Friday, March 29, 2013

Red Shows Off His Soccer Skills

This afternoon the vet was coming . . . and we all know how that is . . . the vet was late . . .  We were having Coggins, and the first vaccination - three way: Eastern and Western encephalitis and tetanus, and the boys were going to have their manly bits cleaned.  (Since all three horses have had EPM, and Pie has also had Lyme, we spread vaccinations out and don't do the 5-way or 7-way.  I have stopped doing strangles and Potomoc vaccinations, and my vet agreed that this made sense in our location and circumstances.)

But that worked out well, since Red and I had some time for a nice bareback ride - Dawn and I had ridden in the morning.  There had been a pony camp at the barn that afternoon - about 8 girls between the ages of 8 and 12 - lots of screaming and running.  The camp was about over, but Red decided to show the girls how soccer is played.  We had the big ball out, and I was riding bareback.  Red went all over the ring, kicking the ball with his front legs as we went - sometimes he trotted to the ball.  The girls thought that was great, and had to come up and say hi to him - he really enjoyed that - he loves people.  Even though there were some occasions when the girls were running, he stayed calm and happy.  Even the moms said hi to him - he was the king of the day!

After all the admirers left, we had a very nice walk and trot ride bareback.  He's moving very well - the 7 days a week riding schedule seems to make a real difference.  I just love riding him bareback - it feels so natural to me and he seems to enjoy it.  And this was after yesterday's ride, which is probably the best ride I've ever had on Red - he was forward, and soft, and just plain wonderful.

Finally, the vet arrived.  All horses were excellent, and complemented on their manners.  Pie took a bit of extra sedation - he had a very large bean - and several smaller ones - which must have been very uncomfortable - and he was very dirty.  We'll keep him on a 6-month schedule for cleaning until we decide he doesn't need it. Red didn't have any beans, and was much cleaner overall.  Pie is slightly heavier than we'd like - he has no serious fat deposits but his ribs should be more easily felt - Red is about right, and Dawn is thin but that's OK considering her leg issues - less weight is good.

While the vet was there, I had her take a look at Dawn - I think she might be in the early stages of Cushings, due to her difficulties in holding condition over the winter, and we'll probably do some blood tests to see - and she's also at risk of developing desmitis, due to her long sloping hind pasterns and straight hocks.  So far, so good - the vet found no evidence of sensitivity in the suspensory area, or thickening, but said to keep a good eye on it.  She agreed that regular work to keep her fit, and to keep her weight down, is a good idea, and also agreed that we should avoid strenuous maneuvers, like lead changes.  It's hard to believe, but Dawn, who we've had since she was 4, and who is about to turn 16, is starting to age.

I was pleased that the vet didn't have any problem with the other providers I use - Mike Fragale for dentistry - he actually refers horses to their vet clinic who have serious dental issues he can't deal with - and also our chiropractor Dr. Marold, who is also very good at endocrine matters, and who was the one who picked up the EPM and Lyme.  My vet said that the custom chromium/selenium/magnesium/vitamin E supplement Dr. Marold uses is a good idea for a suspect insulin resistant horse like Dawn.

Then, since the boys had been sedated, and their hay had been removed from their stalls, I hung around for a while to do some chores.  The boys perked up, I gave them their hay and headed for home.  Another wonderful day with horses - you can't ask for better than that!


  1. I would love to see video of Red, what a great boy. We both had some drunk ponies today .Young Harley was gelded this morning

  2. Every Cushings/IR horse that I have met was overweight (and a couple had thick, wavy hair that didn't shed out). I thought Dawn was more of the hardkeeping type?

    1. Val - I believe the overweight/poor shedding and/or footsore horses you describe are the most typical Cushings horses. Dawn is a hard keeper - there are apparently a subset of Cushings horses that have difficulty maintaining weight. Thyroid can also be a issue, but so far Dawn has tested normal on that. Degenerative desmitis can also result in poor condition, as it affects connective tissue and many other body systems.

    2. My vet did a presentation on metabolic diseases. The Cunshings horses are often hard keepers. Horses with Equine Metabolic Syndrome are the overweight ones. Both can develop laminitis. Again, both need low sugar/carb diets. He also prescribes "Exercise, exercise, exercise.." at least for the EMS horses.

      EMS horses do not usually exhibit poor coat/shedding. That's more a Cushings symptom, but not always. My Toby has twice had laminitis, but so far his coat is lovely. Down the road? Even with the treatment of Prascend, his disease will progress. The medication just eases symptoms. Cushings is the result of a tumor on the pituitary gland. The disease is much more noted today, theoretically because horses are living longer, so age related problems are much more diagnoses.

      It was a super seminar. Well presented with everything clearly explained.

  3. Sounds like a really fun day for you, and the boys will never remember the tough parts. I'm having a hard time believing my two just turned 11 and 12. How does that happen?
    Bionic Cowgirl

  4. Sounds like a great day with a lot accomplished--especially in the soccer skills for Red. *G* And, of course in his every growing cadre of admirers.

    My vets are pretty scrupulous about being on time. It's really amazing how they manage. And, if for any reason--usually an unexpected emergency--I get a call from the office telling me they will be late. I am not used to this as all the vets I've used in the past run by their own clocks, not mine.

    As for all the "vet stuff?" My Boys are due for the same round of treatments soon. But one of my vets is a teeth specialist, so she will do that work as well.

    Glad you had such a good day. Hope it is just the beginning of an even better season of equine adventures!

    1. They did call to say they were running late - it's a clinic that does a lot of surgeries, including emergencies, and my vet is also one of the surgeons. As I told her, it didn't matter too much to me since I was at the barn anyway and ended up having a chance to ride Red.

  5. I KNOW KATE! Aging, is upon us...I just was contemplating that yesterday with Wa. She is 17 this year. I have done some hard riding and she has had several serious injuries while boarding at different places.

    WHEN, do you change the diet for the Senior foods?
    I am still just giving her vitamins with oats, garlic,joint supps from "Springtime" and a magnesium supp.

    RED, you manly horse, so handsome and friendly! Love his BIG ball antics...please take a video, too funny!
    Vetting is upon us too...had a date, then the PBO cancelled

    1. Using senior feeds is mainly a matter of dental health - some horses need softer feeds due to dental issues - and difficulty keeping on weight. Some of the weight issues can be due to thyroid issues or metabolic problems like IR or Cushings - horses in their teens can have issues too. Picking a senior feed can require care - some of them are high in sugars due to added flavorings like molasses - others are better. Triple Crown makes a good senior feed that I can't get - no distributors in my area. Dawn is currently on the same feed as all my other horses - Purina Ultium - it's relatively high calorie so my boys get very little, but Dawn gets a fair amount more - it's higher in fat and lower in sugars.


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