried to free himself from the mess he got himself into. 

Only moments later he decided to walk forward over the hose, and got that stuck on one of his hind legs, and had the same reaction again.  This time he backed himself into the fence then stopped and thought, oh crap, now I've done it. 

Then after all of that drama he settled down and let me finish his hose bath.  After all of that fiasco we had quite a lovely drive.  For a while I was nervous about driving him with that attitude, but he did just fine.  Clearly we need to work on some desensitization to things around his legs. . .

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Vet Re-Check

Well I brought Louie back in to see Dr. Turner this week for a re-check on his lameness.  He was happy with the shoes and the way Louie's feet were looking. 

He did one of the most thorough physical exams I have ever seen, doing flexions of all 4 legs, watching Louie walk, trot, and canter on soft and hard surfaces.  He palpated every part of Louie from his teeth to his feet to his back.  He checked his flexibility and neurological system.  After all of that, he came to the conclusion that my horse was goofy- in otherwords, not right, but not terribly wrong. 

So we decided to do thermograms to try to pinpoint the soreness.  The only areas that lit up on the thermograms were the right hind leg (the whole leg) due to Louie using that leg more than the left hind, and an area on the left side, back part of the rib cage near the spine.  This is the same area that Louie had a knot in last fall, and the same spot where he's been sore since I tried all of those dressage saddles this winter.  We don't know what it is, but it's possibly a rib out. 

Then we basically came to a decision point of- do more looking, X-rays, bone scans, MRIs, etc, or give it some time and try to work through it to see if it will go away.  The choice is hard and we all hope we never have to make the decision, but sometimes we need to draw the line with diagnostics and treatment of equine problems.  Because there was nothing glaringly wrong with Louie and he didn't see any reason I shouldn't keep working him, we decided to give it some time, keep working him, try to almost ignore the headnod at the walk, and try to get him more time out of the stall.  He also recommended I have his teeth checked and also agreed that chiropractic and massage may be helpful, especially for the rib on the left side.

So. . . I had a great ride and a great drive with Louie this week.  We're planning on going to a show at the end of the month, and probably more trail riding.  :)  I'm content with the decision, as afterall, I can bring him back at any time if I choose to do more looking into this mystery lameness.